5 tricks to repay mounting debt | Cash Good

If you’re having trouble getting your bills off, here are a few tips that might help you.

SAN ANTONIO – If you are heavily in debt, you are not alone.

US household debt hit a record high of $ 15 trillion in the second quarter of 2021, according to the latest report.

The latest quarterly report on the debt and creditworthiness of households in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says total household debt rose 2.1% to hit $ 14.96 trillion. The report shows that mortgage debt was the largest contributor. Auto loans and loan spending also contributed to the increase.

If you’re struggling to get your bills off, here are five tips that might help.

“A lot of people think that you should cash out your highest-interest credit cards first, but psychologically, I think it’s best to get some out of the way. If you have five or six credit cards, and one of them is very small, pay it off first because mentally you feel like you can accomplish something by getting rid of one credit card, ”said Karl Eggerss, Senior Wealth Advisor and Partner at Federation.

FOCUS ON THE MAP WITH THE HIGHEST INTEREST RATE

“If you can call the institution to try to get a lower rate, I’d advise. If not, you can actually transfer this balance to another credit card on an introductory course. Maybe zero percent or six months or even a year. You’re trying to buy yourself time while you pay for it, ”advised Eggerss.

PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM CREDIT

“If you only pay the minimum, you will never pay them off. So make sure you cut the spending elsewhere to pay for that credit card, ”he said.

“Sell things that you no longer need in your house and literally put the money on your credit card,” advised Eggerss.

“You need to know what money is coming in and what is coming out. When it comes to spending too much, you will never get anywhere with these credit cards and it will continue to be a problem. In terms of interest rates, it is getting bigger and bigger and could lead to bankruptcy, ”suspects Eggerss.

Council contemplating axing three interlocal agreements to unencumber cash for police pay raises

JACKSON, miss. (WLBT) – Jackson City Council could have found a way to give police officers a raise without having to raise taxes.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 2, at Jackson City Hall to discuss the city’s budget for the 2021-22 financial year.

During the budget deliberations, the administration and council held talks about a possible increase in property tax in order to finance salary increases for experienced police and firefighters.

However, this tax hike may not be necessary if several items that will be considered by the council on Thursday are adopted.

The council is considering repealing three agreements, two that would allow the city to detain offenders in prisons outside of the county, and one to pay the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office half a million dollars to provide additional patrols around the city .

If repealed, the agreements would free approximately $ 1 million in city funds and could be used to fund raises for corporations in the Jackson Police Department, their Jackson Fire Department equivalents, and communications personnel.

It would also mean the city would not have to levy taxes on a mill to generate the funds needed to raise wages.

A mill would make about $ 1.2 million a year, according to the city.

Council President Virgi Lindsay says she also supports the idea because the agreements were never implemented.

“They were never implemented for one reason or another, and as I suggested early on, this is our opportunity to take these funds and invest in our first responders,” she said.

The council approved interlocal agreements with Yazoo County and Holmes County last October that would have enabled the city to transport felons there and place them in prisons.

The agreements were necessary because Hinds County is currently unable to detain most of the offenders at the Raymond Detention Center under a federal consent decree.

Holmes County’s board of directors signed the agreement last year, stating that Jackson detainees transported to Holmes County Jail be screened for COVID-19 prior to transportation.

As of June, the Yazoo board had not yet signed its agreement.

If both are overturned, Jackson would save $ 500,000.

In March of this year, the Council signed a second agreement one to provide $ 500,000 to the Hinds County Sheriff to pay for additional patrols around the city.

The proposal was drafted and approved by Ward 3 city councilor Kenneth Stokes with no details being worked out.

For example, the city guides wanted the money to be used to hire additional deputies specifically for patrols in Jackson.

However, the late Sheriff Lee Vance wanted to use the funds to pay existing alternates overtime to patrol Jackson after their normal shifts were over.

It was unclear whether the terms of this agreement were ever finalized.

Sheriff Vance died in August after contracting COVID-19.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chamber.

Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.

Charleston’s invoice to repair flooding is rising. Discovering the cash to pay for it’s a puzzle. | Rising Waters

The cost to fix flooding in Charleston has bloomed to some $3 billion in total, city officials say — a price tag for solutions from cleaning out plugged drainage systems to new, deep tunnels and a wall that could deflect hurricane waves from the downtown peninsula.

In 2017, The Post and Courier asked city officials how much it might cost to fix flooding in the face of a climate that is supercharging flooding rains and pushing sea levels higher. At the time, the estimate was $2 billion, including several hefty projects that were already under way. 

