Los Altos’ Bluestone Lane secures liquor license, hosts Local’s Hour

Bluestone Lane” width=
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Bluestone Lane in Los Altos recently launched a Local’s Hour, its version of the traditional happy hour. According to the cafe’s staff, the Watermelon Bellini and the Good Greens Granola, above, pair well.

After bringing Aussie-style, all-day breakfast and lunch to Los Altos for two months, Bluestone Lane recently secured a liquor license and has put its twist on a traditional favorite: happy hour.

Incoming bank, foundation team up to donate $100K to area nonprofits

The Village at San Antonio Center” width=
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Village at San Antonio Center in Mountain View, above, is set to welcome a new tenant in February when Fremont Bank opens a branch. Bank representatives selected the location in an effort to expand the company’s footprint to the southern end of the Peninsula.

When Fremont Bank opens in The Village at San Antonio Center early next year, local residents will already know its name – or at least that’s the hope of Brian Hughes, the grandson of the corporation’s founder and executive director of the Fremont Bank Foundation, a charitable giving program.

Realtors learn how reverse mortgage can help some senior homeowners

A mortgage and personal finance adviser discussed reverse mortgages, an option that can provide cash for some senior homeowners, at a Silicon Valley Association of Realtors district meeting in Mountain View last month.

Andy Block of Opes Advisors explained to realtors how a reverse mortgage works. A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows homeowners 62 and older who have accrued considerable equity in their home to convert part of the equity into money that can be used for a variety of purposes. It’s the reverse of a traditional mortgage in that no monthly payment is required. The senior homeowner can receive funds as a lump sum, fixed monthly payment or line of credit within certain guidelines. The entire loan balance becomes due and payable when the borrower dies, moves away permanently or sells the home. 

Borrowers need to be aware that they are responsible for paying property taxes, insurance and maintenance, just as one would with a traditional mortgage. Many have fallen into the trap of not paying the fees and are then forced into foreclosure.

To qualify for a reverse mortgage, borrowers must be at least 62 years or older and must occupy the property as their primary residence and have considerable equity in their home. The home must meet minimum Federal Housing Administration property standards, and borrowers must meet Financial Assessment guidelines and complete a counseling session with a Housing and Urban Development-approved counselor.

Block said a reverse mortgage is an option for seniors who want to remain in their home but are short on funds to pay for monthly expenses. The loan also can be used to purchase a new home due to relocation, downsizing or even upsizing. Borrowers can use the funds to pay off a traditional mortgage or to build a safety net for unplanned emergencies, home repairs or health-care expenses.

“A reverse mortgage is not the right solution for everyone,” Block said. “However, if a senior needs cash to handle daily living expenses, enhance their quality of life and/or maximize their retirement savings while wanting to remain in their own home, it is certainly a viable option worth considering.”

Borrowers should be aware that by taking equity now, there would be less equity for heirs down the road, Block said.

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article. For more information, email Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit silvar.org.

