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Last updateThu, 29 Sep 2016 12pm

News

MV police seek smash-and-grab suspect

MV police seek smash-and-grab suspect

Mountain View Police Department detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man who smashed the window of a parked vehicle with his hand and stole a laptop inside.

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Schools

Local Scout's Eagle project evolves into pilot program at Sunday Friends

Local Scout's Eagle project evolves into pilot program at Sunday Friends


Courtesy of Terence Lee
Los Altos High School students, from left, Terence Lee, Jane Zhao, Emma Kwan and David Ding are part of EqOpTech, a student-run nonprofit organization that works with Sunday Friends.

What began as an idea for a Boy Scout ...

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Community

Rotary Club of Los Altos speaker shares stories of wrongfully incarcerated

Rotary Club of Los Altos speaker shares stories of wrongfully incarcerated


Aguas-Rao
 

Although incarceration can result in great injustice, lawyers at the Northern California Innocence Project have succeeded in uncovering proof of innocence and restoring freedom to many inmates.

Aaron Aguas-Rao, case manager fo...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

How to select a councilmember

How to select a councilmember in the Nov. 8 election:

The Los Altos City Council has five members. Three seats are vacant. We need to elect or re-elect three of the six candidates running.

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Special Sections

Home Brief

Filoli has scheduled a new volunteer recruitment event 9:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 15 at Filoli’s Visitor & Education Center, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.

Attendees can learn about the many volunteer opportunities at Filoli, including house and gar...

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Business

Owners seek landmark status for LA farmhouse

Owners seek landmark status for LA farmhouse


courtesy of Daniil Reouk
A home on Grant Road in Los Altos built circa 1913 is considered by an architect to be a prime example of the Craftsman style. Originally constructed as a farmhouse, the property stayed within the family until a 2015 sale. ...

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People

KATHLEEN R. GARDNER

KATHLEEN R. GARDNER

February 7, 1924 – September 11, 2016
Resident of Los Altos

Kay passed peacefully away of old age at 92 with her family and caregiver at her son’s house in Los Altos on September 11, 2016. Kay was born in Casper, Wyoming on February 7, 1924 to Earl...

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News

MV police seek smash-and-grab suspect

MV police seek smash-and-grab suspect

Mountain View Police Department detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man who smashed the window of a parked vehicle with his hand and stole a laptop inside.

Readmore

Business

Owners seek landmark status for LA farmhouse

Owners seek landmark status for LA farmhouse

courtesy of Daniil Reouk
A home on Grant Road in Los Altos built circa 1913 is considered by an architect to be a prime example of the Craftsman style. Originally constructed as a farmhouse, the property stayed within the family until a 2015 sale. The Historical Commission is considering landmark ...

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Sports

St. Francis steamrolls Riordan

St. Francis steamrolls Riordan

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High defensive lineman Tyler Manoa takes down Riordan receiver Max Mezie. Manoa had eight tackles, including two sacks – the first for a safety – in Friday’s home win.

St. Francis High’s offense – and defense – outscored Ri...

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Community

Rotary Club of Los Altos speaker shares stories of wrongfully incarcerated

Rotary Club of Los Altos speaker shares stories of wrongfully incarcerated

Aguas-Rao
 

Although incarceration can result in great injustice, lawyers at the Northern California Innocence Project have succeeded in uncovering proof of innocence and restoring freedom to many inmates.

Aaron Aguas-Rao, case manager for the Northern California Innocence Project, spoke...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

How to select a councilmember

How to select a councilmember in the Nov. 8 election:

The Los Altos City Council has five members. Three seats are vacant. We need to elect or re-elect three of the six candidates running.

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs

Baja orphanage founders share experiences Sunday

Bill and Kaye Lawrence, founders of the Rancho Santa Marta orphanage and school for developmentally challenged children in Baja California, are scheduled to speak 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. A light...

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People

KATHLEEN R. GARDNER

KATHLEEN R. GARDNER

February 7, 1924 – September 11, 2016
Resident of Los Altos

Kay passed peacefully away of old age at 92 with her family and caregiver at her son’s house in Los Altos on September 11, 2016. Kay was born in Casper, Wyoming on February 7, 1924 to Earl William Oliver and Annie Catherine (McCagherty) O...

