Wow…

Scanning Facebook today, this caught post caught my eye…

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks. ‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’

They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ‘No,’ she said.

‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom. Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

Do you think this email is worth passing along so others won’t forget either, that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by our U.S. Veterans? ………………. I did.

Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights they have won for us.

This is why I have affiliated with the Homes for Heroes program, in addition to Military, Fire, Police and Medical personnel, TEACHERS are considered heroes as well…thank you Martha Cothren for reminding us all of why we have the freedoms we have.

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone.

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Vicki Reed

Have you ever stomped grapes?

Did you know that Vevay, Indiana (Switzerland County) annually hosts the Swiss Wine Festival?  This year is the 42st annual Swiss Wine Festival. Held at Paul Ogle Riverfront Park and organizers are pulling out all the corks for this year’s event, Thursday-Sunday, August 22-25, 2013.

The Swiss Wine Festival is a four-day celebration commemorating Switzerland County’s winemaking roots and bragging rights as the “Birthplace of the First Successful Commercial Winery in the United States.”  A little quick history for you:  (From Wikipedia – topic “American Wines”)

The first commercial vineyard and winery in the United States was established by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly on November 21, 1799. The vinedresser for the vineyard was John James Dufour formerly of Vevay, Switzerland. The vineyard was located overlooking the Kentucky River in Jessamine County, Kentucky and was named First Vineyard by Dufour on November 5, 1798. The vineyard’s current address in 5800 Sugar Creek Pike, Nicholasville, Kentucky. The first wine from the First Vineyard was consumed by the subscribers at John Postelthwaite’s house on March 21, 1803. Two 5 gallon oak casks of wine were taken to President Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C. in February 1805. The vineyard continued until 1809 when a killing freeze in May destroyed the crop and many vines at the First Vineyard. The Dufour family then relocated to Vevay, Indiana after the abandonment of the First Vineyard.

There are traditional aspects of the festival – a Wine Tasting Pavilion, the Midwest Championship Grape Stomp, arts & crafts, amusement rides, parade, riverboat cruises, 5K run/walk, cheerleading competition, live entertainment, and more.  There are twelve Indiana wineries are offering samplings of their award-winning wines, with staff on hand to answer questions about their yield.  Participating wineries include Buck Creek, Carousel, Chateau De Pique, Ertel Cellars, French Lick, Grateful Goat Vineyard, Harmony, Indian Creek, Lanthier, Ridge, Windy Knoll, and Winzerwald.  In addition to the wine, there will be a variety of food choices and entertainment.

Admission is $5 per day on Friday-Sunday. Children 5-12 years are admitted for $3, with under age five free. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Festival times are Friday, August. 23, 3 pm-2 am; Saturday, August. 24, 10:30 am-2 am; and Sunday, August. 25, from 10:30 am-6:30 pm.  The Wine Pavilion is open Friday 3-10 pm, Saturday 11 am-10 pm, and Sunday 12-6 pm. and has an additional $15 admission fee which includes wine samples and a souvenir wine glass.

The Swiss Wine Festival has been listed as the 4th best food festival in Indiana by the Best of Indiana and is a Top 10 event in Indiana by Top Events USA.  Saturday’s Festivities began on Saturday morning at 10:00 am with the Grand Festival Parade in downtown Vevay. Marching bands, floats, and local and visitors line the streets of Main Street to kick-off the celebration Switzerland County-style.

Additional activities, performers, and events can be found on the Swiss Wine Festival website,  http://swisswinefestival.org/, or call 812-427-9463. Reservations for riverboat cruises can be made by calling 800-435-5688. Information on lodging, local businesses and tourist activities can be found at http://switzcotourism.com/ or by calling Switzerland County Tourism at 812-427-3237.

I grew up half way between Vevay and Madison – Dad went to Vevay High School (now Switzerland County High School) and Mom went to Madison – they met at the old Vevay Drive-in that they took us to as kids so my family life has always revolved around what was happening in Madison or Vevay.  I can remember that when my grandma and her siblings were still with us, it was a very big deal that everyone went to the sister or brother that had the house “in town” to watch the Wine Festival parade…click here for the schedule, you might find it worth a trip!

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Vicki Reed

Wow…I’m an App!

Believe it or not, my chosen career and the tools of my trade date back to the late 1800’s, when real estate brokers would gathered at the offices of their local associations to share information about properties they were trying to sell. They agreed to compensate other brokers who helped sell those properties, and the first Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was born, based on the principle that’s unique to organized real estate: Help me sell my inventory and I’ll help you sell yours.

