It’s no secret that obtaining a mortgage loan can be a daunting experience. Buying a home is often one of the biggest purchases we’ll ever make, the process often requires a look at our credit scores, and requires participation in a system that can be difficult to navigate without guidance. That experience can be amplified for first time home-buyers.
However, Desteni Mason, of Mason Knows Mortgages, has stood out as one of the primary advocates for getting people to make informed financial decisions across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Florida when buying a home.
Desteni co-founded the business, KTL Performance Mortgage, way back in 2003 after Desteni made the conscious decision to provide a service that could help people “be better and do more than they ever thought they could do”, ever striving to motivate underserved clients to overcome their financial situations and acquire a home that's just right for them.
Mason Knows Mortgages is a lender that provides homebuying knowledge and rates for nearly any subject pertaining to mortgage loans. This includes services such as VA mortgage options, refinancing, debt consolidation, purchasing investment properties, first time home-buyers, and much more.
Since its 2003 establishment, Mason Knows Mortgages has garnered praise as being one of the leading USDA mortgage lenders across both Ohio and Indiana. The group of lenders is also very active in areas of Kentucky and Florida.
“What was the key to Desteni’s success?” you might ask. From day to day, Desteni had established her business with the goal of helping people who may get turned away from other mortgage lenders.
Instead, Desteni built trust and confidence with her customers, offering middle to low income clients the opportunity to make effective home-buying decisions while providing sound financial advice with an emphasis on manifesting success through knowledge and the confidence that comes with being informed.
Desteni, herself, came from a low-income background, but her interest in finance resulted in her overcoming her situation. Through her continued diligence, self-education, and a mindset of positivity, Desteni has achieved financial success by not just being financially-intelligent, but by openly sharing her wisdom with others. She shares this wisdom in person and through several outlets such as social media and her personal website.
Desteni’s continued success within her business has been highly predicated on her continued commitment to assisting a broad range of clients. She also reaches out to people online through explanation videos and announcements about changes in mortgage policies. Her commitment to giving out advice and keeping a strong relationship with her clients has been Desteni’s most beneficial business strategy, apart from her intensive study of mortgage law.
The success of Mason Knows Mortgages is a healthy reminder that we get out of our work what we give, especially if that work corresponds to a self-owned business where the personality of that business primarily relies on our actions.
It’s always best to open up to our clients and put ourselves and our knowledge out there so as to disintegrate any mis-trust that may come when establishing a new business relationship. Consider forming solutions that work to serve the client’s interests first. This will build credibility with your business and customer loyalty further down the line.
Success can come from many directions, but the above seems to work very well for Desteni Mason and Mason Knows Mortgages.
After much back and forth, it seems like the snowy days are finally dwindling for us here in the midwest, and that means that summer will soon follow, bringing with it a cacophony of live musical talents of all genres and flavors.
Whether you’re into varying degrees of rock n’ roll, folk music, or that oh-so-popular country twang, local venues have you covered this Summer with some serious talent and big name artists.
Here’s what you should know about music coming to the region this Summer season.
Without a doubt, the biggest lineup of popular acts will be found in Huber Heights at the Rose Music Center. Artists such as the Gin Blossoms, 3 Doors Down, Kenny G, Ted Nugent, The Offspring, Alice Cooper, and many more will be making tour stops in Huber Heights to jam out for the masses. Comedian and actor, Steve Martin, will even be at the Rose on May 26th to do a comedy event.
Owned by the city of Huber Heights and managed by Music and Event Management Inc., based out of Cincinnati, The Rose Music Center is a massive outdoor amphitheater that seats a whopping 4,200 people. Located just off of I-70, near Huber Heights, the structure was recently completed 3 years ago in 2015 and is now on a strong upswing, driven by the popular talent that the venue is attracting.
But the Rose isn’t the only venue that is hosting popular performers. The Fraze Pavilion, located in Kettering, will be hosting a strong variety of acts this summer such as O.A.R., Tony Bennett, Earth, Wind and Fire, Reba McEntire, Orleans, and even a comedy set from comedian, Jim Gaffigan.
