The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Aug. 14, 2020

2020 Junior Fair royalty candidates include (top row, from the left) Breena Grace, Dylann Carey, Tara Raudabaugh, Lindsey Barnes; (middle row) David May Jr., Cody Gamble, Braxton Williamson, Addie Sorgen; (bottom row) Aleigh Chesbro, Lillian Hempfling, Christina Keen, and Chloe Kroeger.

VW independent/submitted information

With the 2020 Van Wert County Fair quickly approaching, the Junior Fair Coronation Committee announces this year’s candidates for Junior Fair king, queen, and species prince or princess. 

The coronation ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, August 23, in the grandstand on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. Following the coronation will be the 4-H Awards at 5 p.m. 

Candidates are as follows:

Lillian Hempfling is the daughter of Chuck and Sue Hempfling. She is a candidate for Junior Fair queen and dairy princess. She is a senior at Delphos St. John’s High School, and her school activities include Student Council and National Honor Society. She attends St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, where she is a Eucharistic minister and a mass server. Some of her community activities include helping with Relay for Life, March for Life, and church camp. 

Hempfling is a member of the Udder Dairy 4-H Club. Her fair projects include dairy heifers, market goats, and market turkeys. She has held the club offices of reporter, secretary, vice president, and treasurer, and is also is a Junior Fair Board member. In 2019, she was the Showman of Showman grand champion. 

Dylann Carey is the daughter of Randy and Leigh Carey. She is a candidate for Junior Fair queen. Carey is a senior at Lincolnview High School and her school activities include varsity track, Beta Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, Drama Club, varsity golf, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club, and choir. 


POSTED: 08/13/20 at 7:41 am

The Van Wert Area Chamber welcomed new member Bowridge Properties LLC. with a ribboncutting on Tuesday. The new business operates Bowridge Community, a mobile home park located at 9188 John Brown Road in Van Wert. “We have over 70 lots in the park and our investor group has worked to remove most of the older trailers that were in pretty rough shape to make room for newer models,” said local investor and Property Manager Darin Figel. “The new park has set new expectations regarding rules to keep the park safe, as well as guidelines regarding property appearance and maintenance.” Bowridge will be working with Straley Realty and Auctioneers to find families interested in purchasing or renting homes on the property. Those interested can contact Figel at 419.771.0969 or Warren Straley at 419.979.9308. photo provided

POSTED: 08/13/20 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Lincolnview Local Schools will be holding its annual open house from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, August 17. See the Lincolnview Local Schools website for more details. 

The first day of school is scheduled for Monday, August 24. Those students who are new to the Lincolnview School District and have not yet registered for this school year should come to the District Office at 15945 Middle Point Road or call 419.968.2226 for more information.

The K-6 elementary school supply lists are posted on the schools website:  Click “Elementary”, then click “Elementary Documents and Forms”, and then “2020-21 Supply List.”

Some other information of note:

Elementary School

  • August 17-21 — Return all Chrome books/charging cords, classroom textbooks (hardcover), and all library books to the elementary office.
  • August 24-26 — Kindergarten stagger start sign up is on the website under “Elementary Parent Teacher Scheduler”
  • August 27 — First day school for kindergarten

High School

  • Those who have textbooks (hard covers, non-consumable) that are school owned are asked to drop them off between August 18-21 from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in the high school office. This includes College Credit Plus books. Likewise, those who will be freshmen (Class of 2024) are asked to drop off Chromebooks at this time. All other students with issued Chromebooks will keep them for this school year. Classes of 2024, 2026, and new students to the district will be issued Chromebooks within the first few days of school.
  • Students should receive schedules in the mail by August 11. If there is an issue with a schedule, call the office at 419.968.2214 or see Counselor Brenda Leeth in her office beginning August 11. She will be available from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. to speak to students about their schedules.
  • The fall preseason athletic meeting for parents’ student-athletes is scheduled for Wednesday, August 12. The link for the online fall sports pre-season OHSAA meeting for parents and student-athletes will be available on the athletics web site at starting on Wednesday, August 12. The video presentation will remain on the web site until August 24 and it can be viewed at any time. All parents and fall sport athletes are encouraged to view the video.  

