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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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LAH Council Briefs


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos Hills City Council renewed its contract with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, citing cost-effectiveness and accessibility.

Following are highlights from the Dec. 12 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting. The next council meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at town hall, 26375 W. Fremont Road.

Sheriff’s contract renewed

Councilmembers voted unanimously to renew the town’s contract with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office for another five years when the existing contract expires June 30. The decision recognized the services the Sheriff’s Office provides the community – at a price no other model could beat.

“The service we’ve been getting has been absolutely incredible,” said Councilman John Harpootlian of the Sheriff’s Office’s patrols, emergency response and investigative services. “We’ve asked for investigations and they’ve always been accommodating … more than expected.”

Town staff and the Los Altos Hills Finance and Investment Committee researched the costs of law enforcement in neighboring cities and determined that the contract with the Sheriff’s Office was the most effective and efficient choice for the town. The Sheriff’s Office will provide services at a cost of $122 per capita in Los Altos Hills for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the lowest cost for services among all communities served by the office. Law enforcement services in Los Altos are projected to cost $312 per person for the same period.

Total law enforcement service costs in Los Altos Hills are budgeted at approximately 15.77 percent of the town’s general fund budget, or $1 million for fiscal year 2014. The Sheriff’s Office has served the town of Los Altos Hills since its incorporation in 1956.

Torch passes to Radford

Gifts, gavels and a few speeches marked the council’s transition to a new mayor and vice mayor for 2014. In a unanimous vote, the council selected Vice Mayor John Radford to serve as mayor for the next one-year term. Radford has served on the council since 2010. Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan will serve as vice mayor next year.

Outgoing mayor Gary Waldeck recognized his wife, town staff and the teamwork of his council colleagues for making 2013 rewarding. Waldeck highlighted achievements accomplished during his leadership, including the incorporation of 17 private roads, completion of the Safe Route to Los Altos Hills Schools project and efforts to make the town one of the safest communities in the state.

Radford outlined his goals for the coming year, emphasizing a desire to ensure the town’s ongoing solvency.

“As we look to the next year, I think first and foremost that we want to maintain the financial health of the town,” said Radford of an impending surge in pension and infrastructure costs and his desire to identify new sources of revenue. “We can look at not just breaking even, but investing more in our town.”

Maintaining town assets, including streets, pathways and West- wind Community Barn, is also on Radford’s agenda for 2014.

“I want to look at how we interface with residents to make sure that we’re doing the absolute best we can,” he said.

New management to take reins at Westwind

It’s been a long year for Westwind Community Barn supporters, who have anxiously awaited a resolution to the facility’s financial challenges and loss of a barn manager last summer. A smoother ride may be on the horizon.

Councilmembers are scheduled to award the contract for most barn operations Jan. 16 to one of two vendors vetted as finalists by an ad hoc subcommittee. Torie Dye of Fremont Hills Country Club and Laura Stevens of Heather Hill Riding Academy are under consideration to manage commercial boarding, Parks and Recreation riding programs, Pacific Ridge Pony Club horse leasing, facility scheduling, private lessons and some portions of the 4-H equine services.

During the next several weeks, the town will work with the finalists to complete financial worksheets and draft contract agreements. The selected vendor is scheduled to take the reins by Feb. 1.

As no potential vendors would agree to assume full financial risk for barn operations – one of the reasons councilmembers dismissed a concessionaire model as a solution – the town will continue to subsidize the barn in 2014. City Manager Carl Cahill estimated that the subsidy would total between $100,000 and $150,000.

“I think we hope to break even, but it might be a three-year timeline,” Radford said.

The town also plans to hire a consultant eight hours a month to provide oversight and advice to the council.

Committee recommends two sculptures

The Los Altos Hills Art in Public Places Committee launched only recently, but offers to donate art to the town are flowing in. Councilmembers accepted the first two public sculpture donations earlier this month, pending a review of their proposed locations.

The first sculpture will honor the memory of Los Altos Hills artist and sculptor Jean Birkland McCandless. The McCandless children of Los Altos donated an 11-foot bright-blue, aluminum sculpture titled “Blue,” valued at $35,000, for installation at the edge of the parking lot at Los Altos Hills Town Hall.

The second sculpture is a 9-foot-by-2-foot mixed-medium, modern abstract sculpture donated by Maryam and Jonathan Dickey of Los Altos Hills. Designed by Rob Matthews and Leslie Guinan of Hidden Spring Designs, the sculpture is proposed for placement in the lobby of town hall.

– Ellie Van Houtte

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