The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jul. 20, 2018

Crowds throng the rib vendors during the 2010 edition of the Van Wert Rib Fest. VW independent file photo

VW independent/submitted information

The 12th annual Van Wert Rib Fest is just around the corner. Of course, the focus is on great food prepared by some of the region’s best grill masters. This year’s line-up includes After Hours BBQ from Orrville; BG’s Main Event from Rittman; Low & Slow BBQ from Fort Wayne, Indiana; Pigtails BBQ from West Salem; Smoke Shack BBQ from Pickerington; and Timmy’s BBQ from Garrett, Indiana. These “ribbers” participate in rib events all over the Midwest and Timmy’s BBQ has been featured on Carnival Eats on the Food Channel.

Other vendors include C & J’s Shaved Ice, Rismiller Concessions, Sycamore Ice Cream, Cumberland Kettle Corn, Audrey’s Pumpkin Rolls & Gourmet Cake Rolls, and Wink’s Treats.

But food is not the only reason to come to Rib Fest. There are many other activities for the whole family to enjoy. On Friday evening at 6 p.m., First Financial Bank and Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ are sponsoring a rib-eating contest. This year, participants will be Van Wert County first responders. Come on out and see who can eat the most ribs in five minutes.

On Saturday morning, the spotlight will be on young people as Rib Fest will be hosting the 12th annual Rib Fest Wiffleball Tournament. Teams are still needed. To register, go to the Rib Fest website at www.vanwertribfest.comto download an entry form, or call 419.238.9378 or Brent Kohn at 419.238.1080 for more information. There will be two brackets: one for players 15 and younger and the other for players ages 16 to adult. Entry fee is $80 per team. Proceeds will benefit the Van Wert Pride Girls Softball team. Deadline for entries is Monday, July 30.

At 1 p.m., the annual Corn Hole Tournament will begin. There will be cash prizes for the tournament, with a 100 percent payout.


POSTED: 07/20/18 at 7:54 am

133 Bistro owners Jack Murati, Sabir Asipi, and Kimberly Gumpp closed Thursday on a $25,000 Revolving Loan Fund loan that will help them purchase the former Balyeat’s Coffee Shop building at 133 E. Main St. in downtown Van Wert. Shown with 133 Bistro owners are Krista Somerton, administrator of the Revolving Loan Fund, and Adam Ries of First Federal Savings & Loan, which also provided financing for the project.Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 07/20/18 at 7:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Foundation recently hosted its annual scholarship celebration. This event was held at Wassenberg Art Center to recognize student scholarship recipients’ accomplishments and provide an opportunity for them to connect with other recipients, as well as the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and staff.

Several recipients took this opportunity to learn about the donor fund associated with their scholarship.  Many felt it was essential to know the person or family who established the fund and assisted in their education and future.

Van Wert County Foundation scholarship recipients were honored at a recent event held at Wassenberg Art Center. photos provided

Foundation Executive Secretary Seth Baker provided valuable information about The Foundation’s scholarship process and qualifications.

“Students who have completed the equivalent of one year in college are eligible, provided they have a 2.75 accumulative grade point average,” Baker noted. “Students who have received a scholarship must maintain a 3.0 accumulative grade point average to warrant continuation of future scholarship opportunities.”

VWCF Trustee Gary Clay, who also chairs its Scholarship Committee, spoke to guests about the scholarship program and its “learn and return” philosophy.

“Learn, continue your education, gain experiences and knowledge,” Clay said. “However, know that you can return. There are opportunities right here in our communities. Bring those experiences and that knowledge to build the future of our community.”

Scholarship recipients, guests, and VWCF trustees and staff dig into food provided at the Foundation’s scholarship event.

The Van Wert County Foundation awards annual scholarships through an application and review process.  For 2018, 314 recipients received a total of $896,260 provided through funds established for scholarship purposes.

The Van Wert County Foundation, a non-profit community organization serving Van Wert County and the surrounding area, inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to enrich lives and the community. By supporting purpose, inspiring growth, and building the future, The Foundation facilitated more than $3 million in charitable giving last year.

For more information about The Van Wert County Foundation scholarship program, visit To learn how to establish a scholarship fund, contact Baker at 419.238.1743 or email

POSTED: 07/20/18 at 7:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Area residents are invited to join the United Way of Van Wert County at the 12th annual Rib Fest for the “When Pigs Fly” event held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.

Organizers will drop numbered plastic pigs from a Van Wert Fire Departmentladder truck at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 4. Two lucky winners will receive one of the following cash prizes: $500 for the pig that lands closest to the target and $100 to the pig that lands farthest away. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and can be purchased at the United Way Office, from any United Way board member, or at the fairgrounds during Van Wert Rib Fest.

United Way of Van Wert County is located at 136 E. Main St. For more information, call 419.238.6689, email, or visit

POSTED: 07/20/18 at 7:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Due to potentially inclement weather, tonight’s Fountain Park Summer Music Series concert, Summer Breezin’, is being moved to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. The concert begins at 7 p.m.

Enjoy the music of Seals & Croft and America as Summer Breezin’ plays tunes from two of the biggest soft rock bands of the era.

POSTED: 07/20/18 at 7:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Board of Education heard an update on the Eggerss Stadium project and a proposed addition to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, and also approved adding security cameras on school buses during its July meeting Wednesday evening.

