Communities

Oliver named state director of the year

Press release provided by the office of the Seneca County Commissioners

KathyOliver.jpgSeneca County Department of Job and Family Services Director Kathy Oliver was named Ohio’s DJFS Director of the Year Friday by the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association.

Oliver, who has been the county’s director since June 2003, was given the award Friday at the OJFSDA Annual Recognition Banquet in Columbus.

“It is an absolute honor and blessing,” Oliver said. “There are so many talented, skilled and innovative directors in Ohio. I consider myself fortunate to get to work with them on various committees, task forces and work groups.”

The award recognizes a director who, through dedicated efforts throughout their career, exemplify the professional qualities and achievements of an outstanding director. OJFSDA received nominations for director of the year through the end of October.

As part of Oliver’s nomination, other directors and staff members recognized Oliver for her hard work. The letter she received informing her that she was selected as director of the year states, “your commitment to the residents of your county, as well as your involvement in the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association, is greatly appreciated. Your peers described you as open, kind, hard-working and a steadfast advocate for the well-being of your customers. It is fitting and with great honor that we recognize you for all your dedication to your agency, community and the entire job and family service system.”

Oliver credited DJFS staff for allowing the department to succeed.

“We are successful because of our staff’s commitment to helping individuals and families with the services we provide,” she said. “We have skilled, talented and trained staff. We are fortunate that we have an excellent workforce who constantly adapts to new rules and regulations to provide the best service possible. We also work with amazing community partners that are interested in finding solutions and implementing best practices.”

Ginger Mack, of Seneca County DJFS, said she was happy Oliver received the recognition.
“Kathy is a respected leader in our agency, community and the state,” she said. “I don’t know anyone who is more deserving of this award.”

Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas said Oliver deserves the award.

“Seneca County is proud to have Kathy Oliver leading our JFS agency,” he said. “Her guidance has led to best practices being implemented across our system, this is reflected in recent outstanding audits from the state of Ohio. We are thankful that she continues to serve some of our most in need populations.

Oliver said many changes and improvements have been made during her time as director.

“We started electronic imaging shortly after I became the director,” she said. “That project freed up space for offices for our staff instead of having file rooms. We also created an agency database that holds all types of documents, guidance and rules for ease of our workers to quickly find what they need to do their job.”

Oliver also said two call centers have been implemented to provide better customer service.

“There is a call center for public assistance and one for child support. Both have less than a minute wait time. We have also implemented a human resources software, which allows us to efficiently process payroll and electronically submit it to the auditor’s office,” she said.

Oliver said 2018 has been a busy year for Seneca County DJFS.

“We are implementing state-wide imaging solutions for public assistance, child care, child protection and child support,” she said. “Also, we completed the transition to the state-wide public assistance system called Ohio Benefits. We have been part of many committees locally and in the state to better serve our families in Seneca County, by creating sound policy, systems and solutions. We continue to develop leaders within our staff by participating in Seneca County Leadership with some of our staff.”
Oliver said other strides are being made in the child support program, in the workforce program and in several others.

“In the child support program, we are in the process of preparing to implement new state legislation which provided technical fixes and update to the child support guideline,” she said, adding that the changes will be implemented in March 2019. “In the Workforce program, we just completed work as part of a team with economic development, the chamber, local employers, community partners and Tiffin University for the 2018 manufacturing showcase event. Over ten schools and 750 students participated in learning about jobs in manufacturing here in Seneca County. We were also one of the first apprenticeship programs with employers in Ohio as part of Area 7. We continue to assist individuals with training and on-the-job training needs.”

Oliver also said many families have been helped with winter clothing through a partnership with local retail stores.

“We have also been able to help families with training, car repairs, gas vouchers, heating and other services to help families who are eligible,” she said.

YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin announces Charles Ardner as new President & CEO

Ardner Brings Extensive Experience in Not for Profit Administration

 Press release provided by the YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin

Ardner, Charles headshotTIFFIN, OHIO NOVEMBER 21, 2018– The YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin announced today that Charles “Buster” Ardner will serve as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 14th. He will succeed Steve Crone who served as CEO for 10 years and left at the end of July.

Buster Ardner currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Finance and Auxiliary Services at Tiffin University, a position he has held since 2011, and has more than 20 years of experience in not for profit administration. He has also served 14 years on the Tiffin YMCA Board. His impressive track record of executing significant initiatives that seek to improve Tiffin University and his dedication to volunteerism with the YMCA make him an ideal choice to lead the YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin.

Ardner was chosen in a national search, conducted in part with Y-USA. A six-member search committee, composed of YMCA board members and Y members representing both Bucyrus and Tiffin, chose Ardner after an in-depth, six-month search process.

