The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Aug. 17, 2018

Van Wert Health Board of Trustees Chairman Tim Jurczyk welcomes people to Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

It was drizzling rain on Thursday when Van Wert Health broke ground on its new $45-million surgery/inpatient expansion project, but hospital officials are hoping the project will lead to a bright future for the local healthcare system.

After the groundbreaking, Van Wert Health Board Chairman Tim Jurczyk welcomed those in attendance and talked about the importance of the project.

“A commitment of this magnitude is not only a commitment to the future of Van Wert Health, but it’s a commitment to the residents of the Van Wert community and the surrounding communities we serve,” Jurczyk said. “We want to insure that everyone, both now and in generations to come, will have access to high quality care, advanced technology, and state-of-the-art facilities.”

Van Wert Health President/CEO Jim Pope said the project was all about people.

“The consistent part of everything that we do is we’re about people,” he said. “One of the things that this project is about, is giving our people the tools and equipment to do their jobs on a daily basis.”

In addition to the recently completed Van Wert Health North ambulatory clinic, the new hospital expansion is the culmination of a two-year strategic planning process that began soon after Pope was hired in 2016.


POSTED: 08/17/18 at 9:14 am

Van Wert independent

LIMA — A Convoy woman is currently in jail after being arrested and charged with the beating death of her young daughter.

Vicky Shellabarger

Vicky L. Shellabarger was arrested Thursday afternoon by deputies from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office and was then turned over to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau.

Shellabarger was indicted earlier this week on one count each of murder, an unclassified felony, and involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree; as well as two counts of child endangering, one a second-degree felony and the other a felony of the third degree.

The charges were filed in connection with the April 29 death of Shellabarger’s 22-month-old daughter, Madilynn, at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima.

She is currently being held on a $1 million bond in the Allen County Jail and will be arraigned on the charges in Allen County Common Pleas Court at 9 a.m. Monday, August 27.

POSTED: 08/17/18 at 5:55 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Thousands of blood donations are needed each and every day to help meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, children with blood disorders, and others. To help make a difference, the community is invited to give blood with the American Red Cross at the Van Wert Day of Caring blood drive Friday, September 28. The event will run from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

This special blood drive is part of the United Way Day of Caring in Van Wert, which promotes community service. The Red Cross is seeking 200 donors to roll up a sleeve and give that day. All those who come to donate blood during this blood drive will receive a Day of Caring t-shirt and food prepared by Vantage Career Center.

As the Red Cross responds to wildfires, flooding, house fires, and hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood during National Preparedness Month in September is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country every day.

“Van Wert is a caring community, and what better way for its residents to show they care than by helping patients in need and giving blood at the Day of Caring Blood Drive?” said Marianne Hardesty, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross.

Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies. The Red Cross must collect approximately 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.RedCrossBlood.orgor call 800.RED.CROSS (800.733.2767.

POSTED: 08/17/18 at 9:06 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The YWCA of Van Wert recently received a donation from the Elks Golf Committee.

Keith Thomas and Jim Stanley, members of the committee, presented YWCA Executive Director Kimberly Laudick with a check for $600, which will be used to support the youth enrichment programs provided by the YWCA.

Youth enrichment programs serve the YWCA mission by nourishing minds and bodies of children through providing nutrient-enriched meals after school and during the summer. In addition, this program provides interactive, mission-based, leadership development activities that will improve the child’s life skills and educational success.

The success and the fulfillment of the YWCA mission continue with the gracious support of the community.  “The YWCA would like to once again thank the Elks Golf Committee for their generous donation,” Laudick said.

POSTED: 08/17/18 at 9:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Veterans Service Office is grateful to First Federal Savings & Loan and Gibson’s BBQ for sponsoring Veterans Day at the fair, and also thanks the Van Wert County Agricultural Society Board of Trustees (Fair Board) for helping make the day possible.

Veterans Day at the Van Wert County Fair will be held Thursday, August 30. Veterans will need to show proof of military service when entering the fair. The standard ribbons used in previous years to enter the fair grounds on Veterans Day will no longer be accepted.

