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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

Three of 10 Van Wert High School AP Government students rehearse for the "We the People" competition in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (VW independent file photo)

Three of 10 Van Wert High School AP Government students rehearse for the “We the People” competition in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (VW independent file photo)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

COLUMBUS — The AP Government class at Van Wert High School earned an impressive second-place finish in the state “We the People” competition on Friday, finishing as runner-up to perennial champion Findlay High School in contest, which is held at the Statehouse in Columbus.

Bob Priest, teacher of the AP Government class, was ecstatic about his students’ high placement.

“This was the highest scoring team I have ever had in my 10 years of competing,” Priest said, noting that, because of the small class size this year, 8 of the 10 students had to prepare two units for the competition, rather than the one unit most other schools’ students were responsible for.

VWHS scored 1,835 points, out of a possible 2,160, while Findlay had 1,934 points. The score was closer than it appeared, with Findlay averaging 8.95 points out of 10 on each scoring opportunity, while VWHS averaged 8.65 points.

The contest is conducted in the form of a legislative committee hearing, with students taking the part of experts called in to testify on selected topics. The local AP Government students held a practice last month in the Van Wert County Common Pleas Courtroom in front of judges that included State Senator Cliff Hite (R-1st District) and State Representative Tony Burkley (R-82nd District).


POSTED: 01/24/15 at 8:39 am

VW County Sheriff’s Office information

MIDDLE POINT — Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach has announced the arrest of a Middle Point man on several charges, mostly as the result of a drug investigation.

Norman D. Haynie, 36, was arrested by deputies on one count each of possession of heroin, a felony of the third degree; possession of marijuana, a fifth-degree felony; endangering children, a misdemeanor of the first degree; and operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI), also a first-degree misdemeanor offense.

Norman Haynie

Norman Haynie

Sheriff Riggenbach said Haynie’s arrest and subsequent charges were the result of a brief investigation by the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force into possible drug activity at 208 E. Railroad St. in Middle Point.

The sheriff noted that, during the investigation, several task force members, with assistance from Van Wert County deputies, located Haynie while he was returning to his residence in Middle Point. After contacting him at his residence, a search warrant was executed in the house.

Found in Haynie’s residence were the following items: A moderate amount of suspected heroin, a large amount of suspected marijuana, a small amount of suspected prescription medication, money, several small scales used for weighing items and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Deputies and task force members also found that a small child had been left alone in the home for a long period of time. Sheriff Riggenbach noted that the Van Wert County Children’s Services agency was contacted about the child and came to the scene to take custody of the youngster.

Haynie was taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility, where he is being held until an appearance in Van Wert Municipal Court on Monday.


POSTED: 01/24/15 at 12:59 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/ODJFS information

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in December 2014, down from 5.0 percent in November 2014. Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 5,100 over the month, from a revised 5,325,300 in November to 5,330,400 in December.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 278,000, down 9,000 from 287,000 in November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 133,000 in the past 12 months from 411,000. The December unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.1 percent in December 2013.

Unemployment artwork-small 8-2011The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 5.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent in November and down from 6.7 percent in December 2013.

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 5,100 over the month, from a revised 5,325,300 in November to 5,330,400 in December, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.

Employment in goods-producing industries, at 880,500, increased 2,900 from November due to gains in manufacturing (+1,500) and construction (+1,400). Mining and logging employment did not change over the month. The private service-providing sector, at 3,695,600, added 3,400 jobs.

Employment gains in leisure and hospitality (+7,100), professional and business services (+3,800), and educational and health services (+2,500) surpassed losses in trade, transportation, and utilities (-6,200), other services (-1,900), financial activities (-1,200), and information (-700).


POSTED: 01/24/15 at 8:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio House of Representatives information

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives’ Agriculture and Rural Development Committee will be meeting at Cooper Farms in Van Wert at 1 p.m. Thursday, January 29.