Readmore

Schools

Local Scout's Eagle project evolves into pilot program at Sunday Friends

Local Scout's Eagle project evolves into pilot program at Sunday Friends

Courtesy of Terence Lee
Los Altos High School students, from left, Terence Lee, Jane Zhao, Emma Kwan and David Ding are part of EqOpTech, a student-run nonprofit organization that works with Sunday Friends.

What began as an idea for a Boy Scout Eagle project – which earned Terence Lee a Congres...

Readmore

Special Sections

Home Brief

Filoli has scheduled a new volunteer recruitment event 9:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 15 at Filoli’s Visitor & Education Center, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.

Attendees can learn about the many volunteer opportunities at Filoli, including house and garden self-guided tour docents, weekend tour docents...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Fall means Follies at Bus Barn

Fall means Follies at Bus Barn

Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of the 2016 Los Altos Follies will perform a musical parody titled “Bloviation, Obfuscation and Trepidation” this week at Bus Barn Theater.

The 23rd annual Los Altos Follies, “A Salute to Bloviation, Obfuscation and Trepidation,R...

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Obituaries

KATHLEEN R. GARDNER

KATHLEEN R. GARDNER

February 7, 1924 – September 11, 2016
Resident of Los Altos

Kay passed peacefully away of old age at 92 with her family and caregiver at her son’s house in Los Altos on September 11, 2016. Kay was born in Casper, Wyoming on February 7, 1924 to Earl William Oliver and Annie Catherine (McCagherty) O...

Readmore

Magazine

Local downtowns offer a variety of events and activities in fall and winter

Local downtowns offer a variety of events and activities in fall and winter

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A family walks through the Children's Alley at last year's Los Altos Fall Festival. This year's event, located in the South Parking Plazas between First Street and San Antonio Road, is scheduled Oct. 1 and 2.

As the new school year brings busy times for parents and s...

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Native plants serve many practical uses


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Yarrow is a convenient and effective first-aid remedy found in the garden. Crush a leaf and apply it to any cut or scrape for quick relief. The native white and Island Pink varieties have the most medicinal value. You can also eat the young leaves in salads.

When I’m working in my garden late and the mosquitoes are biting, I usually rub an aromatic plant on my arms and face to minimize bites and keep welts from rising. For those times when I’m away from my garden, I recently learned how to make a simple bug spray using native plants.

At a talk sponsored by the Gardening with Natives group of the California Native Plant Society, Alicia Funk, an expert in plant-based medicine, said mugwort was an especially effective bug repellent. To make it, she fills a glass jar with the plants, pours boiling water over them and lets them steep overnight. In the morning, she strains the overnight infusion and puts it in a spray bottle. Other plants that can be added to the mixture include California Bay, Mountain Pennyroyal or Coyote Mint, Yerba Santa or manzanita.

I’m delighted to find this practical use for mugwort, because it’s a vigorous plant that needs to be pruned regularly to keep it within bounds.

For poison oak, Funk makes a spray using manzanita leaves in the same way: Fill a jar with manzanita leaves, pour boiling water over them, let the mixture steep overnight and strain. Put the liquid in a spray bottle for easy application. The astringency of the leaves dries rashes and is a very effective treatment, she said. Other plants that have been used to treat poison oak include mugwort, California Bay, Yerba Santa, acorn shells and Grindelia.

Did you notice that bay, manzanita and mugwort could be used in both formulas? One of the first things I noticed when I began studying herbs was that the same herbs seemed to be used for many different conditions, which made me think it was a scattershot approach. But as I learned more, I realized that this is a strength, because you can substitute what’s available. For first-aid uses, often all you need is a certain property. For an insect repellent, you need aromatics that repel bugs. For poison oak, you need something that calms the itching or that’s anti-inflammatory.

Funk’s household cleaner for the past four years is also an overnight infusion she makes from native plants. She uses California Bay leaves and the bright-green tips of Douglas Fir branches and adds distilled vinegar to the strained mixture. It’s an all-purpose spray she uses to clean wood floors and disinfect countertops.

"If you can boil water," Funk said, "you can make these useful concoctions."

Even her 5-year-old knows about yarrow. When someone has a minor injury, instead of getting a Band-Aid, he runs to the garden to get some yarrow leaves. Lightly crushed and applied to a cut or scrape, the leaves stop the bleeding and quickly reduce pain. The most effective varieties are the native white or Island Pink Yarrow.

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. n

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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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