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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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The choice between mutual funds and ETFs


Following is the second in a two-part series on mutual and exchange-traded funds.

In part one of my series, I explained the difference between mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The question remains: Which makes a better investment?

Craig Israelsen, associate professor at Utah Valley University, recently attempted to quantify the performance difference between mutual funds and ETFs by creating two portfolios: one using only ETFs, the other containing only mutual funds.

Each portfolio comprised 12 asset classes: large-cap U.S. stocks, mid-cap U.S. stocks, small-cap value U.S. stocks, non-U.S. developed market stocks, non-U.S. emerging market stocks, real estate, natural resources, commodities, U.S. bonds, U.S. inflation-protected bonds, non-U.S. bonds and cash.

Each asset class was weighted equally at 8.33 percent of the total portfolio, and each portfolio was rebalanced at the end of each year over a three-year period.

To make the comparison as objective as possible, Israelsen selected the largest ETF and the largest fund (in terms of total assets) to represent each of the above asset classes in the two portfolios. He did not attempt to identify the best-performing ETF or mutual fund. The returns as measured were net of expense ratios, and there was no attempt to take into account taxes, trading costs or inflation. All data came from Lipper Mutual Fund information.

The results appear on the accompanying chart. Although the ETF portfolio reported slightly higher tax efficiency and a considerably lower aggregate expense ratio (0.22 percent versus 0.63 percent), the two portfolios produced nearly identical returns in the three years from 2010 through 2012 (8.13 percent average annual return for the ETF portfolio and 8.23 percent for the mutual fund portfolio).

Of course, this analysis only covered a three-year period, a very small sample from which to infer longer-term investment performance. And there was a pretty big disparity in some of the individual asset classes, in particular international fixed income, where the mutual funds trounced the ETFs, and in natural resources, where the reverse occurred.

Nonetheless, my conclusion from this analysis is that it’s more important to focus on building a well-diversified portfolio than trying to find the “best” mutual fund or ETF. Other studies have borne this out as well.

Israelsen also discovered that the performance spread among ETFs within each asset class tended to be smaller than that of the mutual funds. This, of course, can be attributed to the fact that most ETFs are index trackers, whereas many mutual funds are actively managed and have much more flexibility.

As to which is better, mutual funds or ETFs, the answer would appear to be neither, as long as you use a sufficient number of asset classes and an appropriate asset allocation model for your investment portfolio.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner and principal at Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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