The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 26, 2018

Van Wert County community members helped the County Board of Developmental Disabilities celebrate its 50th anniversary on Thursday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert Board of Developmental Disabilities celebrated a half-century of serving the county’s residents on Thursday, with hundreds of people coming out for a lunch of Gibson’s Backyard BBQ pork and chicken, and to meet and greet with staff and board members.

In 1967, Ohio House Bill 169 established county boards of mental retardation, and that same year, the City of Van Wert established its own charter board. That first board was comprised of the Rev. Dean Check, Edwin Bates, William Hetrick, Robert C. Young, Dr. Harold Smith, Glen Jenkins, and Anne Smith. In 1968, the board began serving its first class of children at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.

In 1970, an adult program was established at the former Van Wert County Hospital on Central Avenue, with the board relocating services following construction of a new facility at its current site on North Franklin Street.

In 1978, the board established Thomas Edison Center Inc., a not-for-profit entity dedicated to providing work for adults with developmental disabilities. A Stimulation Program was established in 1979 for children ages birth through 3 years of age.

In 1980, the board began construction on an 8-bed residential facility on North Franklin and changed the name of the entity to the Van Wert County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD), and also began providing case management services.


POSTED: 05/25/18 at 8:28 am

VW independent/submitted information

The YMCA of Van Wert County Camp Clay Aqua Park season is ready for a great summer. Opening day is this Saturday, May 26, from noon-6 p.m. With the generous sponsorship from business day partners, admission during the Memorial Day weekend is just $3 per person.

Area residents asked, and the YMCA listened. Hours of operation this year will be noon-6 p.m., seven days a week. Admission is $3 per person Monday-Thursday, thanks to the YMCA’s generous Business Day sponsors. Admission Friday-Sunday is just $5 per person.

YMCA Camp Clay Aqua Park opens to the community this Saturday. Admission is $3 per person over the Memorial Day weekend. photo provided

Also new in 2018, the rock climbing wall will be available every day for climbing from 3-4 p.m., for $5 per person.

Camp Clay facilities have so much to offer, including overnight cabin rentals; a 3,400-square-foot shelter house with electricity throughout; high ropes and team building initiatives courses; a Nature Center; self-guided nature walking path and so much more.

Information about this and other programs available at the Van Wert YMCA can be found by calling 419.238.0443 or visiting, with a full video of the Camp Clay facilities and Aqua Park.

The YMCA of Van Wert County is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation and United Way.

POSTED: 05/25/18 at 7:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

Crestview Local Schools recently hosted their annual Mini-Relay for Life. Elementary students competed as classroom teams to see not only which class could raise the most money to help fund cancer research, but also to see which class could run the most laps. The elementary students raised $1,200 and ran a combined total of over 3,700 laps around the track. Middle school and high school students managed to beat the rain on Monday and worked together to make a donation of $1,800 to The American Cancer Society. Here, Student Council members A. McCoy, A. Sheets, L. Bowen, and I. LaTurner present their donation to the American Cancer Society of Van Wert County’s Relay for Life representative Cheryl Eddy.Crestview photo

POSTED: 05/25/18 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 has listed road projects for the coming week. Those projects, in Van Wert, Paulding, and Putnam counties, include the following:

U.S. 30, between the Indiana state line and Ohio 49 north, will be restricted to one lane in both directions through the work zone for a rehabilitation project that will include resurfacing and concrete joint repair of U.S. 30. The project will continue until early July. Work is being performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

Ohio 66 over U.S. 30, northwest of Delphos, will be affected by a bridge repair project. The project also includes resurfacing on Ohio 66 between Delphos and Ottoville and on various routes within Delphos and Ottoville. Work is being performed by Bluffton Paving of Bluffton.

The project is anticipated to have the following impacts to traffic:

  • Ohio 66 over U.S. 30 closed May 22 for approximately 21 days for bridge repair. The ramps at the interchange of Ohio 66 and U.S. 30 will remain open.
  • Southbound traffic is detoured onto U.S. 30 westbound to Middle Point-Wetzel Road to U.S. 30 eastbound back to Ohio 66. (see map)
  • Northbound traffic is detoured onto U.S. 30 eastbound to Fifth Street to U.S. 30 westbound back to Ohio 66. (see map)
  • Ohio 66, Ohio 190, and Ohio 697 within the city of Delphos will be restricted to one lane at various locations for pavement repairs and work on curb ramps and sidewalks.
  • Ohio 66 and Ohio 189 within the village of Ottoville will be restricted to one lane at various locations for work on curb ramps.

Ohio 709, between county Road 103 and Goodwin Road, west of Venedocia, was closed May 14 for approximately three weeks for the replacement of three culverts. Traffic is detoured onto Ohio 116, Ohio 81 and U.S. 127 back to Ohio 709. Work is being performed by the ODOT Van Wert County maintenance garage. (see map)


POSTED: 05/25/18 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A total of 10 people appeared over the last week for criminal hearings in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Three people were arraigned during the week on a variety of criminal charges.

Robbie Coffey Jr., 31, of St. Marys, appeared Thursday, May 17, and entered not guilty pleas to a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired, a felony of the fourth degree because of at least one previous OVI conviction.

