DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Ribbons were cut, calves, pigs and sheep were, um, scrambled and baked goods, vegetables and potted plants were judged on the first day of the 159th edition of the Van Wert County Fair on Wednesday.
Kids had fun during trying to corral a calf during the Calf Scramble held Wednesday evening in front of the grandstand, while the school exhibit also opened on the fairgrounds on Wednesday.
Today is a special day at the fair for kids, veterans and senior citizens. Senior citizens 60 and older and veterans and their spouses get in free today at the fair, while everyone else has to pay just $3.
There will be free doughnuts provided for veterans and seniors in the music pavilion, while the Van Wert County Veterans Service Office will be open in the pavilion from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
A Veterans Day Parade will be held at 10:45 a.m., while a special veterans program will get underway at 11 a.m. in the Music Pavilion.
Kids Dream Day will also be held in front of the grandstand from 2:30-5 p.m. today.
A variety of FFA projects will be judged today, while the Junior Fair Sheep Show will be held in the Sheep Arena and Horse Contesting will be held in the Junior Fair Horse Arena, both starting at 7 this evening.
Fair entertainment will include the Kenny Wayne/Dave Joseph Band at 7 p.m. today in the music pavilion, while the Tribute Quartet will perform at 5 p.m., also in the music pavilion, while the midway opens at 3 p.m.
On Friday, several Senior Fair events will be held, including the Senior Fair Horse Show at 9 a.m. Friday in the Senior Horse Arena and the Senior Fair Stock Horse Show in the same place at noon Friday.
Ohio Dept. of Transportation information
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” this Labor Day weekend.
ODOT, along with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, is participating in the ‘Drive Sober’ campaign to reduce alcohol-related crashes, injuries and deaths.
“Changing dangerous behaviors, like impaired driving, will undoubtedly save lives,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.
Alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013. Of the 10,076 people who died in drunk driving crashes that year, 68 percent were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher – nearly twice the legal limit.
ODOT will post ‘Drive Sober’ messages on freeway signs over the holiday weekend.
Overall, Ohio has recorded 730 traffic deaths this year, up 19 percent from the same period last year.
Although work is suspended in most construction zones over the holiday weekend, motorists should plan alternate routes or allow additional travel time to avoid work zone congestion, delays or more serious highway incidents. Up-to-date traffic information can be found 24 hours a day at www.OhGo.com.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
A Grover Hill teen will spending six months in jail and will have to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years after he was sentenced Wednesday on sex-related charge in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.
Austin K. Zuver, 18, who pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a felony of the fourth degree, on July 22, was given five years of community control, including 180 days in jail by Judge Martin Burchfield.
The judge also classified him as a Tier 2 sexual offender, which means he must register with a county sheriff’s office where he lives, works and goes to school, if applicable, every 180 days for the next 25 years.
Prior to sentencing, Christina Eversole, director of Van Wert County Crime Victims Services, read a statement from the victim’s mother.
“You’ll never know how much pain your choices caused my child and her family,” the mother wrote, adding that while Zuver was an adult, her daughter was just 13 years old when he had sex with her.
The mother also criticized Zuver for continuing to “date” girls her daughter’s age.
Also Wednesday, Dion Kantner, 41, of Lima, was given 12 months in prison on a probation violation charge. Kantner, who was originally convicted of trafficking in a counterfeit substance, a felony of the fourth degree; and trafficking in cocaine, admitted he violated his probation by refusing a drug screen and failing to show for appointments with his probation officer.
Probate-Juvenile Judge Kevin Taylor gave Kantner credit for 38 days already served.
The Van Wert County Fair and the Bear Hollow Wood Carver are joining together for a high-octane tribute to four local schools. The wood carver will create a one-of-a-kind bench (similar to the one above) for Van Wert, Lincolnview, Crestview and Delphos St. John’s schools. Each bench will portray the school mascot, as provided by the individual schools. The benches, as well as the remainder of the chainsaw art, will be auctioned off at 5 p.m. Monday, September 7. Admission to the fair is $6 at the gate. All proceeds from the auction go to help pay for the wood carver’s fees and toward additional fair expenses. (submitted photo)
Gasoline price information
GAITHERSBURG, Maryland — Americans hitting the road this weekend stand to see the cheapest Labor Day prices at the pump in over a decade, leading to huge savings – an estimated $1.4 billion — over the four-day weekend.
“August gasoline prices plummeted by 18 cents per gallon, the greatest decrease since 2008, and as a result we have a national average that’s 99 cents lower than a year ago ($2.44 versus $3.43),” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. “I’m sure motorists will have plenty of company on the nation’s thoroughfares this weekend.”
While motorists enjoy the cheapest Labor Day prices in over a decade, GasBuddy currently identifies as many as 19 states where at least one retail outlet is already selling gas below $2 a gallon, while South Carolina is the lone state to see an average under that level: $1.995 per gallon. Nationally, gas prices stand some 21 cents below where they were just a month ago.
This weekend, GasBuddy analysts predict nearly 70 percent of the nation’s gas stations to be priced at under $2.50 per gallon compared to 0 percent last year (currently 65.9 percent). A fact that may shock motorists: over the last 14 Labor Day weekends, the holiday itself had the lowest average: $2.744/gallon, while it was $2.75 for Sunday and $2.751 for Saturday and Friday.
Motorists in the south will spend the least, with 68.4 percent of stations in South Carolina at $1.99 or less. Other states that saw plenty of sub-$2 a gallon gasoline: Alabama: 44.4 percent, Mississippi: 40.1 percent, Tennessee: 21.4 percent, Louisiana: 19.5 percent, Virginia: 17.8 percent and Arkansas: 10.4 percent. Nationally, some 8,060 stations are currently offering gas at $1.99 a gallon or lower.
