The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2022

Opinions

America is in a recession – a recession caused by overspending from the Biden Administration and the highest inflation rates in 40 years.

Despite what Congressional Democrats and the Biden Administration may be telling you, we are, by definition, in a recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters with negative GDP growth. This year GDP growth decreased 1.6 percent in the first quarter and 0.9 percent in the second quarter. President Biden and his team have remained consistent in their denial of a recession no matter what the data says. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that “even if the [second-quarter GDP growth] is negative, we are not in a recession.”

Craig Riedel

Avoiding the concern for a recession, Congressional Democrats have created and passed a budget reconciliation bill. This bill raises taxes on America’s middle class, despite President Biden’s campaign promise not to increase taxes for Americans making less than $400,000. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), half of the new tax burden created by this “reconciliation bill” will fall on those making less than $200,000.

This bill will also drastically hurt businesses. The so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” implements a new minimum tax rate of 15 percent on businesses that make more than $1 billion a year. I spent 27 years working in the steel business. I have seen firsthand the impacts new or increased taxes can have on a business. It will be extremely difficult for any business to thrive in this economic environment.

The solution to a recession is not raising taxes. Americans just cannot afford to live like this and businesses will struggle to thrive with the addition of the new tax. Democrats have dug themselves into a hole by increasing spending on energy and healthcare, but failed to pay attention to the dramatic effects this would have on hardworking Americans.

While these misguided decisions continue to happen at the federal level, I owe it to Ohioans to help combat the measures taken by Congress. Throughout my tenure as a state representative, I have been a firm advocate in reducing income taxes for Ohioans. In 2021, I supported HB 110, the operating budget for FY 2022-2023, which reduced income tax rates for Ohioans by three percent. In 2019, I supported House Bill 166, the operating budget for FY 2020-2021, which reduced income tax rates by four percent.

As past co-chair of the Business-First Caucus, I understand the importance of prioritizing economic prosperity moving forward and we must put business first in Ohio. This will trickle down and give Ohioans an opportunity to prosper in spite of the chaos coming out of Washington.

Over the last year, I have worked on a variety of legislation to put business first and keep Ohioans from economic despair. Along with Representative Jim Hoops, I sponsored House Bill 515, which was signed by the Governor in June. This bill allows for Ohio residents to receive a business income deduction, incentivizing Ohioans to stay in Ohio before and after they sell their business. Additionally, Representative Bill Roemer and I introduced House Bill 115 in the 133rd General Assembly, a companion bill to Senate Bill 1, introduced by Senator Rob McColley and Senator Kristina Roegner. It was ultimately passed as Senate Bill 9 in the 134th General Assembly. The bill requires each state agency to reduce the regulatory restrictions contained in its rules by 30 percent by June 30, 2025. Beginning July 1, 2025, this bill also requires that an agency that does not achieve a reduction in regulatory restrictions, according to the required schedule, to eliminate two restrictions before enacting a new rule containing a restriction. These are just some of the steps that I have taken to ensure Ohioans will continue to prosper despite the state of the economy in the country.

It is extremely disappointing that the Biden Administration has led us down this path. We’ve been dealt a tough hand, but I will do everything in my power to ensure that Ohio, especially northwest Ohio, does not suffer because of the negligence of Democrats in Washington. I encourage my colleagues to take a long, hard look at the future of our country and our state. Now is the time to put business first. Now is the time to fight for our economy.

Editor’s note: Craig Riedel is the representative for Ohio’s 82nd district, which includes Van Wert County.

POSTED: 08/19/22 at 9:54 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

The COVID-19 virus is once again hitting our county and it’s hitting it hard.  

Our hospital has several hospitalizations with patients with the COVID-19 virus, our hospital staff and system are being challenged, and people, young and old, are dying from the virus.  The COVID-19 virus infection has become a disease of the unvaccinated.  What can we all do to beat this virus, stop its spread, and save people’s lives?

Be sensible.  Use all the methods we know to mitigate (make less severe) this virus:

  • Mask in situations that will protect you and those around you.  
  • Distance yourself from others when necessary, especially with indoor gatherings.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Vaccinate to teach your immune system to build proteins (antibodies) to disarm the virus.

Millions of Americans have received the COVID-19 vaccination without ill after effects.

The vaccination is designed to help minimize the impact the virus will have on you.  People may get infected with the virus after the vaccination but get a milder form of the illness, are not developing lung failure requiring ventilators, and are not dying from the aggressive virus.  

We are advising you to become well-informed, knowledgeable, and empowered to make healthy responsible decisions in controlling the spread and ultimately defeating the COVID-19 virus so we can soon return to a safer community. 

Please do your part to help yourself and each other! 

-Van Wert County Health Commissioner Paul A. Kalogerou, MD

POSTED: 09/23/21 at 5:37 pm. FILED UNDER: Opinions

As we begin a new year, citizens, workers, and small businesses in Ohio still need relief from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Small businesses in Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District have faced many challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. After speaking with restaurant owners, health care professionals, and others in Findlay, Cygnet, Stryker, Elmore, Maumee, Paulding, Napoleon, Van Wert, Genoa, and Wauseon, I learned that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was enacted through the CARES Act, has been a lifeline to small businesses and their employees in Ohio and across the country.

