Serena Williams, David Beckham in lineup for royal wedding

first_imgDavid and Victoria Beckham arrive for the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, near London, England, Saturday, May 19, 2018. (Chris Radburn/pool photo via AP)WINDSOR, England — Tennis great Serena Williams and soccer star David Beckham were among the famous from sports attending the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle.Williams said on Instagram before walking into St. George’s Chapel on Saturday with husband Alexis Ohanian that she was “getting ready for my friends wedding.”ADVERTISEMENT Beckham was joined by wife Victoria. They watched from seats at Windsor Castle as the couple took their vows before hundreds of royals, celebrities and friends and millions of TV viewers.Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, returned to the WTA tour briefly this year after a 14-month absence to give birth. She withdrew from the Italian Open, saying she wasn’t “100 percent ready to compete,” leaving her free for the wedding. She wore a blush Atelier Versace dress.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownBeckham won six Premier League titles at Manchester United and made 115 appearances for England. He won league titles in Spain (Real Madrid), the United States (LA Galaxy) and France (PSG). He wore Dior Homme by Kim Jones, sporting a gray coat and vest.Stars from rugby included Sir Clive Woodward, who coached England to the World Cup in 2003, and Jonny Wilkinson, a member of that title-winning team. View comments Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trialcenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations LATEST STORIES In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Manuel fuels Aces win MOST READlast_img read more

ECOWAS Parliament Opens in Abuja for Second Ordinary Session of 2018

first_imgThe 2018 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament opened recently in Abuja, Nigeria, with various speakers drawing attention to pressing matters affecting the sub-region.A Liberian Embassy release said the opening ceremony of the ECOWAS Parliament was attended by a host of Liberian parliamentarians and officials, including Senators Prince Y. Johnson and Steve Zargo, Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, Representatives Edwin M. Snowe, Haja Fatta Siryon, Rustolyn S. Dennis, Richard Koon, Clarence Massaquoi, and Ambassador Al-Hassan Conteh.The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Moustapha Cisse Lo of Senegal, presented a comprehensive report on the activities and programs of the body since its last meeting, the release adds.In his welcome remarks, the Speaker said the budget of the ECOWAS Parliament was now fully integrated with the financial plan of ECOWAS.  He said the Parliament would review the overall ECOWAS budget for the next Fiscal Year in accordance with the enhanced powers of the Parliament to provide oversight on ECOWAS matters.According to the release, the Speaker’s report covered salient activities of the Parliament, including its visit to Niger to observe recent developments at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Center in Agadez, Niger, participation of the group in the inauguration of the joint border posts at the Seme-Krake boundary between Nigeria and Benin Republic, and the Noepe-Akanu border between Ghana and Togo. He said the opening of these border posts were high points in the facilitation of regional integration and trade within the sub-region.The vice president of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (CCJ), Judge Gberi-Be Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, said the Court would lend its support to the Parliament to ensure independent and quality, social justice administration to community citizens.The Speaker of the National Assembly of Niger, Ousseini Tinni, who was invited as a special guest, said the quest for greater parliamentary representation should be in consonance with the regional integration vision of the founding fathers of ECOWAS, according to the release.The regional body should go beyond borders and unite the sub-region in attaining the free movement of goods and rights of residence. “We must banish the long queues and harassment at our borders,” he advised.Another urgent matter he alluded to was the promotion of inter-regional trade, which is very low at 25 percent. He said the Parliament must also gear up its efforts at supporting ECOWAS to achieve a single currency to remove convergence costs and integrate the sub-region. Lending support for the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was another area requiring support to integrate Africa whose 1 billion plus population and 2 trillion USD GDP make its market competitive for the free movement of labor and capital.He requested the ECOWAS Parliament’s support for G5 Sahel countries, which are now actively combating terrorism and migration to ensure peace and security in the Sahel region, the release continued.The Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament will continue until December 14, 2018. Its working sessions will include country reports, the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to consider the draft 2019 ECOWAS budget, among other topics, the Liberian Embassy release said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

