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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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Students take part in Hour of Code


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High School students, above, Bullis Charter School students, and Los Altos School District students all participated in Hour of Code activities at their schools last week to mark Computer Science Education Week.

Local students of all ages buried their heads in laptops and tablets last week as they learned the basics of computer coding during The Hour of Code, a national education event celebrating Computer Science Education Week.

The Hour of Code is designed to show K-12 students the importance of computer science and to prove that regardless of age, race or gender, anyone can learn how to build the technologies of the future, not just consume them.

According to national statistics, 90 percent of U.S. schools do not teach computer science; fewer students are learning how computers work than a decade ago; and girls and minorities are severely underrepresented. Yet technology is increasingly shaping nearly every aspect of life.

At Los Altos High School, 1,750 students spent at least one hour during the week learning computer science in their math classes. They participated in online tutorials featuring Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and the Angry Birds computer game.

“There are so many jobs out there that include coding,” said Jeanne Yu, mathematics and computer science teacher at Los Altos High. “These exercises show students that it is actually fun and quite possible to do. This is one way to show students that computer science is very accessible.”

Los Altos High didn’t stop at just one hour. Approximately 150 students participated in an after-school coding event designed to expose them to additional activities and challenges and to engage their curiosity in taking computer science courses.

“These activities encourage students to think about computer science more and serve to connect students with other students who are interested in coding,” said Danielle Paige, Los Altos High science teacher. “There is a lot that can be done with coding.”

Students were given the challenge of working to design an application that runs an analog clock and were entered in a contest to win a Nexus Tablet.

Los Altos High currently offers an AP Computer Science class and an Introduction to Computer Science class. Teachers expect that Hour of Code activities will boost interest in those courses.

Students in the lower grades also benefited from The Hour of Code. K-8 students at Bullis Charter School used programs such as Adobe JavaScript and Tynker, and some participated in offline activities to practice fundamental coding skills. Computer science is part of the charter school’s curriculum via its project-based learning units and cocurricular classes. Students use platforms like Scratch programming, Google SketchUp and LEGO Robotics in the curriculum.

With additional funding from the Los Altos Educational Foundation, Los Altos School District students of all age groups are taking a first stab at computer science this year.

District kindergartners manipulated robotic Bee-Bots, which they program to move. First- and second-graders used an app featuring Daisy the Dinosaur to learn the basics of programming. Third- through fifth-graders tried Scratch programming, and sixth-graders reflected on the importance of computer science while working on Hour of Code activities online. Seventh- and eighth-graders took part in lunchtime coding opportunities.

For more information, visit csedweek.org/learn.

Hour of Code at Los Altos High School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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