Business & Finance

Equity Trust opens in Westlake

Equity Trust, a financial services company, opened their new Westlake headquarters to city officials, business leaders and the media on April 8. The company centralized its Elyria and Berea locations last December after completely renovating the former Cleveland Clinic building on Clemens Road.

The 72,000-square-foot facility is bright and modern with colorful art installations throughout and features an in-house masseuse, gym, yoga studio, coffee bar for its more than 400 employees.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:37 AM, 04.15.2014

Fitness facility opens in Williamsburg Square

As owner of My Personal Trainer, a unique fitness facility that provides a personalized and comprehensive approach to healthy living, I would like to take this opportunity to let the local community know about our services and invite you to visit our clean, private, clients-only studio at our new location in Westlake's Williamsburg Square.

At My Personal Trainer, our friendly, professional, certified trainers are dedicated to helping men and women with workouts and dietary packages designed to address the whole person. We take pride in knowing that we are helping people understand and utilize the safest and most effective fitness techniques and offer an affordable program at 70 percent less than the cost of average personal training rates.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:13 AM, 04.01.2014

Toastmasters can help set you apart

What sets you apart in the workplace? What sets you apart from others on the battleground of job seekers? If experience and education are equal, what sets you apart from everyone else out there? Senior leaders, human resource professionals and hiring managers have agreed for years that communication skills (verbal and nonverbal) clearly set people apart from each other. Communication skills are logically linked to leadership abilities.

By joining a Toastmasters club, you will concentrate on building your communication skills and enhancing your leadership abilities. What is your first thought when you are asked to give a presentation? Do you embrace the notion of sharing a message with people or do you feel some fear and anxiety just thinking about speaking in public?

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:29 AM, 04.01.2014

Rae-Ann facilities named to U.S. News list

Three skilled nursing facilities in the family-owned Rae-Ann Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Facilities group have been named to the prestigious “America’s Best Nursing Homes” list for 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.

Two of the facilities are located in Westlake – Rae-Ann Suburban and Rae-Ann Westlake – and the third is in Geneva, Ohio. This is the fifth year in a row that Rae-Ann Suburban has earned this distinction and the second year in a row Rae-Ann Westlake has been named to the U.S. News list.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 9:10 AM, 03.18.2014

Former mayor open real estate office in Bay

Bass Ohio Real Estate, a full-service brokerage and consulting firm, recently expanded into the residential market by opening an office in Bay Village at 419 Dover Center Road.

“We are extremely excited to enter the residential arena by operating an office in our hometown,” said Thomas Jelepis, CEO and broker for the firm and a former Bay Village mayor. “Our focus will be on the Greater Cleveland area. We plan to expand at a slow and steady rate which will allow us to cover more geography as time progresses.”  

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.04.2014

New westside networking group forming

My name is Karry Trotter and I am an insurance agent/broker. I am starting a new networking group and am looking for interested parties. This group will help all of us help others in ways we may never have considered. 

The meetings are every other Tuesday morning, 7 a.m., at Joe's Deli in Rocky River. The next meeting is March 18. My hope is that we, as a group, can have a large successful relationship with each other. 

The proposed name will be Le Mieux Networking Group and we will only have one person from each industry represented. It is going to be professional but a little on the lighter side as far as rules and regulations. We expect everyone to share at least one lead per meeting so a total of two referrals a month per member and bring in someone they may know from a market not being represented.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 10:03 AM, 03.04.2014

New sports pub opening soon in Westlake

Construction is underway on Westlake’s newest restaurant, located on the former site of The Boneyard restaurant on Sperry Drive. Hooley House Sports Pub & Grille bills itself as “one fun pub,” serving reasonably priced American favorites with a spotlight on classic Irish dishes.

Like its predecessor, Hooley House’s expansive dining room will provide a multimedia experience, featuring more than 25 big-screen LED TVs and several large projection HD screens broadcasting sporting events in surround sound. Wi-Fi will be available throughout.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:30 AM, 02.18.2014

Tri-C offers free tax prep services

Cuyahoga Community College will once again offer a free personal income tax filing service to qualified taxpayers at four of its campuses this year.

