Seneca County

Seneca County Young Professionals reach 100 members

SCYP Logo (1)This month, the Seneca County Young Professionals (SCYP) reached 100 members for the first time! The group began the year with less than 40 members and through an increased focus on programming and added value to members, they have grown to 100 members and counting.

SCYP was started in 2014 as a way to connect new and emerging professionals with each other and the community. The organization was made possible by Pat DeMonte and the Tiffin-Seneca United Way, who saw a need for such a group in the community.

SCYP focuses on three core missions: Connect, Inspire and Grow.

Connect
The Connect committee plans social and networking events for the group. These include summer and winter sports leagues, exclusive events at new establishments throughout Seneca County, and two signature monthly events – Wednesdays After Work and Quick Connect Lunches.

Wednesdays After Work take place on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Each event takes place at a different location within Seneca County. For those who cannot make it to an after-hours event, SCYP also hosts a Quick Connect Lunch from 12-1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. Both events are open to professionals of all ages. Check social media for upcoming events and locations.

Inspire
Young professionals place importance on community involvement and social responsibility. The Inspire committee organizes volunteer efforts for the organization. While anyone may reach out to the young professionals for assistance with events, they have several organized events each year for members to get out and volunteer. Past events have included Painting for a Purpose, proceeds benefiting the United Way CPR training, installing smoke detectors in homes in Fostoria, serving food for the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, assisting at the Bash on The Bay concert, and participating in the United Way Day of Caring.

Grow
The Grow committee focuses on professional and personal development for members. Previous events have included Wellness at the Y, from which the group’s YMCA membership discount stems, a Financial Literacy round table, Networking 101, and a presentation about maintaining a work-life balance, to name a few.

In addition to these events, members are also eligible for a professional development scholarship. Members can apply for up to $500 to cover costs, including travel and registration, for a professional development event or training not covered by their employer.

For more information about SCYP, visit their website or Facebook.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Heidelberg University’s graduate counseling program lands $1.3M grant

HU Logo 10.17Press release provided by Heidelberg University.

Heidelberg University’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) Program has received a four-year, $1.3 million grant to train counselors to fill gaps and unmet needs in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). The grant, titled Project KITE, will target the rural counties of Erie, Huron, Seneca and Sandusky and three urban cities, Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus.

Through the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant, graduate counseling students in their final internship will be eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship during their field experience/internship. Working in interdisciplinary behavioral health care teams, the students will focus on providing trauma-informed care and substance abuse mental health services in rural and underserved areas throughout northwest Ohio.

This is the second grant the graduate counseling program has received from the Health Resources & Services Administration as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last fall, the program received a $214,286 grant to assist in the training of counselors dealing with at-risk children.

“What’s attractive about the grant is that it gives our students who are accepted into the scholarship program a $10,000 stipend to do their field experience as well as first-hand experience working with interdisciplinary teams in various agencies and schools,” said MAC Program Director Marjorie Shavers. The funding “opens up opportunities for our students and also speaks to the deficit we have in mental health providers” in the area.

In all, 78 scholarships will be available over the four-year lifespan of the grant.

Counselors trained through Heidelberg’s MAC program are being prepared to serve mental health clients with issues specifically related to the ever-growing drug epidemic, Shavers explained.

Jo-Ann Lipford Sanders, dean of the School of Education and Counseling at Heidelberg, said certain geographic areas historically have had less access to behavioral health care. “There’s a real serious shortage of both medical and behavioral healthcare in these areas for myriad reasons,” Lipford Sanders said, noting that by 2025, HRSA projections indicate “an additional shortage among many healthcare providers, specifically psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and school counselors.”

“There are really strong demands for these behavioral healthcare personnel trained in comprehensive service delivery as the demand for services from models such as the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) continues to grow,” Lipford Sanders said.

In addition to the student scholarships, Heidelberg will use the grant funding to recruit men and minorities into the MAC program, develop an interdisciplinary behavioral healthcare conference working with consultants from The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and Arizona State University, and ongoing education for faculty and clinical supervisors. A full-time project coordinator will be hired to administer the grant.

Heidelberg’s grant partners are the Sandusky City Schools, Mercy Health, the Neighborhood Health Association of Toledo and the Erie County Health Department.

ABOUT HEIDELBERG
Founded in 1850, Heidelberg offers 30 majors, 30 minors and 10 pre-professional programs, awarding the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of music degrees, as well as master’s degrees in education, counseling, business administration and music. Heidelberg has been consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report Magazine. For more information visit the web site at www.heidelberg.edu.

