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Get moving to get fit

Sandy McCaslin’s passion for helping others and her dedication to fitness, allows her to do what she loves every day – helping people get fit and healthy at the Delta Valley Athletic Club in Brentwood, where she works as the general manager of operations.

Tuesday 02/24/2015
Union's bid for teacher support staff denied

A group of special-education case managers, protesting what some are calling a hostile takeover attempt to fold the group into the Oakley Union Teachers Association (OUTA), won a reprieve last week from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) with the state agency’s announcement that the petition by OUTA has been denied – at least for the time being.

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Thursday 02/19/2015
Opening the doors to fresh produce

Steve Thompson and Barbara Frantz celebrate the installation of the first set of custom, Tuscan-style doors at Tess’ Community Farm Kitchen. The kitchen will be a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching people the importance of fresh produce. It will be a place where the young and old, the experienced and the inexperienced, are taught how to make good, wholesome meals, sauces, jams, jellies and desserts from what they buy at local farm stands and farmers markets. The kitchen is scheduled for its grand opening on May 26.

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A look at the heavens

Third-grade teachers from Timber Point Elementary were channeling Stephen Hawking’s advice to look up at the stars and be curious this week, when in partner ship with the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society (MDAS), they hosted a non-traveling field trip as part of their Patterns in the Sky study unit.

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Delta weeds spraying scheduled for March

The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) recently issued a public notice to begin herbicide treatment of the aquatic invasive weeds water hyacinth and spongeplant in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region, beginning on Wednesday, Mar. 4, and continuing through the end of November.

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Wednesday 02/18/2015
A starry look at the heavens

Third-grade teachers from Timber Point Elementary were channeling Stephen Hawking’s advice to look up at the stars and be curious this week, when in partner ship with the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society (MDAS), they hosted a non-traveling field trip as part of their Patterns in the Sky study unit.

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Saturday 02/14/2015
Out on a limb

Tree trimmers work on cutting down a 40-foot tree in Discovery Bay last week. The tree was originally planted as a Christmas tree in 2009, but according to the owner, its branches were falling and hitting the house and needed to be removed.

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Thursday 02/12/2015
Timber Point Pasta Feed

Join Timber Point Elementary School for their second annual Pasta Feed, on Saturday, March 7, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Anne Church, 2800 Camino Diablo Road in Byron. Dinner will include pasta, salad, bread and dessert, and several goodies will be raffled off. Tickets for PTA members are $16 for adults and $8 for youth age 12 and under. Non-PTA tickets are $20.00 for adults and $10 for youth age 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the Timber Point PTA. Tickets must be purchased in advance before March 5. To purchase, email

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2015 Business Survey

The Economic Development Division is conducting a short survey to learn more about the plans and needs of Brentwood businesses.

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Community Contributed Headlines

Friday 02/20/2015
Posted: February 20, 2015 - 11:50 am

Let's say you're looking for a house to buy and you find one that seems to fit your needs, wants and price range. As you finish your tour you enter the garage and it’s amazing... Finished walls, epoxy floor and a work bench with state-of-the-art tools, all shiny and obviously in perfect working order. You absolutely LOVE tools and these are all the type you’ve been wanting to buy forever. As you express your admiration for them, your agent smiles and says, “Sorry, those don’t come with the house…”

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Friday 02/13/2015
Posted: February 13, 2015 - 8:23 am

In the past, new home builders seemed to be focused on selling the homes, and they didn’t care where you got your financing from. Then a few years ago, they started bringing the lender “in-house” for one-stop shopping convenience for you, and an additional profit center for them. They might even offer you $2,000 to $5,000 in closing costs credit if you used their lender.

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Tuesday 02/10/2015
February 9-15 is Random Acts of Kindness Week
Updated: February 10, 2015 - 9:18 pm

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week: We know you spread kindness every day, and this is your official invitation to go all out! Check out RAK Week for kindness ideas to do throughout the week.

