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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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Forum speaker dispels myths of urban sprawl


Hess

The architecture critic for the San Jose Mercury News discussed “Historic Sprawl: A History of California Suburbia” at a Morning Forum of Los Altos appearance Dec. 3.

Architect and historian Alan Hess was a fellow at Columbia University’s School of Journalism and earned a master’s degree in architecture from UCLA.

“We think we know the 20th century, but we don’t,” Hess said. “There is so much more. It takes original research to understand who we are and to prepare for the future. Suburbia is one of the topics that have not been given full attention.”

According to Hess, myths remain about suburbia, including that it is entirely car dependent, features no fine architecture and is an unplanned, random sprawl.

Cities had become crowded, without parks, dirty and polluted, Hess said. But a love of nature and a desire for backyard patios, gardens and a place for children to play safely drove suburban development. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright originated suburban architecture with his designs of more horizontal and decentralized architecture that reflected how families were actually living.

Julia Morgan and the Green brothers were among the first architects to move away from traditional designs and begin using natural building materials, Hess noted. Individual, custom-designed houses are part of modern suburban architecture, he added, with materials from wood to steel, including pre-stressed concrete, reflecting the wide range used for building. Ranch houses with outdoor courtyards reflected the original Spanish adobe houses.

A housing crisis followed World War II and the ranch house was the savior, Hess said.

David Bohannon developed the technique of building mass-produced houses that were affordable. He built entire communities in the Bay Area, including the infrastructure, such as San Lorenzo Village. He also built the Stonestown Shopping Center. Irvine is a 90,000-acre community in Southern California that grew over a period of 50 years employing progressive planning.

Hess noted that Joseph Eichler, the mid-century builder of modern homes, had lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Eichler hired architects to design houses using the modern architectural concept of indoor-outdoor design with sliding glass doors, which could be mass-produced.

Hess’ presentation touched on several such buildings in the Bay Area, including Stanford Hospital.

“We forget what we were, and every time we tear down or alter these good designs we lose,” he said. “Instead of tearing down Stanford Hospital, adaptive uses should be considered. We have this heritage of good design and should not throw it away.”

The Morning Forum of Los Altos is a members-only lecture series that meets at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit morningforum.org.

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