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  • psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813
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Dominion Power offers rebates

Dominion Virginia Power is offering rebates to residential customers making home improvements after participating in energy conservation programs.

The new programs include a Home Energy Check-up and others offering to test and seal duct work, to tune-up heat pumps and to upgrade heat pumps to more efficient units.

imageIn the Home Energy Check-Up program, a qualifying customer will receive a report with recommendations for saving energy, as well as a rebate based on improvements involving the water heater, sinks and showerheads, lighting, air conditioning filters and other items.

Dominion estimates that the average one-time incentive will be approximately $230 for customers making improvements based on check-up findings.

The average incentives are $125 for the residential duct testing and sealing program and $90 per unit for a residential heat pump tune-up program.

The average incentive is $200 for the heat pump upgrade program for installing a unit with an efficiency rating of 14.5 to 15.9 and $250 for a rating of 16 and higher.

Details are available here  Information is also available by calling 866-366-4357

Give the The City Of Williamsburg a Shout Out ! Engage and Be Heard

The City of Williamsburg has launched Williamsburg Open Forum, an online program to solicit citizen input and feedback on the City’s FY 2011 Budget. The program is accessible from the city’s website at www.williamsburgva.gov/OpenForum  and allows individuals to make comments and suggestions and read what other people are saying.
City officials will read the statements and incorporate them into their decision process.  The Online Open Forum continues the City’s efforts to expand its online presence to provide more opportunities for citizen interaction and engagement.

“The current ‘Great Recession’ presents significant challenges to our City’s budget, and decisions and choices will have to be made that affect every citizen,” said Jack Tuttle, City Manager.  “Although we have many methods of gathering input, such as council meetings and work sessions, email, personal contact, we wanted to add one more way that citizens’ voices and opinions can be heard. Residents can read what others are saying online and make their own statement on their own schedule from the privacy of their own home.”

The program was developed by Peak Democracy, http://www.peakdemocracy.com, a non-partisan company based in California, whose mission is to broaden civic engagement and build public trust in government. Other cities using Peak Democracy include Sacramento, California; and State College, Pennsylvania. Peak Democracy provides moderation, authentication, support and privacy services. The City participated in a previous pilot project with Peak Democracy during the Biennial Goals, Initiatives & Outcomes Review in 2008. 

Background materials about the budget are posted online at the Forum
and the Finance Department web page.   The FY 2011 Proposed Operating
Budget will be delivered to Council March 19.  Council Work Sessions are March 22 and 23, 2010, at the Municipal Building. Other opportunities for public comment include a City Council Public Hearing on April 8 and Council Work Sessions on April 12 -13.  Council Work Sessions are March 22-23, 2010.  A complete Budget Calendar is available on the city website.
The city’s partnership with Peak Democracy is a result of its membership in the Alliance for Innovation (www.transformgov.org), an international partnership of municipalities, management associations, educators and corporations whose mission is to transform local government and advance community excellence through the discovery and application of leading ideas and practices. 

Williamsburg/ James City County Schools Redistricting

REDISTRICTING MAPS – FIRST DRAFT

Click Here for MapsRepresentatives of Education Logistics Inc. of Missoula, MT, presented the first drafts of three redistricting possibilities at the School Board’s work session held Tuesday, Nov. 17.  A series of public forums are tentatively scheduled for December and January to receive public input on the maps.  Specific dates and times of these forums will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

This link will take you to a list of each W-JCC elementary and middle school, where there are links to the three proposed maps for each school presented at the meeting, along with a detailed list of which addresses would be served by each proposal.  The color-coded maps included three options for the district’s elementary schools and another three for the middle schools. Each school’s proposals are labeled “Red,” “White,” or “Blue.” 

At this time the maps are a little difficult to read with the omission of  street names and school locations. I am assuming that for the money that was paid to the consultant (Education Logistics ) we will have maps that are more easily deciphered !

Williamsburg/ James City County Schools will hold a public hearing on the redistricting maps Dec. 8 at James River Elementary School, 8901 Pocahontas Trail, and another on Dec. 9 at Rawls Byrd Elementary School, 112 Laurel Lane.  from 6-8 p.m.
The School Board will vote on the redistricting plan next spring.

Click the link below to see the three options currently proposed as of November 2009

Over 162,000 people without power in Area

Nearly a quarter of Dominion Virginia Power customers in Hampton Roads were without power as of 12:00 am., as persistent strong winds and rising tides knocked out substations and downed lines throughout the region.

These conditions, which are expected to continue through Friday, have triggered widespread outages, particularly in central and eastern areas. Service restoration efforts are underway, and restoration times will be dependent on the extent of needed repairs.

Additional information

Report your outage

Service Outage Map

power outage tidewater_area

H1N1 Vaccine Shots on Nov 10th @ Stonehouse Elementary

The Peninsula Health District, Virginia Department of Health, has announced there will be an After School H1N1 Vaccine Clinic on Tuesday, November 10 at Stonehouse Elementary School, 3651 Rochambeau Drive.

Vaccine administration will begin at 4:00 PM. The waiting line for vaccine will be closed when the clinic leader determines that no more persons can be served by 8:00 PM or that the supply of vaccine will be exhausted.

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Lumber Liquidators #1 on Forbes

Lumber Liquidators in Toano , Virginia , the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in the U.S., has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as the LL_logo3 number one best performing company in the magazine’s list of "America’s 200 Best Small Companies Of 2009." This is the first year that the Company has been included in the annual list.

"We are honored to be named the #1 Best Small Company in America by the prestigious Forbes Magazine," said Jeffrey W. Griffiths, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This achievement represents the hard work and dedication of all of our employees who are the foundation of our success. We look forward to continuing to leverage the Lumber Liquidator’s value proposition to drive growth and gain market share within the hardwood flooring industry."

forbes Forbes’ list of 200 Best Small Companies in America is comprised of companies that have shown both sales and earnings growth. Candidates must have annual revenue between $5 million and $750 million, be publicly traded for at least a year, and have a stock price no lower than $5. Rankings are based on earnings growth, sales growth and return on equity in the past 12 months and over five years. Each company’s stock performance was also compared with those of its peers.

The list is featured in the November 2nd issue of Forbes Magazine

Building a new home in Williamsburg VA

Are you thinking of building your dream home in the Williamsburg Va area ?

Would you like to learn a little more about the process ?

Below, you will find the contact information for a select group of  Williamsburg VA area custom home builders. All have built in and are familiar with the numerous requirements to build in Governors Land, Fords Colony, Stonehouse, Greensprings West, Kingsmill, Liberty Ridge , Uncles Neck, Wexford Hills, Skimino Landing and many other communities throughout the Williamsburg VA area.

 

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Christmas in Williamsburg VA 2010

Since so many people plan in advance I wanted to post a few highlights of the  Christmas Season events for the Williamsburg and Yorktown area of Virginia for the upcoming 2010 Holiday Season.  This list is by no means complete.

