Author Archives: Bill O'Connell

Evergreen Baseball Grabs Road Win in Swanton

The Evergreen Vikings rallied from a 3-2 fifth inning deficit and defeated the Swanton Bulldogs 9-4 in an early non-league game at Memorial Park in Swanton.

Click on the link above to access photos from the game. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the website.

Gift Shop Opens in Downtown Swanton on Main Street

A Ribbon Cutting was held today by the Swanton Chamber of Commerce to officially open Ash + Grace, a gift shop located at 117 N. Main Street and previously occupied by Younique Boutique.  The owner is a life-long resident of Swanton and relates her story below:

My name is Ashlie Harmon, my husband Brian and I have five children. Brian is a Navy Veteran.  Our children are Jaden, Dylan, Briar, Christian and Ava.  I was born and raised in Swanton.  I have always wanted to own my own business; I just never really knew what I wanted to do.  After working in the medical field as a Registered Medical Assistant for over 20 years, I became a stay-at-home mom in July 2019 after we had our daughter six weeks premature.

Then COVID happened and we were locked down.  My husband went to work out of town. I needed to find something to keep me busy, so I started playing around with making handmade crafts and bath & body products.  Soon after I started selling my items in nine locally owned shops.  I finally figured out what I wanted to do.  Something I have a passion for, so I decided to open my own shop, while still selling my items in other shops and now my own!  We also have 40+ local, creative and talented makers selling their items in our shop!  Our products are changing all the time as makers bring in new items.  Please stop in and help support all of our makers and small businesses! Shop Small, Shop Local!

Ash + Grace is a small, local woman and veteran owned handmade gift shop. We are a place that you can come and shop from multiple handmade items from local talented makers. You can find anything from handmade bath & body products, candles, home decor, women’s boutique clothing and so much more!

Ash + Grace Business Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 11am-5pm

Saturday 10am-3pm

*Subject to change

Photo: Ashlie Harmon cuts the ribbon for her newest business venture.

Swanton High School Puts on Little Mermaid Jr

When Swanton High School puts on their musical every Spring, it signals the beginning of the end of another academic school year with a three-month break before the next one starts with many of the same faces returning. This year, however, the vibe surrounding the annual musical is very different. There have been two constants for Swanton’s musicals for the past 30 years. The first, Ms. Julie Zedlitz would be “sitting” in the director’s chair. The second, and because of the first, the shows were always guaranteed to be well worth the price of admission.

After 33 years of teaching, directing 30 musicals and one play, encouraging thousands of students to showcase their talents and abilities on stage, Julie will be retiring at the end of the year. She made the announcement quite some time ago so, all of fans in the Swanton community that have watched her do her magic year after year, knew this time was coming. For them, it will be bittersweet. Happy for Julie, of course, but sad there will be no more Julie Zedlitz musicals.

Her last show, Little Mermaid Jr, is very much like her others. She has put the right talent in the right roles, on stage and back stage, to deliver another wonderful performance. Three more shows remain. The final curtain comes down this Sunday afternoon. Bring plenty of tissues.

Click on the link above to access the more than 400 photos from the performance. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the website.

Swanton Welcomes PizzAroma

Along with family, friends, employees and Swanton Chamber of Commerce members, Angela and Le Nuhfer cut the ribbon to their newest PizzAroma location at 133 E. Airport Highway in Swanton.  The Nuhfers, along with their son Austin, moved into the space formerly occupied by Pisanello’s Pizza several months ago and began renovations.  Officially, the Swanton PizzAroma will be having their Grand Opening on Thursday, March 30, 2023.  Below is their story as they like to tell it:

PizzAroma’s Story:

Angela, Lee and Austin Nuhfer.  Wife, Husband, and Son! Just us three!  No business partners, no investors.  JUST US. A small family business living out her dream. We have been in the Pizza Industry for over 30 years.  February 2012 changed our lives forever!  We became owners of PizzAroma in Maumee.  We have owned this location for 11 years.  

On March 30, 2020 (Yes, right when the Pandemic started), we opened up our second location in Holland/Toledo.  We had been working on getting our second location open since September 2019….

So, needless to say, we had no other choice but to keep moving forward with our second location as we had put all of our blood, sweat, tears into it, with many emotional breakdowns. 

Three weeks after opening our second location and the start of Covid, I (Angela) was diagnosed with breast cancer!  To say we were devastated was an understatement!  2020 was a Nightmare! 

