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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jul. 30, 2016

4 Fridays ribboncutting 7-29-16

Wassenberg Art Center Executive Director Hope Wallace cuts the ribbon on the first of the 4 Fridays Farm & Art Market events held at the art center, while Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce board members look on. A good crowd was on hand for the first event in the series, with at least one food vendor running out of food early. The Farm & Art Market will continue on the next three Fridays, August 5, 12, and 19. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 07/30/16 at 6:13 am

Sister City delegation at NPAC 7-29-16

Youngsters from Van Wert host families mingle with those from the delegation from Sister City Sumoto, Japan, during a tour of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio on Friday. The delegation also toured Central Insurance Company and its Fire Museum, Brumback Library, the Van Wert County Courthouse, and Van Wert Municipal Building. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 07/30/16 at 6:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — As the heat index outside rises, the consumption of energy to cool the inside of a home likely increases too. With the help of these tips from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Ohioans have the ability to use energy wisely to better manage their bills.

During the summer, the electricity used to run air conditioning and appliances can be costly. The PUCO encourages state residents to take the following steps to help their households stay cool:

  • During the day, block the heat from the sun by closing windows, doors and curtains.
  • To save money on cooling costs turn the thermostat up when away from home. Raising the temperature by 5 degrees for eight hours can reduce cooling costs by 3-5 percent.
  • Look for an air conditioning unit that is Energy Star© approved.
  • Avoid creating unnecessary heat and humidity in the house during summer days. Plan to do heat- and moisture-creating activities, such as washing dishes, doing laundry, bathing, and cooking, before noon or after 8 p.m.
  • Limit the amount of time kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans operate. Only run them for as long as it takes to get rid of any odors to minimize losing cool air.
  • Those who use a window air conditioning unit, make sure it fits correctly into the window to reduce the amount of cool air lost.
  • Consider using a window fan, which requires as little as 1/10th the amount of energy needed to run an air conditioner.
  • If furniture is covering vents and is affecting airflow, the air conditioning will have to work harder to reach the desired temperature. Keep vents clear for maximum results.

For more information on conserving energy or for any utility-related concern, visit or call the PUCO Call Center at 800.686.7826.

POSTED: 07/30/16 at 5:49 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

As the final release of this week’s “Big Week of Releases” at the Niswonger, individual tickets for speaker Jon Gordon are now available for purchase. Gordon will bring inspiration to the Niswonger stage at 7 p.m. Sunday, October 2, presented by Central Insurance.

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon

Gordon’s best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. His principles have been put to the test by numerous NFL, NBA, and MLB coaches and teams; Fortune 500 companies; school districts; hospitals; and nonprofits. He is the author of numerous books, including The Wall Street Journal bestseller The Energy Bus, Soup, The No Complaining Rule, Training Camp, and The Carpenter.

Gordon and his tips have been featured on “The Today Show”, CNN, “Fox and Friends”, and in numerous magazines and newspapers. His clients include The Atlanta Falcons, L.A. Clippers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Campbell Soup, Wells Fargo, Northwestern Mutual, Publix, Southwest Airlines, Bayer, U.S. Military Academy (West Point), and more.

He is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a master’s degree in education from Emory University. Gordon and his training/consulting company are passionate about developing positive leaders, organizations and teams.

Supporting sponsors for this event are The Kenn-Feld Group, First Federal Savings & Loan, Williamson Insurance Agency, Walmart, and Midwest Electric.

Experience the books like never before when Jon Gordon brings them to life on the Niswonger stage. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at NPACVW.ORG and through the NPAC Box Office from noon-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday at 419.238.6722.

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is located at 10700 State Route 118 on the south edge of Van Wert.

POSTED: 07/30/16 at 5:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Orchard Tree Restaurant in Van Wert will donate 15 percent of sales on Tuesday, August 9, to Community Health Professionals (CHP) Hospice Patient Care Fund, as part of its Community Day of giving back to local organizations.

