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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Apr. 28, 2017


Students who participated in the inaugural year of Van Wert High School's Career Education Opportunity (CEO) program pose following a breakfast held at Willow Bend Country Club. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Students who participated in the inaugural year of Van Wert High School’s Career Education Opportunity (CEO) program pose following a breakfast held at Willow Bend Country Club on Wednesday. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

VWHS guidance counselor Kerry Koontz talks about the CEO program.

VWHS guidance counselor Kerry Koontz talks about the CEO program.

Van Wert High School students and business representatives celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Career Education Opportunity (CEO) program during a breakfast held Wednesday morning at Willow Bend Country Club.

VWHS Principal Bob Priest welcomes students and business people to the breakfast, while guidance counselor Kerry Koontz, who developed the CEO program, talked about how the program was created, while also thanking businesses for being involved in the program.

“The program today is where it’s at because of the partnership that you’ve allowed us to create and form with you,” Koontz said.

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POSTED: 04/27/17 at 7:47 am

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The YWCA of Van Wert County calls all individuals to join it in taking a Stand Against Racism between today and Sunday, April 30.

Stand Against Racism will unite the community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: we are on a mission to eliminate racism.

From Thursday through Sunday, an anticipated 750 events will take place across the country, including public policy advocacy, community education, and public proclamations.

Here in Van Wert County, the YWCA will:

  • Stand Against Racism logo 4-2017Collaborate with local businesses, agencies, and individuals to post on social media how they plan to take their own stand against racism:
  • Collaborate with local school systems to educate and encourage faculty members and students to take a stand against racism.
  • Encourage all community members to spend 5 minutes locking arms to stand against racism on Friday, April 28, between 2-2:30 p.m.
  • Encourage community members to post to their personal Facebook page, the YWCA of Van Wert County Facebook Page, and tag the YWCA of Van Wert County on Twitter and Instagram pictures of themselves and/or co-workers taking a stand against racism.

Participants in YWCA’s Stand Against Racism range from school children to elected officials, from executives of large corporations to church leaders, and many others. For local information, contact Jody Wannemacher, YWCA outreach coordinator, at 419.238.6639, extension 109.

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

POSTED: 04/27/17 at 1:51 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Three judges presided over 11 hearings Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Visiting Judge Roger Wilson heard a request by Austin Bortell, 25, of Paulding, to seal records from a 2011 case, which the judge granted after a hearing on the matter.

Van Wert County Probate-Juvenile Judge Kevin Taylor presided over a probation violation hearing for Jeremiah Miller, 22, of Ohio City, who admitted to violating he probation by being convicted of possessing marijuana, as well as failing to maintain a current address with the probation department. He was sentenced to three years of community control, to include 30 days in jail.

Courthouse statue 5-2012The remaining hearings were presided over by Common Pleas Judge Martin D. Burchfield, and include the following sentencing hearings:

Jonathon Bergman, 43, of Willshire, was given three years of community control, including 180 days of jail or electronically monitored house arrest by May 10, on a charge of attempted illegal cultivation of marijuana, a felony of the fourth degree. Bergman must also undergo a substance abuse assessment and any treatment recommended, and grant permission for a residence search.

Dustin Welker, 29, of Van Wert, was given two years of community control on a charge of possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony. He must also undergo a substance abuse assessment and any treatment recommended.

Alvaro Moreno, 26, of Delta, was given 60 days in jail and ordered to pay restitution of $647.80 in connection with a conviction for theft, a felony of the fifth degree. He was given credit for 31 days already served.

Cameron Lyons, 19, of Delphos, was given five years of community control, including 30 days in jail, to begin June 16, on a charge of attempted receiving stolen property, a felony of the fifth degree. He must also complete the STEPS program, then seek work, may possess no firearms. Lyons must also undergo a substance abuse assessment and any treatment recommended.

Judge Burchfield also heard two probation violation hearings.

