12062016Tue
Last updateTue, 06 Dec 2016 4pm

Food & Wine

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients


photo Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Aged coffee beans join beer in Modern Times’ bourbon barrel stout.

Dark beers like stout highlight flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate, resulting in a great canvas for brewers to blend nontraditional in...

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Your Health

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Shovels in hand, Dr. Peter Fung, from left, El Camino Healthcare District board chairman; Russ Satake, El Camino Hospital Foundation board chairman; donors Donna and John Shoemaker; State Sen. Jerry Hill; and Assemblyman Rich ...

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Your Home

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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On The Road

The Yellowstone experience

The Yellowstone experience


Photos by Gary Anderson/special to the Town Crier
The Andersons’ recent bus tour included stops at Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Geyser.

With winter approaching, it’s a good time to start planning next summer’s fa...

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Senior Lifestyles

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Members of the ensemble rehearse at Blach Intermediate School.

Something special happens Wednesday nights at Blach Intermediate School. Seventy or so people ranging in age from 18 to 85, of varied backgroun...

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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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