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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017


Federal grant money enabled the Van Wert County Head Start program  to expand. (photo submitted)

Federal grant money enabled the Van Wert County Head Start program to expand. (photo submitted)

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert County’s Head Start preschool program is one of several such programs in the area to benefit from a grant received by its parent organization. Van Wert County will convert its existing part-day classrooms and now has two 6-hour, full-day Head Start classrooms with 40 child slots.

Through an increased federal investment in quality for early childhood education, Council on Rural Services (CORS), the local Head Start program’s parent organization, is receiving an award of $915,794 in supplemental preschool funding. This is part of a $290 million nationwide expansion award announced by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (HHS).

Congress allocated the new funds as a down payment toward ensuring that nearly all preschool-age children in Head Start attend programs that operate full-time as announced in the new standards that must be fully met by 2021. These new Head Start standards place higher emphasis on a vision of evidence-based, data-driven and outcomes-focused services. These new standards are a significant and positive step forward for the future of Head Start and the success of the children and families later in life.

Within the new standards, all CORS Head Start funded centers must expand minimum teaching time to 1020 hours per year. In addition to Van Wert County program improvements, the awarding of this grant enables Kids Learning Place to begin meeting this benchmark by also converting Head Start services in the following locations:

  • Auglaize County, in Wapakoneta, will convert its existing part-day classrooms and now has two 6-hour, full-day Head Start classrooms with 40 child slots.
  • Auglaize County, in St. Marys, will open two new 6-hour, full day Head Start classrooms with 36 child slots.

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POSTED: 02/24/17 at 8:23 am

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Foundation invites area residents to attend its 14th annual Van Wert County Young Artists Recital.

The recital will be held at 3 p.m. this Sunday, February 26, in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church, 113 W. Central Ave. in Van Wert.

This year’s recital will feature 17 solo and ensemble performances by high school music students who attend either Crestview, Lincolnview, or Van Wert.

Vocal, instrumental, and piano music will be featured during the recital. The students performing have participated in the Ohio Music Educators District III Solo & Ensemble Contest recently held at Memorial High School in St. Marys. The student musicians were critiqued and given a rating of I (superior) to V (poor).

The students participating in the Young Artists Recital on Sunday afternoon have all been recommended by their school music teacher or private teacher because of their excellent performances.

The public is invited to attend this free event. Doors open for the public, beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, while a reception for the public will follow the recital to honor these fine student musicians.

Shown are students from the Van Wert High School band program who will be performing during the 14 annual Van Wert County Young Artists Recital. (photo submitted)

Shown are students from the Van Wert High School band program who will be performing during the 14 annual Van Wert County Young Artists Recital. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 02/24/17 at 8:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

LIMA — It’s a big weekend coming up for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio: Girl Scout Cookies begin arriving by the truckload for pick-up by area volunteers. More than 2.9 million boxes will be distributed to more than 2,300 troops in 32 counties throughout western Ohio.

Girl Scout logoThere are several “Cookie Drops” scheduled in the area. At these drops, volunteers will pick up cases of cookies for their troop’s initial cookie orders, which girls will distribute to customers over the coming weeks.

Haven’t ordered Girl Scout Cookies? Don’t panic. Area residents have until March 26 to place an order through a Girl Scout they know, in person, or online via Digital Cookie.

Don’t know a Girl Scout? Girl Scout Cookie Booth sales begin March 3 and run through March 26. To find a booth in one’s community, visit gswo.org/findcookies and enter one’s zip code into the Girl Scout Cookie Finder or download the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app for iOS or Android mobile devices.

POSTED: 02/24/17 at 8:06 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Van Wert County General Health District will be closed Friday, March 3, in order for staff to participate in the Accreditation Summit.

The County General Health District is working towards accreditation, as required by the Ohio Health Department to guarantee future funding and advance quality and performance within public health departments.

The closure will allow health department staff to attend the summit and focus on efforts towards accreditation. The health department will address emergencies as necessary.

For more information or any questions, call 419.238.0808.

POSTED: 02/24/17 at 8:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

It’s been more than seven decades since Orval Mullen served in the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division – “the Ivy Division” — during World War II.

World War II veteran Orval Mullen receives medals he earned from U.S. Representative Bob Latta on Wednesday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

World War II veteran Orval Mullen receives medals he earned from U.S. Representative Bob Latta on Wednesday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

The local veteran, who participated in the Normandy Invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and helped liberate the Dachau death camp, finally received the medals due him for his service during a ceremony held Wednesday at American Legion Post 178 in Van Wert.