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Posted: February 10, 2015 - 8:40 am

Very often in a real estate transaction the owner of the property will have work done on the property either to get it ready for sale, or based on the buyer’s request for repairs. A question arises if the person they hire to do the work needs a contractor’s license.

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Monday 02/09/2015
Open Enrollment Reminder
Posted: February 09, 2015 - 2:34 pm

Reminder: Open Enrollment for Individual Health Plans ends February 15th.  Contact me if you need help enrolling or to see if you qualify for a subsidy through Covered California!

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National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week
Updated: February 09, 2015 - 2:39 pm

February 8th – 14th is National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week:

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Thursday 02/05/2015
Women's Council of REALTORS Delta
Posted: February 05, 2015 - 10:09 pm

Our mission: We are a network of successful REALTORS®, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve

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Monday 02/02/2015
Posted: February 02, 2015 - 10:20 am

It seems like there is always some “expert” warning us about some upcoming economic disaster, and they have plenty of logical arguments and graphs to back up their arguments. For a while there we were worried about all the “shadow inventory” where they thought the banks were holding foreclosed off the market but were about to dump them on us all at once and our inventory was going to rise drastically. Then it was all the adjustable rate mortgages that were going to reset and cause another flood of foreclosures. Then they said interest rates were going to rise, which was going to put a huge chill on the buyer activity. All of these were supposed to lead to MUCH higher inventory of homes for sale.

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Monday 01/26/2015
Posted: January 26, 2015 - 11:57 am

Good news for low-down payment home buyers! FHA has reduced their mortgage insurance premiums effective 1/26/2015.

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Monday 01/19/2015
Posted: January 19, 2015 - 2:57 pm

For the last two weeks I’ve given you the arguments for why real estate prices may go up this year, and also the arguments for why they may go down. This week I’ll share with you the arguments for why prices may be fairly flat.

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Monday 01/12/2015
Posted: January 12, 2015 - 9:05 am

Last week I laid out the case why real estate prices may continue to increase in 2015. This week I’ll discuss why some people think prices may decline instead.

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Monday 01/05/2015
Posted: January 05, 2015 - 9:56 am

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Monday 12/29/2014
Posted: December 29, 2014 - 4:03 pm

Hardwood floors are lovely. I have them in my current house and in my house before that. While they are expensive to put in, they do raise the resale value of the home (although not dollar for dollar). Many buyers prefer them for easier clean-up and they don’t stain like carpet does. Today I want to point out something about hardwood floors that could be kind of a “gotcha” if you aren’t aware of it. Recently I’ve had two clients opt to put in hardwood floors from two different flooring providers. They each picked out two completely different varieties of hardwood, but both were gorgeous.

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Monday 12/22/2014
Posted: December 22, 2014 - 9:12 am

In years past, it was pretty rare to have a short sale or foreclosure on your record. Because of that, mortgage lenders weren’t in a big hurry to lend to people that had one of those. They would often make someone wait 5-7 years until they would approve them for a mortgage loan again. This worked out OK for the lenders back then because they could still make all the loans they wanted.

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Personal Blog: Perry Ahlgrimm
Posted: December 22, 2014 - 8:22 am

Police Dog Injured in San Marino

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Tuesday 12/16/2014
First Place Win for the Diamonds
Updated: December 16, 2014 - 11:01 am

 It was another winning day for the Black Diamond All Stars at the USA (United Spirit Association) Winter Classic cheerleading competition. The event was held December 7th at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. All 5 Diamond teams brought their A game and wowed the crowd in their signature sparkly Diamond uniform and big silver bows. The Youth ICE team came home with an impressive 3rd place of 8 teams in their category and the always adorable Tiny Sparkle team was awarded 2nd place. The highlight of the day was definitely the exciting 1st place win by the Mini Shimmer team. They gave a stunning performance and beat out 7 other teams in their group level. Next up for these national champions teams is the Jamz competition at UC Davis on January 11th 2015. For more information on the Black Diamond All-stars you can visit their website at or call 925-516-6619.