The committee, chaired by Ohio Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville), will hold a hearing to discuss water quality, nutrient management and the important role Ohio farmers play in protecting the state’s aquifers.

Expert witnesses in agriculture and watershed management will present testimony and address questions from the committee.

State Representative Tony Burkley, R-Paulding, who represents Van Wert County, is vice chairman of the committee.

POSTED: 01/24/15 at 8:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Health Dept. information

The Van Wert County Health Department would like to remind the public that is not too late to obtain a flu vaccine for this season’s influenza. Vaccination remains the best protection against the flu, its severity and potential serious complications.

County residents who have not received a flu shot this season and would like to obtain one:

Vaccination artwork 5-2014Ages 6 months to 18 years and ages 65 and older may receive a flu shot at the Van Wert County Health Department. Call 419.238.0808, extension 103 or 107, to schedule an appointment.

Ages 19-64 should visit a pharmacy to obtain a flu shot.

Influenza is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Anyone who has any of these symptoms should contact a physician. Anti-viral medications are most effective when used early in the course of the disease. Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading influenza include hand washing; covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth and staying home when sick until fever-free for 24 hours.

POSTED: 01/24/15 at 8:00 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Elks Lodge information

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, will be hosting a free spaghetti supper for all Van Wert County veterans.

The supper will be held at the Elks Lodge, 1197 Elks Drive in Van Wert, from 5-7 p.m. Monday, January 26.

Spouses, children and parents of veterans are welcome to attend. Cost for adults (non-veterans) is $5 and the cost for children (ages 4-10) is $3.

Van Wert Elks Lodge would like to thank veterans for all they do and have done defending America’s freedoms.

POSTED: 01/24/15 at 7:58 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Area farmers who haul grain for their own operation or others are invited to hear the latest on agricultural trucking safety and compliance issues in the Lincolnview cafeteria at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 29.

The free program is being sponsored by Leland Smith Insurance Services, Ag Credit, Van Wert County Economic Development and the Lincolnview Young Farmers. Refreshments will also be served. No RSVP is required.

Expert speakers include the Sergeant Jeff Conley, the commercial enforcement coordinator from the Findlay Ohio State Highway Patrol Post; and Mark Fowler, a hazardous materials specialist with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

POSTED: 01/24/15 at 7:57 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent/submitted information

FORT WAYNE, Indiana — Van Wert County will be seeing more trains over the next few months, but they should also get through the county faster.

This railroad crossing on North Washington Street in Van Wert will be improved to allow trains to travel at 40 mph through the city, instead of the current 15 mph. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

This railroad crossing on North Washington Street in Van Wert will be improved to allow trains to travel at 40 mph through the city, instead of the current 15 mph. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad (CFE) announced Thursday a track improvement project enabling 40-mph train speeds across the entire 315-mile rail line from Tolleston, Indiana, to Crestline in Ohio. Work includes leveling and aligning nearly 50 track-miles, replacing segments of rail and installing more than 10,000 new railroad ties.

Projected for completion this month, the project will help alleviate rail freight congestion in the metro-Chicago area by creating an alternate route for trains going to and from the Chicago rail gateway.

CFE anticipates up to six additional eastbound freight trains per day over its line upon completion of the project. The additional trains, expected to carry energy products such as crude oil, bulk commodities such as grain, and other general merchandise, will be operated by Norfolk Southern Railway, which has rights to operate over the CFE and dispatches all trains on the line.

“Motorists and pedestrians should take note that trains will be running more frequently and also at higher speeds on certain segments that were not 40 mph before,” says Chuck McBride, CFE president. “Always obey signs and warning devices at railroad crossings, and cross only at designated crossings.”


POSTED: 01/23/15 at 8:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

WBESC Governing Board information

The Western Buckeye Educational Service Center Governing Board held its organizational meeting on Wednesday, with Billy Poe III elected board president and Nick Miller vice president. Superintendent Brian Gerber also recognized board members for their service as part of “School Board Recognition Month” ad the board also took action on a number of personnel items during the regular board meeting.

