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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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Make sure that A/C is A-OK

Q: I just tried using my air conditioner after not using it for a while and it’s not blowing cold air. A friend said it might be low on refrigerant and to try topping it off myself before taking it to a shop. That sounds good, but I thought I would ask first and see if it makes sense to you.

A: If someone’s air conditioner is not blowing cold enough, we are often asked if it’s because the car is low on refrigerant and would adding more refrigerant to the system solve the problem. Our answers? Not necessarily and no. There are many reasons your air conditioner may not be working correctly.

For one, temperature controls may not be functioning properly, which has nothing to do with the system charge (refrigerant level).

If the system charge is low, there is most likely a leak somewhere in the system. In addition to loss of refrigerant, a leak allows air and moisture into the system. If the cause of the leak is not repaired and the air and moisture are not purged, the refrigerant will combine with the moisture and create hydrochloric acid. This highly corrosive acid will deteriorate the components of the system from the inside out. Not good.

If your air conditioning system is not performing correctly, please have it examined by a professional with the correct equipment to diagnose and repair the system defect. The most critical piece of equipment is a refrigerant identifier. There are only two types of refrigerant that should be in an automobile’s A/C system (depending on the age of the vehicle): R-12 (older vehicles) or R-134A. If anything else is put into the system, it is considered contaminated and must be removed and handled as contaminated waste. For example, if your system is using R-12 and another type of refrigerant is added, there is the potential for serious damage to your vehicle.

There is equipment designed to check the operation of the A/C system dedicated to either R-12 or R-134A refrigerant, and equipment that can identify external leakage of the refrigerant and locate the source of the leak.

Be aware that many quick lube and repair facilities may put the wrong refrigerant into automotive A/C systems because of a lack of knowledge, training or correct equipment. Ask them if they are using the correct equipment before they work on your vehicle.

The most cost-effective way to get an A/C system working as it should is to have a qualified technician with the proper equipment and education determine the problem, then repair it correctly and issue a warranty to back it up.

Warren McCord is an ASE Certified Technician and owner of Dean’s Automotive Inc., 2037 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View. For more information, call 961-0302 or email McCord at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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