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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Sep. 25, 2016

Van Wert Elementary School children learn CPR during a previous Kids Health Fair. (photo submitted)

Van Wert Elementary School children learn CPR during a previous Kids Health Fair. (photo submitted)

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert County Hospital and Van Wert Elementary School, along with several supporting partners, will host the 10th annual Kid’s Health Fair on Friday, September 30, at Van Wert County Hospital for Van Wert Elementary students in grades 3-5.

According to the World Health Organization, health is not just the absence of disease, but rather is the complete physical, mental, and social well-being of an individual. This approach to complete healthy living is the basis for the Kid’s Health Fair.

Students will complete activities at each of the following stations: Balance & Flexibility, Dental Health, Stone Quarry Safety (sponsored by Stoneco, a division of the Shelley Company), Hands-Only CPR, Backyard Safety (sponsored by The Kenn-Feld Group), Responding in an Emergency (in conjunction with Van Wert County Hospital Emergency Department and Lutheran Mobile ICU), Poison Safety and Tobacco Prevention (sponsored by Van Wert County Health Department), and Disability Awareness.

Special lunch-break activities include the opportunity to see an ambulance up close (sponsored by Braun Industries Inc.); hear how firefighters respond in an emergency and stay safe (sponsored by Van Wert Fire Department); see how police officers use K-9 dogs to help search for drugs; interact with the Van Wert County DARE Team; and the chance to practice talking with a 9-1-1 operator.


POSTED: 09/24/16 at 8:20 am


Trader Days continues this weekend at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. The event includes a number of flea markets and vendor sales booths. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/24/16 at 8:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday offered tips for consumers following the recent announcement by Yahoo of a data breach affecting some 500 million user accounts.

Yahoo has reported that the information was stolen in late 2014 and may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, “hashed” passwords, and some security questions and answers.

yahoo-logo-9-2016“When there’s news of a data breach, we encourage consumers not to panic but to take steps to help protect themselves,” Attorney General DeWine said. “For example, change your passwords, use a different password for each of your accounts, and watch for signs of possible identity theft, such as unauthorized charges on your account.”

Tips for affected consumers include:

  • Change your passwords and your security questions and answers. Change your Yahoo account passwords, and if you used the same password for other accounts, change those account passwords too. (Use a different password for each account.) Also change any security questions and answers you may have provided.
  • Use complex passwords. A password should be lengthy and it should contain multiple different characters, such as a variety of numbers, letters, and symbols. Consider taking a sentence you can remember and adding multiple different numbers and symbols throughout. Update your passwords regularly.
  • Consider using two-factor verification. Two-factor authentication requires a password and another step to verify your identity. For instance, some sites may require a password and then ask you to answer a question or enter a unique code to access your account. This adds a second line of defense.


POSTED: 09/24/16 at 8:12 am. FILED UNDER: News


Joe Steffan (right), vice president of the Convoy Community Foundation, presented a $1,000 grant to Danille Hancock, director of the Crestview High School “Knight Vision” show choir. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 09/24/16 at 8:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is honored to have the support of the business community of Van Wert and the surrounding regions. Each of this season’s events are sponsored by shareholders of the region who believe in supporting the arts as a way to enhance the quality of life in northwest Ohio.

Season Sponsors for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. (photos submitted)

Season Sponsors for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. (photos submitted)

In addition to the individual event sponsors, there are organizations that go above and beyond to sponsor the entire 2016-2017 “Ten Years of Wow!” season. This year, those recognizable positions are held by StateWide Ford Lincoln, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank and Chuck and Karen Koch.

These Season Sponsors will enable the Niswonger to bring the arts and entertainment industry to over 40,000 patrons this season.

The first event of the Grand Series will premier this today at 7:30 p.m. with jazz icons Jonathan Butler and Gerald Albright, presented by Chuck and Karen Koch and Jim and Theresa Robideau, and supported by Rex and Bev Fortney.