The donation is based on sales between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. that day, when patrons present a Community Day flyer at checkout. CHP volunteers will be at the restaurant clearing tables throughout the day.

Flyers are available at CHP Home Care & Hospice, 1159 Westwood Drive, and on the organization’s website (, and Facebook page (also, click here for a flyer).

CHP Hospice is a non-profit hospice dedicated to providing end-of-life care, support and comfort for any patient or family that needs it, whether at home or at its Van Wert Inpatient Hospice Center.

For more information call 419.238.9223.

POSTED: 07/30/16 at 5:43 am. FILED UNDER: News

Sumoto delegation at Camp Clay 7-2016

A cultural exchange delegation from Van Wert’s Sister City, Sumoto, Japan, arrived in the city Thursday evening and spent some time getting to know their host families during a welcome event held at the YMCA’s Camp Clay. Today, the group will see the sights in the city, including tours of Brumback Library, the Van Wert County Courthouse and Van Wert Municipal Building, Central Insurance Company and its Fire Museum, and Van Wert High School and the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. The delegation, shown here with Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur, will lunch at Chinatown Express, and will also perform prior to tonight’s concert in Fountain Park. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 07/29/16 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Niswonger continues a week chock full of excited event releases with two events releasing today at noon that are sure to bring the house down with their powerful vocal prowess.

Colton Dixon

Colton Dixon

The first event features “American Idol” alum and Christian chart topper Colton Dixon on Sunday, October 16, at 7:30 p.m., presented by Youth For Christ. Dixon is followed by the sensational a capella group Vocalosity, presented by Slusher’s Jewelry. This group of talented singers is set to hit the Niswonger stage Saturday, October 22, at 7:30 p.m.

Everyone is talking about Colton Dixon. After the groundbreaking debut of Dixon’s A Messenger, his greatly anticipated sophomore release, titled Anchor, is now making waves. This highly acclaimed album brought fans the smash hit “More Of You,” and it continues to captivate listeners with current single “Through All Of It.”

Dixon received three Dove Award nominations, winning for “Best Contemporary/Rock Album”, and he was nominated for “Male Artist of the Year” at the 2014 KLOVE Fan Awards. He also racked up two No. 1 radio singles in 2013 and toured with Third Day, TobyMac, and Josh Wilson, as well as recently being named an “Official Steinway Artist” by the legendary piano maker.

Dixon has an edgy rock sound that crosses generational lines to have mass appeal, but, according to this “American Idol” star, in the end, its not just about making music that is fun to listen to — the goal is to create songs that have the ability to inspire listeners.

“My hope is that at the end of it all, you feel closer to God than you did when you first pressed ‘play,’” Dixon said.

Vocalosity is the all-new live concert event from the creative mind of artistic producer Deke Sharon (“Pitch Perfect”, “The Sing-Off”) that takes a cappella to a whole new level! This fast-paced production features 12 dynamic voices singing some of today’s chart-topping hits in brand-new arrangements too incredible to miss.



No genre of music is off limits in the world of a cappella and Vocalosity will explore them all — from 10th century Gregorian chant and classic choral, to barbershop quartet and bouncing doo-wop, all the way to the Beatles and Bruno Mars.

Combine that with movement and choreography from Sean Curran (Stomp original cast member) and you have an exhilarating evening of song unlike anything you’ve ever seen or heard, live on stage. These two vocal powerhouse events will blow the roof off the Niswonger!

Tickets for Colton Dixon and Vocalosity can be purchased online at NPACVW.ORG and through the Box Office at 419.238.6722, noon-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio is located at 10700 State Route 118 on the south edge of Van Wert.

POSTED: 07/29/16 at 7:12 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Off Stage Productions, a community theatre company providing quality and affordable dinner theatre, announces open auditions for its fall production Drinking Habits, a farce by Tom Smith. This comedy will be co-directed by Dan Bulau and Amy Shoppell.

Open auditions are set for 7 p.m. Sunday, August 7, and Tuesday, August 9, at the Van Wert Senior Center, 220 Fox Road in Van Wert.

