Fri10242014

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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USDA puts your health at risk: Other Voices

Over the past century, the rapid increase in the number of Americans suffering from a host of preventable diet-related diseases (heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes) has been paralleled by the engulfing power and influence of a small group of transnational food conglomerates that lead our industrial food system.

Food corporations are largely responsible for our burgeoning waistlines by encouraging the overconsumption of their unhealthful food that significantly contributes to chronic health diseases and by using their power to sway agencies designed to help us make better food choices.

Indeed, as Marion Nestle points out in her exposé “Food Politics,” they blatantly overstep ethical boundaries through the lobbying tactics they exert over federal officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which releases nutritional guidelines and recommendations every five years. Lobbyists gain access to upper-administration policymakers and engage in social transactions that pressure government health directors to safeguard corporate financial interests by restructuring the framework of federally issued dietary advice, at the expense of public health.

The USDA’s mission is deeply contradictory and geared toward promoting, not regulating, the food industry. The department’s dual responsibility of assisting meat and dairy farmers with government-funded subsidies while simultaneously working to define a nutritious and balanced diet through the food pyramid creates a conflict of interest that puts the health of meat- and dairy-consuming Americans at risk.

In short, the USDA is completely compromised. According to Nestle, six of the 11 members on the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee have ties to large meat and dairy corporations. With the help of lobbyists, they systematically alter the nutrition model set forth by the National Institutes of Health, an unbiased council of scientists, in order to release standards that satisfy the requests of large, industrialized companies.

The USDA constructs dietary guidelines with deliberately obscure language. The message reads, “Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat” (USDA Dietary Guidelines, 2010), which may be hard advice to follow if you don’t know the fat breakdown of specific foods. Moreover, it also fails to directly address meat and beef consumption, the main source of these fats in the average American diet.

In the end, the multibillion-dollar investments in lobbyists are later reflected in the $71 billion in health-care costs to treat individuals with chronic diseases.

Social reform starts at an individual level simply by voting with your fork. First, commit to purchase local produce and gradually reduce the proportions of processed foods and meat in your diet, replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables. Second, urge your congressional representative to enact legislation that ends the USDA’s conflict of interest so that a healthful diet can become the standard. Finally, patronize the Los Altos Farmers’ Market on State Street for fresh foods.

Together, we can derail the power and influence of the leaders of our current industrialized food system and alleviate the social, public health and environmental problems that they generate.

Los Altos native Angela Gradiska is a junior at Stanford University majoring in American studies, with a concentration in obesity, nutrition and public health.

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