The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Dec. 17, 2018

Local residents gather in Vancrest Health Care Center’s new rehabilitation center’s dining area/lounge after touring the new facility. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert County rehab residents will receive an early Christmas present with the opening soon of Vancrest Health Care Center’s new rehabilitation addition.

Vancrest officials were on hand Sunday afternoon to welcome community members who wanted to tour the new addition, which includes 19 private rooms with handicap-accessible bathrooms and showers, a private dining room/lounge area, and a large rehab area, as well as private rehab facilities. As part of the addition, ceilings were also raised in an existing area to 14 feet and windows added to provide more light to the facility.

In addition to inpatient therapy services, the rehab addition also includes a new entrance for outpatient therapy patients, as well as a private therapy room for patients who prefer privacy, and is now located adjacent to Vancrest’s assisted living wing.

Vancrest President Mark White said the reason for the new addition, which is scheduled to open before Christmas, was driven by the need to provide private rooms for inpatient therapy patients, as well as bigger and better therapy facilities. He added that the new facility was recommended by Vancrest’s therapists.


POSTED: 12/17/18 at 9:45 am

A full house was on hand to experience the emotion and musicality of Sunday’s performance of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. The stark stage was offset by brilliant singing and acting that brought home the dramatic events of that first Christmas during World War I. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 12/17/18 at 9:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Troopers from the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol were at Walmart on Sunday afternoon for the post’s “Shop with a Cop” Christmas shopping program.

According to Post Commander Lt. Johnathan Gray, two families were identified in conjunction with the local Salvation Army to participate in the program. The families included a total of six youngsters.

A trooper and dispatcher help a local family shop for clothes for Christmas. OSHP photos

“This year, we spoke with the families, and they all wanted to shop with us,” Lt. Gray said, noting that most of the troopers and dispatchers who came out to shop — nearly the entire post — were there on their own time.

The gifts on Sunday afternoon included clothes and shoes, a child safety seat, remote control cars, video games, and even a bicycle, while Lt. Gray said the troopers and dispatchers also purchased batteries for devices out of their own pockets so that didn’t have to come out of the families’ gift allowance. He also noted that post staff also donated extra money for the child safety seat.

“We always try to reach out during the holidays and make someone’s holiday a little easier,” the post commander added. “We understand that, in this world, not everybody is as fortunate as we are, and so there are days where it’s nice to help somebody out and they don’t have to worry about having a good holiday.”

The post commander also noted that nearly all of the troopers and dispatchers at Walmart on Sunday either lived in the community or close to it, giving them a sense of community ownership.

“It’s our community as well, not just where we work,” he said, adding, “We’re all about traffic safety, but there are times we need to be seen in the community as part of the community.”

Walmart provides some assistance with shopping, as well as a dedicated register during check-out.

Van Wert Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers and dispatchers pose at Walmart during the Shop with a Cop program on Sunday.

POSTED: 12/17/18 at 9:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

Amvets Post 698 in Middle Point provided a monetary donation to the Boy Scouts Troop 32 for the purchase of wreaths for the presentation of Wreaths Across America. Shown in the photo is Evan Elling of Troop 32 receiving the donation from Amvets Post 698 Commander Logan Welker. photo provided

POSTED: 12/17/18 at 9:11 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Several Van Wert service stations had gasoline prices lower than the state average, although others were above that benchmark on Monday morning.

Three stations, Murphy USA in the Towne Center shopping center, and the Pak-A-Sak Marathon stations on North Washington and South Shannon, were selling gasoline at $2.04 per gallon Monday morning. Two other stations the Lassus Handy Dandy station and the One Stop Shop station, both on North Washington, were also under the state average with prices at $2.06 per gallon.

The Shell station on South Washington had gas listed at $2.11 per gallon, while the Brookside Marathon station on West Main Street had gasoline at $2.11 per gallon, and the Short Stop Sunoco station was at $2.19 per gallon.

In Ohio, gasoline prices have fallen 9.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.07 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 stations in Ohio. This compares with the national average, which has fallen 5.7 cents per gallon versus last week to $2.36 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Including the change locally during the past week, prices Sunday were 18.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago and 34.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has dropped 26.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 5.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

“For the tenth straight week, gas prices have been in a state of decline, falling to the lowest level since prior to Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to the mid $2.30s with now 31 states with at least one gas station selling gasoline under $2 per gallon, saving motorists hundreds of millions of dollars versus prices just two months ago,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Oil prices have been slow to react to a cut in oil production from OPEC, instead focusing on economic concerns and trade tensions with China.

