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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A Christian pastor explores the gifts of Burning Man

This is the first in a three-part series on Young’s experience as a Christian pastor at Burning Man, the annual art event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

I spent the week before Labor Day participating in Burning Man. Every year in the dust of a dry lakebed at an elevation of 4,000 feet, volunteers build from scratch a temporary city, this year with a population of 68,000 people. The site lies 110 miles north of Reno and is accessed only by a single-lane road.

People who do not know me well wondered if I were suffering from a midlife crisis. They had seen pictures of partially clad people in outlandish costumes wildly dancing to electronic music at past events. My cousin wondered if it would be like visiting Sodom and Gomorrah, with everyone around me tripping out on psychedelic drugs in the physically punishing desert climate.

I had different hopes than some of those I met. I went to become a temporary citizen of another country, another America, with different rules and values. In our culture, we can feel powerless to make our world more humane. It may be difficult to even imagine alternatives to pictures of reality that limit or distort us. Burning Man, I hoped, could give me a clearer idea of how to serve in God’s kingdom, because God’s reign is not just what happens when you die. It is continuous with the way we live right now.

This spirit motivated the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth and fifth centuries, whose spiritual breakthroughs ultimately led to the invention of monastic life. Those early Christians wanted to explore alternatives to the cruelty, slavery, exploitation and arbitrariness of the dominant Roman culture.

I went for similar reasons, to experience an alternative to the consumerism, bureaucracies and hierarchies that color every interaction we have with each other.

The desert monks articulated rules that governed their lives together. Burners similarly have 10 principles written by Burning Man founder Larry Harvey: radical inclusion of everyone, generosity, freedom from commerce (no buying, selling or even the display of corporate logos), self-reliance, self-expression, community, responsibility, environmental stewardship, participation and the value of immediate experience.

Burning Man will not cure all the ills of a broken, decadent and unjust society. It is not a replacement to our economic system that will last forever. It is a temporary experiment in how we treat each other. It is a chance to step into a more generous place with different freedoms and constraints, hazards and blessings. We came from different worlds but shared one experience in common – generosity, hospitality and openness to meeting new people.

The most striking element of this experience is giving. Walking down the street, people gave me hotdogs, Sno-cones, steak, pancakes, drinking water, beer, a telephone call home, clothes and costumes, Polaroid pictures, Pop-Tarts, jewelry, fresh peaches, entertainment, a newspaper, books and music.

In the desert, I saw hedonism and self-sacrifice, narcissism and generosity, indifference and grace, despair, self-destruction and signs of wonderful new life. People went there for different reasons and brought with them different expectations. But the one thing we all shared was the radical giving at the heart of that community, a kind of hospitality that should inspire all people of good faith.

The Rev. Malcolm C. Young, author of “The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau” (Mercer University Press, 2009), is on sabbatical from Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos. For more information, visit ccla.us.

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