‘Modern Family’ creator Steve Levitan seeks $16 million for Malibu beach house

Steve Levitan, the TV powerhouse behind shows such as “Modern Family,” “Stacked” and “Just Shoot Me,” is testing the waters in Malibu. His Cape Cod-style beach house just hit the market for $16 million.



a large building: The contemporary Cape Cod includes six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a great room, lofted gym and multiple decks overlooking the ocean. (Mac Hayward)


© (Mac Hayward)
The contemporary Cape Cod includes six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a great room, lofted gym and multiple decks overlooking the ocean. (Mac Hayward)

He’ll triple his money if he gets his price. Records show the Emmy-winning director-producer paid $5.4 million for the property in 2002.

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Spanning a quarter of an acre, the oceanfront abode descends down a bluff to Broad Beach — an exclusive stretch of sand with high-profile residents over the years including Frank Sinatra, Mindy Kaling, Walter Hill and Eli Broad.

Levitan made a few changes during his stay, renovating the oversized chef’s kitchen overlooking the ocean. Other highlights in the 6,700-square-foot floor plan include an interior courtyard, elevator, lofted gym and great room that opens to a beachfront deck.

Elsewhere are six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, including three detached guest suites and a three-room owner’s suite with two-story ceilings, a sitting area and private deck. Out back, multiple staircases descend to the beach near Lechuza Point.

Levitan, 58, earned an Emmy as a producer for “Frasier” and also received nominations for “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Just Shoot Me.” More recently, he co-created the shows “Back to You,” “LA to Vegas” and “Modern Family,” which ran for 11 seasons and ended earlier this year.

The listing is held by Tony Mark and Russell Grether of the Mark & Grether Group at Compass, Kimberley Pfeiffer of Compass and Donald Richstone of Coldwell Banker Malibu Colony.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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White House seeks limited coronavirus relief bill, promises further talks on broader stimulus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Sunday called on Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill using leftover funds from an expired small-business loan program, as negotiations on a broader package ran into resistance.

The administration proposal, which Democrats dismissed as inadequate, was the latest twist in on-again, off-again talks to try to secure more stimulus, as the economy struggles to recover from coronavirus-related shutdowns that threw millions of Americans out of work.

In a letter to lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of State Mark Meadows said they would continue to talk to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to reach agreement on a comprehensive bill.

But they said Congress should “immediately vote” on legislation to enable the use of the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds, which total around $130 billion.

“The all or nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” they wrote.

A spokesman for Pelosi, the lead Democratic negotiator, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Representative Nita Lowey, the Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, rejected the administration’s offer in a statement later on Sunday as “woefully inadequate.”

“We can only reopen our economy and set the foundation for a strong recovery if we support state and local governments on the frontline of this crisis,” Lowey said in a statement.

White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern told reporters the unused funds would be used to reopen the Payroll Protection Program, which expired earlier this year, to “allow businesses to continue to use it to keep their employees employed.”

President Donald Trump on Friday offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with Pelosi after urging his team on Twitter to “go big” – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal. That came days after Trump abruptly called off negotiations until after the Nov. 3 election in which he is seeking re-election.

Trump’s reversal and higher offer drew criticism from Senate Republicans, some of whom are uneasy about the national debt and whether a deal would cost Republicans votes next month.

Federal Reserve officials have urged Congress to be aggressive. The head of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank said the recovery had “flattened out,” indicating the need for further stimulus.

“A lot of people are suffering. A lot of small businesses are suffering,” Minneapolis Fed chief Neel Kashkari said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Republicans would eventually come around.

“I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it,” he said, adding there would be “further efforts of negotiation” on a package this week.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Tim Ahmann and Peter Cooney

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Malaysia’s largest home-improvement retailer seeks $361m in IPO

KUALA LUMPUR — Home-improvement store operator Mr DIY Group of Malaysia opened its initial public offering for bids, aiming to raise 1.5 billion ringgit ($360.6 million) in what would be the country’s largest stock market listing since 2017.

The company on Tuesday unveiled its prospectus, an important step to listing on the main board of Kuala Lumpur’s stock exchange, known as Bursa Malaysia. Mr DIY’s first two attempts at listing — late last year and the first half of 2020 — were shelved amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The offering would give the company a market capitalization of 10 billion ringgit post-IPO, CEO Adrian Ong said at an online news conference after the prospectus was released.

