An Educational Tour of Washington DC Designed for Junior ROTC Or Social Studies Students

Washington D.C. has a great deal to offer for student tours of the city and surrounding area. In fact, there are so many different choices, that student travel trip coordinators might just become overwhelmed. Choosing a qualified and experienced student travel company can certainly help focus a trip and align it with curricular objectives.Over the years I have developed many different types of trips that tie into a variety of curriculums such as art, history, government, performance tours, science, and more. I have designed a school trip for middle school students and JROTC students studying major U.S. conflicts of the 20th Century. This educational tour helps students take a closer look at the Vietnam and Korean Wars as well as World War II. Student travel groups visit sites in Washington D.C. which are directly related to these conflicts. I have organized these tours around the themes of sacrifice and conflict.Depending upon time allowance, student groups may also plan to visit the main destinations for any educational tour of Washington D.C. The selection of sites might also include a visit to the White House, Capitol Building, Smithsonian Museum, and popular choices for dining, entertainment, and shopping.Following are my suggestions for destinations for Social Studies and or JROTC students who are studying modern wars:Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam conflict was one of the most politicized events of the 20th Century. Students studying it will want to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. The names of soldiers who died in this conflict are embedded in the wall for all to remember. On any given day, student groups may see families and loved ones of fallen soldiers honoring their loss with flowers, vigils, personal memorabilia, and more. Groups visiting the wall may want to opt for the ranger guided interpretive tour, where stories about individual soldiers and units are recounted, as well as a brief history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Korean War Veterans Memorial was opened to the public in 1995 and dedicated by President Bill Clinton and President Kim Young Sam. Nearby the wall of pictures and names, there are 19 stainless steel statues of soldiers, representing all four branches of the military and from diverse backgrounds. The statues of infantryman and medical personnel appear to be walking in the same proximity as the wall and even emerge from the nearby woods. The mural displays 2,400 photographs from the Korean War obtained from the National Archives. Visiting the Korean War Veterans Memorial, students gain a more in depth perspective of this War and its impact on Korean and American life.Holocaust Museum
The Holocaust Museum is a must see for anyone studying World War II. It details the systematic, bureaucratic killing of Jews, Russians, Poles, Communists, homosexuals, disabled people and others who were targeted by the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. Students will learn about the Holocaust by viewing historical film footage, artifacts, photographs, and listening to stories recorded by survivors and witnesses. Much of the material in this museum is difficult to contemplate. The events of the holocaust have been well-documented in history books, biographies, fiction and non-fiction. Various texts can be studied alongside a visit to the Museum. Yet there is really no substitute for the up-close, visual viewpoint provided by the Holocaust Museum which gives a student an even broader perspective and context in which to study this atrocity.Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is just outside of Washington D.C. in the Northern Virginia town of Arlington, and is well worth the visit. These burial grounds are the place where many prominent American explorers, judges and historical figures are buried, right alongside of the common soldier who fought for his or her country and died for freedom. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at Arlington and students may observe it being guarded closely by a professional soldier. With enough advance planning, student travel group coordinators may request that their visit to Arlington National Cemetery coincide with a formal wreath laying ceremony, a solemn and colorful tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.Smithsonian Museum
The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. has many facets. Student groups who are looking to gain a full understanding of American conflicts in the 20th Century will want to schedule some time at the National Museum of American History. School trips visiting this Museum will find additional information, photographs, relics, films, and stories about the U.S. conflicts mentioned above. The National Museum of American History will expand upon knowledge gathered at all of the sites visited. This Museum also offers some exceptional curricular materials that can be utilized in the classroom when prepping students to study these wars and make a visit to our nations capitol.Washington D.C. is a destination that is rich in American history from all eras. Yet this particular tour focuses on war and conflict in the 20th Century and is perfect for students who are actively studying this subject. Ideally, students return from this visit to Washington D.C. with a greater respect for the personal risk, commitment, sacrifice, and national values that soldiers display when they sign up to join any of the Armed Forces.For more information on scheduling a social studies or JROTC tour of Washington D.C.

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Fort Collins Real Estate: Market Situation and Trends

Amidst the lush green surroundings, Fort Collins provides families and couples a wonderful locality to settle into. The real estate and value of property was in a decline but gradually the prices have picked up again; causing several sellers and buyers to enter the market. The Fort Collins real estate market situation has also considerably improved despite a continued presence of distressed properties. These distressed properties are foreclosures and short sales. The overall Fort Collins property market has increased slightly with a 1% increase since June 2013. The prospect buyers can either choose a condo/apartment or a single family home for themselves. The market price of houses in Fort Collins has a less dramatic real estate drop than other areas of the state and country. This implies that the price of Fort Collins property will also show lesser gradual recovery because of the lesser drop to recover from initially. The current market statistics for Fort Collins real estate are:

Average Listing Price: $273,251
Median Listing Price: $235,200, up 3% from 2010
Current Inventory (properties/homes available): 1039 Listings
Recently sold: 402
New Listings: 488
Distressed: 1

The right to invest is NOW

If we observe the first half of 2011, we will notice that there have been 5,617 sales in that period which in comparison to 2010 were 5991. This shows a 6% decrease in Fort Collins property sales. If we consider the inflated sales due to the tax credit in the spring of 2010 then this fall is instead a healthy improvement. Without such artificial enticements, the market has remained strong and grown to almost equal levels this year. The median listing price in Fort Collins went down from June to July. There were a total of 28 price increases and 147 price decreases. The final conclusion is that it is a great time to invest in Fort Collins property.

Fort Collins real estate listings are available online for buyers to browse through and hunt for houses as per their requirements. These listings are constantly updated so that any house up for the sale in the market is immediately added in the database. The real estate market is always considered a buyer’s market especially after the aftermath of the national mortgage crash and the economic turndown. If you are looking to buy property in Fort Collins then you need to adjust your practices accordingly.

Buyers vs. Sellers

Thanks to the improving situation in real estate, the buyer’s market is now a seller’s market. According to the real estate experts, the shift of market trends is a process that is caused by several buyers and sellers when they are practically indulging in the buying and selling of property. If you are hunting for a house then you should prequalify for financing. It is most likely that you will be competing for same property against people who have enough money in their hand. The Fort Collins real estate market is fast-moving with sellers inclined to accept an offer on the contingency that the buyer can round up the necessary funds.

If you have already made up your mind to purchase a home then you should be willing to immediately put up an offer and pay upfront because the house may not be available in the market for a long-time. Experts say that the days of making low-ball offers are over as low interest rates on home loans and pent-up demand are driving speedy sales. The buyers who have been sitting on the fence for past couple of years would be happy to know that Fort Collins real estate market situation is constantly improving.

This statement is further backed by the number of sales made during this year. Fort Collins has not experienced valleys and peaks as dramatic as other areas in the boom and bust times for the market. The last decade witnessed loose lending practices to steer the mortgage industry off a cliff. However, this time around, the real estate industry is all set on a sustained rebound. Lenders are scrutinizing the prospective buyers while the buyers are making more informed and practical choices. All these factors contribute to the fact that real estate situation has picked up and confirms to be a fast moving market for buyers and sellers. A laid back attitude in making a valid offer for a house can end you up on losing out on your dream house as there are plenty of buyers willing to make viable offers to the sellers.

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Crisis Or Opportunity – The Truth About The Arizona Real Estate Market

The present real estate market is acting just as it should on the heels of the greatest real estate boom in the last 40 years. There is a long way to fall to get back to “normal”. This falling back into a normal market, coupled with the contraction of the sub-prime mortgage market has the real estate consumer, and many homeowners in a state of fear. The various media continue to depict a very grim picture of the markets in general without distinguishing between the national market and local markets, such as the Arizona real estate market, with factors unique in the ways of population growth and investor activity. I have seen numerous articles referring to the sub-prime debacle as a global crisis. That may be taking it just a bit too far.

The truth is, there is no geopolitical significance to recent events in the U.S. real estate market and the sub-prime crisis. To rise to a level of significance, an event — economic, political, or military — must result in a decisive change in the international system, or at least, a fundamental change in the behavior of a nation. The Japanese banking crisis of the early 1990s was a geopolitically significant event. Japan, the second-largest economy in the world, changed its behavior in important ways, leaving room for China to move into the niche Japan had previously owned as the world’s export dynamo. On the other hand, the dot-com meltdown was not geopolitically significant. The U.S. economy had been expanding for about nine years, a remarkably long time, and was due for a recession. Inefficiencies had become rampant in the system, nowhere more so than in the dot-com bubble. That sector was demolished and life went on.

In contrast to real estate holdings, the dot-com companies often consisted of no real property, no real chattel, and in many cases very little intellectual property. It really was a bubble. There was virtually, (pun intended), no substance to many of the companies unsuspecting investors were dumping money into as those stocks rallied and later collapsed. There was nothing left of those companies in the aftermath because there was nothing to them when they were raising money through their publicly offered stocks. So, just like when you blew bubbles as a little kid, when the bubble popped, there was absolutely nothing left. Not so with real estate, which by definition, is real property. There is no real estate bubble! Real estate ownership in the United States continues to be coveted the world over and local markets will thrive with the Arizona Real Estate market leading the way, as the country’s leader in percent population growth, through the year 2030.

As for the sub-prime “crisis”, we have to take a look at the bigger picture of the national real estate market. To begin with, remember that mortgage delinquency problems affect only people with outstanding loans, and more than one out of three homeowners own their properties debt-free. Of those who have mortgages, approximately 20% are sub-prime. 14.5% of those are delinquent. Sub-prime loans in default make up only about 2.9% of the entire mortgage market. Now, consider that only 2/3 of homeowners have a mortgage, and the total percentage of homeowners in default on their sub-prime loans stands at around 1.9%. The remaining two-thirds of all homeowners with active mortgage prime loans that are 30 days past due or more constitute just 2.6% of all loans nationwide. In other words, among mortgages made to borrowers with good credit at application, 97.4% are continuing to be paid on time.

