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OMVNA Newsletter

June 2007
Volume 19, Number 4

The OMVNA Newsletter is distributed to 1900 households and 175 downtown businesses by dedicated volunteers.  The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee. Let us know what you think!

Editor: Bruce Karney
Phone: (6 - 9 PM only) 964-3567
Mail: 833 Bush St., Mountain View 94041

[view as PDF]

OMVNA Ice Cream Social
5% for LMV at Whole Foods
Environmental Leadership Program Seeks Applicants
Letter from the Chair:   Politics and Religion
101 Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids This Summer
The Critter Column: Nuttall's Woodpecker
History Corner: Moffett Boasts IBM Gadget (1958)
Energy Action: Setback Thermostats Save Money and the Environment
Steering Commmittee News
MV Solar Buyers Group Enrolls 117 Families
Soap Box Derby on Dana Street This Weekend
Our Newsletter Sponsors

OMVNA Ice Cream Social

Ice Cream Social

August 19th, 2:00-4:00 p.m.


Back again this year:
Twee-Twee the Clown

Mercy-Bush Park


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5% for LMV at Whole Foods

On Wednesday, July 18, 5% of the day’s net sales at the Los Altos Whole Foods will be donated to local non-profit Leadership Mountain View (LMV).

To learn how your favorite 501(c)3 non profit organization can benefit from future Whole Foods Community 5% Days, see: stores/community/LAT.html

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Environmental Leadership Program Seeks Applicants

Are you concerned about the planet's environment and ready to translate your concern into action?  Acterra's Be the Change program was created for you!  Be the Change is a year-long Environmental Leadership training program that offers monthly seminars, workshops and field trips.

Aided by a supportive network of advisors, Be the Change trains citizen leaders to act within the organizations where they work, live, worship and play in order to “green” our world from the inside out.  Be the Change participants are generally mid-career adults who have demonstrated competence and promise as leaders, and who are ready to take their work to the next level. The ideal candidate is a person who has an environmental consciousness – and who is eager to take further steps toward sharing their awareness with others.

Applications are now being accepted for next year’s class, which starts in September and ends in June, 2008.  The application deadline is June 30.  Up to 30 participants will be selected after a personal interview. Tuition for the year is $1600. Scholarship assistance may be available upon request.

For more information, visit the Be the Change website: or contact Program Director Kay O’Neill at or (650) 962-9876 x345.

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Letter from the Chair:   Politics and Religion
By Ken Rosenberg, OMVNA Chair

I am a man with many opinions.  Unless the topic is beyond my knowledge (and many topics are), I probably have something to say about it. 

So what is it about politics and religion that makes them taboo?  I suppose the reasons are that you’re not going to change anybody’s mind and may also offend your audience by voicing your opinion.  I submit that the real reason these topics are off limits is because of the conversational technique most people use when they come up.  We often use language that is abrasive or denigrating to others, and conversations quickly turn into a gotcha contest where one person tries to catch the other in some linguistic snafu that proves his point is better than yours.

The trouble I have in avoiding these topics is that they are interesting.  Most people have an opinion or a perspective about politics and religion that is unique to them and their life experiences.  If we could learn how to communicate better with each other, then perhaps we could move the debates of this country forward.
Let’s use the war in Iraq as an example.  I’m assuming that somereaders of this column have just taken a deep breath.  Perhaps they are preparing to refute and rebut anything I write about this topic.

If I were talking about the war at a cocktail party, my goal would not be to prove anybody else wrong.  But I would like the world to know that I was against the war at its inception and my objections to it have only grown.  If you believe the US did the right thing in 2003 with respect to the war, I’d like to know why you hold that opinion.  I find it intriguing that two mature and intelligent people can hold diametrically opposed positions on important subjects.

So I encourage you, my neighbors, to pay attention to how you talk to others about the contentious issues of our day.  Firstly, do you talk about them in public?  And if so, is it to prove a point or to discredit another?  Or do you actively listen and consider another point-of-view?  I think you may find that we can talk about these topics and learn from each other.  Our society and way of life depend on it.

