The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Top row, left to right: Addie Sorgen, Alli Thatcher, Breanna Pohlman, Briann Scudder; Second row: Chloe Kroeger, Ella Davis, Ella Wilson, Elyssa Renner. Third row: Emma Wells, Katie Gamble, Olive Dumbrow, Tara Radabugh; Fourth row: David May, Jase Delgado, Korbyn Huse, Luke Hefflefinger. Photos submitted

VW independent staff/submitted information

With the 2022 Van Wert County Fair quickly approaching, the Junior Fair Coronation Committee has announced this year’s candidates for King, Queen, Species, and Project Prince or Princess.

The coronation ceremony will kick off Celebration Sunday events held at the Marsh Foundation beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, August 21. Following coronation, Cloverbud Graduation, Style Review, and the 4-H awards ceremony will take place. The public is invited to attend and celebrate the hard work of the county 4-H and Jr. Fair youth. The fair itself is scheduled for August 30-September 5.

This year’s field of fair royalty contestants totals 16.

Addie Sorgen is the daughter of Phil and Jill Sorgen. She is a candidate for Queen or Beef Princess and is representing Crestview FFA and Farmtastic 4-H Club. She is entering her senior year at Crestview High School where she is involved in the FFA program. Outside of school, Addie is involved in the St. Mary’s Church Youth Group. During her time in Jr. Fair, she has taken beef, goat, and hogs to fair and was her FFA chapter’s vice president during the 2021-2022 school year.

Alli Thatcher, an eighth grader at Crestview Middle School, is the daughter of Shawn and Brenda Thatcher. She is a candidate for Sheep, Beef, or Dairy Princess and is representing the Ohio Challengers 4-H Club. At Crestview, Alli is involved on the softball and volleyball teams. Her Jr. Fair projects include sheep and beef breeding and dairy feeders.

Breanna Pohlman, the daughter of Zach and Kristina Pohlman, is a candidate for Swine Princess. An eighth grader at Delphos St. John’s, she is involved in Jr. High football and basketball cheerleading, softball, and marching band. Outside of school, Breanna helps with Vacation Bible School and serving breakfast at her church, as well as volunteering for the yearly pancake and sausage breakfast. Representing Venedocia Lads & Lassies, she has taken beef feeder calf, beef breeding, market hog, and market chicken projects to the fair and is the vice president of her 4-H Club.


POSTED: 08/10/22 at 3:37 am

VW independent staff/submitted information

Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach has announced the arrest of a county man in connection with stolen property.

Derick Blake

Derick L. Blake, 33, of Willshire was arrested Tuesday after an investigation into stolen property being recovered at a Willshire Township residence.

Riggenbach stated his office received information regarding stolen property being at a residence in Willshire Township. Deputies responded and made contact with Blake, who gave consent to search the property. Riggenbach said during the initial search, deputies found stolen items at the residence. Deputies then obtained a search warrant for the property, then found and recovered additional stolen items.

Blake has been initially charged with theft of a firearm, a third degree felony. He’s being held in the Van Wert County Correctional Facility pending arraignment in Van Wert Municipal Court.

According to Riggenbach, the investigation is continuing and additional charges could be filed.

The Van Wert County Prosecutor’s Office, Adam’s County Indiana Sheriff’s Office, Decatur Police Department, and Straightline Body and Paint assisted at the scene.

POSTED: 08/10/22 at 11:50 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff  

TULLY TOWNSHIP — Charges are pending in connection with a Tuesday night high-speed chase along U.S. 30 in Van Wert County. 

According to the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the driver, from Marion, was first pursued by Allen County Sheriff’s deputies, who lost sight of him. He was spotted by a trooper on westbound U.S. 30 near Converse Roselm Road at approximately 10:40 p.m. 

The driver fled again and deputies from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office joined in the pursuit before putting down “stop sticks” at U.S. 30 and Elm Sugar Road.  

At least one tire was flattened by the stop sticks and the man was stopped at approximately 10:55 p.m. one mile from the Indiana line. 

