Tue08042015

News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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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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