Mr DIY is targeting a retail price of 1.60 ringgit a share, with the institutional offering consisting of 779.95 million shares and 161.53 million shares allocated for the retail offering.

“We today have a 29% market share of the overall home-improvement retail market in Malaysia,” he said, adding that the company has been growing faster than the country’s annual industry average of 10.2%.

“About 300 million ringgit [of the IPO’s proceeds] would be mainly used to repay existing debts,” Ong added.

The offering would be the largest in Malaysia since chemicals producer Lotte Chemical Titan raised about 3.77 billion ringgit in July 2017.

Since Mr DIY opened its first location in 2005, the company has fast grown into Malaysia’s largest home-improvement retailer, with 674 stores across the country and four stores in Brunei. In addition to the Mr DIY core brand, the company also operates two other store chains: Mr Toy, which sells affordable toys, and Mr Dollar, which offers a fixed-price point model.

“We are adding stores at a very fast pace, which suggests that we have confidence in the business,” Ong said. The company has set a two-year target, which began in January this year, to open 307 new stores.

Each of the Mr DIY stores can cost between 1 million ringgit and 1.6 million ringgit. The company so far has no ambitions to venture outside of its existing markets, he said.

Ong said that the pandemic affected the company financially because of the “movement control order” imposed in Malaysia, where most of Mr DIY stores had been closed earlier this year for at least a month. However, that has been compensated with a spike in sales since restrictions were lifted in May.

The Malaysian government imposed a nationwide lockdown for two months beginning in mid-March, forcing nonessential businesses to close in order to limit activity.

“We recorded a revenue of 416 million ringgit for the first two months of the year” before the lockdown, he said. “In contrast, we registered sales of 466 million ringgit in May and June, combined.”

Cornerstone investors for Mr DIY include Fidelity International, BlackRock and AIA.

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Matthew Perry’s Malibu beach house seeks $14 million

A few months ago, Matthew Perry listed his penthouse in the sky. Now he’s selling his home in the sand. The “Friends” star recently put his Malibu beach house on the market for $14 million, records show.



a large bed in a room: The 5,500-square-foot home has a movie theater, hot tub and two stories of decks overlooking the ocean. (Realtor.com)


© (Realtor.com)
The 5,500-square-foot home has a movie theater, hot tub and two stories of decks overlooking the ocean. (Realtor.com)

That’s $2 million more than the actor paid in 2011 when he bought the property from Scott Gillen, a high-profile developer who owns a slew of Malibu properties. Last summer, Gillen listed his 13-home portfolio in the coastal city for a combined $500 million.

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Perry’s place is covered in wood and glass. Spanning 5,500 square feet, it overlooks the ocean from two stories of modern indoor-outdoor living spaces.

A two-sided fireplace anchors the main level, separating a sunny dining area and modern kitchen from a living room with a ping-pong table. Dramatic beams top the entire space.

The primary suite covers most of the upper level, with a spa bathroom, lounge and private deck. In total, there are four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, as well as a movie theater with tiered seating.

A wraparound deck set high off the sand lines the back of the home. Off to the side, a private patio encloses a hot tub.

Perry, 51, has kept busy since his days playing Chandler Bing on “Friends,” appearing on the shows “Mr. Sunshine,” “The Good Wife” and “The Odd Couple.” More recently, he played Ted Kennedy on the television miniseries “The Kennedys: After Camelot.”

Josh Flagg of “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” and Bobby Boyd, both with Rodeo Realty Beverly Hills, hold the listing.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Freeport Mayor’s View: City seeks home improvements grant – News – Rockford Register Star

As we rapidly approach the end of the construction season, the City is quickly working to wrap up a variety of infrastructure projects. We had a busy year executing infrastructure projects and approving additional work that will be completed over the next year and a half.

