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News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community developme...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


ft, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.

Tia Geri can’t wait to bring her new golden retriev...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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