By Bob Latta

In the Fifth District alone, the PPP was used by more than 6,000 businesses and supported more than 122,000 jobs. Without PPP funding, many of these businesses would not have survived the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Specifically, businesses like Bates Recycling in Cygnet. In August, owner and founder Chris Bates shared with me how the PPP allowed employees to keep their paychecks, health insurance and retirement plans, as well as the other benefits the company offers. Because they were able to keep their operations going through the pandemic, it created a ripple effect. Individuals and scrap dealers who supply Bates Recycling with scape metal, copper, brass, and aluminum cans had a place to sell their material.  Companies who rely on these materials continued to get what they needed. 

Thankfully, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, has opened the Paycheck Protection Program loan portal so even more businesses can access relief.  The portal is currently accepting First and Second Draw PPP loan applications from participating Community Financial Institutions (CFIs), which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and Microloan Intermediaries.

Eligible applicants for First Draw Loans that did not receive a PPP loan prior to August 8, 2020, now have the ability to apply for a PPP First Draw Loan on or before March 31. First Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations. 

A Second Draw PPP loan is for certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan, generally have 300 employees or less, and have suffered a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts. At least $15 billion is set aside for additional PPP lending by CFIs. Eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP First Draw Loan may apply for a PPP Second Draw Loan of up to $2 million with the same general loan terms as their PPP First Draw Loans. 

The opening of the SBA loan system is designed to ensure increased access to the PPP for minority-, underserved-, veteran- and women-owned small business concerns. The SBA released a report looking at the numbers through February 7. They found that nationally, 6,438,379 PPP loans totaling more than $623 billion have been approved by 5,468 lenders. Since PPP re-opened on January 11, SBA has already approved over 1.2 million PPP loans totaling $100,924,718,302. In Ohio alone, 36,523 PPP loans have been approved totaling $3,065,444,670. 

As your representative, I will work to ensure small businesses and their employees have the funding and resources they need to make it through this difficult time. 

POSTED: 02/10/21 at 11:28 pm. FILED UNDER: Opinions

The phone rings. You see a government agency is calling. You hear a monotone voice on the other line claiming to be the IRS asking for your social security number for your stimulus check. 

By Bob Latta

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the primary consumer protection agency, has cited this as a common scam targeting American consumers during COVID-19. While we have seen Americans across communities coming together to help one another as this pandemic continues, we have also seen bad actors try to exploit these unprecedented times to take advantage of consumers through telemarketing schemes.

These culprits are targeting innocent Americans — seniors, small businesses, families, workers, and even hospitals on the front lines — to promote fake cures, therapies, preventative measures, and more. They claim to be government agencies in need of your social security, Medicare, and bank account information, and make their caller ID appear to be under an agency’s name. 

As Americans adjust their daily lives to inside their homes and are seeking everything from treatments to personal protective equipment to toilet paper, Americans need answers — not robocall scams. Luckily, a new law passed by Congress last year is already beginning to put an end to these burdensome calls and hold the culprits behind them accountable.

Last year, Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate came together to introduce the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which the President signed into law on December 30, 2019. The bipartisan, bicameral bill gave new tools to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop the number of robocalls, and to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute scammers and fraudsters.

Laws take time to implement, but we have seen the TRACED Act at work – and results for American consumers are already underway. There’s more work to be done for sure, but the FCC issued a rule in late March that requires all service providers to implement framework from the TRACED Act in the Internet Protocol (IP) parts of their networks by June 30, 2021. Over the next year we will be able to see providers use this framework which will in turn reduce illegal spoofing, help law enforcement catch the culprits behind these illegal scam robocalls, and allow providers to stop these calls before they reach consumers.

This week the FCC also issued a Notice of Public Rulemaking aimed at better protecting Americans from one-ring scams. One-ring scam calls occur when your phone rings just once, and then stops. This type of scam uses international toll-generating numbers that charge large fees per minute when consumers call the number back. If this happens to you, do not call the number back; if it is an important call that is not a scam, the caller will try again and call you back. The FCC also asked for comment on proposals for implementing requirements from the TRACED Act to protect consumers from these scams. 

We must be vigilant and make sure we crack down as scammers find creative ways to take advantage of consumers. Americans have stepped up to help others during this time, we have no doubt enforcement entities and the industry will do the same. The public health and safety of communities across the nation depends on it. Learn more about how to look out for these calls and stay safe by visiting fcc.gov/covid-scams.  

Editor’s note: Bob Latta is the representative for the 5th U.S. Congressional District.

POSTED: 05/05/20 at 10:39 pm. FILED UNDER: Opinions

It’s time to roll! It’s time for Ohio to start moving forward again! 

It appears as though the impact of this virus is not as dramatic as we once thought it might be just a few weeks ago. Up to this point I have agreed with the decisions that our governor has implemented for our safety and well-being. I am not playing armchair quarterback here. Hindsight vision is always 20/20. 

