Recessions Impact on CA Schools

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Widespread teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and increased economic hardship for children are among the impacts California’s budget crisis and the recession have had on public schools and students, according to a report released Thursday.

Researchers at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access interviewed 87 elementary, middle and high principals across California to gauge the impact of the recession and budget cuts on student welfare and school learning environments.

Before the recession began, California K-12 public schools, which were among the nation’s best in the 1960s, already ranked near the bottom nationally in many measures of academic achievement and school quality.

The economic downturn and state budget crisis has undermined recent academic gains and widened the disparity between schools in rich and poor communities, said John Rogers, the institute’s director.

“It’s taken California several steps backward on the road to improvement,” Rogers said. “It’s also harmed the long-term prospects for California to rebuild a quality education system.”

The report, called “Educational Opportunities in Hard Times,” found that:

— 62 percent of principals reported that teachers in their schools had been laid off, threatened with layoffs or reassigned to other schools. The number of actual layoffs was four times greater at schools in poorer communities than wealthier communities.

— 67 percent reported that class sizes had increased, with 74 percent of elementary school principals reporting larger class sizes.

— 75 percent reported that summer school had been reduced or eliminated.

— 75 percent reported reductions in instructional materials and supplies.

— 70 percent reported cuts to professional development programs.

— 67 percent reported growing housing insecurity, which includes homelessness, families moving in together and families moving away for economic reasons.

— 51 percent reported an increase in the health, psychological or social service needs of their students.

Many principals are seeing the impact on rising unemployment and poverty on their students as parents lose their jobs and homes, according to the report. About two-thirds said their schools have referred students and families to health and social service providers.

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Unique Tahoe Keys Property With 2 Boat Slips

Speed Boat
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I have a unique Tahoe Keys duplex condo for sale.  It is in the middle of a remodel so it would have to be a cash offer- although the seller is open to any creative solution.  It has a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath unit that is currently rented and a studio with full bath and kitchen.  The studio is in the remodel stage.  The owner has the new kitchen cabinets, stove/oven, 40k BTU gas fireplace, and dishwasher uninstalled on site.  He is tired of the project and just wants out.  Not in the MLS yet-

It has one garage space, outside parking, keys amenities (pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, boat launching, private beach), a nice mountain and marina view, and 2 boat slips…… A legal duplex with one APN number….

Offered in the very low $300’s

When you finished with this project you could flip for a nice profit or keep it and rent one unit and keep one for yourself.

Call or email  me for more information.

Joel Dameral
530-545-8827
info@JoelDameral.com

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Repeat Buyers Must Act Fast For Tax Credit

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By now it is well documented that today’s affordable housing prices, historically low interest rates and federal home buyer tax credit have combined to create one of the most attractive first-time buyer markets in recent memory. What many Americans might not realize is that a recent expansion of the buyer tax credit has created an equally desirable opportunity for existing homeowners.

This past November, Congress elected to expand the home buyer tax credit to repeat buyers after seeing the success the temporary financial incentive had on the housing market and overall economy. As a result, current homeowners who will have lived in their home for 5 consecutive years out of the last 8 may now be eligible to receive a $6,500 tax credit.

“The expanded tax credit offers a great financial opportunity for existing homeowners, particularly those looking to trade up,” said James M. Weichert, president and founder of Weichert, Realtors, one of the nation’s largest independent real estate companies. “Not only can you receive a large sum of money from the government, you’ll also likely purchase your next home for less money and at a lower interest rate than you could have in years past or years to come.”

To qualify for the tax credit, the repeat buyer must have signed a binding contract by April 30, 2010 and close on the home by June 30, 2010. Tax credit eligibility is subject to income limits, $125,000 for single buyers and $225,000 for couples. In addition, the sale price of the home being purchased can not exceed $800,000.

There is no requirement that existing homeowners must have sold their home to be eligible for the $6,500 tax credit. However, Weichert encourages existing homeowners who want to benefit from this incentive to move quickly, particularly those who prefer to first sell their current home before purchasing a new one.

“Typically, it takes three months or longer to sell a home. That’s why it is critical repeat buyers put their home on the market right away. Otherwise they might not leave themselves enough time to both secure a buyer for their current house and find a new home by the April 30 deadline,” added Weichert.

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2022 Winter Games in Tahoe???

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The Lake Tahoe basin remains a potential host for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

While local organizations have spearheaded efforts to bring the games to Lake Tahoe in recent years, there is reason for renewed optimism, according to Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki, chairman of Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition (RTWGC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to having Reno/Tahoe selected as the next North American region to host an Olympic Winter Games.

“The latest comments from the USOC are an absolute shot in the arm for the Lake Tahoe region’s latest bid to host the games,” he said. “This will allow us the necessary momentum to create a network and a partnership between Nevada and California that can focus on putting a package in place that makes it compelling for the USOC.”

