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Master Gardeners host table at Mtn. View Arbor Day event

The UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County are slated to participate in the annual Mountain View Arbor Day Festival, scheduled 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 12 at Rengstorff Park, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to host an information table and children’s activities.

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Bay Area home sharing the new norm as housing costs soar


An-Li Herring/Peninsula Press
Mountain View High School teacher Nicole Higley, left, chats with colleague and roommate Evan Smith in their Mountain View apartment after school last month. Higley and Smith decided to find an apartment together after confronting the steep cost of living in Silicon Valley.

Nicole Higley couldn’t afford to rent her own apartment when she began teaching Japanese at Mountain View High School three years ago. So she did what many other Bay Area residents are doing: look for a roommate.

Evan Smith, who has taught math at Mountain View High for 13 years, meanwhile, was looking for an apartment at the same time. Although he owns a house in Santa Clara, he had leased it for a reduced price to a family of five, choosing to rent an apartment until the family’s three children finish elementary school. During a coffee break one day at school, Smith and Higley decided to find housing together, and they now rent a two-bedroom apartment in Mountain View for $2,495.

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New book unlocks the key to identifying manzanitas


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Santa Cruz Manzanita boasts boat-shaped leaves and sticky, depressed- globose fruit. In general, you can find a few fruit year-round on most manzanitas, even though the fruit is seasonally abundant and eaten by lots of wildlife.

Plant nerds, rejoice! Gardeners who hike and who favor local natives will welcome a new book devoted to “nature’s shrubby rock stars.”

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Toyon provides spectacular berries in winter


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
The deep golden berries of the Davis Gold cultivar of toyon contrast with the clean evergreen foliage.

It took me a few years to appreciate toyons, with their often-gangly branches and irregular forms when newly planted in garden settings. But while walking in a local park at the beginning of the year, I was once again reminded how spectacularly beautiful a toyon can be in the middle of winter, with the sun lighting up the profusion of berries in the high-dappled shade of an oak woodland.

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Orange decor galore: Two Los Altos neighborhoods bring Halloween to life


Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
A family on University Avenue, above, prepares for Halloween with a scary skeleton hanging from their porch, left. Homes in the Orange and University avenues neighborhood have been decorating their homes for trick- or-treaters for decades.

This is a tale of two Los Altos neighborhoods that attract hordes of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. One is old, the other fairly new.

The oldie but goodie is Orange and University avenues in old Los Altos, where orange decor and pumpkins galore herald the advent of All Hallows’ Eve.

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Staying organized can help for disaster preparation


Courtesy of Amanda Kuzak
Storing nonperishable essentials on a shelf in the garage can help in case of an emergency.

As a professional organizer, I look inside dozens of homes every week, and it always shocks me when I don’t find an emergency kit.

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Filoli hosts annual Holiday Traditions fundraising boutique


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The historic Filoli estate in Woodside transforms into a “Holiday Jewel” for its annual Holiday Traditions fundraising boutique, scheduled Nov. 27 through Dec. 5.

Filoli’s annual nine-day Holiday Traditions fundraising event is scheduled Nov. 27 through Dec. 5.

With this year’s theme, “Filoli – A Holiday Jewel,” the rooms on the first floor of the historic house and Visitor & Education Center will be transformed into a seasonal showcase with unique decorations, festive music and the Holiday Boutique. Local choral and performing groups and musicians will add ambience throughout the event.

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