The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

The old International Organization of Oddfellows Lodge on East Main Street was prepped for exterior painting. Photo submitted

Joel Germann/special to the VW independent

As the first half of 2022 comes to a close, Van Wert Forward is continuing on schedule for construction updates.

Much of the foundation stabilization work in the Oddfellows Lodge has been completed and crews are moving on to new installations. Plumbing, electrical, water lines and HVAC ventilation have all been installed in the basements of the storefronts and are being installed on each floor above them.

As contractors work from the bottom up for utilities, they will also be working from the bottom down for wall frames. Wall frames are also being installed on the third floor of the Oddfellows Lodge. The two largest apartments in Phase One (1,800 square feet and 1,600 square feet) have nearly finished framing installation and the other three apartments on the third floor will be wrapping up construction shortly.

One of the more visually exciting changes is exemplified by the parging and painting of the front facade of the Oddfellows Lodge. The brick frontage facing Main St. was coated over with an original layer of concrete from 101-105 E. Main St. These three storefronts were sounded to determine how strongly adhered the concrete was to the brick. Some pieces were loose and liable to fall, but much of the original parging was still sound.


POSTED: 07/01/22 at 9:03 pm

An overturned truck shut down westbound U.S. 30 between Dutch John Road and John Brown Road shortly before 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The truck hit a guard rail before flipping on its side, blocking both lanes. The driver was transported by ambulance to Van Wert Health. The Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Van Wert Fire and EMS and Van Wert County EMA were at the scene. The highway re-opened at approximately 9:40 a.m. Photos by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 07/02/22 at 9:00 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent news

Two men arrested in connection with a May burglary and assault at a S. Tyler St. home will be arraigned Wednesday, July 6, in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Gilbert and Miller

Kaiden Gilbert, 19, and Jonathan Miller, 19, both of Burt St. were arrested Thursday afternoon. Gilbert was arrested after fleeing his home on foot and Miller was taken into custody while checking in with his probation officer at the Van Wert County Courthouse.

Both men are charged with two counts of kidnapping, both first degree felonies; one count of aggravated burglary, also a first degree felony; two counts of felonious assault, both second degree felonies, and theft, a fifth degree felony.

They’re accused of breaking into the S. Tyler St. home May 9, and brutally assaulting one of the residents.

The two remain in the Van Wert County Correctional Facility.

POSTED: 07/01/22 at 9:01 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

Beginning Tuesday, July 5, the left lane of eastbound U.S. 30 between Ohio 49/Convoy Heller Road and Lincoln Highway, over Hagerman Creek in Tully Township will be closed for bridge work.

The project is expected to take 30 days.

POSTED: 07/01/22 at 9:00 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

All local, state and federal government offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

There will be no mail service and trash and recycling pickup will be delayed by one day.

POSTED: 07/01/22 at 9:00 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit in Defiance County against four people who ran an unregistered business that sold fishing lures it regularly failed to deliver and enrolled customers in a monthly fee-based subscription service they never agreed to join.

Dave Yost

To date, 84 consumers have filed complaints against the National Anglers Association (NAA), operated by Cole Dockery, Jakob Schoenauer, Alexandria McGlaughlin and Wyatt Puffinberger, all of northwest Ohio. NAA is not registered as a business with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, nor is it affiliated with the legitimate National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA).

“These fishy business practices are unacceptable,” Yost said. “NAA lured consumers in and then hooked them with supplies they didn’t want or ask for.”

NAA used a variety of online platforms and social media to advertise, claiming that it partnered with small businesses throughout the United States to provide high-quality lures and baits. Consumers could make individual purchases or sign up for a monthly subscription program.

Some consumers complained to the Northwestern Ohio Better Business Bureau (BBB) that they were signed up for the subscription program without their knowledge after ordering individual fishing lures. In addition, consumers complained that NAA made misleading statements in its advertising, failed to deliver goods or services, and did not provide refunds.

The Northwestern Ohio BBB referred the complaints to AG Yost’s Consumer Protection Section.

“Since the COVID pandemic, BBB has seen a serious increase in complaints from consumers buying from unknown companies selling on social media like Facebook and Instagram,” said Dick Eppstein, the President of the Northwestern Ohio BBB. “In this case, the BBB suddenly started getting complaints about the National Anglers Association. When this happens, we are concerned that many more victims are also being cheated and the situation may be serious. This was why we forwarded our concerns, and the complaints, to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. We were concerned that the company may be violating law and many consumers might be losing money.”


POSTED: 07/01/22 at 8:59 pm. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff

A public hearing will be held at 6:15 p.m. Monday, July 11, prior to the regularly scheduled Van Wert City Council meeting to discuss the 2022 Van Wert city tax budget.

The meeting will be held in Council Chambers, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 07/01/22 at 12:35 pm. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/for the Van Wert independent

Superintendent Mark Bagley provided an updated timeline for work at Eggerss Stadium, while Van Wert City Board of Education members acted on a number of personnel items for the new year during Thursday’s June board meeting.

