The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018

Central Insurance Companies has committed to helping those in need throughout the local communities this holiday season. Due to the generosity of Central’s employees, the Community Gifts Committee was able to provide gifts for 55 children in the Van Wert community this year. During its annual Holiday Food Drive, Central employees donated 1,481 food, household, and personal hygiene items to benefit 10 local charitable organizations. Central also hosted a coat and wrapping paper drive to donate to families that would have otherwise gone without. Community Gifts Committee members (above left) include (from the left) Brandi Eller, Kathy Schmersal, Lisa Johnson, Jen Best, Lexi Doster, Becky Landin, Linda Schulte, Patty Rupert, Andrea Hersey, Breanna Dennis, Nikki Baer, Kimberly Hughes, Brittany Bigham, Julie Coleman, Maria Utendorf, Tiffany Perry, Sean Martin, Carly Smith, and Sara Beining. Not pictured: Tammy Saxton, Maureen Greulach, Kelly Mihm, Elizabeth Brown, Jenny Kuhn, Lisa Jennings, and Nancy Wollenhaupt. Central’s Holiday Food Drive Committee (above right) include (kneeling, from the left) Morgan Schnipke, Anita Branch, Erin Holden; (standing) Brittany Goins, Louise Wittler, Shelly Holden, Janet Rode, Courtney Barthels, RJ Coleman, Shonda Vorst, and Brittney Croft. Not pictured: Carly Smith and Patty Rank. Central Insurance photos

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:37 am

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — State Representative Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance) applauded House passage of legislation he sponsored urging Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Craig Riedel

“Currently, the growth and abuse of federal regulatory authority threatens constitutional liberties, including those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights,” Riedel said. “Federal regulators must be more accountable to the elected representatives of the people and not be immune from such liability.”

House Concurrent Resolution 24 would allow the refusal of a new regulation when 25 percent of the United States House or Senate transmit written opposition to a proposed federal regulation.

“I will always be looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary burdensome regulations that prevent our businesses from being successful and limit our abilities to enjoy constitutional liberties,” Riedel added.

Supported by groups such as the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio (ABC), the initiative aims to protect against federal overreach and give more power to the legislative process and Ohioans who want direct control of policies impacting their industry.

No opponents came forward to testify during the five Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee hearings that have taken place since March of this year.

The resolution passed the Ohio House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Brian Ankney

Van Wert Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic Brian Ankney recently completed the Bowling Green State University Fire Officer 2 (FO2) class.

The course is for fire officers in leadership roles for their departments and is designed to meet or exceed NFPA 1021, Standards of Professional Qualifications for Fire Officer II.

The course expands on management techniques learned in Fire Officer I and focuses on public education and community relations, budget preparation and requests, legal responsibilities, time management, handling conflicts in the fire service, dealing with various media agencies, crew resource management, and emergency operations management.

“Completing the FO2 class is the second step for personnel interested in furthering their professional fire officer career,” said Van Wert Fire Chief Jon Jones. “Their participation in this class shows dedication and commitment as future leaders for our department and community.”

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

The staff of First Federal of Van Wert prides itself in serving Van Wert County, and, as usual, has completed its 2018 United Way campaign with 100-percent participation. Not only do the employees give, but First Federal also makes a corporate donation to help lead the campaign. The financial institution has been a key example for many new industry and business campaigns. First Federal has also been a great partner in the annual Day of Caring bank challenge. It has won the challenge for the past three years and has collected thousands of items for the local food pantries. The bank is also a corporate table sponsor at the Fiesta Fun Friday event and allows bank employees to volunteer for United Way roles. United Way photo

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

BOWLING GREEN — U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) will be available for one-on-one meetings with constituents at the Van Wert County Board of Commissioners office in Van Wert on Monday, December 17.

From 9 to 11 a.m., local residents can meet individually with Congressman Latta and discuss issues that are most important to them and their families. Staff will also be available to assist with casework or help residents with any issues they may have with the federal government.

Residents are not required to RSVP, but should contact Congressman Latta’s office at 800.541.6446 if they have any questions. Media is also invited to attend the event, but should RSVP to Drew Griffin at

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Courthouse will be closed from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 18, for a Christmas luncheon for all county staff members.

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Red Kettle fundraising campaign is the financial mainstay for the charitable efforts of the Salvation Army, but this year’s campaign is languishing for lack of volunteer bell ringers, according to Lieutenant Josh Brookman.

Kristy Solsman rings the bell to help The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program. More ringers are needed, though, to meet the organization’s $65,000 campaign goal. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

As of Monday, this year’s campaign has raised approximately $24,500. That’s down $5,500 from this time in last year, and leaves approximately $41,000 yet to raise in the next week and a half to meet this year’s Red Kettle goal of $65,000.

The problem is a lack of bell ringers, Lt. Brookman said. While collections have been about normal at the two Walmart locations, those have been the only two locations that have had enough bell ringers to maintain a full schedule for the campaign.

“It’s our best stand, but it can’t raise all of the money needed for the campaign,” Brookman said.

The other four campaign stations have had only sporadic coverage this year, and that limited coverage is the reason donations are down, he added.

Brookman said that, while the improving economy has added jobs in the area, it has made it harder to get even paid workers to ring bells at the Salvation Army’s six stations: Walmart (2), Rural King, Sav-A-Lot, Big Lots, and Chief Supermarket. In the past, the organization has hired a few workers to maintain full coverage of all Red Kettle stands. Although that’s not an ideal situation, since the money needed to pay workers decreases the amount of money available to help needy people, even getting paid workers has been tough this year.


POSTED: 12/14/18 at 6:43 am. FILED UNDER: News

The second annual Candy Cane Fundraiser for Salvation Army was a huge success at Van Wert Elementary School. The VWES staff and students raised $1,373.67, topping last year’s total of $600 in candy cane sales. Shown with VWES students are Lt. Joshua Brookman of the Salvation Army and fifth-grade teacher Ashley McElroy and first-grade teacher Sara Royer, who are both Candy Cane sponsors.VWES photo

POSTED: 12/14/18 at 6:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Bridges is a statewide program administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services through a contract with The Child and Family Health Collaborative of Ohio. As a member of the collaborative, The Marsh Foundation was given the opportunity to help deliver the program to young adults transitioning out of foster care and into the community, resulting in the addition of a full-time person to work as a Bridges liaison for the northwest region of Ohio.

Kyle Pressley

Kyle Pressley, who has worked as a family teacher at The Marsh Foundation for the past 2½ years, has been promoted to the position. Pressley holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology from Ohio Northern University.

Pressley said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to work with young adults in northwest Ohio.

“I hope to establish trust in the young adults I work with and become a person they look up to,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to provide them with direction and help them become successful and happy adults.”

The Bridges program was established in December 2017 to extend housing and case management services to eligible young adults who leave foster care on or after their 18th birthday, but have not yet turned 21. Pressley will work with young adults in this age range who have recently been emancipated from foster care. He’ll supply them with resources and help them with tasks such as finding affordable housing, finding a job, creating a budget, and transportation. Essentially, he’ll help with anything that helps them transition to adult life.

“I’m excited about this position because, in the past, young adults leaving foster care did not receive the help they needed,” he said. “Now, being able to help these young adults during this important transition period will hopefully result in more successful adults later in life.”

In his free time, Pressley enjoys collecting vinyl records, going to concerts, and bowling in leagues.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages birth to 17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 36 children ages 7-17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2-12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

POSTED: 12/14/18 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

In the spirit of giving and service to others, Crestview Elementary School kindergarten classes collected children’s games to donate to the oncology/hematology floor at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. The students donated the 52 games gathered for their Christmas service project. Crestview photo

POSTED: 12/14/18 at 6:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A total of 15 people were arraigned and five people sentenced during hearings held this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Those arraigned include the following:

Kevin Davies, 29, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count each of illegal conveyance of drugs into a government facility, complicity to illegal conveyance of drugs into a government facility, and tampering with evidence, all felonies of the third degree; and obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony. He was ordered held on a $25,000 cash/commercial surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, 2019, while a trial date has been scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2019.

Candice Huffman, 33, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of burglary, a felony of the second degree; burglary, a third-degree felony; and theft of drugs, a felony of the fourth degree. She was released on an unsecured personal surety bond, with the added condition that she have no contact with the alleged victim in the case. A pretrial conference will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

William Wellek, 60, no address listed, pleaded not guilty to one count each of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony; receiving stolen property, a felony of the fourth degree; and aggravated possession of drugs and possession of fentanyl, both felonies of the fifth degree.


POSTED: 12/13/18 at 8:56 am. FILED UNDER: News