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News

West Nile fogging commences today

West Nile fogging commences today


Courtesy of the Santa Clara County Vector Control District
Fogging commences Wednesday within the highlighted area.

The detection of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos means that Santa Clara County officials will begin mosquito fogging operations...

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Schools

LASD trustees reopen negotiations with Los Altos Teachers Association

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees last week directed staff to reopen negotiations with the Los Altos Teachers Association, a move intended to shore up the district’s financial picture.

According to the district’s current co...

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Community

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Alexandra McCarthy, crowned Miss Golden State Teen in July, earned “Ms. Personality” honors from her peers.

Alexandra McCarthy has a ways to go before reaching her coveted role as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Bu...

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Sports

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior running back Patrick Vargas snares a pass in practice last week.

Don’t dismiss the Eagles. Coach Trevor Pruitt is adamant that his Los Altos High football team will be better than expected.

&#...

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Comment

Car spotting 2015: A Piece of My Mind

When I was a kid, September was exciting, almost like Christmas, because that was when the Big Three automakers would reveal the new models for the upcoming year.

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Special Sections

Loving on the Edge

Loving on the Edge


Courtesy of Ford
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2015. Ford lengthened the wheel base and added cargo space, among other things. The Titanium model sells for approximately $42,000.

Once in a while, a vehicle we test-drive is just right for our...

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Business

Wine bar aims for October opening

Wine bar aims for October opening


Rendering courtesy of Honcho
Honcho, the wine and beer lounge on First Street, expects an October launch. A rendering of the space reveals the interior layout, which includes bar and lounge-style seating.

A downtown libations lounge that anticip...

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People

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

November, 1928

Lois lost a long and courageous battle with a prolonged illness on July 14th, 2015. She passed away knowing how well she was loved. She was always the life of the party and loved bringing everyone to her home for dinner or an event,...

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Travel

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades


Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 n...

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Stepping Out

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” includes, from left, Marjorie Hazeltine (as Hermia), Kristin Walter (Jean) and Adrienne Walters (Carlotta).

Los Altos Stage Company opens its ...

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Spiritual Life

Inside Mountain View

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for "Corners Grove"


Courtesy of Undiscovered Countries
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin received a New York arts festival award for a featured role in “Corners Grove,” a play she wrote.

New York recognized that one of Mountain View’s own can “make it there” when the Planet C...

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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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