“We are privileged to welcome Buster Ardner to the YMCA in the role of CEO,” said Kim Radison, chair of the CEO search committee. “Buster has dedicated more than 10 years to the YMCA in a volunteer capacity, led us through a major capital campaign and the merger with the Bucyrus Area YMCA as Board Chair, and brings a wealth of experience in non-profit management from his 20-year career with Tiffin University. He is more than capable to fill this role and we are excited to bring him on as our new CEO.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that has such a meaningful impact on the lives of those in our communities,” said Buster. “I look forward to continuing that vital work and adding to the success that Steve Crone and his staff have built at our YMCA’s.”

Ardner earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration at Tiffin University.

About the YMCA
The mission of the YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that help healthy spirit, mind and body for all. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves Bucyrus and Tiffin’s health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

Tiffin’s glass tradition

Tiffin Glass HouseGlass has been a staple of Tiffin since the late 1880s, when A. J. Beatty & Sons glass factory relocated to Tiffin.  Throughout the years, the factory had been altered, closed, re-opened, burnt down, rebuilt, sold, and expanded. Though the furnaces were shut down in 1980, to this day, Tiffin is still well known for glass production and collections.  These collections are still on display and for sale at various locations around the city.

Tiffin Glass Museum

The Tiffin Glass Museum is home to over a thousand pieces of glass that are organized in chronological order to show the evolution and growth of glass production in Tiffin over the years.  The museum has been open and sharing the beauty of glass since 1998 when it first opened. This year, they celebrate their 20th anniversary in downtown Tiffin.

Hawkes Crystal

In 1980, G.T. Hawkes & Company was founded by Thomas Gibbons Hawkes in Brooklyn, New York.  This later spread to over 1,000 cutting shops across the United States due to the high demand of crystal. The G.T. Hawkes & Company trademark is now owned by Hawkes Crystal (located at 207 S. Washington St.), as they revive the brand by translating old designs into new, modern looks. Hawkes recently launched an online store here.

The Poignon Project

The Poignon Project (227 E. Perry St.) offers a wide variety of art culture. In-shop, the owners do everything from glassblowing and woodworking to photography and personalized journals.  Also on display are pieces done by members of the community. Through Etsy, the Poignon Project works can be bought in all 50 states. They also offer a variety of art classes in-shop!

Downtown Tiffin wins three state awards

20181023_193328.jpg

Downtown Tiffin was presented with three awards by Heritage Ohio at their Annual Preservation and Revitalization Awards Ceremony held Tuesday night at the historic Allen Theater in downtown Cleveland Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

 

Best Public/Private Partnership – Tiffin Facade Enhancement Grant Program

20181023_184818.jpgTiffin building owners have a new reason to love their city, the Facade Enhancement Program. Through this program, the city reimburses 50% of the costs of a project related to the facade of a building within the Architectural Board of Review district, up to $10,000. In its first four years, more than 60 buildings have utilized the program. The Facade Enhancement Grant Program has seen more than $2.2 million reinvested in downtown Tiffin.

The Best Public/Private Partnership Award was created to recognize partnerships between organizations and government, which leverage resources to create a positive lasting impact.

From Joyce Barrett, the executive director of Heritage Ohio: “Tiffin’s grant program shows how a little investment will pay back even greater dividends.”

Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart and Tiffin City Councilman Tyler Shuff accepted the award.

 

Young Preservation Leaders – Suzie Reineke and Weston Reinbolt

20181023_190542.jpgSuzie Reineke and Weston Reinbolt have purchased and rehabilitated four historic buildings, which now house 12 lofts and six storefronts in downtown Tiffin. Reineke and Reinbolt prioritize working with local businesses and contractors to further stimulate the local economy.

The Young Preservation Leader Award was created to recognize individuals under 40 that have shown outstanding leadership in revitalizing and preserving Ohio communities. Heritage Ohio’s independent award selection committee was quick to recognize Reineke and Reinbolt.

From Joyce Barrett, the executive director of Heritage Ohio: “Suzie and Weston stood out, because of their accomplishments you might think they were working at this full time, but this is their hobby.”

Suzie’s father, Bill Reineke, accepted the award on Suzie and Westons’ behalf.

 

Main Street Director of the Year – Amy Reinhart

Amy initiated a relationship with Heritage Ohio as soon as she started working for the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (now Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership) back in June of 2014, as she ushered the program through the process of becoming a certified Main Street in 2015. Trained as an architect taking on the implementation of Tiffin’s Facade Enhancement Program was a natural. Under her direction, Tiffin has seen 36 new businesses open in the downtown area. Amy began with eight dedicated volunteers, now more than 50 people have joined the downtown committees. She keeps the big picture in mind while implementing the vision of Tiffin’s strategic plans, while attending to the tiniest of details of their many events. Her contributions to the city of Tiffin have been invaluable.

