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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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Student offers help to homeless with lactose intolerance

8.31.2013 LactaseProject-3023small
Ellie Van  Houtte/Town Crier
After being diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance, Kenlyn Mirbach started the
Lactase Project to help others without the means to afford lactase pills.

Kenlyn Mirbach, 17, can relate to being sick with an upset stomach.

The lactose-intolerant Los Altos Hills teen has often suffered such uncomfortable symptoms as a result of her condition, which causes difficulty digesting the sugar in dairy products like milk and cheese. She takes lactase pills, which contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of dairy products.

Now she wants to help others affected by the condition who can’t afford the medication by providing lactase pills to the homeless.

“If I didn’t have the means to go to the doctor, get the pills and eat less lactose, I would still be getting sick every time,” said Mirbach of how something as simple as a 20-cent pill relieves her discomfort and reduces stress in her life.

With help from her parents and her rabbi at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Mirbach laid the groundwork for the Lactase Project, an effort to educate and provide resources on lactose intolerance to those living in local shelters. Armed with money from her bat mitzvah fund and a $200 loan from her parents, she underwrote the initial costs of the project.

“At first a lot of the programs would say this isn’t a problem,” said Mirbach of one of her earliest hurdles – general apathy from shelters and nonprofit agencies. “It’s very obvious that at least one person served during a three-month stay will be lactose intolerant.”

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, as many as 40 million Americans experience lactose intolerance. The clearinghouse also estimates that up to 90 percent of Asian Americans and 75 percent of African Americans, Jews, Mexicans and Native Americans are resistant to dairy products.

Mirbach bolstered her knowledge of lactose intolerance and organized her program to appeal to nonprofit organizations with limited staff and financial resources.

Her outreach efforts paid off when the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto incorporated her project into its work at the end of 2012. To date, approximately 10 clients have received pills, and the reaction to the project has been positive.

“It’s important to know about (lactose intolerance) and learn about it,” Mirbach said. “Even if you don’t get the pills or stop taking the pills, it’s important information to have about yourself, even if you leave the shelter.”

Reflecting on her growth through her work with the Lactase Project, Mirbach said she plans to recruit likeminded teens to expand her organization.

“I realize that as one girl, I can’t go around the country to homeless shelters and say, ‘Do this,’” she said. “I really think this program could be helpful all over the nation and the world. … I know teenagers who want to help but don’t know what to do.”

For more information, visit lactaseproject.org.

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