LTW/VV Newsletter - August/September 2009


We Need YOU!

In this day of lightning fast communication, this Newsletter is a throw back to horse and buggy. Now, I happen to like horse and buggy, in that you can actually see what is passing by you, and you have time to contemplate the larger meaning of life. However, there are times when lightning fast communication is not just useful, but of great benefit to our community. We can best achieve this benefit, if everyone signs up for the Yahoo Group e-mail list. Our Emergency Preparedness Coordinators, Steve Friedman and Bill Tagg, on occasion have information that they need to deliver to all of us and deliver in a rapid time frame. We need to be there for them! Calling all of us or delivering a piece of paper to each of us is not the wisest use of their time nor in our best interest.


YOU can help by signing up for the Yahoo Group e-mail. The 5 minutes that you spend doing it will go a long way to enhancing community communication. Simply e-mail either or and you will be added to the Group.


Now for the added benefits: the Water Board can get you information and forms at your fingertips, the Town of Portola Valley updates and alerts can be passed on quickly, road closures can be noted, sometimes free items are listed, Linda has access to more community brain power, events of local interest are posted, the latest in Sudden Oak Death research can be shared. There is on average one posting a day and you can see quickly from the Subject line what the e-mail concerns. We ask all to be courteous and use common sense when posting messages. Sign up now before you forget!

Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale


Emergency Preparedness

CERPP Earthquake Drill on October 15th. The Citizens Emergency Response and Preparedness Program divisions in the Woodside Fire Protection District (including Los Trancos Woods and Vista Verde) have decided to replace the previously scheduled October Wildland Fire Exercise with the statewide California Great ShakeOut drill on October 15th. The main goal of the ShakeOut is to get Californians prepared for major earthquakes, so we will use the ShakeOut as an opportunity to learn what to do before, during, and after an earthquake. More details will follow after our local CERPP teams meet during August and September for planning sessions.


A good web site to visit is for tips on how to prepare, protect, and recover. For more information on the ShakeOut, visit For local details, contact Steve Friedman at 851-7407 or

Submitted by Steve Friedman, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator


Neighborhood Notes

- Pehr Harbury and Shivani Nautiyal have a new family member, Om, a boy, born 19 June healthy and happy. Brother Ishan is adjusting. ShavaniÕs mom came to spend a few weeks giving that special type of care that only grandmothers can give. Congratulations to all from the neighborhood!

Submitted by Rebecca Reynolds

- Alison Farrell and Aaron Straight welcomed daughter, Lily, born 16 June. Finnegan is very proud to be a big brother, and Lily sleeps all the time which helps. In the not too distant future look for Lily and Finnegan on their walks with mom and dad. We are glad you are part of the neighborhood, Lily!

- Get your sun hats ready and your cookbooks out! The Community Picnic is on Saturday afternoon, 26 September. Flyer coming soon! To have an even better time, help setup, cook, and cleanup at the picnic. We need at least 10 volunteers to contact Keri Tate, 529-2291 or




Water District News

The Los Trancos County Water District has information to help you substantially reduce your landscape irrigation water usage and 6 different rebate programs to make saving water easy on your wallet too.


You can find two short articles on the District web site at

SMART Irrigation for Dummies - Discusses some easy, quick, and very inexpensive ways to implement the latest in irrigation technology. The money you save through reduced water usage would more than pay for the cost of the equipment in one or two seasons. But to make the payoff even faster, the LTCWD has set up rebate programs to offset most of the costs. You can get started sooner and implement water and energy savings that help the environment.

Checking Irrigation Uniformity in Lawn and Other Overhead Irrigated Areas - Overhead irrigation using sprinklers, rainbirds, or other versions of older, low-tech spray devices are notorious for producing non-uniform distribution of water. This more often than not leads to over watering of some areas to compensate for areas that are too dry. In many cases, this problem can be relatively easy to fix. This article discusses how to easily measure uniformity and some ways to correct the problems. The District can loan you the calibrated measuring cups to make this task even simpler.


Rebate Programs - See the LTCWD web site for descriptions of the 6 different types of rebates LTCWD offers to defray your costs of implementing a modern, improved, landscape irrigation system, NOW.

Submitted by Stan Gage, Water Efficiency Program of LTCWD


Los Trancos Road Brush Clearing Work

We have much in common with the residents of the Berkeley and Oakland hills - beautiful natural surroundings, isolation, windy narrow roads, extreme vulnerability to fire. Most of the 23 people killed in the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire were trapped as they tried to flee in their vehicles. LTCWD, in cooperation with the LTW, V. V. and Blue Oaks Homeowners Associations, the Town of Portola Valley, Palo Alto, John Arrillaga and the Woodside Fire Department, is working to reduce the hazard we would face if we everyone had to flee during a fire.


70 years of successful fire suppression along Los Trancos Road has led to an unnatural accumulation of overgrown brush, and woody debris. Our plan is to reduce this "fuel load" for the first mile to the north of our community. If we can make it through this area, we then can exit over the emergency bridge into Portola Valley Ranch, a secondary escape path if the rest of Los Trancos Road is blocked by fire.


The challenge for our crew managing the clearing work is finding the right compromise between fire safety, restoration of the natural environment and costs, both upfront and annual maintenance. So far we have worked to remove much of the highly invasive/flammable Broom and started to clear the Baccharis or Coyote brush just east of Buck Meadows Dr. Care is being taken to protect the natives so that as the plants grow back, a more natural habitat is restored. Much work is left to be done and traffic will occasionally be stopped. Please be attentive and moderate your speed.

Submitted by Charles Krenz


Community Associations Web Sites

The web site addresses are:                                            The group e-mail list is:                                                                       

Thanks Jerry Jensen & Esther Dechow for maintaining web sites AND Thanks Monica Nester for copying the newsletter.


Community Bulletin Board

Birdsitter: Needed on lower Ramona Rd. for dates in August. Must check on outdoor aviary once a day. Call Alex, (650) 851-5281


Nanny Available: Afternoons during the school year, between 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.. Resident with local experience and references. E-mail at: