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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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Rotary speaker Troxel gives update on the battle against Alzheimer's disease


Town Crier File Photo
David Troxel speaks at a summer symposium in Los Altos. Troxel offered an update on Alzheimer’s at recent Rotary Club meeting.

Alzheimer’s disease advocate and author David B. Troxel warned that the “most expensive disease in the U.S.” is diagnosed every 68 seconds in America, and that a death from Alzheimer’s touches one in every four or five American families.

There is no magic pill to halt Alzheimer’s disease, said Troxel, who spoke at a Dec. 5 Rotary Club of Los Altos Rotary meeting.

While 460 unique compounds were researched in the U.S. between 2002 and 2012, the failure rate was 99.6 percent, Troxel said. Although core knowledge about Alzheimer’s doubles every 18 months, long-term care is needed for the 15 million cases estimated to be diagnosed by 2050, he added.

Troxel, co-author of five books on caring for Alzheimer’s sufferers, shared history of the affliction.

In 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German physician, coined the term “lunacy” for the profound memory loss and delusions suffered by his patient, Auguste Deter. After Deter’s death, Alzheimer documented an abnormal buildup of plaque in her brain cells.

Among the numerous varieties of dementia, the pioneering doctor’s name is still used for the largest – Alzheimer’s disease. Troxel said small strokes are the second most common cause of dementia. Among the U.S. population 85 and older, 50 percent are expected to develop Alzheimer’s, he noted, while the younger onset form of the disease already affects 400,000 to 500,000 Americans.

A number of symptoms point to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Troxel said, including short-term memory loss that disrupts daily life; disorientation; challenges in solving problems and planning, like the steps in making coffee; confusion of time and place; new problems in speaking and writing words; misplacing items; and losing the ability to retrace steps. Dr. Bruce Miller, director of the UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, documented an accompanying early spike in creativity.

The four drugs commonly prescribed can slow – but do not halt – dementia. Troxel advocates the “Best Friends Approach” for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Because an Alzheimer’s patient may feel like a stranger in a foreign land, socialization is important in stimulating brain activity. Purposeful chores like sweeping the patio, watering plants and learning in a class setting are helpful, he said. Troxel also recommended exercise, creative activities, conversations with laughter, music, exercise, being outdoors and contact with animals as valuable.

Informing caregivers of the positive events in a patient’s “life story” could help them connect with the fading memory of their patient, Troxel noted. Stories could include the patient’s favorite ball team, a cherished tea party, a prized accomplishments or a favorite song. Troxel said lyrics “live in a different part of the brain” from logical thought, so they are more easily recalled.

The knack for discovering clever strategies to approach the difficult problem of caring for an Alzheimer’s sufferer requires humor, flexibility, patience and respect for the patient, said Troxel, adding that one facility organized a grape-stomping event that brought exercise and laughter to patients.

Troxel said that in his estimation, the best Alzheimer’s caregivers would be barmaids and beauticians, because they are accustomed to listening and chatting.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Mountain View-based Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada at alz.org.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos. For more information, visit losaltosrotary.org.

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