The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2018

Delphos resident Michael Closson (right) with then-attorney Dillon Staas during a hearing held in 2012 on gross sexual imposition charges. VW independent file photo

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

For the second time in six years, a Delphos man is accused of molesting a young girl in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court — this time for incidents that occurred nearly 20 years ago.

Michael D. Closson, 68, was arraigned last Wednesday on four counts of gross sexual imposition, each a felony of the third degree. The indictments state that, on or about July 7, 1998, through January 1, 2001, he “had sexual contact with (molested) a girl who was under 13 years” of age. According to the indictment, the girl was between the age of 7 and 10 years old when the alleged incidents occurred.

Van Wert County Prosecutor Eva Yarger said the alleged victim in the case, who is now in her 20s, recently came forward with the charges, which were investigated by the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office and then turned over to her office for further action.

Yarger’s office then took the case to the June session of the Van Wert County Grand Jury, which handed down felony indictments in the case.

Closson, who denied the charges, is currently free on a personal surety bond, with orders to have no contact with the alleged victim. He will appear for a pretrial conference in connection with the case at 8 a.m. Monday, June 25.

The Delphos man was convicted in 2012 of gross sexual imposition in July 2012 and was given five years of community control, which included serving six months in the Van Wert County Correctional Facility, for molesting a 3-year-old girl under similar circumstances.


POSTED: 06/19/18 at 7:34 am

Van Wert Federal Savings Bank is sponsoring a Business Day at the YMCA’s Camp Clay Aqua Center on Tuesday, June 28. Because of the sponsorship, those using the Aqua Center that day will pay only a $3 admission charge. Shown with Camp Clay Director Kevin Morrison is Kylee Moody of Van Wert Federal Savings Bank. YMCA photo

POSTED: 06/19/18 at 7:26 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released the Drug Use Prevention Education Resource Guide aimed at helping schools implement effective drug use prevention programming.

Mike DeWine

The guide builds on the 2017 report that said Ohio schools should provide consistent, age-appropriate, evidence-based substance-use prevention education for all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

“We heard from many teachers and school administrators who agreed with the need for drug use prevention and requested guidance on how to best implement the recommendations in their schools,” said Attorney General DeWine. “This guide is designed to lead teachers and administrators through a strategic planning process where they can tailor a comprehensive prevention plan to fit their school and community’s unique needs, and provides examples from schools across Ohio.”

Presented in a workbook-like format, the guide:

  • Defines prevention education;
  • Provides a K-12 prevention inventory assessment tool;
  • Outlines the strategic planning process that includes needs assessment, capacity-building, plan generation, implementation, and evaluation; and
  • Includes an inventory of successful prevention programming from schools, coalitions, and prevention agencies from every corner of the state.

The entire guide is available on the Ohio Attorney General website at

Beginning in the fall, the Ohio Attorney General’s office will hold regional trainings for superintendents and their designees on using the guide to implement prevention programming.


POSTED: 06/19/18 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, helped sponsor the annual DARE Camp held June 12-14.

Pictured are some DARE campers enjoying their ice cream with Elks National Foundation Chair Mike Stanley. Elks photo

Again this year, the camp was held at the S.F. Goedde Building, with the last day moving to Camp Clay. The youngsters who attend participate in various activities each day, including swimming at the YMCA and a water fight that concludes the camp on the last day.

Van Wert Lodge, through a Promise grant received from the Elks National Foundation, was able to provide food for the campers, including hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and soft drinks. On the last day of camp, campers were all treated to ice cream, again provided by the Elks.

Promise grant are provided through the Elks National Foundation to local lodges that want to sponsor drug- and alcohol-free events in their community. The Elks are proud to be able to assist with this great fun and learning event for the kids.

POSTED: 06/19/18 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert Health President/CEO Jim Pope had a busy week last week, with the opening of the new Van Wert Health North outpatient facility and implementation of the Epic healthcare information system — the pre-eminent healthcare software system — at the local hospital.

