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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Hikes in student-loan interest rates concern Foothill College officials

As lawmakers bicker, Foothill College students face the prospect of higher loan rates.

After the July 1 deadline expired, students applying for federally subsidized Stafford Loans face interest rates that have doubled from 3.4 to 6.8 percent for the 2013-2014 year.
    Federal lawmakers are working to lower the interest rates, which many Republicans and Democrats agree are too high, but partisan bickering over how to address the matter leaves no solution in sight.
‘Disappointing outcome’
    That doesn’t sit well with officials in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, whose low- and middle-income students benefit from such loans.
    “It saddens me that Congress did not maintain the 3.4 percent on student loans at this time,” Foothill College President Judy C. Miner said. “The economy has yet to recover fully enough to benefit the most recent
college graduates, and underrepresented communities show even more of an economic gap.”
    Kevin Harral, Foothill’s director of financial aid, added, “The doubling of the Subsidized Direct Loan interest rate is a disappointing outcome to say the least. At this time, there does not seem to be much momentum to get it back down in the short term, but hopefully our elected officials are hammering out a long-term solution for student-loan interest rates.”
    The good news, however, is that Harral does not expect an immediate impact on students borrowing money to attend Foothill.
    “The unsubsidized interest rate has been 6.8 percent for several years, and the dollars borrowed last year are almost the exact same as dollars borrowed from the subsidized program, despite the significant interest-rate difference,” he said.
    Harral reported 1,400 borrowers of $2.26 million in unsubsidized loans, compared with 700 borrowers of $2.33 million in
subsidized loans.
    “The interest rate is not front and center for most students,” he added. “Even when told the rate, the impact is often a bit abstract until they go into repayment, often years down the road.”
    The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill requiring that interest rates reflect the condition of the economy. The U.S. Senate last week considered a move to restore the 3.4 percent interest rates on the Stafford loans for one year.
    “There is some dissension among the Democrats regarding what to do. Republicans are not the only ones holding it up,” said Howard Myers, president of Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley. “Many Republicans want to tie the student loan rate to an index and some Democrats don’t want to give up the revenue.”
    “I think most people are not averse to the rate being able to adjust up and down in reasonable increments, as it was set up to do just about a decade ago,” Harral said. “But the fact that this rate just doubled, and really much more quietly than it was going to last year, when other lending rates are still very low and the economy is still depressed, just doesn’t seem reasonable.”
Local impact
    Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-18th District), who represents Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, estimated that approximately 8,500 students in her district have taken out low-interest loans.
    “If they’re just starting out, the double rate applies,” Eshoo said. “If the student’s in the middle of loan, it does not need to be renegotiated. Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan.”
   Eshoo said she found it “befuddling” that the Stafford interest rates were allowed to double. As a result, she added, students could pay nearly $2,000 in interest.
    “Our society and nation cannot secure its own future unless we have an educated population,” the congresswoman said. “Instead of creating a plus and a win, this represents a subtraction sign.”

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