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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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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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