By Craig Riedel

I respect and appreciate the bold leadership that the Governor and Lt. Governor have provided up to this point. We have been in uncharted waters ever since this began, but the data is now showing that the virus is not as widespread or as deadly as once thought it would be. 

I understand that the social distancing and extra hygiene precautions that most of us have been adhering to has had a major positive impact on slowing its spread, but there is also reason to believe that there is a chance this virus was here long before our experts knew it was here. I am a firm believer, like our President, that “the cure cannot be worse than the disease”. 

Our economy is on the brink! If we don’t start our economic engine up now the damage could take years to repair and along with that additional death and despair due to poverty, depression, and hopelessness! Our hospitals are not seeing anything close to what was projected earlier, as far as COVID-19 patients goes, and many of them are in financial hardship. We certainly don’t want our current healthcare system to get crushed because of the decisions we’ve made as a government. Some parts of Ohio have not been as adversely impacted as others. 

Not all of the state needs to be treated the same way. For example, what is good for Paulding or Auglaize County may not be good for Franklin or Cuyahoga County. I believe our governor should delegate more authority and decision making to our county health departments. By allowing more local control, Ohio citizens will begin to feel more empowered because they, once again, will have a voice in the matter. 

In the days ahead I will continue to work with Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, Congressman Latta, Congressman Jordan, fellow members of the General Assembly, and local government officials to help navigate a plan forward! 

I need your help as well. Please send me your thoughts and ideas to help our State and Country work through our current situation. In particular, I would like to hear from business owners for ideas to starting your business back up and open right away! 

Please send your suggestions/ideas in a bullet point format, concise and to the point, to my office email at Rep82@ohiohouse.gov. You can also call my office at 614.644.5091 with any thoughts or questions. 

I will use this information to work with my peers in the General Assembly to formulate a path forward for Ohio. 

It’s time for action now! Our governor and his team have shown bold leadership up until this point, now it’s time for them to show strong leadership in opening Ohio back up for business! Let’s roll!”

Editor’s note: Craig Riedel is the representative for Ohio’s 82nd district, which includes Van Wert County.

POSTED: 04/14/20 at 2:48 pm. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Watching hoarders as they empty the shelves of supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies as COVID 19, the coronavirus pandemic, takes its toll on daily life in our communities, it is easy to assume that a crisis brings out the worst in people. But, the fact is it can bring out the best in us, as well.

Take the story of a pair of brothers in Hixson, Tennessee, who sought to corner the market for hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes and face masks in the early days of the potentially deadly disease. The New York Times reported that during the three days after the first death was announced on February 29 one of them set out on a 1,300-mile road trip through Tennessee and Kentucky filling a U-Haul truck with the loot. The other brother stayed home listing the stuff on Amazon at exorbitant prices as high as $70.

As Times reporter Jack Nicas put it in his article: “To him, ‘it was crazy money.’ To many others, it was profiteering from a pandemic.” 

The good news is that the brothers got their comeuppance. Tennessee’s attorney general was quick to issue a cease-and-desist order and Amazon quickly shut them down, leaving the boys sitting on nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer with no way to unload them at a profit.

Meanwhile, there are heartwarming stories of kindness that have begun to emerge throughout the country about neighbors helping neighbors. Many are taking to social media to rouse the good guys to act at this time of crisis.

One woman on Facebook posted a notice offering to shop for seniors in her community and neighboring communities who are house-bound as a result of the COVID epidemic. Caring messages and posts are showing up throughout the social media world. They offer to provide caregiver services for those who might need it and necessities such as medical supplies.

One out-of-towner contacted a deli in Detroit and put up cash for a take-out order for a “worthy charity or person [all your call].”

Here are a few things that you can do to help during the COVID crisis:

  • There are plenty of elderly neighbors in your communities, individuals and couples who might, for all intents and purposes, be shut ins at a time like this. Check in on them and help them on a regular basis.  Offer to help them with chores and shopping, for example.
  • If there are neighbors who need medical attention, offer to help them get in touch with a tele-doctors via the Internet as in-person visits to medical facilities are being discouraged.
  • Schools throughout the country are shutting down in order to contain the virus, schools that were providing meals for their students. Get together with your friends and neighbors to find ways to ensure the kids get something healthy to eat. 
  • Help support local food banks and places in your community that provide shelter for the needy. You might also consider helping out neighbors whose employment has been disrupted as a result of the virus by helping them to purchase necessities.

In other words, become a good guy and come to the rescue if you are able. Don’t be a hoarder; be a helper.

–By Rebecca Weber, Association of Mature American Citizens

POSTED: 03/22/20 at 9:29 pm. FILED UNDER: Opinions

COLUMBUS — Leading business organizations across Ohio tonight praised Governor DeWine’s recent actions to curb the spread of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Most recently, the Governor announced his decision to close bars and restaurants to in-house patrons until further notice, in order to limit community spread of the disease.

