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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

Lincoln Highway license plate 8-2015Van Wert independent/submitted information

A special license plate featuring the familiar red, white and blue Lincoln Highway logo has been awarded to the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, thanks to State Senator Clifford Hite of Findlay, who introduced the bill last year. The new plate will also include the declaration: “America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road”

The new vanity plate will be created once 150 orders are received. Proceeds from the sale of the special plates will help provide signage and better awareness of the historic road.

The Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (OLHHC), better known as the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, is a non-profit corporation organized in 2000 to promote the history of the road through travel and tourism. It was granted Ohio byway status in 2004.

“Everybody knows about Route 66 because of books, a TV series and even movies in the past,” said Mike Hocker, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Association, “but the Lincoln was built earlier, is much longer and more influential to the birth of the automotive culture we know today.

“This new plate will be a fun way to let your friends and others know about the road, but also support our cause to make people more aware of it,” he added.


POSTED: 08/29/15 at 8:06 am

VW independent/AAA information

COLUMBUS — The American Automobile Association (AAA) is predicting that 35.3 million Americans, including more than 1.5 million Ohioans, will travel at least 50 miles from home on Labor Day weekend, between Thursday, September 3, and Monday, September 7. This is an increase of 1 percent nationwide and 1.8 percent for Ohio from Labor Day 2014 and marks the highest number of travelers since 2008.

Rising wages and lower gas prices continue to help boost disposable income and provide more money for travel. Although Ohioans experienced a gas price spike in the middle of August, the state average between August 1 and August 21 remained 87 cents a gallon below what Ohioans were paying during the same time last year.

AAA_LogoAuto Travel: Nearly 86 percent of American travelers (88 percent of Ohio travelers) will drive to their destinations this Labor Day.

Air Travel: AAA expects the highest volume of air travel since 2007 with 2.64 million Americans, including 57,000 Ohioans, traveling by air this holiday. This is a 1.5 percent increase nationwide and 4.2 percent increase for Ohio over last year.

Other Modes of Transportation: Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruise, train and buses, is expected to decrease 0.2 percent nationally to 2.4 million travelers and increase 1.7 percent in Ohio to 110,000 travelers.

Based on AAA Ohio travel booking data, Ohio travelers will be taking longer, more expensive trips this year. The average trip duration will increase about 20 percent to 5.3 days, and Ohio travelers will spend about 40 percent more than in 2014.

AAA Ohio Auto Club has recorded a 9 percent increase in booked trips over last year. This disproportionate increase to the overall state travel volume is likely due to the number of central Ohioans traveling to Blacksburg, Va. to see the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Monday, September 7. Many will travel by car or motorcoach to this game.


POSTED: 08/29/15 at 8:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

ODOT District 1 information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1, which includes Van Wert County, has announced highway construction work to be done the week of August 30. Projects include:

Paulding County

U.S. 127 between Garfield Avenue and Jackson Street in the village of Paulding closed April 13 for approximately eight months for a sewer separation project. Traffic is detoured onto Ohio 111, Ohio 637 and Ohio 114 back onto U.S. 127. VTF Excavation of Celina is performing the work.

Putnam County

Ohio 109 just north of Ohio 613, north of West Leipsic, will be closed for approximately five days beginning September 8 for a culvert repair. Traffic detoured onto Ohio 613, Ohio 108 and Ohio 18 back to Ohio 109. The Putnam County ODOT maintenance garage is performing the work.

ODOT logoOhio 65 northeast of Ottawa, which closed August 4 for approximately two weeks for a culvert replacement, has reopened.

Ohio 12 east of Pandora, just east of Road 4, closed August 24 for five days for a culvert replacement. Traffic detoured onto Ohio 235, Interstate 75 and Ohio 696 back to Ohio 12. The Putnam County ODOT maintenance garage is performing the work.

U.S. 224 between Ohio 634 and Ohio 190 closed on August 10 for 30 days for a culvert replacement. Traffic is detoured onto Ohio 634 and Ohio 190 back to U.S. 224. Vernon Nagel of Napoleon is performing the work.

U.S. 224 in Glandorf will close on August 31 for approximately three days for a culvert replacement. Traffic will be detoured onto Ohio 694, Ohio 115 and Ohio 15 back to U.S. 224. The Putnam County ODOT maintenance garage is performing the work.

Ohio 189 at the east edge of Ottoville closed May 27 for an emergency culvert repair. The road is closed for an indefinite amount of time. Traffic is being detoured onto Ohio 190, Ohio 634 and U.S. 224 back to Ohio 189.

Van Wert County

Ohio 116 at the south end of Venedocia will be closed beginning August 24 for approximately nine days for culvert replacements at three locations. Traffic will be detoured onto U.S. 127 and Ohio 709 back to Ohio 116. The Van Wert County ODOT maintenance garage is performing the work.

