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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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Hidden in plain sight: Rotary speaker warns of dangers of human trafficking


Steve Pomeroy/ Rotary Club of Los Altos
Betty Ann Boeving addresses the Los Altos Rotary Club Jan. 16.

Betty Ann Boeving, founder and executive director of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition, warned members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos Jan. 16 that human trafficking has grown into a $32 billion industry that plagues not only distant developing countries, but also the Bay Area.

“Human trafficking in the Bay Area is hidden in plain sight here in Los Altos, Mountain View, Los Gatos and beyond,” she said, defining it as “modern-day slavery.”

Boeving estimated that 50 percent of human trafficking victims are children and 80 percent are female, totaling 23 million victims worldwide.

In Silicon Valley, she noted, victims may be forced into domestic servitude as nannies or maids, child labor in restaurants or sex trafficking in nail salons and massage parlors.

Human traffickers may attempt to hide suspicious activity by using a legitimate business as a front, such as a massage parlor, she said.

Impact close to home

The perpetrators of human trafficking may appear innocent, Boeving cautioned. One nicely maintained Silicon Valley house, for example, aroused suspicion when a neighbor noticed that there were bars inside, not outside, the windows. Even in Los Altos, Boeving added, the parents of a high school student sold their daughter for sex. The girl, who escaped only after going away to college, has since appeared as a speaker at the Freedom Summit human trafficking conference.

Victims may include domestic workers, young people selling fruit on corners and children selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door, Boeving said. In a Menlo Park case, the police caught traffickers dropping off a young girl at a church after the service to beg among parishioners.

Some violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto, may desensitize children to violence against women, prompting Boeving to suggest that parents be alert to attitudes forming within their families.

Californians approved Proposition 35, the ban on human trafficking and sex slavery, by an 81 percent margin in 2012, the largest initiative victory in state history. A concerted effort by individuals, communities and nonprofit groups is needed to defeat human trafficking, Boeving said.

San Jose International Airport personnel have been trained to recognize human trafficking by people posing as sports coaches, field trip leaders or even aunts and uncles. Other personnel with heightened awareness should include school staff, medical first responders and local legislators.

Boeving recommended that corporations investigate their supply chains for labor violations in source countries. In their own homes, consumers may unknowingly support human trafficking via their product purchases and should check to ensure that companies with slave-free supply chains market the products they buy.

Boeving noted that coffee, chocolate, tea, rice, sugar and hygiene products like shampoo should display the Fair Trade Certified logo that guarantees slave-free production.

Boeving said coordinated effort by individuals, communities and nonprofit groups could eliminate human trafficking within one generation.

“We are all needed to send the message to traffickers that they will be stopped – the Bay Area is a place where they can’t do business,” she said.

For more information, visit baatc.org.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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