DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
The Vantage Board of Education approved a number of personnel contracts, including three administrative contracts, and also heard overall good news related to its alternative energy programs during the board’s March meeting on Thursday.
The board approved contracts for the following: MaryAnn Hall, a two-year contract as Career Tech supervisor; Pete Prichard, a three-year contract as Adult Education director; Lori Gunderman, a two-year contract as assistant treasurer; Lucas Compton, a two-year contract as technology support specialist; Adelina Alvarez, a two-year contract as a cafeteria cook; and James Martin and John Ringwald, two-year contracts as custodians.
The board also accepted the resignation of Kent Taylor, Electricity instructor, who is retiring at the end of the school year, and hired Jourdan Tomlinson as an Adult Education instructor.
Vantage Treasurer Lori Davis noted in her report that the school received more than $220,000 from Iberdrola Renewables as its share of the company’s recent payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) disbursements.
Superintendent Staci Kaufman noted that it’s still up in the air on whether Vantage will receive a gold or platinum in the LEEDS green energy-rating program. Kaufman said she isn’t sure how many points the school will receive for its solar energy array, adding that the district will receive at least a gold rating, but also noting her uncertainty over how the solar array will be handled.
Vantage Director Ben Winans reported on enrollment figures for next year’s incoming juniors. A total of 230 juniors have currently enrolled at Vantage, Winans said, but said that number could fluctuate as much as 20 students by the time school starts in the fall. Programs will the highest enrollment include cosmetology (32), Ag Diesel (31), Welding (29) and Health Technology (27).
Van Wert independent
Two cases were heard in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.
Probate-Juvenile Judge Kevin Taylor presided over a probation violation hearing for Cai Evans, 20, of Van Wert. Evans was charged with violating his probation by refusing to go for treatment at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima.
He admitted the violation and was sentenced to serve 11 months in prison, with credit for 54 days already served.
Robert Ericson, 52, of Van Wert, entered a plea of guilty to a two-count prosecutor’s bill of information charging him with aggravated assault, a felony of the third degree, and a fourth-degree felony count of assault.
Judge Charles D. Steele, who heard the Ericson case, ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.
A jury trial scheduled in the case for this coming Monday on charges of felonious assault, a felony of the first degree, and the fourth-degree felony assault count was discontinued.
Peony queen candidate Victoria Suever of Delphos Jefferson is interviewed by preliminary judges Gail Fennig, Lynn Bell and Marsha Owens. Peony Pageant Director Kylie Mills has announced that this year’s pageant will be held Friday, April 4, in the Marsh Foundation Auditorium, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will go on sale starting today at Once I Was, 121 S. Washington St. in Van Wert. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
VW County Historical Society information
The Van Wert County Museum invites everyone to consider membership. Forty-five percent of the museum’s yearly operational costs are generated by donations and memberships. For as little as $20 a person can help support the educational and entertainment opportunities presented free of charge to the community. For details, call 419.771.9851 or stop by any Sunday March-November. All memberships are tax deductible.
The Van Wert County Historical Society will be opening its doors for the 2014 season on Sunday, March 9. The museum grounds will be open each Sunday from 2-4:30 p.m. through the month of November.
This season, students from Vantage Career Center and Van Wert High School will be working with society members. These groups will be busy this spring, interviewing local community members and researching items in the museum to help create Smart Phone interactive tours. Be on the lookout for specially marked barcodes situated in each of the buildings this summer.
The 2014 program offers events and activities for all ages and interests. Visitors can spend the afternoon of March 30 with Judy Fisher, who will present “Vietnam Today.” On May 18 Larry Schaufelberger will help residents with genealogy research with a program called “Find a Grave”.
Summers are always a busy time at the Museum complex, and this year is no exception. July 4 will see the Holiday at Home festivities as well as the Annual Bike Tour. During the second weekend in July, climb aboard for the Railroad Heritage Weekend at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. To end the summer, there is the John Amundson Crossroads of America Antique Tractor Ride on Aug. 2. Antique tractor owners are invited to enter.
Fall activities include a Membership Appreciation Cook-Out and Spelling Bee on Sept. 7. On Sept. 14 there will be a presentation on “The History of Cooper Farms.”. On Sept. 27 the public is invited to support the museum by purchasing a Chicken Barbecue meal and shopping at the fall craft show.
The holidays are a festive time at the museum. The Lighting of the Museum will take place on Nov. 27. The festive decorations make the perfect backdrop for special holiday pictures.
The historical society always welcomes groups. Contact Dean Williamson at 419.238.7737 to set up a personalized tour for a group. The annex is also a great place for small groups to hold meetings. Additional information is available at the historical society’s website, www.vanwert.com/museum.
Pleasant Township trustees information
The Pleasant Township Board of Trustees would like to remind all township residents in the unincorporated areas of Pleasant Township that a zoning permit is required for all building projects and excavation projects.
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 519.17 and Article 17.2 of the local Zoning Code, with the exception of agriculture, “no building or other structure shall be erected, moved, added to, structurally altered, nor shall any building, structure, or land be established or changed in use without a permit therefore”. Permits are also required for most agriculture-related building projects, with fees for those permits waived.
Pleasant Township also requires permits, at no charge, for all work within a road right-of-way. This can include driveways, mailboxes, mailbox approach ways, drainage work and any other excavation performed within road rights-of-way.
Questions or inquiries related to zoning permits can be directed to Calvin Mengerink, zoning Inspector, at 419.238.4690 (office) or 419.238.9421 (home).
