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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Martin D. Burchfield

Martin D. Burchfield

Van Wert independent staff

COLUMBUS Local attorney and Republican Central Committee Chairman Martin D. Burchfield has been selected by Ohio Governor John Kasich to replace retiring Van Wert County Common Pleas Judge Charles D. Steele.

Burchfield will assume office on February 2, 2015, and must then run for election in November 2016 to retain the seat for the remainder of Judge Steele’s unexpired term, which ends December 31, 2018. Judge Steele is retiring, effective December 31, 2014, which means a visiting judge will likely be needed for the month between Judge Steele’s retirement and when Burchfield takes office.

Burchfield earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.

His previous experience includes working for the law offices of Kennedy & Burchfield, Johnson & Burchfield, and Martin D. Burchfield LPA. He has also been a public defender and was serving as an assistant county prosecutor prior to his selection as judge.

Burchfield also previously served on Van Wert City Council and was council president in the 1990s. He was a member of the Van Wert County Council on Aging Board, is a member and former president of Van Wert Service Club.

During his 15-year tenure as Common Pleas judge, Steele established the court’s Special Project Fund, from which money was drawn for the courtroom renovation project that included refurbishing the dome over the courtroom.

The fund also pays for a mediation program, helps fund the court’s domestic relations magistrate, technology upgrades, and pays court employees’ travel and education expenses.

Judge Steele also spearheaded the recent development of a drug court intensive drug treatment program that encompasses all three Van Wert courts.

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 2:08 pm

Crestview basketball homecoming 12-19-14

Crestview High School had its basketball homecoming on Friday night between the junior varsity and varsity boys’ basketball games. Shown is Homecoming Queen Vicky Callow and her court with members of the Knight basketball team. (Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent) 

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 7:54 am. FILED UNDER: News

Billy Davis Jr. & Marilyn McCoo concert 12-19-14

Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo brought their highly entertaining Christmas show to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio on Friday night, singing many of their hits from their time with the Fifth Dimension — including “Age of Aquarius” — as well as their successful years as a duo (“Wedding Bell Blues”, etc.), before crooning out a number of popular tunes for the holidays. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 7:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/ODJFS information

Statewide unemployment figures again decreased in November, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in November 2014, down from 5.3 percent in October 2014. Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 17,900 over the month, from a revised 5,311,300 in October to 5,329,200 in November.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in November was 287,000, down 18,000 from 305,000 in October. The number of unemployed has decreased by 130,000 in the past 12 months from 417,000. The November unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.2 percent in November 2013.

Unemployment artwork-small 8-2011The U.S. unemployment rate for November was unchanged from October at 5.8 percent, and down from 7.0 percent in November 2013.

Total Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 17,900 over the month, from a revised 5,311,300 in October to 5,329,200 in November, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.

Employment in goods-producing industries, at 878,800, increased 4,200 from October due to gains in manufacturing (+4,400) and mining and logging (+300). Construction lost 500 jobs. The private service-providing sector, at 3,694,900, added 15,200 jobs.

Employment gains in leisure and hospitality (+6,100), professional and business services (+4,100), other services (+3,500), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,100), and financial activities (+400) exceeded losses in educational and health services (-1,000).

Information did not change over the month. Government employment, at 755,500, decreased 1,500 as losses in state (-2,300) and local (-500) government outweighed gains in federal government (+1,300).

From November 2013 to November 2014, nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 65,200. Goods-producing industries added 18,000 jobs. Manufacturing added 18,400 jobs in durable goods (+15,400) and non-durable goods (+3,000). Mining and logging employment increased 1,000. Construction employment decreased 1,400. The private service-providing sector added 48,300 jobs over the year. Employment gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+18,300), professional and business services (+15,100), educational and health services (+6,500), other services (+5,600), and trade, transportation, and utilities (+5,500).

Employment declines occurred in information (-1,800) and financial activities (-900). Government employment decreased 1,100. Job losses in local government (-2,400) surpassed job gains in federal (+700) and state (+600) government.

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 7:40 am. FILED UNDER: News

Car dealers' food drive1 12-19-14

Local new car dealers brought in not one, not two, not three, but four pickup truckloads of food for The Salvation Army during the culmination of a food drive challenge held at all three dealerships: StateWide Ford Lincoln, Lee Kinstle’s GM Sales and Service and Greve’s Chrysler Dodge. Major Art Barter said the food was very much appreciated, since his organization distributes on average approximately 10,000 food items each month. Shown above are Salvation Army staff and car dealership employees, while the pickups are shown below. (photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Car dealers food drive2 12-19-14

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

SPRINGFIELD — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine participated in the new BCI Science School Friday with fourth graders at Perrin Woods Elementary School in Springfield, as they did hands-on science experiments with BCI Forensic Scientists.

