Quick Takes

RECOGNIZED: Nikolas A. Kamarados, a certified financial planner and financial planner with Prudential Keystone Mountain Financial Group, located at 1001 Ardmore Blvd., Pittsburgh, recently was named a member of the Prudential Advisors President’s Council.

This program, established in 2011, recognizes the achievements of top-performing financial professionals.

The recognition reflects a commitment to helping clients achieve financial wellness by offering insurance and financial products that support their individual financial goals, whether estate planning strategy, business needs or retirement plans, officials said.

Kamarados, whose private office is located at Suite 1, 206 American Way, Weirton, can be reached at nikolas.kamarados@prudential.com and at (304)748-3156.

APPOINTED: As part of the Health Plan’s 2020 vision of engaging its health care facilities and providers, the company is undergoing some restructuring of its provider network services area.

The first stage involves the appointment of Valerie Ogilbee as the Health Plan’s director of provider engagement and quality initiatives. Her appointment was announced by Jim Pennington, president and CEO.

In her new role, Ogilbee will work with Brad Minton, vice president of provider network services, and Patricia Fast, vice president of government programs and operations for the Health Plan.

Ogilbee joined the Health Plan in April 2001 to complete an internship for the health services administration program at Ohio University Eastern. Most recently she was the director of quality analytics in the quality improvement department. She also served as the manager of health economics in the business intelligence unit and in the finance department as the health data manager.

Ogilbee received a masters of public health degree from West Virginia University in 2006. She also has certification in health care analytics.

UNCHANGED: Spending on U.S. construction projects was unchanged in January, held back by a sharp fall in commercial real estate building.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that spending on the construction of single-family homes rose 0.6 percent, while apartment building fell. Construction of commercial projects, such as office towers and malls, fell 2.7 percent. Construction spending on new power plants plunged 6.2 percent.

Construction spending rose in 2017 at the slowest pace in six years, as homebuilders have struggled to find enough workers and enough cheap land to build on. Total private construction fell 0.5 percent in January.

States and the federal government have made up for some of the decline, increasing their construction spending 1.8 percent in January.

AGE RAISED: Kroger is raising the minimum age to buy guns at its Fred Meyer stores, the third major retailer to place restrictions on gun sales that exceed federal law.

Like Wal-mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods a day earlier, Kroger says it will immediately limit gun and ammunition sales to people 21 and older.

The nation’s largest grocery chain said Thursday that recent events show that gun retailers need to take action.

Students returned this week to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida for the first time since a troubled teenager killed 17 people there, mostly children.

Fred Meyer sells guns at 44 stores in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Assault-style guns sales were ended everywhere but Alaska several years ago. Special orders for those guns are now unavailable in Alaska.

From staff and wire reports

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.