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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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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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