The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

U.S. Representative Bob Latta is shown at WERT/WKSD Radio in Van Wert on Friday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

U.S. Representative Bob Latta was in Van Wert on Friday to talk with Van Wert Health personnel about the opioid crisis and how well federal legislation aimed at providing assistance has been working.

Latta noted that one of the House committees he’s on, the Energy and Commerce Committee, passed 65 pieces of legislation last year dealing with the opioid situation. One of those bills was Latta’s INFO Act, which provides healthcare entities a way to get information on what is being done to stem the crisis, as well as where to get dollars to help treat those addicted to opioids.

The congressman said the discussion Friday morning at the hospital went well, in his opinion, with hospital officials being candid about what is working and what isn’t. 

“I wanted to know is it working, and what do we need to do differently?” Latta explained.

One thing hospital officials say is still needed is where to find dollars to help fund opioid initiatives, he noted. “And are the dollars flowing out like they should be.”

Another problem is treatment, Latta noted.

“Once a person is ready to get treatment, are there enough treatment beds?” he said, adding that, right now, there aren’t.

“We can’t treat people at the ER, and try to detox them there,” Latta said, noting that more treatment beds need to be found or created.

The discussion at the hospital also touched on finding non-opioid pain management medications and providing patients with better information on pain and how to cope with pain with less medication, including the fact that it’s acceptable to have some pain after a procedure.


POSTED: 08/17/19 at 8:05 am

VW independent/submitted information

Thousands of blood donations are needed each and every day to help meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, children with blood disorders, and others. To help make a difference, the community is invited to give blood with the American Red Cross at the Van Wert Day of Caring blood drive Friday, September 27.

The Day of Caring blood drive will be held from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. September 27 at Trinity Friends Church’s Family Life Center. To schedule an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.orgor call 800.RED.CROSS.

This special blood drive is part of the United Way Day of Caring in Van Wert, which promotes community service. The Red Cross is seeking 200 donors to roll up a sleeve and give. All those who come to donate blood at this blood drive will receive a Day of Caring t-shirt and food prepared by Vantage Career Center.

Vantage Health Care students assist at the 2016 Day of Caring Blood Drive.

As the Red Cross responds to wildfires, flooding, house fires, and hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood during National Preparedness Month in September is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country every day.

“Van Wert is a caring community, and what better way for its residents to show they care than by helping patients in need and giving blood at the Day of Caring Blood Drive?” said Marianne Hardesty, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. 

Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies. The Red Cross must collect approximately 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.

POSTED: 08/17/19 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has rejected the summary language for a proposed referendum seeking to repeal House Bill 6.

On July 29, the attorney general’s office received a written petition from Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts. The attorney general’s role is to determine whether the petition summary is a fair and truthful representation of the measure to be referred.

A response letter sent to the petitioners identifies 21 instances of inaccuracies or omissions of statutory language within the text of the summary.

“For these reasons, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the measure,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in the letter.

The attorney general does not express an opinion as to the advisability or constitutionality of the proposed ballot measure. The full text of the letter to petitioners and the petition can be found at

POSTED: 08/17/19 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

Vantage welcomes new staff for the 2019-20 school year. Shown are (from the left) Amy Wiechart-Bayliff, in-school discipline coordinator; Kathleen Tyler, Ohio Technical Center director; Jacob Wortman, maintenance; Chris Miles, Construction Equipment Technology instructor; Isaac McKanna, custodial; Tonya Temple, student services supervisor; and Janey Knittle, cook. Vantage photo

POSTED: 08/17/19 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Due to the drastic decline in monarch butterfly populations, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) and local soil & water conservation districts are again seeking public involvement to collect common milkweed seed pods from established plants September 1 through October 30. This is an annual event and organizers hope local residents can participate.

Milkweed pods collected should look like the one on the right. SWCD photo

The seeds will be used to establish new plantings and additional habitat for the monarch butterfly throughout the buckeye state. These future plantings will increase the food source for the caterpillar stage as seen below.

Seed pods from common milkweed should be collected only when the pods are dry and brown-gray in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. The seeds in green pods will not be viable and won’t be able to be used. Be patient and don’t collect too soon! 

It is best to collect pods into paper bags. Avoid using plastic bags because they can allow mold to develop. It is recommended to wear disposable gloves when picking and handling pods. Ideally, it is recommended to leave at least 50 percent of the seed crop at a given site is left to allow for natural recruitment and regeneration of the native population the next growing season.

There are situations where total collection can occur: if the field or area will be mowed completely or the area will be converted for crop or development. A collection container is located outside the door of the Van Wert SWCD, 1185 Professional Drive in Van Wert.

POSTED: 08/17/19 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Things appear to be moving forward in the Van Wert County Treasurer and Auditor’s offices, with both offices working to clear up problems in their respective offices, according to County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum.

“The auditor and treasurer have both related to us that they are working together at this point to resolve the issues and straighten out what has happened,” Wolfrum said on Thursday afternoon.

In addition, the commissioners have contracted with an outside accountant to audit the Treasurer’s Office’s books. That should take place sometime in the next week or two, Wolfrum said, noting his understanding that the audit will look at the office’s finances from September 1, 2018, up to a few weeks ago.

Wolfrum also said former county auditor Nancy Dixon had called the commissioners to clarify the current problem in reconcilement. According to Dixon, the reconciliation problem is not between the Auditor’s and Treasurer’s offices, but between the Treasurer’s Office and the bank, with figures from that office apparently not matching the amount of money shown in the bank.

However, in addition to reconcilement problems, there are also reports that some county property owners have not been credited for real estate taxes they have paid, while other property owners who sold a portion of a larger parcel of land in the past year are still being taxed on the sold property.


POSTED: 08/16/19 at 7:54 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Two separate storms hit southeastern Van Wert County on Wednesday, prompting two separate tornado warnings. Damage was minimal on both storms, with no structural damage reported and no injuries, said Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy.

The first tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service at 4:29 p.m. Wednesday when radar indicated a severe storm capable of producing a tornado near Monticello. No tornado was observed, but storm reports in the area included hail in Elgin, a power pole and line snapped on Ohio 709 west of Venedocia, several trees snapped off, and one uprooted on State Route 709, and more than 2 inches of rain reported in the area.

A microburst from a storm that hit Van Wert County on Wednesday destroyed this cornfield near the intersection of Ohio 116 and Converse Roselm Road. drone photo by Rick McCoy

The second tornado warning came at 8:43 p.m., with a public report to 9-1-1 that a tornado was observed on the ground near Mendon Road, south of State Route 709. As the EMA director was reporting the siting to the NWS, radar was also indicating a developing tornado at that location, so a warning was issued again for the southeastern part of the county. McCoy advised he also activated sirens in Venedocia and Elgin for the approaching storm. No structural damage was reported and no additional sightings of a tornado were reported.

On Thursday morning, the EMA director put a drone in the air to check for any indication that a tornado had occurred. McCoy also spoke with the 9-1-1 caller on what he observed and was advised that the person witnessed the funnel develop and touch down in an open field for approximately 30 seconds before it disappeared. He was able to get one photo of what appears to be the funnel on the ground as it dissipated.  There was no indication from drone footage where a touch down may have occurred, as there were no crops in the field. However, approximately 5 miles directly to the east of that location at State Route 116 and Converse Roselm Road, drone footage indicated the same tornadic storm cell produced a damaging microburst with very intense winds that flattened an entire corn field and snapped off a power pole. 

No other damage was observed with the storm, McCoy said.

POSTED: 08/16/19 at 7:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

On Wednesday, more than 30 Cross Over the Hill (COTH) volunteers gathered to celebrate, prepare, and pray for the upcoming school year. In addition to providing elementary and middle school Bible-based, character-focused Released Time Religious Instruction, COTH will now be offering a high school course this academic year. 

The past year has provided great change and growth for Cross Over the Hill. In 2019, the organization began offering Bible-based classes for students of Synergy Learning Center. In addition, the COTH board of directors helped start a broader movement of released time programs called LifeWise Academy, under the leadership of Joel Penton’s Stand for Truth ministry. The first two LifeWise Academy locations are launching this month, with others across the nation preparing to launch as soon as 2020. 

Cross Over the Hill volunteers prepare for the upcoming school year. photo provided

Recently, the local COTH board of directors changed leadership, with Jeremy Laukhuf taking the helm as executive director. Laukhuf holds a Master of Arts degree in ministry from Luther Rice College and Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts degree in jazz studies from The Ohio State University. He and his wife, Cristi, and their five children recently moved to the Van Wert area after Laukhuf’s retirement from the United States Air Force. 

The Board of Directors and staff of Cross Over the Hill also thanked founding Executive Director Jill Putman, founding Board President Shaun Putman, and the many community members who have generously given of their funds and time in order to make Bible education a reality for Van Wert’s elementary, middle, and high school students. 

For more information about Cross Over the Hill, visit or contact Laukhuf at  

POSTED: 08/16/19 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

On Thursday, a jury convicted Van Wert resident Tina Hulbert, 47, of two counts of theft from an elderly person or disabled adult and six counts of forgery following a trial held earlier this week.

Sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 18.

Also Thursday, Sarah Rebecca Ann Stephenson, 44, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, admitted to violating her personal surety bond by failing to appear on a charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. A $5,000 cash bond was set in the case and Stephenson was scheduled for appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 28.

POSTED: 08/16/19 at 7:32 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Christopher Carpenter

A Decatur, Indiana, man has been charged in connection with the alleged rape of a minor under the age of 13.

According to a Van Wert Police Department news release, Christopher Carpenter, 18, was charged with two counts of rape, a felony of the first degree, following his arrest on Wednesday, and was incarcerated in the County Correctional Facility.

The release noted that Carpenter made an initial appearance in front of Van Wert Municipal Court Judge Jill Straley on Thursday, and was ordered held on a $200,000 surety bond, with 10 percent of that to be paid in cash.

Judge Straley set a preliminary hearing for 3:15 p.m. Thursday, August 22, although it’s likely that Carpenter will be indicted by a special grand jury session prior to the preliminary hearing.

POSTED: 08/15/19 at 2:57 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Military Vehicle Preservation Association will be making a stop in Van Wert at American Legion Post 178 this coming Sunday morning, August 18. 

Shown are some of the vehicles that will be traveling through Van Wert this Sunday during a 100th anniversary re-enactment of the military convoy that crossed the United States in 1919. photo provided

The organization is recreating the first United States Army transcontinental convoy, which occurred in the summer of 1919. The convoy lead by then-Lieutenant Colonel Dwight Eisenhower mostly followed the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway in the United States. The trip, which consisted of 81 motorized Army vehicles moving from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, California, took 62 days and covered 3,251 miles. Its purpose was to test the ability to move the military under wartime conditions. 

The Military Vehicle Preservation Association is an international organization for military vehicle enthusiasts, historians, preservationists and collectors interested in the acquisition, restoration, preservation, safe operation and public education of historic military transport. Military vehicles include bicycles to jeeps, armored cars to tanks, from the days of the cavalry to World War II to Operation Desert Storm. 


POSTED: 08/15/19 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: News