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Thursday, December 31 2009

 


Professor of Economics and Dean of Business, College of Business, University of Southern Indiana

November 2009

During every recession over the past five decades, the Evansville metro economy has exhibited resiliency and a capacity to withstand the adverse impacts associated with national recessions. The recession that began at the end of 2007 is no exception. While the declines in output, employment, real income, and real retail sales intensified in 2009, the depth of these impacts are less pronounced in Evansville than in many other metro areas of similar size and structure. The dynamics of the Evansville area labor market underscore this with a drop in the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from 8.6 percent in January 2009 to 7.6 percent in September 2009, compared with a rise in the national unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to 9.8 percent over the same time period.

Economic performance in 2009 was driven by job losses in key sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and financial services. Traditional recession-resistant sectors such as health care and education were also adversely affected. Employment increases were evident only in the hospitality and government sectors. In 2009, nominal personal income is estimated to decrease by 3.1 percent and real gross metro product is estimated to decrease by 3.8 percent. The manufacturing sector continues to be an important base to metro area household incomes and consumer spending activity even as the economy adjusts to an ongoing diversification away from manufacturing-industry dependence.

As the Evansville economy tracked the U.S. economy in 2009, there were indications of a slowly improving housing market, some deterioration of credit quality, and higher delinquency rates. Homeowners experienced some home price depreciation, but the median home price has not dipped by as much as it has nationally. Existing home prices declined from an average of $94,000 in 2008 to $89,000 in 2009, and mortgage originations are estimated to increase from $715 million in 2008 to $761 million in 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, single-family housing permits are estimated to have dropped by 57 percent and personal bankruptcies per 1,000 persons are estimated to have increased from 5.1 to 8.9.

The national downturn and weaknesses in credit markets negatively impacted a number of the metro area’s largest employers. These include workforce reductions announced by a plastics firm, automotive parts manufacturers, and a financial services firm. Recent announcements from Whirlpool Corporation about the closure of its Evansville manufacturing facility in 2010 and the decision to keep its product development unit in Evansville underscore both the challenges and opportunities for the Evansville economy in the future.

In-migration, which has boosted local population growth in recent years, was not evident in 2009 as the widespread nature of the national recession has limited residents’ mobility. In 2010, the Evansville metro economy will benefit from an announced $26 million investment by Mead Johnson Nutritionals to build its new Research and Development Technology Center as well as the stimulative impacts associated with the nearly $21 million expansion by Berry Plastics.

Given the proportion of output that is sold outside the metro area, the rebound will not begin until the broader economy strengthens and demand for locally produced goods returns to the level of the preceding five years. Consequently, personal income and output growth in the next year will be below levels of the past five years.

Given Evansville’s dependence on manufacturing, the metro has been noticeably impacted since the inception of the current recession. Since September 2000, Evansville’s manufacturing workforce has fallen 25.2 percent or about 9,400 workers. As a result, manufacturing as a share of total nonfarm employment has continued to decline (see Figure 1). However, manufacturing earnings as a share of total earnings has remained stable at about 27 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Figure 1: Manufacturing Employment as a Percent of Total Nonfarm Employment in the Evansville Metro, 1990 to 2009

Figure 1: Manufacturing Employment as a Percent of Total Nonfarm Employment in the Evansville Metro, 1990 to 2009

In 2010, output is forecasted to increase by 0.1 percent, the number of jobs is projected to decrease by 1,900, and the forecast for nominal personal income growth is zero percent. Figures 2 and 3 provide a comparison of forecasts for the Indiana segment of the Evansville economy and the state of Indiana for the 2008–2012 period.

Figure 2: Average Growth of Personal Income

Figure 2: Average Growth of Personal Income

Figure 3: Average Growth of Total Employment

Figure 3: Average Growth of Total Employment

Since the pace of structural change in the Evansville economy has quickened during the past year, there are likely to be added transitional challenges as the regional economy adjusts from its manufacturing-industry dependence, particularly in nondurable manufacturing (see Table 1). In addition, when the elderly age cohort and the youth age cohort make up large shares of the population, it places greater pressures on in-migration as a source of the human capital needs of the region.

