The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Van Wert County Commissioners Todd Wolfrum and Thad Lichtensteiger vote to fire County Dog Warden Rich Strunkenburg over conditions at the local Humane Shelter. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County Commissioners Todd Wolfrum and Thad Lichtensteiger vote to fire County Dog Warden Rich Strunkenburg over conditions at the local Humane Shelter. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners fired County Dog Warden Rich Strunkenburg, effective today, following an investigation into animal mistreatment at the County Humane Shelter.

Commissioners Todd Wolfrum and Thad Lichtensteiger were unanimous in their decision to terminate Strunkenburg’s employment.

In his motion to terminate Strunkenburg, Lichtensteiger said the firing was because of “incompetency, inefficiency, gross neglect of duty, misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and failure of good behavior.”

Lichtensteiger also cited four specific reasons for the firing: failure to supply adequate food and water to dogs at the shelter, failure to adequately clean the kennel and cage area, failure to secure the animals in the facility and failure to supply adequate care and attention to the animals.

Commissioner Stan Owens, who was on vacation, was also contacted by phone and was “absolutely on board with” the decision, Lichtensteiger said.

Although there have been complaints in the past about Strunkenburg’s failure to adequately provide services and answer service calls, placement of the dog warden’s position under the direct supervision of Sheriff Tom Riggenbach had dealt with a majority of those issues.


POSTED: 07/31/14 at 11:10 am

Ohio Dept. of Transportation information

LIMA The Ohio Department of Transportation will lead an open discussion next week regarding accidents that have recently occurred along U.S. 24 in Paulding County.

The meeting will be held Thursday, August 7, at 6 p.m., at the Ohio State University Extension Office, 503 Fairground Drive in Paulding.

Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 1 deputy director, will lead the discussion with county officials, local law enforcement and the public regarding what the accident data indicates, what has been done to this point in response, and to learn the thoughts of the community on the issue.

ODOT logo“We’re looking internally at what could be done from an engineering perspective, but the perspective of local drivers is an important part of the analysis,” said Slusher.

Last year, officials with ODOT District 1 consulted with federal officials, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and both the Paulding County Commissioners office and the Paulding County Sheriff’s Department in response to the accidents. As a result, pavement markings were added to the intersections with U.S. 24 at County Road 21, Township Road 83, County Road 87, County Road 115, County Road 232, County Road 133 and County Road 143.

It was thought the markings would better define the median areas and provide a visual to motorists of where they could safely wait before crossing or turning into the lanes of travel. The work was completed last fall.

“This was a measure that was viewed positively by the public and we still believe it is a good enhancement to the intersections,” said Slusher. “Unfortunately, additional accidents have occurred since this was done,” he said.

From 2010 to present, 22 accidents have occurred along U.S. 24 in Paulding County. Five of those accidents resulted in five fatalities that occurred at County Road 143, County Road 87 and County Road 115.

POSTED: 08/01/14 at 6:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Drive-In Movie artwork 8-2014The Boyd Theaters is proud to present the filmography Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie.

Featuring legendary filmmaker Roger Corman and Patricia King Hanson, this is a compelling film for all movie buffs and drive-in enthusiasts.

This film was written, directed, and produced by April Wright, whose credits include independent films such as 2009′s Layover, as well as 2010′s The Graveyard Shift and Inner Beauty.

Boy Theaters will be showing this film, along with a preceding feature on Thursday, August 7, at the Van-Del Drive-In Theater, 19986 Lincoln Highway, near Middle Point.

As an added attraction, filmmaker April Wright will be at the showing in person. Admission is free and  concessions will be available.

POSTED: 08/01/14 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

U.S. House of Representatives information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced two pieces of legislation to support U.S. military veterans.

The Veterans Air Travel Streamlining Act would enable veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 50 percent or greater to utilize TSA Precheck’s expedited airport screening process at no cost. The VA Appeals Backlog Relief Act would expedite the processing of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appeals claims.

U.S. Representative Bob Latta

U.S. Representative Bob Latta

“The Veterans Air Travel Streamlining Act would provide an opportunity for us to show our gratitude to the men and women who have so bravely and selflessly served this country,” said Latta. “Allowing our wounded heroes to participate in TSA’s Precheck program free of charge would enable these veterans to bypass certain screening procedures that can be time consuming given their injuries, while maintaining necessary security procedures in our airports.”

