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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

Marty Brenneman, the Voice of the Reds, is coming to the Niswonger in early November. (photo submitted)

Marty Brenneman, the Voice of the Reds, in the press box at Great American Ball Park. (photo submitted)

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent correspondent

His credentials and honors are impressive: Over the course of 43 seasons, he’s broadcast more than 7,000 games on the Cincinnati Reds Radio Network — 68 radio stations in seven different states.

Along with numerous other honors, he’s a 12-time recipient of the “Ohio Sportscaster of the Year” award, and he’s a member of four halls of fame.

Marty Brennaman, the “Voice of the Reds” for more than four decades, is coming to Van Wert’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center in early November.

“I tell people all the time: I’m a baseball guy and I talk baseball,” Brennaman told The Van Wert independent. “I’ll talk about our current team, the year that they had (68-94), and what we can look forward to.”

Brennaman will also share his most memorable moments, including Pete Rose’s record-setting 4,192nd career hit, Ken Griffey Jr.’s 500th and 600th career home runs, Reds’ World Series victories in 1975, 1976, and 1990, and he’ll talk about with broadcasting with his son, Thom Brennaman.

He’ll also answer questions from the audience.

“I enjoy the question-and-answer session more than any formal presentation, because it gives people a chance to ask questions about the team, my job, and the years I’ve been here,” Brennaman said. “I’ll tell a lot of stories, and inevitably people want to talk about the 31 years (Reds legend) Joe Nuxhall and I worked together.”


POSTED: 10/28/16 at 6:53 am

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COLUMBUS — Flu season has officially begun in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone 6 months old and older get the flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu viruses.

In Ohio, flu season begins in October and runs through spring, with cases typically spiking between December and February. Ohio’s flu activity currently remains sporadic, meaning that there have only been a small number of confirmed influenza cases across the state.

“Influenza vaccination is the safest and most effective way to fight the flu, and October is the perfect time to get vaccinated,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio. “Flu vaccination is especially important for older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.”

Vaccination artwork 5-2014Flu vaccination can reduce the need for doctors’ visits and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. During the 2015-16 flu season, 3,558 Ohioans were hospitalized after contracting the flu.

Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers’ offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies, and there is an ample supply across Ohio at this time.

It takes about two weeks for flu vaccination to take full effect. CDC says that flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses. CDC is recommending that the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during the 2016-17 flu season due to its low effectiveness in recent years.

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Although most people fully recover from the flu, some experience severe illness like pneumonia and respiratory failure, and the flu can be fatal. Anyone who becomes ill with the flu and is pregnant, has an underlying medical condition, is older than 65 years old or younger than 2 years old, or experiences a particularly severe form of the illness should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include washing hands frequently; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick and until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

More information about influenza and flu activity in Ohio is available at

POSTED: 10/28/16 at 6:48 am. FILED UNDER: News


The Thomas Edison Preschool staff is grateful to the Van Wert Fire Department for its efforts on behalf of an autism awareness t-shirt campaign held recently. The fire department made a generous donation of $2,500 that will be used for sensory items for the students in the preschool. Shown here are (from the left) preschool teacher Ronda Niemeyer, firefighter Nathan Wiechart, and preschool speech and language pathologist Heather Frey. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 10/28/16 at 6:43 am. FILED UNDER: News

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The Van Wert County Republican Central Committee will be holding interviews for First Ward Councilman John Marshall’s position at 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 2, at The Hotel Marsh in downtown Van Wert.

First Ward precinct holders of the Republican Party will make the selection at the public meeting.

For more information, contact Republican Central Committee Chairman Thad Lichtensteiger.

POSTED: 10/28/16 at 6:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

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On Friday, November 11, at 11 a.m., the Van Wert County Council on Aging will honor Veterans Day with a presentation by Milo Wyandt, who traveled on United States Navy vessels in various places in the Mediterranean Sea and Europe during World War II.

Wyandt will share memories, along with personal photos and articles from the war. In addition, he just returned from Washington, D.C., on an Honor Flight.

