April 18, 2014

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Turning 65 this year? Learn Medicare basics
Sunday, March 09, 2014 1:02 PM

COLUMBUS – Are you one of the nearly 150,000 Ohioans who will celebrate their 65th birthdays this year?

If so, you will become eligible for Medicare and will likely have questions about your health care benefits. You will face a dizzying array of choices: Which prescription drug plan is right for you? Should you choose traditional Medicare coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan? Do you need a Medicare supplemental plan, or “gap” coverage?

The Ohio Department of Aging is dedicated to meeting the needs of Ohio’s growing and changing aging population, including helping you make informed decisions. The options available with Medicare can be confusing, and the decisions you make can impact the quality of your health care for a long time. To help, we continue our long-standing partnership with the Ohio Department of Insurance, under the leadership of Lt. Governor/Director Mary Taylor.

Staff and volunteers in the Department’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) provide older Ohioans like you with free, friendly assistance in choosing Medicare options that best suit your needs – sometimes saving you money. Last year, the OSHIIP program helped more than 160,000 Medicare-eligible Ohioans save a record $16.4 million!

Whether you are already enrolled in Medicare or about to become eligible, OSHIIP offers consumer-friendly written information, and its staff can answer your questions about topics such as:

Medicare health coverage for older adults age 65+ and for younger adults who are Medicare-eligible because of disabilities;

Medicare prescription drug plans;

Medicare Advantage plans (HMOs and PPOs);

Medicare supplemental insurance;

Financial assistance programs for individuals with a limited income; and

Long-term care insurance.

Getting information and assistance from OSHIIP is easy. Call 1-800-686-1578 or visit the OSHIIP website at www.insurance.ohio.gov. If you have Internet access, you can attend one of OSHIIP’s “Welcome to Medicare” webinars online throughout the year. Visit the OSHIIP website for the dates and times of these webinars.

If you do not have Internet access, you can attend one of the many “Welcome to Medicare” in-person sessions around the state beginning in April. Call OSHIIP to learn more about these sessions so that you can attend one close to you.

When you, as an older Ohioan, fully understand your Medicare benefits and options, you can get the most out of your coverage. That is why the Department of Aging will continue our partnership with Lt. Governor Taylor and the Department of Insurance to help as many Ohioans in 2014 as we can. Together we can help you remain a healthy Golden Buckeye who continues to grow, thrive and contribute to your communities.

How to give your resume a facelift
Saturday, March 08, 2014 8:28 AM


The process of finding a new job has changed dramatically over the last decade-plus. Whereas professionals once printed their resumes and mailed them to hiring managers in response to job postings, nowadays resumes and cover letters are largely uploaded via the Internet or emailed directly to a company's human resources department.

But how resumes are sent is not the only adjustment job seekers must make. Resumes themselves have changed as well, and professionals looking for a new job might want to tweak their existing resumes in the following ways to increase their chances of finding a new job.

• Show accomplishments rather than responsibilities. Many hiring managers are experienced enough to know the responsibilities of a certain job title. So instead of listing your responsibilities as a Regional Sales Manager, list what you accomplished during your time in that position. Be as specific as possible, listing any sales goals you exceeded and awards you might have won. Your achievements are what set you apart from other candidates with similar work histories, so use your resume to highlight those achievements instead of listing your responsibilities.

• Keep things brief. Brevity should be your friend when accentuating your accomplishments on your resume. Your resume should highlight those accomplishments and that should be enough to secure an interview. When you get that interview, that's when you can go into greater detail. But try to keep your resume to one or two pages.

• Remove older positions. Older positions, such as a long-ago college internship, have no place on a seasoned professional's resume. On a similar note, if you have long since changed careers, you may not need to include much about your previous positions in another field, especially if your work experience in your new field is extensive. Hiring managers likely won't be interested in a past work history if it's irrelevant to your current field.

• Consider a new format. Few job postings request applicants to send in their resumes via snail mail, so unlike the days of old, you probably won't be printing your resume as a Microsoft(R) Word document and mailing it to prospective employers. As a result, you might want to consider a new format when submitting your resume via a company's Web site. Word documents might be acceptable, but such documents can easily become encoded in the uploading process or won't be readable if the hiring manager has a different version of Word than you do. Consider uploading your resume as a PDF or as plain text, as such formats are less likely to become scrambled during when they are uploaded or downloaded.

• Upload your resume to a professional networking site. Many professionals are initially hesitant to upload their resumes to a business networking site such as LinkedIn(R) out of fear that their current employers will feel they are looking for a new job. But so many professionals are now members of such sites that it's no longer associated with a job search as much as it is an easy way to keep in touch with professional contacts. In addition, many recruiters rely on sites like LinkedIn to find qualified professionals, which only makes it easier to find your next job.


Crafting an effective cover letter
Saturday, March 08, 2014 8:28 AM


A strong cover letter may not guarantee you land a good job, but a poor cover letter may guarantee you won't. On its own, an effective cover letter can catch the eye of hiring managers tasked with finding worthy candidates among stacks of applications, while a poor cover letter may ensure hiring managers never even glance at an applicant's resume.

