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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016


Linda Lape cuts the ribbon on the 2016 edition of the Van Wert Apple Festival on Friday morning. Lape is the daughter of the late Carl Lape, the longtime Van Wert County Fruit Growers Association member and past president to whom this year’s Apple Fest was dedicated. Looking on are Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger, Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce board members and other Fruit Growers Association members. The festival continues today at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:57 am

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Fire Prevention Week in the Van Wert schools is a busy time for the Fire Department. Planning for this starts months before the usual and customary October kick-off.

All of the county fire departments work with a fundraising group called Creative Safety in the spring.  Creative Safety raises funds locally within the county to be used by Crestview, Lincolnview, and Van Wert school districts for the Firefighter Phil Program.

Local students exit the smoke-filled Fire Safety House this week. (photo submitted)

Local students exit the smoke-filled Fire Safety House this week. (photo submitted)

This program usually is done a week or two prior to Fire Prevention Week and teaches children about fire prevention and fire safety. It also encourages positive behavior like honesty, civic responsibility, and knowing what to do in case of an emergency. There is a live presentation from “Magic Tom”, who uses magic, games, and ventriloquism to engage children in the fire safety lessons. This program also funds a grade-specific activity book and other interactive materials for children to take home to work on with their parents or guardians.

During Fire Prevention Week, the Van Wert Fire Department rolls out its Fire Prevention Trailer, a 36-foot long mobile classroom used to instruct district third-graders. The current trailer was purchased in 2007 and has been in continuous use in a variety of districts each year.

The trailer has bleacher seating for 24 students and numerous interactive features. There is a variety of props instructors use to teach specific actions, such as feeling a heated door, hazards common to stoves and fireplaces, and the dangers of extension cords, especially those under rugs or carpet. Instructors discuss and demonstrate how to call 9-1-1, the importance of pre-fire planning, and having an escape route and the use of a fire alarm pull station.

The back half of the trailer simulates a child’s bedroom and is ultimately filled with safe smoke simulating what it is like in actual fire conditions, which is a highlight of the training. Children are taught different escape routes, and then must use the route as part of the training drill.

The city fire department will also conduct a coloring contest in grades K-3 in April. Winners of the contest are selected from each grade, and, from these class winners, a building winner is chosen from St. Mary’s, Van Wert Elementary School, and the Van Wert Early Childhood Center. In May, the students who are the building winners are driven to school in a fire truck.

POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:52 am. FILED UNDER: News


An accident that occurred Friday at the intersection of Ohio 118 and Wren-Landeck Road remains under investigation, with little information available at this point. The accident, which occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Friday, involved a car (above) and a semi tractor-trailer rig (below).  No injuries were reported, although there was heavy front-end damage to the car, and the semi overturned following the collision. photos by Rick McCoy for the Van Wert independent


POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

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The Van Wert Soil & Water Conservation District’s 67th annual meeting will be held Tuesday, December 6, in the commons area of Vantage Career Center, 818 N. Franklin St. in Van Wert.

Dr. Christopher Winslow

Dr. Christopher Winslow

An election will be held to elect two members of the Board of Supervisors from the following candidates: Robert Gehres, Craig Pohlman, and Kris Young.

Registration and voting will take place from 5:30-6 p.m., with a dinner catered by Elegant Beginnings Catering served, starting at 6 that evening. A program will begin at 7 p.m., with the SWCD honoring the “Conservation of the Year” recipient, while a scholarship recipient will be recognized. Speaker for the evening is Dr. Christopher Winslow from The Ohio State University Extension, who will be discussing “Lake Erie Algae, Nutrient Loading, and Current Research Efforts”.

For the past 11 years, Dr. Winslow has been employed at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. His research training has roots in fish ecology, with an emphasis on the impact of invasive species. He continues to address invasive species impacts, but his research and outreach efforts now include other issues critically important to Lake Erie. Those issues include nutrient loading, harmful algal bloom causes and impacts, dredging activity, coastal community resilience and growth, and the impacts of climate change.

Tickets must be purchased by Wednesday, November 23, and are available at the Van Wert SWCD office, 1185 Professional Drive in Van Wert, or from Darryl Ricketts, Bob Gehres, Craig Pohlman, Dick Rice, Dave Kemler, or Julie Buggle. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 2-10 years of age.

POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: News


The Van Wert High School Vocal Music Department will be presenting a fall concert on Thursday, October 27, at 8 p.m. at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. The Freshman Choir, Sophomore Women’s Choir, Select Choir, and Concert Choir will all be taking the stage. The ensembles will perform a variety of pieces, including numbers from Les Miserables and Wicked and songs representing different musical styles.  Admission is free. Come out and enjoy a great night of music. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

PAULDING — There will be an open house held at the Paulding County Jail, 500 E. Perry St. in Paulding, on Sunday, October 30, from 3-6 p.m. This will be an opportunity for Paulding County residents to walk through the jail and see what their tax dollars are paying for.

“A citizen at one of my public meetings suggested I should hold an open house to allow folks to see what we are paying for, and that it is empty,” said Sheriff Jason K. Landers. “I felt this was an excellent idea and I hope everyone who might be undecided about where they stand regarding the additional tax levy to hire the additional jobs it takes to run this place will come take a tour and ask questions.

“I believe folks will be shocked to see this facility has been sitting empty and unused for eight years,” said Sheriff Landers.

For more information about the jail, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 419.399.3791, or leave information on Facebook by searching “Facebook/Paulding County Sheriff’s Office” or access the office’s website at and leave an email for Sheriff Landers.

