Community Spotlight: Vinton County Creating Healthy Communities

Living a healthy life is easier when you live in a community that promotes healthy living. In Vinton County, there’s an effort underway to make it easier for residents to live safely and to embrace healthy choices. The Vinton County Creating Healthy Communities coalition (CHC) addresses healthy eating and active living through projects that will potentially have far reaching and long lasting effects.

The coalition exists thanks to a five year grant received by the Vinton County Health Department. Spearheaded by CHC Coordinator Jeri Ann Bentley, the coalition is made up of citizens, organizations and government offices that have partnered to provide everything from input to boots-on-the-ground workers. While the CHC has accomplished a lot in their first year, there is much on the agenda for 2021 and beyond.

The Coalition is divided into two subcommittees, allowing for volunteers to help with the projects they find most inspiring. The Healthy Eating Committee has been instrumental in creating a larger, more robust system of farmer’s markets in Vinton County. They have also created a healthy vending project and started a community garden this year. The Active Living Committee is working on a Complete Streets policy for McArthur, bike infrastructure and a major playground renovation project at Wyman Park.

A Vinton County native, Bentley is passionate about building a healthier community for her own family and neighbors as well as for generations to come. “A healthy community gives every person, regardless of age, ability or socioeconomic background the same opportunities to enjoy a good life, to eat well, to move about and to access all the resources the community offers just like everyone else,” she said.

Thanks to the CHC and a partnership with Vinton Industries, farmers markets can be found every Saturday morning in McArthur, Hamden and Wilkesville. Fresh produce, honey, Amish baked goods, handmade items, plants and flowers are among the things shoppers may find throughout the season

Vinton Industries is also spearheading the community garden where a $10 annual fee gives gardeners access to a plot of land as well as access to tools, Seven Dust and watering. Their program to offer healthy vending services and education for local businesses has been successful too. The goal is to offer a selection of tasty, healthier snacks that employees enjoy as much as traditional vending machine faire.

“I can’t say enough about Vinton Industries and what it has meant to have their support. They just took all these healthy eating initiatives and ran with them. It has really freed up my time and resources to focus on other things,” she said.

For example, she is working on a Complete Streets policy, written with support from McArthur Village Council. This will help village leaders plan for future projects that make the streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities. A walking audit last fall revealed many streets with broken sidewalks, missing curb-cuts and no sidewalks that are treacherous for pedestrians. “We aren’t saying the town needs to run out and put in all new sidewalks but we are helping them see places where new sidewalks are needed. We found places where there’s no curb cut so if you’re in a wheelchair you have no choice but to backtrack and find a way off the sidewalk so you can go out into the street,” she said. “By identifying the issues, we are making a sort of wish list that will allow us to make positive changes in the future.”

Pedestrian traffic before and after school will be addressed in the future too. “We’ve all seen how dangerous it is for kids just trying to get to school or trying to cross after school to get from the high school to McDonalds. There are simple, low cost solutions that can make it safer for our kids to cross the street when there’s a lot of traffic.”

The biggest project that Bentley and the CHC have taken on is a major playground renovation at Wyman Park. The aging playground equipment is potentially dangerous for youngsters. There are few opportunities for kids with disabilities to enjoy the playground and very small tots may struggle to play safely here.

The two existing large structures will be replaced with new ones. There will also be a number of smaller, ground level pieces of equipment like a fire engine and a caterpillar for imaginative play. Swings designed to hold children with disabilities, a sign language board, a tic-tac-toe board, a twister beam and metal park benches are part of the plan as well. A new rubberized surface is planned to be installed for enhanced safety.

CHC has received grant funding and some private donations have been promised to the Wyman Park Board but more funds are needed to complete the project. The Wyman Park Board has applied for some additional grants and is appealing to potential donors to help fund this project as well. Donors will be publically recognized for their generous support.

Meanwhile, the CHC will host Wyman Park Appreciation Day on June 26 from 4 p.m. until dark to raise funds for the playground project while celebrating the park and its importance to the community. Scheduled events are not yet set in stone but the group plans to have an adult cornhole tournament, vendor and craft fair, face painting, inflatable slide, food, live music, Kona Ice, and much more! This free community event will have fun activities for all ages to enjoy. Registration forms for the cornhole tournament and vendor fair will be available soon.

