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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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Farmer not reaping all the benefits of apricot orchard


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

People illegally picking apricots from city-owned trees deprive the orchard’s caretaker.

The apricot orchard surrounding the Los Altos Civic Center is owned by the city, but fruit poachers have stymied the farmer who tends to it.

The city has contracted the cultivation and harvest of the California Blenheim apricot trees to San Jose farmer Don Speciale since 1970. In return, Speciale reaps the proceeds from the sale of the apricots, many of which are now ripe for the picking.

But Speciale hasn’t been able to maximize his profits, according to Erica Ray, public information coordinator, because people often pick the apricots illegally.

“I, myself, have seen people in the orchard picking fruit or, in one case, an entire branch off one of Don’s trees,” said Ray, who added that Speciale earns a substantial portion of his income from apricot sales.

Although the city posts “Do Not Pick” signs along the perimeter of the orchard during the apricot harvest – typically between the end of May and the beginning of July – Speciale said he often notices that some of his fruit has disappeared.

Ray said city hall staffers have approached those caught in the act of petty theft, alerting them to the signs, but they can’t stop everyone.

She noted that Speciale – who has spent many early-morning hours plowing and pruning the orchard – deserves the fruits of his labor.

“He’s a very hard worker, even in his elder years,” she said. “I think that if the public knew they weren’t picking the city’s apricots, they might think twice before picking (them).”

Anyone interested in purchasing the apricots can find them at the De Martini Orchard, 66 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos.

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