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[whitespace] News From Silicon Valley's Neighborhoods

Green Light Go
Cupertino--Thanks to PG&E, Cupertino is now seeing green. PG&E has granted the city money to phase out traditional traffic lights and replace them with energy-saving technology. By replacing incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diodes the city can use roughly 10 to 15 percent less electricity. The city must cover up to $35,000 of the cost. But with $22,000 in savings from reduced annual energy costs, the installation will pay for itself in a year and a half.

Waiting List
Los Gatos--The changing dynamics of Silicon Valley are contributing to one of many educational epidemics: a lack of preschools. An increased population of young, well-to-do families, skyrocketing costs of real estate and a shortage of staff are making it arduous for parents to find local preschools.

"Unfortunately, the profession itself is not attractive to lots of people anymore," child-care consultant Monika Perez said. "There are lots of unmotivated teachers who ask themselves, 'Why work so hard for so little?' "

Violent Side
Saratoga--Among the high-income bracket enclaves of the valley, property crime is dropping, while violence is on the rise. In 2000, crime in Saratoga decreased in almost every category and dipped overall, although more cases of domestic violence were reported than the previous year. While thefts diminished by almost 20 percent, assaults increased about 14 percent, from 84 to 96. Rape increased by two-thirds, from three to five, and robberies doubled, from two to four, according to Deputy Pete Evangel. Throughout Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos Hills, major crimes dropped by about 14 percent (the projected national average) so far, while domestic violence increased from 87 to 92 in Cupertino and from five to 11 in Los Altos Hills.

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Web extras to the February 22-28, 2001 issue of Metro.

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