Fri05062016

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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Westwind program founder Kawasaki rides off into sunset


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier Westwind Community Barn’s Jane Kawasaki, right, teaches Lauren Rock, left. After directing the barn’s Year Round Riding Program for more than a decade, Kawasaki is departing for a new adventure.

Some teachers impart words and numbers, others proverbs and wisdom. Longtime Westwind Community Barn riding instructor Jane Kawasaki leaves a legacy of compassion and care as she embarks on a new endeavor in equine-facilitated coaching in Washington at the end of the month.

Kawasaki, a Los Altos Hills resident, said she fantasized about forgoing college to purchase a horse but instead pursued an international career and raised three daughters. Whether by luck or fate, she eventually realized her dream as director of Westwind’s Year Round Riding Program in 2002.

“It just happened,” Kawasaki said of the town’s decision to hire her to develop and manage riding programs at Westwind – the 15-acre facility owned by the town – after she volunteered as part-time barn director.

With a vision of fostering a “continuum of learning,” Kawasaki and Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Committee co-chairwoman Rebecca Hickman launched the Year Round Riding Program. At the time, 4-H Riding for the Handicapped was the only public program available for riders, and Kawasaki remembers borrowing horses for lessons. With support from the town, they added horses and on-site infrastructure.

“Kids who didn’t have a horse could lease a horse,” Hickman said of the service that few other barns provide.

From occasional summer camps 10 years ago to a bustling year-round program that engages more than 100 students annually, supporters said Kawasaki’s vision and passion gave root to the community asset that Westwind remains today.

“She drove the program herself and devoted countless hours to making this a joyful and meaningful activity that is a cornerstone of the town’s recreational program.” said former Los Altos Hills Mayor Mike O’Malley.

Horses first

A young girl hovered around Kawasaki as she orchestrated the post-ride routine of horse washing and grooming during a recent summer camp at the barn. When several students sneaked away to eat their lunches before leading their horses back out to pasture, Kawasaki called them back to complete the job.

“For me, the emphasis is not just riding well, but the whole picture of good horsemanship,” she said of the values she instills in her students.

Over the years, Kawasaki estimated that she’s instructed between 500 and 600 riders at Westwind. Although some of her students advance into competitive horsemanship, she measures her success by the care her riders show to their horses.

“If you stand next to a horse and you’re breathing alongside it,it's a very calming experience,” said Simon Patmore-Zarcone, 14, a rider who began taking private lessons from Kawasaki after she introduced him to horses at one of her summer camps.

Although Patmore-Zarcone once feared horses, Kawasaki always paired him with horses that accommodated and challenged his skills while simultaneously keeping him safe. There have been no major accidents during her tenure at the barn – an accomplishment she attributes in part to how much respect the horses receive.

When asked the secret to her teaching success, Kawasaki passed the reins to her equine companions.

“The horse is the main teacher, and I just happen to be there to call everybody in,” she said.

To stay in touch with Kawasaki and for more information, visit windhorses.net.

For more photos of Kawasaki teaching riders at summer camp, click here.

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