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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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Flu season enters full swing, particularly for the young


COURTESY OF CDC
Flu viruses can swap ribonucleoproteins, depicted above as green squiggles, one of two ways new strains emerge from existing virus types. Health agencies track the emergence of new strains and try to update vaccines to match each year’s most common strains.

The flu has arrived, but the seasonal scourge bears some good news this year – those who got a flu shot should be protected.

“So far this year the vast majority of the flu is covered by the H1N1 vaccine,” said Dr. Charles Weiss, a physician with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) try to guess what’s going to be the most prevalent strain, and they’ve done a pretty good job.”

This year’s dominant strain, H1N1, caused pandemic illness in 2009. It earned the moniker “swine flu” because the respiratory virus had already been circulating in pigs. Since 2009, H1N1 has continued to crop up in humans but not necessarily as the most common flu virus. Last year, a variant, H3N2, dominated among those tested for flu. The varieties of flu surging in a given year can make a difference – not all types behave the same way.

“A lot of the damage is done by the H3N2 in seniors, and the H1N1 that we’ve had since the 2009 pandemic seems to be tougher on kids, young adults and middle-aged adults, not seniors,” Weiss explained.

The medical community hasn’t fully determined why the different strains of the virus strike different parts of the population, but seniors may be protected from H1N1 by immunity to a similar strain gained decades ago. Seniors are also more than twice as likely to get vaccinated than 18- to 49-year-olds. And young people who become seriously ill may have a vulnerability to the virus that is not yet well understood.

Local impact

As of Monday, four people had died of the H1N1 infection in Santa Clara County in this year’s outbreak, three people in their sixties and a 41-year-old woman. Medical providers have confirmed 13 cases of severe flu thus far this season that occurred in people under 65 and were serious enough to require hospitalization in an intensive-care unit.

“The scary part for a lot of people is that some of these are healthy young adults. The theme that seems to run through all of them, whether they have underlying disorders or not, is that most of them did not get vaccinated,” Weiss said. “Not being vaccinated puts you at risk. I think that the 18- to 50-year-old group thinks they don’t need it. Some years that’s closer to true, but this year it’s not true. Their old friend from 2009 is back with a vengeance.”

According to the CDC, flu activity typically peaks in the U.S. in January or February, though the season can begin as early as October and stretch as late as May.

“We started to see a trickle in mid-December, and really it’s just the last two weeks that it has picked up considerably,” Weiss said of the Bay Area.

The Public Health Department urges residents to get a flu vaccination if they haven’t already. Flu vaccine is still available at local pharmacies and is particularly recommended for people at risk of developing serious complications if they are stricken with the flu. That includes pregnant women, children younger than 5, people older than 65 and those with medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation offers a preservative-free, latex-free flu vaccine to its patients.

Healthy people who do contract a flulike illness are advised to stay at home until their fever has been gone for 24 hours. Contact a physician if symptoms include shortness of breath, a fever greater than 102 F or a fever that lasts more than a few days.

The influenza virus is divided into three types, labeled A, B and C. Together, they’re responsible for the seasonal surge in flu infections. Both H1N1 and H3N2 are influenza A viruses. The H1N1 variant that emerged in 2009 (often called “2009 H1N1”) caused the first pandemic in more than 40 years. It has predominantly replaced its predecessors in circulation. This year’s quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against both types of influenza A and two types of influenza B.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/flu.

Flu prevention

Flu viruses are spread mainly through the droplets produced by coughing, sneezing or talking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy adults can spread the virus for a day before and five to seven days after becoming sick. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body.

• Cover your cough: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• Wash your hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.

• Avoid spreading germs: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Try to refrain from close contact with anyone who is sick.

• Stay home if you are sick: If you are sick with flulike symptoms, stay home from work or school.

Source: Santa Clara County Public Health Department

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