The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

Small Business Saturday logo 11-2014Van Wert independent

Many of Van Wert’s small businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday, an event founded by American Express in 2010 to help businesses with their most pressing need: getting more customers.

Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving (this Saturday), the event encourages local residents to support local businesses.

In Van Wert, Main Street Van Wert has encouraged a number of small businesses, including many in the downtown area, to participate in Small Business Saturday by providing special items, holding raffles and giveaways, and even providing free Shop Small merchandise, in some cases.

Downtown shoppers can also obtain a Shop Small Passport to track their purchases. Participating downtown businesses will stamp the passport for every purchase, and after three purchases, passports become a raffle ticket to win gifts and prizes donated by downtown merchants (turn in the passport at a participating merchant to enter).

A large of number of downtown merchants are participating in the event, including Perk’s, Once I Was, The Embroidery Coop, and McCoy’s Flowers, to name just a few.

The Bachwell on North Washington Street will also host local vendors, crafters and artisans on Saturday for fun shopping and gift-giving opportunities. There will be lots of handcrafted, homemade and one-of-a-kind items on sale, along with live piano music and refreshing massages, as well as free refreshments.

A number of local businesses are also offering special deals and sales today as part of the Black Friday celebration, although Early Bird shoppers likely will snap up most of those deals.

POSTED: 11/28/14 at 8:42 am

Niswonger PAC information

Van Wert Federal Savings Bank has a rich history of supporting the performing art in northwest Ohio. From inception of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank has partnered with the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation and left its mark of excellence through financial contributions and a commitment to supporting the mission.

Shown are Tafi Stober, Niswonger marketing director; Gary Clay; Van Wert Federal Savings Bank president/CEO; and Paul Hoverman, Niswonger executive director. (photo by Darin Hohman of Dark Horse productions)

Shown are Tafi Stober, Niswonger marketing director; Gary Clay; Van Wert Federal Savings Bank president/CEO; and Paul Hoverman, Niswonger executive director. (photo by Darin Hohman of Dark Horse productions)

The Van Wert Federal Grand Lobby that welcomes guests to every performance is indicative of that support. Since its generous contributions during the build process to show sponsorship and pre-show activity underwriting, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank has gone the distance to ensure that the performing arts are shared with all throughout the region.

The local financial institution continues this effort by being a Season Sponsor of the 2014-15 season. Van Wert Federal’s generous contribution of $7,500 enables lower ticket prices and financial accessibility to highly acclaimed national artists and performers.

“On behalf of the Niswonger Performing Arts and the patrons throughout the region, we applaud Van Wert Federal Savings Bank for their continued support and thank them for helping fulfill our mission,” said Paul Hoverman, NPAC executive director.

That mission, he added: “To provide a premier venue for a wide variety of performing arts, concerts, lectures, meetings, and special events which will inspire, educate, and entertain residents of and visitors to Van Wert County, and to provide an economic catalyst by increasing cultural tourism, creating new jobs, and generating business for the region.”

POSTED: 11/28/14 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

FEMA information

CHICAGO — With the holidays fast approaching, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V office encourages everyone to consider giving gifts that will help protect their family members and friends during a future emergency.

“A gift to help prepare for emergencies could be life-saving for friends and family,” said Janet Odeshoo, FEMA Region V acting regional administrator. “These gift ideas provide a great starting point for being prepared for an emergency or disaster.”

FEMA logo on blue background 8-2011Supplies for an emergency preparedness kit can make unique — and potentially life-saving — holiday gifts, such as:

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • A flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Solar-powered cell phone charger.
  • Smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detectors.
  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher and fire escape ladder.
  • Enrollment in a CPR or first aid class.
  • Books, coloring books, crayons and board games for the kids, in case the power goes out.
  • Personal hygiene comfort kit, including shampoo, body wash, washcloth, hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
  • A waterproof pouch or backpack containing any of the above items, or with such things as a rain poncho, moist towelettes, work gloves, batteries, duct tape, whistle, food bars, etc.

Holiday shoppers might also consider giving a winter car kit, equipped with a shovel, ice scraper, emergency flares, fluorescent distress flags and jumper cables. For animal lovers, a pet disaster kit with emergency food, bottled water, toys and a leash is also a good gift.

The gift of preparedness might just save the life of a friend or family member. For more information, preparedness tips or other gift ideas, visit

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

POSTED: 11/28/14 at 8:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County information

Van Wert County employees will contribute cash and food for local food pantries this December by participating in a “Casual Month” at the Courthouse and Annex offices, the Van Wert County Board of Commissioners announced on Tuesday.

