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3 brand spanking new places to live in downtown Dayton

Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 1:42 PM

We take you inside Monument Walk, a Charlie Simms development in Downtown Dayton. Video by Amelia Robinson

There are more housing options than ever in downtown Dayton. 

Okay, okay some of these aren’t ready quite yet BUT when they are at least you’ll be the first to know about it!

>>PHOTOS: Sneak peek of Steam Plant renovation in downtown Dayton

If you’re looking for a new pad, there are a few hot options that just arrived on the market.

Monument Walk

Photos of Monument Walk, a new Charlie Simms development in downtown Dayton.(Dawn M Smith)

Monument Walk is a 17-townhouse complex near the corner of Ludlow St. and Monument Ave. It’s the fifth downtown Dayton project for local developer Charles Simms. 

>> Downtown ‘renaissance’ helping drive answer to ‘Why Dayton?’

The 3,227 to 3,470-square-foot, elevator-ready homes start at $489,900.

We got a sneak peek of one of these plush townhouses during the free Downtown Housing Tour organized by the Downtown Dayton Partnership. 

>> Swanky Oregon District home that once held Southern Belle is on sale

Delco Lofts

Rendering shows the inside of a Delco Loft apartment. CONTRIBUTED(HANDOUT)

With a prime spot nestled between Fifth Third Field and soon to be Lock 27 brewery’s downtown location, the Delco Lofts are surely the next hot place to live. 

>> PHOTOS: See the latest progress on downtown’s Delco Lofts

The lofts, whose lease rates range from $905 for an one-room apartment to $1,700 for a split-level loft, will feature 12-foot ceilings and 16-feet-wide floor-to-ceiling windows, developers Crawford Hoying and Woodard Development said. 

>> 10 downtown Dayton projects to be excited about

>>UPDATE: These downtown apartments are filling up FAST

The Wheelhouse

Here is an update on what's going on at Troll Pub Under the Bride and The Wheelhouse apartments. Video by Amelia Robinson

Lee Weyland of Weyland Ventures said things are moving along well for The Wheelhouse project, located at 210 Wayne Ave.

>>PHOTOS: Look inside the new Wheelhouse Lofts in Dayton’s Oregon District

You might know this space better as “that (formerly) abandoned building next to the old Garden Station.”

So far it will include a 40-unit apartment building and a Troll Pub Under the Bridge restaurant and bar.

>> Louisville pub plans to open 250-seat location in Dayton

The developers are hopeful that tenants will be able to move in by late June or early July. 

>>RELATED: As $8M project wraps up, here’s what’s next for developer

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6 factors that will affect your mortgage payment 

Published: Thursday, May 03, 2018 @ 3:37 PM

The following are five ways to ensure that you're getting the best mortgage rate possible Look beyond a 30-year fixed rate Improve your credit score if it's low Beef up your down payment Get more than one quote Consider paying points

Deciding when to shop for your first home can be a big decision. 

Maybe you've been holding down the rent payments on your apartment for a few years and you're ready to invest in a place of your own. Maybe you just got married and you're looking for a house with a backyard for your two dogs. No matter what your motivation for taking this step, it's important to start by figuring out how much you can spend on a home without breaking your budget.

»RELATED: House hunters, here are 5 secrets to getting the best home loan

The problem is, for first-time home buyers, understanding how mortgage payments are calculated can be about as clear as mud. To help you navigate the numbers, here's a breakdown of what you'll need to think about when estimating your monthly payment:

1. Property Price

The starting off point to figure out your mortgage payment is the property price. Once a buyer and seller agree on a sale price, almost all mortgage lenders will use the results of an appraisal to find out how much the house is actually worth. According to an article on Zillow, lenders might not issue a loan for more than the appraised value, but you can always put up your own money to cover the difference.

A home exchange is about more than accommodations; you also join a community that allows you to make new friends and discover places you wouldn't ordinarily visit.

2. Down Payment

The amount of your down payment can vary based on a few factors. When shopping for your first home, you want to be realistic about how much cash you will have available for your down payment and closing costs. Speaking to a mortgage lender ahead of time will help you figure out how much you should save for the down payment on the house of your dreams. Once you're ready to get started, here are some tips on how to save for that down payment.

