The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2021


VWAEDC Executive Director Stacy Adam provides economic development highlights during the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday evening. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Stacy Adam provided a look back at the local economy for 2020 during the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday evening at Vantage Career Center.

Adam noted that, while the COVID-19 pandemic provided serious problems for the Van Wert County economy — including a jump in unemployment from a low of 2.5 percent in April 2019 to a high of 16.2 percent in April 2020 — recovery was also fairly quick, with the jobless rate returning to a reasonable 3.6 percent by October of last year, which was lower than both the state and federal unemployment rates.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Adam said the county economy has performed very well over the past five years, noting that jobs increased by 3.7 percent from 2015-2020, from 11,968 to 12,405, a growth rate higher than the U.S.’s 3.1 percent average job growth.

The county had the seventh highest job growth rate in Ohio from 2016-2020 (7.5 percent), and the highest among the 27 counties that make up northwest Ohio. Although a more modest success, the county, which has been losing population for decades, grew 0.2 percent from 2016-2020, good enough for seventh among northwest Ohio counties.

Looking at Van Wert city income tax revenues, Adam pointed out that the city had 11 straight years of tax revenue growth before taking a hit in 2020 because of pandemic-related layoffs.

Adam also noted that, while Van Wert County is below the national average in the number of residents classified as Millennials, with 4,994 residents in that category, the county has seen growth in that demographic category over the past five years.

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POSTED: 06/16/21 at 7:41 am

Independent staff and submitted information

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

Jeremy Baer, 37, of Willshire, was sentenced to 120 days in jail, with credit for eight days already served, on a charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. After serving 60 days in jail, Baer can apply for electronically monitored house arrest.

James Weaver, 36, of Grover Hill, pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the third degree, during an arraignment hearing last Friday. Weaver was released on an unsecured personal surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, June 23.

James Hayhurst II, 36, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his probation by failing to report to the probation office on a charge of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with credit for 15 days already served.

POSTED: 06/16/21 at 12:59 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

Van Wert Civic Theatre reminds families of the opportunity for young people to get on stage in the play Twelve Angry Pigs, directed by Monica Campbell. Auditions will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 20, and Monday, June 21, at the theater, 118 S. Race St. in Van Wert. 

Performances for this show will be July 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. and August 1 at 2 p.m. In this comedic parody of Twelve Angry Men, a certain wolf is on trial for blowing down a pair of houses owned by the Three Little Pigs. A Jury of Swine must now decide if they will convict or declare the wolf not guilty. Most of the angry pigs believe the wolf is big and bad. However, some storybook characters help the pigs review the facts, and Pig No. 8 asks some tough questions that will make the rest of the pigs realize that the testimony of Little Boy Blue is nothing but hogwash

The cast of Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. works on song choreography in preparation for the production’s June 24 opening night. VWCT photo

Young people in first grade and up are invited to audition. There are a variety of roles available. Rehearsal will begin June 24. This show will rehearse in the evenings Sundays-Thursdays. Note: the cast will be limited to 25 actors.  

Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. is currently in rehearsal, with performances set for June 24, 25, 26, at 7:30 p.m. and June 27 at 2 p.m. The musical is loosely based on a Saturday morning cartoon series and pop culture phenomenon (those who are old enough know the songs). 

The show follows a young teacher, Grant, who is nervous about his first day. He turns on the TV and those memorable songs, such as “Just a Bill (on Capitol Hill)” and “Conjunction Junction” spring to life. Tickets go on sale Monday, June 21, and are $10 for all seats. To purchase tickets, go to http://vwct.org or call 419.238.9689 from 2-6 p.m. The show lasts 60 minutes and is appropriate for all ages. 

The audience can participate in the fun by purchasing blinking star wands in the lobby before each performance (VWCT also invites the audience to sing along).  Wands are $5 and can be purchased for cash only. Live theatre is back and is better than ever. 

POSTED: 06/16/21 at 7:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

The Northwest Ohio Soil & Water Conservation Districts are offering a free at-home, “Do-It-Yourself” Junior Conservationist summer program. The program’s hands-on activities and registration can be found online at www.lucasswcd.org/jrcc.  

Junior Conservationist program participants will have fun learning about soil, water, plants, animals, community, and nature exploration by completing the required number of activities in each category and submitting photos of themselves doing the activities or photos of the completed projects by Wednesday, August 25. 

