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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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Round and round we go: Editorial

Sometimes, what you think is the right answer turns out not to be the right answer for someone else. And in our democracy, majority rules.

So, even if statistics prove a roundabout is the best traffic-calming solution to address speed and safety concerns along Fremont Avenue, it may not be. Not when a full house of nearby residents fill the city council chambers and state emphatically that they don’t want it.

Such was the case last week during a Los Altos City Council study session on a proposed roundabout for the Fremont-Fallen Leaf Lane intersection. One after another, speakers shot down the idea and pleaded with the council to explore alternative traffic-calming measures.

A traffic consultant made a solid presentation, using animated computer graphics to illustrate traffic flow. The roundabout would slow down traffic, he said, and slower traffic means fewer accidents. The consultant noted that 24 accidents had occurred at the Fremont-Fallen Leaf intersection but provided no context on the types of accidents or the span of time involved.

Neighborhood residents would have none of it. Many said speed was not a factor, even though the council approved a traffic plan in 2011 – of which the roundabout is a part – based on residents’ feedback that speed was their biggest concern.

In fact, their biggest concerns turned out to be vehicle access to Fremont as well as pedestrian and bicycle safety. Residents feared they would have no opportunity to turn onto Fremont during peak commute hours, something that’s difficult to do already. Bicyclists unfamiliar with how to properly negotiate a roundabout could increase their risk of being hit, they claimed.

Roundabouts are considered successful traffic-calming solutions among traffic experts, although they are expensive – this one would cost $400,000. The few residents who voiced support had lived in different areas around the country and world, and saw firsthand how they worked.

But the opposing majority worried about something “monstrous,” as one resident put it. Facing the prospect of a roundabout, residents openly wondered which traffic problem the city was trying to solve. Whatever the case, the council directed city staff to examine other traffic-calming alternatives. The people have spoken.

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