The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, May. 21, 2018


Caterina John, a senior in the Ag & Industrial Power Tech program, accepts the Josh Ralston Memorial Scholarship from Ralston’s father, Scott. Vantage photo

VW independent/submitted information

Family, friends, and home school representatives gathered at Vantage Career Center for the annual awards ceremony on Friday to recognize achievements and accomplishments of seniors enrolled in career technical programs. Awards of Distinction and scholarships highlighted the event, which was held at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio in Van Wert to accommodate the growing crowd.

Tony Nighswander (Vantage 1983), a recent Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, was the guest speaker. He shared his story and gave some great advice to the seniors.

The student speaker for this year’s ceremony was Connor Baumle, a senior in the Carpentry program.  Baumle shared how his decision to attend Vantage helped him grow and determine a career path he wanted to follow. He thanked teachers, staff members, classmates, and those attending the ceremony for their guidance, friendship, and support.

Each year, career technical teachers select outstanding students to receive “Awards of Distinction”. To be eligible, students must demonstrate leadership qualities at school, have outstanding achievement in their program area, show exceptional skills in the subject area, participate as an active member of a school career technical club, and demonstrate cooperation, initiative, and responsibility. This year’s “Award of Distinction” winners include  Austin Adams (Delphos St. John’s) and Caterina John (Parkway), Ag and Industrial Power Technology; Alec Semer (Crestview), Auto Body; Kollan Dull (Lincolnview), Carpentry; Chloe Foltz (Paulding), Early Childhood Education; Derek Kemper (Ottoville), Electricity; Andrew Siefker (Delphos Jefferson), Health Technology; Clayton Schnipke (Ottoville), Industrial Mechanics; Katie Dull (Lincolnview), Medical Office Management; Louis Rammel (Lincolnview), Network Systems; and Aaron Sealts (Fort Jennings), Precision Machining.

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POSTED: 05/19/18 at 8:15 am

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — As Ohioans spend more time outdoors with the arrival of warm weather, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is urging people to take precautions to prevent bites from ticks and mosquitos and the diseases they may carry.

Most diseases in Ohio that are caused by the bite of infected ticks and mosquitos happen between spring and fall, when people are most active during warmer months. The most common diseases caused by tick bites in Ohio include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There were 270 Lyme disease cases and 34 Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases reported in Ohio last year.

The most common diseases caused by mosquito bites in Ohio include West Nile virus and La Crosse virus. There were 34 West Nile virus cases, including five deaths, and 13 La Crosse virus cases reported in Ohio last year.

“You can take some simple precautions at home and when traveling to prevent potentially serious diseases caused by the bite of infected ticks and mosquitos,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig, who recommends that people who get sick after being bitten by a tick or mosquito contact their healthcare provider, particularly if they have symptoms like a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, or a rash.

Here are some tips to avoid tick bites:

  • Walk in the middle of trails. Avoid tall grass, brush, and leaf litter.
  • Use EPA-registered repellents labelled for use against ticks on skin. Always follow the label instructions. EPA-registered repellents are safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Treat clothing and gear such as pants, boots, socks, and tents with a product containing permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks. Tuck pant legs into socks.
  • Wear light colors to make it easier to see ticks.

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POSTED: 05/19/18 at 7:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Due to the low number of veterans able to attend a second recognition dinner for World War II, Korea, and Vietnam veterans, the Van Wert County Veterans Service Office is moving the date of the dinner to June 27.

The Veterans Service board and office staff encourage all veterans of those three conflicts who were not able to attend any previous dinners to stop into the office during regular business hours (Monday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or call 419.238.9592 to reserve a seat.

Veterans are able to bring one guest with them to the dinner. The cutoff date for dinner reservations is Monday, June 18.

POSTED: 05/19/18 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert High School recently held its Senior Awards Convocation for the Class of 2018 in the Saltzgaber Music Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Seniors were honored and recognized for their academic and co-curricular achievements garnered over the past four years. As a class, seniors earned approximately $2.3 million calculated over a four-year period in scholarship opportunities.

