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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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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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