The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2018

Cast members for Offstage Productions fall play Farce of Habit include (from the left) Steve Bricker, Lisa Eichler, Ed Eichler, Rachael Dettrow, John Vining, Dolores Foreman, Matthew Krol (director), Kecia Pontius, and Jonathan Dennie. Not shown is cast member Kelly Smith. Offstage photo

VW independent/submitted information

Off Stage Productions Inc. has announced the cast for its fall dinner theatre production of the Jones, Hope, Wooten comedy, Farce of Habit. The two-act play is being directed by Matthew Kroll, with Amy McConn assistant director, and Julie Lang costume mistress.

Cast members are as follows: Wanelle Wilburn, Kelly Smith; D. Gene Wilburn, John Vining; Maxie Wilburn Suggs, Dolores Foreman; Jock McNair, Steve Bricker; Jenna Sealy Wilburn, Rachael Dettrow; Ty Wilburn, Jonathan Dennie; Huddle Fisk, Ed Eichler; Sister Myrtle Agnes, Lisa Eichler, and Barb Stratton, Kecia Pontius.

Show dates are from October 19-21 and 26-28. Saturday and Sunday performances will be dinner theatre shows. Doors will open on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7, and the show at 8 that evening.


POSTED: 09/24/18 at 7:28 am

VW independent/submitted information

A Van Wert teenager was arrested on a drug charge related to the search of a Ridge Township residence this past Friday.

Caleb J. Phillips

Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach announced the arrest of Caleb J. Phillips, 18, on one count of possession of cocaine, a felony of the fifth degree. The arrest was made in connection with the executive of a search warrant at 8597 Boroff Road. The sheriff said there were eight people on the property when the search warrant was executed. All were identified and seven of the eight were later released.

Items seized at the residence to be used for evidentiary purposes included a moderate amount of suspected cocaine, a moderate amount of suspected marijuana, cash, a cell phone, digital scales, and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Phillips was taken to the Van Wert County Correctional Facility pending his initial appearance Monday in Van Wert Municipal Court.

Sheriff Riggenbach noted that the investigation is continuing and more charges could be filed in the case. He asks that anyone with information on drug activity contact the sheriff’s office at 419.238.3866 or use the office’s website at www.vanwertcountysheriff.comand click on the “submit a crime tip” link. Those providing information can remain anonymous.

The sheriff said that his office would continue to aggressively pursue all drug tips his office receives.

Area residents can also report information on other crimes by using the above options or contacting Van Wert County Crime Stoppers at 419.238.STOP. People can also remain anonymous when contacting Crime Stoppers.

POSTED: 09/24/18 at 7:42 pm. FILED UNDER: News

MLB Hits King and Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose was at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio Saturday evening to reminisce about his career, including his years with the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine” team of the 1970s. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/24/18 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert gasoline prices stayed at least a dime under the state average, as of Monday morning, with the low price 16 cents below Ohio’s average gas price. Low prices locally were at $2.63 per gallon at both Murphy USA in the Towne Center shopping center and Lassus Handy Dandy in the 800 block of North Washington Street.

The One Stop Shop in the 200 block of North Washington was at $2.67 per gallon, while the remaining city stations, the Pak-A-Sak Marathon stations, the Marathon station adjacent to the Brookside Convenience Store, the Shell station, and The Short Stop Sunoco station, were all at $2.69 per gallon.

Gasoline prices in Ohio have risen 3.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.79 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 eight-tenths of a cent per gallon versus last week to $2.83 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Including the change locally during the past week, prices Sunday were 50.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and are 4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average is unchanged   during the last month and stands 28.8 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

“With a muted response from OPEC to President Trump’s exhortation via Twitter that OPEC do something to reign in high oil prices, we may see energy markets rally as concerns grow that Iran’s sanctions effective in November may pose more a challenge to global supply than anticipated,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Oil prices jumped to fresh highs last night on reaction to the chilly reception to Trump’s concern, with several oil ministers downplaying the rise in oil prices.

“Moving forward, with Iran’s oil essentially out of reach, gas prices may not see the typical decline we had been expecting as recently as the last two weeks as new concerns emerge about the tightrope balance some oil producing countries are hoping for — pushing supply down as global demand rises,” DeHaan noted. “That’s not going to be good news for motorists.”

POSTED: 09/24/18 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Board of Elections has announced that the close of registration for the November 6 General Election is 9 p.m. Tuesday, October 9. The Board of Elections office, 120 E. Main St., will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day.

Anyone not currently registered in Van Wert County, or who has moved since the May 8 Primary Election and not changed their address with the Board of Elections, should stop by one of the following locations and update their registration:

The Van Wert License Bureau; Brumback and Delphos Public libraries; Van Wert County Department of Human Services; WIC (Women, Infants, Children), the Treasurer’s, Auditor’s, and Title departments in the Courthouse and the Board of Elections office.

Any questions regarding voter registration may be answered by contacting the Board of Elections at 419.238.4192.

POSTED: 09/24/18 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Today is officially the start of the fall season (no groans), but there are some compensations for the fact that winter is likely not that far away.

Shown is the Wallace Plumbing entry from the 2015 Harvest Moon Festival’s inaugural Outhouse Races. VW independent file photo

One of the main compensations is the fourth edition of Main Street Van Wert’s annual Harvest Moon Festival, which is set for Saturday, September 29, from 3-11 p.m., in downtown Van Wert.

