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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Become your own health-care advocate

Some may call it Obama- care, but its official name is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While there has been a lot of fuss made over it, it is now the law. And it is arguably the biggest overhaul of the American health-care system since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

States opened exchanges Oct. 1 to sell health policies to millions of previously uninsured Americans. Along with increased access to health care, the law also prevents Americans from being excluded from coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and coverage may no longer be rescinded because of health conditions. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, and women cannot be charged more than men. With millions entering the health-care system and mandatory coverage for prevention and wellness services, it is safe to say that both providers and patients will feel the law’s effect.

Undoubtedly, the need for people to become their own health-care advocates will be even more critical. The responsibility for making medical decisions is now shared between provider and patient. The era of the authoritarian doctor who “knows best” is over. Being able to talk with one’s doctor is a cornerstone of successful health care and essential for making the best medical decisions.

Two new books on the shelves of Stanford Hospital Health Library can help patients understand and communicate with their doctors.

The first is “Get Inside Your Doctor’s Head: 10 Commonsense Rules for Making Better Decisions about Medical Care” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). As medical science becomes more complicated, it becomes more important for patients to understand what the doctor is saying and doing. Author Phillip K. Peterson, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, offers insight into how doctors think about complex medical issues. He writes in plain language without using medical jargon, so the book is easy to understand.

The book is valuable for both patients and physicians. The 10 “rules” originally were written to help doctors make medical decisions, but Peterson realized that they were equally useful for laypeople. The rules can help patients weigh recommended diagnostic tests and treatments as well as improve doctor-patient communication. Rule 1: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do anything.”

The Internet has put medical information at our fingertips, but in many ways, this has made decision making more difficult. There is so much information out there that it can be daunting for the average person to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information. This little book turns common sense into 10 simple rules that empower patients to participate in their own health-care decisions.

“Talking to Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Communication in the Exam Room and Beyond” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) focuses on nurturing the “healthy conversation” between doctor and patient. Author Zackary Berger, M.D., believes that patient-provider relationships are at the core of health-care reform. Berger, a physician and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, writes about the importance of communication in medicine.

“Talking to Your Doctor” teaches readers how to navigate a doctor’s office visit. Each chapter explores an aspect of patient care that may challenge effective communication. Berger gives valuable and practical suggestions to help patients overcome these challenges. Readers learn how to communicate when feeling intimidated, uncomfortable, undereducated, nervous or embarrassed. Among the subjects discussed are making the most of limited time in the exam room, telling your story and negotiating an agenda. The book teaches patients how to operate within the culture of the limited resources that permeate health care today.

Both books can be found on the shelves of Stanford Health Library. The main branch is located at Hoover Pavilion, 211 Quarry Road, Suite 201. Other branches are located on the first floor of Stanford Hospital and the main level of Stanford’s Cancer Center.

Nancy Dickenson is head librarian at Stanford Health Library. For more information, call 725-8400, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit healthlibrary.stanford.edu.

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