Other info:

  • Lunch prices for the 2020/21 school year: $1.90 – Elementary Lunch; $1.95 – Jr. High & High School; or Lunch “B” at $2.35.
  • Please have all completed vaccinations before the first day of school.  For more information, access the Lincolnview website and click on the link “Nurse’s Corner.”

POSTED: 08/13/20 at 7:10 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Due to the ever-changing mandates of Governor Mike DeWine, the Van Wert County Agricultural Society (Fair Board) has had to make drastic changes to the 2020 Fair line-up. The governor’s orders have cut fairs to Junior Fairs only, resulting in the cancellation of Senior Fair events. 

Even though this year looks different, the Fair Board is working hard to create the best possible environment for Junior Fair exhibitors, their families, and those who come to support them. 

Food vendors are open to the public and will be located at the south end of the fairgrounds for those who need their fair food fix. Entry on Thursday will be free. Friday-Monday there will be a $5 per car parking fee. 

Van Wert County Agricultural Society members will receive free parking all weekend, as well as voting rights on Monday, September 7, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 

There will be a virtual Junior Fair Livestock Auction held Tuesday, September 8. More details on the auction are coming soon.

POSTED: 08/13/20 at 6:56 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Six people entered pleas to grand jury indictments this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Jose Melgar Revolorio, 39, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count each of rape, a felony of the first degree, and sexual battery, a third-degree felony. He was ordered held on a $100,000 cash bond and a pretrial conference scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 8.

Eunice Bernhardt, 56, of Ohio City, entered not guilty pleas to 10 counts of pandering obscenity, each a felony of the second degree, and two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, each a fourth-degree felony offense. She was released on an unsecured personal surety bond, but is to have no Internet access and no cell service with a data plan. A pretrial conference was set for 10:30 a.m. Monday, August 24.

Juan Hernandez Jr., 40, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count each of gross sexual imposition, a felony of the fourth degree; assault, a first-degree misdemeanor; and obstructing official business, a misdemeanor of the second degree. He was ordered held on a $25,000 cash bond and he will appear for a pretrial conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 9.

Ryan Homier, 40, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of possession of drugs and possession of cocaine, each a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on a surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, August 26.

Joshua Weaver, 39, of Lima, pleaded not guilty to one count of vandalism, a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on a surety bond, with an order to have no contact with Andrea Neiford, and a telephone pretrial conference was set for 8 a.m. Tuesday, September 1.


POSTED: 08/12/20 at 2:57 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Local residents had the chance to learn more about the charter government issue being placed on the November ballot during a meeting of the Heartland Patriots held Tuesday evening at Wesley United Methodist Church.

Van Wert Mayor Ken Markward reads information on a proposed charter government issue being placed before voters this coming November during a meeting Tuesday of the Heartland Patriots. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Van Wert Mayor Ken Markward presented information on the charter government issue that will be on the general election ballot this November and also answered questions from those attending.

The mayor first noted that the charter government issue is a two-step process, with the issue on this November’s ballot being one related to the formation of a charter commission and, if approved, the selection of 15 commission members who would then create a proposed charter.

The commission would then have less than a year to develop a charter proposal that would then be mailed to all registered city voters prior to a vote the following November.

Mayor Markward noted several reasons why a charter form of government might be preferred, citing the flexibility of charter cities to develop, within guidelines set down by the Ohio General Assembly, changes to municipal government not currently allowed by Ohio statute governing municipalities.

Some of those changes could include:

Having the city auditor and law director be appointed officials, rather than elected officials. Doing so could allow a municipality to set criteria to be met when hiring either of those officials, and also allow a municipality to terminate their employment if they fail to do their jobs. Currently, the only requirements to run for city auditor, Markward noted, is be a registered voter and a resident of the municipality in question.

A charter city could require that an auditor have a financial background, as well as other related education — something not possible under the current statutory form of government.

Other possibilities would be to make the mayor’s position a part-time position, with mostly ceremonial duties, or to hire a professional city manager to handle the day-to-day duties of running the city.


POSTED: 08/12/20 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert Forward initiative led by The Van Wert County Foundation is conducting an online survey to gather community input on what is most important to residents for the Downtown Redevelopment Master Plan. This plan will guide downtown Van Wert for years to come. 