Injured veterans must currently contact TSA with their confirmed flight itinerary and all other relevant information to be eligible for TSA Precheck lanes and other expedited screening procedures at airports. The Veterans Air Travel Streamlining Act would waive the TSA Precheck application fee for veterans, who meet disability and program eligibility requirements, so they can participate in this expedited airport security screening process every time they fly.

In addition, the VA Appeals Backlog Relief Act would address the unacceptable and overwhelming VA appeals backlog by placing a 12-month deadline for all appeals claims to be certified by and sent to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Currently, when an initial VA claim is denied, veterans have the choice to appeal the decision. However, in order to do this, they must enter into a lengthy and inefficient process, which has forced many veterans to wait years before receiving a final decision. The deadline imposed by Latta’s legislation would ensure timelier processing of veterans’ appeals.

“Our veterans deserve the utmost care and service,” continued Latta. “The VA has been plagued with unacceptable wait times and lengthy delays, and this legislation would streamline the process through which veterans can appeal their claims, so they can receive the benefits they’ve earned.”

Both pieces of legislation come after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 3230, bipartisan legislation that would provide real solutions for veterans and hold the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs accountable to all Americans. The U.S. Senate is also expected to approve the Conference Report soon.

POSTED: 08/01/14 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Four people were sentenced, two entered a change of plea and one person was arraigned during hearings held this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Court artwork 12-2013 copyJustin Snyder, 34, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 23 months in prison on a charge of assault on a police officer, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Charles D. Steele gave Snyder credit for 78 days already served and ordered him bound over to the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office for transport to prison.

Three other people were given community control on a variety of charges.

Trinity Joseph Snyder, 33, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control on charges of abduction, a fourth-degree felony offense, and domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Snyder was also ordered to have no contact with the victim in the case until approved by the Van Wert County Adult Probation Department.

Tausha Walsh, 41, of Van Wert, was placed on three years of community control on one count each of possession of methamphetamines and possession of drugs, both felonies of the fifth degree. Her driver’s license was also suspended for six months.


POSTED: 07/31/14 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

The Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a two-vehicle injury crash that occurred on Wednesday, July 30th at 6:32pm. Three people were injured in the crash, which occurred at the intersection of U.S. 127 and Wren Landeck Road in Van Wert County.

osplogoAccording to investigating troopers, a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu operated by Scott Cowling, 17, of Van Wert, was eastbound on Wren Landeck Road and failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection with U.S. 127. Cowling’s vehicle continued into the intersection and was struck in the passenger’s side by a northbound 1999 Ford Expedition operated by Susan Applegate, 64, of Harlan, Indiana.

Cowling’s vehicle was pushed off the east side of the roadway where it overturned, coming to rest on its top. The Applegate’s vehicle continued off the east side of the roadway before coming to rest in a cornfield.

Cowling was transported from the scene by Brickner Ambulance Service to Van Wert County Hospital. Applegate and her passenger, Jeffrey Applegate, 64, also of Harlan, were transported by Ohio City EMS to Van Wert County Hospital. Due to the extent of Mr. Applegate’s injuries, he was flown from the local hospital to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by Samaritan Medical Transport.

Alcohol use is not believed to be a factor and all occupants were wearing their seatbelts.

Assisting at the scene were the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio City Fire Department and EMS, Brickner Ambulance Service, and 2 A’s Towing.

POSTED: 07/31/14 at 6:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Historical Society information

The Van Wert County Historical Society is announced a schedule for its upcoming “Night at the Museum” events, which are held the second Thursday of each month (schedule subject to change). Scheduled events include the following:

  • August – “Quilting” with Eileen Lucier
  • September – Card making with Heidi Leiendecker
  • October – “Out of Your Gourd” (zentangles) with Fran Neiswander
  • November – Christmas ornament making with Fran Neiswander
  • December – Cookie decorating or a cookie swap
  • January and February 2015 – closed
  • March 2015 – “Eggs-travaganza” (egg decorating) with Fran Neiswander
  • April 2015 – Basket weaving with Jayne Smith
  • May 2015 – Miniature Fairy Gardening (presenter to be announced)
  • June 2015 – Re-“fabbing” (presenter to be announced)

The August 14 “Night at the Museum” quilting project will be framed quilt approximately 6-by-9 inches that will cost $7. Once again, there is a class size limit, so sign up early by calling Neiswander at 419.749.2476 or text 419.203.0915.

