March 4, 2013

Home Briefs: March 4, 2013


---- — High Tea set for March 16

PERU — The 11th-annual High Tea with Famous Women is from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16, in the Fellowship Hall at Peru Community Church.

At the tea, guests join famous ladies of all historic periods to learn about their lives while enjoying tea, sandwiches and sweets.

Presenters and “famous ladies” for 2013 are: Barb Perry as Methodist theologian Georgia Harkness; Karen Glass as Ruth Cohen, a survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; Ruth Mowry as Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Juliette Dupey as photographer Margaret Bourke-White; Diane Parmeter as Mother Cabrini, the first U.S. citizen to be canonized by the Catholic church; Kate Dermody as Alice Paul, a suffragette who went on a hunger strike; Karen Bouvier as Abigail Adams; Judy Corigliano as Gertrude Stein; Melissa Bistor-Cross as Battle of Plattsburgh heroine Eliza Mooers; and Vicki Sloan as Nelly Bly.

The event is open to the public. Tickets must be purchased in advance at $12 per person by contacting Anne Bailey at 563-5794. Seating is limited to 100 guests.

The tea is sponsored by the Psi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. All receipts are used for scholarships for local women entering education-related fields. Since the first Tea with Famous Women, society members have raised nearly $10,000 for these scholarships.

Home-building numbers poor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects fell in January by the largest amount in 18 months as home construction stalled and spending on government projects fell to the lowest level in more than six years. Residential construction, which has been leading the rebound in building, stalled in January with no gain in activity following a 1.7 percent rise in December.

Non-residential building dropped 5.1 percent while public construction was down 1 percent, pushing activity in the government sector to the lowest point since November 2006.

For all of last year, construction spending totaled $855.4 billion, an increase of 9.9 percent from 2011. It was the first annual gain after five straight years of decline. But construction still well below healthy levels.

Construction activity in 2012 is 26.7 percent below the all-time high of $1.17 trillion set in 2007 at the peak of the housing boom.

The housing market began recovering last year after a deep, six-year slump. Steady hiring and nearly record-low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. More people are also moving out on their own after living with friends and relatives in the recession. That’s driving a big gain in apartment construction and also pushing up rents.

Sales of previously occupied homes ticked up in January after rising to their highest level in five years in 2012. And new home sales jumped 16 percent last month from December to the highest level since July 2008 while home prices rose by the most in more than six years in the 12 months ending in December.

Rising home prices encourage more people to buy before prices rise further.

Builders, meanwhile, started work on the most new homes in 4 1/2 years in December. Last year was the best year for residential construction since 2008, just after the recession started.