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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LASD loses Sunnyvale-site bid; district, BCS may meet


Photo By:
Smith

The Los Altos School District lost its bid to purchase the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale last week, prompting officials to focus on other options for additional school sites.

The district pursued the Sunnyvale property with the intention of refurbishing it with bond funds and relocating Bullis Charter School to the campus. The Sunnyvale City Council June 12 voted to reject the district’s bid and begin negotiations for the Raynor site with the Stratford School.

Bullis Charter School balked at the Raynor site, located more than 3 miles outside school district boundaries and more than 7 miles from the charter school’s Egan Junior High School campus.

In conjunction with its bid on the Sunnyvale site, the Los Altos School District filed a lawsuit requesting that the court certify the district’s right to place the charter school outside district boundaries. District Board of Trustees President Doug Smith said the district still plans to move forward with the lawsuit.

“The question in front of the court is broader than just the Raynor site,” he said. “It asks the courts to declare the legality around placing Bullis Charter School outside district boundaries. Getting an answer to this question is worth doing.”

Charter school officials, who filed a countersuit to block the district’s proposal to move the charter school outside district boundaries, remain opposed to the district’s bid on Raynor and its ensuing lawsuit.

“This is a public relations, legal and financial disaster of the Los Altos School District’s own creation,” said Joe Hurd, charter school board member. “The trustees own this.”

Hurd said that rather than meet with the charter school’s board to discuss long-term options, the district continues to pursue legal redress.

“Their bid … wasn’t the winning bid because the only interests served here are those of the (district) trustees, not the Los Altos taxpayers, not the citizens of Sunnyvale and most of all not the children of Los Altos – the very people whose interest the trustees are supposed to promote and protect,” he said.

Finding a new site

The district formed a committee to research possibilities for a 10th site. Members have met throughout the year but choose to keep their interest in various sites private for negotiating purposes.

District Trustee Tammy Logan, who serves on the committee, said that while she expects members to meet over the summer, nothing is scheduled to date.

“The committee has identified some interesting sites, but given the litigation initiated by Bullis Charter School concerning Raynor, we have had very limited discussion,” Logan wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “A reply by the court concerning whether the district may legally offer a facility outside of the district will help us better focus our efforts.”

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the two suits regarding the Raynor site and the district’s right to place the charter school outside district boundaries the week of July 22.

Smith said district trustees have authorized staff to conduct discussions about potential properties.

“Conversations about other properties, both within and outside the district, are being pursued,” he said, and the timeline is moving “as fast as we can.”

Smith added that the district has yet to bid on other properties, and many sites on the district’s list of interest are not currently for sale.

District, charter school meeting

The Los Altos School District’s Enrollment Task Force last month released a report that emphasized the need for two new campuses to accommodate student growth and the importance of working in tandem with the Bullis Charter School board.

Smith said he reached out to charter school officials with a request that the two boards meet to discuss the task force’s findings.

“We want to move forward together with the charter school board for a permanent solution in regards to the task force recommendations,” he said.

Hurd also approached the district to jump-start the facilities allocation process for the 2014-2015 school year. The annual negotiating process typically begins in September.

Smith responded that the district would consider entering the facilities process early. Hurd is zeroing in on a date that would work for both boards, most likely over the summer.

“If Los Altos School District trustees want to have conversations, we can talk to the lawyers,” Hurd said. “We can agree that anything that is discussed cannot wind up in court – a legal cone of silence. The litigation is the past – let’s talk about the future.”

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