The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Unemployment artwork 550-wide 9-2011VW independent/ODJFS information

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in March 2014, down from 6.5 percent in February, according to data released Friday morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). That’s the lowest rate for Ohio since the recession began in 2008.

Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 600 over the month, 5,282,300 in February to 5,282,900 in March.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in March was 353,000, down 24,000 from 377,000 in February. The number of unemployed has decreased by 68,000 in the past 12 months from 421,000. The March unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.3 percent in March 2013.

The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 6.7 percent, unchanged from February, and down from 7.5 percent in March 2013.

Total Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 600 over the month, from a revised 5,282,300 in February to 5,282,900 in March, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.


POSTED: 04/19/14 at 8:42 am

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Local physician Jeff Easley talked about his spiritual experiences from three perspectives: as a medical student, as a father, and as a physician, during the YMCA’s Good Friday Breakfast.

“I think my message today is: We think about the ultimate sacrifice He (Jesus Christ) made for us; what have we done for Him?” Dr. Easley told a near-capacity crowd at Willow Bend Country Club.

Dr. Jeff Easley talks about his experiences to a capacity crowd at the YMCA Good Friday Breakfast at Willow Bend Country Club. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Dr. Jeff Easley talks about his experiences to a capacity crowd at the YMCA Good Friday Breakfast at Willow Bend Country Club. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Using gentle humor, as well as an obvious deep passion for his religion, the local physician talked about stepping up a number of times to do things his felt his faith required him to do.

The first experience was in 1982, when Dr. Easley, then a pre-med student at what was Manchester College (now Manchester University), traveled to Panama as part of a medical mission.

The mission flew into a remote area of Panama on a dilapidated Douglas DC-3 that the local physician described as “something out of an Indiana Jones movie: it had the chickens in the crates up front … and the pilot comes on, and he had stains on his shirt.”

After reaching the mission site in dugout canoes, Dr. Easley and his fellow mission members were impressed with the welcome they received from the destitute natives they were there to help. “I think the biggest experience I had in this was really getting to understand just how generous people can be when they have nothing,” he said. “These people had nothing – I mean nothing – but they gave us everything.”

Dr. Easley said that, when members of the mission worshipped with the natives in their thatched church, he was struck by how similar the worship service was to the one he experienced back in the small church where he worshipped in his hometown in Indiana.

“We’re thousands of miles apart but we were worshipping the same God,” he said, noting that the experience in Panama further strengthened his resolve to become a doctor and repeat the missionary experience again.

Dr. Easley’s second spiritual experience was when he and his wife, Michelle, decided to adopt a child from Cambodia. Although the Easleys had four children of their own by then, adopting a child was something they had talked about since before they were married.

The Easleys were ready to travel to the Cambodian capital of Phenom Penh to receive their son, Sam, in October 2001 when two things happened: The terrorist attacks on 9/11 in the United States and a scandal related to adoptions in Cambodia involving the American ambassador.


POSTED: 04/19/14 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine offered consumers advice on how to protect their personal information in the aftermath of a widespread internet security glitch called the “Heartbleed bug.”

“The Heartbleed bug poses a serious problem to your personal information online,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Consumers should remain vigilant in making sure their accounts have not been compromised and they do not get scammed.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The Heartbleed bug refers to a two-year online security flaw that may have allowed scammers to capture the personal information of online users, even if a website appeared to be secure. As a result, consumers’ usernames, passwords, and even credit card numbers could have been accessed. In an effort to protect against related scams and fraud, consumers are encouraged to change their passwords to their online accounts, including banking, social media, shopping, and email. However, before updating passwords, consumers should confirm that the companies have fixed the problem within their individual system.

Attorney General DeWine also warned Ohioans that following the news of the Heartbleed bug, scammers may seek to take advantage of consumers’ heightened concern and pose as legitimate organizations by email or phone saying that the consumer’s account has been compromised and if the consumer divulges their account password, the scammer can fix the problem.

Consumers can help protect themselves by following these tips:

  • Perform an Internet search to find a list of websites that were comprised as a result of the Heartbleed bug. Do not log into sites until you’re sure the company has fixed the website.
  • Choose different and complex passwords for each online account. Remember to change passwords often. Also, if you use the same password for multiple accounts, you may consider changing all accounts that use the same password.
  • Review bank account and credit card statements regularly. Immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company.
  • Beware of emails or text messages appearing to originate from government agencies or well-known companies that reference the Heartbleed bug and instruct you to click on a link to “change your password.” Some scammers may use this as ploy to get you to click on malicious links.
  • Remember that the Heartbleed bug also affects cellular phones. Take the time to update the software on your cellular phone and create new passwords.

