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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Apr. 18, 2015


Unemployment artwork 550-wide 9-2011ODJFS information

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in March 2015, unchanged from February. Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 1,500 over the month, from a revised 5,385,000 in February to 5,386,500 in March 2015.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in March was 295,000, an increase of 5,000 from 290,000 in February. The number of unemployed has decreased by 50,000 in the past 12 months from 345,000. The March unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 6.0 percent in March 2014.

The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 5.5 percent, unchanged from February, but down from 6.6 percent in March 2014.

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 1,500 over the month, from a revised 5,385,000 in February to 5,386,500 in March 2015, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.

Goods-producing industries, at 889,900, lost 5,000 jobs in construction (-4,500) and mining and logging (-500). Manufacturing employment did not change.

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POSTED: 04/18/15 at 7:08 am

VW economic development presentation 4-17-15

On Friday, April 17, the Van Wert Economic Development Advisory Group met at Vantage Career Center where Pete Prichard, Adult Education director at Vantage Career Center, spoke about the career technical training that prepares high school students and adults for future employment and further education. Guest speakers for the event were Steve Hillard (above right), Northwest Ohio regional manager for the Ohio MEP, and Doug Durliat (above left), director of the West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium, a program in the Workforce and Economic Development Department at Rhodes State College. Both guest speakers spoke of the services available to assist local manufacturers, including educational programs to improve the skills of their current employees, and promoted the necessary skills needed to train the future workforce. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/18/15 at 7:04 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Friday the recommendations issued by the Overdose Prevention Task Force, which was formed by the attorney general last year to address issues regarding the real-time reporting of drug overdose deaths in Ohio.

Attorney General Mike DeWine

Attorney General Mike DeWine

Attorney General DeWine created the task force, which was chaired by Montgomery County Coroner and Ohio State Coroners Association Chief Forensic Officer Kent Harshbarger, M.D., after efforts by the Attorney General’s Office to gather up-to-date statewide statistics on heroin overdose deaths revealed that Ohio lacks a standard protocol for classifying drug overdose fatalities. There is also no method in place to publicly obtain up-to-date overdose death statistics.

In addition to reviewing the methods in place for collecting overdose death data, the task force also examined the value of non-fatal overdose data and other data sources that could be utilized to prevent overdose deaths.

The task force issued the following recommendations:

  • Make drug overdose death data available in online Ohio Public Health Data Warehouse:  The task force recommends that the Ohio Department of Health continue their efforts, which began in August 2014, to expand mortality data available in its online Ohio Public Health Data Warehouse.  The forthcoming system will provide the most recently available data regarding overdoses as causes of death in Ohio.
  • Encourage coroners to adopt uniform reporting practices:  In an effort to gather uniform data on deaths caused by one or more drug, the task force recommends that all coroners specifically report on death certificates each drug responsible for, or that interacted to cause death.
  • Review data collected in current state reporting systems:  The task force recommends further collaboration between state agencies to determine what additional data the state currently keeps that could also be used to gain a better understanding of the drug epidemic for purposes of community and law enforcement awareness and prevention.
  • Review EMS and non-fatal overdose data sources: The task force recommends the study of existing non-fatal overdose data in an effort to determine how the data can be used to help prevent overdose deaths.

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POSTED: 04/18/15 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

Mayor and Kim Braun photo 4-17-15

Braun Industries Inc. has taken advantage of the Van Wert City Job Creation Incentive Program to earn money for creating local jobs. The incentive program is for non-retail projects with a new payroll creation of at least $250,000. Companies taking advantage of this incentive can receive annual payments based on new payroll and job creation with average wages at least 150 percent above minimum wage. Payments for this program are based on 30 percent of municipal income tax withheld by the city and can be earned for a term of up to 10 years. Braun Industries has earned $8,053 for 2014 and 2015 with the Job Creation Incentive Program. For more information on this program, contact Cindy Leis at 419.238.2999. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/18/15 at 7:00 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

VW independent/submitted information

Every April, the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf.