“The Ohio Chamber of Commerce commends the Governor for making the difficult decision to close all restaurants and bars across Ohio except for carryout orders. We know this difficult decision was made in consultation with leading health experts, including Dr. Amy Acton, who are recommending actions to keep Ohioans safe during this unprecedented time. We support Governor DeWine’s decision because we believe taking steps now to confront the coronavirus will ultimately benefit our state by limiting the spread of the disease and enable Ohio to get back to normal sooner.” Read the full release.
Ohio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Andrew E. Doehrel

“The Ohio Business Roundtable supports Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton’s order to temporarily close Ohio’s restaurants and bars to indoor service. We recognize the magnitude and impact of this measure on one of Ohio’s key industries, but believe it is necessary to slow the spread of the virus to our most vulnerable citizens. We appreciate the DeWine/Husted Administration’s coordination with leaders of Ohio’s restaurant industry and applaud Governor DeWine’s leadership in this unprecedented public health crisis. As we have seen in other parts of the world, it is critical to take these actions before the virus can spread further.” Read the full release.
–Ohio Business Roundtable (OBRT)President & CEO Pat Tiberi

“The governor’s decisive actions are buying us more time. Every day we delay the spread that we know is coming, the stronger Ohio and our nation will be in the months and years to come.” Read the full release.
–Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA) President Eric Burkland

“During this unprecedented health care crisis, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants supports the Governor’s decision to help reduce community spread of the Coronavirus by closing bars and eliminating dine-in service at restaurants, many of which are our members, for an indefinite period of time. We understand the difficulty of his decision but appreciate the relief measures the Governor is putting into place for these businesses and their employees. Government and the private sector need to work together to get control of this situation for the benefit of all Ohioans.” Read the full release.
–Ohio Council of Retail Merchants President & CEO Gordon Gough

“We are thankful for the leadership of Gov. DeWine during these uncertain times. The concerns around the rapid spread of COVID-19 have already had a major impact on our daily routines. Now, with the Governor’s difficult decision to close the state’s restaurants and bars, it will impact the food service sector in ways that have never been seen before. We strongly back the Ohio Restaurant Association as they navigate this challenging situation and we encourage consumers to show their support for those in the restaurant industry and throughout the supply chain by using carryout and delivery services. One thing is certain as we all navigate short term disruptions in our lives, farmers in Ohio and across the country will continue to deliver a safe and abundant food supply. That is something we can all appreciate.” Read the full release.
–Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp

“This is clearly an unprecedented time in U.S. history and challenging for all Americans and Ohioans and we are thankful to have worked with Governor DeWine’s office on the next steps regarding Ohio’s restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.  We are exploring all possible federal, state and local relief and economic stimulus options, and plan to share those as quickly as possible. Our business concerns are focused on helping owners/operators, employees and consumers. Ohio restaurants are gearing up to offer great food via pick-up windows, carryout, curbside pickup and delivery. It’s important to remember we’re all in this together so restaurants are here now and after this crisis.” Read the full release.
Ohio Restaurant Association President and CEO John Barker

“Gov. DeWine has been a national leader in responding to the growing threat of COVID. Ohio’s counties deeply appreciate his strong leadership and willingness to partner with counties in addressing this unprecedented challenge to our communities.” Read the full release.
–County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) President Carl Davis

“The need to stop the spread of the coronavirus could not be more urgent. We commend Gov. DeWine’s difficult, but extraordinarily important decision to temporarily close Ohio’s bars and restaurants. While this will be difficult, we believe the support systems that the Governor is putting in place, such as expanding access to unemployment compensation, are critically important and will help workers and small businesses during this unprecedented crisis.” Read the full release.
–Ohio Mayors Alliance Board Members

POSTED: 03/16/20 at 6:32 am. FILED UNDER: Opinion, Opinions

As the New Year begins, I would like to reflect on the interest the state legislature has shown in reducing unnecessary rules within our state agencies and future steps that will improve the overall business environment. 

By Craig Riedel

A study from November 2019 conducted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University placed Ohio in the top 5 category of states with the most regulatory restrictions, along with California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. These restrictive regulations hurt small businesses and stifle our state’s economic growth. With over 246,000 restrictions built up over time, Ohio is going to have to take a more in-depth look at the bureaucratic structure of accumulating these regulations. 

Last year, I voted in support of House Bill 166, our state’s main operating budget for Fiscal Years 2020-21, with preliminary steps to reduce regulatory restrictions through state agency review. Specifically, Section 701.10 in the budget bill requires designees from the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) to review the programs of state agencies in order to determine what overlap or duplicate functions exist.

As of January 1, 2020, the directors of DAS and OBM have taken the initial steps in reviewing state agencies’ functions with an emphasis on facilities utilization, laboratory testing facility consolidation and field or regional office operation consolidation. It is important to continue this review internally and maintain the goal of administrative and operational cost effectiveness. 

For this reason, Representative Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) and I introduced House Bill 115 that will further examine and reduce regulatory restrictions within certain agencies. House Bill 115 is companion legislation to Senate Bill 1 sponsored by Senators Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson). This legislation will require state agencies to reduce regulatory restrictions by 30 percent across the board by 2022. If a state agency is not able to meet this goal, then for every new regulation they propose to add, two must be removed. 

