The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020

North Market Street resident and business property owner Chris Wilson speaks in opposition to the proposed Haven of Hope homeless facility being located in his neighborhood during Monday evening’s Van Wert City Council meeting. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

After hearing from several concerned area residents opposed to locating Haven of Hope’s homeless facility near a residential area, as well as attorney Joshua Nolan of the law firm of Nolan Law LLC, who represents Haven of Hope, Van Wert City Council narrowly rejected an appeal of a Van Wert Board of Zoning Appeals decision that the facility did not meet the “quasi/semi-public use” definition included in the city’s B-3 (business) zoning classification.

The vote on the issue was 4-3, with Council members Jeff Agler, Joi Mergy, Andrew Davis, and Joel Penton Sr. voting to reject Haven of Hope’s appeal of the decision and Steve Hellman, Jeff Kallas, and John Marshall voting in favor of overturning the Zoning Board’s decision.

Council members voting to reject Haven of Hope’s appeal said they felt the proposed drop-in homeless center did not fit the quasi/semi-public use definition, with Mergy saying she felt the center fit better as a boarding house, while Penton said he felt the center was more in line with a group home.

“If I look at it purely from a zoning issue, we have boarding house, bed and breakfasts, clinics listed as a conditional use,” Mergy said. “To me, a homeless shelter would fit into more that category than ‘quasi-public use’. I think that’s really stretching it.”

“I believe a facility that allows up to 10 people to stay overnight more closely resembles a group home than it does an institution of philanthropic or non-profit nature,” Penton said of his decision.


POSTED: 02/25/20 at 8:14 am

Lots of people came out Monday evening for Vantage Career Center’s annual Open House/Taste of Vantage event. Those attending had the option to tour the facility, learn about Vantage programs from faculty and students, and sample the wares (below) of food service companies in the Vantage district. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 02/25/20 at 8:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert City Schools Superintendent Vicki Brunn traveled to Columbus Thursday to provide her testimony before the Ohio Senate, supporting the plan the Ohio House passed in early February to make changes to the current EdChoice voucher program and overhaul Ohio’s state report card and testing system. That plan is now before the Senate, and Brunn’s testimony is provided below.

Brunn summarized her efforts, saying her testimony was well received and that, “State Representative Don Jones thanked me for my testimony. He stated that he had visited Van Wert City Schools this past December and he agreed with me that our CEO program is outstanding and a program they hope to replicate statewide. He also stated that I was certainly correct that our state report card scores demonstrated just how flawed that system is. Finally, he applauded the fact that we invited our other county schools to participate and were all working together in Van Wert County to do what is best for all of our students.”

VWCS Superintendent Vicki Brunn is shown testifying in Columbus on the EdChoice school voucher program. photo provided

The following testimony was delivered to the Senate by Superintendent Brunn:

“Chairman Jones and members of the House Bill 9 Conference Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today regarding Ohio’s EdChoice Voucher program. I am Vicki Brunn, superintendent of Van Wert City Schools. 

“I want to begin by thanking our State Congressman (Representative) Craig Riedel and our State Senator, Rob McColley. They have both been great about meeting with us and hearing our concerns on this matter. “For many years Van Wert City Schools has worked diligently to make strides toward helping every one of our students reach their highest potential.  We believe in welcoming every student with open arms and wrapping our arms around the whole child in order to ensure their success. 

“I would like to list a few of our cutting-edge programs we have in place. We are very proud of the fact that we are a district-wide Project Based Learning School (Play Based in our lowest grade levels) through New Tech, a nationally recognized structure.  Our students are learning through connections to real world problems and creating solutions for our community. We teach early literacy using the Literacy Collaborative through The Ohio State University. We have over 70 STEAM course offerings. We are a Project Lead The Way Program school. Our students competed in MakerFest in Lima, Ohio the past three years, finishing in first place two of those three years and taking second place the other year. We have a very strong Robotics Program in grades 6-12. 


POSTED: 02/25/20 at 8:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Service Club has initiated its annual search for area youths who best exemplify self-reliance. The school presentations were completed by the club during the past few weeks at Van Wert, Lincolnview, and Crestview high schools and Vantage Career Center.

The R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award is designed to provide recognition and cash awards for high school seniors who “do the best with what they have.” First-place boy and girl winners will receive $1,000 each and the eight finalists will receive $500 each.

This is the 50 years for the award, which is sponsored by the Thompson Family Trust, through the van Wert County Foundation, in honor of the late R.K. Thompson Sr. The late Mr. Thompson worked closely with young people and encouraged them to set high, but attainable goals and then apply themselves to obtain those goals. This has been the guiding philosophy of the award.

