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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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Parents sound off over Mountain View High newspaper content


Photo By: Traci Newell/Town Crier
Photo Traci Newell/Town Crier “Sex & Relationships,” a feature in Mountain View High School’s student newspaper, The Oracle, prompted strong reactions from parents who objected to its content and requested closer supervision of the staff.

Sexual content published in Mountain View High School’s student-run newspaper, The Oracle, prompted several concerned parents to speak out at a district board meeting earlier this month.

The paper recently ran a two-page feature, “Sex & Relationships,” including the piece “What they teach you in health and what you really need to know.” The article upset many parents, who attended the Feb. 11 Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District board meeting to voice their objections.

Mountain View High parent Nathan Sandland described the article as “too forward” and said it “counteracts parental advice.” He said the newspaper’s editorial staff requires more adult supervision.

Other parents were worried about their teens’ younger siblings picking up the paper and reading the piece or whether the content was appropriate for 14-year-old freshmen.

Daniel Ledesma, whose four children are not yet in high school, said he was concerned with the content being “too explicit” and that he didn’t want his children exposed to it.

“It sends the wrong message,” he said. “It approves sex before marriage.”

Superintendent Barry Groves acknowledged that the article contained content that should not have been published and apologized for it.

The board has placed the journalism programs at Mountain View and Los Altos high schools on the agenda of its March 11 meeting.

“For the most part, I’m really proud of the school newspaper,” Groves said. “It’s a student voice and their newspaper, and they need to take responsibility for its content.”

The author responds

The author of the piece in question, opinion editor Abby Cunniff, attended the Feb. 11 meeting as a member of the school’s Associated Student Body and listened to parent feedback. Doing so, she said, made her realize there is a “seemingly significant and very vocal” group of parents who found the article “offensive and insulting to their personal beliefs and values.”

In a letter to the Town Crier, Cunniff wrote, “The article explores topics briefly covered in sex education classes that I felt needed more specificity to be relevant to student life. I discussed information that I would have liked to know when I entered high school, when I felt like I was tossed into the deep end of teenage sexual interactions.”

Cunniff added that she was saddened that parents feel she “wrote with malevolence.”

“The intention of my article was to promote safe, healthy sex for those who wish to become or already are sexually active,” she noted. “I don’t think my article did anything to persuade or affect students who are decidedly against sexual activity, because mainstream media and other teenagers do a much better job than I do. I only wanted to provide information for those who want to know more about having safe, healthy sex.”

The Oracle’s adviser, Amy Beare, said in a statement that the paper’s student staff is “learning about their world in a way we as educators should encourage through investigation of ideas, interaction with all kinds of people and the process of writing about what they see. If they cross a line of decency that their readers find offensive, they are open to learning about that, too.”

She added that she and the staff “made mistakes in this issue that we regret and we will move forward with greater care to ensure that we are true to our goal of provoking thought, not outrage.”

Town Crier editorial intern Zoe Morgan contributed to this report.

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