Wed07302014

News

‘Brown is the new green,’ says local water district

‘Brown is the new green,’ says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spendi...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

CARSTEN HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Simple gifts ring true and may nurture better health

For the first time in history, retail sales on Black Friday topped $1 billion as millions of Americans began their holiday gift shopping early – and in earnest. But the momentum didn’t stop there, as Cyber Monday posted a 30 percent increase in sales over last year.

At first blush, this looks like pretty good news. If nothing else, it would seem to indicate that consumer confidence is improving, even though by most accounts a broader economic turnaround is still a distant dream. On the other hand, such increased spending – as well intentioned as it may be – could simply be an indication of an ongoing and potentially unhealthy consumerism that is forever seeking solace in the latest, greatest gadget.

I say “unhealthy” not because gift-giving itself is bad, but because the media-driven desire to buy this or that can cause considerable stress, particularly if the cost is beyond our present means or the desire is left unsatisfied.

While most of us consider stress no less a part of the holidays than Santa Claus and mistletoe – unavoidable but essentially harmless – medical research paints quite a different picture. In fact, studies indicate that stress accounts for 60 to 90 percent of all visits to the doctor and acts as the precursor to a variety of more serious health issues.

The underlying problem, of course, is not one of material lack. If it were, we’d see doctors prescribing fewer drugs and more widescreen TVs. It is, instead, a kind of spiritual void that would have us believe that happiness is found in things, that our worth is measured in terms of material possessions and that this void can only be filled with more spending.

This is not to say that buying fewer Game Boys and Furbys would make us happier and healthier. (I mention this in case anyone reading this column has already bought me a Furby for Christmas.) Over the years, however, I’ve found that it’s the simpler gifts that are the most meaningful.

I remember my first trip to Nepal more than a decade ago when my hosts greeted me with a garland of marigold flowers. To this day, I keep it inside a small earthenware pot as a reminder of what it means to give what you have to another, no matter how simple or insignificant it may seem.

My host accompanied his offering by saying “Namaste” and making a slight bow of his head with his hands pressed together in front of his heart – an outward expression of the belief that there is a divine spark residing in each of us. Although I’m not accustomed to greeting people this way, I do make it a habit of seeing the God-given good in others, even if I don’t share this sentiment as often or as visibly as I might like.

Even the simplest expression of gratitude, the slightest acknowledgment that we are loved, has been proven to have a significant impact on our health.

Whether or not this sort of thing could have an impact on the national economy remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that these gifts from the heart are by far the most readily available, the most lasting, the least expensive and the most enriching.

Eric Nelson, a Christian Science practitioner, is media and legislative spokesman for Christian Science in Northern California. For more information, visit www.norcalcs.org.

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