The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

An ODOT-installed roundabout at the intersection of Ohio 118 and Wren Landeck Road should reduce crashes like this one. Bob Barnes/file photo

One of the most dangerous intersections in Van Wert County is now slated for a roundabout.

According to a joint press release from Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks and Governor Mike DeWine, a roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of Ohio 118 and Wren Landeck Road in Liberty Township. The project is expected to cost $3.67 million and construction is scheduled for fiscal year 2029.

The roundabout will be the third in Van Wert County. The first one opened in August of 2022 at U.S. 224/127/Marsh Road. The second roundabout, at the intersection of Lincoln Highway and U.S. 224, is already scheduled for construction in 2027.

“When we introduce roundabouts for the first time, folks are generally skeptical,” Marchbanks said. “However, as time goes by, they see the benefits of safety and improved traffic flow.”

As of October of this year, 298 people were killed in crashes at intersections throughout Ohio. Studies by the Federal Highway Administration show that roundabouts reduce overall crashes by 44 percent and serious injury and deadly crashes by nearly 90 percent at two-way stop intersections. When roundabouts replace a traffic signal, studies show a 48 percent reduction in crashes and a nearly 80 percent drop in serious injury and deadly crashes.


POSTED: 12/06/23 at 4:39 am

Submitted information

Van Wert American Legion Post 178, in conjunction with West Ohio Food Bank, will be handing out non-perishable food items from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, December 9.

This is open to all Van Wert residents but veterans have priority. The Legion request veterans bring proof of service to receive priority. This effort is to help struggling veterans and families this Christmas season that need it most.

POSTED: 12/06/23 at 4:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s weeklong white-tailed deer gun hunting season concluded on Sunday, December 3, with hunters taking 70,118 deer, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Last year, hunters took 71,931 deer during the gun week. The three-year average for deer harvest during the seven-day gun season is 71,322. An additional weekend of deer gun hunting will happen on December 16-17.

During the deer gun week, hunters checked 25,044 antlered deer (36 percent of the harvest) and 45,074 antlerless deer (64 percent), a category which includes does and button bucks.

Hunters in Van Wert County bagged 300 deer during last week’s deer-gun season. ODNR photo

The top 10 counties for deer taken during the week of gun season were: Coshocton (2,441), Tuscarawas (2,260), Ashtabula (2,189), Muskingum (2,076), Knox (1,880), Carroll (1,864), Guernsey (1,798), Washington (1,582), Licking (1,570), and Harrison (1,533). Coshocton County also led the state in 2022 with 2,457 deer checked.

Hunters in Van Wert County took 300 deer, while Mercer County hunters bagged 400 deer. The number was 462 in Putnam County, 458 in Allen County and 563 in Paulding County. According to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, numbers in each of those counties increased from 2022.

State hunting officials said straight-walled cartridge rifles have become more popular since becoming legal for deer gun hunting in 2014. This year, straight-walled cartridge rifles were used to harvest 60 percent of the deer checked during the seven-day gun season. Shotguns accounted for 34 percent of the total. In addition, four percent were taken with a muzzleloader, one percent with archery equipment, and one percent with a handgun.

This year, 389,181 deer permits have been issued through Sunday, Dec. 3. Nonresidents have purchased 37,543 hunting licenses, many of them to enjoy Ohio’s terrific deer hunting opportunities. The most popular states that hunters traveled to Ohio from include Pennsylvania (7,078 nonresident licenses), Michigan (4,733), West Virginia (3,560), North Carolina (3,105), and New York (2,852).


POSTED: 12/06/23 at 4:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

Churches around Van Wert County are encouraged to submit information about Christmas Eve services, including times, to The deadline is Monday, December 18. A list will be compiled and published on both the News and Church pages on Wednesday, December 20.

POSTED: 12/06/23 at 4:36 am. FILED UNDER: Church, News

Van Wert Lodge No. 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks held its annual Memorial Service on Sunday, December 3. The service is a time for Elks to pause and pay their respects to those members who have passed away during the year. Lodge members who passed away during the year: Richard G. Waters, John E. Shoop, Arthur J. Bauer, Lyn M. Bell, William H. Thiebaut, Frederick C. Wiessner, Kent E. DuCheney, Bobby W. Foster, James R. Beard, Thomas J. Rupert, Richard D. Figley, Dennis J. Knittle and Mickey P. Geesey. Special music and an inspirational message was delivered by Randy Long. Lodge Chaplain Mary Weisman was the officer in charge of the service. Pictured from left to right are Randy Long, Exalted Ruler Matthew J. Krol and Lodge Chaplain Mary Weisman. Photo submitted

POSTED: 12/06/23 at 4:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is running strong.

The local Salvation Army is conducting the annual campaign on all volunteers, but has not had enough volunteers to keep all of kettles ringing to reach a goal of $ 60,000 by Saturday, December 23.

Anyone wishing to make a donation may do so at any local kettle, or in-person at the Salvation Army office, 120 N. Cherry St. If donating by check, put red kettle campaign in the memo.

