Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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