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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015

Jobless Rate Map 10-2015DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Unemployment figures again trended downward in October for most of Ohio counties, including Van Wert County. According to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, 45 Ohio counties saw unemployment rates decrease, while 23 counties saw increases in unemployment, and 20 counties had jobless rates remain the same.

According to the ODJFS, Van Wert County saw a decrease in unemployment of a tenth of a percent, from 3.6 percent in September to 3.5 percent in October.

Jobless figures for the county, compiled by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, show increases of 100 people in the county workforce, as well as the number of county residents who are currently employed. Unemployment remained the same at 500 people.

With the exception of Mercer County — which remained at 2.8 percent, but again had the lowest unemployment rate in the state — all neighboring counties saw a slight decrease in unemployment in October.

Auglaize County had the second-lowest rate in the area at 3.1 percent, down from 3.2 percent in September. Putnam County was right behind Auglaize County, with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, down from 3.3 percent in September. Allen and Paulding counties were both at 4.0 percent in October, down from 4.1 percent the month prior.

Statewide, there were nine counties with unemployment rates at or below 3.3 percent. Those include Mercer, Auglaize and Putnam counties, along with Holmes County (2.9 percent), Delaware and Hancock counties (3.1 percent), Union County (3.2 percent), and Medina County (3.3 percent).


POSTED: 11/25/15 at 9:07 am

Mama Mia! at NPAC 11-24-15

The exuberant music of Swedish supergroup ABBA was the draw for a packed house Tuesday evening at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio for the first performance of Broadway smash hit Mama Mia!. A second performance will be held tonight at 7:30 at the NPAC. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 11/25/15 at 9:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach announced that suspects in break-ins at Middle Point Amvets Post 698 and Willshire American Legion Post 207 recently pleaded guilty to those offenses in Seneca County.

Sheriff Riggenbach said Robert E. Tackett, 77, and Roger A. Hemry, 51, both of Lima, were each indicted in Seneca County on September 2 on 14-count indictments that included the offenses committed in Van Wert County, as well as a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a felony of the second degree.

Roger Hemry

Roger Hemry

Robert Tackett

Robert Tackett

Charges in the indictment included 11 counts of breaking and entering, as well as one count each of possession of criminal tools, safe cracking, and the engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity charge.

Tackett was arrested August 16 in New Riegel after a police officer saw him breaking into the New Riegel Moose lodge.

Seneca County Prosecuting Attorney Derek W. DeVine prosecuted the cases, which included break-ins in Hancock, Van Wert, Miami, Darke, Putnam, Allen, and Ottawa counties.

“Most of the crimes involved fraternal organizations, but there were a couple of small bars broken into as well,” DeVine said.

He added that Tackett has a long history of criminal activity, with felony convictions in at least seven Ohio counties.

“Mr. Tackett was convicted of his first felony in 1958, and, despite numerous efforts at rehabilitation, has continued to engage in criminal activity,” DeVine noted.


POSTED: 11/25/15 at 8:57 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Manor donates to United Way 11-2015

United Way Campaign Chair Jessi Hardesty recently stopped by Van Wert Manor to collect its donation to this year’s campaign, as a result of the “United Way Day” Van Wert Manor held last week. Shown with Hardesty (center) are Erin Shaffer (left), director of market development at Van Wert Manor and Day of Caring chair, and Van Wert Manor Administrator Jacque Welch. Van Wert Manor has been part of the community since 1970 through its tradition of caring. For more information, contact Shaffer at 419.238.6655. (United Way photo)

POSTED: 11/25/15 at 8:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Civic Theatre information

Take a step back in time as the Van Wert Civic Theatre presents G.I. Holiday Jukebox.

Set in World War II, the players will recreate a traditional USO show with songs and music from the 1940s, as well as several Christmas favorites to round out the evening. Starring Kristin Lee, Chris Lybold, Laura Warnement and Jerry Zimmerman, this is one you won’t want to miss.

VW Civic Theatre logoDue to the content of the show, the theatre welcomes all World War II veterans to be our guests.  They may reserve seats by calling 419.238.9689 or come to the theatre 15 minutes before any performance for their free tickets.

“We will never forget the sacrifices they made and will be honored to have them in our audience,” said a VWCT representative.

Show dates are December 3-6 and 10-13, with evening performances at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.  The show will last approximately two hours, including a 15-minute intermission with refreshments served in the lower lobby.,

The Box Office opens to the public on Monday November 30, with hours from 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Director Doug Grooms has also scheduled auditions for the next show, Unnecessary Farce, for 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 8, and Wednesday, November 9, at the theater, 118 S. Race St. in Van Wert.

Auditions are open to anyone interested in performing live theatre. Experience is not a requirement. The theatre welcomes newcomers, as well as seasoned actors. The cast calls for three female and four male actors ranging in age from 20s to 70s. Show dates are January 21-24 and 28-31, 2016.

POSTED: 11/25/15 at 8:46 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

State Fire Marshal’s information

The holiday season is here, and State Fire Marshal Larry L. Flowers reminds Ohioans of some safety tips that can help during this time of the year. Many Ohio residents will be cooking for family and guests, and Thanksgiving Day can increase the likelihood of such a fire.

“Cooking is the leading cause of all fires in Ohio and the United States, and the biggest problem is unattended cooking,” says State Fire Marshal Larry L. Flowers. “Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. If no one is watching, things can get out of control fast.”

