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News

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

The Los Altos Police Department received a call from a local resident reporting a suspicious vehicle in the area of Lockhaven and Stonehaven drives in Los Altos at 9 a.m. Monday. The resident, who reported that his mail was possibly stolen, provided ...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show


Courtesy of Bev Harada
Chi Am Circle members, from left, Gerrye Wong, Sylvia Eng, Pearl Lee and Muriel Kao flank Larry Chu Sr. at the Jan. 31 event honoring the club’s 50th and Chef Chu’s 45th anniversaries.

Chef Chu’s restaurant in Los Altos ho...

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Comment

Freedom's just another word: No Shoes, Please

It used to be that the word “freedom” held exclusively positive connotations for me, but now it’s really become a mixed bag. It all started in 2001 when President George W. Bush asked the question he felt was on the minds of most Americans regarding ...

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Special Sections

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts  classes, events and tours

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts classes, events and tours


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Scenes from Filoli: The historic estate in Woodside is a welcoming sanctuary for visitors. The grounds offer a rotating display of seasonal flowers, a tranquil reflecting pool and paths that wend through the 16-acre Engl...

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Business

Stock volatility still confusing

The market opened down more than 100 points Friday but by noon rose more than 130, the form of volatility that quickly draws investors’ attention. By week’s end, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial aver...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

CHRIS A. KENISON

CHRIS A. KENISON

Feb 13, 1945-Feb 6, 2015

Resident of Los Altos

Chris was born in Georgia and moved to Oklahoma as a young child. He grew up there and moved to California in 1965. He developed a strong work ethic from his grandparents and parents. He attended the...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

'Park' in the hills

'Park' in the hills


courtesy of Foothill Music Theatre
Dot (Katie Nix) imagines her dream job as a follies dancer in the Foothill Music Theatre production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” The play runs through March 8.

Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Su...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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ECH Cancer Center rocks out rooms with art makeovers


photo courtesy of El Camino Hospital
Nancy Ballard’s Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo transformed rooms at El Camino Hospital’s Cancer Center. Dr. Shane Dormady, with patient Amanda Cardenas, is all smiles at an Aug. 5 room dedication ceremony.

Nancy Ballard wasn’t looking for another project – she was already a published author, retired businesswoman, mother of three and grandmother of three more.

But when the botanical illustrator from San Francisco was asked to donate her services to help liven up the chemotherapy rooms at El Camino Hospital’s Cancer Center, she took one glance at the drab, stiflingly sterile walls and knew she found her next calling.

“I just couldn’t let the rooms stay that way,” said Ballard, founder of the nonprofit Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo. “They were completely not conducive to healing. I had to do something.”

The hospital hosted a dedication ceremony Aug. 5 for the four redecorated rooms, thanks to Ballard and others. Bonnie J. Addario, founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, personally funded the project. Art.com donated wall art and framing supplies for the rooms.

Rocking on

Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo has redecorated 86 rooms at 10 hospitals in multiple countries.

Organizers recruit local designers and volunteers, resulting in different teams for each project. Many of the organization’s dedicated volunteers hail from the Bay Area.

MaryAnn Ho, a former lab manager and classmate of Ballard’s in their botanical illustration class, helped with the stenciling on the walls of El Camino’s examination rooms.

“We’re really impressed by Nancy’s project,” Ho said. “I’m really glad I got to help out.”

Ballard has set her sights on a number of other facilities, including a children’s hospital in El Salvador. She’s also visiting China soon.

“As long as there’s the tiniest thing I can do to make life a little better for the patients, I’ll do it,” Ballard said at the dedication ceremony. “I’ll just keep knocking on doors.”

All about the patients

Ballard has discovered that it’s no easy task informing hospital officials that their facilities need a makeover.

Research has long shown that patients’ mental health and morale are vital to their recoveries and that their environment plays a role in the healing process. Patients have an easier time maintaining their spirits when surrounded by a warm, relaxing atmosphere, as opposed to the cold, drab walls in most hospitals.

Shane Dormady, M.D., an oncologist and El Camino Hospital’s Cancer Center medical director, said he believes in the power of environment.

“My philosophy as a cancer specialist is that patients have better outcomes when their heart, mind and body are united in fighting the disease,” he said. “Guided imagery helps foster positive thoughts that in turn help the treatment.”

El Camino’s refurbished rooms have elevated the moods of everyone involved, including Amanda Cardenas, 35, a patient of Dormady’s who was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer last December and has endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy in the past week alone.

“For me, the hardest thing was always the what-ifs,” Cardenas said. “In these rooms, your mind can center, and you can ground yourself.”

El Camino staff take pride in focusing on the patient’s experience, and the remodeled rooms are a testament to the hospital’s holistic approach to patient care.

“We want patient-centered care at every turn, and this is really about the patients,” said Kimberly Beck, senior specialist for the hospital’s communications and media.

Hospital officials have high hopes for the rooms and their impact on patients.

“If you see the rooms, they emphasize life,” Dormady said. “Intense conversations happen in these rooms – talk about life or death. These rooms have the power to elevate people and keep them optimistic, which you have to do as a cancer patient.”

For more information, visit roomsthatrock4chemo.us.

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