Table 1: Manufacturing Percent of Total Employment, September 2009

Industry Evansville Metro United States Indiana
Manufacturing 16.2 9.0 15.6
Durable Goods 52.3 60.9 69.4
Nondurable Goods 47.7 39.1 30.6

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2009/outlook/evansville.html

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 30 2009

INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, INC.


December 22, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
REALTORS® RELEASE "INDIANA REAL ESTATE MARKETS REPORT" FOR NOVEMBER
Sales, Median Prices Increase for the Second Month in a Row
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - The Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR) today released its "Indiana Real Estate Markets Report" for the month of November as a continuation of its "Indiana is Home" project.
The Report, found online at www.IndianaIsHome.com, is the first-ever county-by-county comparison of existing single-family home sales in Indiana. IAR obtains the data directly from the state's 23 largest Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and the Broker Listing Cooperative® (BLC®) in central Indiana. To date, the Report represents 98% of the housing market statewide.
Statewide, November sales increased 36.5% from the same month last year; median prices saw an increase of 10.5%. This is the second consecutive month that there has been an increase in sales over the previous year.
"The numbers that we have seen from November, as well as October, are welcomed news as we approach the end of the year," said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer. "It remains the fact that homes continue to be affordable to Hoosier families. And while the recent jump in numbers can be linked to the impact of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, it's important to recognize that Indiana's housing markets are continuing to make a turnaround after a very tough year.
"The increase in sales combined with other housing statistics, including increases in new construction, are important steps forward for our state's and country's economic recovery," Berron added.
More about "Indiana Is Home"
It is a multi-media project hosted by media professional Pat Carlini and aimed at keeping Hoosier homeowners, would-be homeowners, policymakers and the media well-informed on the ever-changing local real estate markets.
This month, Carlini narrates a video explaining the extension and expansion of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit. Indianapolis-based Boost Media and Entertainment shot and produced all videos found at www.IndianaIsHome.com.
IAR represents more than 16,000 REALTORS® who are involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in Indiana. The term REALTOR® is a registered mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the world's largest trade association, the National Association of REALTORS®, and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
Reporters' contacts:       Stacey Hartman, IAR; (317) 644-9210 or sahartman@indianarealtors.com Jason Tomcsi, IAR; (317) 217-9530 or jtomcsi@indianarealtors.com Andy Wilson, Boost; (317) 843-8005 or pr@boostmediaentertainment.com


 


Executive Offices: 7301 N. Shadeland Ave., Ste. A, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250
Governmental Affairs Office: Circle Tower Building, 55 Monument Circle, Ste.712 Indianapolis, 46204 Telephone (317) 913-3230 -- Toll-Free (800) 284-0084 -- www.indianarealtors.com
REALTOR® is a registered mark which identifies a professional in real estate who subscribes to a strict code of ethics as a member of the National Association of REALTORS®



INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, INC.


