The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Mar. 1, 2024

Phase II work at Eggerss Stadium is expected to begin this spring. Bob Barnes/file photo

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Phase II of Eggerss Stadium renovations was just one topic addressed during Wednesday’s meeting of the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education.

Superintendent Mark Bagley told the board that he just received the Phase II proposal from Alexander & Bebout Wednesday afternoon and he said the proposal is under review.

‘We’re going to be meeting with Alexander & Bebout and Garmann-Miller (architects) to make sure we give it an accurate assessment of what will all be included in Phase II and the cost of those things, and that’ll be reported on at the March board meeting,” Bagley said.

Bagley added he’d like to see the next round of work at the stadium begin as soon as possible.

Phase I of the Eggerss Stadium renovation project began last spring and went on up to the start of the 2023 football season. It included concrete restoration, a refurbished Cougar Pride Wall, wider steps and hand rails, a brighter shade of paint, a renovated scoreboard and the installation of artificial turf. Voters approved a bond issue in May of 2022 to help cover the cost of the massive overhaul of the stadium.

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POSTED: 03/01/24 at 4:42 am

Submitted information

On Wednesday, February 28, seniors at Van Wert High School participated in the annual company tours. Eight local companies partnered with Van Wert High School to allow over 90 senior students to join the tours.

The participating companies included Akers Packaging, Alliance Automation, Braun Ambulances, Central Insurance Companies, Cooper Farm, Greif, Millwork Brands, and Tenneco. Students were able to hear and see the local employment opportunities, the challenges and needs of future employment, and the daily operations of the companies.

High School Counselor and CEO Program Coordinator, Kerry Koontz, organized the opportunity for students and businesses.

Van Wert High School seniors toured local companies earlier this week. Photo submitted

“I continue to say that one drives by these businesses daily, but doesn’t know what’s happening within those buildings,” Koontz said. “It’s a privilege for students to get this opportunity. They can learn more about our local industries and the job opportunities available, and, at the same time, our businesses want to continue to develop relationships with our students.”

He expressed his gratitude on behalf of Van Wert High School and its students.

“I want to publicly thank all of those businesses for their time and efforts to participate,” Koontz said. “The students enjoyed the opportunity and it provided for a great learning experience.”

POSTED: 03/01/24 at 4:40 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Some unemployment applicants now have the option of visiting a participating Post Office if they are prompted to provide copies of identity verification documents. This option was launched on January 26, and is available only to claimants who applied for benefits on or after that date and are prompted to provide copies of documents.

According to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder, the state’s unemployment program was the seventh in the nation to offer this new service, in a collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Identity verification is a critical step in preventing unemployment fraud, but it can also be one of the most frustrating parts of the process for claimants,” Damschroder said. “This partnership lets us keep our focus on fighting fraud while empowering claimants with more options, freeing up agents to spend more time helping those with more complex issues, and reducing processing time.”

Everyone who applies for unemployment benefits must verify their identity. Most are able to do so as part of the normal automated application process. Those whose identity can’t be verified via the automated system are asked to submit additional documentation. In the past, this had to be done by uploading the documents online, by fax, or by mail.

With the new Post Office option, individuals can now go to any participating Post Office to verify their identity. This includes 726 Post Offices in Ohio. ODJFS will process the results and notify claimants of their status. There’s no cost for claimants, and no appointment is needed. Individuals have up to seven days to provide the documents. For Post Office locations, visit usps.com.

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POSTED: 03/01/24 at 4:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

LIMA — Rolling roadblocks will be utilized along U.S. 30 in both directions between Wapak Road and Ohio 115 in Allen County between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. Tuesday, March 5, while crews do utility work.

Motorists are urged to watch for slow or stopped traffic.

POSTED: 03/01/24 at 4:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

Three defendants charged with various crimes appeared before Van Wert County Common Pleas Court Judge Martin Burchfield this week. Here is what happened in each case.

Scott Bowman, 21, of Convoy, changed his plea to guilty of the following four charges: obstructing official business, a fifth degree felony; improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fifth degree felony; operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug of abuse, a first degree misdemeanor, and possession of cocaine, a fifth degree felony.

He requested and was granted intervention in lieu of conviction on counts 1, 2 and 4, and his case was stayed pending completion of the treatment program. As to the third count, he was sentenced to two years of community control, must undergo mental health and substance abuse assessment and treatment, must complete a driver intervention program, and was ordered to pay court costs.

Bowman was arrested in early November of last year after pulling into the parking lot of the Van Wert Municipal Building which houses, among other things, the Van Wert Police Department.

In an unrelated case, Michael Whisman, 33, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to an amended charge of domestic violence, a first degree misdemeanor. Judge Burchfield scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. March 27.

During an arraignment hearing held Tuesday, Ronald Runyon, 46, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth degree felony. He was released on a surety bond and a pre-trial conference was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 20.

In a recent hearing unrelated to the previous cases, Tyree DeWitt, 32, Delphos, changed his plea to guilty to domestic violence, a fourth degree felony. Judge Burchfield scheduled sentencing for 10 a.m. March 19.

POSTED: 02/28/24 at 11:23 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The Van Wert County Prosecutor’s Office has announced that Morgan A. Jackson has joined the office as an assistant prosecuting attorney, where she will be assisting with adult and juvenile criminal cases, as well as appeals.