The public is invited to join the Council on Aging in honoring all veterans at this event. Those who would also like to enjoy a meal of lasagna soup, sausage slider, fruit, and a cookie can call the Council on Aging at 419.238.5011 by 3 p.m. Thursday, November 10, to reserve a seat. The cost of the meal is $2.50.

The meal is free to veterans and their spouses; the Council on Aging will pay for their meals in recognition of their service.

POSTED: 10/28/16 at 6:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A teenager charged with multiple counts of arson pleaded guilty as part of a plea negotiation in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court this week.

Courthouse statue 5-2012Noah Girod, 18, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to two counts of aggravated arson, both felonies of the second degree, and one count of arson, a fourth-degree felony. Six other related charges were dismissed in exchange for Girod’s guilty pleas.

Judge Martin Burchfield ordered a presentence investigation in the case and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 30.

Two people were also arraigned in Common Pleas Court.

Sandra Eversole, 57, of Van Wert, entered a not guilty plea to a charge of possession of heroin, a felony of the fifth degree. She was released on a personal surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, November 2.

Jonathan Bergman, 42, of Willshire, pleaded not guilty to a charge of illegal cultivation of marijuana, a felony of the third degree. Bergman was also released on a surety bond and will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. November 2.

A Van Wert man was also sentenced on Wednesday in Common Pleas Court.


POSTED: 10/27/16 at 7:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

A recent refinancing of its construction bonds has resulted in a savings of $2.6 million for the Van Wert City School District.

The district took advantage of historically low interest rates in the bond market and recently secured a financing of its 2006 and 2007 school construction bonds. According to Treasurer Mike Ruen, the original bonds were approved in 2001 and issued to construct the high school-middle school complex.

“The refunding process, like refinancing a home loan to take advantage of lower interest rates, will save taxpayers a total of $2,643,861 over the remaining life of the bonds,” Ruen said, adding that the savings will come to taxpayers in the form of reduced millage collected annually to pay back the voted bond issues.

Ruen said the savings would not affect the operating budget of the district, since construction bonds are not part of the operating budget.

The treasurer began working with municipal advisor Rockmill Financial Consulting earlier this year to oversee the refunding and to think strategically about how to maximize taxpayer savings. A combination of low interest rates, the district’s excellent credit rating, and good market timing allowed the district to save more than expected in interest costs.

“The board felt that refinancing its bonds to save taxpayer dollars was an easy decision,” said Van Wert City Board of Education President R.J. Coleman.

The overall savings, though, was well beyond initial expectations, Ruen noted.

“Many school districts target a savings of at least 3 percent of the amount to be refinanced,” the treasurer explained. “In Van Wert’s case, this year’s refunding issue saved 13.47 percent.”

“Having a municipal advisor and treasurer working together allowed the district to maximize savings,” said Board member Anthony Adams, who worked closely with the refunding process.

Ruen said the old bond issue had an average interest rate of 4.18 percent, while the refinanced bonds have an average interest rate of 2.28 percent.

“We are always looking at opportunities to save as much money as possible, and strive to be good stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars,” the treasurer added.

For more information, contact Ruen at 419.238.5432.

POSTED: 10/27/16 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

October has been an entertaining ride at the NPAC, leaving fans of all ages looking forward to what’s in store. Well, the wait is over for “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”.

daniel-tiger-promo-pic-10-2016Daniel and his friends will transport the audience to the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” on Saturday, February 25, 2017, with two kid-friendly showtimes of pure Tiger-ific Fun at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Jeffery-Mohr Family Dentistry has been presenting family shows at the Niswonger for the past five seasons and is pleased to bring this very popular PBS Kids show to northwest Ohio.

The legacy of the beloved “Mister Rogers” lives on with the hit television series, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”. Kids and parents alike rave about the lively show that is produced by The Fred Rogers Company and airs daily on PBS Kids.

Now, Daniel and all of his friends are hopping aboard the trolley to delight live audiences with “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!” Donning his iconic red sweater, Daniel takes the audience on an interactive musical adventure as he and his friends explore the vibrant world of their much-loved Neighborhood of Make-Believe, sharing stories of friendship, helping others, and celebrating new experiences. This live theatrical production is filled with singing, dancing, laughter, and “grr-ific” surprises that will warm the hearts of multiple generations.

