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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Start your engines: Red Racer Hobby Shop parks on State Street


Ellie Van houtte/
Town Crier A young shopper watches cars zip by on a Red Racer Hobby Shop raceway.

Measuring 18 feet long with more than 72 feet of racing laps, the custom-made slot-car track nestled in the corner of Red Racer Hobby Shop looks like a speedster’s dream. Christened the Adobe Creek Raceway, the trackway sports gray lanes, faux grassy hills and technology to measure the slot car’s speed.

Children go crazy when they see it, according to manager Martin Chavez.

That is, if they haven’t already been pulled to the opposite end of the store to the LEGO construction zone or the far corner stocked with Eitech toys.

The concept store, which opened in July at 170 State St. in Los Altos, is another establishment from the H&H Co., which also owns The Makery next door and several other downtown businesses.

“Red Racer is a hobby shop with an interactive twist to it,” Chavez said. “We have the traditional hobby stuff, but everything is engaging and interactive so that kids learn to use the toys.”

Unlike other hobby shops, Red Racer is not heavily stocked with ready-made items; instead, rockets, quadcopters, R/Cs and circuit kits line the shelves.

Some of the highlighted items are the Eitech toys, motorized German-made metal building sets. The cool thing about the Eitech sets, Chavez explained, is that children can create the original design provided by the manual and, if they choose, dismantle and re-create an entirely new object. They mimic the purpose of many of the toys Red Racer has stocked – customization in pursuit of creativity.

“We have all these toys, but they can also be more engaging and a great resource that doesn’t have to go in a landfill,” he said. “It’s not just a plastic toy that’s going to sit there.”

Other features of the hobby shop include two interactive centers – the slot-car racing track and the LEGO construction zone with a wall that stores blocks organized by color and size. Racers can try their hand at the slot-car track, though they’re cautioned to approach it as they would a real car – decelerating into the curves and zipping on the straightaways. For $5, customers can purchase a “pit pass” for 15 minutes in either zone.

Red Racer Hobby Shop is still in its infancy, but Chavez has big plans for the future. Eventually, he hopes to add basic to advanced robotics classes for children and a competition for the LEGO creations. The shop might potentially hold birthday parties, but he said there are still kinks to iron out as the business grows.

Chavez said Red Racer is concentrating on fulfilling its philosophy to provide toys and activities that go beyond the “temporary gratification” of action figures or plastic diversions by encouraging innovation. The limitation to the creation is how much time the players want to invest, he said.

“Anything that I was passionate about as a kid was stuff like this – interactive and engaging toys,” he said. “We want the kids to build relationships with the toys by putting them together and seeing the results of what they’re doing.”

Red Racer Hobby Shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 383-5078 or visit redracerlosaltos.com.

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