Morgan Jackson

Ms. Jackson graduated from Indiana University in 2020, obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. She went on to obtain her Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University, graduating in 2023.

While attending law school, Ms. Jackson worked as a law clerk for Darke County Common Pleas Court as well as several private firms in both Ohio and Indiana. During her tenure in law school, Morgan devoted her time as a Guardian ad Litem and Court Appointed Special Advocate for Child in Need of Services cases, reflecting her deep dedication to upholding justice and the welfare of children.

She is a resident of the City of Van Wert, where she enjoys staying active by playing tennis and hiking with her dalmatian, Asher. As a new Van Wert County resident, she is always looking for new opportunities to be engaged with her community.

POSTED: 02/28/24 at 11:18 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Crestview High School, in conjunction with the Convoy Community Foundation, has established the Portrait of a Graduate Award (PGA) to recognize students who have been observed exhibiting strong moral character, leadership, service, and school pride. Recipients were nominated by faculty, staff and administration. They were awarded gift cards from the Convoy Community Foundation and the Crestview High School PBIS program along with a 30-day movie pass to the Van Wert Cinemas and a certificate. PGA winners were announced with their parents at a recent varsity boys basketball game. They include: Leah Sowers, Evan Sowers, Logan Schlemmer, Chloe Nielsen, Violet Dirr, Ava Motycka, and Bowen Ayers. Not pictured: Cameron Sinn. Photo submitted

POSTED: 02/28/24 at 11:17 pm. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

The United Way of Van Wert County is now accepting applications for program funding for the 2024 fiscal year. Programs must demonstrate that they are able to measurably, influence specific Van Wert County indicators in the following categories:

• Basic Needs
• Education
• Health
• Financial Stability

The application period is March 1-28. To be eligible, an agency must be a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization; maintain an organized, auditable and accurate system of accounting (by United Way standards; offer human service programs, and have an active volunteer board.

After application review and agency interviews, local United Way of Van Wert County volunteers, who make up the admissions and review committee, will make funding recommendations to the United Way of Van Wert County Board of Trustees in June. Once approved by the board, agencies will receive notification.

Any organization wishing to fill out an application should go to the United Way of Van Wert County website at unitedwayvanwert.org, click Agencies then Forms/Resources to download the fillable PDF application called 2024 Agency Application or contact the United Way office at 419.238.6689.

Applications are due to the United Way office no later than Friday, March 29th. Email application to administration@uwvwco.org, drop off during business hours Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or mail to 136 East Main Street, Van Wert, 45891.

POSTED: 02/28/24 at 11:17 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The 13th season of Van Wert High School Robotics began in September when the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) season game was released to thousands of teams worldwide. Now, the “Cougar” Robotics team will be competing at the Hobart Arena in Troy on Saturday, March 9, against 35 of the top teams in the state. There were nine competitions with 20-24 teams at each with four teams advancing from each tournament to the state championship.

Both of Van Wert High School robotics teams worked throughout the fall and winter to solve this year’s challenge with one of the teams, “VW” Robotics, finding themselves in the semifinals and finals in three of the regional competitions this season. However, it was the “Cougar” Robotics team that has one of the top-ranked robots in the state heading into the championship.

The “Cougar” Robotics team will compete for a state championship on March 9. Photo submitted

Their robot is one the fastest and shortest robots in the state which allows it to navigate this years’ challenge easily as there are physical barriers on the field at various heights. In addition, the drivetrain is a “swerve-drive” mechanum wheel system which is engineering jargon for the ability of the robot to slide and move in any direction no matter which way the front is facing.

 “Cougar” Robotics team members are Harrison Sloan, Clayton Fast, Mason Workman, Sophia Berryman, Anna Marquez, Cayden Laukhuf, Trevor Dotson, Johan Gemmer, Landon Adams and Korbin Hart.

Van Wert High School Robotics coaches Bob Spath and Noah Carter are thankful for the opportunity to have robotics for as long as Van Wert has and hopes to continue to offer this program for as long as financially possible.

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POSTED: 02/28/24 at 4:52 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

DELPHOS — Add Delphos City Schools and Delphos St. John’s to the list of schools that won’t hold in-person classs on Monday, April 8, the day of the total solar eclipse.

Instead, Delphos City Schools and St. John’s will observe a planned education day at home. No students or staff will be on school grounds on April 8 to avoid heavy traffic and overall congestion predicted by officials in Van Wert and Allen counties. The rare event is expected to double or triple the population of both counties beginning Friday, April 5, and continuing through the end of the eclipse.

In a letter to Delphos parents and residents, Superintendent Jeff Hobbs said all Delphos City Schools students will receive solar eclipse glasses and informative information regarding the eclipse. Students will have lessons to complete and all staff members will have expectations from their supervisors to complete on April 8.

POSTED: 02/28/24 at 4:51 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert FOP Lodge 62 recently made a donation of $750 to the Vandals Baseball Club, a youth baseball club made up of players from the city of Van Wert as well as Van Wert County. Pictured above are FOP President John Wiley and Vandals coach Robert Black, who is accepting the donation on behalf of the baseball club. FOP Lodge 62 also made a $500 donation to the Van Wert DARE program. Pictured below is Van Wert Police Department DARE Officer Bryon Wells accepting the donation Wiley. Photos submitted

POSTED: 02/28/24 at 4:50 am. FILED UNDER: News