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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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El Camino Hospital institutes restrictions to protect patients, visitors from influenza


Diego Abeloos/
Town Crier Recently enacted visitation restrictions protect patients and visitors during flu season.

A robust flu season has led El Camino Hospital to take additional steps to protect its patients and visitors.

Hospital officials last week enacted visitation restrictions at its Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses prohibiting children under the age of 16 from visiting patients. Dr. Caroline Stratz, who practices at the hospital’s adult and senior health clinics, told the Town Crier that the restrictions were instituted to help combat the spread of influenza by young visitors.

“Children are just more likely to get sick and spread the flu,” said Stratz, who noted that flu season typically runs from December through March. “We just want to prevent our patients from being exposed to the flu. … When the number of cases rises, the restrictions are implemented as a protective mechanism.”

Of particular concern to health professionals is the emergence of the H1N1 flu strain – known more commonly as the swine flu – which can ultimately develop into viral pneumonia in severe cases, according to Stratz. As previously reported by the Town Crier, Santa Clara County health officials attributed four county fatalities to the H1N1 virus.

Stratz noted that while seniors are typically most at risk during any given year, the H1N1 strain has made this flu season more challenging because it poses a threat to all age groups.

“It doesn’t discriminate between age groups – it affects the young just as much as the elderly,” said Stratz, who added that most people with the flu virus are actually contagious one day before symptoms appear – and five to seven days after.

Stratz said getting a flu vaccination is a critical step in gaining protection. This year’s vaccine, she noted, has been particularly effective in protecting against the H1N1 virus. In addition, Stratz recommends tried and true methods of protection and prevention, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, and covering the nose and mouth area when sneezing or coughing.

“Washing your hands is probably one of the greatest ways we can prevent the flu – aside from getting the flu shot itself,” she noted.

As for those who currently have the flu, Stratz stressed that the road to recovery is simple – get plenty of rest and drink fluids.

“And if you’re still not feeling well, you really don’t want to push yourself to go back to work,” she added. “You don’t want to be potentially exposing everyone else in your office to that.”

Flu season impacts blood donations

The heightened flu season has had a negative impact in other ways. Last week, officials at the Stanford School of Medicine Blood Center announced a critical shortage of whole blood and platelet donations.

Reached by the Town Crier, Blood Center spokeswoman Deanna Bolio said that while the organization’s inventory stock usually “tends to be lower” in January, this year’s supply is even lower than normal. She noted that the shortage is partly attributable to cancellations by donors falling ill with the flu.

“We actually have started to do some rationing because our supply is so low, even more so than in past years,” said Bolio, who added that the center’s three locations in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Menlo Park are currently accepting walk-ins to donate blood. “We always experience a few cancellations, but they’ve definitely been higher than normal.”

For more information on flu prevention, visit elcaminohospital.org.

For more information on donating blood, visit bloodcenter.stanford.edu.

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