But now that number is rising, in large part because of an Army Corps of Engineers proposal to wall off the downtown area from the water. If the project, still in early planning stages, reaches the finish line, the city would have to pay a portion that’s estimated at around $500 million.

In the meantime, a slew of other work in other neighborhoods in the city is ongoing, chewing up the city’s fund for drainage work and sending staff on time-consuming efforts to secure federal grant funds. In all, the city plans to spend almost $58 million, including grant money, on stormwater and drainage efforts in 2021, CFO Amy Wharton said. 

These projects, Director of Stormwater Management Matt Fountain said, mostly aren’t aimed at preparing for the 2- to 3-feet of sea level rise the city expects in the next 50 years. They’re an effort to fix the severe flooding problems already existing, which have resulted, in part, from years of poor development decisions about where and how to build in the region’s low topography. 



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A car drives through water past the West Ashley Library on Windermere Boulevard on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Charleston. File/Gavin McIntyre/Staff



In an interview with the paper, Fountain ticked off a list of 20 major water management projects somewhere in the pipeline from design to construction, including:

  • Engineered wetlands on the former sites of flooded homes in far-flung West Ashley.
  • Outfall cleaning around the city, in neighborhoods like the historic Byrnes Downs.
  • Plans to divert water around the Barberry Woods neighborhood on Johns Island.
  • New pipes and eventually pumps to evacuate water from the flood-prone King and Huger streets intersection. 

As far as work that will fend off the water of the future, “I think we just haven’t quite gotten there yet. We’re still so buried into the things that we need to fix that are currently causing problems,” Fountain said.

The one exception, he said, is the proposed seawall, which has proved controversial since its inception. The city hasn’t officially voted to move forward with it and hasn’t put together a funding plan for its share of the project. But they will have to certify to the Corps by the end of the year that the city will pay the 35 percent match of the total project cost. There will be time after that point to come up with those funding sources, said Mark Wilbert, the city’s outgoing chief of resilience, because the Corps itself will spend several months internally reviewing the wall plan.

A $1.4 billion Army Corps plan to protect Charleston from hurricane surge changes

“We’re looking under every rock,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “You just kind of ask for everything, and at the end of the day, see where you land.”

Ultimately, the many needs of Charleston put it in competition for state funds with communities around South Carolina, and for federal funds with many cities nationally. There are several communities in the Southeast that are also working with the Army Corps on climate adaptation plans, and who may be in contention when Congress decides who deserves funding. 

“This is something the city of Charleston and all coastal communities will be dealing with for eternity,” Wilbert said. “We will be adapting forever.”

Finding funds

Right now, Charleston cobbles together its money for flooding improvements from a variety of sources — a fee on water and sewer bills that covers smaller projects and the budget for the stormwater department, a small portion of property taxes for a dedicated drainage fund, special tax districts and a bevy of various grants. 

The tax districts in particular, usually abbreviated as TIFs, have come to a particular importance in recent years. These TIFs rely on rising property values. When they are put in place, they freeze the amount of money sent to school district, county and city coffers. If the lots inside become more valuable over time, that additional tax money is set aside in a special fund that the city can borrow against or use to pay directly for certain projects.

Take the example of a particularly successful tax district along King Street, which Wharton said has raised $123.6 million since it was established in 1998. It has helped to pay for significant portions of the deep-tunnel drainage system the city is building under the Septima P. Clark Parkway, also known as the Crosstown. When that complex project, known as Spring-Fishburne, encountered a $43 million cost overrun a few years ago, the city was able to rely on this well-performing district to cover some of the difference. 

These arrangements don’t last forever. The King Street district is set to expire in 2023, removing that as a source of future funds. They also require buy-in from schools who are essentially foregoing revenue. Charleston County School District declined entirely to participate in a much newer tax district around flood-prone Church Creek, Wharton said. That fund is devoted entirely to water management projects.

In other cases, there’s disagreement on whether to use these proceeds for drainage at all, as has happened in a special district that covers Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood. Some wanted to use the money for the upcoming Lowline park; Councilman Keith Waring prefers the money help pay for drainage fixes in the historically Black and rapidly gentrifying Eastside neighborhood.



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America Street is covered by water after several inches of rain fell on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Charleston. The street is one of several on Charleston’s East Side that persistently floods during intense storms. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff



In a meeting at the beginning of June, Waring bemoaned the fact that for years the city didn’t dedicate much money for drainage at all, and now the Eastside has needs that will probably range between $15 million and $20 million. A city consultant is studying the area now to decide exactly what projects should be done there, Fountain said.

