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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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