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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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