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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jun. 23, 2017


Van Wert Elementary School was awarded Hall of Fame status this past Friday at the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators Professional Conference in Columbus. VWES was one of only nine elementary schools across Ohio to receive the prestigious award, based on an extensive application process and a site visit. During the awards luncheon and presentation, it was noted that VWES efforts in student wellness programs, project-based learning, Cougar CLUB student rewards, successful Watch DOGS program, second grade piano lab, and its new literacy collaborative initiative in the primary grades were instrumental in the school being chosen. Shown with the award are school staff, along with State Superintendent of Instruction Paolo DeMaria (left) and OAESA Executive Director Dr. Julie Davis (right). (photo submitted)

POSTED: 06/23/17 at 7:34 am

VW independent/submitted information

DELPHOS — Delphos Mayor Michael H. Gallmeier has announced his resignation, effective Thursday, for health reasons.

“Words cannot express the gratitude that I feel, and the joy that I have found in serving this community that is my home,” Gallmeier said in his resignation letter. “After serving eight years as councilman-at-large on our  City Council, and the past almost 10 years as your mayor, I can tell you it has been interesting, enjoyable, and very rewarding.”

Gallmeier also thanked his staff.

“You have become second family, and I know you will continue to move forward to do the best for all,” the Delphos mayor added. “Our city is in good hands.”

Delphos City Council President Dan Hirn, who has been acting mayor since the beginning of May, will continue to serve in that role until a new mayor is appointed. Under Ohio law, the Allen County and Van Wert County Democratic Central Committees will have to meet jointly to name a replacement, since Delphos is located in both counties.

“I have loved being your mayor, and I am so proud of Delphos and our community, and the people who live and work here,” Gallmeier stated. “I will take with me the wonderful memories and pray that I have served you well.”

POSTED: 06/23/17 at 7:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 has announced the following highway projects for the week of June 25-July 1:

Van Wert County

Delayed closure — Ohio 637 closure, between Feasby Wisener Road and Elm Sugar Grove Church Road, has been delayed indefinitely due to flooding and will be rescheduled. (See detour map)

Pavement repair — U.S. 30 from just east of Township Road 127 to just east of County Road 185, restricted to one lane through the work zone for pavement and joint repair and drainage improvements. Work is being performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

Paulding County

Road reconstruction — Ohio 637 in the village of Grover Hill was closed June 5 for three months for road reconstruction. Traffic detoured onto U.S. 224, U.S. 127, and Ohio 613 back to Ohio 637. Work is being performed by Brenneman Excavating Inc. for the village of Grover Hill. (See detour map)

Pavement repairs — Ohio 66, from U.S. 224 to the Defiance County line, will be restricted to one lane through the work zone for the tarring and chipping of the roadway. Work is being performed by the ODOT Paulding County maintenance garage.

Putnam County

Berm stone placement — The following locations will be restricted to one lane through the work zone for placement of berm stone. Work is being performed by the ODOT Putnam County maintenance garage:

  • Ohio 613, between the Paulding County line and Continental
  • Ohio 613, between Leipsic and the Hancock County line
  • Ohio 109, between Ottawa and Ohio 613

POSTED: 06/23/17 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — State Representative Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance) announced that the Ohio House passed legislation aimed at decreasing distracted driving across the state by imposing up to a $100 fine on offenders in addition to the standard fine established for the moving violation they are cited for.

Craig Riedel

House Bill 95 makes distracted driving a secondary offense that can result in a fine of up to $100. This means that drivers must be pulled over first for a moving violation in order to be cited for the offense.

“Distracted driving while using a phone or texting has become a major issue in Ohio,” said Riedel. “Forty-one percent of crashes caused by phone usage are fatal. I believe House Bill 95 helps to address this staggering statistic and will lead to safer roads for all Ohioans.”

In lieu of paying the additional fine, offenders may choose to complete a distracted driving safety course established by the director of public safety.

House Bill 95, sponsored by State Representatives Jim Hughes (R-Clintonville) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), passed with bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

POSTED: 06/23/17 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Van Wert County Treasurer Beverly Fuerst reminds taxpayers that real estate taxes are due Wednesday, July 12.

Property owners who have not received a tax bill should call the treasurer’s office immediately at 419.238.5177. Mailed payments should be postmarked on or before July 12 to avoid penalties.

Credit card payments are accepted in the treasurer’s office or online on the treasurer’s website at www.vanwertcounty.org (the credit card company charges a 3 percent service fee).

For taxpayers’ convenience, First Bank of Berne is also accepting tax payments.

POSTED: 06/23/17 at 7:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education heard an annual report from the Van Wert High School guidance department, an update from school nurse Theresa Whittington, and also accepted the resignation, due to retirement, of Elementary Principal Kevin Gehres and two other long-serving employees.

Van Wert High School guidance counselor Stephanie Hanneman provides an update on the VWHS Class of 2017 during Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

VWHS guidance counselors Kerry Koontz and Stephanie Hanneman provided information on the Class of 2017, as well as an update on the Career Education Opportunities program that helps students make informed decisions on their future.

Koontz, whose duties are shifting to primary oversee the new career education program, said plans are to expand that program, which targets students undecided about whether they should go to college or seek manufacturing positions in the area that don’t require a college degree.

