DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was in Van Wert on Monday and drugs were on his mind — chiefly the state’s opiate epidemic.
DeWine, who spoke Monday at a luncheon hosted by the Van Wert County Republican Party at Willow Bend Country Club, talked about how Ohio’s drug problem has worsened from the late 1970s, when he was Greene County prosecutor, to today.
The attorney general said that, unlike the 1970s, the state’s drug problem is no longer centered in inner city areas.
“It’s everywhere, it’s in every county, it’s in every community,” DeWine noted, adding that residents of affluent suburbs are more likely to have a drug addiction that those in the inner city. He added that the cost of a drug habit, which can start at $15 a day, but then increase to as much as $1,500 a day or more, drives most of the other crime Ohio courts deal with.
“So much of the crime we see is a direct result of people being either high when they commit the crime or having to feel that they have to feed that habit every single day, and breaking into someone’s house,” the Ohio attorney general explained.
DeWine also addressed the death toll from heroin and opiate use, especially now that even more powerful drugs, such as fentanyl and carfentanil, a large-animal sedative, are being used to cut heroin.
“Based on last year’s statistics, we’re losing about eight people a day statewide who die of an overdose of drugs,” said DeWine. “Now imagine if we had a terrorist attack and it killed eight people a day in the state of Ohio. What would we be doing? We’d be up in arms.”
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert City Council accepted First Ward Councilman John Marshall’s resignation on Monday, largely because of health concerns.
“At this time, I do not feel as if I can give 100 percent to my position on City Council because of my health concerns and schedule of medical appointments,” he noted in his resignation letter. “When I cannot give 100 percent, I feel that it is time for me to step aside and let somebody else take over. Therefore, I am resigning from my position as First Ward Councilman effective today, September 26, 2016.”
Noting that he had enjoyed his years on City Council and thanking the voters who elected him, Marshall also thanked “those he served with and worked with over the years. I have truly enjoyed your friendship and appreciate all your help.”
Marshall also stressed that his primary reason for getting elected was to help clean up the city. “I remember how things were when I was growing up in Van Wert. People took pride in their property.”
Marshall also noted that he felt Mayor Jerry Mazur’s administration was “doing a great job in this area and I hope that they will continue on the same path.”
In closing, he asked city officials to “continue to keep me in your prayers.”
After reading the resignation letter, Council President Pete Weir was visibly emotional, noting: “I don’t have any words right now.”
When he recovered his composure, Weir had a message for Marshall: “John, if you’re listening or you’re out there, thank you for all your service and time.”
Council requested that Mayor Mazur create a proclamation thanking Marshall for his years of service to the city. Weir will also contact the Republican Party Central Committee for the purpose of having it choose a successor to serve out the remainder of Marshall’s current term, which was to run until December 31, 2017.
Prior to its regular meeting on Monday, Council members discussed the 2017 tax budget and possible ballot language for a ballot issue that would allow a portion of the half-percent income tax dedicated to street construction to also be used for sidewalk repair and replacement when a street is reconstructed.
The five Council members attending (Second Ward Councilman Joi Mergy was absent, as well as Marshall) also prepared an ordinance providing for a less stringent definition of what is a defective sidewalk. Although cracks can now be wider and more uneven, sidewalks made of bricks or pavers were both considered to be defective.
The YWCA of Van Wert County will be offering a free one-night Personal Protection for Women class, 6-8 p.m. on Monday, October 17. The class is provided by the Van Wert Self Defense Team, which can be followed on Facebook by searching Van Wert Self Defense Team.
This class is designed to teach women how to avoid dangerous situations and what they should do when faced with an unavoidable, unsafe circumstances. Class participants will gain confidence, knowledge, and the skills to protect themselves in this hands-on program. Topics covered will include situation avoidance and prevention, self-defense, and improvised defense tools.
Class instructors include Rick Busch and Ed Klausing. Busch is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do with 28 years’ of experience, including 22 years’ experience teaching martial arts, self-defense, and rape prevention classes and seminars. Klausing is a third-degree black belt and also has experience in teaching various martial arts.
