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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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Contaminated soil delays streetscape work


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

Although contaminated soil delayed the San Antonio streetscape project, work to broaden the sidewalks behind Parking Plaza 3 is nearly complete.

San Antonio Road streetscape construction will last longer than anticipated, according to the city official overseeing the project.

Los Altos Public Works Director Jim Gustafson told the Town Crier last week that the project – which began in January and was originally slated for completion in early April – will not be finished until late May or early June. Gustafson pointed to the discovery of contaminated soil as the primary source of delays with the project, which officials initially said would take approximately 90 days to complete.

“This is a work in progress,” Gustafson said. “(Construction crews) have encountered a couple of different conditions there.”

The delay comes after city engineers sought and received an additional $118,000 appropriation for the project, primarily to dispose of lead-tainted soil found in at least three of four tested areas within the project’s boundaries. Test samples of those areas showed contamination levels at 3-38 milligrams per liter. According to a staff report, lead contamination is considered a public health risk at 400 milligrams per liter.

The contaminated soil required the use of a licensed hazardous waste landfill in the Central Valley at a cost of $116 per ton, compared with the $3 per ton originally earmarked for clean dirt disposal at a local landfill. Supplemental funds were required to test more than a dozen additional locations within the project.

City staff estimated that a worst-case scenario would require disposal of approximately 1,366 tons of contaminated soil if all designated sites tested positive. Gustafson added that the pause to conduct testing and other logistics related to the contaminated soil contributed to the delay.

“We’ve probably lost at least three to four weeks due to the contaminated soil issue,” said Gustafson, who noted that at least half of the additional sites tested positive for contamination.

He added that tainted soil issues are not the only reason for the project’s delay. The engineers had to make minor design adjustments to sidewalk curb ramps to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Gustafson pointed specifically to one location – a ramp at San Antonio Road and the entrance to public Parking Plaza 3 behind the Italian Delicatessen – in need of design adjustments for wheelchair accessibility.

Despite the ongoing work associated with the contaminated soil and the construction of ADA-compliant ramps, Gustafson said the project has progressed, noting that most of the work to widen the sidewalk along San Antonio and Plaza 3 is complete.

As of last week, construction crews focused on relocating a storm drain system and installing a rain garden and irrigation system in the median islands, which required temporary lane closures during noncommuting hours.

For weekly construction updates on the San Antonio Road streetscape, visit www.sanantonioroad.org.

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