POSTED: 08/29/15 at 8:00 am. FILED UNDER: News

YMCA of VW County information

The YMCA of Van Wert County will be holding a “Back to School” dance for area students in grades 4-6 on Friday, September 18, from 6-9 p.m. The dance will be held at the Y, with $3 per person admission.  There will be dancing, games, a concession stand and more.

Information about this and other programs available at the Van Wert YMCA can be found by calling 419.238.0443, emailing or visiting the YMCA’s website at

The YMCA of Van Wert County is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation and United Way.

POSTED: 08/29/15 at 7:59 am. FILED UNDER: News, Youth

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

When you first meet her, Alyssa Putman seems a little young to be heading an organization that has grown to be one of Van Wert County’s largest employers. After talking to her, though, it’s easy to see that the 26-year-old not only has the training, but the passion needed to be the new administrator of Ridgeview Behavioral Hospital.

New Administrator Alyssa Putman in her office at Ridgeview Behavioral Hospital. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

New Administrator Alyssa Putman in her office at Ridgeview Behavioral Hospital. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Putman, a Van Wert County native and graduate of Crestview High School — where she played on a state championship softball team — has just two weeks under her belt in her new administrative role at Ridgeview, a 66-bed mental health treatment facility located on Lincoln Highway near Middle Point.

She’s quick to point out, though, that her background and education, as well as the mentoring of her former boss, Pat Tracy, have prepared her to take on the responsibilities of operating the local residential mental health treatment facility.

Putman, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as an MBA and a master’s degree in healthcare administration, said Ridgeview was a perfect fit for what she wanted to do as a career.

“I knew I wanted to be in management, and I first thought I wanted to be in nursing homes,” Putman said, adding that she spent some time in community healthcare-hospice, “but I later decided it wasn’t a good fit.”


POSTED: 08/28/15 at 8:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined representatives from the Ohio Task Force Commanders’ Association (OTFCA), Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, and Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association Thursday to announce the results of a statewide drug enforcement effort that resulted in several hundred arrests and millions of dollars’ worth of drugs seized.

Nearly 400 law enforcement officers representing 29 OTFCA task forces participated in “Operation OTFCA,” which took place across Ohio over the last several weeks. The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation has involvement with many of the task forces.

Ohio A-G-Drugs confiscated 8-2015The goal of “Operation OTFCA” was to target those trafficking drugs such as heroin, prescription drugs, and cocaine into Ohio’s communities.  Many task forces also provided information on treatment and addiction recovery assistance to those taken into custody.

“Because of this operation, millions of dollars’ worth of drugs will never make it onto the streets and into the hands of those suffering from addiction,” said Attorney General DeWine. “I applaud the local, state, and federal authorities who worked to make this initiative a success and who also work every day to make Ohio a safer place.”

According to OTFCA, 108 search warrants were served across the state as part of the initiative, and 409 people were arrested on at least 920 charges, most of which were drug related.  As part of the initiative, 224 heroin-related charges were filed, 140 charges involved cocaine offenses, 110 charges were filed relating to prescription drugs, 82 charges involved marijuana, and 51 charges involved methamphetamine.

As part of the operation, OTFCA task forces also reported seizing drugs with an estimated total street value of more than $5 million, which is in addition to a total of $1,330,644 in cash seized as part of the task forces’ investigations.

More information on the Ohio Task Force Commanders’ Association can be found at

POSTED: 08/28/15 at 7:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

NPAC sponsors-StateWide Ford

Another amazing year of entertainment is about to launch at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. This season boasts 26 diversely selected events that will attract nearly 35,000 patrons from the tri-state region and beyond. Season sponsors StateWide Ford Lincoln and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank are back in action supporting the continued growth of the performing arts in the region. Their financial commitment helps to keep ticket prices low for all guests and also provides financial support in engaging high quality artists. Shown with NPAC Executive Director Paul Hoverman and Box Office Manager Jerry Beard are (above) Andy Czajkowski and Steve Munroe of StateWide Ford Lincoln and (below) Van Wert Federal President/CEO Gary Clay. (NPAC photos)

NPAC sponsors-VW Federal

POSTED: 08/28/15 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Ohio Dept. of Commerce information

COLUMBUS — Fiscal year 2015 was another record setting year for the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds, as $76 million was returned to Ohioans. This was the second year in a row that the division topped its previous best, beating the record of $74.4 million set in fiscal year 2014.  This represents a 2 percent increase, and the average claim was for $1,672.

Seal of the Ohio Dept. of Commerce 8-2015Unclaimed funds are money or the rights to money that have been dormant or forgotten. Some common examples include: dormant checking and savings accounts, forgotten rent or utility deposits, uncashed checks, undelivered stock certificates and uncashed insurance policies.

“The Division of Unclaimed Funds has again shown their commitment to reuniting Ohioans with their hard-earned money with this new record,” Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams said. “The money returned has the opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of Ohioans, helping them to possibly pay off some bills, make repairs to their home or even expand a business which means jobs for Ohioans.”