Participants should be women and girls ages 13 and older and should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Please pre-register by calling the YWCA at 419.238.6639.
According to the Department of Justice, one in five teenagers and young women have been a victim of some form of dating violence and almost 189,000 victims of sexual assault and rape annually.
This class will also be held in conjunction with The YWCA Week Without Violence™, which is a nationwide annual campaign that highlights practical, sustainable alternatives to violence in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. A grassroots initiative when it began in 1995, today the YWCA Week Without Violence™ is a global campaign involving women, men and children in hundreds of communities in the United States and in countries around the world.
For more information, contact Health and Wellness Coordinator J.J. McClain at 419.238.6639. The YWCA is a non-profit organization and a United Way Agency.
VW independent/submitted information
The Van Wert County Board of Elections has announced that the close of registration for the November 8 General Election is 9 p.m. Tuesday, October 11. The Board office will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on October 11.
Those not currently registered in Van Wert County or who have moved since the November general election and not changed their address with the Board of Elections should stop by one of the following locations and update their registration.
Registration locations in Van Wert County are: Van Wert License Bureau; Brumback Library and the Delphos Public Library; Van Wert County Department of Human Services; WIC (Women, Infants, Children), the county treasurer’s and auditor’s offices and the Title Department in the Courthouse and the Board of Elections office at 120 E. Main St.
Any questions regarding voter registration may be answered by contacting the Board office at 419.238.4192.
Van Wert High School Student Council announces this year’s 2016-2017 football Homecoming court. Homecoming ceremonies will take place this Friday, September 30, at Eggerss Stadium, starting at 6:30 p.m. Senior queen candidates include (front row, from the left) Sierra Blackmore, Peyton Fleming, and Aimee Nicolai; underclassman attendants are (back row) Grace Spoor, freshman attendant; Adrianna Grothause, sophomore attendant; and Kylee Bagley, junior attendant. (VWHS photo)
VW independent/submitted information
The Peony Festival Committee will be holding its annual Spaghetti Supper fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. Monday, October 3, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 425 Woodland Ave. in Van Wert.
The meal includes spaghetti, garlic toast, and choice of salad or applesauce, a cookie, water, lemonade or coffee. The cost per meal is $7 for adults and $4 for children. Carryout meals are available.
The 2017 Van Wert Peony Festival takes place the weekend of June 2-4.
Van Wert independent news
Eight people were injured, one seriously, in a collision between a commercial truck and a passenger bus on Ohio 118 on Monday afternoon.
Troopers from the Van Wert Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol reported that 2013 Ford transportation bus driven by Cho Youn, 59, of Glenview, Illinois, was headed east on Wren-Landeck Road at approximately 3:07 p.m. Monday when Cho failed to yield the right-of-way at the intersection with Ohio 118 and his bus was struck in the right side by a 2012 Freightliner box truck driven by Michael Riley, 42, of South Bend, Indiana.
Both vehicles traveled off the northeast corner of the intersection, where a collision occurred with a utility pole and stop sign.
Of the nine people in the bus at the time of the crash, one was transported to Lutheran Hospital of Indiana in Fort Wayne with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, while seven others were taken to Van Wert County Hospital for treatment of less serious injuries. Ohio 118 was closed for approximately four hours and has since been reopened.
Both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and were not injured. The crash remains under investigation, while alcohol is not believed to be a factor.
The Van Wert Post was assisted by the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio City Fire and EMS, Van Wert EMS, Mercer County EMS, Lutheran Air Flight, Delpha Towing, the Ohio Department of Transportation, Van Wert County Engineer’s Office, American Electric Power, and Frontier Communications.
The Patrol reminds motorists to always buckle up and to use caution at intersections, allowing ample time to check for vehicles that have the right of way.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Craig Leon, who returns to his hometown this week to be grand marshal of this year’s Van Wert High School football homecoming parade, is the epitome of perseverance.
