Thu05052016

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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LA grad Johnson makes MLB debut


Erica Caldwell/Charlotte Knights
Erik Johnson pitches for the Charlotte Knights approximately a month before his Major League call-up. He made his first start with the Chicago White Sox Sept. 4.

Just hours before making his Major League Baseball debut Sept. 4 at Yankee Stadium, Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Erik Johnson reached out to someone who could relate to the thoughts racing through his mind.

The 23-year-old called his coach at Los Altos High, Sandy Wihtol, a former pitcher with the Cleveland Indians who made his MLB debut on almost the same day 34 years earlier.

“I shared with him my experiences,” said Wihtol, whose initial big-league appearance came in relief against the Toronto Blue Jays Sept. 7, 1979. “I told him, ‘It’s just another game – it just happens to be your first – and you’re going to have plenty more games at that level.”

Johnson’s first start wasn’t an easy one – up against a playoff-contending team with a lethal lineup – and he took the loss in a 6-5 decision.

The big righty surrendered five runs, only three of them earned, and seven hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out one.

“It’s a real tough lineup they have over there,” Johnson said of the Yankees in a postgame video interview featured on the Chicago Tribune website. “I thought I could have done a little better job, but overall, I thought it was a good one to start with.”

After getting the first two batters he faced to ground out, Johnson gave up a home run to Robinson Cano. Two walks and a hit followed, but Johnson escaped the bases-loaded jam by striking out Ichiro Suzuki.

The 2008 Los Altos High graduate kept the Yankees in check the next two innings, and the last-place White Sox entered the fourth in a 1-all tie. But by the time the inning ended, Chicago trailed by five runs.

After giving up a leadoff single to Alex Rodriguez, Johnson committed a throwing error that enabled Suzuki to reach first base safely. Lyle Overbay followed with an RBI double and Brett Gardner drilled a triple that scored two more. Cano’s infield single then brought Gardner home.

Johnson settled down in the fifth and tossed a scoreless sixth as well before giving way to fellow rookie Daniel Webb.

Johnson’s family was in the stands to see his every pitch.

“I am happy that my son has achieved a dream of his,” father Roy Johnson said. “I might have preferred his first game not be against so many (future) Hall of Famers, but I am sure he loved it.”

Wihtol wanted to be there, too, but he was on his way to Arizona to play in a golf tournament with friends from high school.

“I’ll get out to Chicago to see him,” Wihtol said. “I’m really proud of him. It’s wonderful to have a guy from the community with so much talent who is so humble and has worked so hard to get where he’s at.”

Johnson, a 2011 second-round pick out of Cal, started this season at Double-A Birmingham and was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June.

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