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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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A royal pain in the neck

Pain in the neck and shoulder areas can be, pardon the pun, a real pain in the neck.

If you experience neck and shoulder pain, you’re not alone. Neck and shoulder pain are among the most common physical ailments adults suffer from these days – and with reason. Most of us spend our days enduring high stress levels, in sustained positions at the computer, while exhibiting poor posture. Unfortunately, these factors put us on the fast track to neck and shoulder tension.

The pain can be debilitating, but we can easily reverse the problem with proper training and focus. Pilates offers the essential tools to help eliminate neck and shoulder strain.

Poor posture

Most neck pain is attributable to poor posture. Many of us regularly spend hours sitting in front of a computer or driving. When we are in those sustained positions, we aren’t usually thinking about using good posture.

Poor posture can cause excessive fatigue in the neck muscles. Pilates can help to improve posture in a very engaging way by stretching and elongating the muscles surrounding the neck and spine. By stabilizing and improving endurance of the upper back muscles, we can improve posture and reduce pain in the neck and shoulders. Once these muscles are recruited and regularly engaged, proper posture becomes second nature.

The Pilates focus on engaging the core is another helpful way to get the neck and shoulder muscles to relax. Weakness in the deep muscles surrounding the core often results in leaning forward, thereby causing the neck and shoulder musculature to overwork. This compensation goes unnoticed until you build an awareness of your core muscles to restore proper muscle balance. By engaging your core and strengthening the deep abdominal muscles, you can effectively reduce tension in the neck and shoulders.

If you have taken Pilates classes, you are likely familiar with one of the biggest Pilates cues – tucking in your chin to make your neck long in the back. When your body is trained to maintain this position, you dramatically reduce the strain in your neck and shoulders. This exercise of neck lengthening helps to keep the deep neck muscles engaged, which is critical for proper muscle balance.

The muscles that surround the shoulder blades are a key part of this process. By dropping your shoulders down and back and making your neck long, your neck and shoulder muscles effectively rebalance. This positioning is essential for reducing strain and eliminating neck and shoulder pain.

Reducing the strain on the neck and shoulders is all about building awareness of the right muscles. We can easily eliminate the problem by gaining knowledge and learning how to recruit the muscles properly. Pilates prompts this level of awareness, allowing one to maintain long-term relief in the neck and shoulders and enjoy a pain-free existence.

Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist and Pilates instructor at PhysioFit Physical Therapy and Wellness in Los Altos. For more information, call 947-8500 or visit physiofitpt.com.

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