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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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Council rejects library task force


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

The Los Altos City Council nixed a proposal to establish a task force set to study alternative library services options.

The Los Altos City Council last week opted against ratifying a task force set to explore library services outside of the Santa Clara County Library District.

The council rejected a proposal to form the joint Los Altos-Los Altos Hills ad hoc group Feb. 26, voting 4-1 against it after some councilmembers said it wasn’t a pressing priority for the city.

The vote came during an update on the Library Management Options Task Force by Councilwoman Val Carpenter, the task force’s chairwoman. Among other things, Carpenter’s update included a final roster of potential task force members, including Los Altos Hills City Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan and members of the Los Altos Library Commission and Friends of the Library of Los Altos and Community. Carpenter cast the lone vote in favor of the proposal.

“It’s not the merit of whether this could be studied,” Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said. “It’s (about) the priority of studying this now.”

The former city council – which included since termed-out councilmen Ron Packard and David Casas – originally opted Nov. 13 to move forward with the task force after a narrow 3-2 vote. Casas, Packard and Carpenter cast votes in favor of the task force.

At the time, Casas and then-Mayor Carpenter cited the need to explore alternate library services after a report by former Los Altos Hills City Councilman Jean Mordo noted that the cities’ combined annual contributions ranged between $620,000 and $1.4 million more than the library services the two cities received.

“I’m sorry that council does not wish to pursue the $600,000 to $1.5 million that we’re sending to other parts of the library district,” said Carpenter after the Feb. 26 vote.

The Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board of Directors – the library district’s governing body – uses a funding formula weighing equally each member city’s population, property assessed valuation and library circulation to allocate funds.

The JPA board rejected a request to change the funding formula, as well as a follow-up appeal in October for a “5 percent tolerance threshold” mechanism that would have given Los Altos libraries an additional $66,000.

Just before the Feb. 26 vote by the current council, Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins questioned the use of city staff time on the issue. She noted that the November vote was a narrow one that included two yes votes by members no longer on the council.

“Two of those three votes are no longer with us,” she said. “Two of those votes against this (Satterlee and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw) are still with us. … I don’t feel comfortable as a new councilmember feeling encumbered by a decision that had this type of a split vote. I think I would be speaking differently if it had been a 5-0 vote.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper, who currently serves as the city’s representative on the JPA board, expressed concern that the task force might “muddy the waters” for the district, which is planning to seek (by mail-in vote) a renewal of a $33 parcel tax, slated to expire in 2015.

The tax is paid annually to the district by residents of member cities and unincorporated county areas.

“Everyone loves the libraries,” Pepper said. “They’re not broken. It’s not something that needs to be fixed.”

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