“Thus far, it seems that it ‘may take a village’ to help oil prices recover, help that would include robust demand from the U.S., which seems to be anything but the case,” DeHaan added. “For now, prices will remain seasonally challenged, tied to the fact or expected fate of the economy moving forward.”

POSTED: 12/17/18 at 9:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

Central Insurance Companies has committed to helping those in need throughout the local communities this holiday season. Due to the generosity of Central’s employees, the Community Gifts Committee was able to provide gifts for 55 children in the Van Wert community this year. During its annual Holiday Food Drive, Central employees donated 1,481 food, household, and personal hygiene items to benefit 10 local charitable organizations. Central also hosted a coat and wrapping paper drive to donate to families that would have otherwise gone without. Community Gifts Committee members (above left) include (from the left) Brandi Eller, Kathy Schmersal, Lisa Johnson, Jen Best, Lexi Doster, Becky Landin, Linda Schulte, Patty Rupert, Andrea Hersey, Breanna Dennis, Nikki Baer, Kimberly Hughes, Brittany Bigham, Julie Coleman, Maria Utendorf, Tiffany Perry, Sean Martin, Carly Smith, and Sara Beining. Not pictured: Tammy Saxton, Maureen Greulach, Kelly Mihm, Elizabeth Brown, Jenny Kuhn, Lisa Jennings, and Nancy Wollenhaupt. Central’s Holiday Food Drive Committee (above right) include (kneeling, from the left) Morgan Schnipke, Anita Branch, Erin Holden; (standing) Brittany Goins, Louise Wittler, Shelly Holden, Janet Rode, Courtney Barthels, RJ Coleman, Shonda Vorst, and Brittney Croft. Not pictured: Carly Smith and Patty Rank. Central Insurance photos

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:37 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — State Representative Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance) applauded House passage of legislation he sponsored urging Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Craig Riedel

“Currently, the growth and abuse of federal regulatory authority threatens constitutional liberties, including those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights,” Riedel said. “Federal regulators must be more accountable to the elected representatives of the people and not be immune from such liability.”

House Concurrent Resolution 24 would allow the refusal of a new regulation when 25 percent of the United States House or Senate transmit written opposition to a proposed federal regulation.

“I will always be looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary burdensome regulations that prevent our businesses from being successful and limit our abilities to enjoy constitutional liberties,” Riedel added.

Supported by groups such as the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio (ABC), the initiative aims to protect against federal overreach and give more power to the legislative process and Ohioans who want direct control of policies impacting their industry.

No opponents came forward to testify during the five Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee hearings that have taken place since March of this year.

The resolution passed the Ohio House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Brian Ankney

Van Wert Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic Brian Ankney recently completed the Bowling Green State University Fire Officer 2 (FO2) class.

The course is for fire officers in leadership roles for their departments and is designed to meet or exceed NFPA 1021, Standards of Professional Qualifications for Fire Officer II.

The course expands on management techniques learned in Fire Officer I and focuses on public education and community relations, budget preparation and requests, legal responsibilities, time management, handling conflicts in the fire service, dealing with various media agencies, crew resource management, and emergency operations management.

“Completing the FO2 class is the second step for personnel interested in furthering their professional fire officer career,” said Van Wert Fire Chief Jon Jones. “Their participation in this class shows dedication and commitment as future leaders for our department and community.”

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:29 am. FILED UNDER: News

The staff of First Federal of Van Wert prides itself in serving Van Wert County, and, as usual, has completed its 2018 United Way campaign with 100-percent participation. Not only do the employees give, but First Federal also makes a corporate donation to help lead the campaign. The financial institution has been a key example for many new industry and business campaigns. First Federal has also been a great partner in the annual Day of Caring bank challenge. It has won the challenge for the past three years and has collected thousands of items for the local food pantries. The bank is also a corporate table sponsor at the Fiesta Fun Friday event and allows bank employees to volunteer for United Way roles. United Way photo

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

BOWLING GREEN — U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) will be available for one-on-one meetings with constituents at the Van Wert County Board of Commissioners office in Van Wert on Monday, December 17.

From 9 to 11 a.m., local residents can meet individually with Congressman Latta and discuss issues that are most important to them and their families. Staff will also be available to assist with casework or help residents with any issues they may have with the federal government.

Residents are not required to RSVP, but should contact Congressman Latta’s office at 800.541.6446 if they have any questions. Media is also invited to attend the event, but should RSVP to Drew Griffin at

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Courthouse will be closed from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 18, for a Christmas luncheon for all county staff members.

POSTED: 12/15/18 at 12:16 am. FILED UNDER: News