COLUMBUS — A 19-percent increase in traffic deaths this year has inspired the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to join forces on a new safety program.
As of the last week of June, Ohio has recorded 487 traffic deaths, 76 more in 2015 than at the same time a year ago. The OHSP and ODOT are implementing a new initiative using ODOT digital message boards to spread traffic safety messages. The messages will be displayed for the first time during the Fourth of July weekend and continue for a trial period.
The 130 permanent boards will rotate between two messages: the year-to-date number of traffic deaths of 2015 and a traffic safety message such as “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. The goal is to motivate motorists to exercise caution while behind the wheel. Most traffic crashes can be prevented if the driver slows down, buckles up or avoided driving impaired.
WBESC Governing Board information
The Western Buckeye Educational Service Center Governing Board heard an update on Ohio Governor John Kasich’s executive budget and also approved a number of personnel-related actions during its June meeting this week.
Superintendent Brian Gerber talked about the state budget, noting that an amendment adopted by the Ohio General Assembly’s conference committee cut $2.3 million from educational service centers in 2016.
“This is actually consistent with the executive and House-passed funding levels, not the Senate,” Gerber told board members. “ESCs are the leader in the Shared Services Model; Governor Kasich has always trumpeted reducing costs through shared services.
“ESCs are doing everything the governor has asked us to do during his tenure,” Gerber added, noting that ESCs have reduced the cost to partner schools through their shared service delivery model, but that the governor and Ohio House of Representatives still cut funding.
“My biggest disappointment is with the House,” Gerber said. “They have traditionally supported ESC funding during the past two biennial budgets.”
The WBESC superintendent added that it has been obvious the governor has wanted to cut ESC funding, from his first budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012.
“Nonetheless, I was confident that the House saw the educational value the ESCs provided for their school districts,” Gerber added. “I was hopeful the House would support restoring our funding, or at the very least, keep ESCs funded at a flat level.”
The superintendent told his board that the WBESC has been able to keep costs flat, or even reduce costs, to the schools in Van Wert and Paulding counties, noting that the WBESC is among the top 10 rural ESCs in the state and provide a higher percentage of direct student services than their suburban or urban counterparts.
Shown (from the left) are Rachel Hire, YWCA Summer Food Program supervisor; Ohio United Way 2-1-1 Director Nicholas Roman; and Ohio United Way President/CEO Barbara Sykes. Sykes and Roman stopped in Van Wert recently to see firsthand one of the programs the United Way of Van Wert County helps support. Hire gave them a tour and explained how the YWCA program, now in its 20th year, provides nutritious meals to youngsters who might not have a meal during the break from the school’s free lunch program. The YWCA served more than 20,000 meals to children and 340 children registered for the Summer Food Program in 2014. United Way of Van Wert County Executive Director Vicki Smith accompanied Sykes and Roman on their visit. (United Way photo)
Van Wert County Sheriff’s information
Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach announced that deputies recently conducted random address verification on all registered sex offenders in Van Wert County, with one offender allegedly violating state sex offender registration mandates.
“Ohio law requires all sex offenders to register in person with the sheriff on a scheduled periodic basis to verify their address, employment, school affiliation, telephone numbers, vehicles and Internet identities,” Sheriff Riggenbach said. “The in-person periodic verification registrations are scheduled with each offender, depending upon their offender risk classification.”
Sheriff Riggenbach also said Ohio law requires all sex offenders to notify and register immediately with the sheriff any change of residential address, place of employment, enrollment in a school or institution of higher education, telephone numbers, vehicles and Internet identities.
According to Sheriff Riggenbach, deputies conducted the most recent random address verification checks between June 23 and June 29. Deputies verified the addresses for all 54 registered sex offenders residing in Van Wert County, and, to complete random address verifications, went to the residential address of each offender.
The random verifications included all adult and juvenile adjudicated offenders and found that 53 of the 54 registered offenders in Van Wert County were in compliance with their registration requirements. Sheriff Riggenbach said an investigation is currently ongoing related to the offender who was not in compliance. Upon completion of the investigation, the case will reviewed by the County Prosecutor’s Office for presentation at the next grand jury.
Sheriff Riggenbach said the random address verifications conducted by deputies is authorized by Ohio law, but not required. This marks the seventh time random address verifications of registered offenders in Van Wert County have been conducted since January of 2013. Sheriff Riggenbach also said his office has prosecuted two other registered sex offenders during this time frame for Failure to Register, because the offender failed to timely register a change of address as required by law.
Crestview Local Board of Education information
CONVOY – The Crestview Local Board of Education approved the hiring of a new instrumental music instructor and band director during a special meeting held Tuesday.
