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Grey County draft budget ready for 2021

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Selwyn Hicks was elected by Grey County Council to serve as Warden for 2021. (Photo courtesy of Grey County)

February 1, 2021 4:56pm

Grey County’s 2021 budget includes a focus on affordable housing.

Last week, Grey County Council’s Committee of the Whole supported the 2021 draft budget. It calls for a County tax rate increase of 2.11% for the a total operating and capital budget of $171.2 million.

The levy tax rate increase equals almost $25 more for county taxes for the average homeowner.

An update from Grey County says the draft budget includes $1.11 million investment to create an affordable housing fund. The amount is equal to $500,000, plus the equivalent of 1% levy. The task force recommended including 1% in the budget each year to continue growing the fund which will support land purchases and affordable housing builds. Council chose to pay the 1% in 2021 from one-time reserves.

“The 2021 budget is responsive to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the needs of the community. Service levels are being maintained in most departments with additional resources supporting important priorities, such as affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, rural transportation and other areas,” said Grey County Warden Selwyn ‘Buck’ Hicks.

“Affordable housing continues to be a real challenge. County Council is taking action to ensure individuals and families in Grey will have more access to safe and affordable homes,” said Warden Hicks. “We still have a lot of work ahead, but this is a massive step forward.”

In addition to establishing the Affordable Housing Fund, the budget also includes an investment of $3.7 million towards 49 housing capital projects throughout the County and administering $3.8 million from the Canada Ontario Community Housing Initiative and Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative to support an affordable housing build by the Owen Sound Housing Company.

The budget continues the annual 1% increase to the transportation budget. And it supports the operation of the Grey Road 4 route of the Grey Transit Route between Flesherton and Walkerton.

Also in the 2021 budget is funding to offset and react to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly $2 million is budgeted to support increased spending for staffing and equipment (including PPE) to support infection control, screening and testing. The largest expenditure will be in long-term care. Other County services, such as Paramedics, along with maintenance and cleaning across all services, especially in affordable housing will benefit from support for continued precautions.

“The measures needed to respond to COVID-19 are substantial and action needs to be taken by all levels of government to ensure our communities are protected. While additional funding from upper levels of government is likely, we need to be vigilant in our planning to ensure we have the resources ready to go if and when they are needed,” said Warden Hicks.

Grey County will undertake several plans and studies in 2021 to help inform future policy and decisions. Some of the budgeted projects include an Age-Friendly Community Strategic Plan, a review of development charges, building and facility condition assessments and updating the Corporate Communications Strategy.

Estimated new assessment revenue of $1.24 million is included in the budget. This growth helps meet levy requirements but also puts more demand on services.

Source: https://blackburnnews.com/uncategorized/2021/02/01/grey-county-draft-budget-ready-2021/

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Job market for new grads: Much hiring but much competition

After a painful year of joblessness, the future has finally brightened for Alycia St. Germain, a 22-year-old college senior at the University of Minnesota. Ha

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After a painful year of joblessness, the future has finally brightened for Alycia St. Germain, a 22-year-old college senior at the University of Minnesota.

Having lost a part-time gig at Barnes and Noble last March as the viral pandemic tore through the U.S. economy, she was left unemployed like tens of millions of other Americans. But now, St. Germain has a job lined up — with benefits — even before graduation and in her chosen field of developmental psychology. A family friend established a new child-care center in St. Paul, and St. Germain landed a job as an assistant in the infant room.

“This,” she said, “is probably the most positive thing that could happen.”

Not all new college grads will find a job so quickly. But collectively, this year’s graduating class is poised for better prospects than were the 2020 seniors, who had the misfortune to graduate into the depths of the brutal coronavirus recession. Though the competition will be stiff — this year’s graduates will have to compete, in many cases, with 2020 graduates who are still seeking their first full-time job — employers are ramping up hiring. And many are desperate for workers.

On Friday, the government reported that employers added just 266,000 jobs in April, a surprisingly sharp slowdown from the 770,000 that were added in March. Yet much of that lapse reflected a shortage of available workers, economists say. The economic rebound is strengthening so fast that many businesses are struggling to quickly attract enough applicants to fill jobs.

The pace of job openings, in fact, has fully recovered from the pandemic and is now far above pre-recession levels, including in professional occupations that college students are more likely to seek and that can typically be done from home.

“I don’t think this recession will be as bad for college graduates as previous recessions have been,” said Brad Hershbein, an economist at the Upjohn Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “That segment of the labor market is going to recover faster than other segments where jobs can’t be done remotely.”