“We’ve got a lot of good ideas sitting on the shelf,” Waring said, “but the elephant in the room is funding.”

City Council hasn’t made a final decision on how to use the money from the district that covers the Eastside. But Wharton said there may be other options if they do opt to pay for the park, like finding grants to pay for it. 

Grant funding has gone a long way in helping the city design new approaches for the Church Creek basin and Johns Island. Those federal dollars come with a cost, though. It could take months of staff time to fully prepare an application, with no guarantee they’ll be awarded.

A smaller approach

Fountain said his strategy of late has been to aim for smaller-in-scope projects that offer relief now, so residents don’t feel ignored while larger, multi-year efforts are under way.

In one case, that means working on several smaller efforts first in the drainage basin that was next projected for deep drainage tunnels: Calhoun West, which covers the southwest corner of the Charleston peninsula, one of the lowest and most flood-prone areas of the city.

The area is a wealthy one, with historic homes worth millions, and picturesque Colonial Lake, an engineered waterbody the city drains before storms to ensure it does not spill over. Charleston has already done conceptual engineering on a tunnel system there, but isn’t moving forward on the design or permits yet because of many other, smaller efforts.

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One, a single shaft tunneling down from Ehrhardt Street, will replicate a portion of the system and connect it to existing tunnels to the north. The city is also working on cleaning out historic brick-arch drains and potentially raising the sidewalk along low-lying Lockwood Drive to block high tides, Fountain said.

“We need to get those things to their next step … to kick out more project work behind them,” Fountain said. “Each thing we can do that moves water out of the basin more efficiently reduces the size and scope of the tunnel work.”



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Floodwater covers a sidewalk along Ashley Avenue in the Medical District on July 8, 2021, following the passage of Tropical Storm Elsa. This section of downtown Charleston, home to three major medical institutions, had flooded for decades. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff



The Corps’ wall proposal would also affect where and how the city would build Calhoun West’s deep tunnels and a pump to drain them. 

Just the Ehrhardt Street shaft alone costs north of $10 million, and the money wasn’t easy to find. Officials for the three large medical providers in the hospital district and Tecklenburg lobbied state government officials for years before funding was included in a round of Housing and Urban Development money the state started to parcel out earlier in 2021

In the past, the city relied on large-scale projects like Spring-Fishburne, the more expansive tunnel system north of the area where Calhoun West would be installed. But Spring-Fishburne encountered significant delays in its construction timeline, in part because it was difficult to secure funding in the first place. Fountain said he doesn’t want to leave people waiting for years without smaller relief.

He also urged that the deep-tunnel design will have to fit with other projects in the basin that are being designed or built now. 

Councilman Mike Seekings, who represents that part of the city, said the Calhoun West tunnel project is still an essential one. With spring thunderstorms this year dumping water that piled 2- or 3-feet deep in that zone, “It’s an unsustainable quality of life and public safety model we have to remedy,” he said. 

The problem, Seekings said, is that the city needs to more clearly define what projects to do, and in what order. Fountain said the city does have a rubric developed by consultant AECOM to prioritize projects based on economic benefits, environmental impacts, social needs and future maintenance costs, but the stormwater department hasn’t finished scoring all the proposed projects yet.



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The city is gradually replacing its 19th century brick arches with a modern network of deep drainage tunnels, such as this one. Ralfael Reveles drives a train through the Spring-Fishburne drainage tunnels on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Charleston. File/ Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff



Local share

The seawall project, if the city decides to pursue it, would be covered 35 percent by Charleston and 65 percent by a federal appropriation for the Corps. The most recent estimate pegs the total cost at some $1.4 billion.

That projection is likely to change, and might have to if the project is ever to get federal funding. Right now, its ratio of benefits to costs, as counted by the Corps, is 2.2. In other words, every dollar invested has a $2.20 value in avoided damage. Federal reviewers usually favor projects with a ratio of 2.5 or higher for funding, a Corps spokeswoman said.

If it does move forward, the project is a pay-as-you-go affair: money would only be due as the design or construction happens. Project leaders have already said the wall construction would happen in four phases.

“That (local) price tag is not something that’s due next year or in five years. It could, in fact, be due over 20 years,” said Dale Morris, a longtime flooding consultant to the city who is becoming its next chief resilience officer in the fall. 

City officials have said the state has a role to play in funding this because of Charleston’s economic impact on the rest of the state. But if the much smaller $10 million bill for the Medical District’s Ehrhardt shaft is any indication, it could be hard to make that argument. An earlier attempt to include that line item in the state’s 2020 budget failed.