For $25 or the equivalent in food donations, an employee can wear jeans or business casual clothes to work throughout the month of December.

“In prior years, the county has contributed generously to local food pantries through this kind of fundraiser ,” said Todd Wolfrum, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. “Employees appreciate the opportunity to change things up, and we are able to support a very important local resource, especially as we move into winter.”

Commissioners Thad Lichtensteiger and Stan Owens said the food and money would be collected in the commissioners’ office and donated at the beginning of January 2015.

POSTED: 11/28/14 at 8:32 am. FILED UNDER: News

Christmas Garden lights 11-2014

Hundreds of children and their parents were on hand Wednesday when the lights went on (above) in the Christmas Garden (the Children’s Garden most of the year) in Smiley Park. The garden was lit with thousands of lights, while the Grinch and other characters were on hand to greet children and pose for photos and Christmas music played in the background. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 11/27/14 at 8:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A Paulding man received several prison terms during his sentencing hearing on Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Derek Showalter, 32, was sentenced to 12 months in prison on two counts of trafficking in heroin, and 24 months in prison on one count of possession of heroin, a felony of the third degree. Those sentences are to run concurrent to each other and to a sentence pending in Paulding County.

Derek Showalter listens as he is sentenced Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Derek Showalter listens as he is sentenced Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Showalter was also sentenced to 24 months in prison on a charge of having a weapon under disability, also a felony of the third degree. That sentence is to run consecutively to the other sentences, making a total of 48 months in prison. Judge Charles D. Steele also gave him 60 days credit for time already served.

Alex Chorvas, 19, of Van Wert, was also scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, but he requested instead that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to two counts of attempted corrupting another wit drugs, each a felony of the fourth degree. Chorvas also asked to have his court-appointed attorney removed from the case and to allow him to hire a new attorney.

Judge Steele continued his case for a hearing on Chorvas’ requests. Another count of attempted breaking and entering was also continued as well.

Rhonda Risley, 45, of Convoy, was also sentenced Wednesday on a charge of possession of drugs a fifth-degree felony. Judge Steele sentenced Risley to three years of community control, and ordered her to spend up to six months in the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima.

Her driver’s license was also suspended for six months.

Also Wednesday, three people changed their pleas to guilty on Wednesday, with two of those opting for substance abuse treatment programs in lieu of conviction.

Tiffany Riley, 25, of Van Wert, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft, a felony of the fifth degree. She then requested, and was granted, treatment in lieu of conviction.

Darren Stutz, 25, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He also requested treatment in lieu of conviction and Judge Steele approved the request, staying all proceedings in his case for the next year while he undergoes substance abuse treatment.

Melissa Frasl, 33, of Delphos, changed her plea to guilty to a charge of domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree, reduced from a fourth-degree felony offense during plea negotiations.

Judge Steele ordered a presentence investigation in the case and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, December 10.

POSTED: 11/27/14 at 8:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Area Boychoir information

The Van Wert Area Boychoir will perform its annual Christmas concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 7, at First Baptist Church at the corner of Jennings and Mendon roads. There is no admission charge and the concert is open to the public.

The Boychoir is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2004 and is open to all Van Wert area boys, with unchanged voices, who are elementary or middle school students.

The mission of the organization is to provide opportunities for boys of all backgrounds and abilities to participate in a quality musical, cultural and educational experience. The Boychoir rehearses weekly throughout the school year, with past and current members attending the following schools: Van Wert, Crestview, Lincolnview, Delphos city and St. John’s, Parkway, St. Mary’s Elementary and Wayne Trace.

The artistic leadership team for the Boychoir includes Artistic Director Brian Anders, accompanist Melissa Clay, and Larry Taylor, arranger, producer and technical director.

POSTED: 11/27/14 at 7:49 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Van Wert DARE information

The Van Wert City/County DARE programs will be hosting the Rachel’s Challenge program in county schools the first week in December. The program is funded by Eaton Corporation, the Van Wert County Foundation and Van Wert County Hospital.

The program will be presented Monday, December 1, at Crestview Local Schools, Tuesday, December 2, at Van Wert City Schools, Wednesday, December 3, at Lincolnview Local Schools, Thursday, December 4, at Vantage Career Center and Wayne Trace High School, and Friday, December 5, in the Delphos City Schools.

