Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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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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Two new state laws affect home-care services for seniors

Two new bills passed in last fall’s state legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown promise to have an immediate and long-term effect on California’s senior population.

AB241: Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

With our rapidly aging population and 90 percent of California’s seniors wishing to remain at home as they age, home-care aide is among the top five fastest-growing job occupations. These workers provide care to hundreds of thousands of seniors and disabled Californians every day. Historically, these workers have been exempt from overtime pay, but effective Jan. 1, they are eligible for overtime pay after nine hours in a day and 45 hours in a week.

On the surface, this change may not appear to be substantial. It’s hard to argue against providing overtime to any workers. Indeed, the net effect to seniors who require hourly care during the day should be minimal – perhaps a 5-10 percent increase in cost. However, a large number of California seniors and disabled require live-in care. Unfortunately, the new law did not take these situations into account, because all pay after the ninth hour in a 24-hour day must be paid at time and a half. It is essentially a 50 percent increase in cost for nearly two-thirds of the hours worked.

This seemingly small change in the law has prompted an immediate increase of 30 percent or more in the cost of live-in care. The law applies both to privately hired caregivers and those hired through an agency.

Interestingly, however, the state exempted itself from its own law. The hundreds of thousands of aides employed by the state through In-Home Supportive Services will not be paid overtime because the cost to the state would have been hundreds of millions of dollars.

AB241 expires in three years unless renewed. In the interim, Brown is setting up a committee to review the impact of the bill. I encourage you to write the governor and/or your state representatives to let them know your thoughts. See the sidebar on page 41 for contact information.

AB1217: Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act

After several attempts over the past seven years, legislators finally passed a bill to require licensure and oversight of organizations providing nonmedical in-home care to seniors. The law doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, which provides time to implement the regulations in a thoughtful way that promotes safety for consumers and professionalism of the home-care aide occupation in general.

For agencies like mine, Homecare California, the requirements are the same that have been practiced for years – thorough screening and criminal background checking of employees, liability insurance and theft bonding of aides, tuberculosis screening and caregiver training.

But AB1217 adds mechanisms to check the status of both home-care agencies and consumers as well as the status of their aides on a state website much like they can do today for a nursing home, nurse or nurse assistant.

And while there will be substantial costs to home-care agencies to support the program, I believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. For example, aides can be fingerprinted once and those results can be shared among agencies. Today, each agency has to perform its own background checks, and there is inconsistency to the extent each agency performs its check. Homecare California fingerprints its aides, whereas some agencies use the aide’s Social Security number and last-known address.

California can set the example for a well-thought-out implementation of licensure that puts consumers first and then balances the needs of workers and organizations that employ them to promote a steady flow of professional, well-trained aides to keep costs to seniors from rising too rapidly.

If you have questions about how these laws may affect your individual situation, feel free to contact me and we can discuss which provisions you may want to put into place to ensure that you comply with the new state laws.

Greg Hartwell is founder and CEO of Homecare California, a Los Altos-based in-home caregiving agency. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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