Wed05042016

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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Brown Act needed more than ever

July 4 isn't the only celebration of freedom this week. Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1953 Ralph M. Brown Act, which requires public bodies - such as city councils, county boards, city commissions, school boards and special districts - to post agendas at least 72 hours in advance before meeting.

The law basically shut the door on closed meetings and secret decisions by opening the door to the public for comment and participation.

Under the act, all regular meetings must be posted and open to the public. Mandating public notice for meetings came after one California city council voted themselves a pay raise without the public's knowledge.

Gov. Gray Davis considered changing the law during this year's budget crisis in order to save $9 million in payments to local governments for processing public meetings.

The change could could have meant more than a loss of notification.

The law holds public officials accountable and enables residents to participate in the decision-making process. Davis' proposal would essentially strip away the public's right to be informed and to speak up about public decisions.

Consider what might happen in Los Altos without the law: A movie theater at First and Main streets could have been decided over a latte at Starbucks; neighbors might not have known about the planned swimming pool complex at Rosita Park until the first hole was dug; and Bullis-Purissima School might have been bulldozed without the public's prior knowledge.

Given these scenarios, it's no surprise the reaction that some downtown merchants displayed at last week's Los Altos Council meeting regarding a parking permit plan that the council allegedly approved without their knowledge.

Merchants stormed city hall and demanded the council withhold a new permit plan until they had their say. Apparently, the city had used the county tax roll, that excluded most merchants, to notify building owners of a meeting about parking changes.

The council has added the parking issue to next week's agenda and will reconsider its decision pending merchant comments.

If Davis allows local governments to close their doors, our freedom and ability to protect ourselves from those sworn to serve us might be jeopardized.

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