Thu05052016

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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California mandates higher standards for renewable energy sources

Brown
Simitian

Environmental proponents got an early Earth Day present last week when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 2X, requiring private and public utilities to secure 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The new law and higher standard replaces utility companies’ current 20 percent renewable-energy-procurement target mandated under SB 107, which expired last year.

The governor’s signing is a coup for State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who authored both bills. The 33 percent mandate applies to all electricity retailers in California – investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and independent sellers – and puts the state at the forefront of the nation’s quest for clean energy.

“This bill establishes California as the national leader in the use and development of renewable energy,” Simitian said.

The bill aims to offer more benefits than a decreasing reliance on finite energy sources. Simitian said the mandate would bring investment dollars, tax revenues and jobs to California while addressing climate-change issues and improving air quality.

As executive director of the Independent Energy Producers Association, Jan Smutyny-Jones confirmed the potential for investment dollars flowing to the state.

“My members are creating jobs here in California today,” he said. “We have billions of dollars invested throughout California in biomass, in solar, in wind, in geothermal, and we’re looking to bring more of them here.”

And fresh air is always welcome, according to Peter Miller, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“With Senate Bill 2X, California is committed to build a diverse and resilient energy resource base that takes the threat of climate change seriously and brings the state closer to meeting its air pollution goals,” he said.

Moreover, Simitian said the bill protects consumers from the types of market manipulation and price-spikes that occurred in 2001 by diversifying energy sources.

“Fossil-fuel prices are going to keep heading up,” he said. “Renewable prices are headed down. I’m gratified that the governor has confirmed California’s long-term commitment to clean, green energy.”

The Public Utilities Commission must approve renewable energy contracts and utilities may be granted exemptions if the price of energy or the difficulty of moving it into the state’s grid make the cost excessive. For these reasons, the PUC’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates and consumer watchdog TURN (The Utility Reform Network) endorsed the bill.

Brown signed Simitian’s bill April 12 at SunPower Corp. and Flextronics International solar manufacturing plant in Milpitas. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu joined Brown and Simitian for the signing ceremony and dedication of SunPower’s new plant.

“This bill will ensure that California maintains its long-standing leadership in renewables and clean energy,” Brown said.

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