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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Experts: No need to be rattled by snakes in region


Photo By: Bill Bouton/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Bill Bouton/Special To The Town Crier

The local area is home to rattlesnakes, but experts claim that the reptiles are shy.

It’s not uncommon to spot a slithering snake on a stroll through Los Altos Hills or nearby Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, but the odds of getting bitten by one are long.

According to the Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services System, 15 snakebites were reported in 2012 within the county, none resulting in serious injury or death. But for hikers who happen to stumble upon a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake – the only venomous species found in the area – it’s best to act politely.

“Rattlesnakes are naturally very shy,” said David Allen, an ecologist and wildlife management expert who operates a professional snake removal service, Got Snakes? “They want to avoid an encounter with a human as much as you want to avoid an encounter with them.”

Poisonous or not?

Those who step in the path of a rattlesnake should stop, remain motionless and assess the situation, according to Allen.

“Give the snake space,” he said. “Nine times out of 10, the snake’s going to move off on its own.”

Hikers who abruptly move, poke or throw something at a snake increase their chances of a bite, because “the snake views you as a threat and will stand its ground,” Allen noted.

Determining whether the snake encountered is a rattlesnake or an impostor can be challenging. When threatened, species like the gopher snake – also common in the county – can mimic the diamond-shaped head of a real rattler as well as its brown and green hexagonal pattern. Allen said nearly 50 percent of the snake-removal calls he responds to are for creatures misidentified as poisonous.

Rattlesnakes, which range from approximately 8 inches to 5 feet long, are noticeably heavier than gopher snakes and have a detectable rattle at the end of their body.

A bite from such a snake can be fatal if not treated by an antivenin, an antitoxin to a venom. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that of the 800 rattlesnake bites reported annually, one to two cases result in death.

To avoid the harsher effects of a snakebite, rush the victim to a medical treatment facility, keep the area of the bite as still as possible and remove jewelry or objects that may contribute to swelling.

Contradicting the common instinct of some, do not apply a tourniquet, place ice on the bite, attempt to cut the wound to extract venom or allow the victim to drink alcohol.

Removing the rattler

Allen said he receives scores of snake calls in the spring and summer months. That’s when snakes emerge from hibernation and are on the prowl for food, particularly rodents and insects.

Rattlesnakes often navigate near homes, garages and backyard gardens because they provide accessible entry points, food and shelter, according to José Colomé, a community resources specialist for the Santa Clara County Vector Control District.

Two to three Los Altos-area residents per week call Allen to inquire about unwelcome snakes on their property. Removing a snake can take as little as 20 minutes, but the larger task is identifying a legal space for relocation that poses no public safety concerns or disruption to the biology of the habitat. To mitigate the problem, Allen has built a network of private landowners who welcome snakes on their property. He said some property owners consider rattlesnakes integral to controlling the population of ground squirrels, known to damage property.

For homeowners seeking a long-term solution for repelling rodents – and the snakes they attract – Allen conducts property inspections and designs physical barriers. Services generally range from $75 for a quick removal to several hundred dollars for inspections.

The vector control district does not provide emergency services, but technicians offer pest management advice.

To contact the vector control district, call (408) 918-4770 or visit sccgov.org/sites/vector.

To contact Allen, call (925) 997-3730 or visit gotsnakes.org.

Snake bite prevention

• Wear heavy boots and long pants when hiking or walking outdoors.

• Protect your feet, legs and arms – the most common locations of snakebites.

• Watch your step, especially when moving through tall brush or near rocks and other objects that provide shade cover.

• Never try to touch a snake or move closer to it for examination.

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