Hershbein said he worries, though, that the pandemic will dim the economic prospects of young adults who were unable to complete, or even start, their educations during the pandemic. Data has shown sharp drops in enrollment at community and four-year colleges.

Even so, college seniors will be competing against a larger-than-usual universe of job seekers when you include last year’s crop of graduates.

“Because there is a large pool of unemployed workers, companies can pick exactly who they want and skip over people with less experience,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

Graduating into a recession has historically led to poor outcomes for many young people, with research showing that they sometimes bear long-running scars. Starting a career in a recession can lead to lower incomes for as long as a decade afterward for those graduates, compared with their peers who completed college just before or after a recession.

The sectors of the economy that face the most difficulty in regaining all their lost jobs are the service sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic recession: Restaurants, bars, hotels, gyms, and entertainment venues. Though college graduates often take such jobs temporarily, they typically seek out careers in professional or technical fields, where job losses were far less severe last year and are now recovering.

Sheila Jordan, chief digital technology office at Honeywell, said she’s recruiting more students and recent graduates for paid internships than she did last year — internships that often lead to permanent jobs. She is especially interested in students with a range of technical backgrounds, including software, data analytics and cybersecurity.

“We like to recruit once, hire twice,” Jordan said of the internships. “That’s a feeder group for us.”

Lucius Giannini, who graduated last summer from the University of California San Diego with a degree in political science and public policy, had hoped to find work with the Peace Corps or teaching English overseas. But when COVID-19 struck, the Peace Corps brought home all its volunteers. And no one was hiring for overseas teaching.

Giannini moved back in with his parents and broadened his job search for eight months. In March, he secured a paid marketing internship with a small pharmaceutical company.

It’s not his field of expertise, but, Giannini said, “They figure, ‘You’re young, you understand social media.’ So that’s what I do.”

The internship will be over by the end of summer, so he may be back on the job hunt. He is also applying to law school.

For college grads who do find jobs, the “onboarding” process, through which they meet co-workers and become acclimated to their employer’s culture, has had to occur in an entirely new remote setting.

Still, that hasn’t always worked out so badly. Some companies have ramped up their efforts to make new employees feel welcome, even if they are working remotely.

Dominique Davis, a senior at Tennessee State University, interned with Toyota last summer from her family home in Danville, Illinois. Yet she said she met just as many people then as she did in the summer of 2019, when she interned at the company’s headquarters in Plano, Texas.

“I think I networked even more this term than being in the building,” she said. “It forces you to reach out. It’s less awkward, less intimidating. I would have conversations on a daily basis with the VP of my department. Normally, you can’t just go into his office and sit down and have a conversation.”

Davis plans to go straight into graduate school for her MBA. But as president of the student body, she is well-aware that some other seniors are struggling with their next steps.

“I have heard of multiple students who are having trouble getting interviews or internships,” Davis said. “Especially in the medical fields, some students are hesitant, afraid because of the virus.”

Natalie Naranjo-Morett, who will graduate in June with a history degree from UCSD, is looking for work in museums.

“But,” she said, “that’s become very difficult because of the pandemic.”

Museums have been clobbered over the past year. In a recent survey by the American Alliance of Museums, nearly one-third of museum directors said they either faced a significant risk of closing permanently by next fall or didn’t know if their institutions would survive.

Naranjo-Morett, who has applied unsuccessfully for some internships, says there appear to be few job openings. She’d like to find work related to her history degree.

But “it’s so difficult at this point, I kind of would go for anything,” she said.

___

Loller reported from Nashville, Rugaber from Washington. Associated Press Writer Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.

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On Friday, the government reported that employers added just 266,000 jobs in April, a surprisingly sharp slowdown from the 770,000 that were added in March. Yet much of that lapse reflected a shortage of available workers, economists say. The economic rebound is strengthening so fast that many businesses are struggling to quickly attract enough applicants to fill jobs.

Source: https://www.nujournal.com/uncategorized/2021/05/10/job-market-for-new-grads-much-hiring-but-much-competition/

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Coast Guard Suspends Rescue Efforts, Revises Death Toll to 3 in Smuggling Boat Tragedy

An investigation was continuing Monday into an apparent human-smuggling operation involving a boat that overturned in coastal waters near Point Loma over the weekend, killing three people and injuring more than two dozen others.

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Wreckage from the boat washes ashore near the Cabrillo Monument. Courtesy OnScene.TV

An investigation was continuing Monday into an apparent human-smuggling operation involving a boat that overturned in coastal waters near Point Loma over the weekend, with authorities revising down the death toll from four to three.

A total of 29 people survived the ocean accident, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which Monday morning suspended its efforts to locate any other victims at sea.