 

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

November 26 – December 31 (Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays; daily December 17 – 31, except Christmas Day) Experience Busch Gardens in a whole new light during Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration. Holiday traditions, dazzling shows and one-of-a-kind gift ideas will make everyone say, "Now this is Christmas." Gaze at more than two million twinkling lights while enjoying Busch Gardens’ signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate. A complete Christmas Town experience includes a visit to Santa’s workshop and the park’s 50-foot tall, light-animated Christmas Tree. This year Christmas Town has been enhanced with additional operating days and the inclusion of the Italy village. For more information, including a complete operating schedule, visit the website or call 800-343-7946.

Master Thespian’s "A Christmas Carol"
Thanksgiving – Christmas (two performances each weekend)
This 20-minute version of Charles Dickens’ classic returns to Merchants Square!

Candlelight Concerts at Bruton Parish Church
Every Saturday in December, 8 pm

Continuing a tradition begun in the 18th century, Bruton Parish Church each Saturday presents recitals by instrumental and choral groups, interspersed with organ and harpsichord recitals by the church’s own splendid musicians. Concerts are held at 8 p.m. every Saturday. On Duke of Gloucester Street in the Historic Area. Free (freewill offerings accepted). Call 757-229-2891 for additional information.

Annual Holiday Celebration at the Williamsburg Winery
December 5, 12 – 4 pm
Enjoy Grand Illumination like never before! Come out to the Williamsburg Winery as seven great chefs prepare their signature dishes for you — all paired with a Williamsburg Winery wine. This event includes round-trip transportation from the Williamsburg Winery to the Historic Area starting from 3 pm – 9 pm. Cost is $30/person. Holiday Celebration tickets ONLY cost $18/person (non-drinkers and children are $10/person). Partial proceeds from this event benefits the American Red Cross. Call 757-229-0999 for additional information. Overnight packages are available.

Illumination and Christmas Tree Lighting Yorktown
December 3, 7:30 p.m.

The holiday lights go on and the festive season begins at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment at the Victory Monument followed by the process of light through historic Yorktown to Riverwalk Landing. The ceremony includes holiday entertainment and a visit from Santa. 757.890.3500

College of William and Mary Symphony Orchestra Winter Concert
December 2, 8 pm
In its 82nd season, the Symphony Orchestra combines the talents of undergraduate, graduate and community musicians. Tickets are $8; free for children under 12. Call (757) 221-2674. At Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall.

College of William and Mary Wind Symphony Holiday Concert
December 3, 8 pm

Founded in 1929, the William and Mary Wind Symphony is the artistic cornerstone of the William and Mary Band program, presenting the finest in symphonic wind music. Comprised of both music majors and non-music majors, the Wind Symphony brings together talented wind, brass and percussion players to perform wind ensemble and symphonic band music from a repertoire that spans the 16th through the 21st centuries. Tickets are $8; free for children under 12. Call (757) 221-2674. At Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall.

Colonial Christmas Show
December 4 – 5
Head to the Colonial Christmas Show — at Trinkle Hall on the College of William and Mary campus. Live music provided by Ardie Boggs. Exhibitors from 6 different states will be showing and selling the best in handcrafted work, fine art, jewelry, folk art, wearable art, paper, baskets, pillows, photography, quilts, Christmas decor, food, gifts and much more! Show is from 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm on Sunday. Trinkle Hall is located at the corner of the Campus Center, across from the Wren Building.

Christmas Night Concert – Presented by Cantori Vocal Ensemble
December 5, 3 pm
Established in the fall of 2005, Cantori is an auditioned choral ensemble composed of professional musicians and singers with extensive vocal and choral experience. It has earned a reputation for musical excellence, clarity of tone, and singular blend of voices. This concert will celebrate the Christmas season with music both joyful and reflective. Music to be performed will include excerpts from Monteverdi’s Christmas Vespers and traditional English carols arranged for choir by Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter, and Norman Luboff. The second half of the program will feature the entertaining extended work, A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas, by Craig Courtney, in which each "day" is set in the style of a different composer, with many tunes which will be familiar to the audience. The concert will be held at Walnut Hills Baptist Church, 1014 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg. The concert is free, but an offering will be received in support of Cantori.

Christmas Carol Concert
December 5, 4 pm

The Virginia Chorale, the 20-voice professional choral ensemble, will present their Christmas Carol Concert at the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon, December 5. Tickets for the concert or for the season are available at the door or by calling 757-627-8375. This marks the 4th year of Virginia Chorale concerts in the new sanctuary at the church!

College of William and Mary Choirs Holiday Concert
December 4, 2 pm and 8 pm

The Choir of the College of William and Mary, a 70-member mixed choral ensemble, celebrates 88 years of choral singing at the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Tickets are $9; free for children under 12. Call (757) 221-2674.

51st Annual Christmas Homes Tour
December 4, 10 am – 6 pm
Presented by the Green Spring Garden Club. Enjoy touring five homes and buildings decorated for the holidays by garden club members and professional floral designers. Visit the Lightfoot House on East Francis Street, home of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation presidents; and the President’s House at the College of William and Mary. The Tayloe House and the Grissell Hay Lodging House, both on Nicholson Street in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, are also included. All four are original buildings from the 1700s. The fifth location is the Williamsburg Masonic Lodge built in 1931 on the site of the "Old Mason’s Hall." It is across from the Lightfoot House. Tickets are $25 (or $7 to tour a single building). Ticket price includes use of Colonial Williamsburg buses from the Visitor Center and around the Historic Area. This is a fundraising project. All proceeds benefit local horticultural projects and provide scholarships for area students. Please see the Garden Club website for details or call 757-903-2161.

Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade
December 4, 7 pm

Decorated in holiday spirit, area boaters parade the York River in competition for "Best of Show." Waterfront events begin at 6 p.m. Enjoy hot cider and musical performances in the glow of a beach bonfire while awaiting the magnificent parade of lights. Yorktown waterfront. Free

Williamsburg Community Christmas Parade
December 4
Come out to the annual Christmas Parade

Christmas Town Dash
December 5
Chick-fil-A and Busch Gardens are partnering together to bring you Christmas Town Dash 8K – a run that will travel throughout the park! This event will help raise money for Toys for Tots. See website for complete information!

Williamsburg Symphonia – Holiday Pops
December 4 & 5, 1:30 & 3 pm
Seasonal music to delight the young and the young at heart, at the Kimball Theatre, Williamsburg; performances each day at 1:30 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. Visit the website or call 757-229-9857 for updates and ticketing info.

Candlelight Concerts at Bruton Parish Church
Every Saturday in November & December, 8 pm

Continuing a tradition begun in the 18th century, Bruton Parish Church each Saturday presents recitals by instrumental and choral groups, interspersed with organ and harpsichord recitals by the church’s own splendid musicians. Concerts are held at 8 p.m. every Saturday. On Duke of Gloucester Street in the Historic Area. Free (freewill offerings accepted). Call 757-229-2891 for additional information.