If this legislation is enacted, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) will be responsible for gathering information from the agencies and producing a report to send to the members of the General Assembly. This report will include recommendations to the General Assembly in order to work with the agencies so they can meet their regulation reduction goals. 

It is vital to create a state that thrives on empowering our local and family businesses rather than trying to hinder them based off dated standards from state agencies adopted over a long period of time. These restrictions lead to high compliance costs that hurt business owners, including those in our rural areas within the northwest region of the state. 

Ohio is too far above the average of state regulatory restrictions and this can be rectified by implementing further reform that will increase competition with neighboring states. Ohio should be paving the way for more individuals and businesses to prosper. By reducing these burdensome regulations, Ohio will create an environment that is more business-friendly, giving more of our businesses the freedom to expand economically and create jobs within our communities. 

I believe that House Bill 115 and Senate Bill 1 reform is necessary to bring Ohio’s over 246,000 regulatory restrictions down to a level that positively helps the businesses within the state. I will continue to advocate for common sense initiatives that will limit governmental overreach into our lives. 

Editor’s note: Craig Riedel represents Ohio’s 82nd House District.

POSTED: 01/10/20 at 12:11 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

As Sheriff of Van Wert County, I would like to discuss an issue very close to each of us — crime prevention.  My Office is committed to making neighborhoods safer places to live. By doing so, we will improve the quality of life for individuals and families … both young and old.

Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach

It is imperative that we seek progress to reduce the negative influences that crime has on our children and to help safeguard the elderly.

In the past year, this office has worked extremely hard to make significant improvements in our county.  Through community-based programs and an emphasis on professionalism, we hope to reduce the number of thefts and property crimes, incidents of domestic violence, drug offenses, and other disturbances.  An example of our plans and objectives include:

  • Provide deputies with the resources necessary to improve preparedness and response capabilities.
  • Continue our initiatives in specialized technical training and the latest crime-prevention measures.
  • Protect our senior citizens from acts of violence, neglect, and fraud.
  • Increased drug awareness through educational programs and services that will give individuals information to help others have a fighting chance to lead more productive lives.
  • We hope to see fewer incidents of spousal and child abuse by further developing opportunities for law enforcement to work more closely with shelters and local organizations to provide counseling and support.
  • Maintain our goal to improve our correctional facility, incorporating the latest security measures for the purpose of removing more criminals from the streets.

I personally want to thank all of you for supporting the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office and for the support of these initiatives – those in place now as well as those in keeping with our objectives.

In addition, I would like to share another unique initiative with you, the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association’s Associate Membership Program, supported by citizens committed to making our communities a safer place to live.  This important program enables citizens to make a real difference toward the aforementioned objectives.  The Associate Membership program is based on the premise that citizens and law enforcement officers can collaborate to have a direct impact in our communities. Through membership, citizens can help in a very practical way.

I invite all individuals to support our efforts by becoming a member.  Through your participation in this program, we can continue to provide the resources necessary to make a difference. Anyone interested in knowing more about this very important program may call: 800.589.2772, or write to: 1103 Schrock Road, Suite 401, Columbus, OH 43229. We will be glad to mail additional information to interested parties.

I strongly urge the residents of Van Wert County to consider participating in this honorable program — not only for its monetary support of law enforcement, but also for the moral support that unites us in building a safer community.

–Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach

POSTED: 03/12/19 at 7:03 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

As the school year winds down to an end, I find myself reflecting on the tragic events that took place over the past year within our schools. It is high time that we come together as a state and as a nation with creative solutions to better protect our schools, which seem to have become top targets.

None of us want to live in a world where parents fear letting their children go to class each day. Our school boards already have the ability to permit armed staffers in schools, which schools in northwest Ohio are already taking advantage of.

By State Rep. Craig Riedel

In order to focus more on this issue locally, the Ohio House is making school safety a top priority. We must give our districts more options for security and safety plans, allowing them to decide what works best for their schools and community. We recently passed legislation that includes a provision giving educational service centers (ESCs) the ability to levy a property tax that will specifically fund school security and mental health services. This permissive bill upholds local control and allows the community to come together to decide if it needs more funding for school safety.

Additionally, we approved House Bill 318, appropriating $10 million in fiscal year 2019 for grants to public and chartered nonpublic schools for school safety programs and training for school resource officers (SROs). Many districts already employ SROs, but current law doesn’t define their role, the duties that accompany it, or training requirements for the position.

The legislation would institute certain training obligations and better prepare SROs for emergency situations that may occur on school grounds and their responsibility to address such events. Specifically, the legislation would require an SRO to complete 40 hours of training that has been approved by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy within their first year on the job.

House Bill 318 not only creates necessary standards, but it encourages schools to utilize school resource officers. Their role will be clearly outlined, and districts will have more confidence in the ability for a hired SRO to manage emergency scenarios on school grounds. The bill also requires the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to conduct a study of SRO services and security upgrades in existing school district-operated buildings and to submit a copy of the study to the Governor and General Assembly by February 1, 2019, to ensure their roles are being fulfilled. The results of this study may potentially spur additional legislation as to how to better fortify our school buildings.