Through the efforts of U.S. Representative Bob Latta’s office, Mullen received the decorations due him for his WW II service. The decorations included the Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, American Campaign Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze service stars and arrowhead, a World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp, the Belgian Fourragere, and an honorable service lapel button for World War II.

In addition, Mullen, who also celebrated his 95th birthday on Wednesday, received the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration, for his service in the European theatre of combat.

Congressman Latta was on hand to present the medals to Mullen, who he learned had never received the medals while conducting an interview with the ex-soldier for the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. Latta’s staff members then worked with the U.S. Army to rectify the situation.

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POSTED: 02/23/17 at 10:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

U.S. Representative Bob Latta was in town on Wednesday to provide an update on the 115th Congressional legislative session.

Latta talked about President Donald Trump, noting that he has accomplished much in just five weeks in office.

“I think if you look at what he has done, especially on the regulatory side, (which) is the number one thing I’ve heard in more than 750 (constituent) meetings,” the congressman said.

U.S. Representative Bob Latta (center) poses with Van Wert independent co-owner Chris Roberts (left) and Marketing Director Dave Roach during a visit to Van Wert on Wednesday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

U.S. Representative Bob Latta (center) poses with Van Wert independent co-owner Chris Roberts (left) and Marketing Director Dave Roach during a visit to Van Wert on Wednesday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Latta noted that U.S. businesses are saddled with $1.9 trillion in regulations, something the congressman is far in excess of what is needed.

“Everybody is pretty much in the same boat,” Latta said. “They just can’t keep up with this stuff.”

The congressman noted that one bank in his district with less than 10 employees will have 12 regulators in the bank next week to make sure it is following banking regulations.

“What they’re trying to do is make the small banks do the same thing as a (large) New York bank,” Latta said, noting that the small community banks didn’t cause the problems that led to the recession back in 2008.

Latta also talked about excess regulations set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, noting that, while everyone wants clean air and water, the EPA often doesn’t do cost-benefit analyses on regulations it sets, while occasionally there is no existing technology to allow people to meet a regulation.

Latta also touched on the budget, noting that Trump’s budget director, former U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, delaying efforts to make timely budget cuts.

And budget cuts need to be made, Latta said.

“The budget deficit this past year was $587 billion,” the congressman noted, adding that total will rise to approximately $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years if things remain the same as they are today. Even more important, the interest paid on the deficit, which was $240 billion this year, could be as much as $750 billion — or even $1 trillion — in 10 years, if action isn’t taken to curb spending.

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POSTED: 02/23/17 at 10:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

February is Career Technical Education month, and Vantage will celebrate with an open house Monday, February 27, from 5-7:30 p.m.

The open house will highlight both the high school and adult education programs and is open to the public.  “Vantage is opening up the building so everyone can see and experience what our students learn every day,” according to Vantage Community Relations Coordinator MaryJo Wilhelm. “This is a chance for prospective high school students and their parents, along with current students and parents, community members, alumni, and interested adult learners, to see what opportunities are available at Vantage.”

Vantage juniors Clay Schnipke (Ottoville), Robert Germann (Crestview), and Tyler Brecht (Continental) work as a team on the Fanuc automated material handling robot in the Industrial Mechanics lab.  Come to Open House on Monday, February 27, from 5-7:30 p.m., to see more demonstrations in all 18 career technical education labs. (Vantage photo)

Vantage juniors Clay Schnipke (Ottoville), Robert Germann (Crestview), and Tyler Brecht (Continental) work as a team on the Fanuc automated material handling robot in the Industrial Mechanics lab. Come to Open House on Monday, February 27, from 5-7:30 p.m., to see more demonstrations in all 18 career technical education labs. (Vantage photo)

Vantage students will be demonstrating skills in each lab and there will be more information about the new high school Criminal Justice program. There will also be a parent information meeting at 6 p.m. in the Community Room for parents of sophomores who are considering attending Vantage.

Career technical education allows high school students an opportunity to be work- and college ready, graduating with industry certifications and credentials, college credit, and hands-on experience in their field. For adults who are unemployed, underemployed, or looking for a career change, programs at the Ohio Technical Center provide opportunities to gain additional skills or change a career path.

