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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 27, 2017

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CELINA — The Business Enterprise Center at Wright State University-Lake Campus announces the June 2017 schedule of classes. There is still time to register for workshops scheduled for May and June. Upcoming classes include the following workshops:

Starting Right (pre-business seminar held monthly)

Each month, the BEC hosts the Starting Right class for those planning to start a small business. The two-hour class gives participants information to help them decide if business ownership is right for them and can assist them in stating their business the “Wright Way”. After attending the Starting Right class, participants are entitled to free individualized business counseling. The BEC can help with most issues pertaining to financials for a business: cash flow, pricing, supply costs, record-keeping, etc. The BEC also assists with a business plan, some marketing and advertising features, demographics, HR issues, etc.

The class is held from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, June 15, in Room 126 of Trenary Hall. Cost is $35 per business.

Advanced Business Planning

Instructor Jon Heffner teaches continuous business improvement to business owners and managers who want to ensure their company’s future progress and development through feasibility, finances, and operations. Take an in-depth look at operating guidelines for products/services, policies/procedures, and personnel. Discussion will be focused on market analysis, research, financial forecast, and budgeting. By properly understanding business planning, business people will be able to keep their businesses sustainable and healthy.

The class is held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, May 30, June 6, and June 13, in Room 177 in Dwyer Hall. Cost is $115 per business.

The Business Enterprise Center at the Lake Campus provides free, comprehensive counseling and management training to new and existing small businesses. In addition to workshops, one-on-one counseling appointments are scheduled individually to ensure convenience and confidentiality. The BEC is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For more information about the BEC and its programs, call Carol Jones at 419.586.0902 or email

POSTED: 05/24/17 at 8:10 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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CARF International announced that Westwood Behavioral Health Center, Inc. has been accredited for a period of three years for the following programs:

  • Case Management/Services Coordination: Integrated: AOD/MH (Adults)
  • Case Management/Services Coordination: Integrated: AOD/MH (Children and Adolescents)
  • Outpatient Treatment: Integrated: AOD/MH (Adults)
  • Outpatient Treatment: Integrated: AOD/MH (Children and Adolescents)

The latest accreditation is the fifth consecutive three-year accreditation the international accrediting body, CARF, has given to Westwood Behavioral Health Center Inc.
This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a three-year accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process, demonstrating to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.
Westwood Behavioral Health Center Inc. is a private not-for-profit organization with offices located at 1158 Westwood Drive in Van Wert, 501 McDonald Pike in Paulding, and 150 N. Jefferson St., Suite 2, in Delphos.

Westwood has been providing mental health and substance abuse services in Van Wert County since 1976, expanding to Paulding County in 2007 and the city of Delphos in 2015.
CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served.

Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.

For more information about the accreditation process, visit the CARF website at
For additional information, contact Westwood Behavioral Health Center Inc. at 419.238.3434.

POSTED: 05/23/17 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Leading Producers Round Table (LPRT) of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) has announced that Randy Myers of Leland Smith Insurance Services has qualified to receive the association’s prestigious Soaring Eagle Award.

Randy Myers

Randy Myers

The Soaring Eagle Award is the highest honor given by the LPRT to recognize association members who have achieved the greatest success in demonstrating exceptional professional knowledge and outstanding client service.

Myers and his wife, Betty, are lifetime members of Van Wert County. He began his insurance career in 1980 and started the Leland Smith Life and Health agency in 1984. This is the third consecutive year Myers has received this award.

“Myers exemplifies the qualities that make health insurance agents and brokers such important resources and advocates for American consumers,” said Jason Bradford, president of the Northwest Ohio Association of Health Underwriters. “He has worked tirelessly on behalf of countless clients to ensure they have the insurance coverage they need.”

The National Association of Health Underwriters represents 100,000 professional health insurance agents and brokers who provide insurance for millions of Americans. NAHU is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, contact Kelly Loussedes at 202.595.3074 or

POSTED: 05/08/17 at 7:04 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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Edward Jones financial advisors John Gunsett, Ryan Lindemann, and Trevor Webster announced today that two financial advisors, Thaison Leaser and Eric Hurless, have joined their offices in Van Wert.

Hurless and Leaser will work alongside Gunsett, Lindemann, and Webster for several months then will continue serving investors throughout the area from their own offices.

Edward Jones logo 6-2015“Edward Jones prides itself on providing the best service possible to those investors who choose to do business with us,” Gunsett said. “Hurless and Leaser will help provide the high level of service investors in Van Wert have come to expect from us as well as extend our services to new investors.”

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company, provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work.

The firm’s 15,000-plus financial advisors work directly with more than 7 million clients. Edward Jones, which ranked No. 5 on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in 2017”, is headquartered in St. Louis.

The Edward Jones website is located, and its recruiting website is Member SIPC

POSTED: 05/02/17 at 7:32 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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COLUMBUS — Grange Insurance has recognized Leland Smith Insurance Services as a leader in the insurance industry and awarded it Grange’s Senior Partner designation.

Each year, Grange honors a select group of its independent agency partners by recognizing them with the title of Senior Partner. These agencies are part of a top-tier division of Grange agency partners that have excelled in key areas of business, including customer service and overall agency performance. Out of nearly 4,000 independent agencies, Leland Smith Insurance Services is one of just 126 agencies to receive this year’s award.

Grange Insurance logo 4-2017“Grange counts on agencies like Leland Smith Insurance Services to serve as trusted advisors and provide excellent service to Grange policyholders,” said John Ammendola, Grange insurance president and CEO. “With its strong commitment to the customer and exceptional performance record, Leland Smith Insurance Services is a great example of what it means to be a true partner and worthy of this recognition.”

Grange Insurance sells exclusively through independent insurance agents. These men and women are not only dedicated to supporting the communities in which they live and work, but they also offer guidance to help individuals, families, and businesses select the right coverage for their lifestyle and unique needs.

Located at 1175 Westwood Drive, Leland Smith Insurance Services serves customers in Van Wert and beyond. For more information, call 419.238.7880 or visit

Grange Insurance is a regional insurance provider based in Columbus. With $2.5 billion in assets, the company offers auto, home, life, and business insurance protection. Grange, and its affiliate Integrity, operates through a network of independent agents in 23 states in the Midwest and South. Grange is in the business of protecting people’s lives when and how they need it. Established in 1935, Grange has grown from rural beginnings to a financially stable enterprise that offers independent agents and policyholders the highest level of service and support. For more information, visit

POSTED: 04/24/17 at 8:09 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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Leland Smith Insurance Services is one of a select group of agencies honored by Erie Insurance with the Founders’ Award. Erie’s Founders’ Award is a measure of quality agency performance in auto and property production and service to customers.

Erie Insurance. (PRNewsFoto/Erie Insurance)

“Erie is all about service to its customers,” stated Randy Myers, agency principal. “With a company like Erie that is so focused on its customers it makes our job a lot easier.”

Leland Smith Insurance Services offers a full line of property-casualty insurance products, including auto and homeowners’ insurance, as well as commercial and life insurance from Erie Insurance.

Leland Smith Insurance Services is located at 1175 Westwood Drive, Van Wert, Ohio, with a branch location in Antwerp, the Shisler Insurance Agency in Paulding, the Kulwicki-Hilton Insurance Agency in Convoy and Ottoville and Hickey-Morris Insurance Agency in Delphos.

To learn more, visit or call 419.238.7880.

POSTED: 04/14/17 at 4:55 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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PAULDING — Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) celebrates National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 10.

This is a day to honor the men who work hard at keeping the power on. These men battle the bitter cold and the blistering heat doing everything they can to provide reliable service to PPEC members.

ppec-logo-12-2-16The company’s linemen are some of the first responders during storms and other events to make sure everything is safe for the public. Linemen work with thousands of volts of electricity every day of the year, sometimes under dangerous conditions, to manage energy flow in order to keep PPEC customers’ lights on.

PPEC would like to recognize the following line workers at PPEC for the round-the-clock hard work they put into protecting the public’s safety: Brandon Burelison, Jeff Ferris, Terry Minic, Zak Kauser, James Nutter, John McMaster, Dennis Clark, Ryan Flint, Jay Denny, Ted Slusser, Rusty Rager, Corbin Rhonehouse, Mike Klima, Doug Johanns, Andy Hermiller, and Rob Weisenburger.

“Our line workers are the heart of Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op,” said Paulding Putnam Electric President/ CEO George Carter. “They work in challenging conditions to power our members and communities. We are proud to honor line workers who keep the lights on for so many people in our service territory.”

Paulding Putnam Electric Co-Op invites members to take a moment and thank a lineman for the work they do. On April 10 and the whole month of April, customers are invited to show support for these men and the hard work they do. Those who want to honor lineman and their families are encouraged to visit or express gratitude via social media.

POSTED: 04/11/17 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: Business

133 Bistro ribboncutting 4-5-17

The owners of 133 Bistro, formerly Balyeat’s Coffee Shop, held an open house at the restaurant on Wednesday afternoon. Owners Jack Murrati and Sabir Asipi cut the ribbon on the restaurant they have owned for several months, while Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur, other city officials, and Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce board members and staff were on hand to note the occasion. The restaurant currently offers all-day breakfast and lunch menus. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 04/06/17 at 7:13 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Winners were named Wednesday for the 2017 Entrepreneurship Fair’s Business Plan Challenge, which judges new business owners on a financial plan they create for their companies.

First-place winner this year was Sabrina Niagu, owner of Touches in Time Antiques, 120 S. Washington St. She will receive $2,500 in cash (donated by the Van Wert Revolving Loan Fund), as well as a one-year membership in the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, a 12-hour QuickBooks training course at Wright State University’s Lake Campus, and 500 business cards from either Burcham Printing or Wilkinson Printing.

2017 Business Plan Challenge winners include Dalton Heppeard (left), runner-up, and first-place winner Sabrina Niagu. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

2017 Business Plan Challenge winners include Dalton Heppeard (left), runner-up, and first-place winner Sabrina Niagu. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Second-place winner was Dalton Heppeard, owner of baked goods business Wavie’s Kool Distributor, who received $750 in cash (donated by First Bank of Berne), the 12-hour QuickBooks training, and 500 business cards from one of the two local printing companies.

Stacy Adam, executive director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation, said both winners had good business plans, with Niagu’s extremely detailed and specific to her business.

“(Niagu) did a great job of really building a financial plan: cash flow projections that really was detailed, realistic, and extensive,” Adam noted. “There was a lot of attention to detail.”

The economic development director also noted that Niagu was originally a retail manager for a women’s fashion chain who was also a vendor at Touches of Time before she decided to purchase the business from its former owner.

“She is undoubtedly passionate about what she does,” Adam said. “She loves that, she’s excited about that, and I think that’s good for Van Wert.”

Adam noted that Heppeard, who is still in high school, was notable in that, not only is he interested in being an entrepreneur at such a young age, but that he encourages other students he goes to school with to also be entrepreneurs, while also employing them in his business.

As part of the competition, participating business owners receive information on how to create a business plan, as well as tips on growing their businesses.

POSTED: 04/06/17 at 7:12 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

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Leland Smith Insurance Services announces the addition of Lisa Horstman as a company agent.

Lisa Horseman

Lisa Horstman

Horstman brings more than 27 years of insurance experience to Leland Smith, and is licensed in Property and Casualty, Life and Health. She is a graduate of Ottoville High School and International Business College.

Horstman and her husband, Terry, have been married for 25 years and have three children together and reside in the same community where they grew up. She enjoys time spent with her family and attending her children’s events.

Area residents can stop by Leland Smith Insurance and let Horstman help them with any of their insurance needs. She looks forward to her future here while building new client relationships.

Leland Smith Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency representing multiple insurance companies, offering home, auto, business, life, and health insurance, with locations in Van Wert and Antwerp, the Shisler Insurance Agency in Paulding, the Kulwicki-Hilton Insurance Agency in Convoy and Ottoville, and Hickey-Morris Insurance Agency in Delphos.

Find more information regarding company locations at

POSTED: 04/05/17 at 7:03 am. FILED UNDER: Business