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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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State Street Green fades to black as intersection reopens


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Residents bid farewell to the State Street Green, which played host to events like Green Day on the Green, left, while serving as a social gathering spot for more than a month.

The street that had gone green is back to black.

The State Street Green has been rolled up – literally – and put away for the summer, giving way to the black asphalt underneath.

The downtown pop-up park, located between First and Second streets, was scheduled to be removed Tuesday after serving as a social gathering spot for downtown visitors for more than a month. The end of the temporary park coincides with the city’s plan to wrap up First Street streetscape construction and reopen the State and First streets intersection this week, according to Los Altos Economic Development Manager Kathy Kleinbaum.

The city, along with Passerelle Investment Co. and the H&H Co., collaborated on the park in July as a “turning lemons into lemonade” effort after closing the State and First intersection for the construction project.

Kleinbaum conceded that the city opted to close the park Tuesday despite a push by some to keep it in place through Labor Day. She noted that the park, as well as other factors, might have negatively impacted some businesses.

“We decided by a majority vote that if enough businesses are impacted, the city has a responsibility to mitigate those issues,” she said.

While the park may be gone from State Street, some are hoping to see it return to the downtown area in the future.

Passerelle Community Development Director Brooke Ray Smith said she’s in the process of tabulating results of a merchant and visitor survey recently conducted on the park. If the survey results indicate adequate support, Smith added, she would consider asking city officials to support resurrecting the park downtown for one month next summer.

“The idea of having a car-free space downtown is important – whether as a park or as a flex-use space,” said Smith, adding that merchant buy-in is “a huge part” of the support for another temporary downtown park.

“You can’t effectively build community without being a part of it – that’s what we’ve strived to do here,” she said.

Reactions

State Street merchants offered a range of opinions on the park’s impact – positive and negative.

BK Collections owner Belinda Chung said that while the park was a positive attraction for visitors, she saw an overall drop in business – citing specifically a lack of foot traffic and parking as factors.

“Parking is the biggest concern for me,” said Chung, a downtown merchant for more than 30 years. “We’ve had a lot of positive reaction to (the park) … but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t help business.”

Peet’s Coffee & Tea manager Saundra Nguyen, on the other hand, said the park’s presence changed the type of clients her business served over the summer.

While the stream of early-morning commuters stopping in for coffee dwindled because of parking concerns, the store gained new customers in parents and caretakers with young children who enjoyed the Green, she said. Nguyen added that her store experienced an initial drop in business before seeing an uptick in recent weeks.

“It took me about a week to see what an opportunity it was,” said Nguyen, who added that she drew customers into the store by handing out samples to potential customers on the Green. “For a company like us, it’s a good opportunity to meet new customers and expand our base. I do worry about those customers who can’t park, though.”

Skate Works owner Jason Strubing acknowledged neighboring merchants’ parking concerns but added that the problem can’t be blamed solely on the park. He noted other factors contributing to the parking crunch, pointing to First Street construction and the loss of nearly 100 temporary spaces at the First and Main streets lot, which is currently being developed.

“I think it obviously made the best of a bad situation. … If anything, it shows the need for green space downtown,” he said.

Kleinbaum said the city is “willing to consider” another downtown pop-up park in the future. She added that while the State Street Green “served its purpose very well,” approving a pop-up park next summer would ultimately depend on continued public/private funding and partnerships, as well as the support of the business community and the Los Altos City Council.

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