A total of 10 people appeared in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, including an Indiana woman who was sentenced to prison for a probation violation.
Crystal Stauffer, 36, of Decatur, Indiana, admitted to violating her probation by failing a drug test and lying to her probation officer. Judge Charles D. Steele sentenced Stauffer to two years in prison, but also gave her credit for 565 days already served, meaning she will serve only about 5½ months in prison.
Stauffer and Isaac J. Gase, also of Decatur, were convicted of burglarizing four homes in southern Van Wert County back in May 2010 to get money to buy drugs. She was later released early from prison and placed on probation.
Six people were in court for change of plea hearings. They include:
Joe Quevedo, 49, of Van Wert, pleaded guilty to a prosecutor’s bill of information charging him with breaking and entering, a felony of the fifth degree. Burglary charges originally filed were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea to the breaking and entering count. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 29.
Tristen Moore, 28, of Payne, changed his plea from guilty to no contest to two counts of attempted aggravated vehicular assault, each a felony of the fourth degree.
Ohio Attorney General’s information
COLUMBUS – Two local crime victims service agencies were awarded grants totaling more than $122,000 from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.
The YWCA of Van Wert County was awarded $95,758.24 to use for domestic violence services, while Van Wert County Crime Victims Services Inc. was awarded $27,016.22 to assist crime victims in general.
The attorney general announced Wednesday that he has awarded 282 Ohio crime victim services agencies with a total of nearly 19 million in grant funds.
The programs receiving funding include: domestic violence shelters; human trafficking outreach centers; aged-out foster youth initiatives; sexual, elder, and child abuse programs; legal aid initiatives; and court appointed special advocate programs.
The funding was awarded as Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and/or State Victims Assistance Act (SVAA) grant funding for 2014-2015.
“My office is pleased to provide these funds to help local agencies provide the best assistance possible for victims in Ohio,” said Attorney General DeWine. “When a person is the victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or any other type of crime, the agencies supported by these grant funds are there to help.”
A complete list of agencies receiving funding can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
Community Health Professionals’ volunteers and staff will host a Longaberger Basket Bingo event at 6 p.m. Monday, October 27, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 425 Woodland Ave. in Van Wert. Doors open at 5 and games begin at 6 that evening. Participants will play 20 games for a flat rate of $20, with merchandise-filled, Longaberger baskets awarded to the winner of each game. Additional game cards will be available for $1 per card. There will also be a raffle for a designer Coach bag and more, plus sandwiches, snacks and soft drinks available for sale. Proceeds from the event benefit CHP Hospice Patient Care Fund and the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center. Tickets are available at the CHP office, 1159 Westwood Drive or by calling 419.238.9223. (CHP photo)
VWCS Board of Education information
On Wednesday morning, the Van Wert City Board of Education met in special session to accept the immediate resignation of Board Member Ben Cowan.
The board will accept applications for Cowan’s position until Wednesday, October 15. Applications can be picked up in the S.F. Goedde Building daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on the VWCS website at www.vanwertcougars.net.
Interviews will take place the last two weeks of October, with an appointment being made in early November.
The next “Night at the Museum” event will be Thursday, October 9, at 7 p.m. at the Van Wert County Historical Museum. “Out of Your Gourd”, a hands-on experience in gourd decorating, will be held in the Museum Annex. John Freund will be directing the activity, and the cost is $10. Participants may bring their own prepared gourds or purchase one at the class. For more information or to make reservations, call Fran Neiswander at 419.749.2476. (Historical Society photo)
Hands of Love-Hearts of Hope — an organization that brings awareness of sex trafficking to northwest Ohio (a ministry of Shelley Adam) — is holding a fundraiser for Children’s Lantern in Defiance, which shelters rescued sex trafficking victims in northwest Ohio.
The event will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, October 11, at the YWCA of Van Wert. A ticket is not needed for the event; however, tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door for $10 to enjoy the “Coffee, Tea & Treat Buffet”, a hand massage and to enter the drawing for a “Family Night Movie Basket”.
There will also be at least 14 silent auction donations from local merchants, more than 20 vendors and also ministries to share information about trafficking.
Livy Lu’s BBQ will serve lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Purchase tickets at MOD Boutique, Once I Was, Slusher’s Jewelry, The Bridge, Shelley Adam, Abigail Anspach or Candy Lammers.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
The Van Wert City/Ohio State University Extension Economic Development Group honored local businesses and talked about positives in the local economy during its 10th annual dinner and awards event on Tuesday.
Cindy Leis, Van Wert economic development director, provided highlights from the past year, while special recognition was given to Cool Machines Inc. as the Small Enterprise of the Year and Braun Industries, as the Large Enterprise of the Year.
Vantage Career Center Superintendent Staci Kaufman, who is also the outgoing Economic Development Advisory Group chairperson, was honored as the 2014 Volunteer of the Year.
Cool Machines and Braun, which both moved their operations from other communities to Van Wert, show that Van Wert has the power to attract new business to the community.