Lindsay Quintero, 26, of Van Wert, admitted violating probation by failing to report to probation. Burchfield sentenced Quintero to 21 days in jail, with credit for seven days already served.

Sarah Boroff, 34, of Van Wert, admitted to violating her probation by failing to report to probation. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

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POSTED: 04/27/17 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

Camp Clay donaton 4-2017-1st Presbyterian

First Presbyterian Church will sponsor a Business Day at the Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community. Access includes swimming, floating playground, zipline, paddleboats, a half-acre beach, and the 3,600-square-foot splash pad. New features include water cannons at the splash pad and a log roll to accompany the zipline, and aqua “toys.” To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown with Camp Clay Director Kevin Morrison from First Presbyterian Church are William Hawking, president of the Christian Education Committee, and Fred Early, Mission Committee member. (YMCA photo)

POSTED: 04/27/17 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

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Van Wert County Council on Aging will be hosting its annual Senior Citizens Day on Thursday, May 11, at the Senior Center, 220 Fox Road.

The theme this year will be “Senior Stars, and the Council on Aging will recognize area seniors who actively volunteer in the community. Seniors who volunteer really make or break many charitable organizations, as without senior volunteerism, many organizations would not have the necessary people to accomplish their goals.

This year, the Council on Aging will celebrate with a dance, with Melvin Mullins providing the music and Van Wert Manor providing refreshments. Doors open at noon, with the dancing starting at 12:30 that afternoon.  Recognition of Senior Stars will be at 1:30 p.m., with more dancing to follow. Everyone is invited to attend.  Through private sponsorship and assistance from Van Wert Manor, there will be no fee to attend this event.

Those wanting to nominate a senior can do by filling out a nomination form and submitting it to the Council on Aging. Nomination forms can be picked up at the Council on Aging or at its website www.vwcouncilonaging.com.

For more information, call the Council on Aging at 419.238.4253. Necessary transportation can be arranged through that organization. The Council on Aging is partially funded by the United Way and the Van Wert County Foundation.

POSTED: 04/27/17 at 7:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

Lincolnview 2nd graders at airport 4-2017

Lincolnview second-graders took a field trip to the Van Wert County Regional Airport on Wednesday morning. Approximately 70 students and 30 adults went on the field trip. They learned about the airport, but mostly got to touch, feel, and sit in two planes, which were piloted by Randy Thompson and Ralph Shindeldecker. Thompson started his loud experimental plane and Shindeldecker did a takeoff and landing. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/27/17 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) has sent letters to county boards of elections in the Fifth Congressional District updating them on his inquiry into the delay of a significant number of absentee ballot deliveries during the 2016 general election.

Latta has had continual communications with the United States Postal Service (USPS) regarding the Michigan Metroplex Processing Center in Pontiac, Michigan, the location determined to be the source of the ballot problem. Mail sent from most of the counties in Ohio’s Fifth District is sorted at that facility before being delivered. Latta toured the processing center and met with USPS officials last Monday.

The letter reads: “After many unsatisfactory conference calls and a meeting in Washington, D.C., I visited the Metroplex on Monday, April 17, 2017, during their evening sorting operation.

“Seeing the processing center first-hand and speaking with the area USPS managers was helpful for me to understand the mail process.

“USPS staff advised me they are taking steps to the address the facility’s overall mail processing standards by bringing in additional management from other processing plants around the country, implementing continuous audits, as well as making other operational improvements.

“Additionally, I was assured new absentee ballot handling procedures will be in place by next election to prevent lost ballots.”

Latta’s letter encourages board of elections to contact his office if they encounter any problems. Aside from the ballot issue, the Congressman’s office has also heard from constituents experiencing mail delays, and he encourages anybody experiencing significant USPS problems to reach out to his office.