Dana Beach, a founder of the Coastal Conservation League who has since retired from that environmental advocacy group, worried whether the city’s political leadership would really be able to convince lawmakers to put up the money. 

It’s not as if legislators are unwilling to pay for large construction projects in the region; the State Ports Authority, Beach argued, secured a vote in favor of borrowing $550 million for an expanded rail yard and barges in the Charleston Harbor

But in Charleston, “We just have this hope that the Corps of Engineers will do something, will put the money in, and we’ll somehow come up with the 35 percent match,” Beach said. “Hope is not a strategy.”

SC's new resilience office tackles question of how to avoid damages from strengthening storms

Tecklenburg said he’s already talking to state and federal officials about how to fund the city’s share.

“You’re not going to find one funding source that’s going to pay for a big project,” he said. At the state level, “I think we can be successful getting a piece at a time, but maybe not get the whole enchilada like the Ports Authority has.”

The first pieces of a potential strategy could come in the next few months. An advisory group reviewing the wall plan is also focusing on possible funding ideas, Wilbert said, as is the city itself. More special tax districts or fees could be part of the picture, he said. The state has also set aside almost $50 million for flood projects, distributed by a new Office of Resilience, but communities around the state will compete for that low-cost loan fund.

Morris was optimistic. He pointed to the federal American Rescue Plan funds that are coming to South Carolina, $2.5 billion in all, which can be used for infrastructure projects. Additional funding through HUD, he said, will also help cities and towns pay for projects to fix flooding before disasters instead of after — a longtime blind spot in federal funding. 

“It’s more positive right now for federal resources to support communities than I’ve seen for a long time,” Morris said.

That may be limited help in the case of the wall project; if Congress funds the Corps’ share, the city generally can’t use federal funds to pay for its own portion without special permission, a Corps spokeswoman said. 

But first, the city will have to decide this fall if it actually wants to move forward with a wall at all. 

Editorial: Broaden approach to Charleston's peninsula wall project to get it right

Grant cash accessible to assist pay overdue utility payments

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) – Vermont’s largest utility company is reminding customers that they can apply for grant funds to catch up overdue utility bills related to the pandemic.

A total of $ 55 million in free grants is available to help renters, homeowners, businesses and farms pay overdue utility bills related to the pandemic, Green Mountain Power said in a written statement Tuesday.

“More than 20,000 GMP customers have been delayed with their accounts for at least two months during the pandemic, but only about 2,000 have applied for these new aid programs,” said Steve Costello, a GMP vice president.

The Vermont Department of Public Service is accepting grant applications through October 25th. The non-repayable money can be used for overdue bills for landline phones, electricity, natural gas and water, the utility said.

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(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Do not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material without permission.)

ON THE MONEY: $20Okay or extra to broaden your loved ones? The way to pay for adoption | Enterprise

Sarah Bailey’s adoption experience began in 2013 when she contacted an adoption placement agency and paid fees for a parenting course and advertising to birth mothers for a year.

In 2014, and still without a successful adoption, Bailey began paying a monthly advertising fee of $ 340 every time an adoption failed.

“I wasn’t expecting the monthly fee,” says Bailey, a mental health program director for Indianapolis. As spending continued into the second year of an expected year-long process, Bailey became discouraged.

“For me there was a point where I almost gave up,” she says.

She insisted, and by 2015, Bailey had paid over $ 22,000 to adopt her son.

The cost of adoption by a private agency can range from $ 20,000 to $ 45,000, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service provided by the Children’s Office of the Federal Office of Administration for Children and Families.

The price may include legal fees, home study to check the security of your home, and advice.

However, adoption may include unplanned costs – such as living expenses and hospital expenses for the birth mother during pregnancy – that vary by agency, state, and adoption period.

To manage costs, experts recommend families plan ahead and use a variety of types of funding, from raising funds to borrowing. Here are strategies that you should consider.

START WITH A PLAN

When you work with an adoption agency, you usually get a list of costs before you apply, says Blake Jones, adoptive parent, certified financial planner, and founder of Pomegranate Financial, a Utah-based financial planning firm.

Use this information to help create a schedule of what expenses you will have over the next six to 18 months before signing the application for adoption, he says.

Then, look at the financial resources you have access to – savings, home equity, grants – and align your existing resources if necessary, advises Jones.

