Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Residents illuminated on changeover to energy-efficient bulbs


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The latest in energy-efficient bulbs are on display at Los Altos Hardware.

Among the expansive selection of light bulbs on the shelves of Los Altos Hardware, shoppers can find halogen, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED) models. Missing from the bevy of boxes are incandescent bulbs, the dominant household lighting choice since Thomas Edison introduced his innovation in the late 1800s.

“Some people aren’t happy with it, but they don’t have a choice,” said in-store lighting expert Emerson Oliva of the disappearance of incandescent bulbs from shelves since 2012.

With the federal government mandated phase-out of 40- to 60-watt A19 incandescent bulbs this year under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, consumers will have no choice but to find alternatives. Effective Jan. 1, manufacturers are prohibited from shipping A19 bulbs to stores, leaving retailers like Los Altos Hardware with a stockpile of only approximately 20 boxes.

A step ahead of the process, Oliva noted that the store began educating customers about the switch several years ago and tested various lighting types in-store for customers to examine. With variances in color, temperature and even the quality of engineering by bulb type and manufacturer, selecting the right bulb replacement can be challenging.

Shedding light on new regulations

A crowd gathered at the Los Altos main library last week for an illuminating GreenTown Los Altos-sponsored conversation on the new lighting landscape from Los Gatos designer Tal Mashhadian.

“Old light bulbs (incandescents) are like a dial phone and new LEDs are like a smartphone,” Mashhadian said, alluding to the fact that new CFLs and LEDs offer consumers not only more choices, but also more room for confusion.

Instead of judging a bulb by the number of watts on the package, consumers should measure output by lumen, Mashhadian suggested. Lumens are used to measure the amount of visible light that a source emits.

New lighting sources are significantly more energy efficient and take less power to produce the same quantity of light as their predecessors.

For example, a 40-watt incandescent-halogen light, a 15-watt CFL and a 12-watt LED produce the same amount of light as a traditional 60-watt incandescent bulbs with 25-80 percent less energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Although Mashhadian believes that consumers can “change out 90 percent of bulbs in-house without knowing the difference,” he added that the specifications on the box aren’t always accurate and it’s best to test them in person before purchasing.

Los Altos Hardware’s Oliva echoed the sentiment.

“Not all LED lights are the same,” he said. “It’s important to research the brand and model when shopping.”

Although the new bulbs offer cost savings over the long run, the sticker price on the new bulbs is significantly higher. A traditional incandescent bulb sold for $1.50 per bulb; the starting prices for new bulbs at Los Altos Hardware are $2.75 per bulb for a halogen bulb, $7.99 for a CFL and $35 for an LED.

Some consumers may be tempted simply to find the lowest-priced bulb on the shelf to save money. Oliva advised against automatically selecting the least expensive model, noting that some manufacturers create a cheap alternative to pricier models of the same bulb. As lower-cost bulbs often produce less accurate color and don’t last as long, Oliva and the team at Los Altos Hardware hand select the bulbs they sell in-store.

Although recycling light bulbs is already commonplace, it is particularly important for consumers to recycle new CFLs because they contain mercury. If packaged in a clear Zip-loc bag and placed on top of their blue recycling container, Mission Trail Waste System offers curbside pickup for Los Altos residents. Alternately, residents can bring their bulbs to Los Altos Hardware, 441 First St., or House of Lamps, 343 Main St., for recycling.

For more information on new lighting sources, visit energy.gov/energysaver/articles/how-energy-efficient-light-bulbs-compare-traditional-incandescents.

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