The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018

VW independent/submitted information

This Saturday, March 24, community members will gather for a “sibling march” as part of the March for Our Lives movement.

The march is one of hundreds happening around the country planned by students and survivors of gun violence in communities big and small, in all 50 states. The march will take place from 10 a.m. until noon and will start near the YWCA on Main Street in Van Wert and end with a rally in Fountain Park.

Area residents are welcome to join the peaceful demonstration that will include speakers, voter registration, informational handouts, and light refreshments in exchange for a freewill donation. Proceeds go to the National March for Our Lives organization.

The march is a nonpartisan event that is inclusive to everyone no matter their age, political affiliation, or what they think causes gun violence. At the rally, many key issues will be discussed, including mental health, public safety, and gun laws.

Speakers and the public will discuss why it seems impossible for persons on both side of the gun control argument to have a mature discussion.


POSTED: 03/22/18 at 7:32 am

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Seven people appeared in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday for a variety of criminal hearings.

Three people admitted to probation or bond violations, with one person receiving a jail sentence in connection with the offense.

Jared Caldwell, 31, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his probation by testing positive for cocaine and methamphetamines. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail, with credit for 21 days already served.

Greg Glander Jr., 35, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his personal surety bond by failing to appear and sign bond papers, and also by appearing in court drunk last week. He also changed his plea to guilty to an underlying charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree.

Judge Martin D. Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation in the case and scheduled sentencing for 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 24.

A $10,000 cash/commercial surety bond was set in the case until sentencing.

Johnny Ray Bowersock, 53, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his bond by having contact with the alleged victim in the case against him, as well as by consuming alcohol.

His bond was revoked and reset at $25,000 cash or commercial surety, with a continued order to have no contact with the alleged victim.

A trial date will be set for a later date in the case.


POSTED: 03/22/18 at 7:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

CINCINNATI — The most recent Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) found more than 4 in 10 (42 percent) of Ohio adults report keeping at least one firearm in or around their home. This number has increased from 2013, when 36 percent reported keeping a firearm.

Nearly 2 in 10 (18 percent) Ohio adults said they keep a loaded firearm, while half of those, about 1 in 10 Ohio adults, (11 percent) report that this loaded firearm is unlocked in or around their home.

More than 40 percent of Ohio adults have a gun at their residence, according to an Ohio Health Poll.

Research shows that having a gun in the home can increase the risk of unintentional injury, including homicide and suicide. Ohio Governor John Kasich recently proposed six changes to Ohio gun laws, including a “red flag” law that would enable family members or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people showing warning signs of violence.

“The number of deaths related to guns has continued to increase in Ohio,”says O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., president and CEO of Interact for Health. “As we continue to debate policy changes related to firearms it is vitally important to better understand how our neighbors use and store firearms.”

Among Ohio adults living in homes with children, nearly half (47 percent) report having a firearm. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently recommends not to having a firearm in a home with a child. If a gun is kept in the home, AAP recommends the firearm be unloaded and securely locked in storage away from the ammunition.

Men (50 percent) are more likely than women (35 percent) to have a firearm in or around their home. Responses also vary by age. Adults between the age of 18 and 29 (57 percent) are more likely than older adults (38 percent) to report having a firearm.


POSTED: 03/22/18 at 7:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Six public colleges and universities in northwest Ohio entered into a compact reaffirming their commitment to working collectively and collaboratively to educate residents in northwest Ohio March 20.

Bowling Green State University, Northwest State Community College, Owens State Community College, Rhodes State Community College, Terra State Community College, and the University of Toledo will comprise the Northwest Region Higher Education Compact.

“This signing marks the first step in what will be an ongoing process for our schools in the northwest region,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey. “I look forward to seeing the future results of this partnership as these colleges and universities continue to strive to make a quality education more affordable for all students, and keep us tracking toward our statewide attainment goal.”

This compact will allow the institutions to expand their capabilities by facilitating coordinated and efficient academic, financial, and administrative operations. The model is expected to allow better outcomes for direct from high school, adult, and workforce development student populations. This includes creating pathways from the K-12 system to higher education that will lower the overall cost of higher education in the northwest Ohio region, while providing high-quality educational offerings.