POSTED: 04/27/17 at 7:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

420 N. Market St. demolition 4-25-17-2

A second house at 420 N. Market St. (above and below) was demolished on Tuesday as part of a $500,000 reimbursement program received by the Van Wert County Land Reutilization Corporation (land bank) from the Neighborhood Initiative Program. photos by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

420 N. Market St. demolition 4-25-17-1

POSTED: 04/26/17 at 6:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) attended an Opioid Listening Session led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie this afternoon at the White House. Christie was recently named to lead the White House’s opioid addiction commission to address the crisis.

Last summer, Latta hosted a forum in Findlay on the opioid epidemic and continues to meet with medical personnel, law enforcement, and advocates throughout Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District on the best ways to address the issue.

Latta was part of a small gathering of Members of Congress that attended the event to share their concerns.

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta

“We’ve seen the devastating effects that the opioid epidemic is inflicting on families in Ohio and around the country,” said Latta on Tuesday. “This needs to be a priority of the Administration, and I’m encouraged by the listening session today that President Trump and Governor Christie will be implementing policies to educate the public about the dangers of opioids, prevent addiction, and provide services for those already addicted to drugs.

“I’ll continue to share what I’m seeing and hearing in Ohio — including the dangerous rise of fentanyl use in our communities — with the White House,” he added. “To combat this crisis, we’re going to need all hands on deck, and I’m thankful that the White House is making this issue a priority.”

The discussion centered around efforts to address prevention, interdiction, and treatment including learning from what different states are doing to combat the epidemic. The conversation also covered how best to improve cooperation between states and the sharing of information across state lines.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio soared to 1,155 in 2015. Up dramatically from 503 deaths in 2014 and 84 deaths in 2013. Overall, drug overdose deaths in Ohio rose from 2,531 in 2014 to 3,050 in 2015.

Last Congress, Latta helped pass the 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to combat the opioid crisis. The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that more than $26 million will be provided to Ohio under 21st Century Cures to fund prevention, treatment, and recovery services in the state.

POSTED: 04/26/17 at 6:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

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REYNOLDSBURG — Once again, the Lincolnview High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Stacie Korte, is headed to State.

The choir will compete at 10 a.m. this Saturday, April 29, at the Reynoldsburg High School Summit Campus. The Lincolnview group consists of 71 members from grades 9-12. This is the choir’s eighth year competing at the state level.

In preparation for this major event, guest clinician Janine Baughman of Otsego Local Schools came to Lincolnview and worked with the choir. The choir will perform “On My Way to Jordan”, “Cloths of Heaven”, and “Let the Earth Resound” as its selected state contest numbers.

Participation in the state competition was earned by receiving a superior rating at the District III OMEA Large Group Contest in Van Wert in March. The choir received straight Is at the qualifying event.

The Lincolnview choir also had a great fall season, with a performance at the Ohio High School Boards Association in Columbus.

The choir would like to encourage everyone to travel to Reynoldsburg to support the students. After this weekend’s performance, the choir will wrap up the season with its spring concert on May 9.

The Lincolnview Concert Choir performs at the 2017 Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference. (photo submitted)

The Lincolnview Concert Choir performs at the 2017 Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/26/17 at 6:00 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

MIDDLE POINT — A Lima teenager is in custody today following a shooting Tuesday night in Middle Point.

Shown is the scene of a shooting that occurred Friday night in Middle Point. (photos submitted)

Shown is the scene of a shooting that occurred Friday night in Middle Point. (photos submitted)

Blake R. Kimmet, 19, is being held in the Van Wert County Correctional Facility this morning on a charge of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree.

According to Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach, his office received a 9-1-1 call at 9:01 p.m. Tuesday reporting a drive-by shooting near the intersection of Adams and Elm streets in Middle Point. When deputies arrived, they found an unidentified man suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Deputies secured the scene and the Middle Point EMS Squad transported the victim to Van Wert County Hospital for treatment.

According to statements from witnesses at the scene and the victim, it appeared the incident was not a drive-by shooting, but a confrontation between the victim and Kimmet that led to the victim’s being shot once. However, the wound was not believed to be life-threatening.

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POSTED: 04/26/17 at 5:29 am. FILED UNDER: News