Community seeks proposals for new Comprehensive Plan

Seneca County, Tiffin, Fostoria to collaborate on community plan

View the complete request for proposal here.

TIFFIN, OHIO – September 27, 2017 – The Seneca Regional Planning Commission released a request for proposals for a new county-wide Comprehensive Plan, to include Tiffin and Fostoria. The request includes a combined plan for the three entities, as well as individual plans, each with separate cost estimates, and a twenty-year horizon. Proposals will be accepted until Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 3 p.m.

Seneca County Commission President Mike Kerschner said the plan is yet another way for the county to partner with the cities on a common cause. “This plan will continue the climate of collaboration between the different entities within Seneca County, including the successful merger of the Fostoria and Tiffin courts, as well as the execution of the Justice Center,” he said.

The Comprehensive Plan will address long-range policy for land use planning, transportation, economic development, housing, public facilities, historic, natural and cultural resources, agricultural preservation, intergovernmental cooperation, budget preparation, and capital improvement planning and other facets of community life deemed important by the chosen consultant and agreed to by the participating entities.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is looking forward to a new plan and direction for the city. “Our current plan was created in 1994 and is, at this point, extremely outdated. I am excited to see what the consultants will come up with for the community’s development,” he said.

Work is anticipated to begin in 2018 with an 18- to 24-month timeframe, if a firm is selected and funding allocated. The finished product should be ready for adoption by the participating legislative bodies at public hearings by late 2019.

Inquiries should be directed to Charlene Watkins, Executive Director, Seneca Regional Planning Commission, cjwatkins@senecarpc.org, 419.443.7936 ext. 123.

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.

39th Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival this weekend

heritage festival brochureBeginning in 1979, the Heritage Festival is the 8th largest in Ohio and is preparing for a great 39th year. Originally a one day event, the festival was an event for the community to celebrate the town’s history by visiting the Seneca County Museum, strolling among craft exhibits, enjoying bands, and eagerly watching to see which ladies dressed in old fashion clothing would win the titles of Miss and Mrs. Heritage Festival. Although times have changed, the event still honors the traditions of the city while including some new attractions September 15th-17th, 2017.

At the Park

The Living Historic Village in Hedges-Boyer Park features reenactments, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and much more for a fun family environment. “Children’s Village Crafts and Games on the Green” are free to all ages, and children under 12 can enter the Village gate for free as well, with adult tickets costing $3. “Candy Cannon Shoot” happen at 12:30pm and 3pm both Saturday and Sunday for children 12 and under, and a “Heritage Cemetery Walk” at the Village Entrance at 6pm Saturday. Be sure to check out the “Heritage Ball” held in the YMCA Fieldhouse Saturday night at 7:30pm, where the whole family can learn dances of the era. Sunday the games continue with a Vintage 1860s Baseball Game at 10am and the Lake Plains Chorus performing at 1pm. Throughout both days live music will play, making any time a great time to stop by!

Downtown

German Heritage Block kicks off downtown Friday night with Richard Wiener 6:30pm-9:30pm in the County Health Department Lot. The Fostoria Community Band will perform the following day 12pm-1pm, followed by a Cream Puff Eating Contest (sign up quick, only the first 6 can compete!). The Toledo Holzhacker Baum will be there 2:30pm-3:30pm as well as 6:30pm-7:30pm on Saturday, with the Route 161 Happy Wanders following 4pm-6pm and again 8pm-10pm. Men and women are encouraged to show off their skills with a Women’s Beer Stein Carrying Contest at 7:30pm on Saturday and a Men’s Beer Stein Holding Contest Sunday at 4pm.

In City Lot 7, New Frontiers: Journey Tribute Band performing Friday from 9pm-12am, and on Saturday, Smalltown Throwdown will perform 6:30-9 pm followed by eighties arena rock tribute band Electrik Circus 9:30pm-12am.

Following the annual parade Saturday, which begins at 10:30am, Elk Lodge 94 is hosting the Kids Korner, filled with free kids events include face painting, sand art, prize giveaways, and crafts, making Saturday’s events fun for all ages.

Also on Saturday, gear up for the 5th Annual Independent Car Show from 12pm-5pm, at the Seneca County Museum. The show will include raffles and drawings to support the museum, as well as the Jolly’s food truck for refreshments. Judging starts at 2pm and plaques will be awarded to winners at 4:30pm.

