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Last updateTue, 21 Feb 2017 4pm

News

LA city manager is

LA city manager is "speechless" at council priorities


 

The Los Altos City Council had an opportunity to set its 2017 goals at last week’s council meeting, but a lack of consensus led to a moment of exasperation from the city manager.

After the five councilmembers offered their feedback on th...

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Schools

LAHS student raises money for cause  close to her heart

LAHS student raises money for cause close to her heart


Courtesy of Megan Tsern
Los Altos High School junior Megan Tsern shows her contract to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign. Tsern hopes to raise $50,000 in memory of her brother, Matthew, who died ...

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Community

'Pre-History of the iPhone' talk set for March 2 in Mtn. View

The Computer History Museum’s latest presentation, “Computing in Your Pocket: The Pre-History of the iPhone in Silicon Valley,” is scheduled 7 p.m. March 2 at the museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

The panel discussion, moderated by Com...

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Sports

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Emma Bice tries to shoot over Gunn’s Archer Olson.

Plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for most of the game, the Mountain View High girls basketball team had to feel fortunate just to ge...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Outcry against ‘fake news’ warranted

This letter is in response to Jacqueline Degner’s Feb. 8 letter “Fighting against ‘alternative facts.’”

Ms. Degner correctly points out that many people pass around fake...

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Special Sections

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home


Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and m...

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Business

Present will not move far in a Main Street

Present will not move far in a Main Street "win-win" swap


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Present is slated to move across Main Street after more than four years in its old spot.

What do you get for the gift store that has everything? A new and larger location, apparently.

Present, the locavore ...

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People

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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News

LA city manager is "speechless" at council priorities

LA city manager is

 

The Los Altos City Council had an opportunity to set its 2017 goals at last week’s council meeting, but a lack of consensus led to a moment of exasperation from the city manager.

After the five councilmembers offered their feedback on the city’s 2017 Strategic Priorities, City Manager C...

Readmore

Business

Present will not move far in a Main Street "win-win" swap

Present will not move far in a Main Street

Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Present is slated to move across Main Street after more than four years in its old spot.

What do you get for the gift store that has everything? A new and larger location, apparently.

Present, the locavore goodie shop entering its fifth year in Los Altos, ...

Readmore

Sports

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Emma Bice tries to shoot over Gunn’s Archer Olson.

Plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for most of the game, the Mountain View High girls basketball team had to feel fortunate just to get to overtime last week against Gunn.

But the Spa...

Readmore

Community

'Pre-History of the iPhone' talk set for March 2 in Mtn. View

The Computer History Museum’s latest presentation, “Computing in Your Pocket: The Pre-History of the iPhone in Silicon Valley,” is scheduled 7 p.m. March 2 at the museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

The panel discussion, moderated by Computer History Museum historian John Markoff, will ...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Outcry against ‘fake news’ warranted

This letter is in response to Jacqueline Degner’s Feb. 8 letter “Fighting against ‘alternative facts.’”

Ms. Degner correctly points out that many people pass around fake information they find on the internet that fits t...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Longtime Foothills Congregational Church pastor retires

Longtime Foothills Congregational Church pastor retires

Foothills Congregational Church in Los Altos bid farewell last month to the Rev. Matt Broadbent, who retired after 17 years of service.

Broadbent and his wife, Barbara, are retiring to a condominium in Aptos. Barbara has served as spiritual director for the Northern California Nevada Conference U...

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People

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readmore

Schools

LAHS student raises money for cause close to her heart

LAHS student raises money for cause  close to her heart

Courtesy of Megan Tsern
Los Altos High School junior Megan Tsern shows her contract to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign. Tsern hopes to raise $50,000 in memory of her brother, Matthew, who died of leukemia when she was 7 years old.

Following i...

Readmore

Special Sections

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and more homeowners view their outdoor spaces as an ext...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Behind the 'Show'

Behind the 'Show'

David Allen/Special to the Town Crier
Jessica LaFever, left, and Lauren Meyer play conjoined twins in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Side Show.”

While it takes just a few hours of one’s day to attend a play, it can take nearly a year to prepare the production for the stage.

Milissa C...

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Obituaries

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readmore

Magazine

Art for superfans: Classical skills find new subjects in the modern art class

Art for superfans: Classical skills find new subjects in the modern art class

From Hermione Granger to "Avatar: The Last Airbender," unconventional subjects are making classical portraits for today’s young painters.

Fan art - drawings inspired by popular characters from books, movies and graphic novels - have long languished in the margins of school notebooks. But student...

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Native plants serve many practical uses


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Yarrow is a convenient and effective first-aid remedy found in the garden. Crush a leaf and apply it to any cut or scrape for quick relief. The native white and Island Pink varieties have the most medicinal value. You can also eat the young leaves in salads.

When I’m working in my garden late and the mosquitoes are biting, I usually rub an aromatic plant on my arms and face to minimize bites and keep welts from rising. For those times when I’m away from my garden, I recently learned how to make a simple bug spray using native plants.

At a talk sponsored by the Gardening with Natives group of the California Native Plant Society, Alicia Funk, an expert in plant-based medicine, said mugwort was an especially effective bug repellent. To make it, she fills a glass jar with the plants, pours boiling water over them and lets them steep overnight. In the morning, she strains the overnight infusion and puts it in a spray bottle. Other plants that can be added to the mixture include California Bay, Mountain Pennyroyal or Coyote Mint, Yerba Santa or manzanita.

I’m delighted to find this practical use for mugwort, because it’s a vigorous plant that needs to be pruned regularly to keep it within bounds.

For poison oak, Funk makes a spray using manzanita leaves in the same way: Fill a jar with manzanita leaves, pour boiling water over them, let the mixture steep overnight and strain. Put the liquid in a spray bottle for easy application. The astringency of the leaves dries rashes and is a very effective treatment, she said. Other plants that have been used to treat poison oak include mugwort, California Bay, Yerba Santa, acorn shells and Grindelia.

Did you notice that bay, manzanita and mugwort could be used in both formulas? One of the first things I noticed when I began studying herbs was that the same herbs seemed to be used for many different conditions, which made me think it was a scattershot approach. But as I learned more, I realized that this is a strength, because you can substitute what’s available. For first-aid uses, often all you need is a certain property. For an insect repellent, you need aromatics that repel bugs. For poison oak, you need something that calms the itching or that’s anti-inflammatory.

Funk’s household cleaner for the past four years is also an overnight infusion she makes from native plants. She uses California Bay leaves and the bright-green tips of Douglas Fir branches and adds distilled vinegar to the strained mixture. It’s an all-purpose spray she uses to clean wood floors and disinfect countertops.

"If you can boil water," Funk said, "you can make these useful concoctions."

Even her 5-year-old knows about yarrow. When someone has a minor injury, instead of getting a Band-Aid, he runs to the garden to get some yarrow leaves. Lightly crushed and applied to a cut or scrape, the leaves stop the bleeding and quickly reduce pain. The most effective varieties are the native white or Island Pink Yarrow.

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. n

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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