For a local REALTOR® comment:
Anderson/Madison County Board of REALTORS® (Madison County) Patty Kuhn, (765-649-8106 or pkuhn@andersonarearealtors.com
Bedford Board of REALTORS® (Lawrence County)
Debbie Suddarth, (812) 849-3456 or debbiesuddarth@verizon.net
Bloomington Board of REALTORS® (Monroe & Owen Counties) Elizabeth Kehoe, (812) 339-1301 or Elizabeth.kehoe@homefinder.org
Elkhart County Board of REALTORS® (Elkhart County) Julie Alert, (574) 875-3283 or Julie@ecbor.com
Evansville Area Association of REALTORS®
(Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh & Warrick Counties)
George Postletheweight, (812) 473-3333 or georgep@evansvillerealtors.com
Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS®
(Jasper, Lake, Newton & Porter Counties)
Peter D. Novak, Jr., (219) 795-3600 or pete@gniar.com
Greene County Board of REALTORS® (Greene County) R. Randall Baker, (812) 847-3300 or gcbor@bakerfile.com
Northeastern Indiana Association of REALTORS®
(DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble & Steuben Counties)
Keith M. Vautherot, (260) 347-1593 or niaor1@mchsi.com
Putnam County Board of REALTORS® (Parke & Putnam Counties)
Diane Ummel, (765) 653-6998 or diane@putnamcountyboardofrealtors.com
REALTORS® Association of Central Indiana
(Cass, Grant, Howard, Miami, Tipton & Wabash Counties)
Kathy Harbaugh, (866) 657-7224 or kathy@raci.org
Terre Haute Area Association of REALTORS® (Clay, Sullivan, Vermillion & Vigo Counties) Julie Hux, (812) 234-8732 or Julie@thaar.com
Washington County Board of REALTORS® (Washington County) Teresa Smedley; (812) 883-5695 or wcbor@blueriver.net


 


Executive Offices: 7301 N. Shadeland Ave., Ste. A, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250
Governmental Affairs Office: Circle Tower Building, 55 Monument Circle, Ste.712 Indianapolis, 46204 Telephone (317) 913-3230 -- Toll-Free (800) 284-0084 -- www.indianarealtors.com
REALTOR® is a registered mark which identifies a professional in real estate who subscribes to a strict code of ethics as a member of the National Association of REALTORS®
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 29 2009
Remodeling and decorating trends in 2010 are likely to reflect the fact that many home owners are settling in for the long haul.

Here are some ideas for updating homes and gardens from decorators and leading real estate practitioners:
  • Environmentally sensitive furniture. Natural fibers, sustainable woods, and recycled products are key to attracting environmentally concerned buyers.
  • Classic neutral colors. Deep gray browns and gray blues, muted beige, and chalky white will be particularly popular shades, Pittsburgh Paints predicts.
  • Backyard gardens. First Lady Michelle Obama led the way in 2009 when she installed one at the White House.
  • Backyard living. Wood-deck additions offer an 80.6 percent payback, according to the annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® magazine. Simple fire pits and outdoor fireplaces also will be popular, trend-watchers say.
  • Made in America. As more people feel compelled to support local employment, U.S. manufactured products and antiques will become more popular, says Patricia Shackelford, author of design blog, Mrs. Blandings.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, Jean Patteson (12/26/2009) and Kansas City Star, Stacy Downs (12/27/2009) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009122805?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 28 2009

Interest rates are likely to rise to 6 percent by the end of 2010, predicted Amy Crews Cutts, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac.

The end of the Federal Reserve program that buys mortgage-backed securities will drive rates higher because private buyers will demand more return than the Fed.

"Extraordinary resources have been put into keeping the rates down and supporting the mortgage markets and it's hard to imagine that the rates can go much lower than they are," Crews Cutts said. "Anything we get at or below 5 percent is a gift at this point."

Source: Washington Post, Dina ElBoghdady (12/26/2009) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009122803?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 24 2009

The goal for Evansville's Front Door Pride program is to build nice homes that blend into existing neighborhoods.
There are eight homes currently under construction.
Officials announced building had started on the houses back in October, and the goal was to finish in 90 days.
Two or three homes will come in under that.
A few will go a little over the target date and perhaps slightly over-budget.
"With site work you just never know what you're going to run into, said Tom Coe, with HOPE of Evansville. "Several of these have had old basements that have to be completely excavated."
"We were over-budget on the site work but on budget for the house," said Bill Badger, who is the general contractor on six of the houses. "No, you've got to stay on budget, and our suppliers and subcontractors all know that. When they give us a bid, that's it."
But, Coe said this won't affect how much the homes will cost.
"The house is going to appraise for what it appraises for. How much it costs to build doesn't really factor into that."
Two have already been pre-sold.
The other major goal while building these homes is to make sure they fit the vibe of the area - both inside and out.
"It's a little more modern on the inside, but we try to keep a little bit of the neighborhood also on the inside with the historic colors and things like that," Badger said.
As far as the outside, Badger said that's mission accomplished, too.
Coe said the city is working hard to find more potential buyers.
He's especially interested in people who already live in the area and want to upgrade.
Evansville could then buy the old house and continue the front door pride process there.

