Workforce estimates released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show a steadily improving job climate in Van Wert County, as well as the state’s 87 other counties, over the past few months.
According to labor estimates provided by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s unemployment rate fell from 4.2 percent in March to 3.8 percent last month. Total workforce estimates remained the same at 14,500, while those employed also stayed the same, at 13,900. However, the number of people listed as unemployed decreased 100, from 600 two months ago to 500 in March.
Neighboring counties also saw similar results in April. Mercer County regained its spot as the county with the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.0 percent, down from 3.7 percent in March, while Auglaize County was among the lowest eight counties in the state with a jobless rate of 3.3 percent in April, down from 3.9 percent two months ago.
Putnam County was also among the lowest counties in the state in April with an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, down from 4.2 percent in March, while Allen County’s jobless rate decreased from 5.0 percent in March to 4.4 percent last month.
Paulding County had the highest unemployment rate among neighboring counties at 4.5 percent, a decrease of half a percentage point over its March jobless rate of 5.0 percent.
Statewide, eight counties had unemployment rates of 3.5 percent or lower. In addition to Mercer, Auglaize, and Putnam counties, those include Delaware and Holmes counties (3.3 percent), Hancock County (3.4 percent), and Union and Wyandot counties (3.5 percent).
Just three counties had unemployment rates at or above 8.5 percent in April. They include Monroe County, which had the highest unemployment in the state at 12.3 percent; Jefferson County, at 8.8 percent; and Noble County, 8.7 percent. The comparable unemployment rate for Ohio was 4.8 percent in April.
Van Wert independent news
HAVILAND — A game of administrative musical chairs continues in the area with the hiring of Vantage Career Center High School/Facilities Director Ben Winans as superintendent of Wayne Trace Local School District.
Winans, who was approved as superintendent during a special meeting of the Wayne Trace Local Board of Education on Monday, will replace current Superintendent Stephen Arnold, who announced his resignation in April to take a shared superintendent’s position created for a collaboration between the Western Buckeye Educational Service Center and Allen County ESC.
Arnold will leave Wayne Trace on August 1 to become Allen County ESC superintendent following the retirement of Dr. Dean Wittwer. He will then become WBESC superintendent in 2017 when Brian Gerber retires.
Winans, a 1997 Wayne Trace graduate who still lives in the school district, will become Wayne Trace superintendent on August 1. Winans’ three children also attend school at Wayne Trace’s Payne Elementary School.
VW independent/submitted information
DELPHOS — Delphos police officers arrested a West Virginia murder suspect on Tuesday and impounded a vehicle linked to the man.
At approximately 2 a.m. Tuesday, the Delphos Police Department was informed that an active arrest warrant had been issued in Mingo County, West Virginia, for Anthony R. Arriaga. Arriaga was wanted on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of another man that occurred May 22.
Delphos police officers located Arriaga a short time later in the 700 block of North Main Street and took him into custody without incident. He was then turned over to deputies from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office.
Delphos officers also later were notified of an abandoned vehicle parked in the 400 block of South Canal Street and impounded the vehicle, which was linked to Arriaga. The vehicle will be processed for evidence in the murder case.
A&A Mechanical will be sponsoring a Business Day at the Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community; access includes swimming, a floating playground, zip-line, paddleboats, a half-acre beach, and the 3,600-square-foot splash pad, which was new last year. New in 2016 are water cannons at the splash pad and a log roll to accompany the zipline and aqua “toys”. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown are (from the left) A&A employees Cliff Owens, Dean Krick, and Doug Mathews, Camp Clay Aqua Park Director Clint Myers, Marci Martz, Kenny Allen, A&A Owner Ty Holdgreve, and Deb Hire. (YMCA photo)
VW independent/submitted information
The Van Wert Civil Service Commission will meet at noon Wednesday, June 8, to certify the results of an examination conducted for the position of fire department lieutenant.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert City Council will not be raising the speed limit on South Walnut Street, although speed limits on two other city streets still have enough support for passage in June.
Council members voted unanimously to rescind an ordinance that would have raised the speed limit on a portion of South Walnut, from Ervin Road to the curve near Willow Lane, from 25 mph to 35 mph. After receiving a number of emails, calls, and in-person testimony from local residents, Council members decided not to change the current 25 mph speed limit.
Dave Myers, a retired educator, and Gary Taylor of Taylor’s Auto Sales, who both live along South Walnut Street, attended Monday’s City Council meeting to state their opposition to raising the speed limit. Myers cited the unique nature of South Walnut Street, which draws a number of walkers, joggers, and bike riders during warm weather, and suggested that, along with maintaining the current speed limit, additional safety measures, such as signs warning of joggers and bicyclists and LED speed limit indicators, be used to increase safety on the street.
He and Taylor both noted that motorists often exceed the posted speed limit when they drive that portion of South Walnut Street.
Advisory votes still show narrow support for raising the speed limit on Westwood Drive, from Ervin Road to Fox Road, from 25 mph to 35 mph, as well as increasing the speed limit on a portion of the city side of North Franklin Street/Marsh Road, from the Towne Center retail development to the U.S. 30 overpass, from 35 mph to 45 mph, to conform with speed limits on the county side of the road.