Mr. Thompson’s son, the late Roger K. Thompson Jr., former head of Kennedy Manufacturing Company, established the program.

According to Breanne Sudduth and Anthony Adams, co-chair of the Van Wert Service Club committee that administers the award, applications are due back to high school guidance counselors or principals by Thursday, March 12.

All seniors from Van Wert, Crestview, and Lincolnview, and those from Vantage Career Center whose home schools are Van Wert, Crestview, and Lincolnview, are urged to complete an application for judging by the awards committee.

POSTED: 02/25/20 at 8:00 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Early voting has started at the Van Wert County Board of Elections. The Board of Elections office is located at 1362 E. Ervin Road (corner of Ervin and Jennings roads). 

Early voting hours are as follows:

  • Wednesday, February 19 to Friday, March 6 — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 7 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, March 9 to Friday, March 13 — 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 14 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 15 – 1-5 p.m.
  • Monday, March 16 — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For questions concerning early voting, contact the Board of Elections office at 419.238.4192.

POSTED: 02/25/20 at 7:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The registration of kindergarten children attending Van Wert City Schools for the 2020-2021 school year will be held March 2-13, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Superintendent’s Office in the S.F. Goedde Building, 205 W. Crawford St. in Van Wert. Kindergarten registration forms can be found on the VWCS website at htttp:// under the “Parents” link — “Forms & Registration”.  

For children who are new to Van Wert City Schools, the following items are needed at the time of registration: a copy of the child’s birth certificate, immunization record, a copy of the child custody court order in divorce cases, and proof of residency.

Those who want their children to attend kindergarten at Van Wert City Schools, but live outside the district, should plan to register at the S.F. Goedde Building as well. Open enrollment spaces can be limited.  

To attend kindergarten a child must have attained the age of 5 by August 1. No student shall be admitted to first grade who has not successfully completed kindergarten.  

For more information, contact the VWCS Superintendent’s Office at 419.238.0648 (Fax: 419.238.3974).

POSTED: 02/25/20 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

CONVOY — Convoy Community Days’ Spring Fever 31 Bag Bingo fundraiser will be held Saturday, March 14, in the Edgewood Park building in Convoy.

Doors open at 9 a.m., with Early Bird Bingo to begin at 10 that morning with the purchase of an additional $5 card for a 31 Bag filled with goodies donated by local businesses. Regular bingo will follow, with 20 games for $20 to win a 31 Bag filled with donated items.       

Cinnamon rolls and sandwiches will also be available for sale that day.

The event is sponsored by Convoy Community Days, with proceeds going to support local community organizations and projects.

POSTED: 02/25/20 at 7:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Indiana teen Gabe Bailey multiple talents earned him the title Champion of Champion during Saturday’s “Ohio Has Talent!” competition at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

2020 “Ohio Has Talent!” Champion of Champions Gabe Bailey performs Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” during Saturday’s competition. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Bailey, a senior at South Adams High School in Berne, Indiana, was one of eight former champions and runners-up who returned to the NPAC to compete during the OHT Champion of Champions event, which brings together competitors from the event’s 12-year history.

Because there were just eight competitors — less than half the normal number — each competitor was able to perform several selections, or one longer-than-normal piece.

Bailey, who plays several instruments, performed three selections — Van Halen’s “Eruption”, and “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar, backed by bass and drums, and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” on piano. Bailey’s 2017 OHT win was a performance of Joel’s “Piano Man” on piano and harmonica.

Bailey is something of a musical prodigy, with his talent first displayed at age 4 when he began playing piano.

“I could pick out the melody when I was about four years old,” he said of his introduction to the piano. In addition, he now also plays guitar, bass, harmonica, drums, saxophone, trumpet, and whatever else piques his interest.


POSTED: 02/23/20 at 2:32 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Vantage Career Center will hold its annual Open House and “Taste of Vantage” event this coming Monday, February 24, from 5-7:30 p.m., to celebrate National Career and Technical Education Month, which runs through February. The Open House will highlight both high school and adult education programs, and is open to the public.

“Vantage is excited to open our building to our local community members and business leaders we serve, who will have the opportunity to experience how our high school and adult students are being trained every day,” said Community Relations Coordinator Miriam Owens. “Prospective high school students and their parents, as well as interested adult learners, including graduating seniors, will be able to hear what career and college possibilities are available to them through Vantage programs. 

