Wed07292015

News

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water officials said today that preliminary water quality test results were negative for E. coli were negative and "only a single hydrant" in the South El Monte area of Los Altos showed the presence of total coliform. They reduced the "boil your ...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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Cultivating peace and quiet: A garden for children and adults


Photo By: Courtesy of Astrid Gaiser
Photo Courtesy Of Astrid Gaiser

Incorporating colorful pieces like a jungle gym and a tire swing in the backyard can provide hours of fun for children and adults alike.

Bill Cosby once said, “Parents are not interested in justice; they’re interested in peace and quiet.”

I am with him. I did my best in the justice department, but sometimes I just needed a break – and what better way than sending the children outside. You know, the outside voices being used outside. And take the dog as well, please.

But the “sending outside” strategy doesn’t work if children can’t find enough to do there. So I started to get very inventive. And because I am a landscape designer, the sky is the limit.

Anything that has to do with water, climbing, sliding, swinging or running is great – and makes them tired. An open-air theater is effective as well – it can take children hours to prepare a performance. All I have to do is sit in a cozy chair at the end, watch the show and enjoy.

My clients discovered my little tricks and wanted some for their gardens. And while my ideas are limitless, my aesthetic tolerance is not. So when my latest clients had the idea of purchasing a climbing structure from a big-box store, they saw me go into idea overdrive.

I designed twin triangle decks, one for the adults with a fire pit filled with magical glass. (Fine, it’s just fireproof glass, but “magical” sounds better and the children are super busy sorting through it – you could claim that you’ve heard from the designer that the green ones are precious stones.)

The other one is the smaller version of the adult deck – the kids’ deck. The kids’ deck boasts a beautiful wooden arbor built around an old tree in the middle that will in many years be used as a shady spot for two chairs for the parents. For now, however, it’s kid central.

We added yellow monkey bars and a fire-engine-red tire swing as well as a blackboard.

As tested by yours truly, the monkey bars are a fail-safe way to get into the tree, the tire swing can make one seriously motion sick and the arbor on the deck is turned into a huge stage within minutes by draping some old sheets over the front.

We added enough paved “runway” to keep things moving and made do with only a minimal lawn to reduce maintenance requirements. All plants are nonpoisonous and sturdy, and there is enough space for the children to grow vegetables.

The accent colors for the garden were picked up from one super-sized piece of outdoor art – all colors are bold and happy, as you’d find in a child’s room, but the grays and browns of decking and pavement give this garden a rather distinguished and modern look.

The result? Happy, busy children. And happy parents, too. OK, it’s still not really quiet, but it’s good – they are laughing.

Astrid Gaiser is a landscape designer, horticulturist and member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. For more information, visit www.astridgaiser.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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