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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

jobless-rate-map-9-2016DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Unemployment increased in Van Wert County last month, but the county remains among the 10 lowest Ohio counties for unemployment, according to September figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The county’s jobless rate rose two-tenths of a percent, from 3.7 percent in August to 3.9 percent last month. According to estimates provided by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the United States Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce decreased by 200 people, from 14,600 to 14,400, while those employed shrunk by 300 people, from 14,100 two months ago to 13,800 in September.

Those unemployed increased 100 people, from 500 in August to 600 last month.

The trend here is one seen across the state, with 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties seeing an increase in unemployment in September. The jobless rate decreased in just six counties, while staying the same in two.

Mercer County again had the lowest unemployment among neighboring counties and across the state at 3.2 percent, up two-tenths of a percent from September. Putnam County was second at 3.5 percent, up three-tenths of a percent from August, while Auglaize County’s unemployment was 3.8 percent, also up three-tenths of a percent.

Paulding County’s unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent, from 4.2 percent to 4.4 percent in September, while Allen County had the area’s highest unemployment rate in September at 4.9 percent, up three-tenths of a percent.


POSTED: 10/26/16 at 7:32 am

VW independent/submitted information

The YWCA of Van Wert County will celebrate a century of service to the community with a black-tie optional event in November.

The event celebrating the YWCA’s 100th anniversary will be held Friday, November 18, at the historic YWCA building in downtown Van Wert.

This event is a compilation of what used to be known as the Festival of Trees, as well as what it has been in more recent years: a wine tasting and great time of collaboration and fun for all.

ywca-100-year-logo-10-2016“We are so excited to be able to bring this event back to our own historic building, especially to celebrate this milestone in time and all of the great things the YWCA has accomplished in the past 100 years and the bright future it has for 100 more,” said YWCA Executive Director Kim Laudick. “We are adding something a bit different than in years past: making the event black-tie optional, we are hoping to make this the event of the year for the Van Wert area.”

The “toast” portion of the event will include a variety of fine wine and craft beer samplings, heavy hors d’oeuvres and bite-size desserts catered by Willow Bend Country Club.

The new “Ticket for a Taste” option, provided with one’s tickets into the event will include eight wine and beer tastes. With three distinctly different wine stations, offering two sweet and one dry wine option, and one beer station, offering the championship craft beer varieties of The Land Grant Brewing Company, there is sure to be something for every palette, men and women alike. A cash bar is also available.

There will be a few special guests and surprises to make this year extra special. The Brat Pack, a three-piece band, will provide entertainment throughout the evening and will close out the evening with open dancing and fun for everyone.

Another of the evening’s focuses is a live and silent auction of a variety of decorated trees, wreaths, and other unique items for bidding. Auction items range from wreaths, calligraphy pieces, live greenery, small tabletop centerpieces, trees, and custom furniture pieces — all donated by businesses and individuals. There will be everything from traditional, modern, rustic and school spirit themes.


POSTED: 10/26/16 at 7:28 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies were recently awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award from Applied Systems at the Applied User Group National Convention held in Orlando, Florida.

The Pinnacle Award recognizes Applied’s best customers and business partners for technology innovation and business success. Of the five Pinnacle awards given out this year, Central was the only carrier out of several hundred in the industry to receive this recognition.

Central’s Sr. Vice President of Information Technology John White (right) accepts the Pinnacle Award from Reid French, CEO of Applied Systems. (photo submitted)

Central’s Sr. Vice President of Information Technology John White (right) accepts the Pinnacle Award from Reid French, CEO of Applied Systems. (photo submitted)

“Central has been a great partner with Applied and IVANS, and we are proud to recognize them as one of this year’s Pinnacle Award winners,” said Reid French, CEO of Applied Systems. “Central’s technology strategy embraces automation to increase internal productivity and ease of doing business with agency partners through technology like commercial download, IVANS Market Appetite, Applied Rating, and ACORD eDocs, enabling Central to provide a greater customer experience to both agents and the end insured. In this digital world, connectivity is critical to enhancing competitive advantage and driving growth, and we applaud Central’s efforts to drive digital transformation throughout the insurance industry.”

