Arlington to be Designated “Tree City USA” Again

On Friday, April 30, the National Arbor Day Foundation will give Arlington County government its 24th consecutive “Tree City USA” designation. The award is being given to the community for its efforts for effective urban forest management. 

The award will be presented on the eve of the annual Arbor Day celebrations of the county in an  event scheduled at the Carlin Springs Elementary School. The event will not be convened with its usual pomp this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to the “Tree City” designation, Arlington will also be awarded its 17th consecutive “Growth Award” by Virginia’s Forestry Department for demonstrating exemplary levels of tree care and community engagement. 

Dan Lambe, the President of Arbor Day Foundation, lauded the county’s efforts for both plantation and preservation of trees:

“The trees being planted and cared for by Arlington are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education,” said Lambe. 

Arlington county, according to the official estimates, is home to over 750,000 million trees of at least 122 different species. These trees have an estimated value of $1.41 billion. It is estimated that these trees provide environmental benefits worth a million dollars to the county every year by performing functions like storing carbon, removing pollution, avoiding stormwater runoff as well as saving money spent on energy.

The members of the Arlington County Board designated 32 of these trees as Notable Trees” on April 20. Size, rarity, and historic provenance, among other factors, determine the eligibility of trees for the award. The designation does not extend any special protection to the trees and is merely an honorary award. Established in 1985, the Notable Trees program has recognized 350 trees to date. 

Matt de Ferrnati, the Arlington County Board Chair, reiterated the county’s commitment to protecting its trees:

“The conservation of our trees is of high priority to us; this Notable Trees program highlights the great service to our tree canopy and our health,” he said. 

Arlington earned the “Tree City” recognition by meeting four standards set by the Arbor Day Foundation:

Establishment of a tree board 

Spending $2 per capita on trees 

Observation of Arbor Day

Creation of a community forestry program 

The county’s performance on the tree preservation front will benefit it on many levels. For one, it will help enhance the county’s image as it will be seen as one that cares about the environment and, in turn, the quality of life of its citizens and future generations. Moreover, it will help beautify Arlington and improve property values and water quality in the county. 

About Arbor Day 

Arbor Day is celebrated in many countries around the world to encourage individuals and communities to plant and preserve trees. The National Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April. 

Henrico Industrial Facility Purchased for $7.8 Million

Lingerfelt CommonWealth has declared that a million-dollar reposition and renovation of the “Henrico Industrial Facility” will occur.

Richmond based commercial real estate investment company Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC announced on April 7 that it had purchased an industrial facility in Henrico County for $7.8 million.

Located at 4300 Carolina Ave., the 223,479-square-foot industrial facility in Henrico County is located in the Richmond Distribution Center complex. It is near Richmond International Raceway.

Lingerfelt CommonWealth also declared that the Henrico Industrial facility, which is currently unoccupied, will receive a multimillion-dollar improvement and renovation. 

The property improvement process will take approximately 3 months and include many structural reformations such as;

  • An expanded loading area and truck court 
  • Installation of new roofing system
  • New dock doors
  • Levelers
  • Seals
  • Additional loading docks
  • A new LED warehouse lighting package
  • A modernized sprinkler system

Lingerfelt CommonWealth is an independent, commercial, and vertically integrated real estate investment company headquartered in Richmond, with over 50 years of expertise.

Henrico County, or County of Henrico, is located in the United States, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2010 estimation, the population was over 306,935. It is the 5th most populous Virginian county. It is included in the Richmond Region and bounded by the river Chickahominy. 

Katoen Natie to Expand its Footprint in Virginia Through Fresh Investments

Katoen Natie Norfolk Inc. has pledged an investment of $61 million for the expansion of its freight distribution center in the City of Norfolk. The announcement was made by the Governor of the state of Virginia, Ralph Northam. A news release was issued by the Office of Governor on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, to make the announcement. 

As per the release, a 243,000 square-foot warehouse and rail facility will be added to the company’s 2424 Springfield Avenue operation. The said investment is expected to create 35 new jobs in the process.

The President of Katoen Natie USA, Frank Vingerhoets in a press release also gave out the reason for the company’s wish to expand in Norfolk:

“Katoen Natie chose to expand its footprint in Norfolk because of proximity to the natural deep-water Port of Virginia, the dual rail connection with both Norfolk Southern and CSX, and a great local workforce,” read the release. 

