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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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'Tis the season for charitable giving – and tax savings

For some, the end-of-year holidays engender thoughts of helping those less fortunate. For others, it’s a time to develop strategies to save on taxes.

Charitable giving allows you to achieve both goals. However, what if you would like to help but don’t yet know which charities you prefer? One of the most flexible ways to address this is to use a donor-advised fund (DAF).

A DAF is an account similar to a 401(k), sponsored and administered by a public charity for the purpose of managing charitable donations to other organizations on your behalf. It offers you the opportunity to donate money and get an immediate tax deduction before deciding which charities you want to fund. Rather than making donations directly to your favorite charities, you can donate the money to a DAF and in the future direct grants to specific charities through the DAF. For wealthy individuals and families, a DAF provides simpler accounting, higher tax-deduction limits and less strict payout requirements compared to creating your own private foundation.

However, there may be differences across DAFs in the offerings, so selecting the most appropriate one can be challenging. Following are questions you should ask the sponsoring organizations before selecting the right DAF for you.

• What types of grants will the DAF sponsoring organization approve? Generally DAFs are able to support most 501(c)(3) organizations, but there are sometimes restrictions, such as religious or international requirements. If you cannot support your favorite charities through the fund, it’s probably not for you.

• Will the DAF accept assets other than cash for funding? Many DAFs accept publicly traded stock, privately held company stock, real estate, life insurance and even art and collectibles.

• What are the investment options? Is there a minimum account size? Some DAF sponsors allow donors or their financial advisers to manage the funds within the DAF themselves. This may be of value to you if you plan on making distributions over a long period of time.

• What is the process for making grants from the fund? Is there a minimum amount? Can it be done by phone or online? Is there an approval process? What are the costs?

• What resources are provided to help clients identify causes or charities and plan their giving? If you know exactly which charities you want to support, you won’t need such help. But some sponsoring organizations additionally help educate their DAF account holders on local needs as well as how to be more effective donors. Working with such organizations could help develop a greater sense of pride and satisfaction through your charitable giving.

• Can the assets in a DAF account be transferred to another DAF sponsor? You may want to change in the future for any number of reasons or may simply prefer not being locked in.

• What happens when the DAF account creator is no longer alive? Can successor trustees be named? Can the DAF holder designate charitable beneficiaries to receive the final amount in the fund?

When it comes to selecting a DAF, there is no shortage of choices. Brokerage houses Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard run the largest national DAFs. If you are more inclined to support your local community, there is the Los Altos Community Foundation right in our own backyard. It supports local nonprofits as well as national charities.

Regardless of your preference, DAFs remain an excellent vehicle through which you can accomplish good in the community while at the same time saving on your taxes.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner and principal at Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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