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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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Post office wants another penny for their thoughts

A Side of Clyde

We keep hearing how the U. S. Postal Service has become such a tightly run ship that the big deficits of the past have become big surpluses. The Postal Service has turned into a real free enterprise powerhouse that now is marketing a line of clothing. That must be the reason why the price of mailing a first-class letter will go from 33 cents to 34 cents Jan. 7.

That penny represents a 3 percent increase, but if you include other types of mail, the overall postage increase is more than 6 percent. Magazine and newspaper publishers face the cruelest increase, nearly 15 percent. The postal carriers don't like that type of business.

Here is a rundown of first-class postage rates over the years: July 1, 1885, 2 cents; Nov. 3, 1917, 3 cents; July 1, 1919, 2 cents; July 6, 1932, 3 cents; Aug. 1, 1958, 4 cents; Jan 7, 1963, 5 cents; Jan. 7, 1968, 6 cents; May 16, 1971, 8 cents; March 2, 1974, 10 cents; Dec., 31, 1975, 13 cents; May 29, 1978, 15 cents; March 22, 1981, 18 cents; Nov. 1, 1981, 20 cents; Feb. 17, 1985, 22 cents; April 3, 1988, 25 cents; Feb. 3, 1991, 29 cents; Jan 1995, 32 cents; Jan. 10, 1999, 33 cents, and now, Jan. 7, 2001, 34 cents.

Looking at it as a long-time customer, in the first 78 years of the Postal Service's existence, rates increased about 100 percent. In the last 36 years the rates increased 700 percent. Talk about causes of inflation.

We're not begrudging a casual increase, but what is irksome is the way the Postal Rate Commission grants the increases with penny implements.

Rather than upping the rate by even amounts and longer terms, the agency nips away a penny at a time. Instead of raising the current stamp price to a nice round 35 cents( eliminating the need for that penny in change) and having it stick for a couple of years, the increase is a mere one cent. Then another penny in another 12 months. As the letter said to the stamp - stick with me and we'll go places.

It's a way to make money for the post office, because what does a person do with a drawer full of letter stamps? Quick now, how much was the D stamp worth? In the past, changeover stamps carried letter designations, A through H and each had a different value.

You could go to a stamp dealer and get your answer, but the post office has put private stamp collectors out of business. Most towns had a business for kid stamp collectors, but they all went broke or into baseball cards. Los Altos had two stamp collector businesses at one time.

So what are we getting for the penny increase? A bunch of new stamps. That's all.

To show appreciation for our extra penny, the Postal Service will issue a Love stamp and a Lovebirds stamped envelope in January. The lunar new Year comes next, marking the Year of the Snake in a 12-year Oriental series.

Also in January, the post office will mark the centennial year of the birth of civil rights leader Roy Wilkins and physicist Ernico Fermi. Stamps for baseball parks, Thanksgiving and Amish quilts show up during the year.

More than 300 new stamps will be available for your letters in 2001. No wonder people are using e-mail more each day.

"U.S. Postage stamps are a reflection of the American experience," said Postmaster General William Henderson.

The same can be said for postal rate increases. They need a commemorate stamp that would honor postal rate hikes and it might feature a Cape Canaveral rocket headed for the stars.

Old Postmaster Generals never die - they just lose their ZIP.

Clyde Noel is a longtime contributor to the Town Crier.

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