The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

Cassie Jo Arends (standing, right) talks to children at Wee Care Learning Center on Thursday while the kids view a Spanish black and slate blue turkey brought in for the presentation. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Cassie Jo Arends (standing, right) talks to children at Wee Care Learning Center on Thursday while the kids view a Spanish black and slate blue turkey brought in for the presentation. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

With Thanksgiving about a month away, Cooper Farms, which has been selected to provide the National Turkey to President Barack Obama this year, has implemented a “Turkey Tour” to let area students see two varieties of turkeys and learn more about the birds.

“They (turkeys) seem to be the forgotten bird,” said Cassie Jo Arends of Cooper Farms. “Everybody knows about chickens, but nobody knows about turkeys, so that’s sort of part of what we’ve been doing, (and) teaching them what it’s like to be a turkey farmer and all that kind of stuff.”

Although most Americans are familiar with the white commercial breed of turkey — the one that usually shows up on people’s table at Thanksgiving — Arends and Cole Cooper, a scion of the family-owned Cooper Farms, were on the road Thursday to show off two lesser-known breeds of turkeys: a Spanish black and a slate gray. The Van Wert independent caught up with the pair at Wee Care Learning Center, where they were entertaining a group of youngsters with information on turkeys.

Arends and Cooper also made presentations at Lincolnview and Van Wert elementary schools, although Arends said that, because of the younger age, the presentation at Wee Care was not as involved as those at the elementary schools.


POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:45 am

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Like falling leaves and colder temperatures, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s snowplow inspection is another sign that winter isn’t far away.

Last winter was a record-breaking one for ODOT, with more road salt used (more than 1 million tons), more money spent on snow/ice removal ($119 million) and more snowplow miles driven (more than 14 million) than any other winter so far.

A new tandem-axle snowplow, with left-wing plow was on display at the Van Wert ODOT garage on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

A new tandem-axle snowplow, with left-wing plow was on display at the Van Wert ODOT garage on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

This winter, ODOT is ready. Earlier this month, ODOT crews around the state, including the Van Wert County ODOT garage, began conducting random 150-point inspections to fine-tune snow removal equipment in anticipation that winter won’t be far away. The inspections are part of ODOT’s annual county-by-county Equipment Readiness Inspections.

“We work day and night to keep Ohio’s roads open and passable so businesses, schools and healthcare providers can operate uninterrupted,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “The most effective way to accomplish this is to have equipment in good working order, salt in the barns and operators and mechanics who are well trained.”

The Lima-based ODOT District 1, which includes Van Wert, as well as Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, and Wyandot counties, began random inspections on its 127 snow removal trucks on Thursday.

New this year, ODOT has completed installation of green, white and amber lights on all 1,700 snowplow trucks in its fleet. The color combination provides higher visibility than the traditional amber lights.


POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

YWCA of VW County information

In an ideal world, domestic violence would never happen in our community; would never happen to someone we know or care about. In an ideal world, domestic violence wouldn’t exist.

In reality, domestic violence occurs in one’s neighborhoods and amongst family and friends. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status. One in every four women and one out of every seven men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes.

New YWCA logo 12-2009As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, area residents should all continue to do their parts to make the world safer for their families, colleagues, neighbors, and the next generation. Here is what people can do:

  • Continue to bring up the issues of controlling partners, encourage healthy relationships, and talk about what safety at home means wherever and whenever possible. You never know who you might reach and whose safety you might increase.
  • Never tolerate friends or relatives belittling or controlling their partners. Tell friends or relatives that what they are doing is not okay.
  • Donate hygiene and/or cleaning supplies or gift cards to the YWCA throughout the year. A gift can ensure that moms and children residing in the shelter are able to have essential needs they might not have been able to bring with them.
  • Believe what a victim tells you and do your best to support and refer them to helpful resources.


POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

Buckeye Youth information

Buckeye Youth will be having their annual Autumn Adventure Sleepover on Friday, November 7th from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. on Saturday, November 8.  The event will be held at the heated Ohio State University-Extension meeting room in the Administration Building at the Fairgrounds.

There will be a hayride, bonfire, games, prizes, costume contest, movies and a sleepover.  All Buckeye Youth members with a currently paid membership will be allowed to stay free. All other children ages 5 to 12 will be $10 and $5 for each additional sibling.  This entitles your child to attend the sleepover and have a full year membership benefits for Buckeye Youth.

