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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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Window closing on state tax credit

The window is closing for prospective California homebuyers to apply for a state tax credit. Earlier this year, legislators created two state tax-credit programs, each allotted $100 million.

As of last week, one of the programs received more applications for tax credits than funded, lowering, but not eliminating, the possibility of more first-time homebuyer credit allocations being issued.

The first state tax-credit program offers a $10,000 credit to first-time homebuyers who purchase homes between May 1 and Dec. 31. The second offers a $10,000 tax credit to buyers who purchase newly built homes after May 1 and before Aug. 1.

“Buyers need to be aware that the funds for the state’s tax-credit programs are limited, that there are specific requirements for each program and that they need to act quickly to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Jeff Bell, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors.

According to the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), as of June 29, the state has received more than 7,000 new-home credit applications, amounting to only $50 million of the $100 million allotment, and approximately 21,000 first-time buyer applications, amounting to slightly more than the $100 million allotment.

The numbers are estimates, according to the FTB. The board is still accepting applications, because it expects that a number of duplicate, revised or invalid applications will be denied.

Buyers are eligible for the first-time buyer program if they haven’t owned a home in California for three years prior to the purchase date. The property must be eligible for the California property-tax homeowner’s exemption and occupied as the principal residence for a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase.

Buyers are eligible for the new-home credit if the home they purchase is a single-family home or condo that has never been occupied. The same tax-exemption eligibility rules apply.

The state tax credits are available for buyers who purchase a qualified principal residence on or after May 1 and before Jan. 1 – the purchase date is defined as the date escrow closes. If funds are still available, additional credit can be allocated for taxpayers who purchase a qualified principal residence on or after Dec. 31 and before Aug. 1, pursuant to an enforceable contract executed on or before Dec. 31. Those who received a new-home tax credit in 2009 are ineligible to apply for the state-tax credit.

Homebuyers may apply for the credit by faxing applications no more than 14 calendar days after escrow closes. The tax credit is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the time and date the faxed application is received. The cutoff date for applications will be posted on the FTB Web site 24 hours prior to going into effect, to give applicants time to fax their applications.

State tax credits are limited to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000 for a qualified principal residence. Taxpayers must apply the total tax credit in equal amounts over three successive tax years – with a maximum of $3,333 per year – beginning with the tax year in which the home is purchased.

Tax credits cannot reduce regular tax below the tentative minimum tax. The tax credits are nonrefundable, and unused credits cannot be carried over.

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

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

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