The MLS became a National Organization in the early 1960’s and “The Book” would be delivered weekly to the local Realtor’s offices and was generally out dated by the time it arrived!  If you were a buyer, you had to go to the Realtor’s office and look through the Book to find a home and hope it was still available.  Contracts were typed on a manual typewriter or hand written and you physically had to sit down with each other to get the job done!

It wasn’t until about 1994 that home searches began to be publicly available on the internet!  That is less than 20 years ago!  Technology has moved very quickly in the last 19 years…

1999 – the first Internet Lead Generation programs started making an appearance

Early 2000’s – Internet Data Exchanges (IDX) were launched for website

2005 – Google and MOTOVO brought map and neighborhood searches to a new level

2006 – Zillow begins the Zestimate for home value…BEWARE…the zestimate is not based on anything of value, it is an ESTIMATE and wrong 99.999% of the time.

2007 – Trulia adds Trulia Voices, their question and answer section.

The advent of the internet and it’s tools changed how we all live our lives, I now have websites, a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and regularly Google myself to see where I show up and what information is accurate and try to change what isn’t.  These are my two primary websites:

Contracts are completed online, electronic signatures are commonplace, our office is striving to be paperless, everything lives in the cloud, “i” stuff, tablets, e-readers are becoming more commonplace than books and we have “smart” phones that I still feel to dumb to own!

And now I have an App?  This is an amazing thing for me, computers were just coming into play when I started my career at Bank One, I had one of only two in our office!  By the time I left the corporate world behind, the iPads and Tablets were becoming popular and now look at me…I’m an App!

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Vicki Reed

What song makes you smile?

Driving home Saturday after a long day of promoting Homes for Heroes at the Indiana State Fair, (I was exhausted!) and the opening strains to “Sweet Home Alabama” came on the radio…as tired as I felt, my mouth couldn’t help turn upward and I found myself smiling and singing along.  Yes, it’s a Southern Rock Anthem and reminds me of a younger, more carefree time in my life.

It got me thinking…what music makes you smile?  My MP3 player is full of a huge variety of music…Elvis, Conway Twitty, Adele, Vonda Shepherd, Robbie Williams, Van Halen, all the 80’s hair bands, Lover Boy, Styx, Boston, Norah Jones, old country, newer country, Skynard, Marshall Tucker, 60’s Motown, 80’s Pop, 70’s Album Cher, well, you get the picture.  I’m currently obsessed with Adele, her theme for James Bonds Skyfall was fantastic!  There has been a lot of GREAT music over the years, some not so great, but still gets airtime.  What music makes you smile?

There are some favs in there that surprise my friends, I mean, if you knew me, would you guess that my favorite CD is Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction”?  I grew up with a Mother who is a HUGE Elvis fan (yes, I’ve been to Graceland…3 times!), but also listened to Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Tammy Wynette and all the other country greats.  When I hit Junior High (that’s now called Middle School for some of you), I discovered Boston, Styx, Bob Seger, Skynard and of course the Eagles…there was also the Bee Gees and all the great music from Saturday Night Fever and a shot of the 50’s with Grease.

College brought out Prince, Morris Day and the Time as well as a myriad of other 80’s pop and at the same time, the movie “The Big Chill” provided another genre to explore.  Etta James “At Last” is one of my all time favorites.  Who else remember’s “Headbanger’s Ball” on MTV?  The 90’s and 2000’s found me exploring Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra…yes, my musical journey has been all over the place,  but isn’t how it should be?

Music is something that evokes memories in all of us, I try to introduce my nieces to as much of it as I can, all loved Elvis for a period of their lives thanks to Mom and I introduced them to “The Monkees”, who were originally a manufactured act turned real band that featured members with distinct (albeit fictional) personality types.   There was even a love affair with the Beatles that included a tribute band concert.  What music would you share with the next generation?  I remember going to a Rick Springfield concert at Ribfest one year and was amazed at the Tween girls singing the words to all the songs…I’m sure their Mom’s were in my age bracket!

So, time for you to share…what music makes you smile?

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Vicki Reed

Where were you August 16, 1977…

Some of you may not have been born yet, but for those who remember…where were you?  what were you doing?  Me, I was about to turn 13, we were hanging out with another family just enjoying the summer and suddenly Mom was crying…why?  Because August 16, 1977 was the day Elvis died…

While American’s seem completely captivated by those pseudo celebs who are famous for…well…nothing and the media captures every move and news items one week old are treated as ancient history, Elvis Presley—who died 36 years ago today—remains as popular as ever. Why?  It’s not just because our popular culture idolizes its heroes, that’s a given, no, at the heart of the Elvis phenomenon is something much simpler and very American: dreaming big dreams and making those dreams come true.
In a a way, popular culture has a spiritual element to it. And although many of us deify our musical icons and exhibit an almost religious devotion to them, think Beatles and Rat Pack for the older generation…Justin Beiber for the tweens and hundreds of others in between.  There is a similarity between the primary message of the early Elvis (’54-’56) and the one central to most of the great religious figures of history: change. That one can take the past, breathe new life into it, and with the promise of youth and open-mindedness, rebel against the steadfastly held morals of the day, and, ultimately, change the future.

