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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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Councilmembers seek more expansive polystyrene ban


Town Crier File Photo
Some Los Altos City councilmembers last week sought to expand a polystyrene ban to include foodware products sold at local retail stores.

A broader ban on the use of expanded or extruded polystyrene (EPS) – commonly known as Styrofoam – could be coming to Los Altos as early as next year.

The Los Altos City Council last week continued discussions on an ordinance that would ban EPS containers in food service establishments after some members wanted a more far-reaching law on the books. Specifically, some members expressed interest in including bans on the use of EPS foodware in retail stores and at Los Altos events, as well as a ban on the sale of EPS ice coolers. The council voted unanimously to revisit the topic during its first regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 14.

The original ordinance called for the ban to take effect for national food vendors April 22, Earth Day. A deadline for compliance for local vendors was set for exactly one year later. The ordinance came to the council after the city participated in a California Environmental Quality Act process led by San Jose that resulted in a negative declaration of environmental impact.

The council wasn’t alone in its desire to see a more expansive law in Los Altos. Michael Barnes, a five-year volunteer for GreenTown Los Altos, told the council that “it would make sense to take that extra step” and include additional bans on polystyrene coolers and food serviceware at local retail stores and events.

“Logically, if a product is being sold in the community, it’s going to get used in the community,” said Barnes, who added that cleanup of littered EPS is often difficult, as it breaks into smaller pieces and pollutes local waterways. “And if it’s going to get used in the community, it sort of defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do.”

GreenTown volunteer Michael McTighe noted that a larger ban was “important” to local efforts to preserve the environment.

“It ends up where we’re trying to get it out of, which are the creeks and the streams,” said McTighe, who added that many Los Altos restaurants have already voluntarily switched to compostable materials as food containers. “It just makes sense.”

Barnes said a move to ban EPS – either through the original ordinance or an expanded one – was a step in the right direction for the city. He added that a planned 2015 deadline to phase out EPS locally was “way more time” than needed because most Los Altos small businesses tend to stock EPS products in limited supply.

“I would encourage the council to move it forward and join the other 20 communities around the Bay Area that have already made this move,” he said. “It is the right thing to do. This is a very difficult product to deal with and we should get rid of it.”

Council decides on second look

Some councilmembers agreed with Barnes and McTighe.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins told her colleagues that she supported continuing the discussion so that the city could further examine the feasibility of expanding the EPS ban. Bruins and Councilwoman Jan Pepper said national and local establishments should face the same deadline for phasing out the product as well.

“I’m not sure why we have the two tiers. … I just don’t know why there’s a year’s gap between those two,” Bruins said of the two separate dates proposed in the original ordinance.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter also supported looking into an expanded ban and offered an alternate deadline for the ban to take effect, July 4, the date this year that Los Altos implemented its single-use plastic bag ban.

Not everyone on the council was convinced of the need for an expanded ban.

Mayor Megan Satterlee conceded that she was “on the fence” about some elements of the extension.

Councilman Jarrett Fishpaw added that moving a deadline for local compliance to 2014 could result in some financial hardships for local businesses. Beyond that, he added, a more restrictive law might result in legal action down the road.

“There’s going to be litigation around this, just as there was with the single-use plastic bags (ban),” he said. “I don’t necessarily think that Los Altos is going to be in a position to be the flagship for banning every EPS (product) under the sun.”

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