“We’re hoping for good weather,” said Main Street Van Wert Director Mitch Price, who added: “We’re trying to make this a really great fall festival; we keep tweaking it each year to make even better.”

This year’s schedule of events will begin with check-in for the Outhouse Races, which will run in the block of Main Street between Washington and Market streets, at 2:30 p.m.

Price said there should be a good number of outhouses entered in this year’s race — anywhere from 6 to 10 — including some returning entries, as well as new participants.

The Outhouse Races will begin at 3:30 that afternoon, and Price said he thinks they’ll be pretty competitive.

At 3 p.m., food vendors will open, while several downtown merchants will also showcase sales and special displays and other vendors will be selling artisan and craft items.


POSTED: 09/22/18 at 8:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert High School held its Fall Homecoming during Friday night’s game against Shawnee a game the Cougars won 39-6 for its second Western Buckeye League win of the year. Shown above is Homecoming Queen Noelle Heffner (center) with senior attendants Adrianna Grothause (left) and Arianna Adkins. Below, longtime Cougar athletic booster Mike Pettijohn, who was grand marshal of the Homecoming Parade on Wednesday, was also honored during Homecoming ceremonies at Eggerss by Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/22/18 at 8:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that he is awarding $12 million in grants to help enhance safety and security at schools across the state.

All of Ohio’s public schools, chartered nonpublic schools, and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities will receive the greater of $2,500 or $5.65 per student to spend toward school safety programs and training.

In Van Wert County, Van Wert City Schools will receive $11,537.30, Lincolnview Local Schools $4,830.75, Crestview Local Schools $4,638.65, Delphos City Schools, $5,344.90, Wayne Trace Local Schools, $5,152.80, Parkway Local Schools $5,706.50, and Vantage Career Center and Delphos St. John’s $2,500 apiece.

“Ohio’s students are entitled to feel safe when the school bell rings, and this funding will impact children by boosting safety measures at more than 1,700 schools across the state,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Schools will have the flexibility to use these grants for things like training for school resource officers, safety and security materials, and programs to identify and help students who may be struggling with their mental health.”

The grants are funded with appropriations made by the Ohio legislature as part of House Bill 318. The bill, which was sponsored by state representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson), appointed the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to develop the school safety training grant program in consultation with the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The law requires that participating schools and county boards work with law enforcement in their jurisdictions to determine the best use of the grant funding.

A full list of grant awards can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. Attorney General DeWine mailed a letter to each school this week with instructions on how to access the funds for use between October 1 of this year and June 30, 2019.

POSTED: 09/22/18 at 8:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

First Federal of Van Wert held a ribboncutting ceremony through the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce to celebrate its 125-year history in Van Wert. Shown cutting the ribbon is First Federal President Brian Renner, while First Federal staff and board members and Chamber board members and staff look on (click on the photo for a larger version). Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/22/18 at 8:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

First United Methodist Church, corner of Central Avenue and Jefferson Street, will host its annual Trunk or Treat event Saturday, October 27, from 10 a.m. until noon, in the city parking lot across from the church.

Join church members for a morning of games, fun, food, and fellowship. Families should bring their children in costume for some fun and treats.

For more information about the afternoon fun, contact Teresa Shaffer at 419.238.0631, extension 307.

POSTED: 09/22/18 at 8:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

CELINA — A Van Wert man who has been sought after he was recently indicted on several drug charges has been arrested in Celina, along with a woman, a large quantity of methamphetamine, and a handgun.

Bailey Parker

According to a news release issued by Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey, Bailey S. Parker, 19, of Van Wert, was one of two people arrested following a traffic stop in that city.

At approximately 8:10 p.m. Thursday, a deputy was on routine patrol when he noticed a male passenger in a vehicle attempting to hid his face from the deputy. The vehicle went left-of-center a short time later and the deputy, who was following the vehicle, did a license check, finding that the registered owner of the vehicle, who matched the description of the driver, was under a license suspension.

The deputy then stopped the vehicle on Staeger Road near Ohio 29.

After the vehicle pulled over, the driver, identified as Katelynn Campbell, 26, of Hollansburg, was found to not have a valid driver’s license. Parker, who was the male passenger, was then asked for identification and he told the deputy he did not have any with him, but provided what was found to be a false name and birth date.

A K-9 unit from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office was called to the traffic stop scene and alerted while on the passenger side of the vehicle to the presence of narcotics.

A handgun and suspected drugs were among items found in the vehicle in which Bailey Parker was riding when arrested. Mercer County Sheriff’s Office photo

The vehicle was then searched and deputies found not only ID for the passenger, but also a wallet and several baggies containing what was suspected to be methamphetamine. Deputies also found an unloaded .25-caliber Phoenix Arms handgun under the driver’s seat.

Both Campbell and Parker were then arrested. In addition, while being taken to jail, Campbell also said she had drugs hidden internally in a body cavity. After a body scan at the detention facility, more narcotics were located.

Both are each being held in the Mercer County Detention Facility on a $100,000 cash bond. The case will be forwarded for review by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Parker was indicted earlier this month by the Van Wert County Grand Jury on one count each of aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine, a felony of the second degree; aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine, a felony of the third degree; and conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, also a felony of the third degree.

Van Wert County Prosecutor Eva Yarger’s office will also likely seek Parker’s extradition at some time to face those charges in the local Common Pleas Court.

POSTED: 09/21/18 at 4:14 pm. FILED UNDER: News