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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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Should I stay with dealership for service after agreement ends?

Q: The dealership maintenance program that came with my new car a few years back is running out, and I would rather not continue going to the dealer for service or repairs. If I take my car to an independent shop, how can I be sure that my “baby” is serviced correctly and will stay healthy for years to come? And what about the manufacturer’s warranties? Will they stay intact?

A: I will answer your last question first. Yes, as long as the minimum requirements stated by the manufacturer are met, no matter where you have your vehicle serviced or repaired (even if you do it yourself), the warranty will stay intact. There is a law (the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975) to support this.

As for your car’s life span, it is more likely that your vehicle will last longer and cost less to repair and service over its lifetime if you take it to a qualified repair facility other than the dealership.

The manufacturer’s dealership network is there first and foremost to sell new vehicles and to get them through the warranty period with as little cost to the manufacturer as possible. The hope is that once the warranty runs out, you will purchase a new vehicle. This does not help the vehicle owner who wants to get 15-20 years of reliable service from the vehicle.

Manufacturers require minimum service items to be performed to keep the vehicle under warranty. The key word here is “minimum.” What we see is manufacturers deleting certain service items from their schedules.

A repair facility focused solely on servicing and repairing your vehicle has a vested interest in keeping your car reliable and healthy for many years.

Also know that a repair facility serious about providing high-quality care for your car has invested in accessing technical information available online to all automotive professionals. These resources help the professional technician stay current on which areas of any vehicle are or can be troublesome and what can be done to help them last longer. Because of the cost to access this information, many repair facilities choose not to pay for it; this is among the biggest factors that set facilities apart.

A qualified repair facility will have:

• ASE-certified techs (this is a voluntary certification)

• Access to information to correctly service and repair your vehicle

• Correct and current equipment

• Ongoing training for its techs

• Insurance that covers your vehicle while it is in their possession

• Warranty for parts and labor (the longer term, the better)

• A clean, neat and well-organized facility

Another point to keep in mind is that any repair facility approved by the American Automobile Association is a good place to start. The area AAA representative inspects each facility quarterly to ensure that it has all the previously stated qualities. In addition, AAA checks that the majority of the facility’s customers are satisfied.

Another way to identify a good repair facility is to ask friends who may own a similar year, make and model vehicle. Is their repair facility keeping their car reliable? Is it serviced or repaired correctly the first time, without having to take it back for multiple appointments? If their main reason for using their facility is that the prices seem low, it may not be the best choice. This usually means that the shop does not have the financial resources to pay for insurance, equipment, training, information or qualified technicians.

Search the Internet for information about repair facilities through their websites, testimonials, etc. Not all testimonials are positive, as no business can satisfy every customer, but when the majority of them are, that is typically a good sign.

There are many good repair facilities out there, and each one has its own personality. Find one that fits you and your vehicle, and you should both be happy for years to come.

Warren McCord is an ASE Certified Master 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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