Are you Happy in Aberdeen?

If not, I think you should be. You’re surrounded by three of the happiest places in the United States according to Prevention Magazine Online.Best_Places_to_Live

Sioux Falls, SD was awarded the honor of being the “All-around healthiest” city. “Why it won: Highest levels of self-reported health,” according to the article.

Fargo North Dakota was another winner. Why it won: very high scores in regular church attendance

“Sure, the winters are long, snowy, and cold. But Fargo’s fans say the city’s strong sense of community, which shows up in high scores for regularly attending religious services, makes up for it. It’s also a big clue to the town’s warmth, says Stephanie Tollefson, 35, a pastor at Hope Lutheran Church, which welcomes some 5,000 worshippers weekly. ‘People say a generous heart is a happy heart, and I see that here. The more you connect with other people, the more joy you get back,’ she says. ‘And the more joy you have, the more you want to give back.’ In Fargo, she says, ‘people genuinely seem to want to belong to something that’s bigger than just themselves.'”

Reminds me of Aberdeen! The sense of community is very strong here, as I’ve blogged about before.

Minneapolis, MN ranked #3 with top scores for heart health. And to the Southwest, Lincoln, NE boasts “the country’s lowest unemployment rate; healthy hearts.”

And a postscript to my friends around here from Boise: Prevention praises Boise for the “lowest rate of traffic fatalities; lots of regular exercisers.”

Pick Your Party

Sacred HeartThere’s a lot going on in Aberdeen as September draws to a close.  Sacred Heart hosts its annual bazaar, which is a thing of wonder–when you see what a handful of volunteers can pull off when they transform an elementary school and gym into a marketplace.

A delicious pork loin dinner will be served from 4:30 to 7:30 on Saturday and on Sunday from 4:00 to 6:30.  The midway and Market Street run on Saturday from 3:00-9:00 and on Sunday from 12:30 to 6:30. You don’t have to be Catholic or a member of Sacred Heart to come and enjoy. (Your kids will love it.)

Celtic FaireThis weekend also marks the anniversary of the NESD Celtic Faire.  If this blustery weather holds, it’ll feel like a proper British weekend and you’ll need a cuppa clutched in your hands while you watch the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band or the ARCC cloggers. There are some other fine acts–here’s a full list.  It’s a really nice, well-attended event with a lot to see, do and EAT.

SD Film FestNext weekend is the South Dakota Film Festival if that’s more how you roll. We’re pretty honored to host it here in Aberdeen and the list of special guests, screenings and film selections over the years is something to be proud of. Check it out.

And looking ahead–Kessler’s is hosting an Oktoberfest (if you have to ask when, you don’t know what an Oktoberfest is.) At last, something for the German in all of us.

Get off the Fence About Buying a Home

House_BuyingDaily Worth, which offers financial and lifestyle advice to women “who want more” (and not just more money) recently had an excellent post about why it’s time to get off the fence about buying real estate.

I like the article because it is such a nice, succinct summary of those arguments for taking the leap now. Namely…

  • Mortgage rates are rising.
  • Inventory is decreasing.
  • Home prices are increasing.
  • Competition is more intense.

I want to expand on the first bullet point. Mortgage rates, while still low compared to where they were even six years ago, just reached a two year high! 

And in Aberdeen competition is always intense. So I’m not just sounding like your typical Realtor when I suggest that you get in touch and at least set up a search so together we can start looking for your perfect home, get you pre-qualified and ready to pull the trigger while conditions are still favorable.

Read the full article here (and those female reader friends of mine who are entrepreneurs or small business owners or just want to stay financially savvy, take a closer look at DailyWorth).

A New Low: Fraudsters “Trick” Would-Be Renters. Freddie Mac Responds

Rental Fraud

There is a terrifying new form of theft. Thieves (fraudsters just sounds too mild) post rental listings of homes that are in foreclosure, get a rental commitment and secure a deposit as well as potentially limitless amounts of personal credit information from the unsuspecting would-be renter.

The scam is a little hard to explain, so don’t feel bad if you’re not tracking. I recommend you quickly follow the link below to read Freddie Mac’s warning and the EASY ways you can protect your money and your identity when searching for a rental online.

Read it and protect yourself or people you know who are looking for rentals online.

Thankfully I haven’t heard of this happening in Aberdeen, but we’re not immune. It’s a brave new world of financial and identity theft out there.

This Weekend in Aberdeen

There is a lot to do in Aberdeen this weekend so I better not hear any of this “I’m bored” stuff.

South Dakota Film Fest

Films showing all weekend long at the Capitol Theater.

The town is hosting its sixth annual South Dakota Film Festival which is featuring actor Graham Greene as part of the Thunderheart retrospective.

From the website: Greene earned his first major feature film credit in the historical epic, Revolution, opposite Al Pacino. Later, he landed the role of Kicking Bird in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990). The part not only provided him with major exposure around the world, it garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

There are tons of films to view, including local favorite “The List” (way to go Fischgaard Film fest winners John Vogel and Spotted Ear Productions!) showing during the Saturday session, sometime between 1 and 5:00.

Tap Kids Aberdeen SDAnd on Saturday at 7 PM, the Aberdeen Area Arts Council is presenting TAP KIDS. (I gotta say, for a smallish town we have some INCREDIBLE performing art opportunities.)

Featuring an extraordinary and diverse cast of 8 rhythm tap dancers cast from around the country, TAP KIDS is appropriate for all ages. In addition to the public performance, they will be doing an abridged show for schools.

Visit the Art Council’s website for more.

Added: The SD Film Festival garners press in the Washington Post! Nice little article. Read it here.

Home Building Trends: People are still building home theaters?

If you’re curious about home design trends as reported by the architects, you might appreciate these highlights from the AIA (American Institute of Architects)’s second quarter 2012 Home Design Trends Survey.

Home Building Trends

Special Function Rooms

I find it odd that the demand for energy efficiency and low-maintenance living are DOWN since 2011. Not surprisingly, home offices are still the most important “special function” rooms.

Not huge changes any direction, but if you’re into seeing what modern home builders and their buyers are interested in, you’ll like the graphs.

Make Your Own Fun

This week a friend said, “In Aberdeen you really have to make your own fun.”  This is true, but isn’t it true everywhere? It’s only because we’re a smaller that we think it’s harder to find things to do. But frankly, if you’re not having a good time in Aberdeen you aren’t trying.

This weekend, as an excellent example, was Arts in the Park. While events like these are ubiquitous, what makes ours special is

Aberdeen Arts in the Park

Visit the Arts Council website for news and events

the intersection of standard, homey fare like funnel cakes or $2 barrel rides offered by the Optimist Club and world-class photography, pottery and woodworking.

Maybe it’s not that different from art fairs around the country, but ours is so organized and well managed, the entertainment is solid, the artisans are different every year and there is enough to see and do to keep the grown ups and the kids occupied.

There are some nice pictures at the Aberdeen American News.

If you missed Arts in the Park, catch the July 4 parade, Final Friday (tons of music at a variety of venues on Main Street),  Storybook Land Festival or the dozens of free events offered by church groups, the library and local businesses.

So…go make your own fun.