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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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A checkup from the neck up: Local therapists team up to conduct concussion tests


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Two Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club players undergo concussion tests using ImPACT, a computer program that tracks various neurocognitive functions.

For two local physical therapists, good health begins – at least in part – above one’s shoulders.

Colleen O’Kane – owner of Bodies in Motion Physical Therapy in Los Altos – and Angie Moore combined forces earlier this year to form BrainOn! to provide concussion testing services to local youth athletic leagues. The duo partnered with the Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club during its recently completed fall season to conduct tests on more than 700 of its young athletes.

“I always ask kids, ‘Do you want to go to college?’ Well, you need your brain for that,” O’Kane said of her motivation behind the venture. “If you’ve got headaches and have trouble thinking or organizing … those are key life things. Some people don’t realize that those are the things you lose when you get too many concussions.”

Moore, a physical therapist with more than 20 years of experience in neurological, orthopedic and sports rehabilitation, added that awareness of the effects of concussions – or, in some cases, scrutiny over how they’re treated – has increased in recent years.

In late 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 25, requiring school districts to remove a student-athlete from a school-sponsored sporting event for the remainder of the day if he or she is suspected of sustaining a concussion. The bill, which took effect Jan. 1, 2012, also requires written medical clearance from a licensed health-care provider before the athlete returns to action. State Assembly Bill 1451 – signed into law in August 2012 by Brown – also requires high school coaches to undergo training every two years to recognize and respond to symptoms of a potential concussion.

On a larger stage, the National Football League earlier this year reached a $765 million settlement with more than 4,500 former players over brain injuries sustained during their careers.

Broadening awareness

Moore and O’Kane said more education in local communities is still needed, noting that national and statewide attention on the problem sometimes results in a trickle-down effect locally.

“I think some people have bought into protecting their kids’ brains, but some people definitely have not,” O’Kane said. “And some people, if their kid misses one game – there goes their big chance. It’s a highly competitive area.”

According to O’Kane, younger children are just as susceptible to sustaining concussions.

“When they get concussions, they’re often worse and take longer to heal,” she said. “Because their brains are so busy developing, they don’t have the bandwidth to heal as rapidly.”

With this in mind, the duo offers baseline and follow-up testing via ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Cognitive Testing) – a computer program that tracks neurocognitive functions, memory retention, brain processing speeds, reactions and other factors. Several professional clubs, including those in Major League Baseball, the NFL, the National Hockey League and NASCAR, currently use the test.

O’Kane said the test essentially serves as “a brain game” that typically takes 30-35 minutes to complete and aids medical professionals in guiding athletes back into activities “so that it’s not so much of a guessing game.”

“If you get a concussion, we use this test to compare (you) to your pre-injury (baseline) test,” she said, adding that the initial partnership with the soccer league resulted in an “overwhelmingly supportive” response from parents and guardians of athletes.

Ultimately, O’Kane and Moore said they hope to expand their service to other local youth athletic leagues in an effort to continue spreading awareness on the issue.

“Concussions are not something to be taken lightly,” O’Kane said. “This is a brain injury … so I think the more education we can get out there, the better.”

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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