Deland Country Inn Mon, 10 Jan 2022 10:07:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Deland Country Inn 32 32 Two cities in northeastern United States reeling from fires that have killed dozens Mon, 10 Jan 2022 10:07:30 +0000


By Theresa Waldrop

New York City and Philadelphia both mourn the loss of dozens of lives, including many children, in the horrific apartment fires in recent days.

Together, the two fires killed 31 people, 17 of whom are believed to be children.

Add to the tragedy the winter temperatures in the region and the raging Covid-19 pandemic, which is straining health systems almost everywhere.

The Philadelphia Fairmont Fire

Early Wednesday morning, a fire ravaged a Crowded apartment building in Philadelphia, killing at least 12 people, mostly children.

The victims included three sisters and all but one of their 10 children, a family member told CNN.

Rosalee McDonald, 33; Virginia Thomas, 30, and Quinsha White, 18, were killed, according to their cousins ​​Frank and Pamela McDonald. Six of Rosalee McDonald’s children and three of Thomas’s children also died in the blaze. The ages of their children have not been specified.

“They were both good people, great mothers and very family oriented,” Frank McDonald told CNN. “Rosalee was one of the best people you could meet. She was very supportive of me – they both were. They came to help me with my business when I opened it.

The building was a three-story house converted into apartments that could accommodate 26 people, according to firefighters.

Bill Richards, who said he had lived in the neighborhood for 24 years, told CNN affiliate WPVI that before he knew about the fire, he heard a woman screaming, “Oh my God! Oh my God! ”He then heard fire trucks and got out.

Neighbors and others – some sobbing – gathered outside as firefighters and police worked on the scene Wednesday morning, WPVI reported.

A seasoned firefighter called it one of the worst he has ever faced.

“It was terrible,” said Craig Murphy, assistant commissioner of the Philadelphia fire department. “I’ve been here for 30, 35 years now, and it’s probably one of the worst fires I’ve ever seen.”

“This is without a doubt one of the most tragic days in our city’s history – the loss of so many people in such a tragic way,” Mayor Jim Kenney said Wednesday morning. “Losing so many children is just devastating. … Keep these babies in your prayers.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. A possibility under study is whether a child under 5 playing with a lighter under a Christmas tree could have started the fire, according to Jane Roh, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia district attorney’s office.

The Bronx fire

In New York’s Bronx, 19 people, including nine children, have died in a five-alarm fire that roars through a building on Sunday.

Of the 63 people injured, 32 were hospitalized in life-threatening conditions, New York Fire Marshal Daniel Nigro said.

The fire started in a faulty radiator in a two-story apartment, according to Nigro. It consumed that apartment, Nigro said, then the smoke engulfed the stairs and people trying to exit.

“The door to this apartment – unfortunately when the residents left – remained open; it did not close on its own. The smoke spread throughout the building resulting in huge loss of life and people fighting for their lives right now in Bronx hospitals, ”Nigro said.

There were no fire escape stairs on the building. About 200 firefighters responded to the blaze, and some of them ran out of oxygen as they tried to get residents out, Nigro said.

Daisy Mitchell, who lived on the 10th floor, told CNN affiliate WABC that she was really scared to leave her apartment.

“I just hear people knocking on doors saying ‘it’s a fire, it’s a fire’, so I don’t care, but when we opened that door the smoke hit us, and we ran down the hall to the exit and I just panicked, I was scared, even with the mask on, ”Mitchell told CNN affiliate WABC.

Mamadou Wague, who lived in the apartment where the fire started, told WABC he jumped through the flames to save his daughter.

“We were sleeping and my kids were screaming saying fire, fire,” Wague said, according to WABC.

“I don’t want to hear anyone die in this fire, that’s what worries me,” Wague told WABC.

The blaze “is going to be one of the worst fires we have seen in modern times here in New York City,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said.

“This is a horrible, horrible and painful time for New York City, and the impact of this fire is really going to bring a level of pain and desperation to our city,” Adams said.

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Elizabeth Joseph, Amir Vera, Laura James, Eric Levenson, Alaa Elassar, Laura Studley, Mark Morales, Laura Dolan, Carll Alvarado, Paul P. Murphy and Taylor Romine contributed to this report.

