DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
The Van Wert City Board of Education approved a new agreement for the Franklin Park project, heard a presentation from the Van Wert High School Robotics Team and also accepted the resignations of several longtime district employees.
Following a presentation on the updated Franklin Park project by Van Wert Mayor Don Farmer and Seth Baker, executive secretary of The Van Wert County Foundation, city school board members rescinded an old memorandum of understanding on the park and unanimously approved a new memorandum that includes the foundation.
Under the new agreement, the foundation, which is now providing half of the funding for the park project — with philanthropist Scott Niswonger pledging up to $500,000 for the other half — would take control of the property until construction is completed. The park would then be turned over to the city, which would maintain the property.
During the educational impact portion of the meeting, 13 members of the Van Wert High School Robotics Team, along with advisors/coaches Bob Spath and Zane McElroy, were on hand to show off their two new robots, as well as talk about progress of the team and plans for a robotics competition to be held at the school early next year.
KELSEY CLEMONS/independent correspondent
The Lincolnview Local Board of Education met on Wednesday for its December meeting to recognize both students and staff and to discuss the possible refunding of district bond issues.
The board learned from Treasurer Troy Bowersock that interest rates are at a low point as it discussed possible refunding of bonds. This change would save an overall $1.7 million, as well as knock two years off repayment, with payments ending in 2031, rather than 2033. No action was taken at the meeting on the proposal.
The board recognized Kathy Thompson for her time serving with the district. Thompson was unable to attend the meeting because of a sick child, but Superintendent Jeff Snyder presented a plaque on her behalf. Thompson’s retirement date will be moved from May 2015 to December 31.
A new graduation requirement was discussed by the board. This would be a new column that would be based on a point system.
The Lincolnview Indoor Track Club for the 2014-2015 school year was approved by the board at no cost to the district. Also approved was Matt Langdon and Ben Cowan as unpaid volunteer assistant coaches through the winter sports season.
Several donations were accepted on the board’s behalf as follows: a $5,000 donation from the Lincolnview PTO to go towards an upgrade in the audio system in the Elementary Gym, and a $4,000 donation to go towards the music programs from the Oscar and Norma C. Feigert MEmorial Fund and Gaylord and Eliza Saltzgaber Music Fund of the Van Wert County Foundation. The board would like to thank the donors for their generosity. Superintendent Jeff Snyder says thanks by noting he really appreciates the community raising money.
Superintendent Jeff Snyder also reported of the success of the book fair. Compared to last year earning about $7,400, this year raised around $9,300. This $2,000 increase in income earned the school $5,599.66 in free books! Classrooms will also be undergoing trivia contests to earn them more books.
The board approved per the State of Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program the purchase of the following outdoor maintenance equipment: Deere & Company, $38,365.30 and Kennedy-Kuhn, $795.
Kacy Wagner (left) of Cooper Farms received official thanks and recognition of the naming rights of the Van Wert County Fair Poultry Barn at Wednesday night’s Fair Board meeting. Cooper Farms donated $30,000 toward the renovation of the barn. With Wagner is 2015 Fair Board President Dave Evans. (Fair Board photo)
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Six people were sentenced, four entered plea changes and one person is headed to prison after admitting to a probation violation during hearings held Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.
Jason Kremer, 31, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his probation by being convicted in Paulding County for illegal manufacture of drugs. Judge Charles D. Steele then sentenced Kremer to 12 months in prison, to run consecutively to a prison term handed down in Paulding County, but also gave him credit for 97 days already served.
Those sentenced include the following:
Michael Sparrow, 23, of Delphos, was given three years of community control on one count each of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, and safecracking, a felony of the fourth degree. He was also ordered to pay restitution to two victims.
Brittney Lindeman, 29, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control on two counts of trafficking in drugs, each a felony of the fifth degree. Her driver’s license was also suspended for six months.
Brandon Thompson, 27, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control on a charge of possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony. His driver’s license was also suspended for six months.
Alisha Stemen, 22, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control on one count of burglary, a felony of the third degree, and three counts of theft, all fifth-degree felonies. She must attend drug court as part of her probation.
Andrew Graham, 19, of Delphos, was given three years of community control on a charge of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He must also spend up to six months at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima.
April Diltz, 36, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control, along with a six-month driver’s license suspension, on a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree.
VW County Fair Board information
Wednesday afternoon at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds was bittersweet, as the building known as Baby Land came down to make way for the construction of a brand new Farm Bureau facility that will break ground later this week, weather pending.
The new facility will house much-needed bathrooms and showers to replace the former Junior Fair facilities. In January, Farm Bureau will start a 60-day capital campaign to continue to raise funding for the new building, estimated to cost between $200,000 and $300,000, dependent upon volunteer time and effort.
The intention is to have the new Farm Bureau facility complete and operational by summer, but more importantly before the 2015 Van Wert County Fair, which begins September 2, 2015.
Future plans are to reconstruct Baby Land in the location where the former Farm Bureau structure stood. During the 2015 fair, the Van Wert County Fair Board is entertaining the option of a Baby Land tent in that location for the baby animal display until a new home for Baby Land can be built.
