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Congratulations to Raleigh for making the list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s HQ2!

Raleigh has made Amazon’s short-list for its 50,000-job HQ2. And Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland is already working on a plan.

The competition is fierce. Multiple metros around Washington, D.C., are included on the 20-site list, as is New Jersey, which has reportedly offered a $7 billion incentives package. But Copeland continues to believe that North Carolina has a major shot.

Raleigh is the only North Carolina metro to make the cut. The Triad, Charlotte and Hickory metros all submitted proposals to help lure HQ2.

“We’re going to see what the next phase of contact is with the company, what further guidance will there be for the company,” Copeland says. “Absent that, we’ll pursue in a similar trajectory as we did, and immediately prepare for the second round,” he says.

Being among the top 20 is validating for the Triangle, he says. He points to the presence of the universities and Wake Technical Community College as a likely differentiator.

But there are challenges. While the Triangle proposal offered up multiple site possibilities, including Raleigh’s Warehouse District and Chatham Park, real estate developers have said accommodating such a massive project will likely require creativity.

But creativity is yet another advantage for the Triangle’s chances. Copeland points to the education-fueled innovation economy and the presence of other tech giants.

“We’ve collaborated together as a region on economic development projects for a very long time and Amazon was another good example of those partners coming together to put our best foot forward,” she says. “How we move forward through the next steps and what our response as a region is will be driven largely by the feedback we get from the company. … We’ll really be responsive to what the company is saying they need to understand so that they can continue to sort of fine tune and hone in on Raleigh.”

Copeland and Cole aren’t alone in thinking the state has a good chance at Amazon. Last year, the “graphs guy” at SAS Institute, Robert Allison, a development tester with the analytics firm, compiled datasets used for multiple reports on the site search, such as the one from CNBC, which ranked North Carolina as the HQ2 favorite. Just looking at the data, North Carolina’s chances could be “pretty good,” he says, highlighting its location and time zone, which would give Amazon “a great head start.”

“North Carolina scored high in all areas,” he says.

While CNBC ranked Nashville, Tennessee – which also made the shortlist – second, a closer look at the data shows that, when it came to just talent, they had a failing grade, he notes.

“It’s just the way you approach the data,” he says.

And it’s just one of the projects the state is eyeing. On Wednesday, Copeland said the state is hoping to get interest from Apple, which has said it’s looking for new sites in the United States.

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5 Facts About Selling a Home in the Winter

Can’t wait until spring to sell your home? Winter can be a tough time to attract buyers, particularly if you live in a region where there’s going to be ice and snow all around. Your home may not show as well in bad weather; however, it is possible. Here are some winter real estate facts to keep in mind:

People Like an Orderly Property 

In the winter, all visitors may see is a blanket of snow (depending on where you live). Do your best to keep the driveway and walkways neatly cleared and free of ice, leaves or dirt. Even if there’s just a light dusting of snow, sweep it away. Spread some sand over walkways to avoid slips and falls. Try to keep the roof clear of snow, as well, as a good roof is important to selling any home. You can always call in a roofing company if yours isn’t up to par.

Bright Light Is Cheery

There’s nothing that makes a house cheerier than sunlight. Wash the windows inside and out so they sparkle. Pull up the blinds and throw back the drapes for some warming illumination. In darker corners and niches where the sun won’t reach, place a lamp and keep it on. You could also use spotlighting to illuminate major features of the kitchen, living room or bathroom.

Warmth Is Comfort

People coming in from the cold will be pleased to find your home is warm and toasty. As a retreat from winter cold, your buyers will have more of a reason to feel comfortable and take their time. You might consider lighting a small fire in the fireplace or wood stove to keep things toasty. Try to keep indoor humidity between 40-60 percent to avoid that dry, stuffy feeling.

Everyone Appreciates Mood

Create a cozy feel by adding extra pillows or afghans to the sofa and beds, or some plush throw rugs on the floor. Leave the dining room table set for dinner, along with a champagne bucket and a couple of glasses. Add some extra-fluffy towels or robes in the bathrooms. In short, make everything look comfortable and inviting.

Winter Can Be the Ideal Season

You’re more likely to get bids faster in the wintertime because you’re dealing with motivated buyers. They need to move, and soon, or they’d be waiting for the balmier temperatures of spring. You may get fewer visitors, but they’ll be serious buyers, not just frivolous house-shoppers. Stage your home well for the season and you may very well sell faster, and for a higher price, than you expected.

You always want to keep your home clean and in good repair, but the trick to selling in winter is creating the effect of a warm, sunny retreat from the elements.

by: Dixie Somers, RISMedia’s Housecall

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By the Sutton Police Department – Be careful with social media…

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