Mon01262015

Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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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

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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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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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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