In the downtown area food will be available all day and rides will run all weekend in the RTA parking lot. Tickets are available at the event and pre-sale tickets can be purchased at Croghan Colonial Bank and Old Fort Bank, 24 tickets for $10 (2-3 needed per ride). For more information visit TiffinFestival.com, a free shuttle is available to the Village and Downtown locations. Come join the community of Tiffin September 15th-17th for the Heritage Festival, where history comes alive!

Other Events

Elks Lodge 94 and Tiffin Eagles 402 will both have beer gardens and live music both night. The Elks will feature Nebdroola Friday and Alternate Ending Saturday night; the Eagles will feature Quickshine on Friday and the Eric Sowers Band on Saturday night.

The Behind the Facade Tour: Riverside Ramble takes place Sunday from 2pm-5pm at Frost Parkway, an exploration of Tiffin’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. More information can be found at TiffinHistoricTrust.org or contacting Vicki Ohl at 419-448-8588.

Museums around town will also be open, including the American Civil War Museum, The Enchanted Moment Doll Museum, Tiffin Art Guild, Seneca County Museum, and Tiffin Glass Museum. Hours can be found on each museum’s website, as well as the Heritage Festival’s site TiffinFestival.com.

View the brochure and schedule of events here.

Seneca County Fair celebrates 175 years

fair logoThis year marks the 175th Seneca County Fair, making it the second oldest county fair in Ohio. At seven days, it is also one of the longest county fairs in the state. The event features livestock exhibitions, live entertainment and other activities for people of all ages.

Seneca County Fair Board member Aaron Howell says this year will have several special features. “A glass-blower will be there, creating commemorative items for the event, there will be a raffle for rides on the Re/Max hot air balloon, and we have invited every previous fair king and queen we could find to a special dinner,” he said. “We’re even bringing back the cow chip throwing contest and dunk tank!”

The Seneca County Fair began 175 years ago as a street fair located first at Rock Creek, and later on Frost Parkway.  The fair found it’s permanent home on the current property, in 1885. Today, it sprawls across 80 acres and attracts 50,000 guests each year.

Every year, more than a thousand kids from across the county participate in the fair through 4H and the Junior Fair Board, exhibiting animals and hands-on projects they work on throughout the year. Additionally, there are children’s rides (only 50 cents per ride), a wide range of food vendors, antique farm equipment, and live entertainment every night of the week. There is live music in the entertainment building Tuesday through Sunday, with acts including Nashville Crush and the Eric Sowers Band, two nights of rodeo, harness racing, horse and tractor pulls, and more. This year’s demolition derby is on track to be one of the largest yet.

Admission to the fair is just $7 per day or $22 for the whole week. Veterans get a special discount on Monday and Seniors on Tuesday, just $2.

Ironwood Steak House to open in June

IronwoodA new restaurant, called the Ironwood Steak House featuring the Black Birch Bar, is planning to open in mid-June. The restaurant combines atmosphere and high-quality cuisine to provide an upscale dining experience in a comfortable setting. Located at the private Mohawk Golf and Country Club, the Ironwood is open to the public.

The menu is still being finalized but will feature traditional steakhouse fare and limited-time specials. The remodeled kitchen also boasts a broiler to quick-sear steak with infrared heat – technology used in many high-quality steak establishments. Local Chef Jimmy Jones, with more than 20 years in restaurant experience, will be heading the kitchen.

The dining room overlooks the golf course, providing beautiful views of the green through a wall of windows. There is also a private dining area that can be closed off for private events, and limited outdoor accommodations. Together, they seat roughly 140, with an area that could be used for small entertainment. Additionally, patrons can enjoy the Black Birch Bar, a full-service bar with a lounge area, located at the entrance of the establishment.

The Ironwood is the product of a partnership of more than 40 investors looking to bring a high-end steakhouse to Seneca County. The restaurant has been in the works for quite some time, with investors split into committees for everything from marketing to personnel, to get to the finished product.

At opening, the Ironwood will serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Reservations can be made using OpenTable. Outside events can also book the Ironwood Catering Service.

A sneak peek at renovations:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Select Realty merges with Bolte Real Estate

Press release from Bolte Real Estate

North Central Ohio Real Estate Firm Attains Tiffin Company

new nameBolte Real Estate, a fourth-generation, independently owned company based in Port Clinton, is pleased to announce its merger with Select Realty Group in Tiffin. With four offices currently throughout Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, the merger allows Bolte Real Estate to expand into the Seneca County area and strengthen its presence as a real estate leader in this region of Ohio.

