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Last updateWed, 07 Dec 2016 3pm

Food & Wine

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients


photo Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Aged coffee beans join beer in Modern Times’ bourbon barrel stout.

Dark beers like stout highlight flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate, resulting in a great canvas for brewers to blend nontraditional in...

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Your Health

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Shovels in hand, Dr. Peter Fung, from left, El Camino Healthcare District board chairman; Russ Satake, El Camino Hospital Foundation board chairman; donors Donna and John Shoemaker; State Sen. Jerry Hill; and Assemblyman Rich ...

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Your Home

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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On The Road

Matt goes full throttle to fix BMW

In November 2015, one of my newer customers brought in his 2011 BMW Z4 35i because the service-engine-soon light went on.

He explained that the car did not idle well and was low on power. We connected the car to the Integrated Service Technical Appl...

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Senior Lifestyles

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Members of the ensemble rehearse at Blach Intermediate School.

Something special happens Wednesday nights at Blach Intermediate School. Seventy or so people ranging in age from 18 to 85, of varied backgroun...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Home Preservation Services there to provide maintenance when busy homeowners cannot


Steve Spratt's Los Altos-based Home Preservation Services takes care of routine chores to keep houses in tip-top shape.

Working professionals have busy schedules as it is. Add children and there's barely enough time to take out the trash, much less clean gutters, fix a leaky roof or repair a broken furnace.

What is a busy Los Altos homeowner to do when the routine chores of house maintenance eat away at what little free time is left?

That's where Steve Spratt steps in. Spratt started out as a builder but realized there was a demand from busy homeowners for help with home maintenance. More local residents are turning to Spratt to help keep their homes in top condition, as well as free up some of their time; about a third of his customer base is in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Spratt's Los Altos-based company, Home Preservation Services, offers a comprehensive preventive system designed to preserve the appearance, life and value of a home, according to the company's Web site.

"Home Preservation Services provides homeowners with a turnkey solution to maintaining their homes," Spratt said. "Turnkey means all the necessary recurring things that need to be done to keep a home from deteriorating."

A technical service crew does the work needed to keep clients' homes properly maintained, hitting all the areas that, if not properly maintained, can create headaches - from toilets to water heaters and roofs.

"Our guys are all background-checked and screened," Spratt said. "They are good people as well as very skilled. Clients get to know and trust them."

Home Preservation Services offers a 260-point program custom-designed for each home. With the initial inspection, small repairs are made. Screened professional referrals are provided for larger repairs and upgrades. A maintenance program is tailored for each home, with unique problems identified and an action plan created to perpetually maintain the home.

The basic program is four visits a year from a maintenance team. The annual fee for the service amounts to about $1 per square foot per year, depending on the home, Spratt explained.

Charlotte Epstein of Palo Alto has been a Home Preservation Services client since the company's beginnings more than a decade ago. Spratt was a general contractor on the remodeling of her home. When she learned he was starting a new home maintenance company, she thought the service sounded like a great idea.

"They do the stuff you're supposed to do for your house if you are really diligent and organized," Epstein said.

The grime under the refrigerator that needs to be cleaned, halogen light bulbs that need changing, or the heater filters covered in lint, Home Preservation Services has got it covered, Epstein explained.

A crew comes to the Epstein home on a quarterly basis and does routine maintenance, as well as seasonally appropriate work, like cleaning out the gutters before the winter rains.

"We've been using them since they started," Epstein said. "We're satisfied."

The company also provides a 24-hour emergency service. Technicians are on call to fix problems any hour of day or night.

For new homes and old, Home Preservation Services is keeping local homeowners looking good.

For more information, log on to www.homepreservation.com.

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