Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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LAH resident challenges PG&E over solar savings


Photo By: Elle Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Elle Van Houtte/Town Crier

Los Altos Hills resident Mark Brier purchased many different electrical readers to detect the inaccuracies in his PG&E meter.

When Los Altos Hills resident Mark Brier paid $70,000 for a solar energy system in 2007, he figured he would save on his electric bill as well as do his part to help the environment.

Five years down the road, he said his energy savings are minimal. His cautionary tale involves dealing with a parade of technicians and years of troubleshooting only to discover his solar meter wasn’t functioning properly. It was not tracking information that could have been applied to his expected solar energy credits. But even with the problem identified, Brier said he has yet to receive any cash back from PG&E.

Brier has filed a claim against PG&E with the California Public Utilities Commission, seeking payback on energy savings as well as compensation for his time.

Brier said he followed up on his initial 48-panel installation with 21 additional panels when he found that his cost savings “were underwhelming.” After still showing few savings, he purchased three energy-monitoring devices and cut back on energy use.

He said he hired electricians, energy auditors and solar inspectors to address the problem. PG&E consultants recommended converting four panels, dedicated to the pool filter, to solar. They also suggested a monitoring device on the PG&E meter to track consumption. Brier said he had it installed, only to have a PG&E inspector show up and put a hold on his account because of meter tampering.

The frustrating experience left Brier with three questions: Is your SmartMeter working? How do you know? Who owns your house consumption data?

The last question is pivotal, according to Brier, because he said PG&E claims ownership of his energy-consumption data. Brier said he is at the utility company’s mercy in terms of determining what his solar credits should be.

PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said Brier’s case was the first he had heard about faulty solar meters, and that it could not be a SmartMeter because those were installed after 2007. Boyles said he would look into Brier’s complaints.

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