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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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What value, education?: A Piece of My Mind

My niece Jen teaches English in a small pre-K through adult school district in a small town (pop. 8,000) in northern Spain. The town is most notable for its Romanesque church, its castle ruin and its cookie factory – the largest in Europe.

Each morning, Jen begins her day with 5-year-olds in a classroom in the school basement decorated with colorful posters and student artwork. The letters of the alphabet with pictures (A for Apple, B for Book) ring the tops of the bulletin boards. A long, two-sided bookcase divides the classroom. On one side are several small round tables with chairs, on the other a playhouse, a large rug and a SMART Board (combination whiteboard, computer touch screen and video player). Except for the s SMART Board, it looks very much like the kindergarten my children attended.

The students begin to arrive at 9 a.m. They exchange good mornings with Jen, hang up their coats and sit around the rug. The 5-year-olds wear purple gingham smocks with their names embroidered along the front. The Pre-K group of 3- to 4-year-olds wears bright red smocks with yellow piping and a blue screen-printed border, with their names embroidered in yellow.

Jen starts up the SMART Board. A young man with a guitar appears on the screen to lead the children in a good morning song, while Jen helps the younger children settle in place and makes sure they are paying attention. Xavier, one of the Pre-K students, is Class Leader for the day. He directs the class through several phonics-based games using the touch screen.

“The SMART Board is great,” Jen whispers to me. “It’s like having another teacher in the room. Every class in the school has one.”

Next, the students practice the poem they will recite at the school’s Open House in a week. Afterward, they break into groups to color pictures for the presentation. Everything is done and said in English. The 3-year-olds are still making mistakes, the 4- and 5-year-olds are nearly flawless.

During her break, Jen takes me on a tour of the school. In the sixth-grade class, each of the students is working with his or her personal notebook computer. I am feeling a bit envious – this little town’s school seems as well-equipped as those of Silicon Valley, and the 3-year-olds are already learning English. Here is a country that really puts value on education!

However, while walking back to Jen’s house from the school, we meet one of her friends. He is an attractive young man of approximately 30, who speaks excellent English and has a master’s degree in business administration from one of the best universities in Spain. But he still lives with his parents. He has been looking for work since getting his degree. The best he has been able to manage in Spain’s economic meltdown is a part-time job on the night shift at the cookie factory.

What value, education?

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