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News

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council earmarked $7,000 for the purchase of Chris Johanson’s artwork.

The city of Los Altos will contribute $7,000 toward the purchase of a $28,000 art installation featured in the San Francisco Museum...

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Schools

LASD students celebrate service learning

LASD students celebrate service learning


Courtesy of Sandra McGonagle
We Day, held March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, exhorts students in the Los Altos School District to effect positive change.

More than 150 Los Altos School District student leaders joined 16,000 Bay Area students to ce...

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Community

Film career launches with Cannes screening

Film career launches with Cannes screening


Courtesy of Zachary Ready
Los Altos native Zachary Ready, front left, and co-director Andrew Cathey, right, celebrate their Campus MovieFest awards.

After learning the art of filmmaking as a child in the front yard of his family’s Los Altos home...

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Sports

Sports on the Side

Pathways Run/Walk slated May 10 in Hills

The 13th annual Pathways Run/Walk is scheduled 9 a.m. May 10 at Westwind Community Barn, 27210 Altamont Road, Los Altos Hills. The course wends through Byrne Preserve and onto the Los Altos Hills Pathways sys...

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Comment

Now is the time to expand parking: Editorial

Just a few short years ago, vacancies dotted downtown Los Altos. Property owners had a hard time attracting businesses because there was a shortage of customers. That is no longer true. Now, the cry is: Where are my customers going to park?

The city...

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Special Sections

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability


Courtesy of Michael McTighe
Mary Clark Bartlett is founder and CEO of Los Altos-based Epicurean Group.

Labels such as “healthy,” “organic” and “green” are rarely used to describe the meals served in most corporate cafes in Silicon Valley. But on...

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Business

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Coldwell Banker recently recognized realtor Kim Copher, right, for her philanthropic efforts. Copher and colleague Alan Russell, left, volunteer at Reach Potential Movement, where they collect books for its Bookshelf in ...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

Noteworthy

RotaCare honors local volunteer

RotaCare Bay Area honored Jim Cochran of the RotaCare Mountain View Free Medical Clinic with the Outstanding Clinic Volunteer Award April 10 for his commitment to RotaCare’s mission of providing free medical care to t...

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Travel

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
Sausalito offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. A number of companies schedule boat tours that sail past Angel Island and Alcatraz.

On a clear day, Sausalito offers spectacular views of the San Franc...

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Stepping Out

Western Ballet performs this weekend  at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills

Western Ballet performs this weekend at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills


Courtesy of Alexi Zubiria
Western Ballet’s “La Fille Mal Gardée” features Alison Share and Maykel Solas. The production runs Friday and Saturday at Foothill College

Western Ballet is slated to perform “La Fille Mal GardéeR...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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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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