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Ault Park's Amazing Race Challenge

by The Cincinnati Team

Mark your calendars for a fun, family time on November 8th from 1-3 pm in Ault ParkThis Amazing Race-style event, sponsored by the Cincinnati Parks, incorporates nature education into the activity right in the middle of the Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout areas.  Specifically designed for the family with 5-12 year olds, everyone can plan to learn a lot on the Park's trails while having a good time together.

You should meet at the fountain and park rangers will send a family out on the trails every five minutes.  For each trip through the woods, you will need toAult Park - Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout in Cincinnati complete certain activities and show those as part of determining winners.  Typical activities might be finding a certain kind of leaf or searching for a fossil in the creek.

Small prizes will be awarded. Not only will you learn about nature, best of all, the event is FREE!

Reservations are required so that the Park has enough staff on hand and prizes for the winners.  Call 513-761-4313 to set it up for your family!

Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors Releases September Numbers

by The Cincinnati Team

Pending Home Sales on a Record Roll

For the fourth month in a row, the local home sales activity was up from one year ago. Comparing September 2008 to September 2009, 10.55% more homes were sold this year.

The inventory of homes available has shrunk over the past year from 9.74 to 7.4 months of inventory.  The National Association of Realtors says that six months of inventory is a balanced market. 

The graph below shows this year's activity.Homes Sold in Cincinnati - 2009

On a national basis, contract activity for pending home sales has risen for six straight months, a pattern not seen in the history of the index since it began in 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In the Midwest the index slipped 2.0 percent to 88.1 but is 8.1 percent above a year ago.

Nationally, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in July, increased 3.2 percent to 97.6 from a reading of 94.6 in June, and is 12.0 percent higher than July 2008 when it was 87.1.  The index is at the highest level since June 2007 when it was 100.7.

Nationally, the typical mortgage payment now takes less than 25 percent of a middle-income family’s monthly income to buy a median priced home, with payment percentages so far in 2009 being the lowest on record dating back to 1970.  

NAR estimates that about 1.8 to 2.0 million first-time buyers will take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit this year, with approximately 350,000 additional sales that would not have taken place without the credit.  

NAR’s Housing Affordability Index stood at 158.5 in July, below the peak set in April but is still 36.0 percentage points higher than a year ago.  The HAI is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income.

Cincinnati Team Supports Jumpstart's Read for the Record

by The Cincinnati Team

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carl (see interview at Amazon.com), is the children's book selected for Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign this year.  Jumpstart is a national organization who raises awareness of the importance of reading to young children.  They focus on at-risk preschool children to build literacy, social and emotional skills, so they will thrive in kindergarten. Many of these children have no books at home. 

Jumpstart works toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Having books in the home and reading to kids prepares them for kindergarten, a focus of Southwestern Ohio's United Way.

This year, once again, the Cincinnati Team raised money to provide children from the East End area, at Riverview East Academy with a book to take home and keep.  Hopefully, they will enjoy reading the book again and again and share it with their siblings!

Cincinnati and Hamilton County Elections

by The Cincinnati Team

Have you been wondering where different candidates stand on election issues?  Maybe you aren't even sure what the issues are.  So attached are places you can go to hear about issues on the ballot and size up the candidates for various Cincinnati and Hamilton County positions.

Cincinnati City Council Candidates - Thursday, October 22 - 7 pm - Cincinnati Union Terminal

Cincinnati City Council Candidates - Friday, October 23 - 7 pm - Crossroads Community Church in Oakley

Gambling Forum on Merits of Issue 3- Monday, October 26 - 7 pm - Cintas Center at Xavier University

Mariemont Village Council Candidates- Tuesday, October 27 - 7 pm - Mariemont Elementary School

Indian Hill School Board Candidates - Wednesday, October 28 - 7 pm - Indian Hill Primary School

Cincinnati School Board Candidates - Wednesday, October 28 - 7 pm - Little Flower School, Mt. Airy

We'll be updating this list as we hear about other forums that take place in the next two weeks.

For further information and videos of forums that were held earlier in the month, go to the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area website.  They have a Smart Voter feature that will allow you to plug in your address and receive a sample ballot along with information about the candidates and issues that will be on that ballot.

Don't go to the polls uninformed! 

Hyde Park's Award Winning Kilgour Elementary School

by The Cincinnati Team

Kilgour Elementary School is the only school in the Cincinnati Public School District that has received the Excellent with Distinction rating from the State of Ohio Department of Education!  2009 was its second year with that designation.

Kilgour Elementary School - Hyde Park, OhioLong a favorite of families in the Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout areas, the school continues to have the ingredients that make up quality schools...experienced teachers averaging over 15 years on the job with 78% of them having master's degrees, active support from parents and the PTA, and children prepared for learning.

