Thu05052016

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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Foothill fondly remembers supporter Smithwick


Photo By: Bill Frankeberger/ Special to the Town Crier
Photo Bill Frankeberger/ Special To The Town Crier

Richard Henning, former Foothill dean, praises the late Dr. Robert Smithwick at Friday’s service.

Friends, family and longtime educators painted an inspiring portrait of Dr. Robert Smithwick during his memorial service Friday at the Foothill College theater named in his honor. Dr. Smithwick, who played a major role in the creation of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, died March 22 in his sleep. He was 92.

The Los Altos Hills resident, a strong advocate for higher education since the 1950s, opened the door to thousands of students who otherwise might not have attended college.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Dr. Smithwick is the father of the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District,” said FHDA Chancellor Linda M. Thor. “He participated in the first conversations among area school district trustees and superintendents that led to the creation of an independent community college for our local communities.”

Dr. Smithwick nurtured the community college district to its nationally recognized success. The district is currently one of the largest in the U.S., providing credit classes for approximately 43,000 students each quarter.

By trade a dentist, Dr. Smithwick dedicated himself to ensuring greater access to higher education, said Richard Henning, former longtime Foothill dean and professor. His push for college opportunities for all came during a time when approximately 10 percent of high school graduates went on to college, Henning added.

Dr. Smithwick in July 1957 became chairman of the first elected board of trustees of what was then named the Foothill Junior College District. He continued his service on the board with distinction for more than three decades.

Beyond his accomplishments, Dr. Smithwick was known as a man who cared deeply about students and faculty members. Among those recalling his passion was Martha J. Kanter, former Foothill-De Anza chancellor and current U.S. Undersecretary of Education.

“Maybe it was his vision that everyone had the potential to succeed,” Kanter said. “Maybe it was his insistence that we could always do better. Maybe it was the gentle, soft-spoken way he asked those questions. And just maybe it was the transmission of the love of students and the love of learning – science, math, vocational programs and the arts – that inspired all of us to be the best we could be, to get our students to earn their certificates and degrees, to bring pride to their families and our Foothill-De Anza family. He went far beyond all of us here.”

Quiet by nature, Dr. Smithwick communicated often via the written word – especially when it came to doling out compliments.

“He wrote a lot of thank-you notes,” Henning said at the service. “If you did anything halfway decent or was recognized in the newspaper, you would get a complimentary note from him and often a clipping from the newspaper.”

Added Henning: “We can continue Bob’s presence on this earth into perpetuity by modeling ourselves after those virtures of commitment to the arts, to education and to ethical values. Day in day out, he lived these ideals.”

Dr. Smithwick was married for 60 years to his wife, Aileen, who died in 2002. He is survived by his children, Cathye and Michael Smithwick.

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