Built in 1991, the Fraze will be celebrating their 17th season of “Summer’s Best Music Under the Stars” this year. With just a hundred more seats than the Rose, the Fraze showcases a lot more than just popular artists, as they also welcome a variety of more culture-focused, less pop-based performances such as The Motown Sounds of TOUCH and, jazz group, Dave Koz and Friends. The Fraze has a lot going for it this season, so be sure to inquire further.
But maybe you’re a die-hard country fan, trying to get your fix while catching some rays this summer. If so, then you’re in luck as the aforementioned two venues will both be hosting classic country artists, summer festivals will be hosting regional talents, and Fort Loramie will be hosting its annual Country Concert event on July 5th, 6th, and 7th.
Established in 1981, Country Concert has been a popular Summer get-away for both locals and out-of-towners, alike, throughout its 36 year run. This year will be no different with headliners such as Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Kane Brown, and Eric Church along with 20 other acts that country fans aren’t going to want to miss.
As for those who’d rather support and experience talents of the more local variety, I suggest contacting your local community arts centers, bars, bowling alleys, country clubs, high schools, and parks committees to see what future events they have organized.
A few other major music events and locales to check out this Summer are the Canal Music Festival on June 9th (Tipp City), BMI Indoor Speedway (Versailles), Springfest on July 7th (Yellow Springs), the Summer Concert Series in New Bremen, Dayton’s Celtic Music Festival on July 27-29, the PigMania State BBQ Championship and Music Festival on May 18 (Lima), and the Festival of Fire on June 29th in Bellefontaine.
With such a broad variety of acts and venues to choose from, many will be hard pressed to find at least one act that they don’t want to experience this summer. If you’re a live music fan, be sure to be proactive and catch some tunes while you’re working on that tan, because who doesn’t need a little more music in their life?
On March 30th, just in time for the Easter weekend, if you were in Troy, Ohio’s downtown square, you would have no doubt seen participants of the town’s annual Chocolate Walk. The Chocolate Walk is a community event put on by the local non-profit, Troy Main Street, featuring 23 local merchants coming together to create a cocoa-filled evening full of delicious stops.
Participants buy tickets leading up to the event and, once there, walk around to each location. At each venue, participants receive a chocolate-related item in exchange for a mark on their ticket, a three-fold win for the businesses, Troy Main Street, and event-goers.
However, there was one such stop that was especially notable, as it featured a locale that not only hosted one business, but rather two, working mutually to support one another in a way that we might not often consider, similar to the Chocolate Walk’s own cooperative efforts.
Selling her artfully crafted and scrumptious macarons, as well as giving out hearty chocolate muffins for the event, Auglaize County's own Michelle Adams, of Michelle's Macarons, found herself in Troy on that Friday evening to the excitement of many who were enjoying her work.
Michelle has been fully engaged in her macaron pastry business for about a year and a half and the venture has gained a lot of momentum. Michelle has thrived on both branching out to places like Bowling Green and the support of her local environment within New Bremen.
Michelle did not succeed unwittingly though. She spent 2 ½ years prior to her full-time commitment, honing her craft part-time and considering the best avenues to achieve success, and her choice to do so has seemingly payed off as her macarons speak for themselves.
To distribute her products, Michelle has used various outlets such as store fronts to sell alongside their daily inventory. She also attends farmer’s markets where customers can get a more intimate interaction with Michelle and her products.
But here at the Chocolate Walk, Michelle was taking part in a vending experience that was similar to a farmer’s market, but the same interaction was occuring in a full restaurant space, a space that Michelle did not actually own, but was instead renting.
Michelle was being hosted as a vendor in a restaurant officially known as Lunch @ 4 W. Main, a relatively innovative idea for a business, also known as a satellite kitchen or a pop-up lunch spot.
Essentially, the space is open on weekdays from 11 am to 2 pm, and features a rotating selection of local vendors to serve, as the name entails, lunch to the average working person. The location of Lunch @ 4 W. Main is optimal too, as it really allows lesser-known food-producers to shine on Troy’s main street, a location with a lot of demand for walking distance food sources and a quick meal.
Lunch has even sparked the interest of franchise catering companies such as Bob Evans to join in on the opportunity. The only notable requisite for being a vendor is that food must be pre-made before being brought to the location. Lunch also hosts catered events and other uses for the space during its non-business hours, and is a really elegant space that matches its unique ideas.
Lunch is quite adaptive to the atmosphere of Troy, but when asked about future expansion into new regions, co-founders Jessica and Karen expressed that they believe that the satellite kitchen idea could work in many spaces. However, the two are happy to stay local and provide for the immediate Troy community for the time being.
Whether it’s an organized event, an unlikely food producer, or an innovative platform for fulfilling local demands, Friday evening’s success serves as a reminder that good business can be as much about creating innovative connections as it is about creating innovative products, a lesson we can all use a little more of going into the future.
The Ohio Association of Realtors reported that the first month of summer, May and going into April, showed the highest record of home sales in the state, better than last year’s numbers.
The association said that the state’s housing market has not done this well since May of 1998 when buyers were purchasing nearly 16,000 new and pre-owned homes and condos with an average selling price of around $176,000.
Despite the continually climbing prices of homes across the state buyers are still purchasing homes and competing for the limited supply of available homes and condos they have to offer. The realtors association reported that the sales number from May of last year was just over 3 percent higher but the activity is nearly 2 percent more the following month, and it was predicted that sales for this year in May and April surpassed 152,000 homes which is almost a 3 percent increase from last.
Realtors in communities across the state believe that there will be a rise in listing of homes and condos and that the upward selling trend in this market will continue to move forward.
Statistics show that the average house being sold within an 18 county radius was just shy of $163,000 in May and the average condo sold during the same time was nearly $140,000.
Based on numbers reported by the National Association of Realtors the number of homes old across the county in May as recovered from last year’s numbers, with an upward trend of almost 3 percent from the previous year. Although the report only shows numbers based on previously owned homes that were sold the percent in sales went up by 1.1 percent.
That being said, the national average in sales price for previously owned homes was just over $252,000, which is less than what Ohio’s average is at just under $163,000, which could explain why the state is doing better in the area of home and condo sales than the national average.
Reports also stated that homes that were purchased in May had been listed for sale less than a month which is said to be the least amount of time on the market since realtors began keeping track of their listings almost a decade ago.
Experts in this field say that many factors play into the rise in home sales in the state such as a healthier job market across the country, recent drop in mortgage rates making it easier for homebuyers to purchase a home they want without the address financial stress.
That being said, there are still not many homes categorized in the affordable range, and yet homes continue to fly off the market faster than they become available. This competition in more demand than available homes for sale has realtors seeing homes that are on the market getting several offers. This in turns causes the prices to rise even more and thereby creating even more competition.
A small town in Shelby County, Ohio is now the most technologically advanced recycling center in the state, and possibly the nation. This took place when they added solar modules earlier this summer. This type of advancement for a facility of any kind is often seen with big businesses, but this local recycling center is actually quite small.
Solar modules are by no means cheap and for a small facility to be able to afford the installation is almost unheard of. However, this quaint recycling center was able to purchase solar modules with grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency and equally matched funds from one of the state’s solid waste management districts. The fund totaled over $250,000.
Aside from the 161 solar modules, an eddy current separator was also purchased and was first to be installed. The solar panels were put in place in late May, while weather was still in their favor. These two pieces together turned this small recycling facility in Shelby County into one that is top of the line in the state and the country.
This system has the ability to produce 55,000 kilowatts of electricity each year, which will definitely save the facility a lot of money in the long run.
An environmental company assisted the north district waste management team in the grant-writing process to help make this purchase possible. They also helped oversee other local projects of a similar nature.