First opened in 1922 as an eight room building, the school was dedicated to John Kilgour because his wife had given the Herschel Avenue land for the school.  Thousands of children have now walked its halls, with many additions over the years.  When I did my student teaching there under John Stevenson, there were temporary buildings set up in the playground, because of the overflowing numbers of children.  Today, the children have the latest of the additions with a total remodel of the entire building.

Children also have an assortment of special activities at their disposal.  Ranging from Intermediate Choir to Keyboarding Club, Spanish Club to Student Council, Scouts to Safety Patrol and Fine Arts Night to Everybody Counts.  The Sports Boosters have also provided an exciting well-run program. Yearly, the major fundraiser is the Kilgour Carnival with the recent addition of a 5K Run/Walk.

You may want to read the State Department of Education's Report Card for the school. For further information, contact principal Angela Cook at 513-363-3000.Kilgour Elementary School - Hyde Park, Ohio

After you read about such an outstanding school, is it any wonder that the homes in Kilgour Elementary Schools area are in such demand...there is a proven correlation between school quality and home prices.

Ahhh...a weekend in Adams County, Ohio on the "Edge of Appalachia."  Murphin Ridge Inn is a special treat, a not to miss experience within 1 1/2 hours of Cincinnati.  You'll know you are there when the terrain starts to change.  Featured in the prestigious Select Registry, Distinguished Inns of North America and the National Geographic Traveler as one of the 54 top inns in the US, Murphin Ridge continues to live up to the hipe it receives.Murphin Ridge Inn

Why will YOU love a day or two relaxing at Murphin Ridge?

  • Peaceful surroundings - the 1820's farmhouse overlooks fields of soy beans.  Their 142 acres have guided paths through the woods, so there is no excuse to just sit.Murphin Ridge Inn - chairs overlooking fields Plus, it's fun to harmonize around the firepit.
  • It's in the middle of the Amish area of Adams County. In fact it is important to never speed on the winding, hilly roads.  You never know when a buggy will be just over the crest of that next hill.  It is fun to see the children playing, clothes drying on a line and imagine life without some of the modern conveniences we expect.
  • FOOD - Their chef, trained at the Culinary Institute of America, takes good food seriously.  There is an expectation that only the freshest food will be served.  The menu changes with the season and what is available in their kitchen garden and that of their Amish neighbors. Be sure to make a reservation, because the demand may exceed their limited space.
  • The innkeepers, Sherry and Darryl McKenney are truly "at your service," enlivening the experience with their knowledge of the community and just plain good cheer. You can make reservations at 877-687-7446.

Personally, I would recommend being there for three days...then you get the benefit of actually relaxing.  Know that everything for shopping will be closed on Sundays, so plan your time there with that in mind. The Amish shops are important to see-buy herbs in bulk, choose a rocking chair for your porch, eat their Amish baked goods and cheeses.Murphin Ridge Inn - rocking chairs

Other places of interest include:

  • Serpent Mound, built by the Adena Indians in the 800 B.C to 100 A.D.
  • Edge of Appalachia Preserve, 14,000 acres developed by the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science and the Nature Conservancy
  • Buzzard Roost Rock Preserve - Be sure you are in good shape for this hike. You'll find the view is worth the breathless climb!
  • Shawnee State Forest is often called the "Little Smokies" and the only state designated wilderness area.
  • Shopping in the antique shops.
  • Clothesline of Quilts is a sampler of 20 painted quilt squares on local barns.  Finding all of them is a fun part of the trail through Adams County.
  • Visiting a covered bridge should be a must if you have children along...they will probably have never seen one and as the bridges quickly disappear, they may never get the chance to show one to their children.
  • Blake Pharmacy in West Union is like the one you may remember from your childhood, but lunch there features five-cent Cokes from the soda fountain, sandwiches and milk shakes, too.

If you are planning a romantic weekend for two, reserve one of Murphin Ridge's cabins.  Built by the Amish, each cabin is slightly different, but you may Murphin Ridge Inn - diamond anniversarywant one with a two person whirlpool and two -sided fireplace.  While we were there one loving husband gave his bride of 20 years an anniversary diamond ring. The surroundings throughout the Inn are further enhanced by the antique reproductions from the Workshops of David Smith.

Go and enjoy - it's beautiful in any season and you'll return refreshed and ready for the next project! 

Good or Bad? Forbes Rates Cincinnati #10 on its List

by The Cincinnati Team

 By the Numbers: America’s Hard Drinking Cities Evaluation

This may be a ranking we should have missed, but didn’t.  In the recent Forbes evaluations, Austin came in number one followed by Milwaukee, San Francisco, Providence,RI and Chicago as America's hard-drinking cities.  Why were they studying the topic…because of the health consequences of alcoholism.