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‘Easy fix for our waste’: DIY worm farming hits UK homes | Environment Sun, 09 Jan 2022 18:56:00 +0000

Early birds used to catch the worm, but households, schools, and even prisons can now have invertebrates delivered to their doorstep for free – if they squirm.

A Nottingham-based initiative, the Urban Worm Community Interest Company (UWC), is on a mission to ‘deworm’ the UK by starting an urban worm breeding movement that can create high-quality fertilizer from hides. banana and old socks.

The social enterprise received a grant of £ 50,000 from the National Lottery to send 1,000 packages of compost worms – known as tiger worms because of their red skin – to anyone with a DIY worm farm ready to house a population of 100.

“The use of worms to manage organic household waste is happening on a large scale all over the world, except in the UK,” said Anna de la Vega, Managing Director of UWC. “The reality of climate change, depletion of natural resources and mass urbanization presents unprecedented threats to global food security and the survival of humanity. “

For natural waste managers and fertilizer producers, worms are incomparable: they can eat up to half of their body weight in organic waste per day and reduce the volume of this waste by 90% in two to six months. .

“The process lends itself particularly well to the urban environment with small-scale, low-tech, low-cost interior systems,” said De la Vega. “With 83% of the UK living in cities, an urban worm breeding movement is essential for future food security and provides simple solutions for our kitchen waste. “

The worm droppings – or worm manure – they produce are Grade A soil, rich in 14 nutrients plants need to thrive: just one tablespoon of worm manure per plant is sufficient for each growing season. .

For those who are still disgusted, De la Vega hastens to assure them that the worms do not smell – although the “pee” they produce, drained from the bottom of the worm farm, is so powerful that it should. be diluted before used to fertilize the garden.

A DIY worm farm can be done with anything that keeps light out: the UWC website has videos showing how to dig deep and transform a plastic box, dresser and even a bag for life. into a new earthy house.

Six year old James Guy with his worm farm. Photography: no credit

Worms don’t even need your food scraps: find a box, fill it with damp, shredded paper, cotton socks, an old woolen sweater and off you go. “The worms just want to eat and mate. If you give them enough food and space, they won’t try to escape, ”De la Vega said.

“If you don’t want them to multiply, don’t give them a lot of food. They’re really smart: they’re hermaphrodites, so they can all lay eggs. But they don’t lay eggs if there isn’t enough food and space to support an increase in their population.

De la Vega has already sent worms to 26 schools across the country and one prison. She is particularly happy with the prison. “The worms remove toxins from the soil and leave it completely clean and richer – helping plants to grow,” she said. “It’s a message of rebirth, regeneration and forgiveness that I think is nice to bring in a prison setting. “

De la Vega will help 1,000 lucky worm breeders raise their new pets: In addition to the videos on the UWC website, another video will be sent to them a few months after starting their worm farm to teach them to harvest their fresh fertilizer.

If the two-year program is successful, the National Lottery has said it will inject another tranche of funding into the program. “Of course, they want to continue funding the project,” De la Vega said. “It’s because they are worms; they are interesting. These are niches.

The benefits of the worm Agriculture

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Rosemary Goring: My chalet was like an advertisement for comfortable country living (if only for a few hours) Sun, 09 Jan 2022 10:00:02 +0000 MONITORING of the oil tank level continues daily. It’s a nerve-racking test, deciding when to place an order, whether to splurge on the central heating an extra hour, or remember that there are still much colder days to come; in addition, the price of oil could fall. And Donald Trump could accept having lost the election.

The other day, an hour after some friends came over for coffee, some relatives dropped by. Their timing was perfect. Not only was there a plate of pies, but the living room was comfortable. Warmed by a crackling log fire and time-delay radiators, it was like an advertisement for country living, where glamorous and laid-back owners stretch their bare toes up to the flames, undisturbed by the draft blowing in. goes through most country doors and between floors without carpeting.

Finding themselves bathed in heat, our guests were shocked. Never before had they experienced such comfort at Hoolet. Of course, they were well aware that if they had arrived 24 hours later the pies would have been gone and they would need mittens until the fire turned into a blaze.

