The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019

The late Luanne Metzger and two of her grandchildren. photo provided

VW independent/submitted information

Community Health Professionals (CHP) will host its 21st annual Hospice “Beacon of Hope” dinner/auction on Thursday, April 25, starting at 6 p.m., at Willow Bend Country Club.

The event features a meal, live and Chinese auction, instead of a silent auction items, with auctioneer Bob Gamble and emcee Dave Roach, general manager at First Family Broadcasting (WERT) and CHP board member. 

Local businesses — Alexander Bebout Inc. and Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency — will be honored as “Friends of Hospice,” for their continued support of the CHP Hospice program and its events.

Dinner tickets are $20 each, with limited seating remaining. For tickets, call 419.238.9223.

The family of the late Luanne Metzger will present the Beacon of Hope lighthouse to honor Metzger and past CHP Hospice patients and families.

Metzger retired after nearly 30 years of service to Eaton Corporation in Van Wert. During her life, she also touched many lives as a teacher’s aide at Thomas Edison, Wee Care Learning Center, as a house manager for the Thomas Edison Residential Home, and as a medical assistant.

Metzger was also a member of the American Legion Unit 178 Auxiliary. 

She was extremely proud of the family she raised, her granddaughters, and the amazing friends that became her extended family.

“Often when people think of hospice, they think it means loss of hope, but hospice is about redefining hope,” said Kim Mason, CHP volunteer and events coordinator. “At CHP, we see hospice as a beacon of comfort, dignity, and respect for patients and families facing terminal illness.”

Live and silent auctions will follow dinner and family presentations. Items in this year’s auction include several vacation getaway packages, an autumn trip to the Smokey Mountains (Gatlinburg, Tennessee), sports tickets and memorabilia, passes to regional attractions, a recliner, grill, and much more.


POSTED: 04/18/19 at 10:52 pm

VW independent/submitted information

Tim Slusher, owner of TAG Menswear in Van Wert, recently reached out to The Marsh Foundation about making a clothing donation. The men’s clothing presented to The Marsh includes sweaters, dress pants, dress shirts, jackets, t-shirts, and more, and is valued at more than $12,000.

A boy at Marsh Hall excitedly goes through some of the clothing items donated by TAG Menswear in Van Wert. photos provided

To say that The Marsh is grateful is a massive understatement. The clothing will be used to help boys in Vance and Marsh Halls on The Marsh campus. These two homes hold 20 boys together. They were very excited to be presented with some new items. 

“These are awesome! I feel like I can sleep in this jacket, it’s so comfortable,” said one boy.

MacKenzie Basil, program manager at Vance Hall, said that the donation benefits the youths more than just providing them with clothing.

“At times, our kids come to us with nothing and this donation will provide them with quality clothes that they may never have had in the past,” Basil noted. “This will give them a sense of pride and self-confidence.”

The Marsh was proud to accept such a significant donation from a small business in its own community. 

“I think it’s wonderful that many people in this community have notice the important mission of The Marsh Foundation and find it worth donating to help continue that mission,” said Ben Marsee, program manager at Marsh Hall.

Oftentimes, youths in care lack self-worth and pride.

Marsh Foundation representatives accept a sizeable clothing donation from TAG Menswear. Shown are (from the left) Marsh Program Manager Christy Thees, TAG Menswear owner Tim Slusher, Marsh Program Manager MacKenzie Basil, Marsh consultant Marcus Boatman, and Marsh Director of Residential Services Megan Tuttle.

“This generous donation is not only a reflection of how our community cares for our kids, but a direct expression to our youth their value within the community,” said Megan Tuttle, director of residential services.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages birth to 17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. 

POSTED: 04/18/19 at 10:47 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio’s participation in a new $65.9 million study aimed at reducing the overdose death rate by 40 percent over three years. The HEALing Communities Study is being funded through a partnership initiative by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“By participating in the HEALing Communities Study, Ohio can expand its efforts to address the substance use crisis that is taking a toll on families across the state in a comprehensive, collaborative way,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “The study joins my RecoveryOhio initiative with several of our state’s universities to improve and evaluate our state’s community-level infrastructure with the goal of reducing overdose deaths, encouraging treatment, and supporting recovery for all Ohioans.”

Working in collaboration with state and local agencies, The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati are leading a coalition of universities including Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo, and Wright State University, along with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, to test proven prevention and treatment interventions.

Ohio is one of five states, hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, that are participating in this study. Nineteen counties were selected at random to participate, including: Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Brown, Cuyahoga, Darke, Franklin, Guernsey, Greene, Hamilton, Huron, Jefferson, Lucas, Morrow, Ross, Scioto, Stark, Williams, and Wyandot.

