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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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Pinewood aims for campus upgrade


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Pinewood School addresses issues such as vehicle queuing with a proposed upgrade for its campus at 327 Fremont Ave.

The Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission is scheduled to review plans to upgrade Pinewood School’s middle campus at 327 Fremont Ave. Aug. 2, according to Pinewood President Scott Riches.

The now-defunct Architecture and Site Review Committee recommended approval of the private school’s plan in late June.

According to a city staff report, the upgrade requires the demolition of six on-campus buildings comprising slightly more than 8,000 square feet. Five new one-story buildings totaling more than 17,000 square feet would replace those buildings, Riches said. The plans also would add a two-lane driveway spanning the front of the school for a student drop-off and pickup area.

The administration building – the former home of Riches’ grandparents, Gwen and Victor Riches – would remain intact, as would the theater building, Riches said.

He noted that the upgrade is necessary because of the cramped environment and added that they redesigned the school in conformance with the “look and feel” of the surrounding residential neighborhood.

“We wanted to take into consideration the school’s needs and at the same time design a campus to meet the neighbors’ needs as well,” said Riches, who noted that the school does not intend to increase its current 175-student enrollment.

Riches said the school hosted five community meetings to discuss the design with surrounding residents and met individually with several in addition. The result, he said, includes a U-shaped design for the new buildings that should help shield the surrounding homes from noise pollution and resolve other concerns such as parking.

“We really collaborated with the neighbors and tried to solve screening, noise and queuing issues,” said Riches, adding that the plan calls for 29 onsite parking spaces and the closure of a school entrance on Bellevue Court to discourage student drop-offs there.

Still, the longtime Pinewood president concedes that not everyone is on board with the proposed upgrade.

Part of the redevelopment plan calls for the incorporation of an adjacent 0.89-acre residential property, which served as the former headmaster’s home. A handful of nearby residents, who want it to remain a residential lot, expressed concern.

Riches said the additional school-owned land is needed to accommodate the five new buildings and the elongated driveway. The alternative of building two-story structures on the campus’ current 1.5-acre lot is “a nonstarter,” he added.

If Pinewood receives final approval, it has a two-phase construction plan scheduled for the summer of 2014 with an estimated construction duration of 18 months.

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