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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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