With another competitive and intriguing Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships just over three months away, Excelsior High School’s athletics fraternity is looking to make its 13th annual Wesley Powell Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) track and field meet a massive one that will help them rally momentum to do well in 2016.The event, which was launched at Excelsior High yesterday, is set for Saturday, December 12.It is open to clubs and institutions, high, junior high and primary teams, with a total of 40 track and 28 field events billed for boys and girls from Classes One to Four.A team from The Cayman Islands has been specially invited for the meet. Olympian Grace Jackson will serve as meet director.Yesterday’s guest speaker, legendary sprint coach Glen Mills, who has conditioned six-time-Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt at the Racers Track Club, said his charges won’t be participating but gave the meet high marks.”It’s too early for us,” said Mills of his Racers charges.”I think it’s an excellent meet. I was here last year, and I was very impressed, and it’s the kind of meet that you would need at this time of the year to evaluate where you are and how your training programme has been going,” he told The Gleaner in an interview.”Excelsior must be congratulated for maintaining the format over the 13 years,” Mills said yesterday.Excelsior’s team is coached by Michael Vassell, while competitions directors are David Riley and Xavier Gilbert.Heart Institute of the Caribbean is in its second year of a $10-million sponsorship, and will be awarding gift certificates to winners.”At HIC and HIC Foundation, activities such as these form a very important part of our outreach to the nation. We are keen on this because it concerns the care and well-being of our young people,” said Lisa D’Oyen, executive director of HIC.The meet was first staged in 1998 to honour Wesley Powell, the founding principal of Excelsior High School.
NEW YORK – Much of the nation has had a lovely real estate boom for the past five years, but the house party is almost over and the cleanup won’t be pretty. That’s the word from economists and investors who have watched housing prices march ever higher. “The collapse of the housing bubble will throw the economy into a recession, and quite likely a severe recession,” warned a July report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. In recent weeks, many major investment firms have concurred. Said a Lehman Brothers report, “(A) turn in the housing market is central to our economic forecast.” “The demographic story behind the housing market boom, as we always thought, was a giant hoax,” wrote Merrill Lynch & Co.’s North American Economist, David Rosenberg, in a recent report. If housing prices decline sharply, the effects could be broad. Lehman estimates that one-third of the past year’s U.S. economic growth was a consequence of the housing boom. Housing construction is equal to 5 percent of the national economy. A downturn in housing could mean more than 1.3 million lost jobs, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicts, bumping up the national unemployment rate by 1 percent and the unemployment rate in house-mad California by 2 percent. Those numbers don’t include likely job cuts in housing-dependent businesses, such as banking, furniture and building materials. The Center for Economic and Policy Research predicts worse, saying a bubble burst would mean the loss of 5 million to 6.3 million jobs. The housing run-up has financed consumer spending, creating more than $5 trillion in bubble wealth, the center estimates. Consumers have used “cash-out” mortgages to pay for everything from new kitchens to college tuition. A final nightmare scenario: A federal bailout of the mortgage market is likely if housing crashes, the center predicts. So, if corporate pension funds continue to falter and this dire prediction does come true, the feds could conceivably be holding your mortgage and your pension. While there’s disagreement on what a downturn will mean, it’s widely held that a number of factors could bring prices down. A decline in prices will track interest rates: If rates go up sharply, housing prices will plummet, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com, an independent provider of financial research. If rates increase slowly, housing prices might ease gradually. Others point to simple supply and demand. Bubbles have their own psychology – a neighbor tells you at a party that her house has tripled in value and you feel like an idiot for renting – but supply and demand operates on logic, which has to kick in at some point. The supply-and-demand picture for housing looks out of whack. For six straight months, ending in September, builders started work on more than 2 million new homes. This has only happened three other times in the postwar period, according to Merrill Lynch: 1971 to 1973, 1977 to 1978, and early 1984. Those periods were fundamentally different from today in at least one respect: More people were forming households. Household formation is the growth rate in the number of households and it’s boosted by new immigration and twenty-somethings leaving their parents’ homes. It is currently half what it was for most of those peak periods. “At no time in the past three decades has the gap between household formation and housing starts been as wide as it has been over the past 12 to 24 months,” Rosenberg wrote. “We’ve become accustomed to hearing about how housing is in a new paradigm, that the fundamentals are sound, so on and so forth. But please, just don’t tell me that the sector has managed to divorce itself from supply and demand realities.” He points out that the number of households in the group most likely to buy a home, 25- to 44-year-olds, fell 2 percent last year, a record decline. Another indicator, unsold homes sitting on the market, also points down. The ratio of inventories to sales has been rising rapidly in recent months and now stands at its highest level since 1996, according to Wachovia Corp. Rents provide more evidence of an imbalance between supply and demand. Since World War II ended, sale prices for homes have generally kept pace with the overall rate of inflation, and rents moved at the same pace. That hasn’t been the case for the last eight years, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “There has been no significant increase in rents, which would be expected if the run-up in house prices were explained by the fundamentals of the housing market,” wrote Dean Baker, the center’s co-director. Then, there’s the problem of affordability. Affordability for first-time home buyers is the worst it has been in 20 years, which brings to mind an old parable about the stock market. A woman buys up a company’s stock, driving up the price as she goes. Eventually, she tells her broker to sell. His response: “To whom?” “House prices are at the mountaintop,” Zandi said. “All roads lead down. It’s just a question of how steeply.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. 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