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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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Los Altos to consider potential $2.1 million in unfunded liability for firefighters

The Los Altos City Council is scheduled to consider an unfunded pension liability for firefighters at its regular council meeting next Tuesday.

This liability could be for as much as $2.1 million.

"This did not just suddenly appear," said Layne Long, assistant to the Los Altos city manager, "but has existed for several years."

In January 1996, the city of Los Altos no longer had firefighters on its payroll because it had begun contracting for fire protection from the Santa Clara County Fire Department. So the city's contribution to the firefighter pension fund, PERS, changed.

In January 1999, the city received a letter from PERS saying that even though the firefighters were no longer employees, the city must still make a contribution, said City Manager Phil Rose. "That's the first time we were aware of a problem," Rose said.

In February 1999, the city sent a memo to PERS asking questions, including asking why, if there was a problem, it took two years to surface.

"We do have an obligation," Rose said, "but this is not news. What they told us in January, we told the council during the budget process that there was this unfunded liability. I don't know why there was two years of not knowing."

In July and again on Sept. 23, PERS responded to city questions.

PERS makes its calculation of a city's contribution based upon the city payroll.

When the firefighters went off the city payroll, the PERS calculation changed, Rose said. Yet the city still has an obligation to fund the retirement.

"Regardless of why it happened, we own it and are going to pay it," Rose said.

The city will owe $367,899 per year, Rose said, and it has 10 years to pay.

Long said there are still several issues that need to be resolved, one of which is the portion due from Los Altos Hills. The town contracted with Los Altos for fire protection prior to contracting with County Fire.

Long estimates the Los Altos Hills County Fire District will be responsible for approximately one-third of the contributions.

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