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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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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

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

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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Keep abreast of identify theft

My mom once told me her important documents are stored in a shoebox on a shelf in her closet. As a business professional, you may often leave your information in your office, car and home. Did you ever wonder where else that information could be? More than 10 million people in the United States last year were victims of identity theft.

Identity theft cannot be prevented, even if you are diligent about shredding and filing, but it can be minimized, and early detection can help to mitigate damages.

According to the Federal Trade Commission and news reports, your PII (personally identifiable information) or NPI (nonpublic information) can be purchased online for pennies on the dollar. Your personal, business and financial information has already been compromised somewhere on the Internet. How does this impact you as a business professional? You should keep abreast of the most common types of identity theft and the most effective ways in which it can affect you and your clients.

Most of us are familiar with financial identity theft and credit- card fraud. I have a client who recently had an identity thief superimpose his own picture over the victim's driver's license and open bank accounts in Florida and New York. The thief wire-transferred $120,000 out of the victim's line of credit into the fraudulent accounts.

There are four primary areas of identity theft: Social Security, driver's license, criminal/character and medical.

Social Security identity theft occurs when another person wants to minimize exposure in his or her own name and uses your Social Security number to work and gain benefits.

Driver's license identity theft allows a criminal to impersonate you and open a bank account or provide law enforcement with your information rather than his or her own for a traffic violation or DUI.

Criminal/character identity theft occurs when a thief actually begins a new life under your name. It can go on for years undetected.

Medical identity theft is one I experienced personally. I lost my purse at my son's baseball tournament. Although I canceled my credit cards right away, someone used my medical ID card for treatment in a hospital in Southern California. The impact? Bills from that hospital could have affected my credit, and it is no easy task to clear up incorrect medical information.

In a newly released book, "The Silent Crime: What You Need to Know About Identity Theft" by Michael McCoy and Steffen Schmidt, a hospital nurse is quoted, "Why worry? Because I know that the vast number of patient records lost each year contains enough data for someone else to start a new life."

New legislation empowers the Federal Trade Commission to monitor small and large companies to protect personal data collected about clients and employees. It is important to be aware of these new laws and put a plan in place to mitigate potential damages from a data breach, which can include misplacing or losing a disk with names, addresses, employee records, health information or any other personal information. It is not always the result of malicious intent, but often a result of carelessness. However it happens, liability follows the data. These liabilities include significant fines and impact you in business and personally.

For more information, call 964-7733 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Joanna Medin is a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist through the Institute of Fraud Risk Management.

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