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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 22, 2015

Members of the Crestview Educators Association (in green t-shirts) watch as the Crestview Local Board of Education meets on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Some of the nearly 50 members of the Crestview Educators Association (in green t-shirts) who attended Thursday’s Crestview Local Board of Education meeting watch as the board conducts business. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

CONVOY — The Crestview Local Board of Education honored three retiring staff members and also received a hint from a group of current teachers unhappy with the progress of contract talks during its May meeting on Thursday.

Staff members Cindy Perkins, Bob Hall and Judy Wortman were each given a plaque by Superintendent Mike Estes to honor their years of service to the district.

Meanwhile, nearly 50 members of the Crestview Educators Association (CEA) lined the walls of the district boardroom wearing t-shirts saying, “Let’s talk”, on the back. The subject of contract negotiations, which is typically a topic taken up in executive session, wasn’t raised during the meeting, but the educators stayed the entire meeting to emphasize their message.

A group of Crestview FFA members were also recognized by the board for taking the eight of the top 10 places — including all of the first seven spots — in the FFA Farm Business Management competition. Those who attended the meeting include Hannah Bowen, first place; Ron Schumm, third place; Emily Bauer, fourth place; Jared Gibson, fifth place; Leslie Skelton, sixth place; Claire Zaleski, seventh place; and Kristen Cramer, 10th place. John Bauer placed second in the competition, but couldn’t attend the meeting.


POSTED: 05/22/15 at 6:47 am

VW Rib Fest information

The ninth annual Van Wert Rib Fest will be held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday, August 7-8.

Preliminary plans for this year’s event began nine months ago, as the organizing committee met to review the 2014 Rib Fest and decided to make the 2015 event bigger and better than any previous year’s. With the addition of several new vendors and the return of popular events, this year’s Rib Fest is sure to be a crowd pleaser

Van Wert Rib Fest 2013-Earthquakers

The popular regional band, The Earthquakers, will be back again for this year’s Van Wert Rib Fest, to be held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds in August. (VW independent file photo)

The Rib Fest Committee also announced this year’s line-up of bands. Beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday, August 7, a crowd-favorite, The Earthquakers, will be on stage.  These guys call the Erie, Pennsylvania, area home, but have a large and loyal group of followers here in western Ohio.  The band brings a whole new meaning to the term “rock music”.  The Earthquakerrs will be preceded by a local band at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday evening, a newcomer to the Rib Fest, Shelby County Line, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. This group covers an array of new and old country music and classic rock.  The country world is taking notice of this band and they will be playing at CMA Fest in Nashville in June.  Saturday night’s headline band, taking the stage at 9:30 pm, will be the Mustang Sally Band. The Mustang Sally name and brand has become synonymous with “must-see entertainment”. J. D. Cannon, two-time CMA Personality of the Year Country DJ Hall of Fame inductee has said of Mustang Sally, “One of the most amazing acts I’ve ever seen…”.They are sure to bring an outstanding performance to Rib Fest.

The gates to Rib Fest open at 5 pm on Friday and 11 am on Saturday. Larry Lee, Executive Director of the Van Wert Area Convention and Visitors Bureau – the organizers of Rib Fest, said this year’s event will be like none before.  “Each year we try to bring something new to Rib Fest and this year we’re bringing in the biggest name band we’ve had, Mustang Sally. We are also having several new food vendors, meaning attendees will have a total of 13 vendors offering a huge variety of food.  We have vendors coming from as far away as the Cleveland and Akron areas.”


POSTED: 05/22/15 at 6:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Manor 45th year celebration 5-21-15

Van Wert Manor held a celebration on Thursday to celebrate its 45th year in the community. Here, Van Wert Manor Administrator Jacque Welch (center) is assisted in dedicating a tree planted on the Van Wert Manor grounds. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 05/22/15 at 6:39 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

VW independent/submitted information

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) has appointed Shelly Barrett, MBA, BSN, RN, ET, CWCN as Region V (Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois) Representative to its Board of Directors.