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101 Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids This Summer
By Natasha Keck

Some people eat when they get stressed.  Others go shopping.  When I get nervous, I make lists.  I happen to be concerned about what I'm going to do with my two young children who will be home with me all summer long.

You can tell by the length of this list that I'm pretty worked up.  Lucky for you, you can benefit from my compulsive list making by taping this list to your refrigerator.  Then, this summer, when your kids have said "There's nothing to do!" for the hundredth time you can glance furtively around, spy the corner of this list sticking out from under the pile of magnets, coupons, and artwork, and breathe a sigh of relief.

Our Favorite Parks
Eagle (pool’s open in summer)
Shoreline (paddle boats)
Rengstorff wading pool
Hike at Rancho San Antonio
Deer Hollow Farm
Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills
Shoup in Los Altos
Stevens Creek Park in Cupertino
Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos
Rinconada in Palo Alto
Juana Briones in Palo Alto
Mitchell Park sprinklers in Palo Alto
Las Palmas in Sunnyvale (pirate ship play area)
Muir Woods

Outdoors in Mountain View
Bike trip to Shoreline Park
Backyard swimming pool
Run through the sprinkler
Backyard camping
Block party
Kite flying
Visit the fire station
Visit Krispy Kreme
Bounce house
Breakfast at any local park
Bike ride
Ride a VTA bus
Go to the library
Weeding and watering
Garden harvest
Soap Box derby
Free concerts at Civic Center and Cuesta Park
Wading in Stevens Creek at La Avenida

Bread/pizza making
Jam making
Lemonade stand
Hands on science (Mentos & Diet Coke, potato battery, ice cream in a bag, etc.)
Progressive party
Dance/disco party
Forts (pillow or outdoor)
Junk collage
Watercolor and finger painting
Making greeting cards
Cheerios necklaces
Cookie decorating
Pasta making
Necklaces / beading
Board games
Card games
Activity songs and dancing
Computer activities
Book making
Pudding paint
Make Jello jigglers
Put on a play
PYT Friday Youth Theatre

Out of Town Adventures
Gilroy (Bonfante) Gardens
Pick berries at Webb Farm
Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz beach
Half Moon Bay pony rides
Raging Waters
Hiller Aviation Museum
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Roaring Camp Railroad
SF Giants game
SJ Giants game, fireworks
IKEA kids section
Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad (Los Gatos)
SF Zoo
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Ferry ride (SF to Tiburon)
Coyote Point
Walk across Golden Gate Bridge
San Jose YMCA swimming (mushroom, water slide)
Rosicrucian Museum
SF cable car ride
Steinhart Aquarium in SF
Pier 39
Pick cherries (June, Livermore)
Pick apples
Children's Discovery Museum
Visit Daddy's work
Plane watching at SJ Airport
Wagon ride
Marine Science Institute
Oakland Zoo
Scharffen Berger chocolate factory (Berkeley)
Donnelly Chocolates (Santa Cruz)
Amtrak to Old Sacramento Railroad Museum
Take Caltrain to Menlo Park for lunch at the Crepes Café

Finally, take lots of pictures; they’ll only be this age once!

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The Critter Column: Nuttall's Woodpecker
By Jack Perkins

Rat-a-tat-tat!!  From February through April you can hear Nuttall’s Woodpeckers drumming in our neighborhood.  They hit the bark with enough force that the sound carries quite some distance.  Males do this to scare off other males and attract a mate.

Nuttall Woodpecker

These are small woodpeckers with black-and-white barred backs, wings and outer tails. Males have a red crown and black-and-white striped face, females have a black crown. They are 6.75 inches long. Woodpeckers have extra-stiff tail feathers to enable them to stand horizontally on a tree trunk.

You will see them foraging in our neighborhood on the trunks and branches of oaks and other trees, creeping diagonally as they search in crevices and underneath bark. They often hang upside down under limbs as they probe for insect prey.  Nuttall's Woodpeckers are most common in the oak woodlands of northern California, which describes our neighborhood pretty well.  Urbanization has led to the decline of native oaks, but the Nuttall’s have adapted somewhat to other trees.  However, the Audubon Society is worried about their future.

These are cavity nesting birds. The male excavates a hole in a dead limb or the trunk of a tree, usually between 3’ and 65’ above ground.

