The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021

State FFA Sentinel Victoria Snyder in her FFA jacket made right here in Van Wert by Universal Lettering. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Although it’s been a year of COVID-related challenges, with none the in-person events and interaction she enjoys best, FFA State Sentinel Victoria Snyder said it has still been a most rewarding experience.

“If I could take anything away (from the experience), it’s probably being adaptable,” said the 2020 Lincolnview High School graduate, who sat down for an interview Friday during National FFA Week. “From a skills aspect, public speaking (and) being a good listener.”

Snyder, the only FFA state officer in memory from Lincolnview, said there are a number of requirements that must be met to become one of the 11 state officers. Those interested must have their state FFA degree and run fir a state position no later than the first state convention following graduation from high school and no earlier than their junior year in high school. 

State officer candidates must also fill out and submit an application that, among other things, includes their major FFA leadership activities and offices, write and record a speech of a minimum of 350 words on “Why I Desire to Serve as an Ohio FFA Officer”, submit a signed copy of the Ohio FFA Officer Commitment Form, undergo an interview and a test on FFA and agriculture knowledge, and write two letters to sponsors.

Snyder credits her advisor, Lincolnview vocational agriculture teacher Jordan Dues of Lincolnview, and Crestview FFA and vo-ag teacher Ericka Priest for getting her through the process.

There are actually six state officer positions: a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, reporter, and sentinel, and five at-large vice president positions. Snyder, as sentinel, is the doorkeeper for state FFA meetings and is responsible for making sure the meeting area and any items needed for the meeting are ready. During an in-person meeting, Snyder also acts like a sergeant-at-arms to assist the president in maintaining order.


POSTED: 02/27/21 at 1:56 am

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County YMCA and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) have joined together to bridge the gap between tragedy and recovery. 

Shown are (from the left) CERT Disaster Chairman Mark Klausing, Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy, and YMCA CEO Hugh Kocab with items donated for disaster victims. photo provided

The YMCA is much more than a swim and gym facility and has expanded its outreach over the past 15 years. New community initiatives that help the neediest and improve the quality of life fall directly into the YMCA’s mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all people in our community. 

The CERT staff is comprised of local volunteers that make up the disaster team. The team responds to house fires, provides ancillary support to the fire department, and assists victims with much needed support and direction. In addition, CERT responds to natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, high wind damage and other disaster situations. 

“The goal is to work collaboratively with CERT to provide a family-friendly Christian environment where recreational and swimming activities, showers, and a respite from the daily worries of putting a post-tragedy family life back together are possible,” said YMCA CEO Hugh Kocab.  

Once CERT volunteers respond to a tragedy, they will contact the YMCA and line up support for the family or families that have been impacted. 

“Access to the YMCA for these families in crisis will be a godsend for our community and those communities surrounding Van Wert as well,” said Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy.

The CERT team will evaluate the situation, contact the YMCA and, if needed, provide a case worker to support the fire victims. In addition to the YMCA facility and resource availability, the YMCA will also be providing refreshments for fire department personnel that are responding to the emergency. 


POSTED: 02/27/21 at 12:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Health, which first implemented visitor restrictions in March 2020 to help control the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, on Thursday announced it will begin to lift some of those restrictions. The new visitation guidelines detailed below went into effect Friday, February 26.

Visiting hours are daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The lobby of Van Wert Health. VW independent file photo

Pediatric Inpatient
Two healthy adult primary caregivers may accompany pediatric patients. Caregivers are invited to stay in a patient’s room for the entire duration of a patient’s stay.

Adult Inpatient
One healthy visitor, age 18 or older, at a time may accompany each adult inpatient during visiting hours (8 a.m.-7 p.m.). No visitors are allowed for adult patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are being evaluated for COVID-19.

Adult Emergency Services
Two healthy visitors at a time may accompany each adult patient.  No visitors are allowed for patients who have tested positive for or are being evaluated for COVID-19.

Pediatric Emergency Services
Two healthy visitors at a time may accompany each pediatric patient. Siblings under age 18 are not permitted at this time.

Labor and Delivery
Mothers laboring and delivering may have a support person throughout their stay, who is invited for the entire duration of a patient’s stay.  One additional healthy adult visitor, age 18 or older, at a time may be present during visiting hours (8 a.m.-7 p.m.).


POSTED: 02/27/21 at 12:04 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The YMCA of Van Wert County invites local residents to attend the annual YMCA Good Friday Prayer Breakfast on Friday, April 2, starting at 7 a.m., at Hickory Sticks Golf Course south of Van Wert. This event will be featured on Facebook Live!

