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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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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