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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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Team approach to building offers stability in home design


Courtesy of Amy Fischer
Engaging a team of three experts – architect, general contractor and interior designer – is essential to creating a custom dream home.

When building a custom home, a design-build team is invaluable in protecting your investment.

A team of specialists approaching every angle of collaborative strategic planning on your behalf will ultimately serve as your insurance in better achieving aggressive budgets on a timely schedule. A home built with quality craftsmanship and attention to detail will stand the test of time and allow you peace of mind in the event of resale.

Securing a team of professionals to guide you in the early stages of the development process is critical. It is important to identify and understand the value of your team players before you embark on building your dream home.

The construction development team approach can be thought of as a tripod, with each leg an independent specialist: architect, general contractor and interior designer. These professionals need not be one source, and often it is in your best interest that they are not to ensure maximum creative potential.

Each leg of the tripod offers specific expertise for guidance in making educated decisions. The balanced foundation effect is established with multifaceted viewpoints, experience and qualified direction so that the homeowner may proceed with confidence.

The tripod approach

Architect: The architect produces the floor plan that will accommodate your life functions and designs a home with consistent styling. Included in the architectural development are site studies, planning and zoning approvals, and building-needs assessment. Often architects will follow a project throughout construction to assist with detailing and guidance as necessary.

General contractor: The general contractor serves as the macro-coordinator responsible for the everyday operations of the construction site as well as all communication and management of the supporting trades. An experienced contractor will direct a project using a diligently maintained schedule and budget that includes fixed costs and finish-material allowance costs.

Interior designer: Designers specializing in interiors may more sensitively evaluate a homeowner’s personal needs, including lifestyle-specific space planning, acoustics, lighting and specialty finish-material selections. Documentation provided by designers includes builder-required specifications and drawings that serve not only bidding purposes, but also as contract documents to the subcontractors.

The tripod is the powerhouse team that upholds your vision of your new home. Without the architect, the structural integrity could be compromised or the ramifications of improper planning may not be conveyed. Without the general contractor, budgets could go astray, schedules could be indefinitely delayed and you could suffer costly regret. Without the interior designer, finish-material direction, product usage, maintenance and longevity may be overlooked.

Of course there are additional supporting legs that supplement the tripod. These may include realtors educated in land development, project managers who oversee the entire building team and landscape designers who integrate outdoor living. Project-specific specialists could include lighting, acoustics, audio/visual and fountain/pool designers.

When selecting the professionals that comprise your building team, it is wise to network and interview. Consider asking questions specifically about the value in team-oriented construction. Request referrals from those in the industry and seek advice from those who have built custom homes before.

Common homeowner regrets include lack of guidance and knowledge, poor management of budget and schedule, and improper material selections. By performing your initial research up front and securing your team early, you will alleviate these potential faults and be proud of the home you build for years to come.

Amy Fischer is president of the Los Altos-based Spectrum Interior Design Inc. For more information, visit spectruminteriordesign.com.

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