The board approved a one-year contract to Jason Lozer to be the district instrumental instructor, and also approved a supplemental contract for Lozer as Crestview band director.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
While mortgage foreclosures are decreasing around Ohio with Van Wert County leading the way foreclosures are still nearly double what they were in the 1990s, according to information recently released by Policy Matters Ohio.
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, foreclosures in Ohio decreased by nearly 18 percent, from 53,163 in 2013 to 43,727 last year. That number represents the lowest number of foreclosures since 2001, the year foreclosures began increasing substantially.
The number of filings fell in 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties, with Van Wert and Holmes counties showing the largest decreases. Van Wert County had the biggest percentage of decrease at 47.3 percent (from 110 two years ago to 58 in 2014), while Holmes County’s foreclosures decreased 41.5 percent, from 53 in 2013 to 31 last year.
That’s substantially lower than in 2009, the peak year for mortgage foreclosures. In 2009, Van Wert County saw 207 mortgage foreclosures.
A number of factors have contributed to the declines in foreclosure filing, according to Policy Matters Ohio. The wave of predatory lending that sent foreclosure rates climbing starting in the late 1990s crested and fell with the financial crisis.
American Red Cross information
The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets and help prevent a summer shortage.
The call for donations is supported by a recent survey of Red Cross blood and platelet donors showing that more than 40 percent plan to travel the week before or after Independence Day, an indicator that many eligible donors may be unavailable to give.
In addition, fewer blood drives are scheduled the week before and after Independence Day, because many hosting organizations postpone blood drives while people are on vacation.
Blood donors with all types, especially O negative, A negative and B negative, and platelet donors are urged to schedule an appointment. Those who come to donate from July 2-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered baseball cap, while supplies last. To make an appointment and for more information, download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800.RED CROSS (800.733.2767).
“Adding blood or platelet donation to a vacation to-do list can mean so much to patients and their families,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO of the Red Cross’ Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “It’s a simple act, taking as little as an hour, but can touch many lives.”
Local blood donations opportunities include the following:
- Wednesday, July 30, from 2 to 7 p.m., at Vancrest Health Care Center of Payne, 650 N. Main St. in Payne.
Van Wert County
- Thursday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at St Mark’s Lutheran Church, 160 W. Sycamore St. in Van Wert.
- Wednesday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Lee Kinstle GM Sales and Service, 650 W. Ervin Road in Van Wert.
Fricker’s will be sponsoring a $1 day at Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community; access includes swimming, floating playground, zip-line, paddleboats, a half-acre beach and the 3,600-square-foot splash pad, which is new in 2015. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown are (from the left) Keith Canary and Shuray Thomas of Fricker’s with Camp Clay Director Clint Myers. (YMCA photo)
Crestview Board of Education information
CONVOY — Crestview Local Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting 6:30 this evening for the purpose of hiring a new instrumental music instructor and band director. The meeting will be held in the district boardroom.
The board plans to issue a one-year contract to Jason Lozer to be the district instrumental instructor, and also to approve a supplemental contract for Lozer as Crestview band director. No other business is scheduled for this evening’s meeting.
City of Van Wert information
According to Van Wert Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming, the city will be spraying for mosquitoes in the evening this week, weather permitting.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
This weekend will feature not one, but two longtime events. In addition to the Holiday at Home celebration, this weekend will feature the 39th annual Old Fashioned Farmers Days festival held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. The annual event will run from Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5.
This year’s event will bring back a number of popular events, including antique auto racing, the ever-popular Fiddler, Banjo and Harmonica Contest, the Mule, Donkey and Miniature Horse Show, a Quilt and Needle Arts Show and Chuck Schepfilin’s chain saw sculpting.
This year’s event will also feature a new event, the first annual Farmers Days Pageant, which will be held in the Junior Fair Building on Friday, July 3.
Thursday’s events will include an all-day trading post, the quilt show (from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.), an Antique Auto Association exhibition race in front of the grandstand (from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.), a car show, with music from the 1950s (4-8 p.m.), Animal Land (4-8 p.m.) and the Jess King Country Gospel group from 7-9 p.m. Thursday at the Convoy Band Stand.
Friday’s events include the formal opening ceremonies at 9 that morning, with the trading post and quilt and needle arts show also running all day. Animal Land will also be an all-day event both Friday and Saturday, while antique auto racing will again be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in front of the grandstand.
Friday will also include a kids’ old-fashioned cow milking contest at 4 p.m., Tractor Games at 5 p.m. and a Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull at 6 Friday evening.
After the pageant, Blind Date will perform 1950s and 1960s music at the Convoy Band Stand.