Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also add ...

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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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