Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 21, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 13


The World Around Us

 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 21, 2013 


 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched their first Epsilon Launch 
Vehicle (Epsilon-1) with the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of 
Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A) onboard at 2:00 p.m. on September 14 from the 
Uchinoura Space Center.

 An hour and 49 minutes after launch, deployment of its solar array paddles was 
confirmed, and the satellite is currently in good health.

 The SPRINT-A’s nickname was also decided. It is “HISAKI.” The name was chosen for 
the following reasons:

 (1) “Hisaki” is the name of a cape in the Uchinoura area. (The cape at the tip of the 
Tsushiro Peninsula.) It is the first brightened point by the rising sun in the Uchinoura 
area, thus the place is a symbol of a new day in Uchinoura. It is also a place for local 
fishermen to pray for safety, hence it is a symbol of safe navigation for boats leaving 
Uchinoura. As it is a tip shape, it reminds us of the satellite configuration.

 (2) The observation targets are beyond (“saki” in Japanese ) the Sun (“Hi” in Japanese).

 The launch was coordinated and controlled by two laptop computers from a nearby 
command center, and drew spectators both at the Kagoshima facility and at a public 
viewing location in Tokyo.

 Over 900 space enthusiasts gathered to watch the liftoff in the Japanese capital, clapping 
and snapping cellphone photos as the 79-foot-long, 91 metric ton Epsilon-1 lifted off. The 
vehicle then successfully deployed SPRINT-A at an altitude of approximately 620 miles.

 “The successful launch moved Japan a step closer to its goal of cashing in on the 
international satellite launch industry,” Reuters reporter Leika Kihara explained. “The 
rocket’s smaller size and a computer system that allows it to perform its own systems 
checks means it can be assembled quickly, enabling operators to cut personnel and 
equipment costs.”

 In fact, JAXA officials told reporters that the Epsilon—the nation’s first new rocket 
design since the introduction of the H2A in 2001—costs about one-third as much as its 
predecessor, at 3.8 billion yen ($40 million). It is also half the size of the H2A (Japan’s 
previous major launch vehicle) and can be assembled and prepared for launch in just one 
week’s time.

 “Japan hopes the rocket, launched with just two laptop computers in a pared-down 
command center, will become competitive in the global space business,” AFP noted. 
They also pointed out that a crew of just eight people are required to complete launch 
procedures, compared to a staff of 150 for the H2A.

 “The small-sized rocket is equipped with artificial intelligence ‘for the first time in the 
world’ that allows autonomous launch checks by the rocket itself, JAXA has said,” the 
news agency continued, adding that the agency has described the SPINT-A payload it 
carries as “the world’s first space telescope for remote observation of planets including 
Venus, Mars and Jupiter from its orbit around Earth.”

 You can contact Bob Eklund at:

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the first Epsilon Launch Vehicle (Epsilon-1) from the 
Uchinoura Space Center at 14:00 on September 14 (Sat.), 2013 (Japan Standard Time, JST), with the 
Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A) on board. 
Credit: JAXA 



The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques

By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA



by La Quetta M. Shamblee

Starting October 1st, businesses with 1 to 50 employees will be able to offer insurance to staff at 
group health insurance rates. Covered California (Covered CA) is the name of the state’s health 
exchange that was established to launch the Golden State’s version of the federal Affordable Care 
Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. This legislation is the most broad-sweeping change to the 
healthcare system in 40 years.

Starting January 1, 2014, most individuals will be required to have health insurance. Based on 
income, some individuals will qualify for Medi-Cal, the Golden State’s version of the federal Medicare 
program. Everyone else who isn’t covered by an employer’s policy will be required to purchase their 
own insurance on the open market or through the marketplace known as Covered CA.