READ MORE ROSEMARY: Lost in the fog

If I haven’t cracked up and called for an oil delivery by the time you read this, then I’m made of stronger stuff than I think I am. When we first moved into the chalet, the previous owners left a note suggesting we might consider ordering oil soon, as was the case.

When I checked the gauge, there was just enough to fry an egg. The frost was so thick on the ground that it looked like snow, and inside it wasn’t much warmer. Ending our online search for leggings and balaclavas, I was on the phone with the nearest oil depot within minutes, and the next day an oil tanker arrived. Rarely have fossil fuels been better received.

Others in the village have the luxury of an indoor monitor, so they avoid the indignity of crouching outside next to the tank and guessing how many days they have left. Our container is in a particularly icy place, occupying a corner near the side door, through which the Siberian winds whistle like wolves.

There is nothing beautiful about these tanks, but before it became shameful to consume this most harmful fuel for the environment, I could have imagined a calendar depicting rural tanks, modeled on these posters once popular picturesque Irish or Tuscan gates. Some would be hidden under disheveled roses, others austere and utilitarian like a painting by Edward Hopper.

Hoolet Cottage’s 1350-liter tank is holly green, with a hatch like a submarine seal. Neighbors disguise theirs – black, green, nile water – ivy or cotoneaster. Inspired by them, we planted a six beech hedge, designed to soften its appearance. This summer, at age three, he will have reached his required height. Now we just have to get out.

Hedges have been a concern of mine lately, as the fence at the top of the garden is showing its age. How much more interesting, we thought, to have a mixed hedge in which birds and hedgehogs and the like can feed and nest. When it was time to plant some bare rooted trees and bushes, I opened my new gardening journal and started taking notes.


This book was a Christmas present, and far too good for the very ordinary thoughts that will soon fill it. I’m tempted to pretend I’m Vita Sackville-West, making plans for an imaginary garden that will draw crowds long after I’m gone, and keep a team of full-time gardeners.

Back in the real world, the prospect that greets me each morning is a tattered work in progress. The only flash of color right now is when a pheasant struts through the grass. But even when winter has passed and the flowers begin to brighten it up and hide its imperfections, it will never be looked after. This garden is not made for perfection, and suits its mess.

Even if something more formal was achievable, I wouldn’t want it. It’s not just the maintenance that would be demanding and beyond my skills. Here, with our view of rugged woods and lush fields as we approach the hills, nature has and always will have the upper hand. I see our gardening efforts as a way to give him food for thought and see how he responds. Best of all are the birds and creatures that turn that blank canvas into a house.

After consulting books on the hedge, I opted for a mixture of blackthorn, hornbeam and hazel, for their sloes, kittens, nuts and rustic habits. They will be good companions for the old hawthorn who will keep an eye on them. The only difficulty I could foresee was keeping the trees at the height of the fence, rather than allowing them to reach their full reach, thus negating the view.

With that decision made, I walked outside to begin the groundwork. Knowing that a trench had to be dug, Alan joined me.

The rain started soon after, and the wind picked up quickly, snapping the string we had threaded between the canes like a skipping rope. While debating the width of the trench, I found an instructional video that left us disheartened. It seemed like we had to use a small shovel, and the amount of labor required was reminiscent of laying the foundation for a garage.

Ignoring this, Alan sliced ​​through the sod, making an outline of where to dig later, but when his spade hit a rock and the rain turned to sleet, we packed our bags and headed for the inside.

Apparently there are shortcuts when laying a hedge – it’s clear that there are a lot of people like us who are easily dissuaded – but the risk of losing certain trees by skimping on effort is high.

The conclusion we came to was obvious. It’s a professional job, which immediately excludes us. Some tasks that I am willing to do to the best of my ability and adjust or repair as needed, but with a hedge there is not much room for error. The idea of ​​a row of indented teeth, jumbled up, or a row of new specimens struggling to catch up, isn’t appealing.

I suspect that Capability Brown, a resident of Hoolet, will receive a text message soon, as soon as I order oil.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Herald.

