Mon09152014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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