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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Mar. 27, 2017

Kim Hohman's DanceWorks at Cavs game 3-25-17

The production dance company from Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks performed at the Cleveland Cavaliers-Washington Wizards game on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena. The local dancers have been invited to dance at the “Q” for the past four years, and were also invited to hold the flag on the court for “The Star-Spangled Banner”, as well as participating in the “High 5” tunnels for both the Cavs and Wizards. The dance company has 46 members and is under the direction of Kim Hohman. Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks’ 21st annual recital will be held May 20 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. Contact the studio at 419.232.6505 for ticket information. (photo submitted)

POSTED: 03/27/17 at 7:15 am

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Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 6.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.12 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 gas outlets in Ohio. This compares with the national average, which has fallen nine-tenths of a cent per gallon in the last week to $2.28 per gallon, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices Sunday were 18.8 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are eight-tenths of a cent per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased six-tenths of a cent per gallon during the last month and stands 24 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Gasoline price graphic 8-2012According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on March 27 in Ohio have ranged widely over the last five years: $1.93 per gallon in 2016, $2.43 per gallon in 2015, $3.62 per gallon in 2014, $3.64 per gallon in 2013, and $3.89 per gallon in 2012.

“Remarkably, for a third straight week, average gasoline prices have declined; in fact, for just the first time since 2009, average gasoline prices today stand cheaper than on February 15 — traditionally the day of the lowest gasoline prices of the season,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for

“This feat has been accomplished for several reasons: First, weak gasoline demand, which has kept inventories of winter gasoline far more than adequate; second, there have been few large-scale unexpected refinery outages; and third, crude oil inventories and rising U.S. production have kept oil prices under pressure over the last month.

“All three of these factors are actively at play and will continue to keep pressure on prices from spiking,” DeHaan added. “More alarming, however, is that while gasoline prices have drifted lower, the gas price spread between stations has been rising, and stands 5 percent higher nationally versus last year.

“So while motorists may be feeling less pressure with stable gas prices, that false sense of security may be getting in the way of finding a gas station selling at a far lower price,” he noted. “As always, motorists should be shopping around to be aware of lower-priced offerings.”

POSTED: 03/27/17 at 7:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

DSO String Trio concert 3-26-17

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra String Trio entertained a small audience at First Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon with a program of music from composers Josef Haydn, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Hungarian Erno Dohnanyi. Trio members Yoonshin Song on violin, Eric Nowlin on viola, and Wei Yu on cello, all principal players with the DSO, played Haydn’s Divertimento for String Trio in G Major No. 2, Beethoven’s String Trio in D. Major No. 2, and Dohnanyi’s Serenade for String Trio in D. Major, Opus 10. The concert was sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 03/27/17 at 7:10 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

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LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) encourages the public to attend and participate in its local 2018-2021 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) open house.

The meetings will provide the public the opportunity to review and comment on the draft STIP, which is Ohio’s four-year transportation planning document that presents a fiscally-balanced, multimodal transportation program for the state of Ohio.

An informal open house will be held at the following locations:

ODOT Logo (.jpg)Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, 130 W. North St. in Lima

  • Thursday, March 30, 2-6 p.m.

Maumee Valley Planning Organization (MVPO) will hold two open house meetings for projects in its area:

  • Tuesday, March 28, 3-6 p.m., Archbold Community Library, 205 Stryker St. in Archbold.
  • Thursday, April 6, 3-6 p.m., Defiance County Emergency Management Agency, 22491 Mill St. in Defiance.

Participants may come at any time during the open houses to view documents and maps regarding upcoming transportation projects and provide comment.

The four-year program includes both federally and state surface transportation funded projects scheduled for some phase of implementation within the state fiscal years of 2018 through 2021. The STIP is updated every two years and amended on a quarterly basis.

“This is an opportunity for the public to participate in planning for future transportation projects in the area and we encourage involvement,” said Kirk Slusher, ODOT District 1 deputy director.

