It’s not just your neighborhood. Contractors are incredibly busy with home renovations

From the sound of things in some neighborhoods, you might not think the economic downturn has been all that severe in Massachusetts.

a person standing in front of a building: President and owner of Golden Builder Construction Tomasa Pujol at a residential job site in Dorchester.

© Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
President and owner of Golden Builder Construction Tomasa Pujol at a residential job site in Dorchester.

Saw blades are buzzing, nail guns are popping, and drills are spinning as contractors descend on home renovation projects in huge numbers. It’s a striking aberration in an economy where many businesses continue to suffer and unemployment remains high.


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The activity is also another indication of how unevenly the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has been distributed. Some homeowners ― often those whose incomes have not taken a hit ― have reduced costs for commuting, travel and other expenses, giving them more discretionary income. At the same time, interest rates for home equity loans and mortgages are historically low, making it cheap to borrow money.

And many people have spent an unprecedented number of hours at home, giving them a clear-eyed understanding about what they love — and hate — about their homes.

“The pandemic, especially for people in the middle class and the upper middle class has created this bubble,” said Chris Parish, a Franklin homeowner searching for a contractor who’s not too busy to take on a small bathroom renovation sometime soon. “We’re all thinking the same thing at the same time, which is, we can’t go anywhere, so we should get the most out of the space.”

Contractors around Boston say they experienced a huge demand for services this summer that has extended into fall — especially for modest projects such as adding a backyard deck or fence. The trend is helping to offset the loss of work builders suffered earlier in the year when larger commercial jobs were put on hold

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Kentucky Board Of Elections Head Says He’s ‘Incredibly Confident’ About Nov. 3

Earlier this year, the head of the Kentucky State Board of Elections told the state legislature that its election system is routinely scanned from IP ranges located in Venezuela, North Korea and Russia.

The Washington Post reported this week that the CIA believes Vladimir Putin is likely directing a misinformation campaign from Russia to damage Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Local election officials still need help combating foreign interference.

“We know that individuals scanning our systems from those areas, you know, they’re not up to good intentions,” says Jared Dearing, executive director Kentucky’s Board of Elections. “Let’s just say that.”

The scans are a non-invasive tool used to find open ports that can be accessed remotely, he says, but no one has successfully entered the system.

The pandemic hasn’t stopped election security work, which Dearing says is at the forefront of the board’s focus. He lobbies for funding from the state legislature to support these efforts.

The Board of Elections receives both state and federal funding, but these resources cover everything from paying staff to buying ballot envelopes in addition to security.

During the pandemic, Kentucky received $6 million from Congress through the Cares Act for election improvements. Dearing says people should view election funding as a stable “tripod” of money.

“It’s really important to understand that these tranches of funding that they kind of drop-in with a parachute from the federal government,” he says, “I think it would be more effective if they were spent out on a yearly budget cycle because states could more effectively plan for what that budget would look like year to year.”

States around the country are having a tough time finding enough poll workers because of the pandemic. In Kentucky, the average age of a poll worker is 65, he says.

Now, a big

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