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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jun. 29, 2015

Antique auto racing is just one of the exciting events and activities planned for this year's Old Fashioned Farmers Days, which begins this Thursday, July 4. (VW independent file photo)

Antique auto racing is just one of the exciting events and activities planned for this year’s Old Fashioned Farmers Days, which begins this Thursday, July 2. (VW independent file photo)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

This weekend will feature not one, but two longtime events. In addition to the Holiday at Home celebration, this weekend will feature the 39th annual Old Fashioned Farmers Days festival held at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. The annual event will run from Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5.

This year’s event will bring back a number of popular events, including antique auto racing, the ever-popular Fiddler, Banjo and Harmonica Contest, the Mule, Donkey and Miniature Horse Show, a Quilt and Needle Arts Show and Chuck Schepfilin’s chain saw sculpting.

This year’s event will also feature a new event, the first annual Farmers Days Pageant, which will be held in the Junior Fair Building on Friday, July 3.

Thursday’s events will include an all-day trading post, the quilt show (from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.), an Antique Auto Association exhibition race in front of the grandstand (from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.), a car show, with music from the 1950s (4-8 p.m.), Animal Land (4-8 p.m.) and the Jess King Country Gospel group from 7-9 p.m. Thursday at the Convoy Band Stand.

Friday’s events include the formal opening ceremonies at 9 that morning, with the trading post and quilt and needle arts show also running all day. Animal Land will also be an all-day event both Friday and Saturday, while antique auto racing will again be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in front of the grandstand.

Friday will also include a kids’ old-fashioned cow milking contest at 4 p.m., Tractor Games at 5 p.m. and a Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull at 6 Friday evening.

After the pageant, Blind Date will perform 1950s and 1960s music at the Convoy Band Stand.


POSTED: 06/29/15 at 7:23 am

GOBA luggage at fairgrounds 6-2015

High water made this year’s Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure more, well, adventurous than ever, as bicyclists were stranded by high water around Fort Jennings and Middle Point. Pete Weir, who helped oversee local activities for the GOBA trip this year, which began and ended in Van Wert, said the wind, rain and road flooding made Saturday’s return of riders “a day to remember.” Weir thanked GOBA Director Bill Gordon and his staff, as well as County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy, Van Wert City Superintendent of Schools Ken Amstutz and Fair Director Ann Marshall and fairgrounds workers and a number of local volunteers for helping pick up stranded cyclists in school buses and trucks and pulling vehicles out of the mud at the fairgrounds so riders could get home. Here, luggage awaits riders at the fairgrounds. (Beth Marchek/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 06/29/15 at 7:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

Gasoline price information

Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have risen 9.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.82 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 gas outlets in Ohio. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.78 a gallon, according to gasoline price website

Gasoline price graphic 8-2012Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices Sunday were 82.0 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 17.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 3.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 89.6 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“The national average continued its slow retreat in the last week, but current events with Greece may have some bearing on the market in the week ahead and could put downward pressure on oil prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “Much is waiting in the wings in regards to Greece and with the latest round of debt relief talks failing thus far, it may weigh on stocks and commodities in the week ahead.

“Regardless of Greece, I believe gas prices nationally will eke out a third straight weekly decline — though a negative outcome in the Greece situation stands to enhance the expected downward momentum,” DeHaan added. “Just eleven states saw increases during the last week, leaving 39 that saw a decline — a nice trend as we head towards July 4.”

POSTED: 06/29/15 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

High water in Payne 6-2015

High water was a problem all weekend in Van Wert and Paulding counties, from cars hydroplaning on county roads, to stranded bicyclists from the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure to high water in a number of areas, including flooding in Payne and Willshire. Above, a man rows a boat in the Payne area because of flooding, while (below) a car is half submerged in a ditch along U.S. 224 in Van Wert County (with a rainbow in the background). (Payne photo by Russell LaBounty, while the photo below is by Beth Marchek)

Car in ditch along U.S. 224 6-2015

POSTED: 06/29/15 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert Elks information

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, recently donated $500 to the YWCA of Van Wert County for the YWCA’s Summer Food Program. This is the 20th year the YWCA has run this important program.

Shown are YWCA Executive Director Danielle Chiles receiving a check from Elks Exalted Ruler Alan R. Lautzenheiser. (Elks photo)

Shown are YWCA Executive Director Danielle Chiles receiving a check from Elks Exalted Ruler Alan R. Lautzenheiser. (Elks photo)

The Elks donation is from a Gratitude Grant the lodge receives from the Elks National Foundation for achieving the required goal of donations at $4.60 per member.