This partnership also will support Ohio’s degree attainment goal. By 2025, it is estimated that 65 percent of Ohio’s workforce will need a postsecondary degree to meet employer demands. That will require 1.7 million more degree-holders, however, at current graduation rates, this goal will not be met. This partnership will support several of the state’s attainment goals priorities, including identifying, validating and counting all levels of credentials; educating more adults; acting in local communities; and rethinking systems.

As a result of this partnership, students are likely to see enhanced career counseling, internship and co-op, and academic opportunities. The sharing of resources also is expected to improve and expand the capacity and capability for research and development.

Member institutions are already working together on several initiatives to meet these goals and services, including dual admissions programs, data sharing with K-12 systems and back-end administrative efficiencies.

The partnership will kick off immediately with three working sessions being held at member institutions March 22.

POSTED: 03/22/18 at 7:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The halls of Lincolnview High School were nearly deserted Tuesday afternoon as high school students were either out on career visits or doing community service projects.

Lincolnview High School seniors help out at a mobile food bank at Lifehouse Church on Tuesday. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Like Van Wert High School Principal Bob Priest a couple of weeks ago, Lincolnview Principal Brad Mendenhall used the day that sophomores took the Pre-ACT test and juniors took the state-mandated ACT (college entrance) test to provide out-of-class experiences for all Lincolnview high school students.

While VWHS gave seniors a chance to visit area businesses the day underclassmen were involved in testing, all LHS students were involved in one or more opportunities on Wednesday.

Mendenhall spent some time prior to the day setting up a number of tours, career opportunities, and community service projects for students to do on Wednesday. In addition, students also came up with some community service project ideas. Sydni Thatcher was one of those. Thatcher volunteers on Bingo Night at the Van Wert County Council on Aging’s Senior Center, so she asked Council on Aging Executive Director Kevin Matthews whether he had a community service project she and other students could do.


POSTED: 03/21/18 at 8:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) responded to President Trump’s opioid announcement by saying he is ready to work with the Administration on public health approaches to combat the addiction epidemic, but that Ohioans need action, not talk.

Sherrod Brown

Brown is working to secure funding for Ohio in the budget Congress will pass this week. Brown is also pushing to fully fund his INTERDICT Act to give Customs and Border Protection agents the tools to detect and stop deadly fentanyl at the border.

The President’s plan includes initiatives Brown has called for, including:

  • Eliminating an outdated cap on the number of beds at substance abuse treatment facilities that can be covered under Medicaid,
  • Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Increasing access to naloxone.

“The President said a lot of the right things today, but Ohioans need action,” Brown said. “I am ready to work with the Administration to get Ohio communities and law enforcement the resources they need to prevent and treat addiction, starting with the budget Congress will approve this week.”

In January, the President heeded Brown’s call to extend the emergency declaration for the opioid epidemic. And Brown has consistently pushed for the Administration to use the declaration to take action and make investments in combatting this public health epidemic.


POSTED: 03/21/18 at 8:04 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, participated in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Chase Forwerck on March 17. Forwerck is a member of Boy Scout Troop 45, sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church in Convoy. Forwerck was presented an American flag and an Eagle Scout certificate from the Elks, and he also received a letter of commendation and a special citation from Elks Grand Exalted Ruler (national president) Malcolm J. McPherson Jr. Representing the Van Wert Lodge at the ceremony was Lodge Scouting Liaison Michael C. Stanley (left) and former exalted ruler and lodge organist Linda J. Stanley (not pictured). Also in the photo is Forwerck and Greg Amstutz, representing the Old Sycamore District, Boy Scouts of America. Elks photo

POSTED: 03/21/18 at 8:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

DEFIANCE — The Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission (NOCAC) is seeking applicants to join the AmeriCorps VISTA program and support the Financial Empowerment Program (FEP).

AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) are members of a national service program dedicated to fighting poverty in America. NOCAC’s Financial Empowerment Program is a continuum of services to increase the financial health and stability of low-income households.

