The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jul. 29, 2021

VWCS Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton gives his report to the board of education. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

The new school year, COVID-19 and masks, personnel, Eggerss Stadium and critical race theory were among the topics addressed during Wednesday’s Van Wert school board meeting.

Superintendent Mark Bagley said the current plan is for masks to be optional for all students and staff.

“People who want to wear masks are welcome to wear them and people who choose not to, that’s okay too right now,” Bagley told the board. “Could things change? Absolutely. We’re going to respond to things that come our way but right now we are trying to do things as normal as possible knowing that we may have to pivot and change some things.”

Bagley also noted the coronavirus vaccine was offered to staff members earlier this year along with encouragement to get the shot.

During his report to the board, Assistant Superintendent Bill Clifton said all district buildings appear to be in good shape.

“The custodial staff has been working diligently throughout the summer to make sure we are ready to go,” Clifton stated. “Outside grounds are what they’re concentrating on now and a lot of things are happening.”

He also said home sideline work is in progress at Eggerss Stadium, with more work scheduled for completion soon.

“We’ve basically taken out the old (sideline) artificial turf and we’ve leveled out the sideline and thanks to a donation we’ve been able to put down used artificial turf,” Clifton explained. “If you watch professional or major college football, they have a mesh material that they put on the sidelines. Normally it’s white or cream in color, but ours will be a red mesh that we’re putting on our sideline.”


POSTED: 07/29/21 at 1:22 am

Independent staff and submitted information

As of Thursday, the Van Wert County General Health District reports 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Thursday, July 22, for a total of 2,471 confirmed cases. Currently, there are no known hospitalizations of county residents due to COVID-19.  

To date, the health department has given 11,211 COVID-19 vaccinations. The following COVID-19 vaccination clinics are scheduled at this time

  • There will be no clinic on August 5.
  • Thursday, August 12, 2-4 p.m.

Currently, all clinics are being held at the County Health Department offices on Westwood Drive.

All clinics will have Moderna and Pfizer vaccine available. Pfizer vaccine has been approved for those age 12 and up and Moderna is available to those age 18 and up. Unless specified, clinic dates are for those who want to receive a first dose and anyone eligible to receive a second dose of that vaccine.  

Those using the clinics should bring a photo ID and any pertinent insurance information. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present, as well as proof of age, such as a shot record or birth certificate.  

The health department is not making appointments at this time, as all clinics are walk-in only, but the public can contact Family Healthcare of Northwest Ohio at 419.238.6747 and Van Wert Family Physicians at 419.238.6251 to schedule an appointment.

POSTED: 07/29/21 at 3:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Lincolnview Local Board of Education honored the Lancer state runner-up baseball team and four staff retirees, and also addressed what students and staff will see when the new school year begins next month.

Coach Eric Fishbaugh and a number of his Lancer baseball team members attended the meeting to talk about the state runner-up season and pose for a photo afterwards. Superintendent Jeff Snyder also honored four recent staff retirees, including Ed Brazen, Kim Evans, Brad Doidge, and Valori Dunn. Brazen and Evans couldn’t attend the meeting, but Doidge and Dunn spoke fondly of their time at Lincolnview.

Lincolnview state runner-up baseball team members and coaches pose during Wednesday’s Lincolnview Board of Education meeting. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

During his report, Snyder noted that he been inundated with information on what schools should do to keep students and staff safe in the coming school year.

“This is a constant informational overload every day on how should schools start the new year,” he said, noting that, while staff will continue to clean and sanitize buildings, there will be no mask or vaccination mandate.

“There’s no problem if people want to wear them,” the superintendent noted, but added that he feels the choice to wear a mask or be vaccinated are personal choices at this point. He did add, though, that the situation may change as the year progresses.

Snyder also said the district is in the “final countdown” for the start of the new school year, with teachers coming in Monday and Tuesday, August 16 and 17, for a faculty workday and an in-service, while students’ first day will be Wednesday, August 18. He said class lists for the elementary should be posted on Monday, with schedule pick-up in the Junior High and High School starting Monday, August 9, with an open house from 6-7:30 p.m. August 16.


POSTED: 07/29/21 at 1:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

Make plans to join the Van Wert County Agricultural Society (Fair Board) as it brings a little bit of the Grand Ole Opry to the Dairy Barn stage on Friday, August 6, starting at 7 p.m.  

