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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Updated 11:28 a.m.:

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill R...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Flip burgers with Mother Nature: Going green at the grill

Photo Elliott Burr/Town CrierThe smell of burning charcoal and meat cooking on the grill is a sign of spring as Allyson Saca barbecues in Los Altos great for the tummy but not so great for ground-level ozone.

 

ARAContent

 

Each spring, millions of outdoor cooking enthusiasts dust off the grill in anticipation of another fun-filled summer of backyard barbecues. But at what cost to the environment? According to Sierra magazine, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July in the United States consume enough energy – in the forms of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas and electricity – to power 20,000 households for a year.

If this statistic has your grilling outlook going from sunny to overcast, don’t panic. It’s quite easy to minimize your environmental impact while grilling by taking a few simple steps that won’t diminish your experience. Yes, you too can grill green, and these simple tips will help get your grill on while keeping Mother Earth on your good side. After all, charcoal has been in use since the days of Henry Ford – but you’re not still driving a Model T, are you?

One of the biggest factors in grilling green is the fuel source used to grill. All grilling fuels use natural resources and emit pollutants into the environment, but some do so at a much higher rate than others. Charcoal grills and lighter fluids contribute more to ground-level ozone, produced when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic chemicals combine in hot-weather conditions. In addition, charcoal produces more carbon monoxide and particulates than other grilling options.

Though gas grills offer one of the quickest ways to barbecue, gas grills are expensive. Liquid propane gas is a nonrenewable fossil fuel and many a barbecue has been put on hold due to empty propane-tank syndrome. But charcoal and gas aren’t the only fuel sources to consider when grilling. Recent innovations in the industry have opened the door to a greener grilling experience.

One such innovation is the FlameDisk – a charcoal alternative made from solid ethanol, a renewable biofuel. Food grilled on the FlameDisk tastes as if it were grilled over charcoal, but this eco-friendly grill fuel emits 99 percent less carbon monoxide and 91 percent fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than grilling with charcoal. Plus, the byproducts created when ethanol is burned include only water and a modest amount of carbon dioxide. Unlike lighter fluid and propane gas, the FlameDisk is not derived from nonrenewable petroleum.

Wood is another green fuel option, but like charcoal it burns dirty, producing tiny soot particles that pollute the air and can cause health problems. However, ash from wood can be disposed of in the garden, and is a greener option when obtained from a sustainable source like hickory or mesquite – charcoal ashes aren’t garden friendly disposables.

Your selection of grilling accessories determines how much impact your grilling experience has on the environment. Using real plates and silverware adds some class to a cookout, and you’ll be reducing your waste by avoiding paper and plastic.

Many highly biodegradable disposable options have recently become available on the market. If you’re wrapping food in aluminum foil, consider using 100-percent recycled aluminum.

Cleanup can be both easy and green when you use natural cleaners, many of which you can make safely and affordably in your own kitchen using common ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and water.

While charcoal reigned supreme in the days of Henry Ford, there’s no reason the modern-day barbecue can’t save the earth – one burger or tofu dog at a time. Nobody expects you to cook your next turkey in a solar oven, but it’s good sense to consider grilling green as an eco-friendly barbecue option in the 21st century. It may not be as green as switching to a hybrid car, but reducing our carbon footprints can make a difference over time.

For more information, visit www.FlameDisk.com.

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