The manager of this environmental company said that this solar energy system has the ability to produce about half the electricity needs of the facility each year, but in summer it can produce more than the recycling center will need and put that “juice” into storage.
He explained that when more energy is produced than used the meters start to run backwards, thereby charging the facility less for usage.
The current separator is used to pull aluminum items from the rest of the recycled items which will allow for single-stream type recycling. This encourages residents recycle by allowing them to dump all of their recyclables into one container, instead of having to meticulously separate them. All the separation will be done at the facility.
Although this way of recycling is easier for residents, and their other customers, it is a bit more work on the part of the recycling facility. The new system is more than capable of the separation process, and the state is seeing an increase in volume of incoming recyclables since introducing single-stream recycling.
The operations director for the north district of Ohio waste management said he knew they were headed in this direction years ago. They began changing their solid waste plan gradually with the anticipation that all cities would eventually turn to single-stream recycling.
Upon the completion of installing all the necessary parts to this recycling facility, management, staff and the state’s waste management team held a grand reopening to celebrate. This shift in how their recycling facilities will operate is helping state move forward and into the future.
Two Coldwater High School alumni one a freshman and another a senior at Ohio State University spent their summer studying and working aboard with the OSU Extension, Darke County.
Freshman, Rose, graduate high school just a year ago and is at OSU to study Agronomy, farm production and management. During her recent winter break instead of going home and enjoying a rest period of no school she jumped at the opportunity to study aboard in Nicaragua to learn about the county’s agriculture.
Rose, who tries to get involved in as many agriculture social groups at school as possible like the Agriculture Education Society and Weeds Team didn’t hesitate to travel to another country to learn about what she enjoyed.
She traveled to Nicaragua with the primary purpose of learning about the country’s coffee business. She said the best part of their trip was getting to stand so close and swim inside an extinct volcano.
This summer she interned locally. It less of an adventure than Nicaragua but she got some hands-on learning experience through the OSU Agricultural extension program, working at their various offices in Midwest Ohio like Mercer, Darke, and Auglaize counties, as well as a few others. Her summer internship was mostly focused on collecting information from different research projects for OSU educators.
Rose said she plans to use her experience and education at OSU to hopefully get herself a job as an agronomist in Ohio so she can stay local.
Another OSU extension participant was senior Logan, who is attending OSU to study a similar field as Rose – Agriscience Education; he is also a Colwater native and grew up on a farm.
During Logan’s summer study aboard semester he traveled to Honduras and was there for over two weeks to learn about the local culture and community development. He plans to take what he has learned with OSU to land himself a career in teaching others about agriculture.
Logan had said he was excited to get to participate in Darke County’s summer extension program though OSU because it will allow him to learn about his areas of interest which is agriculture and natural resources, as well as youth programs like 4-H and development, as well as matters in family and consumer sciences.
As part of his internship through OSU’s Darke County’s summer extension program he will be required to attend may local events through the county’s 4-H organization like their junior camp, fair board meeting, as well as many 4-H contests and working with the family and consumer sciences programs in the Darke County’s schools.
4-H is an agriculture based youth organization similar to Future Farmers of America clubs in public schools across the state and the country. It’s a great way for young people to get a head start on learning about the various aspects of agriculture like farming, growing plants and caring and raising quality livestock. This organization also teaches students the role of local farms and its importance.
Two Darke County residents have brought a new type of physical training to Midwest Ohio called F45 Training. F45 utilizes team work and helps people get the most out of their fitness experience.
If you’re not familiar with F45, it’s a type of training that is team based and utilizes functional movement, hence the ‘F’ in F45. This type of training is said to yield better results because the workouts are never repeated, which makes each session a new experience each time.
This type of training facility promotes itself as a place that builds great physiques and camaraderie, and even includes live music once a week.
F45 has quickly grown in popularity and their network of fitness gyms and studios are rapidly popping up in locations both nationally and internationally.
This Ohio duo hopes to open their facility this fall and wants to build their studio in a building that shares space with a local yoga studio in Greenville.
