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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Some question effectiveness of new bike law: Police say 3-foot rule easier to enforce, but some cyclists uncertain


Town Crier File Photo
The Three Feet for Safety Act, which takes effect in September, will require California motorists to give a 3-foot buffer on roadways to cyclists.

A new state law scheduled to take effect in September is intended to add a level of protection for cyclists sharing roads with motorists.

Assembly Bill 1371, known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, will require motorists to provide at least a 3-foot buffer in most instances when passing cyclists on roadways. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, carries with it a base fine of $35 (approximately $150 with additional fees) for violators and a $220 fine in the event of a collision that causes bodily harm.

Los Altos Police Capt. Andy Galea said the city’s vast cycling community should see some benefits from the new law as it takes effect. He added that the law makes enforcement less of a judgment call for patrol officers than previous laws, which called for motorists to pass cyclists on the road “at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle.”

“Three feet is very definitive – and it’s easier to judge,” Galea said of enforcing the new law. “Really, anyone coming within 3 feet of cyclists – it’s just too close. Hopefully it will cut down on collisions and make it safer for the cycling community.”

Hard to enforce?

Two local cyclists say they’re not sure the new law will change much of anything.

Los Altos resident and avid cyclist Gary Hedden said that while the law could make enforcement easier for police, it likely wouldn’t change the overall habits of motorists in Los Altos.

“People who are careful drivers, and that’s the majority in Los Altos, leave 3 feet or more when they pass a bicycle, and they will continue to leave 3 feet or more next year,” Hedden stated in an email to the Town Crier. “The small group of people who are careless will continue to be careless. The law won’t easily change that.”

Hedden said the same logic holds true for motorists who have complained to him that the new law will make it “impossible” for motorists to pass a bike on a narrow road.

“The law allows drivers to slow down and carefully pass when road conditions don’t allow 3 feet. That’s what careful drivers do now, and will continue to do next year,” he said.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) Chairwoman Suzanne Ambiel, meanwhile, believes that enforcement of the new law won’t be as easy as it seems.

“The 3-foot law is nice, but is it enforceable? It’s going to be hard to do that,” said Ambiel, speaking on her own behalf, not as a representative of BPAC. “I mean, if you don’t have a way to really measure it, how could you know for sure?”

If anything, Ambiel said, the new law should be more effective in rural areas and would at least spread awareness to motorists about the dangers cyclists face on roads.

“It’s more recognition that bicycles belong on the roads, too,” said Ambiel, who noted that she’s had countless close calls “on any street you can imagine in every city.”

Galea agreed, noting that the new law should make some drivers more cautious when turning or executing other movements where potential conflicts exist.

“As this law begins to take effect and starts to get reinforced, hopefully people will become more aware of it,” he said. “That’s the big benefit of this.”

Ambiel concluded that the best advice she could give to motorists and cyclists sharing the roads is rather simple – at least in concept.

“It all boils down to everyone using some common sense and common courtesy – whether in a car or on a bike,” she said. “Common sense and courtesy go a long way in everything you do.”

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