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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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CSMA classes serve developmentally disabled, autistic students


Photo By: Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Photo Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier

Kyle Sofman, right, accompanies Molly, who grew up in Los Altos, during a class at the Community School of Music and Arts. Donations enable people with autism and developmental disabilities to take CSMA’s music and art classes at no charge.

Jangling musical shakers and smacking mallets on marimbas, students act out a love for rhythm and noise in the Artistic Intelligence Program at the Community School of Music and Arts. The racket they raise, though, has special meaning. For many of the autistic and developmentally disabled participants, sensory experience brings special challenges – and opportunities for success.

“A lot of them come here with issues about being out in the world and the kind of input they have to deal with,” said Linda Covello, director of CSMA’s art school, who explained that the music classroom in Mountain View is “a safe environment where they can react to crazy sounds and different materials.”

The program provides art and music classes for approximately 50 teens and adults who live on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. Students come from the Morgan Autism Center (based in San Jose, formerly in Los Altos), Abilities United (Palo Alto) and AchieveKids (Palo Alto and San Jose). They participate in the classes at no charge, thanks to fundraising by CSMA and partner organizations.

On a recent afternoon, students from AchieveKids and the Morgan Autism Center crooned “What a Wonderful World,” matching illustrations of skies of blue and trees of green to the lyrics as they went. The music class provided a venue for different groups to work together. Covello said CSMA sees the arts as an opportunity to practice the interaction and communication that go into teaming up on a musical piece.

One student who grew up in Los Altos, Molly, jumped up to help lead the class every time she had an opportunity to join teacher Kyle Sofman at the front of the room. Molly provided a one-woman rhythm section as backup for Sofman’s zither, later wielding the lyric cheat-sheet for “Do-Re-Mi.” Molly’s gleeful interest in the musical process reflects the program’s aim to provide a friendly, comfortable place for learning new tunes and showing off one’s choral initiative.

“They get to mix with a larger population,” Covello said. “Much of their world is one-on-one or small group. The social experience (at CSMA) is almost as important as the music and art.”

Covello has watched students move from initial stress from the unfamiliar setting and materials of CSMA’s art class to an excited response. Engaging in the artistic process, practicing self-expression and working with new media give students an outlet worth celebrating, she said.

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