The event will be well supervised by adult and teen volunteers, although it is recommended that young children be accompanied by an older sibling, parent or guardian for the overnight.  Children of parents staying the night and helping with the activities may stay free and still receive the membership benefits.  Children may stay a part of or all night.

Registration forms are available outside the Buckeye Youth office or on Buckeye Youth’s Facebook page and should be returned to the Buckeye Youth office, 147 E. Main St., Suite D, (northwest corner of Market and Main streets) in Van Wert, or emailed to by Monday, November 3, with payment.

For more information or to pre-register a child by phone, call 419.238.3546 and leave a message.   Office hours are 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday. Buckeye Youth is a United Way agency.

POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News, Youth


Crestview High School will present its fall production, “Shrek, The Musical”, on November 14-15 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditeria. Ticket sales will begin Tuesday, November 4, in the high school office. Reserved seating is $6. This year’s production involves a cast and crew of 36 students. Shown are Cora Millay as Donkey, Joel Germann as Shrek, and Bella Chorvas as Fiona. (Crestview photo)

POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:17 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Submitted information

The public is invited to an open house for Tisha Fast’s State Farm Insurance agency from 10 a.m.-noon this Saturday, November 1.

Come see the new “good neighbor” team and at its new location, 803 Fox Road (next to Rural King). Refreshments will be served, with a special appearance planned by the Good Neigh-bear!

POSTED: 10/31/14 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Often, people needing services are unsure of where to find them. Now, they have a place to find information on a variety of services and social programs: 2-1-1. The new program had its rollout Wednesday during a presentation in Van Wert City Council Chambers.

Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum makes the first local 2-1-1 call, while United Way Executive Director Deb Russell listens. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum makes the first local 2-1-1 call, while United Way Executive Director Deb Russell listens. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Like the 9-1-1 enhanced emergency telephone system the county has used for nearly two decades, the new 2-1-1 system can be accessed by dialing three easy to remember digits. The new system should also lower the number of non-emergency calls now made to 9-1-1 dispatchers, freeing up dispatchers to take emergency calls.

On hand to talk about the system were United Way of Van Wert County Executive Director Deb Russell, as well as Nick Roman, 2-1-1 director for Ohio United Way, and Diane Gatto-Barrett, who is in charge of the Cleveland call center that will answer Van Wert 2-1-1 calls.

“2-1-1 is a gateway to health and human services,” said Gatto-Barrett. “It makes it easy for people to connect to the resources they would otherwise have no idea existed.”

She also explained that the 2-1-1 system also eliminates duplication of services and keeps people from having to go from one agency to another looking for help.


POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Three people were given prison terms during a busy day Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. Four people were sentenced overall, two changed their pleas to guilty, three appeared for bond violation hearings and one person was charged with violating a treatment in lieu of conviction program.

Drew Kenny, 21, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 17 months in prison on a charge of trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Charles D. Steele also gave Kenny credit for 123 days already served.

Chad Boyd listens as he is sentenced in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Chad Boyd listens as he is sentenced in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Shad Boyd, 38, of Lima, was given nine months in prison on a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He will report to the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at noon on Friday, October 31, to begin his sentence.

Jeremy Lindeman, 32, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after admitting he violated his community control program by testing positive for drugs and being terminated from a counseling program at Westwood Behavioral Health Center in Van Wert. Judge Steele gave Lindeman credit for 265 days already served, effectively shortening his sentence to 100 days in prison.

Also Wednesday, Joe Quevedo, 50, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control on a charge of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, which includes a 60-day jail term. Quevedo was also prohibited from contacting Stacy Young or her children as part of his sentence.

A second probation violation case and three bond violation hearings were held in Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.

In the probation violation case, Kristina Diltz, 34, of Van Wert, was resentenced to three years of community control for testing positive for opiates and refusing a drug screen at Westwood. Judge Steele ordered her held in jail until she begins a Vivitrol program in November.

Bond violation cases include the following:

Kaitlin Russell, 19, of Delphos, admitted violating her bond by failing to report to probation as ordered. She was re-released on a surety bond until her sentencing.

Darren Stutz, 25, of Van Wert, had his bond revoked and will be held in jail until all assessment are completed, after he admitted to violating his bond by not reporting as ordered. Judge Steele granted Stutz work release.