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Monday 12/15/2014
Posted: December 15, 2014 - 9:08 am

For a long time, home buyers had to come up with at least 20% down to buy a home. Then it got reduced to 10%, then 3%, then nothing, and then at the peak of the madness, buyers could get loans for 125% of the value of the home and sometimes even walk away from the closing table with money in their pockets after buying a home!

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Saturday 12/13/2014
Heritage RAMS Undefeated Season
Updated: December 13, 2014 - 10:33 pm

The Heritage Baptist Academy Rams were undefeated for their entire season. (10-0). They took first place in the tournament they played in on Saturday, December 13. Robbie Fithian and Seth Armstrong coach the Rams. It was a great season. The Rams play in the California Athletic League (C.A.L.) 

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Christmas Caroling at Cortona Park
Updated: December 13, 2014 - 9:54 pm

The residents of Cortona Park enjoyed some cute little Christmas carolers during their lunch time on Saturday, December 13. The children from Heritage Baptist Church prepared a little Christmas program for the residents. Pastor  Jim Oesterwind has been hosting a weekly Bible study on Wednesday mornings at Cortona Park this past year. It was a wonderful opportunity to get the children involved and uplift the sweet residents during the holidays.

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Monday 12/08/2014
Posted: December 08, 2014 - 9:53 am

So lately I’ve been battling “low battery chirp” at my home, my office and my parents’ home. I’ve learned a LOT about these detectors that I didn’t know before! I woke up at 3 am a few weeks ago due to a smoke detector chirping, and of course it was a super-high ceiling in my house, so I had to get the extension ladder out while wearing my pajamas. Good luck going to sleep after THAT!

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Personal Blog: LibertyAdultEducation
Posted: December 08, 2014 - 9:47 am

2015 Citizenship Classes!

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Saturday 12/06/2014
New Homes Now From The High $300s in Antioch - Almondridge
Updated: December 06, 2014 - 1:19 pm

Big News - All New Pricing... New Homes Now From The High $300s in Antioch.

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Almondridge KB Homes
Posted: December 06, 2014 - 1:21 pm

Contact #NewHomeNegotiators today for a personal visit to #Almondridge in Antioch. #NewHomeNegotiators will work with you step by step. 

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Thursday 12/04/2014
Personal Blog: Perry Ahlgrimm
Posted: December 04, 2014 - 12:43 pm


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Wednesday 12/03/2014
Personal Blog: John Case Intero Real Estate
Posted: December 03, 2014 - 1:54 pm

Landscaping Improves the Value of Your Home!

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Monday 12/01/2014
Posted: December 01, 2014 - 1:22 pm

It’s a good idea to check in with your insurance agent now and then to have them review your home insurance policy with you to see if you have too much, or not enough coverage on your home.

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Saturday 11/22/2014
Personal Blog: Perry Ahlgrimm
Updated: November 22, 2014 - 5:54 pm

Protecting Your Home,Protecting Your Family

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Friday 11/21/2014
End of the year tax tips
Posted: November 21, 2014 - 1:47 pm

The end of the year is fast approaching. Now is the time to plan ahead and do what you can to try and reduce your income tax bill.  Here are two ideas for you to consider.

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Tuesday 11/18/2014
Personal Blog: Perry Ahlgrimm
Posted: November 18, 2014 - 6:42 am

Home Invasion.

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Monday 11/17/2014
Posted: November 17, 2014 - 2:35 pm

Every year about this time I hear this question. There is a myth out there that home selling activity completely shuts down right before Thanksgiving and picks up again in January. The truth is that homes sell all year round. I’ve had some of my best months in December.

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Thursday 11/13/2014
Personal Blog: John Case Intero Real Estate
Posted: November 13, 2014 - 12:02 pm


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Tuesday 11/11/2014
Personal Blog: CoCoTax
Posted: November 11, 2014 - 2:11 pm

The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary taxes and spending.

