The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019

Kristy Bartz, new clerk of Van Wert City Council, was in her new position for the first time during Monday’s Council meeting. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Auditor Martha Balyeat had some mixed news for Van Wert City Council during her end-of-year financial report given Monday evening.

Balyeat first noted the good news: the city’s General Fund received an estimated $287,000 more in 2018 than it did the year before, with much of that total — approximately $200,000 — coming from income tax withholdings. That’s a good sign, since it means either there are more people paying city taxes or those paying taxes are making more money.

The city auditor said projections made at the beginning of the year had estimated the city would receive $6.194 million in revenues in 2018, but the actual number received was $6.537 million, or $343,000 more than projected.

In addition to receiving more money during the year than projected, city departments also spent $430,000 less than budgeted, with most of that total coming from the police and fire departments, which make up the majority of General Fund expenditures.

The bad news: $734,000 in General Fund expenditures is coming out of other funds. That includes $313,000 from the 0.22-percent Safety Capital Income Tax Fund for police and fire salaries and fringe benefits. In addition, a portion of salaries and fringe benefits for administrative employees, such as the mayor, auditor, law director, and safety-service director, are coming out of other funds as well.


POSTED: 01/15/19 at 8:38 am

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

CONVOY — The Crestview Local School District is a step closer to having an early childhood center.

During Monday night’s monthly Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Kathy Mollenkopf told board members the district is officially in possession of the former Vancrest of Convoy property, which is being eyed for a possible early childhood center.

Retiring Program Services Secretary Sandy Etzler is presented with a parting gift by Board President John Auld. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“All of the utilities have been transferred, we’ve updated some locks on it, regulated the heat, and taken down the sign,” Mollenkopf explained. “We’re looking forward to moving along and we actually received the quit deed in the mail at the end of last week, so we are good to go.”

The board later approved a motion to allow Mollenkopf and Treasurer Ashley Whetsel to begin the selection process to hire a criteria architect/engineer for a potential early childhood center design-build project.

Board members also approved a lease-purchase financing agreement for the planned expansion project at the school, along with a contract with architectural firm Garmann Miller of Minster.

Mollenkopf also presented each board member with a certificate as part of the Ohio School Boards Association’s School Board Recognition Month and read aloud a proclamation honoring the board.


POSTED: 01/15/19 at 8:32 am. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

Kirk Berryman will serve as president of the Lincolnview Local Board of Education in 2019. Berryman was elected during Monday night’s organizational meeting. Lori Snyder will serve as vice president.

Lincolnview Elementary received the prestigioius Momentum Award. Pictured from right to left are: Matt Alessandrini, Hilary Arn, Nicole Early, Nita Meyer Chelsae Giesige and Matt Langdon. Lincolnview photo

Board members will be paid $125 per meeting, up to 14 meetings, which are scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month in the Neubrecht Lecture Hall. One of the meetings will be held at the Marsh Foundation.

During Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, the board learned more about Ohio Department of Education’s Momentum Award, which is the state’s way of honoring schools that received “A’s” on each value added measure included on Ohio’s School Report Cards.

Lincolnview Elementary was the only school in Van Wert County to receive the award.

“I’m proud of our staff and student accomplishments as we have focused the past few years on improving instructional methods, teacher collaboration and analyzing our student data to implement best practices,” Elementary Principal Nita Meyer said. “This in turn has been successful as we are showing growth in many areas and meeting the needs of our students. We will definitely keep that ‘momentum’ going.”


POSTED: 01/15/19 at 8:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Auditor’s Office has 2019 dog licenses for sale, and they may be purchased until Thursday, January 31, without penalty.