Veterans’ spouses are encouraged to join them on this day, but need to be present with the veteran when entering.

The Veterans Service Office will be holding activities all day, beginning at the west end of the grandstand at noon where a meal will be served for veterans and their spouses. This year, the county veterans office is extending the special day into the evening, with ham and beans and cornbread being served at 6 p.m. at the west end of the grandstand.

Veterans should also not forget to get a veterans identification card from the Veterans Service Office, which can be used as entry into the Van Wert County Fair on Veterans Day. To schedule an appointment, call the office at 419.238.9592 on Mondays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and or Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

POSTED: 08/17/18 at 8:58 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education completed a number of housekeeping items prior to the beginning of school this coming Monday and also recognized instrumental music instructor Robert Sloan for being named the 2019 “Teacher of the Year” for the Ohio School Boards Association’s District 1 during its August meeting on Wednesday.

AJ Thomas, a 2012 VWHS graduate who is now legislative aide to State Representative Andy Thompson, poses outside the S.F. Goedde Building with VWHS music teacher Robert Sloan, who is holding an Ohio House of Representatives resolution honoring him for being named OSBA District 1 2019 “Teacher of the Year.” Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Sloan was honored with a reception prior to the board meeting, while AJ Thomas, legislative aide to State Representative Andy Thompson, R-95th, and a VWHS graduate of the Class of 2012, presented Sloan with a Ohio House resolution on behalf of Thompson and Craig Riedel, R-82nd, whose districts are both in the OSBA’s District 1.

A number of personnel items were approved prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year, including the hiring of three classified employees, including Christopher Golliver, VWMS second shift custodian; Devyn Rodriguez, VWECC paraprofessional; and Roy Schleeter, general cafeteria worker.

The board also approved all bus routes for the upcoming school year, as well as student fees, cafeteria prices, and athletic ticket prices.

The board also briefly discussed a pending Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement request from the developers of The Landing at Dickinson Farms subdivision. Three of the subdivision developers, Andy Czajkowski, Tom Turnwald, and Chuck Koch, were at the meeting to answer questions on the request, which the board said would be voted on during a special meeting on September 7.


POSTED: 08/16/18 at 5:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Two sentencings and three arraignments were among the hearings held on criminal charges this past week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Kyle Caldwell, 39, of Van Wert, chanted his plea to guilty to aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the second degree (downgraded from a first-degree felony in exchange for his guilty plea). He was then sentenced to five years in prison, with credit for 124 days already served.

Justin Reynolds, 27, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 133 days in jail, with credit for five days already served, on a charge of telecommunications harassment, a felony of the fifth degree.

Christopher Wicker, 35, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of illegal conveyance of drugs into a government facility, a felony of the third degree. No bond was set since Wicker is currently service a prison sentence in Indiana. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, August 30.

Jessie Zartman, 40, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. The defendant was released on a surety bond, and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, September 19.

Serena White, 26, of Van Wert, requested, and was granted, a personal surety bond. She will appear for a pretrial conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 22.

Four people appeared for bond violation hearings.

Amber Baker, 28, of Van Wert, denied violating her bond by failing to report to probation. During a hearing on the matter on Wednesday, she was again released on a surety bond, with a special condition that she be drug tested three times a week.

Ecco Burker, 33, of Van Wert, admitted violating her bond by testing positive for methamphetamine. A $5,000 cash bond was set and she appeared a pretrial conference was held on Wednesday. She appeared later in the week and changed her plea to guilty to two counts of forgery, both felonies of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and she will appear for sentencing at 9 a.m. September 26. She was released on a surety bond.


POSTED: 08/16/18 at 5:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — School funding expert Dr. Howard Fleeter on Wednesday released the results of an analysis of how Ohio’s school funding system has fared since the landmark DeRolph Ohio Supreme Court case, decided in 1997. The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators Ohio Association of School Business Officials asked Fleeter, of the Ohio Education Policy Institute, to conduct the analysis.

