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Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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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

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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