In the past few months alone, the City completed the $3 million Float Avenue infrastructure project, repaved Sunset Drive, Hurd Street, Boggess Street, as well as portions of Ottawa Avenue and Winneshiek Street. Anyone who has driven over Locust Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and Pleasant Street will appreciate the much-needed repairs that were conducted in the past week. We are also in the middle of milling the street and overlaying Highland Drive in its entirety and are planning on road repair on portions of South Demeter Drive before the weather, and leaf pickup season, prohibits us from further infrastructure improvement projects.

In addition to these water and sewer projects, the City also began utilizing our $2 million grant to replace lead service lines in the City. While all these projects can be an inconvenience to drivers attempting to navigate the construction zones, we appreciate the patience of the residents as this work is critical for upgrading our City’s infrastructure and improving our quality of life.

If you’ve driven along Burchard Avenue, you’ve no doubt noticed the long-term activity around the water tower, including a large drill. We are in the middle of drilling for our new water well #11. Once completed, this new well will allow us to draw water from the Mount Simon aquifer, which our testing has shown to have even higher quality water than provided by our other wells. Next year you’ll see construction on the water treatment plant that will be built adjacent to the well. Once operational, the well will be capable of producing 2,200 gallons of water per minute. This new treatment plant will replace our current Brick Street plant, which has been in service since 1882. We continue to seek supplemental sources of funding, such as grants, for this and all our infrastructure projects.

The City also implemented plans to aggressively continue infrastructure work next year. In addition to the work discussed above, the Council recently approved the Phase 2 Water Main and Looping project which will begin immediately and go through the next year and a half. This $2 million project, which is part of our longer-term Capital Improvement Plan, includes water main replacement along portions of the streets of Cleveland, Jefferson, Monroe, Santa Fe, Meadows, Sylvan and South. Approximately 20%, or $400,000, of this project will be forgiven by the IEPA upon completion, allowing us to stretch our capital improvement funds further. We were also pleased to award the lowest bid to a local bidder, providing an additional benefit to our local economy.

The City continues to pursue all sources of funding to stretch our local dollars and recently applied for two Community Development Block Grants along the Adams Avenue Corridor. If awarded, one grant

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Thornton Burgess Society seeks beach plum donations to keep jam kitchen in operation – News – capecodtimes.com

Last season, Greenbriar Jam Kitchen received 500 pounds of donated beach plums to make 1,000 jars of jelly, which sold — and quickly sold out — at $14 a jar. “That $14,000 was essentially the jam kitchen’s budget for the year,” Ray Hebert, trustee chairman at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, said.

This may be one of Cape Cod’s most unusual fundraisers.

To keep Sandwich’s 117-year-old Greenbriar Jam Kitchen operating, officials are asking supporters to plant a beach plum hedge in their yards this fall and donate the fruit when it shows up next year.

“We don’t need you to write a check; you can support the jam kitchen with donated fruit,” Ray Hebert, trustee chairman at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, said. The museum includes the Thornton Burgess Society in Sandwich, which is believed to be the oldest continuously operating jam kitchen in the country.

Greenbriar accepts other donated fruit, but for Cape Cod, beach plum jelly is the iconic sweet spot.

Looking a bit like cranberries but in a variety of hues from blue-purple to yellow, beach plums are a fruit that grows wild in the sandy soil of the windswept Eastern coast. Those lucky enough to come across a patch of the rare gems while hiking keep the location secret, and even those who grow a cultivated strain at home do so quietly so as not to tempt plum poachers.

“When they bring in the beach plums, they don’t even tell me the location,” Hebert said.

Last season, Greenbriar Jam Kitchen got 500 pounds of donated beach plums to make 1,000 jars of jelly, which sold — and quickly sold out — at $14 a jar. “That $14,000 was essentially the jam kitchen’s budget for the year,” Hebert said.

In addition to supporting Greenbriar, a beach plum hedge could help your yard and the Cape’s environment.

“People always ask me ‘What can I do?’ There is good scientific evidence for the importance of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers,” Chris Neill, Ph.D., climate scientist at Woods Hole Research Center, said in an interview about a Native Plants Study released in the spring.

A wide variety of yards in six cities, including Boston, were studied. One of the key findings was that native plants (such as beach plums for the Cape) drew bees for pollination, triggering a chain reaction toward an ecosystem that is specifically local.

“The fact these things are native makes a real difference in attracting insects and feeding birds,” Neill said.