Consumers who suspect that they are a victim of an unfair or deceptive business act, a scam, or identity theft should call the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800.282.0515 or access the agency’s website at

POSTED: 04/19/14 at 7:28 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Van Wert independent

A man facing multiple charges in connection with a robbery at the Ramblers Roost changed his plea to guilty during a hearing held Friday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Trent Webster is arraigned on Wednesday on robbery and other charges. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Trent Webster is shown at his arraignment on robbery and other charges. (VW independent file photo)

Trent Webster, 49, of Van Wert, pleaded guilty to one count each of grant theft, a felony of the fourth degree, and robbery, a felony of the third degree (reduced from a second-degree felony). A third charge of possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony, was dismissed in exchange for Webster’s guilty plea to the other two charges.

A presentence investigation was ordered in the case and sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 28. A $250,000 cash bond was continued in the case.

Webster was arrested with James R. Reynolds, 34, of Fort Jennings, on December 16, 2013, a day after the Ramblers Roost robbery occurred. Both were found hiding at a rural Fort Jennings residence during a search of the residence by deputies from Putnam, Paulding and Van Wert counties.

Webster was identified from surveillance camera photos as the man who entered the Ramblers Roost and demanded cash from employees of the business, telling the workers there was another person waiting outside and there would be “problems” if they did not comply.

Reynolds also faces charges related to a robbery at Ross’s Gas Station in Grover Hill in October 2013, where he allegedly assaulted two employees while robbing the store.

POSTED: 04/19/14 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

OSU Extension information

Quality Assurance is a state required training program for any 4-H or FFA member who is exhibiting livestock at the Van Wert County Fair (excluding rabbits).

OSU Extension logo 4-2009The Ohio State University Extension is hosting the final QA in 2014 at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds on Thursday, April 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. until approximately 8 p.m., at the Junior Fair Building.

Exhibitors should start stations no later than 7 p.m. in order to complete the QA process. Members eligible for test out will be offered that starting at 5:30 that evening.  Members must register at the Junior Fair Building upon arrival the day of the event. Further instructions will be provided at that time.

For a list of regional quality assurance dates or for questions, contact The Ohio State University Extension at 419.238.1214 or email Heather Gottke at

POSTED: 04/19/14 at 7:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

Crestview Knights honored by Commissioners 4-2014

The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners is the latest group to heap honors on the Division IV State Champion Crestview Knights. The commissioners met with the Knight boys’ basketball team on Thursday to present it with a proclamation honoring its undefeated state championship season. In addition, the team also had the chance to tour the renovated Van Wert County Common Pleas Courtroom. Here, Commissioners Todd Wolfrum, Thad Lichtensteiger and Stan Owens pose with the Knights in front of the County Courthouse. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 04/18/14 at 5:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio State Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Kyle Parker have announced that an administrative rule developed to permanently ban two new chemicals being abused as synthetic drugs is now in effect.

The rule classifies the chemical compounds known as PB-22 and 5F-PB-22 as Schedule I controlled substances, which makes the sale and use of the compounds illegal under Ohio law.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily scheduled the compounds as illegal drugs in February, however the state ban is permanent.  The state ban also bans the use and sale of any compound with the same basic chemical structure, even if the compounds have not yet been created.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

“Anyone found selling or purchasing these compounds in Ohio is breaking the law, and you will face the consequences,” said Attorney General DeWine.  “Drugs, whether they are synthetic drugs or street drugs like heroin, are wreaking havoc on Ohio families.  This is just one example of the ongoing efforts by my office to prevent further devastation due to drug abuse.”

“These substances pose a serious threat to public safety and have no medicinal value,” said Ohio State Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Parker. “The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy is proud that these new rules will put Ohio at the forefront of the fight against synthetic drugs.”

PB-22 and 5F-PB-22 began surfacing in the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Laboratory in the first five months of 2013.  The emergence of the drugs directly followed the passage of House Bill 334 in December 2012, which banned all synthetic drugs that existed at the time.  Under Ohio law, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy has the authority to classify compounds as controlled substances through the administrative rule process if the substances have a high potential for abuse.  The process eliminates the need to go through the General Assembly each time a new synthetic drug is created.