Attorney General Mike DeWine

Attorney General Mike DeWine

Students performed various color tests, just like scientists use in the lab to detect blood and saliva in criminal investigations.

“BCI Science School was created to help expose young students in our state to the practical applications of science,” said Attorney General DeWine. “I want kids to dream big about their future careers, including thinking about a career in science.”

This is the third day for BCI Science School at Perrin Woods Elementary School. Monday, students learned about crime scene agents and how they use math and science every time they document and investigate a crime scene.

For example, agents measure points between pieces of evidence, so that’s what the kids experienced. Tuesday, students learned about DNA — where to find it, how to compare it, and what it looks like.  Tomorrow, the last day of BCI Science School, students will compare things like fracture matches, handwriting, and fingerprints.

Students — and anyone else who is interested — can check out the BCI Lab by taking a virtual tour of the London facility.  The video is posted on

“We are proud of the (work done by our scientists at our BCI Crime Labs in London, Richfield, and Bowling Green,” said Attorney General DeWine. “We hope that passion our staff has for science helps spark a love of science in these young minds through the BCI Science School.

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

Truly D'vine Bread Co. photo1 12-19-14

Truly D’vine Bread Company gave neighboring businesses a sneak peek (above) at the new bakery on Friday evening, with the general public invited in today as the new business opens its doors for the first time in the former Butler’s Bakery location on West Main Street. Truly D’vine specializes in fresh bread, but also has other bakery items, as well as a delicatessen area and a section for serving hot foods. A new dining area (below) was also created by placing a door in a wall on the west side of the bakery into what once was a beauty salon. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Truly D'vine Bread Co. photo2 12-19-14

POSTED: 12/20/14 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Wassenberg Art Center information

Wassenberg Art Center’s Board of Directors announces that Bradde Hamman, Tim Slusher, Sue Rakes and Gabriel McConn have been elected to the Wassenberg Art Center’s board, with terms beginning in January 2015. Most of the applicants have been heavily involved with Wassenberg Art Center programming for some time.

Gabe McConn, one of four new members of the Wassenberg Art Center Board of Directors. (photo submitted)

Gabe McConn, one of four new members of the Wassenberg Art Center Board of Directors. (photo submitted)

Hamman is the owner of Open Minded, a premier body piercing, hair salon, and tattoo studio located in downtown Van Wert. He is involved in numerous civic projects and supports charitable causes throughout the region, in addition to being a key creative at the art center in the last year.

Slusher, owner of Slusher’s Jewelry in Van Wert, is also a member of the Main Street Van Wert Board, Van Wert Rotary Club, Niswonger Performing Arts Center Marketing Committee, and is a concert series sponsor at the Niswonger.

Rakes, of Defiance, is manager of supplier development and replenishment at Sauder Woodworking in Archbold. She has been involved with the Wassenberg Art Center for the last three years, assisting with events and in grant application procedures. Her other volunteer experience has been working with the Ability Center of Greater Toledo in the Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence program.

McConn recently returned to the Van Wert area and last worked for Tiffin University. He has been involved with the Wassenberg and other local projects since that time. His volunteer experience includes the Allen County Humane Society, Community Hospice Care, and United Way of Seneca County.


POSTED: 12/19/14 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

The Western Buckeye Educational Service Center Governing Board discussed the lack of highly qualified substitute teachers and also approved several personnel actions during its December meeting on Wednesday.

Superintendent Brian Gerber discussed with the board the need for highly qualified substitute teachers, noting that the Western Buckeye ESC is willing to work substitute teacher candidates on a one-to-one basis in order to submit all required paperwork to the Ohio Department of Education.

“We have wonderful administrative assistants in our office who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to assistant substitute teacher candidates in obtaining a substitute teacher license,” Gerber told the board. “We will walk candidates through the process until all required paperwork is appropriately submitted.”

Gerber said the ESC also created a substitute teacher/aide handbook that will assist partner schools and substitutes in Paulding and Van Wert counties.

The superintendent also noted that Ohio Governor John Kasich’s biennial state budget should be out by late January or early February.

In personnel action, the board acknowledged Kimberly Jones as acting treasurer, effective November 25, and will adjust her salary. Kathy Habern was also hired as a part-time special needs aide at Thomas Edison Center, effective December 15, while the board also accepted the resignations of Amy Klinker from her special needs aide’s position at Thomas Edison, effective December 11, and Pamela Williamson from her intervention specialist’s position at Antwerp Local Schools, effective November 25.

