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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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In search of natural remedies for allergy relief


Photo By: Courtesy of Ted Ray
Photo Courtesy Of Ted Ray

Quercetin, a plant compound, may offer natural relief for allergy sufferers.

An estimated 40 million Americans suffer with allergy symptoms. According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation’s 2013 Spring Allergy Capitals report, San Jose ranks 88th among the 100 most challenging places to live in the U.S. for allergy sufferers, just behind San Francisco at 84th. The region’s ranking on the list indicates that the Los Altos area can expect high pollen counts.

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander. The immune system, designed to protect the body from foreign invaders, makes antibodies to combat such substances. Antibodies then trigger an immune response that can result in a skin rash or mucous production in the sinuses and airways.

The allergy medications on the market fall into three main categories: corticosteroids, antihistamines and decongestants. Steroids shrink the mucous membranes involved with secretions, antihistamines seek to calm the immune response and decongestants work to dry things up.

As with most conditions, there are both short- and long-term approaches to treating allergies. Medications may provide significant relief in the short term, but they do little to address the underlying improper immune response. An ideal approach strengthens the immune system while controlling symptoms. I chose the latter path to address my allergy symptoms.

Studying agribusiness at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I experienced firsthand the dangers of the campus’ fields and orchards. Not only was I a fish out of water – I was raised in Sherman Oaks, the son of a life-insurance salesman – but I was also suffering miserably with allergies. Perhaps this was natural selection at work!

To control my symptoms, a doctor prescribed an oral antihistamine, a nasal steroid, a decongestant and an inhaler for exercise-induced asthma. This combination of medications just barely kept my symptoms at bay. I was grateful to have any help at all, as I’m not sure I could have endured spring quarter without the relief the medications provided.

A decade later, studying Chinese medicine in San Francisco, I used Chinese herbs to supplement my allergy medications and eventually discontinued medications. I took anti-allergy herbs for two more years before eliminating my allergies altogether. Today, if I do get allergies, I can control them quickly with natural options.

According to Chinese medicine theory, certain foods can increase seasonal allergies. Coffee in particular – perhaps because of its effect on the adrenal glands – can magnify allergy symptoms. Refined sugars can weaken the immune system, and dairy is well known for its ability to increase mucous production.

In my office, I often use a combination of herbs, tailored to the individual, to address allergy symptoms. A number of herbs may be worth exploring as alternatives to antihistamine medications. I commonly prescribe Stinging Nettles, Chinese Skullcap root, Magnolia flower, Feverfew leaf (except in pregnancy) and Echinacea root.

One of my favorite products for allergies is Quercetin, a plant compound known as a bioflavonoid that works to stabilize the cell membrane of histamine cells, preventing them from breaking open so easily. When histamine cells break open, they release their contents and trigger the common allergy symptoms of sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose. Quercetin, often combined with bromelain and vitamin C, can be found at local health-food stores.

Ted Ray is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in private practice in Mountain View. For more information, call 564-9002 or visit www.peninsulaacupuncture.com.

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