Monday, June 29, 2009

Around St. Charles County

Thursday, July 2-Saturday, July 4
Riverfest, Frontier Park. Games, food, crafts, carnival rides, parade, fireworks and fun for the entire family.
Thursday, Bluegrass Festival
4:30-9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
Music at 2 stages. Parade at 10:00 AM on July 4th. Fireworks at 9:20 PM. On Friday and Saturday

Friday, July 3-Saturday, July 4
O’Fallon’s Heritage & Freedom Fest
Friday, 4-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-11 p.m.
Ozzie Smith Sports Complex.
National bands, fireworks, carnival rides, family-friendly shows, kids’ activities, festival food and beverages, Independence Day parade. Info, Or (636) 379-5614.

Saturday, July 4
1 p.m. Parade
4-8 p.m. music
New Town St. Charles

Friday, July 10
Bicentennial Historical Trolley Tours
1-4:45 p.m.
Tour of Old Cemeteries
Historical Trolley Tours developed in conjunction with the Greater St. Charles CVB, the Bicentennial Committee & Steve Wiechens of the First Capitol Lions Club. Trolley Transportation will be provided by the CVB. Participation is limited to 20-22 people per tour and is by reservation only on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Info, 636-255-6154

Saturday, July 11
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
MoCHIP - Child Identification and Protection Program: Keeping MO Kids Safe!
Little Guppy Child Development Center, 3151 Elm Point Industrial Drive.
MO Masonic Family will be on hand to further ensure the safety of area children free of charge. Representatives from the police department and fire department to discuss child safety. Car seat and helmet safety checks, games, ice cream social.
Info, 636-530-6069.

Friday, July 17-Saturday, July 18
Friday, July 24-Satuday, July 25
7:30 p.m.
Lindenwood Center for Fine & Performing Arts Events
Production of Pulitzer Prize Broadway play Harvey
Tickets available at Lindenwood Box Office, or 800-447-7400.
General Admission $10.
Info, 636-949-4433

Thursday, July 23
1:30 p.m.
Middendorf-Kredell Branch, St. Charles Library District
How To Find Medical Information
Consumer health librarian Denise Ulett helps patrons research understandable, reliable sources for healthcare consumers. Navigate print and electronic information.

Sunday, July 26
1-4 p.m.
Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton
Hummingbird Festival
See hummingbirds up close. The Illinois Audubon Society will band birds. Adopt a hummingbird for a small fee.
Info, 618-786-2331, ext. 338

Friday, July 31
2:30-4:30 p.m.
Corporate Parkway Branch, St. Charles Library District
Teen 80s End of Summer Party
Games, trivia, snacks, prizes for best dressed.
Register online or call 332-9966

Sunday, June 28, 2009

O’Fallon Is Weathering Recession and is a “Great Place to Raise Children”

While not recession-proof, the Midwest and more specifically the St. Charles County region, has escaped the recent economic woes and mortgage crisis better than most. O’Fallon is a case in point. The St. Charles County Association of Realtors notes that in May, 102 single-family properties in O’Fallon were sold. That’s a 21 percent increase over the 84 houses sold in April. At the national level, home sales rose 2.4 percent from April to May (National Association of Realtors). On the flip side, the average sale price was down 7 percent from a year ago.

Even considering the lower sale price, the movement of homes with a SOLD sign in the front lawn indicates a slow but steady return to housing normality. The total transformation is a long way away, no doubt about it, but the economic news is more positive.

Yet all of the statistics, projections and analysis really don’t tell the story of why O’Fallon has remained a stable community. Recently the St. Louis Beacon, an online newspaper, featured O’Fallon in a series of community profiles. One mantra, repeated over and over, is that O’Fallon is a great place to raise children. This attitude attracts middle class families who want suburban living, good schools and close proximity to metropolitan St. Louis’ features, such as the Art Museum, the Zoo, theater, baseball and restaurants.

The current median household income is $74,426, while 67 percent of the population have household incomes between $50,000 and $150,000. Home prices are affordable, with 39.3 percent of the population living in homes that cost between $200,000 and $299,999, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the past 20 years, O’Fallon was part of the westward surge to build more homes and attract businesses across the Missouri River. Now that expansion has slowed, giving the community a breather and time to assess future growth.

