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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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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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