After updating the board on legislative issues and personnel items to be considered during the meeting, Gerber honored board members with certificates for their service.

“In this day and age, school boards have a tough job,” Gerber said. “Nobody is beating down the doors to run for the school board. So we appreciate our school boards.”

The superintendent noted that WBESC board members Poe, Miller, Larry Zielke, Ron Treece and P. James Grubaugh work to ensure the ESC is a productive and effective agency.

“It takes teamwork and collaboration from all parties to make an educational agency successful,” Gerber added.

Following the “housekeeping” matters resolved during the organizational meeting, the board approved a number of personnel and other items.

Personnel items include the following:

  • Employed Ashley Snyder as an LPN/aide with a limited non-teaching contract for the 2014-15 school year, effective January 12.
  • Accepted the resignation, for retirement purposes, of itinerant PS teacher Linda Utendorf, effective June 1.
  • Accepted the resignation of Thomas Edison Center paraprofessional Kathy Habern, effective January 1.
  • Employed Lisa Baker as a paraprofessional with a limited one-year contract for the current school year, effective January 26.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved the WBESC’s continuation as fiscal agent for the Paulding Council Children and First Council, effective July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.
  • Recognized the Paulding and Van Wert County spellings bees, both held during the first week of February. The Paulding County Spelling Bee is Monday, February 2, at Antwerp Local Schools, while the Van Wert County Spelling Bee will take place Thursday, February 5, in the Marsh Foundation Auditorium. Both events will begin at 7 p.m.

The next meeting of the WBESC Governing Board will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, at the Van Wert ESC office.

POSTED: 01/23/15 at 8:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

BRYAN — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Commerce today announced a settlement with northwest Ohio residents who were accused of using their charity to solicit funds for Profitable Sunrise — an alleged international pyramid scheme.

Under the agreement, filed in the Williams County Court of Common Pleas, Nancy Jo Frazer of Bryan and Albert Rosebrock of Sherwood agree not to hold a position with a charitable organization and not to sell securities in Ohio.

They also agree to dissolve their charity, most recently known as Defining Vision Ministries Inc., and to turn over charitable assets to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to be used for charitable purposes.

In the event that Frazer or Rosebrock violate the terms of the injunction, they will be subject to a judgment in the amount of $710,000.

“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is charged with ensuring that charitable funds are used as intended,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Under this settlement, these individuals agree to dissolve their charity, to cease all charitable activities in Ohio, and to stay out of the securities business in Ohio. We believe this is a fair resolution to a case that underscores the importance of researching charities and being skeptical of claims that are too good to be true.”

The state had alleged that the defendants violated Ohio’s securities and charitable laws by using their charity, previously known as Focus Up Ministries, to solicit investments for Profitable Sunrise.

Profitable Sunrise, before it was shut down by federal and international authorities, claimed to be a Christian company that would use investment proceeds to help charities and provide investors with large returns.

The Williams County case was handled jointly by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which enforces the state’s charitable laws, and the Ohio Department of Commerce, which regulates securities in the state of Ohio.

Questionable charitable activity should be reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800.282.0515.  Potential investors should contact the Ohio Department of Commerce for securities information.

POSTED: 01/23/15 at 8:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

Tpr. Daniel Thompson

Tpr. Daniel Thompson

Tpr. Kara Kavaiauskas

Tpr. Kara Kavaliauskas

The Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol has two new troopers serving at the local post, according to a news article released on Thursday.

Troopers Kara Kavaliauskas and Daniel Thompson graduated from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy on October 10, 2014, after 26 weeks of intense paramilitary training.

Courses completed by the 156th class included Core Values, crash investigation, criminal and traffic law, detection of impaired drivers, firearms, physical fitness, self-defense and emergency vehicle operations.

The troopers recently completed their field-training period and are now serving the Van Wert and Paulding County communities.

POSTED: 01/23/15 at 8:10 am. FILED UNDER: News