Rylee and Dayna Motycka

This year’s featured speaker is Dayna Motycka and her husband, Tim, who will share the story of their personal faith journey during their young daughter, Rylee’s, battle against cancer. 

Breakfast this year will include coffee and doughnuts provided by Truly Divine and doors will open at 6:30 that morning. Tickets are limited this year due to COVID-19 capacity guidelines and are available at the Van Wert YMCA front desk for $10 each.
Those who would like to donate to this event can visit and click “Give” in the right-hand corner. All proceeds from this event will be donated to charity.
The mission at the YMCA is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that help build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. 

The YMCA of Van Wert County is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation and United Way. 

POSTED: 02/26/21 at 11:59 pm. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

State budget cuts and future funding were two items briefly touched on during Thursday night’s meeting of the Lincolnview Local Board of Education.

Lincolnview eighth-grader and Van Wert County spelling champ Lindsey Hatcher spoke at Thursday’s meeting of the Lincolnview Local Board of Education. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Treasurer Troy Bowersock said the district received $186,000 less this year and he said he recently learned how much more will be cut from state foundation money.

“At this point in time it looks like the reduction is going to amount to $83,900 for year two, so roughly a $270,000 decrease over the last two-year period for our state funding,” Bowersock explained.

Bowersock said the Fair School Funding Plan has been introduced to state lawmakers, and it’s possible the plan will be included in the state’s next two-year budget.

The treasurer also noted Lincolnview is slated to receive about $200,000 in new federal CARES Act money. Bowersock also informed the board several school employees have been victims of a statewide unemployment compensation scam and he added he’s been working with those affected to rectify the situation.

The board then heard from Lincolnview eighth-grader Lindsey Hatcher, who recently won the Van Wert County Spelling Bee. The county champion usually moves on to regional competition in Fort Wayne, but the format has changed this year due to COVID-19.

“It was a great experience for me,” Hatcher said. “I had to take a test this past Tuesday to see if I qualified for the regional bee because they’re cutting down on the number of people that can be there. I’ll get the results from that test on Saturday to see if I qualified for the next bee.”


POSTED: 02/25/21 at 11:28 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

First Federal of Van Wert has announced a building expansion that will commence this spring. The construction will add several new offices and a larger meeting room to First Federal’s facility on Fox Road, while also renovating the existing building. The renovation will include modernizing the bank’s lobby, existing offices, and teller area.  

“We are excited for what this growth means for our employees, our customers, and our community. This project is a collaboration of growth and looking toward the future,” said First Federal President/CEO Brian Renner. “The growth we’ve experienced is a result of the success of the Van Wert community and the confidence our customers have in First Federal.”

The project was modeled by Design Collaborative and Structure First, while H.A. Dorsten of Minster is the general contractor and will use local subcontractors for various portions of the project. While the project will be completed in phases, First Federal will maintain normal business hours to take care of all customer banking needs. First Federal is committed to outstanding customer service even if the lobby may not be accessible at times during the renovation. Drive-thru banking will remain open through the entire construction project, and First Federal offers a full range of online and mobile banking options.

“We listened to our customers, we reviewed our goals, and we reviewed the efficiencies of our business. It was clear that we needed to make some improvements to the facility to make banking better for our customers and the Van Wert community. With this plan in place, we are improving the banking experience for our customers for years to come,” Renner explained.

“It’s hard to believe it has been 23 years since we built our office on Fox Road. The building is in good shape, but it is also in need of an addition and an update to handle the growing needs of our customers and our community,” added First Federal Board Michael Cross. “With our renovation, First Federal will move forward into the ever-changing banking industry with the newest technology and equipment available.”

First Federal will provide updates to the community on the status of the project and possible lobby closures. Due to the pandemic, the lobby is currently closed for the safety of the community and the employees. The institution will begin construction while the lobby is closed to minimize the impact to customers. 

First Federal of Van Wert is a locally owned and operated institution serving the Van Wert community since 1893.  As an independent community bank, First Federal takes great pride in supporting the Van Wert community.   

POSTED: 02/25/21 at 8:02 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates Thursday on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Spring events
Governor DeWine announced on Thursday a loosening of restrictions for sporting and entertainment venues when safety protocols are followed.

“The vaccines have given us great hope, but until we have enough Ohioans vaccinated, we must continue masking and social distancing,” said Governor DeWine. “Easing up on some prevention measures is intended to serve as a starting point. If the trajectory of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continues downward, we hope to be able to relax more of these measures. If it gets worse, we may have to tighten up.”

