Roundup: Housing stays in slump; four-day work weeks; lobbyist spending

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Home sales continue to slug along in Virginia, although some markets in Northern Virginia appear to be improving.

Around the state, home sales dropped 13 percent from a year ago and the average price fell 7 percent, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

But sales have increased in Loudoun and Prince William counties, which had experienced steep declines in home sales.

In other business news…

Payday lenders helped set a record in lobbyist spend in Virginia. Spending almost $4 million this year, the payday lending industry helped push total lobbyist spending in the commonwealth to more than $20 million. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Chas. Lunsford Sons & Associates, an insurance broker in Roanoke, is experimenting with a four-day work week to allow employees to save on fuel costs. (The Roanoke Times)

The New College Institute in Martinsville is seeing increased enrollment and moving to a bigger home as enrollment increases. The institute opened in 2006 and provides students in Southern Virginia the ability to complete work for degrees at colleges and universities around the state.  (Martinsville Bulletin)

Port workers in Hampton Roads will be required to carry a federal identification card by December or January. (Daily Press)


The economy may be in a slump, but it’s a good time to be a defense contractor. Falls Church-based General Dynamics reported a 25 percent increase in net profit. (Reuters

MeadWestvaco Corp. reported second quarter income of $56 million, compared with $32 million during the same quarter last year. The company said higher sales prices boosted the company’s profit. (MarketWatch)

For the Record – Business announcements and promotions from around the state

Members of the United Steelworkers Local 8-940 ratified a new labor agreement with MeadWestvaco Corp. at its Low Moor converting facility. The new four-year pact covers 154 production workers and lays out increases for wages and pensions. MeadWestvaco is a Richmond-based producer of paper products and operates a paper mill in nearby Covington. (PRNewswire)

MicroTechnologies LLC, a Vienna-based information technology and networking company, reached an agreement to purchase the Visual Communications Division of SIGCOM Inc., a provider of visual communication and teleconferencing solutions headquartered in Greensboro, N.C. One of SIGCOM specialty areas is secure, high volume video conferencing. MicroTechnologies will use the new assets to offer secure conferencing services to the Department of Defense and other government clients. (PRNewswire)

CACI International Inc., a provider of information technology services and solutions based n Arlington, received an $85 million contract, over four years and nine months (including options), from the Air Force for medical logistics and readiness services around the world. The contract continues work already being performed by CACI.  (PRNewswire)

Valley Health, a health services provider headquartered in Winchester, is evaluating a possible merger with Page Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility in Luray. The merger, if approved by both boards, would occur in January. Valley Health would submit a Certificate of Need to state officials for construction of a new hospital if the merger takes place. Valley Health institutions include Winchester Medical Center and operations in Front Royal and Woodstock. It most recently incorporated Hampshire Memorial Hospital in Romney, W.Va. (The Winchester Star)

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to award $15,000 in scholarships to 15 qualified applicants enrolled in technical training programs at Danville Community College. The company seeks to train and employ more skilled mechanics, electricians and pipe fitters for its Danville plant, for which it recently announced a major expansion. Goodyear plans to reserve nine of the 15, $1,000 awards for qualified family members of current company employees. (Danville Register & Bee)

Piper Jaffray & Co., a Minneapolis-based investment bank and securities firm, opened an office in Richmond in an effort to build its presence in the public finance banking market on the East Coast. The office will be led by Tina Neal, a senior vice president and investment banker who specializes in municipal project financings. Neal has 17 years of experience and was most recently with Ferris, Baker Watts. (Business Wire)

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