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Food & Wine

Roundup: Follow your local farmers as the season changes

Roundup: Follow your local farmers as the season changes


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Todd Miner pulls pumpkin pies hot from his traveling oven at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market – and will keep baking at Mountain View’s Sunday market when the Los Altos market season ends Sept. 29.

Only two weeks remain to...

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Your Health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health


Photos courtesy of nadia ghaffari
Months after founding the website TeenzTalk, Ghaffari, second from left, spoke with international teens at the Yale program about methods to overcome stress.

When Nadia Ghaffari went to Yale University this summer ...

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Your Home

Permanent pop-ups: Prefabricated homes hit the local remodel market

Permanent pop-ups: Prefabricated homes hit the local remodel market


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Krivokon family of Mountain View observes the installation of a prefabricated home on Pilgrim Avenue.

Pop-up houses are sprouting like mushrooms around Los Altos and Mountain View, but unlike other pop-up structur...

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On The Road

Exploring the Presidio: In and around town in two hybrids

Exploring the Presidio: In and around town in two hybrids


Photos Courtesy of Gary Anderson
Despite the price difference between the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, above, and the Hyundai Sonata the two cars share a number of features.

 

The Presidio of San Francisco has existed as a settlement and milita...

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Senior Lifestyles

Expert offers strategies for seniors intimidated by the gym

Expert offers strategies for seniors intimidated by the gym


Courtesy of Brandpoint
To ward off “gym-timidation,” fitness expert Brian Zehetner encourages seniors to find a workout buddy and start slowly.

No one really relishes the idea of growing older and experiencing the health issues that can accompan...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Electric car owners say, ‘Dump the pump’

An ardent environmentalist, she knew an EV would reduce climate-warming carbon-dioxide emissions and save her money. Lee now owns two EVs – a 2011 Nissan Leaf and a 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV. She saved approximately $10,000 per vehicle on the purchase cost, thanks to federal and state tax incentives.

“It costs about $2.64 to completely charge my Leaf’s 24 kWh battery, based on my PG&E rate,” Lee said. “The range of its fully charged battery is about 100 miles, depending on road conditions and speed, so I can go anywhere I need to go without stopping for a charge.”

Maintenance costs are minimal, Lee said, because the motor is more efficient than an internal combustion engine and doesn’t require oil changes, tuneups or other mechanical system maintenance.

Most of the electricity powering Lee’s cars is from solar panels on her roof, so – based on PG&E net metering – her greenhouse gas emissions register zero.

“An EV is better for the environment, and it suits my lifestyle,” Lee said.

Electrification Roadmap, a study from the Electrification Coalition, indicates that an electrified transportation system would reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve national security, propel economic growth and lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

Ending ‘range anxiety’

There’s a malady particular to some EV owners: range anxiety. It’s the fear that your vehicle will run out of “juice” before you reach your destination.

Most EV owners have a dedicated charger at home, but longer drives require a network of charging stations. Range anxiety is one of the major barriers to the wide adoption of EVs, although, according to the nonprofit Electrification Coalition, 90 percent of U.S. vehicle trips are less than 30 miles.

“Most of my trips are short range – and perfect for an EV,” said Leaf owner Maddy McBirney.

McBirney serves on the GreenTown PEV (plug-in electric vehicle) team, which works to promote charger installation in downtown Los Altos. As a result of the team’s efforts in coordination with Kathy Kleinbaum, the city’s economic development manager, EV charging stations are part of Los Altos’ proposed parking management plan.

Los Altos Hills Mayor Rich Larsen is another member of the PEV team. Larsen’s business, New Power Technologies, focuses on EV energy management.

“Los Altos could become an EV ‘oasis’ near I-280,” he said. “Charging stations, combined with shopping and dining affinity programs, will attract EV drivers to the village’s downtown.”

Silicon Valley companies support EV owners. Adobe Systems, Hewlett-Packard and VMware offer free charging and dedicated parking spots to employees who drive EVs. Google offers employees electric and plug-in hybrids.

Go green, save green

A collaborative project to develop EV-ready communities – Ready, Set, Charge, California! – calculated an operating cost comparison of gas and electric-powered vehicles. The analysis showed savings of more than $13,000 in fuel and $19,000 in maintenance for 108,000 miles over a six-year period.

Another bonus: EVs are permitted to use the carpool lane.

Peg Champion is a member of GreenTown Los Altos and principal of Champion Organic Communications. For more information, visit ChampionOrganic.com.

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