Ware River Circle of the King’s Daughters 21st Annual Christmas Open House
December 14th from Noon to 5:30 pm at Warner Hall Plantation- Gloucester VA
Details: Times for showing will be 12 – 1 p.m., 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., 3 – 4 p.m., or 4:30 – 530 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Green Gates Gifts, The Silver Box, or from any WRC King’s Daughter’s member.  Fee: Tickets: $25.00 each.  Contact: 694-0848

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 24, 5:30 pm

Colonial Williamsburg and the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg co-sponsor the lighting of an evergreen on Market Square. More than 2,000 guests will gather at the steps of the Courthouse on Duke of Gloucester Street in the Historic Area. A local resident shares a recollection from her great-grandmother, Martha Page Vandegrift, who in 1842 witnessed the first Christmas tree in Williamsburg at the George Tucker House. The president of the Kiwanis Club and the mayor of Williamsburg deliver holiday remarks and ask that the Christmas tree lights be turned on. Following the tree lighting, the audience lights individual candles.

More Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads/ VA Beach

A builder has told homeowners in the Highland Parish neighborhood in VA Beach that it thinks some of their homes may have been built with tainted Chinese-made drywall.

John Ainslie, Ainslie Group president for construction, sent a letter to some homeowners in the Highland Parish  community stating that Chinese produced drywall may have been installed by a subcontractor without the builder’s knowledge. Highland Parish is a community of 81 homes, located in the Southern Kempsville area of Virginia Beach, Virginia. was built by Virginia Beach-based Ainslie Group.

According to Ainslie , The Ainslie Group’s contract with its drywall supplier required the supplier to use U.S. Gypsum drywall or an acceptable substitute.

Knauf chinese drywallThe builder said it planned to inspect homes to determine whether the drywall is present but gave no indication in the letter that the company planned to remediate the homes if the tainted building material is found.

Ainslie who is a  past president of the Tidewater Builders Association,(TBA)  was named to a task force of homebuilders from across the nation to advise government agencies investigating the effects of Chinese-made drywall. The group, will act as a resource for government agencies involved in the investigation and will also advise national legislators on policies and legislation designed to address the problem.

He has been a builder developer in Hampton Roads since 1984, and also serves on the Virginia State Building Codes Technical Review Board, an appointment from Governor Mark Warner.

One Highland Parish homeowner , Greg Woodson, who purchased his home in August 2006 for $595,000  has had numerous electrical appliances fail and has had to replace several air conditioning coils.

Woodson, who lives with his wife and two children in the four-bedroom home, said he hopes Ainslie will offer to fix the home.

 

Signs You Have Chinese Drywall

Just Beyond Sight

Defective Chinese drywall itself has no visible defects, which in turn can make it difficult for consumers to tell by the label whether or not they are to be affected. It’s not until the consumer has moved into their home do they experience the defective signs of the drywall.

Metal Corrosion

The toxic emissions then take over expensive household appliances like air conditioning units’ and their evaporator coils, TV’s, refrigerators, plumbing and gas appliances, electrical outlets, and circuit breakers. Copper pipes and wires are corroded and a black coating is present due to a hazardous chemical reaction caused by the emissions. Other non-safety related symptoms include tarnishing and degrading of other metallic components like pictures frames, light fixtures, silver jewelry and mirrors.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has had multiple organizations propose that sulfur-reducing bacteria may be a source for sulfur emissions from problems drywall.

Affected Locations

Warm and Humid Climates Hit Hardest

In the United States, most complaints concerning Chinese Drywall have come from states in the Southeast, where a warm and humid climate seems to encourage the emissions. The states of Florida (59%), Louisiana (20%), Mississippi (6%) and Alabama (5%) made up 90% of the 3,082 cases reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as of April 2, 2010. More than 700 complaints had been filed with the Florida Department of Health. Sources estimated that from 60,000 to 100,000 homes could be affected.

Number (and Percentage) of Reports by State
chinese drywall williamsburg va

To date, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received about 3,602 reports from residents in 38 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to the presence of drywall produced in China. State and local authorities have also received similar reports.

Consumers largely report that their homes were built in 2006 to 2007, when an unprecedented increase in new construction occurred in part due to the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. Common features of the reports submitted to the CPSC from homes believed to contain problem drywall have been:

  • Consumers have reported a "rotten egg" smell within their homes.
  • Consumers have reported health concerns such as irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks.
  • Consumers have reported blackened and corroded metal components in their homes and the frequent replacement of components in air conditioning units.

Chinese Versus American Drywall

Contaminated With Sulfur

Due to the U.S shortage of plasterboard and drywall following the string of hurricane disasters that hit Florida homes, building contractors’ outsourced materials from China help keep up with the construction demands at the time. Prior to the natural disaster, drywall had before been imported from China without defect problems. Investigations by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) discovered that the defect in drywall is parallel with sulfuric levels found in Chinese “gypsum” mines, where the material is extracted from beneath the ground. The center of the Chinese mine controversy is located in the LuNeng mine, within the ShanDong province. The gypsum ore and the finished Chinese drywall are both sources of unpleasant sulfur-like odors. American Drywall samples contained similar substances, but generally at much lower levels and certainly did not exude the foul smells.

 

Subject to Rigorous Testing

American Drywall companies’ are commonly located in North America where they use synthetic gypsum material, or gypsum mined in North America, or a combination of both in their manufacturing. Right now, these companies are making considerable efforts to show consumers that they are both aware of the Chinese Drywall lawsuits, and have absolutely no associations with the problem Chinese made drywall. USG Corporation, one of the leading American gypsum companies, further stresses their regular product testing for purity, safety and production standards by company scientists and well as third party laboratories. These tests include chromatography, electron microscopy, spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction testing. American Drywall manufactures like USG Corporation are busy emphasizing the high-quality of their synthetic gypsum products to American consumers.

Millions of Sheets of Chinese Drywall Imported to U.S.

To date, the CPSC has confirmed that 5,503,694 sheets of Chinese Drywall were imported to the United States during 2006 alone. This is not the total of all defective imports as CPSC staffs are continuing to verify more shipments via the Customs and Border Protection databases. Unfortunately the CPSC’s effort in tracking an exact total is difficult, due to the duel use of same commodity code as acoustic or ceiling tiles.

Your Legal Options

If you or someone you know has installed drywall products in their home or commercial property since 2001 and experienced a strong sulfur odor or “rotten egg” smells, you should contact a physician immediately.

If you have suffered a personal injury and/or any property damage, and feel that you may need legal representation in this matter or are interested in more information on Chinese drywall litigation, please contact us, toll-free and an experienced attorney with Seeger Weiss LLP will assist you in evaluating your case concerning Chinese drywall.

Get the help you need

Attorney consultations incur no obligation on your part and all initial consultations are free of charge. Seeger Weiss LLP has office locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.

Click here to receive a FREE CASE EVALUATION

 

Read about other Chinese Drywall Issues in Hampton Roads and Williamsburg VA here

My Friend In The Digital Age Broke Our Water Main !

I thought I would share an incident that happened to me last Friday. When I went to take a shower I noticed that we had no water pressure. I looked outside to see a bunch of guys digging and installing some type of large wiring underground. Turns out it was Cox Cable “ My friend in the digital age” I asked the foreman if they had ruptured my water line to which he replied “yes”
Did you call JCSA our water supplier ? again he answered yes. I immediately called James City County Service Authority ( JCSA) ,who indicated they had not received any calls for service interruption.  JCSA said they would dispatch someone immediately since we had multiple homes that were without water.

