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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Los Altos OKs Styrofoam ban

A ban on expanded or extruded polystyrene (EPS) products – commonly known as Styrofoam – is coming to Los Altos on Independence Day.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted 4-1 to approve an expansive ordinance that will prohibit the use and sale of EPS products for the vast majority of local and national food establishments and retailers in the city beginning July 4. The ordinance also prohibits the use of EPS products at events but includes some exemptions for products like egg cartons and raw meats sold from a butcher case, as well as documented hardships for certain businesses.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter cast the lone dissenting vote after she unsuccessfully sought a reduction of the $3,000 appropriation for mailings to local businesses advising them of the upcoming ban.

A city staff report noted that the EPS ordinance affects 36 out of more than 111 food service businesses in Los Altos – including four that use the product solely for pre-packed meats, vegetables or pastries. The report added that just a handful of local municipalities – including Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto – currently have EPS foodware bans in place.

“It seems to me – from the report and all – that we have a lot of receptivity. We don’t have any pushback from all of our wonderful people who serve our residents,” said Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, who along with three of her council colleagues voted for a July 4 start date to give businesses more time to adjust to the change.

The council’s decision comes after some of its members in December sought a further-reaching measure than the one before them. The original proposal – part of a regional California Environmental Quality Act process led by San Jose – called for phasing out the use of EPS food containers by Los Altos restaurants and other food establishments, but not sales by retailers that stock foam ice coolers and disposable foodware products. The original proposal also called for a ban affecting national food vendors on Earth Day, April 22. It included a second deadline for local vendors exactly one year later.

A chorus of support

A number of Los Altos residents spoke in favor of the ban – one urging the council to implement it on April 22 instead of July 4.

GreenTown Los Altos member Michael McTighe pressed the council to adopt Earth Day as the start of the EPS ban, adding that it was “worthy to note” that less than 40 businesses would be impacted.

“I think we’re not looking at a large number of people, if you consider it,” said McTighe, noting that the April time frame for implementation coincides with the start of the downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

Los Altos Village Association Executive Director Nancy Dunaway, whose organization coordinates the seasonal Farmers’ Market on State Street, told councilmembers that it wouldn’t see a negative impact because of the ban – regardless of its implementation date.

“I believe actually last year most of the food vendors (at the market) were using compostable products,” she said.

Environmental Commissioner Gary Hedden, speaking on behalf of himself, not the commission, said the commission visited all food service providers in the city and concluded that most “are already onboard with this measure.”

He added that two out of three Los Altos businesses already use alternative products, while those who still use EPS do so only in small quantities and “are simply waiting for the ban to take effect.”

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