A group of potential incoming students and Vantage alumni speak with Instructor Kevin Van Oss and Counselor Jim Fisher in the Industrial Mechanics lab during the Vantage Open House, 2019. For more information about the Vantage Open House, contact student services at 419.238.5411, extension 2160. Vantage photo

“Local employers will be stationed throughout the building to speak with our guests,’ Owens added. “Any community member interested in gaining more knowledge about the various career and college pathways at Vantage should come to this event.”

Vantage high school and adult education instructors will be in their career technical labs, while students lead demonstrations of the technical skills they’ve gained. 

Career technical education is a strong force that contributes to the support of the local economy. It allows students an opportunity to be career and college ready, graduating with industry certifications, college credit, and hands-on experience in their field. For graduating seniors and adults who are looking to continue their education, Vantage adult education programs provide an opportunity to advance your career path in a short amount of time, for a nominal amount of money. 

The popular “Taste of Vantage” will be held in conjunction with the Open House. Eight area restaurants will be offering a delicious sampling of some of their most talked about cuisine. For just $5 at the door, those attending can purchase a strip of six tickets. One ticket will get pay for one food sample. All proceeds support the Vantage school-wide Student Activity Fund. 

Enjoy the popular grilled chicken wings from Millie’s Café in Ottoville. Taste a savory beef brisket slider with a variety of sauces from Square Guys Deli Italian Restaurant located in Delphos. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy the smoked pork loin and ham chunks from Tim’s Backyard BBQ and Catering from Fort Jennings.

Fill a plate with amazing bacon wrapped barbecue water chestnuts or bruschetta from Moose Landing of Kalida. Sample award winning ice cream from The Creamery of Delphos. Sample delicious mini beef manhattans from Van Wert’s Black Angus on Main. Warm up with a cup of coffee and a variety of sweet cookies from Baked to Perfection of Delphos. The Vantage Culinary Arts program will be serving its fabulous homemade Mexican chips and salsa.


POSTED: 02/23/20 at 1:20 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert High School English/Language Arts students recently participated in the Young Writers’ “Survival Sagas: Mission Contamination” contest. The contest received more than 10,000 submissions and 68 VWHS students were chosen for publication in Mission Contamination — Ohio. 

Students were challenged with writing a mini-saga, a story in 100 words, detailing the effects a wave of contamination has, nearly eliminating the entire human race. Students could choose from eight story starters to develop their mini-saga. 

The goal of the Young Writers’ contest is to spark passion and confidence in student writers. By having their work published, students gain a real audience and purpose for their writing. Entries are selected by a panel of editors who look for a broad view of what makes a good story: perception, imagination, creativity, expression, originality, and use of language. 

“Mission Contamination — Ohio” is scheduled for publication on Saturday, February 29, and copies can be purchased by contacting Young Writers at 323.244.4784. In addition to receiving a copy at VWHS, a copy of the publication will be sent to The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Additional contest winners will be selected in April 2020. The school with the best set of entries will receive The Young Writers’ Award of Excellence. The best published writer will receive an iPad and a trophy, and three runners-up will receive a $50 Amazon gift card each. 

The following students had their work selected for publication:

Dominque Alvarado — “The Last of Us”; Corbin Army – “The Gasp of Air”; Lukas Bailey-Solsman – “Underground”; Carly Bebout – “The Cloud”; Heath Bivens – “Boom Goes the Person”; Brenna Bollenbacher – “The It”; Danesha Branson – “Red Cross Infection”; Rylan Burnett – “The Rash”; Kianna Cook – “The Hide”; Kenley Cowan – “The Contamination Spill at The Lab”; Marisa Craig – The Bottle Potion”; Maddix Crutchfield – “Mezmorized”.


POSTED: 02/22/20 at 8:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Lincolnview Local Schools, in correlation with Ohio Revised Code 3313.64 or 3313.65, will again permit students from adjacent school districts to apply and enroll in the district’s schools through “open enrollment” for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Applications are now being accepted through May 31 on a first come, first served basis, according to the time and date the application was received by the superintendent’s office of Lincolnview Local Schools. 

Parents interested in open enrollment for kindergarten students must complete an application at kindergarten registration on March 2-6, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Lincolnview Elementary School. Applications will be considered in the order received and space may be limited. 

All applications (except for kindergarten students) must be completed and returned no later than May 31.  Applications are available by contacting the superintendent’s office at 419.968.2226. Interested individuals may also stop in person or send a written request for an application to the Superintendent of Lincolnview Local Schools, 15945 Middle Point Road, Van Wert, OH 45891.

All approved open enrollment transfers in effect for the 2019-2020 school year need to complete a NEW open enrollment application for the 2020-2021 school year. These applications will be considered before new requests are acted upon.  

POSTED: 02/22/20 at 8:50 am. FILED UNDER: News