Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This Week's Headlines!

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The Virginia Association of Realtors announced a thirty one percent jump in home sales for the last year in Richmond yesterday. Virginia home sales have also risen by almost twenty percent in that period. Though sales were up, the prices of these homes has dropped by 6.8 percent in the city of Richmond and 8.5 percent in the state. The Virginia Association of Realtors President said, "mortgage rates won't stay this low forever, the tax credit for first-time and trade-up buyers ends this spring and inventory is dropping."

Open High School in Richmond has decided to give students final grades for the first time. For the last thirty eight years the school has existed, it has given out grades on assignments throughout the year but at the end wrote a narrative explaining the students learning style and how they did that year instead of issuing final grades. The school decided to switch to a grading system so students wouldn't be at a disadvantage when applying for college admissions and scholarships. In a Richmond Times Dispatch article, Open's school counselor said college admissions officials called her to ask what they were looking at when they received twenty or more pages of narrative in place of traditional grades.

Police and fire officials were looking for a woman who may have jumped off the Powhite Parkway yesterday. Around noon, a Richmond police officer found the woman's empty car parked on the bridge and a police helicopter and fire and rescue teams began a search, according to a post on styleweekly.com. By Monday evening, the rescue effort had been called off and the Fire Department spokesman Lt. Shawn Jones said the search was "at a standstill". Jones says the woman's family told officials she has attempted suicide before.

According to hillsandheights.org, a proposed noise ordinance will be heard by the city council in the next few weeks. The council will attempt to work out what a circuit court ruled was unconstitutionally vague language in the current law. One line reads, "the keeping of any animal or bird which by frequent or long continued noise, shall disturb the comfort and repose of any person to such an extent as shall constitute a nuisance".

Representatives of the Richmond and Virginia chapters of the Concerned Black Men, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Mayor Dwight C. Jones' office met on Saturday to discuss how to get segments of the population that often go uncounted to turn in their 2010 census forms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African American males between 18 and 35 go uncounted most often. Officials at that meeting cited mistrust of the government and people not understanding the nature of the nationwide head count as reasons for this group to avoid census questionaires and census workers going door to door. The census is confidential and determines how much money flows to states for roads, education, Medicaid and other social services. In a Richmond Times Dispatch Article, Mayor Jones' deputy chief of staff Jeffrey Bourne described these as "the most important government services" for a city like Richmond.

The Richmond City Council approved six hundred thousand dollars in public funds for Jackson Ward last night. The money will go into revitalizing the Hippodrome Theatre and the Taylor Mansion next door into an entertainment venue with a restaurant, retail space and apartments. The complex is set to open next year several blocks down the street from the Convention center. The council vote was 6-1, with Councilman Bruce Tyler and two Jackson Ward residents arguing that public funds shouldn't go towards a for-profit venture, according to the Richmond TImes Dispatch. The money designated for the projects is coming from an economic-development grant and federal funds for creating housing for low-income residents. According to the article, Councilman Marty Jewell said "if any neighborhood deserves help from this city for resuscitating itself, it's Jackson Ward".

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