Thu05052016

News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Electric car owners say, ‘Dump the pump’


Photo By: Peg Champion/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Peg Champion/Special To The Town Crier

Waidy Lee’s electric vehicles, including this Nissan Leaf, derive their power from the sun, thanks to the solar panels on Lee’s roof.

Los Altos Hills resident Waidy Lee is ahead of the curve when it comes to driving an all-electric vehicle (EV). The retired engineer purchased her first one back in 2000.

“I’ve been driving on sunshine for more than 10 years,” Lee said.

An ardent environmentalist, she knew an EV would reduce climate-warming carbon-dioxide emissions and save her money. Lee now owns two EVs – a 2011 Nissan Leaf and a 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV. She saved approximately $10,000 per vehicle on the purchase cost, thanks to federal and state tax incentives.

“It costs about $2.64 to completely charge my Leaf’s 24 kWh battery, based on my PG&E rate,” Lee said. “The range of its fully charged battery is about 100 miles, depending on road conditions and speed, so I can go anywhere I need to go without stopping for a charge.”

Maintenance costs are minimal, Lee said, because the motor is more efficient than an internal combustion engine and doesn’t require oil changes, tuneups or other mechanical system maintenance.

Most of the electricity powering Lee’s cars is from solar panels on her roof, so – based on PG&E net metering – her greenhouse gas emissions register zero.

“An EV is better for the environment, and it suits my lifestyle,” Lee said.

Electrification Roadmap, a study from the Electrification Coalition, indicates that an electrified transportation system would reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve national security, propel economic growth and lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

Ending ‘range anxiety’

There’s a malady particular to some EV owners: range anxiety. It’s the fear that your vehicle will run out of “juice” before you reach your destination.

Most EV owners have a dedicated charger at home, but longer drives require a network of charging stations. Range anxiety is one of the major barriers to the wide adoption of EVs, although, according to the nonprofit Electrification Coalition, 90 percent of U.S. vehicle trips are less than 30 miles.

“Most of my trips are short range – and perfect for an EV,” said Leaf owner Maddy McBirney.

McBirney serves on the GreenTown PEV (plug-in electric vehicle) team, which works to promote charger installation in downtown Los Altos. As a result of the team’s efforts in coordination with Kathy Kleinbaum, the city’s economic development manager, EV charging stations are part of Los Altos’ proposed parking management plan.

Los Altos Hills Mayor Rich Larsen is another member of the PEV team. Larsen’s business, New Power Technologies, focuses on EV energy management.

“Los Altos could become an EV ‘oasis’ near I-280,” he said. “Charging stations, combined with shopping and dining affinity programs, will attract EV drivers to the village’s downtown.”

Silicon Valley companies support EV owners. Adobe Systems, Hewlett-Packard and VMware offer free charging and dedicated parking spots to employees who drive EVs. Google offers employees electric and plug-in hybrids.

Go green, save green

A collaborative project to develop EV-ready communities – Ready, Set, Charge, California! – calculated an operating cost comparison of gas and electric-powered vehicles. The analysis showed savings of more than $13,000 in fuel and $19,000 in maintenance for 108,000 miles over a six-year period.

Another bonus: EVs are permitted to use the carpool lane.

Peg Champion is a member of GreenTown Los Altos and principal of Champion Organic Communications. For more information, visit ChampionOrganic.com.

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