Thu12182014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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