“We take pride in where we live and love our community. We just want to make it better for everyone, safer and easier for everyone to make good choices for themselves and their families. We’ve accomplished a lot in the last year but we’re excited about the future and all that we can do to improve this place we call home.”

Learn more about Vinton County Creating Healthy Communities and their upcoming Park Appreciation Day by following them on Facebook. Click to enlarge each image below for cornhole tournament registration, vendor and craft fair registration and for a flier about Wyman Park Appreciation Day!

Want to donate to the playground project or get involved in the other CHC projects? Contact Bentley at jbentley@vintonohhealth.org or at 740.596.5233.

Meet Your Banker: Cindy Moore Joins The VCNB Family

The VCNB Financial Family is happy to welcome Cindy Moore to our Friendly Bremen Banking Center. Moore is a Business Banker who brings to the job the enthusiasm and experience necessary to help businesses with all their banking needs.

Cindy Moore is a Business Banker in Lancaster.

She has actually worked in the banking world since 1991, serving in a number of positions including branch management, consumer lending, mortgage lending and commercial lending. While she has vast experience in banking, Moore’s expertise may actually be in understanding customers and helping with their needs. “I really enjoy learning about our customers, their business and being able to assist them with all their lending needs,” she said.

She is a graduate of the Blythe School of Banking, American Bankers Association Bank Management School and American Bankers Association School of Consumer Lending.

When asked why she chose to join the VCNB family, Moore referenced the bank’s core values and how they relate to the community and customers. “I chose to come work for VCNB because we pride ourselves in being a community centered organization. I appreciate our core values: integrity, leadership, community focus, progress and our relationship with our customers,” she said.

Moore lives in Lancaster with her husband Eric and they have two grown children and three grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, gardening and being outdoors.

Cindy Moore is excited to serve local businesses and help them reach their banking goals. Find her at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster or call her at 740.687.3920.  

Amanda Crabtree Joins VCNB Family in Jackson

Vinton County National Bank and Jackson County Banking Center are pleased to welcome Amanda Crabtree to the bank family. Crabtree is a veteran community banker and active volunteer in Jackson County.

Many area residents will remember her working in local community banking for sixteen years prior to being named General Manager at Total Media where she helped consolidate offices and improve efficiencies while rebranding and adding new services for customers. She recently joined the VCNB Financial Family to work from the Jackson County Banking Center as a Senior Business Banker.

Amanda Crabtree

“I’m excited to be part of the VCNB team. The people you work with are everything and VCNB has the best of the best. Jackson County Banking Center has really made me feel at home and it has been an easy transition as I have worked with most of my teammates while in my previous jobs at other banks,” she explained.  “You won’t find a friendlier group or one that’s more dedicated to customer service than the folks at VCNB and I feel fortunate to be able to work with them every day.” 

The Jackson resident is an active community volunteer. She is President Elect of Jackson Rotary Club, Treasurer of Support Our Soccer, Secretary of Apple City Players, Vice President of Southern Hills Arts Council and Vice President of Lillian Jones Museum. She is also a board member of Jackson County Airport Authority, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and Jackson County Economic Development Partnership.

She is a graduate of Jackson High School and Ohio Northern University where she majored in Public Relations and graduated with honors. Crabtree and her husband HD have four sons, two of whom are grown and living in Bexley. Their younger sons are teenagers who reside at home. In their free time, she and HD enjoy hiking, golf and travel.

Crabtree said her passion for local involvement stems from her desire to see her community and the entire region succeed.  “I’m a true believer that when one of us succeeds we all succeed. This truth is evident in our communities. When our local businesses are successful, it helps our local economy flourish. I love Southern Ohio and I love working with new and established businesses in the area to help them achieve their goals for success.”

Senior Business Banker Amanda Crabtree can be found at Jackson County Banking Center at 471 McCarty Lane in Jackson. Call 740.577.3562 to speak with her or to make an appointment.

