Thu10022014

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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LAH Council Briefs


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos Hills City Council renewed its contract with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, citing cost-effectiveness and accessibility.

Following are highlights from the Dec. 12 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting. The next council meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at town hall, 26375 W. Fremont Road.

Sheriff’s contract renewed

Councilmembers voted unanimously to renew the town’s contract with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office for another five years when the existing contract expires June 30. The decision recognized the services the Sheriff’s Office provides the community – at a price no other model could beat.

“The service we’ve been getting has been absolutely incredible,” said Councilman John Harpootlian of the Sheriff’s Office’s patrols, emergency response and investigative services. “We’ve asked for investigations and they’ve always been accommodating … more than expected.”

Town staff and the Los Altos Hills Finance and Investment Committee researched the costs of law enforcement in neighboring cities and determined that the contract with the Sheriff’s Office was the most effective and efficient choice for the town. The Sheriff’s Office will provide services at a cost of $122 per capita in Los Altos Hills for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the lowest cost for services among all communities served by the office. Law enforcement services in Los Altos are projected to cost $312 per person for the same period.

Total law enforcement service costs in Los Altos Hills are budgeted at approximately 15.77 percent of the town’s general fund budget, or $1 million for fiscal year 2014. The Sheriff’s Office has served the town of Los Altos Hills since its incorporation in 1956.

Torch passes to Radford

Gifts, gavels and a few speeches marked the council’s transition to a new mayor and vice mayor for 2014. In a unanimous vote, the council selected Vice Mayor John Radford to serve as mayor for the next one-year term. Radford has served on the council since 2010. Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan will serve as vice mayor next year.

Outgoing mayor Gary Waldeck recognized his wife, town staff and the teamwork of his council colleagues for making 2013 rewarding. Waldeck highlighted achievements accomplished during his leadership, including the incorporation of 17 private roads, completion of the Safe Route to Los Altos Hills Schools project and efforts to make the town one of the safest communities in the state.

Radford outlined his goals for the coming year, emphasizing a desire to ensure the town’s ongoing solvency.

“As we look to the next year, I think first and foremost that we want to maintain the financial health of the town,” said Radford of an impending surge in pension and infrastructure costs and his desire to identify new sources of revenue. “We can look at not just breaking even, but investing more in our town.”

Maintaining town assets, including streets, pathways and West- wind Community Barn, is also on Radford’s agenda for 2014.

“I want to look at how we interface with residents to make sure that we’re doing the absolute best we can,” he said.

New management to take reins at Westwind

It’s been a long year for Westwind Community Barn supporters, who have anxiously awaited a resolution to the facility’s financial challenges and loss of a barn manager last summer. A smoother ride may be on the horizon.

Councilmembers are scheduled to award the contract for most barn operations Jan. 16 to one of two vendors vetted as finalists by an ad hoc subcommittee. Torie Dye of Fremont Hills Country Club and Laura Stevens of Heather Hill Riding Academy are under consideration to manage commercial boarding, Parks and Recreation riding programs, Pacific Ridge Pony Club horse leasing, facility scheduling, private lessons and some portions of the 4-H equine services.

During the next several weeks, the town will work with the finalists to complete financial worksheets and draft contract agreements. The selected vendor is scheduled to take the reins by Feb. 1.

As no potential vendors would agree to assume full financial risk for barn operations – one of the reasons councilmembers dismissed a concessionaire model as a solution – the town will continue to subsidize the barn in 2014. City Manager Carl Cahill estimated that the subsidy would total between $100,000 and $150,000.

“I think we hope to break even, but it might be a three-year timeline,” Radford said.

The town also plans to hire a consultant eight hours a month to provide oversight and advice to the council.

Committee recommends two sculptures

The Los Altos Hills Art in Public Places Committee launched only recently, but offers to donate art to the town are flowing in. Councilmembers accepted the first two public sculpture donations earlier this month, pending a review of their proposed locations.

The first sculpture will honor the memory of Los Altos Hills artist and sculptor Jean Birkland McCandless. The McCandless children of Los Altos donated an 11-foot bright-blue, aluminum sculpture titled “Blue,” valued at $35,000, for installation at the edge of the parking lot at Los Altos Hills Town Hall.

The second sculpture is a 9-foot-by-2-foot mixed-medium, modern abstract sculpture donated by Maryam and Jonathan Dickey of Los Altos Hills. Designed by Rob Matthews and Leslie Guinan of Hidden Spring Designs, the sculpture is proposed for placement in the lobby of town hall.

– Ellie Van Houtte

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