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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Officials grapple with rising number of MV students attending LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A youth crosses the busy intersection at San Antonio Road and El Camino Real, an area that has experienced a surge in growth.

Following is the second in the Town Crier’s two-part series on the consequences of growth in the San Antonio Change Area. Part 1 appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Town Crier.

It’s no secret that Mountain View is growing, with hundreds of new housing units under construction or planned for the San Antonio Change Area.

Increased auto traffic is just one result of the growth. The impact of additional students on the Los Altos School District, with boundaries that include portions of the San Antonio Road and El Camino Real areas, is another.

As with traffic, there is no easy solution to accommodating that growth. School district officials report that the student population north of El Camino more than doubled over the past 15 years. Superintendent Jeff Baier’s numbers show an increase from 216 students in the 1995-1996 school year to 574 in 2011-2012.

“That’s about the size of one of our schools,” Baier said.

An additional 330 housing units are completed or under construction at The Village at San Antonio Center, and 170 units are under construction at the former Los Altos Garden Supply site (on the Los Altos side of El Camino).

Collaborating on solutions

City officials reviewed progress on the San Antonio Precise Plan at last week’s Mountain View City Council meeting.

One speaker wondered whether considering the impact on schools is an issue, given that new housing at The Village has accounted for only four new students thus far.

“Until very recently, there have been no apartments built in the area, so the student population growth has been independent of development,” said Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich. “In general, higher-density apartments do not yield that many students.”

Santa Rita and Almond schools are already at capacity. Acquiring a school site in Mountain View is the most obvious option supported by the district and the city of Los Altos. It is also the most difficult to make a reality.

“There are very few parcels of the size desired for a school, and the value of land is quite high,” Rich said. “The city does not control the properties. We can’t force a site to be used as a school or sold to the school district, nor can we ‘downzone’ a property.”

So far, there’s been talk among the two cities and the school district about collaborating on a solution – but little action.

“Not a lot of engagement as of yet,” said Los Altos School District Trustee Mark Goines. “We have included them in the discussion on new facilities and the growth we are experiencing, and we are getting involved in the San Antonio Precise Plan meetings.”

At last week’s council meeting, Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga said she wasn’t sure what kind of help the city could offer the school district.

“It’s really up to the school district (to put a school in Mountain View),” Abe-Koga said. “They have the power of eminent domain (public takeover of private property to build a school site), we don’t.”

Goines said individual Mountain View councilmembers “have expressed interest in being helpful. They are, however, more focused on development than education. … Sadly, they are financially incentivized to build homes and businesses that generate taxes, less interested in having property converted to non-tax-generating schools. Separately, residents have been lobbying for more park space, and a school could serve both educational and playtime interests. But the dialogue continues.”

Goines said he has spoken with three other Mountain View councilmembers and communicated with the city’s Youth Advisory Committee. He also pointed to the district’s Enrollment Task Force and input from residents about “accommodations for a school/park in the San Antonio/California neighborhood.”

The San Antonio Precise Plan will include specific direction for improving mobility and mitigating growth in the area. The target date for completing the plan is December 2014.

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