Dog licenses may be purchased at the Auditor’s Office, Room 205 in the Van Wert County Courthouse, or at the following locations around the county:

  • Van Wert Animal Clinic, 13995 Lincoln Highway in Van Wert
  • Dog House Grooming, 117 N. Washington St. in Van Wert
  • Emma Lu’s, 7079 U.S. 127 in Van Wert
  • Hall Lumber Company, 122 S. Main St. in Convoy
  • J & R Merchandising, 200 Walcott St. in Willshire
  • Ohio City Express, 511 W. Carmean St. in Ohio City
  • Rambler’s Roost, 18191-A Lincoln Highway in Middle Point
  • Van Wert Veterinary Clinic, 11251 Van Wert-Decatur Road in Van Wert

All dogs 3 months old or older require a dog license. Those purchasing tags at one of the above locations should take applications with them, if they received on in the mail.

In addition, a stamped, self-addressed envelope, along with the proper fee, must accompany applications returned by mail. 

Dog licenses cost $17 per tag, while a penalty of $17 per one-year tag must be paid in addition to the license fee for licenses purchased for dogs at least 3 months old after January 31.

A three-year tag is also available for $51 and a lifetime tag for $170 only at the Auditor’s Office.

Kennel licenses cost $85 for five tags, while extra tags can be purchased for $1 apiece. The penalty for not getting a kennel license prior to January 31 is an additional $85.

Dog tags may also be ordered online from now until January 31 only at

For more information, contact Kaitlyn at the Van Wert County Auditor’s Office at 419.238.0843.

POSTED: 01/15/19 at 8:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

Winter came finally to Van Wert County with a snowstorm that dropped approximately 5 inches of snow, while also bringing frigid temperatures with it. According to Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy, the county may be looking at another major winter storm coming to the Midwest this coming weekend. The EMA director is forecasting a high of 28 for today, with a low of 15, while Tuesday will break 30 with a high of 31, and a low of 28, with a slight chance of some freezing drizzle overnight. Wednesday’s high will be 33, with a low of 18, while Thursday will bring a slight chance of afternoon snow, with a high of 33 and a low of 28. Friday’s high will be 32, with a low of 19 overnight and a chance of snow, while both Saturday and Sunday could bring snow, if the forecast plays out. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 01/14/19 at 8:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

While Van Wert gasoline prices rose, all local stations remain under $2 a gallon — and at least a nickel under the state average.

Three Van Wert stations have the low price of $1.96 per gallon. They include Murphy USA in the Towne Center shopping center, Lassus Handy Dandy on North Washington Street, and the Pak-A-Sak Marathon station at the intersection of Ervin Road and Shannon Street.

The One Stop Shop station in the 200 block of North Washington is selling gasoline at $1.97 per gallon, while the Short Stop on East Main Street has gasoline for $1.98 a gallon on Monday morning.

The Pak-A-Sak north Marathon station in the 800 block of North Washington, the Brookside Marathon station in the 1300 block of West Main, and the Shell station on South Washington Street are all at $1.99 per gallon.

Gasoline prices in Ohio have risen 9.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.04 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 stations in Ohio. This compares with the national average, which has increased a half-cent per gallon versus last week to $2.24 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Including the change locally during the past week, prices Sunday were 43.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago and are 5.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has dropped 14.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 28.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

“With oil prices back over $50 per barrel, it looks like gas prices in more areas may soon bottom out and start to tick higher,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “While it doesn’t seem that prices will rise very far, it looks more and more like the lowest price of the year may now be behind us. 

“The national average briefly hit $2.22 per gallon last week, but will likely move up slightly or stabilize this week,” DeHaan added. “Gas prices in the Great Lakes saw a noticeable jump last week and tend to see among the earliest trend changes in the country, which may be a harbinger of what’s to come for the rest of us.”

POSTED: 01/14/19 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

Mike DeWine was officially sworn in as the governor of Ohio this morning during a brief midnight ceremony at his farm in Cedarville. Governor DeWine was given the oath of office by his son, Ohio Supreme Court Justice R. Patrick DeWine, while long-time friend Thomas M. Rose, senior judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, presided over the ceremony. Governor DeWine took the oath with his hand atop nine family Bibles, all held by First Lady Fran DeWine, during the ceremony. He and Lieutenant Governor John Husted will continue the day with the ceremonial swearing-in inside The Ohio Statehouse at noon, while the governor’s Inaugural Gala will begin at the Statehouse at 7:30 this evening. photo provided

POSTED: 01/14/19 at 8:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

MIDDLE POINT — The Middle Point Lions Club is holding its annual Sandwich Supper prior to the Lincolnview-Allen East boys basketball game on Friday, January 18. 

