The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 20, 2022

Neil Diamond fans won’t want to miss “I Am, He Said” set for October 8 at the Niswonger Peforming Arts Center in Van Wert. Photo submitted

VW independent sports and submitted information

Van Wert Live has announced the return of the vastly popular “I Am, He Said” Celebrate The Music Of Neil Diamond concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 8 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. This concert, presented by Roger and Kay Okuley, is rescheduled from the previously sold out performance originally scheduled for March 20, 2021.

The performance will feature select high school choirs from the region that will soon be announced. Over 50 regional vocalists will provide backup vocals for five popular Neil Diamond hits and close out the show with special fanfare.

Presenters and audience members are raving about the show.

“This show was a lot more than a tribute. Instead, it was an authentic presentation of the Neil Diamond hit list with stories of the man and his compositions interspersed, said Bob Johnson of Paramount Theater in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, after selling out four shows. “Our audiences were on their feet from the start…..Nobody could do it better. One of the best shows we’ve had this year,”

“We are saying what he said,” Matt Vee said, referring to the one and only Neil Diamond. Matt along with cousins Jeff and Tommy Vee, local music scene veterans and sons of the legendary Bobby Vee, join forces with their family and friends as The Killer Vees to celebrate the music from a timeless catalog.


POSTED: 05/20/22 at 3:37 am

VW independent staff and submitted information

The Van Wert Early Childhood Center and Van Wert High School are among 98 schools in 27 counties awarded grant funds to help improve the overall safety and security of their buildings.

The Early Childhood Center will receive $96,511.95 to implement safety upgrades from Ohio’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program, while Van Wert High School will receive $35,266.20.

According to a press release from Governor Mike DeWine’s office, funds may be used to cover expenses associated with physical security enhancements such as security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks, and visitor badging systems.

The Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program is administered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission in partnership with the Ohio School Safety Center. It’s one of two new school safety programs first launched by the Ohio School Safety Center in 2021.

POSTED: 05/20/22 at 3:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Hoaglin Township Board of Trustees will meet in regular session at 8 p.m. Monday evening, May 23, in the Township House, 3975 Hoaglin Center Road, Van Wert.

POSTED: 05/20/22 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Van Wert County Commissioners recently issued a proclamation honoring all law enforcement agencies in the county for National Police Week, which is this week. The list includes the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, the Van Wert Police Department and the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Photo submitted

POSTED: 05/20/22 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff and submitted information

The Young Professionals of Van Wert County (YPVW) is hosting an social media audit and networking event through their Level Up series.

The intent of this series is to offer free or low-cost opportunities that would help young professionals grow and succeed in a professional setting. The social media audit will cover different dos and don’ts young professionals should look out for in regards to using their social media account.

“We see the ‘Level Up’ series as a great benefit to both new and established Young Professionals in Van Wert County,” YPVW President Madison Bronson said. “With this series, we really want to help our young professionals enhance their professional portfolio in several attainable ways.”

The event will be held from 4-5 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at The Edition. Those who wish to attend are asked to register online at

The Young Professionals of Van Wert County is affiliated with the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce. The group is intended for individuals under 40 who either work or live in Van Wert County and who are and are interested in professional development, community service, mentoring and networking.

POSTED: 05/20/22 at 3:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert police and firefighters were on the scene at and around Burger King at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday, after two men in a new white Cavalier pulled up and made the comment “good luck finding the pipe bomb” to an employee who was outside. The men left southbound on Ohio 118. According to Chief Doug Weigle, police and firefighters checked the business and no bomb was found, and video surveillance showed no one matching the description entering the restaurant. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 05/19/22 at 1:36 pm. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

It was the first ceremony of its kind in Van Wert Municipal Court.

Two people assigned to Van Wert Veterans Court, also referred to as C.A.M.O. (Courts Assisting Military Members) Court, graduated from the program Wednesday morning, with Van Wert Municipal Court Judge Jill T. Worthington presiding over the ceremony.

Flanked by Van Wert Veterans Court Director John Wiley and Judge Jill T. Worthington, Brandon Ross and Darrell Hensley proudly display their certificates of achievement. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Brandon Ross, Private First Class U.S. Army National Guard, was referred to Van Wert Veterans Court last year after his involvement in an OVI accident at Dutch John Road and U.S. Route 30 in Van Wert.

“Since being put in the program he has made remarkable strides,” Chief Probation Officer and Veterans Court Director John Wiley said during the ceremony.

