No answers from Los Altos Lighting

Months after the sudden closing of Los Altos Lighting, many former customers have items waiting at Ga-Ja “Chris” Kim’s store.

The windows of the lighting store at 343 Main St. are papered over. Kim has not responded to requests for comment.

It's time to worry about our pensions


I recently attended a seminar about public pension reform led by Chuck Reed, former San Jose mayor and current board member of the Retirement Security Initiative.

Back in 2012, Reed led the effort to pass a pension reform measure for San Jose. Today, he paints a dire picture of the underfunded pension situation across the United States, not just for those on public pensions, but for all retirees. Reed says a solution is difficult to find because it would require compromise from the same people who caused the problem in the first place: politicians, union leaders and even rating agencies.

Dream Volunteers students change their world

Courtesy of Shital Patel
Los Altos middle-schooler Saumya Patel, left, transports organic fertilizer up a hill in Providencia, Costa Rica. Saumya credits Dream Volunteers with teaching her not to take life at home for granted.

Silicon Valley often is the epicenter for new business ideas. Sometimes, however, the technology capital of the world has to wait until a local young visionary returns home from Guatemala.

Brian Buntz founded Dream Volunteers 10 years ago, when he was a teacher at Graham Middle School in Mountain View. An annual benefit event held at Redwood City’s Fox Theatre May 4 will celebrate a decade of the local nonprofit organization’s work.

Every day is Earth Day at Rancho's Therapy Salon

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Sarah Zebb, owner of Therapy Salon, holds a bag of hair she plans to recycle through Green Circle Salons. Hair has been used for oil-spill cleanup in the past.

While Earth Day is an annual reminder for many people to tend to the environment, Therapy Salon owner Sarah Zebb focuses on sustainability year-round.

For the past three years, Zebb has worked with Green Circle Salons to recycle her Rancho Shopping Center shop’s hair, dye and tinfoil waste. Therapy Salon is one of 31 California beauty salons in the partnership, along with small businesses across the U.S. and Canada.

LA native launches entrepreneur network from Main St. deli

Courtesy of Chris Nicholson
Chris Nicholson launched his global entrepreneur-in-residence company over meetings at his favorite Main Street deli.

Immigrant visas are becoming tougher to come by, even for high-powered technology startups. When entrepreneurs with a business idea want to launch in the United States but they are not U.S. citizens themselves, they can turn to the Global EIR Coalition, an entrepreneur-in-residence program started by Chris Nicholson.

A Los Altos native and 2003 graduate of Los Altos High School, Nicholson always thought outside the box. He made headlines as an 18-year-old running for city council soon after graduating. Nicholson grew up in a changing Silicon Valley, and he saw how tech entrepreneurs took advantage of a changing economy.

Wine superstore opens on Rengstorff with canapes, swordsman

Courtesy of Craig Lee
Total Wine & More opened its new Rengstorff Avenue location last week. The liquor store, which stocks approximately 13,000 products, hosted an opening-night gala. The premiere party featured local food and a demonstration, above, on how to open a champagne glass safely with a saber.

With a beheaded champagne bottle and a host of snacks from local restaurants, Total Wine & More opened last week in a vast space next to Costco in Mountain View.

The new beer, wine and hard liquor shop transformed 1010 Rengstorff Ave. from its former incarnation as pet store. Canyon-like aisles include wines, mead, cider and beer ranging from cases to single 12-ounce bottles. The retailer also stocks a cigar room, and a broad selection of mini bottles of liquor toward the front provides novice cocktail makers with a chance to try an expensive ingredient such as St. Germaine ($3.99 for 50 ml) without dropping $30 on the experiment.

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