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County rejects ORV regulation | Sat, 08 Jan 2022 23:45:00 +0000

STATELINE, Nevada – Douglas County Commissioners have rejected a proposed settlement in a federal lawsuit over vacation home rentals.

The commissioners voted 5-0 to reject the regulation and a revision of the ordinance to codify it.

Several residents spoke out against the settlement of the ordinance, urging the commissioners to be strong.

Stateline resident Tim Barabe called on the commissioners to stand firm in complying with the order.

“The residents of Douglas County oppose any compromise here,” he said. “Pay attention to the people who live here and vote for them. “

Commissioners John Engels and Wes Rice attended the settlement conference.

“I am the commissioner who proposed the moratorium on ORVs,” Engels said. “I am convinced that these ORVs are a plague on our communities. “

Engels urged residents of Tahoe to call for a referendum to eliminate all vacation rentals in the county.

Rice, a resident of Lake Tahoe, said he was trying to resolve the lawsuit so the county’s order could go forward.

“I just wanted something to be resolved,” he said.

Commissioner Danny Tarkanian strongly opposed the settlement, saying the plaintiffs were protecting their business interests, not their rights.

“The only reason we’re here today is because nine wealthy ORV owners hired a powerful lawyer to come and threaten Douglas County,” Tarkanian said. “We’re going to have a limit on ORVs, but because one guy had enough money to hire a powerful lawyer, he’s going to keep five for 10 years?”

It doesn’t seem fair to me, it doesn’t seem fair and it sounds like a complete dereliction of duty on the part of the county commissioners.

Tarkanian said he believes the ORV lawsuit settlement will encourage others to sue the county.

“This advice must show that it will not be intimidated by nine people protecting their business interests.”

Rice said Tarkanian’s argument won her vote.

“It’s a hell of a good point,” he said. “You influenced me. “

Commission Chairman Mark Gardner said he had a problem with provisions in the regulation that would bar a commissioner from proposing changes to the ordinance until 2031.

Modifications may be proposed by the ORV ordinance advisory committee.

“I don’t believe the voters would want us to cede our legislative responsibilities to another group of people,” he said.

The county approved the vacation home rental ordinance in June 2021 to take effect on July 15. Nine vacation home owners sued the county. An injunction preventing the county from implementing elements of the order has been issued by a federal judge.

With the settlement off the table, a preliminary injunction hearing has been set for January 31, and District Judge Robert Jones will likely allow the case to be discovered.

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Man dies after retreating from burning house in Oklahoma City Sat, 08 Jan 2022 17:18:02 +0000

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A man died in a hospital after Oklahoma City firefighters pulled him out of a burning house.

The name of the victim has not yet been released, but he has been described as an adult male.

Oklahoma City Fire Department crews were called to the 4900 block of NW 32nd Street at 1:27 a.m. on Saturday, according to Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson, public information officer for the fire department. .

Smoke was billowing from the house when the teams arrived.

Firefighters entered the house and found the man inside the front door area. They took him out of the house and began work to resuscitate him, according to Fulkerson.

An ambulance transported the man to hospital. The firefighters came to help EMSA treat the man.

Firefighters were subsequently informed that the man did not survive.

Crews battled the blaze throughout the house and found that no one else was inside.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control and found that although the house was equipped with smoke detectors, none were working, according to Fulkerson.

Firefighters and the Oklahoma City Police Department’s homicide unit are investigating the blaze, as is standard fatality procedure, according to Fulkerson.

The damage is estimated at $ 115,000 for the house and its contents combined.

Fulkerson urges community members to make sure their smoke detectors are working properly.

“Test them every month by pressing the test button until they sound. Replace the batteries twice a year. Replace the entire unit every 10 years or less, whether the alarm is still working or not. For FREE smoke alarms and their installation in Oklahoma City, call 405-316-BEEP (2337). Smoke detectors save lives by giving occupants early warning and precious time to escape a home that is consumed by fire and smoke, ”said Fulkerson.

