The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 12, 2021

Local residents enjoyed another weekend of in-person events as the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce held its Luau in the Art Park at Wassenberg Art Center on Friday evening. The event included dinner, music entertainment, limbo and hula hoop contests, and a Hawaiian-themed “best dressed” contest. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 06/12/21 at 12:18 am

The Fleetwood Mac tribute group Rumours entertained a large crowd in Fountain Park for the second Feel Good Friday concert sponsored by the Van Wert County Foundation. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 06/12/21 at 12:12 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Thursday provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vaccine uptake
Ohio continues to see increases in vaccine uptake across the state following the announcement of the Ohio Vax-A-Million initiative that was launched last month to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Ohio counties that have experienced an increase in vaccinations include Hocking, Seneca, Ross, Jackson, Fayette, Paulding, Wyandot, Crawford, Warren, and Pickaway counties. 

“Ohio continues to move forward into a new phase of the pandemic. Vaccinations are working. That’s why cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. However, the threat of COVID-19 remains, and we must remain vigilant,” said Governor DeWine. “If you’re not vaccinated against COVID-19, please continue to wear a mask in public, and Ohioans who are able to get vaccinated should.”

To find a vaccine provider near you, visit


POSTED: 06/10/21 at 11:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

United Way of Van Wert County recently granted the Van Wert Early Childhood Center a check for $3,004.09. The money was given on behalf of the New Initiative Funds, which allows tax-exempt organizations to apply in order to help with a one-time need or project in Van Wert County. 

Shown are (from the left) Van Wert ECC Princjpal Lori Bittner, ECC teachers Diana Morrow, Rachel John, and Shelly Place, and United Way of Van Wert County Executive Director Vicki Smith. United Way photo

The Van Wert Early Childhood Center will be using the funds to purchase 15 sets of teacher training materials in order to assist with SEL (Social/Emotional Skills Learning) and will help to provide consistency in instruction with students. 

The Ohio Department of Education heavily relied upon research from CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) in developing the SEL standards for Ohio students. As teachers utilize SEL, they will be more aware and trained when these particular situations arise.  

Tax-exempt organizations located in Van Wert County that would like to learn more about, or even apply for, New Initiative funds, may contact the United Way office at 419.238.6689 or email at  

POSTED: 06/10/21 at 11:28 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

Tisha Fast State Farm has partnered with Kylie Owens, ambassador of Love+ One International, to raise money and awareness for the organization. 

Love+ One International is a non-profit organization that helps provide access to life-saving medical care for children in Uganda. Learn more about their mission here: Love One International – Love A Child. Save A Life.

Shown are Ashley Rickard (right) of Tisha Fast State Farm with Love One+ International Ambassador Kylie Owens. photo provided

Tisha Fast State Farm knows that the heart of any strong community are neighbors who care. 

State Farm’s Quotes for Good program is turning caring into doing. The agency donates $10 for every home, auto, and life insurance quote to the selected organization. Love+ One International was selected as the recipient for the month of May and Tisha Fast State Farm is happy to donate to such a wonderful cause.  
For more information about how to help Love+ One International, contact Owens at

People can also donate directly to

Those who want to learn more about Quotes for Good can contact Tisha Fast State Farm at

POSTED: 06/10/21 at 11:26 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

As of Thursday, the Van Wert County General Health District reports another death of a county resident who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of county COVID deaths to 56. The age range of the deceased is from 90-99 years old.

The health department also reports an increase of five confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Thursday, June 3, for a total of 2,419 confirmed cases. There is one known COVID-related hospitalization at this time.

To date, the health department has given 10,903 vaccinations. The following clinics are scheduled in June:

  • Thursday, June 17, from 2-4 p.m., at County Health Department
  • Thursday, June 24, from 2-6 p.m., at County Health Department

All clinics will have Pfizer and Moderna vaccine available. Pfizer vaccine has been approved for those age 12 and up, while the Moderna vaccine is approved for those age 18 and up.

Unless specified, all clinic dates are for those who want to receive a first dose, as well as anyone eligible to receive a second dose of a specific vaccine. Clinic attendees should bring a photo ID and any pertinent insurance information. Those under age 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 currently making vaccination appointments, as all clinics are walk-in only. Those seeking to make an appointment may contact Family Healthcare of Northwest Ohio at 419.239.6747 or Van Wert Family Physicians at 419.238.6251.