As for the record jumps in new foreclosure filings, again, you’ve got to look closely at the hard data. In 34 states, the rate of new foreclosures actually decreased. In most other states, the increases were minor — except in the California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona real estate markets. These increases were attributable in part to investors walking away from condos, second homes, and rental houses they bought during the boom years.

Doug Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, says that without the foreclosure spikes in those states, “we would have seen a nationwide drop in the rate of foreclosure filings.” In Nevada, for instance, non-owner-occupied (investor) loans accounted for 32% of all serious delinquencies and new foreclosure actions. In Florida, the investor share of serious delinquencies was 25%; in Arizona, 26%; and in California, 21%. That compares with a rate of 13% for the rest of the country. This makes for some great buys for the savvy Arizona real estate investor in the area of short sales, foreclosures, and wholesale properties.

Bottom line: Those nasty foreclosure and delinquency rates you’re hearing about are for real. But they’re highly concentrated among loan types, local and regional economies, and investors who got their foot caught in the door at the end of the “boom” and are just walking away from those poorly performing properties. Most of those investors still have homes to live in, maybe more than one.

In the wake of the boom years, we now have a high inventory of homes on the market, Investors and speculators who quickly bought up homes dumped them just as quickly back on the market in hopes of a fast return. The frenzy of investors purchasing homes put pressure on inventories and drove prices up, further increasing investor activity. Then, as if all at once, many of those investors put their properties on the market, creating an imbalance in the reverse direction. With so many homes on the market, prices began to stall and then fell. Prices will continue to fall until demand chews up excess inventories.

With investors no longer a big part of housing demand, primary homeowners are slowly chipping away at the existing inventory. The Las Vegas housing market will rebound in March 2008, according to the largest and most respected appraisal firm locally. The main contributing factor to the sooner than later rebound of this southwestern city is a growing population and thriving local economy.

Arizona and Nevada are expected to lead the country in percentage population growth for the next 20-25 years. The population of Arizona is expected to approximately double during that time so we can expect a strong housing demand going forward. Normal inventory levels for Phoenix real estate are about 6-8 months. Current inventory is about 10-12 months. So, we are not far above “normal” inventories in Phoenix. There are, however, outlying cities in this large metropolis that have inventories in excess of 1 year. Queen Creek real estate inventory is the worst with approximately a 2-3 year surplus of homes on the market, mostly due to the large percentage of new homes purchased by investors and then quickly flipped back onto the resale market. Surprise and Peoria real estate markets have a 1-2 year inventory for largely the same reason. We are already seeing some Scottsdale real estate and Paradise Valley real estate prices increase in value. Billions of dollars are being poured into the local economy in the way of commercial development from the downtown area to Northeast Phoenix and Scottsdale.

The demand for Arizona homes will remain strong in years ahead as new populations create the need. The demand for housing across our great nation will remain strong as this next generation of young debutantes steps onto the home buying stage. Interest rates are still at historic lows and the lending institutions will continue to offer creative financing options. Sure, some hedge funds lost the air in their tires, but financing sub-prime loans is a high stakes game for the super rich and is not of geopolitical significance. They will find other ways to lend their billions for huge profits in the wake of this sub-prime debacle. Let’s not be gripped in the fear created by reports from all media types trying to “make news”. Let’s face it, the real numbers are not that bloody exciting. Ask yourself, is this an Arizona real estate crisis, or the perfect time to buy an affordable Arizona home? Proper timing and negotiating techniques make all the difference in the current Arizona real estate market. When choosing an Arizona realtor, trust the expertise and experience of Equity Alliance Properties.

For up to date Arizona real estate market research, contact Robert Hand at 480.206.8133 or go to [http://www.equityallianceproperties.com]

I attended Wichita State University from 1979 through 1983 majoring in Chemistry. Enlisted the U.S. Navy in June of 1983, specializing in intelligence gathering and dissemination and tactical operations. Served onboard the U.S.S. W.S. Sims FF-1059 through April of 1987 working in Electronics Warfare in the Combat Information Center. Attended the University of the State of New York, majoring in Electronics Technologies while on Active duty. After 4 years of active duty, continued service for 2 more years in the U.S. Naval Reserves through June of 1989.

With an interest in real estate since I was just a young lad, I decided to get my real estate license in 1995, prompted by the allure of investment opportunities in this fast growing city I had found myself surrounded in. For years I helped others invest in their dream homes or make smart gains in the properties they bought and sold. I also helped my colleagues who came to this country to work from overseas find a home for their families.

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