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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017

Karen and Rob Miller in DeShia The Country Shoppe on U.S. 127. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

After three decades of providing crafts and collectibles, the DeShia shop on U.S. 127 is closing.

Owner Karen Miller made the announcement on Thursday, noting that plans are to mostly close the shop by the end of the year, although the store will probably have some hours available in January to sell off inventory, as long as the building hasn’t sold by then.

“It was a practical business decision,” Karen Miller said, although she acknowledged the decision to close was also an emotional one to make after 30 years in business.

The Millers, Karen, a Van Wert native, and her husband, Rob, who hails from Michigan, returned to the area when Rob, now a retired educator, took a school administrator’s position in the area.

The couple, which had operated a home-based crafts business for several years in the early 1980s before moving to Van Wert, saw a building for sale at 11872 U.S. 127 that had housed an antiques business and decided to purchase the building to house their craft business.

The first year, the Millers sold fresh-cut Christmas trees and their own craft items, before adding craft items

“We had a flourishing business,” Rob Miller said, noting that he had retired from Van Wert City Schools and had taken an assistant superintendent’s position at Elida, but later retired a second time to help full-time with DeShia and start his own golf club sales and repair shop.


POSTED: 12/15/17 at 8:49 am

Michael W. Smith and “The Voice” winner Jordan Smith put on a fantastic Christmas concert on Thursday evening at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. The accomplished singers, accompanied by the Lima Symphony Orchestra, performed a wide variety of music, including a number of Christmas favorites. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 12/15/17 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

During the Peony Festival Committee’s monthly meeting on Monday, December 11, members voted on the entries from their recent “Name the Theme” contest. Lots of entries were received, and all were very good.

However, Nathan Vandenbroek’s entry “2018 Peony Festival — The Riches and Honor of Van Wert”, received the most votes.

Vandenbroek and his wife moved to Venedocia two years ago because of her work and chose the Van Wert area because of all the amenities here.
He said they have visited the Peony Festival and parade lots of times and really like it. Vandenbroek said entering the contest was his way of connecting with the community, adding that he had done some research on the peony flower and found its connection to China. This, in part, is what his theme suggestion was all about.
As a “thank you” for giving the 2018 festival a theme, the committee is rewarding Vandenbroek with a gift basket, recognition on the festival’s social media sites and during the festival, and the chance to be in the Grand Parade. He quickly accepted the chance to be in the parade with his wife and new son.

“The Peony Committee really appreciates all the wonderful suggestions that were sent in and wants to thank everyone,” said President Vicki Schulte.

Area residents should look for the next community contest, which seeks nominations for parade grand marshal. The contest allows community members to nominate someone they believe should be recognized in the community. Nominees should be a resident of Van Wert County, and someone who has done something that nominators feel deserves recognition.

Nominations open today and will be accepted until February 1, 2018. Nominations may be submitted by commenting or messaging on the Peony Festival’s Facebook post or calling 419.238.4002 and leaving a message.

POSTED: 12/15/17 at 8:32 am. FILED UNDER: News

Central Insurance’s Community Gifts Committee was able to help local families in need and provide gifts for 55 children in the community this year. Central’s Community Gifts Committee members, shown here with Lieutenant Josh Brookman from The Salvation Army, include (front row, from the left) Breanna Dennis, Julie Coleman, Lisa Jennings; (middle row) Lexi Doster, Jennifer Best, Kim Butler, Brandi Eller, Tammy Saxton; (back row) Morgan Schnipke, Sommer Myers, Becky Landin, John White, Cindy Dickson, Lisa Johnson, and Kim Ousley. Not pictured: Aimee Bassett, Brittany Bigham, Corrine Nouza, Denise Gutierrez, Linda Schulte, Nikki Stanton, and Patty Rupert. Central photo

POSTED: 12/15/17 at 8:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warns Ohioans to beware of phony offers for federal grants. In recent weeks, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received dozens of reports of grant scams from people across Ohio.

Mike DeWine

“Scam artists will call and say you can get a $9,000 grant from the federal government if you pay a few hundred dollars first. It’s a lie,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The truth is the scam artists will take your money, but you won’t get anything in return.”

The scam often begins when someone receives a phone call or Facebook message about a grant opportunity. Con artists may claim the person has been selected for a grant for being a good citizen, paying taxes, or not having a criminal record, and they tell the person to pay a few hundred dollars to cover processing fees or taxes in order to receive the larger payout. In reality, there is no grant and any money the person sends will be lost.

Most people who report the scam haven’t lost any money, but overall this year, about 50 people have reported losses ranging from $200 to $48,000 to grant scams. Payment usually is made using wire transfers or iTunes cards, which makes it difficult to track or recover the money once it’s sent.

To help consumers avoid grant scams, Attorney General DeWine offered the following tips:

  • Don’t pay up front to receive a grant one never applied for.
  • Be cautious any time one is asked to pay using a gift card, wire transfer, or money order, which are commonly used in scams.
  • Keep in mind that true government grants typically are awarded to organizations, not to individual citizens, and information about federal grants is available for free at

Report potential scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or by calling 800.282.0515.

