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Riverfest Lights up Independence Day in La Crosse

by Judy Gull

The annual family fun fest that is the La Crosse Riverfest will take place during the week of the Fourth of July - from Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 6. The promoters of this year’s spectacular four-day party will go out of their way to ensure it provides "something for everyone" in the community, and surrounding Mississippi River bluffs region, to enjoy.

La Crosse's beautiful Riverside Park (located on the 100 Block of State Street) has played host to Riverfest ever since its inception way back in 1983. In addition to the sparkling and explosive Fourth of July fireworks show at about 10 p.m., launched over the Mississippi River by the La Crosse Skyrockers and sponsored by the La Crosse Jaycees, Riverfest offers a plethora of entertainment, food experiences, arts and crafts, a children's parade, outdoor family movie, and more.

The fun officially begins when Riverside Park opens its Riverfest gates at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 3. Highlighting the musical part of the event is the band Cheap Trick, scheduled to take the Kaplan University Main Stage at about 9 p.m. on opening night. Some of the other notable entertainers scheduled to perform at Riverfest include the El Caminos, a Hypnotist Show, the Southern Bluffs Wizards Jump Rope Team, and the Warriors Baton and Drum Corps.

Food and beverage vendors at the festival run the gamut, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A&W Family Restaurant
  • Ciatti’s
  • Famous Dave’s
  • Fazoli’s
  • Seven Bridges
  • Culinary Visions
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

You can begin your own personal access to Riverfest today, by purchasing an official Riverfest button. Not only are these buttons stylish and cool looking, but the financial contributions gathered from these little buttons will allow the sponsors of the event to donate more than $60,000 to numerous community organizations.

If you act fast, you can still purchase Riverfest buttons online. During the transaction, you will have the option of either picking up your buttons at the Riverfest Office near the north end of Riverside Park, or having them mailed to you at an additional cost for shipping and handling.

The buttons cost $5 each before Riverfest kicks off, and $7 at the gate. Buttons will not be available via the web once the party starts.

For the full schedule, Events Calendar, Entertainment Listing and any other information relevant to Riverfest 2013, visit RIVERFEST.

La Crosse Housing Market Strong in April

by Judy Gull

These are good times to be a home buyer in the great state of Wisconsin, although one could also say that these are good times to be a home seller as well, here in the lovely Mississippi River bluffs city of La Crosse.

The primary reasons for optimism come to us from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) and its 2013 April Home Sales Report. In summary, this statistical report shows that in spite of steadily growing home prices, housing in Wisconsin continues to be comparatively affordable.

The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index - which measures the percentage of homes that a median income family can typically afford to purchase, given the availability of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment - held strong at 255 in the month of April. In comparison, the National Association of REALTORS'® (NAR's) United States Housing Affordability Index for this year's first quarter was 197.

La Crosse's median home price jumped from $127,000 in April 2012 to $149,000, an increase of more than 17 percent. This elevated sticker price did not seem to do much to temper home buyers' enthusiasm because during that same time frame, home sales in La Crosse registered a 9.5 percent rise.

WRA's 2013 April Home Sales Report also shows that although the median home price rose to $138,000 (a solid 7.8 percent price increase) the total existing home sales for the entire state during the past year saw a 9.20 percent volume increase.

  Median Price Sales
  4/13 4/12 % Change 4/13 4/12 % Change
La Crosse $149,000 $127,000 17.30% 115 105 9.50%
Statewide $138,000 $128,000 7.80% 5863 5367 9.20%

According to Renny Diedrich, the chairman of the board of directors for WRA, the upward mobility trend for La Crosse, and the state of Wisconsin in general, represented in its report is no fluke. Rather, it marks the state's 22nd consecutive month in which home sales growth was positive. Diedrich says that not only is the current pace of home sales solid, it's also sustainable, which offers us yet another encouraging sign that the United States' housing market is making a healthy recovery from its all-too-recent nosedive.

The WSA's statistical report also shows that the overall housing sales for the entire nation, in the year's first fiscal quarter, enjoyed a 9.8 percent increase. Here in America's Dairyland, home sales numbers attained an almost 12 percent jump over the figures from the first quarter in 2012.

Children’s Museum of La Crosse

by Judy Gull

Children are fascinated by the world and all the wonders it has to offer. From science to arts and crafts, kids are always eager to learn. The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is a place where these fascinations can take flight.

The Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning environment where kids can ask questions and have them answered by participating in experiments and activities. Knowledgeable staff members are also there to help and to answer any questions kids and parents alike may have.

The exhibits in the museum are constantly changing, bringing in new and exciting experiences for families to enjoy. Currently you can take your kids on a Mr. Potato Head journey. The classic, beloved toy takes children on adventures in space, under the sea, through the jungle and on an archeological dig. Special demonstrations and classes are given several times a week at the Children’s Museum. They cover a range of subjects from science experiments to pet therapy to simple hands-on fun.

While main attractions may vary from season to season, there are plenty of fun exhibits that remain at the museum to be loved again and again. Kids can try their hands at bridge building, or operate a “kid crane.” You will learn about airflow, dinosaurs, police officers, fire fighters and nature, all in one fantastic museum.

The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5. Admission is only six dollars and the museum has a membership program where you can pay a low, yearly fee and get free entry for the rest of the year.

So what are you waiting for? Grab the kids and bring your curiosity, The Children’s Museum of La Crosse awaits your wide-eyed and smiling explorers for hours of educational fun.

Grandad Bluff

by Judy Gull

590 feet above the town of La Crosse, Wisconsin is a greenery-covered mesa. It stands to the East of the town, as though watching over its citizens, timeless and unchanging. Grandad Bluff has indeed stood over the La Crosse area through the ages as it’s almost as old as the Mississippi itself. In fact, its formation may have directly impacted the Mississippi’s course as we know it.

Any timeless monument makes a mark on the people who live around it, or who visit the area. Mark Twain, for one, thought the bluff significant enough to mention in Life on the Mississippi. Grandad Bluff is significant because it embodies both the stoic beauty of a mountain and the exotic visual appeal of a mesa.

Mesa formations are characterized by their flat, table-like tops. Sheer cliff walls reach skyward, ending abruptly at the tabletop. Atop Grandad Bluff are a multitude of trees, which gives the mesa a look befitting its namesake: a grizzled, noble grandad.

One of the best things about any mesa is the uninhibited view they afford those with the gumption to climb them. Atop Grandad Bluff you will enjoy views of La Crosse, the University of Wisconsin and the Mississippi River weaving through the land.

For the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Grandad bluff has become a beacon of community pride. Many of the area’s festivals and gatherings take place in its shadow. Through snow and sun and rain, Grandad Bluff stands, watching the life of the citizens of La Crosse decade after decade.

In 1912 they opened Grandad Bluff Park. Here you can enjoy covered picnic areas, hiking trails and, of course, the spectacular views.

At Home with Judy....Fall Checklist Series #3

by Judy Gull

Greetings and welcome to part 3 of my Fall Checklist Series for homeowners. Proper maintenance of your roof and gutters in the fall may help prevent damage to your home, both inside and out. Below are my tips for Gutter and Roof autumn upkeep.

GUTTERS
Cleaning the gutters outside your home is an important part of home maintenance. Over time, organic material can collect and create a perfect place for plants and even small trees to take root. This buildup of organic material can create a lot of homeowner headaches. It can also lead to costly home repairs, with damage to the house, roof, foundation and even the driveway and sidewalk.

Rainwater that is not directed away from the house by an open downspout can seep underneath the house and accumulate around the foundation, weakening it and leading to cracks. Did you know that clogged gutters are the number one cause of basement water leaks? Damage to siding and windows can occur when water that spills over the edges of blocked gutters runs down the side of the house. Blockage to gutters can damage your roof by acting like a wick, bringing water from the bottom of the gutter up to rot the fascia. Left unchecked, the damage can extend to the roof sheathing and even the rafters. Cosmetically, overflowing water that hits the ground can splash dirt, debris and mud against the lower portion of the siding.

In the winter months, gutters blocked with debris can create ice dams, which block the flow of melting ice and snow. The water will work its way back to the roof, causing damage to the roof, shingles and leaks inside your home.

In the summer, the water that pools from blocked gutters provides a perfect breeding ground for pests such as termites and mosquitos. It also harbors mold and mildew.

There are many companies in the area that offer gutter cleaning services. Contact me if you'd like any references. You can also do it yourself, but make sure to do so safely. At a minimum, wear heavy work gloves and eye protection and make sure your ladder does not rest directly on the gutters as this can damage them. Gutters can have very sharp edges inside so be vigilant when reaching your hands inside. Remove twigs and leaves, but make sure to not use anything that will cut or damage the gutter. For caked on dirt, wetting it down will make it easier to remove. You can use water to check and unclog downspouts, but be gentle as they’re not built to withstand high water pressure. When you’re done cleaning, use the hose to flush the gutters. This is a good time to check for any leaks in the gutter system.

ROOFS
Do a thorough inspection of your roof. Look up from the ground to see if there are any warping or other visible issues. On the roof itself, check for any worn or damaged shingles or tiles. These should be replaced before the cold weather arrives. Inspect for algae growth and also check the flashing to ensure that no water from melting snow and ice can enter your home. Tree branches hanging over the roof can be trimmed and now is a good time to clean off any leaves or twigs that may have fallen since your last maintenance check. Examine your chimney and chimney flashing. Do you have a rain cap installed? Also, consider installing protective screens around the chimney cap to prevent birds, animals and debris from falling into the flue during the cold season.

While you can do roof repairs and maintenance yourself, hiring a professional to do the job may be the safest choice. Contact me and I'll get a roofer to call you back today!

Come back next week to read part 4 of my series on weatherizing your home.

I welcome your feedback on this article.

See more tips at "For Sellers".

 

It’s common knowledge that home improvement is more than just a weekend pastime. Taking the time to update a home can dramatically increase its livability and value. However, many homeowners are hesitant to make changes; putting off new cabinets because they’re not sure about the material, or wanting to make their home more energy efficient but not sure where to start. Luckily the Greater La Crosse Home and Builders Show brings together seminars and exhibitors that can answer all your home renovation questions. Whether you want to remodel the kitchen or revamp your yard, this event is a great opportunity to meet area contractors in person and get all your home renovation questions answered. Event officials have gathered over 90 different local and national exhibitors and a great line-up of seminars.

One of the great things about the Greater La Crosse Home and Builders Show is that you can learn about a do-it-yourself home project from a seminar and meet local vendors who can set you up with all the tools and materials you need to begin. You can sit in on McKay Nursery’s “Low Maintenance and Edible Landscaping” seminar and then visit their booth for pricing information specific to your landscaping needs. Or, talk to the guys from Beyer Custom Cabinets, who’ve been in business since 1987, about replacing or resurfacing your current cabinetry. Not only will you receive expert advice on anything from tile-setting to roofing, you come away from the event with hundreds of ideas for your home.

This three-day event will be held in the ballroom and South Hall of the La Crosse Center off of Hwy 53. Admission is free for children under 12 and $5 for adults. With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning those home renovation projects and the experts at the Greater La Crosse Home and Builders Show are there to help.

Winter Rec-Fest in La Crosse

by Judy Gull

Winter in western Wisconsin means sub-freezing air temperatures, Arctic wind chill blasts and blizzards that have the power to shut down the entire region for days. The good folks who call this seasonally frozen tundra home need something to look forward to have fun and stave off cabin fever.

Winter Rec-Fest in La Crosse provides residents and visitors with the perfect avenue for winter fun. Beginning in mid-January and running to early February, Winter Rec-Fest offers a diverse selection of frigidly fun activities, all designed to make citizens and visitors of all ages and interests happy.

It’s all about fun at Winter Rec-Fest. Thumb your nose at Old Man Winter, pitch in $2 for an all-inclusive button and embrace the season by participating in one or all of the events and activities.

The events kick off with the city-wide Snowflake Medallion Hunt. Then, you’ll want to get all your friends together and join in one of the competitive team sports tournaments, such as the Frosty Feet Kickball Tournament, Co-Rec Snow Volleyball Tournament or the One-Pitch Snow Softball Tournament.

Delve Into New Fun for 2012

* More than 230 hopefuls entered the Button Design contest this year, establishing a new record in Winter Rec-Fest history.

* Just when you thought Friday Night Family Fun night at Forest Hills couldn’t get any more fun, Rec-Fest organizers found a way! They’ve added games for the kids, a torchlight hike, fireworks, a snowman-making contest and a snow sculpture-creating contest.

* This year you will get to enjoy games, movies and food at the Hood Park Skate Day.

* Events brought back by popular demand from last year’s Rec-Fest include the Chicken-Que, the Frosty Feet Kickball Tournament and the Curling Event.

You can purchase your official 26th Annual Winter Rec-Fest buttons at the Green Island Ice Arena, the Parks & Recreation Office in the La Crosse City Hall, the Southside Neighborhood Center and the Black River Neighborhood Center.