For Vingerhoets, there were two major factors that contributed to the company’s decision of making such a substantial investment in Norfolk: the incentives offered to the company, both state and local; and the cooperation with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia had to compete with the states of Georgia, South Carolina and Maryland to secure the project. The role of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) was crucial in securing the investment. The state authority had to work with the City of Norfolk, the Hampton Roads Alliance, and The Port of Virginia to bag the project. 

“Securing a competitive expansion like this says a great deal about the Hampton Roads region’s top-notch workforce, competitive operating costs, and strategic access, and we thank Katoen Natie Norfolk for creating more high-quality jobs”, said Brian Bell who is currently working for the government of Virginia as Secretary of Commerce and Trade. 

Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine also welcomed the move and assured the company that the state’s transportation system will continue to support its international operations. 

“Together with the Port of Virginia and our freight rail network, which are both critical elements of the logistics industry, our Commonwealth has the infrastructure and strong partnerships to keep goods and supplies moving safely, efficiently, and reliably,” said Valentine. 

The concerned authorities were “elated” over the announcement of the said investment. Kaeton Natie’s decision is being seen as a big positive for the economy of the state given the company’s stature and the move’s potential to create a substantial number of high-quality jobs. The authorities expressed hope for the public-private partnership to grow in the Commonwealth in the future. 

About the company 

Katoen Natie Norfolk Inc. is a plastics and polymers warehousing and distribution company. It established operations in Norfolk at a former Ford Motor Company plant back in 2011. 

The company is a subsidiary of Katoen Natie — a renowned international logistics service provider based in Belgium. Kateon Natie specializes in providing petrochemical storage solutions and operates in 36 countries worldwide.

Dominion Energy Secures Utility Energy Service Contract For Marine Corps Base Quantico

Richmond-based energy company Dominion Energy Inc., commonly referred to as “Dominion”, has been awarded a 22-year contract service contract for Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico. The Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) is worth a whopping 47.9 million dollars. It was the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC ) Washington that provided contracting and technical support, awarding this project on behalf of the Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM). MCB Quantico is a Marine Corps installation located near Triangle, Virginia, and covers about 55,148 acres of Prince William County, Virginia. 

The project is aimed at bolstering energy resiliency at the training facility. Under the said contract, new generators will be installed in order to support critical facilities during emergency operations. Onsite microgrids will be used for this purpose. In addition to this, the existing microturbine system will be renovated. This will reduce both the peak demand at the facility and the cost of electricity incurred by the federal government. The project also calls for HVAC repairs, installation of LED lighting, and upgradation of existing equipment. As per the release by Dominion, these measures are expected to result in energy savings of around $1.6 million per annum. 

Ed Baine, the President of Dominion Energy Virginia, seemed happy about securing the contract. 

“This is a great opportunity for Dominion Energy to provide our industry expertise to enhance energy resiliency and help provide cost savings for MCB Quantico,” said Baine. 

Ed Baine also appreciated the “great work being done by members of the military” and expressed the desire to support their mission. 

The construction of the project is expected to be completed by 28 Feb 2023. The overall contract will last until 1 March 2044. Dominion and Energy Systems Group will provide operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement services at the base throughout the life of the contract. The Energy Systems Group is a nationally recognized energy service company and a subcontractor of Dominion. 

The contract was awarded by NAVFAC Washington through bidding. The move is a part of NAVFAC’s efforts to sign deals for replacing, maintaining, and operating energy infrastructure with utilities that are considerably experienced in providing these services. 

One of the biggest energy utilities in the US in terms of revenue, Dominion has a family of 7 million consumers in 16 states of the country. Founded in 1983, the company today deals with not only the generation and distribution of energy but also natural gas exploration. 

The company, in its press release, reiterated its commitment to sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy. Dominion also plans on reducing its net carbon dioxide and methane emissions to zero by 2050. 

Dominion has been working with the federal government for quite some time now to help it in saving on energy costs, improving reliability and energy resiliency, and with considerable success too. It has privatized eleven installations to date and provided multiple UESCs. 

How is Bethesda Real Estate Doing in 2021?

Bethesda is a desirable real estate location in Montgomery County. The Bethesda real estate market is booming now because people want more space after being stuck at home for so long during covid-19.

Buyers ignited the local real estate market in Bethesda because of its low-interest rates and the need for more space.

Local agents say the pandemic buyer often is looking for a home that can serve multiple purposes as well as have suitable space for more family members. In 2020, sellers with 3 bedrooms were in the market for 4 bedrooms. Urban townhome owners were shopping for large single family properties in Chevy Chase, Bethesda, and Potomac.