More counties improve status on OPHAS map. ODH graphic

Sporting and entertainment events will be able to reopen with 25 percent maximum indoor capacity and 30 percent maximum outdoor capacity provided they follow established precautions such as mandatory mask wearing for employees and customers, spectator pathways that allow for social distancing, and seating in groups in six-foot intervals of no more than six people from the same household.

General admission (lawns, standing room, infields) will be permitted if masks are worn and if six-foot distancing can be marked and maintained. 

New guidance for proms, banquets, wedding receptions, fairs, festivals, and parades is forthcoming. 

Provider expansion
Next week, Ohio will receive 310,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. With this increase in doses, Ohio will add additional new vaccine provider sites, including some Meijer and Walmart locations and more independent pharmacies.

Providers that are currently receiving vaccines — including RiteAid, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, local health departments, and hospitals — can anticipate larger shipments. 

Based on information provided by the federal government, once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available, Ohio will receive an additional 91,000 doses during the first week.


POSTED: 02/25/21 at 7:59 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

As of Thursday, the Van Wert County General Health District reports an increase of 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Thursday, February 18, for a total of 2,229 confirmed cases. The Health District reports no known hospitalizations this week and a decrease in cases.

To date, the health department has given 4,514 COVID-19 vaccinations and asks residents to watch media and news outlets for announcements regarding vaccination clinics.

POSTED: 02/25/21 at 7:54 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Beginning Monday, March 1, the annual YWCA Geranium Sale will be in full swing for spring. All plants are hardy root geraniums sold in 4½-inch pots, with 15 plants per flat. Hanging baskets are also available. Colors available for plants are red, white, lavender, fuchsia, pink, light salmon, and tangerine. Baskets are available in all colors, except white. 

Pots are $4 each or full flats of the same color (15 plants/flat) are $55 and hanging baskets are $22. Don’t miss this opportunity to beautify the yard and also support the YWCA of Van Wert County. 

Geraniums will be available for parking lot pick-up Wednesday, May 5, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Cash and carry sales begin Wednesday, May 5, at 11 a.m. Cash and carry plants are $5 each, while baskets are $25. 

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 Department, the Victim Services Department, and the Empowerment Department. 

Geraniums can be purchased online through Shopify: or by mailing an order and payment to YWCA of Van Wert County, 408 E. Main St., Van Wert, OH 45891 (include phone number with orders). Order forms may be found on our website at In addition, delivery of orders to an address or other locations within Van Wert County is an option. Contact Danni Chiles at for delivery information.

The YWCA is partially funded by United Way and Van Wert County Foundation.

POSTED: 02/25/21 at 7:51 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Main Street Van Wert’s first Friday event this month is on March 5, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The program offers a little something special on the first Friday of every month, from jazz played by Weston Thompson to Mardi Gras theme food and drink specials, to specials at local boutiques. MSVW Executive Director Mitch Price noted that local residents should make sure to stop at all of the businesses participating on the first Friday of every month.
Those businesses include: 

  • Touches of Time
  • The Humble Bumble (reopening)
  • Elite interiors (20 percent off sale on anything purple, pink, or yellow to celebrate Mardi Gras on March 5, Easter and spring items included).
  • Remember When Photography.
  • The Well (Mardi Gras tea and shake).
  • YMCA (distributing Mardi Gras Lemon Bark, a non-messy paint craft for kids, open swim from 7-8 p.m., will be handing out beads).
  • Black angus (TBA).
  • Truly Divine (jambalaya, poor boy subs, kings’ cakes).
  • Curvy Closet (20 percent off)
  • Decor & Moore Gift Shoppe (20 percent off Easter).
  • Pop-up Shop 
  • Balyeat Glass Work & Family Booth.

Guests to downtown are asked to adhere to local and state health guidelines and requirements for distancing masks, and sanitation as well as requests by individual businesses downtown with occupancy.

Contest Alert — MSVW announces there will be a photo scavenger hunt for everyone to enjoy. All people have to do is get pictures with five different items/businesses downtown and put the correct hashtags on their post. There will be gift cards for the first three people to post all five pictures to local downtown shops. Put these hashtags on the post to enter: #FirstFirday #mardigraonmain.

POSTED: 02/25/21 at 7:49 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Board of Elections will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 3, for the purpose of a re-organizational meeting.  

POSTED: 02/25/21 at 7:40 pm. FILED UNDER: News