Fast forward to 2023.  NOW OPENING OUR 3RD LOCATION PizzAroma Swanton!  I (Angela) started at Marco’s Pizza when I was 14 making $4.25 an hour.  My life is Pizza 🍕 Lol.  Our local small family business is passionate about our product, service and image while loving what we do!  We are very excited to build relationships and help other local small family businesses strive!  We are thrilled and eager to help build and be a part of Swanton families along with our schools and communities. 

PizzAroma Offers:  Fundraisers – School Pizza Nights – Catering – Concessions – Benefits – Organization Events – Athletic Boosters – Team Dinners – All Communications with Schools – All Communications with Summer Fairs – Donations – Etc…..

Our Family is here to help with anything we can!  Thank you for giving us this opportunity to give a little story about our family PizzAroma 🍕

We look Forward to our GRAND OPENING IN SWANTON!!!! 

Hours are as follows: Mon-Thus (11am-9pm) * Fri-Sat (11am-10pm) * Sunday (12pm-9pm) Phone: 419-704-5945

Click on the link above to view photos and menus

Just My Opinion – A Public Service Announcement

The 2023 General Election, which will take place on November 7, 2023, may seem a long time from today and not worthy of much thought or consideration.  However, depending on your chosen level of political involvement in your community, the time to act could be fast approaching.  You may decide to run for political office or encourage someone else to step forward to serve their community while you support their effort.  If so, there is important work to be done to place your name, or any name, on a ballot.

A petition must be filled out and endorsed by a predetermined number of signatures by valid registered voters in the appropriate jurisdiction.  Every petition must be notarized and submitted to the Fulton County Board of Elections (FCBE) by 4:00 p.m. on August 9, 2023.  The petitions will then be reviewed by FCBE staff personnel to ensure compliance with Ohio Election Law.  If any petition is rejected for errors, such as an invalid signature, the process will be allowed to start again but the deadline will remain the same.

If the deadline is missed, an individual is allowed to file with the FCBE to be a write-in candidate.  The deadline for write-in candidates is 4:00 p.m. August 28, 2023.  A blank line will appear on the ballot for voters wishing to write in one of those candidates.  By the way, spelling counts.

I will always encourage everyone of legal age and qualified to register and vote to ensure their voice will be heard.  To have a stronger voice to help enact change or shape how you and your fellow citizens are governed, you will need to become more involved.  In smaller communities, such as we have here in Fulton County, filling ballots and making them competitive can be a struggle, leading to individuals to run unopposed or being appointed.  This essentially, denies the voters a true say in who runs their community.   Finding quality candidates is an even greater challenge but so vital to the welfare of every community.

To begin the process, if you are interested, I would recommend you visit the FCBE, located in Wauseon at 135 Courthouse Plaza just behind the Sheriff’s Office on the west side of Fulton Street.  Their hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.  Their phone number is 419-335-6841 and their email is

For information purposes, below is a list of seats that will be contested this November. Listing the incumbents in this editorial is not meant to be, in any way, a reflection on their performance while in office.