Small Business Spotlight: Downtown Treatery

Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month! Today we visit Downtown Treatery, a bright and happy donut shop in Jackson where the owners hope to make you smile.

There aren’t many times in life that you will be encouraged to play with your food but that’s exactly what happens at Downtown Treatery. The Jackson donut shop opened just before the pandemic began and has provided much needed smiles for a growing legion of customers.

That’s partly because this isn’t just any ordinary donut shop. Step inside the brightly decorated storefront and you will be greeted by friendly staff, a delicious aroma and uplifting messages on the wall. The positive messages and whimsical décor including a bicycle table are designed to make every customer want to linger.

“Our donuts are great but we want you to come for the experience too,” Nicole Brennen said. She and her husband Brandon developed their unique format that allows customers to customize their orders with an array of icings, glazes and toppings. Essentially, customers can make their donut unique as fun to create as they are to eat.

Customers can also try the Downtown Treatery’s signature donuts with names like Oreo that’s topped with crushed Oreo cookies, the Piglet which features bacon and Extreme Butter Cup which is a chocolate and peanut butter lover’s dream. Their Michael’s Bubble is modeled off a popular treat from another Jackson area business – Michael’s Ice Cream where their daily fresh roasted peanuts top off their signature bubble sundae. These nuts are a prominent part of the Michael’s donut.

Other popular toppings include sprinkles, toasted coconut, Fruity Pebbles and chocolate chips. Icings include flavors like maple, strawberry, cream cheese and lemon while the assorted drizzles include marshmallow, peanut butter, raspberry and classic chocolate.

They also have other menu items like cream horns, brownies, cinnamon rolls, mini pies and beverages.

Another huge piece of the business is custom orders. “We do custom orders for any event you can imagine. We do weddings, birthday parties, bridal showers, retirement parties, gender reveal parties. You name it and we’ve done it,” she said.

“We chose bright, happy colors that kids like because we want to be family friendly and we want to people to smile when they come in. Everyone says just coming in brings a smile and we want them to be happy, to enjoy some donuts and to remember that life is pretty good. It’s not so bad. There’s a lot to smile about,” Nicole said.

Nicole and Brandon sweetly tag teamed the telling of the story that led them to want to open this shop. “It was all her idea. She had talked about it for a while. We had visited something similar on vacation years ago and one day she started talking to me about buildings,” he laughed.

“I knew it was something we should do and I just kept waiting for the right time. Everyone loves donuts, they make people happy. I believe that God has brought us to here to help others, to bring joy to others. I’m grateful to Him for that,” Nicole explained as she discussed how special and decorated donuts have become all the rage for celebrations in the area. “Everyone loves it and it’s another way we can bring a smile!”

When they found the building that would become Downtown Treatery, it had been stripped down to the studs, providing a blank canvas to create the space they need. They hung curtains over the front window during the renovation, waiting until opening day for the big reveal to the community.  “When I took down the curtains on the first day, there was a line stretched down the street,” she recalled. “It was incredible the way people showed up for us. I couldn’t believe it!”

That was January 25, 2020. Just six weeks later, the pandemic changed the face of life in Ohio and forced the couple to adjust their business model. “We had to adapt if we wanted to survive and we wanted to survive. Failure wasn’t an option so we started offering curbside pickup. You could order and we would bring your donuts right out to the car. If you’re a small business, you have to get creative.”

Nicole knows something about creativity. As a sports mom, wife, dental practitioner and small business owner she’s always had to balance, juggle and hustle but has done so more than ever this last year. “If it were easy, everyone would do it. I’m no stranger to hard work and I really love the challenge of making things work, finding ways around obstacles and reaching for my dreams,” she said.

Their dining room is open and there’s plenty of room for guests to social distance. Prior to the pandemic, they had welcomed parties of kids in to decorate their own donuts. “We loved doing that and can’t wait to do it again someday,” she said.

While Downtown Treatery is a special place for locals to enjoy, they also have a number of out-of-town guests including some who stop in while visiting town. “Jackson is such a wonderful place. Whether you live here or are just visiting, we welcome everyone to stop by for a donut and smile.”

