Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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