Real Estate Market for Sellers in Bethesda

There is high demand and lower interest rates; it could be the best time to sell your Montgomery County MD home. If you are looking for more space in Bethesda and want to know how much is my house worth the form at that link can prove helpful to get a customized valuation from a market expert.

Real Estate Market for Buyers in Bethesda

The data below shows the overall pricing trend in the real estate market of Bethesda.  Bethesda real estate has been an ideal investment option for buyers. 

Average sale price in Bethesda by Home Type:

  • Attached Condo/Coop: In January 2021, the average sale price was $2,82311 for the attached Condo. It dropped 26% as compared to January 2020.

While the sale price was $520,192 in February 2021 as compared to   February 2020, the price shows a hike of 26%.

  • Attached:  In January 2021, the average sale price was $1,317,960. It showed a 147% rise in price as compared to January 2020.

While in February 2021, the average sale price was  $809 000. It dropped 3.6% as compared to February 2020

  • Detached Homes in Bethesda: In January 2021, the average selling price was $1,318,832. It shows a 7.6% hike in prices as compared to January 2020.

While in February 2021, the average selling price was $1,308,351. It shows a 9.1% increase in price as compared to  February 2020.

Data provided by Bright MLS as of March 4, 2021

During the COVID-19 hike in the USA in April, new listings for Bethesda’s detached homes dropped significantly to 43% of the 5-year average, before rebounding in May to 76%. Check the table below.

Table: New Listings for Detached Homes in Bethesda

Month2020 Month5-Year Month Average% Change
April6314743%
May10113376%

Bethesda Real Estate Market Factors

Bethesda is close to DC –inside the Beltway and – in the lower portion of Montgomery County with both urban & suburban areas.  Employers in Bethesda are significant such as, National Naval Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Lockheed Martin, and Marriott. Bethesda’s population is more than 55000.

Downtown is known for Bethesda Woodmont & Row Triangle having high-end restaurants and luxury shopping malls, art galleries, clubs, and much more within walking distance of the Bethesda Metro subway stop. 

You can enjoy the performing arts at Imagination Stag & Strathmore. The local landmark includes “The Women’s Coop Market.”

Tesla Makes Waves by Opening Energy Facility in Virginia Amid Elon Musk Bitcoin Announcement

Richmond, Virginia. Electric Auto giant Tesla’s Renewable Energy arm, Tesla Solar has opened a new facility in Richmond’s historic Manchester area. The facility is reportedly in a warehouse located on 300 Stockton Street and covers 19,500 square feet, as per the documents submitted by the company to city authorities.  

The new facility will be solely used by the company’s energy division for “installation and service (of) solar and energy products.” Their products include the Tesla Solar Roof, Solar Panels, as well as the Powerwall battery system.   The local professionals at Roofers Richmond can help you evaluate if your existing roof could support a solar panel upgrade.

Tesla has a separate facility in Richmond which is used for the sale of automobiles and was established in 2017. Last week, the company filed documents with the city certifying its compliance with local zoning regulations

The company rocked the automobile and renewable industries Wednesday when CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would start accepting Bitcoin payments for car sales inside the United States. The situation is surprising because multiple tech titans, including Bill Gates allege that generation of crypto currencies is a highly energy consuming process and have expressed concerns over its effect on climate change. A recent study of the bitcoin power network by University of Cambridge researchers seems to provide backing to their claim.

“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind, and so it’s not a great climate thing,” said Bill Gates in an interview with the New York Times.

Mr. Musk tweeted that the company would hold its digital currencies in their original state rather than convert them to U.S Dollars or other fiat currencies. This essentially means that when a car is bought using bitcoin, its value rises or decreases as per the rate of bitcoin at that time. Holding onto that digital money will ensure that the sale proceeds act as an investment in much the same way as stocks.

Tesla has long established its reputation as an environmentally friendly company with its development of electric vehicles followed by their entry into the solar power markets as a manufacturer and distributor of innovative power and backup systems. The company’s renewable power business is seeing an expansion as is evident from the new dedicated Virginia facility, yet the new bitcoin payments decision may sit in contrast with that reputation.

Bitcoin related stocks surged in the aftermath of Mr. Musk’s announcements even as Tesla’s own shares had fallen 4.82% as trading closed for Wednesday, although after hours trading did return 0.36% to Tesla’s value.

