Fri05062016

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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The fondest farewell follows a tentative welcome

People around me know my devotion to my dog, Parker. And by devotion, they would mean being a responsible pet owner by spoiling Parker rotten and everything in between. All of it is true. And while I made some mistakes – I never should have allowed Parker to assume that he’s entitled to sample everything we eat – I must point out that I had not wanted a dog much to begin with and that Parker was my first (mammalian) pet. Therefore, it was a fairly steep learning curve for me to figure out how to handle him once he arrived in our home.

I did read books on dog care ahead of time, of course. Amusingly, this is exactly how I had tried to prepare for the birth of my first child under similar ignorant circumstances: zero exposure to infants once I was past age 10, and absolutely no babysitting experience at any age. No surprise that the research I did in both instances yielded similar results. Books never hurt, but nothing really prepares you for the hands-on, maddeningly unpredictable reality of a living, breathing, sentient and idiosyncratic creature entering your world.

I have spent the past 15 years trying to understand life from Parker’s point of view so that I could better manage his behavior, his physical well-being, his emotional life and his relationship with other people and animals. That’s a long way of saying that I spent a lot of time focused on health and balance in a dog’s life.

I wasn’t productive on all fronts: Parker was the least happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever I’ve ever met, and he hated cats with a passion. To his credit, however, he was just smart enough to recognize that he needed humans for survival, so he was obedient and submissive. He understood that his sworn feline enemies were quicker, smarter and more deadly than he. He knew better than to actually mess with one.

But at the end of the day, literally and figuratively, Parker was a deeply comforting presence in my life. I don’t have the space here to disentangle and describe his particular threads in the fabric of these past 15 years, but he’s woven solidly in there. However, I will say that he brought out the best in me – communication through the heart rather than through vocal chords, observation from a truly different set of eyes and, above all, laughter and joy while experiencing all the small, inconsequential things.

When he died last month, Parker’s vet, who assisted him, told me with sincerity that Parker was a patient he would remember the rest of his life. In part because given his fragile health, Parker lived well past anyone’s expectations. But I’d like to think that it was also because of Parker’s personal charm – a weird mix of suspicious, tentative optimism and naive incredulity. He never operated on pure faith, but he was always surprised when things didn’t quite work out to his particular liking. I loved that about him. It made him seem so human.

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