Thu05052016

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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Why is Pope Francis Time's 2013 Person of the Year?: No Shoes, Please

Here’s how Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of Time magazine, explains it: “For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time’s 2013 Person of the Year.”

Compare that to Sarah Palin’s remarks about the pope being “too liberal” and Rush Limbaugh’s histrionic response that the pope is a “Marxist” simply because he has asked us to redirect our attention to the poor and disenfranchised.

Personally, I think he is doing precisely what any Christian leader ought to be doing, and it’s weird that some of us are put off or even threatened by that. I mean, the pope is advocating for those in need and admonishing the greedy. Isn’t that the Christian thing to do?

At the same time, I don’t think that Pope Francis should get any more power to spread his message than some TV coverage and the bully pulpit; it’s never a good idea when a religious leader is in charge of, for example, the armed forces or a political system.

However, like his predecessors, the pope has a big voice and a huge audience, and he’s chosen to use both in favor of people who have neither. That’s power enough, I believe.

I applaud the pope when he says we need to stop focusing on abortion and homosexuality. I don’t think he’s necessarily abandoning these issues entirely; he’s merely trying to push them down on the world’s agenda so that the more pressing problems of global inequality and human suffering can claim a higher spot. As reported, the pope sees the Church as a field hospital with high cholesterol.

And he’s right to do this. In terms of size, the number of those affected by starvation, cruelty, war, disease, poverty and lack of opportunities dwarfs the number of people in the world affected by abortion and gay marriage. And you can certainly make the argument that homosexuality in particular is not a source of human suffering.

As heated as the debate over gay marriage can get, same-sex couples do not inspire trauma or violence, unless of course you happen to walk over to that dark side on your own steam and legs.

I don’t know what the pope’s message to the world will be on Christmas Day, but from the looks of it, he’s all in. Therefore, I hope that on that day of family, joy, gifts and glitter, he maintains our focus on the people who don’t have access to those things, because they, too, are worthy of our attention and compassion.

For now, Pope Francis seems to be the best person to exert that kind of moral authority, not because he’s the pope, but because he walks the talk and doesn’t get self-righteous about it. His vision is simple and straightforward – we are our brothers’ keepers – and he’s unwavering on that point. I don’t think anyone in recent memory has made it any plainer.

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