For Leon, a 2003 VWHS graduate who readily acknowledges he wasn’t even the fastest runner on his high school cross country team, hard work and a positive mental outlook has led him to a career as a professional marathoner.
Leon has always been a distance runner, but didn’t start running marathons until he was out of college. He began his running career at VWHS under coaches Kevin McGonagle (cross country) and Quinn White (track) and says both helped him build the mental attitude that has led to his success.
“I still think about some of the things they taught me,” Leon said.
Although a competent runner at VWHS, Leon wasn’t good enough to earn an athletic scholarship to his college of choice: Ohio University, which had the sports marketing degree program he was seeking. Fortunately, OU running coach Mitch Bentley allowed Leon to compete as a “walk on” — something he said somewhat seriously he lived to regret, since the training regimen at OU included running long distances every day of the week.
Following graduation from OU, Leon set his sights even higher: to become a professional runner, a marathoner.
Jazz greats Jonathan Butler (left) and Gerard Albright (right) had a Niswonger Performing Arts Center crowd grooving to their covers of jazz favorites during a concert Saturday evening. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent
PS LUHR/for the VW independent
In the mid-1960s, there were two television shows about creepy families. They each ran from 1964-’66, and every group of friends had their battles over which one to watch. Some liked the over-the-top “The Munsters,” who were decidedly not normal, but tried hard to fit in. Almost everyone else favored the subtle darkness of “The Addams Family,” a group of oddball kooks who reveled in their different-ness. Seldom was there a television addict who watched both shows that did not cherish one more than the other.
I thought the premise for each was ridiculous and, instead, gave my heart to the ultra-realistic “Star Trek”. But I do remember seeing both these shows and only loving Fred Gwinn’s Herman Munster.
As we move forward, someone got the great idea to make one of these classics, “The Addams Family,” into a musical. “Bad idea!” I say. “Not going to make it as a song fest about people who foster misery and mayhem. I can’t see Uncle Fester and Grandmama dancing and singing their way through skinning cats for dinner. I could see love songs between the romantic mother and father, Morticia and Gomez, but what kind of side plots can they possibly drag into this?”
This past evening, I took a trip to Van Wert to see the Civic Theatre’s production of this venture. I quickly saw how easily the writers caught our interest and kept it, through 2½ hours of musical theatre. The plot revolves around the family’s daughter, Wednesday, who has found a “normal” young man to love, and has secretly become engaged. She wants this boy’s parents and hers to meet. This is sure to be an ill-conceived plan, as Wednesday’s family is a very odd lot, while Lucas’ family are … from Ohio. The trouble begins when Wednesday tells her father of her betrothal, and begs him not to tell Morticia, a woman Gomez has sworn never to lie to, or withhold anything from. And it all goes downhill from there.
The production was directed by Jerry Zimmerman, and every moment of the action revealed his hand: from the details of the blocking, to the costumes, set pieces and props, the masterful and cute choreography. No, Zimmerman did not make the costumes or the sets, but his productions always trumpet his attention to detail.
The whole evening seemed more like a middle-of-the-run performance, and not an opening night wandering. Even when the main curtain went haywire and would not either open or close, the show moved on, with the actress playing Wednesday, Emily Klir, moving her solo out front. It saved the number and allowed time for the stage crew to manhandle the curtain. It was something that does not happen often, even in community theatre, but professionalism was displayed by all, in getting the audience re-focused.
The two main characters, Gomez and Morticia, were perfectly played, according to what we remember from the TV show. Morticia, pouty, slinky, sexy, and a bit self-absorbed was like a dream as delivered by theatre veteran Nancy Shuffle. Nancy makes every part she plays her own, but this one suited her even more than most. She glided, she flitted, and she by-god sang!
Good weather and lots of activities and events enticed area residents to Convoy for that village’s Community Days celebration on Saturday. Downtown Convoy was buzzing with business displays, along with kids’ games, and food vendors (above), while Edgewood Park was the scene of lawn mower drag races and a number of other activities. The Community Days Parade featured the 2015 Crestview state champion softball team as grand marshal (below). Photos by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent