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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

Architect Kasey Corbet of Germann Miller & Associates points out details in a Master Site Plan developed by the firm during the Crestview board’s October meeting. Corbet will be meeting Monday afternoon with district administrators to show them updated plans. VW independent file photo

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

CONVOY — The Crestview Local Board of Education again discussed the building project and also recognized cross country runner Ragen Harting during its November meeting on Thursday.

Board members are looking at choosing one of seven options for the building project: three options that include music rooms and four that do not include music rooms.

“We want to make sure that both options would give us the rooms we need,” said Superintendent Mike Estes.

Estes also noted that Kasey Corbet, an architect for Garmann Miller & Associates, will be bringing updated plans of the two options to Crestview on Monday afternoon for school administrators to look at.

The board also discussed the fact that it will need to choose a representative for Vantage Career Center. Although board member Lonnie Nedderman was defeated in the November election, he may remain as the Vantage board representative, since Vantage board members don’t necessarily have to be board members. Nedderman also has significant experience on the Vantage board, and has been board president for several years.

A decision will be made on the Vantage representative at the December meeting.

Also on Thursday, the board accepted the resignation of bus driver Dan Miller, effective December 31, after two years with the district, and approved the following supplemental contracts: Danica Hicks, eighth grade softball coach; Kent McClure, seventh grade softball coach; Rachel Alvarez, varsity track assistant.


POSTED: 11/17/17 at 6:34 am

Van Wert independent

The Van Wert Police Department is investigating what was reported as an armed robbery that occurred early Friday morning.

Police were called by Adam Hector, who was staying with several other guests in Room 36 of the Guest Keeper hotel on North Washington Street, shortly after midnight. When police arrived, Hector told him that an unknown black man and black woman showed up at the hotel and, after they came inside, the man pointed a small-barreled revolver at  and ordered Hector and the others to get down on the floor.

The man then went to Hector and held him down with one hand, while pointing the revolver at Hector’s head, and robbed him of what he said was $2,300 in cash.

While police were investigating the incident, it was determined that Hector had two outstanding warrants out on him and he was taken into custody.

After gaining approval to search the premises, police processed the room for evidence of the robbery. During the search, a white powder was found that looked like the drug fentanyl. The substance was sent to a laboratory for testing.

The Van Wert Detective Bureau was then called in and the occupants of the room interviewed.

Police are asking that anyone with information on this crime call the Van Wert Police Department at 419.238.2462 or Crime Stoppers at 419.238.7867.

POSTED: 11/17/17 at 10:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

Mindy Eales, workforce development supervisor for Ohio Means Jobs at the Van Wert County Department of Job and Family Services, talks about job programs offered by Ohio Means Jobs that could benefit local employers during the Manufacturing Consortium held Thursday morning at Vantage Career Center. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 11/17/17 at 6:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

VWHS drama students rehearse a scene in their latest production, Mystery at Shady Acres. photo submitted

Van Wert High School theatre members are preparing for their upcoming production of Mystery at Shady Acres by Michelle R. Davis this coming Friday and Saturday.

Story: A theft occurs at a cozy 1920s Victorian hotel in the English countryside managed by Mrs. Clifford. As the hotel is getting ready for some prestigious visitors, a friendly tour group arrives, the hotel staff experience some problems, and a theft occurs.

Help the hotel staff solve its most perplexing crime of the times as the audience is invited to participate in solving this comedic case, with some help from Detective Thornton and Chief Wickfield.
Show time for the entire production is set to begin at 7 p.m. today and Saturday, November 18, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

All tickets are $6 and are available at the door. Cash or check only.

Mystery at Shady Acres

is produced with special arrangement by Pioneer Drama Service Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.

POSTED: 11/17/17 at 6:27 am. FILED UNDER: News

Crestview Local Schools had its United Way Day of Caring ice cream parties recently, with the winning elementary, middle school and high school classes receiving their t-shirts and ice cream. Crestview Elementary (above) won the traveling trophy that is up for grabs each year between Crestview, Van Wert, and Lincolnview. Michelle Brinkman had the winning high school class and Kristy Bagley had the winning middle school class. Katelynn Kraner’s elementary class was the top class in all three schools, bringing in the highest number of items out of any classroom this year! Her class alone collected 1,368 items. Kraner was awarded the Truly D’Vine and Brewed Expressions gift cards for helping the kids give back to the Van Wert food pantry. United Way photo

POSTED: 11/17/17 at 6:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

Charles Thompson, 25, of Paulding, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree, during a hearing held this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Martin D. Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

POSTED: 11/17/17 at 6:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education approved its five-year forecast and also heard a presentation from band students during its November meeting on Wednesday.

VWHS band student Jackie Sroufe (center) talks about her band experiences while band students Cassie Welker (left) and Briana Kesler look on. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

District Treasurer Mike Ruen noted that, according to his projections, the district will spend more than it takes in for four of the five years of the forecast. However, with a carryover of as much as $5.4 million, the district won’t actually be in the red until the final year of the forecast, 2022, when it will see an operating deficit estimated at $615,000.

Ruen said he factored in a 2-percent increase in salaries over the period and an approximately 6 percent increase in benefits and health insurance each year. He said the district has seen an increase in property tax revenues and income tax revenues over the past few years, as well as a 7.3-percent hike in state foundation funding, but noted property tax revenues could decline a bit because of a revaluation that would decrease agriculture property taxes — which have accounted for most of the increase the last three years — and increase residential and commercial taxes.

Ruen also projected that state foundation money would remain flat for four of the five years, because of the uncertainty of how much the district will receive in the next five years in state funding.


