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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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How to avoid the pitfalls of sudden wealth

In my May 29 column (“Is sudden wealth a blessing or curse?”), I discussed the dark side of newfound wealth, the financial and psychological impact that, according to one report, results in 90 percent of lottery winners going broke within five years.

Now I’d like to share some simple strategies to avoid ending up penniless and/or in a mental institution.

• Don’t act – take stock. You’ve got to put something in place to control your behavior to make sure that you don’t lose that money. This is the time to create a plan for your future – your goals, your aspirations and the costs associated with them. If you are unable to do it yourself, seek help from a financial planner. That’s what they do. You may call it a retirement plan, or a “rest of your life” plan, but its purpose is to ensure that you have a road map to follow to maintain enough capital to support your goals, both now and in the future. Whatever you choose to do with your money, it’s important that you look after yourself first.

• Set aside enough of your wealth to achieve your plan – and I’m not talking about investing it. If your winning lottery ticket, inheritance or other windfall provided enough money to last you the rest of your life, why risk it at all?

Invest it instead in safe assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds or bank CDs. You can even leave it in a bank checking account. (Keep in mind, however, that CDs and bank accounts are each insured only up to $250,000. You might want to diversify your holdings across numerous banks to manage the remote but possible risk of bank failures.) If you do need to invest your fortune, your plan should help you avoid risking more than necessary.

• Monitor your investments as well as your spending. Discipline in managing your wealth and cash flow will be critical to your ongoing success. If you do not have a strong history of frugality, consider hiring a professional team comprising a financial planner, tax accountant and estate attorney.

• Now it’s time to consider others. Do you have a brother-in-law who is looking for funding to start a business? Maybe a nephew who wants to attend law school? Or a friend with cancer and no insurance? It’s fine to help them financially as long as it does not negatively impact your plan.

• If you’re charitably inclined, donate money to your favorite causes or use donor-advised funds. A solid plan should allow you to compare different scenarios and make tradeoffs without compromising your future. If your windfall is especially large, you may even be in a position to create your own foundation. In any case, get help to determine the tax consequences of your choices – you likely will be dealing with unfamiliar tax liabilities.

• If you still have money left after all these considerations, do whatever you want with it. Think of this last bucket as “play” money. Build a pound for stray animals. Buy a Tesla. Go to Las Vegas. Although money will not buy happiness, you can still use it to generate a little fun.

Keep in mind that no one has an infinite amount of money to spend. Even Bill Gates has a plan for his wealth, and you can bet he manages it carefully.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner with Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062.

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