Tag Archives: Virginia real estate

Virginia in top 20 Safest States for 2009

I was just surfing the web when I noticed that Virginia has ranked 14th in the CQ Press’s 2009 Crime State Rankings.  The last time that Virginia placed this highly on this ranking was back in 2001.  Last year, Virginia came in at number 15. 

The CQ Press’s annual Crime State Rankings consider a variety of factors when determining how well states fare.  These factors include arrests, corrections, courts, crime clearances, drug and alcohol treatment, juvenile justice, Law enforcement expenditures and Offenses. 

With 1 being the worst possible score and 50 being the best score, Virginia ranked as follows:

  • Assault:  42
  • Burglary:  45
  • Murder:  23
  • Motor vehicle theft:  41
  • Rape:  443
  • Robbery:  26 

This is good news for Virginia and reflects our state’s level of commitment to law enforcement and corrections.  Placing highly in terms of crime rates when compared to the rest of the nation should also help to keep auto and home theft insurance rates from increasing.  It should also help maintain higher median home values. 

When you consider the things that go into making a great community, there are several important factors, crime rate is definitely one of the more important factors, after all, no one wants to live in a crime ridden area.  I am glad to see that Virginia is placing higher every year in this important ranking. 

Please click to see how Virginia and all 50 states fared at WalletPop.com

If you are interested in purchasing the complete rankings for all 50 states from CQ Press, please click here.

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New smoking law passed in Virginia

According to an article that I have just read in HamptonRoads.com entitled,”General Assembly passes partial smoking ban in restaurants” the Virginia General Assembly has voted 27-13 in favor of SB1105, a measure that bans smoking in most bars and restaurants in Virginia.  From now on smoking will only be allowed in facilities that have separate smoking areas equipped with independent ventilation systems, establishments with open-air outdoor patios and private clubs.

This law will go into effect starting December 1, 2009.  There is a provision in the bill that will allow bar and restaurant employees who so choose, to work outside designated smoking areas without being subject to professional punishment.

I applaud this move to help ensure the rights of those who do not smoke.  Regardless of whether they are restaurant employees or patrons, non smokers should not be exposed to second hand smoke against their will.  I also applaud the wording of SB21105 because it allows provisions for businesses that would still like to offer their customers the option to smoke.  I know in some foreign countries, when a smoking ban law is passed, it applies across the board, not allowing restaurants, bars and clubs the option to have separate smoking sections or be exclusively for smokers.

A similar law SB1106, which would have made it illegal for people to smoke in a motor vehicle when a child is present and would have cost violators $100 in fines was not passed.  I found this a bit strange.  I wonder whether our legislators should be more concerned with the rights of those who cannot protect themselves (children) over those who can (adults).  After all, an adult can choose to go to another restaurant or bar but a child cannot choose to not drive in their parent’s car.  It will be interesting to see if SB1106 comes before the Assembly again in the future.

Please click to read this article in its entirety at HamptonRoads.com.  This article also has a list of how all of our representatives voted on Sb1105

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Help the Virginia Beach SPCA’s Neuter Scooter go green

I was just looking at the Virginia Beach SPCA’s website when I saw a call for folks to donate their used vegetable oil to help power the VBSPCA’s Neuter Scooter.

If you are not aware of what the Neuter Scooter is, it is just that, a scooter that the VBSPCA uses to do on-site spaying and neutering in areas outside of Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach SPCA is currently working on making the scooter more environmentally friendly by modifying it so that it can run on bio-fuel (vegetable-based oil). By doing this, the SPCA hopes to save two-thirds of the amount of diesel fuel they are currently using to power the scooter.

In order to keep the Neuter Scooter running so that it can continue serving the Eastern Shore, Chesapeake, Franklin, Portsmouth and Suffolk, the SPCA is asking for folks to donate their used vegetable oil. If you are interested in helping the SPCA reach their goal of 250 gallons of purified vegetable oil, you can bring your used frying oil including vegetable, sunflower, peanut or canola oils in their original containers to the green collection bins located in the parking lot of the Virginia Beach SPCA. You can bring your used vegetable-based oils (no animal-based oils) anytime including when the shelter is closed.

For years the Virginia Beach SPCA has been working towards being more environmentally friendly with their “Poop Polutes” campaign. Now they are going further towards making their operations more sustainable by helping to recycle (reuse) used vegetable oils and at the same time helping to cut their fuel costs.

If you would like more information please contact the VBSPCA’s Development Director, Karla Campbell at development@vbspca.com or 427-0070 Ext. 14.

For more information, please visit the Virginia Beach SPCA’s website.

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Homicides down 25% in Hampton Roads area

While reading some artivcles in hamptonroaads.com just now I ran across one entitled, “2008 homicide rates drop 25 percent in Hampton Roads”. I was glad to see soemthing positive especially this reduction in a violent crime like murder. Some Hampton roads cities had the same number or fewer homicides while some saw a sligh increase but overall, these numbers are promising.

