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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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Commission says try again


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The island at Loyola Corners, across from Tom’s Depot, is being considered for retail and condominium development.

A proposal for a three-story, mixed use project at Loyola Corners may be headed back to the drawing board.

During a Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) study session last week, some commissioners suggested that the proposed project’s plan – which calls for approximately 1,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and six condominiums at the former Photo Drive-up site – should be scrapped and redone because the bulky design doesn’t fit the area.

“I don’t think there’s a way to fix this design,” said Commissioner Ken Lorell, who noted that the project was “completely out of character” for Loyola Corners and suggested project applicant Gregg Bunker rethink his design.

According to a city staff report, the study session was scheduled to provide “early design input” for Bunker, who has owned the triangular property for more than 20 years.

Bunker presented the PTC with two alternative building designs to consider – including one that called for a 30-foot tall building with 9-foot wall plates.

A second design called for a 33-foot tall structure – 3 feet above the city’s height limit for the area – with a roof deck for tenants living in the building’s six condominium units on the second and third levels.

Bunker told the commission that the building would be “simply unique” with “all-glass” condo units located at the corners.

“I think it’ll be a delightful place for residents to live,” he said.

Bunker’s proposal includes 15 parking spaces – two short of the 17 required by city code. However, Bunker told the PTC that he would consider using parking lifts and vowed to exceed the amount of parking required by the city.

Still, the project drew criticism from a handful of neighbors who said both proposed building designs would be too large for the area. One Fremont Avenue resident told the PTC that the building’s look and size was “inconsistent” with the rest of the Loyola Corners area, while another neighborhood resident called the proposal “extreme.”

“It just feels to me like a lot of square footage for the lot size,” added a second Fremont Avenue resident.

Some PTC members agreed with the assessments offered by the residents in attendance. Commissioner Jon Baer said that the building was too big for the neighborhood and called on Bunker to “rethink the project from scratch.”

Commissioner Phoebe Bressack termed the volume of the structure “huge for the area,” adding that the designs appeared to try to fill “every possible square inch” of the property.

“If it wasn’t end-to-end-to-end-to-end everywhere, it would be better for the town,” she said.

Commissioner Jerry Moison, however, offered a different take on the project. He said adding setbacks on the small property site would make the building “look like a pencil.”

Moison added that the project was needed to help revitalize the area.

“I think Loyola Corners is in desperate need of something just like this,” he said.

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