Barrett has 25 years of home health and hospice experience and serves as vice president of operations for Community Health Professionals, a nonprofit home health and hospice organization that serves northwest and west-central Ohio.

Shelly Barrett

Shelly Barrett

“I am pleased to represent home care and hospice on a national level again and represent the aged and infirm population and their right to remain in their own homes to receive medically necessary services,” Barrett said. “This also keeps our agency abreast with regulatory and practice issues and what the industry needs to do to fight for adequate reimbursement in order to comply with the changes.

“It also allows for a rural agency like Community Health Professionals to be a part of the frontline in Washington and to be engrained in the fight for those who need our services the most,” she added.

This is Barrett’s second term on the NAHC board, having been elected before to represent the voluntary not-for-profit sector of the industry.

She is also active with the Ohio Council for Homecare and Hospice working with the political action committee since 2003, helping to raise funds to support the representation of home care issues in the state legislature.

“I am honored to be appointed to the current board and that NAHC President Val Halamandaris and current board membership chose me to represent Ohio and surrounding states,” she said.

A Van Wert native, Barrett and her family live in Wapakoneta.

NAHC is a nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than 2 million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers who give in-home services to some 12 million Americans each year who are infirm, chronically ill, and disabled.

POSTED: 05/22/15 at 6:26 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding drivers this Memorial Day to not get behind the wheel impaired. Troopers and local law enforcement will be joining forces in an effort to keep Ohio roads fatality free this holiday.

osplogoTroopers made 763 OVI arrests during the 2014 Memorial Day holiday. During the extended weekend, 13 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes, of which 54 percent were OVI related. The Patrol is urging motorists to never drive impaired and always designate a sober driver.

“The Patrol is committed to keeping Ohioans safe on the roadways, especially over weekends that encourage higher amounts of travel,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “Planning ahead to designate a sober driver and always buckling up can help ensure tragedies do not occur.”

In addition, as part of the national Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization running through May 31, troopers will have a zero tolerance policy for those not wearing a safety belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, safety belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives nationwide in 2012.

Motorists are encouraged to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.

POSTED: 05/22/15 at 6:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Republican information

The Van Wert County Republican Central Committee will host a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday, June 5, at Willow Bend Country Club. The guest speaker for the luncheon will be Matt Huffman, a 2016 candidate for Ohio’s Fourth Senate District.

Matt Huffman

Matt Huffman

Huffman served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2007 to 2014. In that time, he led the Ohio House in calling for a Constitutional Convention of the States for the purposes of passing a Balanced Budget Amendment. Ohio is currently one of 27 states that have passed legislation calling for such a convention. A total of 37 are necessary.

Also in the Ohio General Assembly, Huffman had been a strong proponent of other conservative causes, supporting school choice, pro-life initiatives, and Second Amendment rights. In 2014, Huffman proposed legislation that would repeal and replace the national education standards popularly known as Common Core.

For a preview of Huffman’s talk, listeners can tune into the Commissioners’ Corner radio show that will air on 99.7 WKSD Sunday, May 31, at 8:20 a.m. A link to that broadcast will be available after that date on and

POSTED: 05/22/15 at 6:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education hired eight new teachers and accepted the resignations of three, including retiring Van Wert Early Childhood Center Principal Bill Wisher, and also heard a presentation on the high school work study program during its May meeting on Wednesday.

A high school student talks about her experiences in the work study program during Wednesday evening's meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

A high school student talks about her experiences in the work study program during Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The board issued employment contracts to the following teachers for the 2015-16 school year: Zachary Bates, second grade; Elizabeth Davis, fourth grade math-science; Kelly Fritz, middle school STEM teacher; Katelyn Gamble, sixth grade math; Melissa Miller, first grade; Melinda Rauch, fifth grade science; Danielle Sudhoff, fourth grade language arts/social studies; and Caitlin Walker, high school language arts.