Building your savings is the best option, says Marta Shen, a certified financial planner at Spring Street Financial of Raymond James in Atlanta and an adoptive parent who advises clients on managing adoption costs. Paying back a loan on top of new parenting expenses like childcare can be financially stressful, she says.

ASK OTHER HELP

During her adoption process, Bailey reached out to her community to raise funds.

“I bought a puzzle and sold pieces so people could be part of my child’s life,” she says. For “everyone who bought one, I wrote their name on the back.”

The finished puzzle is in her now 6-year-old son’s room – a reminder of everyone who helped connect them in 2015.

Aaron Johnson, a father of two adopted children from Orlando, Florida, also raised funds for his first adoption in 2017. Johnson raised over $ 10,000.

“We did a GoFundMe on social media, so a lot of our friends, church members, and other family members donated to it,” said Johnson, who since adoption has started a nonprofit that gives grants to help other black families adopt Helping children.

APPLY FOR AN ACCEPTANCE PROMOTION

An adoption grant – money that does not have to be repaid – is another way to finance adoption. Helpusadopt.org and the Gift of Adoption Fund offer grants to help cover adoption costs.

With organizations like these, you need to review deadlines and eligibility requirements such as parental status and financial need. When submitting the application, you may be required to pay a fee, provide references, and provide evidence of approved home study.

LOOK AT A HELOC

A home equity line of credit provides access to cash based on the value of your home. It allows you to withdraw money and repay it monthly. It’s more flexible than a loan, Shen says.

Some people prefer a fixed amount that they know they have to pay back, like a one-time lump sum on a personal loan, Shen says, while others are okay with a HELOC’s revolving credit line. If parents aren’t sure how much they will need upfront, a HELOC may be a better option.

PERSONAL LOANS CAN BE A FINAL DESTINATION

When fundraising isn’t enough, you’re not eligible for a scholarship, or don’t own a home, a personal loan may be worth considering. Borrowers with strong credit ratings can qualify for interest rates between 12% and 17%.

Before taking out a loan, make sure that the monthly payments comfortably fit your budget.

Shen advises customers to avoid too many financial obligations that can weigh on a new family.

Over $7 Billion in State Cash is Accessible Now to Pay Previous Due Lease and Utility Prices for Santa Monica Renters and Landlords – santamonica.gov

Santa Monicans are urged to register today at Housing.ca.gov. to apply

August 4, 2021 2:35 pm

The nationwide program “CA COVID-19 Rent Relief” (also commonly known as “Housing is the Key”) is now open and is accepting applications to help income-earning households with 100% of the rent and ancillary costs, for both past and present future amounts owed. Santa Monica renters and owners are urged to verify eligibility for income and apply at today Housing approx. Gov or by phone at (833) 430-2122. This rental assistance program, along with the nationwide eviction moratorium, is designed to keep families in homes, protect tenants from evictions, and help both landlords and tenants recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Qualified tenants and landlords should apply for the rental assistance program as soon as possible; Funds are available until the funds are used up.
  • Rent assistance is not automatic, tenants and landlords must submit an application for assistance.
  • The nationwide eviction moratorium to protect tenants from loss of rent expires on September 30, 2021.

“We want everyone in our community to be aware of the government funds available to tenants and landlords to pay 100% of the housing and operating costs for income-earning households affected by COVID-19,” said the mayor from Santa Monica, Sue. Himmelrich. “These funds will aid our recovery and ensure that Santa Claus Monicans can stay in their homes. Our city is obliged to pass this information on to all authorized landlords and tenants. Apply today, Santa Monica! “

Today the City of Santa Monica is launching an outreach program to ensure all home renters and landlords have the opportunity to receive a 5.2 billion rental subsidy. The outreach plan focuses on equal access for our most vulnerable community members and residents aims to reach tenants and landlords who are unfamiliar with the rental assistance program or who were unable to apply due to a disability or lack of access to technology or internet services. Efforts include print and digital public relations, including mailers, flyers, door hangers, social media, email, and more.

This builds on previous COVID-19 housing assistance efforts. The City of Santa Monica has paid over $ 2.8 million in rental grants to over 640 Santa Monica families as of March 2020 by providing federal funding from Community Development Block grants and the CARES Act, as well as local funding from the City’s General Fund and community contributions the We are the Santa Monica Fund.

For more information on the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program and how to apply, please visit Housing approx. Gov or call (833) 430-2122. If you need help applying, contact 3-1-1 or 311@santamonica.gov.

