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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

Architect Kasey Corbet of Germann Miller & Associates points out details in a Master Site Plan developed by the firm to add classroom space in the Crestview district. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

CONVOY — The Crestview Local Board of Education had another work session related to its Master Site Plan, while also approving the district’s five-year forecast, during its October meeting on Thursday.

After months of discussion, the board committed to doing something about the district’s classroom shortage, but board members have yet to commit to just what specifically it feels should be done.

On Thursday, Kasey Corbet, an architect with Garmann Miller & Associates, the district’s architectural firm, provided several design options on how a facilities project might look, including an infill of the current school’s courtyard area, and the option to add a second floor to the infill to provide additional classrooms, and music rooms.

Board members looked at each of the options, but Board President John Auld said he would also like to see cost estimates on each option, since he felt cost was the biggest factor in deciding which plan to go with. The district is planning to use available funds to pay for the project.

“I’m all for doing as much as we can, but we have to look at cost,” Auld said.

Moreover, while earlier plans had included the option of a lecture hall, none of the most recent plans included that option.

Corbet will not prepare cost estimates on each of the options for the next board meeting on November 16.


POSTED: 10/20/17 at 8:36 am

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

U.S. Representative Bob Latta was in Van Wert for a fundraiser on Thursday and also visited with local agencies and sat down with The Van Wert independent to talk about pending federal legislation and related activities.

The first item Latta talked about was a forum on the opioid epidemic the congressman held Thursday in Defiance. The forum included an eight-person panel — three representatives from federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and five local representatives — to discuss problems related to opioid use, provide information on what’s being done currently out to residents in the Fifth District, as well as learn what problems local agencies are facing in combatting the opioid epidemic.

Bob Latta

“I thought we had a really good event for folks in the region,” Latta said of the forum.

The congressman, who called Ohio “ground zero” for the opioid epidemic, noted that drug-related deaths in Ohio increased by more than 1,000 people over last year, with an average of 11 drug-related deaths each day in the state.

Latta also talked about federal legislation that deals with the drug problem, including the 21st Century Cures bill that provides $1 billion for treatment and prevention services, and the Comprehensive Addiction and Rehabilitation Act (CARA), which also provides resources for education, treatment, and prevention.

In addition, Latta said he was introducing a bill that would create a national database to provide information on what’s working in the way of prevention and treatment, as well as where to find funding for drug treatment and prevention programs.

Latta also talked about a hearing a House subcommittee he chairs held on the Equifax data breach. The hearing featured testimony from Richard Smith, former Equifax CEO.

The congressman said the hearing focused on the lack of action taken by Equifax to protect Americans whose information it was supposed to safeguard, and the errors made when the company finally reacted to the data breach.

The bottom line, Latta said, was that Equifax did not do the things needed to keep people’s private information safe.

“They had a duty to protect the privacy of 145 million people and they failed,” Latta noted, adding that his own information was affected by the breach.

The congressman said tax reform is also a big focus for Congress right now, noting the issue hasn’t been addressed since 1986, when Ronald Reagan was president. In addition to easing the tax burden, Latta said the tax system itself needs to be simplified to the point where “90 percent of Americans” could do their own taxes on a postcard-size form.

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 8:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

DELPHOS — As part of state requirements, Van Wert and Allen County Emergency Management Agencies teamed up for a full-scale hazmat-readiness exercise in Delphos on Thursday morning.

According to Van Wert County EMA Director Rick McCoy, he and Allen County EMA Director Tom Berger began planning for the drill in early spring, with the intention of both counties’ resources coming together to test hazardous material preparedness in Delphos.

First responders treat a “victim” during a hazmat disaster drill conducted by the Van Wert and Allen County Emergency Management Agencies on Thursday. (photo submitted)

Two area facilities, Airgas and Crop Production Services, located just southwest of the Delphos city limits, volunteered their locations as the site for the drill. The hazmat scenario involved a likely weather event: a tornado hitting the facilities and releasing a large amount of anhydrous ammonia, while also igniting a building where chemicals were stored.