Fulton County Ohio Open Election Seats
PositionJurisdictionIncumbentPetition SignaturesFiling Fee
MayorArchbold Bradley Grime50 $    30.00
MayorDeltaFrank Wilton50 $    30.00
MayorFayetteDavid Borer10 $    30.00
MayorLyonsAndrea Gleckler10 $    30.00
MayorMetamoraRichard Sauerlender10 $    30.00
MayorSwantonNeil Toeppe50 $    30.00
MayorWauseonKatherine Huner50 $    45.00
CouncilArchboldKarla Ball50 $    30.00
CouncilArchboldKevin Eicher50 $    30.00
CouncilArchboldKevin Morton50 $    30.00
CouncilDeltaAnthony Dawson50 $    30.00
CouncilDeltaLynn Frank50 $    30.00
CouncilDeltaChad Johnson50 $    30.00
CouncilFayetteSuzette Boesger10 $    30.00
CouncilFayetteDavid Wheeler10 $    30.00
CouncilLyonsNelson Ebarnhiser10 $    30.00
CouncilLyonsJohn Good10 $    30.00
CouncilMetamoraJohn Hudik10 $    30.00
CouncilMetamoraKaron Lane10 $    30.00
CouncilSwantonDavid Pilliod50 $    30.00
CouncilSwantonDianne Westhoven50 $    30.00
CouncilWauseonShane Chamberlin50 $    45.00
CouncilWauseonScott Stiriz50 $    45.00
CouncilWauseonBrandon Tijerina50 $    45.00
TWP TrusteeAmboyThomas Herr25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeChesterfieldClark Emmons25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeClintonLarry Neuenschwander25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeDoverLarry Burkholder25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeFranklinMichael Kinsman25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeFultonScott Gillen25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeGermanKennet Leupp25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeGorhamEliot Richardson25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteePikeJon Ehrsam25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeRoyaltonNeil Shaw25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeSwancreekGene Wilson25 $    30.00
TWP TrusteeYorkMark Jones25 $    30.00
BOE MemberAnthony WayneJeffrey Baden25 $    30.00
BOE MemberAnthony WaynePam Brint25 $    30.00
BOE MemberAnthony WayneJayna Reagan25 $    30.00
BOE MemberArchboldJeremy Hurst25 $    30.00
BOE MemberArchboldTyson Stuckey25 $    30.00
BOE MemberEvergreenNora Kiefer25 $    30.00
BOE MemberEvergreenZachary Murry25 $    30.00
BOE MemberFayetteRyan Eberly25 $    30.00
BOE MemberFayetteKirk Keiser25 $    30.00
BOE MemberFayetteJason Kessler25 $    30.00
BOE MemberLiberty CenterJeff Benson25 $    30.00
BOE MemberLiberty CenterTodd Spangler25 $    30.00
BOE MemberPDYJames Bower25 $    30.00
BOE MemberPDYAlice Simon25 $    30.00
BOE MemberPDYTamara Sprow25 $    30.00
BOE MemberPettisvilleBrent King25 $    30.00
BOE MemberPettisvilleScott Rupp25 $    30.00
BOE MemberSwantonBenjamin Remer25 $    30.00
BOE MemberSwantonDavid Smith25 $    30.00
BOE MemberWauseonLarry Fruth25 $    30.00
BOE MemberWauseonStacia Radabaugh25 $    30.00

North Star BlueScope Steel Commissions Local Artist for Unique Gifts

In November of 2021, a representative of Delta’s North Star BlueScope Steel facility, Kirsten Fruchey, contacted Swanton resident and well-known local artist Nannette Sturtevant for help with a major art project.  The company, which is based in Australia, had contracted for Ms. Sturtevant’s talents many times in the past, when they had her paint landscape portraits of the front of the Delta plant for executives located at their Australian headquarters.  While she had completed a total of 30 portraits over many of the 25 years since the facility was constructed, this new request would prove to be an undertaking like nothing she had ever even attempted before.

North Star asked Nannette to produce 33 10”x20” acrylic framed portraits similar to the ones she had created in the past and complete the project by June of 2022.  The portraits were to be given as gifts during the company’s holiday party in December to all the employees who had worked there all of the 25 years of the facilities existence.  Nannette, a graduate of Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida, was chosen to create these unique works of art because of her skill, talent and well-known reputation as an artist in Northwest Ohio.  Her works can be found in many homes and businesses in the area and at the Fulton County Museum in Wauseon as well.

Ironically, Ms. Sturtevant also had several connections to the steel plant long before she provided that first portrait.  At the time, she was living in Delta when construction began and, as a member of the Delta Chamber of Commerce, had an opportunity to meet some of the North Star executives involved in the construction project.  Her husband Scott helped build the plant while working for Rudolph Libbe Inc. who had been contracted to build the facility and the property on which the plant sits, was purchased from one of Scott’s cousins.

With 33 portraits to complete in just a relatively short time, Nannette had to try a very different strategy to meet the deadline.  Essentially, she employed an “assembly line” method to the process which drastically reduced the set up and prep time for the labor-intensive endeavor.  “I painted the sky, sky, sky, sky and so on,” she said.  “I had enough mixed up and used that color up and then I did the grass and the grass and the grass.  The last part was the steel mill and their sign.  Those tiny letters had to be perfect.”

Because it is impossible to duplicate each brush stroke from one painting to the next, every portrait is different from all the others and all are uniquely special.  Nannette was able to complete the project by the end of May, well ahead of the deadline, allowing several portraits to be given out right away and the rest in December.  Ms. Sturtevant is also a member of the Swanton Fine Arts Committee and enters pieces every year in the Swanton Chamber of Commerce’s Fine Arts Exhibit held at Valleywood Golf Club in October.