Source: http://tristatehomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=119051

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 12:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 24 2009
Books are the perfect gift for buyers, sellers, and real estate dreamers.

Here are five suggestions that are good reads for people on your list who want to buy or sell a home for the holidays:
  1. Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, and Marcia Stewart, Nolo publishing, $24.99
  2. This Sold House: Staging Your Home To Sell in Today's Market,Diane Keyes, Third Child Press, $14.95
  3. If I Had A Hammer: More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects, Andrea Ridout, Collins, $17.95
  4. New Classic American Houses: The Architecture of Albert, Righter & Tittmann, Dan Cooper, Vendome Press, $50
  5. Country Color: Perfect Palettes for Every Room, Judith Miller, Vendome Press, $35


Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Lynn Underwood (12/20/2009)

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009122303?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 23 2009

The Indiana Association of Realtors (IAR) says statewide home sales increased 36.5 percent in November, compared to the same month a year earlier. It is the second consecutive monthly increase. IAR also reports median prices last month increased 10.5 percent.

The Indiana Association of REALTORS (IAR) today released its “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” for the month of November as a continuation of its “Indiana is Home” project.

The Report, found online at www.IndianaIsHome.com, is the first-ever county-by-county comparison of existing single-family home sales in Indiana. IAR obtains the data directly from the state’s 23 largest Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and the Broker Listing Cooperative (BLC) in central Indiana. To date, the Report represents 98% of the housing market statewide.

Statewide, November sales increased 36.5% from the same month last year; median prices saw an increase of 10.5%. This is the second consecutive month that there has been an increase in sales over the previous year.

“The numbers that we have seen from November, as well as October, are welcomed news as we approach the end of the year,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer. “It remains the fact that homes continue to be affordable to Hoosier families. And while the recent jump in numbers can be linked to the impact of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, it’s important to recognize that Indiana’s housing markets are continuing to make a turnaround after a very tough year.

“The increase in sales combined with other housing statistics, including increases in new construction, are important steps forward for our state’s and country’s economic recovery,” Berron added.


More about “Indiana Is Home”

It is a multi-media project hosted by media professional Pat Carlini and aimed at keeping Hoosier homeowners, would-be homeowners, policymakers and the media well-informed on the ever-changing local real estate markets.

This month, Carlini narrates a video explaining the extension and expansion of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit.

Indianapolis-based Boost Media and Entertainment shot and produced all videos found at www.IndianaIsHome.com.

IAR represents more than 16,000 REALTORS® who are involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in Indiana. The term REALTOR® is a registered mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the world’s largest trade association, the National Association of REALTORS®, and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.


Source: Indiana Association of Realtors & Inside INdiana Business

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=39316

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 04:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 23 2009
Chris Dickson, president-elect of the Evansville Area Association of Realtors, said he believed that the federal incentives, both for the first-time home buyer and the second-time home buyer, will keep the market in the Tri-State active in the first quarter of 2010.

"The first half of 2009 was very quiet in residential sales, but the last half was much stronger, and that indicates upward movement into 2010.

"We're ending the year strong and looking forward to continued growth."

Dickson, a sales associate for ERA First Advantage Realty Inc., said he believed we've "been through the bottom and now we will be moving on. ... It is a good time for both buyers and sellers. There is a lot of buyer interest now."

Bob Reid of Evansville-based Appraisal Consultants said people wanting to buy homes is historically strong and constant.

"When we have external forces that we have had, that slows sales activity; the demand continues to grow even stronger."