POSTED: 11/16/17 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

First Bank of Berne closed all branches and its call center on Friday, November 10, in observance of Veterans Day. The bank’s employees, however, did not have a typical “day off”. Instead, they spent the day engaged in volunteerism within the local community.

Bank employees chose volunteer opportunities based on their existing affiliations, interest, and community need. Employees were encouraged to form teams and work together as part of the organization’s coordinated effort to give back.

Staff from the Van Wert branch worked at charity organizations and not-for-profits, including Family Health Care of Northwest Ohio and the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center.

“I and my staff realized how fortunate we are to have a facility of this caliber in our community and were honored to show our appreciation by giving back,” said Branch Manager Becky Stepleton.

“We appreciate the employees of First Bank of Berne who volunteered their time at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center to honor the men and women who have served our country and as we celebrate National Home Care and Hospice Month,” said Brent Tow, president/CEO of Community Health Professionals Home Care & Hospice. “The work of community volunteers and collaboration with local businesses and organizations are vital to our mission of providing comprehensive, home health and hospice services to the people of northwest and west central Ohio.”

All of First Bank of Berne’s branches participated in “First Bank of Berne Gives Back.” Employees from Berne, Decatur, Peru, Kokomo, Portland, and Bluffton, Indiana, offered their time and talents to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Berne Volunteer Fire Department.

This was the bank’s first widespread, coordinated effort to engage employees in volunteerism, though many staff members already donate their time and talents locally.

“Our employees volunteer on a regular basis and many serve on local boards and community organizations,” said Vice President and Director of Marketing Chad Montgomery. “We asked each employee to select where to volunteer and watched the enthusiasm build from there.”

First Bank of Berne chose November 10 as a day of service in observance of Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the United States armed forces.

Bank of Berne employees volunteered in the community in honor of Veterans Day. photo submitted

POSTED: 11/16/17 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

National Adoption Month is an initiative to increase national awareness and bring attention to the need for permanent families for children and youths in the U.S. foster care system.

Each year, the initiative focuses its outreach and awareness-raising efforts around a new adoption-related theme. This year’s theme, “Teens Need Families, No Matter What,” highlights the importance of identifying well-prepared and committed families for the thousands of teenagers in foster care. Many of these young people are less likely to be adopted, often because of their age, and will too often age out of the system without a healthy, stable support system.

Having permanent family connections provides teenagers with the critical legal and emotional support that all young people need as they transition into adulthood and possibly continue their education, seek employment, start new relationships, and find their way.

Please see the attached proclamation from Governor Kasich declaring November 2017 ‘Adoption Recognition and Recruitment Month.’

National Adoption Month is an initiative sponsored by the Children’s Bureau, in partnership with AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway. Each November, National Adoption Month brings awareness to the needs of children and youths waiting for a “forever family.” This year the theme is building an effective local response system to support prospective families in the initial stages of considering a teen adoption — and the later stages of preparing for and adjusting to it — by offering support services at every step.

Teenagers are often hard to place, but they are as much in need of permanency as younger children and risk exiting the foster care system without any legal or emotional ties. A young person bereft of any family ties lacks the foundational support and compass all youth need as they mature into adulthood.

There are many children, from babies to 18-year-olds, needing homes in Van Wert County and the surrounding areas. Those interested in foster care or adoption may call The Marsh Foundation at 419.238.1695, extension 307, or visit

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages birth-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 36 children ages 7-17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2-12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

POSTED: 11/16/17 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Manor will hold its third annual Learn with Friends Fashion Show event from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Wednesday, November 22, at Wassenberg Art Center.

Local celebrity guest models will model local fashion trends, including selections from MOD Boutique and Humble Bumble Children’s Boutique. Performances by Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks and the Van Wert High School Select Choir will also take place at the event.

Tickets can be purchased for the event at Van Wert Manor, 160 Fox Road in Van Wert, for $15. All proceeds for the event will go to Van Wert’s Blessings in a Back Pack program. A complimentary lunch will be provided.

Van Wert Manor has been part of the community since 1970 through its tradition of caring. For more information about Van Wert Manor, contact Janel Schulte, community marketing coordinator, at 419.302.4172.

POSTED: 11/16/17 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

With workforce development becoming more and more important to local economic development efforts, the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation has joined Vantage Career Center and Northwest State Community College in their workforce development initiatives.

Shown are (from the left) Stacy Adam, executive director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation; Pete Prichard, director of the Ohio Technical Center at Vantage Career Center; and Pete Weir, Northwest State Community College training coordinator, looking over positive information on local workforce development. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Pete Prichard, Ohio Technical Center director at Vantage, and Pete Weir, training coordinator for Northwest State, have been partnering for some time on a number of workforce initiatives, including “hybrid” classes that offer area companies a specialized training curriculum and other programs tailored to companies’ workforce needs, as well as a manufacturers’ consortium that provides businesses with a way to provide input on their workforce needs, as well as suggestions on training programs to help fill those positions.

“The first thing was to find out what was the need out there,” Weir said, noting that area companies’ top needs are for employees that have training in electricity, welding, robotics, HVAC, and machine maintenance.

Weir and Prichard’s initiatives were a first attempt to identify and deal with a paradigm shift in workforce development resulting from the large numbers of Baby Boomers that are retiring, or nearing retirement. The retiring Boomers have companies needing to fill relatively large numbers of good-paying jobs that often require some type of specialized training or skillset. Retraining is also needed because of new technology in the workforce, such as robotics.


POSTED: 11/15/17 at 9:15 am. FILED UNDER: News