3. Loan term

Your payment can go up or down depending on how much time you have to pay off your loan. MortgateCalculator.org ranks 30-year home loans as the most common.

4. Interest Rate

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your interest rate is based on things like your credit score, the economy, how much you're looking to borrow, and where your house is located. Because these rates change with the market, it's impossible to pinpoint exactly where they might be on the date of your closing. You want to speak to your lender to figure out how to get the best rate at the time you're ready to buy.

»RELATED: Numbers don’t lie: 5 things to know about your FICO score

5. Property Taxes

Property taxes are set based on where your house is located. Certain metro Atlanta areas have higher property tax rates than others so you might want to do your research to see how local counties compare. Also, property taxes can change over time so you'll probably see a slight difference in your monthly payment amount from year to year.

6. Other Factors 

The monthly payment on your home sometimes includes some other factors. Here are a few you might want to keep in mind:

  • Homeowners Insurance: Your annual homeowners insurance premium is usually rolled into your mortgage payment.

  • Private mortgage insurance: Private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be added to your mortgage payment depending on your lender's requirements.

  • HOA Fees: If your property is a part of a mandatory Homeowners Association, you will have to pay annual fees to participate. HOA fees are paid separately from your mortgage, but should be included in your payment estimates because they are typically paid monthly.

Here's a quick example of a mortgage calculation using the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices app for Georgia properties:

  • Sale price: $195,000

  • Down payment: $6,825 (3.5 percent)

  • Loan term: 30 years

  • Interest rate: 4.5 percent

  • Property taxes: $1,200/year

  • Homeowners insurance: $700/year

  • HOA dues: $125/month

  • PMI: $180/month

Based on these numbers, a ballpark guess for your mortgage would be about $1,417 per month.

Fortunately, there are several real estate apps and websites that include free mortgage calculators. These tools can help you estimate how much a specific home might cost you per month. However, because mortgage payments can vary based on your specific situation, it is vital to speak to a mortgage lender before kicking off your home search to get the best idea of how much you'll pay monthly for that dream house.

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Here’s how buying plants can help these Greene County college students

Published: Saturday, April 28, 2018 @ 4:07 PM


            U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks at Central State University on Thursday. Perdue (center) met with students, President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond (left) and other school leaders.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks at Central State University on Thursday. Perdue (center) met with students, President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond (left) and other school leaders.

Central State University will host its 27th annual Plant Extravaganza, and money raised at the event will benefit students.

The sale will happen Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. and again Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. in the CSU Greenhouse in Wilberforce.

Students majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and volunteers started in January to plant seeds and propagate houseplants, annual flowers, perennials, herbs and vegetables. The community outreach effort is sponsored by the Department of Agricultural Sciences in the College of Engineering, Science, Technology and Agriculture.

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The greenhouse specializes in seed geraniums, coleus, tomatoes and peppers, but there are more than 50 varieties of plants available. Cost per flat is $10, mix or match. Additional donations are accepted.

All proceeds are donated to the CSU Greenhouse Fund, which helps pay for supplies, scholarships, student research and campus beautification.

The public is invited to come early for the best selection. Cash or checks accepted only.

Central State University is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant University.

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We're not playing: Here's how possums can help your household 

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Possums are beneficial as rodent and eaters of carrion Opossums also keep rats and cockroaches at bay by competing with them for food Possums are North America's only marsupials When they're just hanging out, possums constantly groom themselves Don't feed opossums Don't give opossums access to garbage

If you think possums are funny-looking, threatening pests that should be destroyed if they set so much as a paw on your property, you're probably in the majority. However, you are still sorely mistaken.

»RELATED: Here are tips on keeping a snake-free yard

Granted, with their 50 sharp teeth − more than any mammal in North America − and naked tails, possums certainly do look strange, but their other negative qualities are sometimes exaggerated.

Although, a recent report of an opossum breaking into liquor store and getting “drunk as a skunk” doesn’t support the theory of the animal’s positive qualities.

Still, as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife attests, in urban areas, possums are beneficial as rodent and eaters of carrion (flesh of dead animal).

