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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Letters to the Editor

Councilwoman refutes characterization

During a Los Altos City Council special meeting Jan. 7, I expressed concern that the city staff had approved a two-story project on city property without the public or council having any prior knowledge or input.

I did so to ensure that such a mistake won’t happen again. Your subsequent editorial regarding that discussion troubled me, since neither your publisher nor your editor-in-chief was present and, as you mentioned, the meeting was not recorded (“Histrionics undermine valid points,” Jan. 15).

I want to assure the people of Los Altos that I will continue to raise important issues on their behalf with the professional courtesy and respect that has characterized my eight years of service on the Los Altos City Council.

Val Carpenter

Los Altos City Councilwoman

Homeowners thank local firefighters

As we dig out from our Nov. 25 house fire, we wish to thank Capt. Shanna Kuempel, Kendall Pearson, Battalion 14C, all the firefighters and emergency workers from the El Monte Fire Station and others who worked tirelessly and with care to preserve our house and its contents.

We empathize with and lament such losses when we learn of other tragedies like this – but it is different when it happens to you. These men and women were phenomenal. The morning after the fire, Capt. Kuempel and another firefighter came by to sweep out the considerable debris. Afterward, a group of firefighters visited every few days to see how we were doing.

Since then, our nearby firefighters might appreciate our new mantra: “Let your sirens blare, we’re so glad you’re there!”

We offer special thanks to Town Crier reporter Diego Abeloos, who, responding to a call from worried friends of ours in Massachusetts, came to check that we were OK. This is what small-town living is all about.

Barbara and Marv Emerling

Los Altos

Resident supports Styrofoam ban

I’m happy that the city of Los Altos has joined many cities and countries, including Taiwan, to ban polystyrene (Styrofoam) beginning July 4 (“Los Altos OKs Styrofoam ban,” Jan 22). It’s too bad it will not start on April 22, as proposed by members of the community, to include the farmers’ market and raise awareness on Earth Day.

Chronic exposure to styrene, the building block of polystyrene, affects the central nervous system, leading to depression, headache, fatigue and weakness. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified styrene as a possible human carcinogen. In 1986, the EPA reported polystyrene manufacturing as the fifth-largest creator of hazardous waste, with 57 chemical by-products released. Toxic chemicals leach out of these products into the food they contain, especially when heated in a microwave.

Polystyrene recycling is limited and shrinking and is not a closed-loop system.

Because biodegradable polymers are available as substitutes, even though they are not as insulating, post-consumer recycled paper, bamboo and corn are renewable resources.

Dane Wharton, age 13

Los Altos

Native plants boost conservation efforts

Thank you for your timely and informative article on water conservation (“Making every drop count: Water agencies emphasize conservation,” Jan. 15).

I would like to emphasize that the economic vitality of our community depends on wiser use of this life-sustaining and limited resource. As our population grows, we each need to use water more efficiently.

Watering lawns is the single biggest waste of residential water. Turf grasses are really unsuitable for our climate. Deep-rooted native grasses such as bent grass or red fescue provide the same usability of lawns. Compared with turf grass, these native species require substantially less water and no chemical fertilizers.

Add color, texture and structure to your landscape with beautiful California native plants. The native birds and butterflies will thank you.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District will thank you with a check for up to $2,000 from its landscape rebate program. And your neighbors will thank you.

Kit Gordon

GreenTown Los Altos,

Los Altos Hills Water Conservation Committee

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