Amazingly a supervisor for JCSA arrived within 8 minutes. (WOW) he assessed the leak and proceeded to find the valve to turn it off. Supposedly the water was pouring out at 1500 gallons a minute.  Sadly it took about 40 minutes to turn it off and stop the water.
Next the heavy equipment, trucks and workers arrived. From the photos below you can get an idea of the work site. They even dropped off a portable toilet !

Thanks to their diligence twelve hours later our water and fifteen of our neighbors water was turned back on.

To my dismay the Cox subcontractors had also severed my cable when they were digging. SO no internet, phone or Cable TV. Ugh. I assumed Cox knew they had an outage since the workers knew they cut the cable. I was wrong. When I called at 4pm to see if they had it back on they said they didn’t know of the outage. The customer service rep said they didn’t have any work going on in my neighborhood and maybe it was Verizon installing wire for their FIOS service. I went and asked the workers again who they worked for to which they replied Cox Cable.  Somehow Cox didn’t know they had work going on in my neighborhood. After begging them to get someone to come out on Friday they did send a service tech who ran a new line to our house and got everything working again. He made comments I won’t repeat in regards to the work crew that caused all the commotion.

I can only fathom how much this mishap is going to cost. No one has determined whose fault it is and who will pay. Miss Utility seemed to mark everything but since the markings are all dug up it could be difficult. I sure hope the cost doesn’t fall on JCSA and its customers ( ME and YOU)  JCSA is investigating it and will report back with it’s findings.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to get our water turned back on.

   

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Have you used Google Street View ? Want to see a Street View of Busch Gardens or Colonial Williamsburg ? Vote now to bring Google Trike to the Burg

From an engineer at Google:

With Street View on Google Maps, you can take a virtual drive over the Golden Gate Bridge or see the bustle of Times Square from the comfort of your own home. But some of the country’s most interesting and fun places aren’t accessible with their Street View car. What if you want to tour the campus of William and Mary ,or scout a new running trail at Lake Matoaka or a mountain bike trail at Freedom Park, or plan the most efficient route to your favorite rides in Busch Gardens ?
I first started thinking about this question around two years ago. My day job is working as a mechanical engineer on the Street View team, but I do a lot of mountain biking in my spare time. One day, while exploring some roads less traveled, I realized that I could combine these two pursuits and build a bicycle-based camera system for Street View. The result? The Street View trike:
I’ve already had a chance to take the Street View trike out to photograph some hard-to-reach places for Google Maps, like the Arastradero Open Preserve and LEGOLAND California. When I’m out riding — and once people understand what exactly I’m up to — I’m often asked if we can come to their alma mater, local bike trail or favorite beach boardwalk.

Google is now giving everyone a chance to tell them exactly where in the U.S. they’d like the trike to go next.
At www.google.com/trike, you can suggest interesting and unique spots in six categories:

So come on Willamsburgers lets vote for our area attractions.

All of CW ,Busch Gardens, Water Country, Freedom, York River, New Quarter Park Mt Bike Trails, The Boardwalk at Virginia Beach.

What would you like to see on Google Street View ?

Place your votes and maybe we can gain some added FREE attention for the Williamsburg or Hampton Roads VA areas.

Nominations will be open until October 28. Google will then comb through all of the suggestions and let all of you cast your final votes on a winner from each category for the Street View trike to visit. For any privately-owned or operated location, like a campus or theme park, we’ll work directly with the relevant organization prior to collecting the imagery.
When we unveiled the Street View trike in the U.K., we received more than 10,000 nominations and 35,000 votes; Stonehenge and Warwick Castle were two of the top vote-getters. We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with in the U.S. — head to www.google.com/trike to submit your most inspired ideas.

Anheuser Busch InBev sells breweries in Europe

Anheuser-Busch InBev  agreed to sell breweries in nine eastern European countries to CVC Capital Partners on Thursday for an initial $2.23 billion.

ab-inbev The sale is the third by the world’s largest brewer to a private equity company, after KKR’s purchase of South Korea’s Oriental Brewery and Blackstone LP’s  of its U.S. theme parks, made possible by improved capital and equity markets.

AB InBev and CVC said in a statement that the price tag could rise to $3.03 billion depending on CVC’s return on investment, while AB InBev has a first right of refusal  re-acquire the business should CVC decide to sell in the future.

AB InBev has now pushed past the $7 billion goal it had set for divestments to help pay for InBev’s $52 billion takeover of U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch completed last November.

The brewer of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s has now actually raised a potential $9.5 billion after sales of assets in South Korea, China, Scotland and Ireland as well as packaging and theme park businesses in the United States.

CVC will be acquire the operations of Anheuser-Busch InBev in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

Are you a James City County Resident ? Are you happy Cox Cable ?

Then read on…

JCC LogoAs James City County prepares to negotiate a new cable franchise with Cox Communications, community feedback on customer service, future needs and technical services as provided by Cox Communications is an important part of the process.  The County’s Cable Communications Committee has prepared a survey and scheduled a public meeting to gather input from current subscribers and non-subscribers. All County citizens are encouraged to participate since a franchise agreement can impact economic development, public safety, education and quality of life in the County.   

There are several ways to give feedback:
1.    Complete an on-line survey at www.jccEgov.com/cablesurvey
2.    Pick up a copy of the survey to mail in or drop off at the James City County Library (7770 Croaker Road), the James City/Williamsburg Community Center (5301 Longhill Road), the Satellite Office (3127 Forge Road) or the Human Services Building (5249 Olde Towne Road).
3.    Attend the public input meeting on October 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Building F Board Room of the Government Complex.

A community needs assessment is one component of the franchise review and  negotiation.  County staff will also examine Cox Communications’ compliance with the existing agreement, financial records, and will review technological, statutory and regulatory changes since the current franchise was adopted in 1995. The franchise ordinance with Cox Communications is a non-exclusive agreement which allows for more than one provider of cable services to negotiate a franchise with the County. 

Results from the survey and public input meeting are expected to be available in January 2010. A new franchise agreement is scheduled to be considered by the Board of Supervisors in May 2010.

For more information about the County’s non-exclusive franchise with Cox Communications, visit www.jccEgov.com/cable  or call 757 886-4006.

Veterans Day 2009 in Colonial Williamsburg- Free admission for Military *

colonial williamsburg va Colonial Williamsburg honors the sacrifices and dedication of U.S. veterans, active duty military personnel, guard and reservists, and their dependents during special Veterans Day programs on Wednesday, Nov. 11,2009.

      On Veterans Day, a military parade honoring America’s veterans will be held at 4:30 p.m. and will begin at the Capitol. All veterans of service in America’s armed forces are invited to participate in the parade. Groups will begin forming at 4:15 p.m. A ceremony will follow the parade at the Courthouse on Market Square recognizing all veterans of American service.

*As part of the tribute, Colonial Williamsburg offers special free admission passes to active duty military, guard and reservists, retirees, veterans and their dependents from Friday through Wednesday, Nov. 6-11. The Honoring Service to America pass includes admission to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and museums, including the Capitol, Governor’s Palace and Bassett Hall, the Williamsburg home of Foundation benefactor John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The pass also includes an Orientation Walk, a walking tour that provides an overview of Colonial Williamsburg and its restoration, free shuttle bus service to and from the Visitor Center, a viewing of the movie, “Williamsburg, The Story of a Patriot,” and parking at the Visitor Center.