POSTED: 06/10/21 at 3:22 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Five people entered pleas to grand jury indictments this past week during hearings held in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Wesley Endicott, 34, of Fort Jennings, pleaded not guilty to one count each of having weapons under disability, a felony of the third degree, and aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Endicott was released on an unsecured personal surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, July 7.

Narketta Mullins, 48, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of domestic violence, each a felony of the third degree. Mullins was released on an unsecured personal surety bond, with the condition that she live at a specified address in Ottawa. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. July 7.

Gary Ellenberger, 36, of Ohio City, pleaded not guilty to one count of illegal cultivation of marijuana, a felony of the fifth degree. Ellenberger was released on a personal surety bond, with a telephone pretrial conference set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, July 8.


POSTED: 06/09/21 at 10:49 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Independent staff and submitted information

April Ellerbrock

The Van Wert County Prosecutor’s Office announces the addition of April Ellerbrock as the new county crime victims advocate. 

Ellerbrock will be providing services to victims of crimes prosecuted by the Prosecutor’s Office in Van Wert County. She will be a liaison between victims, the courts, and law enforcement, providing support both during and after the criminal process. 

In addition to ensuring that crime victims are aware of their rights, as an advocate, she will provide case information, a court escort, appropriate referrals, and information specific to a criminal case, including post-conviction information. 

Ellerbrock is available to answer any questions or concerns and will try to lessen any negative impact that crime and the criminal justice process have on families and individuals. She can be contacted by calling 419.238.1166 or by email at

POSTED: 06/09/21 at 10:47 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Staff and submitted information

The Van Wert County Department of Job and Family Services issued a reminder that eligible county students in grades preschool-12 (2021-2022 school year) can receive a $100 voucher for the purchase of shoes and socks and a school spirit t-shirt for grades K-12. 

Eligibility is based on family income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. 

Families must meet all PRC program eligibility rules and provide the following information: 

  • ID of parent/guardian
  • Social Security cards for all household members
  • Income verification for all family members for the last 30 days (pay stubs, SSI award letter, child support, etc.) 

How to apply
Family Monthly Size Income limits 

  • 2 — $2,904 
  • 3 — $3,660 
  • 4 — $4,417 
  • 5 — $5,174 
  • 6 — $5,930 

Applications with the list of required documents can be picked up at the County OhioMeansJobs office through Friday, June 25, or until funding is no longer available.

Completed applications with all required documents must be turned in by 4:30 p.m. June 25. No late applications will be accepted. 

POSTED: 06/09/21 at 10:40 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert Municipal Court’s veterans treatment court program is an attempt to help military vets overcome the mental health and substance abuse challenges that can lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

Van Wert Municipal Court Judge Jill Worthington with staff and participants in the CAMO veterans treatment court program. photo provided

Military service has both positives and negatives for those who serve. Most veterans return home stronger because of their military service. According to the Justice for Vets website, military veterans are more likely to volunteer their time, more likely to donate to charity, and are more likely to vote. In addition, veterans are often leaders in their communities.

Also, contrary to popular belief (and their portrayal in movies and television), veterans are less likely to be incarcerated than non-veterans. Unfortunately, many veterans who become involved in the justice system do so because of treatable conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

However, some veteran statistics are not so positive: 1 in 5 veterans have symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment; 1 in 6 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from a substance abuse disorder; half of veterans with PTSD do not receive treatment; and approximately 181,000 veterans are incarcerated in American jails or prisons.

A growing number of veterans suffer from substance abuse-related issues and mental health conditions, such as PTSD, and other issues, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Service-related mental health issues are also linked to veterans’ substance abuse.


POSTED: 06/09/21 at 3:28 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Ladies of the Moose (Van Wert Moose Lodge 1320) donated to The Angel Foundation. Here, Teresa Parrish of the Moose women’s group presents a check to Greg Yinger of CHP/Angel Foundation to support wishes for adults in Ohio. photo provided

POSTED: 06/09/21 at 2:57 am. FILED UNDER: News