The morning began with a call being made to Van Wert County 9-1-1 dispatch advising of the incident, with the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office then coordinating with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office to dispatch necessary agencies to handle the scenario.

Several “contaminated victims” at the scene were transported to St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima by the Middle Point and Van Wert EMS squads, where they were put through the emergency room Deacon system. Fire departments practicing their skills and procedures on containing the chemicals included Delphos Fire and the Allen County Hazmat team, the Van Wert and Allen County sheriff’s offices provided assistance.

As a component of the drill, due to the presence of a “toxic cloud” over Delphos, the two county EMAs, along with the public information officers from both counties, coordinated population protection actions for Delphos residents, as well as determined how residents would be alerted to shelter-in-place or evacuate.

Red Cross chapters and health departments from both counties were tasked with establishing a shelter site in Delphos. Some volunteers also came to the shelter and registered as evacuees.

Additional communications for the drill were handled by area amateur radio operators. Also participating in the exercise were all Delphos schools and nursing homes, which practiced procedures they would follow on evacuating and maintaining people in a shelter-in-place scenario. The area Community Health Professionals organizations also determined how they could handle their clients in this type of disaster situation.

McCoy said the drill was a “great learning experience” for the 83 participants involved, and also gave the agencies in both counties a better understanding on how to effectively work together during a “real world” disaster.

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 8:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Crestview and Lincolnview school districts recently completed United Way campaigns as part of the local Rivals United initiative. Administration and staff of both schools made pledges in support of the 27 agencies funded by the United Way of Van Wert County.

Crestview Local Schools greatly increased its pledges by 36 percent over the 2016 campaign, while Lincolnview Local Schools saw an increase of 18 percent in money pledged.

This year, the challenge between the schools was to increase their staff campaign, and to support the Rivals United event. Students from the two school districts created the event last year and raised more than $12,000, and both staffs wanted to show their support this year as well. The campaign totals will be the starting point for this year’s Rivals United, with Lincolnview currently in the lead by more than $1,000.

Both schools are supporters of the United Way of Van Wert County, the community, and many local organizations. To continue with the Rivals United program; Crestview and Lincolnview student representatives will team up to hold a friendly competition between the student bodies to see who can raise the most money for United Way. This fundraising event will be held during the rivalry week — January 29-February 2.

The girls’ basketball game between the two schools is on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at Crestview, while the boys’ teams play Friday, February 2, 2018, at Lincolnview. Those games will wrap up the Rivals United week and determine the winning school district.

Rivals United t-shirts will be on available through presale only as the event draws near. For more information, contact the United Way office at 419.238.6689 or email Watch for upcoming event information as the Rivals United initiative approaches.

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 8:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Middle School will hold Parent-Teacher Conferences in various locations at the school on Monday, October 30, from 4-7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, October 31, from noon-7:30 p.m., with a dinner break from 4:30-5 that afternoon; and Thursday, November 2, from 4-7:30 p.m.

Parent-teacher conferences allow parents and students the opportunity to discuss their progress with the VWMS team of teachers. Members of the teaching staff welcome and encourage parents to visit the school during the above hours, or during team time throughout the school year. Many activities are planned during conferences, including a book fair, while the VWMS main stairwell lobby will be filled with information from various community organizations.

Those wanting to attend VWMS parent-teacher conferences should park in the main VWMS or athletic parking lots and enter the building through the main school entrance or gymnasium entrance.

Parents are reminded that, due to parent-teacher conferences, there will be no school Monday, October 30, and Tuesday, October 31.  School will resume Wednesday, November 1, for a regular school day.

Parents who have not already received a conference time are encouraged to call or email their team of teachers or call Sarah White, school counselor, at 419.238.5520 to schedule a conference.

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 8:12 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

A jury found Van Wert resident Robert Jewell not guilty of two counts of aggravated arson during a trial held this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

The jury deliberated approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes on Thursday afternoon before acquitting Jewell, 26, of the charges. Jewell was originally indicted by the Van Wert County Grand Jury in connection with a house fire at 720 E. Crawford St. that occurred December 16, 2015.