Anyone who wants to help ring a bell at a red kettle should call Major Debbie Weigner at 419.910.9332 or email

POSTED: 12/05/23 at 11:10 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

Donations are being sought for a family whose Lincoln Highway home caught fire Monday night. After Van Wert County CERT met with the family it was determined that clothing, and monetary donations are needed.

Case #9523: adult male: 30×32 pants, medium shirts, size 9 shoes and large coats.

Donations for the fire victims should be taken to the following locations based on the contents:

Clothing Items:

Trinity Global Methodist Church
220 South Walnut Street, Van Wert
Business hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Larger appliances and furniture:

Trinity Friends Church
605 North Franklin Street, Van Wert
Business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
(Please call the EMA office below to make arrangements)

Monetary donations can be dropped off or sent to Van Wert County Foundation/CERT located at 138 E. Main St. in Van Wert.

Be sure to indicate the appropriate case number so that the donations can go to the correct family.

Any questions, please call the EMA office at 419.238.1300.

POSTED: 12/05/23 at 10:52 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce held its 18th annual Salute to Small Business Awards Bruncheon on Friday, December 1, at Willow Bend Country Club.

Nominations were accepted throughout November and chamber businesses were recognized in the following categories:

Van Wert Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Mark Verville is pictured with Kimberly Laudick, Executive Director, VWCA of Van Wert County. Photo submitted
  • Emerging Business of the Year: J. Collection Bridal
  • Charitable Non Profit: YWCA of Van Wert County
  • Community Collaborator: Lee Kinstle GM Sales & Service
  • Downtown Champion: The Edition
  • Women in Business: Schrader Realty
  • Community Youth Champion: Portal 2:20 Teen Center
  • Palate Pleaser: Collins Fine Foods
  • The Woo (Winning Others Over): Lee Kinstle GM Sales & Service
  • Small Business of the Year: Schrader Realty

“Beyond their economic contributions, small businesses play an integral role in fostering a sense of community,” Van Wert Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Mark Verville said. “They are the hubs of social interaction, the gathering places where residents connect, share stories, and build lasting relationships. We are proud to recognize the businesses that the Van Wert community chose during our voting process”

Verville also thanked the following sponsors for their investment in the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce and member businesses.

Premier Sponsors: Shultz Huber & Associates and Citizens National Bank.

Event sponsors: Central Insurance, Danfoss Corporation, Tenneco, Inc., Northwest State Community College, First Bank of Berne, Vantage Career Center, Straley Realty and Auctioneers, Laudick’s Jewelry and Van Wert Manor.

POSTED: 12/05/23 at 4:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Van Wert Fire Department was summoned to battle a blaze at this home in the 11000 block of Lincoln Highway just before 9 p.m. Monday night. Ohio City and Convoy provided mutual aid in the form of tankers, and the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Department, Van Wert Police and Van Wert County CERT were at the scene as well. No one was home at the time of the fire and the cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Bob Barnes/VWFD photographer

POSTED: 12/05/23 at 4:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

WREN — Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in Wren at the Santa House at the corner of Ohio 49 and Jackson Street from 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, December 15-16. Carriage rides, hot chocolate, and cookies will be available during Santa hours.

The Wren Christmas Society put up decorations in the village on Saturday, November 18, and the Grand Illumination was held on Saturday, November 25.

Wren Christmas Society members are grateful to all the volunteers and donors that help make decorating the village possible and they wish everyone a safe, happy Christmas season.

POSTED: 12/05/23 at 4:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Governor Mike DeWine, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, has announced the official launch of the Governor’s Merit Scholarship Program.

The Governor’s Merit Scholarship was included in the most recent state budget – House Bill 33 – in an effort to increase the number of high-achieving high school graduates who remain in Ohio for college. A total of $20 million was appropriated for the first year of the program, which is open to graduating seniors in the top five percent of their class in the Class of 2024.

Mike DeWine

“With so many world-class higher education institutions in Ohio, we want to encourage all students to stay in-state as they continue their education and transition into careers,” DeWine said. “Ohio is truly the heart of opportunity, and we want all Ohioans to find the path that is right for them, right here at home.”

As part of the launch, an online portal has been created for school districts across the state to transmit information about their eligible students. The portal – found at – will also accept applications from home school students. Students attending a public or chartered nonpublic high school do not need to apply for the Governor’s Merit Scholarship, as their eligibility will be determined by their school. Home school and dropout recovery high school students may qualify by completing a college admissions test and submitting an application through the portal.

The scholarship provides up to $5,000 per year, renewable for four years of full-time instruction. Funds can be applied to tuition and fees as well as other educational expenses such as books, equipment, and room and board. Students may use the scholarship at any public or private, nonprofit college or university in Ohio.

“With the Governor’s Merit Scholarship, we want to not only reduce any financial barriers that may impact a student’s decision to pursue higher education, but also recognize the impressive scholastic achievement of Ohio’s top graduates and incentivize them to attend a college or university here in Ohio,” said Chancellor Randy Gardner.

For students in the Class of 2024, the portal is expected to remain open through April 30, 2024.

POSTED: 12/05/23 at 4:47 am. FILED UNDER: News