Those unable to attend an open house may view and comment on the STIP documents on ODOT’s STIP website at between March 27 and April 7. The documents may also be viewed and commented upon at the ODOT District 1 headquarters, 1885 N. McCullough St. in Lima, during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Any comments concerning the STIP may be submitted to: Dan Kaseman, ODOT District 1 planning and engineering administrator, 1885 N. McCullough St., Lima, OH 45801, or by email:

POSTED: 03/27/17 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Ohio’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.1 percent in February 2017, up from 5.0 percent in January 2017, according to figures released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Unemployment artwork-small 8-2011Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased just 15,200 over the month, from a revised 5,506,800 in January to 5,522,000 in February.

Moreover, the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in February was 294,000, up 7,000 from 287,000 in January. The number of unemployed has increased by 9,000 in the past 12 months from 285,000. The February unemployment rate for Ohio was up from 5.0 percent in February 2016.

The U.S. unemployment rate for February 2017 was 4.7 percent, 0.1 percentage points lower than in January 2017, and 0.2 percentage points lower than in February 2016.

Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 15,200 over the month, from a revised 5,506,800 in January to 5,522,000 in February 2017, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.


POSTED: 03/25/17 at 8:26 am. FILED UNDER: News

A.J. KOCH/for the Van Wert independent

9 to 5: The Musical, what a terrific surprise to the theatre-going person unfamiliar with the movie. This performance is set in 1979 and goes back to the days of the “boys club” type of office setting, where men were the bosses and the “girls” were the workers. The movie even references a part of history with the liberation of more than just the female movement!

9 to 5 is about a trio of female office workers who take revenge on their “lying, hypocritical, sexist, bigot” boss. This talented cast of Mary Ann Falk, who plays widowed single mother Violet Newstead; Stacy Rife, who plays the divorced mousy housewife, Judy Bernly; and Victoria Recker, who plays the hated blond bombshell, Doralee Rhodes; pool their wits together to get back at their boss, Franklin Hart, played by Steve Lane.

Doralee (Victoria Recker) takes dictation from boss Franklin Hart (Steve Lane) during Van Wert Civic Theatre's production of 9 to 5: The Musical. Monica Campbell/for the VW independent

Doralee (Victoria Recker) takes dictation from boss Franklin Hart (Steve Lane) during Van Wert Civic Theatre’s production of 9 to 5: The Musical. Monica Campbell/for the VW independent

Lane plays the unlikable boss so convincingly the audience actually gasps at some of his statements about “the girls”. You know the acting is spectacular when the audience reacts in this manner. He also gives an outstanding performance in delivering his song, “Here for You” to an unsuspecting Doralee, the Dolly Parton lookalike.

The development of the main characters Doralee, Violet, and Judy is excellent. They start as co-workers and as Violet says to Judy, “we hate her”, referring to Doralee, the one accused of sleeping with the boss. The three friends finally unite over a “party” at Violet’s house and they fantasize how they’ll take revenge on their boss. Furthermore, they accidently take their fantasy revenge out on their boss in real life.

The vocal harmony of the three women is absolutely amazing: pay particular attention to the song “Shine Like the Sun”, it will have the audience sitting on the edge of its seat. Another highlight of the performance comes from Joe the Accountant, played by Chad Kraner, who is in love with the widowed Violet, but she won’t give him the time of day because he’s “in his thirties”. Joe sings an absolutely incredible love song to Violet.

Then there’s Roz, played by Kari Gall. We all have that one person at the office who grates on our very last nerve; well Kari does it and does it well and her rendition of “Heart to Hart” is exceptional. Keep an eye out for Margaret (Jan Miller): she is a cameo but commands the stage and the audience’s attention whenever she takes the stage.

The cast also includes Ed Eichler as Tinsworthy, Daniel Sanderson as Judy’s husband Dick, Shelby Merkle, Darcy Hitchcock, Lisa Eichler, Faith Maurer, Josh England, Daileas Duclo, and Cory Ream. This very talented cast gave everything with their singing and dancing and added superb support to the performance.


