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PALO ALTO WASTE DROP-OFF ... If you live in Palo Alto and can prove it, you can bring your household hazardous waste (used motor oil, chemicals, etc.) to the city's Household Hazardous Waste Drop Off Day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday July 30 and Saturday Aug. 5. The Household Hazardous Waste Management program provides Palo Alto residents with an environmentally safe, convenient way to dispose of unwanted hazardous household products such as used or expired medication, paints, solvents, fuels, cleaners, pesticides, etc., which contain hazardous substances. Please bring proof of residency. This event happens, rain or shine. For more information about the Household Hazardous Waste Program and what is accepted, go to cityofpaloalot.org. The drop-offs are held at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant, 2501 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto.

LATE SUMMER FLOWERS ... There's still time to plant flowers to keep the dog days from getting too beige. Garden Design Magazine recommends a few bright flowers to add to your yard. The first, a bright orange and yellow "sneezeweed," also known as Helenium 'Mardi Gras,' produces a profusion of flowers from August to October. Firetail Fleece, Persecaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail,' is a tall, hot pink flower that looks sort of like a thin Delphinium is another option. For more choices, go to [www.gardendesign.com/perennials/ gardendesign.com.

AUGUST HOME TO-DO'S ... If you're looking for things to do in August, Better Homes and Gardens recommends painting your house. An exterior paint job can have plenty of time to dry properly in warmer weather. If you do the preparation yourself, this is what bhg.com recommends: Give the exterior of your house a good cleaning to remove loose paint and dirt. Use a paint scraper, putty knife, or wire brush to remove peeling paint. Prime any bare wood with a stain-blocking exterior primer. Fill cracks with high-quality caulk. If you're going to paint yourself, apply two coats of high-quality, exterior latex paint. For more home improvement ideas, go to bhg.com.

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