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Monday 11/10/2014
Posted: November 10, 2014 - 3:25 pm

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I am chairing the annual GoldenHillsCommunityChurch’s FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for Brentwood. We serve a hot meal of turkey, ham, and all the fixin’s. We also try to send everyone home with a bag of food and some clothes. This will be at the Brentwood Vet’s Hall at 757 First St. from 10:30 to 2:00 on Thanksgiving Day. All are welcome to attend.

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Saturday 11/08/2014
Senior Chateau is Very Wrong There!
Updated: November 08, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Senior Chateau is located on 750 grand ave on the hill. it is a horrible building to have a life at. one manager after another just harass, harass and harass. They just fine some stupid reason to evict and kick tenants out if they feel they don't like you or they don't want you there they most likely kick you out for that particular dumb reason. The place is so insane it is to ridiculous. People are moving in, people are moving out. people are moving out mostly because of the place. It's not just if it is the manager issue. It's that and other things. We're dealing with health concern violations throughout the building. the violations are such as bed bugs which I heard start it at that but then got worst along with cockroaches and bad conditions done to the building. It's very poorly bad and badly rundown. it's so bad it should be condemned. There is also a lent build up in the laundry room behind the walls of the dryers which now have's a round cover over it to keep anyone from seeing it and not have to deal with the problem. That lent build up is a fire hazard. the pk management is the ones who are managing the building but they go about like nothing there doing is wrong. If it's something a tenant is doing which they consider maybe wrong they will try to evict you for it. Even if it's not wrong like exposing the building for what it truly is just for speaking out of what goes on there the building is nuts it's just crazy. Giving millions of people warnings about the place is enough to know where a building is called home or not. For so much of this place senior chateau no I wouldn't anyway that much call it that if you want to have a life do not pick senior chateau it will ruin or scar your life forever. Not trying to scare anybody just getting the word out to as much people as possible to keep anyone from making that big mistake of there lifetime.

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Posted: November 08, 2014 - 7:21 am

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Friday 10/31/2014
Posted: October 31, 2014 - 11:35 am

I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would like to buy a home, but don’t think they make enough money to qualify to buy an average-priced home around here. Or they assume that even if they did, they couldn’t compete with all the cash investor-buyers. Well, there is good news! The City of Brentwood has an affordable housing program designed just for this situation. They do NOT allow investors to buy homes in this program, so you are only competing against other owner-occupants. This is also restricted to buyers that have not owned another primary residence during the last five years. You must be employed full-time, and you must have at least $4,000 in a savings account. Furthermore, there are income minimums AND maximums. I don’t have space to list all the income guidelines for a family sizes, but for a single person the minimum is about $45K a year and a maximum of about $75K. For two people’s combined incomes it’s about $52K minimum and about $82K maximum, and it goes up from there. You must make enough to qualify for the payment, but if you make too much, you can’t participate in this program.

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Monday 10/27/2014
Posted: October 27, 2014 - 8:38 am

Many homeowners in our area were pleasantly surprised a few years ago when they received a notice from the County Tax Assessor’s office that their tax bill would be going DOWN. This was due to Proposition 8, which allows the County to drop your tax bill when the value of your property goes down.

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Friday 10/17/2014
Posted: October 17, 2014 - 11:34 am

When the bottom dropped out of the market a few years ago, new home builders either pulled out of our area entirely, or shuttered their developments and waited. But now that prices are back up, we are seeing many new homes being built again.

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Wednesday 10/15/2014
Opportunities Re-Emerge
Updated: October 24, 2014 - 10:03 am

Today at the local Real Estate Brokers Tour I noticed something that most people seem to overlook. Asking prices seem to be holding on new listings, but listings that have been on the market for some time are lowering their listing prices and in some cases offering financial incentives to Buyers. This is coupled with another reduction in mortgage interest rates which are now approaching level of 4% or lower for a conventional loan.

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Tuesday 10/14/2014
California red-legged frog declared state amphibian
Updated: October 24, 2014 - 11:04 am

Big news from the Assembly ... or Maybe Not!