WBD man who allegedly murdered lover dies

first_imgNigel Glasgow, a resident of Good Intent on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) who allegedly murdered his lover and slit his own throat on Wednesday died later that evening while receiving medical treatment at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WRDH).Guyana Times understands that the 40-year-old was being treated for the injuries to his neck. After Glasgow underwent surgery at the medical institution, he was discharged and taken into Police custody at the Wales Police Station.However, on Wednesday evening, complaints were raised by the man of being in discomfort. He was subsequently taken back to the Hospital, where he reportedly succumbed. A post-mortem examination has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.This publication had reported earlier that Diane Hernandez, a 48-year-old of Recht-Door-Zee was discovered lying on a bed by relatives of the mother of Glasgow’s children, at her partner’s Good Intent home on Wednesday. She was seen with her hands bound and what appeared to be a cable wire around her neck. The now dead suspect was seen lying next to her and bleeding from the throat.It is alleged that the suspect contacted the woman, who is a pump attendant, and told her to take care of their children. This raised some suspicion so the pump attendant asked her relatives to make a check at Glasgow’s home; they had to break into the locked house where they reportedly found the couple lying on a bed.According to Glasgow’s neighbours, it was reported that Hernandez arrived at Glasgow’s home minutes before midnight on Tuesday evening. However, around 03:00h on Wednesday, eyewitnesses reported hearing screams and shouts emanating from the man’s house. This resulted in his two dogs barking continuously, which appeared to anger the man to the point where he reportedly killed them both. Subsequently, they were found lifeless with what appeared to be empty gasoline bottles next to them. Additionally, the man then attempted to set his neighbour’s house afire after which he reportedly padlocked his front door from the outside, gained entry through a window and allegedly murdered Hernandez.The two persons who made the discovery had to break the window to get into the house.last_img read more

36 new immigration officers recruited

first_imgThe Guyana Police Force has recruited some 36 new immigration officers after they would have completed a rigorous six-week training programme.The 10 males and 26 females were extracted from the ten administrative regions and completed the course on Friday.According to the Force, this training covered several critical aspects as it relates to the daily demands of an immigration officer such as records management, data protection, profiling, interview techniques and trafficking in persons.Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken told the new recruits that customer service is demanded at all levels of any organisation. Hicken commended the new officers, whom according to him, have transformed over a short period of time under the challenging circumstances.Adding to that, Deputy Commissioner Paul Williams cautioned the new immigration officers of greater challenges ahead.“As leaders, you will make mistakes, but it’s about what you do when you fall down that matters most,” he said.Williams, who was also part of the team of facilitators for the immigration course, was taught extensively on ethics in law enforcement and social media among others.In 2018, the Central Immigration Office issued 150,000 passports to citizens locally and abroad. Through a screening process, it has recorded over 800,000 persons on entry and departure. In light of the decentralisation mechanism, the office has seen much more effectively managed operations, living up to the Force’s mandate to serve and protect.last_img read more

