'We want to protect the health of the community'

Zoe Greszler • Oct 24, 2018 at 9:00 PM

When he found out his granddaughter had serious health issues caused by the air she was breathing, a Norwalk man decided to start a business that would help her and his community to live a healthier, safer life.

Bill Lewis’ granddaughter was diagnosed with a severe form of asthma at a young age. Not only did the young girl have the typical symptoms, including breathing difficulty and sensitivities, but her coughing and sneezing would even lead to bouts of vomiting. Lewis said when they took her to the doctor they found there was something in the family’s home that were making her worse  — the air she was breathing. 

From this discovery, Firelands Fresh Air Services was born, a business that focuses on air-duct cleaning and filter replacement. Air-duct cleaning and servicing reduces the pollutants from dust, animal hair, mold and dust mites contributing to asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems.

Lewis, along with his two sons, Kevin and Cody Lewis, decided to go to Texas to get proper training and certifications in duct cleaning and started the business in May. Firelands Fresh Air was recently accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

“With indoor air quality two to five times worse than outdoor air, we want to protect the health of the community we grew up in,” said owner Bill Lewis. 

“I’ve always been health-conscious. I started looking into what can I do to have a better impact, not only on my family, but on everyone that I know and love. We did it to help people and their families to live a better lifestyle and for them to be able to breath clean air. (For) people with asthma and COPD, clean air will help them to enjoy their life a lot better, not waking up in the middle of the night sneezing and coughing.” 

The best part of starting the business? Lewis’ granddaughter now is able to visit him without it causing her any additional health concerns from the air quality. He said she is doing “a lot better” now.

Lewis said he was “shocked” and finds it “disgusting,” the amount of contaminants he pulls out of air ducts, including animal dander, cottonwood, dust, dirt and more. He said in most cases, the contaminants build up because a house’s air system pulls from its attic space. 

“Your home collects 40 pounds, dust, dirt and contaminates every year,” he said.

“All that dirty attic dust is being dumped right into your system when you breath it in. It would be like taking your water supply and running it into your basement, then at the other end of the pipe it’s going to your kitchen sink. You wouldn’t want to drink that. You wouldn’t want to breath that air either. All of that is going right into your lungs.”

In addition to air filtration, the company also works with dryer filters.

“About 16,000 house fires every year are caused by dryer lint that’s built up. If there’s one it’s too many because that’s really preventable,” he said, adding that replacing the dryer filter is an easy step to keep families safe.

Firelands Fresh Air Services is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and services 11 counties, including Huron and Erie. To learn more about the business or schedule an appointment, customers can visit firelandsfreshairservices.com or call Lewis at 419-706-1891.


Dr. Schwerer joins Milan practice

MILAN — Dr. Kaitlin Schwerer has joined Fisher-Titus Family Medicine in Milan and now is accepting patients.

Schwerer starts at Fisher-Titus Family Medicine after three years of residency training at Firelands Regional Medical Center. She earned her doctor of osteopathic medicine from Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Schwerer grew up in Huron and enjoys spending time with her family and boating on the lake.

She is accepting patients at Fisher-Titus Family Medicine, 2114 E. Ohio 113, Milan. To schedule an appointment, call 419-499-7600.


Arnold joins FTMC in Wakeman

WAKEMAN — Certified nurse practitioner James Arnold, Sr. has joined Fisher-Titus Family Medicine in Wakeman.

Arnold most recently worked at Mercy Regional Medical Center locations in Lorain and Amherst, specializing in family medicine and in the emergency department. He earned his master of science in nursing from Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri as a family nurse practitioner.

He is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

James lives in Sandusky with his wife Erin and three children.

He is now seeing patients at Fisher-Titus Family Medicine in Wakeman, at 24 Hyde St. To schedule an appointment with Arnold, call 440-839-2226.


Record-breaking opening

HURON — Goodwill Industries of Erie, Huron, Ottawa and Sandusky Counties unveiled its newest retail store during a ribbon cutting event Oct. 5 at 310 Lake Erie Parkway, Huron.

