Fri05062016

News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

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 Road home April 27 and...

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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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Fallen Leaf residents seek new trail policy

Representatives of a south Los Altos neighborhood association have asked the city to change the rules when it comes to the Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study.

A handful of Fallen Leaf Lane Neighborhood Association (FLLNA) members asked the Los Altos City Council Oct. 8 to adopt a policy that calls for a 75 percent approval rate from affected residents before constructing new trail alignments on city residential streets. As part of its request, the group asked the council to halt the trail study and adopt the policy before resuming. The neighbors also presented the council with a petition signed by 550 nearby neighbors supporting adoption of the policy.

“I come here today requesting the city adopt a policy to improve communications and require a dialogue with the residents prior to commencing work on neighborhood-changing projects,” said Michael Eiger, an FLLNA member who lives on Fallen Leaf Lane. “The community of south Los Altos does not feel the council has heard our outcries regarding the Stevens Creek Trail process.”

The request comes at a time when the four-city study – which also includes Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale – considers potential alignments in Los Altos, Sunnyvale or along the creek corridor itself to connect the trail between Mountain View and Cupertino. Fallen Leaf Lane is among the streets under consideration for an alignment – a source of contention for the neighborhood group.

Reached by the Town Crier, Eiger said the group chose to present the petition to councilmembers before this week’s council meeting – held Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s press deadline – because the agenda included an item to update councilmembers on the study’s progress. Eiger noted that the group “wanted to let (the council) know where our heads are at.”

Eiger added that FLLNA began gathering petition signatures shortly after a June 18 public meeting at Grant Park during which consultants and city staffers updated residents on the study and sought local feedback. Several residents at the meeting expressed reservations that a trail of any kind along Fallen Leaf would increase vehicle and bicycle traffic and negatively impact the values of their homes. Others said the feasibility study process lacked transparency, among other things.

“We want to make sure impacted residents have a vote (with the new policy requested). Unfortunately, you can have a good dialogue but still have a project where only 30 percent of the population is OK with it,” said Eiger, who accused those involved of having a “blatant disregard” for trail alignment options beyond Fallen Leaf.

Official’s reaction

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, however, told the Town Crier that while she “can appreciate” the group’s ongoing concerns, any assumptions about a trail coming to Fallen Leaf are premature.

Bruins, the city’s representative for the study, noted that the study continues to examine several trail options, including one favored by the group itself. That option, originally highlighted in a 2008 feasibility study commissioned by Los Altos, calls for a trail connection using Fremont Avenue, Grant Road and Foothill Expressway.

“We don’t know if (a trail connection) will even be considered in Los Altos,” Bruins said. “We have nothing before us with which to render a final decision.”

As for the group’s policy request, Bruins noted that the idea would require a higher approval threshold than voter-supported bond measures (which require a two-thirds approval rate).

“Even if something were to be considered – even if (the policy) said it had to have a majority (approval) – it still may not be in the best interest of the community at large,” she added.

Bruins said she’s pleading patience with the study’s process, noting that those involved “want to allow this thing to come to a conclusion.” She said the effort continues to be an open process, adding that a final decision on a trail in Los Altos ultimately rests with the city council.

“At no point are we abdicating any land-use decisions,” she said. “There are no backroom deals going on – nothing. It’s all being done in the public eye.”

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