Emergency monitoring system remains activated – Harmon

first_imgCanal No1 flooding…say flooding could have been avoidedBy Lakhram BhagiratFor the residents of lower Canal Number One, on the West Bank of the Demerara, the regional authorities have failed them, and they are calling for swift action to alleviate their sufferings.Additionally, the residents are saying that the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), which is responsible for the maintenance of the main canal, has not cleared it since late November, hence the reason for the current flooding in the area.Canal Number One Polder has been flooded since December 20, with the water receding during low tide — which is mainly in the nights — but returning to threatening levels in the mornings.“Every night we go to bed the water draw down, but when we wake up in theThreatening water level for this Canal familymorning, (there) is water everywhere. We can’t do anything because this water is killing we. The children them could not even enjoy them Christmas because of all this water,” Oku resident Dolly Singh related.The distressed woman explained that she has been living in the area for over 47 years and flooding has always been an issue, but this episode of flooding is comparable to the infamous 2005 Great Floods.“The drain; them need to clean the drains. You can see the moss deh out plenty,Another flooded homeand how long Dairy (La Parfaite Harmonie) water nah draw out, we water can never draw out. Them ah clean, but it is not properly done. We didn’t get flood for over a year now. This time the water very high, and we can’t cook or anything here,” she lamented.When Guyana Times visited the flood-affected communities on Friday, residentsResdients clearing this Canal after days of flood waterbashed the regional authorities for their plight. This publication observed several of the residents utilising their own resources to clear the weeds from the main canal in efforts to get some relief.Good Hope resident Vijai Ramnarine said he cannot quantify the amount of losses he has incurred. The man related that he is a large-scale farmer and all of hisAn inundated homefarmlands are under water. He stated that more than 90 per cent of the community’s population are farmers, and they are now left to assess their damages.“At present, we are suffering tremendously. This actual work that is going on here is the community is self-help. Those two tractors that are working there are private tractors, and we have had no help from the Government. We have been here since before Christmas trying to get some relief from the flood water,” he said.“The water in the farmland is at least three feet high. Instead of using our vans orFamily forced to stay indoors as flood water raisestractors to bring out loads from the backdam, we have to use a boat and the track; that is our current situation. There is no estimation for losses at this time, because we put a lot of money in that and it is still under water,” Ramnarine added.He detailed that he has tangerine trees planted only about three months ago, along with a number of avocado seedlings that have already been destroyed.“This canal supposed to be cleaned on a monthly basis. For this past December month, it has not been cleaned; and as you can see, the shrimp moss is in the water and it grows every single day. When it grows, it starts to wrap and form a ball so the water cannot penetrate through, so it remains stagnant. If this canal was cleaned, then this situation would not have happened here,” he stated.Another farmer, Maso (only name given), told Guyana Times that they have been under water for almost one week before the authorities thought it necessary to have visit the area and assess the situation. He noted that the Civil Defense Commission visited the area on Thursday to assess but added that they are not providing any plans on how to get the water off the land.“When you go to cut pine you have to go with boat to cut the pineapple under the water…these people bring one one mopstick and a hamper and give you here today (Friday).  All this cause because if the negligence of the Government. Them not cleaning the canal,” the angry man said.Medical responseA team from the Public Health Ministry visited the Manram Memorial Health Centre, in Canal Number One, to ensure it is equipped with the necessary drugs in the case of a possible outbreak, and to prevent flood-related illnesses.Regional Health Officer Ravindra Dudhnauth advised that persons residing in flood-affected areas should take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent flood-related illnesses. He detailed the specified methods to treat water, including boiling or adding bleach. He also advised that residents in the affected areas should avoid unnecessary contact with these flood waters.National Emergency MonitoringAdditionally, State Minister Joseph Harmon visited the community on Friday to distribute relief supplies. At his post-Cabinet press briefing, Harmon indicated that the National Emergency Monitoring System remains activated on a 24-hour basis, with the ten administrative regions being actively monitored.He added that monitoring is being conducted via social media, television, HF radios, and mobile and landline telephones, to ensure that there is a timely and effective response to any incident with respect to the heavy rainfall.While all of the regions have been affected by the rainfall, Minister Harmon noted that several farmlands and some 200 households in Region Three — Essequibo Islands/West Demerara — were inundated as a result of clogged drains.“Since the initial impact, an assessment was done, and heavy-duty equipment, machinery and so on were deployed on December 26th [2017] to the Canal. Additionally, all efforts were made to ensure that the pumps and kokers remain operational, to ensure maximum release of water to prevent the situation from worsening,” he detailed.Minister Harmon said there have been minimal reports of flooding in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), with two reports of five inches of water being accumulated in the Albouystown, South and North Ruimveldt areas, and minor flooding along the East Coast.The greatest accumulation of water, Minister Harmon pointed out, was on empty lots in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice). However, he noted that reports have indicated that the water is receding from all areas except Bush Lot.last_img read more

Tonight’s Huskies game cancelled

first_imgThe next Huskies game is scheduled for December 11 in Dawson Creek versus the Junior Canucks.- Advertisement –last_img

‘You are certain to see Celtic do this many times this season’

first_img1 Celtic kick off the Scottish Premiership season Celtic kicked off the defence of their Scottish Premiership title with a 2-0 home win over Ross County at Parkhead.Leigh Griffiths gave the home side the lead with a goal from the spot after only four minutes.However, the striker hobbled off after 19 minutes with an injury which could leave him struggling for the second-leg of the Hoops’ Champions League third qualifier against Qarabag in Azerbaijan on Wednesday night.Midfielder Stefan Johansen doubled Celtic’s lead in the 35th minute after referee Willie Collum had angered the visitors by only showing Parkhead keeper Craig Gordon a yellow card for a ‘last man’ challenge outside the box on former Celt, Jackson Irvine.Gordon went on to make a couple of good saves as the Dingwall men tried to battle back, but Celtic began the campaign with what is certain to be the first of many victories as they aim for a fifth successive title.last_img read more

