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Tuesday, May. 24, 2022

Top 10 stories: Drugs, new SD in works

Editor’s note: The Van Wert independent is doing a series of articles on what it has identified as the top 10 news stories of 2018. The series will run through New Year’s Day and include stories that have generated the most interest from the community and/or involved important local institutions or people. Today’s article features the No. 4 and No. 3 stories of the year.

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Scott Niswonger, one of the partners in The Landing at Dickinson Farms subdivision development, cuts the ribbon on the project. VW independent file photo

The No. 4 story for 2018 is the ever-evolving community drug problem. From looking at grand jury indictments throughout the year, approximately 60 percent of those indicted are for a variety of drug-related charges. Moreover, another approximately 10-15 percent of indictments are for substance abuse-related charges, such as theft, fraud cases, receiving stolen property, and other cases where money gained through illegal activities is used to pay for drugs, or domestic violence and driving while impaired charges, often due to — or exacerbated by — substance abuse, often alcohol abuse.

The drugs that are most popular at any given time is also an indication of problems addicts face in either getting a drug or other problems, such as the risk of overdose from heroin and other opiates laced with even more powerful opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanil.

While prescription pain killers such as Oxycontin and Percocets were the drug of choice a few years ago, as well as bath salts and other “designer” drugs, efforts by legislators and law enforcement agencies to shut down “pill mills” and other drug doctors have made it difficult to obtain those drugs.

Drug users then moved to heroin as cheap and available Mexican black tar and brown powder heroin flowed into the U.S. and Van Wert County. But that also changed as “enhancers” such as fentanyl and carfentanil were added to heroin, making it more powerful, but also substantially upping the danger of overdose for users.

Today, cheap methamphetamine flowing into the country from Mexico and other countries is being substituted for heroin, since users no longer have to “cook” their own meth — a process both dangerous and bad for the environment.

Marijuana is also available, and is stronger than the “pot” used by Baby Boomers in their youth. While medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio, details are still being worked out on how that will play out. Meanwhile, a constitutional amendment that would have “decriminalized” most drug possession cases, as well as some other crimes, was defeated badly both here and across the state because the details didn’t match the intentions of those proposing the constitutional changes.

As the new year approaches, drugs continue to be a problem, although local agencies and organizations are working to provide better assistance to those wanting to get off drugs. Addicts wanting to stop now have a number of resources, including a county drug court and groups such as Families of Addicts (FOA), that provide information and assistance.

The No. 3 story is The Landing at Dickinson Farms subdivision now being developed behind Chief Supermarket on the southwest portion of the city.

The subdivision, being developed by local businessmen Andy Czajkowski, Tom Turnwald, and Chuck Koch, as well as Van Wert native and Greenville, Tennessee, businessman Scott Niswonger and JATS investment group in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Koch said the first phase of the project would encompass approximately 40 acres of the 160-acre subdivision and provide an estimated 68 lots available for new home construction by custom home builder Granite Ridge Builders of Fort Wayne.

Home prices would run from a low of $160,000 to whatever a buyer wants to pay for a custom-built house.

Ground was broken on the subdivision in October and utility service is being installed to tie the property into the city water and sewer systems. A combination YMCA and YWCA facility is also being considered for the property, as well as a large drainage pond.

For more information on Granite Ridge and its home designs can call 260.490.1417 or access the Granite Ridge website at Those interested can also stop by the Granite Ridge corporate offices at 1020 Woodland Plaza Run in Fort Wayne, which include a 15,000-square-foot showroom that includes a building education area with information on all phases of home construction.

Tomorrow: Top story No. 2.

POSTED: 12/28/18 at 10:21 pm. FILED UNDER: News