Thu05052016

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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Letters to the Editor

A column in last week’s Spiritual Life section (“Don’t disregard or compromise God’s Word regarding homosexual relationships”) prompted an outpouring of negative responses from readers. Many of them disagreed with the author’s views and with the Town Crier for publishing the column.

The column – like all columns that run in the paper – is the opinion of the writer and not necessarily the Town Crier. Readers’ responses to the author’s column follow.

Read pastor’s opinion

To any in our community confused or concerned about Los Altos United Methodist Church’s rejection of our denomination’s policies to exclude the full participation of the LGBT community in the life of our church, you can explore our approach to the Bible on this subject by visiting our website at www.laumc.org.

Select “News” on the top menu, scroll to the bottom of the News & Events section, and under News Archives, Opinion Paper, select “One Pastor’s Position on Same-Sex Marriage.”

As strongly as we feel about our convictions, we certainly don’t suggest we have the final answer on these important questions. We truly appreciate the diversity of thought within our community as we all try to learn and grow in our faith traditions.

The Rev. Dr. Mark S. Bollwinkel

Los Altos United Methodist Church

Column insults reader, sons

I am shocked and appalled that a small community newspaper, which survives on the support of all walks of life in Los Altos, would allow an article so unfounded and insulting as you did when you published the columun on homosexuality.

The author is obviously a misinformed homophobe who is on some personal religious quest inclusive only to herself. I won’t pretend to be an expert on scripture or the medical consequences of being homosexual, as she apparently has portrayed herself, but I will say that I have become quite the expert on living an incredibly rich life as a gay woman, in a comfortably traditional relationship with my partner of 14 years, and have raised two amazing sons who are both constructive members of their communities.

My sons, contrary to the few studies cited by the author out of the hundreds of positive studies done on children raised in same-sex relationships, have benefited greatly from their family experience.

What the author is obviously detached from is the simple concept that good people, regardless of race, religion or sexual preference, are borne from basic core values – honesty, integrity, tolerance and hard work. My family lives by these core values every day of our lives, and are representative of the hundreds of thousands of families in the world who do the same.

Prejudice is the undercurrent for so much hate in this world. I am really disappointed in this newspaper’s misstep in supporting it.

Cira Nickerson

Los Altos

Don’t give voice to zealotry

You should be ashamed and embarrassed for publishing the vile rant against homosexuals.

I doubt you would print articles promoting slavery (Gen. 9:25-27) or the subjugation of women (1 Cor. 11:3), which have great support in the Bible. Yet you continue to give voice to the author’s offensive zealotry.

Her latest diatribe is almost salacious in its depiction of gay males’ health problems. She views AIDS as a punishment, instead of recognizing it as a worldwide health tragedy afflicting heterosexuals and children.

But the author’s only concern about children is that they be raised by heterosexual parents. She refers to The New York Times article that supposedly proves “Children raised in same-sex households experience adverse effects.”

She apparently refers to the New Family Structures Study, sponsored by the socially conservative Witherspoon Institute and Bradley Foundation. What the study shows, if you dig into it, is that “kids from broken homes headed by gay people develop the same problems as kids from broken homes headed by straight people.”

“Emotion must be replaced with logic, critical-thinking skills and the ability to foresee consequences ... ,” the author wrote.

How ironic, since her twisted position is based entirely on religious belief and has nothing to do with critical thought.

Pat Marriott

Los Altos

Walk in love

I was shocked, offended and saddened when I read the “Spiritual Perspective” article in the July 25 issue of your paper. For one thing, this article has nothing to do with spirituality. If it did, so many of us would not be so outraged over it. The person who wrote this article came across as narrow-minded and bitter, apparently stuck in her particular brand of religion. She seems to be more than willing to judge and condemn other spiritually minded human beings who seem not to be adhering to her interpretation of right and wrong.

I am a 12-year Los Altos resident, a mother of two sons and a teacher for 25 years. I have also been spiritually married to my same-sex partner for 31 years. (We have been legally married since 2008 – don’t even get me started on that one!)

My family and I are contributing, well-respected members of this community. Our sons are outstanding young men, well-liked and successful in school and sports. As a family we are aware that there are unique challenges that the boys face because of the fear-based blindness of a segment of our society. Our goals as parents are to stay involved in their school and daily lives and to keep the lines of communication open. Most importantly, we are raising our children to know that they are loved, deeply and unconditionally – even if we do not always fully agree with their personal decisions.

I think that if we as a society were committed to using our years here on earth to the best of our abilities, we would check ourselves every moment to make sure that we are “walking in love,” as many spiritual texts recommend. Regardless of our personal beliefs, we with gentle souls know what works.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi said.

As for you, Town Crier, I know personally of several concerned patrons who have communicated with you regarding the hurtful article that you allowed to dominate your Spiritual Life section. Freedom of the press? Really? I will be looking for the publication of our responses and your acknowledgment of the backlash that you created due to your careless publication of this offensive, controversial piece.

Karen D. Bailey

Los Altos

Don’t promote bigotry

It’s disappointing that the Town Crier allots so much space to “Spiritual Perspective” disguised as blatant bigotry.

Would the author appreciate a list of all the wrongs committed and permitted by her Catholic Church?

If you choose to give her space for her biased perspective, can’t you limit it to a letter to the editor? Her definition of Christianity might not square with others.

Jane Seaman, humanist

Los Altos Hills

Label opinion pieces

I’m writing to protest the mislabeling of the July 25 article as “Spiritual Perspective.” The Town Crier is welcome to – and should – publish opinion pieces of all types; however, quoting Bible verses and offering her interpretation of those verses does not necessarily a “Spiritual Perspective” make.

If the United Methodist Church offers a rebuttal and you print it, would you call that a “Spiritual Perspective”? I think not. If someone offers an article espousing incest and quotes Bible verses, would that count as a spiritual perspective? Again, I think not.

I could go on. Instead, please publish opinion pieces – but label them as such.

Paul Brooks

Los Altos

Column has no place in TC

I found the July 25 “Spiritual Perspective” completely inappropriate for our town newspaper.

A Catholic critique of a local Methodist Church decision on homosexuality has no place in our paper. Not only did the section have no balance, such as offering both points of view, but the entire piece was divisive and entirely out of the character of inclusion, respect and tolerance that our town and its media should represent.

The Town Crier is not a religious paper, and if it were, I would cancel my paid subscription.

I think the paper should consider authoring an apology for this editorial misstep, which is only divisive to our townspeople.

Debbie Newhouse

Los Altos Hills

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