The program includes breakfast and lunch as well as recreational and educational activities.  While during the school year, free and reduced-price breakfast and lunches through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs provide nutritional food for area children, the Summer Food Program aims to fill in the gap between the end of classes and the beginning of the next school year.   During the eight weeks of the program last year the YWCA served over 20,000 meals to 340 children of Van Wert County.    This year the YWCA expects to see 400 participants and serve more than 21,000 meals.

In previous years, the program has been free for all participants. Due to the increasing operating costs expected, the YWCA is asking for a nominal donation for the recreational portion per family.   Since some families cannot afford to make this donation, the monies donated by Van Wert Lodge will help to feed these children.

Van Wert Elks Lodge is happy to be able to assist the YWCA with this important summer program.

POSTED: 06/29/15 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post is investigating a serious injury motor vehicle crash on U.S. 127, near Ohio 709 approximately five miles south of Van Wert.

On Saturday at 7:07 a.m., the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol received reports of a serious injury rollover crash south of Van Wert. A 2004 GMC Yukon SUV driven by Leon R. Fry, 19, of Topeka, Indiana, was southbound on U.S. 127 when he struck high water across the southbound lanes of U.S. 127.

Several people were hurt in this rollover accident that occurred Saturday morning on U.S. 127. (photo submitted)

Several people were hurt in this rollover accident that occurred Saturday morning on U.S. 127. (photo submitted)

Fry lost control and went off the left side of the roadway, where the Yukon overturned several times and ejected five of the six occupants. Seat belts were not in use at the time of the crash.

The driver,  front seat passenger, Brenda Miller, and second row occupants Alice Bontrager and Lyle Fry, were all ejected during the crash. They were subsequently transported to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The third row occupants Marilyn Bontrager (not ejected) and Marlin Miller (ejected), were transported to Van Wert County Hospital where they were treated and released.

U.S. 127 was closed for a short time during scene cleanup and has been reopened. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted on scene by the Ohio City Volunteer Fire and EMS, Brickner Ambulance Service, Van Wert Fire Advance Life Support squad, and 2-A’s Towing.

Due to continued heavy rains across the area, the roadways in the county are hazardous in some areas due to high water. The Ohio State Highway Patrol reminds motorists to slow down and if possible avoid flooded roadways.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor and the crash remains under investigation.

POSTED: 06/28/15 at 1:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

Hoo Doo Loungers at NPAC 6-26-15

Although it was wet and gloomy outside, the HooDoo Loungers warmed up the Niswonger Performing Arts Center as the band played its patented style of New Orleans music for an appreciative audience as part of the Fountain Park Summer Music Series, which is sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 06/27/15 at 6:59 am. FILED UNDER: News

Better Business Bureau information

COLUMBUS — Phony websites can be a very real problem, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants consumers to be on guard when purchasing items from ecommerce websites.

While numerous sites may be legitimate, on many ecommerce websites, anyone can create a personal or company profile, put an item up for sale and take someone’s money in a transaction. The BBB warns consumers to be on the lookout for one such F rated company, USA Motors Deals.

USA Motors Deals claimed it was a company located at 610 Claycroft Road in Columbus, but the recently created websites for their company are registered and based in Russia. Jay Hawthorne, the owner of the business located at 610 Claycroft Road, states he began receiving phone calls about boats last week. He let callers know that neither he nor his employees were selling or storing boats, and suggested they contact the BBB with questions and information on USA Motors Deals.

Better Business Bureau logo 6-2015Three different consumers from various states had online interactions with USA Motors Deals, one going so far as to send them $1,000 for a boat they found for sale on Oodle.

That consumer tried to do her due diligence and went to the company’s website, even engaging with someone on their “Live Chat” feature, who directed her to a false BBB Business Review, claiming the company had been accredited since 2004. Another consumer stated he felt the only option for payment being PayPal Cash was a red flag, and contacted BBB of Central Ohio for further information.

“Unfortunately, scammers are very good at making fake websites look startlingly authentic,” says Joan Coughlin, vice president of marketing and public relations at BBB serving Central Ohio. “We are working closely with the FBI and other agencies to ensure that false websites that come to our attention are flagged and taken down, but we always encourage consumers to go directly to the source when looking for information.”