Founded by Ann Bolte in 1936, Bolte Real Estate has maintained its commitment to excellence by taking a personal approach with its customers. With offices in Port Clinton, Clyde, Fremont and Catawba, the company has grown to become the largest independent brokerage in North Central Ohio.

Phillip Bolte and Renee Bolte-Stine, Ann’s great-grandchildren and current owners, bought the company in 2014 and have built a state-of-the-art real estate company while maintaining the family heritage and providing a distinctive personal approach to their business. In 2016, Bolte Real Estate achieved $93 million in real estate sales.

“What excites us about this merger is the opportunity for greater brand recognition throughout the region and access to more tools, training and a larger leadership team,” said Phillip Bolte.

“Also, we feel that our merger will allow us to better help our clients ever growing and evolving real estate needs while also giving back to the communities we represent.”

Co-owner Renee Bolte-Stine is a Tiffin native who graduated from Columbian High School in the early 1990s, along with her husband Cory Stine. “For my family, Tiffin is a part of our heritage so the expansion of Bolte Real Estate into this area is exciting from a business aspect and rewarding on a personal level,” said Renee Bolte-Stine.

Select Realty Group’s office at 23 S. Washington Street will remain open and the only noticeable change will be the name on the building. Owners Fran Andersons and Sara Riesen founded Select Realty in April of 2012 with three agents and quickly grew to be a dominant name in local real estate. Today, there are nine agents who work for Select. Both Fran and Sara will remain in leadership positions once the merger is complete.

Sara Riesen explained that even though the name Select Realty will change, their commitment to their clients will not. “Our team will remain the people that the community has come to know and trust,” she said.

All owners agree that the merger of Bolte Real Estate and Select Realty Group evolved because of a mutual respect among professional colleagues who became friends. Sara explained, “I’ve known Phillip and Renee for a long time but got to know Phillip even better when we served on the board of directors for the Firelands Realtor Association. They were very helpful to us when we began our business, offering advice and support. When the discussion eventually turned to the possibility of ‘teaming up’, it seemed like a natural fit for all of us.”

Philip added, “Our philosophy of working hard, treating people right and having fun will be strengthened by having a larger team across a larger area engaged in the real estate business and committed to our family’s heritage of excellence.”

Tiffin U., Heidelberg partner to offer tuition discount program

Tuition Discount_flyer_v2Incentive would benefit SIEDC, Chamber member organizations

<Joint press release issued by Tiffin University and Heidelberg University.>

Employees who work for organizations or companies that are members of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services or Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corp. soon will have an incentive to pursue higher education in Tiffin.

Tiffin University and Heidelberg University are partnering to offer a tuition discount of up to $200 for graduate and undergraduate coursework for students who are employees of Chamber or SIEDC members.

The employees would be required to meet the academic requirements, be accepted for admission at Heidelberg or Tiffin University, and enroll in courses, according to a joint statement by Jeremy Marinis, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at TU, and Doug Kellar, vice president for Enrollment Management at Heidelberg.

At Heidelberg, a $200 per-credit-hour discount can be applied to all undergraduate degree programs and Master of Business Administration degree courses. Tiffin University is offering a $200 per-credit-hour discount for Tiffin campus undergrad programs and a $100 per-credit-hour discount for graduate degree programs, online and off-campus bachelor’s degree programs.

The tuition discount will remain in place until students graduate, transfer or withdraw. The agreement takes effect in May.

The tuition discount partnership is another in a growing number of ways Heidelberg and Tiffin University are partnering together to elevate both institutions and the community. HU and TU come together every August for the Around the Town event to introduce new students to local businesses and organizations they will encounter during their time in Tiffin. The schools have partnered on job fairs, international events and community service projects, most recently joining efforts to collect food for the Salvation Army in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The partnership was announced during SIEDC’s annual meeting Thursday (March 23). Additional information about eligibility and other requirements is available on the Tiffin University website at www.tiffin.edu/local-benefit or the Heidelberg website at www.heidelberg.edu/community-discount.

Tiffin University President Lillian Schumacher:
“Tiffin University has always been committed to providing an affordable, professionally focused education, and is so glad to be partnering with Heidelberg and our local community. We believe this partnership and discount will help expand learning opportunities to the Tiffin community.”

