Wed07302014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

CARSTEN HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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