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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016


2016 VWHS Homecoming Queen Aimee Nicolai and her court braved the drizzle for ceremonies held prior to Friday night’s football game between the Cougars and Elida Bulldogs. Shown are (from the left) senior attendants Peyton Fleming and Sierra Blackmore, Queen Aimee, freshman attendant Adrianna Grothouse, junior attendant Kylee Bagley, and sophomore attendant Grace Spoor. Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 10/01/16 at 7:38 am


The Van Wert area responded during the 2016 United Way “Day of Caring” on Friday. Above, Lt. Josh Morales (background) of the local Salvation Army unit, is shown with some of the food items donated during this year’s event. Lt. Morales said he was particularly pleased because donors did a great job of filling a list of items specifically sought by the Salvation Army during this year’s drive. Below, Red Cross volunteers work with blood donors during the Day of Caring blood drive. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent 


POSTED: 10/01/16 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine reminds students who plan to attend college next year and their families that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available today, three months earlier than in previous years.

The change impacts high school seniors, continuing college students, and others who plan to attend college during the 2017-2018 school year, as they apply for grants, loans, or scholarships.

Attorney General Mike DeWine

Ohio A-G Mike DeWine

“Figuring out how to pay for college is a significant undertaking, and completing the FAFSA is usually part of that process,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Because the FAFSA will be available earlier this year, we want Ohio students and families to be prepared. Generally, the earlier a student applies, the better.”

The FAFSA is used to calculate a student’s financial aid eligibility. In previous years, the FAFSA wasn’t available until January 1 of the year the student planned to start college. Now, however, students who plan to attend college next fall (during the 2017-2018 academic year) can complete the FAFSA beginning October 1.

In addition to being available earlier, the FAFSA also now will collect income information from an earlier tax year — two years before a student will start college, instead of the “prior” year. For example, high school seniors who plan to start college in the fall of 2017 can complete the FAFSA using their parents’ 2015 tax return information (rather than waiting for 2016 information).

Changes to the FAFSA could affect college application and priority financial aid deadlines, which are unique to each school, so students should check with their preferred institution of higher education to learn about the school’s deadlines.

To help Ohioans navigate student loans and plan for college, Attorney General DeWine’s office provides an online Student Loan Center for prospective, current, and former college students. It outlines different types of financial aid, lists resources for exploring careers, schools, and financial aid options, and offers calculators to help students budget their expenses and plan loan repayments.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Student Loan Center is available at

POSTED: 10/01/16 at 7:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teens, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence. As National Teen Driving Safety Week is October 16-22, it’s the perfect time for teens and their parents to discuss the dangers new drivers face so they can make safe and responsible decisions. Surveys show that teens whose parents set firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in few crashes.

osplogoYoung drivers who are 15 to 19 years old were involved in 15 percent of all traffic crashes in Ohio from 2013-2015. Of those crashes, a teen driver was at-fault 73 percent of the time. These crashes resulted in 271 fatalities and 40,505 injuries.

While crash causes may vary, speed-related factors contributed to a majority of the crashes caused by teens. Another 20 percent of crashes were brought about by failure to yield, running a red light or running a stop sign.

“Teen drivers need to realize that poor decisions while driving now can stay with them for the rest of their lives,” said Lt. Timothy Grigsby, Van Wert Post commander. “That is why responsibility, awareness and safety are so important for our youngest drivers.”

Teen drivers are encouraged to plan ahead when traveling in order to eliminate rushing from one location to another. They are also reminded that safety belts save lives and they should encourage everyone in their vehicle to buckle up, every time.

For a statistical map regarding teen drivers and a county-by-county breakdown of where Patrol citations have been issued, please visit

POSTED: 10/01/16 at 7:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Last year’s inaugural revamping of the downtown Harvest Moon Festival continues this Saturday with the return of outhouse races and a chili cook-off among the scheduled activities.

Shown is the Wallace Plumbing entry from the 2015 Harvest Moon Festival's inaugural Outhouse Races. (VW independent file photo)

Shown is the Wallace Plumbing entry from the 2015 Harvest Moon Festival’s inaugural Outhouse Races. (VW independent file photo)

Adam Ries, program manager for downtown development group Main Street Van Wert, said the event should be even more fun than last year’s popular celebration.

Ries said this year’s festival will be held in the 100 block of East Main Street, rather than on Central Avenue, as was the case last year.

“Main Street will be closed most of the day,” the MSVW program manager said, noting that, in addition to the Outhouse Races being held along Main Street, several other activities will be centered around the Van Wert County Courthouse.

Those activities include the chili cook-off from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.; a cornhole tournament that will begin at noon with registration, while play will start at 1 p.m. and continue until all teams have competed.

There will be a number of children’s games and contests, starting at noon and running through 3 p.m. Saturday, while the Outhouse Races will begin at 1 p.m., Ries said.


POSTED: 09/30/16 at 7:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Brumback Library is creating two new programs, a kids’ chess club and a Lego club, as well as setting times and days for Story Time sessions at the library.