To address the mental health and substance use public health crisis in Ohio, Governor DeWine created the RecoveryOhio initiative to coordinate and improve prevention efforts, increase access to treatment, and support proven recovery supports in the state. The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council recently released its initial report that provides 75 actionable recommendations to better address the public health crisis in Ohio.

POSTED: 04/18/19 at 10:42 pm. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

A change could be coming to the bus policy currently used by Van Wert City Schools.

Superintendent Vicki Brunn reads from a magazine piece about the CEO Program led by Kerry Koontz. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“For lack of a better term, we’re going to call it limiting special bus arrangements per parents’ requests,” Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton said during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. “The crux of the problem is the elementary building.”

“We have a lot of parents who call in at the last minute and request that their child go on a different bus, based on what might be happening after school that day, and what that does is create a lot of organizational work at the last minute for our secretarial staff.”

Clifton also told the board that administrators would like to see the number of arrangements limited to two — a primary location and a second alternative on an as-needed basis.

“We’ve become an Uber service, we’ve become a Lyft service, we’ve become a taxi service, but in reality, we’re a school system,” Clifton said. “As much as we want to accommodate our families, we also have to look at staying on schedule (and) making sure that our drivers and staff are not confused.”

A decision could come as soon as next month for the 2019-2020 school year, and Clifton acknowledged it will be controversial.

“I think you’ll hear from some folks, but we need to be proactive and up front and let people know why we’re doing what we’re doing and get that information out no later than May or June.”


POSTED: 04/18/19 at 12:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Three people were sentenced to prison terms during hearings held in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Randy Parker, 38, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 36 months, with credit for 221 days already served, on a charge of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the third degree, and 12 months in prison, with credit for 67 days already served, on a vandalism charge, a fifth-degree felony. Both sentences are to run concurrent — at the same time.

Clinton Englehart, 28, of Payne, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, with credit for six days already served, on a charge of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the third degree. He was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $400 to the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force.

Stacy Young, 42, of Van Wert, as sentenced to 12 months in prison, with credit for 56 days already served, on a charge of complicity to aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fourth degree. 

Three people were also arraigned in Common Pleas Court.

Jody Baker, 37, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and forgery, each a felony of the fifth degree, and one count of passing bad checks, a first-degree misdemeanor. She was released on an unsecured personal surety bond, and will appear for a pretrial conference at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15.

Michelle Sutton, 39, of Willshire, pleaded not guilty to theft, a fifth-degree felony. She was released on a surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 1.

Danal Parsons, 48, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. No bond was set, as Parsons is already incarcerated in another county, but a pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 24.


POSTED: 04/18/19 at 12:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has joined Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, MD, MHP, and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss to warn parents that vaping is not a safer alternative to smoking for their teens. The governor also called for increasing the age to purchase tobacco and vaping products in Ohio to 21.

Mike DeWine

“E-cigarette marketers are convincing some people that their product is a safer alternative than smoking, and that’s simply not the case,” said Governor DeWine. “With sleek, fun packaging and flavors like ‘candy crush’ and ‘watermelon wave,’ these products are clearly being marketed to kids. 

“We should work to ensure kids don’t start using e-cigarettes in the first place,” the governor added. “It is our duty to warn parents of the risks of e-cigarettes and help families realize the long-term consequences of vaping may be no safer than smoking.”

“We are seeing an explosive increase in vaping among our youth, and it’s not safe for young people,” said Director Acton. “Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. 

“E-cigarette aerosol also can contain other harmful and potentially harmful substances including cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals like lead and chemical flavorings linked to serious lung disease,’ she added.

“The impact of nicotine on a developing brain, causes young people to become addicted much more swiftly than an adult,” said Director Criss. “Increasing the minimum age to purchase cigarettes and e-cigarettes will increase the age that people have their first cigarette and reduce the likelihood they will become long-term smokers.”


POSTED: 04/18/19 at 12:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

CONVOY — The Crestview High School Junior/Senior Prom, sponsored by the Class of 2020, will be held from 8-11 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Convoy Community Building. This year’s theme is “Masquerade.”

Open house for viewing the Convoy Community Building will be from 1-2 p.m. April 27, with promenade in the high school auditeria from 6:45-7:45 that evening. The public is invited to attend promenade, with the auditeria doors opening at 6:15 p.m. 

After Prom is being held at Villa Lanes bowling alley in Decatur, Indiana, from 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. and is sponsored by Crestview and the Van Wert Optimist Club. Students are asked to arrive at After Prom no later than 11:45 p.m.