In the Westshore area, walk-in assistance on a first-come, first-served basis is available at Corporate College West, 25425 Center Ridge Road, Westlake. The free tax clinics will run between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays from Feb. 5 through April 2 (except March 12) in Room 203.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:18 AM, 02.04.2014

West Shore Chamber bestows service award

Kevin Lynch, center, from AT&T, was recognized by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce with the 2013 Hugh L. Dawson service award at the Chamber's Jan. 14 meeting. Pictured with Lynch following the award presentation, from left: John Sobolewski, executive director of the Chamber;  Susan Uranker, incoming Chamber president; State Rep. Nan Baker; and Robert Kess, outgoing Chamber president.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 10:11 AM, 01.21.2014

Women's networking group sees growth going into 2014

Women in business in Westlake and Bay Village are finding an answer for building their businesses when they discover the Westside Professional Women's Connection, and WPWC is growing as a result.

The group, which is over 10 years old, has been meeting in the Westlake/Bay Village area for years, and has been meeting at The Copper Cup on Dover Center Road for many months now. With many networking groups finding their membership declining for many reasons, WPWC is growing.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 10:27 AM, 01.21.2014

Westside Professional Women's Connection invites new members

Westside Professional Women's Connection has made Westlake its home for many years, meeting in local restaurants on the third Tuesday of the month for lunch, networking and creating friendships. October begins the annual membership drive, though new WPWC members are welcome anytime during the year, and guests are invited to attend the monthly meetings without a reservation. The door to becoming a member is always open.  

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, women can join us beginning at 11:30 a.m. for our lunch buffet and networking followed at noon with our speaker and our 30-second commercials at The Copper Cup, 680 Dover Center Road in Westlake. Guests do not need to make reservations, and the charge for guests for the monthly event is $20 (cash or checks payable to WPWC).

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 9:41 AM, 10.01.2013

Nordstrom Rack opens in Westlake

The fashionable and frugal alike braved the cool, soggy morning of Sept. 12 to welcome Westlake’s newest retailer to Crocker Park. Nordstrom Rack, the off-price sister store of Nordstrom, opened its second Cleveland-area location on the former site of Borders bookstore.

The earliest shoppers began showing up at 6 a.m. and by the time the store opened its doors three hours later, a line of umbrellas snaked halfway around the building. In a scene reminiscent of the holiday season, a steady stream of cars circled the packed parking lot throughout the day.

The gloom of the morning was left at the door, as customers were met inside the foyer with a “Welcome to the Rack!” from a cheerful greeter before entering the bright and bustling store. Sales associates in neon green shirts zipped up and down the aisles, answering questions, directing shoppers and ringing up purchases with their mobile phones.

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Volume 5, Issue 19, Posted 10:36 AM, 09.17.2013

Westside business networking group meeting in Westlake

There is a new group that meets quietly in a conference room on Detroit Road. Very few people know about it, but every time it meets the numbers grow, and chairs are becoming filled earlier and earlier on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

Then, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., the group's members share what their business does. Everyone listens intently, looking for an opportunity to help someone else. And there is more...

Yes, it is a networking group. It is The Opportunity Network – Westside. Founded by business coach Diane Helbig, this all started in January of this year. 

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Volume 5, Issue 19, Posted 10:30 AM, 09.17.2013

New Sears home appliance showroom in Westlake now open

The recent opening of a new Sears Home Appliance Showroom Store in Westlake truly “hits home” with parent company executives.

Will Powell, the chief operating officer of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. just happens to be a longtime resident of Northeast Ohio, currently residing in Bay Village, which means he is holding himself fully accountable to ensure local shoppers receive nothing less than an exceptional shopping experience, featuring personalized customer assistance, shopping by appointment any time of day or night, cookies, coffee and beverages, and a play area for children.