The superintendent released an updated three-phase project timetable that runs from March 2023 through July 2025. Bagley noted that, while he knows district residents are very interested in the project and anxious for work to begin, he and others involved in the planning are more concerned with making sure the project is done right.

“People want to see earth moving right away, but you have to go through the right steps,” he said.

Phase I work will installation of a turf field and restoration of a portion of the stadium exterior. That work will begin next March and is expected to be completed by July 2023. 

Phase II work will include construction of a new press box, renovation work in the areas under the stadium — including restroom, locker rooms and a concession area — end zone building construction and site work and work on the parking lot on the southwest side of the stadium. That phase, except for the parking lot work, will begin in November 2023, with the first three items set to be completed by July 2024. The parking lot work is scheduled to begin in May 2024 and end in August of that year.

The above graphic shows the updated timeline for the Eggerss Stadium project. More graphics showing the three different phases of planned work and the timeline can be found on the Sports page. Graphic by Garmann Miller

Phase III will include the second phase of stadium restoration work and creation of a parking lot on the south side of the stadium. The parking lot construction will begin in August 2024, while the second stadium restoration phase is expected to start in November of that year. Both are slated for completion in July 2025.

The superintendent also noted that, with strong interest locally in purchasing stadium bonds, a bond information meeting will be held July 11 in the lecture hall, with more information forthcoming. Bond sales will then begin July 19 to lock in a good interest rate.

The board approved several personnel actions, including the hiring of 10 new employees. Those include the following: Robin Pennell at a math teacher for the Van Wert School at the Goedde; Lydia Whitman as an Early Childhood Center paraprofessional; Kathleen Bachelor as an elementary school music teacher; Carly Hamrick as a fifth grade teacher; Brooke Gearhart as an elementary school computer instructor/paraprofessional; Makenna Ricker as a middle school Gateway to Technology teacher; Sarah Zabka as a high school German teacher; James Acquaviva as assistant to the technology director; Angie Beining as a general cafeteria worker, and Tim Brown as a high school paraprofessional (previously employed in that role by the Western Buckeye Educational Service Center).


POSTED: 07/01/22 at 3:46 am. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Student handbooks for the 2022-2023 school year were officially approved during Thursday night’s meeting of the Lincolnview Board of Education.

The vote was a narrow one, 3-2, with board members Lori Snyder, Eric Germann and Michelle Gorman voting yes, and Mark Zielke and Brad Coil casting no votes on both the elementary and junior high/high school handbooks. The vote came after a lengthy discussion that included board members and a handful of parents and teachers.

Board president Lori Snyder reads aloud items from the agenda. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Coil and Zielke, along with a few others in attendance in the meeting, voiced displeasure with the district’s policy on makeup work once a student returns from vacation while school is in session. Students are required to submit paperwork to teachers before leaving and are required to make up work and tests upon returning.

Superintendent Jeff Snyder noted the policy has been in place for some time.

“Trying to find that right piece to everyone’s satisfaction is very hard,” Snyder said.

In other business, Snyder gave a brief update on the district’s planned elementary renovation and addition project.

“Garman-Miller (achitects) and his team had eight or nine individuals that came in and walked the building so they’re in the design phase of what we talked about and now they’re fine tuning it,” Snyder stated.

He added he’ll share new information once it’s complete and then prepare for the bid process.

Snyder said he plans to talk to Sheriff Tom Riggenbach about potential safety improvements. He also said elementary class lists will be posted August 5 and he said junior high/high school master schedules are complete. Schedules can be picked up after August 9.


POSTED: 07/01/22 at 3:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The Van Wert County Treasurer’s Office has completed and sent out bills for the second half collection of 2021 real estate taxes. The due date is July 13. The Treasurer’s Office is open Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The office accepts payments in the form of check, cashier’s check, money order and credit or debit cards. A 2.5 percent fee will be charged for all card payments by the credit card processor and an electronic check payment is available for a fee of $1.50. Taxpayers may pay up to ten parcels for a single fee with an account and routing number with the electronic check. Those wishing to pay with cash may take their bill in its entirety along with the payment to The First Bank of Berne, 102 Christopher Crossing, Van Wert, next to Walmart. The First Bank of Berne will take payments through July 13. Partial payments will not be accepted.

Credit card, debit card, and electronic check payments may be made online by visiting the county website at and clicking on Treasurer’s Office then clicking on Payment Options. Those who wish to pay by phone should call 844.419.0200 with the parcel number, which is located on all bills.

Anyone with questions about bill should call the office staff at 419.238.5177.

POSTED: 07/01/22 at 3:43 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent news

Due to the threat of showers and thunderstorms, tonight’s Feel Good Fridays concert has been moved from Fountain Park to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. The concert will still begin at 7:30 p.m.

The band will transport people back to the 1970s, as the K-Tel All-Stars sing some of the greatest hits, along with some one-hit wonders, from 1970-1979.

Feel Good Fridays ’22, which will continue each Friday through August 6, is sponsored by the Van Wert County Foundation.

POSTED: 07/01/22 at 3:43 am. FILED UNDER: News