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Hertz lawyer just said six words the company should hope its clients never hear Fri, 07 Jan 2022 07:04:23 +0000

Hertz is in the midst of an ongoing bankruptcy court lawsuit over allegations by more than 100 customers that they have been falsely arrested and, in some cases, spent months in jail for driving cars they had legally rented. In court proceedings this week, Chris Shore, an attorney representing Hertz, described the situation with a striking lack of emotional intelligence. Whether or not this was a good courtroom strategy, it certainly wasn’t something a smart leader would want their company’s customers to hear.

The issue concerns claims by some tenants that Hertz reports stolen cars to law enforcement if a tenant extends a rental and the temporary hold placed on their debit or credit card is not enforced. Many reported that Hertz told them their rental had been extended and then they were arrested for driving their rental cars.

At this week’s hearing, Shore, a partner of White & Case, argued that “it’s a fraction of 1% of annual police reports that are filed that turn into real legal claims.” This number, of course, does not take into account clients who were falsely arrested but accepted a quick settlement from Hertz, resolved the matter in arbitration, or simply decided they did not have the funds or the money. endurance needed for a trial. Shore added, “We actually think the number of legitimate claims resulting from annual rentals is a tiny fraction, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny.”

How many false arrests are acceptable?

Saying “tiny” once would have been bad enough, but Shore has said it six times in a row. It sounded like he thought it was good for Hertz to get innocent people to spend months in jail, provided that didn’t happen too often. Justin Nelson, a tenants’ attorney, replied, “Unsurprisingly, Mr. Shore and I disagree on whether this is a small issue or a big one.

Did the repetition of the word “tiny” help Hertz’s case with the presiding judge? Not clear. The results of the hearing were mixed, but the judge allowed the trial to proceed, when Hertz must begin providing documents and files to lawyers for the tenants.

Whether or not it worked on the judge, it couldn’t help Hertz with people who rent cars. Most would probably prefer a car rental company where their chances of going to jail are zero, rather than minimal.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of are theirs and not those of

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Wichita named best city in the United States for affordable apartment rentals Thu, 06 Jan 2022 23:25:29 +0000

large Stock Photo

Wichita is the most affordable US city for single people to rent an apartment, an analysis of 1.2 million studio listings found.

the RentHop Singles Index ranks cities based on the median cost of a studio apartment compared to the average salary of singles who live there.

Researchers from the Apartment Rental Service have determined that Wichitan singles spend less of their annual income on rent than their counterparts in one of the country’s 50 largest cities.

Renters in Wichita earn an average of $ 44,028 per year and spend $ 500 on rent each month, which is 13.6% of average annual income, according to US Census Bureau data and an analysis of the RentHop 2020 and 2021 announcements for the city.

Columbus, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa round out the top five most affordable cities for single renters.

Kansas City ranked seventh of 50 on the affordable cities list. The median income of a single Kansas City resident is $ 53,146, and a monthly rent of $ 791 is 17.9% of their income.

On the other hand, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Raleigh, and Boston were considered the least affordable cities to rent. In Miami, single residents spend $ 1,800 per month on rent, which is 37.2% of median annual income.

The most affordable cities for a studio

  1. Wichita, KS
  2. Columbus, Ohio
  3. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  4. Oklahoma City, alright
  5. Tulsa, alright
  6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  7. Kansas City, Missouri
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. El Paso, Texas
  10. Arlington, Texas

The least affordable cities for a studio

  1. Miami, Florida
  2. New York, New York State
  3. New Orleans, LA
  4. Raleigh, North Carolina
  5. Boston, Massachusetts
  6. Detroit, Michigan
  7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  8. Mesa, Arizona
  9. Houston, TX
  10. Charlotte, North Carolina

Matthew Kelly joined The Eagle in April 2021. He covers business and development in the Wichita area. You can contact him at 316-268-6203 and

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More signs of a slowdown in the country’s hot real estate market – expert Thu, 06 Jan 2022 01:35:27 +0000

House prices rose dramatically across the country last year with new data released yesterday showing 27.6% growth in the market.

Higher interest rates and the credit crunch are among the factors affecting housing demand, according to an expert.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

According to CoreLogic, the rate surpassed the previous record of 24.4% recorded in 2003.

However, as the latest house price index shows prices are still warm, signs of a slowdown are looming on the horizon.