Why do we rank in the top 10 of 33 studied?  Perhaps because of the abundance of college students…or the history of brewing in the city…or, maybe it’s all the church festivals each summer!

Cincinnati ranked #10 because:

  • 56.3% of the people had at least one drink in the last 30 days
  • 5.8% of the men who had more than two drinks a day or women over one
  • 19.2% admitted to having five or more drinks on one occasion

Search Crime Statistics for Cincinnati Addresses

by The Cincinnati Team

If you are trying to decide on where to search for a new home in Cincinnati neighborhoods, the local crime statistics will be of interest to you. There is a new FREE website that could answer your questions, www.CrimeReports.com.

When you go to www.CrimeReports.com, you will put in a location and get a nearly real-time report.  The report generates a map, so you feel confident that the location was correct, followed by a list of any crimes that have been committed within a specified distance of the subject property.  You can ask for all types of crimes or limit it to more serious offenses. Plus you can tell them how far back in time to search.

Currently, the site partners with more than 500 law enforcement agencies, covering over 25% of the population. I was interested that it gave me addresses of the locations where there were crimes, and when that criminal was captured, it tells you when and where they were captured, by what law enforcement agency and the name of the person arrested besides. 

At this point, it appears that not all neighborhoods have been entered into the database.  Every address I entered in the City of Cincinnati showed up easily. When I entered Newtown, Milford and Wyoming, they showed no crimes.  I'd like to think there had been no crime, but assume there has at least been a speeding ticket handed out!

The website also has a valuable system to send automatic email crime alerts to you, the consumer. These alerts can go out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for your home or business address. All you need to do is enter in a valid address and valid email address.  Crime alerts from www.CrimeReports.com could perform a valuable community service as we all work to prevent/reduce crime and avoid being a victim.

Where's Indian Summer? What's happening with Cincinnati's weather? Last year, this time, Cincinnati was just getting out of 90º temperatures and into 80º temperatures. And today it looks like we will have a high of 46º with no higher temperatures in sight. So you had better turn your sights to home maintenace for the season!

Now that furnaces are fired up in everyone's homes, it is time for a safety reminder about the potential of dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning.  It is certainly vital to your family's health to avoid and prevent the gas in our homes.

What exactly is Carbon monoxide?  It is a gas that is both colorless and odorless, so it isn't easy to know you have a problem, like you can with natural gas. CO is produced when fuels such as natural gas, oil or propane combust in furnaces, water heaters or stoves.  All of these vent the resulting gases, either through chimneys or direct venting. Carbon monoxide can generate dangerous levels when something happens in the venting, through incomplete combustion, improper installation of blockages, leaks or cracks in the venting system.

Here are some tips that homeowners can follow to protect themselves:furnace inspection for carbon monoxide

  • Purchase a CO detector, (both plug-in and battery types are available) and install according to manufacturers instructions.
  • If the CO detector activates:
    • shut off all fuel-burning devices
    • open doors and windows
    • if anyone is experiencing fatigue, nausea or confusion, seek medical attention immediately
  • Be sure all devices are installed properly and vented to the outside - a good reason for those home inspections we advocate
  • Have all repairs to furnaces,water heaters and gas stoves done by licensed contractors.  Do not attempt it yourself or rely on a friendly neighbor
  • Only use the fuel specified for the device you are using
  • inspect flues and chimneys regularly for cracks, leaks and blockages and, while they are at it, have them cleaned as well.
  • Never use gas stoves and oven to heat your home
  • Never idle a vehicle in the garage, even with the door open.  It is too easy to have something distract you and someone upstairs hurt, while you deal with the other emergency.
  • And finally, one of most important, HAVE FUEL BURNING APPLIANCES INSPECTED YEARLY!

Give us a call , if you need the name of a reliable furnace company.  We recommend that you set up a service contract that provides for twice yearly inspections.  This makes sure that the job will always be done.  The Cincinnati Team maintains a list of contractors that our customers have found satisfactory.  We're happy to pass those names along to you.

Have a safe Fall (I mean Winter!)

Home Inspection Nightmares - Don't Let This Happen for your Cincinnnati Home!

by The Cincinnati Team

This Old House Magazine recently showed pictures of nightmares discovered in inspections.  It is so awful, it is funny.  Explore them and be horrified...it isn't a Halloween Hoax!inspection nightmares from This Old House Magazine Click for dangerous horrors that inspectors have seen...Inspection Nightmares

Is it any wonder that we, at the Cincinnati Team, always recommend an inspection?  Only inspectors that have been certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) are on our list.  Kentucky now licenses inspectors and Ohio is discussing the idea.  We think the legislature should move forward and require licenses.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 19

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