The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided 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

VW independent/submitted information

Unemployment in Van Wert County and the surrounding area continued to fall in October, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Van Wert County unemployment now stands at 3.6 percent, down from 5 percent in September, but much lower than the 16.2 percent unemployment rate the county saw in April in the wake of the statewide COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. That’s the lowest jobless rate for the county in 2020, according to the ODJFS.

In October, labor force estimates compiled by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, noted that Van Wert County’s labor force was 14,600, with an estimated 14,000 of those employed, and an estimated 500 unemployed.

All but one neighboring county also had unemployment rates below 5 percent, led by Putnam County’s 2.8 percent rate. Mercer County was second at 3.0 percent, Auglaize County trailed Van Wert by a tenth of a percent at 3.7 percent, Paulding County was at 3.9 percent, and Allen County had the highest unemployment rate among neighboring counties at 5.4 percent.

Around the state, five counties were at or below 3.5 percent. Holmes County had the lowest unemployment rate in October at 2.3 percent, with Putnam County second, Mercer County third, and Wyandot and Union counties both at 3.4 percent.

A total of 10 counties had unemployment rates at or above 6.0 percent. Those included four counties — Cuyahoga, Jefferson, Mahoning, and Trumbull — at 6.6 percent; Monroe County at 6.5 percent; Noble and Lucas counties at 6.3 percent; Harrison and Erie counties at 6.2 percent; and Meigs County at 6.1 percent.

Ohio’s unemployment rate for October was 5.2 percent.

Van Wert County unemployment now stands at 3.6 percent, down from 5 percent in September, but much lower than the 16.2 percent unemployment rate the county saw in April in the wake of the statewide COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

In October, labor force estimates compiled by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, noted that Van Wert County’s labor force was 14,600, with an estimated 14,000 of those employed, and an estimated 500 unemployed.


POSTED: 11/25/20 at 12:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert 4-H Exchange Club would like to invite area residents to the 13th annual Holiday Lights at the Fair. 

In 2007, the club started with only 13 displays and 500 vehicles drove through. This year’s show has over 120 displays and an estimated 4,500 vehicles are expected to drive through. Exhibits are themed around the holidays and are supplied by local businesses, individuals, churches, and clubs. 

Opening night is Wednesday November 25, from 6-9:30 p.m., and the display is open every Thursday through Sunday from November 26-December 13, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. From December 17-25 it is open every night from 6 to 9:30 p.m. 

Carriage rides through the light dhow will be November 25 and December 11-12 by reservation only. Masks are required during the carriage rides. Contact Cindy (419.203.1413) to reserve a carriage ride time.​ ​Santa Claus will be at the light dhow every Saturday night. 

The cost is $5 per car to drive through and $10 a car for a carriage ride. To access the display, enter at Fox Road Gate 4. Decals (limited amount) are also available for purchase for $15 to enjoy the light show unlimited times. 

For more information, contact Jay 419.203.2234 or Cindy 419.203.1413 or visit the 4-H Exchange Club Holiday Light Show Facebook page. 

The Van Wert County 4-H Exchange group is composed of youths ages 13-18 from all areas of the county. This event is a fundraiser for the group to help support the cost to host out-of-state 4-H members or travel to other states during the summer. The 4-Hers experience the host club’s culture and lifestyle, build friendships, and learn more about other areas of the country, making memories that last forever. 

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 12:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Due to the ongoing pandemic, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed Ohio House Bill 404, which extends the expiration date of driver licenses (DL), identification cards (ID), and vehicle registrations beyond December 1. Now, if a customer’s expiration date on their DL, ID, or vehicle registration is March 9 of this year to April 1, 2021, the expiration date has been automatically extended and will remain valid until July 1, 2021.

Many of the services Ohioans rely on at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can be accomplished online at If customers need to purchase a temporary tag for their car, renew their vehicle registration, order new license plates, check their driving record, or another service, they can take care of it online from the comfort and safety of their home.

If customers must visit a BMV location, they are strongly encouraged to use the “Get in Line, Online” virtual queuing system. This system allows customers to virtually get in line before arriving at the BMV, thereby minimizing the amount of time physically spent at the agency and keeping customers safe.

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 12:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The next Pleasant Township Board of Trustees meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 25, at the township house. This is a change from the normal meeting time.

POSTED: 11/25/20 at 12:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Monday afternoon, Governor DeWine was joined by leaders of the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the status of hospital capacity and healthcare personnel needs in Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the state.

