The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021

Local children have fun during an activity held at a previous YMCA summer camp. VW independent file photo

VW independent/submitted information

The YMCA of Van Wert County and YMCA Camp Clay recently received a $15,000 donation from Eaton Corporation.

Eaton has been a longtime supporter of the YMCA and Camp Clay by sponsoring their youth sports, business days at Camp Clay, and the aquatics program. The money will be used to support the Summer Camp program at YMCA Camp Clay and other YMCA programs. 

The Y will be purchasing a van that will allow it to provide for an incredible camp experience for summer campers. In addition to the traditional camp programming, the YMCA tries to give campers an off-camp experience in accordance with the camp’s theme of the week. 

Campers may visit the Armstrong Air and Space museum near Wapakoneta during Blast Off week or the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for Animal Planet week to enjoy a fun and educational experience. 

The YMCA of Van Wert County looks forward to using these funds to continue its mission of youth development and social responsibility. Eric McCracken and the Lee Kinstle GM Sales & Service staff were also recognized for working with the YMCA to provide low-cost, exceptional vehicles.

The YMCA ‘s mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that help 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 of Van Wert County.

POSTED: 01/16/21 at 1:29 am

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is placing a roadblock in the way of FirstEnergy collecting $102 million in ill-gotten profits contained in House Bill 6, that will soon be paid by FirstEnergy customers.

Dave Yost

This is in addition to the $150 million nuclear bailout also in HB6 that Yost stopped last month.

A motion was filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court asking the court to prevent FirstEnergy from implementing the rate increases levied against its customers contained in HB6.

“First we had to stop the collection of the fee created to line the pockets of Energy Harbor and now we are trying to stop the guaranteed profits for FirstEnergy and inappropriate rate increases to Ohioans,” Yost said. “It’s time for the court to shut the HB6 piggybank down.”

Within HB6 was a decoupling mechanism that only applied to FirstEnergy, which allowed the company to match its record-high income level from 2018 every year going forward regardless of how much electricity it sold anytime in the next decade. This guarantees FirstEnergy will receive its high-water-mark profits regardless of service levels, providing no accountability and abusing the concept of decoupling.

The injunction filed is necessary to protect FirstEnergy customers and to undue the harm that was corruptly put into HB6.     

The latest injunction motion is based on the same legal theory as the one obtained against the nuclear bailout and is expected to succeed for the same reasons.

POSTED: 01/16/21 at 1:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The tax bills for the first half real estate collection have been mailed and will be due at the Treasurer’s Office by close of business on Wednesday, February 24, to avoid penalty.  

Forms of payment accepted are check, money order, or credit card, while taxpayers may also call 844.419.0200 to make a payment over the phone. Those paying may also access the Treasurer’s Office website to make a payment at under the Treasurer’s Office tab. Both payments by credit card and over the phone are charged a convenience fee. Cash will not be accepted.  

Due to social distancing, only two people will be allowed in the office at a time, so to avoid waiting, it is recommended that people mail in their payments. 

Payments received in the office with a postmark of February 24 or prior will not accrue a penalty. Postmarks must be requested at the local post office; otherwise, they will not be placed on mail until it reaches Columbus.

Real estate tax payments can also be made at the First Bank of Berne as long as those paying have their bill with them in its entirety when they go to the branch to make the payment.

POSTED: 01/16/21 at 1:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert High School guidance counselors will be hosting a virtual informational meeting for parents/guardians beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 20. The meeting will consist of a general session giving more information on College Credit Plus and answering any questions people may have.  The meeting will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. January 20, via the following Zoom Link:

Handouts, presentation, and consent forms can be found at:

The Ohio Department of Education began the College Credit Plus program for all students enrolled in Ohio schools. College Credit Plus has two fundamental positions:

  • Students must be enrolled in both college and high school.
  • Students can earn transcripted college and high school credit upon successful completion of the course.

Eligible students may need a qualifying college entrance exam score that places them in courses above a remediation level to participate.  

Parents who have students who might be interested in earning college credit during their time in high school, should plan on attending the virtual meeting on January 20. For more information prior to the meeting, contact the Student Services Office at 419.238.2180 or Van Wert High School at 419.238.3350.

