LTWCA Newsletter - April/May 2003


Keeping Our Oak Trees Healthy

Our “Woods” get its character from the abundant Oak trees that are here, Black Oak, Coast Live Oak, White Oak, and Blue Oak (rare). With a little care we can keep this wonderful character alive and healthy. The guidelines are easy and short:

1) Oak trees are used to the seasonal changes in rain. A summer drought is just what they like, so give it to them. Do not plant anything under or near the drip line (outside perimeter) that requires watering. Make sure no water runs off in the direction of your Oaks. Watering causes a disease called oak root fungus that can kill the tree.

2) Oak trees have their “feet” firmly planted in the ground. If you change the ground level then you no longer have the “feet” planted at the depth they should be. If you do some dirt moving around the tree, be sure and mark the ground level, so you can maintain it throughout the work time.

3) Climbing trees is fun, but not when it is ivy climbing the Oaks. Ivy holds in moisture at the base and “smothers” tree foliage. Cut the ivy away from the tree twice a year. This will keep the ivy in check and make the job easy.

4) The last tip is not about our Oaks but about Oaks from elsewhere. It is unknown at this time if untreated Oak (like firewood) could be a carrier of Sudden Oak Death Syndrome (SODS). By bringing in untreated Oak from the outside there is a chance that we could infect our Oaks with this dreaded disease. Since SODS is not present in the Woods currently, let’s not take a chance!

If we take proper care of our Oaks, then recovery from Oak Moth damage will be quicker. Last year there was a severe infestation by Oak Moths just north of here and we may see it here soon.

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale with additional information from Jim of McClenahan Tree Service

Zoning Committee News - Do not forget to turn in your zoning ballot.

The Zoning Committee has issued a zoning change ballot to the community for a vote. If for any reason you did not receive one or have misplaced it, please call Armin Staprans at 851-7403 ASAP to get one. The results, to be tabulated during April, will be published in the next LTWCA Newsletter. If there is enough support for a zoning change, the results will be sent to San Mateo County so that they can begin their process to get community input on the final version. We thank everyone for their input and participation.

Submitted by Armin Staprans


Sewer News

The ground survey is now 80% complete in the Woods in preparation for the sanitary sewer design which is to start in the next few weeks. The goal is still to complete the sewer design by this spring. The project will then be turned over to San Mateo County who will coordinate the Assessment District for the 53 sewer participants as well as oversee the sewer construction.

Submitted by Marc Levaggi

Emergency News

A HUGE thank you go to David Smernoff and Jamie Sovereign who have agreed to oversee the Emergency Preparedness Program. They will be working with Carol Wagner in the coming months to transfer the knowledge. If you see them around, express your appreciation.


Here are the latest and greatest in classes:

Apr. 19                       CPR                10 a.m. to 4 p.m.                   Woodside Fire Station

May. 17                      CPR                10 a.m. to 4 p.m.                   Woodside Fire Station

June 21                       First Aid         10 a.m. to 3 p.m.                   Woodside Fire Station

To make your reservation or get more information call Gaylynne Mann at 851-1594.

Submitted by Carol Wagner


District II News

Kayla Rose Smernoff was born on 28 Jan. at a healthy 6 lbs. 13 oz. Parents, Cindy Russell and David Smernoff, were thrilled to be present at the birth of their adopted daughter. Kayla has blessed David and Cindy by having a healthy appetite and sleeping well. Congratulations!

District IV News

The Woods almost had an unexpected home birth at Ken and Clara Wood’s house. Driving at almost 70 mph Ken got Clara to Stanford Hospital in the nick of time for Megan Anne Wood to be born on 10 Feb. Megan weighed in at 7 lbs., 3 oz. and is a healthy, happy baby. Congratulations!


Town of Portola Valley

The Town is inviting all interested parties to join in the P.V. Teen Committee which meets the first Tues. of the month, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Old Schoolhouse. Come share your ideas and concerns and help sponsor popular events for our teens!


Neighborhood Notes

A number of items have come to my attention which fall under the category of etiquette. We all have much to do in our busy lives, but let us not forget those simple things which help make the neighborhood a pleasant place to live.


- Driving etiquette is simple and easy to remember. Although we have fun mountain roads to drive, speed driving may be hazardous not only to the driver (just recently there was a car off the road on Los Trancos Rd.) but also to the many walkers, children, adults and dogs (on leash), who are on the roadways in the morning and evening hours. Take a hint from the hit-and-run death of a student in Palo Alto. Drive a reasonably slow speed, stay in your lane, and take corners carefully.

- Dogs are our best friends, and we would like to keep them around. The best way is to make sure they do not go out into the roadway. Ramona Road in particular has had some dogs running out into the roadway putting both themselves and the drivers of the cars in danger.

- On the subject of dogs, how about what is left behind after the dogs have gone by - poop. We tend to view it as biodegradable; however, when there is a concentration of dogs in one place, such as we have here in the Woods, then it comes under the category of pollution. Our environment was not made to handle the extra load it is given by all the dogs in the neighborhood. The run-off ends up in our streams, or the concentrate ends up on our shoes. It is easy to stuff a bag in a pocket and pick up the poop with the bag over your hand. Invert the bag over the poop and toss it in the trash when you get back home. Our wildlife would appreciate this also.

- I know it is hard to think about the winter storms as we enjoy this stunning sunny weather, but storm season may not be completely over yet. A lot of debris has fallen this winter and it is time to clean out your gutters and especially your street’s culverts and drainages. During one winter storm this year we were on emergency alert. Carol and Mike Wagner came to our rescue and cleared out the culverts that were flooding. Let’s all pitch in and make sure we avert a disaster.

- Our reptilian friends are out and about these days basking in the sun. When you are hiking the trails give some space to our local snakes and lizards and allow them time to move on. The most common residents are the Gopher Snake (green/brown/gray pattern), the Garter Snake (white/cream stripe down the length), Common King Snake (black and white rings), occasionally the Pacific Rattlesnake (diamond pattern on the back), the Western Fence Lizard or Blue Belly (slender), and the Alligator Lizard (stocky). The symphonies you hear at the ponds are typically given by the Western Tree Frog. We are fortunate to have such efficient insect and small rodent eaters to keep the system in balance. Let’s enjoy the time we share together.

- As you are out enjoying the wildflowers, keep their health in mind. We may think that the flowers would also look stunning in our yards. Very few survive a transplant and the natural populations are not adapted to artificial thinning. Let us delight in what we have where we have it.


Other news:

- A household hazardous waste drop-off event for Portola Valley residents will be on Sat., 12 April. Please call 363-4718 to make an appointment.

- Our promising young graduates will be going off to new lives soon. Please let me know what your graduate will be doing and we will post it in the next newsletter. Call Linda, 851-1787.

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale


Next Board Meetings - 7 May, 7:00 p.m., at 21 Old Spanish Trail. There will be a discussion of the zoning proposal vote and emergency preparedness. For minutes of the last meeting, please see the LTWCA Web Site or your District Rep.


Los Trancos Woods (LTWCA) Web Site

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Our thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site

                                                AND Thank you to Alex Kostrikin for copying our newsletter.