VW independent/VWHS information
Van Wert High School Principal Bill Clifton has announced the 10 graduates of distinction for the Class of 2015. The group will be recognized by Superintendent Ken Amstutz at graduation exercises, to be held this Sunday, May 31, at 2 p.m. in the VWHS gymnasium.
To be eligible for the graduate of distinction honor, students must be in the top 10 percent of their class, have a grade point average of at least 3.85 and successfully complete at least three of the school’s six Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
Graduates of distinction for the VWHS Class of 2015 include the following:
Maekenzie Alba, daughter of Armando and Deborah Alba. Maekenzie will be attending the Ohio State University to major in mathematics.
Rebecca Anderson, daughter of Drew and Juliet Anderson. Rebecca will be attending Ohio State University majoring in biology/pre-med.
Emily Bair, daughter of Phillip and Shelly Bair. Emily will attend Washington and Lee University and major in accounting.
Maia Carisa Burgos, daughter of Frederick and Mayrene Burgos. Maia will attend Ball State University and major in actuarial science.
VW independent/submitted information
DEFIANCE — The Defiance College Board of Trustees has appointed Van Wert resident Edward R. Buhl as interim president of the college, effective July 1.
Buhl has served as Defiance College Board of Trustees chairman since last July and will return to that position as soon as a permanent president is hired.
Buhl is a 1973 graduate of Defiance College and has been a member of its Board of Trustees for approximately 20 years, having served on numerous committees before becoming chairman last July.
Following graduation from Defiance College, he began a 41½-year career at Central Mutual Insurance Company, retiring as senior vice president and secretary of the company.
Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is www.defiance.edu.
Ohio State Highway Patrol information
GROVER HILL — The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post is investigating a fatal crash that occurred at approximately 3:42 this morning on Wetzel Road, near Hoaglin Center Road, in Van Wert County.
According to investigating troopers, a 2008 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle driven by Jeffrey C. Bidlack, 53, of Grover Hill, was traveling west on Wetzel Road and approaching Hoaglin Center Road when Bidlack struck a deer that was crossing the roadway.
Bidlack was thrown from his motorcycle and sustained multiple injuries. Bidlack was life-flighted by Samaritan Medical Transport to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Bidlack’s motorcycle sustained disabling damage and was towed from the scene. Bidlack was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Wetzel Road was closed between Hoaglin Center and Slane roads for approximately two hours before the scene could be cleared.
The Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was also assisted on scene by Grover Hill Fire and EMS, Van Wert County EMS, Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, and Superior Collison.
The crash remains under investigation. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.
Hearth and Home will be sponsoring a $1 day at Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community, access includes swimming, floating playground, zipline, paddleboats, a half-acre beach and the 3,600-square-foot splash pad, which is new in 2015. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown are Merrill Good, Doris Hart, Jen Salizar, Melissa Schaffer, Amanda Chesbro, Jeff Buggle, Marian Morris, Kim Webster, Gloris Ford, Frank Conn and residents’ dog Venus from Heath & Home, with YMCA Camp Clay Director Clint Myers. (YMCA photo)
VWHS guidance office information
There will be an excellent opportunity for all parents of the Van Wert High School Class of 2016 to discuss areas of mutual concern regarding the college admission process.
The presentation will address such topics as dealing with choosing a college, application procedures, entrance requirements, ACT tests, SAT tests, visitations, costs, scholarship information and financial aid procedures.
Each year, VWHS guidance counselors’ follow-up survey of graduates tells them that parents have the greatest influence on post high school plans. For parents putting their first child through college, this session is imperative. Those who have already put a child through college can note changes and additional information that would be helpful.
Parents should make arrangements to attend this informative session to be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.
Those unable to attend should feel free to contact the VWHS guidance office at 419.238.2180.
The Van Wert Civil Service Commission will meet Monday, June 1, at 2:30 p.m. in Van Wert City Council Chambers to certify the latest fire department test results.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert City Council prepared legislation that would authorize improvements at seven city railroad crossings, while also approving the closing of five less-traveled ones during its meeting on Monday.
Prior to the regular Council meeting, a handful of people showed up at a public hearing on the proposed elimination of five railroad crossings in Van Wert. Of those, two people wanted the Pleasant Street crossing to remain open, while the other speaker wanted the Harrison Street crossing to stay operational.
