Consumer Confidence. November 2011. A SOLID 15.1 POINT GAIN

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The Consumer Confidence Index rose a solid 15.1 points for November. The Index now stands at 56.0. Just a lot of good positive readings from the Conference Board.

Source: The Conference Board

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Landmarks we’ll remember in Alexandria, MN: PART TWO

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In 1964, Nort Star World’s Fair Corporation, a Minnesota non-profit corportation from Osseo, informed Minnesotans about an addition to the Minnesota Pavilion at the World’s Fair that was to be named “Minnesota, Birthplace of America.”

In April of 1965, construction of a Viking statue was completed by Gordon Displays of Minneapolis for that display. It was shipped to New York on a special trailer designed to accomodate its 28-foot height and 4-ton weight.

April 21, 1965 was the start of the New York World’s Fair. In two days, more than 250,000 fairgoers viewed the Viking statue known as Big Ole.

In December 1965, the Viking statue arrived at it’s new home in Alexandria, MN. It was placed at the nort end of Broadway, and Alexandria, MN was christened the “Birthplace of America.”

In 1967, Big Ole was dressed in a Santa suitfor the holiday season. A prankster shot a flaming arrow that landed on his suit; it went up in flames. The cost of repairing Big Ole was approximately $3,000.

In August 1980, the Viking was moved back from it’s island in the center of the 3rd Avenue and Broadway intersection to the 2nd Avenue area to make way for a new stop light and for safety reasons. The Department of Transportation paid for the move.

Big Ole has been cared for through the years. He was repainted in 1985, 1991 and 1996. In 1991, he acquired a more youthful look when the color his beard and hair was changed from gray to blonde.

1996 brought a stormy season that sent 70 mph straight-line winds down Broadway directly at Big Ole, causing a sway in his stature. Many feared if he was not repaired, another windstorm could mean his demise.

In the fall of 1996, Big Ole was taken back from his cement slab and laid on his back for renovation. Craftsmen reinforced his internal welding and put new fiberglass on his outside.

The winter of 1996-1997 was tough in the Midwest. Big Ole was one of its victims. While under renovation in an outer building at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, MN, the roof collapsed on him. It only hit 6 inches of his toe, but it fell with enough force to cause a domino effect along his right side, breaking the inner welding of his structure.

With the help of the community and donations from Ole fans coming in the mail, $27,000 was raised to complete the initial renovation and to do the additional repairs needed.

To express thanks, the Runestone Museum, along with the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce in Alexandria, MN had a celebration on Memorial Day weekend of 1997. It was called “Ole Oppe Fest.” (Oppe means “up” in Norwegian.)

Big Ole’s new paint job and sturdy body were revealed with fanfare that included fireworks and other entertainmnent, food and games. The celebration became an annual event, now known as Awake the Lakes.

With the continued growth of Alexandria, MN, more road construction was needed and once again, Big Ole was obscuring traffic. In 2002, he was moved back to a new park and trailhead for the Central Lakes Trail just off 1st Avenue.

Source: Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Echo Press in Alexandria, MN

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Landmarks we’ll remember in Alexandria, MN. PART ONE

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This is a report from the Alexandria, MN Echo Press about the Alexandria, MN area. I will be sharing all of these with you over the next couple of weeks.

This particular story is about the DOUGLAS COUNTY COURTHOUSE. The story begins…

Completed in 1895 for an estimated $35,000, the Douglas County Courthouse was to be dedicated free of debt.

A newspaper article in 1894 noted that no bonds would be used to pay for the building. Reportedly, the money was in sight before any stone was laid. Money was set aside for this project starting in 1891.

The cost included all the vaults, fixtures, plumbing, lighting and heating.

Floor plans for the new courthouse were revealed in an August 1, 1895 newspaper article. It was to be a Victorian Romanesque-style building.

Original floor plans featured offices for the sheriff, clerk of court, auditor, treasurer, register of deeds, county commissioners, surveyor and probate as well as vaults and a probate courtroom.

In it’s 100-plus history, the courthouse has stood at the corner of Douglas Street and 7th Avenue West. It has undergone many changes and updates.