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Monday 10/13/2014
Posted: October 13, 2014 - 10:32 am

If you aren’t familiar with Zillow, it’s a very popular real estate website. You can get information on homes for sale and sold information, along with school scores and other neighborhood information. But what Zillow is famous for (or “infamous” to many real estate agents) is their “Zestimates” which is an estimate of what a home is worth. I will say that I’ve found Zillow to be very accurate as far as sold information goes. They almost always get that right. They are mildly accurate as far as active listings, although there are still a lot of homes listed as “active” on Zillow that are really pending, and then sometimes it takes Zillow several days to load the new actives, which can be frustrating in a hot market.

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Thursday 10/09/2014
Love It or Lose It?
Updated: October 09, 2014 - 11:59 am

My wife really likes the HGTV shows that focus on renovation of homes. They often show the price of the home prior to repairs and then the price after repairs, which leads people to think of the fabulous profit that might be made by remodeling a kitchen, painting, adding a closet, etc.

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Tuesday 10/07/2014
Updated: October 09, 2014 - 11:12 am

If you own a home, you should have insurance to protect it. If you have a loan, your lender will require proof that you have adequate insurance on the property before they will release the loan proceeds, and they’ll check to make sure you keep it up to date. If you paid cash for the property, then it’s up to you to make sure you get, and then keep, adequate insurance.

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Monday 09/29/2014
Updated: October 09, 2014 - 11:12 am

So you put your home on the market and now an offer or two is coming in for you to review. You’ll of course be wondering if any of the offers will be any “good.”

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Saturday 09/27/2014
Personal Blog: Camel Milk Desert Farms
Posted: September 27, 2014 - 11:11 am

Folate in Camel milk can make a real difference:

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Thursday 09/25/2014
Vote Steele 2014 Discovery Bay CSD
Posted: September 25, 2014 - 11:09 am

VOTE STEELE, WIESEN & GRAVES - Discovery Bay Community Services District

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Vote Steele, Wiesen and Graves - Discovery Bay Community Services District
Posted: September 25, 2014 - 11:01 am

ü  Fiscal Discipline

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Friday 09/19/2014
Updated: September 25, 2014 - 4:30 pm

“Using your house like an ATM...” That was the phrase we heard a LOT back in the early 2000’s. At first, some lenders even used this phrase in their advertising as a way to entice borrowers to apply for a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit). But then it became a term of derision as values dropped and people found they had borrowed more than their home was worth. Lenders started shutting down these lines of credit and we didn’t see banks making any new HELOC loans. Until now...

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Thursday 09/18/2014
How to Deal With Mezzanine Finance Companies
Posted: September 18, 2014 - 3:34 am

Mezzanine finance synthesizes elements of equity investment and debt financing. It can provide a relatively low-cost alternative to equity funding (private). You need to bear in mind that business finance falls into two major categories. These are equity and debt investment. Market pundits describe mezzanine finance as a halfway house or hybrid, which combines two, separate elements. While this combination may appear to induce an unnecessary degree of intricacy and complexity into the concerned funding equation, this form of finance has proved to be a cost-effective and effective method to finance and bolster growth strategies that integrate a fair amount of risk and uncertainty.

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Wednesday 09/17/2014
Bridging Finance Growth And Investment In UK - A Case Study
Posted: September 17, 2014 - 6:48 am

It goes without saying that there are various people that require loans for different reasons. Among the different types of loans that are available in the market, bridging loan is one of them. In fact, this type of loan has acquired a huge popularity in the UK. There are lots of home buyers and business owners that look forward to bridging gaps between two long-term loans. There are of course several reasons for which gaps are created, and it is these bridging loans that help in bridging the gap. Consequently, the borrower benefits a lot from it.

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More News
A starry look at the heavens

Third-grade teachers from Timber Point Elementary were channeling Stephen Hawking’s advice to look up at the stars and be curious this week, when

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