Van Wert Health President/CEO Jim Pope in his office at the hospital. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

The veteran healthcare executive, who has 41 years’ experience in the industry, said his first goal after coming here in July 2016 was to take some time to look at where the organization was, and then work with staff members to complete a strategic plan to help the hospital move into the future.

“To make a good strategic plan, you’ve got to know where you are — that’s from a physical plant perspective, that’s from a staffing perspective, that’s from a physician perspective, that’s really from a community needs perspective,” Pope said.

From that process, Pope and his staff came up with three main areas to address: outpatient care, surgical services, and inpatient care.

The new Van Wert Health North facility will help address the outpatient healthcare portion, since it has the equipment and staff to handle just about any outpatient procedure the local community needs, with the exception of fluoroscopy (injecting dyes into the body to look at internal issues). Those will continue to be done at the hospital facility on South Washington Street.


POSTED: 06/18/18 at 7:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Have a child who might enjoy learning how to canoe on Harrison Lake? Maybe a child who is fascinated by outdoor cooking or a youngster who wants to spend time learning about snakes, turtles, and the nature that surrounds them in Ohio? Van Wert County 4-H hosts a residential camp July 5-9 that offers all of the above and more.

Youngsters travel to 4-H Camp Palmer in Fayette near Harrison Lake State Park to spend five days and four nights with their friends sleeping in cabins, singing camp songs, swimming, line dancing, and exploring the outdoors. The camp is American Camping Association certified and trains over 20 camp counselors and adult staff and onsite medical staff who stay at the camp the entire time.

All youths ages 8-14 are welcome to attend camp (kids do not have to be a member to attend). Cost for 4-H members is $150 and cost for non-members is $170. All meals are provided for the week and no extra money is required (unless kids want snacks from the camp store).

For more information about the ability for a child to attend 4-H camp, contact Heather Gottke at the Ohio State University Extension Office at 419.238.1214 or by email at

The Ohio 4-H program offers camp options for youths to assist developing their self-esteem and to provide an opportunity for individuals to develop responsibility away from home and parents or guardians. The camps also assist in developing leadership and other skills.

Last year, 17,213 youths participated in Ohio 4-H youth camping programs. That includes 2,798 teen counselors. Of those campers, 12,612 youths participated in overnight camps, while 4,601 participated in day camps.

Registration for 4-H camp is due no later than Friday, June 22, to the OSU Extension Office. For more information, visit the OSU Extension webpage at

POSTED: 06/18/18 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 has released information on highway work underway this week in Van Wert, Paulding, and Putnam counties. Projects include the following:

Van Wert County

U.S. 30, between the Indiana state line and Ohio 49 north, will be restricted to one lane in both directions through the work zone for a rehabilitation project that will include resurfacing and concrete joint repair of U.S. 30. The project will continue through early July. Work is being performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

Ohio 66 over U.S. 30, northwest of Delphos, closed May 22 for approximately 21 days for bridge repair. It is expected to reopen in the afternoon of Friday, June 15. The ramps at the interchange of Ohio 66 and U.S. 30 remain open. The project also includes resurfacing on Ohio 66 between Delphos and Ottoville and on various routes within Delphos and Ottoville. Work is being performed by Bluffton Paving of Bluffton.

The project is anticipated to have the following impacts to traffic.

  • Ohio 66 over U.S. 30 closure
  • Southbound traffic is detoured onto U.S. 30 westbound to Middle Point-Wetzel Road to U.S. 30 eastbound back to Ohio 66. (see map)
  • Northbound traffic is detoured onto U.S. 30 eastbound to Fifth Street to U.S. 30 westbound back to Ohio 66. (see map)
  • Ohio 66, Ohio 190 and Ohio 697 within the city of Delphos will be restricted to one lane at various locations for pavement repairs.
  • Ohio 66 and Ohio 189 within the village of Ottoville will be restricted to one lane at various locations for pavement repairs.