To access the online survey, visit

“I hope everyone will be involved and lend their voices to this process,” said Hall Block, VWCF property manager. “The priorities identified by the community in this initial stage will be the foundation to guide priorities going into the future.” 

The process is rooted in community values and aspirations. It creates a platform to guide and align local leaders, stakeholders, and the community toward a shared future. As part of the planning process, community engagement is vital.

“Community engagement is the cornerstone of any effective revitalization,” said VWCF Executive Secretary Seth Baker. “Public perspective is crucial regarding public space, redevelopment, and public art to create a vibrant, thriving downtown.”

POSTED: 08/12/20 at 6:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Properties such as this one are available from the Van Wert County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank).

In 2017, the Van Wert County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) began acquiring blighted, vacant homes using grant money in target communities. The properties were revitalized and some are now being offered to the public for development.

Beginning August 14, a list of available properties and an acquisition bid proposal form will be available on Van Wert Area Economic Development’s website at

As properties become available, they will be listed on the site and available to the general public. Interested parties can submit a bid by the deadline dates posted. Future properties will be listed as they come available.

For more information, contact Land Bank Program Manager Krista Somerton at or 419.238.2999.

POSTED: 08/12/20 at 6:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The YWCA will be distributing grab and go snack bags in the Smiley Park parking lot from 9-10 a.m. Monday August 17, and the Jubilee Park parking lot from 9-10 a.m. Friday August 21. The snack bags are a continuation of the snack bags that were distributed throughout the summer.  

The YWCA of Van Wert County is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen this community. 

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

POSTED: 08/12/20 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted on Tuesday provided the following updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio.

Return to school
Governor DeWine continued to stress the importance of masks, social distancing, and proper hygiene as Ohio’s school students approach the start of the upcoming school year. 

“I have every confidence that Ohio’s schools will do everything they can to keep children safe, but any spread happening in the broader community will, without a doubt, be reflected in Ohio’s classrooms,” said Governor DeWine. “If we want our kids to go to school in person, to play sports, to be in extracurricular activities – it’s up to all of us to cut down the spread in our communities.”

Currently, Ohio has left the decision to individual school districts on how to approach the new school year. 

According to information gathered by the Ohio Department of Education, 325 public school districts in Ohio are planning to return to school full-time which equates to approximately 590,000 students. A total of 55 districts representing approximately 398,000 public school students will begin the school year remotely.  

Approximately 380,000 students in 154 public school districts will start the school year with a hybrid of online and in-person learning. Information on 78 public school distracts was not readily available. 

Also participating in today’s briefing were Dr. John Barnard from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Dr. Patty Manning from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Adam Mezoff from Dayton Children’s Hospital. These experts discussed the prevalence of COVID-19 among children; how to prevent spread in schools by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, maintaining good hand hygiene, keeping surfaces clean, and ensuring good ventilation; and what schools can do if a student or staff member tests positive.


POSTED: 08/11/20 at 3:54 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

As of Tuesday, the Van Wert County General Health District reports the death of the second Van Wert County resident who tested positive for COVID-19. The Van Wert County General Health District staff expresses its deepest sympathies for the family and friends of the patient. The patient was in the age range of 70-79. 

Local residents should remember that the date of the release may or may not coincide with the date of the confirmed person’s passing. When the death of a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 occurs, the health department waits for the death certificate to be released by the physician in order to verify that Covid- 19 is listed as a cause of death. 

As with reporting of confirmed cases, the health department works to ensure that we are releasing accurate information to our community, and this may cause a delay in when reporting occurs. 

As of Tuesday, the Van Wert County Health Department reports one new confirmed case of Covid-19 of a person in the age range of 50-59. The total number of cases to date is 67 cases, with four of the confirmed cases still active. Another 61 cases have recovered, one person is currently hospitalized, and a total of two deaths reported. 

For more information about Covid-19, contact the Van Wert County General Health District at 419.238.0808. For information on Covid-19, including ways to prepare and help protect the health of a person and others, go to or call 833.427.5634. Information and resources are also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

POSTED: 08/11/20 at 3:43 pm. FILED UNDER: News