Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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