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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School principal remembers slain priest as friend to all


Courtesy of St. Francis High School
The late Rev. Eric Freed formerly served as chaplain and teacher at St. Francis High.

St. Francis High School Principal Patricia Tennant last week remembered the Rev. Eric Freed, S.S., as a man who treated everyone he encountered in the same manner – without judgment.

“He was the everyman priest … he was everybody’s pastor,” Tennant said of Freed, a former St. Francis chaplain and religious studies teacher who was killed in the rectory of St. Bernard Catholic Church in Eureka New Year’s Day. “He was a great listener. He never judged and he truly had an open heart.”

Local police have since arrested 44-year-old Gary Lee Bullock and charged him with the murder. At the time of his death, Freed, 56, was pastor at St. Bernard’s, taught in the Religious Studies Department at Humboldt State University and served as chaplain of the university’s Newman Center.

In a conversation with the Town Crier, Tennant said she initially learned of Freed’s death shortly after a fellow priest discovered his body on New Year’s Day.

“I got a phone call the evening of New Year’s Day that he had been killed. It was a very difficult message to hear,” said Tennant, who added that the school held private Masses Jan. 6 and 9 for grieving students and faculty members. The school also celebrated Mass Sunday in the Brothers’ Chapel in remembrance of Freed.

“There was great disbelief,” Tennant said of the school community’s reaction to Freed’s passing. “I talked to a colleague today and he kept saying that he wants it to be a dream, that he wants to wake up.”

Tennant said she’ll remember Freed as not only a friend to her, but to countless students and faculty members he got to know both during and after his tenure at the school. She noted last seeing him in November, when he stayed at her home while assisting St. Francis faculty members in hosting the school’s annual senior retreat. It was an event, she noted, that Freed looked forward to every year, even after his 2002-2005 tenure at the school ended.

During his stay, Freed walked through the school, popping into classrooms to say hello to former colleagues and speak with students. In one class, she recalled, he held an on-the-spot calligraphy lesson for students.

“He walked into my English classroom and talked to all my kids,” said Tennant, who added that Freed had presided over her daughter’s wedding and also baptized all of her grandchildren. “He was that kind of guy. He was very worldly but so grounded in the human experience that he could talk to anyone.”

Tennant added that Freed’s 20-year residence in Japan, where he entered the Salesian Religious Congregation in 1979 before being ordained as a Salesian priest in 1990, helped shape his approach to people and the world.

“When he talked to kids or adults, he embraced all different cultures and approaches to life because he came from such a broad global perspective,” said Tennant, who attended the funeral service in Eureka last week. “It seemed there wasn’t anything in life that he couldn’t find a passion for.”

Tennant said Freed’s legacy was impactful considering the brief period he served at the school – and won’t soon be forgotten by its community.

“The grieving is open and it’s natural, but we also know he was a man of great faith, and that’s what sustaining me,” she said. “I just know that we loved him, and knowing that he loved us back is a good thing.”

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