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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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Hidden Villa volunteer rediscovers fountain of youth as a tour guide


Laurie Aubuchon/Special to the Town Crier
Hidden Villa volunteer Peter Thurston crawls through The Rabbit Hole, one of the few guides to attempt passage through the small space. The tunnel allows visiting children to enter the farm’s organic Education Garden.

Being a kid again is one of the benefits Peter Thurston, 73, enjoys about volunteering at Hidden Villa. The retired marketing programs director at IBM Storage Systems joined the Hidden Villa Board of Trustees in 2009.

In his role as Hidden Villa farm and nature guide, Thurston teaches schoolchildren from all over the Bay Area about the nonprofit educational farm and wilderness area located in Los Altos Hills.

While his enthusiasm about the job is not unique among Hidden Villa guides, on occasion his method of entry into the organic Education Garden is. Scooting on his belly, using his forearms and feet to propel himself forward, he has delighted children by crawling through a diminutive portal called The Rabbit Hole – a child-sized tunnel into the garden.

Exploring the surrounding hills, Thurston said he strives to make the children comfortable.

“We focus on making the kids fall in love with nature,” he said. “They fall in love, and then they learn.”

Guides promote the connection by hiking and playing games with the children as they facilitate farm experiences.

“Every time I’m done with a tour, I really feel good,” Thurston said.

Residents of Los Altos Hills for 43 years, Thurston, his wife Carol and their three now-grown children have enjoyed many walks at Hidden Villa.

“My wife had them all go to camp here,” Thurston said of Hidden Villa’s summer camps.

Thurston also contributes his time at Environmental Volunteers and Filoli, but his Hidden Villa experience is special.

“Being on the board is a real honor,” he said, “but being with the kids is a real joy. I’ve never had a bad day here. I really haven’t.”

Hidden Villa invites potential volunteer guides to observe an upcoming school tour 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at the preserve, 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills. Call 949-8643 prior to joining the tour.

If visitors subsequently decide to volunteer, all necessary training is provided free of charge. No experience is required.

For more information, call 949-8643 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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