01222017Sun
Last updateTue, 17 Jan 2017 4pm

News

New LA council agrees to discuss proposed park

More than six hours after the Los Altos City Council welcomed its newest member, councilmembers voted narrowly in favor of entering an exclusive negotiating agreement with Los Altos Community Investments to discuss the possibility of a park and under...

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Schools

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Covington School sixth graders learn about fine motor school difficulties some students might have by trying to button up a coat with socks on their hands.

Covington School students gained an understanding of the struggles o...

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Community

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times


Photo Courtesy of Shrikant Nasikkar
Los Altos resident Shrikant Nasikkar developed the Chaperone app to facilitate the process of establishing carpool rides to and from school. He said carpools are not only environmentally beneficial, but they als...

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Sports

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Tommy Resnick led the Mountain View High boys in scoring Friday night.

Friday against Homestead, the Mountain View High boys showed off the versatility that makes them such a dangerous basketball team.

Although the h...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Rest in peace, Dr. Hardy Jones

We lost a true Los Altos icon and a man of great warmth, artistic talent, intelligence, love and, definitely (beyond a shadow of a doubt), a positive attitude that was unmatched. Dr. Hardy Jones passed away Dec. 28 wi...

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Special Sections

Health care on demand from Mountain View service

Health care on demand from Mountain View service


Courtesy of Direct Urgent Care
Dr. Ceasar Djavaherian is the president of Direct Urgent Care.

For most doctors in Silicon Valley, melding technology and medicine means cutting-edge machines performing high-powered work backed by Sand Hill Road ventu...

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Business

New business promises spa service, without the spa

New business promises spa service, without the spa


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View resident Brooke Rankins receives an in-home pedicure from Lily Ly. Ly has a contract with Wilo Spa, a new company which offers spa services in customers’ homes. Wilo Spa opened in November and allows ...

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People

News

New LA council agrees to discuss proposed park

More than six hours after the Los Altos City Council welcomed its newest member, councilmembers voted narrowly in favor of entering an exclusive negotiating agreement with Los Altos Community Investments to discuss the possibility of a park and underground parking on First Street.

The agreement pas...

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Business

New business promises spa service, without the spa

New business promises spa service, without the spa

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View resident Brooke Rankins receives an in-home pedicure from Lily Ly. Ly has a contract with Wilo Spa, a new company which offers spa services in customers’ homes. Wilo Spa opened in November and allows customers to arrange appointments by text. About 8...

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Sports

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Tommy Resnick led the Mountain View High boys in scoring Friday night.

Friday against Homestead, the Mountain View High boys showed off the versatility that makes them such a dangerous basketball team.

Although the host Spartans couldn’t match the Mustangs’ size, th...

Readmore

Community

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times

Photo Courtesy of Shrikant Nasikkar
Los Altos resident Shrikant Nasikkar developed the Chaperone app to facilitate the process of establishing carpool rides to and from school. He said carpools are not only environmentally beneficial, but they also facilitate friendships by bringing people togeth...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Rest in peace, Dr. Hardy Jones

We lost a true Los Altos icon and a man of great warmth, artistic talent, intelligence, love and, definitely (beyond a shadow of a doubt), a positive attitude that was unmatched. Dr. Hardy Jones passed away Dec. 28 with, according to his wife, Jane, a smile on his fa...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos church parishioners mourn drowning deaths of mother, child

Los Altos church parishioners mourn drowning deaths of mother, child

Courtesy of Fritz Schneider
The Claassen family

Christ Episcopal Church and Ventana School in Los Altos are mourning the loss of Polly and Trent Claassen, a mother and son who died Jan. 6 after drowning in a pond while on a trip to Kansas.

Polly Claassen was the church’s friendly, outgoing y...

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Schools

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Covington School sixth graders learn about fine motor school difficulties some students might have by trying to button up a coat with socks on their hands.

Covington School students gained an understanding of the struggles of fellow students with learning challenges Jan. 5 ...

Readmore

Special Sections

Health care on demand from Mountain View service

Health care on demand from Mountain View service

Courtesy of Direct Urgent Care
Dr. Ceasar Djavaherian is the president of Direct Urgent Care.

For most doctors in Silicon Valley, melding technology and medicine means cutting-edge machines performing high-powered work backed by Sand Hill Road venture capital. But for Caesar Djavaherian, M.D., medi...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks commits (to) 'Crimes'

TheatreWorks commits (to) 'Crimes'

Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “Crimes of the Heart” stars, from left, Therese Plaehn, Lizzie O’Hara and Sarah Moser as sisters Lenny, Babe and Meg McGrath, respectively.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform “Crimes of the Heart” through Feb....

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Magazine

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Courtesy of Camping
Patrons of Camping, a restaurant in Buenos Aires, enjoy the warm weather during last year’s holiday season.

When I relocated from Mountain View to Buenos Aires in July, I knew I’d be stepping into winter. I packed my rain boots and heavy coat, and I set aside my longing for a p...

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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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