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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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Two new state laws affect home-care services for seniors

Two new bills passed in last fall’s state legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown promise to have an immediate and long-term effect on California’s senior population.

AB241: Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

With our rapidly aging population and 90 percent of California’s seniors wishing to remain at home as they age, home-care aide is among the top five fastest-growing job occupations. These workers provide care to hundreds of thousands of seniors and disabled Californians every day. Historically, these workers have been exempt from overtime pay, but effective Jan. 1, they are eligible for overtime pay after nine hours in a day and 45 hours in a week.

On the surface, this change may not appear to be substantial. It’s hard to argue against providing overtime to any workers. Indeed, the net effect to seniors who require hourly care during the day should be minimal – perhaps a 5-10 percent increase in cost. However, a large number of California seniors and disabled require live-in care. Unfortunately, the new law did not take these situations into account, because all pay after the ninth hour in a 24-hour day must be paid at time and a half. It is essentially a 50 percent increase in cost for nearly two-thirds of the hours worked.

This seemingly small change in the law has prompted an immediate increase of 30 percent or more in the cost of live-in care. The law applies both to privately hired caregivers and those hired through an agency.

Interestingly, however, the state exempted itself from its own law. The hundreds of thousands of aides employed by the state through In-Home Supportive Services will not be paid overtime because the cost to the state would have been hundreds of millions of dollars.

AB241 expires in three years unless renewed. In the interim, Brown is setting up a committee to review the impact of the bill. I encourage you to write the governor and/or your state representatives to let them know your thoughts. See the sidebar on page 41 for contact information.

AB1217: Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act

After several attempts over the past seven years, legislators finally passed a bill to require licensure and oversight of organizations providing nonmedical in-home care to seniors. The law doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, which provides time to implement the regulations in a thoughtful way that promotes safety for consumers and professionalism of the home-care aide occupation in general.

For agencies like mine, Homecare California, the requirements are the same that have been practiced for years – thorough screening and criminal background checking of employees, liability insurance and theft bonding of aides, tuberculosis screening and caregiver training.

But AB1217 adds mechanisms to check the status of both home-care agencies and consumers as well as the status of their aides on a state website much like they can do today for a nursing home, nurse or nurse assistant.

And while there will be substantial costs to home-care agencies to support the program, I believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. For example, aides can be fingerprinted once and those results can be shared among agencies. Today, each agency has to perform its own background checks, and there is inconsistency to the extent each agency performs its check. Homecare California fingerprints its aides, whereas some agencies use the aide’s Social Security number and last-known address.

California can set the example for a well-thought-out implementation of licensure that puts consumers first and then balances the needs of workers and organizations that employ them to promote a steady flow of professional, well-trained aides to keep costs to seniors from rising too rapidly.

If you have questions about how these laws may affect your individual situation, feel free to contact me and we can discuss which provisions you may want to put into place to ensure that you comply with the new state laws.

Greg Hartwell is founder and CEO of Homecare California, a Los Altos-based in-home caregiving agency. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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