Wildfires worsen housing crunch in famously costly Bay Area

TOPSHOT - Homeowner Martha Marquez looks ...

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Even before fire wiped out the home she rented for 17 years, Suzanne Finzell had thought about leaving this city on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area because of rising prices. A spike in housing and other living costs had driven her friends to Nevada and Oregon.

Now, Finzell wonders if that will be her fate too, as the wildfires that charred California wine country send thousands of people who lost their homes scrambling for new places to live in one of the nation’s tightest and most expensive housing markets.

Before the fires, the rental vacancy rate was a mere 1 percent in Santa Rosa and 3 percent in surrounding Sonoma County. Then the city lost an estimated 5 percent of its housing stock to the flames.

“We had a housing crisis before the fires,” Mayor Chris Coursey said Wednesday. “It’s magnitudes worse now.”

Meanwhile, authorities reported more progress against the flames. The deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said crews had stopped the movement of all fires.

Firefighters were helped by cooler weather and the lack of wind. Forecasters expect a tenth of an inch of rain in the affected areas on Thursday — not enough to quench any fires outright but still welcome.

The fires that swept through parts of seven counties were the deadliest and most destructive series of blazes in California history. At least 42 people died and 6,000 homes were lost.

Josh Edelson, AFP/Getty Images

Homeowner Martha Marquez looks over her burned home in Santa Rosa, California on Oct. 10, 2017.
Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state’s famed wine country.

Elijah Nouvelage, AFP/Getty Images

Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood on Oct. 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California
More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless.

Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images

Ben Pederson find’s a school yearbook in the remains of his bedroom after his family’s home was destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017.
The death toll from some of California’s worst ever wildfires rose to 17 as thousands of firefighters battled to bring the infernos under control. The fires which …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – News

The Back Half #4: Philip Pullman, Ghostwatch and the CD single

The new NS culture podcast with Tom Gatti and Kate Mossman.

On this episode of the New Statesman’s new culture podcast, The Back Half, we welcome guest Philip Pullman to discuss his return to the world of His Dark Materials with new book La Belle Sauvage, the first instalment in The Book of Dust trilogy. Then hosts Tom Gatti and Kate Mossman discuss creepy BBC TV special Ghostwatch and celebrate the noniversary of that much-missed music format the CD single.

Listen on iTunes here, on Acast here or via the player below:

The RSS feed is rss.acast.com/thebackhalf.

Get in touch on Twitter via @ns_podcasts.

Relevant links:

Get a copy of La Belle Sauvage.

Read Rowan Williams review of the book in the New Statesman.

Buy tickets to see Philip Pullman discuss the book at the Southbank Centre on 20 October.

Kate’s piece about Ghostwatch.

Subscribe to the New Statesman now or buy a copy from your local newsagent.

Our theme music is “God Speed” by Pistol Jazz, licensed under Creative Commons.

…read more

Source:: New Statesman

Philip Pullman’s new book La Belle Sauvage: the ultimate guide

Contains spoilers!

Today marks the publication of La Belle Sauvage, the first in Philip Pullman’s new trilogy, the follow up to his His Dark Materials series, The Book of Dust. Set in Lyra’s world, it follows the protagonist of His Dark Materials 10 years before the action of that series, while the second two parts of The Book of Dust are set 10 years after the His Dark Materials books. This jump in time explains why Pullman is reluctant to name the new trilogy either a prequel or a sequel, but rather, an “equel”.

This, of course, means there is much overlap between the characters, places and action of His Dark Materials and La Belle Sauvage. Here is out ultimate guide to what the two works have in common. It contains spoilers for both!

Malcolm Polstead

The name Polstead (meaning “place by a pool”) is fitting for the family that live on the bank of the Thames (The Trout is also close to several small lakes). He is an inquisitive child interested in woodwork, literature and science. His daemon, Asta, has not yet settled and changes form often: a sign of curiosity and intelligence in children. He meets baby Lyra through the nuns looking after her at Godstow Priory, and when she is endangered, attempts to sail her to safety in his canoe, “La Belle Sauvage”.

The name Polstead doesn’t appear in any of the original His Dark Materials novels, but particularly devoted fans might remember a Dr. Polstead from “Lyra and the Birds”, the short story included in His Dark Materials companion book Lyra’s Oxford, set a few years after the end of the original trilogy. That book describes “young Dr. Polstead”, who is “one of the few Scholars capable of climbing all the way up the tower several times a day” and who has “all his faculties in working order” – as Malcolm is just 10 or 11 years older than Lyra in La Belle Sauvage, we can assume that this is Malcolm in his early twenties, a successful scholar at Jordan still keeping a watchful eye over Lyra. He is “stout, ginger-haired, affable; more inclined to be friendly to Lyra than she was to return the feeling”, and it’s also mentioned that he had been “Lyra’s unwilling teacher” for “a difficult six weeks”. In the second companion book Once Upon a Time in the North, Lyra writes him a letter …read more

Source:: New Statesman