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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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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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