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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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County assessor sees rise in local property taxes

Several thousand homeowners throughout Santa Clara County – including 1,100 in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills – should expect an increase in their property taxes, according to the Office of the County Assessor.

County Assessor Larry Stone reported that approximately 47,000 properties would see their assessed values fully restored this year following the real estate market downturn. Another 81,000 properties in the county, including nearly 750 in Los Altos, will experience a partial restoration of the assessed values, which Stone noted was a reflection of the surging residential property market.

“Unemployment has dropped to 7 percent, faster than the nation or the state. The NASDAQ is soaring. Apartment rents have reached record levels with single-family homes close behind. It was inevitable that property taxes would follow,” Stone said in a statement released June 6.

Stone said that while increases in property taxes are never welcome, this is “ good news” for the local economy – and homeowners.

“It means the value of most families’ single most valuable asset, their home, is once again regaining solid equity lost in the collapse of the residential housing market,” he said.

The news comes after 136,000 residential properties were assessed below their purchase price last year. Stone’s report noted that when the market value of a property declines below the previously established assessed value measured as of Jan. 1 each year (lien date), the assessor is required proactively to reduce the assessed value to reflect the lower market value. However, as the real estate market rebounds, the assessor must restore the assessed values.

Proposition 8, passed by California voters in 1978, mandates that property owners are entitled to the lower of the fair market value of their property (as of Jan. 1), or the base-year value as determined at the time of purchase or construction, and increased in accordance with Proposition 13 by no more than 2 percent annually.

“If a property assessment was reduced during the recession, the restoration of its assessed value is not limited to 2 percent, until the market value reaches a property’s purchase price plus the annual inflation increase of no more than 2 percent,” Stone said. “The market solely determines whether the assessed value of a property is reduced or restored.”

The assessor mailed more than 478,000 assessment notices June 28 to property owners in Santa Clara County. In addition to outlining assessed property value, the notice also details the process for requesting an informal review of the assessment. According to the report, the Assessor’s Office will complete as many informal reviews as possible prior to Aug. 1, the deadline for making changes reflected on the property-tax bill mailed in October. Additionally, the letter includes language outlining the process for filing a formal assessment appeal by the Sept. 16 deadline.

For more information, visit www.sccassessor.org.

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