Completed photos should be sent to Tammy Campbell, VWSWCD educator, by email at tammy.campbell@oh.nacdnet.net or by mail at 1185 Professional Drive, Van Wert, OH 45891. For more information, call 419.238.9591, extension 4273. 

A welcome message will be sent to participants once they register with the Lucas County SWCD (Jamie Kochensparger, education and outreach director). 

Upon completion of the program and received photos, participants will be sent a free certificate. Those who would also like a Junior Conservationist t-shirt for $10 (Van Wert SWCD will sponsor t-shirts for the first five students that sign up and complete the program) will be invoiced and shirts will be available for pick up at local SWCD offices or can be mailed for an additional $5 fee. 

Those who don’t want to register and receive a t-shirt and certificate may still enjoy the activities on their own for free by accessing the Lucas County SWCD website (above). 

POSTED: 06/16/21 at 7:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The charter government issue was the subject of much debate during Monday’s Van Wert City Council meeting, while city finances got a less-than-rosy report during the meeting.

City Law Director John Hatcher discusses an issue with vacant houses during Monday’s City Council meeting. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

First off, City Auditor Martha Balyeat talked about the city tax budget, a document the county requires to show the city has need of local government funding, while also noting that the numbers in the document “are pretty much a guess.”

Balyeat said she used projections for tax revenues over the next three years, coupled with a flat estimate of expense growth, but also including money for the city’s portion of the purchase of the Van Wert Inn property and demolition, while the Water and Sewer Departments’ budgets include $500,000 each for the meter replacement project.

Unfortunately, the tax budget numbers show decreases in the city’s year-end unencumbered balance — its carryover — of $524,000 between 2021 and 2022 and $600,000 between 2022 and 2023, which would essentially use up most of the city’s carryover by 2024. The carryover decreases are basically an indication that the city is spending more than it is taking in those years.

Council President Jon Tomlinson pointed out that, without significant increases in revenue City Council four years from now would likely have to look at budget cuts, which, since a large portion of the General Fund is police and fire personnel expenses, could mean personnel cuts in those departments.

“And the primary thing that organizations spend money on is payroll,” Tomlinson said, “so that’s where we’re at.”

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POSTED: 06/15/21 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

DELPHOS — The Museum of Postal History in Delphos is reminding area residents that MPH Tours is planning its 17th excursion to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky, during fall colors October 2-9, so people can shake off those Covid blues. 

The 8-day, 7-night trip includes all transportation with MPH’s experienced driver, Jorge, as well as lodging, breakfast and some additional meals, all the attractions, tips, fees, and taxes. An informational and sign-up meeting is scheduled at the Museum of Postal History, 339 N. Main St. in Delphos, for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 22. A deposit of $300 per person will guarantee people a seat on the 56-passenger luxury coach. Total cost of the trip is $1,875 per person, double occupancy.

Attractions include the Kentucky Horse Park, private tours of the Civil War Battlefields of Chattanooga and Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, Hunter Museum, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the Medal of Honor Museum. Enjoy talking with Civil War historians while listening to “first person” accounts of the battles. 

Those on the trip can also bring back their childhood by visiting the Moon Pie General Store, Rocket Fizz Store, and by playing unlimited pinball on games from the 1960s to today. Try an aviation simulator at the Kentucky Aviation Museum and learn about the heavens at the Living Arts and Science Academy. Accommodations are at The Hampton Inn and Home2 Suites, all part of Hilton Hotels. 

Bring questions and a checkbook to the June 22 meeting, as the trip is expected to fill up quickly. For more information, call Gary Levitt at 419.303.5482. All proceeds benefit the Museum of Postal History Inc. a 501(c)(3) organization.

POSTED: 06/15/21 at 7:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

CONVOY — After a year off, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Convoy Community Days will again be a live event this year at Edgewood Park. 

Many events are in the planning for the weekend festival for all ages. Starting on Friday Night with the KOA  Drags. Some of the highlights at Edgewood Park are the Convoy Fire & EMS Pancake Breakfast, fire department truck display, with life flight helicopter, kids inflatables, a Kiddy Tractor Pull, Mark’s Ark Animals,  the Community Days Parade, a chicken dinner, MICHINDOH tractor and truck pulls, and Lions Club Bingo.    

POSTED: 06/15/21 at 7:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Retired city worker Jake Trisel credits the fact that he has been an active walker and biker over more than two decades for his miraculous recovery from serious heart problems that nearly killed him in 2020.