“Applied, IVANS, and Central share a common vision to provide the best user experience for our partners in the independent agency system,” said Central’s Senior Vice President of Information Technology John White. “Working together in a digital world, we can enable agents and insureds with the information necessary to quickly and accurately satisfy their daily needs. Our technology and service capabilities are critical in providing the competitive edge our partners need to realize growth and profitability in their organization.”

Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in 1876, and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 20 states. Central is based in Van Wert, Ohio and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (excellent).

POSTED: 10/26/16 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Submitted information

Eaton Corporation, the United Way of Van Wert County’s 2016 Pacesetter, recently completed its campaign.

Eaton has a long and proud history of community service with its collective willingness to help its neighbors through both financial support and volunteerism.

United Way logo 9-2013Eaton’s support of United Way dates back 100 years — nearly to the founding of the company — and today the employee giving program clearly demonstrates the philosophy of “Doing Business Right”. Eaton is a leader in community involvement, but it’s the countless individual acts of its employees that drive that leadership.

The employees of the Van Wert plant have demonstrated their support of United Way through individual donations and various fund raisers within the facility that include raffles, food events, and bake sales.

Eaton raised approximately $50,000, comprised of employee giving and corporate match. A bag bingo fundraiser benefiting the United Way is in the works, and will be held Saturday, November 5, at the Van Wert Council on Aging, with early bird bingo starting at 9 a.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the United Way office.

Eaton encourages other Van Wert businesses to join in the support of the United Way 2016 campaign.

Eaton employees with United Way Executive Director Vicki Smith (right). (United Way photo)

Eaton employees with United Way Executive Director Vicki Smith (right). (United Way photo)

POSTED: 10/26/16 at 6:57 am. FILED UNDER: News


Van Wert County Foundation Executive Secretary Seth Baker (left) examines the Third Street sidewalk with Larry Webb, past president of the historical society. The Foundation has provided a grant of $4,000 to replace the sidewalk running along the south side of the museum’s campus. (Historical Society photo)

POSTED: 10/26/16 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The YWCA of Van Wert County will be conducting babysitting classes, certified by the American Red Cross, on Saturday, November 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, November 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Participants must be between 11 and 15 years old and will only need to attend one day to obtain certification.

Pre-registration is required by calling the YWCA at 419.238.6639 or emailing

Cost of the class is $40 per participant and will teach those attending the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsively provide care for children and infants.

This training will also help participants develop leadership skills, learn how to develop a babysitting business, keep themselves and others safe, help children behave, and learn about basic child care and basic first aid.

For more information on this and other upcoming youth events at the YWCA of Van Wert County, visit the facility, call the above telephone number, or email to the above address.

POSTED: 10/26/16 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: News, Youth

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent correspondent

Van Wert residents will have a chance to learn more about the city’s financial situation during a special meeting of City Council’s Finance Committee.

Councilmen At-Large Warren Straley (left) and Fred Fisher, listen to a statement by colleague Jon Tomlinson, while Mayor Jerry Mazur (right) and Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming also listen. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Councilmen At-Large Warren Straley (left) and Fred Fisher, listen to a statement by colleague Jon Tomlinson, while Mayor Jerry Mazur (right) and Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming also listen. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

During Monday night’s meeting, the committee agreed to meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, to discuss a shortfall caused by decreased state funding, along with budget cuts and the need for increased revenue by 2018.

“We’ve cut everything down as much as we can, and the idea is to make the public aware of what we’ve done in the past, what we’re trying to do now, and what it’s going to be like by 2018, because if we keep going, something has to give, and services is the one thing that’s going to have to give, and we don’t want that,” Council President Pete Weir said.

Anyone attending the special meeting will be able ask questions about budget cuts, and plans to address the need for $1 million in new revenue to balance the budget in two years.

