The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Brigadier General John C. Harris Jr. and several other members of the Ohio National Guard pose with the staff of WERT and WKSD radio stations in Van Wert. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Brigadier General John C. Harris Jr. (kneeling, center) and several other members of the Ohio National Guard pose with the staff of WERT and WKSD radio stations in Van Wert. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

With more and more responsibilities placed on the Ohio National Guard and other military reserve units — including service in combat areas around the world — recruitment efforts have become increasingly important to ensure the Guard has the troops to fulfill its many missions.

Here in Ohio, the National Guard (ONG) has forged an effective partnership with media outlets that broadcast and publish public service announcements touting the benefits of serving in the Guard. That partnership has helped the Guard fulfill 111 percent of its recruitment quota over the past few years.

On Thursday, Brigadier General John C. Harris Jr., assistant adjutant general for the ONG, along with several other Guard staff members, was in Van Wert to publicly thank WERT/WKSD radio stations for their assistance in helping the Guard in its recruitment efforts, and to present them with a plaque recognizing their assistance.

“Since September 11 (2001), we’ve had a significant interest in participating in the Guard, primarily because of stations like yours that not only help us tell our story, but assist us with our recruitment efforts,” General Harris told station owner Chris Roberts.

“We are proud to be able to have a part in supporting the Ohio National Guard in its mission by helping to maintain troop strength,” Roberts responded. “Their story speaks to the very foundation of our country: Citizen soldiers trained and ready to help whenever and wherever needed.”


POSTED: 10/24/14 at 7:48 am

Van Wert City Schools information

Earlier this month, 102 chemistry students from Van Wert High School presented a science educational outreach program to approximately 150 Van Wert Elementary students in the Niswonger Performing Arts Center lobby. This was the culminating event to the high school students’ project, “Show Us What You’re Made Of.” The title was chosen because the unit dealt with the properties of matter, which is what makes up all things.

VWHS chemistry students teach fourth-graders during a recent STEM project in the lobby of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. (VWCS photo)

VWHS chemistry students teach fourth-graders during a recent STEM project in the lobby of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. (VWCS photo)

The chemistry classes began the unit by working with Science Central, a science museum based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to learn what it takes to make interesting and informative science presentations to children. The class partnered with Science Central, due to its reputation for quality science programming and its outreach program to area schools to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.

Each class had a session with the Science Central staff on creating discrepant events in which something unexpected occurred. The unexpected caused the students to question what happened, get excited, and want to learn more. The projects stressed that this is how scientific discoveries are made; by asking questions and then answering those questions by following the scientific method.

The chemistry students then spent weeks learning all of the material for the matter chapter through literacy tasks, hands-on activities, and direct instruction. Students were each responsible to take this information and design a booth on an assigned topic. Each booth had to include a display board, a demonstration or activity for the younger students, and a take home item for the students that further explained the topics that were to be taught.


POSTED: 10/24/14 at 6:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

Lincoln Ridge donates decorations 10-2014

The Main Street Van Wert organizations thanks Jeff and Cathy Thomas of Lincoln Ridge Farms for cutting and delivering cornstalks and pumpkins to be used by Main Street Van Wert volunteers in decorating the downtown area for the harvest season. Multiple business owners and passersby have commented on how festive the corn stalks look along Main and Washington streets. Here, Cathy Thomas (right) and her daughter, Allison, put cornstalks near the Courthouse.  (MSVW photo)

POSTED: 10/24/14 at 6:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans about a company that is mailing postcards to Ohioans asking them to call and search their name for unclaimed funds.

The postcards have appeared in various colors including green, blue, yellow and orange. Regardless of the color, they are not being sent out by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds, the official state agency tasked with reuniting Ohioans with lost or forgotten money.

How the scheme works: A citizen receives the postcard instructing him/her to call a toll free telephone number. A prompt asks the caller for their Social Security Number. The recorded message then instructs the caller to search for unclaimed property at, the official website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), which makes the communication seem like a legitimate search for funds.

David Milby, executive director of NAUPA, says NAUPA has no involvement with the postcards. Milby added that he has found multiple reports on the Internet explaining that the company mailing the postcards is a debt collector. It is believed that the company disguises itself as having something to do with unclaimed property as a means to buy time to collect more information and skirt debt collection laws.