Reid said in an overall look at the market, the number of sales and sale prices are running true to numbers seen in 2008.

Source: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/dec/22/realtorssee-active-market-locally-overall-in/

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 17 2009

-- Don't ignore safety

This goes for any home-improvement project. Simple precautions like wearing safety goggles, not overloading outlets and turning off breakers will only take a few minutes or a few extra bucks -- but these steps can save you from disaster.

-- Don't forget about the subfloor

Laminate flooring needs an underlayment/vapor barrier for almost any surface upon which it is being installed. Not only will a subfloor protect flooring from moisture, it will also help with soundproofing. Hardwood floors need an even subfloor; use subfloor compound to ensure a level surface. If laying tile in a bathroom, cement backer board should be used underneath.

-- Don't skimp the grout sealer

You can spend a lot of time and money installing tile, but if you don't properly seal the grout it can absorb water, dirt and other stains.

-- Don't get the wrong pro

If you need to hire a pro, make sure the person is qualified for the job. Never let anyone other than a licensed electrician repair or alter the wiring in your home. The same goes for plumbing -- many states also require them to have a license or state certification.

-- Don't skip the primer

The key to a successful paint job is comprehensive preparation. A coat of primer will seal the surface, provide durability and create a solid bond for the paint to adhere. The only time primer may not be needed is when painting latex over latex, and the colors have a similar intensity.

-- Don't forget the building permits

The last thing anyone wants is to spend time and effort building a beautiful deck only to find out it must be ripped up because there was no permit. Check out the rules and regulations for building permits, codes and inspections before you start any remodeling project.

-- Don't get the wrong style of window

The wrong windows can have consequences on both the interior and exterior of the home. When choosing windows, make sure the style matches the appearance and architecture of your home's exterior. On the inside, windows will affect the light, ventilation and temperature of the house.

Source: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/dec/16/101-ideas-seven-home-improvement-mistakes-avoid/?partner=RSS

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 16 2009
As we mentioned last month, the Home Buyer Tax Credit has been extended and expanded. For first time buyers the extension is straightforward, you must have an accepted contract no later than April 30, and close the transaction no later than June 30, 2010. In order to take advantage of the existing buyer credit the owner must have used the property as their principal residence for 5 of the past 8 years. The owner must purchase the new home under the same deadlines as a first time buyer.
 Although this sounds simple enough, let’s talk about realistic timing to take advantage of this unique and probably one time only opportunity to receive a $6,500 gift from Uncle Sam. Most buyers prefer to sell their existing home before purchasing a new home. In our area during November the average days on market for houses that sold were 107 days (more on this later). It is not unusual, and is frequently helpful, for sellers to stage and spruce up their house before putting it on the market. These steps can maximize the sales price and reduce marketing time. The typical buyer starts their home search 10 weeks before purchasing a home. If you back up 107 days from April 30 and factor in some time for looking for a new home, it is easy to see that the buyers with the best chance of receiving their $6,500 gift will be those that start the process immediately.    
 The next few weeks will be an excellent time to list a house for several reasons. First there are over 300 fewer houses on the market today than there were last November. In addition 52 more homes sold this November than last November. Finally the list price to sales price ratio was a full percentage point higher last month than it was a year ago. The keys to maximizing your return on your house are to have it in great condition and price it right. Keep in mind the average days on market for homes that sold last month was 107 days. By comparison, houses currently listed have been on the market 162 days. From this one can conclude that houses priced right are selling. This is probably the only year we can help get you a $6,500 Christmas gift. Give us a call at 812-499-9234 or email us at Rolando@TheTrentiniTeam.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 16 2009

Home building rose 8.9 percent in November to an annualized rate of 574,000, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Wednesday.

The rate was still 12.4 percent below what it was in November 2008, but the increases were nationwide, with the Northeast leading the trend with housing starts rising 16.4 percent. Housing starts rose 12.3 percent in the South, 3 percent in the Midwest and 1.9 percent in the West.

