The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award boys finalists are (top row, from the left, Randall Burnett, Adam Jurczyk, Adam Long, Lucas Gibson and Dalton West; girl finalists are (bottom row) Holly Hammond, Rachel Gordon, Jordan Ludwig, Chelsi Siefker and Rebecca Welker.

R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award boys finalists are (top row, from the left, Randall Burnett, Adam Jurczyk, Adam Long, Lucas Gibson and Dalton West; girl finalists are (bottom row) Holly Hammond, Rachel Gordon, Jordan Ludwig, Chelsi Siefker and Rebecca Welker.

Van Wert Service Club information

Five area senior boys and girls have been selected for the 2014 R.K. Thompson Self Reliance Award, according to Breanne Sudduth and Andy Gearhart, co-chairs of the Van Wert Service Club’s Selection and Banquet Committee. The awards banquet will be held  Tuesday, April 29, for the program, which provides cash awards to Van Wert County High School seniors who best exhibit the trait of self-reliance.  The awards are designed to seek out and honor students who do the best with what they have.

This year’s boy finalists are: Randall C. Burnett, son of Rick and Kim Burnett; Lucas L. Gibson, son of Berry and Angie Gibson; Adam J. Jurczyk, son of Tim and Michelle Jurczyk; Adam J. Long, son of Stephen and Donna Long; and Dalton T. West, son of Thomas and Joy West.

Burnett is a senior at Lincolnview High School where he is Vice President of choir, President of the Quiz Bowl team, reporter for Student Council and member of Beta Club and National Honor Society. After graduation he plans on attending Rhoades State for an Associate’s degree in business before moving on to a larger school.  Currently he is employed at McDonald’s in Van Wert.

Gibson is a senior at Crestview High School where he is involved in National Honor Society, varsity basketball, Future Farmers of America, Academic Red Club and Personal Finance Team Challenge.  After graduation he plans on pursuing a degree in Management from Bowling Green State University.  Currently, he is employed by Gibson Construction and GTB Masonry in Convoy.


POSTED: 04/23/14 at 7:40 am

VW County Foundation information

Executive Secretary Seth A. Baker announced that The Van Wert County Foundation will be receiving grant requests to be acted upon by trustees at their June meeting. Requests must be in the Foundation’s Office by Thursday, May 15.

Grant application forms for all agencies must be picked up at The Foundation Office.  No applications will be mailed unless requested.

While the Foundation endeavors to maintain a degree of flexibility in its grants the following guidelines should be noted:

  • Grants are geographically oriented primarily to Van Wert and Paulding counties.
  • Grants are made to organizations accorded a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity status by the Internal Revenue Service and to governmental units.
  • Grants are not made to individuals, except those who are accepted as part of the college scholarship program.
  • The Foundation does not provide grants for projects that taxpayers or commercial interests normally support.

Grant applications may be obtained from The Foundation Office, 138 E. Main St. in Van Wert.  The telephone number is 419.238.1743.

POSTED: 04/24/14 at 2:51 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Head Start classrooms in Van Wert at Kids Learning Place are now taking applications for 3 and 4-year old children for the 2014-2015 school year. There are part-day preschool classroom sessions and home base visiting options available.

Head Start is a high-quality comprehensive preschool program that provides a kindergarten readiness education, health and social services, and nutritional programs. The no-cost program is for low-income families who meet eligibility requirements set by federal guidelines. The program may also provide services to children that are homeless, in foster homes, and children with special needs without income restrictions.

Kids Learning Place is committed to ensuring education excellence for all the families and children it serves.  Staff members strive for early childhood education excellence by including:

  • Teachers with degrees in every classroom
  • A safe and nurturing learning environment
  • A research-based curriculum that is structured to focus on the child’s strengths and interests
  • Involvement with Ohio’s “Step up to Quality” program that recognizes learning and development programs that exceed licensing, health, and safety standards.

The application process is taking place in Van Wert County now, call to secure a child’s spot in either the classroom or home base program.  For more information about Head Start and Kids Learning Place call  866.627.4557 toll-free and talk with a local person.

Check out the Kids Learning Place website at or “like” the Kids Learning Place Facebook page at

POSTED: 04/24/14 at 2:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent/submitted information

With Ohio Governor Kasich’s priority on new job creation, Chase Eikenbary, the Northwest Ohio Regional liaison to the governor, is making her way around northwest Ohio, meeting with businesses to learn more about them and to express the governor’s goal to create new jobs.

