Tag Archives: virginia

Donate your old coat

I was cleaning out my closet the other day and I found a few old coats that I no longer wear and I was wondering where I could go to donate them to someone in need. So I got online and searched for places in the Hampton Roads area where I could drop-off these coats. Among the top searches, I found One Warm Coat. One Warm Coat is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing a warm coat to anyone who needs one. They have drop-off locations all over Virginia, including the Hampton Roads area: Most drop-off locations are at Burlington Coat Factories.

Temperatures are starting to drop and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to endure a harsh Virginia winter without so much as a warm coat. And, with the current economic difficulties we are experiencing across the nation, some folks are forced to choose between spending their limited funds on buying a coat as opposed to paying rent or buying food. I can’t imagine having to prioritizing between, what I consider to be, and necessities. Thanks to folks who donate to organizations like One Warm Coat, it’s a choice that many folks won’t have to make.

Do you have an old coat in good condition that you no longer wear? Well, that coat could be very much appreciated by someone who does not have one. If you would like to help someone else by donating an old coat or maybe even organizing your own coat drive, please visit onewarmcoat.org for more information and to find the drop-off location nearest you.

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Filed under Chesapeake, Culpepper Landing, For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate, Helping Others - Donating, virginia, Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is family friendly

I just read an article I just read in Business Week online, Virginia Beach has ranked 47th among the top Best Places to Raise Your Kids. Business Week worked with Onboard Informatics in order to determine which cities in America were the best to raise children.  Two other cities in the Hampton Roads area were runners up in this ranking, Newport News and Chesapeake.

When you are going to move your family from one area to another, what do you look for? Well there are many factors that folks have to consider when deciding whether a certain area is family friendly; good schools, safe neighborhoods, friendly neighbors and parks are all important things to think about when deciding where to move. Of course, you have to also think about how affordable homes are.

Virginia Beach really is a great place to raise kids, I know because I raised mine here and if I had it to over again, I can’t think of anywhere else I would have liked to raise them. Add to that that we have some of the best schools in Virginia, our crime rates are low and we have plenty of parks and miles of beautiful beaches. And, compared to similar areas, home values are very competitive in Virginia Beach.

From personal experience, I agree that Virginia Beach should have been considered in this ranking.

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Hampton Roads weathering the economic storm

It seems that the Hampton Roads area of Virginia is one of the strongest metropolitan areas in the US according to a Brookings Institute report. I found out about this positive bit of news while reading an article at DailyPress.com entitled, “Hampton Roads showing signs of economic recovery”. This Brookings Institute ranking considered several factors including gross metropolitan product, unemployment, housing values and average salaries. According to this ranking, Hampton Roads has ranked 16th out of the top 100 metro areas in the US.

Hampton Roads’ gross metropolitan product has dropped 0.05% from its peak and was up 0.03% in the  first quarter of 2009, while the national average is down 3.3% from peak and down 1.6% in the first quarter of 2009.

In terms of employment, the US is down 2.9% from peak and 1.5 % down in the first quarter of 2009. Hampton Roads is only down 0.05% from peak and as of the first quarter of 2009, is down only 0.1% in the first quarter of 2009.

Housing prices across the nation are down 6.3%, in Hampton Roads, they are only down 3.2%.

Average salaries in the US are up by 1% in the first quarter, whereas average salaries in the Hampton Roads area are up by 0.8%

Overall, Hampton Roads ranked 16th out of the top 100 metropolitan areas, though some economists say it is too soon to celebrate, including Vinod Agarwal, an economics professor at Old Dominion University. According to professor Agarwal, we are doing better than other areas of the US, but he questions whether he Hampton Roads area will be able to continue doing so over the coming months. Because this is the Brookings Institute’s first metropolitan-area report and because it is only paints only several parts of a bigger picture, professor Agarwal says it’s too early to tell at this point.

