The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023

These Vantage Career Center students are among the Van Wert County students chosen as Jr. Rotarians. Photo submitted

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert Rotary Club recently held a kickoff banquet to welcome the 2023-2024 Junior Rotarian Class. The Junior Rotarian Program recognizes select students at Crestview Local Schools, Lincolnview Local Schools, Van Wert City Schools and Vantage Career Center.

“The program was created many years ago and allows local school administrators to select students that have excelled in their groups and exhibit leadership abilities, ” said Van Wert Rotary President Mark Verville.

The students selected have the option to apply for a Van Wert Rotary Foundation Scholarship which is awarded to 5 students from the four county schools.

“Students will attend our weekly meetings in groups of nine beginning in October and we will rotate in different students every month until the end of April 2024,” Verville said.

The selected students from Van Wert City Schools are Keaton Sudduth, Debbie Jones, Ellie Mooney, Olivia Treece, Macy Johnson, Hope Keuneke, Sarah Verville, Kelta Cowan, Lyndsey Heath, John Kramer, Kelby Blythe, Aaron Dowdy, Cayden Laukhuf, Citlali Agular, Sydney Dowler, Emma Spoor, Jacob Kitson, Gwyneth McComas, and Ashlyn Stoller.

The selected students from Vantage Career Center are Cienna Flores, Jenna Corzine, Emily Dealey, Maddi Waltmire, Maddie Osborne, Kaitlyn Sully, Troy Frazier, Jaycee Kennedy, Lillia Kruch, Madison Pugh, Gavin Grubb, Ryan Renner, Jordyn Biberstine, and Cassandra Martz.


POSTED: 10/02/23 at 3:37 am

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert County Fairgrounds was the site of the recent Build Your Future 2023 event. It gave more than 400 freshman and sophomore students to hands-on construction trades experience.

Those students came from Van Wert, the Van Wert School at the Goedde, Lincolnview, Crestview, , Wayne Trace and Parkway. They were able to experience HVAC, electricity, welding, heavy equipment operations, construction, carpentry, masonry and more. Employer representatives and Vantage Center staff members and students were on hand to guide those in attendance.

Area students received hands-on experience at the recent Build Your Future event. Photos submitted

“It is so amazing to see the spark happen, when a kid tries something new and loves it,” said Sara Zura, President of Alexander & Bebout, Inc. “This event gives kids an opportunity to do construction hands on, some for the first time in their lives.”

Special thanks was given to the Van Wert County Fairgrounds and Ohio State – Van Wert County Extension Office for the use of space, along with Alexander & Bebout, Ayers Mechanical Group, Millwork Brands, ATR Contractors, Overholt-Moorman Electric, Metzger’s Masonry, Ohio Means Jobs (Van Wert County), Vantage Career Center staff and students, Van Wert Works and the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation for leading, collaborating and supporting the event.

POSTED: 10/02/23 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has announced $4 million in grant funding available to local school districts to buy technology that links them directly to law enforcement in an effort to improve crisis response and crime prevention.

Dave Yost

“When a crisis is unfolding, school administrators need tools that can quickly inform law enforcement of potential threats,” Yost said. “This grant will equip our school buildings with tools that reduce response times when minutes matter the most.”

The grant program, which has been continued after a pilot effort last year, helps school districts purchase crisis-response technology that alerts law enforcement of potential safety breeches on school property.

Examples could include but are not limited to:

  • Systems allowing immediate camera access to responding law enforcement.
  • Silent panic alarms.
  • Gunshot-detection technology.
  • License plate reader alerts for vehicles belonging to registered sex offenders.
  • Alert systems warning of wanted dangerous individuals.

Districts can apply for a maximum of $30,000 in grant money for use on one or multiple buildings; schools that applied for the pilot program are encouraged to reapply.

Grant applications will be accepted through November 30, via the Ohio Grants Portal. Submission date will be a factor in the evaluation of grant applications. Grant award recipients will be notified in January 2024, with grant payment projected for early 2024.

POSTED: 10/02/23 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

Allie Brown (center with crown) was crowned as 2023 Van Wert High School homecoming queen prior to Friday night’s football game against Ottawa-Glandorf. The Cougars won the game in thrilling fashion, 28-21. A full game story and pictures can be found on the Sports page. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 11:53 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

Local youngsters will be pleased to learn there will be no shortage of opportunities to load up on Halloween candy in the downtown Van Wert area and beyond on Saturday, October 28. Here is a list of events and times taking place that day.

First United Methodist Church’s trunk or treat event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The street closure will be Central Ave., from Washington St. to Jefferson St.

Historic Main Street Van Wert’s downtown trick or treat will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Black Mark Mafia’s trunk or treat event, in conjunction with Katrina’s Graveyard will be held from 5-10 p.m. The street closure will be Race St., between Main St., and Central Ave.

The City of Van Wert’s trick or treat will be held from 4-6 p.m. Residents who want to participate should leave their porch lights on.

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 11:52 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder has announced the agency will use an $850,000 Process and Technology Improvement Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve the recertification process for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“This grant will allow us to utilize text messaging to better prepare SNAP recipients throughout their renewal process,” Damschroder said. “Much like visiting the doctor, recipients can choose to receive text messages that will better set expectations and prepare them for renewal interview, including by filling out necessary forms and updates in advance.”

Individuals receiving SNAP must reapply annually. The new process, which is voluntary, will prompt those renewing their SNAP benefits to fill out recertification forms, and submit verification documents before their interviews. By completing this information in advance, both the recipient and the caseworker will be better prepared for the renewal interview prompting individuals to complete necessary forms and updates to information in advance.