The grand-opening weekend sales set record numbers for the company. Those proceeds are re-directed back to the organization’s mission of serving community members experiencing disabling or disadvantaging conditions by providing customized employment support services.

Those interested in helping Goodwill support the local community through the power of work, residents can donate gently used or new items to resell in stores, volunteer their time, offer monetarily, tax-deductible donations or by shopping at Goodwill retail stores.

Locally, Goodwill stores also are located at 295 Milan Ave., Norwalk; 855 W. Main St., Bellevue; and 924 E. Perkins Ave., Sandusky.

For more information, visit www.GoodwillSandusky.org or on social media at GoodwillSquad. 


Make-A-Vet-Smile Day

SANDUSKY — Dr. Lata Stefano, of Stefano Dental in Sandusky, said he wants to help serve those who have served the country.

On Nov. 12, Stefano Dental will be closed to the public for Veterans Day, but will be open for "Make-A-Vet-Smile-Day" from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All veterans are welcome when Stefano Dental will be performing free dentistry for veterans, including dental x-rays, exams, cleanings, fillings, root canals and extractions. Services are provided on a first come, first basis and a valid veteran military identification is required for services.

“The U.S. military and their families serve us year-round; this is our day to give back to them,” Stefano said. “Please take time to thank them today, including our own, Dr. Klassen, who proudly serves in the U.S. Navy.”

With only a limited amount of time, only the most acutely affected teeth will be addressed, while a comprehensive treatment plan isn’t included. Follow-up dental care may be needed with your regular dentist. Veterans are asked to bring a current list of medications and allergies.

For more information, go to www.stefanodental.com.


Turnpike gets 1st vehicle charging stations

Electrify America and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC) announced plans to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, the first along the turnpike.

The planned charging stations will be located at the Wyandot and Blue Heron services plazas in Genoa and at the Indian Meadow and Tiffin River plazas in West Unity. These sites were chosen to meet the needs of turnpike customers where electric vehicle demand is projected to be the most significant in the near-term.

Each Electrify America station will feature four charging dispensers that offer 150 to 350 kilowatts (kW) of power. The 350-kW chargers feature the first-ever, certified cooled-cable system in the U. S. and can charge a vehicle at speeds up to 20 miles per minute — seven times faster than today’s most commonly used 50-kW fast chargers.

According to an April 3 OTIC report, “The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Pilot Planning Project,” it is anticipated that more and more turnpike drivers will be driving EVs in the coming years. The report also notes that auto manufacturers have committed $92 billion to new electric vehicle production plans, and EV charging infrastructure will be needed to support this evolution.

“This is yet another example of Ohio staying ahead of the curve and preparing our state for the future of transportation,” Ohio Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole said. “Our modern service plazas are the perfect place for these new charging stations, allowing customers to charge their car up quickly, grab a bite to eat or cup of coffee and get back on their way.”


New vehicle sales dip

While the overall automotive market continued to be solid, sales of new vehicles dipped last month with dealers selling 5.22-percent fewer units in September than they did in the same month a year ago.

Dealers sold a total of 20,526 new vehicles last month, compared with 21,657 new vehicles in September 2017, according to figures released by the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association (GCADA).

“Despite a slowing of sales in September, all factors indicate that the new vehicle market will continue to be solid for the foreseeable future,” said Louis Vitantonio, GCADA president.

“We had a very strong year in 2017, so there will be some times when we come up against some significant monthly numbers from the year before, like we did last month. By the end of the year we are predicting that we will sell 2 to 3 percent fewer vehicles than we did last year, making 2018 one of the strongest years on record.”

For the year to date, sales of new vehicles are off 1.24 percent. Franchised new vehicle dealers across northern Ohio have sold 190,315 new vehicles so far this year, compared with 192,700 last year at this time. The used vehicle market also slowed somewhat, with dealers selling 15,647 last month compared with 15,976 in September of 201 — a drop of slightly more than 2 percent. For the year to date, total new and used vehicle sales are up 0.46 percent.