Earlier this week, Eikenbary visited National Door & Trim to tour the newly completed showroom expansion, and Advance Biological Marketing (ABM) to learn about its growth and future plans in Van Wert.

During the visit with ABM, company representatives noted that farmers, agronomists and agricultural consultants dedicated to pushing the limits of technologies available to the agricultural community were the people who founded the company. ABM is focused on the farmer, both domestically and internationally, and dedicated to increasing the output and profitability of farmland.

“Everything we do is in the best interest of the farmer,” said ABM CEO Dan Custis. “We understand that farmers not only provide food that feed the world, but their own families as well.”

In addition, as farmland is passed from generation to generation, ABM is committed to offering sustainable solutions to the grower.

Currently, ABM is exporting products to 15 countries and has plans to double that by 2015. Custis noted that, with ABM’s products expected to increase yield production of rice, corn and wheat by 30-40 percent, developing countries are extremely interested in their product, as are the U.S. farmers.

ABM officials (from the left) Curtis Gordon, Dan Custis, and Brad Custis, meet with economic development officials Chase Eikenbary (center) and Cindy Leis. (photo submitted)

ABM officials (from the left) Curtis Gordon, Dan Custis, and Brad Custis, meet with economic development officials Chase Eikenbary (center) and Cindy Leis. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/24/14 at 2:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

Wassenberg Art Center information

Wassenberg Art Center will be conducting a call-for-entry on May 17-18 from 1-5 p.m. for its 58th annual June Art Exhibit.

Wassenberg Logo 4-2011All original media, with the exception of photography and digital artwork, will be accepted from artists over 18 years of age. The Wassenberg Art Center is located at 214 S. Washington St. in the former Van Wert Armory building.

The juried exhibit will open with a public opening reception on June 14 at 6 p.m. featuring gourmet food and live music and artwork will be on view through July 6. Interested artists, both amateur and professional, are encouraged to enter their select works for a chance to win awards. A prospectus can be downloaded and printed at, by email at or by calling the center at 419.238.6837 and requesting a copy be mailed. The event is sponsored by Van Wert Federal Savings Bank and the Van Wert County Foundation.

POSTED: 04/24/14 at 2:34 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Van Wert independent/ODJFS information

Van Wert County experienced its lowest unemployment rate in seven years in March, with the county seeing its jobless rate dip to 5.5 percent – the first time it was under 6 percent since the year before the recession began in 2008. The unemployment rate decreased five-tenths of a percent over February’s 6.0 percent.

Jobless Rate Map 3-2014According to civilian labor force estimates provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, Van Wert County’s workforce remained the same as in February at 13,500, while employment increased 100 people, from 12,700 to 12,800, and unemployment decreased 100 people, from 800 to 700.

All 88 Ohio counties saw a decrease in unemployment from February to March, with neighboring counties all doing well. Mercer County again had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 3.7 percent, down from 4.3 percent in February; while Auglaize County’s jobless rate was 4.2 percent, down from 4.7 percent in February. Van Wert had the next lowest unemployment rate, with Putnam and Paulding counties both coming in at 5.6 percent. Paulding County dropped eight-tenths of a percent, from 6.4 percent in February, while Putnam County was down from 6.3 percent last month. Allen County’s jobless rate was 6.3 percent, down from 7.0 percent and the only neighboring county with an unemployment rate higher than the state’s 6.1 percent jobless rate.

Statewide, in addition to Mercer and Auglaize, counties with an unemployment rate at 5.0 percent or lower included Delaware and Holmes, both at 4.1 percent; Union, 4.6 percent; Hancock, 4.7 percent; Franklin, 4.9 percent; and Logan, 5.0 percent.

Monroe County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.5 percent, while five other counties had unemployment rates above 10.0 percent. They include Morgan and Pike, 10.8 percent; Huron, 10.4 percent; and Meigs and Ottawa, 10.2 percent.

POSTED: 04/23/14 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

CONVOY — Convoy villagewide garage sales are scheduled for the weekend of May 16-17 throughout the community and surrounding area. Anyone household or business wanting to share their “stuff” with others may participate in this community event.

A listing of sales will be provided in a brochure that will be available at area businesses and on the village website: Those wanting to be included in the brochure may drop off their information, with address, times of sale, a phone number and a list of “stuff”, at no cost to the Convoy Village Office, 123 S. Main St.

Sale information must be submitted by May 9 to be included.