Incorporating native plants also cuts down on the size of manicured lawns, he said, which is important on Cape Cod because lawn fertilizers are associated with nitrogen runoff that pollutes water.

Russell Norton, agriculture and horticulture extension educator for the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension program, emailed that beach plums are “a suitable edible native that can easily be incorporated into a home landscape or in a natural border.”

He said the extension service encourages the plant’s use by making seedlings available

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White House Chief of Staff Seeks to Clarify Trump’s Peaceful Transition of Power Comments

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday sought to clarify President Donald Trump’s recent comments about whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 24, 2020. On Friday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sought to clarify comments the president has recently made about whether or not he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election on November 3.


© MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 24, 2020. On Friday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sought to clarify comments the president has recently made about whether or not he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election on November 3.

“I think he commits to a peaceful transfer as long as it is a fair election,” Meadows said Friday morning during an interview with CBS This Morning.

The president has frequently raised concerns, without evidence, about widespread voter fraud and has cast doubt on the dependability of mail-in voting, which Americans are expected to use more this year than ever before because of the continuing threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked Wednesday if he would agree to a peaceful transition of power if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the election, Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing, “We’re going to have to see what happens.” He cited a general concern over ballots and added, “There won’t be a transfer, frankly; there’ll be a continuation.”

Trump made similar comments to his supporters and the press over the summer. He told his supporters during a campaign rally last month that a “rigged election” was the only way he would lose, and he told Fox News in July that he would “have to see” what the voting results are before he accepts them.

Meadows discussed the “very troubling” findings, which the FBI announced earlier this week, about nine mail-in ballots cast for Trump by members of the military that were found discarded in Pennsylvania. He also brought up reports in several states of problematic ballots that were thrown out during the primary elections. Investigations into the problematic ballots have revealed problems ranging from election officials receiving them after the deadline to voter signatures not matching those kept on file.

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“What we want to make sure is that every vote counts—but that only the vote from one voter to the ballot box is what gets counted, and nothing less, nothing more. That’s what he’s referring to; that’s what we’re committed to,” Meadows said.

“Should we allow votes to come in and be counted a week after November 3? I don’t believe so. That’s what we’re talking about. Let’s make sure that the systems that we’ve had in place for decades—indeed centuries—are the same systems we have in place now.”

Trump’s Democratic rival during the 2016 election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warned Biden against quickly conceding the race during

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House GOP super PAC seeks to shore up additional Republican seats

“CLF is doubling down and pressing even deeper into our top offensive opportunities, reinforcing our swing-seat incumbents and providing a small insurance policy in a few seats to ensure a win this November,” CLF President Dan Conston said in a statement.

Notable new reservations include $865,000 to boost Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska); $500,000 to help Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), $500,000 for Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), $750,000 for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), $740,000 for Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and $750,000 for an open seat in central Virginia where Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) lost renomination in a district convention.

CLF also reserved $850,000 in Meadows’ former district, where the Republican nominee is 25-year-old businessman Madison Cawthorn. Court-ordered redistricting last year made the seat more favorable to Democrats by uniting the liberal enclave of Asheville, but President Donald Trump still carried it by 17 points.

Reps. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) are each getting over a million in new ad reservations against them from the group — a sign that Republicans are still pushing to pick off incumbents. The group is also making large six-figure buys against Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.). And earlier this week it laid down a new offensive target with a $2 million ad buy against Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).

The vast majority of CLF’s total spending for the cycle is on offensive targets, and Republicans feel confident they will make gains in November, particularly if Trump tightens the presidential race. Democrats are defending 30 districts that the president carried in 2016.

But most of the districts in this new wave of reservations are Republican-held. CLF is increasing its buys to help Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) — and in open seats on Long Island and in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Houston and Dallas.

Democrats, meanwhile, are scaling back their defensive buys and shifting resources away from once-vulnerable incumbents. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week scrapped four TV flights set to run from early-to-mid October in districts held by Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) — a show of confidence in their reelection prospects. All four hold seats won by Trump in 2016.