Ronald Koeman confirms ‘possibility’ of offering Southampton star new contract

first_img Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster Ronald Koeman is considering offering Fraser Forster a new Southampton contract this summer, with a host of clubs reportedly keen on the England goalkeeper.The 28-year-old has been one of the best stoppers in the division since returning from a long-term injury in January. He has played 12 games, conceding just nine goals, going on an impressive run of six games without letting a shot past him.His form has reportedly seen a host of top clubs start tracking Forster, and the Saints will consider offering him a new deal this summer to ward off any interest from said clubs.The keeper signed a four-year deal when signed from Celtic in 2014, and Koeman responded to questions about Forster’s future.When asked whether a new contract is on the horizon for the four-times capped star, the Dutch boss said: “That’s a possibility yes.”Losing Forster this summer would be a real blow to the South Coast club, who have spent the past few years seeing their key players leave at the end of every season.Forster is a target for Premier League sides along with the likes of Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, and whilst Koeman has plans to keep all his players, he is well aware that Southampton cannot compete with the teams who have endless amounts of money to spend in the transfer market.“We will try to hold onto everyone of course but we know our situation and we know we can’t win against the big teams with a lot of money,” the 53-year-old added.“But we will do everything we can to keep the players in.” 1last_img read more

Wie makes it official: She’s a pro

first_imgMichelle Wie strode into a crowded conference room in Honolulu on Wednesday with high heels and high hopes and said what everyone already knew. “I’m finally happy to say I’m a pro starting today,” said Wie, who turns 16 in six days. “The first time I grabbed a golf club, I knew I’d do it for the rest of my life. Some 12 years later, I’m finally turning pro, and I’m so excited.” Wie has signed endorsement deals with Nike and Sony said to be worth $10 million a year. Her first act as a professional was to give some of it back. She pledged $500,000 to the U.S. Golf Hurricane Relief Fund, set up by the major golf organizations. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Wie has been competing against the best players since she was in the seventh grade. The only difference now is that she’ll be competing with them on their level as a pro. Knicks await Curry The New York Knicks were waiting for Eddy Curry to report to training camp amid suspense about medical tests into the irregular heartbeat that prompted Chicago to trade him this week. Knicks president Isiah Thomas and coach Larry Brown had hoped Curry would make it to the College of Charleston (S.C.) on Wednesday, but by late afternoon, team spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz said Curry likely would not work out until today. Before then, the team will not reveal anything about the 22-year-old’s health status. Curry, the Bulls’ leading scorer last season, missed the final 13 games of the regular season and the playoffs after the irregular heartbeat was diagnosed. center_img Chicago didn’t want to part with Curry, but team officials demanded he take a DNA test to see if he’s susceptible to cardiomyopathy, the ailment that killed former Boston Celtics guard Reggie Lewis and Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers. Curry refused, saying the test violated his privacy because it could also be used to determine if he was predisposed to a host of other conditions going into his fifth NBA season. Thomas had said the Knicks couldn’t give Curry a DNA test because of New York’s privacy and employment laws. Sugar Bowl moving The Sugar Bowl likely is heading to the Georgia Dome on Jan. 2, forced out of New Orleans for the first time because of Hurricane Katrina. Bowl officials declined to confirm the game was headed to Atlanta before a news conference on Friday, when the announcement is expected. But USA Today, citing a person involved in the decision, said the bowl’s executive committee gave its approval Tuesday night. Sugar Bowl officials stressed last month that the move is temporary and they expect to have the game back in New Orleans next season. Berrier to appeal Crew chief Todd Berrier plans to appeal his two-race suspension and will be in Kevin Harvick’s pit for Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. The appeal is expected to be heard next week by a National Stock Car Racing Commission panel. Berrier announced his plans Wednesday and will be allowed to work with the team. Berrier was sent home and Harvick’s Chevrolet was disqualified last Friday when NASCAR found several violations in the trunk of Harvick’s car after he qualified second at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. On Tuesday, the crew chief was fined $10,000, suspended for an additional two races, until Oct. 19, and put on probation until Dec. 31. NASCAR viewed Berrier as a repeat offender. He was suspended for four races this year when Harvick’s fuel tank was found rigged in Las Vegas. Also Wednesday, Michael Waltrip’s penalties (a fine, docking of points and probation) for allegedly making an inappropriate gesture during the Sept. 18 race in New Hampshire were overturned when two members of the panel found TV footage of the incident “inconclusive.” Puerta in news Argentina’s Mariano Puerta tested positive for a banned drug following his loss in the French Open final and faces a possible life ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency for a second doping offense, the French sports newspaper L’Equipe reported Wednesday. Puerta’s lawyers said the player denied committing a doping offense, and his agent, Giorgio Brasero, called the report an “injustice.” Puerta tested positive for the stimulant etilefrine after his four-set loss to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the June 5 final, L’Equipe reported, without citing sources. Puerta’s urine samples the A and B specimens were analyzed by the French doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry. Puerta told associates he had taken medication to fight the flu at the time of the tournament, L’Equipe said. The International Tennis Federation oversees drug-testing at the French Open. Briefly Detroit Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter underwent surgery on his left ankle. Hunter had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose particles in the ankle. He will be re-evaluated in a week and no timetable has been set for his return. Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham was given a public reprimand by the Mountain West Conference for criticizing the officials in the Utes’ loss at North Carolina on Saturday. The Court of Arbitration for Sport hopes to reach a decision on American cyclist Tyler Hamilton’s appeal of a suspension for blood-doping by the end of the year or the beginning of 2006. Olympic rowing medalist and former sports minister Colin Moynihan was elected as chairman of the British Olympic Association, giving him a key role in preparations for the 2012 London Games. IOC president Jacques Rogge will urge Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi next month to ease the country’s tough doping laws during the Turin Games. Athletes can face criminal sanctions for doping violations while International Olympic Committee regulations provide only for disqualifications and suspensions. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