Alex Miller was launched to global audiences during Season 19 of “American Idol.” This 17-year-old Kentucky-born farmer and proud FFA member is still coming to terms with the changes the “Idol” experience brought to his life. 

Alex Miller

“It’s been a complete 360-degree turnaround,” Alex said. “Crazy, but good.”

Alex loves classic country but is also working on writing new songs for his upcoming album release.  

Tickets for this concert are $10 and can be purchased in the Fair Board office or beginning an hour before the concert. 

There will also be a concession stand for snacks, but coolers are permitted. The money raised will go to help provide free entertainment during the fair. There will also be a chance to win two tickets to the 

A Bar Rodeo on Sunday, September 5, during the Fair. 

To top off the weekend, the Agricultural Society will also be hosting a chicken dinner Saturday, August 7, from 4:30-6 p.m. The chicken is being prepared by Van Wert County veterans and will be served with baked beans, chips, a cookie, and bottled water.  There will be drive-thru and dine-in options available at the Dairy Barn. All tickets are $10 and are presale only. Tickets need to be purchased by Wednesday, August 4, from the Fair Board office or any Fair Board member. 

During the chicken dinner, the Fair Board will be hosting its annual free entertainment auction. Check out the Fair Board’s Facebook page to see the various auction items.

There will be an expanded list of free entertainment at the 2021 Van Wert County Fair, with more than $60,000 invested in some great shows. So, although it is free to the fairgoer, it comes at a cost to the Van Wert County Agricultural Society. 

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 11:39 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

Each year, the United Way of Van Wert County gives local non-profit organizations an opportunity to apply for funding. Last year, United Way was fortunate to play a part in funding some of the local ballparks, including Convoy Sports Center, Middle Point Ballpark, Willshire Youth Activities, and the Wren Ballpark Association. 

When people make a pledge to the United Way of Van Wert County, they can designate their donation to an agency of their choice, which many community members took advantage of during the 2020-21 campaign year. In total, $7,100 was designated to local parks. 

Shown are (from the left) Mike Breece of Wren Ballpark Association, Lynne Miller of Willshire Youth Activities, United Way Executive Director Vicki Smith, Amy Post of Middle Point Ballpark, and Brad Ream of Convoy Sports Center. United Way photo

United Way representatives recently met with a representative of each ballpark to see how their seasons went and discussed how they plan to use their United Way funding. Amy Post of Middle Point Ballpark said she was happy to see everyone back at it after a shortened season last year. Middle Point is gearing up to have its season ending 12th annual Middle Point Ballpark Festival July 30-August 1. 

Mike Breece of the Wren Ballpark Association said numbers definitely grew this year. “People were ready to get back to the ballparks.” The Wren community is looking forward to Wren Homecoming festivities coming up August 19-21. Parents and their children who played during the season get to take part in the parade and other activities the town has to offer that weekend, such as the iconic Wrenway Park Wiffleball Tournament.

“Many new things are happening at the ballpark, such as repairs to the dugouts and adding an addition onto the Community Building,” said Brad Ream of Convoy Sports Center. “We will also be removing the tennis courts and adding more parking. The community is looking forward to these exciting changes.” 

“We had a great season and are looking forward to making some updates to the park,” said Lynne Miller, the representative for Willshire Youth Activities. “We will be replacing some outfield fences and getting two new ones.”

When agencies apply to become a United Way funded agency, they agree to many things such as, posting United Way signage at their organization. Proudly, the United Way will be purchasing new banners for each ballpark to hang showing their support. Be sure to look for them next season at the ballpark.

The United Way is thankful for such a caring, giving community and looks forward to new partnerships each year. Non-profit organizations that have questions about funding should call call the United Way office at 419.238.6689. 

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 11:28 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

The Van Wert Area Boychoir is seeking a new director. After a two-year hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the choir is planning to restart. 

The Boychoir will be promoted throughout the Van Wert area with the goal of providing a quality experience for the participants, as well as an additional cultural opportunity for the community.

The director should be an accomplished musician and able to work with boys in grades 1 through 6. Rehearsals are weekly for 90 minutes August through a December concert and January through a May concert.  

For more information or to apply, contact Boychoir board members Romaine Whetstone at 419.238.1962 or Larry Taylor at 419.513.0554.