Downtown Treatery is located at 229 Broadway Street in Jackson. Find hours, menu and more at their Facebook page!  

Darrell Boggs To Retire Friday

When Darrell Boggs took his first job in banking it was to earn some cash while he studied accounting at the University of Rio Grande. In fact, he never planned for a career in banking and had other plans altogether. Yet, he’s still at it and retiring this week after a lifetime of helping local people achieve their financial goals.

Darrell Boggs

“I honestly didn’t intend to stay in banking. I liked my accounting classes. That work made sense to me but I was tired of asking my parents for money. No young man wants to be dependent on his parents like that so I took a summer job doing something completely different and went to school at night,” he recalled.

When a position in banking became available, he jumped at the chance to work in a finance job where he could continue his education at night and make contacts that would serve him in the future. The year was 1978 and the rest, as they say, is history. He started out as Assistant Branch Manager, working his way up through different positions including Regional Manager and Head of Lending.

Darrell left that job in 2005 and spent six years farming with his dad before resuming his banking career with other banks in the region.

When VCNB was planning to open a loan office in Jackson, VCNB Head of Retail Brenda Doles came knocking. The two had experience working together and she thought he would be a good fit for directing the bank’s entrance to that community. Today he’s the Head of Commercial Lending.

“I have really loved working with Mark and for the company. I couldn’t ask for a better way to wrap up my career,” he said. “I’m thrilled with the staff we’ve developed here. Jackson County needed a good community bank and we’ve proven that time and again with the great customers who have come to us and the bankers that we have attracted to work for us here. I’m really proud of what we’ve built here – the building, the wonderful staff. It’s worked out better than we could have imagined.”

The Oak Hill area resident doesn’t plan to rest on his laurels in retirement. A lifelong farmer, he’s caretaker for a family farm that his parents moved to in 1967. “I plan to keep my cattle and farm as long as I can but I’m looking forward to traveling in the RV too,” he smiled, describing some of the places he and his wife have been with the RV and others he hopes to see.

His wife Marilyn is a retired Oak Hill Elementary School Principal. The couple have two grown children and two young granddaughters who they look forward to spending time with throughout the year rather than just during summer vacation. “We love to take the girls camping and to have them at the farm. We’re talking about getting everyone together for family trips and just look forward to seeing them more, having more time to enjoy our family.”

Will he miss banking? “I’ll miss the people. I’m ready to go but I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great people and have a lot of great customers. I’ll miss all the people.”

However, VCNB President Mark Erslan said that Boggs likely won’t be leaving the bank completely. “Given Darrell’s significant contributions to the bank, we’re working on a way for him to stay involved with the bank and enjoy retirement.”

Call, Click Or Come In!

How do you define easy? Here at VCNB we work hard to make it easy for you to get your new mortgage loan. We know that not everyone can come to the bank and that you still need to get your mortgage loan application started and the process underway.

That’s why our mortgage lenders are happy to do business however you like to do business. Want to come inside and sit down with a lender? Do you prefer to do things online? Does a phone call simply fit better with your schedule?

Whatever your choice – call, click or come in and our mortgage lenders will be happy to help!

Call 1.800.542.5004, click on VCNBfamily.com or visit your neighborhood Vinton County National Bank to get started. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Meet Your Banker: Sandy Wachenschwanz

Sandy Wachenschwanz was just a teenager when she took her first job in the banking industry. Forty two years later, she has worked in several aspects of local banks and recently transitioned into a new one here at VCNB. She is the bank’s newest Retail Lender in our McArthur location.

Sandy began her career serving in the Operations Department of a bank in Athens where she was a jack-of-all trades in the days before computers. “We did everything by hand. Returned checks, wires, balancing the general ledger. It was all done manually,” she recalled as she reminisced about the reasons she fell in love with banking. “I liked the logic of it all and solving problems,” she said.

Sandy Wachenschwanz is now a Retail Lender at VCNB’s McArthur location.