“It is a shame that some bad actors are attempting to take advantage of our mission of returning Ohioans’ hard-earned money to them,” said Yaw Obeng, superintendent for the Division of Unclaimed Funds. “The sender of these postcards is not looking to return money to Ohioans. Rather, this is an attempt to trick the recipient into providing personal and financial information.”

Under Ohio Revised Code 169.16(A), “No person, on behalf of any other person, shall engage in any activity for the purpose of locating, delivering, recovering, or assisting in the recovery of unclaimed funds or contents of a safe deposit box, and receive a fee, compensation, commission, or other remuneration for such activity, without first having obtained a certificate of registration from the director of commerce.”


POSTED: 10/24/14 at 6:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Board of Education information

The Van Wert City Board of Education will be meeting in special session on Monday, October 27, at 7 a.m. in the S.F. Goedde Building.

The purpose of the meeting will be to appoint a replacement for former board member Ben Cowan, whose resignation was accepted at the September board meeting.

POSTED: 10/24/14 at 6:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

Mayor Don Farmer had open-heart surgery at approximately 10 a.m. today, not Wednesday as first noted, at Lima Memorial Hospital.

According to his wife, Nancy, the surgery went well and, as of 3:40 this afternoon, the mayor was in recovery and his family would be able to see him in about a little over an hour.

POSTED: 10/23/14 at 2:45 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

An Ohio City man protested loudly after his sentencing when, instead of the “promised” community control term he was expecting, Van Wert County Common Pleas Judge Charles D. Steele sentenced him to prison.

Andrew Thomas listens as he is sentenced to prison during a hearing held Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Andrew Thomas listens as he is sentenced to prison during a hearing held Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Andrew Thomas, 32, called Judge Steele “crooked” after the judge rejected his attempt to withdraw his guilty plea after he was sentenced to 12 months in prison on a charge of escape, a fifth-degree felony. The judge did give Thomas credit for 138 days already served.

Thomas mistakenly believed that discussions between the prosecutor’s office and his attorney, Dillon Staas, on the possibility of community control and a term in the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima were binding on the judge.

Instead, Judge Steele read off a number of previous charges against Thomas, including several domestic violence offenses, in determining that the defendant was not amenable to community control.

After the sentence was handed down, Thomas began shouting that he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea. “I was promised the WORTH Center and that’s the only reason I pled guilty,” he shouted, to which Judge Steele replied that a plea cannot be withdrawn after sentencing. The judge did add, though, that Thomas had the right to appeal the sentence.

Also Wednesday, former Delphos businessman Robert Fishbein was sentenced on a six-count indictment charging him with attempted violation of a civil protection order, all misdemeanors of the first degree. Judge Steele sentenced the 51-year-old Fishbein to five years of community control and 180 days in jail on each count, with the jail time to run consecutively, but then suspended the jail time if Fishbein leaves the area for counseling in California after his release from prison on October 27.

The judge also prohibited Fishbein from contacting the victim in the case and banned him from returning to Ohio without prior permission.


POSTED: 10/23/14 at 7:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

YWCA of VW County information

With domestic violence affecting such a large percentage of Americans, why don’t people talk about this issue more? Why don’t they discuss relationship health with their friends and family?  Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. As children grow up in a domestic violence household, the violence becomes the norm. Domestic violence is never okay.

To spark change, people have to talk openly and acknowledge how domestic abuse affects their communities, their  families and their lives. They have to be brave. They have to speak up.

There is only one way to end domestic violence — together. October is a chance for a national discussion about an issue that has claimed too many lives and must be addressed. If area residents or someone they know have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, they should call 567.259.9501. The YWCA is here to help!

New YWCA logo 12-2009The YWCA domestic violence and sexual assault services are dedicated to eradicating domestic violence and sexual assault, and assisting all victims of abuse seeking services. No one deserves to be abused! Using a holistic approach, the YWCA staff works with victims to address areas of need: safety, housing, mental health, physical health, etc.

The goal of the YWCA domestic violence and sexual assault services is to empower victims to reclaim their lives and to become self-sufficient, independent individuals, living violence-free lives.

The YWCA’s domestic violence and sexual assault services include:

  • 24-hour protective shelter
  • 24-hour crisis hotline
  • Child advocacy referrals
  • Court advocacy referrals
  • Complete confidentiality
  • Case management
  • Support and educational groups
  • Mental health and AOD services offered on site
  • Referrals to community agencies
  • Safety plans
  • Economic empowerment, which includes opportunities for furthering education and computer training
  • Employment assistance

The YWCA is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation and is a United Way agency.