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 11:23 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

South Jefferson Street, between Main Street and Central Avenue, will be closed this Sunday, August 1, for the Operation Back to School event hosted by First United Methodist Church in Fountain Park.

The street closure is from 1-6 p.m. 

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 11:23 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent staff

ALLEN COUNTY – Four Delphos teens were hurt, with one suffering life-threatening injuries, when the vehicle they were in struck a tree on Kiggins Road in Marion Township, Allen County.

According to troopers from the Lima Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Hunter Graham, 17, of Delphos, was driving a 2008 Ford Taurus south on Kiggins Road when the car veered off the right side of the roadway, went into a cornfield, and struck a tree.

Graham suffered severe, but non-life-threatening, injuries and was transported to St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima by the Delphos EMS squad. Three passengers also suffered injuries in the crash. A passenger in the front seat, Ethan Osting, 16, suffered life-threatening injuries and was first taken to St. Rita’s by American Township EMS squad, but was later transported to Nationwide Hospital in Columbus.

Two rear-seat passengers, Madison Cross and Reagan Kohli, both 14, suffered severe, but non-life-threatening injuries and were both taken to St. Rita’s by American Township EMS squad.

The vehicle was towed from the scene by Knippen Chrysler. The Patrol was also assisted at the scene by Delphos Fire and American Township Fire.

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 8:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent staff

Two people received prison terms during criminal hearings held this past week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Tecko Peterson, 43, of Springfield, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after changing his plea to guilty to an amended plea of domestic violence, a felony of the fourth degree. The sentenced is to run concurrently to a sentenced handed down in Allen County, with credit for 91 days already served.

Andrew Thomas, 39, of Ohio City, changed his plea to guilty to an amended charge of domestic violence, a felony of the fourth degree. He was then sentenced to 12 months in prison, with credit given for 53 days already served.

Three others also entered changes of plea during hearings in Common Pleas Court.

Drentae Moore, 22, of Lima, changed his plea to guilty to two counts of felonious assault, each a felony of the second degree. Judge Martin Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Monday, August 30.

C.J. Nall, 21, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to endangering children, a felony of the third degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 1.

Robert Adkins, 42, of Haviland, changed his plea to guilty to an amended charge of domestic violence, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Sentencing was set for 9 a.m. September 1, and his bond modified to remove the “no contact” order and electronically monitored house arrest.

Also this week, Beth Wright, 52, of Van Wert, admitted to violating her unsecured personal surety bond and her intervention in lieu of conviction program by not providing a current address, failing to complete treatment, and failing to report to probation. A new $10,000 cash bond was set in the case and sentencing was scheduled for 10 a.m. September 1. A presentence investigation was also ordered.

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 12:36 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Shown are scenes from this year’s Wetzelland event in northern Van Wert County. photos by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 12:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

Seth Baker, CEO of The Van Wert County Foundation, is pleased to announce designated grant funds to local school districts from the Richard L. and Nadie O. Klein Memorial Trust. 

Richard Klein and his wife, Nadie, lived in the Ohio City area and were engaged in farming. The Kleins were childless, but they wanted the bulk of their estate to be used to aid children. They were especially interested in helping children in Liberty Township. 

Foundation CEO Seth Baker (middle) with local school district representatives. photo provided

They directed the proceeds of their estate be used to aid Van Wert County school children in grades 1-8, inclusive, with first priority given to children that reside in Liberty Township.

Since 2019, the Klein Memorial Trust has granted $116,022.29 to local schools to aid local students. Most school districts use these funds to help provide food, clothing, and supplies to qualified students through voucher-like programs. 

Totals from 2019-2021 for local schools is as follows:

  • Crestview Local Schools, $10,617.75
  • Delphos City Schools, $5,554.84
  • Lincolnview Local Schools $11,440.47
  • Parkway Local Schools, $2,524.17
  • Spencerville Local Schools, $1,042.32
  • St. Marys Catholic School, $1,052.70
  • Van Wert City Schools, $82,996.81
  • Wayne Trace Local Schools, $793.23

The Van Wert County Foundation is a nonprofit community organization serving Van Wert County and surrounding areas by inspiring philanthropy and mobilizing resources to create a well-resourced and thriving quality of life for our community.

More information is available at

POSTED: 07/28/21 at 12:33 am. FILED UNDER: News