Anyone looking to donate to the efforts or volunteer services toward the cause may contact Van Wert County Farm Bureau or the Fair Board.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Like the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program, which provides manpower to help clean up stretches of Ohio’s highways, the YWCA of Van Wert County’s Adopt-A-Room project also had a specific purpose: to help update the YWCA’s 18 rooms used to house those in the Transitional Housing and Domestic Violence programs at the YW.
The response to the program was terrific, with businesses, organizations and individuals sponsoring one or more of the rooms to renovate the livin
g areas, including living and dining rooms used by women and children in the two housing programs.
Sponsors for the YWCA’s Adopt-A-Room project include Van Wert Federal Savings Bank, Max and Ilo Mercer and family, Scott and Cara Lee Campbell, Woodforest Bank, Eileen Lucier, Karli Turnwald and family, First Federal Savings & Loan, Van Wert Rotary Club, YWCA Board of Directors, Amy Johns, Pamela Jewel-Rusk, Trinity United Methodist Church’s Sunday school program, First Bank of Berne, the Van Wert Walmart store, Heidi Arney, Beth Bauer, Jill Welch and Judy Huebner.
“The amount of time, money and effort that these groups and individuals have put towards our housing program makes a world of difference,” said Chelli Gamble, case manager and coordinator of the Adopt-A-Room project.
The Scott Fire Department has a new tanker truck. At least the 1989 vehicle is new to the fire department, which purchased the truck and added emergency lighting and equipment, as well as some mechanical repairs. Shown are members of the Scott Fire Department with the new tanker truck. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
Ohio State University Extension information
The Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program is a national and international organization designed to provide opportunities for gardening enthusiasts of all types and levels to acquire training in numerous aspects of gardening and landscaping, to develop long-lasting friendships with other MGV programs, to learn from other MGVs, and to provide an outlet for those who wish to serve their communities through a unique form of volunteering.
Ohio State University MGV programs work together with The Ohio State University Extension to provide such services to their communities as answering gardening questions, beautifying the community, developing community or demonstration gardens, and other horticultural activities.
Applications are being accepted for the MGV training class of 2015. OSU Master Gardener volunteers are initially given 50 hours of training on information pertaining to gardens, landscapes, plants, diseases, insects and more! But the training does not stop after the initial training programs. Opportunities for many types of continuing education are provided through multiple training programs offered through OSU Extension both locally and statewide.
After the training class is completed, new MGV interns are to provide 50 hours of volunteer service to the community as volunteer educators. Even though this sounds like a lot of time, it is not difficult to fulfill this requirement. In fact, most quickly exceed this number long before the end of their first year of service.
Van Wert County Master Gardener volunteers have developed The Children’s Garden, located in Smiley Park on Old Tile Factory Road in Van Wert, to provide an outdoor learning lab for children of all ages. Additional projects include an annual plant sale, semi-annual garden tour, The Garden of the Senses in downtown Van Wert, and more.
An orientation meeting for MGV training for Van Wert County will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 22, in the OSU meeting room on the fairgrounds, 1055 S. Washington St. in Van Wert. Training will be held each Monday and Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. January through March 12, 2015. All classes will be held at the OSU Extension Office in Van Wert.
Classes will cover a multitude of topics including: Basic botany, soil science, fruits and vegetables, diagnostics, herbs, annuals and perennials, trees and shrubs, entomology, houseplants, landscape maintenance, plant pathology, and pesticide safety and use.
For more information on cost and how to obtain an application for the MGV program in Van Wert County, contact Curtis E. Young at 419.238.1214 or email email@example.com.
540 Martial Arts in Van Wert hosted a “Pet Photo with Santa and the Grinch” this past Saturday to raise money for the Van Wert County Humane Shelter. More than $650 was raised, with over 70 photos taken. This event would not have been possible without the help and assistance of several local business, including Ashley Baxter from Gibby’s Photography, Matt Temple from Wassenberg Art Center, Dan “Diesel” Schwinnen, the Wollet family, as well as many volunteer families from 540 Martial Arts. Shown with Santa and the Grinch are Peter Weir (left), president of the Humane Society board, and Deputy Sergeant Randy Averesch, the county humane officer. (photo submitted)
KELSEY CLEMONS/independent correspondent
CONVOY — The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of The Crestview Board of Education was held Monday, December 15.
The Crestview Board welcomed senior volleyball players Mallory Bowen, Courtney Trigg, and Raghan Waltmire, as well as Head Coach Tammy Gregory. The group was recognized for its outstanding accomplishments this season, including winning the Northwest Conference championship.
The board announced that the National Honor Society blood drive will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Convoy on January 13, 2015, and there will be a shuttle bus transporting students and staff every 30 minutes.
High School Principal Mike Biro was excited to announce the post-secondary option available for Crestview students, who can earn college credit through the program for the upcoming year.
The board learned of the addition of sixth grade to the current middle school set-up that includes seventh and eighth grades for the upcoming year. Crestview Middle School Principal Dave Bowen spoke about the benefits and changes that would occur to make this move possible. The move will require a move for some seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms to allow for better space and room utilization.
Great costumes and scenery and wonderful skating (above) were part of the Holiday Ice Spectacular show put on Monday night at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)