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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

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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Solar – a step-by-step alternative: Smaller and affordable installations make green energy viable

Photo Courtesy Of Jose RadzinskyFor property owners who want to try solar power without a substantial monetary investment, Renewable Power Solutions Inc. offers step-by-step alternatives such as a six-panel installation on the roof of a garden shed.

For homeowners considering installing solar panels but wary of the expense, Jose Radzinsky, president and CEO of Renewable Power Solutions Inc., suggests starting with a baby step: install just a few panels, enough to power one or two appliances, to determine whether solar power is the best choice.

Renewable Power Solutions offers an affordable introduction to solar power. As an alternative to its full-scale installations, the company installs three to six solar panels, enough to generate approximately 1.2 kilowatts of electricity. Later, if the homeowner is satisfied with the results from the first installation, Solutions can continue to expand the system in small steps.

According to Radzinsky, the cost depends somewhat on the roof type. Composition or wood shingles are easy to work with, he said, but tile roofs are more complicated. Before rebates, the cost varies from approximately $7,200 to $7,500, with the after-rebate price approximately $5,000. The only factor likely to prevent a rebate would be a tax lien on the property. Renewable Power Solutions charges the customer the after-rebate price, then the company prepares the rebate paperwork and keeps the rebate check when it comes.

Tax incentives and energy-bill savings would eventually offset the $5,000 cost of the installation, Radzinsky said, with expected electricity-bill savings totaling $35-$40 per month. The 1.2-kilowatt system would power one or two appliances, depending on the amount of power the homeowner draws.

Homeowners would still pay PG&E for electricity, but a lower amount. These are “grid-tie” systems – electricity generated from the solar panels would be delivered to the PG&E power grid via a meter and make the meter spin backward, or at least go forward more slowly. That is, the homeowner would receive financial credit for making power and would reduce his or her carbon footprint.

The power the solar panels generate would not be stored, and the homeowner would remain dependent on PG&E’s power grid. If PG&E power goes down, National Electric Code safety restrictions would prevent the solar panels’ inverters from delivering power, even to the owners of solar-powered setups. The grid-tie system is the most common installation type. The more expensive alternative, the backup power system, stores electricity in batteries for emergencies.

“We are trying very hard to make solar and being green affordable,” Radzinsky said.

For more information, call (408) 998-7400 or visit www.RPS-Solar.com.

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