The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 27, 2020


This financial graph shows Van Wert City School District revenues could end in the red by the end of the 2020-21 school year. photos by Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

The 2020-2021 school year may have a different look compared to previous school years, but no one is exactly sure what to expect.

During Wednesday’s Van Wert City Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Vicki Brunn said she’s had Zoom meetings with other superintendents, Ohio school board members, and attorneys about possibilities involving the upcoming school year because of COVID-19.

“Some possible scenarios would be to stay with virtual education, keep doing what we’re doing, and continue to improve education that way,” Brunn said. “Another would be a blended model where half of our students would attend at a time and there would be a staggered start in two shifts per day, or it could be students attending half Monday and Wednesday and the other half Tuesday and Thursday, then Friday everyone would have virtual learning.”

Brunn added there could be big logistical challenges, especially in terms of busing, meals, and student movement within the schools.

“I don’t think it would even be possible for our district — we would be running buses all day and still not getting students where they needed to be unless we doubled our fleet, and no district has the financial wherewithal to do that, so that’s not even an option,” Brunn stated. “Students might be eating in classrooms and not together in the cafeteria and we’ve also talked about students staying in a room and having teachers moving, instead of students changing classes every period.”

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POSTED: 05/27/20 at 10:03 pm

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council approved two pieces of financial assistance legislation needed to accept state aid related to COVID-19, adopted a measure needed to sell no longer used vehicles through Internet auction, and heard some less-than-positive economic information during its meeting on Wednesday evening.

Council, meeting two days later than normal because of the Memorial Day holiday, approved a resolution allowing the city to accept CARES financial assistance from federal and state governments, while also adopting an ordinance creating a separate fund to house state COVID-19 assistance. Both measures were adopted on first and final reading as emergency measures.

Van Wert Mayor Ken Markward reports on a Land Bank property located at the corner of Keplar and Market streets that is to be used as a Vantage house construction site. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Council also approved Ordinance 20-05-031, which authorizes Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming to advertise and sell the city’s “unused, unneeded, obsolete, or unfit” vehicles by Internet auction, as part of its consent agenda.

During his report, Fleming noted that the existing Jefferson Street Bridge should be completely gone by Thursday, and also announced that a portion of Van Wert-Decatur Road, between Burger King and Chief Supermarket, would be closed next Wednesday for eight hours for pavement repair.

Mayor Ken Markward said in his report that a property owned by the Van Wert Area Land Acquisition Corporation (Land Bank) on the southwest corner of Keplar and Market streets would be the location of the next Vantage house construction project. 

“One of the purposes of the Land Bank was to put housing back in place (of dilapidated houses demolished),” Markward said. 

During his report, Markward also noted that the tennis courts at Smiley Park and the pickleball courts at Franklin Park are now open to the public.

Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Stacy Adam noted that unemployment in the county had gone from a 30-year low of 2.5 percent in April 2019 to a 30-year high of 16.2 percent this past April to underline the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the county’s economy.

“It’s a huge swing, without a doubt,” Adam said, adding that the county, which was in the top 10 percent of the state in job growth prior to the pandemic, has a strong foundation she feels is needed to make a fairly complete economic recovery.

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POSTED: 05/27/20 at 10:03 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Optimist Club of Van Wert is grateful to community members and the Convoy Lions Club for their help with the Avenue of Flags project over the Memorial Day weekend. More than 300 American flags were displayed over the weekend, which club members would not have been possible without the help of volunteers.

The Avenue of Flags project is the Optimist Club’s largest fundraiser and service project. Members of the community subscribe to have an American flag placed in their yard to celebrate five holidays throughout the summer and fall months.

American flags are placed in front of Brumback Library prior to the Memorial Day weekend as part of the Van Wert Optimist Club’s Avenue of Flags program. photo provided

The Convoy Lions Club, led by president David Thomas, decided to lend a hand this year to the project. Their motto “We Serve” shows the personality of the club’s members, who work together with other community groups to make the county a better place to live.

A number of other community members also showed up to lend a hand with the project.

Those who would like to volunteer their time to help with the flag project in future can contact club President Trevor Webster at trevor.webster@edwardjones.com or at 419.232.2057. Volunteers need not be club members to help with this patriotic cause.

POSTED: 05/27/20 at 9:39 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The 2020 edition of Old Fashioned Farmers Days has been added to the list of events canceled this year. This year’s event was to be held July 2-4. 

Next year’s event is now scheduled for July 1-3, 2021, and will feature John Deere equipment. 

POSTED: 05/27/20 at 9:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Five people appeared this past week for criminal hearings in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. 

Two of those hearings involved changes of pleas.

Tate Arnold, 38, of Van Wert, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty to four counts of aggravated possession of drugs and two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs, each a felony of the third degree; and one count of possession of a Fentanyl-related compound, a fifth-degree felony.

Judge Martin D. Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 10 a.m. Monday, June 22.

Sonny Metzger, 45, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his unsecured personal surety bond by testing positive for drugs, and then also changed his plea to guilty to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He also waived a presentence investigation and requested immediate sentencing. Judge Burchfield then sentenced him in 180 days in jail, with credit for two days already served. 

Sonny Raines III, 30, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his probation during a hearing last Thursday, and was then sentenced to 22 days in jail, which began Tuesday.

Two people also admitted to violating personal surety bonds.

Colby Black, 36, of Van Wert, admitted violating his bond by failing to report to probation since March 11 and failing to appear for court hearings. A $10,000 cash bond was set in his case and a pretrial conference scheduled for Wednesday, June 3.