Kim Braun, Braun’s third-generation CEO, accepted on behalf of her company, while founder Dave Krendl accepted the award on behalf of Cool Machines.
VW Red Cross information
MAUMEE — A strong supporter of the Van Wert County Chapter of the American Red Cross was recently honored at the regional level for her work with hospital volunteers.
American Red Cross volunteer Carol Hennis received the Clara Barton Award at the annual meeting of the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. The event was held September 18 in Maumee. In June, Hennis received the Clara Barton Award at the Van Wert Red Cross chapter level.
Hennis was the only volunteer in the Northwest Ohio Region to receive the award, which honors a volunteer who has made a measureable impact on the American Red Cross, community and people served by the Red Cross.
In her role as volunteer coordinator for Red Cross volunteers at Van Wert County Hospital, Hennis brings new volunteers on board, conducts training and orientation for the volunteers and coordinates for the overall operation of the volunteer program on a daily basis. Under her leadership, there are more than 44 volunteers in the program.
“Carol has a unique role as far as Red Cross is concerned. We are one of the few chapters who have a program such as this. She is a wonderful asset to the American Red Cross,” said Van Wert Red Cross Community Chapter Executive Sandy Lane. “Carol is very thorough and concise. She strictly adheres to the guidelines and makes sure her volunteers understand what is expected from them.
“Last year, she developed a youth program in which three college students were able to ‘shadow’ doctors and volunteer in different areas of the hospital,” Lane added. “This was a tremendous opportunity that was made possible because of her forward thinking. We appreciate her service to our organization.”
For her part, Hennis says: “I am very grateful to receive an award of this caliber. Left me speechless.”
Amy Rode, director of patient and community relations at Van Wert County Hospital, noted that Hennis was an invaluable member of the Van Wert County Hospital Team.
“She is a wonderful example of the many volunteers who give their times and talents to benefit our patients,” Rode noted. “We truly appreciate Carol’s generosity and service. Her dedication is an inspiration to us all.”
Fran DeWine, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, visited Van Wert on Tuesday on behalf of her husband’s re-election campaign. Mrs. DeWine, who often acts as eyes and ears for her husband, talked with Probate-Juvenile Court Judge Kevin Taylor and Juvenile Court Chief Probation Officer Virginia Hammons (above) to learn about local juvenile justice issues, and also received a tour of the renovated Common Pleas Courtroom from Court Reporter Mike Kirkendall. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
Ohio’s minimum wage is scheduled to automatically increase on January 1, 2015, to $8.10 per hour for non-tipped employees and to $4.05 per hour for tipped employees. The increased minimum wage will apply to employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $297,000 per year.
The current 2014 Ohio minimum wage is $7.95 per hour for non-tipped employees and $3.98 for tipped employees. The 2014 Ohio minimum wage applies to employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $292,000 per year.
The constitutional amendment passed by Ohio voters in November 2006 states that Ohio’s minimum wage shall increase on January 1 of each year by the rate of inflation. The state minimum wage is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for urban wage earners and clerical workers for the 12-month period prior to September. The CPI index rose 1.6 percent over the 12-month period from September 1, 2013, to August 31, 2014. The amendment also states that the wage rate for non-tipped employees shall be rounded to the nearest 5 cents.
The constitutional amendment is available online:
For employees at smaller companies (with annual gross receipts of $292,000 or less per year in 2014 or $297,000 or less per year after January 1, 2015) and for 14- and 15-year-olds, the state minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. For these employees, the state wage is tied to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour that requires an act of Congress and the President’s signature to change.
Information on Ohio’s 2015 minimum wage is available online:
VW Democratic Party information
Mike Brickner, senior policy director for the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, will be the keynote speaker as Van Wert County Democrats celebrate their annual Fall Banquet on Tuesday, October 7, at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803, 111 N. Shannon St. Also speaking during the evening will be Ohio Lieutenant Governor Candidate Sharen Neuhardt and Fifth District Congressional candidate Bob Fry. Representatives from the David Pepper for Attorney General and the Connie Pillich for State Treasurer campaigns will be present for questions. Incumbent County Auditor Nancy Dixon, who is running for re-election, will also meet voters that evening.
Brickner, a 2002 graduate of Van Wert High School, graduated from Hiram College and then went to work for the Ohio ACLU. During his tenure there, Brickner has worked on a variety of critical civil liberty issues.
Protecting Ohioans’ right to vote and combating the privatization of Ohio’s prisons have been at the forefront of Brickner’s work at the ACLU. In 2013 he co-authored two reports that focused on the connection between poverty and the criminal justice system, and he is nationally recognized for his work on prison privatization.
In 2014, Brickner was part of a core team that is fighting the Republican Party’s efforts to restrict voting rights in Ohio. He has presented testimony at the Ohio General Assembly, has acted as spokesperson to the media, and has assisted in litigation against Ohio officials to restore evening, weekend, and Golden Week early voting opportunities.
The evening will begin with cocktails at 6:15 p.m., followed by the meal at 7. Walk-in tickets will be available at the door, and the public is invited.