Thu05052016

News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

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 Road home April 27 and...

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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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The power of Pokémon: Local earns status of trading-card game champ

Photo Mary Beth Hislop/Town Crier

Eight-year-old Emily Cheng of Los Altos scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokmon prize kit and the coveted Pokmon trophy at the Pokmon Trading Card Game Regional Championships April 17.

It’s a game of high stakes – poker for little people – and the luck of the draw involves careful planning, comprehensive strategy and deliberate execution. It’s no place for whiskey and cigars.

And at the Pokémon Trading Card Game Santa Clara Regional Championships April 17, 8-year-old Los Altos resident Emily Cheng scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokémon prize kit and the coveted Pokémon trophy, which is prominently displayed in a china cabinet at home.

“This was my second tournament,” said Emily, a second-grader at Almond School.

Her second-place status in the tournament also netted her an opportunity to compete at the national level in Indianapolis at the end of June.

“We’re not sure if we’ll go,” said her father. “She has an invitation, and that’s terrific.”

It’s especially terrific considering Emily started playing the game in September.

“My old friend Rachel introduced me to the game,” Emily said. “She gave me my first Pokémon card – ‘Solrock.’ That’s how it all started.”

“She came home one day and wanted to play Pokémon,” Steve said.

Easier said than done. Learning the basics Рrules and strategies Рinvolved an Internet search. And then a search for fellow Pok̩mon aficionados.

“I don’t actually play with people at school,” Emily said.

But she did find a Pokémon League in Santa Clara that meets weekly to play the game and learn the strategies involved.

“We just had a great time meeting new people,” Steve said. “She just loved it.”

That first card is just the beginning.

“In Pokémon, you have to collect the cards,” Emily said. “‘Solrock’ is really special to me. Sadly, it was out of play (at the tournament).”

At the regional competition, Emily was paired with others in five games in the 11-year-old-and-younger category – called the Swiss round – securing a place in the finals after scoring four wins and one loss.

In the first of two final games that consisted of three rounds, Emily beat a 10-year-old.

“She actually beat the top-seeded player from the Swiss round,” Steve said.

In her final competition with an 11-year-old champ, Emily lost the first round, won the second and came close in the third.

“It was a real nail-biter,” Steve said. “He was really pushed to the limit.”

For those not in the know, Pokémon originated in Japan as “pocket monsters,” animated creatures encapsulated by their trainers who cared for them and prepared them to compete in sporting events. The Pokémon evolve as they gain experience, becoming stronger and accumulating powers while their trainers earn badges and acclimation as they attain rank in Pokémon competitions.

Pokémon has since captured worldwide attention as an enduring fad that has evolved into Nintendo Game Boy games, a comic book series, movies, a video game and the trading card game. But don’t let its “game” designation fool you.

“It’s very complicated,” Steve said. “As a parent, I can appreciate that the game has some great aspects. It’s fun to play, and it really makes you think with the elements of strategy and planning.”

It’s even more difficult to explain.

But Emily doesn’t allow the game to interfere with academics – she loves science and is currently entranced with studying the behaviors of crayfish.

In the meantime, she has passed her love of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to family, one of whom also participated in the regional tournament.

“My cousin got sixth place,” Emily said.

Her advice to up-and-coming Pokémon players: “I would say they should start with a World Championship deck and take a month to add to it.”

It also helped to have a mentor from the Pokémon League, Brian, who is in the know when it comes to the powers of each Pokémon card. Emily’s secret weapon – “Claydol.”

“It has a special power,” she said. “It is one of the most reliable ways to get cards in and out of your hands.”

Emily’s enthusiasm for the game may convince her parents it’s worth a trip to Indianapolis. And if she scores big there, the 2010 Pokémon World Championships are scheduled in August in Honolulu.

For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.

Contact Mary Beth Hislop at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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