Emily Bollenbacher, 23, of Van Wert, admitted to violating her bond by consuming alcohol and being arrested for drunk driving. She was re-released on a surety bond on the condition that she not operate a motor vehicle. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, November 19.


POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

Niswonger PAC information

First Federal Savings & Loan of Van Wert proudly presents the world’s first Country music a cappella vocal band, Home Free, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on January 31, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

When Home Free was crowned Season 4 Champions of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in December 2013, its victory was by no means the beginnings of a career for the five country stars from Minnesota. Rather it was a satisfying culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and commitment to a vocal craft growing in popularity.

Home Free

Home Free

Founded by brothers Chris and Adam Rupp during their college years in the early 2000s, Home Free had been perfecting its live show for years prior to “The Sing-Off”, performing together for crowds at countless state and county fairs, on college campuses, for Fortune 500 companies, and in theaters all across the country. It was the group’s experience on the road that carried them to the “Sing-Off” victory, swelling their fan base and bringing their homegrown country style into a national spotlight.

Home Free has now performed to countless sold-out crowds across the country as part of its 32-city, 36-show “Sing-Off Tour Live!” The group entertain audiences with its high-energy show, peppered with quick-witted humor that meshes Nashville standards with pop hits dipped in country flavor.

Home Free’s tour is on the heels of their Columbia Records debut release, Crazy Life. Listen to the group’s sound at

Tickets for the January 31 show are now available, beginning at just $15, online at or through the Box Office, noon-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Niswonger Box Office is located at 10700 Ohio 118 on the south edge of Van Wert.

Home Free is a featured “dinner and a show” event. Dining partner Willow Bend Country Club features its prime rib buffet for $19.99 for all ticketed guests. Seating is limited. Call early for reservations 419.238.0111.

Home Free is also sponsored by Mercer Landmark, Dark Horse Productions, Times Bulletin Media, and Willow Bend Country Club. Season sponsors are StateWide Ford Lincoln and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.

POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:37 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Defiance College information

DEFIANCE — Van Wert business and civic leader Edward Buhl is the new chair of the Defiance College Board of Trustees. He began his two-year term as chair in July.

Edward Buhl

Edward Buhl

Buhl, senior vice president and secretary of Central Mutual Insurance Companies, is an alumnus of Defiance College, graduating in 1973. He has served on the Defiance College Board of Trustees since 1995.

Buhl is a member of the Board of Directors for Central Mutual, All America Insurance Companies, and the Van Wert Federal Savings and Loan. He is a member of the Society of CPCU, past president of the United Way of Van Wert County, and a past president of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce.

Buhl and his wife, Tavie, are the parents of two sons, Brett and Blake. Brett and wife, Ashley, have a daughter, Kennedy.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is

POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The American Red Cross is making some changes to become more efficient and Van Wert County will be affected by those changes, to some extent.

David Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of West Central Ohio, talks about changes to the local organization. (Rick Ford/Van Wert independent)

David Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of West Central Ohio, talks about changes to the local organization. (Rick Ford/Van Wert independent)

David Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of West Central Ohio, a 10-county region that includes Van Wert County, talked Tuesday about some of the changes that will be seen locally, which include the loss of the current Red Cross office on East Main Street and elimination of Community Director Sandy Lane’s position, although Lane has agreed to remain in her position as a volunteer to help with the organizational transition.

Collins said the local office would close next June, unless donated space is found in the community to maintain an office, something that has already been done in Paulding County.

“We’re just buried in real estate,” Collins said, noting that office rental costs and other related operational costs were a financial drain on the Red Cross, eating up a large portion of the Red Cross’ donated funds.

Following the transition, operations for Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Williams counties will be handled through the West Central Ohio office in Lima, Collins noted, although the local Red Cross board will remain in force and the local volunteer organization will continue.

“Really, the community won’t see much difference in the delivery of services: blood, health and safety, service to armed forces, and disaster services will all be maintained through the transition,” Collins noted, adding that the Red Cross also hopes to upgrade the local disaster services vehicle, with the help of Eaton Corporation.

Collins said reasons for the planned changes, which have been ongoing for several years at the national level, include the fact that donations weren’t going where they really need to go: to help others in need because of disasters, a need for blood and other reasons.


POSTED: 10/29/14 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: News