POSTED: 01/16/21 at 1:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

BOWLING GREEN — Winter operations stats for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in northwest Ohio indicate the area has experienced a more active winter this year over last — at least to this point.

So far this year, 26,550 tons of salt have been used, compared to 20,520 tons of salt last winter. A total of 1.3 million gallons of de-icer have been used so far this winter, compared to 1.2 million gallons of de-icer by this time last winter. A total of 378,840 miles of road have been driven so far this winter, compared to 364,570 miles at this time last winter.

The figures are for the 16-county region in northwest Ohio regarding materials used and equipment miles driven during snow and ice control operations within ODOT District 1 and 2 (Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Wyandot, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Williams, and Wood counties).

The stats represent all of this winter season through January 13.

POSTED: 01/16/21 at 1:12 am. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

The new year brings no board changes to the Vantage Career Center Board of Education, which met for the first time in 2021 on Thursday evening.

Lonnie Nedderman, Vantage Career Center Board of Education member representing Crestview Local Schools, is sworn in to a new term on Thursday. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Six of Vantage’s 12 board members were sworn in for new three-year terms during Thursday’s organizational meeting. Pat Baumle, Wayne Trace; Dennis Recker, Antwerp; Greg von der Embse, Kalida; Lonnie Nedderman, Crestview; Tom Lyons, Parkway, and Brian Egnor, Paulding.

Baumle was re-elected as board president, while Nedderman will again serve as vice president. Egnor was appointed as the legislative liaison and von der Embse was chosen as student achievement liaison.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month, except for July. That meeting will be held a week early, June 24. Board members will be paid $125 per meeting.

Laura Peters was reappointed as Vantage Career Center treasurer and chief financial officer, and the board approved membership in the Ohio School Boards Association, the Association of Career Technical Education, the Ohio Education Policy Institute, and the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents.

During the regular portion of Thursday’s meeting, High School Director Mike Knott commended students and staff on a successful first semester, and noted Student Services Supervisor Tonya Temple and Community Relations Coordinator Miriam Owens have been going out to member schools to present information to sophomores.

Knott said Temple and Owens present all program offerings, CTSO and career advance placement opportunities, and go through the application process. In a normal year, students pick two programs, come visit Vantage early in February, and get a hands-on experience with those two programs.


POSTED: 01/15/21 at 12:25 am. 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. 

Phase 1B vaccinations
Governor DeWine highlighted the vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio’s vaccination program, which is set to begin next week for those ages 80 and up.

Mike DeWine

Week of January 18: Vaccine providers will begin receiving their first allotment of vaccines for those ages 80 and older. Vaccines will be delivered on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Each provider will begin administering vaccines the day after they receive their shipment. All vaccines must be distributed within seven days.

Week of January 25: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 75 and up following the same process outlined above. Vaccinations will also be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additional information on how these individuals can choose to receive their vaccines is forthcoming.

Week of February 1: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 70 and up following the same process outlined above. 

Week of February 8: Vaccinations are anticipated to begin for those ages 65 and up following the same process outlined above. 

“When a new age range opens, that does not mean vaccinations will be complete for the previous age range,” said Governor DeWine. “Vaccinating Ohioans in Phase 1B will take a number of weeks given the limited doses available.”

Beginning Friday, Ohioans aged 80 and up can find additional information about providers administering vaccines by calling their local health department or visiting their local health department website.   


POSTED: 01/15/21 at 12:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

As of Thursday, the Van Wert County General Health District reports two additional deaths of county residents who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths for county residents to 46.

The Van Wert County General Health District staff expresses deepest sympathies for the family and friends of the deceased. Those deceased were both between 60 and 69 years old.

There has been an increase of 87 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since last Thursday, January 7, for a total of 1,899 confirmed cases. There are currently five people hospitalized. General Health District staff members appreciate the continued efforts of the community to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, Phase 1B distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Van Wert County will begin the week of January 19 with those residents over the age of 80. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be a scarce resource across the United States, and it will take time to provide vaccines to everyone who wants to receive them. For the first week of Phase 1B, the Van Wert County Health Department is the only provider receiving vaccine and the department will only receive 100 doses for distribution that week. 

Those ages 65 and older or with severe congenital or developmental disorders may request to be placed on the vaccination list by calling 419.238.0808, extension 111, register at this link:, or call the Van Wert County Council on Aging at 419.238.5011.

