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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Student offers help to homeless with lactose intolerance

8.31.2013 LactaseProject-3023small
Ellie Van  Houtte/Town Crier
After being diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance, Kenlyn Mirbach started the
Lactase Project to help others without the means to afford lactase pills.

Kenlyn Mirbach, 17, can relate to being sick with an upset stomach.

The lactose-intolerant Los Altos Hills teen has often suffered such uncomfortable symptoms as a result of her condition, which causes difficulty digesting the sugar in dairy products like milk and cheese. She takes lactase pills, which contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of dairy products.

Now she wants to help others affected by the condition who can’t afford the medication by providing lactase pills to the homeless.

“If I didn’t have the means to go to the doctor, get the pills and eat less lactose, I would still be getting sick every time,” said Mirbach of how something as simple as a 20-cent pill relieves her discomfort and reduces stress in her life.

With help from her parents and her rabbi at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Mirbach laid the groundwork for the Lactase Project, an effort to educate and provide resources on lactose intolerance to those living in local shelters. Armed with money from her bat mitzvah fund and a $200 loan from her parents, she underwrote the initial costs of the project.

“At first a lot of the programs would say this isn’t a problem,” said Mirbach of one of her earliest hurdles – general apathy from shelters and nonprofit agencies. “It’s very obvious that at least one person served during a three-month stay will be lactose intolerant.”

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, as many as 40 million Americans experience lactose intolerance. The clearinghouse also estimates that up to 90 percent of Asian Americans and 75 percent of African Americans, Jews, Mexicans and Native Americans are resistant to dairy products.

Mirbach bolstered her knowledge of lactose intolerance and organized her program to appeal to nonprofit organizations with limited staff and financial resources.

Her outreach efforts paid off when the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto incorporated her project into its work at the end of 2012. To date, approximately 10 clients have received pills, and the reaction to the project has been positive.

“It’s important to know about (lactose intolerance) and learn about it,” Mirbach said. “Even if you don’t get the pills or stop taking the pills, it’s important information to have about yourself, even if you leave the shelter.”

Reflecting on her growth through her work with the Lactase Project, Mirbach said she plans to recruit likeminded teens to expand her organization.

“I realize that as one girl, I can’t go around the country to homeless shelters and say, ‘Do this,’” she said. “I really think this program could be helpful all over the nation and the world. … I know teenagers who want to help but don’t know what to do.”

For more information, visit lactaseproject.org.

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