“USDA’s nutrition assistance programs – including SNAP – have a crucial role in addressing both food insecurity and nutrition insecurity,” said Midwest Regional Administrator, Dr. Vista Suarez Fletcher.
“Through initiatives like this grant, FNS hopes to improve the customer experience of nutrition security programs by putting the needs of applicants and participants at the center of anything that is created.”

The improvements being made possible through this grant come on the heels of ODJFS launching a new electronic signature process that will save Ohioans time when applying for certain benefits such as SNAP.

“The use of texting to pre-register for SNAP renewals is just one example of our ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and improve the customer experience for those we serve,” Damschroder said.

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 11:51 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

The week of October 2 will be a busy one for the Vantage Career Center Board of Education.

The board will hold two special meetings, 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 3, and 6 p.m. Thursday, October 5. The board will then hold its regular monthly meeting at 8 p.m. All three meetings will take place in the district conference room.

The special meetings will be done in executive session to interview treasurer candidates, then discussion will occur during the regular 8 p.m. meeting. Four applicants will be interviewed by the board.

“We will choose either to go to a second interview with two or begin contact negotiations with one,” Board President Pat Baumle said via email. “There will not be a vote on Thursday.”

The person ultimately chosen will replace current Treasurer Laura Peters, who’s leaving at the end of the year for the same job with the Delphos City Schools.

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 11:50 pm. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

At approximately 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, October 4, all radios, televisions and cell phones will show or receive a emegency alert message but don’t worry – it’s only a test.

FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) that day.

Van Wert County EMA Director Rick McCoy explains how next Wednesday’s EAS test will work. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

“This will be the first time it’s done this particular way,” Van Wert County EMA Director Rick McCoy said earlier this week. “It used to be called the Presidential Emergency Alert, where presidents would activate all alerts nationwide in the event of a nuclear attack or a large disaster. They renamed it to the nationwide emergency test.”

“At 2:20 p.m. next Wednesday, they will be activating the alert to every cell phone within the United States so your tone is going to go off,” he continued. “It will be similar to what you hear during an Amber alert, but my understanding is this tone is going to sound just a little bit different. Shortly thereafter, they will be testing Sirius (satellite) radio, all AM/FM radio stations, all cable and all regular TV stations throughout the nation, and that will be a different type of test.”

“It’s going to say ‘this is a test of the national Wireless Emergency Alert system, no action is needed,’ and that will happen at 2:20. When they do the next test over radio and television, it’s going to say ‘this is a national test of the Emergency Alert System issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency covering the United States…this is only a test, no action is required by the public.’”


POSTED: 09/29/23 at 3:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

WELLSTON – A Wellston, Ohio woman who stole charitable funds from a local booster club was sentenced Wednesday to one year of community control and will repay the more than $9,000 that she took, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Jackson County Prosecutor Randy Dupree announced.

Melanie Stanley had originally faced a fourth-degree felony charge of grand theft for misusing funds from the Wellston City School District’s volleyball booster program, The Spike Club (formerly the Wellston Match Point Club). In early June, though, Judge Christopher Regan of Jackson County Common Pleas Court accepted Stanley’s guilty plea to a lesser charge of misdemeanor theft after Stanley agreed to pay back the stolen money.

Dave Yost

“She stole from the team and abused the trust of parents,” Yost said. “No matter how big or small the organization, thieves looking to set themselves up with charitable funds need to know that they’re playing a losing game.”

The Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section helped the Wellston Police Department investigate the case after booster club volunteers reported discrepancies in the nonprofit’s accounts to the police.

The volunteers said Stanley was the only officer with access to the accounts, and that she had used the charitable funds to make large personal purchases and issue checks to family members.

“Just as good teamwork can lead to victory, keen oversight can assure charitable dollars serve their intended purpose,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Randy Dupree. “We’re grateful for the collaborative investigation to put the money back in the hands of the booster club where it belongs.”

Attorney General Yost said the case highlights the need for oversight in the charitable sector, noting how a passive board of directors and poor internal controls can spell disaster for a charity.

Coinciding with the adjudication of the Jackson County case, Yost also announced that four new web-based trainings are available under the office’s Charitable University platform (Charitable U.), which launched in January:


POSTED: 09/29/23 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

LIMA — The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Van Wert County the week of October 2. All outlined work is weather permitting.

  • U.S. 33 between the Indiana state line and the Mercer County line will be restricted to one lane for crack sealing operations.
  • U.S. 224 between Dog Creek Road and State Route 637 may have traffic impacts for ditch cleaning.
  • Ohio 81 between the Indiana state line and Alspach Road will be restricted to one lane for crack sealing operations.
  • Ohio 49 between the Mercer County line and the village of Wren will be restricted to one lane for crack sealing operations.

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert Rotary Club is cordially inviting the public to enjoy an Ohio State University football viewing party, dinner, tailgate games and auction on Saturday, November 11, at the Junior Fair Building at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.

The fun will begin at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m., catered by Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ, then live and silent auctions to follow. The Ohio St. vs. Michigan St. football game will be televised on multiple large screens. This year’s event will raise funds to help the Agricultural Society build a sign and LED display at the main entrance to the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.

Tickets are $30 each or two for $50. Click here to buy tickets.

Since 1988, Van Wert Rotary Club has hosted an annual auction to raise funds supporting countless community projects. With the community’s help, Rotary has raised over $130,000 toward infrastructure improvement at several city parks, YMCA Camp Clay, Van Wert Reservoirs, Wassenberg Art Center, Salvation Army building, county schools, and many more

Anyone with questions about the Van Wert Rotary Club or the auction should contact Mark Verville at 419.238.4390) or Aaron Anspach 419.238.6214, check the Rotary Club’s Facebook page, or email

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 3:40 am. FILED UNDER: News