Heidelberg University President Robert Huntington:
“This partnership is a win for everyone involved. We are pleased to provide greater access to high-quality education and strong professional preparation for the members of our community, and we’re happy that we can share that goal with our friends at Tiffin University.”

David Zak, President and CEO, Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corp.:
“A well-educated workforce provides a strong foundation for economic success, which is a great boost to SIEDC’s economic development efforts. This partnership and offer of reduced tuition will be a great incentive in our ongoing efforts as we recruit new businesses to Tiffin and Seneca County and help established businesses expand.”

John Detwiler, president and CEO of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce:
“Our member organizations are appreciative of our two local higher education institutions stepping forward with this offer for their employees,” Detwiler said. “This tuition discount partnership is yet another resource available locally and a terrific way that local employers can invest in their workforce.”

The Old Fort Banking Company Relocates Headquarters To Downtown Tiffin

old-fort-logoFrom The Old Fort Banking Company:

Denise Martin, Marketing Officer, announced that The Old Fort Banking Company, the subsidiary of Gillmor Financial Services, Inc., has moved into its new corporate headquarters at 33 East Market Street in Tiffin.  The move consolidates and relocates the bank’s accounting department, executive offices, human resource functions, marketing department and retail administration offices to the newly renovated downtown location.  The 8,550 square foot, three-level building will be solely occupied by Old Fort.

Currently, approximately twenty Old Fort associates now work at the Tiffin headquarters location.  Martin said, “The new headquarters provides the bank with the ability to continue to grow, as the building can hold as many as 32 to 36 associates.”  In addition, roughly 12 operational related positions have also been relocated to the bank’s 13,850 square foot operation’s center in Old Fort.  Information Technology, loan operations, deposit operations and additional operations related positions are now centralized in Old Fort.  Full-service financial centers continue to be operated at the new headquarters and also in Old Fort.  Martin stated, “Bank clients will enjoy the same commitment to service they have come to know at all Old Fort Bank locations.”

“We are extremely pleased to have our headquarters located in the downtown corridor,” added Old Fort Banking Company  President & CEO Michael C. Spragg.  “We are excited about our future as a Tiffin-based company, to be a consistent employer in Seneca County and to remain deeply involved in this community.”

Old Fort has built a strong and sustainable banking franchise focused on exceptional client service.  The company has the experience and long-term capital support to continue as a leader in providing financial products and services.  Additionally, Old Fort seeks to continue to drive economic growth and stability in the markets it serves.  The bank was founded in 1916 and has assets totaling approximately $500 million.  Old Fort is an independent bank that operates through a community banking model that is the foundation for local decision making and provides the basis for client service that is reliable, responsive and competent.

The Old Fort Banking Company proudly serves Allen, Greene, Hancock, Sandusky, Seneca and Wood Counties, with financial centers in Bettsville, Clyde, Findlay, Fostoria, Fremont, Old Fort, Tiffin and Sugarcreek Township.  Old Fort operates a commercial loan production office in Lima and also has a mortgage loan production facility in Xenia.  Old Fort is a recognized leader in community banking throughout the area in assisting members of the community, including local businesses and corporations.

Seneca County Land Bank awarded over $4 million

ni-programPress release from the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation

The Seneca County Land bank received over $4 million in Neighborhood Initiative Program funds to demolish blighted houses in the county – $4,025,000 to be exact.  Seneca County was one of the highest funded counties which speaks highly to the quality of the project, the application and the partners involved.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Seneca County,” Seneca County Treasurer Damon Alt said.  “This kind of money will allow us to eliminate blighted houses and increase overall property values in area neighborhoods.”

Currently, the Land Bank has identified 161 properties throughout the county for potential demolition with this award.  This allocation was made possible because of the large number of partners, including (but not limited to) the Seneca County Commissioners, the Seneca County Treasurer’s Office, the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office, the City of Tiffin, the City of Fostoria, and the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation office.

“For a community like Fostoria, this kind of money will have a tremendous impact,” said Renee Smith, President of the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation.  “Citizens will see the results of this funding and it will benefit the entire county.”

Seneca County formed the Land Bank in November of 2015 by resolution of the Seneca County Commissioners.  A Land Bank is a tool used to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, and improve the quality of life for county residents.  The formation of the Land Bank demonstrated our elected official’s commitment to healthy, sustainable community redevelopment within Seneca County.

The Seneca County Land Bank will begin acquiring the identified properties and demolition activity will then follow.  This will be an ongoing process but will directly impact property values, safety and even community pride.