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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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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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