In other business, Van Wert City Council’s Judiciary and Annexation Committee agreed to meet at 6:45 p.m. Monday, November 14, to accept comments from the public on a proposal to allow non-profit organizations to serve alcohol on city-owned property, and Council’s Property and Equipment Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, November 28, to discuss the city’s airport lease with the county.


POSTED: 10/25/16 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 10.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.03 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 gas outlets in Ohio. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.21 per gallon, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices Sunday were 13.2 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 5.2 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has increased 1.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 1.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Gasoline pump nozzle artwork 8-2016According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on October 24 in Ohio have ranged widely over the last five years: $2.16 per gallon in 2015, $2.98 per gallon in 2014, $3.29 per gallon in 2013, $3.32 per gallon in 2012, and $3.25 per gallon in 2011.

“For the first week in the last 119 weeks (833 days), the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline stands higher than it did a year ago,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “The trend that has delivered consistently lower gas prices is showing signs of fading away as consistent discussion from both OPEC and non-OPEC members appears to be aligned for a likely production cut at the OPEC meeting in late November.

DeHaan noted that, in terms of recent gas prices, it has been a bit of a mixed bag in the U.S., with the exception of Utah, the largest 15 changes in gas price averages over the last week have all been lower. The Midwest has been the primary beneficiary, he said, as both unplanned maintenance and planned maintenance begin to wrap up, which is likely to be soon mirrored across much of the rest of the country, but OPEC’s decision looms as a possible major impact to the market over the next month.

“If OPEC does follow through and cuts crude oil production, expect gas prices this winter to stay higher than last year,” DeHaan said. “If OPEC doesn’t cut production, gas prices would likely drop in many areas across the country.

“It’s very difficult to gauge what the outcome may be given the agendas of various oil producing countries, but no matter, don’t expect gas prices this winter to drop as low as last year, and certainly don’t expect next summer’s gas prices to be as low as this year,” he concluded.

POSTED: 10/25/16 at 6:39 am. FILED UNDER: News


The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is honored to be the recipient of a very generous contribution from the US Bank Foundation. US Bank, with local branches in Van Wert and Convoy, believes that strong communities are built upon strong foundations. To build those strong foundations, US Bank invests in innovative programs designed to serve local community needs. They add strength and vitality to their communities through the US Bank Foundation. Total US Bank annual community contribution funding reached $53 million in 2015. The Niswonger has been a recipient of annual funding from the US Bank Foundation for the past seven seasons. Pictured are local US Bank representatives Josh Gillespie, Van Wert Office, and Jane Jones, Convoy Office, along with NPAC Executive Director Paul Hoverman, Box Office Manager Jerry Beard, and Marketing Director Tafi Stober. (NPAC photo)

POSTED: 10/25/16 at 6:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood to help stock the shelves before the busy holiday season.

Many regular donors delay giving between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day because of holiday activities. This often causes a drop in donated blood available for patients. Therefore, more donations are needed in the weeks leading up to the holidays to help ensure the blood supply is sufficient through the winter months.

American Red Cross logo 3-2016 copyFor blood donor Katie Osorio, giving a little bit of time is worth it because she’s giving someone a chance at life. “Someone’s mother, brother, sister, father or the love of someone’s life has been given back to their loved ones all because I gave something that I could. It takes so little from me and gives a world back to another.”

To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, or call 800.733.2767. Donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at to save time when donating.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Paulding County

Tuesday, November 22, from 2-7 p.m., at Paulding Church of the Nazarene, 210 Dooley Drive in Paulding.

Van Wert County

Friday, November 25, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Moose Lodge 1320, 740 W. Ervin Road in Van Wert.

POSTED: 10/25/16 at 6:29 am. FILED UNDER: News


Deke Sharon’s Vocalosity production raised the musical bar high with its high-energy a cappella show at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Saturday. The show included a range of music from Gregorian chant to doo-wop, and even hip-hop. Here, the show’s singers belt out a number for the show. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 10/24/16 at 3:27 am. FILED UNDER: News