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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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'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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