A shakeup in the United States Olympic Committee leadership has led to a reprioritization of how the committee will approach the bidding process.

USOC Chairman Larry Probst and newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun indicated they may want to pursue a 2022 Winter Games bid.

“Nothing’s off the table at this point,” chairman Larry Probst said during an interview at Associated Press headquarters Tuesday, when asked about a possible 2022 bid.

In the past, the USOC has focused on bringing the Summer Games to a bid city, as the games are typically viewed as a stronger economic engine for the host city.

However, in wake of Chicago’s last place finish in the bidding process for the 2016 Summer Games, the USOC indicated that bringing the Winter Games to the United States could be a positive step in repairing their relationship with the International Olympic Committee.

“The idea is to face in the right direction and start walking,” Blackmun said, “and we’ll know when we get there.”

According to reports from the Associated Press, the two strongest candidates to host the 2022 Winter Games are Denver and Reno-Tahoe.

“We’re really supportive of the USOC and the Olympic movement,” KieAnn Brownell, president of the Denver Sports Commission, told the Associated Press. “We have aspirations from the standpoint of wanting to host international events of all types. We’re going to follow the USOC’s lead and see where that goes.”

Local Impact

Bringing the 2022 Winter Games to Lake Tahoe would give the region an opportunity to dramatically improve its infrastructure, said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Spokesman Dennis Oliver.

“Lake Tahoe could be the first Olympic site to deliver a Green Olympics with an underlying theme of sustainability,” he said.

Oliver said preparations for hosting the games should include installing a public transportation system capable of serving residents long after the event has concluded.

Oliver also envisions the creation of new more energy efficient hotel accommodations, athletic facilities with minimal impact on the local environment, and a system of feeding the athletes with locally grown agricultural products.

“It would be an event with an underlying theme of carbon neutral and I know a lot of local leaders would be interested in pulling it off,” Oliver said.

Krolicki agreed.

“The 2022 Winter Games would be a spectacle and a delight for several weeks,” he said. “But the improvements made to the infrastructure of the Lake Tahoe Basin in lead-up to the games would benefit residents for decades.”

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Free Radon Test Kits To El Dorado County Residents

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Residents of El Dorado County can receive a free radon test kit until supplies run out.

The Tahoe Division of the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department has several hundred test kits available, said Virginia Huber, Tahoe Division Manager.

The kits can be picked up from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. weekdays at 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Suite 303.

“We recommend everyone in the South Lake Tahoe area test their home for radon,” Huber said.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive case that arises from the decay of naturally occurring uranium and thorium in soil. The gas is linked to 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year, second only to cigarette smoking, according to the EPA.

A report from the California Geological Survey in June 2009 estimated that 23,400 people in the Lake Tahoe area live in buildings where radon is likely to equal or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level of 4 picocuries per liter.

The report was based on geological data, as well as results from a survey of 443 homes in South Lake Tahoe between 2006 and 2007.

According to the survey, about 40 percent of homes in the Lake Tahoe area are at or above the EPA’s recommended action level, while approximately 55 percent of homes in the El Dorado County portion of the basin who participated in the survey are at or above the recommended action level.

Winter is a good time to test a home for radon, Huber said.

“It’s the best time to test because your house is closed up,” she said.

For more information call (530) 573-3450.

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10 Big Impact Low Cost “Renovations”

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Do you have some—but not unlimited—cash for upgrades? Here are budget-minded enhancements to make your home stand out from the competition.

 

1. Tidy up kitchen cabinets.

“Potential buyers do open kitchen cabinets and look inside,” says Morrissey. “Home owners can add rollout organizing trays so when buyers peek in, they feel like there’s lots of room for their stuff.”

2. Add or replace tile.

“By retiling very inexpensively, you make a room look way cleaner that it was,” says Javier Zuluaga, owner of Home Repairs and Remodeling LLC in Tempe, Ariz. “Every city has stores that offer $1 to $2 tile, so home owners have to pay only for the low-cost tile and labor to replace a dated backsplash or add a new one. We also use inexpensive tile to upgrade bathrooms.”

3. Add a breakfast bar.

When a wall separates a kitchen from a family room, suggest cutting out an opening to create a breakfast bar. “In one home, there was a cutout in the wall between the kitchen and living room,” explains Matthew Quinn, a sales associate at Quinn’s Realty & Estate Services in Falls Church, Va., who handles estate and real estate sales for family members whose loved ones have passed away. “We left the structure of the cutout, added an oversized granite breakfast bar, and put chairs in front of it. That cost about $600.”

