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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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