FEP is currently looking for a motivated individual with a desire to help people. The VISTA participant will help recruit families, build partnerships, and support program development. The start date for this position, located in Defiance, is June 22. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve a term of one year working a minimum of 37½ hours per week. Additionally, VISTAs are able to attend school or work while completing their term of service.

Benefits of the AmeriCorps VISTA program include: a monthly living stipend paid biweekly, an end of service award of $5,920 for education or a cash stipend of $1,800, paid time off and vacation, as well as professional development opportunities. This program is a great way to gain professional experience, give back to the community, and earn money for school.

Interested individuals should contact Dustin Fuller, Financial Empowerment Program coordinator, at 419. 990.5136, extension 3114, or by email at Additional information can also be found at

POSTED: 03/21/18 at 7:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Lincolnview Local Board of Education approved a resolution supporting an Ohio School Boards Association resolution on school safety, appointed Board President Michelle Gorman as board representative to the Vantage Board of Education, provided an update on the district’s community center project, and talked about the need to renew the district’s permanent improvement levy during its March meeting on Monday.

Lincolnview Student Council members that attended Monday’s Lincolnview Local Board of Education meeting are shown with advisor Deb Stetler. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

The board unanimously approved the OSBA resolution, which calls for the Ohio General Assembly to prioritize the protection of students and school employees by passing legislation that would fund mental health services, school resource officers, and other security measures.

Superintendent Jeff Snyder noted that, while Lincolnview currently shares a school resource officer from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office with Crestview Local Schools, although a full-time officer would be preferable, if possible.

“We will have more conversation with (Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach), because we do share, and how we move forward with (getting a full-time officer) is a conversation we continue to have,” Snyder added. “Safety is always something we’re talking about, and how to improve … and we will continue to do that.”


POSTED: 03/20/18 at 7:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced bipartisan legislation with members of the Energy and Commerce Committee to reform the outdated over-the-counter (OTC) monograph system.

Bob Latta

The legislation, the Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act, modernizes the monograph framework and allows new, safe products to come to market more quickly while addressing safety issues and expanding consumer choice. This would allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make scientific determinations for OTC ingredients through an administrative order process, which is much more efficient than the current rulemaking system.

Introducing the legislation with Rep. Latta are Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas), Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Kentucky), and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan).

“Nearly every American uses over-the-counter products in some way,” said Latta. “Whether it’s treating allergies, helping with a cough, or seeking relief for a headache, consumers want medicine that is safe, reliable, and affordable.

“It’s time to create a pathway for industry to enhance over-the-counter medicines and develop new, innovative products that will be a welcome addition to the current products so many American’s depend on today,” he added. “By modernizing the decades-old monograph system and improving the way OTC drugs are approved, this bill will provide more certainty for manufacturers, ensure consumer confidence, and foster innovation. The legislation introduced today was the result of bipartisan collaboration and discussion, and it’s a big win for the countless consumers that purchase over-the-counter products.”


POSTED: 03/20/18 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Just a reminder that the deadline to purchase tree seedlings and flower seeds from the Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District is this Friday, March 23. The seedlings are available in packets of 10 at a minimal cost.

The following seedling species are available: American arborvitae, Austrian pine, Colorado blue spruce, Eastern white pine, Norway spruce, Eastern red cedar, black cherry, black walnut, pin oak, pond cypress, red bud, sawtooth oak, tulip poplar, and white flowering dogwood.

Two seed packets are available: Wildflower Seed and Bird and Butterfly Seed.

  • The 1-ounce Wildflower Seed packet contains two different annual and 17 different perennial species adapted for this area and will cover 300 square feet.
  • The 1-ounce Bird and Butterfly Seed packet contains 18 different annual and five different perennial varieties and will cover 300 square feet.

New this year are four semi-dwarf fruit tree varieties: Honeycrisp apple, gala apple, red haven peach, and Bartlett pear. The fruit trees are ordered individually and are 4-6 feet in height, with a trunk five-eighths of an inch in diameter.

This program is open to the public. Order forms are available in the SWCD office, 1185 Professional Drive, in Van Wert, on the SWCD website at or by calling 419.238.9591. The delivery date is mid-April. Payment (cash or check) is required when placing the order.

POSTED: 03/20/18 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News