10212017Sat
Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am

Poor air quality prompts games to be canceled at local schools

Smoky skies prompted the cancellation of several h...

Foothills Congregational hosts justice forum

Foothills Congregational Church has scheduled “A F...

First Street office-park project abruptly halted -- reaction mixed

First Street office-park project abruptly halted -- reaction mixed

Courtesy of LACI
A rendering of the First Stre...
Costume Bank gears up for Halloween with wide selection, extended hours

Costume Bank gears up for Halloween with wide selection, extended hours


Photo Courtesy of Costume Bank
“Game of Thrones”...
Los Altos History Museum tells 'Asian Pacific American Story'

Los Altos History Museum tells 'Asian Pacific American Story'


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum
Japanese-Am...
Bitter pathways debate muddles LAH election of new vice mayor

Bitter pathways debate muddles LAH election of new vice mayor

Courtesy of Bridget Morgan
The proposed pathwa...
LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers


Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven ...

News

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the ...

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Schools

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers


Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven Merced, right, shares his computer science knowledge with classmate Angel Marshal.

Truly mastering a skill means being able to turn around and teach what you’ve been taught. That’s the case for mem...

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Community

Community Briefs

Schola Cantorum celebrates Halloween

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform two Halloween-themed “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls” concerts.

The first is slated 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Ro...

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Sports

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis


Photo by Malcolm Slaney/
Special to the Town Crier Los Altos High’s Owen Mac-Kenzie, above, set a school record at the Clovis Invitational. Fellow Eagle Naomi Donovan ran the second-fastest time in school history there.

The Los Altos High cross-...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

LACI calls halt to First Street Green

It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.

I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los A...

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Special Sections

Passion Fit: Reduce risk of breast cancer via exercise, nutrition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with the disease and what can be done to reduce them.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of women – that’s one in eight – in the U.S....

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Business

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San...

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People

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement


Abbors

 

Steve Abbors, general manager of the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, plans to retire after nearly a decade at the public agency’s helm. He will stay on through the end of the year.

“Steve came aboard du...

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News

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Wildfires' impact felt locally
Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the Northern California fires and first responders, Mo...

Readmore

Business

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles and...

Readmore

Sports

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

Photo by Malcolm Slaney/
Special to the Town Crier Los Altos High’s Owen Mac-Kenzie, above, set a school record at the Clovis Invitational. Fellow Eagle Naomi Donovan ran the second-fastest time in school history there.

The Los Altos High cross-country team has to hope its strong showing at the...

Readmore

Community

Community Briefs

Schola Cantorum celebrates Halloween

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform two Halloween-themed “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls” concerts.

The first is slated 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, and the second is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at Lo...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

LACI calls halt to First Street Green

It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.

I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los Altos has kept its charm and has focused on the cit...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Spiritual Perspective: Celebrating 200 years of Baha'i faith

Every year each faith community commemorates the anniversary of several special events, including those associated with the lives of its founder and other significant people within that community.

            These occasions are times of collec...

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People

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Abbors

 

Steve Abbors, general manager of the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, plans to retire after nearly a decade at the public agency’s helm. He will stay on through the end of the year.

“Steve came aboard during a pivotal time for Midpen and helped us chang...

Readmore

Schools

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven Merced, right, shares his computer science knowledge with classmate Angel Marshal.

Truly mastering a skill means being able to turn around and teach what you’ve been taught. That’s the case for members of Los Altos High School’s Computer Engineers...

Readmore

Special Sections

Passion Fit: Reduce risk of breast cancer via exercise, nutrition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with the disease and what can be done to reduce them.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of women – that’s one in eight – in the U.S. will develop breast cancer over the course of the...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Upstage Theater's 'William Shakespeare' plays this weekend

Upstage Theater’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” is scheduled Friday through Sunday at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

The play stars a group of teens who attempt to cover all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays in less than two hours. The show aims...

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Obituaries

KURT MOTOGAWA

KURT MOTOGAWA

Kurt Motogawa, beloved husband, devoted father and friend to all passed away very unexpectedly on October 7th while vacationing in Florida. He was 56.