The new Sears Home Appliance Showroom store opened Aug. 23 at 30219 Detroit Road in the Promenade at Crocker Park. The store offers a full suite of home appliance merchandise and mattresses, including all of the top 10 appliance brands.

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Volume 5, Issue 18, Posted 2:58 PM, 08.23.2013

Westlake in-home care business certified to serve Medicaid-eligible seniors

FirstLight HomeCare of Westlake, a non-medical in-home care business that services Westlake residents, has recently become PASSPORT certified to better serve the community. FirstLight provides services to seniors, new moms, those recovering from surgery and to anyone else who just needs a little extra assistance around the house. Services include things such as bathing, grooming, meal prep, medication reminders, travel companionship, respite care for caregivers and more.

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Volume 5, Issue 18, Posted 10:38 AM, 09.04.2013

Westlake business uses art to teach social skills

This summer, the city of Westlake will welcome a new company to the community. DramaSmarts is a literacy-based program that teaches social skills and enhances reading, writing and speaking skills through drama. Using a Reader’s Theater model, DramaSmarts works with students in grades K-5 primarily during the afterschool hours to help them learn how to use Reader’s Theater to turn everyday stories into their own works of art on stage.

Founded by teaching artist, international educator, author and speaker Terré Holmes, DramaSmarts derived out of her quest to teach children about theater, while simultaneously teaching them to work together, improve their focus, increase their attention spans and explore the creative aspects of who they are. 

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 10:43 AM, 06.11.2013

Chamber of Commerce presents Student Achievement Award

The West Shore Chamber of Commerce Education Committee presented the annual Student Achievement Award to Jaclyn Maat at the May 7 Chamber luncheon. Jaclyn is an employee of the Westlake Recreation Center, where she has worked since shortly before graduating from Westlake High School in 2011. The award is given to recognize West Shore Chamber business members and their student employees or volunteers that show an exemplary work ethic.

Jaclyn is a full-time student at Cleveland State, plays volleyball for the CSU club team and still finds time to work at the Rec Center on evenings and weekends. She works year round in the child care room, staffs the monthly "parent night out" program, serves as a summer day camp counselor and helps out with keeping score for the youth baseball program.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:16 AM, 05.14.2013

Westlake's John Lance Ford wins dealership award

John Lance Ford in Westlake is among an elite group of Ford and Lincoln dealerships to be recognized with the 2012 President’s Award by Ford Motor Company. The prestigious award honors dealerships that have excelled in automotive retailing in 2012, by providing exceptional customer service and satisfaction. Less than 10 percent of dealerships nationwide received the award.

“Earning this award is a reflection of our entire staff’s commitment to delivering the best customer experience possible,” said general manager Dean Szalai.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 10:52 AM, 04.16.2013

Prosperity Money Club announces final three meeting topics

The Prosperity Money Club, started last fall at Westlake Porter Public Library, announced the final three programs on its schedule. The group, which is open to all, meets the first Wednesday of each month: April 3, May 1 and June 5, and runs from 7 to 8 p.m. There is no charge.

Topics for the remaining three months are: April – Using the Internet for Financial Education; May – Reading the Financial News; and June – Finding an Advisor. Facilitated by veteran financial services professional Jan Litterst. For more information, call Jan at 440-263-6176 or email her at

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 10:35 AM, 03.19.2013

What’s your job search game plan?

The two top-ranked college football teams recently played for the national championship and the Ravens just beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. All of these teams have at least one thing in common: a game plan put together by the coaching staff that they feel gives them the best chance to win.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 10:15 AM, 02.05.2013

Prosperity Money Club launches

The first Wednesday of each month finds men and women looking for answers about their money gathering at the Westlake Porter Public Library in a supportive environment of The Prosperity Money Club.