Analysts attributed the increase to the extension and expansion of the home buyer’s tax credit. David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, is cautiously optimistic. “The new credit will have an impact as we move into 2010 and consumers plan for that credit availability, and builders begin to answer expected demand in the spring," he says.

Source: CNNMoney.com, Hibah Yousuf (12/16/2009)

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009121603?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 15 2009

 

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is out with the 11th edition of its Indiana's Best Buys report. For 2009, 135 public high schools have been designated a "best buy" giving taxpayers the most value for their money, according to the chamber. In addition, 26 high schools have received "honor roll" distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median.

Hoosier high schools offering the highest educational achievement levels for the lowest amount of tax dollars were recognized today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce with the release of the 11th edition of its Indiana’s Best Buys report.

The study examined 357 Indiana public high schools with the appropriate available data. Using ISTEP+ pass rates, ISTEP+ Pass+ rates, graduation rates, SAT participation rates and average composite scores, and Advanced Placement (AP) passing scores, the Indiana Chamber developed a total school performance index for each school.

This index, called the school’s quality index, was then compared to each school’s total revenues per pupil to determine “best buy” schools. From that list, “honor roll” schools were selected based on each school’s at-risk student/poverty rate, as measured by participation in the federal free/reduced lunch program.

For 2009, 135 public high schools were designated as a “best buy” for giving taxpayers the most value for their money. Two methods determined this honor. A school was named a best buy if it had a quality index above the state median and revenues below the statewide median of $10,179 per student. The second method was by having a quality index ranking that was 20% higher than the school’s revenue ranking.

In addition, from the best buy group, 26 high schools were given the “honor roll” distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median. For their exemplary efforts, the top five schools from the best buy and honor roll lists were then selected as “head of the class” members.

The 2009 “head of the class” selections are:

- Adams Central High School in Monroe (Adams County);

- Forest Park Jr.-Sr. High School in Ferdinand (Dubois County);

- North Central High School in Indianapolis (Marion County);

- Northwestern High School in Kokomo (Howard County);

- Plainfield High School (Hendricks County);

- Plymouth High School (Marshall County);

- Signature School in Evansville (Vanderburgh County).

- South Adams Jr.-Sr. High School in Berne (Adams County);

- Triton Jr.-Sr. High School in Bourbon (Marshall County); and

- Warsaw Community High School (Kosciusko County).


Indiana Chamber officials are recognizing the 10 head of the class honorees during an award presentation at each school. Among the selections, there were several familiar faces. Signature School, Indiana’s first charter high school, and North Central return from the 2008 group – with Signature making the top list three years running. Meanwhile, Adams Central returned to the list for the second time (2007 marked its first appearance).

“All of the Best Buy schools are getting the utmost out of their taxpayer dollars by, in turn, delivering high-quality education to their students. This balancing act of limited funding while realizing a varied and competitive education is no easy task. Businesses and communities in these areas should be very proud of what their schools are achieving and how their students are being readied for further education paths and a competitive job market,” states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

The SAT and AP test data used in the Best Buys report was provided directly by the Indiana Department of Education; all other data was collected from Indiana Department of Education databases.

This latest edition of Indiana’s Best Buys continues to include a broad range of school performance data and an emphasis on high school graduation rates for the calculation of each school’s quality index. The AP measures and ISTEP+ Pass+ rates are an attempt to give schools additional recognition for their attention to higher performing students.

To view the report and learn which high schools are among Indiana’s Best Buys, visit www.indianachamber.com/bestbuys.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has been the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy organization for over 85 years. The nearly 5,000 member companies employ 800,000 Hoosier workers.

Source: The Indiana Chamber of Commerce & Inside INdiana Business

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=39199

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 04:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 08 2009

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana House committee heard arguments Monday on whether caps on property tax bills should be placed in the state constitution, and the panel plans to vote on the measure next week.

A Senate committee plans to vote on the legislation Tuesday. If approved by the full Legislature during the session that gets under way in earnest in January, voters would decide whether the caps should be constitutional. Supporters say this would make it more difficult for future legislatures to undo the limits.

Several people who spoke in favor of the legislation before the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday said it would give property owners certainty about their future tax bills. Opponents said the caps already are taking a hit on the revenue streams of local governments, and there should be no rush to make them permanent.

Under a law passed in 2008, property tax bills on homeowners this year were capped at 1.5 percent of their homes' assessed values, with 2.5 percent limits on rental property and 3.5 percent caps on business property. The caps are to be lowered to 1 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2010.

The caps are expected to save property owners about $465 million in 2010 and $488 million the next year, but that's money local governments and schools will not get as a result. Counties and a handful of large cities can raise local income taxes to help offset losses due to the caps.

The caps were passed as a result of large increases in property taxes that occurred in 2007 in many parts of the state. The increases were due to a variety of reasons, including spending hikes by local governments and a move to annual assessment changes based on sales price data of property.

Taxpayer Aaron Smith of Lebanon spoke in favor of the constitutional resolution.

"For some folks, permanently capped property taxes are the tipping point keeping them from having to make terrible choices between keeping their homes, life-enhancing medication and nutritious meals," he said.

Kristen Brown of Columbus, who said she was testifying solely as a taxpayer, had no sympathy for local officials concerned about their revenue.

"It is really important that we taxpayers have some sort of degree of financial control over what I believe is excessive spending at the local level," she said.

Some opponents said classes of property should not be treated differently. Others said more time and data about the effects of the caps is needed.

"When we see how fast the world is moving we need to be prudent and keep as many options open as possible rather than confining ourselves to the cement of a constitutional change, said Chuck Little, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said his city already has cut 70 employees because of lost revenue due to reductions in property tax money.

"Our constitution should only be changed after proper analysis and debate," he said. "The 1, 2, 3 percent caps have not even gone into effect, therefore we have not even debated the consequences because we haven't seen the impact."

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091207/ap_on_bi_ge/us_tax_bills_house_indiana_2

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 04 2009

There’s a lot to do this weekend, depending on whether you favor warm indoor concerts or chilly outdoor parades, whether you’re into outdoor ice skating or prefer to watch the semipros slap sticks before a noisy indoor throng.

Here’s a roundup of ideas from Weekend Planner:

— Two sporting events are slated at 7 p.m. today at Roberts Stadium and adjacent Swonder Ice Arena. At the stadium, the University of Evansville basketball Aces tip off against Alabama State ($13) while across the parking lot the Evansville Icemen battle the Chi-town Shooters of Chicago ($7).

— In Santa Claus, Ind., the town’s Christmas festival continues at Kringle Place shopping center this evening through Sunday. For $15 ($11 with discount from McDonald’s) you can drive through the Land of Lights display at Lake Rudolph, adjacent to Holiday World, beginning at 5 p.m. There’s also a free Tuba Christmas at 2 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Hills Baptist Church in Santa Claus. For festival and other information, call the tourism office at (812) 937-4199.

— Closer to home, Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights in Garvin Park has 61 lighted displays and even horse-drawn carriage rides daily. Admission starts at $7.

— Residents of Henderson, Ky., will light their community Christmas tree in Central Park at 6 p.m. today. On Saturday there’s the downtown Christmas parade at 10 a.m. at Fifth and Main streets followed by a Nativity Fest near Central Park. Kids will find St. Nick inside his house at Central Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (pictures $5).

— For an Olde World treat later today, sample the Madrigal Feaste at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Southern Indiana ($28 to $32, call 461-5237) or try Christmas at Germania at 7 p.m. at 916 N. Fulton Ave., $25, call 422-1915.

— During the 6th annual Winter Wonderland in Owensboro, Ky., you can drink hot cocoa and watch or skate ($5) on the large outdoor ice rink next to RiverPark Center. The event also includes carnival rides, concessions and outdoor movies. Tip: Saturday morning and late Saturday afternoon are the best time for families with small children to skate.