      The service member need not be present and free passes will be provided to immediate family members of currently deployed troops with appropriate identification. Military veterans who separated before retirement can bring a copy of their honorable discharge paperwork, DD Form 214, as identification of service. These tickets are available only at Colonial Williamsburg on-site ticket sales windows.          

      In addition to providing complimentary admission tickets to these honored guests, Colonial Williamsburg offers special rates to military personnel and their families at any of its five on-site hotels, the closest lodging to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, Art Museums, dining, shopping, golf, children’s activities and more.  

Businesses are opening at Quarterpath Crossing Shopping Center

townebank williamsburg vaWachovia bank was first , now its Towne Banks turn.

TowneBank  has opened its third Williamsburg banking center at the new Quarterpath Crossing Shopping Center at the intersection of Route 199 and Quarterpath Road. 
The Kingsmill branch is the company’s 17th banking office.

H.E.A. Living   No. 1 Chinese , Lee Spa Nails  Swan Cleaners  and Kyrie Designs Apparel have all signed leases and should be opening soon,

The Sub sandwich market is expanding in Williamsburg . Subway is opening two stores in the near future. This one at Quarterpath Crossing as well as the recently announced one at High Street . Next to open will be the area’s first Harris Teeter grocery ( now open)  which is slated to open at the beginning of November.

Road development has begun for the adjacent  Quarterpath at Williamsburg mixed use project owned by Riverside Health System. Riverside’ s plans include Williamsburg Doctor’ s Hospital, an age restricted residential community with 300 homes, a 120 bed nursing home with a related 60 units of assisted living, and 97 acres to be developed into residential communities with 95 single family homes, 95 townhouses, and 465 condominium units.

Read more about Quarterpath in Williamsburg here

subway williamsburg quarterpath

harris teeter williamsburg va quarterpath

 

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wachovia Williamsburg va quarterpath

 

twitter-follow-me- This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf.  John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market.  His websites, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.

Calling all Williamsburg Business Owners

Ever participated in a “Meetup?” Mr Williamsburg and The Liz Moore eTEAM has launched its latest marketing initiative – The Williamsburg-Peninsula Internet Marketing Group!

img_invite11-4 What is it? A group of local business owners who will gather (physically) on a monthly basis to learn, collaborate, share ideas and generally network with a theme of building their online presence.

This will not be your  average networking meet-up. There’s no guise of self-promotion. We’re focused on sharing valuable knowledge among local business owners.

The group will also gather “virtually” at the meetup website, just visit http://www.meetup.com/Williamsburg-Peninsula-Internet-Marketing-Group/  to check us out!

Our first meeting will be Wednesday, November 4th, from 4-5 at the Liz Moore building in Williamsburg ( Across from the Green Leafe) for wine and cheese and our organizational meeting. It’s free, so come and join us – sign up by visiting the link above.

Nye Asks Banks, Mortgage Lenders to Aid Chinese Drywall Victims

In order to aid homeowners with chinese drywall issues Congressman Glenn Nye (VA-02) is asking banks and mortgage servicers to provide assistance to homeowners struggling with toxic drywall. On Thursday, Nye announced that he had introduced a Concurrent Resolution (H.Con.Res. 197) in the House of Representatives, calling on mortgage holders to allow homeowners to apply for a temporary forbearance in their mortgage payments.

Due to the toxic fumes emitted by the drywall, many families have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter with friends, relatives and neighbors. Families that have been forced to move into rental housing now have to pay both the cost of their mortgage and the cost of renting.

Some homeowners have been successful in applying for forbearance, but not all lenders have been willing to cooperate.

Families in Hampton Roads are now paying for both rent and a mortgage on an uninhabitable home, and at a time when the economy is already struggling, this is simply too great a hardship,” said Congressman Glenn Nye. “Recognizing this issue in Congress and formally asking lenders to be a part of the solution will give families more leverage when working with banks or mortgage holders who may be unfamiliar with the seriousness of this problem. While we work to get families back in their homes, I’m going to try every possible avenue to offer them some relief.”

On Thursday afternoon, Nye discussed the resolution with more than twenty homeowners from Hampton Roads who had traveled to Washington to meet with lawmakers. Due to the size of the group, Nye arranged to move the meeting to the House Small Business Committee hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building. Nye is the Chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology.

Last Saturday, Nye toured two homes in Virginia Beach that were built with toxic drywall and met with homeowners. In May, Nye toured the Virginia Beach home of Colleen Nguyen and held a meeting with approximately a dozen families to discuss the challenges they faced.

The text of Congressman Nye’s resolution, H.Con.Res. 197, is attached below.

 Download a Copy of Congressman Nye’s Resolution: H.Con.Res.197

More Chinese Drywall issues in Wellington/ James City County

From an article by Leslie Wayne/ New York Times:

When Bill Morgan, a retired policeman, moved into his newly built dream home in Williamsburg, Va., three years ago, his hopes were quickly dashed.

Bill Morgan blames Chinese drywall for toxic fumes and corrosion in components of his home.

Bill Morgan had to abandon his newly built dream home in Williamsburg, Va., blaming drywall for corrosive fumes that attacked metal objects.

His wife and daughter suffered constant nosebleeds and headaches. A persistent foul odor filled the house. Every piece of metal indoors corroded or turned black.

In short order, Mr. Morgan moved out. The headaches and nosebleeds stopped, but the ensuing financial problems pushed him into personal bankruptcy.

Continue reading

Breaking News Busch Gardens has been sold !

Earlier todaybuschgardensBlackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an investor fund advised by The Blackstone Group, announced that it had reached agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev to purchase the company’s entertainment park division, Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) for $2.7 billion.
The Busch Entertainment Corporation is the second largest entertainment park operator in the United States with approximately 25 million annual visitors. BEC operates 10 Worlds of Discovery – SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio, Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Sesame Place, Adventure Island and Water Country USA .

Click for A photo tour of Busch Gardens Williamsburg VA

 
Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, said: "Busch Entertainment Corporation is a high performing asset with a world-class  management team, but not a core business for Anheuser-Busch InBev. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with a buyer who understands the industry and has a strategic vision for the business."

Buschgardensva Joseph Baratta, senior managing director of Blackstone Group, said "We have deep sector experience and look forward to working with the excellent Busch Enterainment management team to continue to invest in and grow the company.”
Added Michael Chae, another senior managing director at Blackstone: "We are delighted to be investing in a company with such iconic brands, irreplaceable assets and strong growth prospects."
Closing of the sale is subject to regulatory clearance.

Busch Entertainment Corporation President  Jim Atchison indicated that the parks would be operating "business as usual." Atchison and the entire management team has been retained to run the new company, which will continue to go by the name Busch Entertainment Corp. (though he said that they might start using the alternate name "Worlds of Discovery" more going forward).

The Sesame Workshop and Anheuser-Busch brands are among those that will remain in the parks, he said. Busch beer brands will continue to be poured at the parks, and the Busch Gardens name will remain on the parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va., as they were sold to Blackstone as part of the deal.

cydesdale at Busch GArden One of the more notable changes  will be that the iconic Clydesdale horses will be moved from the parks, and instead go on tour to promote their A-B brands. The  "Here’s to the Heroes" promotion offering free admission to military personnel will continue in the BEC parks for 2010.

No new rides or attractions were announced although it was confirmed that there are numerous  concepts and ideas that are in various stages of development.

Busch Gardens was opened in James City County in 1975. Water Country USA in upper York County was acquired in 1992.
Both York and James City county officials have described the parks as good community partners.
"Clearly they have a significant impact on the county," said York County Administrator James O. McReynolds.
Water Country employs about 700 part-time workers and is considered one of the top employers in the county, McReynolds said. Last fiscal year, the county received $202,000 in real estate and business personal property taxes, including the water park property and land adjacent to Busch Gardens used for parking.
In James City County, Busch Entertainment is second only to the Anheuser-Busch brewery as the county’s top property taxpayers. In the last two fiscal years, the theme park brought in $1.62 million and $1.63 million in property taxes.
The long-rumored sale had also caused angst among local government and tourism officials over whether the buyer would invest in the community as has Anheuser-Busch. The company contributed $2.25 million to the Jamestown 2007 event. It is also a major contributor to the region’s joint marketing program.

Williamsburg ,Newport News and VA Beach Virginia named Great Places and Streets

Duke of Gloucester Street, Hilton Village in Newport News and The Boardwalk in Virginia Beach have each been named Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Places of America by The American Planning Association

Each was one of only 10 selected in 2009

The American Planning Association (APA) has announced that Duke of Gloucester Street has been designated one of 10 Great Streets for 2009 by APA’s Great Places in America program.   There will be a ceremony to mark the achievement Saturday, October 31 at 9am on Duke of Gloucester Street.
APA singled out Duke of Gloucester Street for its unique ability to evoke the past at the same time it maintains a lively mix of modern-day uses. Early visionaries, with the financial backing of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., transformed Duke of Gloucester from a vehicle-dominated U.S. Highway to a pedestrian street that recreates the Williamsburg of 200 years ago. While it is a living history museum, Duke of Gloucester is also a vibrant community street for residents and the College of William and Mary. 

"We’re very excited to single out Duke of Gloucester as one of this year’s Great Streets," said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. "While many people think of Duke of Gloucester as just part of a historic district, it actually serves present-day needs with Merchants Square. There aren’t very many streets in America like this, and we commend city leaders and citizens for their thoughtful and grand vision to revert this once-U.S. highway into a living museum," he added.
Located at the center of Williamsburg, founded in 1699, Duke of Gloucester Street is home to restored and reconstructed houses, shops, religious and governmental buildings erected in their original locations during the 18th century, as well as the modern day shopping district known as Merchants Square. Flanked by the reconstructed Capitol Building to the east and the College of William and Mary’s historic campus to the west, the street has been visited by historical figures both early and late including former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Working with historic preservation advocate the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, Rockefeller began acquiring privately owned properties along the street in 1926. The purchases, along with the support and backing of the town, eventually led to reconstruction of more than 80 buildings along the mile-long street based upon archaeological investigations and historic records.
In addition to Rockefeller’s major investment, Duke of Gloucester Street has been shaped by six comprehensive plans and related measures dating to 1953. Outcomes of these plans included closing the street to motor vehicle traffic beginning in 1969 and requiring review of new buildings and building alterations by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and Architectural Review Board. Other steps involved locating parking on the interior blocks of Merchants Square so cars would not detract from the colonial views and atmosphere recreated along the street.

Hilton Village in Newport News was the first of some 100 federally financed housing projects during World War I.  Historic Hilton Village today remains much as it did when it was first planned and built in 1918-19. On the east bank of the James River about three miles north of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., the village is patterned after principles and designs of the late-19th century Garden City movement begun in the United Kingdom by Sir Ebenezer Howard. The city established a historic overlay district for the village in 1969, the same year the neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The village is compact with amenities and commercial areas within easy walking or bicycling distance of the homes, which are mostly in the Jacobethan, Dutch Colonial, and Georgian Colonial architectural styles. A streetcar originally transported workers between the neighborhood and the shipyards.  

VA Beach Boardwalk was originally from wooden planks during the nation’s Gilded Age, the five-block promenade attracted thousands of Victorian vacationers. Today, more than 2.2 million people visit the three-mile-long concrete boardwalk each year and it is an integral part of the City of Virginia Beach’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism. As such, the boardwalk has been the focus of numerous improvement and planning efforts, the most recent of which explores extending a light rail line from Norfolk to the boardwalk.

The boardwalk extends 40 city blocks between Rudee Inlet to the south and 40th Street to the north.

Popular among residents and tourists alike, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers an abundance of cultural, recreational and historical events and activities. From its de rigueur amusement park and fishing pier to the Naval Aviation Monument, the boardwalk presents an unparalleled range of sights, sounds and diversions.

Since its construction in 1888, the boardwalk has been a community treasure. Reminders of the boardwalk’s historic past are the 1895 deWitt Cottage — the oldest beach house along the city’s oceanfront — and the 1903 Coast Guard Station, which stands on site of the waterfront’s original 1870s Seatack Life Saving Station.

APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement

For more information about these areas and , as well as lists of the 2009 APA 10 Great Neighborhoods, Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.

No Sale at Ukrops

Supermarket News is reporting that Richmond Va based Ukrops is  in limbo again after the private equity group that entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase the chain dropped out of the bidding.

According to the publication an anonymous source communicated that  some “contractual issues and an inability to get financing” were the primary reasons talks broke down, and that Ukrop’s has since resumed shopping itself to some bidders from earlier rounds.

Ukrop’s has not commented on a potential sale

Blackstone/ Busch Rumors abound

Multiple news organizations are reporting that the Blackstone Group’s possible deal to buy SeaWorld Orlando-owner Busch Entertainment Corp. from Anheuser-Busch InBev is expected to be announced as early as today, according to multiple people familiar with the talks.
The price tag is thought to be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, these people said. It is possible, though unlikely, that the deal could still fall apart.

Blackstone is expected to operate Busch as a stand-alone investment rather than combine it with another holding, at least for the near future.

If successful this will be the largest private equity buyout announced so far this year and one of the most significant since the credit crunch all but closed down the mergers and acquisitions market to private equity firms.

Analysts had expected Blackstone to combine Busch’s ten venues, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, with Merlin Entertainments Group, the operator of Sea Life and Madame Tussauds. However,  it is now understood  that the private equity group intends to keep the Busch and Merlin businesses separate for the foreseeable future.

There has been no comment from representatives for AB InBev and Blackstone.

Are you on Facebook ?

twitter-follow-me- Are you a local business who is looking to increase your business or brand awareness ? Do you know what social media is ? Ever heard of Twitter or Facebook ? Are you using it ?

Brian Solis has compiled these useful stats about the major social networking sites including 30-day traffic, gender, age, income, # of children, and education level. If you’re doing any type of online marketing, you’ll find what he’s done extremely valuable. One thing you’ll notice is that women are the majority users of most sites.

