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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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High school district partners with MVLA Community Scholars


Barry Groves and Dee Gibson

Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, recently called MVLA Community Scholars the “difference maker” for local first-generation-to-college students. The program is one of the Los Altos Community Foundation’s social initiatives that serve the area.

Groves explained his comment in the following interview with MVLA Community Scholars board member Carolyn Pierce.

Groves: As a school district, our primary mission is to get students ready for college and career ... and that’s for all students. Sometimes we are more successful with students who have support at home and live in environments where their parents know the (college) process. That means we have to put additional resources and use different strategies to prepare more of those first-generation students for college. You can’t expect them to make up that achievement gap (without help). That is why we have a Tutorial Center, a library and a College and Career Center that are open extended hours.

Pierce: Many of these first-generation students have multiple obstacles. English may be their second language, some are undocumented and most families have a very low combined income. Some teens are already living on their own, some have experienced abuse or parental addiction. A few have even been major providers for their families. It would be difficult for any low-income family to lose valuable financial resources, and unthinkable that they would be able to pay for a college degree.

Groves: So, at one Saturday morning meeting ... we asked ourselves the question, could we do more for these traditionally underrepresented students? Dee Gibson of MVLA Community Scholars had an answer. Her group would find and train mentors to guide seniors through the college application process. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community. They literally rushed forward to work with these students. This community is amazing. ... It is the most empathetic, caring community in which I have ever been involved.

Since its inception, MVLA Community Scholars has provided four-year scholarships and individual mentoring for low-income, high-potential local students. Over time, as a practical expression of its mission, MVLA Community Scholars extended existing programs to include mentoring high school AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) juniors and seniors for college and financial-aid application preparation, SAT training, summer internship assistance and a financial educational program in partnership with Opportunity Fund (OF). After passing an approved course in finances, students may deposit funds into a savings account for college. Up to $2,000 is double-matched by OF to accumulate a potential total of $6,000 in savings for college expenses.

Groves: It is important for (students) to know that if they get the grades and classes, we are going to find a way to help. That is great motivation for ... some to get into college, but others see that anybody can do it, given the determination to stick with the work and the procedures.

Pierce: Do you think students know about the assistance MVLA Community Scholars provides?

Groves: I think you are doing a great job ... absolutely. When it is time to apply to colleges and for scholarships, there has been an increase in the number and quality of applications submitted. Plus, more students are applying to colleges appropriate to their GPAs, interests and finances. It is very powerful to see. Students are noticing that their peers, who come from circumstances very similar to theirs, are graduating and going on to college. They know the families do not have the financial resources but have been able to put the resources together with help from MVLA Scholars.

Pierce: Why is MVLA Community Scholars, in particular, seen as an exceptional resource for the district? Could we be doing more?

Groves: I think MVLA Community Scholars is the difference-maker for many of our students. Many of our students could not attend college without the additional support – in the mentoring, high school through college, and the financial assistance. MVLA Community Scholars is very unique in that it gives four-year scholarships. This year 22 students earned scholarships. I’ve been a reader for scholarship applications and you could find 100 students each year with the academic credentials and financial need. Without scholarships, well, they would be making other choices.

MVLA Community Scholars raises funds for scholarships annually. The entire amount of each student’s four-year scholarship is put into a trust before another scholarship can be awarded. The organization has no paid staff. For one scholarship, averaging $3,500 per year for four years, MVLA Community Scholars must raise $14,000. Last year 22 scholarships were disbursed, but 78 more students could have been served had funds been available.

For more information, visit mvlacommunityscholars.org.

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