— Jasper, Ind., has its O’Tannenbaum Days celebration this evening through Sunday with skilled artists, carolers, carriage rides and more downtown. Call (800) 968-4578 for more details.

— The gospel-singing Bill Gaither and his friends are back with a holiday show at 6 p.m. Saturday at Roberts Stadium ($29.50 and $42.50). Go to the stadium box office, visit ticketmaster.com or call (800) 745-3000.

— The Peppermint Pops concert by the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra at The Victory (Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.) brings Evansville natives Paula Leggett Chase (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) and Steve Morgan (“Mamma Mia!”) home for the holidays. Call 425-5050 for tickets.

— Newburgh’s Christmas celebration includes caroling, Saturday house tours (look for the trolley at Old Lock & Dam Park), roasting chestnuts and more today through Sunday. Call 853-2815.

— The Christmas celebration in New Harmony, Ind., features a tree lighting this evening. On Saturday there’s a 10 a.m. parade followed by a 3 p.m. performance of “The Children’s Nutcracker” ($10) at Murphy Auditorium.

— In Rockport, Ind., where the town’s Christmas festival gets under way Saturday, activities include a 2 p.m. parade and a “Radio Days Christmas Program” featuring local talent. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday ($7 to $10) and 2 p.m. Sunday ($5 to $7) at the Spencer County Courthouse.

— Elberfeld, Ind., has a Christmas parade and celebration at 10 a.m. Saturday while the holiday parade in Boonville, Ind., begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.

— In West Baden, Ind., there’s a Tea Dance from 3 to 6 p.m. EST Sunday under the famed dome of the West Baden Springs Hotel featuring the 17-piece Moonlight Big Band from Louisville, Ky. Dance tickets are $45, including tea and finger sandwiches. Reservations required at (866) 571-8687.

Source: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/dec/04/weekend-planner-sports-parades-and-ice-skating-ins/?partner=RSS

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 04:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 04 2009

Home remodeling business is picking up all over the country. Contractors began noticing the trend at the end of what was a long, slow summer.

The reason for the upturn is that home owners, unable to sell properties, are deciding to stay and fix up the deficiencies. An added incentive is the $1,500 federal tax credit for energy-related improvements.

The National Association of Home Builders' Remodeling Market Index, a measure of contractor confidence, rose slightly last month and its futures index also increased, indicating contractors are more confident that business is improving.

Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects and Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, agrees that the remodeling industry hit bottom during the summer, but he doesn’t expect substantial improvement until Spring 2010.

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009120406?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 04 2009

NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- A startup company has announced plans for a development and production facility making small-scale wind turbines in southern Indiana.

WindStream Technologies Inc. said Monday that its operations in New Albany could have more than 260 workers by 2012. The company is now based in California and plans to begin hiring as facility and equipment upgrades are made at the site in the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana.

WindStream says its TurboMills are designed to capture wind energy in urban areas. The devices are intended as a low-cost way to supplement a customer's electricity needs.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered WindStream up to $1.5 million

Source: http://www.seattlepi.com/business/1310ap_us_wind_energy_facility_indiana.html

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:08 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, December 04 2009

A partnership has been formed to advance motorsports training, research and education in Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation Motorsports Initiative, the Indiana Motorsports Association and several colleges and universities have established the Indiana Motorsports Education Alliance. The participating schools plan to offer several racing related courses involving team management and motorsports engineering.

The education institutions involved in the alliance are:

-Indiana State University
-Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
-Ivy Tech Community College
-Marian University
-Purdue University
-Vincennes University.

All offer motorsports-related courses and/or degree programs.


The alliance will also help grow the state's motorsports industry, and promote the ways the sector can be a catalyst for energy efficiency, sustainability and diversity.

 

Source: Indiana Motorsports Education Alliance & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:17 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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