The program was started a few years ago after school officials saw data showing only about 30 percent of those going to college actually graduated, while a number of good-paying local manufacturing jobs were going unfilled.

Superintendent Ken Amstutz commended Gehres, who is retiring June 30 after 26 years in education, 18 of those with Van Wert City Schools.

“He did a tremendous job,” Amstutz said, noting that whenever a district loses long-serving people they are hard to replace.

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POSTED: 06/22/17 at 8:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Kids and adults alike took advantage of a gorgeous day on Tuesday as more than 675 kids, along with approximately 100 adults, showed up at the YMCA Camp Clay for the sixth Elks Day at Camp Clay.

This free day at Camp Clay was provided to all area youths by Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Kids enjoy swimming at Camp Clay on Elks Day at Camp Clay. (photo submitted)

Those who participated enjoyed swimming, the splash pad, wall climbing, paddle boats, kayaking, canoeing, the nature trail, and especially the aqua park, from noon until 4 p.m.

The Elks also provided a free lunch from noon until 3 p.m., along with an afternoon treat of ice cream for all kids who attended.

Van Wert Lodge was able to provide the special event through grants received from the Elks National Foundation

“We were very pleased with the turnout and happy that the kids came out to enjoy the day,” said Mike Stanley, lodge event chair. “This was our sixth year at providing this type of entertainment for the youth and it is growing each year. We have members who look forward to volunteering for this event each year.”

Van Wert Lodge looks forward to being able to provide another free day at Camp Clay in 2018.

Elks lodge members serve lunch at the Camp Clay Aqua Park. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 06/22/17 at 8:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) questioned witnesses at an Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing about the mapping and coverage measurements of broadband in rural America and how it could be improved to better identify underserved and unserved areas.

U.S. Representative Bob Latta holds a hearing on broadband coverage in rural areas on Wednesday. (photo submitted)

During the hearing, entitled, “Defining and Mapping Broadband Coverage in America,” Latta mentioned that high-precision techniques used in modern farming require access to high-speed broadband, especially to incorporate advances in Internet of Things technology.

Latta, who serves as co-chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus, directed his question to J. Brent Legg, vice president of government affairs for Connected Nation. Video is available here.

“Broadband support programs aim to increase broadband coverage in rural America where agricultural production generate significant value to the national economy and are an essential source of revenue and jobs in rural communities,” said Latta during the hearing. “Today, modern high precision farming operations require access to high-speed broadband to support advanced operations and technologies that significantly increase crop yields, reduce costs, and improve the environment.

“A program that only seeks to measure broadband coverage based on population centers, households, or road miles will overlook coverage gaps in agricultural communities,” he added.

POSTED: 06/22/17 at 8:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Main Street Van Wert will be having an open house from 4-7 p.m. today for new Program Manager Dan Baisden at the MSVW office, 136 E. Main St. (next to the Van Wert County Foundation office).

Refreshments will be served, and MSVW board members will also be on hand.

POSTED: 06/22/17 at 8:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert County followed a statewide trend in seeing slightly higher unemployment in May, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Of Ohio’s 88 counties, 53 saw an increase in unemployment, while the jobless rate decreased in 27 counties, and remained the same in eight counties.

The county’s May unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, up a tenth of a percent from April’s 3.5 percent.

According to statistics compiled by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce increased 100 people, from 14,400 in April to 14,500 last month. In addition, the number of people employed dropped 100, from 14,000 to 13,900. The number of unemployed workers remained the same at 500.

Neighboring counties also saw a slight increase in unemployment in May. Mercer County led the state with the lowest unemployment, but saw that figure rise from 2.5 percent in April to 2.8 percent last month. Putnam County had the second lowest rate among neighboring counties at 3.1 percent, up a tenth from April’s 3.0 percent. Auglaize County’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in May, an increase of a tenth of a percent over April’s 3.3 percent.

Van Wert County was next, with Paulding County seeing an increase of three-tenths of a percent, from 3.6 percent in April to 3.9 percent last month. Allen County again had the highest unemployment rate in the area at 4.6 percent, up a tenth from April’s 4.5 percent.

Statewide, in addition to Mercer, Putnam, and Auglaize counties, seven counties had unemployment rates at or below 3.5 percent in May. Those include Holmes County, 3.1 percent; Delaware, Hancock, and Wyandot, 3.2 percent; Union County, 3.4 percent; and Madison and Wayne counties, 3.5 percent.

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POSTED: 06/21/17 at 7:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

The United Way of Van Wert County was given a special recognition to celebrate its 95th anniversary.  Jenna Peper, district rep for U.S. Representative Bob Latta, presented members of the United Way Board with a celebratory award. In 1922, United Way of Van Wert was established to help “increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another.” Ninety-nine percent of the money given locally stays in Van Wert County. Donations help fund 27 local agencies. Shown are (front row, from the left) Kendra Goodlin, Maria Grothause, Peper, Mark Verville, Joann Steele, Scott White; (back row) Pat Crummey, Mark Johnston, Jordan Sherry, Justin Dodge, Jessi Harman, Karen Lautzenheiser, Kim Bruns. (United Way photo)

POSTED: 06/21/17 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News