The cast will include eight adults (five woman and three men) of various ages. No prior acting experience is necessary to audition, and scripts are available for review before auditions at Premier Financial, 211 S. Walnut St. in Van Wert. Call 419.605.6708 for more information. Performance dates will be October 8-9,14-16, and 21-22.

Off Stage Productions logo 2-2016Here is a brief synopsis of the play:

Accusations, mistaken identities, and romances run wild in this traditional, laugh-out-loud farce. Two nuns at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing have been secretly making wine to keep the convent doors open, but Paul and Sally, reporters and former fiancés, are hot on their trail. They go undercover as a nun and a priest, but their presence, combined with the addition of a new nun, spurs paranoia throughout the convent that spies have been sent from Rome to shut them down.

Wine and secrets are inevitably spilled as everyone tries to preserve the convent and reconnect with lost loves.

Cast members are as follows (approximate ages but flexible based on casting):
Sister Philomena (20-50s),
Sister Augusta (20-50s),
George (20s),
Mother Superior (40s-50s),
Paul (24),
Sally (20s),
Sister Mary Catherine (24),
and Father Chenille (40s-50s).

Area residents are welcome to audition for the show. Stay tuned for forthcoming announcements on times and reservation information for the seven shows held at the Senior Center.

Off Stage Productions can be found online at and on Facebook at

POSTED: 07/29/16 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Some people are apparently confused by a merger of companies that has affected the Blue Creek wind farm.

Although several websites have claimed that Iberdrola Renewables has sold its local wind farm to another company, Avangrid AGR_VER_POS_CMYKRenewables, the truth is that Avangrid Renewables is Iberdrola Renewable’s new corporate name following a merger with UIL Holdings Corporation in 2015.

“Iberdrola Renewables recently changed its legal name to Avangrid Renewables in order to align with the branding of our newly-formed parent company, and is in the process of rebranding,” said Paul Copleman, communications manager for the company.

Avangrid is part of the Iberdrola Group, an energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world.

POSTED: 07/29/16 at 6:58 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

VW independent/submitted information

Westwood Behavioral Health Center has had a busy summer in 2016, with more than 75 children and adolescents enrolled in summer youth programs.

Gail Ebling, a case manager at Westwood Behavioral Health Center, teaches a summer youth group about proper behavior. (photo submitted)

Gail Ebling, a case manager at Westwood Behavioral Health Center, teaches a summer youth group about proper behavior. (photo submitted)

Summer youth programming started over 20 years ago at Westwood and, for many years, enrolled around 15-20 participants. During the past five years, however, enrollments have increased tremendously as additional programs were offered, and staff members hired who are trained to address problems specific to children and adolescents.

Westwood Behavioral Health Center offers four different programs for youths who struggle with mental health and/or behavioral difficulties. Topics addressed include identifying and establishing healthy physical and emotional boundaries, learning to identify and express emotions in healthy ways, building respect for others, as well as self-esteem and, ultimately, healthy relationships.

Groups for children ages 5-8 and 8-12 are held several days per week. Large and small group therapy, as well as life skill building, are included daily in the program. Children also assist in the preparation of the daily meals while learning hygiene and safe kitchen practices.


POSTED: 07/28/16 at 7:57 am. FILED UNDER: News

Convoy house fire2 7-27-16

Approximately 30 firefighters from six departments battled a fire in a vacant house on Convoy Road, a half mile east of the Ohio-Indiana State Line, on Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters from Convoy, Wren, Ohio City, Payne, Van Wert, and Monroeville, Indiana, were on the scene, while Ron Dull provided equipment used to quickly knock down the house to make it easier to extinguish the fire. Deputies from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office provided traffic control. Emergency crews were on the scene until approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Red Cross was on the scene, while Subway and McDonald’s restaurants on the north side of Van Wert provided food for firefighters and other first responders, and Pak-A-Sak and Walmart provided drinks. (photos by Rick McCoy)



POSTED: 07/28/16 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News