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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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City manager recalls her roots


Town Crier File Photo
Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers, center, enjoys a laugh with guests at an April 2012 welcome reception in her honor.

Marcia Somers assumed duties as Los Altos city manager in April 2012. The following Town Crier “e-terview,” an email interview, offers Somers’ account of how she stepped into a leadership position in a city bursting with activity. This is the second in the two-part series.

TC: Like many Los Altos residents, you have Midwestern roots. Where did you grow up and get your education?

Somers: I grew up in Bloomington, Minn., the original home of that state’s professional sports teams – Vikings, Twins and North Stars. I have fond memories of going to the Met Stadium for many sporting as well as community events. (As I recall, my high school graduation was held there as well.) Part of the larger metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Bloomington had an outstanding public school district, extensive and award-winning city and county park systems, and an overall high quality of life. I followed (in the footsteps of) my two older siblings and attended the University of Minnesota.

TC: Have you ever been to Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the source of the Mississippi, and walked across the river without getting your feet wet?

Somers: Of course I have – hasn’t most every native Minnesotan? Itasca State Park is a national gem that a very small percentage of the American public has had an opportunity to visit and experience, so I consider myself lucky. Later in life I was also able to cross the river on a daily basis without getting my feet wet at all (way above the river on an enclosed walkway that was heated in the winter) when I was at the University of Minnesota.

TC: Did you also work in city governments in Minnesota?

Somers: Working for local government was nowhere in my sights as a young adult. I worked as a waiter in various restaurants in order to earn money to pay for tuition, books and other living expenses while in school. That experience, however, exposed me to all sorts of interesting people who helped me fine-tune my listening and customer service skills, which I’ve put to good use during my 28 years working in the public sector.

TC: What brought you to California?

Somers: After spending a summer working in Glacier National Park, I was encouraged by my co-workers to travel home with them to San Francisco. Other than a vacation with my family to the Seattle World’s Fair and a drive down the coast in 1962, I had not ventured this far west. As fate would have it, this post-Glacier trip resulted in meeting my future husband. But since I had plans to live and study in Europe shortly thereafter, I was off on yet another adventure after my brief visit here. I did ultimately move to California, married in 1976, completed my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and obtained my master’s degree in Public Administration at Cal State Hayward.

TC: Tell us about where you live now and about your family.

Somers: I have lived in Campbell for 30 years. My husband and I have four adult children and four grandchildren – some who live in the Bay Area and others who are in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

TC: Where do you like to vacation?

Somers: My side of the family reconnects with biannual reunions, alternating between Minnesota, Colorado and California. My siblings and our children and grandchildren gather to spend a fun and laughter-filled week together usually in an area that offers lots of outdoor activities.

TC: What are your hobbies?

Somers: Back in the day (way back), when I had more free time, I sewed most of my clothes – business suits included (the fortunate result of having a mother who was an amazing seamstress/tailor). My almost 30-year commitment to public service is much more than a full-time occupation, so personal discretionary time is limited. However, my primary leisure interests include spending time with my family, reading, traveling and staying in touch with my far-flung relatives and friends through old-fashioned handwritten cards and letters.

TC: What do you see as the significance of SFMOMA coming to town with its temporary four-month exhibition?

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