QUEEN CITY HOUSING COSTS 35% HIGHER THAN NATIONAL AVERAGELake Champlain Chamber, VHFA identify housing as a crisis for Vermont’sworking familiesBURLINGTON – Vermont’s Queen City area might be one of the most livable inAmerica, but it’s also an increasingly expensive one, especially forhousing.New figures from ACCRA, a community and economic development researchassociation, released today by the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce andVermont Housing Finance Agency, show that the cost-of-living in theBurlington area — Burlington, Essex, South Burlington, Winooski andColchester — for the third quarter of 2004 was more than 17 percent abovethe national average. In the same period in 2003, the area’s compositeindex was 12.5 percent above the national average.In the third quarter 2004, Burlington was higher than the national averagein every category, with the greatest deviation from the mean found in thecost of housing at 134.8%. The city’s utilities were at 117.8%;miscellaneous goods and services at 106.4%; transportation at 109.4%; andgrocery items at 110.4Chamber President A. Wayne Roberts identified housing as a key componentofthe organization’s efforts to attract and retain businesses and theiremployees to the area. “High housing costs are a challenge for thoseseeking to live and work in Greater Burlington,” he said. “For a lot ofpeople relocating to our region, it means a choice between Burlington at135% of the national average and Plattsburgh at 93%.””Clearly, we’re still playing catch-up when it comes to providing anadequate supply of affordable housing, and that’s driving up costs,” saidVHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter. “We know this problem affectsindividual Vermonters, their families, our businesses and our economy as awhole. It boils down to a fundamental issue of costs versus wages.Vermonters are having trouble finding affordable housing.”According to the ACCRA data, the most expensive two-bedroom apartment inthenation is in New York City with an average monthly rent of $3,506. Theleast expensive is Hays, Kansas with an average monthly rent of $450.Burlington’s average monthly rent is $1,120. One silver lining in theACCRAreport is that the Burlington area’s housing costs are still lower thansomeother New England metro areas, such as New Haven, Conn. at 149.3%;Providence, R.I. at 168.3%; and Boston at 178.5%. Yet the GreaterBurlington area’s housing costs rank above cities like Miami, Fla. at127%;Hilton Head, S.C., at 110.3%; and Las Vegas, at 130.1%.The Lake Champlain Chamber has identified housing as an economicdevelopmentpriority for the 2005 legislative session, citing it, along with taxburdens, as a chief business competitiveness issue. VHFA offerslow-interest mortgages for qualified homebuyers and provides funding andadministers state and federal housing tax credits to encourage developmentof affordable rental units. Both organizations are members of the VermontHousing Awareness Campaign, www.housingawareness.org(link is external), a state-wide publiceducation effort to build support for housing development.The Lake Champlain Chamber is a participant in the nation-widecost-of-living index, compiled by ACCRA. The ACCRA survey examines theafter-tax cost of a professional/managerial standard of living for 324urbanareas.The quarterly index is available by subscription. Go online towww.costofliving.org(link is external) for additional information. The cost of living datafor the Burlington area was compiled by The Lake Champlain Chamber andEconomic and Policy Resources of Williston. Data are available atwww.vermont.org(link is external). Additional housing statistical information is availableatthe Vermont Housing Data Web site, www.housingdata.org(link is external).
Nicola Adams repelled the brave challenge of Belfast flyweight Michaela Walsh to claim Commonwealth Games boxing gold in Glasgow. The 31-year-old Olympic champion was simply too classy for Walsh, who will go home with a richly deserved silver medal after a promising week of performances. However, the three ringside judges remarkably did not quite see the fight the same way with one scoring in favour of Walsh as Adams triumphed only via split decision. Press Association Fearless Walsh went into the fight convinced of her ability to cause an upset and started well as she snaked home a right hand in the opening seconds. However, Adams stepped up a gear, landing a left and right combination which wobbled Walsh, and following up with a sharp right hand as she pursued the Northern Ireland fighter around the ring. Adams never let go of her dominance, relying on all her considerable experience to keep Walsh at bay and land shots on the button almost at will. After a tangle sent the pair rolling on the floor early in the third round, Walsh had some success with her left hand, but Adams responded with a good right and resumed command. At the end of a more competitive fourth both fighters raised their arms in triumph, but the reality was that Adams had once again proved herself a class apart .
NORTH KOREA HAS fired five short-range rockets into the sea off its east coast, just as Pope Francis arrived in Seoul for a five-day visit.The launches began at 9.30 am (00.30 GMT) at a site near the North’s eastern port of Wonsan, with the rockets fired into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) at a maximum range of 220 kilometres, a defence ministry spokesman said.Three were fired in the morning and two in the afternoon, he said.“They are presumed to have been fired from a 300-millimetre multiple rocket launcher,” he said, adding that the military had stepped up vigilance along the heavily fortified border.The pope is expected to send a message of peace to Pyongyang when he conducts a special inter-Korean “reconciliation” mass in Seoul next week on the last day of his visit. Pope Francis arrives in Seoul earlier today Source: Gregorio Borgia/AP PhotoChurch officials in the South had sent several requests to Pyongyang to send a group of Catholics to attend the event, but the North declined the offer, citing its anger at upcoming South Korea-US military drills.The Catholic Church, like any other religion, is only allowed to operate in North Korea under extremely tight restrictions, and within the confines of the state-controlled Korean Catholics Association.It has no hierarchical links with the Vatican and there are no known Catholic priests or nuns.The United States denounced the launches, while saying it was still studying whether they violated UN Security Council resolutions. A journalist takes a selfie with Pope Francis aboard the papal flight to Seoul. Source: AP/Press Association Images“We continue to call on North Korea to refrain from undertaking such provocative actions,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington.Harf also voiced concern that North Korea did not give notice to alert passing ships and aircraft.Thursday’s launches came hours after North Korea warned that if South Korea failed to cancel an upcoming military drill with the United States it would push the two sides “to the brink of war”. Books about Pope Francis at a bookstore in Seoul. Source: Lee Jin-man/AP PhotoNorth Korea has carried out an extended series of missile tests into the East Sea in recent months, despite UN resolutions barring it from any launches using ballistic missile technology.The North has defended the tests as a legitimate exercise in self-defence and a response to the South-US war manoeuvres.- © AFP, 2014Read: Pope promises ‘solutions’ to celibacy in the priesthood > Read: North Korea calls James Franco and Seth Rogen’s new film an ‘act of war’ >