In addition to the resignation of Wisher, who is retiring after 25 years in education, seven of those at Van Wert, Christine Heizman resigned as elementary intervention specialist, effective the end of the current school year, and Cynthia Klinger resigned her position as a middle school paraprofessional after seven years in that position.

Summer school teaching staff members were also approved by the board. Summer school staff include the following: Van Wert Early Childhood Center – Drew Bittner, Kim Dowdy, Laura Foster, Jaime Gardner, Brittany Hayden, Shelly Place, Kaitlin Roberts, Jessica Small, Judi Smith and Janine Warnecke; Van Wert Middle School – Jay Royer; Van Wert High School – Bob Priest, government; Wendy Howell, Ohio Graduation Test science; Nancy Brown and Natoshia Wilhelm, OGT language arts; Charlie Witten, OGT mathematics; Jennifer Trittschuh and Jeff Kallas, OGT social studies; and Ryan Parrish, OGT; LifeLinks Community School – Doug Adams, Kyle Hammons, Della Harting, Angela Myers and Ashley Wharton.


POSTED: 05/21/15 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

Three people entered changes of plea during hearings held Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Christie Kerner, 38, of Van Wert, entered a guilty plea to a charge of forgery, a fifth-degree felony. Judge Martin Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 17.

Andria Temple, 33, of Van Wert, changed her plea to guilty to a charge of theft, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and she will appear for sentencing at 9 a.m. June 17.

Zachariah Young, 28, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of domestic violence, which was downgraded from a fourth-degree felony to a first-degree misdemeanor in exchange for his guilty plea. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 10.

POSTED: 05/21/15 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: News

Students collect coins for Salvation Army 5-2015

The Van Wert Salvation Army Capital Campaign moved closer to its goal with the generous support of county students, as April became Salvation Army Month in the public schools. Coins were collected in quart jars.  When the counting was completed, the public schools donated a total of $6,006. The Salvation Army genuinely appreciates the Van Wert City Schools and their donation of $2,640 (high school $1,457, middle school $229, and elementary $954). Shown are representatives of Van Wert Elementary School, Van Wert Middle School and Van Wert High School, along with some of the donations, and Rita Hurless, Salvation Army board member. (Salvation Army photo)

POSTED: 05/21/15 at 6:51 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

One of the most popular soft rock bands of its time, Ambrosia, will be performing in Fountain Park to help celebrate the 2015 Peony Festival in Van Wert.  This concert also kicks off the start of the Fountain Park Summer Music Series, sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation, in cooperation with the Van Wert City Parks & Recreation.



Fountain Park in downtown Van Wert will be the hub of activity as the Ambrosia concert begins at 7 p.m. Friday, June 5. Food vendors, crafts and artisans will be located around the park area during the day leading up to the concert. The Peony Festival Committee will also be serving food in the park at the Rotary Concession Stand. During the concert, the Peony queen and her court will be introduced to the audience.

With five top 40 hits from the 1970s/’80s, Ambrosia became one of the most popular soft rock bands of its time.  Enjoy the songs that people once loved and still hear, such as “How Much I Feel,” “You’re the Only Woman,” “Biggest Part of Me,” and so much more as the summer kicks off in Fountain Park.

The concert is free of charge and open to the public. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy this fun concert. Arrive early, as there will be plenty of activities to enjoy.

POSTED: 05/21/15 at 6:43 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Evergreen Garden Club in Fountain Park 5-2015

Members of the Evergreen Garden Club once again descended on downtown Van Wert’s Fountain Park to plant the annual planters and hanging baskets for the enjoyment of visitors to the park during the upcoming summer season. This is one of the club’s projects to plant and maintain the flowers in Fountain Park. Each member is responsible to check the water system and pull weeds for one week during the summer days. This year’s chairwoman is Linda Mechling, who coordinates the civic beautification project at the park. Shown are club members (from the left) Leslie Simon, Paula Stemen, Janet Smith, Diane Ryan, Linda Mechling, Linda Morris, Marsha Morton and Kathy Muse with some of the flowers to be planted. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 05/21/15 at 6:41 am. FILED UNDER: News