A haven at a higher price

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Once an affordable haven for young first-time home buyers, the Santa Clarita Valley is now a top destination in Southern California with a price to match, where achieving the American Dream of home ownership means great personal and financial sacrifice. The median home price in August hit a record $580,000, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors’ Santa Clarita Division. Condominiums are near $379,000, while new tract homes are selling upward of $800,000. Though threats that the housing bubble will burst are never far behind – the California Association of Realtors predicts statewide price gains of just 10 percent in 2006 compared to the estimated 16 percent this year – many prospective buyers are undeterred. Whether they’re singles looking for a first home or veterans trading up, each is determined to carve out their place in a city where subdivisions bare such aspiring names as “Mayfair,” “Bridgeport” or “Montana.” “I’m looking for open space – close, but not too close to your neighbor,” said Melissa Picquet, 32, as she scrutinized a 6-year-old, 1,300 square-foot home in Valencia. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Asking price: $519,000 – not a small sum for a young, single woman working in insurance while studying to become a physician’s assistant. The Palmdale native had saved for six months until a death in the family left an inheritance that propelled her into the market. “I’ve been weighing my options and Valencia seems to have won me over,” said Picquet, who currently shares a rental in Chatsworth. “It’s very new, very clean. It seems a great place to raise children if need be. “There’s really nothing wrong with (the San Fernando Valley.) It just seems like it’s busy, busy, busy. Even Valencia – it’s a big place, but it seems more together. It just seems to me it’s more down to earth.” Chris Fall, who wants to trade his four-bedroom home in Palmdale for a larger one in Santa Clarita, agreed. “If we pull this off, I’ll equate myself with George and Weezie – we’re movin’ on up,” he said, recalling that upwardly mobile television couple, “The Jeffersons.” Fall started with a condo on Sherman Way in the San Fernando Valley before buying his first single-family home in the Antelope Valley in 1989. “It was to give the two kids I had at the time what my folks have given me, which is to get a house with a front and backyard,” said Fall, 43, a manager with Blue Barrel Disposal. “I believe we’re living the American Dream – it’s to buy a house and raise them in a relatively safe community.” Now with four children and his Palmdale home worth at least a half million, he’s ready to move again. “I’m really concerned about getting that fifth bedroom,” he said. “I have two boys (sharing a room,) and they’re ready to choke each other. “We’ve also come to the conclusion that the bubble may burst. If that happens – we want to be somewhere where you want to be for a while.” Local real estate brokers have long touted the region’s good public schools, strong resale value and healthy economy as main draws. Many remain bullish, and it’s reflected in the housing market, where prices have seen annual gains of at least 20 percent over the last two years. “Usually, it’s the quality of what they’re getting,” said Monica Barkley, a broker here since 1973. “A lot of areas are just older and are just not that nice. “Up here, they’re going to get new homes that are better buys. The kids here don’t have to go into private schools – it’s a big thing to apply to their housing instead of toward school.” “I don’t see any drop in demand for the next two to five years,” said Mike Davis, president of the association’s Santa Clarita Division. “But there isn’t a bidding war like it used to be. People would just have to price the home to sell.” RISING (AND FALLING) WITH THE TIDE But Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast, urged caution. “Certain thresholds are being reached where you have fewer buyers now,” said Schniepp, author of the annual Santa Clarita Valley Real Estate and Economic Outlook. “We are at the highest level of housing production since the 1980s. It is getting absorbed now. At some point in time, this crazy, overzealous demand is going to be met. Six hundred thousand dollars is pretty steep. “I don’t think any market is bulletproof,” he said. “All boats rise and fall with the tide, but there is no area that is going to be immune if demand suddenly goes away. That would occur if the U.S. goes into recession or interest rates suddenly rise, which is not expected, or a cataclysmic event.” Schniepp doesn’t mean a single, sudden jolt as earthquakes or hurricanes – markets tend to bounce back within several years of a major disaster, and stronger than before. Schniepp imagines something out of the early 1990s, when dozens of housing development plans gathered dust at local planning offices as recession and mass layoffs in Southern California’s backbone aerospace and defense sectors effectively killed demand for years. The region today has some diversity in both technical manufacturing and service jobs, and the investment in local industrial parks has encouraged companies from throughout the Southland to relocate here, bringing new capital and more workers with housing demands. “Certainly, the Santa Clarita Valley has momentum going for it, that would help in its desire to achieve a soft landing,” Schniepp said. “But soft is a relative word. We could see a chaotic landing in some communities. I think some of the inland areas where there is growth (are) insulated to some degree.” Macroeconomics aside, most buyers are driven by more practical rewards – tax deductions, security, pride of ownership. They’re willing to take on more risk both personal and fiscal. “They’re not buying a piece of the house – they’re buying the mortgage payment,” said Dolores Conway, director of the Casden Real Estate Forecast at University of Southern California. “They’re comparing the payment to rent. … Payments haven’t gone up as much as home prices, and the interest rates are very, very low, so people can buy a lot more. “They’re willing to assume more financial risk. All these creative financial lending – let’s face it, the lenders won’t be able to do these loans if there weren’t buyers. The lenders are diverting the risk to the buyers.” For Picquet, it means putting up with a commute to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine in South Los Angeles – at least until she gets hired at an area hospital. “Any place that you go from Valencia is pretty much within 20 minutes,” she said. “Any place you’re looking at in California is going to involve traffic, regardless.” TRAFFIC CHALLENGE Despite steady job growth, thousands clog Interstate 5 each morning, commuting to Los Angeles, Ventura County and beyond for lucrative careers – mostly white-collar, middle management work – that allowed them to afford a home here in the first place. Indeed, Schniepp believes traffic congestion is a top challenge regional leaders must address for Santa Clarita Valley to remain a draw. “The detraction of all the quality of life is all the traffic – that’s the biggest risk – the postponement of infrastructure improvements on a growing area,” he said. “You need to keep up with that, and we have not. Other than the housing bubble bursting, that’s biggest issue.” Some fixes include $245 million 8.5-mile Cross Valley Connector road intended as a east-west shortcut between Interstate 5 and the Antelope Valley Freeway. There also are plans to add high-occupancy vehicle lanes and truck lanes on the I-5 near the Newhall Pass. Meantime, developers and city leaders tout growth as a permanent solution – to foster enough local high-paying jobs so residents won’t have to leave. But that could be at least 10 to 15 years away, Schniepp said. “That’s probably a long-range ideal view of it,” he said. “But you can’t force that kind of thing. You can’t create enough jobs fast enough, at least in that intermediate term.” Still, determined buyers like Picquet and Fall are unfazed. “I’ve passed on a number of opportunities to move here,” Fall said. “If I had known what was going to happen to the market, I would’ve bought every one of those opportunities.” “Anything that has a reward is going to take sacrifice,” Picquet said. “I believe it’s one of the biggest American dreams. It’s an investment into your livelihood and independence. I don’t think that’s going to go away.” “If you want to live in California, you’re going to pay a lot for housing,” Conway said. Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 eugene.tong@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more