“A Taste of Vantage” will again be held in the commons area during the open house. Six area restaurants and the Vantage Culinary Arts program will be offering a delicious sampling of some of their most popular cuisine. For just $5 at the door, those attending the open house can purchase a strip of six tickets. Each ticket will get the holder one food sample. All proceeds support the Vantage school-wide student activity fund.  Try some pizza from The Fort Restaurant in Fort Jennings, enjoy boneless chicken chunks in gravy from Van Wert’s Black Angus on Main, taste a pork slider from Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ in Convoy, or warm up with a cup of delicious soup from Schlotzsky’s in Van Wert.

The Vantage Culinary Arts program will be serving its fabulous homemade nacho chips and salsa. For dessert, try a mini ice cream cup from the Paulding Dairy Queen or an assortment of sweet treats and coffee from Truly D’vine Bakery in Van Wert.

Deejay Ron Burt from Magic Moment Entertainment will be the emcee for the evening and will announce the special demonstrations and activities going on throughout the building.

Sponsors include Elmco Engineering, Central Mutual Insurance Company, Carey Insurance and Financial Services, Bradley Knodel CPA, Lange Photographics, Statewide Ford, Unverferth Manufacturing, Kalida Truck Company, Straley Realty, DarkHorse Productions/Hohman Video, Northwest State Community College, Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory, Leland Smith Insurance Services, Integrity Ford/Dennis Recker, Shadows Athletics, Water On Wheels, and Walmart. To learn more about the open house, visit www.vantagecareercenter.com or Vantage’s Facebook page.

POSTED: 02/23/17 at 10:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent news

A Van Wert woman was sent to prison after she twice refused to undergo treatment at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima.

Marissa Kreischer, 31, was sentenced by Judge Martin D. Burchfield to 10 months in prison, with credit for 64 days served, after she admitted during a hearing Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court to violating her probation by refusing treatment at the WORTH Center.

Kevin Davies Jr., 27, of Van Wert, was given five years of community control, including a substance abuse assessment and any treatment recommended, on a charge of possession of heroin, a felony of the fifth degree.

Also Wednesday, Kyle Goodwin, 28, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to one count each of theft and forgery, both felonies of the fifth degree. Another theft charge was dismissed in exchange for his guilty pleas to the remaining two charges. A presentence investigation was ordered by Judge Burchfield, who scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 29.

Two people also requested modification of their bonds.

Ronald Smith, 26, of Van Wert, had his bond modified to a personal surety bond, with the added condition that he be drug tested three times per week, that he give consent to the probation department to search the residence where he is staying, and he must stay in a single-family home.

Robert Ericson, 55, of Van Wert, had his bond modified by Judge Burchfield to allow four hours of visitation with his son on Saturdays, supervised by the boy’s mother, and also for counseling sessions.

POSTED: 02/23/17 at 10:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Van Wert Federation of Teachers will host a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio, 10708 Ohio 118 in Van Wert. Both active and retired teachers should attend.

The meeting will be held because the Ohio STRS Board will soon make decisions that will impact COLA (cost of living allowance) for retired teachers, their health care, and possibly other aspects of their retirement. Members of the Van Wert Federation of Teachers are concerned about the impact of those decisions on the stability of the retirement fund.

Van Wert Federation of Teachers invites active teachers to hear firsthand what possible action could occur and what results of STRS decisions will have on teachers. The media is also invited to attend.

POSTED: 02/23/17 at 9:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert city officials appeared at a town hall-type meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the need for a 0.28-percent city income tax increase placed on the ballot in May. The meeting was hosted by the Heart Land Patriots conservative political group.

Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur holds up a bottle of water, the cost of which he said would equal what a city resident making $50,000 would pay a week in additional income taxes Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur holds up a bottle of water, the cost of which he said would equal what a city resident making $50,000 would pay a week in additional income taxes. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

City officials attending included Mayor Jerry Mazur, Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming, City Auditor Martha Balyeat, City Law Director John Hatcher, Council President Pete Weir, and Council members Joi Mergy, Ken Markward, Warren Straley, Steve Trittschuh, Jon Tomlinson, and Bill Marshall.

Following an introduction by the Rev. Keith Stoller of the Patriots group, Mayor Mazur talked about the primary reasons for placing the income tax levy on the ballot.