The accident happened about 10 a.m. Sunday, when the 40-foot trawler-style vessel crashed into the shoreline near Cabrillo National Monument and capsized, according to the Border Patrol. All the occupants jumped in the water as the boat slowly disintegrated, a bystander’s video showed.

“It was a smuggling vessel,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jeffery Stephenson told reporters. “Border Patrol agents are with a man we believe was the operator.”

Migrant smugglers “don’t care about the people they’re exploiting,” he said.

“All they care about is profit,” Stephenson told news crews. “They had inadequate safety equipment, and obviously this vessel was severely overcrowded.”

City lifeguards responding to the emergency conducted seven water rescues and helped get one person off a seaside bluff, said James Gartland, lifeguard chief.

“This was a mass-rescue operation that turned into a mass-casualty event,” Gartland said.

There was one major trauma, and three people were treated with CPR, he said. One of the victims remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday morning, according to the Coast Guard.

Gartland said the accident was probably the worst he had seen in his 26 years in the lifeguard service.

“It’s a tragic event here in San Diego,” he said.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department personnel, lifeguards, U.S. Coast Guard vessels and aircraft, and Customs and Border Protection air support were still in the area Sunday night searching for other possible victims.

The people who were rescued were taken to various hospitals, including Sharp Memorial, Palomar Medical Center West, Alvarado, UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, Grossmont Hospital, Kaiser Clairemont Mesa, Kaiser Zion and Paradise Valley Hospital, according to the SDFRD.

No details about the victims were immediately available.

Nearly 100 personnel were assigned to the rescue, including medics, fire engine crews and a chaplain.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

–City News Service

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Source: https://timesofsandiego.com/uncategorized/2021/05/03/suspected-human-smuggling-boat-founders-off-point-loma-killing-three/

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Dear Annie: Mother-in-law kept out

Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law could probably have written the letter about the person trying too hard to please their disapproving mother-in-law. The reality

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Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law could probably have written the letter about the person trying too hard to please their disapproving mother-in-law.

The reality is that there are always two sides to every story. Mine is that at some point, I did or said something to hurt my daughter-in-law. But I am not allowed to know what that was. So, any apology seems empty, although I have tried.

She now treats our entire family with complete apathy. We try. We send cards and acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, despite having received no reciprocation for years. We offer to visit cross-country but are told it is a bad time. We offer to video chat but are often rejected. Our son does contact us with the grandchildren on occasion.

We would love to be a part of our grandkids’ lives, but rejection gets harder and harder with time. We are blocked from Facebook posts and are not allowed to know our granddaughter’s cell number. It is all very sad indeed.

Our daughter-in-law is loved and cared for, but her perception is that she is not. Please encourage others to forgive and reconcile. Life is too short to allow bitterness to fester and relationships to be destroyed.

A bright note is that our son’s in-laws treat us with love and respect, and they are thankful that they have us in their lives. — Two Sides to Every Story

Dear Two Sides to Every Story: Thank you for this different perspective. Forgiveness is a gift for you to give yourself as well as your daughter-in-law. The problem with her seems to be caused by her issues, not yours. But keep trying. Her parents’ kindness is reason for hope.

——–

Dear Annie: My brother lives next door to my parents and me and is driving me crazy. He refuses to get vaccinated despite my parents being in their 60s, and we have an immune-compromised family. He lives with a pregnant nurse, and she refuses to wear a mask or get vaccinated.

They still come into our home and to small family events, and they don’t follow requests to mask up properly or socially distance. They also recently came over to our home and tried to diagnose my nephew with autism. He sees a team of professionals, including doctors, who have all stated that he is not autistic.

I tell my parents this is unacceptable behavior that crosses the line. Unfortunately, they do not agree with me, and it’s causing conflict. I understand that I cannot control my brother’s actions, and I have voiced my concerns about our safety to him directly, but he brushes me off. What else can I do? — Living Next Door to Peter Pan

Dear Living Next Door to Peter Pan: It sounds like your parents side more with your brother, though I’m not sure why they would. Start by ironing out the rules of the house and letting them be known to all, including your parents. If you want guests — including family — to wear masks and socially distance, then they must wear masks and socially distance. As far as your brother attempting to diagnose your son, tell him to MYOB and that you are relying on professionals.

——–

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

©2021 CREATORS.COM

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We would love to be a part of our grandkids’ lives, but rejection gets harder and harder with time. We are blocked from Facebook posts and are not allowed to know our granddaughter’s cell number. It is all very sad indeed.

Source: https://www.nujournal.com/uncategorized/2021/04/27/dear-annie-mother-in-law-kept-out/

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