The man, who was driving a Jaguar, was arrested without further incident and was taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility.  

Troopers noted the chase reached speeds of 125 miles per hour.

POSTED: 08/10/22 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

On the heels of last week’s 127 Yard Sale, the multi-state Lincoln Highway “Buy Way” Sale will take place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The annual three day sale will pass through Allen and Van Wert counties and continue on into Indiana. In Ohio alone, the route spans over 400 miles.

Motorists are urged to watch for slowed or parked cars along Lincoln Highway, while shoppers should be aware of their surroundings during the three day sale.

POSTED: 08/10/22 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District held its 73rd annual meeting by co-hosting with the Van Wert Farm Bureau at the Ag Banquet at Life House Church in Van Wert.

A Soil and Water Conservation District election was held for two supervisor positions on the SWCD Board of Supervisors five member board. Craig Pohlman and Ryan Mohr were elected to serve a three-year term commencing January 1, 2023.

Jayden Black was the SWCD Scholarship recipient, and Adam Brothers was recognized by the SWCD and received the Conservation Farmer Award. This award is given to honor individuals for their conservation achievements.

Farm Bureau honored their scholarship recipient and presented Membership Ag Awards. The Van Wert Ag Hall of Fame Award was presented to George Ropp for his many agricultural accomplishments.

Van Wert County Foundation spoke about the ways they are helping in Van Wert County through scholarships and grant programs. Sarah Noggle was the guest speaker and addressed mental health issues that many farmers face.

Ag Credit provided centerpieces of flower arrangements that were given as door prizes. Sponsors for the evening were Van Wert County Foundation, Farm Bureau, and the Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District.

POSTED: 08/10/22 at 3:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

A number of different topics were addressed at Van Wert City Council’s meeting on Monday.

Economic Development Committee Chairman Jeff Kallas said the demolition of the former Van Wert Inn on Washington St. has been successfully bid and he said he’s hopeful the vacant building will come down this fall. Kallas added the Land Bank is very close to acquiring the long vacant Anthony Wayne School on Jefferson St. Bids will be sought to tear down that building as well.

After hearing an overwhelming negative response to the idea of a single trash hauler in the city, Health, Service and Safety Committee Chairman Bill Marshall suggested it be scrapped, but that future discussions be held with current haulers on possible ways to help residents dispose of large items.

During a brief report to council, Mayor Ken Markward said the city may do a trash voucher offering for larger items in October, similar to what was done last September. He noted parking is now allowed on Vine St. between Main and Central. The area has been marked as a no parking zone. Markward also noted a new police officer, Devin Sanchez, has joined the force.

City Auditor Martha Balyeat said the city is where it was projected to be financially.

Van Wert City Council meetings are now live streamed on the city’s website. Pictured from left to right: First Ward Councilman Jeff Agler, Law Director John Hatcher, Council President Jerry Mazur, Council Clerk Drew Bittner and Councilwoman At-Large Judy Bowers. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Westwood Behavioral Health Center CEO Mark Spieles gave a 30-minute presentation on the potential effects of junk/rubbish and clean property can have on children. Spieles noted a family’s economic status can play a significant role.

“Having a clean home helps with the self-esteem of children and adults, something they can be proud of,” Spieles said. “I think that’s important.”

Spieles also suggested that court fines aren’t effective when it comes to junk/rubbish cleanup, especially among low income households.

“There’s no money there to get and it’s not going to influence the behavior,” he stated. “If we really identify people who just can’t afford to do it, they’re typically going to be hooked up with an agency. If we can work with those agencies there are times we may be able to access resources to help them out.”

He said most churches offer help and some citizens have come forward to lend assistance as well.

Van Wert Forward Property Manager Hall Block informed council members that the organization is starting to work on traffic control in the area of the Odd Fellows building at the corner of Main and Washington.


POSTED: 08/09/22 at 3:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

As the United Way of Van Wert County celebrates its 100th year of service, the agency is also celebrating the 24th year of the now-renamed Vantage Day of Caring.