Those reasons include a loss of state revenues over the past several years due to the elimination of the estate tax and tangible personal property tax, as well as cuts to local government funds; higher costs due to inflation, especially in the health care area; and the continuing loss of interest revenue related to the recession that began in 2008,

Other related factors include the relatively low average income of Van Wert residents and the city’s aging population. The average income in Van Wert is approximately $38,000, the mayor said, versus an average of $55,000 statewide, while Van Wert County residents have the oldest average age among Ohio’s 88 counties.

Mayor Mazur stressed that the levy is only for the city’s General Fund, since the city’s other funds are mostly “enterprise” funds, such as water and sewer, which generate additional revenues by raising utility rates.

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POSTED: 02/22/17 at 9:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Paul Hoverman, fine arts coordinator for The Van Wert County Foundation, has announced the list of concerts for the 2017 Fountain Park Summer Music Series. The 2017 edition of the popular summer concert series offers something for nearly everyone, and includes a number of musical genres, including country, rock, R&B, bluegrass, pop, classical, patriotic, and Broadway tunes.

Hoverman also noted that all Fountain Park summer concerts are free and open to the public. The Fountain Park Summer Music Series, now in its 16th year, is underwritten by the county foundation, in cooperation with the Van Wert City Parks & Recreation Department.

Friday, June 2 — Groove Essential

Groove Essential

Groove Essential

Hailing from the Indianapolis area, this band of eight talented musicians is the ideal party band to help celebrate the Peony and ArtRageous Festival weekend with a night of dancing and fun. Groove Essential’s song list consists of the latest in pop and new country, the best of classic rock and ‘50s hits, the most danceable disco, R& B, Motown, and ‘80s songs and the most noted swing, big band, ballads, and jazz standards. Members of the band have performed with notables such as John Cougar Mellencamp.

Friday, June 16 — The Doo Wah Riders

“High energy Country with a Cajun twist” is how the Doo Wah Riders have been hailed. Their tight musicianship and powerful arrangements of classic, contemporary, and original songs have made them favorites everywhere they go. The group has performed with some of the top country stars, such as Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Alabama, and Brooks and Dunn, to name just a few.

Friday, June 23 — Travelin’ McCourys

The leaders in progressive and traditional bluegrass, the Travelin’ McCourys are one of the most in demand bands in their genre today. They are on the road — and online — entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music.

Friday, June 30 — Lima Symphony Pops Orchestra

A Van Wert and LSO Independence Day tradition, the LSO Pops return to Fountain Park with an evening of great pops music, as well as inspiration selections to help start your Fourth of July celebration. Led by Maestro Crafton Beck, this regional orchestra always delights the entire family.

Friday, July 14 — The Stranger: Billy Joel Tribute

America’s most authentic tribute to the legendary Billy Joel. Formed by native Long Islander Mike Santoro on lead vocals and piano, The Stranger has performed for an impressive list of high profile events, festivals, and concerts. Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, this band of six will bring the songs of Billy Joel to Fountain Park and will have local residents dancing and singing along.

Friday, July 21 — We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered

Michelle Berting Brett will have people thinking they are actually listening to the beloved Karen Carpenter.  The music of The Carpenters is still loved as much today as it was when it took the world by storm in the 1970’s. Area residents will love hearing and remembering all those great songs from the Carpenters’ songbook. This is absolutely the best Carpenter tribute anyone will ever experience!

Friday, July 28 — Hotel California

Hotel California photographed in San Francisco April 2008 at Pat Johnson Studios.

Hotel California photographed in San Francisco April 2008 at Pat Johnson Studios.

One of Fountain Park’s all-time favorite concerts, Hotel California, returns to recreate an Eagles concert experience. No one performs the music of this iconic Rock/Country band like Hotel California in its “Salute to the Eagles.” By blending its extraordinary vocal and musical talents, Hotel California faithfully and accurately reproduces the sound of the Eagles’ studio recordings, while recreating a classic sound that undeniably transcends the boundaries of Rock, R&B, and Country.

Friday, August 11 — Southern Drawl

Making its very first appearance in this area, Southern Drawl Band, based inf Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee, has been hailed as “one of the nation’s hottest emerging bands, ranking top among the best live performances to come along in decades”. Its barn burning version of “Rocky Top” was shown on the Jumbotron© of the University of Tennessee’s “Mighty Vols” to over 102,000 fans and has been used on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”.

POSTED: 02/22/17 at 9:02 am. FILED UNDER: News