An emotional Ross said he was thankful and very grateful to be part of the program.

Darrell Hensley, Private First Class U.S. Army, struggled with alcohol and drugs and was arrested for domestic violence in October, 2020. According to Wiley, he was the first person assigned to the program.

“Today he is on the board of Haven of Hope where he volunteers,” Wiley said. “He has another apartment where he is away from the drama that he used to be around.”

Hensley said when he entered the program he didn’t care about getting sober but changed his mindset during the process.


POSTED: 05/19/22 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

Crestview Local Schools recently recognized senior Ethan Best for his creation of the Portrait of a Graduate competency icons. Ethan worked with the district design team and took their ideas and was able to create five icons. The district will use these icons to help showcase the competencies: Innovative Thinker, Interpersonal Communicator, Integrity Driven Decision Maker, Informed Citizen, and Invested Worker. Best worked on the project during his independent art study and on his own time. Photo submitted

POSTED: 05/19/22 at 3:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

First Financial Bank is donating to the Van Wert County Historical Society Museum a pair of $1 bills issued in the late 19th century by a predecessor of the bank, the First National Bank of Van Wert.

The notes had been on display at current and previous First Financial banking centers and will now be available to see for all who visit the museum.

Terry Eikenbary and Gary Showalter (L to R), Van Wert County Historical Society, with Deena Aviles of First Financial Bank. Photo submitted

“Our mission at First Financial is to be a positive influence to help our communities thrive and that is just as true today as it has been in previous generations,” said Deena Aviles, district leader and financial center manager for First Financial Bank. “Even under a different name, we’re proud to pass on these historical bank notes to our friends at the Van Wert County Historical Society Museum for the entire community to appreciate.”

The detailed artistry on these notes make them fascinating historical artifacts. The notes were issued by the First National Bank of Van Wert at a time when some banks were allowed to print their own paper currency. Both bills are in the denomination of $1. A description accompanying the notes indicates that they are probably from about 1870 and 1880. Whereas today’s U.S. currency carries the signature of the United States Treasurer and Secretary of the Treasury, these notes were signed by the bank’s cashier and president at the time.

The bank notes had been on display in First Financial banking centers in Van Wert over many decades. After First Financial sought a more visible home for them, the Van Wert County Historical Society Board of Trustees agreed to receive the donation.

POSTED: 05/19/22 at 3:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

A reminder that Van Wert Municipal Court will host a Warrant Amnesty Day this Friday, May 20, in two separate sessions. The first session will begin at 9 a.m. and the second will start at 1 p.m.

The Van Wert Municipal Court Warrant Amnesty Day will allow individuals with misdemeanor traffic or criminal arrest warrants to return to the court without being arrested in exchange for updated contact information and an agreement to complete and comply with any court orders.

Any individual with a misdemeanor warrant issued by the Van Wert Municipal Court is eligible for warrant amnesty. Warrants for both traffic and criminal cases, warrants issued for failure to appear and warrants issued for failure to comply with probation are all eligible. Felony warrants and warrants from other courts are not eligible for amnesty.

The court is located at 102 East Main St., Van Wert.

There is an active warrant list of all Van Wert Municipal Court warrants at

POSTED: 05/18/22 at 5:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

With the school year winding down, fourth grade students at Lincolnview Elementary took advantage of an opportunity to learn more about historical people in history while sharing that knowledge with other students at the school, along with parents.

Lincolnview fourth graders were able to share their knowledge of important historical figures. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

The fourth grade classes of Marla Kemler, Christie Wendel and Matt Alessandrini hosted the fifth annual “wax museum” in the Lincolnview Elementary gymnasium on Tuesday. Students were dressed up as their chosen historical figure and shared handmade frames with important information. In addition, they verbally shared what they learned and knew about their chosen character.

According to Kemler, Tuesday’s showcase had been in the works for several weeks.

“Students had to fill in a survey of their top three choices of whom they wanted to do for the wax museum,” Kemler explained. “Right before Easter they received their books and some of them started on their books right away, which was really great. They had to read their book and from there they had a packet to fill in that had facts about their (the character’s) childhood, adulthood and accomplishments, then after that we began to write a five paragraph essay and they did wonderfully on that.”

“Each teacher then helped them create their frames and had to find pictures that went along with their person, then this past couple of weeks they had to memorize at least a one minute speech for today’s wax museum.”


POSTED: 05/18/22 at 3:37 am. FILED UNDER: News