This year’s Victims’ Rights Week will be held April 19-25, with the theme “Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims”, presenting the opportunity to highlight the diversity of communities, expand partnerships to serve victims of crime, enhance efforts to meet victims where they are and empower crime victims as they pursue justice and recovery.

The U.S. Department of Justice will kick off the week with OVC’s annual National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., to honor outstanding individuals and programs that serve victims of crime.

New YWCA logo 12-2009The YWCA of Van Wert will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with special events and programs, including a free self-defense class for adults held from 6-8 p.m. Monday, April 20; a free self-defense class for youths and a violent toy exchange, held from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22; and a visual awareness display located on YWCA property.

Also on Tuesday, April 21, Crisis Care Line/House of Transition and Van Wert County Crime Victims Services will conduct an open discussion featuring local crime victims, local service providers, a representative of the YWCA Domestic Violence Services program, and Rachel Hudson, a representative of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office of Crime Victims’ Services.

Hudson will present an overview of victim’s compensation and the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) program. All are invited to join from 5-7 p.m. that day in the Ohio State University Extension meeting room on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. Complimentary refreshments and literature will be provided.

For more information regarding this event, call Crisis Care Line/House of Transition 419.238.HELP (4357).

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week honors and celebrates the achievements of the past 30 years in securing rights, protections and services for victims. The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) passed by Congress in 1984 created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports victim assistance and services, such as rape crisis and domestic violence programs and victim compensation programs that pay victims’ out-of-pocket expenses such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.

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POSTED: 04/18/15 at 6:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

County 9-1-1 procla-pic 4-17-15

Van Wert County Commissioners Stan D. Owens (seated center), Todd Wolfrum (standing right) and Thad Lichtensteiger present a proclamation to 9-1-1 Director Kim Brandt (seated left) and Van Wert Police Department Dispatcher Shelly Smith in honor of dispatchers working in Van Wert County. April 12-18 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/18/15 at 6:55 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education approved a motion that could bring the Holiday at Home fireworks display to school property for this Fourth of July holiday, although not everyone was pleased with that decision.

Van Wert Middle School Assistant Principal Darla Dunlap talks about programs at that school during Thursday's Van Wert City Board of Education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert Middle School Assistant Principal Darla Dunlap talks about programs at that school during Thursday’s Van Wert City Board of Education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The board voted 4-1 to authorize Superintendent Ken Amstutz and Treasurer Mike Ruen to negotiate with the city on an agreement to bring the fireworks display to school-owned acreage located west of the high school-middle school complex.

District resident Ava Good, who lives in the area where the fireworks display would be set up, attended Thursday evening’s meeting to state her opposition to having the display that close to her property.

While other board members also voiced some concerns over the request, Mike Morrow was the only board member to vote against the motion, noting he felt there were problems with holding such a public event on school property.

“The request does not seem consistent with the intended use of that public property,” Morrow said following the meeting.

Amstutz pledged to have the district’s attorneys draw up an agreement that would address any possible liability issues the school district might face in hosting the display.

Van Wert Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming and Parks and Recreation Director Sue Heppeard had attended the board’s March meeting to request the school site host the Holiday at Home fireworks display. Fleming said the city needed to find a new site for the fireworks display because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited fireworks displays at the Van Wert County Regional Airport.

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POSTED: 04/17/15 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Fair Board information

The Van Wert County Agricultural Society Board (Fair Board) is now offering online tickets sales for grandstand acts for the 2015 Van Wert County Fair.

The board has contracted with 168 Tickets to provide online bar-coded tickets that purchasers can print from home. The tickets will then be scanned as they enter the grandstand area for ticketed events.

VW County Fair logoIt’s not the first time the Fair Board has attempted to move to online ticketing. Several years ago, online ticketing was attempted, but the cost at that time did not outweigh potential benefits. However, with the fair’s finances improving and online ticketing becoming more affordable, Fair Board members decided to try again this year.