VWHS departmental award winners include (front row, from the left) Kaylee McPhail, Art Award; Kaylin Bledsoe, Spanish Award; Cassidy Meyers, Mass Media Award; Briana Kesler, German Award; Mikayla Hernandez, Science and Language Arts awards; (back row) Anna Reichert, Vocal Music Award; Laine Spoor, Family and Consumer Science Award; Chloe Brake, Biomedical Science Award; Steele Stabler, Instrumental Music Award; Michael Etter, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering awards; and Jared Hernandez, Business and Computers Award (more photos will be in later today). VWHS photo

VWHS Departmental Award winners are as follows (also see photo at right): Kaylee McPhail, Art Award; Kaylin Bledsoe, Spanish Award; Cassidy Meyers, Mass Media Award; Briana Kesler, German Award; Mikayla Hernandez, Science and Language Arts Awards;Anna Reichert, Vocal Music Award; Laine Spoor, Family and Consumer Science Award; Chloe Brake, Biomedical Science Award; Steele Stabler, Instrumental Music Award; Michael Etter, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering Awards; and Jared Hernandez, Business and Computers Award.

Other awards given during the convocation include the following:

Tom Hittle “Hero” Award is given in memory of Mr. Hittle to a student who has displayed an “I Can” attitude in situations that they have been given. Gavin Smith was the winner of this award.

The Adolph and Letitia Weck Memorial Scholarship is awarded to two students who rank scholastically in the top third of their class. Students have completed an application and were selected by VWHS Faculty Committee on Awards. Recipients of this scholarship were Kylee Bagley and Cassidy Meyers.

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POSTED: 05/18/18 at 7:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, participated in the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Cole Gorman (right) on May 13. Gorman is a member of Boy Scout Troop 32, sponsored by the Middle Point Methodist Church. He was presented an American flag and an Eagle Scout certificate from the Elks.  He also received a letter of commendation and a special citation from Malcolm J. McPherson Jr., Elks grand exalted ruler. For Gorman’s Eagle Scout project he installed gates at the intersection of U.S. 224 and the walk/bike path that crosses it to prevent riders from inadvertently walking or riding out onto the roadway. Representing the Van Wert Lodge at the ceremony was Michael C. Stanley (left), lodge scouting liaison. Elks photo

POSTED: 05/18/18 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1 has announced road projects for the upcoming 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. Work is being performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

U.S. 30 eastbound at the U.S. 224 overpass, west of Van Wert, is now open without restrictions following repairs to the bridge caused by an accident last fall.

Ohio 66 over U.S. 30, northwest of Delphos, will be affected by a bridge repair project. 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 will close May 22 for 21 days for bridge repair. Southbound traffic will be detoured onto U.S. 30 westbound to Middle Point-Wetzel Road to U.S. 30 eastbound back to Ohio 66. Northbound traffic will be detoured onto U.S. 30 eastbound to Fifth Street to U.S. 30 westbound back to Ohio 66. (see maps)
  • Ohio 66 between Delphos and Ottoville will be restricted to one lane through work zones for pavement repairs.
  • Ohio 66 and Ohio 189 will be restricted to one lane in various locations within the village of Ottoville for pavement repairs.
  • Ohio 66, Ohio 190, and Ohio 697, within the city of Delphos will be restricted to one lane at various locations within the city of Delphos for pavement repairs and work on curb ramps and sidewalks.

Ohio 709, between County Road 103 and Goodwin Road, west of Venedocia, closed May 14 for approximately three weeks for the replacement of three culverts. 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)

Van Wert-Decatur Road, between U.S. 224 and Shannon Street, just west of Van Wert, will be reduced to one lane through the work zone for pavement milling and resurfacing. Work began April 25 and will continue through late May. Work is being performed by the Shelly Company of Findlay.

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POSTED: 05/18/18 at 7:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

Cooper Farms is sponsoring the YMCA Camp Clay Aqua Park and Splash Pad on Saturday, May 26. Due to the company’s generosity, admission to the park is $3 per person. Shown are YMCA Camp Clay Director Kevin Morrison (right) and Kacy Wagner of Cooper Farms.YMCA photo

POSTED: 05/18/18 at 7:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued the following statement after the states of New York and Utah announced their intent to file separate lawsuits against opioid manufacturers:

“Ohio was the first major state to sue the drug manufacturers, and I am delighted that New York and Utah have announced they will file litigation against opioid manufacturers. We are gaining momentum day-by-day. With more than two dozen states willing to hold irresponsible manufacturers accountable for their direct roles in deceiving Americans about the dangers of prescription opioids, it is time for drug companies to take responsibility.