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Tennessee Isn’t Giving Individuals Cash to Get a COVID Shot, However It Does Pay to Vaccinate Cows – NBC Boston

Tennessee has sent nearly half a million dollars to farmers who have vaccinated their cattle against respiratory and other diseases in the past two years.

But Republican Governor Bill Lee, who grew up on his family’s ranch and describes himself as a rancher on his Twitter profile, was far less enthusiastic about herd immunity incentives in humans.

Despite having some of the lowest vaccination rates in Tennessee, Lee has refused to follow the example of other states in enticing people to receive the potentially life-saving COVID-19 vaccine.

Lee wasn’t always against vaccinations.

Tennessee’s herd health program began in 2019 under Lee, whose family business Triple L Ranch raises Polled Hereford cattle. The state is currently reimbursing participating farmers up to $ 1,500 for vaccinating their herds and has distributed $ 492,561 over the past two fiscal years, according to Tennessee Department of Agriculture documents.

Lee, who has so far avoided pulling a serious major Republican challenge on his 2022 re-election bid, has been accused of complacency in the face of the deadly pandemic. Tennessee’s vaccination rates for COVID-19 are 39% of the total population, up from over 49% nationwide for the fully vaccinated. The state’s COVID hospital admissions have more than tripled in the past three weeks and infections have more than quintupled.

At the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association annual conference on Friday, Lee said he doesn’t think incentives are very effective, WBIR-TV reported. “I don’t think that’s the government’s role,” he added. “The government’s role is to make them available and then encourage people to get a vaccine.”

In an email response to a question about the contrast to incentive vaccination for cattle, spokesman Casey Black wrote, “Tennesseans have every incentive to get the COVID-19 vaccine – it’s free and available in every corner of the state with virtually no waiting. While a veterinarian can weigh up safely raising cattle for consumption, the state will continue to provide information and access to COVID-19 vaccines to the people of Tennessee.

After Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced the state’s Vax-a-Million Lottery on May 12, with prizes that included $ 1 million and full college scholarships, many other states across the country followed suit their own incentives. These include custom trucks in West Virginia, annual passes to state parks in New Jersey, and gift certificates for hunting and fishing licenses in Arkansas. Last week, President Joe Biden joined the call for incentives, encouraging state and local governments to use federal funds to pay people $ 100 for vaccination.

But Lee has avoided using any of these tactics and has maintained throughout the pandemic that the decision to vaccinate against COVID-19 is a personal choice.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Monday 3 million Americans received their first COVID vaccine in the seven days.

“We encourage people from Tennessee to speak to their doctor, their clergy, their family members, the trusted voices in their lives, so that they can make a personal decision about whether or not to receive the vaccine,” he recently told Reporters, “but we encourage this because it is the tool we can use to most effectively fight this virus.”

Lee was vaccinated against COVID-19 but did not publish it as he did when he got his flu shot.

More recently, Lee’s government has come under fire after the state vaccination chief was fired to appease GOP lawmakers outraged about the spread of COVID-19 vaccinations among minors. At a June hearing, a Republican lawmaker called an ad promoting youth vaccination “objectionable” and some went so far as to suggest withdrawing health department funding.

Dr. Michelle Fiscus was vocal about the political motives for her firing and shared her positive performance reviews with the press. Fiscus also called on the Ministry of Health to stop using all vaccinations for children, not just COVID-19. The department has since resumed contact, but says it is aimed at parents only.

Lee initially remained silent on the controversy. Then, at a recent press conference, Lee said he supported Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey and her decisions, although he said he had no direct say in them.

Dr. Jason Martin, who has been treating COVID-19 patients in Sumner County since the beginning of the pandemic, is so disappointed with the state’s response that he is considering running for governor himself. The Democrat wishes Lee were “excited about motivating Tennessee people to take a safe, effective, and life-saving vaccine,” he said. “It would help us defeat COVID, keep our businesses open and successful, and get our children back to school safely. ”

Black, Lee’s spokesman, wouldn’t answer a question about whether the governor’s family farm received money from the herd health program, but Department of Agriculture records show no one surnamed Lee as a recipient.

Dr. Uché Blackstock, MSNBC medical assistant, says vaccine hesitation could go away if the FDA grants the vaccine full approval instead of its current emergency status. After taking this step, Blackstock is suggesting governments and employers make it less convenient for people to stay unvaccinated – an approach that is already having an impact on hospital workers.

Cryptocurrency is taking off as a approach to pay for trip getaways

Alexander Spatari | Moment | Getty Images

You probably need to use Cryptocurrency to pay the ransomware hacker freezing your laptop, but where else could you put all of your bitcoins, ethereum and other digital coins in for actual use?