POSTED: 10/20/17 at 8:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert County Veterans Service Officer Barry Johns and Van Wert County Recorder Kim Hughes have taken a big step in advancing Van Wert County’s veterans identification cards this past year.

The process began on September 8, 2016, when Ohio House Bill 173 was passed. The legislation was created so that everyone who served in the military would be able to have an identification card.

With the process completed, the county agencies have announced that veterans identification cards will now be the same throughout the State of Ohio, and will be available starting Friday, November 3.

Veterans who already have a Van Wert County veterans’ identification card will receive a new Ohio identification card in the mail once they are printed.

Veterans that do not have a veterans’ identification card may call the Van Wert County Veterans Service Office to schedule an appointment to have an identification card made. The card contains a picture of each veteran, as well as various information regarding his or her military service.


POSTED: 10/19/17 at 7:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

Forty seniors and juniors enrolled in the Construction Equipment Tech program at Vantage Career Center displayed their skills on Wednesday for members of the public and representatives of local businesses. Ohio CAT brought some new equipment to the school for students to use, such as the backhoe (above) being operated by a Vantage senior. Masonry and electricity are other trades included in the program. Students will travel to Lima on Thursday to compete in various skills tests at Makerfest in Lima. This is the second year for the Construction Equipment Tech program at Vantage, according to instructor David DeLano. Kate O’Connell/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 10/19/17 at 7:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce announces its next trip … Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria, May 24-June 2, 2018.

Join the Chamber at 6 p.m. this coming Monday, October 23, at Black Angus on Main (222 E. Main St.) as Collette Travel will present the itinerary for, and highlights of, the trip. Complimentary light appetizers and beverages will be served.

Discover the beauty of Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria from May 24-June 2, 2018. (photo submitted)

Join the Chamber for a 10-day trip that begins and ends with roundtrip transportation from Van Wert to and from Dayton International Airport.

From the cobblestone streets of Switzerland villages to the shores of Lake Geneva to the picturesque Austrian countryside and Salzburg to a fairy tale castle in Bavaria, a truly magical 10 days await area residents next year.

Bring travel companions and join the Chamber for a preview of the trip. Those interested may also visit as well as drop by the Chamber office, 118 N. Washington St., for a brochure and to register.

Contact the Chamber for further information at 419.238.4390 or email

POSTED: 10/19/17 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio House Speaker Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) last week announced that State Representative Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) has been appointed to serve on the Ohio House Finance Committee.

Riedel continues to serve on the following committees: Ways and Means; Higher Education and Workforce Development; and Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security.

“I am thankful that in my first term I can be exposed to great opportunities,” said Rep. Riedel. “My 27 years of private business experience will be helpful for navigating through this new committee.”
Riedel currently represents the 82nd Ohio House District, which includes Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert counties, as well as a portion of Auglaize County.

POSTED: 10/19/17 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Some changes are coming for a longtime Van Wert business.

Larry and Diane (Cline) Mengerink, owners of Mengerink’s Source for Sports, are looking to retire after 35 years of providing sports gear and equipment, as well as related services and tuxedo rentals, to Van Wert area residents.

Larry and Diane Mengerink in their longtime sporting goods business, Mengerink’s Source for Sports. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

In fact, the couple would like to pass the business on to a new generation the way they acquired it in the first place.

Larry Mengerink said he was the head of the local youth football program back in 1982 when Tom Showalter, who owned Showalter’s Sporting Goods in Van Wert, talked to him about buying him out when Mengerink came in the store one day to buy football equipment.

Mengerink noted that Showalter, who was known for telling it like it is, said: “I’m looking to retire; why don’t you take it over? You buy a lot from me, so you might as well be the owner.”

Larry and Diane thought the proposition over and talked to their parents, and finally decided to do just that.

The store was then located in the first block of North Washington Street and soon gained even more equipment when Dick Morgan, who owned the other Van Wert sporting goods store, U.S. Sporting Goods, decided to retire about a year later and wondered if the Mengerinks might like to buy him out.


POSTED: 10/18/17 at 8:07 am. FILED UNDER: News