There will also be a program open to the public on Thursday, December 4, from 6-7 p.m., at Vantage Career Center. Chief Deputy Keith Allen and Officer Greg Blackmore invite area residents to the program.

For more information about the program, contact Deputy Allen at 419.238.3866 or email him at

POSTED: 11/27/14 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert County saw another healthy decrease in unemployment during the month of October, with the jobless rate sliding under 4 percent for the first time in nearly 15 years.

Jobless Rate Map 10-2014The county’s unemployment rate in October was 3.9 percent, the lowest it’s been since 2000. The county’s workforce numbers remained the same, at 14,200, but those employed notched up 100, from 13,500 to 13,600. The number of unemployed remained the same at 600.

Statewide, October unemployment rates ranged from a low of 2.7 percent in Mercer County, to a high of 9.5 percent in Monroe County. It was also the first time the entire state saw unemployment drop below 10 percent in more than a decade.

Six counties in Ohio had unemployment rates at or below 3.5 percent. In addition to Mercer County, those included Holmes County, 2.9 percent; Auglaize County, 3.2 percent; Delaware County, 3.3 percent; Hancock County, 3.4 percent; and Putnam County, 3.5 percent.

Three counties had unemployment rates at or above 7.0 percent. In addition to Monroe County, they include Jackson County, 7.1 percent; and Meigs County, 7.0 percent.

The comparable unemployment rate for the state in October was 4.6 percent.

Van Wert and its neighboring counties all saw decreases in unemployment in October. In addition to Van Wert’s decrease of four-tenths of a percent, Allen County dropped a half a percent, from 5.0 to 4.5 percent; Paulding County saw a decrease of three-tenths of a percent, from 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent; Auglaize County dropped from 3.5 percent to 3.2 percent; Putnam County’s jobless rate was down four-tenths of a percent, from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent; and Mercer County’s unemployment decreased from 2.9 percent to 2.7 percent.

POSTED: 11/26/14 at 8:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Lincolnview Local Board of Education recognized several groups of students and also heard a mostly positive five-year forecast from Treasurer Troy Bowersock during the board’s November meeting on Tuesday.

First recognized by the board was the Lancer boys’ cross country team, which finished 10th at the Division IV State Cross Country Meet, while seniors Bayley Tow and Alex Rodriguez were also singled out for their individual cross country performances.

Also at the meeting was the high school Money Skills class and FFA students who participated in the 2014 FFA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

Members of the Lincolnview boys' varsity cross country team with Coach Matt Langdon at Tuesday evening's Lincolnview Local Board of Education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Members of the Lincolnview boys’ varsity cross country team with Coach Matt Langdon at Tuesday evening’s Lincolnview Local Board of Education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Board President Eric Germann was also recognized for being selected as the Ohio School Boards Association’s president-elect. Germann will become the organization’s president in 2016.

Bowersock talked about the various components of the district’s five-year forecast, noting that, while the amount of money the district will receive in state foundation money is an unknown at this time, he projects Lincolnview’s revenues will be mostly flat-lined in the coming five-year period, while also estimating that expenses will continue to increase.

Noting his belief that the district will operate within its budget for the first and second year of the forecast, the treasurer also added that the next three years will depend on state foundation money and the approximately $900,000 Lincolnview currently receives in emergency money from the state.

Bowersock also talked about the recent triennial update of property valuations and the fact that, unlike most updates, the district could see some additional revenues from the most recent update, based on Lincolnview’s proximity to its 20-mill revenue base.

In personnel action, the board accepted the resignation, for retirement purposes, of Tom Bryan as high school social studies teacher and athletic director after 35 years of service, while adjusting Kathy Thompson’s retirement date from May 31, 2015, to December 31, 2014.


POSTED: 11/26/14 at 7:52 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has announced $6,302,675 in new federal funds to support Head Start and Early Head Start programs run by Council on Rural Services, a non-profit education organization serving Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Preble, Shelby and Van Wert counties. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is excellent news for west-central Ohio families and their children,” Brown said. “Programs like Head Start help to ensure that children have the skills necessary to succeed in elementary school and beyond.”

Head Start is a federal program that provides young children from low-income families with programming to prepare them for school. Early Head Start focuses on children age birth to 3 years old.

These programs, including health, nutrition, and social services, are designed to ensure their healthy cognitive, social, and emotional development. More information on Head Start and Early Head Start can be found here.

POSTED: 11/26/14 at 7:34 am. FILED UNDER: News