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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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Real estate swindles surface in county

The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors issued a warning to local realtors and the public regarding a scam that is affecting the real estate community at the local and national levels.

In recent months, a number of real estate professionals in Silicon Valley and throughout the country have reported that their for-sale listings are being turned into for-rent ads by an unauthorized third party. The for-rent ads are posted on craigslist.org, forrentbyowner.com, Trulia and apartments.com.

When potential renters respond to the for-rent advertisement, the perpetrator explains that the home is unavailable to show or can’t be shown at the time, then offers an unbelievably low price to lure people in. Enticed, many fill out the counterfeit rental application including private, confidential information such as Social Security numbers and birthdates. Sometimes, potential renters are even convinced to place a deposit on the house or apartment.

The unsuspecting consumers who thought they had a new place to call home suddenly find themselves duped. They’re out of the money and their identity has been compromised. It’s not until later that they learn the home they negotiated and planned to move into was never available for rent.

“A lot of realtors have been affected by this,” said Carl San Miguel, president of the county association. “We want the real estate community and the general public to know that it’s a hoax. By creating awareness, we can hopefully reduce the number of people affected by the scam in the future.”

Lisa Blaylock of Coldwell Banker in San Jose said she has experienced the scheme on four properties she represented in the past few months. She put a message on her voicemail informing callers that if they are inquiring about a property for rent, it is a scam.

According to realtors, consumers should be skeptical if they are:

• Quoted a price that is too good to be true.

• Asked for a substantial deposit before the property has even been shown or the keys are handed over.

• Asked to wire money.

• Receiving communications via email only and the alleged realtor is located elsewhere, out of town or even out of the country.

Consumers can protect themselves by:

• Having the person they’re communicating with show them the property first. They have a right to view the real estate in person.

• Driving by the property to check for a For Sale sign. Often the sign will disappear from the yard soon after an ad goes on the Internet advertising the property as a rental.

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