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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Flip burgers with Mother Nature: Going green at the grill

Photo Elliott Burr/Town CrierThe smell of burning charcoal and meat cooking on the grill is a sign of spring as Allyson Saca barbecues in Los Altos great for the tummy but not so great for ground-level ozone.

 

ARAContent

 

Each spring, millions of outdoor cooking enthusiasts dust off the grill in anticipation of another fun-filled summer of backyard barbecues. But at what cost to the environment? According to Sierra magazine, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July in the United States consume enough energy – in the forms of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas and electricity – to power 20,000 households for a year.

If this statistic has your grilling outlook going from sunny to overcast, don’t panic. It’s quite easy to minimize your environmental impact while grilling by taking a few simple steps that won’t diminish your experience. Yes, you too can grill green, and these simple tips will help get your grill on while keeping Mother Earth on your good side. After all, charcoal has been in use since the days of Henry Ford – but you’re not still driving a Model T, are you?

One of the biggest factors in grilling green is the fuel source used to grill. All grilling fuels use natural resources and emit pollutants into the environment, but some do so at a much higher rate than others. Charcoal grills and lighter fluids contribute more to ground-level ozone, produced when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic chemicals combine in hot-weather conditions. In addition, charcoal produces more carbon monoxide and particulates than other grilling options.

Though gas grills offer one of the quickest ways to barbecue, gas grills are expensive. Liquid propane gas is a nonrenewable fossil fuel and many a barbecue has been put on hold due to empty propane-tank syndrome. But charcoal and gas aren’t the only fuel sources to consider when grilling. Recent innovations in the industry have opened the door to a greener grilling experience.

One such innovation is the FlameDisk – a charcoal alternative made from solid ethanol, a renewable biofuel. Food grilled on the FlameDisk tastes as if it were grilled over charcoal, but this eco-friendly grill fuel emits 99 percent less carbon monoxide and 91 percent fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than grilling with charcoal. Plus, the byproducts created when ethanol is burned include only water and a modest amount of carbon dioxide. Unlike lighter fluid and propane gas, the FlameDisk is not derived from nonrenewable petroleum.

Wood is another green fuel option, but like charcoal it burns dirty, producing tiny soot particles that pollute the air and can cause health problems. However, ash from wood can be disposed of in the garden, and is a greener option when obtained from a sustainable source like hickory or mesquite – charcoal ashes aren’t garden friendly disposables.

Your selection of grilling accessories determines how much impact your grilling experience has on the environment. Using real plates and silverware adds some class to a cookout, and you’ll be reducing your waste by avoiding paper and plastic.

Many highly biodegradable disposable options have recently become available on the market. If you’re wrapping food in aluminum foil, consider using 100-percent recycled aluminum.

Cleanup can be both easy and green when you use natural cleaners, many of which you can make safely and affordably in your own kitchen using common ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and water.

While charcoal reigned supreme in the days of Henry Ford, there’s no reason the modern-day barbecue can’t save the earth – one burger or tofu dog at a time. Nobody expects you to cook your next turkey in a solar oven, but it’s good sense to consider grilling green as an eco-friendly barbecue option in the 21st century. It may not be as green as switching to a hybrid car, but reducing our carbon footprints can make a difference over time.

For more information, visit www.FlameDisk.com.

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