This event is made complete with the generous support of the 2016-2017 Season Sponsors: Van Wert Federal Savings Bank, StateWide Ford-Lincoln, and Chuck and Karen Koch.

Tickets for “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!” are now available and can be purchased online at or through the Monday through Friday, noon-4 p.m. at the NPAC Box Office: 419.238.6722.

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

POSTED: 10/27/16 at 7:06 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

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COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) thanked Ohioans for properly disposing of an estimated 14 tons (28,263 pounds) of unneeded, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs during last Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Attorney General Mike DeWine

Ohio A-G Mike DeWine

The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of prescription drug disposal.  Unused prescription drugs in homes create a public health and safety concern because the medications can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused.

“Safely disposing of unneeded prescription pills is an easy way that Ohioans across the state can participate in the effort to fight drug addiction, and we appreciate everyone who took time on Saturday to make sure that the pills prescribed to them will never fall into the wrong hands,” said Attorney General DeWine.

“By working together as citizens and law enforcement officials alike, we were able to make Saturday’s Take Back event an overwhelming success as we minimized the number of unwanted prescription medications available to be misused and abused,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Bulgrin. “We want to thank every resident in Ohio and our Ohio law enforcement partners who took the time to come together and make this program successful.”

Those who are still in possession of unneeded prescription drugs can drop them off at one of several prescription drug drop box locations across the state.  A list of locations of prescription drug drop boxes provided by the Attorney General’s Office, Ohio Department of Health, and Drug Free Action Alliance is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

POSTED: 10/27/16 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

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The Van Wert County 4-H Council is holding a fundraiser to support 4-H members attending camp and Junior Fair activities. The 4-H Council explores ideas, methods, and programs to strengthen the 4-H program throughout the county and works with and encourages the development of county young people.

The 4-H Council is offering pairs of Ohio State University home game football tickets. All seven home games are up for bid, with minimum bids set for each game as ticket prices vary for each game in cost.

Ohio State University logo 7-2014Those wanting to participate must choose one of the following steps: Send a sealed bid to the Van Wert County Extension Office, c/o 4-H Council Fund Raiser, 1055 S. Washington St., Van Wert, OH 45891;

fax a bid to 419.238.3276; or email Heather Gottke at Bids must be received no later than 4 p.m. on the deadlines posted.

Bids must include name/business, contact person and phone number, game being bid on, and bid amount. Donations/purchase price of tickets is a tax deduction. This is a great opportunity to watch a top ranked college football team and support Van Wert County youth through the county 4-H program.

Home games still available include the following:

  • Saturday, November 5, vs. Nebraska (game starts at 8 p.m.). Bid deadline is October 28, and minimum bid is $300.
  • Saturday, November 26, vs. Michigan (game start TBA). Bid deadline is October 28, and minimum bid is $500.

Questions can be directed to the Van Wert County Extension office, 419.238.1214, or emailed to Heather at the above address.

POSTED: 10/27/16 at 7:01 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Unemployment increased in Van Wert County last month, but the county remains among the 10 lowest Ohio counties for unemployment, according to September figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

jobless-rate-map-9-2016The county’s jobless rate rose two-tenths of a percent, from 3.7 percent in August to 3.9 percent last month. According to estimates provided by the ODJFS, in conjunction with the United States Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county’s workforce decreased by 200 people, from 14,600 to 14,400, while those employed shrunk by 300 people, from 14,100 two months ago to 13,800 in September.

Those unemployed increased 100 people, from 500 in August to 600 last month.

The trend here is one seen across the state, with 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties seeing an increase in unemployment in September. The jobless rate decreased in just six counties, while staying the same in two.

Mercer County again had the lowest unemployment among neighboring counties and across the state at 3.2 percent, up two-tenths of a percent from September. Putnam County was second at 3.5 percent, up three-tenths of a percent from August, while Auglaize County’s unemployment was 3.8 percent, also up three-tenths of a percent.

Paulding County’s unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percent, from 4.2 percent to 4.4 percent in September, while Allen County had the area’s highest unemployment rate in September at 4.9 percent, up three-tenths of a percent.


POSTED: 10/26/16 at 7:32 am. FILED UNDER: News