The Van Wert Band Parents are proud to continue being part of the Van Wert County Fair. The organization has been busy planning for months on what it could do to improve upon what it has been doing now for nearly 50 years. Some things just continue to be a staple, like the group’s famous chicken and noodles, like grandma’s shredded chicken sandwiches and delicious pie by the slice. The band parents have added fresh popcorn and a variety of candies, while a new sign is proudly displayed as well this year. A “chick-nic” meal deal, consisting of a chicken sandwich, chips, applesauce and a drink for only $5, is also a new addition to the menu. While at the fair, be sure to stop by the band parents’ stand. (photo submitted)
The Charlie Daniels Band had people hopping in a fitting prelude to the 159th edition of the Van Wert County Fair. Daniels and his band entertained a large crowd with a number of favorites, including “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (more photos will be posted Thursday). (Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent)
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Today officially opens the 159th edition of the Van Wert County Fair, and there will be plenty of activities and events for area residents throughout the coming week.
Today’s program includes an opening ceremony this morning at 8, as well as a flag-raising ceremony at 6:45 this evening.
Baked goods, potted plants and flowers can be entered at the Administration Building, for judging from 2-4 p.m. today, while judging will also take place for canned goods, vegetables and horticulture. The midway opens at 3 p.m. today, while the school exhibit opens at 5 p.m.
A calf scramble will also be held at 7 p.m. today in front of the grandstand.
While there will be several categories of livestock at this year’s fair, poultry and turkeys won’t be among them. Because of the possibility of avian flu, all bird entries have been banned from the fair this year.
Thursday is Kids Day, Veterans Day and Senior Citizens Day at the fair. Veterans and their spouses and senior citizens 60 and older get in free to the fair, while admission for everyone else is $3.
There will be free doughnuts for veterans and seniors in the music pavilion, while the Van Wert County Veterans Service Office will be open in the pavilion from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
A Veterans Day Parade will be held at 10:45 a.m., while a veterans program will get underway at 11 a.m. in the Music Pavilion.
FFA Shop and Crop judging will begin at noon on Thursday in the Agriculture Building, while Kids Dream Day will be held from 2:30-5:30 p.m. in front of the grandstand.
FFA vegetable and crop judging will be held in the Ag Building at 3 p.m., while the Tribute Quartet will perform at 5 p.m. in the Music Pavilion.
At 7 p.m., the Kenny Wayne/Dave Joseph Band will perform at the Music Pavilion, while the Junior Fair Sheep Show will be held at the same time in the Sheep Arena. Junior Fair horse contesting will also take place at 7 in the Junior Fair Horse Arena, while harness racing will be held at the same time in front of the grandstand.
United Way of VW County information
The Van Wert County community is encouraged to come together to “Give. Advocate. Volunteer.” during the 17th annual United Way Day of Caring to be held on Friday, September 25. The 2015 Day of Caring will include an American Red Cross blood drive, a Salvation Army Food Pantry food drive and several community service projects for United Way agencies throughout Van Wert County.
The American Red Cross Day of Caring blood drive will take place on Friday, September 25, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Trinity Friends Church, 605 N. Franklin St. in Van Wert. The blood drive goal is 176 units of blood. Come to donate and receive a t-shirt and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gas card courtesy of the Van Wert United Way Day of Caring sponsors.
“This summer we’ve experienced an urgent need for blood types O negative, B negative, and A negative,” said Vince Robinson, external communications manager for the Red Cross Indiana-Ohio region. “We’re asking donors who haven’t donated, and those who gave earlier this summer who are now eligible to donate again, to please make an appointment to give now to help maintain the blood supply for patients in need.”
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. In our area, 500 units of blood are needed every day to meet patient needs. The American Red Cross strives to maintain a sufficient blood supply to meet the needs of hospital patients, and to be prepared for disaster and trauma situations.
To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 800.733.2767.
The Salvation Army Food Pantry food drive will actually start in early September with collection barrels being placed in area schools, businesses and other locations. “Without the help of the community and the area schools this hefty goal of 33,000 perishable food and personal care items would not be possible. I want to thank everyone who donated blood and food last year, and encourage you to do so again. Let’s make this another great year for The Salvation Army and American Red Cross,” said Day of Caring Chair Erin Shaffer.
Contact the United Way of Van Wert County at 419.238.6689 or visit www.unitedwayvanwert.org to find a convenient food donation location.
Ohio State Highway Patrol information
September is Safe Driving Awareness Month, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol is asking motorists to commit to only driving while buckled, focused and sober.
In addition, motorists help keep roadways safe when they take their time, drive defensively and know all traffic safety laws.
“By devoting their full attention to the road, motorists can reduce their risk of getting into a crash,” said Lt. Timothy Grigsby, Van Wert Post commander. “We need all motorists to practice safe driving habits to make the roadways safe all across Ohio.”
From 2010-2014, an average of 287,303 motor vehicle crashes occurred on Ohio’s public roadways each year. Of these, an average of 957 involved fatalities with 1043 people being killed.
Last year 1008 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. This was the second lowest total recorded in Ohio since record keeping began in the 1930s.
September was designated as Safe Driving Awareness Month by Senate bill 294, signed by Governor John Kasich in June 2014 to honor Maria Tiberi and other victims of motor vehicle crashes. Maria Tiberi was a 21-year-old college student who died in a distracted driving crash in September 2013. She is the daughter of Columbus television sports anchor Dom Tiberi.
To view the statistical analysis regarding our safe driving awareness month visit http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/SafeDriving_Bulletin_2015.pdf
As always, the Patrol asks drivers to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.