Tesla can still be unsure Re-accepting Bitcoin for their electric vehicles, cryptocurrency holders can now play around in other ways now that travel providers are warming up to the idea.

Airfare website Cheapair.com, the Latvian airline Air Baltic and Richard Branson’s Virgo galactic have long accepted Bitcoin and a Berlin-based website for booking tours and activities GetYourGuide began to take Dogecoin, processed via BitPay, in June as part of the expansion in the USA

Cryptocurrency transactions are becoming “really important for travel,” and his company is considering accepting other coins in the future, said Johannes Reck, CEO and co-founder of GetYourGuide.

“People want to get their crypto back into the system [and] Travel is one of the biggest categories out there, ”he added. “We’re bringing Dogecoin into the real world now; You can apply it and actually have a real, kinetic experience. “

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Cryptocurrency also appeals to younger generations of travelers, say industry players.

Alex Simon, co-founder and CEO of the upcoming travel app Elude, said next-generation vacationers are “looking for modern ways to plan and book trips.”

“The ability to buy your plane ticket or hotel using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is inevitable,” he added. “Although the travel industry is antiquated, the new generation of travelers, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, will require new forms of payment and alternative ways to buy travel.” (It is widely believed that Gen Alpha is made up of those born after 2010, often the children of millennials.)

Other tourism players currently trading in cryptocurrencies are Nevada’s new ones Resorts World Las Vegas Property it accepts for select payments through a partnership with UK crypto exchange company Gemini and the Bobby Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, where guests can book stays and events using Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies through BitPay.

For its part, the online travel agency giant Expedia stopped accepting Bitcoin directly in 2018, but since 2020 700,000 hotels and accommodations of the Expedia group have been available via the crypto-friendly booking platform Travala.com.

Travala.com also works with Tripadvisor company Viator to offer more than 400,000 bookable activities as well as food delivery company Zomato.

At the self-described “blockchain-based” Travala.com, which accepts payments in its own native AVA altcoin as well as 50 other cryptocurrencies, 70% of all bookings are now made via digital coins, according to CEO Juan Otero. The company said it is currently seeing more than $ 1 million a week in business.

“These are massive partnerships with some of the largest online travel brands in the world, all of whom use crypto,” Otero said. “In total, Travala.com offers over 3 million travel products, which not only makes us the biggest crypto-friendly ones [online travel agency]but one of the greatest overall. “

Is B&B now “bed-and-blockchain”?

Matthew Leete | Photo disc | Getty Images

The cryptocurrency model is also starting to change the travel industry itself. Otero said it was the core of Dtravel, which he described as a new decentralized home sharing network based on the blockchain model that Travala.com launched in June.

“There is not a single board of directors who makes all the decisions,” he said. “Instead, this new home-sharing network is run entirely by its community through its ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organization’, which any host or guest can participate in.”

Otero said the blockchain technology on which Dtravel is built enables “smart contracts” between hosts and guests. The platform revolves around TRVL, its native crypto token.

The token is made available to all registered hosts and every guest can buy it; those who have TRVL are voting members of the Dtravel DAO. (More than $ 35 million in TRVL awards were reserved for the first 100,000 hosts to register with Dtravel, Otero said. On July 21, Dtravel announced that it had joined more than 200,000 properties in more than 2,000 cities. The platform aims to list more than 1 million rentals in the first year.)

There is certainly no isolated island that all crypto enthusiasts travel to.

Juan Otero

CEO of Travala.com

“Hosts can propose changes – for example fee structure, organizational policy, use of shared funds – and vote so that it is possible [them] control the fate of the Dtravel platform to meet its evolving needs, “he said.

It all makes sense, Otero said, in a world of an estimated 100 million cryptocurrency holders where consumers have spent money more than $ 1 billion in crypto alone in the Visa network in the first half of 2021. An April 1st Travala.com poll out of 1,000 Americans found that 71% of respondents plan to spend more on travel than they did before Covid, and a surprising quarter say they will pay for some of that with crypto.

Still, for many, crypto trading seems to be the responsibility of a particular subset of the population – say, the Elon Musks of the world. But in general, people who use digital coins on Travala.com book everything from cheap travel at online travel agents to its luxury concierge branded products, Otero said, and their preferred travel destinations are not much different from those who pay traditionally Cash or credit.

“There is certainly no isolated island that all crypto enthusiasts travel to,” he added, although he noted that crypto uptake in Travala.com’s second and third most popular destinations was above the global average. Turkey and United Arab Emirates. (The US is the # 1 seller of the platform.)

