The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Apr. 19, 2018

2018 R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award finalists include (front row, from the left) Hayley Kuhlman, Chloe Brake, Paige Motycka, Celina Sweet, and Marissa Miller; (back row) Nathan O’Neill, Josh England, Trevor Spridgeon, Jacoby Kelly, and Dalton Heppeard. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

When it comes to doing the best with what they have, two Van Wert County seniors, Dalton Heppeard and Celina Sweet, stood out from an inspiring group of 10 finalists during Wednesday’s R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award banquet.

Heppeard, already an entrepreneur while in school, as well as a real estate intern at Bee Gee Realty & Auctioneers, and Sweet, who has been living on her own the past two years while in school, were the top finalists in the 48th edition of the annual program started by the late Roger Thompson Jr. to honor his father, another Roger Thompson.

Other girl finalists included Chloe Brake, Hayley Kuhlman, Marissa Miller, and Paige Motycka, while the other four boy finalists were Josh England, Jacoby Kelly, Nathan O’Neill, and Trevor Spridgeon.

Emcee Bill Clifton first explained the rationale behind the R.K. Thompson Award, which honors seniors who show self-reliance in their daily lives, even though having to overcome a number of challenges to do so, before Van Wert Service Club members Kimberly Laudick and Mark Schumm introduced the finalists.


POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:57 am

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A Fort Wayne, Indiana, man who was sentenced to prison on a drug-related charge was one of 11 people who appeared for criminal hearings so far this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Nathan Egly, 32, was sentenced to 16 months in prison on a charge of possession of heroin, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Martin D. Burchfield also gave Egly credit for 73 days served awaiting sentencing.

Johnny Ray Bowersock, 53, of Van Wert, was given 180 days in jail, with 100 days of that suspended and credit given for 40 days served, along with two years of community control, on a charge of domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree. As part of his community control, he must have a license and insurance to drive, and undergo mental health and substance abuse assessments, and any treatment recommended.

Two people were also arraigned on Wednesday in Common Pleas Court.

Justin Murphy, 30, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to two counts of assault and one count of vandalism, each a felony of the fifth degree. A $10,000 cash or commercial surety bond was set in the case and a pretrial conference scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 2.

Thomas Murphy, 26, of Gary, Indiana, pleaded not guilty to aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree, and operating a vehicle while impaired, a misdemeanor of the first degree. He was released on a personal surety bond and will appear for pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 9.

Also on Wednesday, two people on Wednesday entered changes of pleas in Common Pleas Court.

Justin Landis, 23, of New Haven, Indiana, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of breaking and entering, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 30.


POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

With the pre-order deadline for the YWCA’s annual Geranium Sale quickly approaching, this year’s sale offers a few new opportunities. All plants are hardy root geraniums sold in 4½-inch pots, with 15 plants per flat. Hanging baskets are also available for pre-order this year.

Shown are examples of the geranium plants sold during the YWCA’s annual geranium sale. photo provided

Colors available for both plants and baskets are red, white, lavender, fuchsia, pink, and light salmon, plus a new color this year: tangerine. Pots are $3.50 each and hanging baskets are $20. Don’t miss this opportunity to beautify the yard and support the YWCA this Mother’s Day.

Geraniums will be available for pick-up Wednesday, May 9, from 1-6 p.m. and Thursday, May 10, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Cash and carry sales begin Wednesday, May 9, at 1 p.m. Come early for the best selection.

The annual Geranium Sale is a significant fundraiser for the ongoing work of the YWCA during the year including, but not limited to, the Youth Enrichment Program, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Domestic Violence Services. Stop in the YWCA and place an order today. Credit card orders can also be made by calling 419.238.6639.

General operating hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. -7 p.m.; and Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The YWCA is a United Way and Van Wert County Foundation funded agency. For more information, contact Vickie Rusk at the front desk at 419.238.6639.

POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Energy and Commerce (E&C) Subcommittee on Energy recently voted to approve legislation authored by U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) to improve the nation’s grid security and resiliency in the face of cyberattacks.

The legislation, H.R. 5239, the Cyber Sense Act, would create a voluntary Department of Energy “Cyber Sense” program that would test the cyber security of products and technologies for use in the bulk-power system. It would require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.

“Bad actors are looking to weaken the American energy sector in any way possible,” said Latta. “We’ve seen that with recent cyberattacks coming from Russia that have targeted our nation’s electric grid.

“I’ve long been a proponent of modernizing and updating our aging grid for a number of reasons, but improving cyber security is one of the most critical,” Latta added. “The Cyber Sense Act will let electric utilities make more informed decisions about the cyber security of the products they are purchasing, increasing resiliency for the entire grid.”