To fully appreciate the influence of Elvis on the world of music, it is critical to listen to the music of those first few years. He was not just some semi-talented white guy who ripped off infinitely more gifted black artists and rewarded, no, he may have been many things, but he was not that.  Just go back and listen to his early music, “That’s All Right, Mama,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” and “Hound Dog.”  Musically, the early Elvis was an astonishingly gifted chemist—creating his own personal style by mixing black music with country and pop.

His staggering vocal talent, however, is only part of his story. Think about the society that this man exploded into in the mid-’50s…a stale America, its inhabitants decked out in suits and dresses, living in “Happy Days”.  It was a society with nothing at stake.  Then comes Elvis…

amused, defiant, cool, hips quivering and then
 everything was at stake. Suddenly America was in the midst of a game of chicken, because Elvis was playing for keeps and taking his dreams very, very seriously. And, then, so were those who listened to him, his voice burning into the suburbs.
The man had ambition, he was the son of a sharecropper, he roamed Memphis’s black Beale Street section listening and learning, his music full of unmentionable menace, but was also tender and romantic lyricism. He was all contradiction: the raunchy roadhouse rocker who loved mom and Jesus, the yes-sir/no-sir Southern boy with the swaggering carelessness, the smoldering sex symbol with the self-mocking smile. And, like Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, he was all magnetism: “There was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promise of life—as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.”  He was, and is, the stuff that American Dreamers are made of.

John Lennon said that before Elvis there was nothing and after Elvis there was everything. While this is debatable, but when Elvis hit the US in 1955, singing and moving those hips, the world has never been the same.

So, can the birth of rock and roll can be explained simply as a matter of some white guy coming along who could “sing black” and get the teenage girls to scream?  There is no way to ever explain Elvis or his legacy, he was simply a poor sharecropper’s son who mixed the music of the poor whites and blacks and scared mid-1950s America, and whose talent dwarfed any who followed.

Me, I was raised by a mother who would sneak an apple from home and save her lunch money all week, just to go see him on the big screen or to by his latest single, I’ve been on the pilgrimage to Graceland 3 times and will likely end up there again in the future.  My nieces have also grown up with an appreciation for his beautiful voice, Mom still plays his music regularly, there is a satellite station dedicated to only his music, the movies are available on DVD for generations to come to enjoy…honestly, when I find one of his movies on cable…I watch!  I also have the Aloha from Hawaii CD (yes a CD) in my car that I put in when the mood strikes.
So…do you remember?
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This life is hard enough…

First, let me qualify this post by saying that I chose to be a REALTOR®…I love my job, I love “Turning your dreams into an Address…”, it’s more than a tagline, I truly love working with buyers and sellers, my clients have become friends and this means so much, however, several things have happened this year that I would like to address…

1.  A fellow agent called, he had received a call from someone who saw his sign in front of a house.  The potential buyer told him that he was not represented and the agent, who was out of town, contacted me to show the property.  I arranged to show him the property and during our meeting, I again asked if he was working with an agent and he said that he was, but he “didn’t want to bother him to show him the home“.  My advice to buyers – BOTHER US!  Commit to working with one Realtor, showing you homes is what we are paid for, to show you homes and represent your BEST interests in YOUR home purchase, please do not lie to other agents, we will eventually find out.

2.  Realtors… treat each other with respect and kindness, we are all trying to do what is best for our clients. During the course of a recent transaction, the Seller’s agent maligned my clients character during the course of a number of delays, was hateful and demanding of me, including trying to get me to give up part of my commission.  I’m sorry, I work really hard for my clients, I am upfront and honest with other agents during the course of every transaction.  Regarding delays…sometimes things happen and we do the best we can, but please, be patient, be kind and just talk to each other with some modicum of respect.  The end result is someone wants to sell a house, someone wants to buy that house and its up to us to make it happen and make both our clients happy.

