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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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El Camino Hospital receives bond-rating upgrade


Photo By: courtesy of El Camino Hospital
Photo Courtesy Of El Camino Hospital

El Camino Hospital recently received an A1 bond-rating upgrade from Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s Investors Service last week upgraded El Camino Hospital’s revenue bond rating from A2 to A1, following a review of the hospital’s progress since Moody’s issued its last rating in 2010.

According to Moody’s, the rating upgrade affects $186.9 million of outstanding fixed and variable rate demand revenue bonds issued by the Santa Clara Financing Authority.

“Hospital leadership has worked with the hospital board to expand the governance structure to include community leaders with significant subject-matter expertise, hired nationally known industry leaders to fill the CFO and COO roles, and produced a strategic plan to position us for health reform to effectively meet the needs of our community,” said El Camino Hospital President and CEO Tomi Ryba. “Recognition of the relevance of these improvements by Moody’s is gratifying.”

The report highlighted a number of the hospital’s strengths:

• It is a sizable community hospital located in a geographically favorable area with an operating revenue base of $664 million in fiscal year 2012.

• Its fiscal year 2013 outlook shows another year of strong profitability and operating cash-flow generation, as well as double-digit cash-flow margins.

• It shows steady growth in unrestricted cash and investments to $490 million as of Dec. 31.

• It carries a low debt load.

• Its facilities in Mountain View and Los Gatos are 95 percent seismic compliant through 2030, with the final 5 percent being 2030-compliant upon completion of minor voluntary upgrades, in accordance with approved extensions, by Jan. 1, 2015.

“We are extremely pleased that Moody’s recognized the hard work the hospital has undertaken in the last two years to stabilize and strengthen this valuable community hospital,” said John Zoglin, chairman of the El Camino Hospital Board of Directors. “To receive an upgraded rating at a time when so many other hospitals and hospital systems nationwide are struggling further reinforces that we have the right management team, an enhanced governance structure and long-term strategies in place that will enable us to make the necessary investments to care for the community.”

Moody’s issued a “stable outlook” for the hospital but also acknowledged several challenges it currently faces. Among other things, the Moody’s report cited a highly competitive marketplace in the Bay Area for services; its historical dependence on the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (now affiliated with Sutter Health), which has been responsible for approximately 50 percent of El Camino Hospital’s admissions; and the current uncertainty around Measure M, which caps executive salaries at no more than double the salary of the California governor.

Still, the report noted that it expects El Camino Hospital to “continue to produce strong operating cash flow given its favorable market presence and location and its continued focus on operating efficiencies, in order to support future capital plans, maintain solid liquidity and leverage measures and offset any future reimbursement declines and new competitive pressures.

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