Sat07262014

News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community devel...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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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

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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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

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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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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Enjoying the native garden in winter


Photo By: Tanya Kucak/ Special to the Town Crier
Photo Tanya Kucak/ Special To The Town Crier

Manzanita flowers, above, burst forth in the rainy season, in shades ranging from pure white to deep pink. Each variety blooms on a different schedule and with a different color. Plant a variety of manzanitas to enjoy extended bloom times and the spectrum of delicate pinks.

Unless it’s cold and windy or raining heavily, winter is a wonderful time to linger in the garden. In mid- to late winter, some manzanitas have started blooming, and the fresh blue-green foliage of California poppies is forming a fluffy mound.

If you’re like me, you might intend to sit on a bench and observe your garden, but pretty soon you find yourself kneeling on the ground, pulling a tiny weed that has barely poked through the surface or gently brushing aside some mulch where a native wildflower is coming through. Or looking closely to see the tiny flowers on an evergreen currant.

With the soil moistened by winter rains, it’s easy to pull weeds. Once you’ve learned to distinguish weed seedlings from resprouting native annuals, you can remove the weeds while they’re small and give the annuals more room in the garden.

It’s also a good time to prune perennials and some shrubs. A good rule of thumb is to avoid cutting shrubs from the chaparral plant community during the rainy season, and to cut back other plants before the new buds have started forming. Manzanita and Ceanothus, for instance, are chaparral shrubs that bloom in winter and spring, so wait to cut them back – sparingly, if at all – until after they have bloomed.

Spreading perennials such as hummingbird fuchsia, Matilija Poppy and mugwort must be pruned in winter. Assuming they’ve been in the ground a year or two and have developed a strong root system, they benefit from being cut to a couple inches high. Left unmanicured, hummingbird fuchsia develops long branches with tufts of flowers at the tip, losing its lush, mounded form. (But varieties with thicker, woodier stems and taller habits need a lighter hand.) If the soil is not too wet, it’s also a good time to dig out sections that are crowding other plants and relocate them.

Perennials with flowering stems that tower above the mound of vegetation, as a general rule, only need to have their flowering stems cut back. Wait until the birds have eaten their fill of the seeds but before new growth starts in the spring.

Yarrow will look better if spent flowering stalks are cut to the ground now. Cut back only the spent flowering stems of native buckwheats, not the branches.

Sages that have not yet started showing new buds can still be shaped, but do not cut into the woody branches.

Woody vines, as well as deciduous trees and shrubs that lose their leaves in the winter, are also best pruned before new leaves emerge. Winter is a good time to bring wild grapevines under control. Without the leaves, it’s easier to see the form of the plant and, when it’s young, shape it. For specimen shrubs and large trees, either hire a professional arborist or leave them alone. Beginners can practice on wild rose and mock orange.

Coyote brush, though evergreen, is another good winter project for beginners. It grows fast, tolerates a great deal of pruning and shaping, and has even been used for topiaries.

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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