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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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Seniors are getting ripped off by contractors again

In recognition of Older Californians Month, May 1997, the Contractors State License Board reminds California senior citizens to get a copy of "What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor."

An unlicensed contractor ripped off an elderly homeowner in the Bay Area recently when he took $14,000 for a room addition, abandoned the job and skipped the state.

If the woman had read about the brochure's advice to hire only licensed contractors, she could have avoided him altogether.

General advice is don't be a victim. Be aware that seniors have been targeted by scam artists posing as contractors.

The brochure offers the following advice.

Deal only with licensed contractors.

Don't rush into repairs, no matter how badly they are needed.

Don't hire the first contractor who comes along.

Ask to see the contractor's "pocket license" or home improvement sales registration. All contractors are issued pocket licenses which show the type of trade for which they are licensed and expiration date of license.

The Contractors State License Board receives approximately 30,000 complaints each year against building contractors, of which 25 percent are aimed at unlicensed contractors.

Less than half of the complainants thoroughly checked the contractor's qualifications before hiring them.

Call the Contractors State License Board, (800) 321-2752, to verify the information provided by the bidding contractor.

Be prepared with the contractor's name, license number and business address.

Another piece of advice is to get at least three bids, and ask for references from work the contractor has completed in the Los Altos/Mountain View area.

The Contractors State License Board, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses and regulates the 277,000 building contractors in California and promotes the general welfare of the public in matters related to building construction.

Some financial advice to follow:

Don't pay cash.

Don't let the payments get ahead of the work completed, and don't pay the full cost of the job up front.

Do know how much to give as a deposit. Under state law, when undertaking a home improvement or repair job, contractors cannot ask for a deposit of more than 10 percent of the total cost of a job or $1,000, whichever is less, unless the contractor provides a bond, approved bond equivalent or approved joint control ensuring completion of your contract.

Do require a written contract and don't sign it until you fully understand the terms.

If you have a complaint against a contractor call the Board at (800) 321-2752.

To receive a copy of "What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor," call the Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752.

You can also write them at P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento 95826.

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