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Food & Wine

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals

'Galentine's Day' celebrates romance of truly great pals


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Champagne Moutard Rosé de Cuvaison Brut screams “Valentine’s Day,” with pink bubbles fit for an evening with chocolate and loved ones.

I didn’t plan to have the incredible female friendships I have. As ...

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Your Health

Mountain View teen won't let diabetes sink her fun

Mountain View teen won't let diabetes sink her fun


Courtesy of the Sorenson Family
Cipriana Sorenson, right, with brother Kai and parents Holt and Beth, maintains an active lifestyle despite her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

Studies show that approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Typ...

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Your Home

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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On The Road

Tips to keep dogs from getting carsick

Tips to keep dogs from getting carsick


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Having a dog face forward in a car can help with car sickness.

With winter travel in high gear, many people plan to hit the road with their pooches. However, for some four-legged family members, road trips can mean up...

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Senior Lifestyles

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Lloyd Lettis, 96, of Mountain View plays tennis three days a week at Los Altos High School.

Ninety-six-year-old Mountain View resident Lloyd Lettis seems to have a gene for longevity. And one for farming. And another for t...

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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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