POSTED: 10/23/14 at 6:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

Niswonger PAC information

Vivid imagery and thrilling tales of explorations to the far north bring the arctic to life at the Niswonger on January 25, 2015, at 3 p.m.

Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic explorer, Canadian biologist and photographer, presents a National Geographic LIVE event at the Niswonger from his first-hand encounters with the creatures of the arctic in “Polar Obsessions”.

This photo of penguins is one taken by Paul Nicklen in the arctic. (photo submitted)

This photo of penguins is one taken by Paul Nicklen in the arctic. (photo submitted)

Nicklen has captured global attention with his daring explorations, whether ice diving among leopard seals in Antarctica, covering hundreds of miles of terrain in -40F temperatures, or mastering aerial shots from his ultralight plane, he has specialized in photographing polar regions since 1995.

Nicklen has worked for National Geographic for 15 years, producing 15 features, but his work is also shared in hundreds of other publications around the world.

The Niswonger, along with Presenting Sponsor Dark Horse Productions, warmly welcomes to its world stage one of the most prestigious photojournalists of all times.

“All Things Arctic!” will be a day of extraordinary entertainment as the excitement begins when the lobby doors open at 2 p.m. Balloon art and a magic show by Aaron Roehm are featured in the lobby, along with a hands-on “Arctic” themed necklace making project in the lecture hall. This fascinating craft project is free to the first 100 children and is sponsored by National Door and Trim, Dr. Tom Wilkin of The Animal Clinic of Van Wert, and Chuck and Karen Koch.

An igloo will provide the perfect backdrop for an interactive photo opportunity for all guests, compliments of Gibby’s Photography and Shutterbugg Studio. Escape the cold and come do it all at the Niswonger, where “Inspiration Is Alive!”


POSTED: 10/23/14 at 6:39 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW Economic Development information

The sixth annual Entrepreneurship Fair will be held Saturday morning, November 8, in the Community Room at Vantage Career Center, 818 N. Franklin St. in Van Wert. Organizers include representatives from the Ohio State University Extension/Van Wert City Economic Development Office, Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Van Wert, Community Improvement Corporation and Wright State University-Lake Campus’ Business Enterprise Center.

Anyone who dreams of starting a business is encouraged to attend this free event. Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m., with a panel of local entrepreneurs scheduled to share their journey at 8 a.m.  This event will also serve as the kick-off to the Business Plan Challenge.

Congratulations once again to 2014 award winners Shelly Becker and Ernie Geyer, who recently opened The Embroidery Coop, a retail storefront at 126 E. Main St. that provides custom embroidered apparel and home décor, as well as screen-printing, to area businesses and individuals.

This free fair offers a wide variety of assistance, counseling and information to promising entrepreneurs and emerging new businesses. There will be speakers on topics that include: “The First Steps”, “Financing and Incentives”, and an “Ask the Experts” session where area professionals will hold a question-and-answer session with the audience.

A special element to the fair is the announcement of the Business Plan Challenge, where individuals looking to begin a business in Van Wert County can create, submit and present a business plan to a panel of judges for the chance to win up to $2,500 in business development funds. The award will be presented in March 2015. This allows individuals time to put thought on paper, do the necessary research and to attend business-counseling sessions offered locally by the Lake Campus’ Business Enterprise Center.

Those looking for a chance to start their own business should take advantage of this excellent opportunity on November 8 from 8 a.m.-noon at Vantage Career Center.

For more information, call Cindy Leis at the Van Wert City Economic and Community Development Office at 419.238.2999.

POSTED: 10/23/14 at 6:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

Main Street Van Wert information

2014 Trick or treat reminder-MSVWJust a reminder that shops and stores throughout downtown Van Wert will be participating in this year’s Downtown Trick or Treat from 10 a.m. until noon this Saturday, October 25.

Along with candy or treats from participating businesses, children and adults alike will enjoy marveling at, and having their photo taken beside, the famous and imaginative creatures Judy Geary will be bringing back to roam the sidewalks.

Enjoy this safe and family friendly trick-or-treat outing, and make a memory downtown. For more details, call Main Street Van Wert at 419.238.6911.

POSTED: 10/23/14 at 6:34 am. FILED UNDER: News