Facebook,  Twitter, Yelp, and other online communities are transforming the  practice of marketing “at” people into an opportunity to engage and interact with them.

If you want to do social media marketing right and not just spam the heck out of people, you must use conversational marketing to engage them. Conversational marketing is all find me on-facebookabout conversing with your community. Learning more about their likes and dislikes, listening before speaking and reacting based upon the customers’ feedback. Just like normal conversations. Do you like to talk to someone who just babbles on and doesn’t let you talk or listen to what you are saying ? The same thing applies in social networks.
Whoever thinks that he will open a Facebook page and reach tens of thousands of site visitors on the first day, is dead wrong. Brands that use social media to promote themselves will see a steady growth in traffic to their sites over time as their brand names become more and more viral within the networks – due to the increase in number of fans, number of tweets, exposure in blogs, etc.

But aren’t  social networks  just a passing fad ? Our age old desire has been one to communicate with others.  Social media is just a current day evolution of that desire. It is a desire that we always had and will always continue to have as long as we are live.   To say that social media is just a fad is to say that communication is just a fad.

Here are a few stats that might help to change the mind of those who are still apprehensive:

1) 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks and time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, accounting for ~10% of all internet time.

2) Visiting social sites is now the 4th most popular online activity – ahead of personal email!

3)  56% of Facebook users are aged 35-64. The largest age group of users are 45-54 year olds.

Care to change your mind?

So, how will you use this information to engage more effectively and genuinely?

Comments welcome !

James City County 2009 Community Services Report

JCC LogoJames City County has posted its 2009 community services annual report online.
The report highlights James City County community accomplishments between July 2008 and June 2009 in the community services divisions of Colonial Community Corrections, Housing and Community Development, Neighborhood Connections, Parks and Recreation, Purchase of Development Rights, Social Services and the county office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

You can read the 16 page report here

The report is available only online in order to support ongoing efforts to reduce paper circulation and eliminate printing and mailing costs, according to the release.

Busch Gardens sale imminent ?

More rumblings of a pending sale of Busch Gardens/ Sea World

busch gardens williamsburg  A media report says the private equity firm Blackstone Group is closing in on a deal to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev’s theme parks such as SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday — citing unnamed sources — that the firm is close to a deal to buy theme parks operated under Busch Entertainment Corp. The report says the deal is valued at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. Neither  Anheuser-Busch InBev  or Blackstone is commenting on the news.

The sale of the Busch Entertainment unit, which owns the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, has been expected as part of InBev’s plans to pay for its 2008 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.

It has been rumored  a deal could be reached as early as next week, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Reuters has reported that – Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has put more equity into its bid for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s ( ABI.BR ) central and eastern European (CEE) assets, two bankers close to the deal said on Friday. CVC has lifted its equity contribution to 60-65 percent of the anticipated 1.4 billion euro purchase price to clinch the sale, which is expected in the next two weeks, the bankers said.
InBev is beyond is more than halfway to its goal of selling $7 billion in assets this year. This week the brewer raised $870 million more by selling U.S. can and lid plants to Ball Corp.and Tennents Lager in Scotland and Ireland.

James City County Harvest Festival featuring the Haunted Forest

hauntedforestOur family has attended  The Haunted Forest for many years. While overshadowed by Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens this volunteer effort hosted by James City County has always been great fun for our kids ( and the adults ! ).
It has moved this year to Chickahominy Riverfront Park from  it’s previous venue at Upper County Park.  The date for the event is Saturday, October 17, 2009 from 2-8pm.

James City County has combined The Haunted Forest with the Fall Harvest Festival this year . It will feature  local bluegrass and folk music, a DJ and entertainment,  crafts,  agriculture and fair foods, rides, art and craft vendors, a Farmer‟s Market, fall food favorites and more!
Begin the afternoon by making the biggest, the best, and maybe the only scarecrow in your neighborhood. Stuff „em, paint „em, name „em, and take „em home! Make this a family activity and create a scarecrow together.
Stay for the Haunted Forest if you dare to venture out after dark and experience the journey for the fun, for the fright, for the things that go bump in the night!
Children 6 and younger, along with their parents, will especially enjoy Goblinville with its moonwalks and a pumpkin patch hayride traveling through a maze of pumpkin faces and Nursery Rhyme Characters. In the Fall Fest Family Area you‟ll also enjoy the costume contest, pumpkin bowling, arts and crafts and games. Don‟t forget your camera!

Info: www.jccEgov.com/recreation  or 259-3200.
  Journey through the forest: $1/person. (Wear a costume and take the journey for half-price!) Parking $3 a car.

Scarecrow Stuffing, 2-6pm, $17/scarecrow, , first come, first served while supplies last!

If it’s a warm day you may want to rent a canoe, kayak or jon boat and do some exploring or fishing on the scenic Chickahominy River.

Directions:

If approaching from Hampton Roads, follow Interstate 64W to Exit 242A. This will be Route 199 towards Jamestown. Follow 199 to the Monticello Ave exit. Turn left onto Monticello Ave and head straight for 8 miles. Monticello Ave will turn into John Tyler Hwy or Rt 5, the Park is the last driveway on the right before the bridge over to Charles City County.

If approaching from Richmond, follow Interstate 64E to Exit 234.This will be Route 199 towards Williamsburg. Follow 199 to the Monticello Ave exit. Turn right onto Monticello Ave and go straight for 8 miles. Monticello Ave will turn into John Tyler Hwy or Rt 5, the Park is the last driveway on the right before the bridge over to Charles City County

Map of Chickahominy Riverfront Park

View Williamsburg VA Neighborhoods in a larger map

New Rebate Program Announcement

Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the launch of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate program, a new program to encourage the purchase of high-efficiency appliances and products. The program will use $15 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment act to provide rebates to residential and commercial consumers on certain qualifying appliances and equipment. Homeowners will be eligible for rebates for 20 percent of the costs of the products, up to $2,000, and commercial consumers will be eligible for 20 percent of their costs up to $4,000. Rebates will be distributed on a first come-first served basis.
Consumers wishing to receive a rebate through the Virginia Energy Efficiency Rebate program will be required to comple te an application form, which will be available online from the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. www.dmme.virginia.gov

Residential consumers will be eligible for rebates on air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, hot water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators, as well as for insulation and replacement windows.

Commercial consumers will be eligible to receive rebates on heating and cooling equipment, hot water heaters, window replacements, lighting upgrades, high efficiency motors, compressed air and steam system upgrades, as well as insulation and replacement windows.

Beginning Tuesday, October 6, consumers can sign up for an email alert through the DMME’s website that will tell them when applications for rebates are being accepted.

The Trellis to be sold to Blue Talon owner

The Trellis  After 29 years, 6 million meals and a constellation of honors, The Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg has been sold.

The new owner, David Everett, owner of The Blue Talon Bistro , promises to maintain the current staff, seasonal menus and accent on chocolate and decadent desserts that have made the restaurant a destination for epicures.