With a business and industry mix that includes large corporations such as Citigroup, MasterCard and MEMC Electrical Materials, balanced with smaller employers, restaurants and retail, O’Fallon just might be a model for emerging in good shape from a weak economy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving In? What New Homeowners Should Do First

Every last piece of paper has been signed, the closing was successful, and there were handshakes all around. So, what now? You own a house but it’s not really your home yet. Home ownership is exciting and sometimes a bit daunting, but practical tasks can get lost in the piles of boxes on moving day. To make the first day in your new home a better experience, here is a basic checklist.

Call the utility companies. Service won’t start until you make contact. If you make a list and begin calling, you won’t be waiting for hot water.

Change the locks. You have no idea who has keys to the house, and just to be sure, a new lock system will give you peace of mind.

Do a walk-through with your family. Walk though the house, noting all the doors and how you can devise an emergency exit. If you and your family have to get out fast, you don’t want to be deterred because you are unfamiliar with the house layout.

Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. In addition to learning the exits, install or test fire extinguishers and smoke detectors immediately at strategic points throughout the house, like the kitchen, in hallways, the basement around the work area and laundry room.

Find your circuit breaker and water line shutoff. Locate these vital features and show family members how to turn off the water and reset the circuit breaker. Spending precious time looking for these can result in an even bigger flood or lights out.

Meet the neighbors. Walk next door and introduce yourself. Most likely the neighbors will come to you, but making the first effort is fine. Offer a compliment as an opener, such as noting the beautiful flowers along the walkway. Establishing good neighbor relations is a must as you ease into your new community.

Take your toolbox with you. To avoid frustration, keep your toolbox with you for easy access to equipment you may need to assemble furniture, make minor repairs, and just know where the screwdriver is.

Assemble an emergency first aid kit. With all the excitement of move-in day, there will be minor accidents, scraped knees, and smashed thumbs resulting from that handy toolbox. Don’t waste time rooting around for first aid supplies. Prepare a supply of band aids, antiseptic, gauze pads and ibuprofen; accidents do and will happen.
With just a little more planning for the big day, your moving experience will be less stressful and begin to make your new house your new home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Save Money, Eat Well and Reduce Stress With A Home Garden

When times are tough, people tend to look inward for sustenance and stability. Your backyard would be a good place to look also. Home gardening is the trend now, with gardeners hoping to save money and connect with their own personal world through growing their own vegetables.

During World War II, Americans planted victory gardens to cope with food shortages. In 1943, 20 million gardens were planted and those gardens reportedly produced 8 million tons of food.

Just as then, Americans are now concerned about saving money. Can you reduce your grocery bills by planting your own victory garden? Yes but the trick here is to keep those garden start-up costs low. If you are going for raised bed gardening, by the time you get the lumber and compost, the costs could range up to $80, but that’s a one-time cost and next year you’re good to go with the same setup.

Tilling up a patch of land, or incorporating your vegetables into the existing landscape is less costly. You can further reduce your costs by ditching those chemical fertilizers and insecticides. You really don’t need them, and there are many easy, homemade insecticides that will get the job done.

Seed companies estimate that business is up 20% this year, which points to much more interest in home gardening. By this time though, you’re better off investing in seedlings, like tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and herbs.

Missouri State Extension horticulturist David Trinklein says as little as $50 invested in plants and supplies can yield as much as $1,200 in vegetables. Fairly good gardeners can achieve 10 to 15 pounds of tomatoes per plant while a simple garden with a variety of vegetables can fill a family’s salad bowl for about six weeks. Gardening also brings health benefits. Home gardeners who are exposed to nature have better mental health, are more physically fit and eat healthier foods.

Ideally, your home garden will be a family affair. Everyone pitches in and not just one family member is out there hoeing away. A pizza garden is a great way to get the kids involved. Plant peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsley, basil and oregano in a circle to resemble a pizza, or rows will do just fine too. Sprinkle marigolds in the pizza garden to represent cheese and watch how much more interested your kids will be in gardening.

Saving money with a home garden is a reasonable goal, but eating good, clean food at the dinner table after a pleasant evening digging in the dirt is what will really make gardening an important part of your life.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Interested in buying a foreclosure??

In today’s real estate market every buyer is looking for a deal, and in many cases the best deal can be found by buying a foreclosure.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has now made that opportunity that much more enticing by releasing their Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which will provide borrowers with down-payment assistance when they buy foreclosed properties.
Specifically, MHDC will provide the borrower with 20% of the purchase price up to $14,999. This will be in the form of a second mortgage that will be at 0% interest and will be forgiven after 5 years.

