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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Community support bolsters Veterans Resource Center


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Foothill College student Charles Viajar, a U.S. Navy veteran, takes advantage of the school’s Veterans Resource Center in pursuit of training as a respiratory therapist.

The Veterans Resource Center at the heart of Foothill College’s Los Altos Hills campus feels like a low-key clubhouse, with noodle soup packets, a worn couch and a steady flow of students coming to and from classes.

On a recent Tuesday, Wayne Barton passed through – he’s in his third quarter, studying enterprise networking and other IT specialties. Barton had cut college short to return to work after leaving the military. But now, between jobs, he’s taking advantage of a Veterans Administration program that offers retraining for vets.

Brian Go stopped by, too – until recently a health inspector in the Army, he’s now studying to be a veterinary technician. He’s left the world of overseeing slaughterhouses to tend to animals.

Charles Viajar, a firefighter in the Navy, hadn’t known what he wanted to do when he left the service in January. As of this week, he was working his way through a chemistry textbook at the center’s corner desk.

Viajar ultimately concluded that after watching his grandfather die of lung cancer, he’d like to do something that helps people breathe.

Viajar learned about chemical and biological warfare over his four deployments, but he returned to the civilian world unused to the freedom – and attendant chaos – of solo adult life. As a veteran, he has access to funding for his training as a respiratory therapist, but navigating the paperwork and bureaucracy that stands between a veteran and his or her benefits requires help.

That’s where the Veterans Resource Center comes in.

“As soon as I came in, Carmela was very helpful,” Viajar said of Carmela Xuereb, the director at the heart of the center. “Carmela helps you get your benefits to work, so you can actually use them.”

Not only does the Veterans Resource Center serve as a comfortable place for vets to find each other and pool their limited resources, it is also an organizing force within the college, collaborating with other departments to help them transition to academic life.

Donations from sources such as the Town Crier Holiday Fund help supply equipment like computers and printer paper, and this year the center has been fundraising to offset the cost of textbooks. This fall, financial concerns became particularly pronounced during the government shutdown.

“We went through a hard time during the furlough – the guys got pretty nervous,” Xuereb said. “They depend on their VA benefits to pay rent, buy books, even buy food.”

She serves as a protective den mother to the 250 veterans studying at Foothill, who often find their way to her via word of mouth. They can print papers in the office, pick up extra Scantrons for an upcoming test or just grab a subsidized snack.

“All those little five cents here, 10 cents there, it adds up for them,” Xuereb said. “It’s the little things.”

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