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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Sunny days ahead for local startup: Slingshot Power founder seeks to create the Apple of solar power


Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Slingshot CEO Ravi Chiruvolu set up his first shop at 164 Main St. and hopes to open several more locations in the future.

Ravi Chiruvolu wants to start the next Apple, and he’s doing it from Los Altos with solar power startup Slingshot Power Inc. The company recently opened at 164 Main St.

“We’re starting humble, with just this one shop,” Chiruvolu said. “But we want to be Apple. I want a thousand stores around the country.”

The motivation for Slingshot came from Chiruvolu’s personal energy bill.

“I started the company because I live in Los Altos Hills and I had a $600 energy bill,” he said. “It was just way too high, not acceptable. I wanted it lower and I wanted to see if we could do it in a green way, using clean energy.”

His solution: “We sell solar systems and basically help people lower their energy bills and get them off the grid.”

Chiruvolu attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School, served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and coached his 10-year old daughter’s basketball team to a winning record.

Next on the ambitious entrepreneur’s list is to create a nationwide solar company.

“The largest (solar company) right now is SolarCity Corp., and they’re only in 15 states,” he said. “There are 35 other states that would love these products.”

Slingshot sells solar panels, electric-vehicle chargers and emergency battery packs in addition to other gadgets.

“Think about it as consumer energy. There’s generation, efficiency and storage. Theoretically, we could do wind, but we haven’t done it yet,” Chiruvolu said.

The company also offers installation services, a warranty and annual maintenance. Its solar panels are designed to suit the styles of most houses.

“We’re the only company that has cool green, terracotta brown, just beautiful panels,” Chiruvolu said. “We want to make it so that at cocktail parties, people comment, ‘What is that?’ And it’s your little secret that you’re saving money and being green.”

Giving back

Slingshot has pledged to contribute to Los Altos at the end of the year by donating and installing a solar system for a family in need.

“We’ve put up a map of Los Altos. We want to learn from the community what’s a needy place,” Chiruvolu said. “We’ll have a vote – maybe there’s a family who just lost their mom, or somebody who went to Iraq and had some issues or both parents lost their jobs.”

Although Palo Alto is a hub for some entrepreneurs, for Chiruvolu, Slingshot’s starting location is a source of pride.

“I’m a huge fan of this town. I live here, my kids go to school here,” he said. “A lot of my coworkers really wanted this in Palo Alto ... but I wanted to do it here.” Chiruvolu added that when Slingshot Power is “hugely successful – bigger than Apple – we can say we started right here, in Los Altos.”

For more information, call (800) 887-9414, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit slingshotpower.com.


Slingshot Power - Images by Ellie Van Houtte/Los Altos Town Crier

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