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Magazine

'All are welcome' moms group celebrates families helping families

'All are welcome' moms group celebrates families helping families

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Stephanie Braun, from left, Adam Braun and Marty Braun of Mountain View and Michelle Evans, Chloe Knapp and Kevin Knapp of Sunnyvale swing at a recent Las Madres gathering at Marymeade Park in Los Altos.

A parent is born at the same time as her first child, and remad...

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Going green, one step at a time


Photo By: town Crier file photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

Biking to school is one of many ways local students can reduce their carbon footprint.

My favorite bookmark reads: “A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.” I find this saying very helpful and use it often in my daily life.

When I want to get fit, for example, I may start by going to the gym every Monday morning for an hour. Then I extend that commitment to Wednesday mornings, and finally, I go three times per week. By taking small steps and feeling the success of that effort, a daunting task becomes easy and rewarding.

The same can be said for becoming environmentally aware. Changing behavior to become more energy efficient, water conscious, plastic free or carbon neutral may seem daunting at first. However, taking a small step and building on it may enable you to save money and help the Earth.

Take energy efficiency. Your monthly electric bill is a useful tool for monitoring the effects of small changes in behavior.

Many items use power when plugged in but not in use. These phantom or vampire loads have increased dramatically due to the rise in consumer electronics. According to Steve Schmidt of High Energy Audits, our community uses nearly a quarter of its residential electricity serving these vampire loads. Making a commitment to unplug these devices before going to bed is a small step. Try it for a month and see the result in next month’s energy bill.

You can do the same with household temperatures. Move the thermostat up 1 degree in the summer months or down 1 degree during the winter months. See the impact on the electric bill and notice if other household members can tell the difference.

For the next step, sign up for GreenTown’s free online energy tool to identify where you use the most power and how you can reduce it. Small steps can have a big impact. Folks in Los Altos Hills who used this tool reduced their energy bills by more than $700 annually. You may be amazed at how much energy you conserve.

Similarly for water use, review your water bill to see what happens after adjusting your water timers two minutes less for each cycle. Watch the results on your water bill and in your yard. Can the plants tell when they are watered two minutes less?

The Santa Clara Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program’s Watershed Watch recommends that people “adjust watering levels to match the season: In summer, generally water once every three days. In autumn, cut your watering time by half. And in winter and spring, completely stop watering once the rains begin.”

But take the next step and schedule a free Water Wise House Call from the Santa Clara Valley Water District to create an irrigation-scheduling plan just for your lawn and garden. This can save you a lot of water and money.

Try for zero waste or become plastic free. Start by reviewing your community’s recycling guide (provided by the franchise waste haulers, Mission Trails in Los Altos and GreenWaste in Los Altos Hills). Recycle everything that can be recycled for one month. Watch the difference in the garbage container. Next move onto compost.

Then try to go plastic free. Begin by bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store. Buy glass containers instead of plastic ones.

According to Save the Bay, 90 percent of trash in our streams does not biodegrade. The oceans and animals in them are suffering from plastic pollution. Take another small step and get educated at algalita.org.

How about becoming carbon neutral? Start by encouraging your children to bike or walk to school one day a week. Or drop them off a few blocks from school so that they can walk the rest of the way. Perhaps take your bike instead of your car when running errands a mile away. Take the next step by “greening” your errands within two miles. Then take the Drive Less Challenge for two weeks (www.drivelesschallengeLA.org).

Riding a bike may become your main mode of transportation. Given that vehicles are responsible for more than 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, that’s a welcome change.

Two other important steps for reducing carbon emissions include avoiding plane flights (or at least purchasing carbon offsets for the ones you must take) and replacing one meat-based meal per week with a plant-based meal. Taking these additional steps makes the planet just a little cooler.

Small steps can be an easy way to create a new habit that ultimately makes a big difference for the environment. You can soon become a GreenTown Los Altos volunteer and help your neighbors become sustainable. A journey of 1,000 miles does start with a single step – take it today.

Michael McTighe is chairman of the GreenTown Los Altos Leadership Team.

Reader Comments

The Town Crier presents:
The 129th Rescue Wing Aids in Hurricane Harvey Rescue

Read the full story about the rescue here.
 

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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