The Main Street Director of the Year Award was created to celebrate Ohio Main Street executive directors who clearly excel in the services they provide their communities. Heritage Ohio’s independent award selection committee recognized Reinhart’s impact on the Tiffin community.

From Joyce Barrett, the executive director of Heritage Ohio: “Many individuals were considered. We were pleased to receive as many high-quality nominations.”

About Heritage Ohio
As Ohio’s official historic preservation and Main Street organization, Heritage Ohio fosters economic development and sustainability through preservation of historic buildings, revitalization of downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, and promotion of local tourism. Learn more by visiting www.heritageohio.org.

UIS Insurance & Investments expands into three new markets

UISIns+Invest_Logo_side.pngPress release provided by UIS Insurance & Investments

UIS Insurance & Investments headquartered in Tiffin, Ohio has announced the expansion into three new markets serving Greater Central Ohio.  This fast-growing independently owned insurance and investment agency merged with Diversified Insurance Services in Marion, Forest, and Mount Gilead. Scott Dickey of the UIS management team said “We are an ideal fit for each other. UIS brings strong companies that expand Diversified’s appetite in the insurance market. Diversified brings us a strong work ethic and fantastic customer service in thriving locations.”

Diversified Insurance Services has been in business since 1984 with offices operating in Forest, Marion, and Mount Gilead.  Diversified agency principle Dan Downs said, “This day has been in the making for over two years and we are extremely pleased with the merger which is perfect for Diversified Insurance as well as our employees and valued customers.”

UIS CEO & President, Mitch Felton said “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Dan and his team to the UIS family. Diversified’s strong commitment to health, ancillary health products, commercial & personal business, is a perfect match with how we serve our clients.”

UIS Insurance & Investments, formerly United Insurance Service, has over 100 employees and agents now serving 16 communities in Ohio and Michigan. UIS provides personal, commercial and benefits insurance for individuals and corporations throughout the country.

Bascom Communications Named Certified Gig-Capable Provider by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association

GigCertified_4c.pngPress release provided by Bascom Communications

Arlington, Va., (9/27/18)Bascom Communications Inc. was today recognized by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America, as a Certified Gig-Capable Provider for delivering gigabit broadband speeds and enabling technological innovation in the Bascom and surrounding communities.

As a Certified Gig-Capable Provider, Bascom Communications joins a national campaign to build awareness and industry recognition of community-based telecom providers that have built communications networks capable of delivering Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, which is 100 times faster than those currently available in many U.S. households. Bascom Communications also received tools to promote itself as a Gig-Capable Provider in the Seneca County and will be recognized in NTCA media, on the NTCA website, and during association conferences and events.

“I applaud Bascom Communications for its commitment to delivering the Internet’s fastest speeds—an accomplishment worthy of much praise considering the unique and challenging circumstances small, community-based telecommunications providers operate under every day in serving some of our country’s most rural and remote communities,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “By building a gigabit-capable network, Bascom has not only overcome these challenges, but also shattered conventional benchmarks for broadband speed to enable cutting-edge technologies that drive innovation and promote economic development in their communities, region and nationwide.”

To achieve certification, telecommunications companies must show that gigabit technology is currently commercially available within 95% of one or more exchanges within its serving territory and that such service can be provided without new trenching or stringing new aerial facilities. This statement must be confirmed by a letter from an engineering firm or other independent source involved in the company’s network planning, deployment or operation.

More information about the NTCA Gig-Capable Provider certification program is available at www.ntca.org/gigcertified.

About Bascom Communications
Bascom Communications is a progressive cooperative that continues to be a technological and service leader in the area since they were formed in 1906. Bascom Communications is made up of four companies, Bascom Mutual Telephone Co., Bascom Advanced Services, Inc., BTC Multimedia, LLC, and Bascom Cellular, Inc. All of their wired customers, business and residential, have a fiber optic connection directly into their premises from a local and caring provider. Bascom Communications offers high quality telephone service, Fiber TV, Accelerate high-speed Internet access, security and personal home safety, Ethernet transport, Wireless Internet with LTE, along with many other services to make your communications experience enjoyable, easy, and affordable. Their Accelerate Full Throttle Gigabit service was the first in Northwest Ohio when launched in May of 2017. They continue to broaden their profile and reach to be able to offer the most to their customers now and into the future. Visit them at
www.bascomtelephone.com.

About NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture, and education and contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.

Family & Children First Council to offer Bridges Out of Poverty training

Bridges Out of PovertySeneca County Family & Children First Council will hold a Bridges Out of Poverty training session at the Department of Job and Family Services (900 County Road 20, Tiffin) Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, 9 a.m.-12p.m.