POSTED: 12/15/17 at 8:28 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Van Wert Manor is hosting a meal benefit for the Mike and Amanda Chesbro family on Tuesday, December 19.

The family meal for four deal features barbecue pork sandwiches, chips, coleslaw, and chocolate chip cookies. Pick-up will be at the drive-through at Van Wert Manor, 160 Fox Road in Van Wert, from 4-6 p.m. on December 19.

Presale tickets can be purchased at Van Wert Manor. Limited tickets are available at the drive-through at the day of the event. For more information, call Van Wert Manor at 419.238.6655.

POSTED: 12/15/17 at 8:26 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Five people were arraigned on grand jury indictments, while eight more people appeared for a variety of criminal hearings Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Those arraigned include the following:

Johnathon Murphy Jr., 32, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of aggravated burglary, a felony of the first degree, and trespass in a habitation, a fourth-degree felony offense.

He was released on a personal surety bond, if he qualifies for electronically monitored house arrest, and is forbidden to have any contact with the alleged victim in the case, or be at Fox Road Apartments, 150 Fox Road. A pretrial conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, December 20.

Corey Davis, 25, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count each of illegal manufacture of drugs, a felony of the first degree, as well as second-degree and third-degree felony counts of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.

A $100,000 cash/commercial surety bond was set in the case and a pretrial conference set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, December 21.


POSTED: 12/14/17 at 8:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

PAULDING — Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) members will see a lower electric bill around the holidays. That’s because cooperative’s Board of Trustees recently approved returning $1.4 million to the its members. Members will see a credit on their December bill.

The money is being returned to members in the form of capital credits, also known as profits or margins.

PPEC is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, and one of the seven cooperative principles is members’ economic participation, which means members contribute equitably to the capital of the co-op.

“Simply put, this means that PPEC members contribute a portion of the capital necessary to grow the co-op,” said PPEC President/CEO George Carter. “Eventually, as the co-op is financially able to do so, the board approves the capital be returned, or ‘retired’, back to those members who contributed it originally.”

Including this year’s capital credit return, Paulding Putnam Electric has returned more than $21 million to its members.

According to Carter, this process is what sets them apart from other utilities.

“We’re not in business to make a profit for shareholders,” he noted. “If there is leftover money, we give it back to members. We return the money to members around the holidays because that’s when many people need it the most.”

Paulding Putnam Electric is a member-owned electric utility serving more than 12,900 member-owners in Paulding, Putnam, Defiance, Van Wert, and Allen counties in Ohio, and Adams and Allen counties in Indiana. For more information, visit the PPEC website at or follow it on Twitter or Facebook.

Anyone with questions about their capital credit refund should call PPEC at 800.686.2357.

POSTED: 12/14/17 at 8:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

Central employees donated more than 2,120 food, paper, cleaning, and personal hygiene products during this year’s “Caring Means Sharing” food drive. Donations will be distributed to 10 local organizations to help the less fortunate this holiday season. Food Drive Committee members included (from the left) Janet Rode, Sue Slagle, Anita Branch, Mary Dray, Keila Barnhart, Jessica Springer, Dawn Pohlman, Brittney Croft, Shonda Vorst, and Patty Rank. Not pictured: Carly Fortman, RJ Coleman, and Travis Owens. Central photo

POSTED: 12/14/17 at 8:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

CONVOY — Crestview eighth grade students are celebrating the holiday season by hosting a community meal at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Convoy on Tuesday, December 19.

Students will be in charge of planning, cooking, hosting, and cleaning up for this event. Each Christmas, Crestview Middle School students focus on a community service project in order to look past the lights and tinsel of the season and identify area needs within the Crestview community.

On December 19, students will be assigned tasks throughout the day at Redeemer Lutheran and at Crestview Middle School. The holiday meal will include creamed chicken sandwiches, noodles, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, cookies, and punch. Any local family or community member is welcome to join between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for this holiday lunch serving.

Because of the generosity of students and their parents, there will be no cost associated with this meal. Students are grateful to the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church for allowing the students to host this community meal in its Fellowship Hall.

For more information, contact James Lautzenheiser at or 419.749.9100, extension 2106.

POSTED: 12/14/17 at 7:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

It was December 1997 when Kirk Berryman began Computer Networking & Technology (CNT). The last two decades have seen many changes in technology — and even in how CNT does business.

CNT owner Kirk Berryman in the company’s computer repair area. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Berryman first got interested in computers while a marketing and management student at Lima Technical College in the mid-1990s.

“I did an internship at a small computer company in Lima,” Berryman said, noting that his knowledge of computers at the time was pretty much zero. “I didn’t know anything about computers, didn’t know what a hard drive was, didn’t know what a stick of memory was.”

That changed as he not only did sales for the company, but also basically self-taught himself to repair computers, ran cable, and set up small servers.

“I did everything from sales to home installs, to wiring, to server work, just a little bit of everything,” Berryman remembers.

The experience was so rewarding that Berryman decided to go into business for himself after the internship ended.

Things were vastly different from today, though, when he and two technicians set up shop in Van Wert in 1997.


POSTED: 12/13/17 at 8:42 am. FILED UNDER: News