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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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Stock market off to rocky start in 2014

The stock market is off to a poor start in 2014, remaining in the red after the first six starts in the new year. A search for possible reasons turns up nebulous results, but changes taking place in the software industry should be discussed as a factor.

As Internet connection speeds improve and more software moves into the cloud, numerous changes are taking place. Consumers prefer the cheaper, faster-booting and virus-free Chromebooks over Windows PCs.

PC shipments fell 10 percent in 2013, which made for poor holiday sales and indicated how consumers and businesses are moving away from desktop computers and flocking to notebooks and mobile devices.

The demise of the PC market is evident in Microsoft’s plan to end support for its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system in April. Also contributing to the decline are the Microsoft Windows operating system users who are switching to PCs powered by Google’s Chrome operating system. Google doesn’t charge a licensing fee to use its operating system.

Marking further changes to the PC market, Toshiba Corp. joined the growing list of Chromebook vendors when it unveiled its Chromebook system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Toshiba’s Chromebook will compete with models from all major PC manufacturers.

Following is an update on two Town Crier “50” stocks impacted by changes in the software industry.

• Microsoft Corp. (MSFT; $35.26) is still looking for a new CEO. When Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally asked that his name be removed from consideration for Microsoft’s CEO position last week, the stock price dropped 2 percent.

Whoever is hired will be a breath of fresh air after 13 years of Steve Ballmer’s tenure – the stock has dropped 38 percent since he took over.

Microsoft’s strongest growth driver is its commercial cloud service. Cloud services revenue grew $261 million, or 103 percent, during the first quarter of the current fiscal year compared to last year’s first quarter. Microsoft already has two cloud businesses – Azure and Office 365 – that are growing rapidly and account for more than 1 billion in annual revenues.

Microsoft’s strong financial position allows it to support quarterly dividend payments, repurchase its own shares and buy other companies. The company just acquired Parature, a developer of a cloud-based customer support platform.

Last month Microsoft announced a $7.5 billion transaction to acquire Nokia Corp.’s mobile device business, enabling Microsoft to compete with Apple and Google in the smartphone market. Dividend income is an important factor in my investment decisions, and Microsoft pays a nice dividend and has enough money to buy its way into a position to challenge Google and Apple.

• Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO; $22.32) is another company that has taken a beating lately but still has long-term appeal. The share price tumbled more than 15 percent in the month following the release of its November earnings report, when the company revealed that sales in the following quarter would fall as much as 10 percent.

Cisco’s core business – providing a means of connecting devices to one another with security – will continue to grow. However, the company claimed its gloomy outlook via weakness in emerging markets.

The stock yields a dividend of 3.3 percent, roughly four times the industry average. Dividend stocks can make you rich even when they don’t become high-flying growth stocks.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and investor in stocks. He has a small exposure in Microsoft and Cisco stock.

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