09292016Thu
Last updateWed, 28 Sep 2016 4pm

News

Pickup flips on hill in Hills

Pickup flips on hill in Hills

The driver of a pest control truck escaped injury Wednesday morning when his pickup flipped, but officials worked into the early afternoon to contain chemicals spilled during the accident.

The accident scene

The single-vehicle accident occurred...

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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

Pickup flips on hill in Hills

Pickup flips on hill in Hills

The driver of a pest control truck escaped injury Wednesday morning when his pickup flipped, but officials worked into the early afternoon to contain chemicals spilled during the accident.

The accident scene

The single-vehicle accident occurred at approximately 11 a.m. on Alta Tierra Road near...

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 ...

Readmore

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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'Natural' not always nice: Deciphering deception in organic labeling

Photo Elliott Burr/Town Crier Hidden Villa's Community Supported Agriculture farm manager Jason McKenney, right, loads organic produce into baskets with the help of Max Bryer. Produce can lose its organic label if one uses fertilizers or if a product doesn't contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients.

 

The trend for gardening at home continues to grow – and people are taking a particular interest in raising flowers and vegetables organically. With such prominent figures as First Lady Michelle Obama promoting organic gardening in the White House yard, products that cater to this trend are increasingly available.

Unfortunately, the increased interest in organic gardening has led to some confusion – and some deception – about what it means for a product to be organic. Product labels and their meanings have become a minefield for consumers interested in eco-friendly agriculture. It can be difficult to know exactly what products labeled natural, plant-based or organic signify.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designates the official organic labeling. The agency’s seal comes in several forms that denote whether a product is 100 percent organic, organic or made with organic ingredients. But anecdotal evidence suggests this multitiered labeling system is contributing to consumer confusion.

For example, if a product is labeled 100 percent organic, everything in it must be certified organic. If a product is labeled organic, that means it must contain 95 percent certified-organic ingredients. If a product contains 70 percent organic ingredients, it can be labeled as made with organic ingredients. Any product with less than 70 percent organic ingredients cannot carry the USDA seal.

Another tip is that a product labeled natural is not organic. While there might be some natural ingredients in the product, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe or Earth-friendly – not to mention organic.

The USDA directs consumers to other organizations that can help them determine whether the products they purchase are 100 percent organic. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is a non-profit, independent organization that reviews products and their rank on the USDA’s national organic standards list.

The institute provides a comprehensive list of products that pass the test for concerned consumers.

“OMRI’s list is an invaluable tool for gardeners who want to keep their plots organic,” said Claude Boisvert, president of Tree World Plant Care Products. “It makes it easier than ever to find gardening supplements that are not harmful to the environment.”

If a main concern in planting an organic garden is providing your family with safe-to-eat, healthful food from the backyard, you’ll want to ensure you’re using truly organic gardening products. At the same time, you want the garden to look great and produce well.

One of the biggest challenges in organic gardening is controlling pests in a way that is humane and safe – for people and the environment. For smaller pests, it is increasingly easy to find organic insecticidal soaps that are safe, unlike some traditional pesticides. Larger plant browsers can wreak havoc unless a rabbit or deer repellent is used. Several eco-conscious repellants are on the market, but if they’re not shelved at your store, it’s important to remember that consumers have the power to influence the products that are available.

If keeping an organic garden truly organic is important to you, discuss your concerns with local retailers. By asking them to stock products that are subject to rigorous standards, everyone in the community can have access to verified organic materials.

 

-ARAContent

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Submit a Letter to the Editor

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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