The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Jobless Rate Map 9-2014VW independent/ODJFS information

Van Wert County again followed the statewide trend that saw 79 of Ohio’s 88 counties report lower unemployment rates in September.

Van Wert County’s jobless rate dropped a tenth of a percent, from 4.4 percent in August to 4.3 percent last month. According to figures supplied by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, in conjunction with the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce increased by 100 people, from 14,100 to 14,200, while the number of people employed also was up, from 13,400 in August to 13,500 in September. The number of people without jobs stayed the same, at 600.

Statewide, Mercer County again led the state with an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, down a tenth of a percent from August’s 3.0 percent. Monroe County (10.1 percent) was the only county in the state with a jobless rate above 7.7 percent. In addition to Mercer County, other counties with unemployment rates below 4.0 percent were Holmes (3.4 percent), Auglaize (3.5 percent, which stayed the same as August), Delaware (3.7 percent), Hancock (3.8 percent) and Putnam and Union (3.9 percent, with Putnam County’s jobless rate decreasing a tenth from August’s 4.0 percent).

On the low end of the scale, other than Monroe, those counties with an unemployment rate above 7.0 percent include Meigs (7.7 percent), Pike (7.6 percent), Scioto (7.2 percent), and Jefferson (7.1 percent).

Ohio’s unemployment rate for September was 5.1 percent.

Van Wert and its neighboring counties all had lower unemployment rates than either Ohio’s or the national average.

Among neighboring counties, Mercer, Auglaize and Putnam all had jobless rates among the lowest in the state, while Paulding County was a bit lower than Van Wert at 4.2 percent in September, down from 4.4 percent in August. Allen County had the highest area jobless rate at 5.0 percent, down from 5.1 percent in August.

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:44 am

Paulding County Sheriff’s information

ANTWERP — Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers’ office is investigating an armed robbery that occurred at GenFed Credit Union in Antwerp at 8:53 this morning.

Surveillance cameras picked up images of two suspects in an armed robbery at an Antwerp credit union on Wednesday morning. (photos submitted)

Surveillance cameras picked up images of two suspects in an armed robbery at an Antwerp credit union on Wednesday morning. (photos submitted)

“This investigation shows us two black males entered the bank with hooded sweatshirts and handkerchiefs covering their faces,” Sheriff Landers said, adding that one of the men produced a handgun during the robbery. “The suspects might have gotten away with an undisclosed amount of cash, but I am most thankful none of the employees were injured. The employees did a remarkable job following protocol.”

Investigators located a black Buick Park Avenue in Antwerp’s Riverside Park that had evidence from the robbery inside. Surveillance footage from several area sources indicate the suspects fled shortly after the robbery in a gray Chevrolet Impala. It is believed both vehicles were stolen in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“We continue to work this investigation,” Sheriff Landers said, adding that he was pleased with the cooperation he has received so far from all agencies involved. “This has been, and will continue to be, a team effort to bring closure to this case.”

Anyone with information regarding the robbery, or any other crime, can contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office at 419.399.3791, leave a message on the sheriff’s Facebook page or leave an anonymous tip at

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 5:07 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Fall Fright Festival information

The 22nd annual Fall Fright Festival will be held at the Commercial Building at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds this Saturday, October 25. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., with the festivities beginning at noon.

This costume was a winner during the 2011 edition of the annual Fall Fright Festival. This year's event will take place this Saturday in the Commercial Building on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. (VW independent file photo)

This costume was a winner during the 2011 edition of the annual Fall Fright Festival. This year’s event will take place this Saturday in the Commercial Building on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. (VW independent file photo)

Each child will receive a free goody bag containing certificates and coupons for free treats from local businesses, candy, and tickets for game playing. As always, free cider and doughnuts, and popcorn will be available for all to enjoy.

A cake walk will be loaded with delicious cookies, cakes and desserts, with many local cooks donating their talents — and having a spook-tacular time baking and decorating sweet treats to give away. The Happy Halloweenie Stand will be serving up hot dogs, Coney dogs, chicken and sloppy joe sandwiches, chips and beverages.  The popular “Walking Dead Taco”, which proved to be a delicious addition to the menu, will be available as well!

Carnival style games include: Skeeball, Roberto’s Revenge, Tic Tac Bloody Toe, Bop the Bat, Hole in One, Deadly Dentist, and Plinko. Each goody bag contains five tickets allowing each child to play five games with a prize every time. Fun! Fun! Fun!

The Carved Pumpkin Contest is open to all ages with entries judged and cash prizes awarded. Boo Bingo will be in full swing, with prizes, certificates, and cash rounds. It’s always a crowd favorite and only a quarter a card! Also, be sure to stop by the photo booth for a keepsake picture of that little cupcake or monster. Cost is $5 for a 5-by-7-inch photo.

The Fall Fright Festival invites all children from birth to age 99. There will be good food, good fun, and lots of great costumes.

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Health Poll information

CINCINNATI — In early 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and signed into law. Provisions of this law have been going into effect on a rolling basis since that time, and open enrollment for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace happened for the first time in the fall of 2013.

The 2014 Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP), funded by Interact for Health, asked adults in Ohio several questions about their understanding, opinion, and experience so far with this law.

“The poll found that about 1 in 10 Ohio adults had tried to purchase health insurance through a health insurance exchange or marketplace,” says Kate Keller, vice president, policy and external relations, Interact for Health. Adults earning less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (13 percent) and those with less than a high school education (15 percent) were more likely to have tried using the exchanges than those with higher incomes and more education.