This year we had a male drumming every day for months on an old telephone pole in our back yard. It seemed like he was drumming in vain until a mate showed up, after which I didn’t see him for weeks.  Then on May 24, while walking down Mercy Street, I discovered their nest. The male stuck his head out and scolded me as I stopped for a look. 

To see the nest from the corner of Mercy and View, look for the dead birch tree with a neat 2” diameter hole about 8 feet up the trunk. It’s right off the driveway of 505 Hope Street (on the Mercy Street side).  If they are still raising their brood by the time you read this they will get very vocal when they see you.

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History Corner

The next time you get frustrated because the free city-wide wi-fi network is running slower than usual, take a few milliseconds to think about the state of computer networking in 1958 as described in this 49 year old article.

Reprinted from the Jan. 16, 1958 Mountain View Register-Leader

Moffett Boasts IBM Gadget

MOFFETT FIELD -- One of the newest developments in Naval Supply operations, the Phila Transceiver Service recently was placed in operation by Moffett Field’s Supply Department.

The unit consists of an electronically controlled International Business Machine operating over telephone line service and capable of transmitting 11 eighty-column IBM cards per minute.

This service enables Moffett to be in direct contact with the Aviation Supply Office in Philadelphia and with key Naval air stations on the West Coast from Alameda to San Diego.

The Phila Transceiver is used by Moffett in transmitting and receiving requests for shipment of supplies.  The requests are punched out on IBM cards and transmitted to the Aviation Supply Office for action, or for relay to other addresses.  Requests submitted via the Phila Transceiver are acted upon with in 24 hours. In the past, such requests were submitted via letter, sometimes resulting in delays of several days.

In addition to transmitting supply requests, the Phila Transceiver is also equipped with open telephone communication, enabling Moffett personnel to talk with the Aviation Supply office and major West Coast Naval Air Stations.  The transceiver is operated by one military personnel and two civilians specially trained in the key punch and transceiver operations procedures.

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Energy Action Column: Setback Thermostats Save Money and the Environment
By Sudhanshu Jain

“Energy Action” is a new column that will provide information on ways that we can reduce the amount of energy we consume, thereby saving money and helping the environment.  We welcome reader suggestions and feedback!

By installing a programmable (or “setback”) thermostat, you can save about $90 per year in heating costs and improve your quality of life. Programmable thermostats pay for themselves in less than 7 months. You’ll also be helping to reduce your production of greenhouse gasses.

Programmable thermostats can be set to warm up the house before you expect to get out of bed or come home from work. With my programmable thermostat, the room is already toasty warm by the time the alarm clock goes off.

Programmable thermostats have been around for many years but advancements in electronics have lowered costs and increased the variety of offerings.

How they work

A programmable thermostat contains a digital clock. You can easily program various periods during each day when you want the house to be a certain temperature. Most thermostats have 4 time and temperature settings per day. For example: 6:00 AM set to 70 degrees before I expect to wake up; 8:00 AM set to 60 degrees when I leave for work; 5:30 PM set to 70 degrees before I expect to return from work; and 10:30 PM set to 60 degrees when I go to bed. These thermostats also work on central air conditioning systems.

The thermostats usually have different programming options for how different days of the week are handled. A “5-2” thermostat uses the same time and temperature settings for Monday to Friday and separate settings for both Saturday and Sunday. “7 day” thermostats allow you to program each day of the week differently.

Thermostat prices

Programmable thermostats are available in any hardware store and cost from $20 to $200 depending on features, which now include touch screens, voice activation and remote controls on high-end models. The cheapest ones work just fine but I like the larger displays and backlighting that makes the numbers easier to read in a dark hallway.  Expect to pay no more than $50 for a good one. Sometimes you can even get a rebate from PG&E.


The amount of energy and money you save will depend on a large number of factors such as whether you are at home or away during most of the day.  The savings also depend on how large a setback you program.  If you keep the house at 68 during the day in winter and set the temperature back to 65 at night, then you won’t save nearly as much as by setting back to 60 at night. 
Proper usage of a programmable thermostat can cut a home’s heating and cooling cost 10-25%. The average U.S. household heating bill was $892 in 2006. California costs are, of course, less than the national average. Using the conservative 10% savings number, you could save $89.20 per year on heating costs alone.

Types of thermostats

There are 3 voltage levels used in heating and cooling control systems: line voltage, millivolt and 24 volt. Line voltage thermostats are for electric heating systems.  Millivolt capability is needed for wall-hung gas heaters and older floor furnaces. Most modern furnaces and air conditioning systems require 24 volt thermostats, and many programmable thermostats work on both 24 volt and millivolt current.

Replacing your old thermostat

The first step is to find a thermostat that is the same size or larger than the old thermostat or else you may have to do some painting since the area under the thermostat may be a different color.

If you have the most common 24 volt or millivolt heating and cooling system, it should take less than 45 minutes to replace your thermostat. Easy instructions are provided with the new thermostats. You will need a drill, a screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, wire-cutters and perhaps some sandpaper to buff up the old wiring.  Lux Products, a leading thermostat manufacturer, provides an online step-by-step tutorial for installation and programming at:

IMPORTANT: The old thermostat probably has mercury in it and MUST NOT be discarded in the trash. The old thermostat can be taken to any hardware store and they will dispose of it properly.

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Steering Committee News

Editor Bruce Karney reported that the 2007 goal of generating $9,000 in advertising revenue will be achieved as soon as two checks from new advertisers arrive.  The Newsletter’s expansion to 8 pages has been a financial success.

Community Liaison Kim Copher distributed a very interesting 7-page handout from the Downtown Committee that illustrated the changes taking place to buildings near Castro.  Many aging buildings are being updated and new 3-story buildings are going up at 155 Castro (restaurant + office) and 220 View (22 condominium units).

The Mountain View Kiwanis Club, whose charitable mission focuses on the needs of children, has generously awarded OMVNA a $500 grant to be used for ice cream for our summer Ice Cream Social.

The Committee voted unanimously to authorize the Chair to send this e-mail to the City Council and City Manager: "The OMNVA Steering Committee supports the plans for the Abate Industrial Park and adjoining properties that were presented to us by Classic Communities.  Their proposal is consistent with the Evelyn Corridor Precise Plan, which was developed over several years with a great deal of neighborhood input.  We believe that these new housing units will be a welcome addition to the diversity of our neighborhood's housing stock, and request that the City Council expedite the review and approval process."

The Committee voted unanimously to authorize that $500 (out of the $600 Board Discretionary Budget) be used to provide a scholarship to Leadership Mountain View (LMV) for a renter who lives in OMV and who qualifies for financial aid under LMV’s policies.  If more than one person qualifies, LMV will decide which one will receive the scholarship.  If no one qualifies, OMVNA will retain the funds.

The Committee also voted unanimously to add a new OMNVAtalk guideline: “Sign your e-mail by including your full name.  We also encourage, but do not require, indicating the name of the street on which you live.”  The complete OMVNAtalk guidelines are online at:

Treasurer Aaron Grossman reported that the General Fund balance is $12,197 and the CERT Fund balance is $854.

The Committee began planning the Ice Cream social, which we hope will be even better than last year’s very successful event.  Twee Twee the Clown will be there and Aunt LaLi will return with her truck full of ice cream treats.  We hope the Fire Department will be there too.

A motion was unanimously approved to write a letter to the Kiwanis Club thanking them for their generous financial support of OMVNA’s Ice Cream Social.

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MV Solar Buyers Group Enrolls 117 Families

The Mountain View Solar Buyers Group, formed in February with the goal of combining the buying power of 60 families to earn a 25-30% discount on solar photovoltaic systems, enrolled 117 families before the April 30 deadline.  Forty of the buyers live in the 94041 ZIP code that includes Old Mountain View.

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Soap Box Derby on Dana Street This Weekend

The Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby is being held on June 9th and 10th in the 100 block of West Dana Street, just east of Calderon.  The derby will cause traffic diversions in the area on both days.

Stop by and enjoy the sight of these gravity-powered racers!

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Steering Committee Meets

Future meetings: June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m.  580 Castro St. in the Chamber of Commerce Board Room.  Everyone is welcome to attend!

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