It’s happened again — we’ve received so many questions that we can’t answer them all in today’s live chat.
Look for our next real-time chat on Thursday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Our real-time live chats run every other week and we cover a wide range of topics. If you don’t see your question answered in the chat, look for it in the Ask the R-S mailbag that publishes every other Tuesday. Or it might become the topic of a freestanding article.
Find out how to Ask the Record Searchlight at the bottom of this story.
Today’s hour-long chat was moderated by reporters David Benda and Michele Chandler.
Affordable senior apartments still planned for Redding?
Q: A proposal for an affordable apartment project for senior citizens off Lowden Lane was made several years ago. Is this still in the works?
Hi, it’s Michele Chandler.
A: It sure is, now that sufficient financing is in place.
Construction will start in May, with the 61-unit first phase of the Lowden Senior Apartments expected to open in late 2023 or early 2024, said Laurie Doyle, executive vice president of development and finance for Central California Housing Corp., the project’s developer.
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Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds for the development had already been provided by the City of Redding, Doyle said, while state financing also has been committed by the Infill Infrastructure Grant program.
Clovis-based CCHC received a federal low income housing tax credit allocation of approximately $25 million in November, said Doyle.
Residents of the Lowden property must be 62 or older, said Doyle, and will pay no more than 30% of their income toward rent.
There will be 53 one-bedroom, 580-square-foot units and eight two-bedroom, 929-square-foot units. The development is slated to be built west of Interstate 5 and north of Hartnell Avenue.
When it comes to building affordable housing for all age groups, some type of tax credit typically provides between 60-70% of the cost.
Developers of housing for lower-income families typically cobble together a mix of tax credits, conventional bank loans, other types of conventional loans, grants and other income sources to cover construction costs, according to those in the industry.
Across the Redding area, about 14 affordable housing developments were in various stages of completion as of mid-2020. All told, those developments will ultimately include 527 affordable units.
Sundial Bridge has webcam woes
Q:. What has happened to the now-unavailable Sundial Bridge webcam?
Hello, Michele Chandler here.
A: Just like someone asked us why folks can no longer people-watch through a webcam that views the Sundial Bridge, “We keep getting asked asked too, like ‘what happened to the Sundial Bridge webcam, where is it?'” said Melissa Maney, guest services manager with Turtle Bay Exploration Park.
Questions started arriving last fall, she said.
The webcam’s operations appear to have stalled after a new group assumed tourism efforts in the North State last year.
That work is now being handled by the Redding Chamber of Commerce and Development Counsellors International, a New York-based travel marketing company. Maney said they’re the ones hosting the webcam on the newly-revamped visitredding.com website.
The webcam will be reactivated soon, Redding Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jake Mangas said this week. “We just launched a new website for Visit Redding and one of the things that is still being incorporated is the Sundial Bridge webcam,” he said.
Opened in 2004, the Sundial Bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and has become a must-see spot for Redding visitors.
The COVID vaccine and false claims about blood cells
Q: Do blood cells look different before and after COVID-19 vaccinations?
Hello, this is Jessica Skropanic.
A: Don’t fall for misinformation that sometimes circulates in viral social media posts and videos. There’s no credible evidence COVID vaccines cause any changes to blood cells.
One other false claim that’s out there is that the vaccine changes blood color. But there is no substance to the claim that COVID-19 vaccines change the color of blood, Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of biomedical services at the American Red Cross, told USA TODAY last September.
Rumors that the vaccine changes blood cells on social media and YouTube are incorrect, Public Health’s Community Education Specialist Amy Koslosky said.
“It appears the original post was fabricated using inappropriately prepared blood samples,” Koslosky said. “The (original) posts do not show blood cells before and after a Covid-19 vaccine, and they misidentify the healthy blood cells in the images.”
Reuters also fact-checked the allegations last August. Blood specialists interviewed by the news organization said the claims were not sufficient to provide a connection with inoculation against the virus.
A spokesperson for the British Society for Haematology told Reuters: “Most of the images shown in the video are not normal blood films. Some are electron microscopy, others look to be fluorescent, and some are unrecognizable.
Read the full Reuters article at https://reut.rs/3eUBVYf.
Does more online shopping mean fewer sales tax dollars for Redding?
Q: With so many people ordering online and less local shopping, where does the sales tax go?
Hi, it’s Michele Chandler.
A: The answer to this question has several parts, so let’s dive right in.
While online sales are generally on the rise, plenty of people are still shopping locally, Redding’s top finance official says.
So far, Redding has not experienced declining sales tax dollars, according to City Treasurer Allyn Feci Clark.
So far in the current fiscal year, sales tax receipts are ahead of projections, due to an unexpected factor — COVID-19.
Actual sales tax receipts in Redding reached $25.85 million 2019-2020, according to the city. In 2020-2021, sales tax receipts hit $30.18 million.
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For the period covering July through December, the first part of the 2021-2022 fiscal year, sales tax receipts came in ahead of projections, at $16.30 million.
Stimulus payments from the federal government played a part in those results.
Sales taxes paid on purchases made in Redding stay in Redding, Clark said. Those pandemic payments gave many local residents more spending power, she said.
“People still maintained their regular spending habits, as near as we can tell” from looking at sales on food, cars, appliances and other items, Clark said.
But if a Redding shopper makes a purchase through an online retail sales portal such as Amazon, that’s different.
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Sales taxes from online purchases delivered to Shasta County end up in a “county ‘pool,’ which is distributed based on sales within the county,” said Clark. Since Redding generates a substantial share of sales in the county, it receives a substantial share of money from the pool.
Redding typically receives about 60% of the pooled sales taxes collected countywide due to online sales, she explained.
What remains in the pool is divided up and distributed to all other municipal entities in the county, based on their total annual sales. Shasta County comes in second place, she said.
Rather than shopping online, physically heading out of town to make purchases are a bigger threat to Redding’s sales tax collections, since those taxes remain in the municipality where the in-person purchase is made.
“The best way to support your community is to buy local,” said Clark.
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Ask the Record Searchlight: How to submit questions
Maybe you’re wondering about something that is going on around town, or have questions on other issues. We will do our best to answer.
Mike Chapman, Redding Record Searchlight
Michele Chandler covers city government and housing issues for the Redding Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. Follow her on Twitter at @MChandler_RS, call her at 530-225-8344 or email her at email@example.com. Please support our entire newsroom’s commitment to public service journalism by subscribing today.