Money clubs began at the initiation of the Women's Institute for Financial Education (WIFE) and are offered by local facilitators throughout the country. This is an opportunity to discover a simple program that has the power to change your financial life forever. Through the selected monthly Money Club topics, you will find the information and support you need to set your own financial course. More information on the program and the topics can be found at

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Volume 4, Issue 22, Posted 7:39 PM, 10.30.2012

Ross Lesko will curate 'The Bomb' group show at BAYarts

From the Manhattan Project to Cold War fears of nuclear holocaust, to the current colloquialism in the modern lexicon – "The Bomb" is a phrase laden with connotations. This group exhibition inspired by The Bomb will feature work by artists interpreting the curatorial theme from a variety of perspectives; some fearful, some funny, but entirely impactful.

This exhibit will be curated by Ross Lesko, gallery director for the Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery at 78th Street Studios; the opening reception is Nov. 9 from 7-9 p.m. in the Sullivan Family Gallery in the Fuller House of BAYarts, 28795 Lake Rd. The show runs through December. Hours of the Fuller House Gallery are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment.

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Volume 4, Issue 22, Posted 7:42 PM, 10.30.2012

West Shore Chamber of Commerce news and opportunities

Upcoming West Shore Chamber Events:

Joint Business After Hours


1264 Lear Industrial Pkwy., Avon

Thursday, Nov. 1, 5-7 p.m.

No cost for this event and no RSVP is required

Enjoy complimentary appetizers and beverages

November Networking Luncheon

Westlake Holiday Inn

1100 Crocker Rd., Westlake

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Networking Begins 11:30 a.m.

Luncheon served at noon

Cost is $20 per person

RSVP: Please call the Chamber Office at 440-835-8787 by Friday, Nov. 9.

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Volume 4, Issue 22, Posted 7:29 PM, 10.30.2012

In hiring process, actions really do speak louder than words

If a company tells you that they brew the best beer in the world, but have minimal sales and no awards to show for their efforts, how believable is their claim of having an outstanding product? We can all say whatever we wish about our abilities and achievements, but as the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”

And thus is the challenge for today’s job seekers…making believers out of skeptical hiring managers. This is actually not that difficult to accomplish, but it does take a significant investment of a candidate’s time, which is something that the vast majority of job seekers are still not willing to do. This means that those candidates who do elect to put in the time and effort necessary to develop a truly “killer” resume and memorable interview discussions, can very quickly distance themselves from a large percentage of those competing for the same job opening.


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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 9:55 AM, 10.16.2012

Westlake: there's an app for that

Several months ago, business owners Steve Novak and Cindy Griffiths-Novak attended a Westshore Chamber of Commerce meeting and struck up a conversation with a fellow member during the networking session. He showed Steve and Cindy the Experience Lakewood iPhone app, and the couple immediately saw the opportunity a smartphone app would provide Westlake's businesses. Steve and Cindy live, work and volunteer their time in Westlake, and are always looking for ways to enhance the city they love.

The next day Steve contacted Barb Cagley, the creator of the app. That phone conversation was the first step in the creation of the Experience Westlake app. "We knew we were going to do this before we even left the chamber meeting," Novak said.

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Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 10:49 AM, 10.02.2012

Yoga studio opens in Westlake

Krysia Maciuszko grew up in Berea but lived and worked in Scottsdale and Los Angeles for several years before returning to Cleveland. It has been her dream since 2003 to open her own yoga studio. While working toward her Ph.D. in nursing at Case Western Reserve University, she wrote a yoga studio business plan for a doctoral-level course, but did not expect to implement it until sometime later. However, with her professor’s encouragement, she decided she was “finally at the right place at the right time to do it,” Krysia said. “It is the only thing I have ever really wanted to do.”

Krysia found the perfect place, next to Bella Capelli on Center Ridge Road in Westlake. “I’ve done my homework, and I think there is a need for more yoga in this area,” says Krysia. In her new space she created two studios, one a 1,000-square-foot area that could easily hold 50 students, and the second with over 500 square feet that can accommodate 25 students.