Federal Pharmacy Partners to Increase Covid-19 Vaccine Access in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that federal pharmacy partners would increase covid-19 vaccine access to people with severe conditions on Wednesday.

Within phase 1b at Federal Retail Pharmacy partners, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to more groups. This is instructed by new guidance from the Virginia Department of Health in Richmond.

Newly eligible age groups include 16 to 64 with an underlying health condition or disability and essential frontline workers in phase 1b. These frontline essential worker groups are

  • Police, Fire, and Hazmat
  • Corrections and homeless shelters
  • Food and Agriculture (including veterinarians)
  • Manufacturing
  • Mail carriers (USPS and private)
  • Clergy/faith leaders
  • Grocery stores (including farmers’ market food vendors)
  • Public transit (including rideshare drivers)
  • Judges & public-facing judicial workers)
  • Janitorial & cleaning staff

Until now, pharmacies offering vaccines through the federal program were directed by the state to provide the vaccine to people aged 65 and older. School staff, teachers, students, and child care workers are also added under President Joe Biden’s directive. This does not yet apply to trades like roofers, plumbers, or electricians.

The expansion follows the state’s recent announcement that some Virginian communities could move from Phase 1b to Phase 1c. This announcement is based on various factors, including vaccine demand decreases despite strong efforts to engage eligible populations, the Virginia Department of Health said.

Over 300 pharmacies across Virginia are receiving the Coronavirus vaccine through the federal pharmacy program. There’s the capacity to expand to over one thousand pharmacies within Virginia.

Moreover, it has plans to increase vaccine availability based on fair and equitable access, supply, and demand. Currently, around 190,000 first doses were distributed through local health departments in addition to Virginia’s weekly allotment.

If we expand to more partners, it will help us contribute to that sustainability and continuity to ensure access to coronavirus vaccines for everyone in Virginia, said Wheawill.

Further, Wheawill says that the state has played a significant role in working with pharmacies to fight against coronavirus throughout the pandemic. First, through testing, and then to distribute the vaccine.

In February, the federal program started to help distribute vaccines on a broader scale, and Wheawill says getting pharmacies involved was needed.

Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, has said that the majority of Virginian Pharmacies have been using the state’s pre-registration list to schedule appointments for vaccines through that system. 

Many federal pharmacy partners are working with the Virginia Department of Health to address vaccine waitlists, but some like CVS, Safeway, and Harris Teeter have their registration systems. DC residents should review their availability as it will differ from Virginia’s.

President Joe Biden has pledged that every American will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine by 1st May.

“Pharmacists are highly trusted and healthcare providers. They have the knowledge and direct access to covid-19 victim populations,” she said. 

They have been trained to counsel patients, supervise vaccines and provide awareness on other medications. Pharmacies are readily available to all the community, and most citizens live within 5 miles distance from a pharmacy,” she said.

VDH recommends using vaccinefinder.org  to find availability.

How To Properly Evaluate What Your D.C. Area House Is Worth

If you have been wondering about how to do a house valuation, here are some things that you should know. First of all, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, you should get a valuation done. By doing so, you can find out about the value of your home so that you can capture as much profit as possible when selling your Maryland, Virginia or D.C. home. If you have already decided to sell, you may still want to learn how to do a house value analysis. It is just as important to know the value of your property as it is to know the things that need to be fixed within the house.

The best way to go about learning how to do a house value analysis is to hire a professional. There are many individuals that offer this service. However, before you do so, make sure you choose a company who is well respected in the market. By choosing a company that is popular, you can be sure that they will give you accurate and fair estimates. You should also find out what other customers think of their service before deciding to hire them. While these things may seem like small things, they can really matter when it comes to important service like determining your home’s value.

When you have decided which professional you want to use, it is time to get started. Once you have found a reputable firm, you will need to provide them with information about your house. This includes information about any additions or modifications that you have made to the home since the last time you completed a house value estimate. The more information you have, the easier it will be for the valuation to be fair and accurate. You can provide this information to the company on an online form. You should make sure to provide accurate information, because any change to your property can actually change the value of your home.

After you have all of your property information gathered, you will be ready to begin your research into how to do a house value analysis. It is important that you make notes of all of the information that you gather. You will need it for a variety of different things throughout the process, including getting a professional appraisal done for your home. The notes you make will help you remember certain details and take note of any changes you may have made to the property over time.

