LTWCA Newsletter - April/May 2007


Spring Cleaning and Preparedness Issue

Get your broom out!

No, this is not about sweeping floors, and it is not about Halloween.  This is about pulling out that pesky weed, broom - French broom, Scotch broom, Spanish broom.  By any name it is still broom, an invasive, highly flammable, ecosystem changing, nonnative, fertile Myrtle kind of plant.  Even the seeds are pesky, lasting years in the soil after the plants have been carted off.  (Editor’s note:  10 years after the seed source was removed from my yard, conditions were right, and over 300 broom seedlings popped up.)


Now that you have the gloom and doom picture, here is the good news:  broom is extremely easy to pull when it is young and it is just after a refreshing rain.  How does one recognize this noxious weed?  It has a characteristic light green, 3 “petaled” leaf.  The flowers burst out a lemony yellow about this time of year.  Once you get your broom out, listen to those natives “breathe a sigh of relief.”


On another invasive note:  if you see one thistle pull it out.  Pulling one when first spotted is easy, left to grow it can multiply hundredfold by next season and on an on. You will need to use gloves on this one, as they have nasty spikes on the leaves and flowerheads.


Some of our trees are ivy league (or rather ivy plagued).

Before spring growing season progresses any further, let us cut off the progress of nutrients to the ivy climbing up our trees.  Climbing ivy is quite detrimental to the health of a tree.  Debris and moisture are trapped by the climbing vines, creating an ideal environment for rot and fungus growth, and the vines can smother tree foliage.  The easiest way to cut off ivy growth is to sever the vine between the ground and its first attachment to the tree.  Better yet, clear the ivy by pulling it out by the roots from a 2 foot circle around the tree base to provide a healthy trunk and root environment.  Our trees need all the help we can give them.

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale with editing by June Bilisoly


Emergency Preparedness News

Set aside Saturday, April 28 for our Spring Wildfire Drill, starting at 9:00 AM!  Usually at this time of year our neighborhood is so damp and overrun with moss and mushrooms that wildfire risk seems a distant memory.  However, our winter was been noticeably drier than usual, and summer promises to be the same, so our wildfire preparedness efforts may merit even more attention than usual.


Here in Los Trancos Woods, our drill will again focus on activation of the phone tree, similar to last October’s procedure.  The Emergency Preparedness Team will communicate a mock evacuation order via District and group leaders, with a goal of transmitting instructions to each house in LTW within 45 minutes.  We will also be conducting a neighborhood walkthrough to identify simulated wildfire episodes and communicate them via radio for response by the team at the Emergency Operations Center at 1247 Los Trancos Road.


More information will be distributed to your mailboxes prior to the drill.  In addition, CERPP has summarized some key points for each household to keep in mind in preparing both for the Drill and for a real wildfire.  See  Highlights include:

    * Review your family’s evacuation plan (including plans for pets).

    * Confirm your two-way radio, fire alarms and fire extinguishers are all in working order.

    * Store irreplaceable items like important financial documents, photo albums, and computer backup drives in a way that makes them quickly accessible.

    * Clear unnecessary combustible material away from your home.

    * Know where your gas shutoff is.


In preparation for the April 28th drill, you may also want to update your skills with two-way radios.  The Vista Verde Emergency Preparedness Committee has graciously invited residents of LTW to join them at a radio training course that will be held at the Archers’ residence at 184 Vista Verde on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 PM.  Ken Dueker, a local resident and Palo Alto police officer, will lead the course. 


Upcoming classes:

April 21           CPR          Woodside Fire Station

May 19          CPR          Woodside Fire Station

June 23          First Aid     Woodside Fire Station

July 21               CPR           Woodside Fire Station

For reservations or information contact Gaylynne Mann at 851-1584 or

Submitted by Arthur Nielsen, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator


Zoning News

In March a group from Los Trancos Woods met with the San Mateo County Planning Department to discuss the zoning proposal that our neighborhood voted on and submitted to the County in 2003. This proposal recommended adding a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) requirement to our current zoning regulations.  The proposal linked maximum possible house size to lot size.  Shortly, you should be receiving a letter in the mail from the County Planning Department concerning the proposal and notice of a public meeting to discuss the proposal and how to make it part of our zoning regulations. 

Submitted by Armin Staprans and Linda Drey-Nightingale


Neighborhood Notes

- The Free Chipper Program is back Monday, 7 May.  Sponsored by the Woodside Fire Protection District (WFPD) this fuel reduction program is meant for us to reduce the threat of wildfires.  To participate, ahead of time neatly stack vegetation on your “curb” with all cut ends facing toward the street.  Limbs should be 8” in diameter or smaller.  There are restrictions:  no nails or any other metal or plastic, no eucalyptus bark, no poison oak, no vines or rose bushes.  These items can injure the workers or damage the machinery.  We owe WFPD a big THANK YOU for all their hard work!

- Welcome to the new Vista Verde officers:  President - Amanda Lee, Vice-president - Don Ramsey, Secretary - Helene Zimmerman, Treasurer - Keri Tate.  We look forward to working with them.

-     West Bay Sanitary District has awarded the Sewer contract and construction will start this year.


Next Meeting -  7:00 p.m., 13 June., 1074 Los Trancos Rd.   Agenda includes emergency preparedness and zoning proposal.  For minutes of the last meeting, please see the LTWCA Web Site or your District Rep.


Los Trancos Woods Community Association Web Site

The web site address is:                    The group e-mail list is:          

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site        AND        Thanks to Shan Wang for copying our newsletter.