The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Apr. 20, 2018

VW independent/submitted information

The staff of the YWCA of Van Wert County is calling for all area residents to join it in taking a Stand Against Racism between Monday, April 23, and Sunday, April 29.

Stand Against Racism will unite the community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: the community is on a mission to eliminate racism.

“We feel it is very important to elevate the discussion about racism in our community,” said YWCA Executive Director Kimberly Laudick.

From Monday through Sunday, events are anticipated in nearly every state across the country, including public policy, advocacy, community education, and public proclamations. Here in Van Wert, Stand Against Racism events will be held at all of the local schools throughout the week. In addition, the YWCA has scheduled the following events for Van Wert County (all of which are open to the public):


POSTED: 04/20/18 at 8:55 am

VW independent/submitted information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 has scheduled the following highway projects for next week:

Van Wert County

Ohio 66 over U.S. 30, northwest of Delphos, will close April 30 for 21 days for bridge repair. Westbound traffic detoured to U.S. 30, to Middle Point Wetzel Road, and back to Ohio 66. Eastbound traffic detoured onto U.S. 30 to Lincoln highway to Ohio 66. Work is being performed by Bluffton Paving, Bluffton.

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. Work is being performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

U.S. 30 will be restricted to one lane in both directions through the work zone for minor pavement smoothing in the following locations. Work will last approximately one week. Work will be performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

  • Between the Indiana state line and U.S. 224, north of Convoy
  • Between Lincoln Highway and Middle Point Wetzel Road, north of Middle Point

U.S. 30, between the Indiana state line and the Allen County line will be restricted to one lane in both directions through temporary work zones for bridge sweeping. Work is being performed by the ODOT Van Wert County maintenance garage.

U.S. 127, from the southern Van Wert city limit to the Mercer County line, will be reduced to one lane through the work zone for sealing of pavement cracks. Work is being performed by the ODOT Van Wert County maintenance garage.


POSTED: 04/20/18 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The YWCA of Van Wert County will be offering a free one-night self-defense class from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, and this one is just for children.

The class is provided by the Van Wert Self Defense Team and is designed to teach children how to avoid dangerous situations and what they should do when faced with unavoidable, unsafe circumstances. Class participants will gain confidence, knowledge, and the skills to protect themselves in this hands-on program. No experience is necessary.

Class instructors include Rick Busch and Ed Klausing. Busch is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do with many years of experience, including several years of experience teaching martial arts, self-defense, and rape prevention classes and seminars. Klausing is a third-degree black belt and also has experience in teaching various martial arts.

Participants, children ages 7-17 years old, should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Pre-register by calling the YWCA at 419.238.6639.

The YWCA is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation and is a United Way agency. For more information about this class, contact Kelly Houg, advocacy coordinator, at 419.238.6639 or

POSTED: 04/20/18 at 8:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Evergreen Garden Club in Van Wert will be having a perennial plant sale from 8:30-11 a.m. Saturday, May 5, in its new location: the Ohio State University Extension Office at the Van Wert Fairgrounds.

Perennial plants will be dug from garden club members’ own gardens and sold at very reasonable prices. A large selection of many different varieties of plants will be for sale.

All proceeds from the sale will be used for civic beautification projects sponsored by the Evergreen Garden Club. Some of those projects include maintaining and purchasing plants in Fountain Park, the Museum Herb Garden at the Van Wert County Historical Museum, the friendship garden at Camp Clay, and decorating Brumback Library for the Christmas holiday season.

POSTED: 04/20/18 at 8:32 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

When it comes to doing the best with what they have, two Van Wert County seniors, Dalton Heppeard and Celina Sweet, stood out from an inspiring group of 10 finalists during Wednesday’s R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award banquet.

2018 R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award finalists include (front row, from the left) Hayley Kuhlman, Chloe Brake, Paige Motycka, Celina Sweet, and Marissa Miller; (back row) Nathan O’Neill, Josh England, Trevor Spridgeon, Jacoby Kelly, and Dalton Heppeard. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Heppeard, already an entrepreneur while in school, as well as a real estate intern at Bee Gee Realty & Auctioneers, and Sweet, who has been living on her own the past two years while in school, were the top finalists in the 48th edition of the annual program started by the late Roger Thompson Jr. to honor his father, another Roger Thompson.

