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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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California housing affordability level drops

Lower inventory, high demand and rising interest rates have significantly reduced housing affordability in California. The California Association of Realtors recently reported that housing affordability in the third quarter of 2013 fell for the sixth consecutive quarter, after reaching an all-time high in the spring of 2012.

California housing affordability hit a record high of 56 percent in the first quarter of 2012. The third-quarter 2013 figure fell below 35 percent for the first time since the third quarter of 2008.

The percentage of homebuyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home in California dropped to 32 percent in the third quarter of 2013, down from 36 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and from 49 percent in the third quarter of 2012, according to the association’s affordability index, which measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase a median-priced single-family home.

“With Silicon Valley’s economic recovery, there is no doubt that it has become more difficult for homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, to purchase a home in the region,” said Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “Many businesses are expanding their labor force, and unless more inventory and new home construction ease the shortage of housing, home prices are expected to continue rising next year.”

Homebuyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $89,170 to qualify for the purchase of a $433,940 statewide median-priced existing single-family home in the third quarter of 2013. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $2,230, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.36 percent.

The composite interest rate was 3.72 percent in the third quarter of 2012. The median home price was $339,930 in the third quarter of 2012, and an annual income of $65,828 was needed to purchase a home at that price.

The California Association of Realtors reported that nearly every county experienced a double-digit decline in affordability when compared to last year.

In Santa Clara County, only 21 percent of homebuyers could afford to purchase a median-priced single-family home in the third quarter of 2013, down from 32 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $165,420 to qualify for the purchase of an $805,000 median-priced single-family home. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $4,140.

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article. For more information, email Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit silvar.org.

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