Thu05052016

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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New wheels on local streets : Los Altos Police get updated look with 2013 patrol vehicle


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

The Los Altos Police Department’s new Interceptor Utility vehicle serves as a mobile incident command post.

The Los Altos Police Department last week rolled out the newest member of its agency – albeit one on four wheels instead of two feet.

The agency’s new 2013 Ford Police Interceptor Utility began patrolling Los Altos streets May 21. And if the department’s new patrol car looks slightly different to local residents, there’s reason for it.

According to Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis, Ford Motor Co. opted earlier this year to discontinue production of its trademark Crown Victoria police cruisers, which Younis called “legendary” vehicles commonly used by numerous law enforcement agencies across the United States.

“That Crown Victoria was a workhorse for years and years in our profession,” said Younis, whose department received two of its final Crown Victorias earlier this year – before being discontinued – and has a total of nine patrol vehicles in service.

The department opted to move forward with the Ford Police Interceptor Utility – built on the same platform as the Ford Taurus, but with the look of a Ford Explorer. Younis noted that the new utility vehicle is the same one chosen by the California Highway Patrol, which previously used V8 Crown Victorias as well.

Younis added that the new vehicle is the first of its kind for the department in more than cosmetic ways. The new V6 Interceptor Utility comes equipped with a “command package” that allows it to serve as the department’s first mobile incident command post.

The vehicle will also be used for larger in-progress criminal investigations and special events. Among other amenities, the vehicle contains special officer safety equipment and “less-lethal” weaponry, such as beanbag projectiles. The new Interceptor also includes more standard police performance features such as all-wheel drive and a heavy-duty braking system to “meet the demands of police work,” Younis noted.

“For this particular vehicle, it’s critical for us because of the command package we’ve added,” Younis said. “We previously didn’t have a mobile incident command post, so a lot of times the coordination during a multiagency response was done on the hood of someone’s patrol car. … This is really an extra benefit for our organization that we did not have before.”

Younis noted that by choosing the same vehicle as the CHP, the department was able to “piggyback” on the state’s negotiated bid price with Ford and purchase it for approximately $40,000.

“The equipment we put on it and the installation is a part of that (price),” he added.

With the Crown Victoria now a thing of the past, Younis said residents should see more of the new Interceptor Utility vehicles on the road in the coming years. Because of the continual use of its patrol vehicles, the department typically replaces three cars annually.

“These cars are used heavily day and night without much of a break,” Younis noted.

Younis said the department’s next batch of Interceptor Utility patrol vehicles in 2014 will include more standard features typically seen in patrol cars, such as screening partitions for prisoner transport.

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