The Darke County team said that F45 training is ahead of the trend in terms of health and fitness in the US. They added, that because it is a team training type of workout, it encourages each member to help each other. This behavior prevents boredom and apathy, and promotes success and teamwork. Their training is broken up into days that focus more on cardio based workouts and other days that focus more on resistance training.
This unique form of physical fitness training is said to have started in Australia. It’s great for student athletes, non-athletes and adults of any age, all within the same workout environment.
The Darke County F45 team said their goal by opening this unique fitness studio is to help people get healthier and reach their fitness and personal goals. Their goal as trainers is to make the workout routines produce results for their clients.
F45 is a type of training, with roots in rehabilitative movements, that is often utilized by chiropractors to help patients retrain and heal after an injury.
Functional training utilizes movements that mimic what people do on a day-to-day basis whether that involves a lot of bending, walking, or lifting heavy items. The workouts are designed to mirror these types of daily activities. Each workout can be tailored to the individual for their specific needs, whether you’re a busy parent or training for a marathon. Workouts are designed to help participants achieve their personal goals in a realistic and achievable way. It also helps people perform their usual activities with greater ease and help avoid injuries in the first place.
For body building, F45 training uses weight activities to work the core muscles in the abdomen and lower back. Although there are many machines that work these areas, they’re not necessarily functional movements, in that they do not mimic regular movements done in their daily lives or sports. This type of training also focuses on balance in the body, building both strength and endurance.
A New Madison, Ohio couple who own a Kennedy Vineyard located at 3911 St. Rt. 722 in New Madison, Ohio, have expanded their business by adding four craft beers to their list of popular wines. This will make them the first official brewery in Darke County, Ohio.
The owners said they will have a separate brand name for their brewery but it will be doing business under their existing Kennedy Vineyard. Currently they are only offering four craft beers with a hearty oatmeal stout as their staple. They also have plans to add a seasonal beer and introduce regular variations with the other two beers.
The owners said their dark staple brew has been very popular so far. Since the brewery business is new to them, and not quite the same as running a vineyard, they have acquired the assistance of another brewery who will help them make choices that best fit their brewery.
With their name all ready to go and approved by the state of Ohio, and brewing equipment already making their way to the vineyard, they are just waiting for their license to get the ball rolling. They have chosen to get all of their beer-making ingredients from only local Ohio growers because they have no plans to grow their own hops any time soon.
The owners say for now they will be doing everything at their vineyard, which will allow them to remain focused on the local area. They have already stated plans to expand by adding a few more acres.
They decided to start their own brewery as an expansion to their winery when many of their customers who attended their events asked if they served beer. They didn’t just want to serve beer, they wanted to offer more. They wanted their beers to be handcrafted and the best that they could possibly offer their clients, just like their wine selections.
With wineries and breweries growing in popularity across the country, and especially Ohio, they saw a great opportunity to expand. They couldn't pass up the opportunity to become the first brewery in Darke County.
Ultimately, the goals for the owners is to meet all the needs of their customers. They have found that many of their customers enjoy a good craft beer just as much as a nice glass of wine. Another benefit of a brewery is the time it takes to produce a batch of beer is much less than a cask of wine. Where it takes about six months to produce a quality wine it only takes about 30 days for beer.
They expect to have a few craft beers for their customers to sample by their summer event, which will include dinner and a bottle of wine as well. If that’s not enough, the couple are even in discussions with a local company to have dinner items provided for their customers.
Their vineyard is located at a prime spot just off of Interstate 70, headed towards Indiana, and within a few hours drive from two of Ohio’s major cities.
Ohio’s Midwest region recently just finished planting their alfalfa in preparation for the winter. They’ll need it to keep their cattle fed through the off-season, but it’s not as easy as throwing out seeds into an open plot of turned soil.
One of alfalfa's biggest enemies are weeds, and before farmers start seeding their alfalfa in late spring, they have to be on the lookout for weeds. Yielding a healthy alfalfa crop is 95 percent reliant on weed control and keeping away competition for nutrients in the soil.
