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STORYTIME IN THE GARDEN ... Looking for a late-afternoon relaxing summer activity for your little ones? Gamble Garden will offer one of two summer story times on Wednesday, July 13, 4-4:30 p.m. at 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Children's librarians from Palo Alto's libraries will read stories, sing songs and do finger games. No registration required. The second summer garden storytime is scheduled for Wednesday Aug. 10. For more information go to gamblegarden.org.

PROBLEMS WITH PLANTS? ... Master gardeners will make themselves available on Saturday, July 9, 9-11 a.m. to answer your questions. Bring samples of problem plants, or just your questions, to the Walk-in Plant Clinic, at 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. For more information go to gamblegarden.org

WANNA TEAR OUT YOUR LAWN? ... Before you do, go to the nonprofit Acterra's website, acterra.org, to learn how to plan out your post-lawn strategy. On the home page look for the "Find Answers" tab and click on "Convert your lawn to a native plant garden." The site has links to local municipal water districts' rebate offers as well as a list of native plants you could purchase if you do want to get rid of your lawn. The list includes plants you can buy at local nurseries that are eligible for Santa Clara Valley Water District rebates.

LOCAL REALTORS ROCK ... Two teams of local real estate agents and 18 individual local sales people were among the top-selling 250 teams and 250 agents nationwide this past year, according to Real Trends, a private communications company that annually publishes "The Thousand" list. The top local teams based on sales volume were Mary and Brent Gullixson of Alain Pinel Realtors in Menlo Park, with sales of $341.7 million (No. 13) and The Troyer Group of Intero Real Estate Services in Los Altos, with sales of $300.1 million (No. 21). The top two individuals were Keri Nicholas, Alain Pinel Realtors in Menlo Park, $182.6 million (No. 27) and Kathy Bridgman, Alain Pinel Realtors in Los Altos, $144.5 million (No. 53). Palo Alto Realtor Ken DeLeon, who has topped the chart in past years, did not participate this year, according to his office. The listings can be found at realtrends.com/rankings/real-trends-1000-teams-by-volume16 for teams and realtrends.com/rankings/real-trends-1000-individuals-by-volume16 for individuals.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details