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Same great services, different name

Zoe Greszler • Nov 26, 2018 at 10:00 PM

Since 1972 Services for Aging, Inc., has been providing Huron County senior citizens with programs to keep them healthy and engaged.

In 2006 the agency became known as Senior Enrichment Services (SES). Now, the name is changing again.

Recently SES applied with the Ohio Secretary of State to change its “doing business as” name to Enrichment Centers for Huron County. This new name informs the public that we “Enrich Lives” of all in our county, not just our senior citizens.

“Our core services for those 60 and older will continue to be our meal programs, Senior Express transportation, Medicare assistance and our Age Exchange program,” the agency said in a prepared statement. 

The name change comes as a way to help the community understand that nearly all can benefit from the programs, regardless of whether they are up in years, or just past the legal drinking age. Even younger ones can benefit and participate in the programs offered.

“Other activities, programs and (the) Adventurers Travel Club are for those 21 years and older unless accompanied by an adult,” the press release said. “For example, we feel it is vital to keep citizens engaged and active with the Ambassador Volunteer group, watercolor and acrylic painting classes, stained glass, Yoga, Tai Chi and a host of other programs.”

Anyone with questions, or who would like to know more about the name change or the programs offered, can call 419-668-6245.

 

VA purchase loans surge 74%

For the seventh straight year, Veterans’ Affairs (VA) purchase loans increased year-over year, with volume for fiscal year 2018 up 59 percent compared to five years ago.

According to the annual VA loan statistics map released by Veterans United Home Loans, VA purchase loans in Ohio surged more than 74 percent in fiscal year 18 (FY18), compared to 2013. Nationally, the VA-backed more than 610,000 loans in FY18 worth over $161 billion.

“This historical benefit program has experienced a resurgence since the housing crisis,” said Chris Birk, director of education at Veterans United.

“More veterans have used this $0 down loan in the last five years than in the prior dozen years combined. While the VA’s data show refinance loans cooled in 2018, the purchase market remains strong as more veterans and military families turn to what’s become the most powerful home loan on the market.”

VA loans now make up about 10 percent of the mortgage market, a huge increase in market share from even just a decade ago. VA loans allow qualified Veterans to buy with no money down, no private mortgage insurance and offer more flexible and forgiving credit guidelines.

 

Home sales fall, avg. prices rise

Locally, the pace of homes sold rose about 3.5 percent, while across the state as a whole, numbers fell 3.2 percent in October from the level set during the month a year ago, according to Ohio Realtors.

“The housing market is continuing to stabilize in Ohio — marked by steady, positive gains in pricing and a consistent rate of sales activity throughout the first 10 months of the year,” Ohio Realtors President Tiffany Meyer said. “It has become increasingly evident that the desire for homeownership remains strong throughout the state and that Ohioans are confident that a home purchase is a smart, long-term investment.”

The state’s October average home price of $181,970 reflects a 5.6-percent increase from the $172,293 mark posted during the month last year. Locally, the average prices increased as well, though not as much.

Eight individual markets, including the Firelands area, posted gains or remained unchanged in the pace of sales. 

Firelands saw 90 more homes sales year-over-year for a total last month of 2,690 homes sold. That’s a steady 3.5 percent increase.

Sales in October reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 147,982, a 3.2-percent decrease from the level set during the month a year ago of 152,864. The market experienced a 2.6-percent increase in sales from the September 2018 seasonally adjusted annual rate of 144,217.

Around the state, 14 of the 18 markets, including Firelands, reported an upswing in average sales price during the month. In October 2017, the Firelands area experienced an average home sale of $143,773, which rose 4.9 percent to $150,779 last month.

 

Army to modernize, improve Great Lakes infrastructure

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee on energy and water, announced several investments from the fiscal year 2019 work plan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Northern Ohio as well as the Soo Locks, which are critical for moving industrial materials across the Great Lakes. 

“These investments are an important step toward modernizing our Great Lakes ports and waterway infrastructure,” Kaptur said. “Northern Ohio and our region are the agriculture and industrial center of the United States. These investments in critical infrastructure will fortify our commitment to creating good jobs and strengthening commerce across our Heartland.”

The Soo Locks work plan includes $32.4 million for work on a new lock. This money will allow the USACE to begin the initial work necessary to construct a second Poe-sized lock.

The Soo Locks are the only waterway connection between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Thus, it connects the mining of raw materials in the Iron Range of Minnesota — the source of nearly all domestic iron ore — to all the economic activity that flows from our steel industry and is critical to supplying our national defense needs.

This new project will combine two of the oldest, smaller locks at the site into one large lock to complement the 1,200-foot Poe Lock which handles nearly all of the commercial freight.

The Port of Cleveland work plan includes an additional $8.4 million for annual dredging of the Cuyahoga River.

The Lorain Harbor work plan includes $2.9 million for maintenance of the breakwater.

The Toledo Harbor work plan includes $3.8 million for annual dredging of the Maumee River.

 

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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