3.  Last week I received a call from an agent showing one of my listings.  The home is unoccupied, yet when she arrived, the lockbox was open, the key in the door, door wide open, lights on…and no one there!  What if there hadn’t been another showing scheduled that day?  How long would it have stayed that way?  I called the agent who had shown it earlier and left a voicemail asking how he left the home, just to find out if someone showed the home and wasn’t scheduled (they still haven’t called me back!).  Agents, please leave the home secured when you leave and if you did it, own up to it.  My favorite thing an agent did at another unoccupied listing was leave the gas fireplace burning…it was over 4 days before the home was viewed again, next agent came into a 95 degree temp…in February!  Buyers, help us make certain the homes you are viewing are locked up tight and it was as you found it when you leave!

4.  Buying a home?  During a recent transaction for a client selling a home, we were on the way to closing and received a call from the Buyer’s agent...there was a large spot on the master bedroom carpet and they hadn’t seen it before…it had been there all along, never hidden, but apparently never seen by the buyer or their agent.  Now, the seller was getting money back from the sale of the home, a reward for home ownership if you will, and had already agreed to pay $3,000 toward the Buyer’s closing costs as well as pay for a home warranty of $400.  The Buyer’s agent screams at me that they wanted $500 to replace the carpet or they would be pulling out of the transaction.  First, there is no reason to scream at me, second, just  because you can see on the HUD statement that my client is receiving money doesn’t mean your client “deserves” money for something you hadn’t asked for previously.  My client was using this money in the purchase of their next home, it was not the Buyers to take.  We did close, but what should have been a joyful day for both parties turned contentious and stressful.

5.  Selling your home?  Pay attention to the terms of your contract.  When  are you to turn over possession of the home?  What items are to remain with the home?  Realtors, communicate with them on how the home should be left for the new owners and remind them of what appliances, etc. are to remain.  In addition to my own experience, I hear a lot from other agents about washers and dryers being taken when they were clearly on the Purchase Agreement, what about that fridge in the garage?  Sellers, don’t take the light fixtures and replace them with the builder grade brass one that was there when you moved in UNLESS you disclosed that you were taking the fixture.  During a recent transaction, we arrived to do a final walk-through 30 minutes before closing and they were still moving out!  This is the first time the Sellers had sold a home and they had no idea that this was unacceptable.  Sellers, your home needs to be “broom clean” when you leave, you should also make certain that you aren’t still trying to move as you are headed to the closing table and Agents…communicate with your Sellers!

Okay, enough of my rants/life lessons or whatever you would like to call this, but truly, life is tough, the key is to treat one another with RESPECT…in negotiations, in delays, in closings and even in follow-ups after the fact.  It doesn’t just apply to real estate transactions, but our everyday lives.  I strive to be a Realtor® that other agents want to work with and that my clients want to refer their friends to…it’s working so far and I look forward to a long prosperous career!  Now…if you are ready to buy or sell a home…CALL ME!

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Vicki Reed

Weir Cook Airport – going, going . . . . .

I took a detour up High School Road the other day and was shocked to see the demolition has started on the old Indianapolis International Airport – previously known as Weir Cook Airport.  I got to thinking about all the trips I’d made to that old airport – pick ups, drop offs, catching a plane myself. . . . lots of memories.

The original airport opened in 1931   It was named after Col. Harvey Weir-Cook of Wilkinson, Indiana, who was a US Army Air Forces pilot in World War I and World War II, where he was killed flying a P-39 over New Caledonia. He became a flying ace during WWI. It was renamed Indianapolis International in 1976.  It had several additions over the years and was a fun place to just visit and watch the planes standing on the top floor of the parking garage. Or sitting in your car at the ‘overlook’ off of I-70 back in the day watching them land over the houses and cornfields that were ‘in the country’.

Do you remember when the plane crashed into the Ramada Inn located nearby?  That was in 1987 and 10 people died. They never rebuilt a hotel in that spot.

I remembered taking my youngest son there to catch his plane to San Diego when he went to basic training in the Navy. I have a picture of him sitting in those hard orange chairs smoking before he got on the plane!  And when he came home on leave we met him right at the gate with balloons and cake.

When I visited another son in Phoenix, I stopped at the White Castle on Washington St. to pick him up some sliders – those other passengers had to smell them all the way! 

That same son was welcomed home with tears when he returned from his tour with the USMC in the Middle East.

There were happy times and sad times spent there.

When they had the big auction after the new airport opened we went to check it out. What a blast! They sold everything: security monitors, chairs, ashtrays, pictures, lost & found items never claimed.

The new airport has won accolades and been voted the best in overall satisfaction by JD Power; it’s a beautiful building – the grandkids love the moving sidewalks and running around the open spaces.  But, I’ll remember the Weir Cook (who?) and the Airport Expressway (wow!) forever.