The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020

Shown are just a portion of the Christmas decorations in Fountain Park this holiday season. Although COVID-19 concerns caused the cancellation of the official lighting ceremony, the decorations will light up downtown Van Wert for the remainder of the holiday season. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 11/28/20 at 12:15 am

VW independent/submitted information

For a decade, Small Business Saturday, designated as the Saturday following Thanksgiving, has brought focus to the many independent and locally owned brick and mortar businesses located within communities across the country — although the promotion is often overshadowed this weekend by big box Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping campaigns.

Because of the COVID-19 shutdown earlier in the year, fewer people are shopping in person, preferring to shop online to keep safe. In addition, COVID-19 restrictions on how and when brick-and-mortar businesses can be open has also had a negative impact on shops and stores that can struggle to survive even in good years.

Main Street Van Wert Executive Director Mitch Price said his organization is excited to promote Small Business Saturday and urges local shops to shop Van Wert’s downtown boutiques, independent stores, and salons, as well as other local individual- and family-owned small businesses.

“’Tis the season to shop small and get all your holiday shopping done early,” he noted. “It’s also a great opportunity to find those perfect memories and gifts.”

Each participating store will feature individual promotions and special items targeted to Small Business Saturday. Price said he encourages residents to make a special effort this Saturday to shop local and help community stores survive what has been a highly challenging year for many.

Shoppers are urged to wear masks and maintain social distancing to ensure their safety and that of local store personnel.

POSTED: 11/28/20 at 12:10 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Friday signed Ohio’s Certificate of Ascertainment, which identifies the appointed electors and final vote count in Ohio for each candidate in the U.S. Presidential Election held on November 3.

Mike DeWine

Ohio’s Certificate of Ascertainment shows the most popular votes, 3,154,834, for Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence.

“As Chief Executive of the State of Ohio, I certified today the Certificate of Ascertainment, which is a part of the electoral process in our state,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Friday. “I want to thank Ohio voters for exercising their right to vote, as well as all of our poll workers, local election officials, and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for a smooth democratic election process in Ohio.”

The Certificate of Ascertainment is the legal document that links the popular vote in Ohio to the electoral process. Federal law requires the Chief Executive of each state to certify the Certificate of Ascertainment.

The State meetings of the electors will be held on December 14, 2020. At the meetings, the electors vote for President and Vice President.

Under Ohio law, the candidate with the most popular votes in Ohio receives all 18 of Ohio’s electoral college votes, which will be cast by the appointed electors.

POSTED: 11/28/20 at 12:06 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert High School Theatre Department announces that its production, Disney’s Tarzan®, The Stage Musical, will be available for streaming from Wednesday through Sunday, December 9-13. 

VWHS Theatre Department students rehearse for Disney’s Tarzan, The Stage Musical. VWHS photo

The musical, based on Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Disney’s 1999 animated film and the book by David Henry Hwang, was filmed at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. With music and lyrics by Phil Collins, audience members will also enjoy all the popular melodies from songs such as “You’ll Be In My Heart,” “Son of Man,” and “Two Worlds.” 

Set deep in the jungle, ​TarzanÒ,​ The Stage Musical ​focuses on stories of family, love, acceptance, and determination. 

Local residents can enjoy the production from the comfort of their own homes. Streaming times vary to accommodate all time zones. Ticketing and streaming services provided by ShowTix4U. Three ticket options are available, including Single Viewer, Scarlet Package, and Gray Package. Tickets can be purchased now on the VWHS Theatre Department website (


POSTED: 11/27/20 at 3:06 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners has proclaimed Tuesday, December 1, as Giving Tuesday in Van Wert County. In proclaiming the special day, County Commissioners (from the left) Todd Wolfrum, Thad Lichtensteiger, and Stan Owens encourages county residents to donate to the #GivingTuesday program supported financially by the Van Wert County Foundation, which matches donations up to $10,000 for each listed charitable organization endowment fund. photo provided

POSTED: 11/27/20 at 2:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, has selected Hanna Young, a senior at Lincolnview High School, and Lindsey Schumm, a senior at Crestview High School, as the November recipients of its Students of the Month program.

Lindsey Schumm
Hanna Young

Students are nominated by their respective high schools to receive this award. Each Student of the Month receives a monetary donation, along with a certificate from Van Wert Elks Lodge 1197, with the possibility of being named Student of the Year.

Students are judged on the basis of multiple achievements: Volunteerism, character, leadership, service, citizenship, and scholarship.

The program is designed to recognize outstanding young men and women for their achievements in school and community. The Elks recognize and praise these students for their accomplishments, their activities, and their contributions to society through this program.

POSTED: 11/27/20 at 2:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A Lima man was sentenced to prison on sex-related counts this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Duane Young Jr., 52, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, with credit for 100 days already served, on one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a felony of the third degree, and 60 days in jail, with credit for all 60 days already served, on two counts of sexual imposition, each a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Young was also classified as a Tier 2 sex offender and must register every 180 days for the next 25 years.

Also sentenced was Dustin Cooper, 36, of Van Wert, who was given 120 days in jail, with credit for 45 days already served, on one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. 

Three people also entered changes of pleas during hearings this week in Common Pleas Court.