The chess club will begin Monday, October 10, and will be held every other Monday. Times are 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Children ages 6 to 14 are welcome.

Instructors will teach youngsters how to play this challenging game, while chess sets will be provided or children may bring their own.

Library staff members invite children ages 3-14 to join them for brick-building fun as part of its new Lego Club. Children will use their creativity to make a masterpiece for all to see. Included will be challenges for individuals and weekly themes. The Lego Club will begin Thursday, October 20, from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m., and will continue the third Thursday of each month.

Children are asked to bring their own Legos or Duplo Blocks for the first few sessions while the library builds up its Lego collection. Donations of used blocks are welcome.

Children and their families are invited to attend Story Time sessions at Brumback Library, beginning Monday, October 3. Family Story Time is offered for families with children ages infant through elementary school at 6:30 p.m. Mondays.

On Tuesdays at 10 a.m. is a Story Time for infants and toddlers. This session is followed by a preschool Story Time at 10:30 Tuesday morning.  A second preschool session is offered on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

For more information or to register for any of these programs and activities, contact the Children’s Department at Brumback Library, 215 W. Main St. in Van Wert. The telephone number is 419.238.2168.

POSTED: 09/30/16 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Kicking off the 2015 YWCA Festival of Trees celebration is Gingerbread Junction, to be held Saturday, November 5.

Gingerbread Junction 11-2014-Jacob Barnes

This youngster is having fun decorating his own gingerbread house during a previous Gingerbread Junction event at the YWCA of Van Wert County. (VW independent file photo)

Children and family members of all ages are welcome to 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 to take home. All supplies are included, and the cost is $10 per gingerbread house.

Pre-registration and payment is required, with registration beginning Monday, October 3. Session times available include 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 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’s general operating hours are 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., closed Saturday and Sunday.

The YWCA is a United Way agency and a is funded by The Van Wert County Foundation.

POSTED: 09/30/16 at 7:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

CONVOY – Crestview Local School District is planning a Safe Schools Drill, in conjunction with area law enforcement, the afternoon of Monday, October 3.

This planned exercise will prepare students and staff with procedures for a proper evacuation in the event that there is a serious threat to the safety of students on the campus. Students will not be released during the drill; therefore, parents who intend to pick up students must do so before 12:30 p.m. or after 3 p.m.

This drill is a practice routine, as the district would like to make sure that people are prepared if an emergency situation arises in the future.

POSTED: 09/30/16 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A total of 12 people appeared in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court this week on a variety of criminal charges.

Courthouse statue 5-2012Seven people were sentenced by Judge Martin Burchfield during hearings Monday and Wednesday.

Jeremy Grenzbach, 35, of Van Wert, was given two years of community control, plus 30 days in jail, on a charge of domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor. He must also complete substance abuse assessment and anger management programs, and report child support payments and job status to the probation department monthly.

Tyler Roth, 29, of Van Wert, also received two years of community control on one count each of assault, a misdemeanor of the first degree, and unlawful restraint, a third-degree misdemeanor. He will also have to serve 74 days in jail, with work release.

Consuelo “Connie” Pardo, 44, of Van Wert, was sentenced to two years of community control, and a $150 fine on a charge of theft, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Paul Bakkle, 33, of Van Wert, was sentenced to three years of community control, including up to six months in the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima on a fourth-degree felony count of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). His driver’s license was also suspended for five years and he was fined $1,350, plus court costs.


POSTED: 09/29/16 at 7:10 am. FILED UNDER: News


It was a wet, windy evening, but Van Wert High School craig-leon-at-pep-rally-9-28-16football homecoming events went off as planned. Shown above is one of the floats that participated in the Homecoming Parade on Jefferson Street, which was followed by a pep rally in Fountain Park, featuring 2003 VWHS grad Craig Leon (right), a professional marathoner who has qualified for the past two Olympics trials. Below, these “lovely” cheerleaders rooted on their teams during the Junior-Senior Powder Puff Football Game, which followed the rally in Eggerss Stadium (a game photo is also on the Sports Page). photos by Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent


POSTED: 09/29/16 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Who provides local residents with above and beyond service? Who delights their palette? What business represents that true, raw entrepreneurship spirit?

The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2016 “Salute to Small Business” Awards. The Chamber spotlights businesses built on an entrepreneurial spirit that play a vital role in the Van Wert community and economy. A business’ nomination is a tribute to its leadership and employees.

This year’s nominations include five new categories:

Spirit of Entrepreneurship:

An innovative, established business that demonstrates initiative, perseverance, profitability and commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources.

Charitable Non-Profit:

A substantiated history of an established charitable non-profit organization 501(c)(3) with a volunteer board of trustees or governing body that demonstrates sound business practices, innovation, and leadership in offering human services within the Van Wert community.

Service Industry Showcase:

An established business in the service industry such as insurance, legal services or contracting that demonstrates sound business practices, excellence and a commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources.

Shown are Small Business Awards winners from 2015. (Chamber photo)

Shown are Small Business Awards winners from 2015. (Chamber photo)


POSTED: 09/29/16 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: News