“This year’s drive raised a grand total of $7,334.47 to help people in need residing in the communities of North Fairfield, Greenwich and New Haven,” kettle coordinator Roger Blair said.
The Greenwich Dollar General and New Haven FriendShip No. 99 store were sites for this season’s large kettles. South Central Local Schools student groups, who supplied bell ringers, included Future Farmers of America (FFA), student council, National Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
Also, willing volunteers came from the local Boy Scouts, Greenwich United Methodist Church, North Fairfield Assembly of God, Greenwich First Baptist Church and the Ripley Church. A number of other local residents volunteered their time at both collection locations.
The Iron Skillet, East of Chicago, Greenwich Mickey Mart, Painted Cowgirl Tack and Western Store, Buck’s Hardware, Old Village Hardware, Oma’s Belgian Waffles, New Haven FriendShip and Dr. Rick Pettit all hosted small red kettles.
In addition to change dropped into the large and small kettles, numerous individuals and businesses contributed checks and cash to the effort. Fisher-Titus Medical Center and the medical staff each presented The Salvation Army with a “generous” check for the campaign.
“Even though we fell short this year of our $10,000 goal, our volunteers are committed to sharing Christ’s love with as many struggling families as possible during 2019,” local commander Janis Hunter said.
“Our entire budget comes from your financial gifts. If you did not get the opportunity to make a donation during Red Kettle season, we welcome and need your help all year round. Please remember that only those checks made out to and mailed or delivered personally to the Greenwich Unit will count toward our local fundraising efforts,” Blair added.
Those wishing to donate can mail a check to the Salvation Army-Greenwich Service Unit, 4130 Edwards Road, Greenwich. As a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes to the extent of the law.
If you or someone you know in our service area needs assistance, call 419-752-2769 and leave a message. Volunteers are generally available at the Ripley Church office Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings, except on holidays.
Local home sales fall in 2018
The Ohio housing marketplace was extremely active in 2018 as the sector established record-setting levels in average sales price and total dollar volume, while nearly mirroring the best ever rate of sales activity, according to Ohio Realtors. Locally, though, homes sales — both prices and the number sold — have declined year-over-year.
Homes sales finished 2018 with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 150,258, a 1-percent decrease from the record-setting 2017 year-end rate of 151,748. The average sales price across Ohio in 2018 reached $182,561, a 5.6 percent increase from the $172,884 mark posted during 2017.
In the Firealnds area, the number of homes sold fell 8.5 percent, from 211 sold in 2017 to 193 in 2018.
It was an even steeper slope locally for the value of those homes that were sold last year. The total value 2018 totaled $25,697,928. That’s a whopping 15.5-percent decline from $30,416,928 in 2017. Not surprisingly then, the average home purchased last year cost about $133,150 in the Firelands area, down from $144,153 the year before.
That makes the Firelands area one of just two of the 18 regional markets that saw a decline in the average home price, the other being the Athens area.
State officials are pleased with the numbers.
“It was a solid year for the Ohio housing market as we experienced record gains in average prices and nearly matched our best-ever level of sales activity,” Ohio Realtor President Anjanette Frye said. “Ohio’s Realtor community played an integral role in helping people navigate the complexities of the home buying process and, most importantly, were trusted partners in making the dream of ownership a reality.”
Sales in December reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 144,916, a 5.3-percent decline from the month’s best-ever mark of 153,013 posted in December 2017. The market experienced an 8.1-percent decrease in sales from November 2018’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 157,655.
December’s average state home price of $180,284 reflects a 5.6-percent increase from the $170,727 mark posted in December 2017.
Hospital earns accreditation
SANDUSKY — Firelands Regional Medical Center’s arterial blood gas (ABG) laboratory, under the direction of Medical Director Christopher Avendano, has been awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent onsite inspection. In 2017, more than 20,000 laboratories enrolled in proficiency testing (PT) programs through CAP, and just over 8,000 laboratories worldwide were granted their accreditation, FRMC ABG Laboratory being one of those facilities.
The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s, is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government’s own inspection program.
During the CAP accreditation process, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, as well as the laboratory’s equipment, facilities, safety program and record, in addition to the overall management of the laboratory. This stringent inspection program is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients.
Support to federal government employees
Both Columbia Gas and Civista Bank wanted to offer additional relief for furloughed government employees impacted by the government shutdown, so the businesses came up with ways to do just that.
Columbia Gas announced it will waive late payment fees and offer extended payment arrangements for government employees directly affected by the shutdown.
“We know this may be a challenging time for some of our customers, especially those affected by the federal government shutdown,” president and COO Dan Creekmur said. “We would like to offer some payment solutions and reduce some of the stress during this already difficult time.”
Affected government employees should contact Columbia Gas at 800-344-4077 to discuss their situations.
For any customers struggling to pay their bill, Columbia offers many options, including payment plans, Winter Reconnect Order, a low-income energy assistance programs available through local community action agencies or Salvation Army chapters and a Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) program.
Civista Bank, meanwhile, is offering a pay assistance program for customers who are affected by the government shutdown.
The program provides a zero-percent pay assistance loan for government furloughed employees who had payroll direct deposit into a Civista Bank checking or savings account prior to the pay interruption. Loan amounts are equal to the customer’s most recent direct deposit of pay with the bank. In addition, Civista is waiving impacted customers’ account monthly service charges, overdraft fees and any applicable late payment fees on loans until pay resumes.
“We are committed to helping our customers through financial hardships and want to assist them in managing day-to-day expenses during this time,” said Dennis Shaffer, chief executive officer and president. “We understand each family’s situation is different and encourage customers affected to contact their local branch to discuss their banking needs.”
To enroll in the pay assistance program, customers should be prepared to provide their furlough letter and their government-issued employee identification when visiting their local branch.
Credit union increases insurance
SANDUSKY — VacationLand Federal Credit Union (VLFCU) recently increased the insured amount of their members’ deposits. As of Dec. 1, deposits became insured up to $750,000.
This level of coverage is attained with the first $250,000 provided by the NCUA Share Insurance Fund and up to an additional $500,000 in private insurance from the Excess Share Insurance Corp. (ESI). Previously, deposit accounts at the credit union were insured up to $500,000.
“We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with ESI by providing our members with this enhanced level of protection for their deposit accounts,” said CEO Bryan Myers.
Currently, VLFCU is the only financial institution in Ohio to offer this level of deposit protection.
Law firm honored
SANDUSKY — Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A. announced that three partners have been included in the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.
Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.
Murray & Murray Co., saw three of its own lawyers named to 2019 The Best Lawyers in America list: Dennis Murray Sr., Charlie Murray and Margaret Murray.
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]