“Adults in Ohio continue to lag behind the nation when asked if they felt they had enough information about the health reform law to understand how it would affect them personally,” says Keller. “OHIP found that 4 in 10 Ohio adults felt they DID have enough information, while 6 in 10 felt they did not.”

This has not changed significantly since the question was last asked in May 2012. The percentage of Ohio adults who feel they understand the law remains below the 6 in 10 adults in the nation (57 percent) who do.


POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

Gasoline price information

Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have risen 5.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.08 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 gas outlets in Ohio. This compares with the national average that has fallen 6.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.12 a gallon, according to gasoline price website

Gasoline price graphic 8-2012Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices Sunday were 30.8 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 13.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 22.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 23.1 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“The national average again saw a hefty decline over the last week, and we now stand a mere dime away from seeing prices nationally average under $3/gallon,” said senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. “The national average stands now at its lowest point since January 18, 2011, and by the end of this week, it could stand at its lowest since late 2010.

“Every day, Americans are spending over $100 million less on their gasoline purchases than they did a year ago, some of which will be injected back into the economy in other forms, and with the economic concerns taking shape lately, it could help jolt things back in the right direction,” DeHaan added. “I still do believe that the national average will break the $3/gallon mark by around Election Day — the timing is ironic, considering the drop has nothing to do with Election Day and everything to do with current goings-on, such as a price war between some OPEC members and jitters about the health of the global economy.”

About GasBuddy

GasBuddy operates and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app that has been downloaded over 25 million times to help motorists find the lowest gasoline prices in their area.

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Pioneer sales representative Kevin Wenninger, volunteer EMS/Firefighter Keith Klopfenstein, and DuPont Pioneer Account Manager Trent Brisby.

Pioneer sales representative Kevin Wenninger, volunteer EMS/Firefighter Keith Klopfenstein, and DuPont Pioneer Account Manager Trent Brisby.

SCOTT — The Scott Volunteer Fire Department received a $5,000 DuPont Pioneer Community Investment Grant for the purchase of a grain rescue tube.

The grain rescue tube will help the department better serve the local community and is one of two in 12 surrounding fire departments. The Scott Volunteer Fire Department will also provide aid across neighboring communities as needed in grain bin rescues.

Kevin Wenninger of Wenninger Seed Service connected the fire department with DuPont Pioneer community investment and was integral in adding this important piece of equipment to their rescue program.

The DuPont Pioneer Global Giving Program is intended to improve food security by advancing agriculture through science, education, and innovation and to enhance the quality of life for farmers and their communities globally. Addressing the unique challenges of our local communities promotes economic growth, improved health, and overall quality of life; all factors important to a healthy and strong business climate.

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

YWCA of VW County information

Kicking off the 2014 YWCA Festival of Trees celebration is Gingerbread Junction on Saturday, November 1.

Children and family of all ages are welcome to spend quality time together at this fun holiday activity and also create a lasting memory at the Gingerbread Workshop. Santa Claus himself will also be making a special guest appearance.

Each child will decorate a gingerbread house and take it home. All supplies included. Cost is $10 per gingerbread house. Pre-registration and payment is required. Session times available include: 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

Call the YWCA at 419.238.6639 to register. The YWCA is a United Way and Van Wert County Foundation funded agency.

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW economic development information

On Friday, October 24, the Van Wert Economic Development Advisory Group will meet for its monthly meeting at Vantage Career Center from 8-9 a.m.  The meeting is scheduled in combination with Vantage Career Center’s Manufacturing Open House.

The meeting will kick off the Manufacturing Open House at 8 a.m. with guest speaker Ted Verhoff, Vantage Career technical supervisor, followed by an opportunity to explore the industrial labs and classrooms, as well as visit with representatives from Ohio Means Jobs, Rhodes State College, Northwest State Community College and the West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium.

The open house event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Those who are not a member of the Economic Development Advisory Group, but want to attend the meeting, can call Cindy Leis to register at 419.238.2999 or email

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

Peony Pageant information

Van Wert County high school senior girls interested in being Van Wert’s next Peony Queen can obtain applications at their local high schools. Girls should check with their high school administrators and get an application filled out today.

POSTED: 10/22/14 at 12:04 am. FILED UNDER: News

City of Van Wert information

Van Wert City Council President Ken Mengerink announced this morning that Mayor Don Farmer is currently in Lima Memorial Hospital and will undergo open-heart surgery on Wednesday.

More updates will be published as they become available.

POSTED: 10/21/14 at 11:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent/submitted information

Although chances are slim that an Ebola outbreak would occur locally, a meeting held Monday ensured that plans are in place if an outbreak should occur.

Van Wert County officials meet at the hospital to discuss readiness for a possible Ebola outbreak. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County officials meet at the hospital to discuss readiness for a possible Ebola outbreak. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Approximately 50 people, including health and disaster officials, first responders and medical personnel, attended Monday’s Van Wert County Disaster Task Force meeting to learn more about local plans to respond in the event that the Ebola virus should be found in Van Wert County.

Although there are currently no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ohio, local officials are taking this opportunity to ensure that the community is prepared to defend against this serious health threat, if necessary. A meeting attendee who works in 15 Ohio counties commended Van Wert County for taking a proactive approach to this situation. Like any other public health threat, if Ebola is eventually found in Van Wert County, the County Health Department would be the lead agency in the response.

“Van Wert County is well prepared”, said Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy. “We have been preparing for situations like this for many years in developing response plans and exercising our readiness.


POSTED: 10/21/14 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: News