POSTED: 04/18/19 at 12:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Nearly 9,000 bicycle helmets will be going to children across Ohio this spring, thanks to the Put A Lid On It! campaign, a continued partnership between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. ODOT contributed approximately 6,500 of the helmets. 

Nearly 9,000 bicycle helmets will be donated to Ohio children this spring as part of the Put a Lid On It! campaign. photo provided

Thanks in part to a $12,000 grant from Honda of America Marysville, the helmets will be provided at no cost to children across Ohio to keep them safe while enjoying a bicycle ride.

Partners from law enforcement agencies and community organizations, Safe Routes to School Programs, Safe Communities Programs, and others, applied for helmets through a competitive application process. Awardees were selected to receive helmets based on need.

While bicycle-related fatalities only represent 4 percent of roadway fatalities, they are on the rise statewide. Between 2009-2018, 182 Ohioans were killed while riding a bicycle, a 22 percent increase. Twelve percent of bicycle-related fatalities in the last five years were children between the ages of 5 to 14.


POSTED: 04/17/19 at 6:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert Service Club announces its 2019 Pancake Day fundraising event to be held Saturday, May 4, in the Van Wert High School commons area. The event will run from 7 a.m. until noon.  

Along with pancakes and sausage, Arby’s of Van Wert is providing its sausage gravy and biscuits again this year. This year’s event marks the 50th anniversary of this annual event. The original Pancake Day began in 1969 by the Van Wert Sertoma Club and is always the first Saturday of May every year. 

To make this year’s event a little more special, the service club has invited former members to join in the fun as “guest flippers,” as well as a prize giveaway of a Blackstone grill. Every paid admission is entered in the drawing and people do not need to be present to win.

The annual Pancake Day is the first of two fundraising events the club takes great pride in each year. The money raised through fundraising is donated to many worthwhile projects and activities in the Van Wert and surrounding communities. The Service Club finances several countywide speech and hearing projects, including the Thomas Edison Speech & Hearing Center and the Van Wert County Summer Speech program.

New in 2018, Van Wert Service Club partnered with Van Wert Optimist Club to fund the Children’s Christmas Garden light display. This Christmas light display has been recognized as one of Ohio’s best in Trails Ohio-Holiday lights in 2018. 

Both clubs take great pride in the fact that people come to the community from all around Ohio to see the Christmas light display at the Smiley Park Children’s Garden.

The Service Club also supports the following projects, activities, and organizations:  


POSTED: 04/17/19 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Brumback Library announces that the Lima Symphony String Quartet has rescheduled its “Symphony Storytime” for Wednesday, April 24. Storytime will take place in the Brumback Library Reading Room at 10:30 a.m. that day.

Brumback Library’s Main Branch in downtown Van Wert. photo submitted

Children will enjoy beloved books such as Madeline, Dragons Love Tacos, Corduroy, and more, accompanied by beautiful classical masterworks performed by a string quartet comprised of Lima Symphony Orchestra musicians.  

This program allows children to experience music through highly interactive teaching and performances, introducing them to basic musical ideas and concepts. With a focus on creative movement and music literacy, “Symphony Storytime” is designed to spark a child’s imagination and to foster a lifelong love and appreciation for music. The program is free and open to the public.

These performances are part of the Lima Symphony’s ongoing commitment to music education and its firm belief that music and the other arts are critical tools in building strong communities. 

The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Locally, the project is supported by the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, State Bank, and Range Kleen.

Brumback Library is located at 215 W. Main St. in Van Wert. For more information, contact the library at 419.238.2168.

POSTED: 04/17/19 at 6:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

NACD Stewardship Week is one of the largest national programs to promote natural resource conservation. Celebrated annually since 1955 between the last Sunday in April and the first Sunday in May, NACD Stewardship Week reminds people of their individual responsibilities to care for natural resources.

This year marks the 64th year to celebrate NACD Stewardship Week and honors the theme “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper.”

Each spring, NACD and thousands of dedicated conservationists organize a multitude of outreach events and educational learning experiences for students and adults in order to increase awareness about the importance of natural resource conservation.

During Stewardship Week, local conservation districts and their state associations educate the public on the importance of soil health, water quality, pollinator habitat and other conservation topics. Different classroom activities, field visits and community events are hosted to honor and recognize efforts in conservation at the local level.

During Stewardship Week, Van Wert SWCD will provide a swamp white oak seedling and a presentation on the importance of trees to each fourth grade student in the county and place Soil & Water Stewardship placemats in local restaurants during the weeklong observance.

POSTED: 04/17/19 at 6:42 am. FILED UNDER: News