Fleeter found a limited amount of funding progress over the 20-year period, with much of the growth in state funding occurring in the first 10 years. Seventy-five percent of the increase in combined state and local revenues occurred from fiscal year 1999 to fiscal year 2009 for all five wealth quintiles (the analysis looks at funding increases by wealth quintiles on a per-pupil basis).

While per-pupil state and local revenues increased for all quintiles once adjusted for inflation, the increase for the lowest-wealth districts ($1,775 per pupil) was only $107 more than was the increase for the highest wealth districts ($1,668 per pupil). Fleeter’s report concluded this is an indication the funding gap between low-wealth and high-wealth districts has not been narrowed appreciably since the DeRolph decision.

This report, combined with reports previously issued by Fleeter and the Ohio Education Policy Institute, show significant educational disparities among districts.

The education organizations requesting the analysis said the report will provide credible data for legislators and the education community during the upcoming state budget deliberations.

POSTED: 08/16/18 at 5:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

MIDDLE POINT — The Van Wert County Outdoorsmen Association will be hosting a Modern Military Match on Sunday, August 26, at the Van Wert County Outdoorsmen Club, 9093 Ringwald Road, Middle Point. The match is being held on Sunday to accommodate those who cannot make it to the association’s normal Saturday matches.

The safety briefing will be held at 9 a.m., while the match will start at 9:30 that morning. For those who do not have a rifle, the club has M-1 rifles to loan out to the public to use in this match. However, any military rifle — M-14, AK-47, FAL, SKS, or M-16 — may be used. The cost to participate is $5, which is the target fee. For those who need to purchase ammo, the club has 30.06 ammo at $23 for 40 rounds.

For those who have never participated in a match, there will be a clinic starting at 9 a.m. The clinic will include information on how an M-1 operates, as well as match protocols. The club also had a National Match AR-15 for participants that might want to try it out.

For more information, check out the association’s website at www.vwoutdoorsmen.infoor call 419.203.8662.

POSTED: 08/16/18 at 5:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Just months after completion of its ambitious Van Wert North ambulatory clinic project, Van Wert Health is announcing major plans to expand and improve critical areas of its hospital facility. The new $45 million expansion will be built on the site of the current Van Wert Health main campus and construction is expected to take approximately two years.

Above is an artist’s rendition of the new Van Wert Health hospital addition. graphic provided

“The health providers at Van Wert Health are top notch and the growing health care needs of our community are simply different today than they were 58 years ago when the hospital was built,” said Van Wert Health President and CEO Jim Pope. “Upgrades are needed and, after much research, we determined it was more cost-effective to build a new facility which will enhance the services we offer, rather than to attempt to upgrade and retrofit the original facilities.

“We face capacity issues on a daily basis, and improving and expanding health care options is integral to our mission to be the Best Community Hospital,” he added.

When complete, the current hospital will be anchored by a new two-story, 84,000 square-foot facility that will help further address the health care needs of residents and visitors in the area.


POSTED: 08/14/18 at 11:03 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

WREN — The Wren Homecoming Committee announces that local residents Bud and Alice Ross are the 2018 Wren Homecoming Parade grand marshals.

The Rosses were married in August 30, 1952, and have been longtime residents and supporters of the Wren community. Having raised two children in the community, Lynn “Bev” Ross and Dan Loftus, along with grandchildren Lindsay, Leslie, Nikki, Josh, Michelle, and Christa; and 13 great-grandchildren the couple is well known to neighbors and friends.

The Rosses have lived in Wren for 56 years and have seen many friends come and go, as well as many changes along the years. Bud Ross was in the U.S. Navy, having served on the USS Urbanas a boiler keeper, and both he and his wife have both been involved and crafts for 27 years .

The couple has traveled away from the Wren area over the years, traveling all over the country in their motor home. When they are home, Alice is well known for her cookies and her special suckers that provide special anticipation to the children of family and friends.

The Wren community can honor the 2018 Wren Homecoming Parade grand marshals at this year’s parade at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 18.

POSTED: 08/14/18 at 11:03 pm. FILED UNDER: News