One of the most important parts of how to do a house valuation is knowing where to find accurate information about the qualities of your home that can determine its value. There are many different websites available to you to help you research your home. If you are uncertain of the value of your home, you can use one of these sites to get a ballpark figure. Just be prepared that they could be inaccurate by 20% of the reported value – or more. To get an accurate figure you will need to utilize a professional Realtor or service.

As you can see, learning how to get a house value analysis is easy and can be a valuable way to save money when you buy a home. Once you have an idea of what the house is worth, you can approach a realtor with the idea of selling or buying a home. Since houses increase in value as they age, you can purchase a bargain house for next to nothing and still recoup your investment in a short amount of time. A real estate agent can also help you get multiple offers on your home, which is helpful if you want to sell. With the knowledge of how to do a house value analysis, you can be well on your way to making an excellent investment in your future.

More Contagious UK Strain of COVID-19 Identified in a Northern Virginia Resident

The new, more contagious, strain of Covid-19 has made its way to Virginia, state Department of Health has confirmed.

The variant first found in the United Kingdom last year was identified in a Northern Virginia resident with no travel history. The health department declined to provide details on the case, including where the person lives in Northern Virginia so we aren’t sure if the individual lives in McLean, Arlington, Alexandria or elsewhere – and it really doesn’t matter. The concern is that this strain is now local.

The variant known as B.1.1.7 is one of several strains of COVID-19 identified worldwide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Viruses change all the time, and we expect to see new strains as disease spreads,” State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said. “We know this variant strain spreads more quickly between people than other strains currently circulating in our communities, but we still have more to learn about whether it causes more severe illness.”

Health experts have warned that the variant sweeping through Britain will probably become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. in the coming weeks.

“The modeled trajectory of this variant in the U.S. exhibits rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March,” states the CDC on its website.

Even though the new strain is not believed to be more severe than the original COVID-19, it’s likely to infect more people because it’s more contagious. So the actual number of people who develop severe illnesses and die will be higher simply because of the greater volume of those infected.

“Instead of 4,000 deaths a day, we could be looking at 6 to 7,000 deaths a day in the United States by February or March,” said Dr. Christopher Newman of Fredericksburg, VA. “That’s really tragic, that is catastrophic.”

Governor Ralph Northam took to Twitter to ask the residents to be vigilant and follow the standard operating procedures.

“Though not unexpected, the presence of the highly contagious #COVID19 variant in our Commonwealth should be a reminder to all Virginians that now more than ever, we need to be vigilant about following public health and safety measures,” he tweeted.  

Scientists are still studying the makeup of the new strain, but believe the current vaccines are effective, according to the Virginia Department of Health. 

The U.S. has reported almost 200 cases of the variant in 24 states so far. California has been the most affected state with 72 cases as of Monday. 

The SARS-CoV-2 has the ability to mutate which means that there can be several other variants of the virus, according to the Virginia Department of Health. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned of ‘more ominous’ COVID-19 strains from Brazil and South Africa.

Virginia is Home to Another Non-Native Lizard Species that Hitchhiked it’s Way to the Commonwealth

Virginia is home to a number of native and non-native lizard species. Red-eared sliders, Mediterranean house geckos, and Italian wall lizards are a few of the non-native reptiles that have established reproducing populations in Virginia. The commonwealth is now home  to another lizard species – the green anole.

According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the lizards arrived as hitch-hikers on nursery plants being shipped from Florida or released as unwanted pets. 

“We’ve always thought maybe because of warming climates, they would shift north and naturally come to Virginia, but we have not seen that happen,” said J.D. Kleopfer, who studies reptiles and amphibians for the commonwealth of Virginia. “If this was a natural range extension, it would be in Back Bay, False Cape and southern Virginia Beach first.”

The green anoles are native to the southeastern United States. They have showed up in inland and suburban areas which means they most likely arrived on houseplants that came from the south. 

Green anoles have been documented in the cities of Blacksburg, Franklin, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, but only Virginia Beach has evidence of a reproducing population. 

The lizard species was quite popular in the 1970s and was sold in pet stores as a Chameleon. However, they aren’t true chameleons since they can only switch between brown and green colors. 

Red-eared sliders are also native to the Southern US and Central America and, thanks to the pet trade, have become an invasive species in Virginia.

The Mediterranean Geckos were first reported in Virginia in November 2016. 

Also known as Anolis carolinensis, the green anole has an average length of 5 inches and can extend up to a maximum length of 9.2 inches. 

Kleopfer has deemed the species safe and has asked residents to send photos of the reptile to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources if someone happens to see it.