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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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Native-plant pros identify "go-to" natives


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Manzanita deserves a spot in every garden that has room for a small shrub. Its flowers attract hummingbirds in winter, and the evergreen leaves and reddish bark offer year-round beauty.

In an attempt to find which natives the professionals rely on, I asked several local landscape architects and designers to list their “favorite three to five natives to plant in someone else’s yard.” These plants wouldn’t all be appropriate everywhere, but most suburban native landscapes include quite a few of them.

Following is Part 1 of their answers. Part 2 will appear in next month’s “Native Plants” column.

Not surprisingly, everyone’s list included a manzanita.

Dr. Hurd Manzanita (or his hybrid baby brother, Austin Griffiths) is landscape designer Deva Luna’s choice. It’s “the quintessential California specimen” shrub or small tree, she said, known for its beautiful “peeling red bark contrasting with gray-green leaves and winter flowers.”

Landscape designer Agi Kehoe said her favorite is Sentinel Manzanita, because it’s “one of the earliest-blooming and most garden-tolerant manzanitas, with year-round interest.” She likes to prune its lower branches “to accentuate the gorgeous mahogany branch structure and underplant it with summer-blooming groundcovers such as Point St. George Coast Aster and blue-green bunch grasses.”

Howard McMinn Manzanita “puts on a show when not much else is blooming with an attractive display of bell-shaped flowers in late winter,” said landscape architect Stephanie Morris. It “looks great in all seasons” and “makes a great foundation plant,” she added. As it gets older, it can be trimmed to show the reddish bark.

Landscape architect Sherri Osaka also chose Howard McMinn Manzanita for its “beautiful blooms in the winter when the hummingbirds really need them.” In addition, once established, it’s “tolerant of garden watering or no watering,” she said.

Coffeeberries are “nice evergreen shrubs that fit into every landscape and are especially good for screening neighbors’ yards, yet they produce beautiful berries for the birds” and tolerate a range of watering and sun/shade conditions, Osaka said. She recommended all the popular cultivars: Eve Case, Mound San Bruno and Leatherleaf.

Yankee Point Ceanothus offers “lush, dark-green foliage that is attractive year-round, with pale-blue spring flowers. It spreads 6 to 8 feet or more and makes a great mass planting for a large space,” Morris said.

Kehoe nominated Pink-Flowering Currant, “a fast-growing deciduous shrub for dry shade (such as under oaks or along a shady fence)” that offers year-round interest with “pleasing, light-green fragrant foliage and showy flowers in early spring for the hummingbirds and native bees, edible fruit to share with the birds in summer” and “attractive reddish or golden fall foliage.” She plants it as a specimen or between shade-tolerant evergreen shrubs such as Coffeeberry, Toyon or Hollyleaf Cherry.

California Goldenrod is invaluable for its “showy summer color” and provides habitat “for butterflies and beneficial insects,” Kehoe said. It “spreads easily by underground rhizomes to create a large swath but won’t grow too fast if not overwatered,” she noted.

To contact these landscape professionals and see examples of their work, visit their webpages: Luna at earthcareland.com; Kehoe at agikehoe.com; Morris at nativeplantdesign.com; and Osaka at sustainable-landscape.com.

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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