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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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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

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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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

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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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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