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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Advocates gather at local conference to address protection of area watersheds


Photo By: ELLIE VAN HOUTTE/ TOWN CRIER
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier The Sept. 22 Silicon Valley Watershed Summit at Foothill College drew representatives from more than 35 organizations.

Los Altos Hills Water Conservation Committee member Kit Gordon estimates that only 5 percent of local residents can identify their watershed – the Lower Peninsula Watershed – much less define what a watershed is.

A watershed is an area that drains into a common waterway, such as a creek or San Francisco Bay. Watersheds provide drinking water, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

A coalition of more than 35 organizations gathered at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills for the Silicon Valley Watershed Summit Sept. 22. Conference participants discussed plans for protection and enhancement of watersheds in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The Lower Peninsula Watershed encompasses 98 square miles of creeks flowing through Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. Adobe, Permanente and Matadero creeks filter water from the foothills above Los Altos Hills into the surrounding communities.

Watersheds collect water and everything that crosses its path during migration, good or bad – whether critical minerals or undesirable pesticides. Without a healthy watershed, fish stop migrating, flooding occurs and the human footprint overpowers natural processes.

According to Los Altos Hills resident Jitze Couperus, an advocate for watershed maintenance and restoration, watersheds are as important to the local water system as Highway 101 is to transportation in the Bay Area.

Gordon said regulating the health of local waterways is not just about maintaining property values, but also about preserving resources for future generations.

“As climate change happens, I want (our children) to say our forefathers got it right and planned things well,” she said.

Modern development in the Bay Area makes re-engineering the biodiversity of waterways to their original state an unrealistic goal. But by embracing sustainable solutions – small and large – local advocates aim to effect positive change in watershed systems.

How Adobe Creek got its groove back

Although Couperus said he’s “not much of a tree hugger,” he took action when Adobe Creek – the waterway that runs through his backyard – began to show the consequences of human intervention.

“It took one day to wipe out and 15 years to get back,” said Couperus of the native plant species that new neighbors along the creek would weed-whack off their properties.

More than a decade ago, landowners began altering the ecosystem of Adobe Creek by replacing native vegetation, blocking the creek with infill and draining water through pipes into the stream instead of letting it permeate and disperse naturally. Areas of Adobe Creek farther downhill were lined with concrete, causing water to flow downstream too quickly. Without the elements of its original riparian surroundings, erosion and flooding overtook the creek.

By the time Couperus took up the cause of restoring Adobe Creek in 2000, the Santa Clara County Water District and collaborating federal water agencies had proposed installation of a fence or wall along his neighborhood’s section of the creek – a solution few landowners would approve.

In response, Couperus formed the Adobe Creek Watershed Group and forged the relationships necessary to repair more than 100 years of damage to the creek in a sustainable manner.

With the cooperation of his creekside neighbors, the city of Los Altos, the town of Los Altos Hills and the county water district, a creek restoration project took root. By February 2009, the Adobe Creek Upper Reach 5 restoration was complete.

Over the long term, Couperus, Gordon and other advocates hope to promote watershed awareness as well as change the culture and way of thinking in Silicon Valley. Both conservationists believe that the balance is tipping in favor of nature as residents learn to appreciate the benefits of the California landscape.

“It’s becoming cool to be environmentally conscious,” Gordon said.

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