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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

DR. ALFRED 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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Adopt-a-Bulb campaign propagates wonderful heritage : A Piece of My Mind

In mid-January on my street corner, a carpet of green shoots transforms each year into hundreds of waving narcissus blooms – the maximum bloom cresting during the coldest days of winter.

Someone at least 30 years ago planted some narcissus bulbs in the orchard that formerly marked the end of the street. It may have been the original owner of the orchard. It may have been the first owner of the house built in the housing development that replaced the orchard, or the second green-thumbed owner who planted more than a dozen varieties of fruit trees in place of the original apricots. It may even have been my father, who was a city kid who did his best to become a green-thumb gardener for more than 40 years after buying the house and land in the late 1950s.

Somehow the bulbs survived my father’s regular rototilling of the orchard, the bulldozing of the fruit trees when our house was built next to my parents’ in the ’80s, the re-landscaping, the covering with new soil and the planting of a rose garden after the new house was built.

One summer day as I was picking roses, I saw a bulb lying on the ground. Wondering where it had come from, I picked it up. Underneath it was another bulb. I picked that one up, too. The hollow where it had been was lined with more bulbs. It was like the classic Dr. Seuss book, “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” – each bulb I picked from the hollow revealed more bulbs beneath and around the first one. I had discovered a bulb mine!

Apparently the bulbs had been dividing and multiplying under the topsoil until they had run out of soil; then the bottom layers began pushing the others upward until the top-most one was simply lying on the surface. I fetched an old pair of panty hose and began loading bulbs into it. When I had taken all the bulbs that seemed loose from the bulb mine, I threw a couple of shovelfuls of dirt into the hollow to encourage the bulbs that remained and hung the bulb-filled stockings on a nail in the garage.

When the rains came to soften the dirt, I planted the bulbs in the bare space around the oak tree on the corner. I didn’t know I was supposed to imitate nature and scatter them randomly, so I set them out in orderly rows, counting as I planted. By the time the stockings were emptied, I had planted 250 bulbs.

The next year I spotted a bulb lying on the ground in a different place. The new bulb mine yielded approximately 150 bulbs, some of which I shared with my sister in Davis and my co-workers in San Jose or planted in pots as Christmas gifts. The leftovers went to another bare space beyond the oak tree, and along the parking space in front of the rose garden.

Over the next years, as the bulb mines appeared and disappeared, I began offering bags of bulbs to my neighbors up and down the street. My Adopt-a-Bulb campaign has become almost an August tradition.

Last year I only harvested approximately 50 bulbs from the newest satellite mine, and my neighbors and I are running out of bare spaces in our gardens. But in January, when the narcissus are all blooming together, I think about the long-ago gardener who planted the first bulbs, hoping to make the world a little bit more lovely. Though it only lasts two weeks, my narcissus display is a wonderful heritage.

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