BBB suggests the following tips for online shoppers to avoid bogus websites:

  • Go to to look up the BBB Business Reviews of your favorite online retailers.
  • Type the URL directly into your browser; do not click on a link from an email or social media site unless you are absolutely sure the message is from the legitimate business.
  • On the payment page, look for “https” at the beginning of the address (the “s” stands for “secure”).
  • Look for “Contact Us” information, including a real address, a toll-free customer service number, and other ways to reach the company if you have a problem.
  • Find the “Privacy Policy” to make certain one is posted. This is another way to confirm you are on an authentic ecommerce retail site. Make sure if information is shared with third-parties, you agree with how and why this is done.
  • Use a credit card (not a debit card) when shopping online for greater protections against possible fraud.
  • If a website has a BBB Accredited Business seal, click on it. A real seal should link directly to that company’s BBB Business Review.

POSTED: 06/27/15 at 6:53 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Brewed Expressions ribboncutting 6-2015

Brewed Expressions cut the ribbon Friday on its new café at 706 W. Ervin Road (right next to The Bridge bookstore). Here, Cheryl and Laura Bowen cut the ribbon on the café, while Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce board members and Mayor Don Farmer look on. The Brewed Expressions Café offers various coffee-flavored drinks, including frappes, as well as smoothies, sandwiches, salads and breakfast items. The café features a small dining area, as well as carryout. Hours are 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 06/27/15 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Delphos Police information

DELPHOS — A Delphos man who was taken into custody on a traffic warrant out of Lima Municipal Court may face additional charges related to a search of his residence.

Daniel Phinney, 30, of 516 W. Sixth St. in Delphos, was taken into custody by officers at 8:19 a.m. Friday. Officers spoke with a woman at the scene and she was later allowed to leave the home as no warrant existed for her arrest.

The home was then secured by Delphos officers and agents of the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force and the task force executed a drug related search warrant at this location, after a short term drug investigation into illegal drug activity taking place inside the home.

Officers confiscated a vast array of assorted drug paraphernalia, an undisclosed amount of cash and two handguns, as well as cultivation equipment used in growing marijuana. The Van Wert County Dog Warden, as well as the Van Wert County Children Services Department, assisted the task force at the scene.

Phinney is being held in the Allen County Jail in Lima on the outstanding misdemeanor warrant as of report time. The task force will confer with prosecutors concerning possible criminal charges against Phinney, as well as charges against the unidentified woman who was living with him.

The case(s) will be forwarded to the Van Wert County Prosecutor’s Office for review, as is standard procedure.

The West Central Ohio Crime Task Force is comprised by officers of various departments to investigate drug trafficking complaints or other felony crimes that are taking place in local communities.

POSTED: 06/27/15 at 6:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Vantage Board of Education approved a resolution to place a renewal tax levy on the November ballot, gave the go-ahead for two Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreements and took a number of personnel actions during its July meeting held Thursday.

Vantage Superintendent Staci Kaufman holds up a chart noting personality traits for Vantage administrative personnel during  Thursday's board of education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Vantage Superintendent Staci Kaufman holds up a chart noting personality traits for Vantage administrative personnel during Thursday’s board of education meeting. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Following the report of Vantage Treasurer Laura Peters, the board unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with levying a renewal tax issue in excess of the 10-mill limitation.

“Just a reminder to the public that it is just a renewal, so there’s no new monies being asked out of any of the taxpayers,” Peters noted.

The board also approved TIF agreements for the construction of hog barns in Jackson and York townships, and also approved the transfer of $85,000 from the General Fund to the Adult Education Fund to maintain the Adult Education Full Service Center, and the transfer of  $225,040 from the General Fund to the Maintenance Fund to meet Vantage’s obligation to set aside maintenance dollars for its Ohio School Facilities Commission project.

The board also approved renewing its property, fleet and liability insurance with the Ohio Schools Risk Sharing Authority for an annual premium of $53,177.

Grants accepted include one for $890 from the Patricia M. Lichtensteiger Memorial Fund, administered by the Van Wert County Foundation, for Vantage’s literacy program; and a grant of $47,985 from the Foundation’s Rothacker-Lampe Bequest to purchase equipment for Vantage’s electrical programs.


POSTED: 06/26/15 at 7:52 am. FILED UNDER: News