Mother Nature Network lauded possums for their pest control attributes, explaining, "Since their diet allows them to indulge on snails, slugs and beetles, they are a welcome addition to the garden. Opossums also keep rats and cockroaches at bay by competing with them for food. In fact, it's common for opossums to kill cockroaches and rats if they find them in their territory."

Not only do they take care of pests, they do so without spreading disease to humans. 

"They are far less of a health risk to you or your children or pets than nearly any other wild animal," according to The National Opossum Society (which is run by human advocates, not the marsupials themselves). 

Even if you can't appreciate a possum's ability to clear the woods of bacteria-laden carrion, the species has other adorable characteristics. Below are some little known tidbits about the critters:

Possum or Opossum?

Technically, the North American animal is called an opossum, while possum refers to a similar Australian species. According to Garner's Modern American Usage, however, the terms are used interchangeably. In fact, "possum" is twice as likely to appear in print and is even more common in speech.

(People Magazine)

Possums are North America's only marsupials

That means the undeveloped young they give birth to just 12 days after breeding then crawl into their mother's pouch and attach to a teat, according to WDFW. When they're 80 or 90 days old, the young start riding on their mother's back, sometimes five or 10 of them, with feet and tail firmly attached to her fur. 

Possums are smart

Sure, they're not so great at looking out for cars, but they have a remarkable memory. According to MNN, when possums were tested for the ability to remember where food is, they scored better than rats, rabbits, cats and even dogs. They can also make their way through a maze more quickly than either rats or cats.

They're clean

When they're just hanging out, possums constantly groom themselves, sort of like house cats, according to WDFW.

Possum tails are cool

Their tails are able to wrap around and grasp tree limbs and can support the animal's full weight for short periods. Contrary to myth, opossums do not hang upside down by their tails when sleeping.

As for "playing possum," that's a real thing

"When threatened, opossums run, growl, belch, urinate and defecate," according to MNN. "And when all else fails, they 'play possum' and act as if they are dead. It is an involuntary response (like fainting) rather than a conscious act. They roll over, become stiff, close their eyes (or stare off into space) and bare their teeth as saliva foams around the mouth and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from glands. The catatonic state can last for up to four hours, and has proven effective as a deterrent to predators looking for a hot meal."

How to prevent human-possum conflicts

While you may benefit from possums' pest patrolling skills, that doesn't mean you want them in or around your house. According to WDFW, there are fairly simple ways to prevent possums getting too close.

It recommended these steps:

  • Don't feed opossums. "Opossums that are fed by people often lose their fear of humans and may become aggressive when not fed as expected. Artificial feeding also tends to concentrate opossums in a small area; overcrowding can spread diseases and parasites."
  • Don't give opossums access to garbage. Secure your garbage can lids tightly and put them out for pickup in the morning, after possums have returned to their resting areas.
  • Feed dogs and cats inside and keep them indoors at night
  • Clean barbecue grills and grease traps after each use.
  • Install a commercially designed and engineered chimney cap.

And if one of these critters does end up in your house or too close for comfort in the yard, WDFW reminded people that as long as you limit their interactions with your pets, possums are not dangerous. The fish and wildlife experts suggest staying calm if an opossum gets too close. If necessary, homeowners can use a broom to coral possum outside.


For more information,  the National Opossum Society serves as a resource for current and correct diet, medical and general knowledge of opossums. 

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How to keep snakes out of your yard

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 @ 6:06 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

Woman Bit By Copperhead Snake At Longhorn Steakhouse

Forget about "Snakes on a Plane," we're more concerned with snakes in the yard. Even though snakes are nowhere near as prevalent as our irrational fears would have us think (assuming you don't live smack dab in the middle of rattlesnake territory), if you're a homeowner with a bit of landscape or yard under your direction, you may encounter snakes on occasion.

» RELATED: It’s the season for snakes: When should you worry?

That should be no biggie, according to experts at the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension

"As a general rule, snakes are just as frightened of you as possibly you are of them and often they move as quickly as possible in the other direction," the extension noted. Venomous snake bites are rare and you can readily take steps to treat them. If you're an avid gardener, you may even want snakes in your slice of the great outdoors, since they diet on rodents and insects and can actually help protect you from garden pests.