CoreLogic’s chief research officer Nick Goodall said that despite sharp monthly value increases, the annual growth rate fell for the second month in a row in December after peaking at 28.8% – illustrating that nothing can grow forever.

“It doesn’t happen quickly, but we expect it to continue throughout the year.

“We know that with the level of prices they are at, the increase in interest rates, the tightening of bank credit, we think that is going to have an impact on the level of demand.”

Goodall said there are more properties available for sale today than at any time in the past two years, which will reduce the pressure on prices.

The key question is whether buyers will see the prices drop, he said.

“Without a combined rise in unemployment where people are unable to pay their mortgages, we don’t necessarily expect prices to come down but a slower rate of growth, before the end of the year when things might go downhill. flatten it a bit. “

2021 also left the country with an average home value exceeding $ 1 million to now sit at $ 1,006,632.

Auckland is the most expensive place to buy with an average price of $ 1.42 million, followed closely by Tauranga and Wellington who also have six-digit averages: at 1,139,186 and 1,125,729 respectively.

Goodall said that in the provincial centers there is still a wide range of real estate values.

“In each of these markets, there will always be properties that are in the $ 400,000 mark, which is still relatively affordable for first-time home buyers.

“Of course you have to have a job in these places if you are looking to move there and that is the key question: can you make a living in these places if you choose to go and buy a property.”

Prediction of an exodus abroad affecting the market

Independent economist Tony Alexander said one of the reasons house prices have gone up is that people are doing things backwards – first by buying a house, then by doing their OE.

He believes one of the biggest changes 2022 will bring is the number of first-time homebuyers moving overseas.

“Many of them, quite frankly, will likely look to Australia for the high wages, the falling house prices, the lower cost of living and the opportunities available there.

“This will help calm the housing market further this year.”

Melbourne, Australia - October 11, 2015: Row of new modern suburban houses on Melbourne hill with trees during the day.

Falling house prices will be one of the reasons first-time home buyers move to Australia, according to economist Tony Alexander.
Photo: 123RF

Alexander said that while there will be an appeasement, he doesn’t think prices will return to pre-pandemic rates.

He is no longer considering government policies to discourage real estate investors.

“The fact that we are starting to see signs of a market slowdown and certainly a big pullback from first-time home buyers as well as investors, I would say there is not much of a chance that the government will put it into effect. new severe measures to radically affect the housing market. “

Tauranga real estate investor Lindsay Richards said it was difficult for anyone looking to buy a home in the current market and certainly not easier for an investor.

He said the average value of a house in Tauranga could be skewed by wealthier areas, such as Mount Maunganui.

“These prices can of course be distorted by one or two real estate sales, which can give the temporary impression that house prices are going up.

“But for one house, to be a laudable proposition, those numbers just wouldn’t stack up.”

Richards said progress will be slow to see change, but predicts that in two years there will be a lack of demand from people moving overseas, which will provide a housing glut.

However, he cannot see house prices going down in the near future.

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This Hoggs Hollow estate is an exquisite cottage in the city Wed, 05 Jan 2022 15:00:48 +0000

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STOREYS Custom studio

An urban version of an English mansion, a charming town cottage, a beautiful estate in Toronto’s coveted Hoggs Hollow neighborhood – all of these can be used to describe 71 Plymbridge Road.

Now in the market near Yonge and York Mills, the sprawling 5 + 2 bedroom offers over 8,500 square feet of lavish living space.

Surrounded by landscaped gardens, the welcoming residence enchants and impresses, the 10 ′ ceilings on the ground floor considered.

Perfect for everyday life as well as for receptions, the estate serves as an ideal family home.

READ: This contemporary Caledon estate combines nature and suave style

Located in historic Toronto’s Hoggs Hollow, the address is close to a selection of the city’s best. Rosedale Golf Club, Apple Inn, and TTC access are all super close, offering exercise, dining, and ease of travel to other urban pastures.

Inside, the large foyer welcomes you into an elegant space through and through. Each room has its own focal point: the living room is finished with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, an oval coffered ceiling rises above the formal dining room, and a large hall connects the dining room and kitchen. , making meals for a crowd a breeze.

