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[whitespace] News From Silicon Valley's Neighborhoods

Sunshiny Day
Cupertino--In the search for alternative power, many locals have installed solar panels, which generate about 1,000 watts of electricity on an average sunny day. What's more, special converters attached to the panels actually funnel excess electricity back into the PG&E grid, spinning that old money-sucking meter backward. While residents like William Mannion are pioneering their way into a brighter (and cheaper) future, the initial expense remains high. Photovoltaic systems cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.

Traffic Curb
Sunnyvale--Taking up the fight for their right to pedal, local cycling groups such as Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers (ROMP) and the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition (SVBC) are pushing for better trail access and educating the denizens of local car culture on how to behave. "When a car comes by I don't know whether someone's going to throw a bottle at me, force me off the road or shoot at me," says Clayton Hurst, who has a friend who survived a shooting attempt on a mountain road.

The Real 95125
Willow Glen--Willow Glen has always been a popular place to live. Even with the tight housing market and hot economy driving prices sky-high, it's become fresh meat for home hunters. While some argue a 95125 Zip code is a good definition of Willow Glen, others wonder where, exactly, the boundaries of the town lie. With few road signs, save "Smile you're in Willow Glen," to reveal its true boundaries, San Jose's incorporated little sister--according to its neighborhood association--is more a "state of mind" than easily chalked streets. So how can one identify Willow Glen? Mature trees, well-shaded homes, a lack of heavy traffic and future homeowners thumbing through real estate listings are all good signs.

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