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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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State Street florist calls it quits: Alabasta closing its doors after 12-year run in Los Altos


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

An Alabasta employee, center, chats with customers last week after co-owners David Wales and John Zanders announced the May 31 closure of their State Street store.

A State Street florist is preparing to bid Los Altos a fond goodbye after a 12-year run downtown.

David Wales, co-owner of Alabasta, The Flower Shop, said he’s closing his doors permanently May 31. Wales noted that he’s shuttering his retail space at 366 State St. after encountering some “legal issues regarding a tax matter we couldn’t overcome.” He politely declined to elaborate further on the problems behind the shop’s closure.

“We’re really upset about it,” said Wales, who co-owns the business with John Zanders. “We tried to do everything we could to stay open.”

Wales, 51, said the decision to close Alabasta wasn’t easy, given that he’s spent nearly half of his life working as a florist – including the past dozen in downtown Los Altos. He added that he’s “still settling into the idea” that his business will be a thing of the past come June 1.

Wales counts numerous repeat customers among his many friends in town and said he’ll miss the atmosphere and the people of Los Altos the most.

“In many ways, we’re fortunate,” said Wales, who discounted his merchandise and fixtures 35 percent through his close at the end of the month. “In this business, you get to know people during their darkest times and their happiest times. You get close to them. … The community has been very, very kind to us.”

Los Altos Chamber of Commerce President Julie Rose said Alabasta’s departure is a loss that will be felt throughout the community. She noted that the shop often donated to several local events and charities without hesitation.

“They donated to everything,” she said. “They’re very present.”

Among other things, Rose added that the business, a chamber member, donates table centerpieces annually for the “State of the Cities” luncheon.

“They’re really going to be missed,” she said. “They’re so unique. They are one of those businesses that make our town unique. They’re a draw – people come to Los Altos because of them. It’s sad to see this happen.”

As for the future, Wales said he hasn’t had much time to ponder life without Alabasta. He added that while he hasn’t given up on the idea of one day returning to Los Altos as a retailer, he is currently focused on closing as smoothly as possible.

“It’s a lot of work dissolving 12 years,” he noted, adding that he anticipates taking time off this summer to “relax a little bit and reflect on life.”

For now, Wales said he’s trying to move forward into an uncertain future while mustering a positive outlook.

“I try to think that every time a door closes, a window opens,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe something better will happen.”

For more information, visit www.alabastatheflowershop.com.

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