LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Keiser University, 6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Lakewood Ranch, is hosting a Spring Fling open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 16 at its campus.
This family friendly open house will feature programs in healthcare, business, technology and legal fields. Keiser University's faculty, staff and students will join festival-goers for refreshments, candy, campus tours and prizes.
Keiser University offers numerous doctoral, master's, bachelor's and associate degrees. The school offers semesters that build on one class at a time for one month at a time, designed to foster a healthy balance between life, work and study.
For more information visit KUopenhouse.com or call1.888.844.8404.
Real Estate company ranks among top franchises
SARASOTA -- For the second year in a row, Sarasota-based Help-U-Sell Real Estate was rated among the top franchises in the United States based on the results of a survey of the company's franchisees. The survey was conducted by national franchise market research firm Franchise Business Review.
The awards program is the only one that ranks companies based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction. Best in Category and Honorable Mention awards are given in 14 industry categories, and the top 50 companies are named in four size categories.
Help-U-Sell Real Estate finished 45 overall in the mid-size systems group and in the top 10 in the real estate category.
"One of the best ways to know if a brand is really as good as it says is to look at a brand's franchisee satisfaction data," Franchise Business Review president Michelle Rowan said.
"We're extremely proud of our brokers and what they have accomplished over the past year. We work very diligently alongside our brokers for our collective success," said Ron McCoy, Help-U-Sell Real Estate's vice president of business development.
In 2012, the franchise's offices increased production, by 16 percent compared with 2011.
Franchise Business Review surveyed current Help-U-Sell Real Estate franchisees to assess their satisfaction with the company. The survey included 33 benchmark questions relating to the franchisee's experience and satisfaction as well as market area, business lifestyle, and other demographic characteristics. More than 26,000 franchisees representing more than 350 franchise brands participated this year.
Free first-time home buyer class offered
BRADENTON -- Catholic Charities of Manatee County will offer a free First Time Homebuyer Class from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. March 16 at the Bradenton Central Public Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W., Bradenton.
Four topics to be covered include: Steps To Successful Homeownership, including funds available
to first-time home buyers as well as fair housing rights; shopping for a loan which covers items required to get a loan, budget and money management and the loan and application process; shopping for a home which includes what to know when looking for a home and realtor, understanding a sales contract and negotiation and home inspection; and what it means to be a home owner, how to care for your home and maintain it, security issues and avoiding foreclosure. Participants will be eligible for assistance from Manatee and Sarasota Counties bond and/or grant programs for down payment and closing costs.
For more information or to register for the class, call Catholic Charities of Manatee County at (941) 714-7829.
Chavez death brings uncertainty, hope to oil patch
HOUSTON -- Following Tuesday's death of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela faces near-term political uncertainty that could bring further turmoil to its oil industry.
The country's oil exports fell by nearly half during Chavez's 14 years as president and that kind of decline is not easily reversed. It will take years of investment to turn around the country's beleaguered oil sector.
But whoever emerges as the next leader of Venezuela, an OPEC member that sits on the world's second-largest oil reserves, will have a powerful economic incentive to make that a top priority.
Former GM executive tapped for Toyota board
TOKYO -- Toyota has tapped a former executive at U.S. rival General Motors to join its board, the first time in the Japanese automaker's 76-year history that it is appointing directors from outside the company.
The appointment of Mark Hogan, effective April 1, underlines efforts at Toyota Motor Corp. to become more internationally minded, transparent and nimble in regional markets as it recovers from difficult years, including a massive recall fiasco in the U.S.
Under changes announced Wednesday by President Akio Toyoda, Toyota will set up a new division to oversee North American, European and Japanese markets and another for emerging markets.
-- Herald staff reports