Division Superintendent Yaw Obeng encourages Ohioans to visit to see if they have funds waiting to be claimed. Individuals without Internet access can write to the Division of Unclaimed Funds and provide the full name(s) to be researched, along with the counties in which the person(s) might have resided. The Division’s address is 77 S. High St., 20th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.  Anyone with questions about unclaimed funds can call the Division toll free at 877.644.6823 (OHIO UCF).

POSTED: 08/28/15 at 7:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

It was a busy day, with 14 people appearing on a variety of charges, including three people who received prison terms and a fourth person sent to jail Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Court artwork 12-2013 copyHector Leal, 44, of Van Wert, was given 24 months in prison on a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI), a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Martin Burchfield also suspended Leal’s driver’s license for life and ordered him to pay a fine of $1,350, plus court costs.

Clark Roberts, 36, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on a charge of gross sexual imposition, also a fourth-degree felony offense. Roberts was also designated a Tier 1 sex offender, meaning he must register annually with the county sheriff where he lives and works for the next 15 years.

A third man, Joshua Carroll, 27, of Van Wert, refused to accept probation on a charge of domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree, and he was then sentenced to 120 days in jail and fined $500 by Judge Burchfield.

County Probate-Juvenile Judge Kevin Taylor sentenced Nicholas Comment, 26, of Decatur, Indiana, to 18 months in prison on a charge of trespass in a habitation, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Taylor gave Comment credit for 14 days previously served and ordered him to pay restitution to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, as well as court costs.


POSTED: 08/27/15 at 2:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

Main Street VW information

Call it soapbox derby racing for adults or call it an outhouse on wheels, but now is the time to register one’s family, friends or company to participate in a fun and competitive new event this fall. The promotions committee of Main Street Van Wert is presenting Outhouse Races & Chili Cook-off for Saturday, October 3, with cruise-in and outhouse judging to take place the evening of Friday, October 2.

This event will pit teams of costumed racers and/or decorated outhouses against each other for the chance to win cash prizes and other awards. One person rides and the remaining team members push, pull or drag the decorated outhouses down the course.

Outhouse Race logo 8-2015This event is free to the public to watch and should be quite the spectacle. Two outhouses will race at a time in double-elimination format, providing for an entertaining day of racing.

The first place Golden Throne cash prize is sponsored by Chet Straley, broker/auctioneer with Straley Realty & Auctioneers Inc.  Along with cash prizes for second- and third-place racers, awards will be presented for Best Decorated, Most Innovative Materials and Ugliest. A “People’s Choice” award will be selected through spectator voting.

Teams should consist of at least three members, with a maximum of five. Each outhouse might be decorated with a theme or be designed to promote a company or product. For those businesses or families interested in constructing an outhouse to enter, a full registration packet is available at the MSVW office, from Promotions Committee members or online at Event rules and outhouse specifications are provided in the packet.

Van Wert area churches should have received an invitation to participate in the Chili Cook-Off, but there is no limit to the number of entries for this event. Churches are encouraged to serve the race teams and sell baked goods to spectators throughout the event.

For more details or to enter the Chili Cook-off, call Shelly at 440.523.0387 or email

POSTED: 08/27/15 at 2:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Dept. of Commerce information

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Securities is warning investors to be leery of investment sales pitches tied to recent stock market volatility.

“Con artists often match their sales pitches to current news to promote bogus investments with promises of high returns with little to no risk,” said Director of Commerce Jacqueline T. Williams. “A get-rich-quick promise is a common sign of investment fraud.”

She said investors nearing retirement are particularly at risk of being targeted by phony investment schemes promising high returns to make up for losses in retirement accounts.

Seal of the Ohio Dept. of Commerce 8-2015“Whether the markets are up or down, there are always those who will attempt to prey on the investing public,” Director Williams said. “Investors should be on guard against high-pressure sales tactics for unregistered securities and non-traditional investments such as foreign currency, oil and gas investments, or offers to send their money offshore to so-called ‘safe havens’ to protect against a downturn in the market.”

Securities Commissioner Andrea Seidt encourages investors to hang up on aggressive cold callers and delete unsolicited e-mails promoting investment opportunities.  She said legitimate financial professionals generally do not recommend changes to investment portfolios based on short-term economic news and market volatility.

“Investors should view with great skepticism any recommendation to liquidate a well-structured, diversified investment portfolio to purchase an alternative investment product that may expose them to high commissions, high fees and undue risk,” Seidt said.

Before making an investment decision, investors are urged to call the Division’s Investor Protection Hotline at 800.788.1194 to ask:

  • Is the brokerage firm and salesperson licensed to sell securities in Ohio?
  • Have any enforcement actions been taken against them?
  • Has the investment been properly registered with the Division of Securities?

She also said investors should request from the salesperson all written information about any investment and carefully review it or ask a trusted third party to evaluate it.

To assist investors, the Division of Securities has a variety of investor education publications at They also may be obtained by calling the Investor Protection Hotline at the above number.

POSTED: 08/27/15 at 2:28 am. FILED UNDER: News