Pleasant Township trustees will also enforce any valid public nuisance complaints related to the abatement, control or removal of vegetation, garbage, refuse and other debris. Property owners found in violation will be given written notice of such violation as prescribed by law and given an allotted amount of time to bring the property into compliance.
Properties not brought into compliance can result in Pleasant Township trustees having the weeds and/or grass cut or destroyed and refuse or other debris removed, with any costs assessed to the property owners as prescribed by law.
Owners of properties found in violation of the previously listed violations may also be summoned into court and/or fined. As prescribed by Zoning Regulation section 17.10 “whenever a violation of this resolution occurs, or is alleged to have occurred, any person may file a written complaint. Such complaint stating fully the causes and basis thereof shall be filed with the zoning inspector”.
Van Wert County Hospital information
Van Wert County Hospital, in conjunction with Convoy Preschool, will offer “1,2,3,4 Parents!” — a free workshop for parents of children ages 2-5. The three-session video and discussion program will be held on Thursday evenings.
Beginning March 20, each session will be held at the Convoy Village Ministry Center, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Convoy Village Ministry Center is located at 102 W. Tully St.
This parenting workshop is funded by a grant provided by the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund. The mission of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF) is to take a leadership role and be a catalyst in preventing child abuse and neglect in Ohio.
For more information about this class, visit www.vanwerthospital.org. Registration is required and can be made by calling 419.238.8618.
Van Wert independent
Several people appeared for hearings in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.
April Franklin, 32, of Bryan, was given 180 days in jail, with credit for 40 days already served, during sentencing on a charge of trafficking in a counterfeit controlled substance, a felony of the fifth degree.
Her driver’s license was also suspended for six months.
Dale Wright Jr., 21, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control, including up to six months in the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima, on a charge of illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon into a school safety zone, a felony of the fifth degree.
One person was also arraigned on Wednesday. Kaitlin Russell, 18, of Delphos, pleaded not guilty to a charge of corrupting another with drugs, a felony of the fourth degree. She was released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 12.
A Van Wert man also admitted to violating his treatment in lieu of conviction program.
Ryan Miller, 24, admitted he failed to report to his probation office and also failed to complete a counseling program at Westwood Behavioral Health Center in Van Wert. Judge Charles D. Steele ordered a presentence investigation in the case and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.
Three people also changed their pleas to a variety of offenses during hearings held Wednesday. They include:
- Nicholas Bendele, 31, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. April 16.
- Trey Eberle, 29, of Van Wert, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of drugs, a misdemeanor of the first degree. He was originally charged with felony drug possession. Eberle then requested, and was granted, treatment in lieu of conviction.
- Tyler Kast, 21, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of vandalism, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. April 16.
A Van Wert man also appeared in court to waive his right to a speedy trial.
Robert Stoller, 31, signed a waiver giving up his right to a speedy trial and will request a continuance of his jury trial now set for March 31 on charges of child endangering.
Van Wert Police Dept. information
Brandon S. Turner, 28, of Sidney, faces a number of drug-related charges after he was arrested in Van Wert while in possession of a bulk amount of bath salts.
The Van Wert Police Department conducted an investigation on Tuesday after receiving a tip that the Sidney man was bringing a large amount of bath salts into Van Wert from Sidney. Officers confirmed Turner had arrived in the city and, through the use of a confidential informant, purchased bath salts from him. Officers later located the vehicle Turner was in and, at 11:12 p.m. Tuesday, officers made a traffic stop on the vehicle in the 200 block of North Cherry Street.
Turner, an occupant of the vehicle, was arrested by officers after he was found to be in possession of approximately 20 grams of bath salts, as well as drug abuse instruments.
Brandon Turner was charged with possession of bath salts over the bulk amount, a felony of the third degree; trafficking in bath salts, a felony of the fourth degree; possession of drug abuse instruments, a second degree misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Turner is scheduled to appear in Van Wert Municipal Court at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 6.
The Van Wert City Police Department encourages anyone who may have information about suspected drug activity to call the Van Wert City Police Department Detective Bureau at 419.238.4777 or Crime Stoppers at 419.238.7867.
American Red Cross information
March is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross would like to recognize the nation’s Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.
“Our heroes are our volunteers, our blood donors, people who take our classes or those who make a financial contribution to help us help others here in the Van Wert area,” said Sandy Lane, Community Chapter Executive “During Red Cross Month we thank them and encourage everyone to discover their inner hero by giving time to help people in our community.”
For more than 70 years, all of our country’s presidents, including President Barack Obama, have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters of all sizes big and small in this country every year. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.
“Red Cross Month is also a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross. It’s easy,” Lane said. “They can become a Red Cross volunteer, work on a preparedness plan for their household, give blood, or take a Red Cross class.”
The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping people in need.
For more information about becoming a volunteer or to donate, please call 800.Redcross or visit the organizaton online at www.redcross.org.
United Way of VW County information
The United Way of Van Wert County has announced that preparations are underway to begin the admissions and review process for 2014. New agencies are welcome to apply.
During April and May members of the Admissions and Review Committee – a committee made up of local volunteers – meets to study funding requests. This committee then makes its funding recommendations to the United Way Board of Trustees in June. Upon approval, agencies are notified by mail of funding decisions.
Any organization wanting to receive an application is encouraged to contact the United Way office at 419.238.6689 to request an application.
The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. Thursday, March 20.
Cooper Farms will sponsor a $1 day at Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community. Access includes swimming, floating playground, zip-line, paddleboats, and a half-acre beach. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown are (from the left) Camp Clay Aqua Park Director Clint Myers and Kacy Wagner, Cooper Farms representative. (YMCA photo)