Hall Lumber in Convoy will be sponsoring a Business Day at the Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community; access includes swimming, a floating playground, zip-line, paddleboats, a half-acre beach and the 3,600-square-foot splash pad, which was new last year. New in 2016 are water cannons at the splash pad and a log roll to accompany the zipline and aqua “toys”. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown above is John Hall of Hall Lumber with Camp Clay Aqua Park Director Clint Myers. (YMCA photo)
VW independent/submitted information
The American Red Cross urges blood and platelet donors to choose their day to give and help ensure blood is available for patients all summer long during its annual summer awareness campaign, sponsored by Suburban Propane.
“Many Americans will be celebrating the unofficial start to summer this Memorial Day weekend, but seasonal activities that bring joy to so many can also lead to a shortage of blood and platelet donations when regular donors become busy,” said Donna M. Morrissey, director of national partnerships for the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Patients don’t get a summer holiday from needing lifesaving blood and platelet donations and are counting on generous volunteers to help maintain a sufficient supply this summer.”
To encourage donations around the Memorial Day holiday, those who come to give blood or platelets from May 27-31 will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. The Red Cross relies on volunteer donors for the 14,000 blood donations needed every day to support patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. However, during the summer months of June, July and August, about two fewer donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need.
Upcoming blood drives include the following:
Van Wert County
- Friday, May 27, from 1-6 p.m., at the Van Wert Health Center, 140 Fox Road.
- Thursday, June 2, from 12:30-6:30 p.m., at Elks Lodge 1197, 1197 Elks Drive (off Van Wert-Decatur Road).
April is the community service month for the Ohio State Alumni Club of Van Wert and Paulding Counties. As part of this month of service, food collections were held in Van Wert at two locations: Stahl, Stoller, Myer Insurance and Jeffrey-Mohr Dentistry, for the Van Wert Cooperative Food Ministry Food Pantry at First United Methodist Church. Along with food collected, the pantry also received a $100 donation from the club. The Paulding County Alumni Club also donated to the Paulding Food Bank, Here, Carl Jeffery, Alice Schaufelberger, Altha Brooks, Angie Watkins, and JoAnne Wolford of the Alumni Club present check and food donations to Terry Plas, representative of the Van Wert Food Pantry. (photo submitted)
Van Wert and Lincolnview held their graduation ceremonies this past Sunday. At right, Lincolnview Treasurer Troy Bowersock presents his daughter, Ashton, with her diploma, while VWHS senior Nick White (left) receives his diploma from Van Wert City Board of Education President R.J. Coleman (click links in story below for more graduation photos). (photos by Dave Mosier and Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent)
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Seniors at Van Wert and Lincolnview high schools graduated this past weekend, with both schools holding commencement exercises on Sunday afternoon.
At Van Wert, 118 seniors received diplomas from members of the Van Wert City Board of Education. The event began with a processional played by the VWHS band, directed by Robert Sloan, followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Van Wert High School choir, under the direction of Julie Reichert, then sang, “It’s So Hard to Say Good-bye to Yesterday” by Perrin and Yarian, followed by “Benediction” by John Ness Beck”, which included soloists LeAndryce Miller and Jakob Schaufelberger. Marilyn Alessandrini accompanied the choir.
Three speakers were chosen to address the VWHS Class of 2016. They included Katelyn Welch, Nick White, and Cade Fleming, who all provided advice and reminiscences for their fellow classmates.
Following the speakers, the Class of 2016’s nine Graduates of Distinction were honored by Superintendent Ken Amstutz with certificates and special medallions denoting their achievement. Graduates of Distinction must be in the top 10 percent of their class, based on class rank, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 or higher, must successfully complete a minimum of three Advanced Placement courses (six are offered at VWHS), and have no incidents of cheating or plagiarism reported to the principal’s office.
This year’s honorees included Shianne Baldwin, Jacob Covey, Cade Fleming, Domonique Grothause, Andrew Hammond, Shelbee Miller, Andrew Myers, Sandy Nguyen, and Katherine Trittschuh.
Amstutz then made remarks in presenting the Class of 2016, as did Board of Education President R.J. Coleman.
Board members then awarded diplomas, followed by a final rendition of the school “alma mater”, and the traditional tossing of mortarboards.
The class the recessed from the gym to the sounds of “Slow March from Scipio” by George Frederic Handel.
At Lincolnview, 66 seniors received diplomas during the Class of 2016’s commencement service, held in the high school gymnasium.
Students processed into the gym to the strains of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the Lincolnview High School Band, under the direction of Anna Baker.
Sarah Cowling gave the invocation, while Lincolnview High School Principal Brad Mendenhall spoke briefly.
The Lincolnview choir, under the direction of Stacie Korte, sang “Maybe We’ll Meet Again” by Greg Gilpin, following by the band’s rendition of “Hope Springs Eternal” by Andrew Poor.
Speakers at Lincolnview’s graduation included co-valedictorians Ashton Bowersock and Marcy Shoppell, as well as class president and salutatorian Colton Snyder.
Superintendent Jeff Snyder then spoke, prior to Mendenhall’s presentation of the class to receive their diplomas from members of the Lincolnview Local Board of Education.
Class president Colton Snyder then accepted diplomas on behalf of the class, followed by the singing of the Lincolnview “alma mater” and traditional tossing of mortarboards.