Republicans are hampered by the cash advantage of Democratic candidates and by their large number of open seats. Members like Hill and Young were outraised by their opponents last quarter — and Young trails in cash on hand. And retirements by longtime incumbents in Indiana, New York and Texas deprived the GOP of the war chests they amassed over the years.

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White House seeks to change subject from 200K COVID-19 deaths

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday, but the grim milestone passed without too much of a comment from a White House more focused on the battle over the Supreme Court.

Trump used a recorded speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to condemn China for unleashing “the plague onto the world” but did not mention the fact that the U.S. was nearing 200,000 deaths.

The U.S. passed that marker a couple hours later, according to John Hopkins University.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened her briefing about 90 minutes later with an attack on Democrats about the battle to nominate a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgGraham: GOP will confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the election Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight MORE.

She did not mention the 200,000 death toll until she was pressed about it by reporters.

“We grieve when one life is lost,” McEnany said, while citing models early in the pandemic that showed the death toll could have been in the millions without any intervention.

Asked if Trump planned to acknowledge the 200,000 milestone either on Twitter or at his Tuesday night rally, McEnany did not answer but argued the president had expressed his condolences “throughout this pandemic.”

“He has said before that it keeps him up at night thinking of even one life lost,” she said. “This president has taken this incredibly seriously. And what he’s done is he’s worked harder. Each and every day he works hard, puts his head down, and I think that’s very evident in the administration’s historic response.”

Vice President Pence was the rare official to acknowledge 200,000 Americans had died when he told the crowd at a New Hampshire campaign rally that the U.S. had reached a “heartbreaking milestone” and extended his thoughts to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

Trump did not mention the death toll from the coronavirus at his Monday evening rally in Swanton, Ohio, where many in the crowd were not wearing masks. Members of the crowd earlier in the night booed Lt. Gov. Jon Husted after the Republican urged people to put on their masks, which were branded with Trump campaign messages. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineTrump supporters boo GOP Ohio governor at rally Ohio bars local, state officials from closing churches, changing election dates New York puts Ohio back on travel advisory list MORE (R), who earlier this year locked down much of the state to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, also received a mix of cheers and boos at the rally.

Trump acknowledged the 100,000 death mark in May by tweeting it was a “very sad milestone” and ordering flags outside the White House be lowered to half-staff. Flags at the White House are already lowered to half-staff in honor of Ginsburg.

Polls show a majority disapproves of Trump’s handling

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GOP lawmaker Mike Garcia seeks to cement hold on California House seat

Republican Rep. Mike Garcia and Democratic State Assemblywoman Christy Smith face off again in November after Garcia won a special election in May to represent California’s 25th Congressional District.

The seat was prematurely vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill, a freshman Democrat, who resigned from office on Nov. 3 after nude photos of her were posted online with stories describing her relationship with a young female campaign staffer and an alleged relationship with a congressional staffer. Hill disputed the latter claim.

One month before the special election, the Cook Political Report changed the district’s rating from “Lean Democratic” to “Toss Up.”

Garcia, the son of a Mexican immigrant, graduated from the United States Naval Academy after being nominated by then-Rep. Buck McKeon, a Republican who previously represented the district. Garcia became the first Republican to pick up a House seat in California since 1998. He flew combat missions in Iraq and later served for 10 years as an executive on the board at Raytheon.

Smith is a former official at the California Department of Education. She climbed through the ranks of the department and raised $2 million in 2018 to win her state Assembly seat against a Republican incumbent, but her efforts against Garcia nearly two years later did not prevail when Garcia won by a 12-point margin.

Smith’s campaign took a hit during the special election when she slammed Garcia’s military service on a Zoom call with supporters. She later apologized for her comments.

Republicans previously held the 25th District, which spans northern Los Angeles County and part of neighboring Ventura County, for over two decades, mainly by McKeon and for two terms thereafter by his Republican successor, Steve Knight. However, in 2018 Knight lost by a 7-point margin to Hill, a first-time candidate who capitalized on the Democratic “blue wave” of the 2018 midterm elections.

House Republicans need to gain about 17 seats to reclaim the House majority they lost two years ago. Garcia winning reelection is a key part of that plan. The seat also has a certain emotional resonance because it borders on that of the Bakersfield-based district held by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of the most conservative parts of otherwise liberal California.

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