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-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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