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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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