DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Five people were arraigned, four were sentenced and three made plea changes during hearings held Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.
Todd Hundley, 41, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender, a felony of the fourth degree, during arraignment hearings on Wednesday.
Hundley was released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, December 18.
Lorenzo Frye, 25, of Van Wert, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony. Judge Charles D. Steele ordered Frye released on a personal surety bond, under electronically monitored house arrest, but further ordered that he must have no contact with the alleged victim in the case. He will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. December 18.
Kyle Goodwin, 24, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to two counts of theft, each a felony of the fifth degree., He was released on a personal surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. December 18.
Tristan Boaz, 22, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to three counts of forgery, each a fifth-degree felony. Boaz was released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference scheduled for 8 a.m. December 18.
Cai Evans, 19, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count each of possession of heroin and possession of drugs, both felonies of the fifth degree. He was ordered released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 8, 2014.
Four persons were also sentenced on Wednesday. They include:
Connect Ohio information
DELPHOS — Connect Ohio is opening its newest Digital Works location in Delphos, located at 309 W. Second St. Digital Works is a technology skills training program aimed at providing a link between twenty-first century workforce opportunities and community revitalization. The program provides mentoring and training to workers seeking employment and places them in quality teleworking jobs. Digital Works Delphos will hold its first orientation sessions starting this Friday, December 13. A 10:30 a.m. morning orientation will be offered at Delphos Library, 309 West 2nd Street in Delphos, and a 2:00 p.m. afternoon session will be held at the Allen County Department of JFS Center located at 1501 South Dixie Highway, in Lima.
“The Digital Works locations currently open in Zanesville and Logan have seen remarkable success; 30 participants have completed the training and been offered employment,” said Stu Johnson, executive director of Connect Ohio. “Proving the success through our job numbers is a strong indicator for the program; however, the greatest impact that Digital Works is having is on the participants’ lives after helping them to secure employment. We are thrilled to be opening a location in Delphos to connect even more people to jobs.”
Using a digital learning model, the Digital Works program trains, places, and mentors high-quality business process candidates and locates co-working centers in rural America settings where job demand is high, few employers exist, and the cost of living is the lowest. Upon successful completion of training, trainees are placed in a position that matches their skills and interest. Structuring partnerships in the local communities is the backbone of the Digital Works program and is providing the success to get people employed.
Digital Works is currently taking applicants for the program. Apply at:http://www.digitalworksjobs.com/
To join the Digital Works training program and start your new career:
Digital Works Delphos will hold two orientation sessions each week, one at Delphos Library, 309 W. Second St. in Delphos, and another session will be held at the Allen County Department of Job and Family Services Center, 1501 S. Dixie Highway in Lima. All interested participants can register by completing the online application through: http://www.digitalworksjobs.com/ or calling Digital Works Delphos at 419.695.4015.
Gary Clay (above), president/CEO of Van Wert Federal Savings Bank, presents Theresa Mengerink, vice president of the Van Wert County Historical Society, a check for $1,000 to help purchase a new lawn mower for the museum complex. Below, Brian Renner, president/CEO of First Federal Savings & Loan, and Jessica Hurdesty (center), loan operations, present Theresa Mengerink, vice president of the Van Wert County Historical Society, a check for $1,000 to help purchase a new lawn mower for the museum complex. (photos submitted)
Niswonger Performing Arts Center information
A magical gift this Christmas includes two childhood fascinations: dinosaurs and trains. On Saturday, March 15 at 3 p.m., Jeffery-Mohr Dentistry Inc. will welcome “Dinosaur Train” to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center Stage. Jim Henson’s “Dinosaur Train” is a live show based upon the PBS series that embraces and celebrates the fascination that children have with both dinosaurs and trains.
Come join Buddy, Tiny, Don and all of their friends and family in this fun-filled, interactive and immersive live trip back in time to an age when dinosaurs roamed the earth … and rode in trains.
Little Buddy is a proud Tyrannosaurus Rex living happily in the Pteranodon family nest. But, what exactly makes Buddy a part of this family, and just what will happen when he gets bigger and can’t fit in the nest anymore? Buddy wants to know, so the Pteranodons decide to hop aboard the one and only Dinosaur Train and set off on an adventure across the Mesozoic to take Buddy to see his good friend King Cryolophosaurus. King’s giving a big concert in Troodon Town and will be a great pal for Buddy to talk to and figure it all out. But, oh no, King is missing! Will Buddy and the gang be able to find him in time for his concert? Just why is King hiding anyway? Will Buddy discover what makes him special and such an important part of the Pteranodon family?
