The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

The employees of Alexander & Bebout Inc. and Kitchens, Inc. held their 13th annual food drive in conjunction with A & B’s Christmas party. Employees collected 188 food items during the drive, while games played at the drive-thru Christmas party netted a $380 contribution to the United Methodist Co-operative Ministries Food Bank, in addition to the food donation. Shown are (from the left) Charlie Salway, Cody Delong, Teresa Parrish, Kristen Lange, Sara Zura, Ann Ream, and Brad Ream. photo provided

POSTED: 01/12/21 at 11:19 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Manor recently received the President’s Award from HCF Management. HCF Management, Van Wert Manor’s corporate partner, recently presented its annual performance awards. 

The President’s Award is determined by several criteria. Two annual winners are chosen from all Ohio and Pennsylvania facilities. Criteria for the award include customer service, financial performance, activities, the facility’s volunteer program, as well as local community involvement.

Van Wert Manor Administrator Jacque Welch (left) and Director of Nursing Jackie Hernandez are shown with HCF’s President’s Award.

Within the last five years, Van Wert Manor has been awarded the Facility of the Year award; Silver Achievement in Quality award, Deficiency Free award, HCFs Chairman’s award, Humanitarian of the Year award; and the Barb Masella Quality award. Van Wert Manor also received a certificate of recognition for having the lowest employee turnover within HCF Management for 2018. 

“We are excited to receive these awards from our corporate partner, HCF Management,” said Van Wert Manor Administrator Jacque Welch. “Despite 2020 being a challenging year, I cannot be more proud of my team. I want to thank our residents, staff, and community alike for continuing to support us.” 

HCF Management, Health Care Facilities, based in Lima, currently serves nearly 3,000 care community residents and employs more than 4,000 employees. There are nearly 350 employees who have been with the company for 20 years, and 22 have been with the company for 40 or more years.

The President’s Award is determined by several criteria. Two annual winners are chosen from all Ohio and Pennsylvania facilities. Criteria for the award include customer service, financial performance, activities, the facility’s volunteer program, as well as local community involvement.

Within the last five years, Van Wert Manor has been awarded the Facility of the Year award; Silver Achievement in Quality award, Deficiency Free award, HCFs Chairman’s award, Humanitarian of the Year award; and the Barb Masella Quality award. Van Wert Manor also received a certificate of recognition for having the lowest employee turnover within HCF Management for 2018. 

“We are excited to receive these awards from our corporate partner, HCF Management,” said Van Wert Manor Administrator Jacque Welch. “Despite 2020 being a challenging year, I cannot be more proud of my team. I want to thank our residents, staff, and community alike for continuing to support us.” 

HCF Management, Health Care Facilities, based in Lima, currently serves nearly 3,000 care community residents and employs more than 4,000 employees. There are nearly 350 employees who have been with the company for 20 years, and 22 have been with the company for 40 or more years.

POSTED: 01/08/21 at 11:14 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The law office of Keister & Baker LLC announced that attorney Collette Carcione and her assistant, Kim Pollock, have joined the firm, effective January 1. In addition, Keri McClure was named a partner in the law firm.  

Carcione was first hired by longtime local attorney Don Johnson (who retired in 2013) as a legal assistant in 1976 at the age of 20. As Johnson neared retirement, Carcione began her studies at Ohio Northern College of Law to not only pursue a dream, but also to ensure that co-workers Leta Feasby and Pollock could continue in their careers.  

Shown are (from the left) Collette Carcione, Keri McClure, Aaron Baker, and Stephen Keister. photo provided

Feasby retired, effective December 31, 2020, after 25 years of service. Carcione graduated with academic honors from Ohio Northern University in 2009, despite commuting to Ada from Van Wert and working in the law office. 

Carcione’s community service includes serving on the Thomas Edison Board of Trustees and as secretary of the Van Wert Salvation Advisory Board. She currently chairs the Northwest Ohio Grievance Committee and is secretary of the Van Wert County Bar Association. She noted she is looking forward to the next phase of her legal career with Keister & Baker.

McClure joined Keister & Baker as an associate attorney on January 1, 2015. She grew up on a farm in Union Township, graduated from Crestview High School in 2008, received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Florida Southern University, and her law degree from Ohio Northern College of Law in 2014 with high academic honors. She assists with the family farm, water skis at the family’s Pleasant Shores recreational facility, and serves as president of the board of the Van Wert County YWCA.  

In addition to McClure, Carcione joins partners Stephen Keister and Aaron Baker in their law practice.  Baker joined Keister in his law practice in 2010, and the firm has doubled in size since then. As Keister slows down his active practice, Keister & Baker welcomes Carcione and Pollock.  

The firm’s primary areas of law practice are estate planning, and real estate, business and agricultural law.  In 2018, the law firm re-located to the renovated former U.S. Post Office building at 124 S. Market St.  Additional information is available at www.keisterbaker.com.

POSTED: 01/05/21 at 5:22 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

PAULDING — Paulding Putnam Electric (PPEC) members will see a lower electric bill around the holidays. That’s because PPEC’s Board of Trustees recently approved to return $2.2 million to the cooperative’s current and former members. Eligible members will see a credit on their December electric bill. The money is being returned to members in the form of capital credits, also known as profits or margins. 

PPEC is a not-for-profit, community-focused organization. One of PPEC’s 7 Cooperative Principles is “Members’ Economic Participation,” which means members contribute equitably to the capital of the co-op in which they are part-owners. The unique part of the co-op model means members also receive a financial return on their capital.

“Simply put, this means that PPEC members contribute a portion of the capital necessary to grow the co-op and upgrade electric reliability,” stated PPEC President and CEO George Carter. “Eventually, as the co-op is financially able to do so, the board approves the capital be returned, or ‘retired’ back to those members who contributed it originally.”

Including this year’s capital credits return, PPEC has returned more than $27 million to its members. According to Carter, this process is what sets PPEC apart from other utilities. 

“We’re not in business to make a profit for shareholders – we don’t have any because of our co-op model,” Carter said. “If there is leftover money, we give it back to members. We return the money to members around the holidays because that’s when many people need it the most – especially this year with many members struggling due to COVID-19.” 

Anyone with questions about their capital credits refund should call PPEC at 800.686.2357.

POSTED: 12/26/20 at 12:58 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

ST. MARYS — Many Midwest Electric members will see a lower electric bill around the holidays. This month, the local electric cooperative is returning $1,424,877 in excess revenue to 7,455 current and former members. 

Eligible co-op members will receive the refund either as a credit on their electric bill, mailed around November 21, or as a separate check in December. This patronage cash back, also known as capital credits, is the cooperative’s margins, or money left after all bills have been paid. 

As a not-for-profit community-focused organization, Midwest Electric uses these margins for investments, such as building or replacing power lines, transformers, and other electric system upgrades to meet members’ evolving needs.

After being used as working capital, the money is returned to members. It represents each co-op member’s ownership — or equity — in his or her cooperative. Patronage cash back is allocated to members in proportion to the dollar amount of electricity used.

This month’s payment will go to those who used Midwest Electric’s service in 2004. A typical residential member from that year will receive a bill credit of about $138. 

“This excess revenue sharing demonstrates that Midwest Electric members are not just customers; they are members and part-owners of their electric cooperative,” said Larry Vandemark, board president. “Midwest Electric belongs to the communities we serve. Members have equity ownership in our physical assets — and receive a financial return on those assets, unlike customers of other utilities.”

Since 1955, Midwest Electric has returned $36 million in patronage cash back to its members. The co-op hasn’t had a rate increase since 2010, and over those 10 years, Midwest Electric has invested more than $21 million in electric system reliability upgrades.

For more information about patronage cash back or questions regarding your bill credit, contact Midwest Electric at 800-962-3830.

POSTED: 12/02/20 at 2:19 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Alliance Automation, headquartered in Van Wert, announced its recent acquisition of all of the assets of SMETCO systems — a well-known corporation delivering equipment for material handling within the pallet industry since 1966.

Alliance Automation says this acquisition only means bigger and better things for customers. The merging of the two companies allows for greater options for business owners. Whether looking for a simple or complex resolution to your pallet and material handling challenges, Alliance Automation and SMETCO have automated pallet solutions to fit the needs of your business.

Alliance Automation plans to continue to service the industry with the same great SMETCO products and services that customers valueand trust, as well as offer new opportunities for businesses to speed up their production processes and cut their pallet and material handling costs. 

Alliance Automation is excited to continue to provide the pallet industry with a wide scale of options for customers.

About Alliance Automation

Alliance Automation has been serving the pallet industry since 2012 and has become known across the United States for its use of advanced robotics and automation in the whitewood industry. The company is a premier supplier of pallet sorting and repair systems, The Urban Sawmill, Robotic Dismantling, and has now added SMETCO products to its growing portfolio. Alliance Automation has three locations within the United States:

  • Van Wert
  • Delphos
  • Wilsonville, Oregon 

To learn more about Alliance Automation, go to http://AllianceAutomation.com.

POSTED: 10/10/20 at 7:11 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies have been awarded the IVANS Digital Insurer Gold Award for both commercial and personal lines business. This is the second consecutive year Central has received this award.

This award recognizes Central for providing connectivity and automated information exchange with its agency partners across the policy lifecycle – from marketing, to quoting, to servicing and renewals. The company is committed to leveraging modern technologies to support the growth of its agency partners. Central was one of only three insurers to accomplish Gold status for both personal and commercial lines. 

The Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 24 states. Central is based in Van Wert and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1.7 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 10/10/20 at 6:45 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies have announced the promotion of Kurtis Brown to director of national partner relationships. 

Kurtis Brown

In this role, Brown will focus on business development and strategic partnership with the company’s agency partners who operate on a countrywide scale. He will provide direction, resources, and opportunities for a more focused approach toward growth and profitability to enhance Central’s growing national presence.

Brown joined Central in 2014 as marketing manager for western Ohio. Prior to joining Central, he gained experience in the industry as both an independent agent and a marketing representative for Federated Mutual Insurance. He has earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.

Brown resides in Continental with his wife and two daughters. 

The Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 24 states. Central is based in Van Wert and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1.7 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 10/03/20 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Six real estate professionals affiliated with Straley Realty & Auctioneers Inc. have earned the 2019-2020 Presidents Sales Club awards presented by the Ohio Association of Realtors.

Realtors Warren Straley and Chet Straley has been awarded the Award of Distinction for each having in excess of $2.5 million in sales between July 1, 2019, and June 30.

Straley Realty Presidents Sales Club honorees include (top row, from the left) Jane Germann, Chet Straley, Cassie Bell; (bottom row) Warren Straley, Anne Brecht, and Joe Bagley. photos provided

Receiving the Award of Achievement for $1 million to $2.5 million in sales were Jane Germann, Anne Brecht, Cassie Bell and Joe Bagley.

OAR officially awarded qualifying members the “President’s Sales Club Award” designation in four recognition levels for outstanding sales performance in the real estate industry. Honorees were recognized at the President’s Sales Club Dinner during the OAR’s Annual Convention.  

The Ohio Association of Realtors is the largest professional trade association in Ohio. All OAR members in good standing were eligible for the award.

POSTED: 09/12/20 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

OAKWOOD — To kick off this unique 2020-2021 school year, Cooper Farms provided school supplies and backpacks to over 650 children of team members across all locations of the company. 

The school supply program is something Cooper Farms has done for several years, however this year may have been even more necessary than years past, given the financial state for many families who have taken a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Shown are some of the school supplies Cooper Farms provided to children of team members. photo provided

“It’s such an honor to be able to provide these school supplies and backpacks to the kids,” said Kacy Wagner, human resource manager at the Cooked Meats Plant in Van Wert. “Back-to-school shopping can be a financial burden for many families every year, and this year is potentially worse for many families who may have lost income, so we’re happy to help in that way.”

The list of supplies included the typical pens, crayons, markers, glue, notebooks, and even ear buds and headphones. Some locations elected to provide a gift card for families to pick out their own school supplies. This year, there were notable additions of cloth face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer. 

“Our school supply list definitely looked a little different this year as kids K-12 are now required to wear face masks in the classroom,” Wagner said. “So now we were able to provide the basic school supplies, as well as help with the new safety guidelines required to keep the kids safe.” 

Following distribution of school supplies to individual students, all leftover supplies were divided and sent to area schools.

POSTED: 09/12/20 at 6:32 am. FILED UNDER: Business