The chemicals, which are often sprayed on plant material in order to mimic the effects of marijuana, are typically sold in head shops in small, brightly colored packets and marketed as herbal incense products.

“We are grateful for the help of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and their willingness to partner with us in the goal to permanently ban newly created synthetic drugs,”  said Attorney General DeWine. ”The standard process for banning these substances, however, takes far too long, which is why we are asking the legislature to give the Attorney General’s Office emergency authority to ban new synthetic drugs as soon as new chemicals of concern come into our lab.”


POSTED: 04/18/14 at 5:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

YMCA of Van Wert County information

The YMCA recently kicked off its 2014 Annual Board Campaign. The YMCA volunteer board of directors has set an annual board campaign goal of $40,000. Cooper Farms has kicked off the campaign with a donation of $2,000.  The YMCA’s financial aid program has not changed over the years.

“While we have remained focused on our mission to help the at-risk children and families in our community, our need for support continues to grow as we have added several groups to the growing list of people who receive low or no cost memberships” stated Shad Foster, 2014 campaign co-chair.

Hugh Kocab, Rob Gamble and Dr. Shad Foster accept a check for $2,000 from Kacy Wagner of Cooper Farms to kick off the 2014 Annual Board Campaign. (YMCA photo)

Hugh Kocab, Rob Gamble and Dr. Shad Foster accept a check for $2,000 from Kacy Wagner of Cooper Farms to kick off the 2014 Annual Board Campaign. (YMCA photo)

The YMCA now provides free memberships for all disabled vets and their families, free fitness classes for low income seniors at Homestead Village, free fitness classes at the Council on Aging, no cost memberships for families of deployed soldiers, free access for military on leave, free access to all delayed entry servicemen and their recruiters and financial assistance to Thomas Edison adults who participate in the MRSI program.

Money raised through the Annual Board Campaign will provide low-income individuals, families, at-risk children and all those listed above the opportunity to utilize the YMCA facilities to improve mind, spirit and body. The YMCA’s largest group of financial aid recipients is needy and at-risk children. For these children, the YMCA has become not only a place to come and socialize with their peers, but also for many it has become a place for healthy adult supervision and encouragement.

“As part of the YMCA mission, we attempt to reach as many needy individuals in our community as possible” stated Rob Gamble, 2014 campaign co-chair.

Financial assistance is made possible by this campaign and partial funding by United Way.

“The board of directors and YMCA staff are committed to continuing the legacy of one of the oldest not-for-profits in Van Wert County,” said YMCA Executive Director Hugh Kocab. “During the 2013 Annual Board Campaign, YMCA board members and staff donated over $8,500.”

Those interested in supporting the YMCA can donate now at or contact Heather at or Kristin at Those interested in donating to the campaign can contact any board member, Y staff, visit the YMCA online at or call 419.238.0443.

POSTED: 04/18/14 at 5:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

Delphos Granite ribboncutting 4-17-14

Delphos Granite’s Carey Mathew cuts the ribbon on the company’s Van Wert store at 1198 Westwood Drive on Thursday. Delphos Granite’s hours are noon-7 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays. The store offers a number of monuments and etched stone products. Looking on are members of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Director. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent) 

POSTED: 04/18/14 at 5:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

YWCA of Van Wert County information

Tickets for the YWCA of Van Wert County’s annual Scholarship Chicken Dinner are now on sale. The dinner will be available for carry out Thursday May 15, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., at the YWCA.

New YWCA logo 12-2009Tickets for the chicken dinners are $8. The cost of the dinner includes half of a barbecue chicken, two sides, roll, and a cookie. The chicken this year will be pre pared by Gibson’s Backyard BBQ of Convoy.

All proceeds support the YWCA’s Scholarship for Christian Leaders. The YWCA Christian Emphasis Committee did the planning for this dinner.

General hours of operation are: Monday-Thursday; 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

The YWCA is a United Way and Van Wert County Foundation Agency. For more information, contact the YWCA at 419.238.6639.

POSTED: 04/18/14 at 5:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Historical Society information

Once again, the Van Wert County Historical Society is planning a “Night at the Museum” for Thursday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m.

Heidi Leiendecker will offer a hands-on opportunity of card making and will demonstrate the making of three spring-themed cards.

The cost for the class will be $10. Call 419.749.2476 by May 4 to register. Registration will be complete upon receipt of payment.

The class size is limited, so don’t wait.

POSTED: 04/18/14 at 5:01 am. FILED UNDER: Lifestyles, News