An effective cover letter should be concise, conveying an applicant's work history and goals in a few paragraphs or less. The following are some additional ways men and women can craft effective cover letters.

• Address a specific person when possible. When responding to a job posting that listed a specific contact, address your cover letter to that person rather than beginning the letter with, "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern." Personalize each cover letter you write so the hiring manager does not get the feeling that you are sending out cover letters en masse. Make sure names are spelled correctly and job titles are accurate.

• State your purpose early on. The purpose of your letter, which is to state the job you're seeking, should be made clear early on. Hiring managers often handle the vetting process for a host of positions at their companies, so the earlier the hiring manager knows which position you're applying for the better. Hiring managers may become frustrated when applicants don't make their intentions clear or do so in the final paragraph instead of the first.

• Explain why you are a qualified candidate. While it's good to note your work history, your resume will do the bulk of that legwork. A cover letter is your opportunity to show how your work history makes you a qualified candidate for a specific position. Remember to be concise but relate a specific example that illustrates how your work history would help you thrive in the position for which you're applying.

• Exhibit some knowledge about the company to which you're applying. An effective cover letter should help you stand out among your fellow applicants, and expressing some knowledge about the organization can do just that. The goal here is to illustrate how you and the organization are a good fit, so you don't need to go overboard or be too specific. But hiring managers are likely to be more impressed by applicants who do their homework and show a knowledge of the company than applicants who submit a form cover letter where the company is scarcely mentioned.

• Be cordial in your closing. A cover letter should close with a cordial request for an interview or a friendly way of indicating you look forward to a company's response to your application. In addition, thank the reader for his or her time and mention you would be delighted to answer any questions he or she may have.

An effective cover letter can go a long way toward making a strong first impression on a prospective employer. Men and women should look at their cover letters as their first opportunities to connect with a company and write their letters accordingly.


Fulton County OSU Extension to offer berry school
Thursday, March 06, 2014 2:45 PM

WAUSEON – The Fulton County OSU Extension invites area producers to participate in the NW Ohio Berry School taking place Wednesday, March 19 from 8:30am-3:00pm at the Robert Fulton Ag Bldg., 8770 SR 108 Wauseon.

This program is geared towards berry producers who may have surplus above and beyond average household consumption. The school will offer opportunities to select from three concurrent tracks: production, management, and food and community. State and area Extension specialists will be speaking on a variety of value-added opportunities.

The registration fee of $40 also includes lunch and a copy of the Midwest Fruit Production Guide. The registration deadline is March 14.

For additional program details and registration information, please visit www.fulton.osu.edu or contact the OSU Extension office at 419-337-9210.

The NW Ohio Berry School is sponsored in part by the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association, Triple K Irrigation, and Chuck Spallinger, Ag Consulting.

Encounter with a snowy owl
Thursday, March 06, 2014 1:33 PM
Photo courtesy of Brian Gerber

"I was out for a slow jog two Sundays ago about an hour before dark. The sun was shining and the asphalt roads were soaking in a little heat. I came across this snowy owl. But that's not the most unique part of this story.

"She wasn't a bit afraid of me. She actually flew towards me about 8 feet above my head where we made eye contact. I stopped and she lit in the ditch right beside me. At that time a field mouse ran across the road. I chased the field mouse back towards the snowy owl. She landed on the mouse and it quickly became supper. At that point on man and wild were friends. She followed me until I headed back to the house. Hence this incredible picture.

"This is one of the most beautiful animals I ever came across in the wild. It made me think that God is in everything. Just wanted to share this experience and picture with you."

– Brian Gerber

2-vehicle crash in Van Wert County claims life of Melrose teen PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, March 06, 2014 9:00 AM

GROVER HILL – The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post is investigating a fatal crash that occurred at 2:55 p.m. Wednesday, March 5 on Ohio 637 near Elm Sugar Road in Hoaglin Township, Van Wert County.

Dead is Robert A. Seffernick, age 17, of Melrose.

According to troopers, a 2002 Chrysler Sebring, driven Seffernick, was northbound on Ohio 637.  He lost control on the snow-covered roadway and slid left of center and was struck by a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by David Simko, age 64, of Toledo. The Jeep overturned and both vehicles came to rest off the west side of the roadway.

Seffernick sustained fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead on scene by the Van Wert County Coroner. Seffernick was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.

Simko was extricated from his vehicle by emergency personnel on scene and transported by Samaritan LifeFlight helicopter to Parkview North Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne with serious injuries. Simko was wearing his seat belt and also had front and side air bag deployment, which minimized his injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash and the investigation is ongoing.

Assisting at the scene were the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Grover Hill Volunteer Fire and EMS, Brickner EMS, Parkview Samaritan, Delpha Chevy Towing, and Straightline Auto Body.