The kitchen is adorned with custom cabinetry, granite countertops and a large island and breakfast bar. Meanwhile, upstairs, five of the house’s 5 + 2 bedrooms await you, all with their own en-suite bathrooms. The master suite serves as a particularly opulent experience, as the space features a gas fireplace, walk-in closets, a balcony and a five-piece bathroom.


The lower level of the house is splendid in itself, housing a home theater, exercise room, game room with wet bar, sauna and a private guest suite. Additionally, this part of the house overlooks the lush gardens – a rarity for the lower level of an estate.

Our favorite thing

It is rare to find a townhouse that offers a comfortable place to enjoy the fresh air, even in the dead of winter. But this list does just that. Thanks to the large hot tub carved out in the backyard – with a cascading spout – which is equipped for year-round use, new owners of this home will be able to enjoy the blue skies and starry nights, regardless of the temperature. .

Standing above the ravine, this home combines magnificence with a cottage feel, as the impressive backyard can be enjoyed while the water babbles below. If you want to make your life feel like the holidays never end, then don’t wait to claim this area.


This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.

Written by
STOREYS Custom studio

Storeys Custom Studio is created in partnership with companies and brands who want to tell their own story.

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No, customers do not need human-provided services in the front desk Wed, 05 Jan 2022 07:02:00 +0000

The classic philosophy of the hospitality industry is as follows: customers – whether they are leisure, business, corporate groups or members of SMERF – need services provided by super kind, smiling humans and well trained.

Think of the employees of the Ritz Carlton and their little manual “Gold Standards” which guarantees unparalleled customer service. After all, according to reasoning, this is why our industry is called “hospitality”, because our customers expect their hosts – the hotel staff themselves – to provide “human” services. at all touchpoints of the customer experience.

I think the idea that clients demand human-provided services is greatly exaggerated, especially today. A prime example of why customers don’t care as much about human-provided services as some in our industry think comes from the vacation rental industry.

What can hotels learn from vacation rentals?

In 2021, almost a third of overnight stays in North America were consumed in vacation rentals / short-term rentals: homes, villas, condos and apartments. A third! The vast majority of these short term rental bookings were made online through Airbnb, Vrbo, FlipKey, Vacasa, etc.

Just imagine the whole vacation rental experience: you book online, receive online confirmation and pre-arrival information (itinerary, keyless entry information, destination information, etc.); on arrival, enter the unit using the mobile key or keyless entry; Enjoy your trip; pack your bags and leave on the day of departure.

All this while having a completely human-free experience! All human involvement “behind the scenes” remains hidden from real customers: management of seasonal rentals, IT and technological management, management and distribution of income, marketing, housekeeping, public services, maintenance, etc.

The “gold standard” for short-term rentals is a guest experience without any human contact between guests and hosts, yet guests not only complain, but gobble up and love this “human-less” service! In the last two years of the pandemic, I have spent over 150 nights in short term rentals without seeing any of my hosts in person, even once!

This means that a third of travelers who consume accommodation have already experienced human-free hospitality and are ready to do so in traditional types of accommodation such as hotels, resorts, casinos, motels, etc.

Why is the topic of human-provided services in the hotel industry so important?

There are three extremely important issues plaguing the industry today that require immediate resolution: endless labor shortages, unsustainable labor costs, and the inability to provide services. suitable for extremely tech-savvy customers and DIY enthusiasts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2021, the number of job vacancies in the United States reached 11 million, of which “only” 1.78 million are in the leisure and hospitality industries, meaning that labor shortages are not a problem native to the hotel industry.

We cannot simply ‘bribe’ – with higher salaries and enrollment bonuses – people to work in the hospitality industry, as professional services, retail, transportation, utilities, manufacturing, construction, education, health and other industries that pay much higher average wages are also affected.

The rising cost of labor in the hospitality industry due to labor shortages is not to be taken lightly. Total labor costs per available room (LPAR) in North America reached $ 47.50 in September, or 96% of the comparable level of 2019. The situation is similar in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Higher labor costs resulted in significant declines in all key profitability metrics, including gross operating profit (GOP).

