Real Estate

Home front: Safety fair, solar group-buy program

Also: Palo Alto rents continue to rise; Master Gardeners hold plant sale Sept. 28

A roundup of local home and garden news and events, including a safety and emergency preparedness fair and an informational workshop from the City of Palo Alto about a program offering discounts on solar panels and electric cars.

SAFETY FAIR ... Learn how to be ready if a disaster strikes. The First Congregational Church of Palo Alto hosts an Emergency Preparedness and Safety Fair on Sept. 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Representatives from the City of Palo Alto's Office of Emergency Services and other local emergency preparedness experts will share information and answer questions about emergency preparedness for youth, adults and seniors. The fair will kick off at 11 a.m. with a fire drill of the congregation, and a fire truck on hand (as available). The fair takes place in the social hall at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. For more information, contact Camelia Sutorius at

SOLAR GROUP-BUY PROGRAM ... If you're considering solar panels or an electric car, come to a free workshop to learn about Bay Area SunShares on Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to noon at the Palo Alto Art Center. Palo Alto Public Utilities Manager Lisa Benatar will discuss SunShares, a solar group-buy program that allows residents to pool their buying power and obtain discounts on rooftop solar and electric vehicles. This is the fifth year that the City of Palo Alto is participating in the program. SunShares registration runs through Nov. 15. The Palo Alto Art Center is located at 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto. For more information, go to or call Lisa Benatar at 650-329-2385.

RENTS CONTINUE TO INCREASE ... Local rents continue to rise, according to a September rent report from Apartment List. The report found that Palo Alto rents have gone up 0.5% over the past month, and are up by 2.0% compared to the same time last year. The report listed Palo Alto's median rents at $2,534 for a one-bedroom apartment and $3,177 for a two-bedroom. "This is the fourth straight month that the city has seen rent increases after a decline in April," according to the report, which also found that Palo Alto's annual rent growth tops the state average of 1.0% and the national average of 1.5%. The report also noted that rent has been increasing across the San Jose metropolitan area, where 9 out of the 10 cities that Apartment List tracks in this region have seen rising rents over the past year. Read the full report at

FALL SEEDLING SALE … Get a start on your winter vegetable garden with the UC Master Gardeners’ Fall Garden Seedling Plant Sale Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to noon at the Master Gardeners’ Palo Alto Demonstration Garden. Find a wide variety of vegetable seedlings that do best when there’s a chill in the air. The event will also feature a free talk at 10:45 a.m. on how to plant and care for your seedlings. Sales benefit the UC Master Gardener program. Cash or checks only. The demonstration garden is located at Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto. For more information, call 408-282-3105 or visit

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