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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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Seniors are getting ripped off by contractors again

In recognition of Older Californians Month, May 1997, the Contractors State License Board reminds California senior citizens to get a copy of "What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor."

An unlicensed contractor ripped off an elderly homeowner in the Bay Area recently when he took $14,000 for a room addition, abandoned the job and skipped the state.

If the woman had read about the brochure's advice to hire only licensed contractors, she could have avoided him altogether.

General advice is don't be a victim. Be aware that seniors have been targeted by scam artists posing as contractors.

The brochure offers the following advice.

Deal only with licensed contractors.

Don't rush into repairs, no matter how badly they are needed.

Don't hire the first contractor who comes along.

Ask to see the contractor's "pocket license" or home improvement sales registration. All contractors are issued pocket licenses which show the type of trade for which they are licensed and expiration date of license.

The Contractors State License Board receives approximately 30,000 complaints each year against building contractors, of which 25 percent are aimed at unlicensed contractors.

Less than half of the complainants thoroughly checked the contractor's qualifications before hiring them.

Call the Contractors State License Board, (800) 321-2752, to verify the information provided by the bidding contractor.

Be prepared with the contractor's name, license number and business address.

Another piece of advice is to get at least three bids, and ask for references from work the contractor has completed in the Los Altos/Mountain View area.

The Contractors State License Board, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses and regulates the 277,000 building contractors in California and promotes the general welfare of the public in matters related to building construction.

Some financial advice to follow:

Don't pay cash.

Don't let the payments get ahead of the work completed, and don't pay the full cost of the job up front.

Do know how much to give as a deposit. Under state law, when undertaking a home improvement or repair job, contractors cannot ask for a deposit of more than 10 percent of the total cost of a job or $1,000, whichever is less, unless the contractor provides a bond, approved bond equivalent or approved joint control ensuring completion of your contract.

Do require a written contract and don't sign it until you fully understand the terms.

If you have a complaint against a contractor call the Board at (800) 321-2752.

To receive a copy of "What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor," call the Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752.

You can also write them at P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento 95826.

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