POSTED: 04/23/14 at 7:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

Paulding SWCD information

PAULDING — The Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District is now accepting orders for fish fingerlings.

There is a large variety of species available, including Bluegill, Hybrid Bluegill, Redear Shellcracker, Black Crappie, Channel Catfish, Jumbo Yellow Perch, Large Mouth Bass, White Amur and Black Fathead Minnows.

Order deadline is May 12. For more information on ordering fish fingerlings, fingerling sizes, and pond recommendations, call the Paulding SWCD office at 419.399.4771, email or visit the organization’s website at

POSTED: 04/23/14 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

Brumback Library information

Mark those calendars for the Brumback Library Spring Book Sale, to be held on Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Reading Room of the library, 215 W. Main St. in Van Wert.

Books, videos, magazines, paperbacks, computers, monitors and a wide array of other materials will be available for purchase.

POSTED: 04/23/14 at 6:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Main Street Van Wert downtown development program celebrated 10 years as an Ohio Main Street Community and also handed out a number of awards during its 12th annual dinner held this year at the new Wassenberg Art Center.

Main Street Van Wert "Volunteer of the Year" Dennis Cummings (left) is shown with MSVW Program Manager Adam Ries. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Main Street Van Wert “Volunteer of the Year” Dennis Cummings (left) is shown with MSVW Program Manager Adam Ries. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Main Street Van Wert Program Manager Adam Ries took some time to provide a recap of the program’s results in 2013, noting that the downtown area saw nine new businesses move in, creating 13 net new full- and part-time jobs, while more than $1.3 million was reinvested in downtown buildings and properties during the past year.

“All of these improvements mean buildings that better serve the businesses they contain, and a better looking downtown for everyone who comes here,” Ries said.

Ries added that, since 2004, when Main Street Van Wert adopted the model of the National Main Street Center and received the title of “Ohio Main Street Community,” the Van Wert downtown area has seen more than $6.1 million put back into more than 40 individual buildings and properties, as well as public infrastructure projects and street and sidewalk improvements.

“A vibrant downtown, or the lack of one, affects our community’s ability to attract and retain the residents, businesses and institutions, jobs and investments that enable a place to thrive,” Ries noted. “We believe that, through hard work and a collaborative approach, we can re-establish downtown Van Wert as the heart of the community and the center of local pride.”


POSTED: 04/22/14 at 7:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

As expected, Van Wert City Council’s Judiciary and Annexation Committee decided to stick with the Ohio State University Extension development program at the end of a meeting held Monday to discuss the issue.

A suggestion had been brought forth by committee member Jerry Mazur to give OSU Extension its required one-year notice and that City Council should then seek a unified economic development program with the Van Wert County Board of Commissioners.

Van Wert County Economic Development Advisory Group members (seated, from the left) Dennis Staude, Staci Kaufman and Jon Rhoades, speak to Van Wert City Council members on Monday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County Economic Development Advisory Group members (seated, from the left) Dennis Staude, Staci Kaufman and Jon Rhoades, speak to Van Wert City Council members on Monday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Mazur’s suggestion was made after the county commissioners decided to end their relationship with OSU Extension earlier this year and organize their own economic development program.

However, without support from the Judiciary and Annexation committee’s other two members, Chair Stan Agler and Jon Tomlinson, who had both previously expressed their wishes for continuing the OSU Extension program, Mazur’s suggestion went nowhere.

Monday’s meeting, which was moved up an hour because of Main Street Van Wert’s Annual Dinner, mostly involved a presentation by members of the Van Wert County Economic Development Advisory Group – the organization created to advise the OSU Extension’s development program.

Advisory Group member Jon Rhoades provided a history of economic development in the county, beginning with the city’s first economic development director, Mark Hartman, three decades ago.

Rhoades noted that, after several locally hired development directors went by the wayside, chiefly because of the inability to pay an adequate salary and benefits, local officials heard of the OSU Extension program and decided it would provide a better way to fund economic development efforts. A contract was first signed with OSU Extension in 1997 to provide an economic development program for the county.

Currently, the city’s hotel-motel tax pays up to $40,000 of current Community Development Director Cindy Leis’ salary, while OSU Extension pays the remainder of her salary and her benefits. The hotel-motel tax and OSU Extension also split the cost of Development Specialist Darlene Myers’ salary and benefits.

OSU Extension currently pays out approximately $36,000 a year in related salary and benefit expenses for the local development program.


POSTED: 04/22/14 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News