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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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Don't drink the water: The Rockey Road

It’s New Year’s Day, and my family and I are across the country at my mother-in-law’s house. It’s cold! The snowflakes are big and so are the houses and lots. For a fleeting moment, we imagine moving here, paying cash for a bigger house, building snowmen all winter long and living a much slower-paced life.

That fleeting moment quickly evaporated when I took my first sip of tea from Starbucks. I had ordered a tall Awake Tea in a Grande cup – I like to have room for milk – just as I do when I am at home. Everything looked the same: the cups, the signs, the furniture, the Boulanger case of small bites. But something in the taste of my tea set off alarms in my taste buds that could not be ignored. It was a flavor that was nearly unrecognizable, but I knew I had tasted it just the day before. After a few seconds of searching through my memories of flavors I had consumed over the past 24 hours since landing here, I finally realized it was the water.

I will be the first to admit that my taste buds and olfactory nerves are a little too sensitive. Coupled with the fact that I am a vegetarian, you can imagine it’s a real treat to dine at restaurants with me. But while I can usually make do with limited vegetarian menu items, the one thing I must have is good-tasting water. Water to me is like wine is to others, and I rarely drink anything else. I don’t need expensive, imported, fancy water; I just need water that has no offending odor or flavor. It can be filtered or bottled. To be fair, I’m not a fan of our tap water at home either, and I can tell when our filters need to be replaced.

The taste of the water isn’t the only reminder that I’m not in the Bay Area. The beautiful and historical architecture in this part of the country is constructed mostly of brick and limestone because there is no concern for earthquakes. Grocery stores, Whole Foods included (ah, another comfort of home) expand along vast lots of land where traffic jams are nearly nonexistent. And while there are gently rolling hills, you can see for miles and miles across the open land without mountains to cradle small towns.

The newspaper articles tell stories of a different lifestyle that serves as a reminder that laws in one state can mean nothing in another state. If California law is meant to keep us safe, does that mean we are unsafe outside of California? In some situations, I would say yes, but then again, I am a native Bay Arean and I think like a Bay Arean.

We in the Bay Area may think a little differently from people in other parts of the country, but as I was soon reminded, there is something that ties us together that cannot be seen or tasted: hospitality and friendliness. The instinct to provide comfort resides within people, not places, and whether you agree with each other’s views or understand someone else’s lifestyle, the connection that levels any playing field can be a simple gesture to make someone happy.

After tasting my tea in Starbucks that morning, I considered my options and chose to make a bold request. I walked back to the counter and explained to the girl behind it that I could taste the flavor of the water and asked if I could get another tea made with bottled water. Expecting her to burst out laughing or worse, she smiled, grabbed a bottle of water and said, “Absolutely! No problem.”

As I sat with my husband enjoying my tea, I wondered if a snowflake from here would look different from a snowflake from Tahoe under the microscope. Of course it wouldn’t, unless it was made from the tap water.

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