Transactions for the week of Oct. 30

Los Altos

62 Chester Circle, Merlo Trust to S. & C. Tseng for $2,900,000

941 Highlands Circle, C. Zhang to R. & N. Dattachowdhury for $2,630,000

609 Hollingsworth Drive, Waddell Family Trust to Rehak Trust for $3,610,000

110 Lyell Street, Nelson Trust to G. & D. Miljkovic for $1,200,000

1230 Patlen Drive, M. Kojo to S. & N. Shankaran for $3,600,000

1035 Ray Avenue, M. Gibbs to N. & N. Lui for $2,500,000

Los Altos Hills

14554 Debell Road, Lewis Trust to H. & G. Setlur for $3,600,000

25055 La Loma Drive, Somekh Investments LLC to M. Ringler for $7,500,000

14945 Page Mill Road, Bru Trust to S. & Z. Liu for $4,900,000

12251 Stonebrook Drive, J. Kim to S. Uppal for $4,100,000

Mountain View

108 Bryant Street No. 9, Yee Family Trust to C. King for $1,325,000

327 Cherokee Loop, San Luis Avenue LP to M. Wang for $1,625,000

1304 Cuernavaca Circulo, Seppeler Trust to T. & A. Guha for $1,675,000

646 Ehrhorn Avenue, Schmitz Trust to Sf19G LLC for $1,825,000

736 Emily Drive, Harwood Trust to Sf19G LLC for $1,200,000

157 Irene Court, D. & J. Maltzer to Z. & C. Wang for $1,330,000

130 Kittoe Drive, Cipolla Trust to Cali Dreams LLC for $1,775,000

751 W. Middlefield Road Unit E, J. & F. Chen to K. Zesmaa for $1,100,000

1945 Mount Vernon Court No. 15, Granholm Trust to N. Li for $848,000

105 Promethean Way, R. Wilson to K. Wu for $1,810,000

3218 Pyramid Way, Head Invs LLC to Hao Trust for $1,680,000

915 San Marcos Circle, Vincent Trust to Y. & S. Liu for $1,890,000

42 Sherland Avenue No. 3, Xchange Solutions to Pablo Properties for $2,700,000

1825 S. Springer Road, Slaughter Trust to Peter J. & Sharon D. Fiekowsky for $2,650,000

721 Tiana Lane, Worthy Trust to A. & S. Paranjape for $2,200,000


Los Altos

Total sales: 6

Lowest sale: $1,200,000

Highest sale: $3,610,000

Average sale: $2,740,000

Los Altos Hills

Total sales: 4

Lowest sale: $3,600,000

Highest sale: $7,500,000

Average sale: $5,025,000

Mountain View

Total sales: 15

Lowest sale: $848,000

Highest sale: $2,700,000

Average sale: $1,708,900

– Cal REsource

A new kind of social community platform

R Community” width=
Courtesy of Jenny Huang
R Community co-founders Kevin Arnold, left, and Scott Plautz developed a social media platform that aims to build community via curated content delivered to smartphones.

Some of us grew up watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” That was the good old times, when we knew our neighbors and what was happening around our town.

United Way seeks tax prep volunteers

United Way Bay Area’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program seeks volunteer tax preparers, interpreters and greeters to help staff Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites throughout the Bay Area during the 2020 tax season.

No prior experience with tax preparation is required, and all training is provided. With the support of trained, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, VITA sites provide free tax preparation to low- to moderate-income individuals and families at more than 200 locations across eight Bay Area counties.

VITA volunteers aim to help households receive the best possible refunds by ensuring they claim all deductions and tax credits available. For example, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit – one of the most powerful poverty-fighting safety-net programs in the country – can provide eligible families with three or more qualifying children a $6,557 credit. Sites also help families access the California Earned Income Tax Credit. Families with multiple children can claim the maximum credit of nearly $3,000, plus a new $1,000 credit for families with children 5 and under.

“When I saw the sense of relief and the smile that my first taxpayer had once I had prepared her return and she had fulfilled her obligation to file taxes, I was hooked,” said VITA volunteer Pete Shyvers. “United Way Bay Area sets the stage for a great experience.”

Free volunteer training provided by community partners and the IRS begins in December and January. Volunteer tax preparers attend three days of classroom instruction. There is also a need for outreach volunteers, a role that requires less training. For tax professionals or experienced volunteers, an online training and accelerated certification tool is available.

Site operation hours vary, but most volunteers are asked to volunteer regularly for at least one four-hour shift each week from late January until April 15. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to volunteer. There is a special need for bilingual Spanish speakers.

Last year, approximately 2,800 Earn It! Keep It! Save It! volunteers in the Bay Area helped file more than 78,000 federal and state tax returns, resulting in more than $80 million in federal tax refunds.

To volunteer and for more information, visit earnitkeepitsaveit.org/volunteer.

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