As with any loan programs, there are specific rules and for NSP; some of them are as follows:
  • The home that is being purchased must be a foreclosed home. (HUD home, FNMA home, or a bank owned home, etc.) No short sales.
  • There are specific income limits by County
  • There are specific purchase price limits
  • The borrower(s) must have 8 hours of homeownership counseling, which can be provided by any certified HUD counselor.
  • The home purchase price must be at a discount of at least 5% from current market appraised value.
  • The property must have been without tenants for the past 12 months.

In addition to potentially qualifying for $14,999 free money, the borrowers that are first-time homebuyers will then still be able to file for their $8,000 tax credit on their federal income tax return if they purchase before December 1, 2009. (You do however not have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for the NSP!

If you know of anybody thinking of buying a home, I can’t imagine it getting much better than the program MHDC is providing with their Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Call your Realtor today and tell them to get out there and find you a foreclosure!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spotlight on Law Offices of Kristoffer M. Boevingloh, LLC

Q: Please introduce yourself?
Kris Boevingloh

Q: What is the name of your business?
Law Offices of Kristoffer M. Boevingloh, LLC

Q: Where is your business located?
7717 Natural Bridge Rd., Ste. 203 STL MO 63121

Q: Briefly describe what you/ your business does.
Law Firm
Kris Boevingloh founded the Law Offices of Kristoffer M. Boevingloh, LLC to better serve the people of the Greater St. Louis Area. Mr. Boevingloh's clients appreciate his personal touch when working with cases, a direct result of his experience with many kinds of legal work. Mr. Boevingloh is skilled in transactional law and offers services such as estate and business planning. He is also experienced in litigation, successfully representing clients in circuit court jury trials and before the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Mr. Boevingloh, a graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia - School of Law, has worked with the Missouri Supreme Court, the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's office, small firms, and finally a firm headquartered in down-town St. Louis.

From simple planning to complex estate administration, working with Mr. Boevingloh means that you can expect skill and diligence as he helps you face the complexities of starting a new business or planning for your children's future. When faced with personal injury or workers' compensation issues, you can trust Mr. Boevingloh to treat your case with the respect it deserves. In the courtroom Mr. Boevingloh is a committed advocate for his clients, respected by attorneys and judges alike; you can expect Mr. Boevingloh to use the utmost diligence and skill to assure the best outcome for your case.

The firm is dedicated to supporting clients by finding the best solution for their legal problems. This is a commitment to keep both time and costs to a minimum. The firm is devoted to find real solutions for real people with real budgets. Whatever your legal needs, the Law Offices of Kristoffer M. Boevingloh, LLC is here to serve you.

Q: How many years have you been in business?

Q: What is your burning desire?
To sail around the world

Q: What’s something not many people know about you?
I am an Eagle Scout

Q: Do you have a Website Address?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Property Values and St. Charles Schools Get An A+ Report Card

One of the first questions potential home buyers ask their real estate agent is “How good is the school system?” Of all the local neighborhood amenities that can influence a buyer’s decision to purchase a home, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential, according to the 2007 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. School quality was listed as a deciding factor for 28% of home buyers.

The St. Charles region is fortunate to have excellent schools that attract families who want their children to have the best educational experience possible.

The St Charles School District, with approximately 5,200 students, fits that category. Both high schools are designated A+ and students score above state and national averages on the ACT and MAP (Missouri Assessment Program).

The District received its first Distinction in Performance For Improvement from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Schools (DESE) in May 2007.

Good schools do attract home buyers and new business, keep property values high, and provide employment.

Good schools can increase the value of a home by 10-15 percent and are a key factor in maintaining neighborhood property values.

High quality public schools supported by the community will help property values increase in the future.

This factor is important not only to attract families with school-age children, but also home buyers who do not have children or choose private schools. As long as a community supports children, education and progress, the real estate market will continue to be viable and prosper.
St. Charles is a unique community; we have high expectations for our young people and are willing to spend our money for education; we are historically significant on a national level as well as a state level; we are close to major cultural attractions that big cities offer; and we have housing stock that attracts buyers who are ready to become active members of this very special place.

(Next time: You’ve purchased your new home and your children will attend a new school. How can you ease the transition and make their first days at school a positive experience? We can help with that.)