Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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California implements new homebuyer tax credit with hope of helping ailing housing industry

Legislation signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week provides $200 million in new homebuyer tax credits to help stimulate the state’s housing market. The new credit becomes effective May 1, a day after the federal homebuyer tax credit expires April 30.

“We have seen the positive impact the federal homebuyer tax credit and last year’s state tax credit have had on California’s housing market,” said Jeff Bell, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “The new state tax credit will continue to bring stability to our marketplace.”

Nearly 40 percent of first-time homebuyers said they would not have purchased a home if the federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers were not offered, according to research conducted last year by the California Association of Realtors. California’s previous homebuyer tax credit program was so successful, it ran out of credits by the end of June 2009, eight months before it was set to expire.

This year’s state homebuyer tax credit is distinctly different from last year’s credit and the current federal homebuyer tax credit. The bill allocates $100 million for qualified first-time homebuyers of existing homes and $100 million for qualified homebuyers toward the purchase of new or previously unoccupied homes.

Key provisions of the new state homebuyer credit include:

•Â Credit cap is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, and is disbursed in equal installments over three consecutive years.

•Â Purchasers are required to live in the home as their principal residence for at least two years, or forfeit the credit (i.e., repay it to the state).

•Â There are two different types of qualifying purchases: a single-family residence purchased by a first-time homebuyer (taxpayer who has had no ownership interest in a principal residence in the last three years) and a new single-family residence (home that has not been previously occupied).

•Â Credit is for purchases of qualified homes between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2010.

•Â Taxpayers may reserve a credit prior to the close of escrow for the purchase of a new home if the taxpayer and seller jointly sign and submit to the Franchise Tax Board a certification stating that they entered into an enforceable purchase contract on or after May 1 and on or before Dec. 31.

•Â Credit is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Bell said Californians have a brief window of opportunity to receive up to $18,000 in combined federal and state homebuyer tax credits, but buyers need to study the rules of both tax credits carefully.

To take advantage of both tax credits, a first-time homebuyer must enter into a purchase contract for a principal residence before May 1, and close escrow between May 1 and June 30, inclusive. Buyers who are not first-time homebuyers may use the same time frames to receive up to $16,500 in combined tax credits if they are longtime residents of their existing homes as permitted under federal law, and they purchase properties that have never been previously occupied as provided under California law.

Under the federal law slated to expire, a first-time homebuyer may receive up to $8,000 in tax credits and a longtime resident may receive up to $6,500, for certain purchase contracts entered into by April 30 that close escrow by June 30. Additionally, under a newly enacted California law, a homebuyer may receive up to $10,000 in tax credits as a first-time homebuyer or buyer of a property that has never been occupied. Other terms and restrictions apply to both tax credits.

“Much has been said about receiving $18,000 in combined homebuyer credits for a limited time, but timing is essential,” Bell said. “I would proceed with caution and consult your realtor and an experienced tax adviser if you think you will be able to qualify for both credits.”

For more information, visit www.ftb.ca.gov.

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article. Contact Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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