According to McKinsey, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation by 10 years, and today’s travel consumers have become more digital and tech savvy than ever. Many of the service expectations of today’s travelers relate to self-service and do-it-yourself, from planning and booking online to preferences for contactless check-in, mobile keys, voice assistants and communications with hotel staff via messaging.

It’s time for our industry to give DIY obsessed customers what they want! Accelerated investments in technology are needed to “appease” these extremely tech-savvy customers and their extremely high technology expectations.

In my opinion, it is only through accelerated investments in technology – cloud, mobility, AI, robotics, IoT and other next-generation technological applications and innovations – that the hospitality industry will be able to solve the three major problems of l industry described above.

The future: doing more with less

The ultimate goal imposed on the hospitality industry by the market is simple: to do more with fewer employees by using technology and thus reduce the staffing requirements of the establishment by a significant percentage.

Example: You can reduce your reception staff by 50% or more by introducing mobile check-in and mobile keys, automatic check-in kiosks, a chatbot on the website to manage service and information requests, a email reservation assistant app to manage email inquiries, a problem-solving app and in-room voice assistants to manage customer service for guests staying on site.

All of this can be achieved at a fraction of the salary expense.

Plus, you can halve your housekeeping needs if you introduce on-demand housekeeping as one of the steps during mobile check-in or when checking-in through the self-service kiosk in the lobby. The arriving guest should be able to choose in advance the type of cleaning they feel comfortable with during their stay: daily, once every three days, weekly, etc. or no cleaning, just leave clean towels by the door.

This allows for better planning, scheduling and utilization of your housekeeping staff and results in a significant reduction in labor costs.

The list is lengthened increasingly. Technologies that exist today can dramatically reduce staffing requirements and labor costs at all stages of service delivery, from pre-arrival customer engagements to on-site customer services and retention. of customers after the stay.

In a call to investors earlier this year, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta summed up the direction the industry is heading in: especially in the areas of housekeeping, food and drinks, and other areas.

“When we come out of the crisis, our brands will have a higher margin and require less manpower than before COVID. “

Is hospitality ready for human-less services?

The digital transformation, driven by data and next-generation technologies, is changing both guests and hospitality at an unprecedented rate and hoteliers are largely caught off guard. What is preventing the hospitality industry from adopting next-generation technologies such as AI, mobility, robotics, IoT, cloud, etc. to rebuild the hotel’s new technology stack?

I believe that at present there are three main obstacles to the accelerated adoption of next generation technologies in our industry:

  • Reluctance to invest in new technology on the part of property-conscious owners and operators, a mindset that has made the hospitality industry one of the most tech-averse industries today
  • Misunderstanding and fear of new technologies: “Who will take care of it? I do not have qualified personnel to take care of it. This makes the operations very complex ”, etc.
  • Unions in large metropolitan areas with a highly unionized hotel workforce are strongly opposed to any robotization and automation or any technological advancement that could reduce the number of paying members.

In my opinion, none of the above can stop the rapid adoption of next generation technologies in our industry, in the same way that the Luddite movement in early 19th century England could not stop the Industrial Revolution.

Will technology one day replace humans in the hospitality industry? A good question!

Over time, next generation technology will undoubtedly replace or collaboratively increase all mundane, repetitive and dangerous jobs in the hospitality industry such as housekeepers, porters and baggage handlers, janitors, security guards. , line cooks, bartenders, waiters, etc. Technology will not replace Highly skilled hotel jobs like highly skilled and educated hotel managers, revenue managers, digital marketers, IT technologists and managers, CRM experts, sales managers, etc.

Using AI, mobility, cloud, robots and cobots (collaborative robots), IoT and other next-generation technologies, the hotel, especially 4 and 5 star properties, can still maintain a “human facade to customers” but automate all back-end operations, enable intelligent communications with guests and automate and personalize each point of contact with the customer. And of course, add humans with warm smiles to the mix.

How much human labor would a hotel need in the future? In my opinion, five years from now the hospitality industry won’t need half the people it needed in 2019, and the payroll savings will mean investments in next-gen technology pay off.

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