Pictured: Nannette Sturtevant with North Star BlueScope Portrait

Swanton Middle School Holds First Round of Amazing Shake 2023

On Thursday, the Swanton Middle School’s award-winning Swanton Seven Initiative (SSI) held the first round of the Amazing Shake for all seventh-grade students.  The Amazing Shake is a competition that focuses on building soft skills in students, placing strong emphasis on manners, discipline, respect, and professional behavior. To demonstrate these skills, students worked their way through “The Gauntlet.”  There were 23 stations in “The Gauntlet” and each put students’ abilities to the test.  Each student had to show great poise and confidence in personal interactions as well as exhibit effective management skills.  And, they were given just 90 seconds at each station.

The stations included, among other challenges, several interviews, circles of conversation, knowledge of current events and popular faces in the news, business dining skills, telephone skills, appointment skills and business dress skills.  Every student was graded on a scale of 1-10 by volunteers from the local business community, community leaders, academic leaders and other professionals.  Scores were totaled and 21 students were chosen to move on to the next round.  Eventually, one winner will be selected and will be sent to Atlanta to compete in the national competition at the Ron Clark Academy next year.  The Ron Clark Academy is a highly-acclaimed, non-profit middle school that has received both national and international recognition for its success in creating a loving, dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence and leadership.

The 21 students that achieved the highest scores are as follows:

Gavin Voight   Christian Bulter   Gabriella Hites   Cara Ludlow   Brynn Godwin   Julianna Avery   Kinley Curtis  Wyatt Rhodes   Evelyn Ventimiglia   Leah Baldwin   Landon Hendricks   Christian McCarthy   Beyla Remer  Lacey Shinaver   Greg McGowan   Stella Menna   Charles Meyer   Lara Carrizales   Aiden Stevenson   LilyAnn Gasche  Madelyn Pelland

Click on the link above to access photos from the competition. Photos are in the jpeg format and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the website.

Swanton EMS Paramedics Deliver Baby Boy

At approximately 2:30 PM on Friday, February 24th, two crews of Swanton Fire and Rescue Division (SFRD) paramedics were dispatched to the Swanton Meadows Trailer Park in the Ai community of Fulton County on a medical emergency.  En route, the paramedics, Colin Fessenden, Jeff Dawson, Drew Brennan, Bryan Pouter and EMS intern Natalie Smith, were informed the emergency might involve a pregnancy and a language barrier as well. To further complicate the situation, an incorrect trailer lot number was communicated to the crews causing a delay in the response time.

When the crews finally arrived, they were unable to get a response from anyone inside after repeated shouting and knocks on the door.  They entered the home, searched several rooms and went back outside and called for law enforcement assistance.  Soon after, they heard a scream from just inside the front door, reentered and discovered a young woman who had crawled from the back of the trailer, laying on the floor.  Dawson, a 34-year veteran who was working with this crew for the first time, was the first one in, followed by Fessenden.  They quickly assessed the situation and began to administer care.  Within five minutes, the Swanton paramedics, who had been treating one patient, were tasked with treating two, the second one a fragile and vulnerable newborn.

“She just kind of sat back and we were outside getting things ready and we turned around and he (Fessenden) looked as said, ‘Baby!’ and there it was,” said Dawson.  “So, we just delivered it, clamped it off, cut the cord and the baby started spontaneously crying.  We warmed it up, took it out to the truck as they took care of mom and then suctioned the infant.  Mom and baby did fine on the way to the hospital.”

What made this story even more amazing was how fast the events transpired from the time the call came in at 2:30 PM to the birth of the child at 2:56 PM, a mere 26 minutes, most of which was travel time to the scene.  Combined with the obstacles of dealing with the language barrier, where the mother spoke no English and none of the crew spoke Spanish, delivering the baby inside a house trailer rather than a sterilized hospital delivery room with a complete maternity staff, and all but one of the crew with no actual emergency birthing experience, the outcome was nothing short of a miracle. 

Despite the varying levels of training and experience among the crew members and the short time they had worked together, they all worked in sync, each knowing and executing their specific responsibility.  “We looked like we have worked together for six years,” stated Pouter.  “It went as smooth as it could for this situation,” added Dawson.  “Some people never do it in their career.  It’s a life experience.”