POSTED: 07/31/14 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: Lifestyles, News

VWCH information

Van Wert County Hospital has announced a new online tool that provides anywhere, anytime access to patients’ personal health records.

VWCH color logo 6-2011With the new patient portal, hospital patients can save time by using online tools that will help them better manage their health and make more informed decisions about their care — 24/7 from any computer, smartphone or tablet.

Patients also have the ability to review their medical records online in a safe, secure environment; send and receive secure online messages; view test and lab results; receive email care reminders; request appointments; and create proxy accounts for children or dependent adults.

To create a free Portal account, visit

POSTED: 07/31/14 at 6:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

American Red Cross information

Van Wert County Hospital will host a bloodmobile from 1-6 p.m. Friday, August 8, in the Van Wert Health Center Conference Room, 140 Fox Road.

Red Cross logo 4-2009Those who are at least 17 years of age, (16 with parental consent; advance forms are available at the Red Cross Office, 208 E. Main St.) weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Bring a positive form of identification (a donor card or a driver’s license) to the bloodmobile site.  Call 800.733.2767 to schedule an appointment, while walk-ins are always welcome.

POSTED: 07/31/14 at 6:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Fair Board information

Safety netting surrounds the wind-damaged Gospel Pavilion on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Safety netting surrounds the wind-damaged Gospel Pavilion on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The building upgrades, new rabbit barn, and changes in the band show aren’t the only things happening at the 2014 Van Wert County Fair. Last Thursday, members of the Van Wert County Fair Board discussed the fate of the fair’s gospel pavilion, which was severely damaged by high winds earlier this year.

After inspections by engineers from the jdi group inc., the structure was deemed unsafe for occupancy and a claim was turned into insurance. As a result of the inspection and repair estimates, the insurance carrier offered that the cost of repairing the existing structure could actually serve to build an entirely new pavilion.  Thus, Thursday evening, Fair Board members and the parties involved with funding and operating the pavilion discussed the possibilities. With a new convenience store and truck stop being constructed across the street, creating more noise to compete with performances in the pavilion, it seems like perfect timing to discuss the possibility of changing the location of the pavilion.


POSTED: 07/30/14 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

United Way/FamilyWize information

With the ongoing increase in efforts to effectively address mental health in communities across the country, United Way of Van Wert County and the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership have teamed together to provide a solution for the community.  Local residents have saved $9,620 on mental health prescription medications they might not have been able to afford otherwise, thanks to a partnership between the two organizations.

More than one in five U.S. adults suffers from mental health issues, while one in 10 young adults experience a period of significant depression, according to One in 20 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.

FamilyWize prescription card 12-2012FamilyWize, a unique national grassroots community initiative offering free prescription assistance to millions of Americans in partnership with United Way of Van Wert County, is dedicated to reducing the cost of prescription medicine for individuals and families through distribution of free prescription savings cards. The FamilyWize cards may be used by anyone in need and are provided free through United Way of Van Wert County.

FamilyWize and the United Way have helped nearly 7 million people nationwide save close to $700 million on the medicines they need to live healthy lives – including $197 million in mental health prescription cost savings. Almost 1,000 United Ways distribute the cards in the communities they serve.

“Prescription medicine is crucial for maintaining mental health, but the high costs often act as a barrier,” said Deb Russell of United Way of Van Wert County. “We’re living in tight economic times. People should not have to choose between taking their medication and paying for a meal. The FamilyWize prescription savings program can make the difference in whether or not a patient obtains the proper medicine and follows proper treatment.”

Many of the uninsured and underinsured individuals helped by this program may have had to skip their medications otherwise due to high costs, Russell said. Failure to take prescribed medicine is an ongoing problem with mental illness treatment.


POSTED: 07/30/14 at 6:23 am. FILED UNDER: News