Another bill currently in the committee process is House Bill 526, which would allow current or retired law enforcement officers to act as volunteer patrols in our schools to help deter a mass casualty event. There would be no cost to school districts that participate in the program. Each individual must go through a screening process and be firearm certified. Once approved, the names of the volunteers would be distributed to local school districts for the purpose of scheduling. Under the bill, the officers who volunteer in the program would be eligible for a tax credit in return for their professional services and time given.

At the end of the day, we all want our children to be able to learn in a safe environment free of distractions. The Ohio House has put forward reasonable solutions to better protect our school buildings and grounds, and I believe cities and towns across the state can get behind these measures. We must work together to offer more resources to our students in the event of sudden, unexpected emergencies.

POSTED: 05/26/18 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Kay-toons

POSTED: 09/22/22 at 1:34 pm. FILED UNDER: Kay-toons

Letters

To the Editor:

A vote for Issue 1 is a vote to protect public safety.

• Earlier this year, four justices on the Ohio Supreme Court said that Ohio judges could no longer
consider public safety when setting bail, even for dangerous and violent offenders.
• The court majority upended decades of law, disregarded their own Rules of Criminal Procedure, and ignored the plain reading of the Ohio Revised Code.
• Ohio judges now have limited ability to keep dangerous and violent offenders off of our streets before trial.
• This decision changed public policy and imposed bail reform in Ohio with no input from Ohioans.
• A vote for Issue 1 is a vote to reverse this dangerous decision and protect public safety.

A vote for Issue 1 is a vote to protect crime victims, witnesses, and Ohio communities.

• Victims, witnesses, and Ohio communities are less safe because of this Court decision.
• Judges used to be able to consider the seriousness of the crime, the offender’s record as a career criminal, the heinous nature of the crime, and whether the offender used a gun.
• Now, dangerous and violent offenders are more likely to be caught and released.
• These offenders have more opportunity to intimidate victims and witnesses. They have more opportunity to obstruct the criminal justice process.
• A vote for Issue 1 is a vote to reverse this dangerous decision and allow your judges to again better protect crime victims, witnesses, and Ohio communities.

A vote for Issue 1 is a vote to promote law and order.

• Bail reform is resulting in tragedy everywhere it is being adopted.
• It is contributing to the rise in crime nationwide.
• It is undermining law enforcement efforts to get dangerous people off of our streets
• It is undermining law and order.
• A vote for Issue 1 is a vote for law enforcement and a vote to promote law and order in your community.
• Vote to protect public safety.
• Vote to protect crime victims, witnesses, and Ohio communities.
• Vote to promote law and order in your community.

Vote YES on Issue 1.

Eva J. Yarger
Van Wert County Prosecutor

POSTED: 09/20/22 at 1:17 pm. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Vantage Career Center has a .8 mill renewal levy on the ballot November 8. There are no new taxes involved with this levy, but rather a continuation of the support taxpayers have provided to our district since 1989. Details of this operating levy renewal include:

● First on the ballot in 1989
● Renewed three times
● Became a replacement levy in 2008
● Renewed two times
● Generates approximately $1.16 million annually for our general fund
● Will cost a homeowner $18.87 per year on a $100,000 home, or 5.1 cents per day.

It is important to note that we would be in deficit spending in the first year this money was not available. It is critical funding to keep our general fund solvent.

Vantage Career Center is in the business of creating career opportunities for students and meeting the skilled workforce needs of area businesses. As we dialog with companies, Economic Development Directors, and Chambers of Commerce, we hear a common theme. The skills students obtain at Vantage are critical to meet their workforce needs. Those that complete our high school and adult education programs obtain credentials at Vantage that create multiple opportunities for them as they seek employment or pursue additional education. Our community has many successful Vantage alumni that are very successful contributing citizens, providing businesses and industries with the workforce they need to be successful in a global economy.

The voters in the Vantage district have continued to support the school over the years, allowing us to offer up-to-date, in-demand skills training that gives students the opportunities to start their careers and continue their education if they so choose. Voters have seen the success of Vantage alumni and the effects of having a skilled workforce in the community.

It is critically important for our region to have a technically skilled workforce. Businesses that have access to a skilled workforce stay in our community and thrive. Students who have the technical skills business and industry are seeking have tremendous opportunities to make an excellent living and continue their education. Having a career center like Vantage that is a resource for providing the skilled workforce is vital to make the businesses and communities in our district competitive in today’s economic environment. This levy is a renewal, and will cost a homeowner $18.87 per year on a $100,000 home, or 5.1 cents per day. This money provides critical dollars for basic daily operational expenses and educational supplies. If you need further information please feel free to contact me at 419.238.5411 or 800.686.3944, ext. 2102.

Mr. Rick Turner
Vantage Career Center Superintendent

POSTED: 09/15/22 at 1:39 pm. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Veterans Day was observed again this year on Thursday, September 1, at the Van Wert County Fair. Again this year, Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ from Convoy provided free meals to all the veterans on this special day. He has done this for several years.

