Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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Flu season enters full swing, particularly for the young


COURTESY OF CDC
Flu viruses can swap ribonucleoproteins, depicted above as green squiggles, one of two ways new strains emerge from existing virus types. Health agencies track the emergence of new strains and try to update vaccines to match each year’s most common strains.

The flu has arrived, but the seasonal scourge bears some good news this year – those who got a flu shot should be protected.

“So far this year the vast majority of the flu is covered by the H1N1 vaccine,” said Dr. Charles Weiss, a physician with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) try to guess what’s going to be the most prevalent strain, and they’ve done a pretty good job.”

This year’s dominant strain, H1N1, caused pandemic illness in 2009. It earned the moniker “swine flu” because the respiratory virus had already been circulating in pigs. Since 2009, H1N1 has continued to crop up in humans but not necessarily as the most common flu virus. Last year, a variant, H3N2, dominated among those tested for flu. The varieties of flu surging in a given year can make a difference – not all types behave the same way.

“A lot of the damage is done by the H3N2 in seniors, and the H1N1 that we’ve had since the 2009 pandemic seems to be tougher on kids, young adults and middle-aged adults, not seniors,” Weiss explained.

The medical community hasn’t fully determined why the different strains of the virus strike different parts of the population, but seniors may be protected from H1N1 by immunity to a similar strain gained decades ago. Seniors are also more than twice as likely to get vaccinated than 18- to 49-year-olds. And young people who become seriously ill may have a vulnerability to the virus that is not yet well understood.

Local impact

As of Monday, four people had died of the H1N1 infection in Santa Clara County in this year’s outbreak, three people in their sixties and a 41-year-old woman. Medical providers have confirmed 13 cases of severe flu thus far this season that occurred in people under 65 and were serious enough to require hospitalization in an intensive-care unit.

“The scary part for a lot of people is that some of these are healthy young adults. The theme that seems to run through all of them, whether they have underlying disorders or not, is that most of them did not get vaccinated,” Weiss said. “Not being vaccinated puts you at risk. I think that the 18- to 50-year-old group thinks they don’t need it. Some years that’s closer to true, but this year it’s not true. Their old friend from 2009 is back with a vengeance.”

According to the CDC, flu activity typically peaks in the U.S. in January or February, though the season can begin as early as October and stretch as late as May.

“We started to see a trickle in mid-December, and really it’s just the last two weeks that it has picked up considerably,” Weiss said of the Bay Area.

The Public Health Department urges residents to get a flu vaccination if they haven’t already. Flu vaccine is still available at local pharmacies and is particularly recommended for people at risk of developing serious complications if they are stricken with the flu. That includes pregnant women, children younger than 5, people older than 65 and those with medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation offers a preservative-free, latex-free flu vaccine to its patients.

Healthy people who do contract a flulike illness are advised to stay at home until their fever has been gone for 24 hours. Contact a physician if symptoms include shortness of breath, a fever greater than 102 F or a fever that lasts more than a few days.

The influenza virus is divided into three types, labeled A, B and C. Together, they’re responsible for the seasonal surge in flu infections. Both H1N1 and H3N2 are influenza A viruses. The H1N1 variant that emerged in 2009 (often called “2009 H1N1”) caused the first pandemic in more than 40 years. It has predominantly replaced its predecessors in circulation. This year’s quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against both types of influenza A and two types of influenza B.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/flu.

Flu prevention

Flu viruses are spread mainly through the droplets produced by coughing, sneezing or talking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy adults can spread the virus for a day before and five to seven days after becoming sick. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body.

• Cover your cough: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• Wash your hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.

• Avoid spreading germs: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Try to refrain from close contact with anyone who is sick.

• Stay home if you are sick: If you are sick with flulike symptoms, stay home from work or school.

Source: Santa Clara County Public Health Department

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