It’s suggested that farmers used the right fertilizer and an insect control method that is disease resistant. Using the right type of herbicides can help produce a good alfalfa crop and help control weeds significantly.
Weeds are not to be underestimated, if they get out of control they can interfere with everything alfalfa crops need for a successful, strong stem. They need light, space, and nutrients above all else. Interference from weeds can play a part in the type of crop that is produced and stability of the plant. Experts say that simply by keeping weeds in check, the yield for alfalfa could improve by about 8 percent.
Some tips to managing weeds when seeding alfalfa in the spring is to catch them before seeding. This is because weeds that grow with the crop are said to be the most competitive for water, space and nutrients. It’s also recommend that beds be kept weed-free for at least the first 60 days, and broadleaf weeds seem to be the most competitive for nutrients.
There are many types of weeds to keep in mind throughout the season, like summer weeds that can continue to pop up until June if the alfalfa stand is not a strong one. Perennial and biennial weeds can pop up after seeding, but the variants that cause the most problems for alfalfa stands are pigweed, ragweed and lambsquarters.
One way to control broadleaf weeds after seeding alfalfa is with herbicides like Bromoxynil, Pursuit or Raptor. But there’s always a risk with using any type of herbicide. Taking care to read the labels and following instructions very carefully, for the safety of the person spraying, and to keep crop injury to a minimum.
Herbicides like Clethodim and Poast are said to work well to keep annual grasses in check.
A little history and background on this crop favored by cattle, alfalfa is perennial plant that is part of the pea family and used as forage crop for cattle. It is also converted into a type of manure, among other helpful uses.
The plant itself looks much like a clover when its young but its leaves get longer as it matures. It is native to warmer climates. It’s used for a variety of things across the world, one of which, is as feed for livestock. The term alfalfa is only used in the United States however, in other countries it is called lucerne.
A new rehabilitation center opened for business with a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new facility located inside of an old bank building. This facility is located in downtown Wapakoneta in Auglaize County, Ohio and serves to assist residents who are looking for help in the areas of behavioral issues and substance abuse.
According to statistics on mental health and substance abuse, in the state of Ohio, about 89,000 teens from 2009 to 2013 have reported using illicit drugs, and about 253,000 people ages 12 to 20 reported binge drinking.
Reports from 2014 showed that Ohio is ranked at 39 out of the 50 states in adults with some sort of mental illness. That’s about 1.7 million people. Ohio also ranks at 28 when it comes to adults with drug and alcohol dependence, 8.86 percent of the population, just slightly higher than the national average of 8.46 percent.
The chief officer for this professional service said that they had a presence in this community many years ago, but due to some sustainability issues they were not able to stay. With the new facility they will not only serve Auglaize County but two neighboring counties as well, providing a much needed service to this region.
Their organization serves an area that encompasses eight Ohio counties. They decided to open a facility in Wapakoneta to reach residents who may not be able to travel long distances to their other facilities. This sometimes forced citizens who were too far away to go without the help they need. The chief officer said that before they opened their Wapakoneta office, residents in Auglaize County were having to travel long distances to other counties in order to utilize their service.
The Wapakoneta office is not only more conveniently located for many residents in the Midwest region of Ohio, but also offers a full service operation that is not offered at their other facilities. Services include diagnostic assessment, counseling, psychiatry, even residential services and employment.
This new facility also has a helpline that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those who are in need of immediate help. With their presence back in the communities for this region of Ohio, they hope to build a more personalized connection with those that they are helping. They want to provide a safe haven where people feel like they can go to get the help they need, free of judgment or fear of being turned away.
The return of a mental health and substance abuse facility to serve Midwest Ohio comes at a time when drug addiction is at its highest in the area. This professional service center wants to help break the stigma attached to these types of issues so people feel more at ease to seek help and talk about their problems. By getting the help they need, hopefully it will also help the affected get their lives back on a positive track.