Jim Henson’s “Dinosaur Train Live: Buddy’s Big Adventure” will bring the beloved stars of the hit PBS series to Van Wert for the first time. From giant King to teeny Tiny, all of the series characters will be brought to life in an exciting, original, musical story created just for the stage, where the audience is always a part of the action. Utilizing lush projected backgrounds and vistas, magical special effects that fill the theatre, a full-sized replica of the Dinosaur Train, unique hybrid puppeteered costume characters and an engaging live host, the dinosaur pals and their adventures will truly seem larger than life.
The fun goes beyond the show. Guests will have an opportunity to meet the characters after the show and capture a memorable picture.
Also, as a sweet reward, all ticketed patrons will be entered to win a Dinosaur Train-themed cake from the region’s very own cakery, CakeCrazy (visit the NPAC event page to find out more information).
Tickets for “Dinosaur Train Live” are on sale now and ready for gifting at family friendly prices from $12-$27. Order tickets by phone 419.238.NPAC; online npacvw.org; or by visiting the Niswonger Performing Arts Center Box Office at 10700 Ohio 118, Van Wert.
Van Wert independent staff
A local company is expanding its facility and adding 30 additional jobs.
According to a story first printed in the Lake Erie West Manufacturing & Construction News, National Door & Trim will be expanding its Grill Road facility in Vision Industrial Park, adding an approximately 2,600-square-foot showroom addition and about 1,3000 square feet of new office space to its 75,000-square-foot facility.
Tom Turnwald, president of National Door & Trim, noted that the company has had a need to showcase its existing and new products, adding that this expansion will also result in the company’s employing 30 more people to add to the 43 employees who currently work for the company.
Although the company struggled, like most others tied to the housing market, when housing starts were nearly nonexistent in 2009, Turnwald said the company worked to expand its product line. “We’ve been growing for the past three years and these new products require retail space to show them,” he said.
Local contractor Alexander & Bebout will be the general contractor on the project and will feature several “green” components, including energy-saving lighting.
Although the weather outside was frightful, Jazz sax player Dave Koz (left) and friends Oleta Adams and Jonathan Butler were delightful, as they warmed up a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio with their homey blend of Jazz-flavored Christmas music and other Koz favorites. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
VW County Sheriff’s Office information
Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach announced the arrest of a man on drug charges following a traffic stop this past Monday. The sheriff said information given to his office from the Van Wert City Police Department about two local men who had allegedly gone to Dayton to get heroin led to the arrest.
Sheriff Riggenbach advised that deputies located a vehicle heading toward Van Wert that matched the description given by the VWPD. Deputies then stopped the vehicle for multiple traffic violations, and, during the traffic stop, called in the VWPD’s K-9 to assist at the scene.
Deputies located a moderate amount of heroin on the driver of the vehicle: David A. Leaser, 37, of Van Wert, who was arrested and charged with one count of possession of heroin, a felony of the fourth degree.
Leaser was taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility where he is being held until he can make an initial appearance in Van Wert Municipal Court. The second man in the truck was not charged and was released.
Sheriff Riggenbach stated the investigation is continuing into this matter and additional charges may be filed.
The Van Wert Police Department and the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force assisted in the investigation. The West Central Ohio Crime Task Force is comprised of officers from the Van Wert, Paulding, and Allen County sheriff’s offices, Lima Police Department and multiple state and federal agencies. The task force operates within a multi-county area to combat drug and major crimes.
Niswonger Performing Arts Center information
Vancrest Health Care Centers presents The Toledo Symphony Orchestra playing Rodgers and Hammerstein on Sunday, March 9, 2014, starting at 3 p.m., at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Rodgers and Hammerstein have captured Americans’ hearts and imaginations through some of the most beautiful lyrics and music introduced to American culture by way of the Broadway stage. The concert will also feature regional guest vocalists: tenor Jake Wilder and soprano Mary Ann Falk.
The audience will be inspired and touched by works that have set into motion some of the most beloved musical productions of the 20th century.