Retired city worker Jake Trisel made a surprisingly quick recovery from heart blockages that threatened his life. photo provided

“I’m just thankful that I made it through and I’m here,” he said during a recent interview. “It’s just amazing that you get a second chance.”

In Trisel’s case, however, the fact that he has been active for most of this life — including walking and biking more than 38,000 miles over the past 23 years — no doubt played a big part in his recovery.

Trisel, who retired from the Van Wert City Street Department 17 years ago, was having kidney stone surgery in June 2020 when doctors diagnosed him with atrial defibrillation — a condition that results in an irregular heart rhythm and often leads to heart attacks.

Doctors scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist for July 21, 2020, but, two weeks prior to that appointment, Trisel had two heart attacks.

“I was struggling to breathe and my heart was racing, so I went to the Van Wert hospital’s ER,” he said.

Because of the seriousness of Trisel’s condition, the Van Wert ER doctor had Trisel life-flighted to Lima Memorial Hospital, where cardiologists there, consulting with other cardiologists at Ohio State University Medical Center, first tried putting in stents in his heart, but couldn’t do so because his heart was so weak. With one artery blocked 100 percent and another blocked 80 percent, Trisel’s heart was only functioning at 10-15 percent of its capacity.

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POSTED: 06/13/21 at 11:29 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

Brumback Library’s Summer Reading Program schedule of events for the week of June 14-19 is as follows:

Main Library
Canine Capers Week 
Monday, June 14
10:30 a.m. — “Tales With Tails” Live Magic Show by Jim Kleefeld
Name the Puppet Day

Tuesday, June 15
10 a.m. — Family Story Time      

Dog Bingo
Wednesday, June 16
10 a.m. — Dog Man Story and Craft Time with the Fox Family                    

Thursday, June 17
10 a.m. — Toddler Story Time     
10:30 a.m. — The Magic of Larry Wirtz      

Friday, June 18
10:30 a.m. — Molly May’s Cookie Day Story Time & Craft 

Saturday, June 19
Father’s Day Craft
Read a book to your dog today

Convoy Branch
Monday, June 14
“Pin the Tail on the Bunny”

Tuesday, June 15
Paddle Ball Craft and Contest

Wednesday, June 16
10 a.m. — Story Time and Chomping Alligator Craft

Thursday, June 17
Safari Animal Cups

Friday, June 18
Branch is closed

Saturday, June 19
Word Search

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POSTED: 06/13/21 at 11:17 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

LIMA — The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Van Wert County this week, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 1. All outlined work is weather permitting.

U.S. 224, between Stemen Road and Dog Creek Road, will close June 14 for five days for a culvert replacement.

  • Detour: U.S. 30 to SR 66 back to U.S. 224 (see map).

Ohio 116, between Ohio City-Venedocia Road and Jones Road, is now open following a culvert replacement.

Market Street, between Central Avenue and Crawford Street in the city of Van Wert, closed March 15 for 150 days to replace the bridge over Town Creek. Visit the project page.

  • Detour: Central Avenue to Washington Street, to Maple Street, back to Market Street.

Lincoln Highwayfrom Wayne Street in the city of Van Wert to Middle Point-Wetzel Road, will be restricted to one lane through the work zone for resurfacing, beginning June 15.

POSTED: 06/13/21 at 11:12 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff

Three people were injured, one critically, when their All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) pulled into the path of a car at the intersection of Ohio 118 and Wren Landeck Road shortly after noon on Sunday.

According to troopers from the Van Wert Post, a Polaris Ranger “side-by-side” ATV operated by Gordon Keith of Plainville, Indiana, was westbound on Wren Landeck Road and pulled into the path of a 2014 Toyota Prius driven south on Ohio 118 by Karen Feasby, 77, of Convoy.

Mr. Keith was seriously injured, while a passenger on the ATV, Caleb Radulewicz, 29, of Van Wert, was critically injured when he was thrown from the ATV, and he was life-flighted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Another passenger, Kory Kline, 20, of Rockford, was also seriously injured, and he and Mr. Keith were taken to Van Wert Health for treatment.

Mrs. Feasby, and two passengers in her car, Jimmie G. Feasby, 77, and Lois I. Feasby, 96, both also of Convoy, were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Assisting troopers at the scene was the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio City Fire and EMS, Wren EMS, Van Wert Fire and EMS, Hague’s Towing and Recovery, and Two As Towing. State Route 118 was closed for approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Although restraints were available in the ATV, occupants were not reportedly using them.

POSTED: 06/13/21 at 1:55 pm. FILED UNDER: News