Thu09182014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Seniors are getting ripped off by contractors again

In recognition of Older Californians Month, May 1997, the Contractors State License Board reminds California senior citizens to get a copy of "What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor."

An unlicensed contractor ripped off an elderly homeowner in the Bay Area recently when he took $14,000 for a room addition, abandoned the job and skipped the state.

If the woman had read about the brochure's advice to hire only licensed contractors, she could have avoided him altogether.

General advice is don't be a victim. Be aware that seniors have been targeted by scam artists posing as contractors.

The brochure offers the following advice.

Deal only with licensed contractors.

Don't rush into repairs, no matter how badly they are needed.

Don't hire the first contractor who comes along.

Ask to see the contractor's "pocket license" or home improvement sales registration. All contractors are issued pocket licenses which show the type of trade for which they are licensed and expiration date of license.

The Contractors State License Board receives approximately 30,000 complaints each year against building contractors, of which 25 percent are aimed at unlicensed contractors.

Less than half of the complainants thoroughly checked the contractor's qualifications before hiring them.

Call the Contractors State License Board, (800) 321-2752, to verify the information provided by the bidding contractor.

Be prepared with the contractor's name, license number and business address.

Another piece of advice is to get at least three bids, and ask for references from work the contractor has completed in the Los Altos/Mountain View area.

The Contractors State License Board, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses and regulates the 277,000 building contractors in California and promotes the general welfare of the public in matters related to building construction.

Some financial advice to follow:

Don't pay cash.

Don't let the payments get ahead of the work completed, and don't pay the full cost of the job up front.

Do know how much to give as a deposit. Under state law, when undertaking a home improvement or repair job, contractors cannot ask for a deposit of more than 10 percent of the total cost of a job or $1,000, whichever is less, unless the contractor provides a bond, approved bond equivalent or approved joint control ensuring completion of your contract.

Do require a written contract and don't sign it until you fully understand the terms.

If you have a complaint against a contractor call the Board at (800) 321-2752.

To receive a copy of "What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor," call the Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752.

You can also write them at P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento 95826.

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