The Season Sponsors are collective in their vision of supporting a variety of entertainment to appease musical desires and quench musical curiosity. The “Ten Years Of Wow!” season is an ideal time for patrons to get curious and sample a style of music that is relatively new.

POSTED: 09/24/16 at 7:59 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News


The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce held another very successful Business Expo/Taste of Van Wert County event on Thursday at Wassenberg Art Center. Chamber officials said the turnout was even better than last year, the first year the event was held at Wassenberg. Here, Karen Miller of DeShia offers lots of delectable goodies and other items at her booth (click here for more photos). Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/23/16 at 7:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Calvary Preschool will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with an open house from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, October 9, at the school.

Calvary Preschool was envisioned by the Rev. Howard McCracken and the Calvary Evangelical United Brethren Church board when the church was located on the corner of Maple Avenue and Jefferson Street.  Judy Fox was hired as the first preschool director, as well as the education director for the church, and the preschool began in the fall of 1966 with Janet McCracken as head teacher and Judy Gribler Fox as her aide.

Calvary Preschool students hold up banners celebrating the Preschool's 50th anniversary. (photo submitted)

Calvary Preschool students hold up banners celebrating the Preschool’s 50th anniversary. (photo submitted)

Classes met in the basement rooms of the church, which also served as Sunday school classrooms. Fourteen children enrolled in the preschool’s first 4-year-olds class, while the second year a 3-year-olds class was added with Arlene Williamson as the teacher and Ruth Gribler the aide.  The Preschool continued to grow.

In 1969, the preschool moved to the Good Building on North Washington Street and met there until moving into the Educational Unit on Van Wert-Decatur Road at Sidle Road in the spring of 1975.

More than 60 women have been involved in teaching or helping at the preschool. They include Janet McCracken, Arlene Williamson, Ruth Gribler, Kay Ray, Beverly DeCamp, Marie Druckemiller, Connie DuVall, Marilyn Agler, Betty Stetler, Cheryl Ellis, Kay Habegger, Nancy Jones, Ronna Kyle, Delana Galbreath, Penny Barker, Ruth Schaadt, Joy Cox, Anita Baxter, Susan Kummers, Marilyn Deitsch, Esther Thatcher, Jill Putman, Ruth Rife, Judy Herminghuysen, Brenda Breece, Carolyn Baker, Martha Clark, Sue Riley, Sue Arn, Gina Say, Virginia LeValley, Pauline McGarvey, Mary Kay Ransbottom, Deb Springer, Dottie Bolton, Paula Giessler, Shirley Beard, Cindy Thornell Shotts, Joyce Coleman, Carolyn Jamieson, Loretta Williams, Susan Anspach, Deb Fegley, Diane Fisher, Sharon DeBolt, Charlene Ries, Brenda Merkle, Kandy Saunier, Lynette Westgerdes, JoAnn Collins, Andi McCune, Ashley Mengerink Whetsel, Heidi Breese, Michelle Jurczyk, Pat Lippi, Jill Amweg, Heather Riggenbach, Marie Markward, Jane Long, Vicki Chavarria, Nikki Money, and Melissa Wallace.


POSTED: 09/23/16 at 6:57 am. FILED UNDER: Church, News


Trader Days began Thursday at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. The event will continue through the weekend and will include Bluegrass music, as well as lots of flea markets and vendor sale items. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/23/16 at 6:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and 35 other attorneys-general filed an antitrust lawsuit Thursday against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, over allegations that the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and cause purchasers to pay artificially high prices.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Ohio A-G Mike DeWine

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, is accused of conspiring with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives from coming onto the market and to maintain monopoly profits.

The companies are accused of violating state and federal antitrust laws.

“Some people rely on this prescription drug to treat heroin addiction,” Attorney General DeWine said. “They shouldn’t be forced to pay higher prices or deprived of options because drug makers circumvent the law to maximize their profits. People deserve the benefits of fair market competition. When the product involved is used to treat addiction, the implications are even more significant.”

Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat opioid addictions by easing addiction cravings.

When Reckitt introduced Suboxone in 2002 (in tablet form), it had exclusive patent protection that lasted for seven years, meaning no generic version could enter the market during that time. The attorneys general allege, however, that before that period ended, Reckitt engaged in illegal “product hopping,” where a company makes modest changes to its product to extend patent protections so other companies can’t enter the market and offer cheaper generic alternatives.

According to the lawsuit, Reckitt worked with MonoSol to create a new version of Suboxone – a dissolvable film, similar in size to a breath strip. Over time, Reckitt allegedly converted the market away from the tablet to the film through marketing, price adjustments, and other methods. Ultimately, after the majority of Suboxone prescriptions were written for the film, Reckitt removed the tablet from the U.S. market. The complaint alleges that this was done to keep generic alternatives to Suboxone off the market and deprive consumers of the option of substituting a lower-cost generic alternative (currently, no generic alternative of the film is available).


POSTED: 09/23/16 at 6:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Most Ohio counties, including Van Wert County, saw a decrease in unemployment for the month of August, according to workforce estimates released this week by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

jobless-rate-map-8-2016Unemployment rates decreased in 72 of Ohio’s 88 counties, with jobless rates staying the same in 15 counties, and increasing in just one county (Lucas County).

In Van Wert County, unemployment decreased four-tenths of a percent, from 4.3 percent in July to 3.7 percent last month. According to labor force estimates compiled by the ODJFS, with assistance from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce stayed the same as in July at 14,600 people, while the number of people employed rose 100, 14,100, and the total of unemployed workers fell 100, to 500.

Unemployment in the county was also down a tenth of a percent from last August’s 4.8 percent estimate.

Among neighboring counties, Mercer County had the lowest unemployment rate locally and across the state, at 3.0 percent, down a tenth of a percent from July’s estimate of 3.1 percent. Putnam County had the second lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 percent, down two-tenths of a percent from July’s 3.5 percent, while Auglaize County was third at 3.5 percent, down two-tenths of a percent from 3.7 percent in July. Van Wert County was the fourth lowest, while Paulding County was next at 4.2 percent, down a tenth from 4.3 percent in July, and Allen County had the highest rate among neighboring counties at 4.6 percent, which was seven-tenths of a percent lower than July’s 5.3 percent unemployment rate.

Statewide, Mercer County had the lowest jobless rate, followed by Putnam County, Holmes County (3.3 percent), Delaware and Wyandot counties (3.4 percent), and Auglaize, Hancock, Madison, and Union counties at 3.5 percent.


POSTED: 09/22/16 at 6:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Western Buckeye Educational Service Center Governing Board handled a number of personnel action during its September meeting this week. Prior to that, Superintendent Brian Gerber also criticized the state report card system during his report to the board.

Gerber noted that state policymakers are developing new ways to rank schools all that time, but also talked about the frustration that comes with ever-changing standards.

WBESC logo 7-2015“Our students and staff are always striving to hit a moving target,” the WBESC superintendent said. “In northwest Ohio, our public schools are doing a tremendous job of educating all the children who pass through our doors. We do not pick and choose our students like private schools and charter schools.”

Gerber added that, while teachers have a tremendous amount of creativity to offer their students, they do not have the time or opportunity for that creativity because they are “bogged down” preparing their students for high stakes standardized testing.

“This is the reason we are losing good teachers, and the well is drying up with the future availability of high quality teachers,” Gerber noted. “College students who once aspired to be a teacher are changing their career path because of the nonsense taking place at the state educational level.

“The higher-ups at the state level have institute this entire standardized testing process and most have never spent a day teaching in their entire life,” he added, “but somehow they think they are experts when it comes to curriculum and instruction.:

The WBESC superintendent said Ohio needs to put some common sense back into education and “let the people who live and breathe it on a daily basis have some input on educational policy.”


POSTED: 09/22/16 at 6:53 am. FILED UNDER: News