The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Sep. 21, 2014

Unemployment artwork 550-wide 9-2011ODJFS information

Ohio’s unemployment rate was unchanged over July, coming in at 5.7 percent in August, according to information released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on Friday.

Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 200 over the month, from a revised 5,292,700 in July to 5,292,900 in August.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in August was 324,000, up 1,000 from 323,000 in July. The number of unemployed has decreased by 109,000 in the past 12 months from 433,000. The August unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.5 percent in August 2013.

The U.S. unemployment rate for August was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July, and down from 7.2 percent in August 2013.

Total Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 200 over the month, from a revised 5,292,700 in July to 5,292,900 in August, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.


POSTED: 09/20/14 at 6:54 am

Submitted information

The Van Wert Economic Development Advisory Group reminds area residents that the 10th annual Economic Development Dinner will be held Tuesday, September 30, at Willow Bend Country Club.

Featured speaker for the event is Mark Barbash, an executive vice president of strategic initiatives at the Ohio Community Development Finance Fund, a nonprofit funding resource for public and private-sector organizations for revitalization of communities across Ohio.

Mark Barbash

Mark Barbash

Barbash has 30 years of experience in economic development, which includes service as the chief economic development officer for the Ohio Department of Development, development director for Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, executive director for the Columbus Countywide Development Corporation and vice president for the National Development Council in Washington, D.C.

Barbash will speak about “Being on the Front Lines of Economic Development and Staying Competitive”.

The dinner, sponsored by Citizens National Bank, Central Insurance Companies and Van Wert County Hospital, will also include an economic development update from Van Wert City Economic Development Director and OSU Extension Educator Cynthia Leis, and a community update from Van Wert Mayor Don Farmer.

The program will conclude with awards presented to the Enterprise of the Year and to the Economic Development Volunteer of the Year.  A special recognition will be made to the sponsors for 10 years of support and commitment to economic development.

The event begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m.., with dinner at 6:15 that evening and the program beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 for individuals, $50 for couples and $200 for a table. To RSVP, call the Van Wert City Economic Development Office by Friday, September 26, at 419.238.2999.

POSTED: 09/20/14 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

1st Fed donates smoke detectors 9-2014

Chris High (left) from the Wren Fire & EMS Department, on behalf of all Van Wert County fire departments, accepts a $500 donation from Rhonda Belt, loan officer (center), and Ashley Kittle, CSR (right), of First Federal Savings & Loan towards the “No Child Sleeps Unprotected” smoke detector project.  The goal of the project is to provide every school age child in the county with a free smoke detector that has a 10-year battery. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 09/20/14 at 6:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Guidance counselors in the three Van Wert County school districts are sponsoring a College Night to be held at Vantage Career Center on Wednesday, September 24, from 6:30-8 p.m.

This is a cooperative project of the guidance counselors from Lincolnview Local Schools, Crestview Local Schools, Van Wert City Schools and Vantage Career Center that assists students and parents in collecting information concerning cost, admissions requirements, various courses of study, application procedures, and financial aid.

Representatives from more than 50 colleges and various armed services will also be available for those interested. Van Wert County high school juniors and seniors, as well as their parents, are invited to attend this event. Local school guidance counselors will also be in attendance to answer questions and assist students.

Questions regarding this event may be directed to the school counselors at Lincolnview, Crestview, Vantage or Van Wert.

POSTED: 09/20/14 at 6:46 am. FILED UNDER: News, Youth

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A group of Van Wert High School and Middle School parents met with Van Wert City Schools teachers and administrators on Thursday to talk about concerns parents have with the district’s New Tech project-based learning curriculum.

Some of the parents who attended a meeting on Van Wert City Schools' project-based learning curriculum listen to discussion on the issue. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Some of the parents who attended a meeting on Van Wert City Schools’ project-based learning curriculum listen to discussion on the issue. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The meeting was a continuation of one held in August to begin a dialogue between parents and educators and provide more information on project-based learning (PBL).

During Thursday’s meeting, VWHS Principal Bill Clifton led the discussion on PBL, while Chris Covey, lead teacher on the New Tech curriculum, provided more information on the program and math teacher Charlie Witten gave statistics showing district Ohio Graduation Test scores remained strong for students in the New Tech program.

Superintendent Ken Amstutz also began the meeting with a welcome to parents who attended the meeting.

The bulk of the meeting was used to answer five basic concerns parents had expressed during the August meeting. Those concerns included:

  • Improvement of the group contract process and student accountability
  • Assuring time is used in a productive manner under New Tech
  • Providing data supporting PBL at VWCS
  • Ensuring there is enough focus on the New Tech teaching model
  • Are students who do the project work assigned receiving appropriate grades?


POSTED: 09/19/14 at 7:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

Chamber Business Expo 2014

Hundreds of people showed up Thursday night for the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo, held this year at Elks Lodge 1197 in Van Wert. Area businesses had the chance to network with each other, while also providing product and service information – and a sampling of free food – to the many interested area residents who attended the event. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 09/19/14 at 7:40 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Western Buckeye ESC information

PAULDING — The Western Buckeye Educational Service Center Governing Board met Wednesday for its September meeting.