For more information, like a detailed listing of show times, and activity registration and participation requirements, all you have to do is surf over to www.cityoflacrosse.org or call 608-789-7533.

For a detailed schedule of events for the 26th Annual Winter Rec-Fest, which will run from Wednesday, January 18 to Wednesday, February 1, click right here.

Don't Miss Out on New Listings

by Judy Gull

Here’s one more reason (as if you needed another one!) to “See Judy Gull For ALL your Real Estate Needs.” Follow Judy and she will guide you through a free service that can get you into your dream home quickly.

Like many other worthwhile pursuits, house hunting hides a paradox within its intricate, labyrinthine processes and procedures. There are a lot of fairly obvious good things, such as picking out your favorite neighborhoods, popping in to some open houses and mentally decorating your future new home. However, one of the primary and reoccurring difficulties many house hunters run into is trying to keep up with all of the listings of new homes that hit the market in a timely fashion.

Not anymore – if you have an email address, you can use this system.

Judy’s new home listings system is not only free, but also incredibly easy to start. All you have to do is go to this website, enter your email address and some of the criteria you’re looking for in your new home and voila! You’re set.

Within your initial email message, you will see a listing of each and every one of the homes that match the criteria you entered for sale at that time. After that, you will receive a fresh email every morning with new home listings, as well as any changes in previously listed homes.

It is not just anxiety or paranoia to think that you will miss out on your perfect home if you do not take an active role in the hunt. This service provides you with this opportunity and all you have to do is fill out a short form.

If you are still apprehensive about giving your email address to a website, here are some factors that might ease your mind. First, you can discontinue the service at any time. And, Judy Gull will not sell your information to any other website or entity.

So, if you’re house hunting in the La Crosse, Holmen, Onalaska, West Salem and La Crescent areas, give Judy’s new home listings system a try. You have nothing to lose and your dream house to gain!

Sand on the Riverfront - Riverfront Park, La Crosse

by Judy Gull

After the success of last year’s event, CenturyLink’s Sand on the Riverfront is back in 2011. The fundraiser, hosted by Riverfront, a nonprofit organization that provides services for the disabled, will take place at Riverside Park in La Crosse August 19-21.

Sand on the Riverfront’s theme for the year will be “Sports of all sorts,” which will include a new event for 2011: a 3-on-3 basketball tournament on the 20th. Riverfront handed out awards to event winners in 2010, but with the organization accepting donations, everyone truly goes home a winner.

Riverfront has been helping disabled adults find employment and homes since it was founded in 1977 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Since then, the nonprofit has expanded to six offices throughout Wisconsin, employing almost 300 people to provide constant support for the state’s disabled community. The organization provides training, living support and recreational programs that allow over 1,700 disabled members of the community to live independently and find success in their lives.

Admission and registration to Sand on the Riverfront is free, but donations will be accepted and support of the Riverfront organization is encouraged. You can find out more about the Riverfront organization or CenturyLink’s Sand on the Riverfront for 2011 at www.riverfrontinc.org, or by calling 608-784-9450. Don’t miss the fun in beautiful downtown La Crosse!

La Crosse Housing Market Staying Strong

by Judy Gull

It’s no secret that housing and real estate markets all over the country have been hurting for the past couple of years, but there are areas that are improving and even showing evidence of growth. La Crosse, Wisconsin is one of those areas that continues to thrive, despite being in a recession. La Crosse has exciting housing trends, as well as plenty of spacious and comfortable living options to offer new home buyers.

In 2011, the La Crosse housing market has seen a sharp increase in median sales price. In January of this year, the median price was $125,500, but in just six months that number has risen to $143,000. With the median sale price climbing, potential home buyers should be encouraged to look for their dream home in the La Crosse area during the remainder of 2011.

Home sales in the area are down from a year ago, but considering that first-time home buyers in La Crosse were supplemented by the Federal Housing Tax Credit Program in 2010, the drop off is not a real setback for the market. In fact, home sales actually increased from May to June, showing that there may be more growth to come later in the year.

The declining unemployment rates in the area make La Crosse real estate a stronger market. According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the housing market should receive a healthy boost with more residents working. The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is under the national average and with 25,000 jobs already added this year, things are definitely looking up for the state, the area of La Crosse and for Wisconsin real estate in general.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263