Wed07302014

News

‘Brown is the new green,’ says local water district

‘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 spendi...

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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

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

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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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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