Tickets are $20 and on sale now through the Niswonger Box Office, 10700 Ohio 118 on the south edge of Van Wert. The Box Office is open Monday-Friday from Noon – 4 PM. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.npacvw.org.
The Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein is part of the Niswonger Community Concert Series. The Community Concert Series events are presented by Vancrest Health Care Centers and also underwritten by Slusher’s Jewelry, Taylor Auto Sales Inc., Stephanie Dawn, Central Insurance Companies, Van Wert County Hospital, and Bob Evans Restaurant.
Van Wert Vocal Music Department information
On Tuesday, December 17, the Van Wert City Schools Vocal Music department will present its annual Christmas concert at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
The evening will begin with the middle school concert at 7 p.m., with the high school choirs to follow beginning at 8:15 that evening.
The choirs will perform a variety of seasonal music and the evening is sure to leave the audience in the Christmas spirit.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
An Ohio City woman accused of killing her mother and shooting her father is apparently seeking a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity plea, if her arraignment in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court is any indication.
A tear-streaked Tamara Menke, 47, shackled and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, was largely unresponsive during the arraignment hearing Monday morning. Her attorney, Scott Gordon, spoke for her throughout the hearing, and, when it came time to enter a plea, Gordon said his client was not prepared to do so at that time, and requested a mental competency evaluation be done on his client prior to a plea being entered.
Judge Charles D. Steele decided to enter a provisional plea of not guilty for Menke — at least until a competency evaluation can be completed.
“The court will order a plea of not guilty, with the understanding that, following a mental evaluation, you may decide to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity,” Judge Steele said, to which Gordon replied: “That is correct.”
Menke is facing one count of aggravated murder, an unspecified charge that carries a prison term of between 20 years in prison without parole to life in prison without parole; as well as one count of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; felonious assault, a felony of the second degree; aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; and burglary, a felony of the third degree.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert City Council heard an update from Economic Development Director/Educator Cindy Leis, including an action plan for 2014, and also discussed a proposal by Van Wert Youth Football to use the former Washington School site as a football field.
Council first met as a committee of the whole on Monday to hear Leis talk about economic successes during her tenure and to provide a roadmap of her goals for 2014.
The economic development director noted that 200 net jobs had been created in the county this year, with Braun Industries adding 50 jobs alone.
Leis also talked about her action plan for 2014, noting she had four main goals for the coming year: 1. Assist existing county businesses with retention, growth, expansions and profitability; 2. Support efforts to gain certification for the megasite north of Van Wert, and to aggressively market that site, as well as development property in Vision Park, Van Wert Industrial Park, the Van Wert Towne Center development and other available developable property in the county; 3. Promote the county’s “Welcome Home” brand and assist in finding local and state incentives for small business start-ups, as well as new and locating companies; 4. Take a leadership role in promotion of career opportunities, workforce development, and developing skills needed to retain and attract business.
Leis also noted that she wants to work more closely with the county’s villages, while also enhancing her office’s website to make it more user friendly.
Darlene Myers, OSU Extension program coordinator, talked about the two main financial incentive programs in the county: the Revolving Loan Fund and Microenterprise Fund.
Myers noted that approximately $3.1 million has been distributed on a total of 71 loans, with an 80-90 percent success rate on Revolving Loans and a 70 percent success rate on the higher-risk Microenterprise loans. She added that the state considers a 50-percent success rate as good. Approximately $150,000 is available for loans in the Revolving Loan Fund, Myers added, while another $65,000 can be loaned from the Microenterprise Fund.
Following the committee-of-the-whole meeting, members of the Property and Equipment and Parks and Recreation committees met in joint session to further discuss a proposal that would allow the Van Wert Youth Football organization to use the former Washington School property as a football field.
Mayor Don Farmer again expressed his desire for more specifics on what Van Wert Youth Football will commit to doing at the school site, since the city would have to sign an agreement with Van Wert City Schools to take control of the property. He also noted his opinion that nothing needs to be done soon at the site, since Van Wert City Schools has no immediate plans for the property.
The mayor said he is mostly concerned over any possible financial and other liability the city could have down the road if it agrees to sign an agreement with the city school district to take over the site. “We don’t want to get involved in something we can’t afford,” Mayor Farmer said.