Other girl finalists included Chloe Brake, Hayley Kuhlman, Marissa Miller, and Paige Motycka, while the other four boy finalists were Josh England, Jacoby Kelly, Nathan O’Neill, and Trevor Spridgeon.

Emcee Bill Clifton first explained the rationale behind the R.K. Thompson Award, which honors seniors who show self-reliance in their daily lives, even though having to overcome a number of challenges to do so, before Van Wert Service Club members Kimberly Laudick and Mark Schumm introduced the finalists.


POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:57 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A Fort Wayne, Indiana, man who was sentenced to prison on a drug-related charge was one of 11 people who appeared for criminal hearings so far this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Nathan Egly, 32, was sentenced to 16 months in prison on a charge of possession of heroin, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Martin D. Burchfield also gave Egly credit for 73 days served awaiting sentencing.

Johnny Ray Bowersock, 53, of Van Wert, was given 180 days in jail, with 100 days of that suspended and credit given for 40 days served, along with two years of community control, on a charge of domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree. As part of his community control, he must have a license and insurance to drive, and undergo mental health and substance abuse assessments, and any treatment recommended.

Two people were also arraigned on Wednesday in Common Pleas Court.

Justin Murphy, 30, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to two counts of assault and one count of vandalism, each a felony of the fifth degree. A $10,000 cash or commercial surety bond was set in the case and a pretrial conference scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 2.

Thomas Murphy, 26, of Gary, Indiana, pleaded not guilty to aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree, and operating a vehicle while impaired, a misdemeanor of the first degree. He was released on a personal surety bond and will appear for pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 9.

Also on Wednesday, two people on Wednesday entered changes of pleas in Common Pleas Court.

Justin Landis, 23, of New Haven, Indiana, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of breaking and entering, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 30.


POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

With the pre-order deadline for the YWCA’s annual Geranium Sale quickly approaching, this year’s sale offers a few new opportunities. All plants are hardy root geraniums sold in 4½-inch pots, with 15 plants per flat. Hanging baskets are also available for pre-order this year.

Shown are examples of the geranium plants sold during the YWCA’s annual geranium sale. photo provided

Colors available for both plants and baskets are red, white, lavender, fuchsia, pink, and light salmon, plus a new color this year: tangerine. Pots are $3.50 each and hanging baskets are $20. Don’t miss this opportunity to beautify the yard and support the YWCA this Mother’s Day.

Geraniums will be available for pick-up Wednesday, May 9, from 1-6 p.m. and Thursday, May 10, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Cash and carry sales begin Wednesday, May 9, at 1 p.m. Come early for the best selection.

The annual Geranium Sale is a significant fundraiser for the ongoing work of the YWCA during the year including, but not limited to, the Youth Enrichment Program, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Domestic Violence Services. Stop in the YWCA and place an order today. Credit card orders can also be made by calling 419.238.6639.

General operating hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. -7 p.m.; and Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The YWCA is a United Way and Van Wert County Foundation funded agency. For more information, contact Vickie Rusk at the front desk at 419.238.6639.

POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Energy and Commerce (E&C) Subcommittee on Energy recently voted to approve legislation authored by U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) to improve the nation’s grid security and resiliency in the face of cyberattacks.

The legislation, H.R. 5239, the Cyber Sense Act, would create a voluntary Department of Energy “Cyber Sense” program that would test the cyber security of products and technologies for use in the bulk-power system. It would require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.

“Bad actors are looking to weaken the American energy sector in any way possible,” said Latta. “We’ve seen that with recent cyberattacks coming from Russia that have targeted our nation’s electric grid.

“I’ve long been a proponent of modernizing and updating our aging grid for a number of reasons, but improving cyber security is one of the most critical,” Latta added. “The Cyber Sense Act will let electric utilities make more informed decisions about the cyber security of the products they are purchasing, increasing resiliency for the entire grid.”

Latta spoke on the legislation before the E&C Subcommittee on Energy. Video is available here.

POSTED: 04/19/18 at 7:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

A Van Wert man out on probation on a felony drug charge was arrested again late Wednesday morning after he was seen acting suspiciously in the 300 block of South Race Street.

Ryan Schaadt

Ryan L. Schaadt, 33, was described as “highly intoxicated” when police located him following the report. After he kept trying to reach into his pocket while officers were speaking to him, Schaadt was found to have marijuana in his hand while being handcuffed. Further search of his pocket revealed more drugs, along with a large amount of cash.