On behalf of the Van Wert County veterans I would like to say “thank you” to Gibson’s for the outstanding meal provided to us again this year. I urge all veterans to be sure to visit his restaurant in Convoy and support him like he has supported us.

Thank you and God Bless America!

Michael C. Stanley
Ohio Army National Guard (retired)

POSTED: 09/06/22 at 6:08 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Eggerss Stadium Renovation Committee, we would like to thank the following individuals, businesses, and groups who supported the effort to pass the levy for the purpose of preserving and renovating Eggerss Stadium:

All of the yes voters in the district, VW Class of 1966, VW Class of 1973, VW Class of 1998, Tony Alessandrini, Paul Hoverman, Tracy Keber, Todd Wallace, Becca Adams, Pat Jackson, Jake Jones, Gary Taylor, Chris Roberts, Willie Hernandez, Al Welch, Owen Treece, Keith Recker, Bob Gamble, Pete Weir, Allie Clifton Kaslow, Scott Truxell, Robin Pennell, Joel Penton, Bob Sloan, Scott Lautzenheiser, Pam Price, Bill Clifton, Superintendent Mark Bagley, Gregg Scheidt, Kurt Schaffner, Rick Kreischer, Justin Bragg, Anthony Adams, Rachel White, Sue Lichtle, Paula Giessler, Chet Straley, Jeremy Ellis, Deb Fegley, Chuck Steele, LeeAnn Pratt, Gracie Gunter, Jodie Recker, Logan Recker, Lee Kinstles, Don Sites, David Boroff, Kent McMillen, all anonymous donors, Randy Agler, Stacey Baer, Hall Block, Pat Crummey, Taylor Ford, Kristi Fuerst, Randy Gardner, Mitch Gearhart, Michelle Gunter, Bob Laing, JJ McClain, Larry Mengerink, Julie Moore, Jeremy Morefield, Danielle Parrish, Mitch Price, Bob Priest, Josh Schumm, Trent Temple, Chris Thomas, The Van Wert City School Board, Brewed Expressions, Young’s Trash, Laudick’s Jewelry, 133 Bistro, The Edition, Wild Hare, The Van Wert Booster Club, Wilkinson Printing, Burcham Printing, Pizza Hut, Orchard Tree, Van Wert Pride Band, and the Van Wert Community as a whole.

Sincerely,

Eric McCracken and John White, Committee Co-Chairs

POSTED: 05/09/22 at 9:51 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Where there is no vision the people will perish. 

Fortunately for the city of Van Wert, the Van Wert County Foundation has supplied us with a vision that that will carry us well into the 21st century and beyond. Rehabilitating the Van Wert downtown district through the purchase and renovation of 50 plus buildings is a bold move with some risk, but what were the other options? Sit by and watch the buildings crumble and with it the hope of any sort of vital downtown area? This is the kind of vision that lifts all boats because it will raise the quality of life for the whole community. Vision creates excitement! Vision gives creative focus! Vision creates opportunity! 

For a moment, think of the philanthropic visionary gifts given to us over the years: The Marsh Foundation, the YMCA and YWCA, Brumback Library, Wassenberg Art Center, Niswonger Performing Arts Center, Lifewise, Wee Care Day Care Center. 

The Van Wert City Schools has also bought into this forward vision by choosing to keep iconic Eggerss Stadium at its current location in downtown Van Wert. The school is asking the public to support the Eggerss Stadium renovation through a modest bond issue. With it comes the opportunity for the community of Van Wert to have “some skin in the game” and support the preservation of this historic football complex that has been a gathering place for nearly a century. 

I applaud the Van Wert County Foundation and the Van Wert City School Board for their efforts. I’m 100 percent behind “Van Wert Forward” and I hope you are too. Vote “YES” for the bond issue to preserve Eggerss Stadium.

Randall Gardner

Van Wert

POSTED: 04/28/22 at 4:46 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

We’d like to give a shout-out to all the hard work of the Stadium Renovation Committee and voice our support of the May 3 vote for the bond issue to renovate Eggerss Stadium. 

We are proud Lincolnview grads and our children graduated from Lincolnview. We have fond memories of attending Van Wert Cougar football games during our high school years. Now that we’re Van Wert City residents, we are in total support of this initiative for several reasons:

  • The improvements to make Eggerss more accessible with updated seating, restrooms, parking, and overall functionality will complement the pride felt since it’s construction in 1936. 
  • We’re excited for the possibilities these improvements provide to our community surrounding the stadium. The location and continued use of this stadium support Van Wert’s efforts to expand business, bring entertainment and the arts, and provide beauty, visibility, and easy access to our citizens and our visitors. 
  • When possible, we support rehabilitating and preserving properties vs. tearing down and starting over. Eggerss sits within an area that is being rehabbed for new and existing businesses. The Eggerss project timing effort is perfect! 

We hope you get out and vote to approve this important bond issue for our community!