There was an addition put on in 1940 to the front of the building; in 1973 a jail, sheriff’s department and offices were added to the rear.

In 1979, the buildings original 9-by-18 inch slate shingles were replaced and in the late 1990’s, the courthouse’s interior underwent renovations.

The exterior was renovated in 2006. Old shingles were replaced with new 50-year shingles, along with brick repair and tuck-pointing.

The Douglas County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 23, 1895.

Source: Alexandria, Mn Echo Press<a

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More Deer Hunting Success

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My son, Boone, just did a hat-trick deer hunting. He got his third 8-pointer last weekend. It was the only deer bagged out of our 7 man crew. Congratulations, Boone.

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Housing Starts Fall

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Housing Starts.Oct.2011

No matter what the numbers say, they are all numbers from the past…the big question is always…”what will the numbers be tomorrow?” This is the part where wisdom and foresight are valuable.

If you read the bottom of the Wells Fargo report, they are predicting 640,000 housing starts next year, an 11% increase…keep your eye on the pendulum…

Source: US Census Bureau, US Dept of Housing and Urban Development, Wells Fargo Sec.

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More Deer Hunting Success

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My youngest son, Mitch, bagged his first deer this season. He made a great shot as the deer only made it about 80 yards. He is doing a European mount for his room.

My oldest son, Boone, got two last weekend within a minute of each other. He is shooting a single-shot rifle and after deciding to take the smaller 8 point, reloaded and heard something behind him. He turned and seen the bigger one and laid it in his track. Pretty cool.

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Home Makeover in Alexandria, MN

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Home Makeover Ad

Thanks Lecia and Kitty, this is going to be fun. The new decorating and staging on Kitty’s home should make a wonderful change in the marketing of her home.

My company will be doing an open house every weekend until it is sold. The home has a good price on it already. It should be more, but the market has held it down and of course the interior needed a “fluff and buff”.

Stop by this Saturday and see what Lecia did.

Source: Echo Press, Friday, November 11, 2011

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The Oracle

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Listening to Warren Buffet this morning, he made a few comments on the interview before I had to go to work.

One of them was, “I don’t want to worry about ongoing uncertainties.” He had said this after he had said that “I want to own great businesses.”

I have been selling real estate here in Alexandria, MN for 28+ years. My time here has been littered with “ongoing uncertainties”. The doom-n-gloomers will always point those out to you. It’s funny, how you can shed their thoughts if you have a better perspective on your own life and what impact you are making while you are alive…with worrying about all of the “ongoing uncertainties”.

He also said that, “When housing starts reach one million, that unemployment would improve”.

As you can see the attached News Release from the US Census Bureau shows that housing starts is hovering around the 600,000 number through September. It is going to take a couple years, in my mind, to get to the million units.

Housing Starts.Sept.2011

Source: US Census Bureau

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Commercial Real Estate Sales in Alexandria, MN.

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I track the commercial sales here regularly since I went on my own. I feel that I need to know every sale that transpires in the area and with that, I have a tracking board in front of my computer that shows every commercial building and land sale in the Alexandria, MN. area.

Some of the sales that are recorded are not “arms length”. An effort is made to only record the ones that are relatively close or are at “arms length”. If one requested, I personally could go over every commercial sale that has transpired through August 31st. But with that, I would like to show you, at least, what I have recorded so far too date (1.1.11 to 8.31.11):

Commercial Land Sales in Alexandria, MN:
2007: 12 Sales
2008: 18 Sales
2009: 4 Sales
2010: 5 Sales
2011: 4 Sales (incomplete year)

Commercial Building Sales in Alexandria, MN:
2008: 15 Sales
2009: 9 Sales
2010: 11 Sales
2011: 13 Sales (incomplete year)

So as you can see, the market activity in 2011 for commercial sales has picked up considerably…it may have to do with pricing? As you look through these sales and what they had sold for/appraised for/offered for; is different than what they may have sold for in 2010/2011.

Source: Alexandria City

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Housing Data Wrap-Up: October 2011

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Housing Data Wrap-Up.October 2011

New home construction is not expected to improve till second half of the decade in this country…per Wells people.

Source: Wells Fargo Securities

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