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COMMON GROUND CLASSES ... Palo Alto's Common Ground Garden will offer an array of workshops for gardeners. "How to Keep Your Soil Healthy" will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 from 2 4 p.m. "Off-Grid Gardening: How to Save Your Own Seed," will be Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and "Bee-autiful Gardens! Planting for Pollinators" will be Sept. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. To register for any of these classes, go to

HOME FIRE SAFETY ... At this time of year with wildfires and hot weather, it's good to be reminded about the rules on smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. The Palo Alto Fire Department's guidelines are to place smoke alarms on each floor of a home, and locate them in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Avoid locating photoelectric alarms too close to bathrooms or kitchens or less than 20 feet away from kitchen entries, in garages or in a room with a woodburning appliance. When a home has a gas-burning appliance or a garage, a carbon monoxide alarm should be placed in the same locations as smoke detectors: outside the vicinity of bedrooms, in bedrooms and on each story of a home.

LUNCH AL FRESCO ... Palo Alto's Gamble Garden offers "Garden Fresh Luncheons" on Wednesdays from March through October. The cost is $25 for members, $30 for non-members. there are also a week of December Holiday Luncheons Dec. 6-10, with a different pricing structure. The lunches are the perfect setting for your next birthday celebration, ladies lunch, lunch date, or book group. Luncheons are followed by a complimentary docent led tour through the garden at 1:30 p.m. Reservations are required for all luncheons. Please call 650-329-1356.

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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