There were a total of 98 homicides in 2008 in the Hampton Roads region compared to 131 in 2007. The cities which showed the biggest reduction in homicides were Newport News (down 42.9%), Norfolk (down 42.9%) and Portsmouth (down 5.9%). There were no changes in Chesapeake or virginia Beach and homicide rates actually rose 14.3% in Hampton. Suffolk did not provide any statistics so I am unsure whether homicide rates rose, dropped or stayed the same.

Police sources are attributing this reduction in homicides to having removed certain elements from the local communities. According to Newport News police spokesman, Lou Thurston, “”I think over the year we have successfully removed some of the right people from the community, and I think that has probably helped in lowering the numbers.”

This is good news for the Hampton Roads area. I personally feel better knowing that homicide numbers are declining, hopefully there will be even less this year. I am wondering what the personal and property crime figures from 2008 will say. I also wonder if the current economic problems facing the nation will have an effect on thefts in general in this coming year.

Click to read this article in its entirety.

I hope everyone enjoys a Happy, safe and prosperous 2009.

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Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I was just pondering thanksgiving when I thought of those who are less fortunate the most of us.  I wondered what recourse families who are going through hard times would have this Thanksgiving when I remembered the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

According to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia’s web site, 20% of people who live in Southeastern Virginia turned to the Foodbank for help last year, that’s one in five residents.  With so many Southeastern Virginia residents in need of some extra help making ends meet, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is very busy.

With the current economic woes our nation is facing, more folks than ever are finding it hard to make ends meet.  Now more than ever, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia will need help from you in order to help those in need.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is continually accepting donations of food, money and clothing items.  They are also in need of volunteers who can help.  The Foodbank is the last chance for those who do not have enough to eat and the hungry turn to the Foodbank every single day.  Because of the great demand for food in our area, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is always busy conducting food, fund and clothing drives.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia helps people of all ages with programs such as Kids Cafes and the Senior Supplement Food Program.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help those in need.

If you would like to donate, food, clothes, money or your time, please visit the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia’s website by clicking the links below.  If you know someone who is in need and is not aware of the fact that there is a place where they can turn for help, please let them know about the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

Again, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia Website

Foodbank Top Ten Wanted Lists

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Norfolk to get Skate Park

I just read an article in HamptonRoads.com about the coming of Norfolk’s first skate park.  Discussions have taken their toll on some of Norfolk’s City Council members, but it seems that after two years of discussion and planning, the city has finally decided to build the proposed skate park at Northside Park.  The head of the Norfolk Parks and Recreation Department, Darrell Crittendon is ready to recommend to the city council that this skate park be built at the tidewater Drive entrance of Northside Park.  Several council members have already said that they would likely support this proposal for Norfolk’s first skateboarding park.  The proposed skate park is expected to cost $750,000.

For Norfolk area skateboarders this should come as excellent news.  Skateboarding on public streets and parks is illegal in Norfolk as it is in many other cities across the nation.  Having a skate park in Norfolk will make it so that Norfolk skateboarders will not have to go to parks in other cities nearby to avoid being ticketed for skating in public.  The park’s design will be collaboration between council members and local skateboarders.  The skate park is expected to be like an “urban plaza” with railings, steps, ramps and other obstacles that skaters can use to perform tricks.

Hopefully this project will be finished soon so that Norfolk area skateboard enthusiasts can have a place to practice their favorite sport legally.

Click if you would like to read this article entitled, “Norfolk is one step closer to a skateboard park“.

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Tax holiday this weekend

I just ran across an article entitled, “Back-to-school tax holiday this weekend in VA” While reading the PilotOnline.com and I was reminded of the fact that this weekend is the third annual Virginia back-to-school tax holiday.

Starting this Friday, August 1, those who are shopping for back-to-school supplies will receive an exemption from the 5% state sales tax.  Shoppers will save 5% on school supplies priced up to $20 per item as well as clothing and shoes priced up to $100.  Supplies such as crayons, paper, notebooks and pens are included, as are items such as aprons, diapers and bathing suits.  However, other accessories including briefcases and cosmetics will not be exempt.

According to surveys by the national Retail Federation, the average consumer is expected to spend approximately $594.24 on back-to-school shopping this year and the Virginia Department of taxation, estimates shoppers will save up to $4 million this year thanks to this tax holiday.  Last year, the total spent by the average consumer was $563.24.

This tax holiday comes at a time when many Virginians are paying higher gas and food prices, so it should be a welcomed savings for many parents.

In addition to tax-free school supplies, Richmond-area Wal-Mart stores also plan to offer tax-free purchases on electronics such as computers and televisions.  Besides Wal-Mart, about 12 retailers will be paying for the taxes on other non back-to-school items in hopes of motivating consumers.

If you have school-aged children, this weekend is a good time to get out there and save some money on those necessary back-to-school supplies.

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