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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Permanente Creek project an exercise in lunacy

At the rear of Blach Intermediate School, there is a flood-control channel built in 1959 to convey Permanente Creek water to Stevens Creek, which could protect a large part of Mountain View in the event of a 100-year flood. It has functioned flawlessly except for in 1985, when a culvert became blocked and Blach was inundated. The Santa Clara Valley Water District removed the culvert, then built a constriction in the channel near the batting cage to impede the flow to Stevens Creek.

Now it is configured to force floodwaters out of the channel and direct the flow across the school toward El Camino Hospital and beyond. This positions a large number of homes in Mountain View and some in Los Altos, in addition to the hospital since its expansion, in a manufactured flood zone, which has required the owners to pay expensive flood insurance for years.

The water district reports that there is flood potential somewhere on Stevens Creek north of El Camino Real, so the Permanente water cannot be allowed to continue downstream. It must rise out of the channel and go toward the hospital. I’m not making this up. Mountain View’s Public Works Department is not aware of any such problem on Stevens Creek, Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps do not show it and the hospital doesn’t care.

The water district is now in the final stages of soliciting bids to dig a huge flood basin in Rancho San Antonio County Park, which could protect the hospital and residents downstream in Mountain View. If there were a flood danger, the district could remove the constriction within a few days. The basin project requires removing 100 trees with bulldozers creating noise and dust for nine months in the most heavily used part of our park system. The project is a boondoggle.

Santa Clara County Parks authorities were ignorant of the above facts when first approached by the district for permission. Now they are aware but embarrassed to reverse course because they have a long history of cooperation with their friends in the district. Park officials have become derelict in their fundamental duty – to protect a nature preserve.

The Committee for Green Foothills does not object to the project because, when completed, the area will remain open space. No kidding. The Sierra Club is missing in action. GreenTown Los Altos does not object because its members feel unqualified to evaluate a technical dispute between a powerful public utility, which claims the work is essential, and a few engineers such as myself, who say that it is a complete fraud. GreenTown’s reason for neutrality seems to be a common one. But does a person need to be an engineer to conclude that something is amiss when floodwater is being forced out of a channel and directed toward a hospital?

This is a blatant attempt of a government agency not only to waste money to justify its existence, but to commit an environmental crime in the process. The district raised the money with a parcel tax the public innocently approved. It has already wasted millions of dollars.

The audacity in attempting this in our highly educated and environmentally conscious community is astonishing. But district representatives seem to be correct in assuming that the public is easily duped and essentially defenseless against a lavishly funded hustle.

Jerry Clements is a civil engineer who has owned and operated Jerry Clements & Associates in Los Altos for 35 years, a company that specializes in grading and drainage.

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