Wed05062015

News

LASD, city move toward land discussions

The ice may be thawing a bit as the Los Altos School District and the city of Los Altos consider resurrecting discussions on the potential use of public land as a school site.

The city voted to discontinue conversations about civic land with the sch...

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Schools

Mental health expert dispels myths

Mental health expert dispels myths


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Palo Alto University Professor Paul Marcille addresses a crowd of psychology students and mental health activists last week about myths surrounding mental illness and violence.

In the wake of the 2011 Sandy Hook Elementa...

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Community

Q&A: Meet the city's new public works and administrative services directors

The city of Los Altos has hired three new department directors in the past ten months. The Town Crier recently profiled new Recreation Director Manny Hernandez. This week, the Town Crier profiles Susana Chan, new public works director, and Kim Juran-...

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Comment

Familiar icon pops up in Los Altos: A Piece of My Mind

I was walking to my car parked on State Street when my eye fell on an old familiar acquaintance from my early childhood, totally unexpected to meet in Los Altos. It was the “Steinway” logo over the door of the new Steinway Piano Gallery,...

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Special Sections

New Los Altos shop brews milk tea for gourmands

New Los Altos shop brews milk tea for gourmands


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Teaspoon, the milk tea shop at Village Court in Los Altos, above, serves a range of bubble teas and snow ice drinks, right.

Los Altos made it onto the milk tea map this spring with the opening of Teaspoon, a new bubble tea ...

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Business

Ed center scores spot in Foothills Crossing

Ed center scores spot in Foothills Crossing


Alicia Castro/ Town Crier
C2 Los Altos tutor Max Shih, left, instructs Homestead High School student Rajesh Suresh.

Los Altos families have a new resource for helping their children ace the test.

C2 Los Altos – a recently opened education cente...

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Books

People

DOROTHY RUTH MATHIS PUDER

DOROTHY RUTH MATHIS PUDER

9/17/1918-4/15/2015

Dorothy Puder died on April 15th in Sunnyvale, California. She will be remembered for her gentle, loving, positive and caring ways and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

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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

 PYT's comedic musical opens this weekend in Mtn. View

PYT's comedic musical opens this weekend in Mtn. View


Lyn Flaim/Spotlight Moments Photography
The cast of Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Once Upon a Mattress” includes, from left, Sophia Graziani (of Los Altos) as Winnifred, Chris Gough (Sunnyvale) as the Prince and Reilly Arena (Palo Alto) as the Queen. ...

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Spiritual Life

Mercifully in His grip: Exploring our true position in Christ

I recently read a wonderful analogy about our true position in Christ. It was shockingly contrary to the messages impressed upon me in church, but deeply rooted in the Bible. The analogy is that of child and a parent. If you have ever taken a small ...

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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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Sunny days ahead for local startup: Slingshot Power founder seeks to create the Apple of solar power


Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Slingshot CEO Ravi Chiruvolu set up his first shop at 164 Main St. and hopes to open several more locations in the future.

Ravi Chiruvolu wants to start the next Apple, and he’s doing it from Los Altos with solar power startup Slingshot Power Inc. The company recently opened at 164 Main St.

“We’re starting humble, with just this one shop,” Chiruvolu said. “But we want to be Apple. I want a thousand stores around the country.”

The motivation for Slingshot came from Chiruvolu’s personal energy bill.

“I started the company because I live in Los Altos Hills and I had a $600 energy bill,” he said. “It was just way too high, not acceptable. I wanted it lower and I wanted to see if we could do it in a green way, using clean energy.”

His solution: “We sell solar systems and basically help people lower their energy bills and get them off the grid.”

Chiruvolu attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School, served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and coached his 10-year old daughter’s basketball team to a winning record.

Next on the ambitious entrepreneur’s list is to create a nationwide solar company.

“The largest (solar company) right now is SolarCity Corp., and they’re only in 15 states,” he said. “There are 35 other states that would love these products.”

Slingshot sells solar panels, electric-vehicle chargers and emergency battery packs in addition to other gadgets.

“Think about it as consumer energy. There’s generation, efficiency and storage. Theoretically, we could do wind, but we haven’t done it yet,” Chiruvolu said.

The company also offers installation services, a warranty and annual maintenance. Its solar panels are designed to suit the styles of most houses.

“We’re the only company that has cool green, terracotta brown, just beautiful panels,” Chiruvolu said. “We want to make it so that at cocktail parties, people comment, ‘What is that?’ And it’s your little secret that you’re saving money and being green.”

Giving back

Slingshot has pledged to contribute to Los Altos at the end of the year by donating and installing a solar system for a family in need.

“We’ve put up a map of Los Altos. We want to learn from the community what’s a needy place,” Chiruvolu said. “We’ll have a vote – maybe there’s a family who just lost their mom, or somebody who went to Iraq and had some issues or both parents lost their jobs.”

Although Palo Alto is a hub for some entrepreneurs, for Chiruvolu, Slingshot’s starting location is a source of pride.

“I’m a huge fan of this town. I live here, my kids go to school here,” he said. “A lot of my coworkers really wanted this in Palo Alto ... but I wanted to do it here.” Chiruvolu added that when Slingshot Power is “hugely successful – bigger than Apple – we can say we started right here, in Los Altos.”

For more information, call (800) 887-9414, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit slingshotpower.com.


Slingshot Power - Images by Ellie Van Houtte/Los Altos Town Crier

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