Roy and Jana Ringwald

Van Wert 

POSTED: 04/28/22 at 4:42 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

I am writing to show my support for the bond issue to renovate Eggerss Stadium.  

As someone who has played, coached, and been a spectator, I have witnessed the greatness as well as the limitations of this iconic stadium. The renovation plan will eliminate those limitations and will leave little doubt as to Eggerss being the best place to watch a football game in northwest Ohio.

Please vote yes on or before May and preserve a Van Wert Icon!

Thank You.

Patrick Crummey

POSTED: 04/26/22 at 8:31 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

With the May 3 election quickly approaching, I’d like to encourage everyone to get out and vote in favor of the Eggerss Stadium renovation. 

I was reminded over the weekend about how fortunate we are to live in this community. A former resident came to visit Van Wert and his pictures of so many beautiful sites were posted on Facebook. He was so inspired by all of the beauty Van Wert offers that he spent an afternoon snapping pictures.  The courthouse, several churches, the library, the parks, the NPAC, Central, and the downtown area, in general, were all included in his gallery. 

I actually ran into him at the Eggerss Stadium event and told him how much I enjoyed looking at the post. I pass by many of these daily and really don’t take the time to appreciate their beauty. Each one of the structures has a story, a purpose, and a beginning – simply by a thought or a dream of Van Wert residents.  

Let’s add another landmark to our beautiful town. Take time to enjoy our city when you’re out for a drive and show your Cougar Pride by getting out and voting YES for the Van Wert City School Bond on May 3! 

Chris Thomas
VWHS Class of 1968

POSTED: 04/26/22 at 8:27 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor: 

I am a lifelong member of the Van Wert community and very proud of that. I have played on, coached on and have been a Cougar fan since 1956. 

I played Jr. high and high school football on the field at Eggerss Stadium. I also coached youth football for 30 years which played our games on that field. In addition to that I have refereed numerous football games there as a licensed official. 

Except for my service in the Army I have been a season ticket holder for 54 years and love the setting, historic tradition and I have researched the history of our historic stadium.

Kent McMillen got me interested in getting the stadium renovated and updated over ten years ago and we have both been dedicated to that end ever since. I can’t imagine a Cougar home game being played anywhere but Eggerss with the band playing through the tunnel, meeting friends and rehashing different games and how our new Cougars will do this season.

With this renovation it opens the door to so many more activities, more parking, handicap accessibility and saving our stadium for another 80 to 100 years. We can upgrade our facilities for only approximately $40 per year on a $100,000 taxable evaluation or roughly 80 cents per week, less than one cup of coffee or soft drink per week. 

Vote yes for the bond issue for the betterment of our entire community.

Larry Mengerink 

Class of ‘64

POSTED: 04/26/22 at 8:23 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

May 3 affords an opportunity for the citizens in the Van Wert School District to make a positive difference in our community. This opportunity is to vote yes in favor of renovating Eggerss Stadium, preserving a structure rich in history, pride, and memories. But that is hardly the whole story. There is great opportunity to do much more with Eggerss going forward. It certainly can be a lynchpin to other types of entertainment in downtown Van Wert, the likes of which we have never imagined. 

One comment I’ve heard is that citizens think it’s a great idea, support it, and will vote for it. However, people want to know the plan to maintain the facility going forward. And it’s a great question. Has maintenance been considered and what does a maintenance plan look like? I’ve been involved as a volunteer promoting the Eggerss Stadium renovation idea for over 10 months. If taking care of the stadium was not well thought out and addressed up front, I would not have been part of the effort to preserve Eggerss. 

So, what is the plan? There are four different avenues that will contribute to the maintenance of the stadium going forward. First is the permanent improvement fund. While I can’t get into specifics, this fund is earmarked just for what it implies: maintaining and improving facilities already in place. I do know this fund has a sizable amount of money flowing into it annually and a portion of this will be used to maintain the stadium facilities in the future. 

Second is the newly formed athletic facilities fund. Money flows into it from many different supporting sources in the district. This fund is used to support all athletic facilities in the district. It is vital that all sports are represented and supported with this fund and they will be. A portion of that fund can be used to maintain the stadium. 

Third is future naming rights. With the passage of this levy, there will be multiple opportunities to name certain features of a newly renovated stadium after loved ones, on behalf of businesses, etc. Some of these include the playing field, press box, band bleachers, locker rooms, concession building, scoreboard, etc. This can create steady revenue used to insure the stadium is kept sound and up to date. 

Finally, individual one-time and ongoing donations and bequests. While these cannot be counted on as steady income, I’ve heard of a number of people who want to financially help insure the stadium is properly maintained. 

To sum it all up, my opinion is Eggerss Stadium is without a doubt a facility worth keeping and preserving. I urge you to vote YES with the confidence that the renovations will do the job of preserving the Stadium for decades to come, will increase safety and usability, will enhance the quality of life in Van Wert and the downtown area, and will be maintained properly to keep the facility in top condition. 

Let’s do this one for ourselves! 

John White

Co-Chair, Eggerss Stadium Renovation Committee

POSTED: 04/26/22 at 8:17 am. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor