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Archive for November, 2009

A Time to Reflect

Thanksgiving week is a time to reflect and think about all we have to be thankful for.    We are able to meet as a family and celebrate with my mother at her home each Thanksgiving.    She still cooks the turkey and makes her fabulous corn bread dressing.    My sister in law, Sheri brings brussel spouts, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.    We bring pies, green beans, and bread.   Some Thanksgivings are packed with family and some like this year, not so many, but we always go around the table to tell what we are thankful.   There are always some surprising comments but all come from the heart.

 A Brief History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is now a favorite American holiday…but did you know it took awhile to catch on as an annual tradition?

According to scholars, the first known Thanksgiving took place on September 8, 1565 in Saint Augustine, Florida when Spanish settlers held a Mass of Thanksgiving after arriving safely in the New World. English settlers in the Virginia Colony held a similar day of thanks in 1619. Two years after that, the colonists at Plymouth Plantation celebrated the most famous Thanksgiving, during 1621.

It wasn’t until October 3, 1789, that it actually became a holiday, when then President George Washington proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving…but just for that year. In 1795, Washington again proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving, and President John Adams also declared Thanksgivings in 1798 and 1799.

After a decade and a half without the celebration taking place at all, President James Madison renewed the tradition in 1814, and even went so far as to declare the holiday twice in 1815!

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln finally proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving that should take place every year. Years later, President Franklin Roosevelt stated that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month – as opposed to landing on the occasional fifth Thursday.

I wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

All is strong in the real estate market in Walla Walla.    We have more written business in November of this year than in 2008.    Our associates keep connecting with families who have real needs and are finding them their new home.   Rates are at the lowest in forty years, tax credits, inventory, and a strong buyers market make it the time to take action.   Look at our website, coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com, for homes and an associate to assist you in the process.       Starting this week we will activate our new Walla Walla Community Tour.   Look for the little car, push and watch as we move through our community.    Watching it helps you understand why families find Walla Walla such a beautiful place to call home.

We will have reduced hours for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.    I want our staff to enjoy time with their families and relax and enjoy the meaning of the holidays.   Take the time to donate food or any other items to the many families not as fortunate as you.    If you do not have time to search or shop for items, send money to the organization of your choice.  It will be greatly appreciated and mean so much to a local family.   We have chosen Helpline’s women’s shelter this year for our $10.00 closing agent donation.    We are also sponsoring one or two local families that are unable to provide Christmas for the children with food and gifts.   It is a special feeling.    If you are interested in sponsoring a family contact The Salvation Army or a local church.  They can put you in contact with a family in need. 

One of my associates, Tim Teed is serving a Thanksgiving dinner free to people who have nowhere to go at Barnaby’s this year.   Signup for the dinner is at Helpline.  I have associates assisting in serving and preparation of the dinner and I thank Tim and Stephanie for their effort.   

Thanks again for your time.    Any questions respond and I will get back to you.

 DM Ledford, Broker/Owner

Coldwell Banker First Realtors

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Guest Blog by Jerry Holm

If you were to ask me what a dream vacation would be I’d have to tell you,  7 days on a a 47 ft. Catamaran in the British Virgin Islands!   With 4 private bedrooms, it is a great vacation to take with friends.

The BVI’s are located 35 minutes flying time, Southeast of Puerto Rico.  After having the pleasure of 9 sailing vacations around those islands, each time my wife & I arrive on Tortola is still very exciting to us.  The minute you step off the plane on Beef Island….you know you’re on “Island time”.  It’s not unusual to see goats and cows in the middle of the road as our taxi takes us to our charter company in Road Town, Tortola.  

This is a British Colony, so cars drive on the left side of the road.  The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, a photographers dream.   The island people are hospitable and friendly.  You can enjoy yourself without the worry or fear of pirates invading your boat.  Swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving in the crystal clear water are safe with hundreds of colorful fish surrounding you.  

When not eating on your boat, there are many restaurants to choose from.  Menu’s might include, lobster, shrimp, conk all cooked with a Caribbean flavor and you can top it off with a wedge of key lime pie!  

Occasionally you can hear the music of the steel drums.  On one of our vacations we had the pleasure of watching a concert in Road Town,  put on by the school students with ages ranging from kindergarten to high school.   It was the highlight of that trip!

Several times we have made the 14 mile trip out into the Atlantic Ocean to the remote Island of Anegada.   Sailing to Anegada is a little scary at first as the island is only 15ft. high so you cannot see it until you are half way there!   Once you arrive, the sandy beaches are heavenly and inside the coral reef so there are no large waves.    If you’re lucky you will see a large group of Flamingos.

The Bath’s on the Island of Virgin Gorda is a fun place to hike.  There are the most unusual formation of large granite boulders.    Some of the boulders are as large as a two story home….tilted together…with pools of water and trails for hiking in between them.

So as you can see,  staying on a Catamaran for days is wonderful as you’re not stuck in one location,  you have the whole BVI’s to explore!   

If you are wondering about this great vacation and have more questions,  you can email me at jholm@cbfr.biz.  I would be happy to share more details with you!   

Jerry Holm, Realtor

Coldwell Banker First Realtors

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GREAT NEWS!!!

President Obama signed the The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law on Friday, November 6th.   The legislation greatly expanded the first time homebuyer tax credit; extending the date for the $8,000 first time homebuyer credit and expanding it to include a $6,500 credit for many buyers looking to purchase a new home.  To qualify, buyers in either group must sign a purchase & sale agreement by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30, 2010. The credit is available for the purchase of a principal home purchased at $800,000 or less.  Individuals with annual incomes above $125,000 and joint filers with incomes above $225,000 would be excluded. Current homeowners must have owned their home for at least five years.

In my opinion, I feel this will generate more activity in the new construction area which will put our local work force back on the job.    More new construction means more jobs and continued inventory for the first time home buyer.   If you are thinking of making a change, contact one of our senior home consultants on pricing, financing, marketing, and inventory.   They lead the community in homes sales and satisfied homebuyers.   Look at our web site coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com to view the current mls inventory and to choose one of our qualified associates.  It is a great opportunity to make a change for your family needs.   Start the process today.

Windmill-GoogleI spent some time with Dr. Steven Van Ausdle, President of Walla Walla Community College last week to discuss the plans WWCC has for the next few years and was excited to hear about the college accepting students for The Watershed Ecology Program, a new educational piece for the community.  If you are interested in the program you can contact Jaime Clark, the Ecology Program Advisor.   I did not realize the number of people it takes to maintain the wind power units we see developing in our area.   Dr. Van Ausdle indicated it takes one full time employee for every eight towers.   With the number of units we see being built in the area, it is  creating a large number of full time jobs at a good family wage.   We need sustainable energy with a renewable framework to keep our environment safe.    WWCC is fortunate to have such an innovative source of ideas in the person of Dr. Van Ausdle.

We need to push ahead to protect our streams, our ri2520612408_0fefcca0e9_o-newvers and lakes to allow us to maintain a sustainable environment.    It is my understanding WWCC  is working to development a park that will highlight their ideas on protecting the environment in conjunction with the government, Umatilla tribes, and private investment.    All of this activity makes Walla Walla a wonderful place to live.

Thanks, for reading my ideas.   Send a request if I can answer some questions or be of assistance.

Dennis M. Ledford, Broker/Owner

Coldwell Banker First Realtors

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SUNSETS IN WALLA WALLA….

I wonder how many residents of the Walla Walla Valley100_0581 sit and enjoy our sunsets, especially in the fall. Several times this past month or so I have looked out my office window or been sitting on my patio earlier to see some of the most magnificent sunsets in the world. What is the expression; “we do not see the forests for the trees”. I really feel it is true in so many ways for the families in Walla Walla. Everyone is so busy with work and family that they do not always reflect on the beauty of the Walla Walla Valley. What a place to live.

100_0905Twenty years ago, I was showing property to a professor coming to Walla Walla for a short tenure at Whitman College. I was driving him around the valley and our community, listening to his comments and I really started to understand what a man from New York City saw in Walla Walla that was so special. He said the following to me and I have never forgotten it, “Dennis”, he said, “you just do not know what a special gift you have, living here in Walla Walla”. Since them I have really started to take time to enjoy all we have. Every time I return from traveling across the west , and come over cabbage hill and see our valley, I turn to my wife Donna, and say, “I do not if I have seen a more beautiful spot as Walla Walla in our 3000 mile of travel.”

We have another business sunset coming, November 30th. All sales must be Sunset-Earlclosed for the first time homebuyer tax credit. If it has not closed you will not receive the credit. If you are just entering into a sales contract and hope to close by that date you need to check with your lender first to and see if the process can accommodate your needs. Do not enter into a transaction, needing the credit, until you have discussed it with your Realtor and lender.

100_0112Please check out our company website: coldwellbankerfirstrealtors.com. Comment on its use. We have really made a sincere attempt to make easy and comfortable to use. We don’t demand names or contact information. We want you to feel comfortable to do your searching and hopefully contact us when you are ready. We hope you will enjoy our new feature for the tour of Walla Walla. It will have photos of parks, schools, downtown, hospitals, buildings, the Blue Mts & more. Everything we could think of. If you have photos you feel would add something to our tour, you can submit them on our website. The tour should be up and running by the 10th of November.

Enjoy some of the sunsets and take more time understand the beauty of the Sunset-tourismWalla Walla Valley.

DM Ledford, Broker/Owner

Coldwell Banker First Realtors

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