The website makes it easy for business owners to review their options to provide insurance for 
employees. Purchasing insurance is an option for businesses with 1-50 employees, not a requirement. 
The website will serve as the entry point for one-stop shopping for businesses to compare the different 
levels of insurance and to connect with Certified Insurance Agents who have received training specific 
to this new insurance marketplace. To learn more, visit 

When a homeowner faces default on their mortgage, there may be two options: foreclosure or short 
sale. Foreclosure can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. A short sale, or one in which 
the lender accepts a selling price less than the amount owed, is a better option for both the lender and 
the homeowner. 

Regrettably, nearly seven out of ten homeowners proceed through foreclosure without ever listing 
their home for sale. This is due largely to perceived myths about the process, and we need to put a 
few of these misconceptions to rest.

First, homeowners assume the bank would rather foreclose than accept a short sale. Not true - foreclosure 
is often more costly for the lender, and short sales often sell for more than foreclosed listings. 
The banks are trying anything possible, within reason, to avoid the foreclosure process.

Next, homeowners believe there is a stigma attached to short sale listings, and that buyers have no 
interest in such properties. Not true - to the contrary, many smart buyers are specifically seeking out 
such offerings for the value they present compared to traditional listings.

Finally, homeowners often assume that there's not enough time to close a short sale before foreclosure 
is final. Not true - foreclosure is a lengthy process and there is time to negotiate a better result, but 
you need to start today.


ARCADIA - Following a strong performance in July, California’s housing market pulled back in 
August as mortgage rates continued to inch up, although sales of condominiums and townhomes 
remained robust, the Arcadia Association of REALTORSR® reported. 

“The condo and townhome market has been performing exceptionally well, as rising single-family 
home prices and limited inventory prompted many buyers to look for a more affordable alternative,” 
said 2013 A.A.R. President Andy Bencosme. “In fact, sales of condominiums and townhomes surged 
almost 8 percent from last August and are up nearly 5 percent year to date compared to last year.” 

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally 
adjusted annualized rate of 434,700 units in August, according to information collected by the 
California Association of Realtors® from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs 
statewide. Sales in August were down 2 percent from a revised 443,500 in July and down 1.9 percent 
from a revised 443,030 in August 2012. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total 
number of homes sold during 2013 if sales maintained the August pace throughout the year. It is 
adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales. 

Home prices continued in an upward trend in August, reaching levels not seen in more than five 
years. The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home was up 1.7 percent 
from July’s median price of $433,910 to reach $441,330 in August, the highest price recorded since 
December 2007. August’s price was 28.4 percent higher than the revised $343,800 recorded in August 
2012, marking a year and a half of annual price increases and the 14th straight month of double-digit 
annual gains. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold 
for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values.

“Housing inventory levels are improving, especially in homes priced below $750,000. Indeed, the 
number of active listings across all price ranges has been rising on a month-to-month basis for the last 
six months and has reached the highest level since mid-2012,” said A.A.R. ‘s CEO Andrew Cooper. 
“As housing supply loosens up with the seasonal slowdown, annual home price increases are expected 
to taper as we’ve observed in the last two months.”

Other key facts of the August 2013 resale housing report include: 

• The available supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale inched up in August 
to 3.1 months, up from July’s Unsold Inventory Index of 2.9 months. The index was 3.2 months in 
August 2012. The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the 
market at the current sales rate. A six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal 
• The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home also edged up to 28.8 days in 
August from 27.8 days in July, but was down from 41.1 days in August 2012. 
• Mortgage rates moved higher in August, with the 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate 
averaging 4.46 percent, up from 4.37 percent in July 2013 and up from 3.60 percent in August 2012, 
according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates in August averaged 2.65 percent, 
slightly down from 2.66 in July but down from 2.67 percent in August 2012. 
Representing local Realtors® in the San Gabriel Valley for 89 years, the ARCADIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 
( is one of the oldest trade organizations in CA. The AAR is dedicated to the advancement of 
professionalism in real estate and is an advocate for private property rights. A.A.R. is headquartered in Arcadia.


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