The event is set for September 30-October 1. Food barrels will be placed at many industries and businesses throughout town the secnd week of September. The public will be able to donate anytime until Friday, September 30 when the barrels are picked up. Sorting will then take place at Vantage Career Center. The goal for this year’s event is 100,000 items for 100 years. A collaboration will take place between local organizations and food will be disbursed between the Salvation Army, Trinity Friends Church, and the Van Wert Cooperative Ministries Food Pantry.

The annual Red Cross blood drive will be held at Trinity Friends Church from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 30, with a goal of 131 units of blood. The drive is from 8 am to 6 pm. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or go to, use sponsor code “vwdoc”.

There will be a mobile food pantry distribution at Trinity Friends Church from 9-11 a.m. October 1. Food will be provided by West Ohio Food Bank and distributed by volunteers from Danfoss. Participants will be asked to show a valid photo I.D.

The United Way of Van Wert County will also have its annual “Stuff the Truck” event at Walmart and Chief Supermarket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 17, and from 12-4 p.m. Sunday, September 18. The United Way will be collecting top-needed pantry items from customers at the entrance doors with assistance provided by local emergency responders and Vantage students. Some people will shop for these items and others will make cash donations which will be put on account for the pantries to purchase food at the West Ohio Food Bank.

If interested in volunteering, call the United Way office at 419.238.6689.

POSTED: 08/09/22 at 3:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert’s newest police officer, Devin Sanchez, was sworn in late last week by Mayor Ken Markward. Sanchez has experience through the Paulding Police Department and is currently learning the ropes in Van Wert. Pictured are Markward, Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming, Sanchez and Chief Doug Weigle. Van Wert Police Department photo

POSTED: 08/09/22 at 3:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

Lincolnview Local Schools has announced its 2022-2023 program year policy for free and reduced-price meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals or milk served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast, After School Care Snack or Special Milk Program. Each school office and the central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility. Children from families whose annual income is at or below the federal guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals or free milk if the school participates in the Special Milk Program.

Application forms are being distributed to all homes in a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free and reduced-price benefits, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at the principal’s office in each school. A complete application is required. Households which currently receive Special Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits (SNAP, formally known as food stamps) or Ohio Works First (OWF) funds for a child must provide the child’s name, the SNAP or OWF case number and signature of an adult household member on the application.

Households which do not receive SNAP or OWF funds must provide the names of all household members, the last four digits of the social security number of the adult signing the application or state “none” if the adult does not have a social security number, the amount and source of income received by each household member, (state the monthly income) and the signature of an adult household member. If any of this information is missing, the school cannot process the application.

In addition, families with children eligible for school meals may be eligible for free health care coverage through Medicaid and/or Ohio’s Healthy Start & Healthy Families programs. These programs include coverage for doctor visits, immunizations, physicals, prescriptions, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse and more. Please call 1.800.324.8680 for more information or to request an application. Information can also be found on the web at Anyone who has an Ohio Medicaid card is already receiving these services.


POSTED: 08/09/22 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Van Wert County Courthouse was the backdrop for Main St. Van Wert’s Farm to Table event. The Saturday night meal on Main St. featured food from various different local sources, including a hog roast from Owens Family Farm, turkey from Cooper Farms, corn on the cob by Something from the Garden, salad and appetizers by The Edition, and dessert by Truly D’Vine. Garlic potatoes, carrots, mangos, chicken and flank steaks rounded out the menu. The food was prepared by Willow Bend and sponsored by Avangrid Renewables, and music was provided by Own the Night Enertainment. Main St. Van Wert photo

POSTED: 08/08/22 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

Phase II widening work is set to begin today on Grill Road/Kear Road/Bonnewitz Avenue between John Brown and Washington Street in Van Wert.

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, there will be traffic impacts through October for the project, which includes sanitary line replacement, resurfacing, and shoulder widening.

In addition, John Brown Road, Woodland Avenue, and Lesson Avenue in Van Wert may have traffic impacts for the construction of a bike path through Rotary Soccer Park and Smiley Park.

POSTED: 08/08/22 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News