Wed10222014

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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Creature comforts: Animals offer therapeutic benefits


Town Crier File Photo
Therapy animals like this Golden Retriever offer manifold benefits for seniors. According to researchers, 82 percent of people with service dogs report reduced symptoms within one month.

More dogs and other animals are going to work as animal-assisted and pet therapists, transforming the well-being of people who need it most: those with at-home care or who are in assisted living or care facilities, hospitals, schools, correctional facilities and mental institutions.

Companion creatures offer therapy simply by being with someone. Dogs cuddle, play, walk and rest by people’s side. Cats calmingly purr. Animals require grooming, feeding and physical care, and the result can be longer, healthier, happier lives for people and pets – plus a field of research and a vocation that’s booming.

Positive effects

The U.S. Department of Labor expects service and therapy jobs and positions, including pet and animal-assisted therapy, to grow more than 27 percent in the next decade. More than 90 percent of Americans in both pet-owning and non-pet-owning households told the American Humane Society in a 2012 survey that they believe an animal companion improves lives, especially the lives of people living alone, those who need at-home care, senior citizens, people with disabilities and young children.

“The positive effects of pet and animal-assisted therapy are undeniable,” said Gene Lennon, owner of Right at Home Santa Clara County. “As adult home-care providers, we’ve seen pets ease loneliness and give a purpose for getting out of bed. Now science and medicine prove that time with a pet, something that doesn’t have to cost a lot and can help you right at home, can be one of the best ways to boost your physical, mental and emotional health.”

Research shows that pet and animal-assisted therapy helps:

• Reduce depression, irritability and agitation, while increasing social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Mara M. Baun, DNSc, of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, has documented for more than a decade how animal visits foster greater physical activity (when people groom, play with and walk the pets), improved eating, more attempts to communicate and greater pleasure and happiness (more laughter and smiles during time with the animals).

• Ease anxiety, according to a two-year study that Alberta Health conducted which shows a reduction of symptoms and panic attacks in 80 percent of people given dog companions.

• Decrease sleeplessness and suicidal thoughts from post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise only treated with medication, especially for war veterans and trauma survivors. In a 2011 study by the U.S. Army with the Psychiatric Service Dog Society, 82 percent of people given service dogs reported reduced symptoms within one month.

• Manage pain, particularly with cancer, as cited by The Gale Group Inc. in a 2010 report on cancer visitation therapy, regarding the effects of dogs spending time with children with cancer.

• Lower hypertension and reduce heart attacks, as noted in a 2005 study at UCLA Medical Center, where cardiac patients exhibited lower adrenaline levels associated with stress.

• Foster healing after surgery and invasive medical procedures, even dental appointments, as documented by the Mayo Clinic, which in 2002 introduced Dr. Jack, a miniature pinscher, as its first facility-based service dog.

• Create more happiness and comfort by boosting levels of the hormone oxytocin. In a study by the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Center for the Study of Animal Wellness, simply petting a dog, cat or rabbit for 15-30 minutes increased the feel-good hormone oxytocin and its several partnering stress-beating hormones.

“As more people see the overall health benefits of pet and animal-assisted therapy, the practice will continue to grow throughout the U.S.,” Lennon said. “It’s inspiring to see the elderly light up when they interact with a pet. Their everyday lives are enriched because of the companionship pets provide.”

For more information on Right at Home, call (408) 496-0833 or visit rightathome.net.

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