Judge Martin Burchfield released Coffey on a personal surety bond and scheduled a pretrial conference for 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 11.

Donald O’Day, 41, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the third degree, during an arraignment hearing on Monday. Judge Burchfield set a $10,000 cash or commercial surety bond in the case and O’Day will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 30.

Kyley Gardner, 30, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated possession of drugs, both felonies of the fifth degree. She was released on a surety bond and will appear for pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 18.


POSTED: 05/24/18 at 7:12 am. FILED UNDER: News

A house on the corner of Walnut and Second streets that was gutted by fire in March of this year is shown being demolished by workers from Ron R. Dull Excavating in Van Wert through the Van Wert County Land Reutilization Corporation (land bank) program. photos by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 05/24/18 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The American Red Cross is seeking volunteers for a number of disaster preparedness and response programs. On Saturday, May 26, from 10 a.m. until noon, at Van Wert Health (hospital Conference Room A) interested individuals can meet disaster volunteers and staff to learn more about local opportunities.

During this past year, Van Wert County disaster volunteers have made a significant impact on the community. They’ve assisted 17 families affected by home fires and other disasters, installed over 200 smoke alarms through the Sound the Alarm, Save a Life campaign, and trained over 425 elementary students in disaster preparedness through the Pillowcase Project.

“We are blessed to live in a community that is full of everyday heroes who help others in need,” said Derek Stemen, executive director of the West Central Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We’re looking for additional volunteers that want to make a difference by offering comfort and hope to those in need.”

Volunteersmake up about 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce. By mobilizing the power of volunteers, the Red Cross responds to a community disaster every eight minutes, providing shelter, food, emotional support, and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans, and their families at home and around the world. It collects 14,000 units of blood every day to fulfill the country’s needs. It trains millions of people in first aid, water safety, and other lifesaving skills. And it makes communities safer by installing free smoke alarms all across the nation. 

Consider joining the Red Cross today!  To volunteer, contact the Red Cross at 419.905.8302 or

POSTED: 05/24/18 at 7:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

Hickory Sticks Golf Club is sponsoring the YMCA Camp Clay Aqua Park and Splash Pad on Monday, May 29. Due to the company’s generosity, admission to the park is $3 per person. Shown are YMCA Camp Clay Director Kevin Morrison (second from right) and the staff of Hickory Sticks.YMCA photo

POSTED: 05/24/18 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

In conjunction with this summer’s Van Wert Peony Festival event, held Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, the Optimist Club of Van Wert will again sponsor an art show for talented students from Van Wert County.

Earlier in May, letters were sent out to area school art teachers asking for submissions from their students. Participants will need to have all submissions matted for ease of display, no larger than 18 by 24 inches.

All submissions will be on display during the festival. Friday, June 1, all winners will be identified with first place designations. Everyone will have an opportunity to vote for a People’s Choice award winner until noon Saturday June 2.

Winning submissions will be professionally matted, framed, and displayed at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

POSTED: 05/24/18 at 6:54 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

HAVILAND — The 94th annual Blue Creek Alumni banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Wayne Trace High School. Doors will open at 4:30 that afternoon for visitation.

The classes of 1948, 1958, and 1968 will be recognized. Cost of the banquet is $14 per person. Reservations should be made as soon as possible by sending them to Annette Hirn, 11795 Dull Robinson Road, Van Wert, OH 45891 or call her at 419.238.2851. Advance payment is preferred with the reservation.

Any graduates who did not receive notification are encouraged to make reservations and join classmates. Wayne Trace graduates are welcome to attend.

POSTED: 05/24/18 at 6:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Unemployment remained steady in Ohio, with the jobless rate decreasing in 85 of the state’s 88 counties. In the other three counties, including Van Wert County, unemployment remained the same in April as in March, according to April’s unemployment statistics released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The county saw a continuation of its 3.1 percent unemployment rate from March, according to the ODJFS. Statistically, according to figures provided by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce remained the same at 14,700 people, with those employed decreasing 100, from 14,300 in March to a total of 14,200 last month. Those county residents reported as unemployed remained the same at 500.

Van Wert County and surrounding counties continued to be leaders in unemployment for the state. Van Wert and three of its neighboring counties were all among the 10 counties with the lowest unemployment. Mercer County again had the lowest unemployment rate, which decreased a tenth of a percent in April, from 2.4 percent to 2.3 percent last month. Auglaize County has the third lowest unemployment rate in Ohio at 2.8 percent, which remained the same as in April, while Putnam County’s jobless rate was eighth among Ohio’s 88 counties at 3.0 percent, down two tenths of a percent over March’s 3.2 percent unemployment rate. Van Wert County had the 10th lowest unemployment in the state.

Among other neighboring counties, Paulding County saw its unemployment rate drop a tenth of a percent, from 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent in April, while Allen County’s unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percent, from 4.2 percent in March to 4.0 percent last month.

Statewide, in addition to Mercer, Auglaize, and Putnam counties, other counties with unemployment rates of 3.0 percent or below included Holmes County, 2.7 percent; Delaware County, 2.8 percent; Hancock and Wyandot counties, 2.9 percent; and Union County, 3.0 percent.


POSTED: 05/23/18 at 8:01 am. FILED UNDER: News