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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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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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