Food will be served from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Club members will be serving pork barbecue sandwiches, shredded chicken sandwiches, and hot dogs. Chips and cookies, brownies, and Scotch-A-Roos will also be available.

All proceeds benefit the club’s Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships to Lincolnview seniors. 

POSTED: 01/14/19 at 8:32 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

While Mike Lichtle has spent the last couple of decades working for the Ohio Department of Transportation, he has also spent his spare time over the last quarter century repairing watches, jewelry, and other items for Laudick’s Jewelry.

New Laudick’s Jewelry owner Mike Lichtle (background center) welcomes a crowd of people to the store on South Shannon Street. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

On Friday, The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, members of the Laudick family, and several other well-wishers helped Lichtle and his wife, Amanda, celebrate their purchase of Laudick’s — the first non-family members to own the business during its 70-year existence.

In addition to the Van Wert store, the Lichtle family also purchased the Laudick’s store in Coldwater.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to own it,” Mike Lichtle said, noting that he has worked for all three generations of the Laudick family since he first came looking for a job at the age of 16 in the mid-1990s.

Lichtle said he spent his first months working for the business landscaping the exterior of store, which had just finished relocating to its current South Shannon Street location.


POSTED: 01/12/19 at 5:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Flu activity in Ohio is increasing and widespread throughout the state for the first time during this flu season. The number of flu-associated hospitalizations are also rising, with 338 new hospitalizations during the first week of January, compared to 166 during the last week of December.

There have been 893 total flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio so far this flu season, which runs from October 2018 to May 2019. The number of flu cases typically peaks between December and February.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone six months old and older get one as the best protection against seasonable flu viruses. It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to take full effect. 

“Flu vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu which can lead to missed work and school, and cause other serious health complications,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig. “Pregnant women, young children, and people who already have serious medical conditions are especially at risk for serious complications from the flu.”

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Although most people fully recover from the flu, some experience severe illness like pneumonia and respiratory failure, and the flu can sometimes be fatal. People who think that they may have the flu and are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or who are extremely ill, should contact their healthcare provider immediately. 

Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, local health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers and some schools. 

While vaccination provides the greatest protection against the flu, other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading it include: washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into an elbow; avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth; and staying home when sick and until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. 
Flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio are tracking below the five-year average so far during this flu season. More information about flu and flu activity in Ohio is available at

POSTED: 01/12/19 at 4:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Wassenberg Art Center is seeking a design for a kinetic, wind, and-or human powered sculpture for its Art Park and is willing to pay $20,000 to the person who comes with the successful design.

Wassenberg, in conjunction with the Ohio Arts Council, the Van Wert County Foundation, and Avangrid Renewables, is seeking a design that ideally would light up using power from wind or human energy. A suggested theme of the sculpture would be to pay homage to the firefly (lightning bug), an insect on the decline that lights local fields and meadows during the summer.

The $20,000 fee would include all material, installation, and transportation costs, as well as modeling, electrical costs, testing, and any outsourcing used. There is no entry fee.

Proposals or links should be emailed to Those who would like to submit a small machete or model, can call 419.238.6837 for an appointment. To obtain a complete prospectus, send to the above email address.

Deadline for proposals is Friday, February 15, at 5 p.m. (late submissions not accepted). The finish and install deadline is May 30.

For more information on classes, exhibits, and events, call Wassenberg Art Center at the above number or email info@wassenbergartcenter.orgor access the center’s website at

POSTED: 01/12/19 at 4:31 am. FILED UNDER: News