Those who have already contacted the health department or the Council on Aging to be placed on the list need not register again. 


POSTED: 01/15/21 at 12:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Ashley Shepherd, director of gifted services for the Western Buckeye Educational Service Center, announces that the 2021 Journal Gazette Van Wert County Spelling Bee will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, January 31, in the Lincolnview High School gym. 

Immediate family members and grandparents of each speller are welcome to attend this event. Masks are required for all that enter, and while seated during the bee. Spectators are also asked to socially distance themselves from other families. 

Twelve contestants representing seven Van Wert County schools, grades 5-8, will compete for the honor of representing the county in the Journal Gazette Regional Spelling Bee presented by STAR Financial Bank on March 6. The Regional Spelling Bee will be held in the Purdue University Fort Wayne Rhinehart Recital Hall at 10 a.m. that day. The winner of the Regional contest will go on to compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. 

Individual school champions are:

  • Crestview Elementary — Lucas Sawmiller, grade 5
  • Crestview Middle School — To be announced
  • Lincolnview Elementary — Zavier Kemler, grade 5, and Josie Miller, grade 6.
  • Lincolnview Junior High — Gabby Thomas, grade 7, and Lindsey Hatcher, grade 8.
  • St. Mary of the Assumption School — Jazzlyn Florence, grade 6
  • Van Wert Elementary — Isabelle Murphy, grade 5
  • Van Wert Middle School — Harrison Sloan, grade 6, and Peyton Hoffman, grade 7 

Doug Grooms, special services coordinator for Van Wert City Schools, will be the pronouncer. Judges for the Spelling Bee are Van Wert Middle School Principal Darla Dunlap, St. Mary’s School sixth grade teacher Dustin Hesseling, and Crestview Elementary Principal Jessica Schuette. Lincolnview Junior High-High School Principal Brad Mendenhall is in charge of the physical arrangements. 

Van Wert Federal Savings Bank is sponsoring the awards for the event, which include cash awards and plaques for the top three finishers and certificates for all the contestants. The plaques are provided by Northwest Ohio Trophy. 

Contestants are reminded to report to the Lincolnview High School Lecture Hall at 2:30 p.m. January 31. 

For additional information, contact Ashley Shepherd at the Western Buckeye ESC at 419.399.4711, or by email at

POSTED: 01/14/21 at 11:53 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Lauren Black, a sophomore at Van Wert High School and owner of “Lauren’s Culinary Confections,” has donated $500 from her business to the Van Wert County Humane Society’s capital campaign. 

“Lauren generously wanted to support our project, as well as give back to the community that has supported her,” said Campaign Chairperson Michelle White. 

Shown are (from the left) Michelle White, Lauren Black, and Deb Sealscott. Humane Society photo

Black’s business started as a booth at the Market at the Wass at Wassenberg Art Center and has expanded to social media on Facebook, where people place orders. 

“This is such a privilege to partner with Lauren and we wish her and her baking business tremendous success,” said Humane Society Board President Deb Sealscott. “With young individuals like Lauren who already have a passion for our mission of caring for homeless, neglected, and abused animals, the humane society’s future is in good hands.” 

POSTED: 01/14/21 at 11:52 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert City Board of Education members took care of a number of housekeeping items during their reorganizational meeting, including electing new officers and setting meeting dates and times, while also being honored by the district administration and various schools as part of School Board Recognition Month.

Van Wert City Board of Education member Greg Blackmore tries on the “superhero” mask he received in honor of School Board Recognition Month. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Board President Anthony Adams was re-elected to that position, while Dr. Rachel White was selected as board vice president. Board meeting times remained the fourth Wednesday of the month, starting at 5 p.m., in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

The board also approved the 2022 tax budget, following a public hearing, and re-authorized the treasurer, superintendent, athletic director, and food services director to perform a list of functions needed to operate the district when the board was not in session.

Superintendent Mark Bagley and the various building principals also provided recognition — and some even brought gifts, including “superhero” masks — to honor board members during their special month.

Adams returned the admiration: “You make us feel special all year long with the wonderful job you do,” he told the school representatives.


POSTED: 01/14/21 at 12:58 am. FILED UNDER: News