4. Install granite tile instead of a slab.

“Everybody is hot for granite kitchen countertops, but that can be a $5,000 upgrade,” says John Wilder, a general contractor and owner of Fence and Deck Doctor in New Castle, Ind. “Instead, home owners can put in 12-inch granite tiles for about $300 in materials and get very high impact for little money.”

5. Freshen up a bathroom without retiling.

“With a dated bathroom, I recommend putting in a new medicine cabinet for $100 to $150, light fixtures for about $100, a faucet for $50 to $75, and a vanity for $200 to $300,” says Wilder. “And instead of replacing the tile, the existing grout can be lightly scraped and regrouted, which leaves a haze that can be buffed out and will make the tile look brand new. Also install glass shower doors. A French door adds a lot of panache and elegance for $250, and people will notice the door, not the tile. With all that, you’ve done a bathroom remodel for $1,000 to $2,000.”

6. Freshen up the basement.

“If home owners have cement block or poured concrete walls in the basement, suggest they have a contractor fill in cracks with hydraulic cement and then paint with waterproofing paint,” recommends Wilder. “They can then add a top coat to add color. They can also paint the basement floor with a good floor paint, which spiffs it up. The basement may not be finished, but it’s no longer a damp dungeon.”

7. Add a room.

Look for large spaces that can be enclosed to create a new bedroom for just the price of creating a wall. “One time, we closed off a half-wall to an office and added a door to the other side of the room, thus creating another bedroom,” says Quinn. “That $400 procedure, which took a contractor one day, netted about $40,000 in the sales price.” Zuluaga has also added bedrooms inexpensively. “In a two-bedroom house, there was an archway that led to a third room that was used as a den,” he explains. “It had a dry bar where there would have been a closet, so we took out the dry bar and created a closet so the owners had a third bedroom.”

8. Spruce up cabinet fronts.

Suggest home owners update tired-looking kitchen cabinets. Reconditioning is the least expensive move for under $1,000. “If the wood is starting to look shabby from use or contaminants in the air, we take out the nicks and scratches, recondition it with oil, and put new hardware on,” explains Heidi Morrissey, vice president of marketing and sales at Kitchen Tune-Up in Aberdeen, S.D. For $1,500 to $4,000, owners can replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and for $4,000 to $12,000, they can have all the cabinets refaced. “With refacing, owners can change the color of the cabinets by replacing the door and having a new skin put on the boxes,” says Morrissey. “If they have oak cabinets today, they can have cherry the next day.”

9. Replace light fixtures.

“In a foyer and in bathrooms and kitchens,” says Wilder, “replacing overhead light fixtures provides a lot of pop for a little money.” If the kitchen has track lighting, Zuluaga suggests the home owner spend $450 to $600 to have an electrician replace it with recessed canned lights on a dimmer switch to add ambience. For about $700, Zuluaga also suggests installing pendant lights over a kitchen island or peninsula.

10. Tech-up the garage.

“Sometimes we replace the garage door opener with a remote touchpad entry system,” says Zuluaga. “That costs about $425 and makes it look like a high-end system.”

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Looks Like The BIG ONE Is Here!!

Hazardous weather condition(s):

This Afternoon: Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 4pm. Snow level 6300 feet. High near 42. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tonight: Snow before 10pm, then rain and snow. Low around 33. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

M.L.King Day: Rain and snow. High near 35. Breezy, with a south wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.

Monday Night: Snow. Low around 26. Breezy, with a south wind between 20 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Tuesday: Snow. High near 31. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Tuesday Night: Snow. Low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Wednesday: Snow. High near 32. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Wednesday Night: Snow. Cloudy, with a low around 28.

Thursday: Snow. Cloudy, with a high near 29.

Thursday Night: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 25.

Friday: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a high near 29.

Friday Night: A chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 22.

Saturday: A chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 32.

Fire Sprinklers Required in 2011

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 Beginning in 2011 all new one and two-family homes and townhouses built in California must have automatic fire sprinkler systems.

The California State Building Standards Commission voted Tuesday unanimously b to adopt the 2010 California Residential Code, which includes the 2009 International Residential Code as established by the International Code Council in September 2008. The residential sprinkler requirement was voted into the 2009 IRC Code by building code officials from all over the United States, gaining more than two-thirds of the vote.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3320 people perished in fires in 2008 throughout the United States. According to the NFPA, there has never been a documented fire death in a fully operational sprinklered residence with working smoke detectors.

“It is a tragedy for our nation to have those kinds of preventable fire death losses,” said

Lake Valley Fire Protection District Fire Chief Jeff Michael.

For more information about the new building standards codes coming in 2011, contact the Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Fire Prevention Bureau at 530-577-3737.

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The Home Buyers Tax Credit Made Simple

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Why a Tax Credit???