There will be a $2 convenience fee attached to online ticket purchases for events at this fair, which the Fair Board could possibly lower or eliminate in years to come as events become more profitable.

Gate admission tickets, membership tickets and season passes cannot be purchased online at this time, although it could be an option in the future as the crowd attending the fair becomes more digital and more widespread.

“The convenience of one-stop shopping and having all your ‘park passes’ covered upon arrival is invaluable,” said Fair Board Director Sarah Smith.

The first go for the 2015 Fair and its move toward modern online ticketing starts this Saturday, April 18, at 9 a.m. That’s when tickets for the Charlie Daniels Band and Nashville Crush concert, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, go on sale online at the fair office, in person or over the phone.

The Fair Board asks for patience with the process from the public and thanks the community for all its positive feedback this past week with the announcement of the return of a headliner to the Van Wert County Fair.

POSTED: 04/17/15 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

Black Angus ribboncutting 4-16-15

Owners of the new Black Angus on Main restaurant, 222 E. Main St. (formerly the Black Swamp Bistro), cut the ribbon for its grand opening on Thursday, while Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce Board members and Chamber staff look on. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 04/17/15 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

The Western Buckeye Educational Service Center Governing Board approved a number of personnel contracts during its April meeting on Wednesday and heard Superintendent Brian Gerber provide information on Substitute House Bill 64, the state biennial budget bill.

Prior to the board taking personnel action, Gerber reviewed proposed personnel actions with board members.

Contracts approved include the following:

Certified contracts

Donna Clouse, one-year limited, part-time; Ron Dudgeon, one-year limited, part-time; Harry Florence, three-year limited; Rosanah Foster, one-year limited; Michelle Hanneman, five-year limited; Sara Linder, three-year limited; Brian Rockhold, one-year limited, part-time; Ashley Shepherd, one-year limited, part-time; Karla Treece, one-year limited, part-time.

Non-certified contracts

LaCinda Crosby, continuing; Tianne Pendergrast, continuing; Deanna Wann, continuing; Lisa Baker, two-year limited, part-time; Kristina Figgins, two-year limited, part time; Rebecca Matthews, two-year limited, part-time; Robert Miller, one-year limited, part-time; Jill Weirrick, two-year limited, part-time; Ashley Snyder, two-year limited, part-time; Chelsea Zeedyk, two-year limited; Jamie Fields, continuing; Deb Nolte, continuing; Kendra Gottschalk, two-year limited; Jessica Green, two-year limited; Cynthia Long, two-year limited; and Tonya Ramirez, two-year limited.

The board also accepted the resignation of Elizabeth Grillot, effective March 23, reassigned paraprofessional Susan Carr to Thomas Edison Preschool for the 2015-16 school year, employed Katherine Wenninger as a speech therapist for the 2015-16 school year and non-renewed contracts of part-time intervention specialist Amelia Wannemacher and one-on-one aide Lori Stefanek, effective the end of the 2014-15 school year.

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POSTED: 04/17/15 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Dept. of Transportation information

COLUMBUS Each year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is forced to spend $4 million on litter pickup — a persistent and preventable problem.

“Not only is litter expensive, but it takes us away from more important roadwork,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

ODOT logoStatewide last year, ODOT spent $4 million picking up 42,572 bags of trash. That money could be used to purchase 28 new snowplow trucks, pave a 28-mile two-lane road, or install 160 culverts.

Fortunately, ODOT does get aid from local volunteers, including its more than 1,400 Adopt-A-Highway groups.

ODOT’s Adopt-A-Highway groups – at least one in each of Ohio’s 88 counties — clean a two-mile section, or interchange, a minimum of four times a year for two years. Last year, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers pick up 20,000 bags of trash, saving ODOT $130,000.

ODOT also pays for guards from state prisons and county jails to monitor inmates working to pick up litter.

Groups wanting to adopt a section of highway or an interchange can apply at: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Operations/Maintenance/Pages/AdoptAHighway.aspx.

POSTED: 04/17/15 at 7:06 am. FILED UNDER: News