Ohio 81, between the village of Willshire and the Allen County line, will be restricted to one lane through the work zone for work being done in preparation for a chip seal project. Work is being done by the ODOT Van Wert County maintenance garage.

Ohio 709, between County Road 103 and Goodwin Road, west of Venedocia, closed May 14 for approximately one month for the replacement of three culverts. Work is expected to last through mid-June. Traffic is detoured onto Ohio 116, Ohio 81 and U.S. 127 back to Ohio 709. Work is being performed by the ODOT Van Wert County maintenance garage. (see map)


POSTED: 06/18/18 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The low gasoline price in Van Wert was down a penny over last week, although the highest price decreased a dime, according to

The low price, at Murphy USA in the Towne Center shopping center, was $2.61 per gallon, down from $2.62 last week. The two Pak-A-Sak Marathon stations were at $2.62 a gallon, as was the One Stop Shop in the 200 block of North Washington Street.

The Lassus Handy Dandy station on North Washington and the Shell station on South Washington were at $2.63 per gallon, while the Marathon station at the Brookside Convenience Store on West Main Street and the Short Stop Sunoco station both had prices at $2.69 per gallon.

Gasoline prices across Ohio have fallen 7.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.69 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 stations in Ohio. This compares with the national average, which has fallen 2.4 cents per gallon versus last week to $2.89 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Including the change locally during the past week, prices Sunday were 57.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and are 19.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has dropped 3.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 60.9 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

“Average gas prices in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest in a month, following oil’s continued slump as OPEC appears poised to adjust oil production levels and the U.S. nears its hitting 11 million barrels of oil pumped per day, the highest level ever,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Oil bulls may see their day again this summer, but the prospects of higher oil supply have diminished the value of oil for the time being, and that’s leading to what nearly every American has been rooting for as of late- lower gas prices.

“While many are still bitter over having to pay more than last year, prices certainly could have moved higher if there hadn’t been pressure on OPEC to act now that the (previous) glut of crude oil has been absorbed into the market,” DeHaan noted. “We see gas prices falling slightly into late June or early July before odds rise of hurricane season leading to some volatility at the pump, which could lead prices higher short term.”

POSTED: 06/18/18 at 7:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

It was perfect weather as the Endless Summer Band entertained a large crowd in Fountain Park with a variety of  musical numbers during the second of this season’s Summer Music Series concerts sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 06/16/18 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert Amateur Radio Club, in conjunction with other clubs in the United States, will celebrate the 75th Diamond Anniversary of ham radio.

An open house is scheduled from 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23, until 2 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the Van Wert County Emergency Management Agency building off Lincoln Highway in Van Wert. The event is open to the public to watch amateur radio worldwide communications take place.

Amateur radio is a hobby and, by law, completely non-commercial. Individual amateur “ham” radio operators pursue the avocation for personal pleasure through their own, as well as club stations, communications with fellow ham operators globally. They practice electronics, computers, and radio and television wave behavior. Radio amateurs are thus “amateurs” in the true sense.

Amateur radio operations can be detected in designated bands throughout the radio spectrum using a variety of modulation methods, including Morse code and image modes, such as television and facsimile “fax” machines. Amateur radio use of the air waves is for personal satisfaction and for forwarding the “state of the art” of electronics and communications techniques.

Throughout the history of amateur radio, enthusiasts have made significant contributions to science, engineering, industry, and social services. Research by amateur radio operators has founded new industries, built economies, empowered nations, and saved lives in times of emergency.

Area residents interested in seeing ham radio in action are invited to the local celebration next weekend.

POSTED: 06/16/18 at 7:10 am. FILED UNDER: News

Bee Gee Realty & Auctioneers is sponsoring a Business Day at the YMCA’s Camp Clay Aqua Center on Tuesday, June 26. Because of the sponsorship, those using the Aqua Center that day will pay only a $3 admission charge. Shown with Camp Clay Director Kevin Morrison is Bee Gee owner Bob Gamble and a number of his staff members. YMCA photo

POSTED: 06/16/18 at 7:06 am. FILED UNDER: News