The goal of the program is to review the skills, policies and procedures that will enable organizations, employers and communities to become more skilled in working with individuals who are in poverty.

Key objectives:

  • Explore mental models of poverty, middle class and wealth;
  • Learn the hidden rules of each class;
  • Understand key concepts that underline Bridges Out of Poverty;
  • Learn the different registers of language;
  • Identify resources; and
  • Explore how to use Bridges constructs with clients.

Key Questions You will be asked:

  • Before training – What are some things I do not understand about individuals living and poverty and the choices they make?
  • During training – How can I support individuals seeking to move out of poverty?
  • After training – What are program design changes I think need to be made based on what I have learned today?
  • Individuals living in generational poverty are excellent problem solvers. How can we engage people from all classes?

To register, contact Sharon George at (419) 443-0981 or sgeorge@ncoesc.org

High school post-grad program receives $10,000 AT&T contribution

Year Thirteen guides students in career pathways

AT&T Check Presentation

Pictured above, left to right: AT&T Director of External Affairs for Cleveland and Northwest Ohio Nicolette Jaworski, State Representative for the Ohio 88th District Bill Reineke, AT&T Director of Governmental Affairs Trint Hatt, Tiffin University President Dr. Lillian Schumacher, SIEDC President & CEO David Zak, Heidelberg University Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Beth Schwartz, Tiffin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Barber, Terra State Community College Dean of Business, Humanities, and Industrial Technologies Cory Stine, Tiffin City Schools Director of Academic Affairs Amy Wood

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 6, 2018 – The AT&T Foundation presented a $10,000 contribution on Monday to the Year Thirteen, a program providing high school seniors with mentoring and resources to ensure high school success and help them attain post-secondary career goals. The contribution will help fund a part-time director position for the program, which will launch this fall with the Tiffin Columbian High School graduating class of 2019.

Education and student success are a cornerstone of AT&T’s community initiatives. Since 2012, AT&T employees have provided more than 1.6 million hours of mentoring to students, and its AT&T Aspire initiative has committed more than $400 million since 2008 to promote student success in school and beyond. “We are very proud to support this new program for students in Tiffin,” said Nicolette Jaworski, AT&T’s Director of External Affairs for Cleveland and Northwest Ohio. “It aligns perfectly with our desire to see more students be successful.”

The program was modeled after the successful Presidential Pathways initiative started at Marion City Schools under the current superintendent of Tiffin City Schools, Gary Barber. “Much like the Presidential Pathways program, the Year Thirteen will allow us to build and leverage relationships within the community, keep our talent local, and focus on workforce development by putting in place a dynamic system aligned with our community’s needs,” he said. “It will also be a measuring stick for our school system.”

The program focuses on eight key areas designed to promote student success leading up to and following graduation. These areas are: high school success, relationship building, career exploration, career success, job skills, work skills, and community engagement. All students in their senior year at Tiffin Columbian High School will be connected with a counselor that will check in with them periodically throughout the school year and the year following their graduation to promote the student’s success in university, vocational school, or entering the workforce.

Several organizations have partnered to participate in the program including: Tiffin City Schools, Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, Tiffin University, Heidelberg University, Terra State Community College, Seneca County Department of Job & Family Services, Family, Adult & Children First Council, and the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC).

SIEDC facilitated the grant process, citing a workforce gap as a key county-wide concern. “Unemployment is consistently low, and the biggest pipeline of talent is our educational system – K12 and higher education,” SIEDC President and CEO David Zak said. “Improving college completion and preparing high school students for successful careers is, therefore, a top priority, as the workforce needs are at all skill and education levels.”

About SIEDC
Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin Rehabilitation Center No. 1 in Ohio

Tiffin Rehabilitation CenterThe Ohio Department of Aging released the results of their 2017 Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey last month, ranking Tiffin Rehabilitation Center number one in the state. Based on patient responses, the center scored 97.5 out of 100 points.

The Ohio Department of Aging and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
conduct a biennial satisfaction survey of residents in long-term care facilities to measure
satisfaction with their quality of care and quality of life. Developed by the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University of Ohio, the survey was administered from August to December 2017 by Vital Research using structured, face-to-face interviews with residents. A total of 23,145 residents in 936 nursing homes and 12,849 residents of 687 assisted living facilities were interviewed

Tiffin Rehabilitation Center, located at 48 St. Lawrence Dr. in Tiffin, is a Volunteers of America facility providing short-term providing physical, occupational and speech therapies. The 20 bed facility was opened adjacent to the Mercy Health-Tiffin campus and Sojourn at Seneca in 2015.

This is not the first distinction the facility has earned. TRC also received a rating of Top Performing, a five out of five score, in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Homes ranking for 2017-2018.