Superintendent Brian Gerber told the board state revenues for August were $39.5 million, or 2.3 percent below estimates, largely attributable to a timing issue with the non-auto sales tax, but added that the state is still slightly over estimates for the fiscal year to-date. Gerber also informed board members that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was reporting that his office was receiving complaints that schools are receiving phony invoices for books they never ordered.

Personnel action taken during the meeting included accepting the resignation of Allen County paraprofessional Tracy Hutchinson, and approving a one-year limited contract to Tonya Ramirez as an Allen County paraprofessional, effective September 15.

The board also approved a motion to give a one-year part-time contact to paraprofessional Shirley Etzler, effective September 15.

WBESC Treasurer Kim Jones and Assistant Treasurer Linda Clark also reviewed current financial reports, investments and monthly expenditures with the board.

The next regular meeting of the WBESC Governing Board will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 15, at the Van Wert ESC office.

POSTED: 09/19/14 at 7:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VWHS Homecoming promo pic 9-2014

Van Wert High School is preparing for a number of activities related to the school’s football homecoming next week. The activities begin with the annual Homecoming Parade, which will travel from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on West Sycamore Street down Jefferson Street to Fountain Park, where a pep rally will be held. The theme of this year’s parade is “Disney.” The annual Powder Puff football game between the junior and senior girls will follow at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Eggerss Stadium. Admission is $1. On Friday will be the 2014 Homecoming football game against Western Buckeye League rival Elida. The game begins at 7:30, with a Homecoming ceremony at 7 that evening. Shown is a photo from the 2013 Homecoming Parade. (VWHS photo)

POSTED: 09/19/14 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Dept. of Transportation information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 is seeking public input on the following proposed projects in Van Wert and Paulding counties:

Van Wert County

ODOT logoWashington Street Phase 3 – The proposed street reconstruction project will run from Ervin Road to Fox Road/Hospital Drive, and will include the complete reconstruction and widening of the above portion of South Washington Street.

Traffic will be detoured; however, local traffic will be maintained at all times. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016.

Paulding County

Ohio 114 culvert replacement – The project, located immediately west of Township Road 11, proposes the replacement of the existing culvert with a new culvert. Traffic will be detoured during construction, but local traffic will be maintained. Construction is scheduled for spring 2016.

Ohio 637 – This project is located on Ohio 637, approximately three-tenths of a mile south of Paulding County Road 146, and will include replacement of the existing culvert. Traffic will be detoured, while local traffic will be maintained during construction, which is expected to begin in spring of 2016.

POSTED: 09/19/14 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education heard more information from Superintendent Ken Amstutz on this year’s State Report Card results, while it also approved a large number of supplemental contracts during its September meeting.

Van Wert City Schools Superintendent Ken Amstutz reports on State Report Card results during Wednesday's board of education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert City Schools Superintendent Ken Amstutz reports on State Report Card results during Wednesday’s board of education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Amstutz said he felt he wanted to clarify results of the State Report Card, noting that the district received all As and Bs except in the value-added component of the report card, where the district earned “F”s on the overall value-added component and for progress made by gifted students. The superintendent said both failing grades were because the district’s gifted students did not make adequate progress from one year to the next. On the other hand, the district earned “B”s for progress made by handicapped students and students determined to be economically disadvantaged – higher marks than were given Crestview Local Schools, which earned an “A” overall in the value-added component, but was given “C”s for its handicapped and economically disadvantaged student populations.

Amstutz also noted that the move to the New Tech project-based learning (PBL) curriculum has not hurt Ohio Graduation Test scores in the district, with high school students matching pre-PBL OGT passage rates in math and science and exceeding them in reading, social studies and writing.

Average scores on the OGT also stayed the same or improved in all five subject areas tested: Reading, math, science, social studies and writing.

The superintendent noted that a meeting in August with parents of students in the New Tech program who had concerns about the program was very positive, with another meeting scheduled for today at 7 p.m. in the S.F. Goedde Building on West Crawford Street.


POSTED: 09/18/14 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Sheriff’s information

Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach announced the arrest and indictment of a southern Ohio man on a charge that he made a false report to law enforcement officials.

Donald Thacker

Donald Thacker

Donald Z. Thacker Jr., 41, of Centerville, also known as Thurman, in Gallia County, was indicted on three counts of tampering with evidence, each a felony of the third degree; one count of vandalism, a fifth-degree felony; and one count of discharging a firearm on a roadway, a felony of the third degree.

The indictment was handed down during a recent session of the Van Wert County Grand Jury and was the result of a Sheriff’s Office investigation into a report made by Thacker.

Sheriff Riggenbach said Thacker had called 9-1-1 and reported he was at Lincoln Highway and U.S. 30 when unknown individuals attempted into break into the cab of his semi tractor-trailer rig. Thacker also said he was shot and stabbed in the incident.

After a thorough investigation, county detectives determined that Thacker had falsely reported what happened. The sheriff said Thacker was arrested in Gallia County and transported back to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility. He will be arraigned on the above charges today in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

POSTED: 09/18/14 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News