Latta spoke on the legislation before the E&C Subcommittee on Energy. Video is available here.

POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

A Van Wert man out on probation on a felony drug charge was arrested again late Wednesday morning after he was seen acting suspiciously in the 300 block of South Race Street.

Ryan Schaadt

Ryan L. Schaadt, 33, was described as “highly intoxicated” when police located him following the report. After he kept trying to reach into his pocket while officers were speaking to him, Schaadt was found to have marijuana in his hand while being handcuffed. Further search of his pocket revealed more drugs, along with a large amount of cash.

One of the drugs found tested positive for methamphetamine, and a large enough amount of that drug was found on Schaadt to increase the drug charge against him to a felony of the third degree.

At the time of his arrest Wednesday, Schaadt was out on bond for felony possession of narcotics. Because of that, Van Wert County Common Pleas Court was notified of his recent arrest. Court officials then asked that a holder be placed on him and that he be taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility.

The Van Wert Police Department asks that local residents call the department when they se someone acting out of the ordinary. Methamphetamines are a stimulant that keeps the user up for days at a time. Users don’t make rational decisions and sometimes also become violent.

Those with information on illegal drug activity should call the VWPD at 419.238.2462, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at 419.238.3866, or, to ensure anonymity, call Crime Stoppers at 419.238.7867 (STOP).

POSTED: 04/18/18 at 1:30 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Wassenberg Art Center held a ground-sawing ceremony Tuesday, with a saw breaking concrete that will be removed to make way for the art center’s new Art Park project.

A concrete saw makes the first cut that will remove concrete from behind Wassenberg Art Center to make way for the center’s new Art Park project. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Wassenberg Executive Director Hope Wallace first spoke about the impact that the arts have in the United States and locally.

Noting that the arts currently contribute approximately $780 billion dollars to the U.S. economy, Wallace added: “While the arts industry doesn’t normally possess smokestacks, unless you happen to be privy to a wood ceramic firing, the arts are, absolutely, an industry,” she noted. “Difficult to ideate in the transfer of black and white, real-world dollars, the arts can come in at the forefront as economic game changers, or passively follow along and support longevity as well.”

Noting that Wassenberg prefers the “game changer” role, Wallace said that leveraging the arts is happening at Wassenberg right now with hits new Art Park project.

“The landscape of this tiny Rust Belt town is rising, due to committed residents, corporations, quiet donors, and an active Main Street program,” she noted. “This has all happened from the unassuming power of a small community art center.”

Those attending the ceremony included sponsors of several Art Park features, as well as trustees of The Van Wert County Foundation, which administers Wassenberg finances.


POSTED: 04/18/18 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Leadercast is the world’s largest one-day leadership conference, broadcast live from Atlanta and simulcast to hundreds of locations around the world on Friday, May 4. This year marks the fifth year of the annual leadership conference event: Leadercast Ohio West in Van Wert.

Joe Torre

Carey Lohrenz

This year, the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that several northwest and central Ohio Chambers of Commerce will host Leadercast Ohio West. The venue for the event is LifeHouse Church, 719 Fox Road in Van Wert, located in the heart of northwest Ohio, as well as minutes from the Fort Wayne, Indiana, area.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Lead Yourself.” What does it look like to lead yourself? How can people intentionally develop their own leadership skills and style? What qualities do people hope to embody as a leader? In 2018, the Leadercast stage will highlight leaders who will answer these questions and explain the power and importance of leading yourself first so you can lead others well.

  • Companies with ideals of improving people’s lives at the center of all they do outperform others by 400 percent.
  • More than 70 percent of people consider an organization’s environmental and/or social impact when deciding where to work.
  • Employees that feel they are working towards a good cause show increased productivity by up to 30 percent
  • People who are able to make a social or environmental impact on the job are more satisfied by a 2:1 ratio

Andy Stanley

Michael Hyatt

Leadercast will allow attendees and viewers to improve their own personal leadership journey with tips for self-evaluation and self-growth. Top leadership experts will inspire more than 300 people attending the local event, and the more than 100,000 people who will attend the event live in Atlanta or at hundreds of other simulcast locations in more than 20 countries. Among the leadership experts speaking this year are:

  • Mae Jemison – NASA astronaut, engineer, and physician
  • Ian Cron – bestselling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher and speaker
  • Andy Stanley –  leadership author and communicator
  • Jim Loehr – co-founder of the Human Performance Institute
  • Jen Bricker – acrobat, aerialist, author, and speaker
  • Michael Hyatt –  author, speaker and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company
  • Carey Lohrenz – the first female F-14 pilot, speaker, and trainer
  • Kat Cole – COO and president, North America, of FOCUS Brands
  • Joe Torre – Hall of Fame baseball manager


POSTED: 04/18/18 at 7:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Next season will mark Van Wert Civic Theatre’s diamond anniversary. For nearly six decades, VWCT has brought dazzling, live theatre to Van Wert. Volunteers produce every show, since VWCT has no paid staff and relies on the talent and dedication of volunteers.

Any organization that uses volunteers to complete its mission, struggles to attract the right people for the right jobs. While the actors are rewarded with applause, VWCT’s other volunteers do the work for the love of giving and being part of a group.

During its Diamond Season, Civic Theatre will be focusing on building, maintaining, and encouraging its volunteers, since community theatre needs people to thrive.

On Friday, April 20, VWCT is hosting an informal party to connect with people who want to volunteer with the theatre. VWCT welcomes anyone who wants to learn more about volunteer opportunities or currently volunteers at the theatre.

The event will be held at the theater, 118 S. Race in Van Wert, with doors opening at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a short presentation about volunteer options and the premier announcement of next year’s season. The theatre Board of Trustees welcomes everyone to come meet new people and discover a way to help. Those who plan to attend should bring a snack to share and their own beverage. Attendees will be able to sign up for volunteer opportunities that night.

VWCT needs volunteers with all skill levels and talents. No time commitment is too small. For more information, contact Jan Miller at jan@vwct.orgor Chad Kraner at

POSTED: 04/18/18 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

MIDDLE POINT — The Van Wert County Outdoorsmen Association will be holding its spring Youth Day on Saturday, April 28, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at noon. The event is free to all participants and is held at the club range, 9063 Ringwald Road near Middle Point.

Participating young people will need to be at least 8 years old up to 15 years old, and will need a parent or guardian present to participate. Planned activities include air rifle and .22-caliber rifle marksmanship training. Also included will be firearm safety training, range etiquette, and the proper use of firearms.

The day will start with a safety clinic for both the youths and their parents or guardians. Parents or guardians are included in both activities, so they should be ready to participate. NRA instructors and NRA Range Safety Officers will provide the training.

Since there is a 12-participant limit, it is important to pre-register early, which is required to participate. The event will be rain or shine. To register, call Ben Price at 419.889.9124.

POSTED: 04/18/18 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

PAULDING — Murder suspect Matthew J. Dempsey, 47, of Paulding, was apprehended around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in Elko County, Nevada. Dempsey, who has been charged in the murder of Gina L. Mann, 48, also of Paulding, was arrested by Carlin, Nevada, authorities following a traffic stop for a moving violation.

Matthew Dempsey

Nevada authorities reported there was a brief standoff with Dempsey, who had a .22-caliber rifle, but he later surrendered without further problems and is currently incarcerated in the Elko County Jail awaiting extradition to Ohio. No timeline was given on when he will be brought back to Paulding.

Paulding County Coroner Dr. Joseph Kuhn has received the preliminary autopsy report on Mann’s death, which indicates she died from multiple gunshot wounds.

“While processing the scene, Mrs. Mann’s body was wrapped in a blanket,” said Paulding County Sheriff Jason K. Landers. “To preserve evidence, her body was not disturbed to eliminate tainting forensic and physical evidence.

“We let the medical examiners to their work to assist us,” Sheriff Landers added. “This is why no obvious sign of death was initially reported.”

The case remains under investigation, and no additional information will be released at this time.

Anyone who has information regarding this investigation, or any other crime, can call the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office at 419.399.3791. An anonymous tip can be left via Facebook at “Paulding County Sheriff’s Office or by viewing the sheriff’s website at Anonymous tips may be left via the sheriff’s website by scrolling to the bottom of any page and clicking on “send us an anonymous tip.”

POSTED: 04/17/18 at 6:50 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Health, formerly known as Van Wert County Hospital, is proud to announce the launch of its new brand, which will modernize the hospital and position it for future growth in the community.

The local hospital has a new name — and a new sign — as part of its rebranding to Van Wert Health. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

“This is an exciting time for us here at Van Wert Health,” said Jim Pope, president and CEO. “We are currently working toward making some positive changes at our hospital that will help us provide a higher level of care for our patients.”

The rebranding, which is being developed by marketing agency Boyden & Youngblutt, can take up to 18 months to be fully implemented. Once finished, it will include a new name, logo, tagline, and fully integrated marketing campaign to consistently tell the Van Wert Health story.

“Our new brand is a crucial step to solidifying our dedication to taking a leadership role in moving our community to better health,” said Pope. “It reminds our patients that we are dedicated to putting them at the center of everything we do.”

Van Wert Health is an independent, nonprofit community hospital that provides comprehensive healthcare to Van Wert County and the surrounding region.


POSTED: 04/17/18 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News