The Trellis co-owners, Marcel Desaulniers and John Curtis, will turn the restaurant over to Everett at month’s end. In 2004, Everett opened the Blue Talon Bistro, a Colonial Williamsburg eatery that specializes in "serious comfort food." Before that, he was the top chef at Ford’s Colony Country Club.

blutalonwilliamsurg The Trellis will be "in the brilliant hands of a skillful chef and restaurateur," said Desaulniers, who has known Everett since the 1970s when they worked in food service for Colonial Williamsburg.

"He’s got a long history here in Williamsburg, he’s a good marketer, and people know him," Desaulniers said.

The Trellis opened in 1980, amid a recession.

trellis2 "It was a slow climb," Desaulniers recalled, until the 1983 Summit of Industrialized Nations brought world leaders – and national and international press – to the area.

"That’s what seems to really have gotten the ball rolling," Desaulniers said.

In Merchant s Square, the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, the restaurant continued to draw diners from around the world. In 1988, Desaulniers wrote "The Trellis Cookbook " so tourists could attempt to re-create Trellis meals at home.

deathbychocolate Then came "Death by Chocolate," the cookbook that won the James Beard award and catapulted Desaulniers and The Trellis to fame. The namesake seven-layer dessert, at $6.75, remains on the menu.

"It’s really the tail that wagged the dog for so many years," Desaulniers said. "People make pilgrimages to Williamsburg to have Death by Chocolate."

They still can.

When Desaulniers, 64, leaves the restaurant, he’ll turn his attention to Mad About Food, a restaurant consulting firm he will run with his daughter, Danielle Desaulniers, who like her father is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and experienced restaurateur. He doesn’t rule out another cookbook but does rule out retirement.

"Sixty-four is the new 44," he said. "Maybe even 34."

trellis bar John Curtis, Desaulniers’ partner, is owner of the Bookpress bookstore in Williamsburg and recently retired as chairman of the Williamsburg Community Foundation. He will turn his attention to community activities.

Under the ownership of Curtis and Desaulniers, the Trellis has won numerous national and international awards.  Executive Chef Desaulniers, who has written 10 cookbooks, helped put the Trellis on the culinary map with Death by Chocolate and the eponymous TV series on The Learning Channel.  He is also the recipient of a Julia Child Cookbook Award for Desserts to Die For, and James Beard Awards for Best Baking Book (Death by Chocolate), Best Pastry Chef, and Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.  Desaulniers was also recognized on Food & Wine Magazine’s Honor Roll of American Chefs.

____________________________________________________

Click for details on how to Get a FREE bottle of wine when you dine at the Trellis  Thru Oct 2, 2009

Kingsmill Resort is officially up for sale

027289A On Monday the residents of  Kingsmill in Williamsburg, VA  learned that Busch Properties, Inc. has hired  commercial real estate broker  (CB Richard Ellis ,CBRE),  to explore options to sell the resort and spa.

Kingsmill Resort and Spa Executive Vice President Robin Carson wrote in an e-mail to Kingsmill Club members that Busch has hired CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the largest commercial real estate broker in the U.S. The e-mail states CBRE is “a widely recognized leader in global real estate consulting.” CBRE’s Golf & Resort and Hospitality teams have been retained by Busch to provide sales transaction and assessment services, market the property and represent Kingsmill in negotiations, Carson wrote.

The sale includes almost all the resort’s operational assets. The conference center, three championship golf courses and the Bray Links, six restaurants, the spa and fitness center, the marina, 15 owned condominiums and management facilities of the resort property.What it excludes are the two dozen residential neighborhoods that formed the nucleus of greater Williamsburg’s first planned community.

Busch hopes to find a buyer who will enhance the resort’s long-term value and maintain Kingsmill’s assets. A timeline for the sale does not exist, and there is no guarantee a transaction will happen.

The broker CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) already handles dozens of properties in Hampton Roads.  

"We’re completing our underwriting now and should be out in the market within 45 days," said Doug Henkel with CBRE-Norfolk.    

"We’re very excited about this unique opportunity and think that Kingsmill will attract a lot of interest from the investment community," added Jeff Woolson with CBRE-San Diego.   

CBRE is currently marketing the following Golf properties:

The Bay Course at Kapalua Resort
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii ,Resort Golf Course, Resort Tennis Facility

Big Island Country Club
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Semi-Private Golf Club, Developable Land

Blackhawk Golf Club
Austin, Texas, Daily Fee Golf Course

The Golf Club at Castle Hills
Lewisville, Texas, Daily Fee Golf Course

Cathedral Canyon Golf & Tennis Club
Cathedral City, California, Daily Fee Golf Course, (27 Holes)

The Crosby
Rancho Santa Fe, California, Private Country Club, Developable Land

The Golden Bear Club at Keene’s Pointe
Windermere, Florida, Private Country Club

Grizzly Ranch
Portola, California, Semi-Private Golf Club, Developable Land

Hammock Creek Golf Club
Palm City, Florida, Semi-Private Golf Club

Mt. Woodson Golf Club
Ramona, California, Daily Fee Golf Course

Packsaddle Country Club
Kingsland, Texas, Daily Fee Golf Course, Developable Land

A copy of the letter sent to Kingmill Home Owners

September 28, 2009  

Dear Kingsmill Condominium Owner:

I am writing to share information about our long-term plan regarding the Kingsmill Resort & Spa.  Busch Properties, Inc., has hired commercial real estate broker CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) to explore options for a potential sale of the resort.

CBRE is the largest commercial real estate broker in the United States and a widely recognized leader in global real estate consulting.  The combination of their Golf & Resort and Hospitality teams have been retained to provide sales transaction and assessment services, market the property and represent Kingsmill in negotiations with potential buyers. 

As you know, Kingsmill is a world-class resort property renowned for its natural beauty, first-class facilities and unparalleled service.  We know each of you is interested in any transactions involving the property, and Kingsmill is confident CBRE’s expertise is unmatched in the industry in handling properties of this caliber.

We have just begun this process, but our intention is to sell the property if appropriate terms can be met. Our goal in this process is to find a buyer who will enhance long-term value and maintain the Kingsmill assets in accordance with a premier resort property while also recognizing the crucial role our employees play in making this resort so exceptional. 

The decision comes shortly after Michelob ULTRA announced it would not renew the Michelob ULTRA Open in 2010 to bring its LPGA strategy in line with its overall golf strategy.  Each of these decisions was made independently and both were difficult.

There is no set timeline by which a transaction must occur, or if one will be completed at all.  Any transaction will be highly dependent on the specific details about the long-term operation of the property.  We will communicate with you further when we have more definitive information to share.

Sincerely,

Robin Carson

Executive Vice President

William and Mary Defeats Delaware 30-20

tribefootball After each of the College of William and Mary’s first three victories, Tribe players and coaches emphasized that the “real season” didn’t begin until the College faced its first CAA opponent. On Saturday, the Tribe finally opened its “real season” to a dominating result.

The fifth-ranked William and Mary football team improved to 4-0 with a 30-20 victory against Delaware in its conference opener before a sold-out crowd of 12,259 at Zable Stadium on Saturday night. The Tribe’s 4-0 start is the program’s best record to begin a season since it posted the same mark in 1994.

Read about it here or Here