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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Permanente Creek project an exercise in lunacy

At the rear of Blach Intermediate School, there is a flood-control channel built in 1959 to convey Permanente Creek water to Stevens Creek, which could protect a large part of Mountain View in the event of a 100-year flood. It has functioned flawlessly except for in 1985, when a culvert became blocked and Blach was inundated. The Santa Clara Valley Water District removed the culvert, then built a constriction in the channel near the batting cage to impede the flow to Stevens Creek.

Now it is configured to force floodwaters out of the channel and direct the flow across the school toward El Camino Hospital and beyond. This positions a large number of homes in Mountain View and some in Los Altos, in addition to the hospital since its expansion, in a manufactured flood zone, which has required the owners to pay expensive flood insurance for years.

The water district reports that there is flood potential somewhere on Stevens Creek north of El Camino Real, so the Permanente water cannot be allowed to continue downstream. It must rise out of the channel and go toward the hospital. I’m not making this up. Mountain View’s Public Works Department is not aware of any such problem on Stevens Creek, Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps do not show it and the hospital doesn’t care.

The water district is now in the final stages of soliciting bids to dig a huge flood basin in Rancho San Antonio County Park, which could protect the hospital and residents downstream in Mountain View. If there were a flood danger, the district could remove the constriction within a few days. The basin project requires removing 100 trees with bulldozers creating noise and dust for nine months in the most heavily used part of our park system. The project is a boondoggle.

Santa Clara County Parks authorities were ignorant of the above facts when first approached by the district for permission. Now they are aware but embarrassed to reverse course because they have a long history of cooperation with their friends in the district. Park officials have become derelict in their fundamental duty – to protect a nature preserve.

The Committee for Green Foothills does not object to the project because, when completed, the area will remain open space. No kidding. The Sierra Club is missing in action. GreenTown Los Altos does not object because its members feel unqualified to evaluate a technical dispute between a powerful public utility, which claims the work is essential, and a few engineers such as myself, who say that it is a complete fraud. GreenTown’s reason for neutrality seems to be a common one. But does a person need to be an engineer to conclude that something is amiss when floodwater is being forced out of a channel and directed toward a hospital?

This is a blatant attempt of a government agency not only to waste money to justify its existence, but to commit an environmental crime in the process. The district raised the money with a parcel tax the public innocently approved. It has already wasted millions of dollars.

The audacity in attempting this in our highly educated and environmentally conscious community is astonishing. But district representatives seem to be correct in assuming that the public is easily duped and essentially defenseless against a lavishly funded hustle.

Jerry Clements is a civil engineer who has owned and operated Jerry Clements & Associates in Los Altos for 35 years, a company that specializes in grading and drainage.

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