Current statistics for Ohio, as of Monday, November 23. Ohio Dept. of Health graphic

On Monday, Ohio reported 282 new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours. Additionally, Ohio reported 11,885 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Due to an electronic lab reporting technology issue, information from multiple labs was not processed for two proceeding days and was consequently included in Monday’s report. 

“On Thursday, Ohio hospitals had more than 3,800 COVID-19 patients, which was the highest patient count we had seen so far. Today, we are reporting 4,358 COVID-19 hospitalized patients,” said Governor DeWine. “The virus is quickly spreading throughout our entire state and is dramatically impacting all of our healthcare zones and their ability to care for patients.”


POSTED: 11/24/20 at 12:00 am. FILED UNDER: News

On Monday, the Van Wert County Emergency Response Team (CERT) was dispatched to assist the Van Wert Fire Department with a kitchen fire in the city. CERT and the Salvation Army are teaming up to raise support for the family. After meeting with the family, the agencies are asking for monetary donations only. All monetary donations can be dropped off or sent to the Van Wert County Foundation/CERT, 138 E. Main St. in Van Wert. To ensure a donation goes directly to the family affected, include “6247“ in the memo line of the check. For more information, call the EMA office at 419.238.1300. CERT photo

POSTED: 11/23/20 at 11:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

MASSILLON — Five seasons after finishing 0-10, the Van Wert Cougars are Division IV football state champions.

Van Wert Cougar players and staff celebrate following the team’s Division IV state football championship — the first-ever team state title for the school. photos by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

In a year filled with uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the Cougars capped off their improbable run to the 2020 state title by stunning Mentor Lake Catholic with 17 fourth-quarter points on Sunday, including the game winning 25-yard field goal by Damon McCracken, a sophomore who had yet to attempt a field goal in a varsity game.

Final score: Van Wert 31, Mentor Lake Catholic 28.

To get there, the 11-1 Cougars, tabbed as the No. 5 seed in Region 14, had to travel more miles than perhaps any other team in the playoffs, regardless of division. LaGrange, Bellevue, Shelby, Piqua, and, finally, Massillon, which replaced Fortress Obetz as the title game site, were the stops the Cougars had to make during the playoffs. They also had to defeat the No. 4, No. 8, and No. 3 teams in the state in the playoffs just to make it to the title game.

To win the championship on Sunday, Van Wert was forced to battle back from a 21-7 deficit, and there’s plenty of credit to go around.

It took the blocking of the sometimes unheralded offensive line — Kody Kline, Turner Witten, Cullen Dunn, Logan Dotson, and Eli Kline to clear the way for Owen Treece to run and throw. It took Treece’s pinpoint passing ability and Houdini-like magic with his legs. It took good hands by Maddix Crutchfield, Connor Pratt, Nate Jackson, and Dru Johnson to catch critical passes, and it took good downfield blocking by Ian Cowan to pave the way for more yards.

On defense, defensive linemen Ty Jackson and Turner Witten seemed to get stronger as the game went on, as they slowed Lake Catholic’s running game to a near crawl in the fourth quarter. Aidan Pratt and Cullen Dunn were key players in that effort and linebacker Jacob Fuerst, who burst on the scene in Week No. 3, came up big on the biggest stage. Treece and fellow linebacker Jacob Place always seemed to be around the ball and the secondary of Johnson, Jackson, Connor Pratt, and Trey Laudick came up big when they had to.


POSTED: 11/23/20 at 12:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

Teem Wholesale Inc. recently put the final touches on its 2020-2021 campaign for the United Way of Van Wert County. Employees made donations to support the 34 local agencies funded by United Way.  Employee pledges were generously matched by the company, for a total donation of nearly $5,000. In addition, Teem Wholesale held a t-shirt incentive, and each employee who donated to the United Way received a free “Live United” t-shirt. United Way photo

POSTED: 11/23/20 at 12:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — Motorcycle Ohio, within the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles, announces funding assistance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations, such as career centers and institutions of higher learning, interested in offering certified motorcycle rider training.

Motorcycle Ohio establishes motorcycle safety and education programs to provide affordable motorcycle rider training courses in order to reduce fatalities and injuries on Ohio’s roadways through rider education, public information campaigns, and licensing improvement.  

Funding assistance is available to applicants who are interested in offering Basic Rider Skills for beginners, Basic Rider Skills for the returning rider, and Basic Rider Skills 2 for experienced riders.

Applicants must meet specific parameters and other necessary requirements to be eligible for an award. For more information, visit the Motorcycle Ohio website or email. The deadline for applications is December 31.

POSTED: 11/23/20 at 12:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

The Van Wert Cougar football team won its — and the school’s — first-ever team state championship on Sunday. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 11/22/20 at 5:38 pm. FILED UNDER: News