» RELATED: How Atlantans can identify venomous snakes this summer 

Not buying it? You can try to keep snakes out of your home life. Just understand that even the best measures are not 100 percent foolproof, according to America's Wetland Resources, which is based in the South.

"There are no magic or absolute solutions," AWR asserted. "There are no poisons or repellents that work, though some new 'breakthrough' is occasionally advertised. Horsehair ropes and trails of mothballs have consistently tested negative, and pest control operators have no answers."

But there are still plenty of valid ways to limit, or possibly eliminate, a slithery presence in your yard, garden or home. Here are five tips from the pros on how to keep snakes out of your yard:

Seal crevices. Closer to your home, seal the openings where snakes like to set up house. "Check the clearance of door bottoms, weep holes, openings where pipes enter, cracks and spaces under eaves," AWR recommended. "Don't neglect storerooms and sheds."

AWR added that sealing enough openings to make a difference is much more difficult if you own a raised wooden home.

Lawrenceville approves $253,061 for upgrades to the Lawrenceville Lawn. Courtesy City of Lawrenceville(For the AJC)

Tidy up the yard. Snakes might choose to live on your property or simply travel through, according to AWR. You want to make your property as inhospitable as possible, so concentrate on ridding it of any places snakes would consider good spots to hide. Remove debris, from piles of boards, tin, sticks and leaves to flat boats on the ground and piles of bricks or stone, AWR advised, and keep vegetation cut back.

» RELATED: Snakes are most attracted to these kinds of Atlanta homes

Stop serving the snake's preferred menu. It's a win-win. When you take away potential hiding places for snakes, the spots where rat and mice families like to congregate are also eliminated. But take this one step further, AWR advised, and take further steps to get rid of the rodents that snakes like to snack on. You may want to involve a pest control agent, but you definitely want to practice anti-rodent hygiene, including not leaving pet food out for more than an hour or so, closing trash cans tightly and securing compost in a sealed container.

Combat the climbers. If limbs from a neighbor's yard hang over your fence, snakes may use them as an entry to your place. Consider working with your neighbor to get them trimmed.

» RELATED: Largest venomous snake in U.S. spotted swimming in waters off Florida Keys

Consider the snake-proof fence. If you live in an area where one or more venomous snakes are common, you may want to invest in a snake-proof fence, according to NCSU. "Small areas where children play can be protected from all poisonous and most harmless snakes with a snake-proof fence," it noted. "However, the cost of the fence may make it impractical to protect an entire yard."

Make a fence by burying 1/4-inch mesh wire screening 6 inches underground and building it up 30 inches, instructed NCSU.

"It should slant outward at a 30-degree angle from bottom to top. The supporting stakes must be inside the fence and any gates must fit tightly. Tall vegetation must be removed along the fence, both inside and outside."

It's costly, but you can snake-proof the entire yard with a concrete chain wall that extends six inches or so below the surface, noted AWR. 

» RELATED: Photos: Georgia’s venomous snakes and how to identify them

"If you already have a wooden fence and the boards are very close together, a good solution is to snake-proof the bottom." 

One fairly cheap way is to use 1/4-inch hardware cloth cut in strips wide enough to overlap the bottom of the fence so it can be tacked securely and extend down into a narrow trench six inches deep.

AWR added another word of caution for either snake-proof fence design (spoiler alert: it's nightmare inducing.) "Many snakes climb by looping over objects and the above described design may virtually eliminate their entry," it noted. "Others, however, can crawl up vertical surfaces if they are rough, such as the trunk of a tree or a brick wall (including the side of a house)."

» RELATED: Veterinarians say snakebites are up among pets

To overcome this creepy climbing capability, you can place a foot-wide ledge made of wood or metal flashing along the outer side at the top. "This structure makes the snakes lean out away from the wall and it will lose its grip and fall."

After all this snake talk, AWR does have one bit of great news. "Snakes are rarely abundant in any one location."

And if all your efforts fail and snakes do make their way into your yard, AWR recommended the ultimate failsafe. 

"The best thing you can do for yourself and family is to teach everyone to respect snakes and to be on the lookout for them," according to the  AWR website. "Remember, don't touch it with your hands. Use a shovel to place the snake in a deep bucket with a cover. The chances of your encountering a venomous species is remote, but possible enough to always by careful!"

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