Fri08012014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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Native berries prove to be superfoods


Photos by Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
According to author Alicia Funk, native plants such as blue elderberries have a long history of traditional use for colds and flus, supported by recent research. To eat the berries, cook or dry them first.

If you’re eating blueberries or pomegranates for their chart-topping levels of antioxidants, you may be interested in a few native berries that nearly triple those values.

Plant-based medicine expert Alicia Funk sent samples to a lab and learned that elderberry, manzanita and madrone fruits easily bested those more common fruits. She published the data in her book, “Living Wild: Gardening, Cooking and Healing with Native Plants of California” (FlickerPress, 2010), co-authored with Karin Kaufman.

Funk discussed native foods and handed out samples at a recent local gathering. She encouraged people to grow these plants in their gardens rather than collecting them from somewhere else. Note that it’s illegal to collect plants from wildlands without a permit. In fact, get written permission before you collect plants from anywhere other than your own garden.

Native blue elderberries have a long history of use. They are best picked fully ripe and not eaten raw. The cooked or dried berries get sweeter, and compounds in the raw berries that might cause a reaction in sensitive people get detoxified. Elderberry syrup is an effective antiviral that has long been used for colds and flus, though most of the research has been done on European species.

Funk picks manzanita berries in the summer when they are ripe, a deep orange-red.

“Use whatever species is in abundance,” she said.

To separate the big seeds and the skins from the “sugar,” she grinds the berries in a blender or food processor on low for a couple of minutes. She pours it into a mesh strainer and pushes the “sugar” through with a wooden spoon. She sprinkles the strained product on cereal, adds it to baked goods as a gluten-free, antioxidant-rich flour, or uses it to flavor salad dressings. The whole berries or the manzanita sugar can be stored for a year, she said. Rather than discarding the seeds and skins, she simmers them in water for 20 minutes to make a refreshing beverage.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a mature Pacific Madrone, the berries keep well refrigerated or dried. Funk made a “Beyond Cranberry” sauce using madrone berries for Thanksgiving. She also recommends a delicious tea made from crumbled-off madrone bark. Pour hot water over some bark shreds, steep for 10 minutes and strain.

You can make a caffeine-free wake-up tea that has “the same catechins as green tea,” Funk said. She sent samples of her local Deer Brush, C. integerrimus, to a lab. Add a few fresh or dried Ceanothus leaves to a cup, pour hot water over them and steep no more than two or three minutes. Like green tea, Funk said, it gets bitter if it steeps too long.

Finally, toyon berries are available in the winter when not much else is, Funk said. The berries don’t taste good fresh, but they get sweeter when they’re dried. She grinds the dried berries into a powder and uses it as a condiment on cereal or in vegetable stir-fries. It adds tanginess and is a good source of antioxidants.

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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