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Friday, April 29 2011
We consider Atlas Van Lines a local company here in Evansville Indiana. Even though this is true, Atlas Van Lines has worldwide contacts and offices throughout the United States and in other countries. Atlas therefore has a direct pulse to the market place and is in a very good position to make predictions on corporate as well as personal relocations. The report below will highlight the advances in the relocation market. -RT


Relocation managers across the U.S. are expressing optimism that the worst of the recession is now in the rearview mirror, according to a survey.

Responding to Atlas Van Lines' 44th annual Corporate Relocation Survey, 72 percent of the relocation managers polled say they believe their respective companies will fare better in 2011. The optimism rate among large firms surveyed jumps to 80 percent. 

Data from the survey indicated that:

• Fifty-four percent of executives surveyed believe the U.S. economy will improve in 2011-the highest rate of such optimism recorded since 2006.

• Thirty percent of companies plan to relocate workers this year, the highest percentage in six years.

• Eighty-seven percent of companies will spend as much or more on relocation in 2011 as in 2010, the most since 2007.

The Midwest is now the top destination of transfers (37 percent) followed by the Northeast (31 percent), the South (28 percent) and West (20 percent). Thirty-two percent of companies say they increased the number of international relocations in 2010, with 28 percent predicting another increase in 2011. 

According to Griffin, the Atlas survey has revealed trends in how corporations are moving existing employees or newly-hired staff. He said, it shows where the economy has been and where it’s headed and the view looks better than it did one year ago. The effect of economic/market pressures on entry level/new hire and middle management relocations appear to be lessening.

In 2008 and 2009, roughly 40 percent of companies say these pressures decreased relocations in these job sectors. In 2010 that percentage dropped to just above 25 percent.

Seventy-eight percent say the economy or real estate markets are the most important factors affecting relocations. While employers may be more optimistic about the economy, many of their workers remain cautious and somewhat apprehensive.  Fifty-nine percent of firms say they had employees decline relocations in 2010; the third highest level in several years.  Among large companies, the rate jumps to 87 percent. Three of every four companies surveyed say the number of employees declining relocation in 2010 stayed about the same as 2009, reflecting little change in workers' attitudes toward moving. 

Sixty-nine percent of employees who wouldn’t move cited housing and mortgage concerns, 55 percent cited family issues and ties, and 41 percent cited their spouse’s or partner’s employment.

Twenty-seven percent of companies surveyed say that declining a relocation request usually hinders an employee's career. 

2011 Survey fast facts

• Eighty-four percent of firms have a formal relocation policy.

• More than half of all relocations were new hires (53 percent).

• Employees age 36-40 remained the most frequently relocated salaried employee in 2010 (37 percent); most are male - only 19 percent of relocations involved female employees.

• Forty-five percent of relocations involved employees with children; 61 percent of those relocated were homeowners.

• Thirty-two percent of responding firms give employees just one week or less to accept a relocation offer (up 7 percent from 2010 survey).

• More than three-fourths of companies reimburse/pay to pack all items; 28 percent to move pets; 14 percent will even reimburse for moving boats.

• Among international relocations, the most frequent destination was Europe (41 percent).              

Source: Atlas Van Lines

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011
Yesterday we reported on an article on the rise in the new home construction industry. Today we can report that there is also a rise in the sale of existing homes. According to the National Association of Realtors existing-home sales rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed last July. This in itself is a good indication that barring any unforeseen mishaps with the economy, we should continue to see increases in the sales of homes. -RT


Existing-home sales rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed last July, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. 

Existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 3.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.92 million in February, but are 6.3% below the 5.44 million pace in March 2010. Sales were at elevated levels from March through June of 2010 in response to the home buyer tax credit.

The improving sales pattern is likely to continue, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Existing-home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we’re clearly on a recovery path,” he said. “With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain—primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage. For those fortunate enough to qualify for financing, monthly mortgage payments as a percentage of income have been at record lows.”

NAR’s housing affordability index shows the typical monthly mortgage principal and interest payment for the purchase of a median-priced existing home is only 13% of gross household income, the lowest since records began in 1970.

Mortgages harder to get

Data from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae show requirements to obtain conventional mortgages have been tightened, with the average credit score rising to about 760 in the current market from nearly 720 in 2007; for FHA loans the average credit score is around 700, up from just over 630 in 2007.

“Although home sales are coming back without a federal stimulus, sales would be notably stronger if mortgage lending would return to the normal, safe standards that were in place a decade ago—before the loose lending practices that created the unprecedented boom-and-bust cycle,” Yun explained. 

“Given that FHA and VA government-backed loan programs turned a modest profit over to the U.S. Treasury last year, and have never required a taxpayer bailout, we believe low-downpayment loans should continue to be available for those consumers who have demonstrated financial responsibility and are willing to stay well within their budget. Raising the downpayment requirement would unnecessarily deny credit to many worthy middle-class families and veterans,” Yun said.

Who is buying homes?

A parallel NAR survey shows first-time buyers purchased 33% of homes in March, compared with 34% of homes in February; they were 44% in March 2010.

All-cash sales were at a record market share of 35% in March, up from 33% in February; they were 27% in March 2010. Investors accounted for 22% of sales activity in March, up from 19% in February; they were 19% in March 2010. The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

Housing inventory up slightly

Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 1.5% to 3.55 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.4-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with a 8.5-month supply in February.

Single-family home sales up

Single-family home sales rose 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.45 million in March from 4.28 million in February, but are 6.5% below the 4.76 million level in March 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $160,500 in March, down 5.3% from a year ago.

Condo sales rise

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 1.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 in March from 640,000 in February, but are 4.1% below the 678,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $153,100 in March, which is 10.1% below March 2010.

Regional home sales mixed

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 3.9% to an annual level of 800,000 in March but are 12.1% below March 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $232,900, down 3.0% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.0% in March to a pace of 1.06 million but are 13.1% lower than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $126,100, which is 7.1% below March 2010. 

In the South, existing-home sales rose 8.2% to an annual level of 1.99 million in March but are 1.0% below March 2010. The median price in the South was $138,200, down 6.6% from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West slipped 0.8% to an annual pace of 1.25 million in March and are 3.1% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $192,100, which is 11.2% lower than March 2010. 

Source: NAR

Read more:
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Wednesday, April 27 2011
The news coming out of the home construction industry is cautiously positive. We do not think that we have overcome all the problems and obstacles, but all indications are that new home construction rates are on the rise. The report below shows positive signs and we can only hope this trend will continue. - RT

New home construction is picking up just in time for the spring buying season, according to the latest new-home report released on Tuesday from the Commerce Department. Builders broke ground on more new homes in March than in the last six months.

Another bright spot: Building permits, an indicator of future construction, increased 11.2 percent for the month.

After a dismal winter performance, new-home building bounced back 7.2 percent in March from February to a seasonally adjusted 549,000 units. Yet, the sector is still far below the 1.2 million units a year that economists consider a healthy building pace.

The new-home sector has faced hard times in recent years, competing against a flood of foreclosures and short sales on the market that have pushed housing prices down. In February, construction fell to its lowest level in nearly two years, and requests for building permits to start new projects had dropped to a five-decade low in February.

Builder sentiment also remains low, according to Monday’s release of the National Association of Home Builders’ monthly index of industry sentiment for April.

Builders' views on the market had risen slightly in March to 17 in the index but in April fell back to 16, a level that it had remained at for four straight months prior to March. Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the market, a level the index hasn’t been above since April 2006.

Source: “U.S. Housing Starts, Permits Rebounded in March,” Associated Press (April 19, 2011) and “Builder Outlook for Home Buying Falls Slightly as Foreclosures, Short Sales Weigh Heavy,” Associated Press (April 18, 2011)

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Tuesday, April 26 2011
Here we have a copy of the Indiana Statewide Housing market Overview. It is important to note that real estate is local and local conditions do not necessarily follow state or nationwide conditions. We are fortunate to be in the Tristate.  Our averages are running above those of both the state and the nationwide levels. One indicator we keep an eye on is the Months Supply of Inventory, at the local level, which for the year ending in March 2011 is 9.1. The Indiana State wide Months Supply of Inventory is 9.7. We will report on this again in one month time to see if there were any differences. Please feel free to contact me at: if you have any questions or concerns. - RT

The Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR) today released its monthly “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” as a continuation of its “Indiana is Home” project.  Statewide, when comparing March 2011 to March 2010:

The median sale price of homes decreased 2.8 percent to $105,000; and
The number of closed sales decreased 13.0% to 4,599.

“As expected, the number of closed sales and the median sale price of homes are down year-over-year,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer.  “It is likely we'll report larger percentage decreases in those measures next month. Neither is particularly concerning because of the April 30th federal home buyer tax credit deadline that pulled sales forward last year.”

REALTORS® have advised consumers for awhile now to review housing data in the long-term until the impact of the tax credit recedes. While the impact won't be as great after April, those who took advantage of the credit had until September 30, 2010, to close their transaction. This means that October 2012 is the soonest a true year-over-year comparison can be made.

“Until then, it’s a good idea to look deeper into the report,” said Berron. “Historical graphs show stability. Add that to continued low, but rising, interest rates, and qualified buyers couldn't ask for a much better time.
“Stability won't turn into growth without consumer confidence, so we're watching jobs numbers and unemployment claims closely, both of which are headed in the right direction,” he continued. “We're also watching - and advocating for changes to the mortgage industry that will ensure access to adequate mortgage capital for qualified buyers.”

More about the “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report

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Tuesday, April 26 2011
More Americans are heading to the South and West, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The latest census data shows the largest population growth in the last decade occurred in areas of the South and West, as Northeast and Midwest residents continued to head toward warmer and less expensive Sun Belt hot-spots.

Populations in the South and West grew 14.3 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively, from 2000 to 2010, while Northeast and Midwest areas grew by only 3.2 percent and 3.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau.
As such, the decade’s hottest housing markets also had the most rapid population growth, including Nevada (35.1 percent growth), Arizona (24.6 percent), and Florida (17.6 percent).

However, demographic factors likely will have less of an impact as it once did in the short-term in driving the housing market and prices, experts say.

Paul Bishop, vice president for research at the National Association of REALTORS®, says he expects much of the short-term housing activity to be mostly centered on low and high ends of the market, rather than driven by merely migration patterns. He says investors likely will continue to target highly discounted homes in growing Sun Belt cities as well as in shrinking Rust Belt areas. He also anticipates an increase in sales of expensive homes.

"The stock market has been doing pretty well, which benefits the wealthy," Bishop told Investor’s Business Daily. "And the wealthy can withstand bad economic times better than others."

Source: Housing Bust Curtails Moves, Great American Migration Investor’s Business Daily (April 14, 2011)
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Monday, April 25 2011
a happy home
Did you know that a typical U.S. home emits more carbon dioxide than two average cars? Or that the average U.S. household spends $1,900 per year on utility bills? Earth Day is just around the corner, and serves as a great reminder to consider new ways to become more eco-friendly. Below, tips for your home that will benefit the earth and your wallet.
Start with heating and cooling
Heating and cooling systems drain more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Consider programmable thermostats, upgrades to current equipment, regular replacement of filters, and drawing the shades on your windows to save energy use and cost.
Address leaks
Check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, basement walls, floors and crawl spaces to increase the comfort of your home while reducing heating and cooling needs.
Watch your watts
Changes to your lighting are one of the most immediate ways to reduce energy costs. Use energy-efficient bulbs and consider occupancy sensors, dimmers and timers for high-use areas such as the kitchen, living room and outside.
Monitor appliance consumption
Shop for new appliances with two price tags in mind: the initial cost of the appliance itself, and what it will cost you to operate that machine over its lifetime.
Want to start conserving but don’t know where to start? Here’s a simple guide to the steps you should take to maximize energy and cost savings.
 1.            Find out which appliances or areas of your home use the most energy. This can be done with your utility company, or you can do an audit yourself.
 2.            Compare your current energy costs with your
areas of greatest energy loss. Determine your energy efficiency investment solution and how long it will take to pay off in the long term.
 3.            Weigh factors such as “How long will I be in my home,” “Does the work require a contractor?” and “What is my budget and how much do I have for maintenance and repair?” before developing
a plan.
 Learn more about smart energy conservation by visiting
Home service agreements give you the assurance that there is someone to help at any time with problems on covered items. A HomeTrust home service agreement gives you the protection you need against breakdowns of covered appliances and major systems such as plumbing, heating, electrical and air conditioning.
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Friday, April 22 2011

EVANSVILLE -- Winter and early Spring flooding is causing quite the mess along Evansville's riverfront, but clean up crews have to wait for the weather to cooperate.

The Greenway along Evansville's riverfront is a path that many take every day. Joshua Seibert lives in Evansville and says this time of year he's usually greeted with the remnants of Winter flooding. He says the riverfront is usually "sort of smelly from the stagnant water, the debris. Lot of grass down here too. Usually it's cleaned up down here, but it's been pretty nasty". Seibert says this year, the junk that's washed up seems to be worse, including tires and other junk washed up on the concrete near Casino Aztar.

The City of Evansville says that all of this mess can't be cleaned up until waters fully recede for the entire season. Executive Director of Transportation and Services for the city Ed Ziemer says his crews normally wait until April first or Mid-April to clean up because in the past they've cleaned up only to have more flooding happen.

Ziemer says once word is given that flood season is over, city crews get to work to get the riverfront back into shape. "A couple pick up trucks or dump trucks (are used) to load the logs in. We try to pick up any cans or paper or plastic bags or tires or anything like that. We pick all that stuff up. The only thing we wash back in the river is the mud itself," he explained.

Ziemer says it usually takes a crew of about ten workers to get the riverfront area cleaned up. The entire crew works for the city, so no extra funds are needed for the job.


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Thursday, April 21 2011
The superintendent of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation is stepping down.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Vince Bertram announced he will be leaving his post as head of the EVSC. He said, "It is very difficult. It has been the most excruciating decision I've ever made."

The announcement came as a shock to many teachers and faculty at the EVSC. Keith Gambill, President of the Evansville Teacher's Association tells News 25, "We were surprised to find out that Dr. Bertram would be leaving."

Gambill praised the relationship they've forge with Bertram over the years and they hope his replacement will be just as open.

"We look forward to building a quality relationship with him as well," says Gambill.

Dr. Bertram is leaving the EVSC to become the chief executive officer of Project Lead the Way, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum program for middle and high schools.

Bertram explained, "It is in all 50 states, serving 4,000 schools and over 400,000 students." He continued, "It's not about success, it's really about doing things that are significant."

Bertram has served four years as superintendent and helped develop the district's Strategic Plan. We're told Bertram will remain as superintendent through the remainder of the school year before starting at PLTW early this summer.

During Monday's press conference, an emotional Bertram thanked the community and his family's support.

The EVSC Board of Trustees said it will begin formulating plan to hire a new superintendent.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 21 2011

EVANSVILLE- It can be tough having a dependant family member who has special needs.  Caregivers often get overwhelmed and need support.  Jacob's Village has been providing adults with disabilities alternative living arrangements since October 2004.

The organization is funded through private donations and fees from people living there.

Currently, six people are calling Jacob's Village home.  The facility has caregivers 24-hours a day, nature trails, a gazebo area, and a variety of activities.  Jacob's Village offers services to families who are looking for alternative living options or a place for loved ones to go if a caretaker wants to get away for a weekend.

The organization plans to expand in May by building more housing units.  Starting in the fall, it will offer services to senior citizen who can't live on there own.

Jacob's Village President Cheryl Kuchna says, "Initially we were focused on people with disabilities and we've learned about what needs there are in the community around us.  It does appear that good, affordable, accessible housing options are in short supply, especially for seniors and people with disabilities, so we are kind of evolving our mission to provide additional housing choices right here in this neighborhood."

Jacob's Village has its biggest fundraiser on May 13th.  The Otters baseball team hosts a game and all proceeds go to the organization.


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Wednesday, April 20 2011
Apartment bargains once dominated the housing market, but those bargains have slowly faded away. As vacancies decrease and rents rise, renters are finding fewer deals.

Analysts expect vacancies to decrease even more and rents to continue to rise through 2013, as the economy continues to improve.

Rental activity recorded its best start for the year since 1999, according to Reis Inc. Vacancy rates have fallen to mid-2008 levels and rents have increased for the past five quarters, now averaging $991 per month nationwide.

Renters are finding the fewest deals along the coasts, such as New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose, Calif. These cities are experiencing low vacancy rates. Also, a boost in these cities’ economies is sending rents higher. New York City alone has seen double rent increases compared to the national average and has the lowest vacancy rate in the nation.

The best rental deals can be found in Las Vegas, Tucson, Ariz., Phoenix, and several cities in Florida--all cities where unemployment and foreclosures remain high. According to Reis, Las Vegas was the only city to see rents fall last year.

However, analysts say that bargains across the country are getting fewer, and renters should expect to see an increase in rents over the next three years.

View the Top 6 Cities Where Buying Is Better Than Renting.

Source: “Rental Market Swings Back in Favor of Landlords,” (April 12, 2011)
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Tuesday, April 19 2011

SPENCER CO., IN - Holiday World & Splashin' Safari will get some national airtime this summer. The park will be featured on the Travel Channel reality show, "Bert the Conqueror."

The show's host, Bert Kreischer, is described as an "everyman" who travels the country, conquering extreme rides, sports and unusual competitions.

Bert will visit Holiday World & Splashin' Safari on May 6 and 7 to try and "conquer" The Voyage roller coaster and Wildebeest water coaster, each voted the world's top rides of their kind. Park President Dan Koch said his mother is also planning an extra challenge for Bert.

"We hear that Bert hollers like a little girl on roller coasters," says park president Dan Koch. "I hope that means he'll drown out my screams."

The show's producers said Holiday World was the most demanded venue for Bert to feature in his show's second season.

You can join Bert as he tries to conquer the rides. Holiday World is conducting "open auditions" by video and email through April 20. In a one minute video or 175 word email, families are asked to explain why they should be picked to ride along with Bert. Contest rules can be found at 

"Bert the Conqueror" airs Sunday evenings on the Travel Channel. The Holiday World episode is expected to air this summer.


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Monday, April 18 2011

Vacation homes are offering plenty of good deals at the moment. In many second-home hot spots, prices are still close to five-year lows. For example, single-home prices in second-home hotspot Napa, Calif., are down 47 percent from their peak in 2006, according to Fiserv.

If you have a buyer looking to cash in on vacation- or second-home values, an article at recently offered the following tips:

1. Is it rentable? Even for buyers who aren't planning to rent it out, they may still want to consider the rental aspects of the property, particularly since a home's rental potential can affect its resale value, says Catherine Jeffrey, a real estate professional in Fredericksburg, Texas. Buyers will want to check with the homeowners association or township to ensure that short-term rentals are allowed.

2. How do you plan to use the home? Your loan rate will depend on how you use the property. For example, if buyers intend to use the property primarily as a second home, they’ll pay about the same mortgage rate as a primary residence, says HSH Associates vice president Keith Gumbinger. However, if they plan to get rental income from the property, the property will be treated as an investment, which means they may need to pay as much as 25 percent for the down payment and pay up to one percentage point more in interest, Gumbinger says.

3. Are you eligible for the tax benefits? If the owners rent the house out for two weeks or less, they won't have to report income to the IRS, and they'll still be able to deduct property taxes and mortgage interest, experts say. If the owners stay in the home for less than two weeks or has 10 percent rental days, whichever is greater, they'll be able to deduct operating costs, such as cleaning and maintenance fees, as well as the interest and property tax, says Rick Shapiro, a CPA in West Hartford, Conn. He suggests home owners talk with a tax expert to find out what tax benefits they are eligible for.

Source: “5 Things to Know About Buying a Vacation Home,” (April 5, 2011)

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Friday, April 15 2011

It's a sign of the season: outdoor home improvement scams.  Police say as the temps warm up, the fraud cases pile up.

False promises cost an Evansville woman thousands after she agreed to hand over checks to a local contractor.

Door-to-door scams often begin with a stranger knocking at your front door, but not this time.

Instead, Dorothy Elzer says it was a familiar face.  "Seems like I had known him," said the 86-year-old woman.  Elzer says she had seen the contractor around her neighborhood doing work for others.

He pointed out a roofing problem.  "Well, he said if I didn't get it fixed it would be leaking."

She was sold and agreed to hire the apparent handyman to repair her roof.  Elzer says she can't write as well as she used to, so she handed over several blank checks to pay for the supplies and labor.

They negotiated a price, but it wasn't the $6,000 now missing out of her account.

Elzer says was never given any receipts detailing the completed work or supplies purchased.  Evansville Police officers are now working this as a theft and home improvement fraud case.

"Some checks had been written for roofing that was never performed for the house," says Karen Kajmowicz, EPD Public Information Officer.

She says investigators have a person of interest they're looking for, but aren't identifying any names just yet.   Police reports list Thrifty Roofing & Construction as the listed company.

"We're working on a few different leads so there's a possibility we'll be able to find out who this was," Kajmowicz says.

NEWS 25 contacted Thrifty Roofing.  The phone line appears to be disconnected.

Police caution everyone to ask for references before agreeing to any door-to-door salesman work.


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Thursday, April 14 2011
My blog submissions are being copied and reproduced without my permission. This blog entry is just to see from which of my blog sites they are being copied.
My apologies for any inconvenience and I will make sure that this blog will be deleted momentarily.
Yours truly,
Rolando Trentini
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Thursday, April 14 2011
The Evansville Parks and Recreation Department is working to repair all the city pools so they open on time this year.

So far Lorraine pool has received the most repairs.  Last summer there was a problem with the infrastructure and piping when the lining was put into place.  Now, contractors have identified 14 leaks and are working to fix those.  Once that is done, a new liner will be put in place, costing more than $37,000.

In three weeks, the parks department will start prepping by draining, power washing, filling and chlorinating the pools.  Garvin pool will take the most work to open, because it's the only city pool with a fiberglass liner.

Agency Director Dan Schall says, "that is our goal every year to get the pools up and running.  You don't know your major problems until you pressurize the system with water, by looking at a pool it might look great cosmetically, but once you pressurize it that's when your true issues start to arise."

Hartke pool will open the weekend before Memorial Day and the rest of the pools will open the first Tuesday in June.


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Wednesday, April 13 2011

Market Watch
     If you remember the Market Watch I sent in December, I made several specific predictions about how our local real estate market would perform the first several months of this year compared to last year. Those predictions have been accurate to-date but what is probably more telling is how we are doing compared to 2009. As I have mentioned before the homebuyer tax credits in the first half of last year distorted sales. There were no homebuyer tax credits in the first half of 2009. Closed sales in the first three months of 2011 were up 11.7% in units and up 18% in total sales dollars compared to the corresponding period in 2009. The local housing market has improved and will continue to get better. 
     The number of active listings on the market continues to stay at historically low levels. Housing affordability which is influenced primarily by the price of homes and interest rates is at historically high levels. If you are thinking about buying, waiting will inevitably mean you pay more for your home, either in terms of price, interest rates or both. If you are thinking about selling, it is better to get your house on the market now before inventory levels begin to rise.
     If you are selling your home, it is important to understand that buyer behavior has changed significantly in the past few years. Now virtually all buyers look at homes online before physically visiting a house. In other words showings happen online. Today the number of times a home is viewed online is as, or more important than the number of physical showings and is a better barometer of buyer interest. Seller reporting at provides sellers a realistic picture of marketing activity. This tool allows you to know when and how often potential buyers are looking at your home online. Call me if you have additional questions about this valuable program.
     Let me know if I can help you with any of your real estate needs and please enjoy the beautiful spring weather that has finally arrived.   You can reach me at 812-499-9234 or Kathy at 812-499-0246.   
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 03:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, April 13 2011

Just in time for the warm weather and green grass, the latest issue of Consumer Reports features ratings of more than 100 mowers and tractors.

Consumer Reports testers mowed 19.2 acres and identified more than 30 top-scoring models, including three models from Honda and Toro that retail for $400 or less.

Among the top performers is the Black & Decker SPCM1936, $450, one of the few cordless electric mowers with self-propelling wheels, a feature more typically found on gas models.

Tests also found more lawn tractors that can maneuver around trees and posts nearly as well as zero-turn-radius riders. The new Craftsman 28856, a CR Best Buy at $1,600, offers added agility plus impressive mowing for about $1,000 less than many zero-turn riders and $2,000 less than the four-wheel-steer John Deere X304 tractor. At $500 each, the Toro Super Recycler 20092 and Honda HRR216K7VXA cost $200 less than the top Honda self-propelled gas model and mow comparably.

On some models, features trumped performance. Lawn Boy’s 10605 one-speed mower includes a work-saving clutch for just $300, but it was only mediocre at bagging and side-discharging clippings. The Cub Cadet’s Z Force S 46 17AF5BHH is tops among zero-turn-radius riders and noteworthy for its tractor-like steering wheel and steerable front wheels for better control down slopes, but it was among the more repair-prone tractor brands and was repair-prone among zero-turn riders.

“Shoppers will find feature-laden mowers for less and tractors that cost about the same as smaller riding mowers,” said Peter Sawchuk, Project Leader at Consumer Reports. “But our tests of more than 100 models show that some models put features before performance and could leave many consumers stuck in the weeds.”

How to choose

Consider a self-propelled mower for hills and save cordless models for small lawns that can be mowed within 30- to 45-minutes. For larger lawns with slopes, choose a tractor with front-steering wheels over a lever-steer, zero-turn-radius rider, which is harder to control on hills. Here are additional tips Consumer Reports recommends keeping in mind:

  • Choose the right mode. All tractors and riders can side-discharge clippings, essential when grass is too high to mulch or bag. Choose a model that did well in the mode preferred. For riders, expect to pay about $50 extra for a mulch kit and $500 for the bagging system.
  • Know what you’re getting. Many brands are made by more than one manufacturer, so know the mower’s model number when replacing blades and other parts, rather than just the make and blade size.
  • Think twice about high wheels. For walk-behind mowers, engines mounted farther up front make most of those mowers harder to tilt back when making U-turns at the end of a row.
  • Play it safe. Check for rocks and other debris before mowing. Keep people and pets away from the area. Always wear long pants, sturdy shoes, and hearing protection. And look behind whenever backing up a riding machine.

How Americans really feel about mowing

Purchasing the right mower is only half the battle, mowing the lawn is the other. According to the latest nationwide lawn care poll from Consumer Reports, some 32% of respondents found mowing relaxing, good exercise, or nice private time. But most would trade part of their lawn for something else, including fake grass (12%), with only 5% actually wanting to enlarge their lawn. And distracted driving isn’t limited to the car, texting and talking on the phone (4%), in addition to boozing (8%) are a few activities that come into play while mowing.

Lawn care is an activity that one must dress for, but according to poll results, many were dressed to kill, or at least injure themselves. Over three-quarters of respondents (77%) didn’t wear hearing protection, and over half (54%) wore shorts. Having close-toed shoes are also not a concern for 14% of Americans.

Source: Consumer Reports

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Tuesday, April 12 2011
A potential $39 billion merger between two of the nation’s largest wireless carriers--AT&T and T-Mobile--could lead to higher cell phone bills, according to some experts.

Here are some cost-cutting measures to consider making now:

1. Use a family plan. You may want to find some “family” to add to your smartphone plan to start trimming your bill. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, as well as other carriers offer family plans that aren’t just limited to those in your family. You can essentially add anyone to your “family” and still take advantage of the savings. Here’s the potential savings by bulking your plan: AT&T smartphone individual plans (which include voice, unlimited messaging and data) start at about $75 per month. A family plan that covers three users for similar features costs $145 a month--about $48 per person. A family of five? The monthly cost is $40 per person.

2. Trade in old phones. Don’t just dump your old cell phone in a drawer. Web sites such as and CellTradeUSA will let you trade your old phone for a new one. While you may have to pay a small upgrade cost, you’ll still save in having to buy new.

3. See if you qualify for a discount. Check to see if you qualify for a discounted cell phone plan if you’re a member of a national group such as AAA and AARP. Also, some wireless carriers even offer business discounts that you can apply toward your personal plan.

4. Free texting and video calls. You can curb your texting fees by using smartphone apps. For iPhone users, try Textfree With Voice; Android users might try chompSMS. (Note: These services only work with other smartphone owners who have the app.) You can also save by using video calls: iPhone users can save on calling minutes by using FaceTime video calling, and Android and iPhone users can video chat for free and also save on calling minutes by using Skype.

Source: “Here Are Smart Ways to Cut Cellphone Bill,” Orlando Sentinel (April 3, 2011)
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 11 2011
  • 2 gallons of water is used to wash your hands.
  • 2 gallons of water is used to brush your teeth. (if you leave the water running)
  • 2 to 7 gallons of water is used to flush a toilet.
  • 9 to 12 gallons of water is used to wash dishes in an automatic dishwasher.
  • 20 gallons of water is used to hand wash dishes.
  • 25 to 50 gallons of water is used for a five minute shower.
  • The average person uses 120 gallons of water per day!
  • You can not hear a "running" toilet until it
    is losing 250 gallons of water per day.   
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 08 2011
 Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced today that Heavy Trash Pick-up will begin on Monday, April 11, and is scheduled to run through Monday, June 13. This semi-annual curbside service is available to City residents who pay for trash service with their water bill, including newly-annexed areas. Apartment complexes, mobile home communities and business/commercial customers are not eligible.


To help keep crews on schedule and prevent heavy trash from sitting out on the curb any longer than necessary, the Evansville Water & Sewer Utility and Allied Waste analyzed collection volume data from past years before setting this spring’s heavy trash collection schedule. The number of days allocated for collection in each specific area has been determined based on the volume of heavy trash set out in the past and the number of days required to collect it.

The collection schedule and area maps are available on the City’s GIS website – – by clicking “Heavy Trash Pickup Dates” on the right.

Heavy trash must be placed in manageable, organized piles where normal weekly trash is collected before 6:00 a.m. on the first day collection is scheduled in an area.

Items that will be collected include:

  • Carpet (Must be rolled in sections no longer than 4 ft. and no wider than 2 ft. in diameter.)
  • Furniture (Sofas, tables, chairs, mattresses, box springs, etc.)
  • Appliances (Stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, etc.) (Limit two of each type of appliance per household.)
  • Electronics (Televisions, stereos, etc.) (NO computers or accessories.)
  • Building materials/construction debris (Must be in trash cans, boxes, etc. of such size and weight that they can be reasonably lifted by two average adults. Containers must be strong enough that they do not break apart while being lifted even if they are wet.) (Privacy fence sections must be cut in half or smaller manageable size.) (NO concrete blocks or steel poles.)

Items that will NOT be collected include:

  • Any trash that Allied Waste would pick up as part of its regular residential waste collection contract
  • Automobile parts
  • Batteries
  • Tires
  • Hazardous materials
  • Computers or accessories
  • Concrete blocks or steel poles

Heavy trash that does not meet these requirements will not be picked up. If a customer has put their heavy trash out according to the requirements above yet feels they were missed, they can call Allied Waste at 424-3345 within two days to report a possible missed pick-up.

Note that many items not collected through the City’s heavy trash pick-up can be properly disposed of through programs offered by the Solid Waste District, including:

  • Tire Amnesty Days: April 16 and October 15, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Civic Center Parking Lot
  • Electronics Recycling Days: May 14 and September 24, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Civic Center Parking Lot
  • Household Hazardous Waste Day (Tox Away Day): September 10, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Roberts Stadium Parking Lot

Additional information about these programs is available in the Solid Waste District’s section of the City Website ( or by calling 436-7800.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 08 2011

For the second time in three months there is a proud new mama monkey at Mesker Park Zoo.

A Francois' Langur (FRANZ-wah LANG-ur) monkey gave birth to a female on February 8th, but the baby was just put on display.

Another feamle gave birth to a male baby in November.

Francois' Langur Monkeys are leaf-eating monkeys native to Vietnam, Laos, and China.

They usually sleep in caves, and the babies have bright orange fur that turns brown as they mature.

There are only 73 Francois Langur Monkeys in captivity in the U.S., eight of those are in Evansville.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 07 2011

More investors are finding a sweet spot in flipping foreclosures, but it’s not the same type of house flipping seen during the real estate boom.

During the housing boom, investors would take advantage of skyrocketing real estate prices and loose lending regulations by buying a property, remodeling, and then selling it for profit.

Today’s flippers are buying at ultra-low prices mostly in cash deals and are doing mostly only minor repairs, such as repainting, replacing appliances, and sprucing up the landscaping. Their profits aren’t as large when they sell, but they may sell more properties in a year, says Penny Boling, the broker-in-charge of Century 21 Boling and Associates in Myrtle Beach.

The 'Street Sweepers'
Keith Gamble has made foreclosure flipping a full-time job. He purchases properties at a monthly foreclosure sale and usually has about four properties at any given time.

“Some people’s bad fortune is other people’s opportunity,” Gamble says. “I know that sounds callous — I know people doing what I’m doing at the courthouse each month are there to take advantage of that opportunity, but I also feel we provide a backstop to the market.”

The flippers are often taking the neighborhood’s blight and helping to fix up the homes that had been badly trashed from the previous owner. Boling says the investors’ abilities to also pay cash will help the market get through the abundant foreclosures that are plaguing sales.

“They’re kind of like the street sweepers,” Boling says of the property flippers. “They’re part of the cleanup committee of this marketplace.”

Source: “Foreclosures Offer New Twist on Old Game: Flipping Houses," RISMedia (April 4, 2011)

Posted by: Rolandso Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 06 2011

Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56% of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work, and recreation. That’s according to a recent study, the Community Preference Survey, by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Walkable communities are defined as those where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within walking distance from homes. According to the survey, when considering a home purchase:

  • 77% of respondents said they’d look for neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features.

Many are willing to sacrifice square footage for less driving:

  • 80% of those surveyed would prefer to live in a single-family, detached home as long as it didn’t require a longer commute.
  • 59%—nearly three out of five of those surveyed—would choose a smaller home if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less.

Community characteristics are very important to most people:

  • 88% of respondents placed more value on the quality of the neighborhood than the size of the home.
  • 77% of those surveyed want communities with high-quality schools.

The survey of 2,071 adult Americans was conducted by Belden, Russonello and Stewart from February 15-24, 2011. 

Source: NAR

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Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 05 2011

The Kunkel Group is well-known for its projects with the city and it is ready to begin the next phase for the massive manufacturing plant.

City leaders say there isn't a more attractive place for companies looking to share more than a million square feet of manufacturing space, than inside one of Evansville's most infamous landmarks.

"It is 70 years old, so it has it's limitations, but its really the only facility in the Evansville area with that type of space," mayor Jonathan Weinzpfel said. Mayor Weinzapfel says with the deal done, the real work begins.
He says the city will work on tax abatements or other incentives to draw companies here.
"We can really roll up our sleeves and make sure we are attracting businesses and investment right into that facility," Weinzapfel said.

The Growth Alliance For Greater Evansville's president Debbie Dewey was part of the team who helped finalize the sale.

"There were a lot of details to work out when you have something that's been there that long, it's not going to be something that happens overnight, but we are excited that it's final," Dewey said.
And now that this sale is final-- the building's manufacturing days are likely not over.
 Dewey says companies are looking very seriously at the space, but it's too early to speculate exactly what companies those might be, or approximately how many jobs it create


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 04 2011

The Solid Waste District conducts tire recycling programs each year in the spring and fall for the residents of Vanderburgh County. 

These programs provide an environmentally proper method of disposal of used tires so that they are kept out of the landfill and are not illegally dumped. 

There is a $1 per tire fee for car & light truck tires.  Semi tires are $10 and tractor tires are $25.  Tires from businesses are not accepted. 

The District accepts an unlimited number of tires free of charge from neighborhood associations and other civic groups who collect unwanted tires from alleys, roadsides and ditches.

2011 PROGRAMS     Civic Center Parking Lot    8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Saturday, April 16

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 01 2011

The do-it-yourself home improvement market has faced a 21 percent drop from 2005-2010, according to the latest research from market researcher Mintel. Yet, that’s not due to lack of will on home owner's part, but more about lack of money, according to the survey.

More than a quarter of DIYers surveyed said they would undertake a major home renovation or addition to their home if they had the funds.

Nearly 40 percent of DIYers say that making a major home improvement is the best long-term investment they can make.

However, with the sagging housing market, many home owners have opted to put off major renovation projects, but forecasters are already seeing signs that is changing.

“We forecast growth to accelerate in 2011 and, presuming a stabilization of the housing market, to remain positive through 2015,” says Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel. “Pent-up demand, ongoing need for repair and maintenance, retro-fitting, and renovations from boomers approaching retirement and demand from millennials should all propel DIY spending.”


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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