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Last updateThu, 21 Jul 2016 12pm

Food & Wine

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer


Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Session beers offer an alcohol content low enough to sustain sipping through a long, lazy picnic. Local breweries are celebrating the citrus hop style now in vogue with other fruit-forward influences.

With the h...

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Your Health

Reading in sign,  ink and song

Reading in sign, ink and song


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A baby girl learns sign language during a program offered Wednesdays at the Los Altos Library.

Visit Los Altos Library’s community room on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see its plain gray expanse descend into ...

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Your Home

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers


Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Amy Randazzo purchases older homes in Mountain View to “flip” after they undergo a makeover. Her transformed houses feature open floor plans and she searches for properties with “good bones.”

Amy Randazzo is improving neighb...

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On The Road

A different kind  of driving school

A different kind of driving school


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The Andersons observe Bixby Bridge – located on Highway 1 near Big Sur – from a dirt road during their recent Land Rover Experience Driving School lesson.

It is always exciting to do something youR...

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Senior Lifestyles

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids


Photo Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos Senior Program volunteers – affectionately known as The Monkey Toy Ladies – make sock monkeys to comfort sick children.

Last year, nearly 400 children at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital received a special ...

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Wedding To Remember

The Veils of Time

The Veils of Time


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum

For a new spin on the Town Crier’s “Peek into the Past,” the Los Altos History Museum has been gathering historical local wedding photos and the stories behind them.

Frances Elizabeth Shoup, second...

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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 accurately whether ...

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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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