“As more people own cryptocurrencies and more companies accept them for real things, travel is of course a desirable experience to use crypto,” he said.

Naturally, Bitcoin and competing coins can fluctuate wildly in value; Because of this, travel providers tend not to rely on the volatile tokens, but have third-party vendors convert them to fiat values ​​at the time of purchase, says Otero.

Consumers also reserve their options. “We generally see more credit card payments for travel when crypto prices are down than when they are sky high,” Otero said.

Louisiana school makes use of pandemic cash to pay scholar debt

A junior college in Louisiana is using federal COVID-19 aid money to clear student debt for everyone who attended last year. Chancellor Rodney Ellis says Southern University in Shreveport’s offering should help students who got into financial trouble during the pandemic get back to school without worrying about debt. Ellis says the school is also offering $ 1,000 grants to all students who enroll by Aug. 6. The university estimates it will cost $ 3.5 million to pay off all student debts from spring 2020 to spring 2021.

A junior college in Louisiana is using federal COVID-19 aid money to clear student debt for everyone who attended last year.

Chancellor Rodney Ellis says Southern University in Shreveport’s offering should help students who got into financial trouble during the pandemic get back to school without worrying about debt.

Ellis says the school is also offering $ 1,000 grants to all students who enroll by Aug. 6.

The university estimates it will cost $ 3.5 million to pay off all student debts from spring 2020 to spring 2021.

Council OKs plan to pay out remaining hardship cash

WINDOW ROCKS

In a special session on June 25, the Navajo Nation Council unanimously passed a bill to establish a Phase II CARES Fund spending plan for hardship cases.

The bill would provide funding to eligible Navajo tribesmen who did not receive funds under the initial hardship payments.

The second phase will be funded from the remaining $ 41.97 million in the Hardship Fund from the Navajo Allocation from the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, plus any investment income.

In August 2020, the Navajo Nation Council decided to provide financial assistance to Navajo people and families in financial need due to the coronavirus pandemic and public health orders, and passed the Navajo Nation CARES Hardship Assistance spending plan Find.

Of the $ 361.5 million that ended up in the hardship that included repayments from unfinished CARES Act projects and services, $ 319.5 million was spent on hardship payments to 308,000 Navajos.

Acting Controller Elizabeth Begay confirmed that her office is now able to retrieve hardship claim information from Baker Tilly, the accounting firm that former Controller Pearline Kirk hired to manage the hardship support portal.

With an amendment added by Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton, the bill prioritizes payments to 1,865 Navajos who applied by November 30, 2020, the hardship application deadline, but did not receive checks because certain documents such as CIB were not submitted, or personal information such as date of birth or addresses was incorrect or inconsistent with existing records.

“The legislation opens the harshness to anyone who did not apply,” said Charles-Newton. “My amendment says that the 1,865 people who applied before the deadline but didn’t receive their checks will be processed first.

“They did everything they should, but they ran into problems that were beyond their control,” she said. “It’s all about being fair.”

Begay said it would take a total of $ 2.45 million to process the checks to the 1,865 claimants out of the remaining $ 41.97 million, and that payments must be made by July 31st, provided that all outstanding application problems have been resolved.

For these individuals, the payments of $ 1,350 for adults and $ 450 for children are the same as those received by previous applicants.

After the payments were distributed to the 1,865, Begay said the remaining 90,135 of the 399,494 enrolled Navajos who did not apply for hardship or missed the deadline were under phase. Apply for payments from the balance of $ 39.52 million II.

However, if all 90,135 apply, they would only get an estimated $ 438 per person, she said.

The bill states that the controller’s office will “set, publish and implement a 60-day filing deadline for eligible Navajos who have not previously received hardship funds …”.

“Our office has the authority to set the start and end dates of the 60-day application period for Phase II,” said Begay.

As it stands, Begay plans to open the application period on August 1st and last until September 30th.

Begay previously suggested that when the remaining funds ($ 39.52 million) in the Hardship Assistance Fund are used up, the council will likely have access to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to accommodate all Navajos who make the first round of Hardship Assistance in excess of $ 438 per person.

But that too would have to be regulated by law by the Council.

Regardless, Begay has estimated that it will take an additional $ 600 million to accommodate 399,494 enrolled Navajos with a new round of ARPA hardship support of $ 2,000 per adult and $ 1,000 per child, which is roughly one-third of the $ 1.9 billion ARPA funding allocated to the Navajos equals nation.