Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Garden indoors to make the home come alive


Courtesy of Laxmi Natarajan
Indoor plants can bring calm and serenity to an often high-stress area, such as an office. They provide extra oxygen and act as a filter for the air.

Many people spend a majority of their time indoors working in office spaces, home offices, school classrooms, restaurants and the home. As one of those people, I began working with indoor plants to bring a slice of nature inside.

I previously focused on designing with outdoor plants, shrubs and trees, so it was a learning process to understand a new set of plant materials and their care. I was excited to discover a wide variety of indoor plants that provide different colors and textures.

The benefits of indoor plants include the sense of calm and serenity they bring to a space, the freshness they provide by increasing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide and their ability to act as a filter for dirt and other air pollutants. Studies show that humans are more productive and less stressed when they are surrounded by nature. Greenery can make a space warm, inviting and alive.

When deciding which plants to use where, consider these important factors: What kind of light is available, what shape of plant can fit in the space and how big the plant should be.

If you want a plant to provide some screening, then use a tall and dense plant. Some plants do fine in low light conditions and others thrive in bright light.

My favorite plants are easy to care for, extremely hardy and work well in indoor environments. A few different varieties of Dracaena – Dracaena Lisa, Dracaena Janet Cragii, Draceana marginata, Draceana ‘Ricky’ and Draceana Lemonlime – top my list for their versatility, hardiness, variety of green shades and ability to bear low to moderate light. Sanseveria, Schefflera, Ficus, Palm, Philodendrons, Pothos, Crotons, Aglaonema, Spathyphyllum, Hedera, Yucca and Aspidistra all come in different varieties. There is ongoing research to make them hardier and pest resistant and new hybrids are constantly introduced on the market.

You could place a single planter in a corner, a set of planters in an arrangement or fill an entire garden room with indoor plants. You can have atriums with beautiful ferns or a sunroom with tropicals. There are plenty of options for creativity and imagination when designing and building beautiful indoor plant gardens.

Planters come in all shapes, sizes and colors – from traditional to contemporary and modern styles – and they are sold in home stores, in garden centers and at retailers. Self-watering containers and sophisticated container-watering irrigation systems are available for those wanting to install something more reliable and solid. You can also set up drip irrigation if you have a garden room with many planters together.

Indoor living walls, a trend these days, are easy to install and maintain, with ready-to-hang wall systems. In addition to interior decorating, we can now interiorscape our homes, offices and indoor spaces, enjoying healthful green living indoors.

Plants bring life to spaces, so whether you have a spare room to convert to a garden room or a small apartment nook, bring some green indoors and enjoy a touch of nature.

Laxmi Natarajan, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, is a garden and flora designer at Bagicha Garden & Flora Design, which specializes in creating custom living walls and indoor plantscapes. For more information, call 703-9756 or visit bagicha.com.

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