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Food & Wine

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Session beers offer an alcohol content low enough to sustain sipping through a long, lazy picnic. Local breweries are celebrating the citrus hop style now in vogue with other fruit-forward influences.

With the h...



Your Health

Reading in sign,  ink and song

Reading in sign, ink and song

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A baby girl learns sign language during a program offered Wednesdays at the Los Altos Library.

Visit Los Altos Library’s community room on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see its plain gray expanse descend into ...



Your Home

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Succulents are a good choice for a small, low-maintenance garden that needs minimal water. Combine a variety of interesting colors and shapes.

If aches and pains are starting to limit your ability to garden, then g...



On The Road

A different kind  of driving school

A different kind of driving school

Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The Andersons observe Bixby Bridge – located on Highway 1 near Big Sur – from a dirt road during their recent Land Rover Experience Driving School lesson.

It is always exciting to do something youR...



Senior Lifestyles

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids

Photo Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos Senior Program volunteers – affectionately known as The Monkey Toy Ladies – make sock monkeys to comfort sick children.

Last year, nearly 400 children at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital received a special ...



Wedding To Remember

The Veils of Time

The Veils of Time

Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum

For a new spin on the Town Crier’s “Peek into the Past,” the Los Altos History Museum has been gathering historical local wedding photos and the stories behind them.

Frances Elizabeth Shoup, second...



Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accurately whether ...



Strategy for saving for college - use all the options available

First, create a college fund and make regular contributions. The size of the contributions and the kinds of investments you select depend on your goals, risk tolerance and the age of your children.

Children under 10: Consider a mix of 80 percent stocks and mutual funds and 20 percent in bond funds.

Children 11 to 14: You may want to invest 70 percent in stock funds and 30 percent in bond funds. Diversify your holdings to reduce risk.

Children 15 and older: Consider shifting some investments to less risky choices, such as certificates of deposit.

Student financial aid

Though educational costs are rising, the financing options available are numerous.

Federal Stafford Loans go to students with demonstrated need.

Federal parent loans for undergraduate students (PLUS) help parents cover the difference between the total cost of education and any financial aid awarded by the school.

Private and insured loans can supplement federal loans and scholarships.

Scholarships are gifts from organizations to students who demonstrate certain merits and/or financial need.

To apply for federal and many state aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Tax breaks

Today, the total cost for one year at a four-year public university averages about $10,450 (tuition, room and board, books and other expenses). At a four-year private school, the tab averages about $22,500. If costs rise 5 percent per year, parents of a newborn could be paying $25,700 to $55,320 yearly for their child's college degree. Given the expense, the smartest course is to use all the saving, financing and tax breaks available.

Several tax breaks also lower the cost of higher education.

Custodial account in your child's name.

Educational IRA.

Traditional IRA.

Hope Scholarship tax credit.

Lifetime Learning tax credit. Student loan interest deduction.

Some states now sponsor qualified state tuition programs.

Courtesy of ARA Content, www.infoARAcontent.com, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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