Jose Sanchez, 42, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to an amended charge of domestic violence, a felony of the fourth degree. He also pleaded guilty to a prosecutor’s bill of information charging him with a second fourth-degree felony count of domestic violence. He was then sentenced to 12 months in prison on each count, with the prison terms to run at the same time, and was given credit for 72 days already served.

Forrest Houseworth III, 37, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the third degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and Houseworth will appear for sentencing at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

Timothy Allerton, 41, of Berrien Springs, Michigan, changed his plea to guilty to one count each of grand theft of a motor vehicle, a felony of the fourth degree; breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony; and vandalism, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Martin D. Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 22.

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 6:07 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

After more than 20 years of service with the Van Wert Police Department, and a total of 27 years of public service, Lieutenant James B. Haggerty is retiring from the department, effective February 5, 2021. 

Van Wert Police Chief Joel Hammond (left) presents Lt. James Haggerty with his retirement badge. photos provided

In November 2000, Lt. Haggerty started his career with the Van Wert Police Department as an officer, served as a detective from December 2007 to March 2009, until he was promoted to sergeant, where he served for nine years.

In March 2018, he was promoted to lieutenant and was in charge of the Uniform Division until his retirement.  

Prior to working for the police department, Lt. Haggerty more than four years on active duty in the U.S. Army as a military police officer and continued his military career with six years in the Ohio National Guard.  

Following his military service, he began his civilian career in law enforcement in Plains, Georgia, for two years, but then relocated to Van Wert County, where he served as a part-time deputy marshal for the Convoy Police Department before being hired full-time with the VWPD. 

From April 2002 to December 2014, Lt. Haggerty was instrumental in administering both the department’s and Vantage Police Academy’s firearms safety and training programs while serving as a range officer.  From 2003-2018, he was a member of the Special Response Team and later became the officer in charge of the team until his promotion to lieutenant. 

Most recently as a uniform lieutenant, he was a highly visible supervisor, often working the road and taking assignments while still performing administrative functions, including the implementation of a new scheduling procedure that made scheduling more efficient.  

Regardless of his position, Lt. Haggerty has been a dedicated and professional officer who often went above and beyond to serve and protect the citizens of Van Wert. 

“The department and the City of Van Wert would like to thank Lieutenant Haggerty for his years of service to the City,” said Police Chief Joel Hammond. “His experience and leadership will be missed. We also want to wish him and Corrina all the best in his retirement and future endeavors.”

Although his official retirement date is February 5, 2021, Lt. Haggerty will be using accumulated leave starting November 26. Because he requested no formal retirement recognition, city officials will presenting the lieutenant with his retirement credentials on his last day of work.

Lt. Haggerty is shown with his wife, Corrina (left), and daughter, Sara.

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 6:03 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

As of Wednesday, the Van Wert County General Health District reported six additional deaths of Van Wert County residents who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths for county residents to 18.  

The Health District also reported an increase in 158 confirmed cases since last Thursday, November 19, for a total of 969 cases. Due to the increase in the number of confirmed cases, health officials are not releasing age ranges at this time.  

For daily updates visit the dashboard on the site and click on or select Van Wert County. When the county is selected, the dashboard shows total number of cases, which includes probable cases. To see the total confirmed cases, select confirmed cases.

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 5:57 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The United Way of Van Wert County recently granted Van Wert Elementary School $2,750. The money constituted New Initiative Funds, which allow organizations that are tax-exempt to apply in order to help with a one-time need or project in Van Wert County. 

Pictured are (from the left) VWES Principal Justin Krogman, VWES Assistant Principal Tracy Wehner, United Way Executive Director Vicki Smith, and VWES PE teachers Betty Holliday and Alex Schmidt. United Way photo

The Van Wert Elementary School will be using these funds to update the sound system in its gymnasium and commons areas to help with voice projection while dealing with large numbers of students during lunch, after school pick-up, assemblies, and community programs. A quality sound system allows for directions to be heard and instruction to be shared, something that was hindered before.

The school’s goal, with the help of the community and school resources, along with grants, continues to be to educate, motivate, and excite students to live a healthy life.  

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

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 5:55 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted aprovided the following updates Tuesday on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Case data and upcoming holiday
New data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) shows that 98 more deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, which is the second-highest number of deaths reported in a single day in Ohio since the start of the pandemic. 

A total of 364 new hospitalizations were also reported throughout the state in the past 24 hours, and 8,604 (total case numbers for Ohio are currently incomplete). Thousands of reports are pending review. additional positive COVID-19 cases were also recorded.

Total hospitalizations are also continuing to trend upwards, with 4,449 patients currently hospitalized. Of these, 1,046 patients are in intensive care units.

The current surge in cases is believed to be linked to people gathering on and around Halloween. 

“This holiday season, let’s show each other how much we care by making the necessary sacrifices to ensure we will all be healthy to celebrate next Thanksgiving,” said Governor DeWine. “Approximately one in four of all hospitalized patients in Ohio is infected with COVID-19, and this continues to put tremendous stress on Ohio hospitals in every corner of the state.”


POSTED: 11/25/20 at 12:26 am. FILED UNDER: News