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Volume 4, Issue 20, Posted 10:49 AM, 10.02.2012

Oasis in an office park

Westlake has a new oasis of relaxation and regeneration. New Life Massage Therapy has moved into a beautiful suite in an office park on Crocker Road. The experienced professionals there offer a wide variety of therapies for your stiff, sore, aching or injured body.  Lomi Lomi, Ashiatsu, and Bamboo Fusion are just a few of the advanced techniques available.   For details, watch their intro video on YouTube (search for "newlifemassagellc").

New Life Massage is located at 815 Crocker Rd., Suite 2, in Westlake and is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sundays by special appointment. Call 440-363-1885 or book an appointment online at Let Melissa know the Observer sent you!

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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.21.2012

Street smarts for the digital world

Kudos to Officer Anna and her team of volunteers! Our son Naoki really enjoyed Safety Town at the Westlake Police Department this summer.

With technology permeated into every nook-and-cranny of our lives, it needs a digital world-equivalent of Safety Town. Gaining "internet street smarts" is my answer to the question: “How do we minimize our risk of being a victim in the digital world?”

The gray matter between your ears is the single-most powerful tool that you possess. Here are some tips to start building your internet street smarts!

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 10:27 AM, 08.07.2012

Don’t take an employer’s 'rejection' personally

Something that is shared with me by many of the job seekers with whom I’ve had contact is that they take “rejection” personally. My response to that is always pretty simply put: DON’T.

Remember, hundreds of job seekers send resumes in response to just about any job opening/posting, and usually only one of them is made an offer for employment. That means there are hundreds of “no thank you” letters sent/phone calls made.

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 10:25 AM, 08.07.2012

Hardware store opens in Westlake

A new hardware store has opened on Detroit Road in Westlake, just a few doors down from the recently-closed Ingersoll Hardware store that was a community staple for more than 100 years. Westlake ACE Hardware held a “chain cutting” ceremony on July 25 to mark their grand opening in the former Tuesday Morning location at the corner of Detroit and Dover Center roads.

Westlake ACE Hardware is owned by E &H Hardware Group, a family-owned enterprise based in Wooster. Like Ingersoll, E & H takes pride in top-notch customer service and knowledgeable employees.

The store will offer a large selection of Craftsman tools, Stihl outdoor power equipment and service, custom-cut keys, computer chip keys, sharpening, screen repair, propane exchange, glass cutting, carpet cleaning machine rental, pet supplies and a complete line of bird feeders and bird food.

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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 10:36 AM, 07.24.2012

Bay couple launch graphics franchise in Westlake

Jeff and Lori Kolenich are working in Westlake now, but it didn’t unfold the way they envisioned. The husband and wife duo had spent their careers moving up the ladder into management positions at American Greetings, and expected to move with the company as it transferred operations from Brooklyn to Westlake.

But fate had other ideas, as both were laid off from the company in a round of downsizing. The couple, who reside in Bay Village, were unhappy with the prospects of a “traditional” job search and decided to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs.

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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 10:36 AM, 07.24.2012

Stylists set up shop in Westlake

After years of working at a bustling westside salon, stylists Nicole Gilsdorf and Katie Klein decided to start their own business. The settled on a cozy location on Westwood Road in Westlake, officially opening in January to their existing clients.

After more than six months styling the hair and nails of loyal customers who followed them from their previous salon, the pair have recently begun accepting new clients. Studio 6a Salon & Spa held a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 25 with special guest Mayor Dennis Clough.

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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 10:31 AM, 07.24.2012

Chamber gives away sweet ride

Everyone loves a party and everyone loves to win prizes. That was evident at a June 13 event hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce at Montrose Kia in Sheffield Lake.

As part of the "Power of More” campaign, which combines the strengths of the four local chambers of commerce (Westshore, North Coast, Fairview and North Olmsted), the year’s premier event featured a grand prize giveaway of a three-year car lease to one lucky chamber member.

The giveaway was a fun way for the chamber to tout the advantages of chamber membership, while giving members an incentive to attend chamber events over the past few months. Every chamber event attended by members throughout the year earned them an entry into the car raffle.