Ford held its grip on the title of Northern Ohio’s best-selling brand, selling 3,231 new vehicles in the month compared to 2,815 new vehicles for its rival Chevrolet. Toyota took home third, selling 1,827 vehicles, followed by Jeep, which cracked the top four by selling 1,704 new vehicles, an increase of over 16 percent for the iconic off-road brand.

The following brands posted sales increases in September of 2018 versus September of 2017: Acura, Alfa Romeo, BMW, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Maserati, Mazda, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram and Subaru.

The following brands have posted sales increases for the year to date: Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, GMC, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo.


Pick-A-Pumpkin campaign starts Friday

March of Dimes and Circle K convenience stores announced the launch of the annual Pick-A-Pumpkin campaign, raising funds to fight for the health of all mothers and babies. The campaign kicks off Friday at participating Circle K locations across the Circle K Great Lakes Division and this year’s goal is to raise more than $1 million.

Over the last 24 years, Circle K has raised nearly $12 million for March of Dimes in support of moms and babies. Today, the regional partnership includes three regional divisions spanning across 16 states, with more than 1,300 stores participating.

The 2018 campaign launches Friday and runs through Nov. 18. Customers can donate $1, $5 or $10 to the March of Dimes at the cash register and receive a cut-out to add their name and display in the store. Customers also have the option to round up their purchase to have that change donated to March of Dimes. Additionally, each participating store will have purple March of Dimes buckets at registers to collect donations.


FRMC wins IMA Best in Class award

SANDUSKY — Firelands Regional Medical Center’s marketing and communications department received the Interactive Media Awards (IMA) best in Class Award.

The IMA recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. The awards competition is open to individuals and organizations involved in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting websites.

The Best in Class award is the highest honor bestowed by IMA. It represents the very best in planning, execution and overall professionalism.

In order to win this award level, Firelands’ websites – firelands.com and firelandsphysicangroup.com – had to successfully pass through IMA’s comprehensive judging process, achieving very high marks in each of the judging criteria - an achievement only a fraction of entries in the IMA program earn each year. The judges utilize a points-based scoring system which allows each entry to receive a maximum of 500 points. By adhering to the specific guidelines and criteria of this system our judges are able to maintain the highest degree of fairness, accuracy and integrity; competently and effectively evaluate entries; and, deliver clear results. Firelands Regional Medical Center’s websites received an overall score of 494.

“When we rebuilt our websites in 2017 our goal was for them to become resources that the community would find useful,” said Alexandria Cruey, director of marketing & communications at Firelands. “We worked with our web developers to make sure things were streamlined, they were user-friendly, and the designs were pleasing to the eye. To receive such a prestigious award like this is truly an honor. We felt like the websites were great, but getting a Best in Class really solidified all the hard work we put into the new sites and we could not be more excited.”

To review these award-winning websites, visit firelands.com and firelandsphysiciangroup.com.


FRMC gets ‘A’ for patient safety

SANDUSKY — Firelands Regional Medical Center was awarded an ‘A’ from The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade. The designation recognizes Firelands Regional Medical Center’s efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the United States. The Leapfrog Group is a national organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care.

“Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grades recognize hospitals like Firelands Regional Medical Center that focus on advancing patient safety. This ranking provides an important resource for patients, and a benchmark for hospitals, to determine how care at one hospital compares to others in a region,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an A Hospital Safety Grade deserve to be recognized for their efforts in preventing medical harm and errors.”

Developed under the guidance of a National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

Firelands Regional Medical Center was one of 855 across the United States awarded an A in the Fall 2018 update of grades. To see Firelands Regional Medical Center’s full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.


If you have an item for the business roundup column, send the information to the Norwalk Reflector in care of Zoe Greszler, 61 E. Monroe St., Norwalk, Ohio 44857, or email it to [email protected]

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