The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

Submitted information

ATLANTA, Georgia — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) encourages businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to apply for a disaster loan before the Aug. 19 deadline. Anyone in the declared counties in Ohio with damages caused by the severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, flooding and landslides on May 27-29 should apply for the disaster recovery loan program. Additionally, to date, SBA has approved over $11.6 million in low-interest disaster loans for Ohioans. 

The disaster declaration covers Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mahoning, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry, and Pickaway counties inOhio, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Allen, Athens, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Guernsey, Hardin, Licking, Logan, Madison, Morgan, Noble, Portage, Preble, Ross, Shelby, Stark, Trumbull, Van Wert, Vinton, and Warren in Ohio; Adams, Jay, Randolph, and Wayne in Indiana; and Lawrence and Mercer in Pennsylvania. 

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage. 

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property. 

Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s circumstances. 


POSTED: 07/22/19 at 8:28 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

MADISON, Wisconsin — Devin Sheets, an American Family Insurance agency owner in Van Wert, has been recognized for providing an outstanding customer experience under the American Star Excellence in Customer Experience Certification Program.  

Devin Sheets

“An extraordinary customer experience is a top priority at American Family and our agency owners are a critical part of accomplishing that,” said Ann Hamilton, American Family Insurance customer experience vice president. “The select group of agency owners who have attained the American Star Excellence in Customer Experience Certification have, according to their customers, consistently provided that outstanding service that is a differentiator for us among insurance providers.” 

The service excellence distinction was determined through an evaluation process conducted under guidelines established through the company’s American Star Excellence in Customer Experience Certification Program. The process consists of a customer satisfaction survey which measures customers’ overall experience with their current American Family Insurance agency owner. 

Sheets has been an agency owner for American Family since 2003. His agency office is located at 118 S. Washington St. in Van Wert.

POSTED: 05/28/19 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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Central Mutual Insurance Company held its annual Policyholders’ Meeting on May 8 at the Home Office in Van Wert.

President and Chairman of the Board F.W. Purmort noted 2018 was marked by challenging results, both internally and externally, and acknowledged that the company needed to evolve and change.  

“We have initiated changes to our internal organizational structure with a goal of leveraging the technical expertise and communication across our operational departments insuring improved efficiency and strategic decisions,” Purmort said.

Central’s new corporate structure is focused on marketing and outward facing relationships; finance, risk and investment of its assets; and operations and execution of its promises,” the president and board chairman explained. The new corporate structure will support relationship-driven marketing, while sizable future investments in improving the company’s technology systems will capture efficiencies in productivity and promote better decisions in supporting both agents and policyholders. 

“This is a big deal — it’s a lot of work,” Purmort shared. “But we’ve got a fantastic team working on it and we’ll get it done.” 

Purmort noted that, although the Policyholders’ Security Fund decreased slightly to $808.6 million in 2018, the company anticipates this number will increase in 2019 and continue to trend upward. 

“We do quite a bit of financial forecasting and if we keep doing what we do best, we should see an ever-increasing Policyholders’ Security Fund in the future,” he added. “That’s the path we have set for the company and that’s the path we intend to follow.”

In conclusion, Purmort thanked policyholders for their investment in the company and noted that while Central’s structure is changing, the company’s culture of Integrity, Relationships, and Excellence that is driving these changes will not. 

“We’ll acknowledge the changes around us, think wisely about how we need to adapt, and create a company that you will want to be associated with for as long as you need us,” he said.


POSTED: 05/24/19 at 8:07 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lima-based BEF Foods Inc. is recalling approximately 527 pounds of beef pasta products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection and outside of inspection hours, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. 

The ready-to-eat beef stroganoff pasta items were produced on May 3. The following products are subject to recall: 18-ounce sealed plastic trays containing “Bob Evans Beef Stroganoff Pasta” with a “use by” date of 07/02/19 and a time-stamp ranging between the hours of 15:00 (3 p.m.) and 18:37(6:37 p.m.) represented on the tray seal.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M-46062” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio.

The problem was discovered when FSIS personnel reviewed the records of production for the recalling firm. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.  

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumer’s refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact BEF Foods, Consumer Relations at 800.939.2338. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at:

POSTED: 05/23/19 at 12:13 am. FILED UNDER: Business, Lifestyles

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Manor, managed by HCF Management Inc. of Lima, reports that as the Five-Star Quality Rating system released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been updated with its new survey results, the care community has received a 5-star rating.

Van Wert Manor staff celebrate the five-star rating given the facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. photo provided

Based upon data inputted into on Van Wert Manor’s annual department of health survey in 2019 for the five-star quality rating system, Van Wert Manor now has received a 5-star rating. This is the highest rating a nursing home can receive.

According to, a government website dedicated to educating consumers on Medicare, “nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provided to their residents.” By reviewing the key data sources, health inspection results, staffing data and quality measures, a “snap shot” of the care given at that individual nursing home can be determined.

Van Wert Manor has been serving the community for over 45 years with excellent and innovative rehabilitative and skilled nursing services. For more information, contact Janel Schulte, community marketing coordinator, at 419.302.4172.

POSTED: 05/23/19 at 12:11 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

CELINA — The Business Enterprise Center (BEC) at Wright State University-Lake Campus has announced a full slate of non-credit business classes for Summer Semester 2019. To access the full spring schedule go to: Upcoming classes in June include the following workshops:

Starting Right(pre-business workshop held monthly) — This two-hour class provides attendees and guests information to help them decide if business ownership is right for them and how to start a business the “Wright Way.” After attending this class, participants are eligible for to free, individualized business counseling. Most issues such as business financials — cash flow, pricing, supply costs, record-keeping, etc., as well as business plan assistance, marketing, and advertising, researching demographics, HR issues, etc. 

The BEC recommends all who are considering starting or buying a business to attend one session.

Dates: June, 27, July 25, August 22, 6-8 p.m.; Room 120, Trenary Hall. Cost: $35 per business.

Access Databases— Microsoft Access is widely recognized as the best database software application. This classis for new or slightly experienced Access users. Learn the difference between databases and spreadsheets and which application to use for each specific situation. Set up a sample database and learn to input data in the fields. Carla will also explain how to place format masks, create labels, streamline data, complete mail merge using MS Word, and more..

Dates: Monday-Wednesday; June 10-12; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (6 credit hours); Room 194, Dwyer Hall

Instructor:Carla Hirschfeld; Wright State University-Lake Campus; Cost:$90 per person

Microsoft Word for Business –Learn the No. 1 document processing software! Discover MS Word’s unique features including various menu bars, inserting tables, charts, pictures, etc. Set tabs for a professional look or use columns to create your business newsletter. Learn to format your business correspondence to look and sound more professional including business letters, short memos, or long reports, etc. Set margins for different tasks, insert page numbers or use headers and footers. This class can help your documents look as professional as your business!

Dates: Monday and Wednesday June 24 and 26; Time: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. {6 hours}; Room194, Dwyer Hall; Instructor: Carla Hirschfeld; Wright State University-Lake Campus; Cost:$90 per person

Those interested must pre-register for each class. Call Carol Jones at 419.586.0902, email, or follow the Business Enterprise Center on Facebook at WSU-Lake-Campus Business Enterprise Center.

POSTED: 05/22/19 at 4:26 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

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COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud proposed Monday giving $1.5 billion to Ohio employers this year following strong returns on the agency’s investments.

“This is great news for Ohio,” said Governor DeWine. “This money will help Ohio employers expand their businesses, create jobs, and invest in capital improvements. Ohio’s economy is strong, and this proposal reinforces our goal of creating more jobs in the state.”

In addition to money for private businesses, the $1.5 billion proposal also includes money for public employers, including approximately $114 million for local governments and around $50 million for public schools. 

The money would be Ohio’s fifth investment return to private and public employers of at least $1 billion since 2013 and sixth overall during that time.

“Our investment portfolio is strong, our injury claims are falling, and our safety and wellness initiatives are making a difference,” said Administrator McCloud. “All of these actions mean big savings for employers, and we’re delighted to share this success with them.”

State law requires businesses to carry workers’ compensation coverage to protect workers who suffer injuries or illnesses on the job. The employers’ premiums are invested to grow the fund that supports injured worker claims. When investment returns are strong, the agency shares a portion of the investments with qualifying employers in the form of a dividend.


POSTED: 05/20/19 at 11:49 pm. FILED UNDER: Business, News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert County Hospital, doing business as Van Wert Health in Van Wert, has been named one of the Top 100 rural and community hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Above is an artist’s rendition of the new Van Wert Health hospital addition. graphic provided

Regarded as one of the industry’s most significant designations of performance excellence, the annual Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals award is based upon the results of the Hospital Strength INDEX® from iVantage Health Analytics. 

“We are proud to be recognized by agencies like The Chartis Center for Rural Health,” said Van Wert Health President/CEO Jim Pope. “Our mission is simple: we want to be the best community hospital. We know that designation has to be earned every day from the patients we care for. It is a journey.” 

Hospitals recognized as a Top 100 facility scored in the top 100 among all rural and community hospitals nationally. Now in its ninth year, the INDEX leverages 50 rural-relevant indicators across eight pillars of hospital strength (inpatient market share, outpatient market share, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, and financial stability) to determine an overall score for each hospital. Each of the INDEX’s 50 indicators is culled from publicly-available data sources. 

“In an era of increased complexity and uncertainty, Top 100 hospitals have established themselves as a bellwether for rural provider performance,” said Michael Topchik, national leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Top 100 status is a real indicator of how proactive these hospitals are when it comes to pushing for performance improvement in areas such as quality, outcomes, patient safety, market share and finance.” 

The list of this year’s Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals, as well as the 2019 INDEX methodology, can be found at 

POSTED: 05/08/19 at 11:30 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

FORT JENNINGS — Replacing old metal halide lights with energy-efficient LED lights isn’t cheap – but for members of a not-for-profit electric cooperative, it may be more affordable than they think.

Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative Energy Advisor Peter Niagu (right) presents a check to Reggie Buehrer of Windows Creation in Fort Jennings.
photo provided

Thanks to Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative’s (PPEC) Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Custom Lighting Program, companies receiving electricity from the co-op, like stained glass studio Window Creations, LLC., are eligible for rebates when making significant energy-efficient lighting upgrades.

Window Creationsin Fort Jennings recently took advantage of this program, receiving a $5,776 check from PPEC after finishing installation of 26 new LED lights to replace 26 old metal halide lights. In total, the company reduced its energy use by 6,500 watts — reducing the initial wattage by more than 60 percent.

The Buehrer family’s multi-generational studio has been creating and restoring stained glass windows for decades. As an accredited member of the Stained Glass Association of America, Window Creations takes pride in accepting any size window project, including stained glass, storm glass, aluminum framing, or custom wood tracery and serves the tristate area of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, as well as extending as far as Mississippi and Chicago, Illinois. 

PPEC’s C&I Custom Lighting Program allows commercial and industrial members to apply for rebates toward energy-efficiency lighting projects, handing over a max contribution of $15,000 per project. Participating members who meet the requirements of the program are eligible to receive up to two rebates, which may not exceed 50 percent of each project’s total cost (excluding labor). Rebates are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pre-approval is required by sending an application to PPEC Energy Advisor Peter Niagu at To learn more about the program, visit

POSTED: 04/22/19 at 6:58 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Tisha M. Fast, agent and owner of Tisha Fast Insurance Agency Inc., has earned the Retirement Income Certified Professional® designation from The American College of Financial Services.

State Farm agent Tisha Fast

Using the most current retirement portfolio management techniques, the RICP® advisor helps to identify retirement income needs and objectives relative to the client’s lifestyle goals in retirement.

Individuals who earn an RICP® designation can provide knowledgeable advice on a broad range of retirement topics including the proper use of annuities, mitigation of risks to retirement income planning, estate issues, Social Security, health insurance, housing decisions, and income taxation.

Candidates for the RICP®designation must complete a minimum of three college-level courses and are required to pass a series of two-hour proctored exams. They must also have three years of professional experience, meet stringent ethics requirements, and participate in continuing education to maintain professional recertification.

The RICP® educational curricula is one of the most complete and comprehensive programs available to financial advisors whose goal is to help their clients create sustainable retirement income. The rigorous three-course credential helps advisors master the retirement income planning focus area that is not fully covered in other professional designation programs. 

Fast has had the privilege of providing insurance and financial services to the Van Wert community for five years. She serves on various boards of organizations in the community and within her local church. Fast is passionate about helping others with their financial goals and insurance needs. Area residents can contact her office at 419.238.9441.

POSTED: 04/10/19 at 10:36 pm. FILED UNDER: Business