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 1:00 PM, 07.10.2012

Catering company opens new cafe in Bay Village

Bay Village welcomed its newest business on July 9 to the Dover Commons plaza. Jennie Kehoe, her son Zachary Meaney and his wife Mary Kate, owners of A Luncheon Time Catering, Café and Meals To Go moved into the space formerly occupied by Bamboo House and then briefly Grand Rodeo. The space had been vacant for a year and a half, according to property owner Ray Negrelli.

The family-owned and operated company has been in business for nine years, catering primarily to businesses, hospitals and medical offices throughout Greater Cleveland from their 6,000-square-foot kitchen in a warehouse off Canterbury Road in Westlake.

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 1:00 PM, 07.10.2012

Cleveland Water quality report now available

Water quality is essential to all of us – and the quality of our water affects the quality of our lives. Cleveland Division of Water is committed to providing its customers safe, high-quality drinking water.

That is why the division maintains a rigorous quality control program and continues to invest substantial financial resources to improve our water treatment facilities and distribution system. Our water is constantly monitored and tested. The water produced and delivered by Cleveland Water far exceeds the most stringent water quality standards currently mandated by federal and state water regulations, and last year was no exception.

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 12:47 PM, 07.10.2012

Baker legislation to encourage business expansion into vacant facilities signed by governor

Governor Kasich recently signed into law House Bill 18, sponsored by Representative Nan Baker. The bill authorizes a $500 per-employee grant for a business that expands into a facility that has been vacant for 12 months and creates new jobs.

For larger companies expanding their payrolls and moving into a vacant building, at least 50 new employees would have to be added. For smaller companies expanding their payrolls, such as a hair salon, hardware store or pizza shop, 50 percent of their payroll would have to be added to be affected.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 10:01 AM, 05.30.2012

Good signs on the employment front for 2012

Over the last few months I’ve made presentations at area job seekers groups and corporate outplacement companies to nearly 1,000 people in transition. The bad news is that there were nearly 1,000 people at the presentations (this is one of those situations where I would have welcomed a smaller audience!).

The good news is that virtually all of the leaders/directors of these groups and the employees at the outplacement firms report that people are landing new positions in nearly half of the time that it was taking just a year ago.

Over the last twelve months, our company has co-sponsored a networking event with a local restaurant. The average number of attendees has remained somewhat the same, but that is because many who have landed new jobs come back to help those still in transition, they’re “paying it forward.”

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:02 AM, 02.07.2012

Westlake children's author teaches resiliency

High school counselor and former special education teacher Kasey Crawford Kellem knows a lot about facing life challenges. Her new book series, Mind Over Matter, teaches young children how to be resilient to them.

“Everyone faces difficult or challenging times in their lives,” Kellem said. The Cleveland-area counselor said she hopes her books will teach children they can get through their stressful troubles using a mind over matter technique that is within everyone. Her first book, "Believe," is on the market now. The remaining books in the series – "Love," "Laugh," "Relax" and "Dream" – will be out within the next year.

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:19 PM, 01.10.2012

Bay resident honored by Magnificat High School

Martin Mehall of Bay Village has been honored with the William E. Reichard Award for oustanding service on the Magnificat High School Board of Directors. He recently retired from the board after nine years of service. He is only the third board member to receive this award.

Mehall became involved with Magnificat while his daughter Marissa, who graduated in 2002, attended Magnificat. He was a long-standing member of the finance committee and was instrumental in bond financing.

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:27 PM, 01.10.2012

Husband-wife duo launch home care business

As the population ages, and the number of Americans requiring health care grows – estimated at 12 million people today – the number of people looking for alternative care options is also increasing. For many, the desire to remain in the home is strong, yet full-time care can lead to burn out for family caregivers.

Hedi Huebler and her husband, Frank, were faced with that situation when Hedi’s parents’ health declined several years ago. Hedi and Frank, a registered nurse, realized how important it was for Hedi's parents to remain independent and in a home setting, so they allowed them to move in to their home.

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:36 PM, 01.10.2012