“The devastating impact of opioid addiction has wreaked havoc on too many communities and torn too many families apart. Manufacturers can no longer ignore their role in fueling the opioid epidemic.”

POSTED: 05/18/18 at 7:34 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

It was a busy meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education, which dealt with several matters, including a presentation on an expansion project for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. The board, which also approved a resolution of support for the NPAC project, also received a progress report on work needed to renovate Eggerss Stadium.

Paul Hoverman, president and executive director of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio, talks about a building addition project while Chuck Koch, chairman of the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation Board, which operates the NPAC, listens. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

NPAC Executive Director Paul Hoverman and Chuck Koch, board chair for the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation (VWAPAF), which operates the performing arts center, provided information on the expansion project.

Hoverman, noting that the Niswonger, now looking at its 12th season, has had some space challenges, particularly dressing room and storage space, when it books large acts, such as Broadway shows and concerts that include orchestras and other large groups. That also coincides with the fact that Van Wert High School’s Drama program is also growing, which Hoverman said was a good thing, but was also creating some space challenges at the Niswonger.

Hoverman said the VWAPAF board started looking at a facility expansion a few years ago, but has ramped up its interest in doing so after an anonymous donor gave the NPAC foundation a $100,000 grant a couple of years ago, and a $200,000 state facilities reimbursement grant was recently awarded to the organization. With $300,000 in hand, VWAPAF board members then began to look at what could be done to provide more storage and dressing room space for the NPAC. A laundry facility and carpentry shop could also be included in the project.

“This would solve a lot of problems,” Koch said of the expansion.

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POSTED: 05/17/18 at 8:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A Van Wert woman sent to prison for assaulting police officers was one of eight people who appeared for criminal hearings this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Brandi Runyon, 27, was given 17 months in prison on each of two counts of assault on a police officer, both felonies of the fourth degree. Judge Martin D. Burchfield ordered the prison terms to be served concurrent to each other and also gave Runyon credit for 21 days already served.

Also sentenced this week was Joshua Bunker, 23, of Van Wert, who was sentenced to 12 months in prison on each of two counts of obstructing official business, each a felony of the fifth degree, and 180 days in jail on a misdemeanor assault charge, with all three sentences to run concurrent to each other. In addition, Bunker was ordered to serve 774 days remaining on a post-release control sentence related to a felonious assault charge conviction in Marion County. That sentence will run consecutively to the other felony sentences.

Four people were also arraigned on grand jury indictments this week in Common Pleas Court.

On Monday, Ecco Burker, 33, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of forgery, a fifth-degree felony offense. She was released on a personal surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 22.

Three others were arraigned on Wednesday.

Michael Elston-Neal, 26, of New Haven, Indiana, pleaded not guilty to one charge of aggravated possession

of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on a surety bond after signing a waiver of extradition from Indiana and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 6.

Damian White, 28, of Lima, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of operating a vehicle while impaired, a felony of the fourth degree because of prior convictions, and possession of cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree. He will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. June 6.

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POSTED: 05/17/18 at 8:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The American Red Cross along with the Van Wert Fire Department and team members of Cooper Farms will be going door-to-door as part of its “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” campaign to teach people how to be prepared for home fires and install smoke alarms where needed.

Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire. Countless others suffer injuries. To combat these tragic statistics, the Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent by 2020.

The Sound the Alarm campaign is happening all over the country and involves Red Cross workers joining with local fire departments, businesses, and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of free smoke alarms in some of these neighborhoods.

Through this campaign, the Red Cross, along with its community partners, have installed more than 1.3 million smoke alarms and saved 418 lives.

“We’re excited to join with the Van Wert Fire Department and Cooper Farms to install smoke alarms,” said Derek Stemen, executive director of the West Central Ohio Chapter. “We also will be teaching people how to be safe from a home fire.”

The Van Wert Fire Department and Cooper Farms will be joining the Red Cross this Friday, May 18, from 1-4 p.m. to install smoke alarms in homes in the First Ward of Van Wert. During this time, they will also teach people about what to do in case a fire breaks out in their home.

“”Van Wert Fire Department is proud to partner with the American Red Cross on this exciting project,” said Fire Chief Jon Jones. “I am confident that our combined efforts will help make our community safer.”

POSTED: 05/17/18 at 8:29 am. FILED UNDER: News