Anonymous tips can also be left on the website by scrolling to the bottom of any page and clicking on “send us an anonymous tip.”

POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:26 am. FILED UNDER: News

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Crestview High School will be performing the musical Mary Poppins on November 11-12.

MP_LogoStacked_2012_4C_without.sparkles_VectorThis practically perfect musical features the stern Mr. Banks, who has a constant need for order, his wife Winifred, who just wants her family to be happy, their two children, who are in desperate need of a nanny, and the chimney sweep Bert, who certainly makes everything more fun.

Come along and watch as the incredible Mary Poppins appears, takes the children on magical adventures they’ll never forget, and impacts the lives of young and old.

Tickets for the heartfelt and entertaining show are $7 and will go on sale October 31 in the high school office. Do not miss out on a spoonful of fun!

Disney’s Mary Poppins is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI,

POSTED: 10/22/16 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

CONVOY — The Crestview Local Board of Education talked about school safety, as well as health insurance increases, and the district’s permanent improvement levy campaign during its October meeting on Thursday.

Crestview Local Board of Education President John Auld talks about school safety during the board's  October meeting on Thursday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Crestview Local Board of Education President John Auld talks about school safety during the board’s October meeting on Thursday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Crestview High School Principal Mike Biro talked about a Safe School drill at the school on October 3, noting that school officials and staff later met with Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach and his staff to talk about what went right, and what needs to be improved.

“The biggest thing is, we can practice, but you’re not practicing for what really happens,” Biro noted. “We’re trying to plant some future seeds for teachers and students to think.”

Biro and Board President John Auld also attended a recent seminar on school safety, with Auld saying he felt the seminar provided some valuable information.

Biro also reported that all Crestview juniors will be traveling to Defiance next Tuesday to take a practice ACT test. He noted that taking the practice test would hopefully give juniors a better idea of what the actual test will be like when they take that in November.

Superintendent Mike Estes talked about a recent meeting of the Van Wert Area Schools Insurance Group (VWASIG), noting that health insurance premiums will be going up 20 percent, while dental premiums will rise 18 percent for the coming year. Deductibles were also increased, as well as out-of-pocket expenses for school health plans.


POSTED: 10/21/16 at 8:26 am. FILED UNDER: News

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LATTY — Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced the launch of the Village of Latty and the Village of Scott’s online checkbooks on In December 2014, Mandel launched, which sets a new national standard for government transparency and for the first time in Ohio history puts all state spending information on the Internet. recently earned Ohio the No. 1 government transparency ranking in the country for a second year in a row.

Latta Fiscal Officer Kay Miller and Scott Fiscal Officer Hilary Yoder with signs noting their villages' participation in the Ohio project. (photo submitted)

Scott Fiscal Officer Hilary Yoder (left) and Latta Fiscal Officer Kay Miller with signs noting their villages’ participation in the project. (photo submitted)

The Ohio Treasurer’s office was joined at the announcement by Village of Latty Fiscal Officer Kay Miller and Village of Scott Fiscal Officer Hilary Yoder. Latty is the first municipality in Paulding County to post its spending on, and Scott is the first entity in Van Wert County to post its spending on

The following is a breakdown of these two local government sites:

  • Latty’s online checkbook includes over 2,200 individual transactions that represent more than $409,000 of total spending over the past four years.
  • Scott’s online checkbook includes over 2,300 individual transactions that represent more than $396,000 of total spending over the past three years.

“I believe the people of Paulding County and Van Wert County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent, and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with my office to post the finances on,” said Mandel. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”

“The Village of Latty is very excited to be one of the first entities in Paulding County to allow our leaders and constituents access to this very powerful tool,” said Miller. “As Fiscal Officer, I am passionate about transparency in government. clearly illustrates how the Village of Latty is operating and will hopefully stimulate interest and encourage participation in our local government.”

“The Village of Scott is very excited to be the first entity in Van Wert County to allow our leaders and constituents access to this very powerful tool,” said Yoder. “ will allow our village to become more efficient and create even stronger relationships with our citizens.”


POSTED: 10/21/16 at 8:21 am. FILED UNDER: News


Citizens National Bank recently held its 2016-2017 United Way of Van Wert County Campaign. Participation in the campaign this year greatly increased over 2015. Employees made donations to help support local agencies currently receiving funding from United Way and participated in the Day of Caring food drive bank challenge. The Van Wert office of Citizens National Bank is a full-service branch and investment center providing all your retail or commercial financial needs. Investing in the Van Wert community by supporting local non-profits and schools through several initiatives. (United Way photo)

POSTED: 10/21/16 at 8:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

Kayla Krites with her Read On Ohio award. (photo submitted)

Kayla Krites with her Read On Ohio award. (photo submitted)

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At its statewide conference, the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA), Ohio’s professional association for K-12 school librarians, announced the recipients of the Read On, Ohio! Award for Children and Teens.

The award celebrates avid readers nominated by school librarians in the following categories: primary (K-2); intermediate (3-5); middle (6-8); and high (9-12). This year marks the first year Read On, Ohio! was awarded to eight very deserving students from across the state.

OELMA is pleased to announce that Kayla Krites, a seventh grade student from Van Wert Middle School, is the recipient of this first-time award. In her nomination letter, school librarian Nellie Schmidt noted that “Kayla’s love and enthusiasm for reading make it exciting to discuss books with her. She is also the first to help other students by suggesting books and even taking them to the stacks to show them where to find something.”

POSTED: 10/21/16 at 8:10 am. FILED UNDER: News