While nationwide, home values have fallen by an average of 6.3%, Hampton Roads home values have only declined by 3.2%, which means that homebuyers still have the upper hand when it comes time to negotiate a final selling price for homes. However, interest rates are relatively low, the IRS is extending a tax break for qualified first-time homebuyers of $8,000 or 10% of the home’s value and home values have dropped by an average of 3.2%, so these factors should motivate buyers who have been sitting on the fence. Lower home values, lower interest rates and this tax credit for first-time buyers should help to stimulate our market and bring us back to historic levels.

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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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Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas April 2009 Events

  • Tastefully Yours…Peninsula’s Best – April 16, 2009 from 6 to 9:30 pm at The Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton Virginia.  Over 30 Peninsula’s Best Restaurants in Hampton. For more information call 757.596.7188 ext 12 or visit www.nnfoodbank.org 
  • Relay for Life Fundraiser at Keagan’s – April 16, 2009 from 4 to 9 pm at Keagan’s Tower Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  For more information contact Lisa Pesquera at 757.424.3232.  Support the American Cancer Society! 15% of your total bill goes directly to ACS!  Please come out and show your support! 
  • Chesapeake Ducks Unlimited Annual Banquet – Aril 16, 2009 at the Hickory Ruritan Club in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Call Steve at 757.619.3232 for more information on this event.  
  • International Children’s Festival – April 18, 2009 at Mill Point Park in Hampton Virginia, bring the entire family to the International Children’s Festival, taking place from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Call Cyndi Masterstaff at 757.727.8314 or visit International Children’s Festival website.  
  • 2009 Oceanfront Spring Crawl – April 18, 2009 from 4 to 9 pm, a tour of ten different bars on the Virginia Beach oceanfront to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyLocated at the Virginia Beach Resort Area in Virginia Beach, contact Ghent Bar Tours at 757.353.4660 or visit the Oceanfront Spring Crawl website.  
  • Experience the Virginia Culinary Expo featuring Emeril – April 19, 2009 doors open at 11 am at Ted Constant Convention Center in Norfolk, Virginia.  For more information on this fun event featuring Emeril Lagasse call 888.3.COXTIX .  
  • Norfolk Garden Week at East Beach – April 23, 2009 from 10 am to 5 pm at East Beach in Norfolk, Virginia.  Norfolk Garden Week will showcase the gardens at East Beach, a traditional neighborhood development along the Chesapeake Bay.  For more information on this event contact Melanie Wills at 757.489.1963 or visit the East Beach Website.  
  • Spring Craft Show at the Farmers Market – April 25, 2009 from 9 to 3 pm at the City of Virginia Beach Farmers Market in Virginia  Beach, Virginia. Call Karen Alvarez at 757.385.4395 for more information on this event for the entire family.

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Va Tech remembrance walk/run

While reading an article in HamptonRoads.com just now, I was reminded that the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings is coming up.  According to this article entitled, “Run, walk at VaTech to remember slaying victims”,  Virginia tech will hold a 3.2 mile run/walk on the second anniversary of the VaTech slayings in remembrance of the 32 students who were killed on April 16, 2007.

This “Run for Remembrance”, which will take place on April 16 is free and open to all who wish to participate.  The course will start at the Alumni Mall and stretch 3.2 miles to the Drillfield near the schools memorial for the victims of the April 16 shootings.  This event will begin at 8 a.m. With a balloon release.  There will be a banner for all the participants to sign that will bear the slogan, “I ran 3.2 for the 32”.  At the conclusion of the walk/run organizers will take a group photo of all the runners and walkers.

This is a great opportunity for students, staff and local-area residents to show support for the families of the victims who were murdered in that tragic campus shooting spree.  Pre-registration is recommended.  If you would like to register in advance, you can do so by visiting this registration page.   By pre-registering on that page, you can also request a t-shirt in your size. For more information, please visit the Va Tech Department of Recreational Sports website.

Virginia Tech has suspended all classes on the 16th of April in remembrance of the event that claimed the lives of 32 of its students.

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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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