Marshal Flowers also offered the following tips:

Cooking Safety

  • Have a safety zone: keep children and pets three feet away from the stove and oven.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. Those cooking multiple dishes should ask for help.
  • Never hold a child or pet while cooking.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Keep potholders, oven mitts, towels and anything flammable away from the stovetop.
  • Clean food and grease from burners and the stovetop.
  • For those who must use a turkey fryer, keep it outside, away from buildings and other structures, such as garages, carports, and decks. Never leave the turkey fryer unattended. The turkey should be thawed prior to frying. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep an ABC multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water on a grease fire. Water and grease are a dangerous combination. Water can cause hot grease to splatter.
  • For those who are cooking and a fire starts, turn off the heat source, put a lid on it, and get out of the home!

In addition, Marshal Flowers encourages Ohioans to have a working smoke alarm installed on every level of the home and inside and outside each bedroom or sleeping area. Each member of a household should know two ways out of a home and practice those fire escape plans twice a year. Guests should be aware of the escape plan and the location of any fire extinguishers in case there is an emergency.

POSTED: 11/25/15 at 8:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitting information

According to Main Street Van Wert Program Manager Adam Ries, Santa Claus will arrive in grand style in downtown Van Wert at 11 a.m. this Friday, November 27.

Santa Claus artworkLocal community leaders will officially welcome the jolly old elf, then escort him inside the historic Hotel Marsh. Children will enjoy meeting Santa in the hotel lobby, while parents will not want to miss this memorable photo opportunity. The Van Wert Lions Club and the Dale Davies family sponsor Santa’s downtown visit.

Santa Claus will also be coming to Delphos in the Lighted Santa Parade, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, December 4.

Activities include a Ham and Bean Supper (5-8 p.m.), free pony rides, train rides and horse and wagon rides (following Santa Parade), Canal Museum Christmas Tree Festival, letters to Santa at Schrader Realty (228 N. Main St.), commemorative Christmas stamp cancellation and Christmas card display at the Delphos Postal Museum, free bounce house at Dick Clark Real Estate office, Christmas cookie decorating, free hot chocolate and face painting.

POSTED: 11/25/15 at 8:43 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Outdoorsmen Association will be hosting its annual Pearl Harbor Commemorative Match to remember America’s heroes, both past and present.

The match will be held Saturday, December 5, at the Van Wert County Outdoorsmen Club located at 9063 Ringwald Road. The safety briefing will be held at 9:30 a.m. and the match will start at 10 that morning.

For area residents who have wanted to shoot an M-1 Garand, this is the match to attend. Once people shoot in the match, they will be eligible to purchase an M-1 Garand from the CMP. Also, for those who do not have a rifle, the club has M-1 rifles to loan out to the public to use in this match. However, any military rifle may be used.

The cost to participate is $3, which is a target fee. For those who need to purchase ammo, the club has 30.06 ammo at $23 for 40 rounds.

For those people who have never participated in a match, there will be a clinic starting at 9:30 a.m. December 5 that will include how an M-1 operates and match protocols.  The club also has a National Match AR-15 for participants that might want to try it out.

For more information, check out the association’s website at, or call 419.203.5234.

POSTED: 11/25/15 at 8:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council introduced salary legislation and heard a funding request from the Van Wert County Humane Society during its regular meeting held Monday in Council Chambers.

Van Wert County Humane Society Board President Pete Weir makes a request for funding at Monday's meeting of Van Wert City Council. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County Humane Society Board President Pete Weir makes a request for funding at Monday’s meeting of Van Wert City Council. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

City Council approved introduction of three salary ordinances for the coming year, including one that deals only with employees of Van Wert Municipal Court, during Monday’s meeting. The legislation will be read three times before final passage so that those interested can review the ordinances.

In legislative action taken on Monday, City Council approved two healthcare-related ordinances, with the first being an ordinance setting rates for employee participation and contributions to the city’s healthcare plan. The second ordinance includes information on the city’s Health Savings Account program. Both measures were passed as emergency legislation, which means they will go into effect immediately after being signed into law.

A resolution recognizing former city economic development director Cindy Leis for her years of service to the city was also unanimously approved by City Council.

Pete Weir, president of the Van Wert County Humane Society Board of Trustees, was also at the meeting to request funding for a part-time shelter manager the group recently hired to help ensure that someone is available at the shelter from 1-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Weir said the new Humane Society board has made huge strides at the local animal shelter following problems created during the tenure of former county dog warden Rich Strunkenburg, with more than 500 dogs and 200 cats housed there in the past few months. Weir said volunteers and the board have put in approximately 2,000 hours making improvements at the shelter.


POSTED: 11/24/15 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

Balyeat’s Coffee Shop isn’t gone after all.

Businesswoman Anita Miller is the new owner of Balyeat’s Coffee Shop after she had the top bid of $70,000 during an auction held Monday afternoon.

Miller plans to keep the restaurant operating as it has since 1924, with possibly some interior updates.

POSTED: 11/24/15 at 8:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Manor Fashion Show 11-23-15-DanceWorks

Dancers from Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks (above) entertained those who attended the Van Wert Manor Fashion Show Monday at Wassenberg Art Center. Proceeds from the charity event will go towards the Blessings in a Backpack program at Van Wert City Schools. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 11/24/15 at 8:32 am. FILED UNDER: News