Two weeks later, mother and child were reported still doing well according to Swanton Fire Chief Ed Dziengelewski.  The Chief commended all the members of his crew for their efforts in the chaotic situation and praised the Fulton County Dispatchers for their help, including providing a translator to tackle the language barrier.  They did exactly what they were supposed to do, hands down,” he said.  “The crew handled everything perfectly.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

At the next Swanton Village Council meeting on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 6:00 PM, a proclamation will be read in honor of the SFDR crew members and their commendable efforts of that day.

Photo: Swanton FRD Paramedics L to R) – Colin Fessenden, Jeff Dawson, Bryan Pouter, Drew Brennan, (Not Pictured) Natalie Smith

In Case You Missed it

The Village of Swanton posted this note on their website on February 6, 2023.  It was a wrap-up of 2022 with a cursory look at what may be in store for 2023.

Let’s take a quick look at what your Village Council accomplished in 2022.

First of all, you elected 4 brand new individuals to Village Council. They all expressed a desire for transparency and growth. And they hit the ground running with their colleagues.

One of the very first actions they took was to establish a Live Streaming Policy that promotes greater access and awareness of the issues before the village and how they approach decision making. Now anyone may watch a Council, Commission, or Committee meeting on their computer in real time or at their leisure. And, by the way, a new microphone has been installed so meetings can be more clearly heard. It will be in operation at the next Council meeting.

The next action council took was to establish an Economic Development Commission. That happened last September. An introduction and orientation of the new Economic Development Commissioners will take place on February 8th. The new commissioners will be announced at the next Council meeting on February13th. The purpose of this commission will be to work to develop a plan for economic growth. Someone once said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The person who plants the tree likely will never sit under the shade it offers nor enjoy the fruit that it bears. Similarly, the establishment of an Economic Development Commission is that seed that is being planted. It is a beginning, albeit long overdue.

Council also approved the establishment of a Dedicated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA). Council held three reading of this ordinance and listened to the input from many community members. They modified the original proposal in response to residents’ input and concerns. The DORA has been approved by the State of Ohio, signage has been ordered and the establishments have been given state approval.

This past year we also saw several businesses give their buildings a much-appreciated face lift. We are looking forward to even more improvements this spring and summer.

You also may have noticed that the village contracted to have about 600 sidewalk sections ground down. This was much needed and appreciated. Sidewalks sections that protruded less than two inches were ground flat.

Memorial Park has a brand-new fantastic playground area.

The brush pick-up policy has been changed to better accommodate the needs of the residents

Sewer separation and road repaving projects were completed.

We hired a new Fire Chief, Village Administrator, and Billing Clerk. Several firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics were also added to the village roster.

And get ready for a new pizza shop to open on Airport Highway and a new retail shop to open in the space left vacant by Younique Boutique. A child day care will also be opening next to the Board of Education.

These are exciting times for Swanton. Watch us grow!

Yours Truly,
Mayor Neil Toeppe

Archbold Edged by State Power Emmanuel Christian

Last Wednesday night in the first game of the Dlll District Semi-Final game at Napoleon High School, the Archbold Blue Streaks took on the #3-State Ranked Toledo Emmanuel Christian Warriors and their highly touted sophomore Jerry Easter ll.  Seeded #8, the Streaks battled the #1 seeded Warriors throughout the contest and trail by only four points with just over a minute left before giving up the final three points of the game to lose 58-51.  Entering the game as heavy underdogs to the 20-3 Warriors, the 13-11 Blue Streaks had to contend with a major height disadvantage, with their tallest player, 6’3” Micah Nofziger and the rest of the team going up against a very quick line-up featuring players of 6’8”, 6’6”, 6’5”, 6’5” and 6’3”.

As expected, the Warriors started fast and took nine-point lead before the Streaks came back to trail 13-7 after one.  It was obvious Archbold would have to rely on their outside shooting and did so in the second quarter with three of their eight triples to pull within 24-21 by halftime.  Emmanuel Christian pulled away again in the third quarter, taking 45-36 lead into the final period where they would hold on to advance to the District Finals against the Wayne Trace Raiders.

Archbold:  7-14-15-15 = 51   Jayden Seiler (16), Cade Brenner (15), Sonny Phillips (7), Evan Wendt (6), Chase Miller (3), Stephen Diller (2), Micah Nofziger (2)

Emmanuel Christian 13-11-21-13 = 58   Jerry Easter (24), Jalen Brown (13), Nate Miles (11), Jamie Rivers (6), Tylin Patterson-Davis (4)

Click on the link above to access photos from the game. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the website.

Photo: Jayden Seiler drives around Jamie Rivers

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