In other action, the board:

  • Renewed its membership with the Ohio School Boards Association’s Legal Assistance Fund at a cost of $250 and also approved an annual OSBA membership at a cost of $2,290.
  • Approved a new physical therapist’s job description as presented.
  • Rescinded several NEOLA policies that were not applicable to an educational service center.
  • Approved the new Substitute Teacher/Aide Handbook.

The governing board will hold its organizational meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 21, at the Paulding ESC office, with the regular meeting to follow.

POSTED: 12/19/14 at 8:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

Niswonger PAC information

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio announces the release of two anticipated events this week. The Newsboys concert and a special early Christmas ticket release for Broadway’s Memphis.



Bursting on the scene on Saturday, March 14, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., is the wildly popular Christian recording group Newsboys. Presented by First Federal Savings & Loan of Van Wert, this group is hot off its “God’s Not Dead” project where the song “God’s Not Dead” became a national sensation, despite already being a No. 1 radio hit on the Billboard AC Monitored chart two years ago prior.

The “God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion)” soundtrack is now counted among an elite list of Christian tracks ever to secure such pop status.

Newsboys have found an expanded audience, thanks to the film’s massive exposure, but this Australian band is not new to music; they have released 16 studio albums, six of which have been certified gold. Newsboys keep the audience energized and the spirit moving with their rocking energy and bold faith. Experience what “Roaring Like a Lion” means with the Newsboys!

The Newsboys’ concert is also sponsored by LifeHouse, Family Medicine Associates, Dark Horse Productions, WTLW-44, and WTGN.

Releasing early for Christmas gifting is Broadway’s Memphis, winner of four Tony Awards® in 2010, including Best Musical. Presented by Reynolds & Reynolds Inc., Memphis has an original score by Grammy® Award-winner and Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan and book by Joe DiPietro.

Direct from its smash hit Broadway run and a triumphant 55-city North American tour, Memphis will bring breathtaking Broadway to the Niswonger stage in two performances on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 29, 2015, at 3 p.m.



Inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis follows the fame and forbidden love of a radio disc jockey who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break. Join them on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves — filled with laughter, soul and rock ‘n’ roll!

Starring the queen of British soul, multi-award-winning recording artist Beverley Knight (The Bodyguard) as club singer “Felicia Farrell” and West End star Killian Donnelly (The Commitments, Billy Elliot the Musical, Les Misérables) as radio DJ ‘Huey Calhoun’, Memphis will leave the audience feeling exhilarated by its explosive blend of electrifying music, soaring emotion and roof-raising energy.

Memphis is also sponsored by Willow Bend Country Club and The Lima News.

Tickets are available beginning now online at NPACVW.ORG or through the Box Office at 419.238.NPAC from noon-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Niswonger is located at 10700 Ohio 118 in Van Wert.

Each of these events is a featured Dinner and a Show event. Willow Bend Country Club features the prime rib buffet for $19.99 for all ticketed guests. Seating is limited. Call early for reservations at 419.238.0111.

POSTED: 12/19/14 at 8:29 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

The Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol has named its Trooper of the Year and Dispatcher of the Year for 2014.

Trooper Adam M. Brincefield has been selected 2014 Trooper of the Year at the Van Wert Post.  Brincefield joined the Highway Patrol in 2003 and has served at the Patrol’s Training Academy in addition to the Van Wert Post.

Dispatcher R.D. Scheirer

Meghan Scheirer

Trooper Adam Brincefield

Adam Brincefield

Fellow officers stationed at the Van Wert Post, chose Brincefield, 33, based on his leadership abilities, professional ethics, courteous treatment of others, enthusiastic work attitude, and cooperation with supervisors, peers, and the public.

Brincefield has been awarded the Patrol’s Physical Fitness and Safe Driving awards. He also serves as a field-training officer. Brincefield enjoys participating in speech details and working with children.

Brincefield and his family reside in Van Wert County.

Radio Dispatcher Meghan L. Scheirer has been recognized as the 2014 Dispatcher of the Year. Scheirer joined the Highway Patrol in 2013 and is assigned to the Van Wert Dispatch Center. She is a graduate of Defiance High School and Defiance College.
Scheirer, 35, was honored in recognition of her outstanding service over the past year.  Management and dispatchers/communications technicians chose Scheirer based on her technical job knowledge and ability, enthusiastic work attitude, teamwork, and prompt and courteous response to the public’s requests for information and assistance.

Scheirer and her family reside in Defiance County.
Both Brincefield and Scheirer are in contention for district and state honors as Trooper of the Year and Dispatcher of the Year. Those honors will be announced at later date.

POSTED: 12/19/14 at 8:23 am. FILED UNDER: News