Also attending the meeting were Catherine M. Stout, manager of safety programs for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, which will be footing a portion of the estimated $1.5 million needed to reconstruct railroad crossings at Jefferson, Washington, Market, Walnut, Cherry, Tyler, Race, Franklin and Wayne streets, as well as Donald J. Damron, AICP, grade crossing specialist and project manager for the ORDC. The Genesee & Wyoming and Chicago Fort Wayne & Eastern railroads would also provide funding for the project.
In addition to improving the seven railroad crossings, including reconstructing of the Washington Street crossing with a concrete surface, the crossings at Market, Race, Franklin and Wayne streets would also get new warning lights and traffic gates.
VW independent/ODJFS information
Van Wert County’s unemployment rate dropped seven-tenths of a percent in April and the county had the 11th lowest jobless rate in the state at 3.8 percent during the month.
According to workforce numbers provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, in conjunction with the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce total, as well as the number of people employed, increased 100, while the number of people unemployed decreased to 500, a decrease of 100 people.
Van Wert County, as well as all of its neighboring counties — and all 88 Ohio counties — saw a decrease in unemployment during April.
Mercer County again led the state with an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, while seven other counties also had jobless rates at or below 3.5 percent. Those include Delaware and Holmes counties, 3.1 percent; Hancock and Wyandot counties, 3.3 percent; and Auglaize, Union and Wayne counties, 3.5 percent.
Among neighboring counties, in addition to Mercer and Auglaize counties, Putnam County’s unemployment rate decreased seventh-tenths of a percent, from 4.4 percent to 3.7 percent; Paulding County saw its unemployment rate decrease from 5.4 percent to 4.5 percent; and Allen County saw a decrease of six-tenths of a percent, from 5.1 percent to 4.5 percent.
Elsewhere in the state, four counties had unemployment rates at 7.0 percent or above. They include Monroe County at 8.5 percent; Meigs County, 7.7 percent; and Adams and Scioto counties, 7.1 percent.
Ohio’s comparable unemployment rate for April was 4.6 percent.
The Van Wert County Emergency Management/LEPC held a hazardous materials exercise Wednesday at the Willshire Fire Department. According to EMA Director Rick McCoy, the drill involved a collision of two semis in the village, with the spill of chemicals into a drain tile and, eventually, the St. Marys River. With heavy truck traffic moving through Willshire daily, McCoy said it gave participants the opportunity to look at local emergency plans on evacuation procedures, traffic control and resources needed in the event that a crash with dangerous chemicals would actually occur. Personnel from the following agencies (some are shown above) attended: Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Emergency Management, Adams County EMA, Van Wert County EMA, Willshire Fire Department and Willshire village officials. (Van Wert EMA photo)
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Seven people appeared in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday for hearings on a variety of charges.
Five people were sentenced, including three by Judge Martin Burchfield and two by retired Judge Charles D. Steele, while two others appeared before Probate-Juvenile Judge Kevin Taylor later in the day.
Grant Albright, 38, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control by Judge Steele, including up to six months in the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima on a charge of possession of methamphetamines, a felony of the fifth degree. He also had his driver’s license suspended for six months.
Dan Neiford, 37, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control, 60 days in jail and a six-month driver’s license suspension on charges of attempted child endangering and illegal cultivation of marijuana, both felonies of the fourth degree. Judge Steele did make work release a possibility during Neiford’s jail stay.
Steven Diltz, 30, of Delphos, was given five years of community control, up to six months in the MonDay Community Correctional Institution in Dayton, a rehabilitation center operated by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, on two counts of breaking and entering.
He must also not have any illegal drugs and alcohol in his possession and must come up with a payment plan to pay for restitution ordered by Judge Burchfield for two victims of his break-ins, and for court costs.
Tyler Lovette, 21, of Maria Stein, was given three years of community control, including 90 days in jail, on a first-degree misdemeanor count of attempted importuning. He will also be considered for work release during his jail time, but have no contact with the victim in the case, who was 13 at the time of the incident, or her family. He was also classified as a Tier 1 sex offender who must register every 180 days for 15 years.
Elks Lodge 1197 in Van Wert will be sponsoring a day at Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer with free admission. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community, access includes swimming, floating playground, zipline, paddleboats, a half-acre beach and the 3,600-square-foot splash pad, which is new in 2015. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown are Elks representative Mike Stanley (right) with YMCA Camp Clay Director Clint Myers. (YMCA photo)