One of the drugs found tested positive for methamphetamine, and a large enough amount of that drug was found on Schaadt to increase the drug charge against him to a felony of the third degree.

At the time of his arrest Wednesday, Schaadt was out on bond for felony possession of narcotics. Because of that, Van Wert County Common Pleas Court was notified of his recent arrest. Court officials then asked that a holder be placed on him and that he be taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility.

The Van Wert Police Department asks that local residents call the department when they se someone acting out of the ordinary. Methamphetamines are a stimulant that keeps the user up for days at a time. Users don’t make rational decisions and sometimes also become violent.

Those with information on illegal drug activity should call the VWPD at 419.238.2462, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at 419.238.3866, or, to ensure anonymity, call Crime Stoppers at 419.238.7867 (STOP).

POSTED: 04/18/18 at 1:30 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Wassenberg Art Center held a ground-sawing ceremony Tuesday, with a saw breaking concrete that will be removed to make way for the art center’s new Art Park project.

A concrete saw makes the first cut that will remove concrete from behind Wassenberg Art Center to make way for the center’s new Art Park project. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Wassenberg Executive Director Hope Wallace first spoke about the impact that the arts have in the United States and locally.

Noting that the arts currently contribute approximately $780 billion dollars to the U.S. economy, Wallace added: “While the arts industry doesn’t normally possess smokestacks, unless you happen to be privy to a wood ceramic firing, the arts are, absolutely, an industry,” she noted. “Difficult to ideate in the transfer of black and white, real-world dollars, the arts can come in at the forefront as economic game changers, or passively follow along and support longevity as well.”

Noting that Wassenberg prefers the “game changer” role, Wallace said that leveraging the arts is happening at Wassenberg right now with hits new Art Park project.

“The landscape of this tiny Rust Belt town is rising, due to committed residents, corporations, quiet donors, and an active Main Street program,” she noted. “This has all happened from the unassuming power of a small community art center.”

Those attending the ceremony included sponsors of several Art Park features, as well as trustees of The Van Wert County Foundation, which administers Wassenberg finances.


POSTED: 04/18/18 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Leadercast is the world’s largest one-day leadership conference, broadcast live from Atlanta and simulcast to hundreds of locations around the world on Friday, May 4. This year marks the fifth year of the annual leadership conference event: Leadercast Ohio West in Van Wert.

Joe Torre

Carey Lohrenz

This year, the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that several northwest and central Ohio Chambers of Commerce will host Leadercast Ohio West. The venue for the event is LifeHouse Church, 719 Fox Road in Van Wert, located in the heart of northwest Ohio, as well as minutes from the Fort Wayne, Indiana, area.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Lead Yourself.” What does it look like to lead yourself? How can people intentionally develop their own leadership skills and style? What qualities do people hope to embody as a leader? In 2018, the Leadercast stage will highlight leaders who will answer these questions and explain the power and importance of leading yourself first so you can lead others well.

  • Companies with ideals of improving people’s lives at the center of all they do outperform others by 400 percent.
  • More than 70 percent of people consider an organization’s environmental and/or social impact when deciding where to work.
  • Employees that feel they are working towards a good cause show increased productivity by up to 30 percent
  • People who are able to make a social or environmental impact on the job are more satisfied by a 2:1 ratio

Andy Stanley

Michael Hyatt

Leadercast will allow attendees and viewers to improve their own personal leadership journey with tips for self-evaluation and self-growth. Top leadership experts will inspire more than 300 people attending the local event, and the more than 100,000 people who will attend the event live in Atlanta or at hundreds of other simulcast locations in more than 20 countries. Among the leadership experts speaking this year are:

  • Mae Jemison – NASA astronaut, engineer, and physician
  • Ian Cron – bestselling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher and speaker
  • Andy Stanley –  leadership author and communicator
  • Jim Loehr – co-founder of the Human Performance Institute
  • Jen Bricker – acrobat, aerialist, author, and speaker
  • Michael Hyatt –  author, speaker and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company
  • Carey Lohrenz – the first female F-14 pilot, speaker, and trainer
  • Kat Cole – COO and president, North America, of FOCUS Brands
  • Joe Torre – Hall of Fame baseball manager


POSTED: 04/18/18 at 7:42 am. FILED UNDER: News