Van Wert City Schools Superintendent Vicki Brunn provides information on new and amended board policies during Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert City Board of Education. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Assistant to the Superintendent Bill Clifton provided an update on the Eggerss Stadium project, noting that the district will be receiving a partial permit by the end of the week to install the concrete pad that provides a foundation for new visitors’ bleachers at the stadium.

Clifton added that the district is having trouble getting permits finalized for the project, with a worst-case scenario that the bleachers may not be installed by the first home football game. He noted that architect Kraig Beilharz is working to finalize permitting for the project.

Clifton also noted that the district has received two new 84-passenger school buses, which both have LED exterior lighting, which he added is noticeably brighter than older exterior lighting.

“I think we’re going to find that a nice safety feature,” Clifton said.

The board also approved the purchase of 40 security cameras, with four cameras to be installed in each of the district’s 10 school buses.

Clifton said the cameras will help provide better information on incidents that occur on school buses, which should help with disciplinary and other incidents that occur on a bus.

The assistant to the superintendent also talked about a longstanding heat pump problem at Van Wert Elementary School, noting that a number of the heat pumps are not dehumidifying properly.


POSTED: 07/19/18 at 8:06 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A total of 12 people were arraigned on grand jury indictments and two people were sentenced during hearings held in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Tina Hulbert, 46, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to one count of theft from the elderly, a felony of the second degree; seven counts of forgery, all felonies of the fourth degree; and one fifth-degree felony forgery charge. She was released on an unsecured personal surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 8.

Sy-Bron Pinkston, 29, of Lima, pleaded not guilty to one count of tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree. He was released on a surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 7.

Jason Lee Boyd, 36, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on a surety bond and a pretrial conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. August 7.

Keith Bailey, 34, of Va Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. He was released on a surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 1:30 p.m. August 7.

Kimberly Bruner, 40, of Mount Airy, North Carolina, entered a not guilty plea to one count of improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle, a felony of the fourth degree. She was ordered held on a $20,000 cash or commercial surety bond and a pretrial was set for 1:30 p.m. August 7.

Houston Young, 35, of Mount Airy, North Carolina, pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony offense. Bond was set at $20,000 cash or commercial surety and a pretrial conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. August 7.

Adam Fuerst, 24, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on a surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 1:30 p.m. August 7.


POSTED: 07/19/18 at 7:58 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

This year’s Day of Caring is set for Friday, September 28, and will be held at Vantage Career Center. Food barrels will be placed at many industries and businesses throughout town for the month of September. The public will be able to donate anytime until September 28, when the barrels are picked up and sorted at the event. The goal for this year’s event is 36,000 items.

A collaboration will take place between local organizations and food will be disbursed between the Salvation Army, Trinity Friends Church, and the Van Wert Cooperative Ministries Food Pantry.

The annual blood drive will be held at Trinity Friends Church on Friday, September 28, as well, with a goal of 185 units of blood. The blood drive will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To schedule a blood donation appointment, call 800.RED.CROSS or go to www.redcrossblood.organd use sponsor code “vwdoc”.

This year’s community partner is Van Wert Manor. A community partner is a company that has never had a campaign before and wants to volunteer, through service projects, helping United Way agencies, fundraising, being involved in United Way events, and sharing about United Way. Van Wert Manor has committed to doing volunteer work and promoting the United Way in Van Wert County.

POSTED: 07/19/18 at 7:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

CONVOY — The Convoy Community Foundation has received an anonymous donation from a family that has strong ties to the Crestview community. The initial donation of $10,000 will be supplemented with similar donations in 2019 and 2020. The legacy monies will be used for scholarships for Crestview graduates who are pursuing four-year degrees in either engineering or the medical profession.

The Convoy Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1980. Its purpose is to undertake and promote charitable activities for the benefit of individuals, groups, and communities in the Crestview School district.

Shown are Convoy Community Foundation Trustees (from the left) Greg Kulwicki, Ron Schumm, Denise Frey, Marcia Germann, and Gary Weck. photo provided

“Endowment Fund donors have an opportunity to leave a legacy to their communities,” said President Greg Kulwicki.

All assets received remain in perpetuity in a trust under the supervision of a local financial institution. The foundation conducts its charitable activities using only the investment revenue generated by the principal.

“Those who donate $ 5,000 or more will have a plaque containing biographies of the donor(s) and the purpose of the fund,” Kulwicki added. “The plaque will be permanently installed at the Crestview School.”

People interested in making bequests or donations to the Convoy Community Foundation Endowment Fund are encouraged to contact a foundation trustee. Trustees include Kulwicki, president; Marcia Germann, vice president; Denise Frey, treasurer; Kristi Gamble, secretary; Ron Schumm, Bob Schumm, Gary Weck, Bob Hall, Craig Miller, Carl Etzler, Jean Leary, and Patty Keipper.

POSTED: 07/19/18 at 7:55 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert Health is sponsoring a Business Day at the YMCA’s Camp Clay Aqua Center on Thursday, July 19. 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 are Van Wert Health employees Myra Bohner and Keri Hetrick. YMCA photo

POSTED: 07/19/18 at 7:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming’s office has announced that Jefferson Street, between Main Street and Central Avenue, will be closed from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, July 29, for the Operation Back to School event sponsored by First United Methodist Church.

Motorists will still be able to go down Central Avenue and turn left onto Jefferson, but not right.

POSTED: 07/19/18 at 7:46 am. FILED UNDER: News