After nineteen years in that department she moved into mortgage lending and also assisted commercial processors with some duties. She moved up the ladder to work as a branch assistant manager while continuing to hone her mortgage lending skills. Along the way she learned well all sides of banking and the ways banks can help customers.

Sandy came to VCNB’s McArthur location in 2019 as branch Assistant Manager but was pleased this year to move back into her lending roots as a Retail Lender. “I really enjoy helping people achieve their goals and helping people figure out their finances so they can make their lives better. That’s a lot of fun and something I have always enjoyed,” she explained.

She credits having good teachers over the years, other bankers who led by example and helped her be a better lender. The Albany area resident has three children and three step-children. She and her husband Robert enjoy their nine grandchildren and the benefits of having a big family. She is actively involved in her church as a Sunday School teacher and Church Secretary.

“I’m happy to be here in McArthur helping local people achieve their dreams and build better lives. I invite anyone seeking a loan or who is not sure where to start to get in touch so we can talk,” she said.

Reach Sandy in the McArthur office at 740.596.2525, Extension 2212 or email Sandra.Wachenschwanz@vintoncountybank.com.

Three Ways Online Bill Pay Can Help You

VCNB Online Bill Pay can save you time, money and hassle!

VCNB Online Bill Pay was designed to save you time and make your life better. If you haven’t tried it, we have three good reasons why you should!

  1. Stay organized by scheduling all your bills to pay from one place! Set up email reminders when a bill is due so you never miss a payment. If you receive eBills through our Online Bill Pay, you can even receive notification when the bill arrives. Need to know if a bill has paid or how much you paid last month? Search your bill history by company name, status or date to get your answers.
  2. Feel good knowing it’s the cheapest and the safest way to pay. There’s no need to buy checks or stamps when you can send money electronically. This means there’s no worry that your money will get lost in the mail or land in the wrong hands.
  3. Automate your bills or take control of your scheduling – whatever way works best for you! Automatic payments are great for bills that stay the same each month like a car payment or insurance. You can also log in and schedule each payment individually.

Please remember that accounts registered for Bill Pay that do not make at least one payment during the calendar month will be assessed a $3 fee. Want to learn more? Click here for details or log into your account through Online Banking or VCNB Mobile to get started.

Three Steps To Managing A Credit Card

A credit card can be a useful tool when managed mindfully. Setting and following ground rules is a powerful first step to success.

Whether you have your first credit card or have gotten yourself into trouble with several, it’s never too soon or too late to learn good credit card management habits.  Here are some rules to live by.

Know Your Why

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to set some ground rules for yourself. First, you need to decide why you have a credit card.

Some cards offer incentives for using them. For example, the Visa® Platinum Card at VCNB offers UChoose® Rewards Points for every purchase. These points can be redeemed for incentives like gift cards, cash back and travel. Many of our customers use this card for much of their spending and then pay off the balance when it’s due.

Some credit card holders keep their cards for emergencies. If the fridge dies or you have a medical issue, a card to help you past this bump in the road offers peace of mind. Others use their card only for building credit or for specific kinds of purchases like hotels when they travel or just at the gas pump.

This is a personal decision for you to make and there’s no wrong answer.

Keep Your Debt In Check

We caution customers against allowing debt to accumulate. In fact, we encourage customers to never charge more than they can afford to pay off in a month and to actually pay off that balance monthly. Even a small balance left unattended can accumulate large interest charges and snowball into a massive sum over time. In fact, making the minimum payment on even a few hundred dollars could be costly: added interest could amount to hundreds of dollars over a period of years before the debt is paid off.

Make A Plan For To Pay Off Debt

If you have credit card debt, we recommend making a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible.

For most people, the first step toward paying off debit is making a realistic budget. Click here to read about the basics of building a good budget.  If your budget is tight and you think you don’t have extra money for paying off that debt, click here for some practical ways to cut expenses.

Finally, avoid accumulating more debt while trying to pay off the old. It may be a challenge but you’ll never see a zero balance if you keep charging what you can’t afford. For more on this topic, visit our partners at Nerd Wallet who have a repayment calculator and tips to help you.