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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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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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A celebration like no other: Hospital hosts Neonatal Intensive Care Unit annual reunion


El Camino Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse Gilda Primero, right, reunites with Monica Kough and Danny Kaea, holding son Eli, Sept. 7.

A recent reunion of graduates in Mountain View had absolutely nothing to do with diplomas. In fact, some of these graduates still wear diapers.

In what has become an annual tradition for the past 19 years, El Camino Hospital hosted a reunion of former patients – or “graduates” – and the staff of its 20-bed, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The Sept. 7 gathering, according to NICU Clinical Manager Jody Charles, RN, was among the largest ever hosted by the hospital – more than 200 families of premature babies shared memories, hugs and laughs with Charles’ NICU staff. Charles noted that the annual get-together serves as her staff’s reward for their tireless efforts in nursing preterm babies to health.

“It was so much fun,” Charles said. “It’s very heartwarming for us to see the families and see where they’re at. … It’s a bit of a mutual admiration society.”

Positive outcomes

The reunion included San Jose resident Monica Kough and her 17-month-old son, Eli. Like other families at the event, Kough credited the hospital’s NICU staff for turning what was a dire situation into a positive outcome.

During her 28th week of pregnancy, Kough said her worst fears came true when her uterus ruptured. What made the situation especially critical, she noted, was the fact that she gave birth to her son, Ty, at 23 weeks into pregnancy one year earlier at El Camino’s NICU. He lived just 20 minutes.

According to the March of Dimes, preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the U.S. More than half a million babies are born prematurely each year. In California, more than 58,000 babies are born prematurely annually.

This time around, Kough again found herself at the NICU undergoing an emergency C-section. Underdeveloped because of his premature birth, Eli spent 68 days in the NICU and learned functions most full-term babies gain during the 36th week of pregnancy, such as sucking, swallowing and breathing simultaneously. He also received three blood transfusions during his stay at the hospital.

“It was the scariest experience of my life,” said Kough, who later became a March of Dimes Ambassador – a first among El Camino NICU families – to help her cope with the loss of Ty and help others. “I couldn’t help but have flashbacks from my previous experience.”

Kough said it was the hospital’s NICU staff that made the ultimate difference for her family. She noted that the unit’s medical professionals – from nurses to doctors and everyone in between – remained patient and compassionate with her, despite facing a barrage of medical questions and other expressed concerns.

“I don’t know how I would’ve made it out of there sanely without them,” Kough said of the hospital’s NICU staff. “You go into it thinking, ‘How can I ever leave and go home to sleep?’ … They treat you like a human being. That’s exactly what you need in that situation.”

“It’s a lot of conversations and a lot of repeating,” added Charles regarding handling patients and family members in the NICU. “I often remind them that we will have the same conversation a lot of times, and that’s OK. … I always tell people that we’re here to help them exhale.”

These days, Kough said, Eli is “thriving like any 17-month-old.” Kough now visits the NICU on occasion with Eli and said she’s always welcomed “with open arms and a ‘please come in.’”

Lifelong bonds

Charles noted that experiences like Kough’s often have an effect on her and her staff. At times, it’s not just the mothers and fathers who shed tears, but the staff’s nurses and physicians as well. On countless occasions, Charles said she’s seen doctors stay up all night tending to struggling babies. Those experiences, she added, create lifelong bonds between her staff and the families they serve.

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s OK, but the people who do it are extremely passionate about it,” she said. “It’s extremely rewarding to our staff to see that they make a difference. We are a part of those families for the rest of their lives. … We’re here for any baby.”

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