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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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Rotarians enjoy Ansel Adams retrospective


U.S. National Archives
Art history lecturer Kay Payne showcased Ansel Adams’ work, including the above photo, “Glacier National Park” (1941), in her Dec. 12 presentation for the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

Los Altos resident Kay Payne, art history lecturer in charge of the Community Speakers’ Program for San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, presented a retrospective of famed photographer Ansel Adams’ work for members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos Dec. 12.

“I knew my destiny when I first visited Yosemite,” said Adams, who became the unofficial champion of America’s national parks.

According to Payne, in 1916, the 14-year-old Adams received his first Kodak Brownie Box Camera. From his perch atop a crumbling tree stump in Yosemite, he unexpectedly tumbled while snapping a shot of the forest upside down – a new way of looking at nature. Every year thereafter, he returned to Yosemite, eventually composing a visual diary of its wilderness.

With his early 1921 “Lodgepole Pines” shot, Adams felt “a photo should look like a watercolor,” Payne said. Later he sought clarity, so he used a standard K2 yellow filter on Half Dome, gleaming in the sun and partly obscured in shadow. In his 1927 “Monolith,” he progressed to a red filter and reduced the exposure by a factor of 14 to enhance the tonal values, thus intensifying its emotional impact.

Adams traveled 1,200 miles through New Mexico in 1927, taking black-and-white photos. Payne said he urged his students to keep accurate records of their photographs and evaluate their compositions with large cardboard frames before wasting film. At that time, his photos sold for approximately $10, the equivalent of $160 today, Payne noted. Today his prints sell for thousands of dollars.

The father of Peter Starr, Stanford University’s famed but fallen mountain climber, asked Adams to photograph the majesty and danger of the High Sierra’s Minarets, Payne said. Adams produced a series of half-tone photographs using continuous tones from white to black to emphasize his emotional response to the wilderness. The photographer gradually developed a “zone system,” she added, to control the tonal range of his prints: technical excellence with a strong emotional interpretation. He sought a predictable result typified by radiant light. His Cadillac’s license plate touted “Zone 5,” according to Payne.

Although Adams produced approximately 3,000 color images, he felt that working in color was “like playing an untuned piano,” Payne said, for he preferred the abstract element of working in black and white. Some of his finest works, such as “El Capitan,” were shot on Polaroid Land cameras of the 1940s.

From the 1920s until his death in 1984, Adams was respected as a fervent champion of the national parks, Payne said, adding that he preferred calling them “reserves” rather than “parks,” for he felt that everyone should touch “the living rock.” He would walk for days without seeing people, cooking over a campfire and recording his impressions of untouched nature.

Mount Ansel Adams near the southeast entry to Yosemite National Park awaited its name until 1985, the first anniversary of Adams’ death.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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