Wed07302014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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