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Archive for January, 2010

Columbus Hope for Haiti

Support “Columbus Hope for Haiti” City and Local Media Join Forces to Raise Funds for American Red Cross

01.20.2010 –Join Mayor Michael B. Coleman, the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus and Central Ohio media outlets for a special one-day 
fundraiser to benefit Haiti relief efforts in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and today’s strong aftershock.

“Columbus Hope for Haiti” is this Thursday, January 21, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
at the Ohio Historical Society parking lot located just off of I-71, at Exit 111.

“When tragedy strikes, Columbus unites in prayer and support for people in 
trouble, and there is no doubt that the situation in Haiti demands our attention,” 
said Mayor Coleman. “We are urging everyone to take a few moments
 to stop by and give what they can to help hurry aid to Haiti through our partners
 at the American Red Cross – it could not be easier than stopping this week at 
Columbus Hope for Haiti at the Historical Society.”

How The Online Community Can Help

  • Blog about the event on Wednesday and/or Thursday, sharing how people can donate
  • Fan the Facebook page and ask your friends to join as well
  • Tweet using the #Cbus4Haiti hashtag
  • Share the content with your other social networks
  • Email your Columbus friends and family, asking them to support the event

To Donate to the Red Cross

  • Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish)
  • Make a secure online contribution by visiting 
www.redcross.org. You can choose to designate your contribution to the 
International Response Fund or for the Haiti response specifically
  • Text “Haiti” to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross
  • Drop off a check or cash donation on Thursday, January 21 to the Ohio Historical Center
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244 Days Later

When I put my house on the market 244 days ago I was overly optimistic, at least compared to my feelings now.  I’ll agree that my initial price was a bit too high, but after some feedback and exploration, the price came down to what I determined at ‘reasonable’.

Then the real-estate tax credit was extended into 2010 and my realtor and I came to the conclusion that dropping the price again would help.  And although the new, lower price made me feel dirty, whorish – as if I were trying to be the big blue box of housing stock, I knew I’d qualify for a tax credit as well.  The new lower price hasn’t stirred up any new interest and now I’d like to put the price back up to where it was before I started feeling dirty.

What I’ve found most interesting throughout this process is the fact that I don’t see realtors selling lifestyle.  I see them as trying to sell houses as though this were still 1969.  Chrome bumpers on Buick LaSabre’s are long gone and so is cheap fuel.

For example, there has been no mention of the walkability score of my house which comes in at 68, or 13 points higher than the average Columbus score.  The fact that virtually every type of good or service is within close proximity on foot or by public transit doesn’t seem to be important to the realtors.  And if its not important to the realtors how is it going to be important to the buyers?

And speaking of public transit, one realtor stated that living on a bus line must be noisy.  Do I really have to tell an adult that streets with cars are noisier than streets with busses?  Yes – and I did (sotto voce).

My house doesn’t have central cooling (mechanical) and the real estate market makes this out to be a detriment.  No where however has it been stated that the forty-foot maple tree and the two new trees in front of the house now provide enough shade to substantially reduce summer-time heat gain.  By not having central cooling, I have no costs for annual maintenance and my electric bill doesn’t soar in the summer.

Additionally, the attic blankets, thermal pane windows and ceiling fans have added to the energy efficiency of the house.  A small $200 window unit that I bought 8 years ago cools the house just fine when it gets really humid – which lasts about a week or two at the most.  The new owners get to keep it! (That’s $25/year to cool the house vs $250/ year if I had central cooling).

My house doesn’t have a garage which means that I never have to repair the door or worry about getting stuck when the power is out.  And my property taxes are not reflective of a building designed to protect a depreciating machine.  If I were a farmer, that might make sense.   Not having a garage is also tied to my walkability score.  It hardly makes sense to own one car let alone a garage for two.

Did I mention that I have laminate countertops?  This too, is considered to be a detriment to my price.  It seems as if a coffee maker and a bottle of wine somehow sit better on granite.  I find this humorous.  What does one do with countertops other than look at them.  By the way, this house doesn’t have a mechanical dishwasher either.  It never leaks or breaks and costs nothing to repair because it doesn’t exist.  I have two hands and I’m going to assume that the next owner will too.

The claw foot tub.  I almost forgot.  This ultra deep original cast iron tub with shower must somehow make humans less clean than would a shallow fiber glass tub and shower combination.  You see, I’m told that cast iron now seem to be less valuable than fiberglass.

All of these missing amenities make the cost of living in this house less.  Having less to maintain, less to repair and lower utility costs create expendable income – and the ability to walk to most everything means that automobile costs are reduced dramatically.  It is a way of living, not just a stand-alone building.

Jeeze, I almost forgot!  My house is on a park.  An expansive view out the front windows and from the front porch mean offer an uninterrupted vista filled with yet more trees.  Never will the owner of this house have to worry about what moves in across the street because it’s a city maintained park.

Wouldn’t it be wise for realtors to be singing the praises of sustainability first and foremost?  I understand that the house I’m selling is not the perfect house for everyone – I really get that.  But to have sub-urban style expectations for new-urbanist location is, in my opinion, completely off base.

Generally speaking I see realtors promoting the “keep up with the Jones’” mentality rather than ushering in the new concepts of sustainability and long-term cost reduction.  Certainly the rules have changed in the past couple of years and it only seems logical that realtors modify the way they market property.

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We’ve read about your plans, your trips, your nights out, the books you’ve read and we’ve opened the links you’ve sent.  We’ve read the remarks you’ve made to others and  most likely, we even know where you live and what bus lines you ride.  But we’ve never met you.

That’s why we’re planning the Warm-up, Tweet-up this Saturday on Chicago’s north side.  Join us at the Wild Pug on Saturday January 9th at 6pm and finally meet the people with whom you share your daily tweets.  Seriously, we know you’ve been waiting for this.

Mix, mingle and meet face to face at the Wild Pug, 4810 North Broadway from 6p-9p on Saturday.  Name tags will be available for those who would like them, or just introduce yourself to the folks who already know you.

We’re using the ‘hash tag’ of #wutu so that we can follow the progress that evening via Twitter.  Use that hash tag in your tweets as you come, go and participate.   And, if you snap photos that night use the same hash-tag, upload them to Flickr and we’ll organize a post meet-up photo pool.

Accessible via the Red Line at Lawrence,  the 36 Broadway or 81 Lawrence – it doesn’t matter how you arrive, just so long as you arrive.

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