Austin Schwaner, 20, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his bond by consuming alcohol. A $10,000 cash bond was also set in his case, which is scheduled for sentencing on June 3.

POSTED: 05/27/20 at 1:45 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming has announced that Van Wert-Decatur Road, between Burger King and Chief Supermarket, will be closed Wednesday, June 3, from noon-8 p.m., for pavement repair.

If postponed because of inclement weather, the work is planned for Thursday, June 4, during the same times.

POSTED: 05/27/20 at 1:38 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

YMCA of Van Wert County staff and board members are looking forward to the reopening of its facility this coming Monday, June 1.

The main YMCA facility will reopen again this coming Monday, but there will a number of changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. VW independent file photo

The YMCA recently sent out a letter detailing its phased-in reopening plans and some of the precautions it will be taking to keep those using the facility safe from exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

“It’s been hard to be away from the people who call the YMCA home,” the letter stated, adding that the YMCA staff is thankful community members are doing their part to stay safe and stop the spread of coronavirus.

The letter also detailed some of the activities the YMCA staff has been doing to serve the community while its facilities were closed to the public and its members, noting that staff members were helping the United Way of Van Wert County with its food distribution program, Lincolnview Local School District with its lunch program, while also lending safety equipment local businesses, and providing free opportunities for community members to be active and safe. Those opportunities included free disc and Frisbee golf for all community members and free summer camps for frontline staff and first responders. The YMCA staff also full sanitized its main building, developed a cleaning protocol to assure a safe, clean environment following reopening, painted, installed rubber floors, and added numerous sanitation stations throughout the YM building.

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POSTED: 05/27/20 at 1:57 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, provided updates Tuesday on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mike DeWine

New congregate care unified response teams
Governor DeWine announced on Tuesday the formation of new Congregate Care Unified Response Teams to test residents and staff members in Ohio’s nursing homes.

“Nursing facilities have been aggressive regarding testing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks on their own, but this effort will provide them with additional resources,” said Governor DeWine. “As we continue to ramp up our testing in Ohio, we must deploy our resources in a way that will save the most lives.”

Beginning this week, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams, which will include medically-trained members of the Ohio National Guard, will begin testing residents and staff within nursing homes on two parallel paths: 

  • All staff in all Ohio nursing facilities will be tested to help nursing home administrators gauge the status of the virus in their facilities and help isolate the virus to stop it from infecting their community.
  • Testing will be conducted in facilities where residents or workers have confirmed or assumed positive cases. Testing will be conducted on all staff, and the testing of residents will be based on a clinically-driven strategy that targets those who have likely been exposed to COVID-19.  By testing residents based on their potential interaction with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the nursing facility will be better equipped to isolate the virus and contain spread within the facility.

In addition, the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams will begin the testing of all residents and staff members in the state’s eight developmental centers to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 in congregate care settings.  

Current Ohio data
There are 33,006 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 2,002 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,579 people have been hospitalized, including 1,450 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 833.427.5634.

POSTED: 05/26/20 at 3:07 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

On Tuesday, the Van Wert County General Health District is reporting its sixth confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident in the county. The health department is working to notify those who may have been in contact with the confirmed case. 

Four of the six confirmed cases in Van Wert County have recovered. There are currently no confirmed cases hospitalized. 

Also Tuesday, Ohio reported 30,827 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 5,579 hospitalizations, and 1,803 confirmed deaths. This information is updated daily at 2 p.m. and can be found at http://coronavirus.ohio.gov.  

The Van Wert County General Health District would like to urge the public 

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 one’s health and that of others, go to www.coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 833.427.5634). Information and resources are also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.coronavirus.gov.  

POSTED: 05/26/20 at 3:03 pm. FILED UNDER: News

A color guard was on hand in Convoy Monday during a Memorial Day celebration held in IOOF Cemetery in honor of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in service to their country. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 05/26/20 at 6:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

PAULDING — Photos are needed for Paulding County, Ohio: A Pictorial History Volume III, which is planned for publication by the John Paulding Historical Society later this fall.

The book committee is asking for images — including photographs, snapshots, slides, drawings, maps, paintings, and printed memorabilia — covering circa 1820 to 2020 from the public to help make this project a success.

  • Subject areas needed include: Transportation — Horse or mule teams, buggies and other horse-drawn vehicles, automobiles, road construction, rivers, bridges, canals, railroads, depots, trains, boats, trucks, ambulances, airplanes, passenger buses, police cars, bicycles, motorcycles, bookmobiles, etc.

Other categories include agriculture, farming, businesses, churches, disasters, organizations and clubs, events and activities, military and veterans, families and people, and schools. Images are needed from every area of the county and every decade up to the present time.

The book committee is looking for photos of the following subjects: Paulding County Fair, vanished towns (ghost towns), canals, railroads, pre-1900 courthouse photos, covered bridges, building and store interiors, early industries, and people at work.

Now is a great time to dig out old photo albums and storage boxes and search for images that contribute to a comprehensive history of the county and the stories of its residents to commemorate the county’s 200th birthday.

Images may be color or black-and-white. Individuals may scan their photos and email them as an attachment to Kim Sutton at dkmax@windstream.net, Bob Iler at ethanm@twc.com, or Melinda Krick at tmekrick@yahoo.com. For details and guidelines about scanning images, visit facebook.com/jphsmuseum or facebook.com/PauldingCounty200.

POSTED: 05/26/20 at 6:44 am. FILED UNDER: News