POSTED: 03/25/17 at 8:22 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

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ARCHBOLD — On Friday, April 7, all adults 55 and over are invited to a one-day seminar at Northwest State Community College for an up-close and personal look at the drug epidemic in the area.

“Not in My Neighborhood” is the theme of the event, which is aimed at informing unsuspecting, caring citizens about the rise of this troubling phenomenon. The Center for Lifelong Learning at the college is hosting the important event from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“Many people are troubled by the news of the epidemic, but they just don’t even know enough to know what to look for,” said Cecily Rohrs, coordinator of the event. “Unless you’ve been directly affected, the horrifying news reports are difficult to put in perspective.

Northwest State Community College log 11-2013“Many in our rural area naively think things like, ‘Surely there aren’t illegal drugs in my neighborhood’ ‘Surely not in my own home!’ ‘Never!’, but the drug epidemic is out of control and this day will give attendees information needed to be an informed member of their family, their church, and their community.”

To open the seminar, attendees will get an overview of what today’s drugs may look like on the street, as well as some of the “tools” of the drug users’ trade. Is it possible that a person’s own medicine cabinet may be dangerous?

Those attending will hear from professionals who fight the epidemic every day, as well as parents of users and former users themselves.

“Nothing — not financial status, education or lack of, profession, or parenting skills — nothing provides a wrap of security around those you love,” Rohrs emphasized.

The day will open with coffee or tea and a cookie, with the program beginning promptly at 9 a.m. Pre-registration before the close of Monday, April 3, is necessary, but the $12 registration fee, which includes a college-provided lunch, can be paid at the door for those with reservations.

The day and the attire is casual, with plenty of time for questions and discussion with the presenters. By entering through the east doors of the college, Building A, registrants will find plenty of signage to Room A215, where the group will gather. An elevator makes the room easily accessible and restrooms are close by.

Reservations can be made by phoning Rohrs at 419.267.5502 and leaving a message including name and total number in one’s group, by emailing her at, or drop a note of intention to the College Center for Lifelong Learning, 22600 State Route 34, Archbold, OH 43502.

POSTED: 03/25/17 at 8:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

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COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that an update of his office’s Concealed Carry Laws Manual has been released reflecting recent changes enacted by Senate Bill 199. The updated manual is currently available online, and printed copies of the guide will be available from county sheriffs.

“Our Concealed Carry Laws Manual is a great resource for Ohioans interested in concealed handgun laws or interested in obtaining a CCW permit, and it is available at no cost to citizens online,” said Attorney General DeWine.

Senate Bill 199, which became effective on March 21, includes the following notable changes in law:

  • Active duty members of the armed forces may carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a license if they possess military identification and proof of training with handguns.
  • Concealed handgun licensees may carry concealed handguns in daycare centers unless otherwise posted.
  • Concealed handgun licensees may carry concealed handguns in airports as long as they do not pass screening checkpoints or enter restricted areas.
  • Ohio colleges and universities may permit concealed carry on campus.
  • Businesses and employers cannot prohibit concealed handgun licensees from keeping handguns in their privately owned vehicle as long as it is legally parked.
  • Concealed handgun licensees may have handguns in vehicles in school safety zones as long as they are locked in the vehicle.

The Concealed Carry Laws Manual and other concealed carry information can be accessed online at

POSTED: 03/25/17 at 8:06 am. FILED UNDER: News

Lincolnview team honored at state semifinals 3-2017

Members of the 1996-97 Lincolnview state champion boys’ basketball team were honored during halftime of the Lima Perry-Columbus Wellington Division IV state semifinal game on Thursday. Members of the team, as well as coaches and staff, received plaques honoring the 20th anniversary of the Division IV undefeated boys’ basketball state title team. (OHSAA photo)

POSTED: 03/24/17 at 7:55 am. FILED UNDER: News

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COLUMBUS — State Representative Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance) on Thursday announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation to help protect Ohio’s seniors and other unsuspecting populations against deceptive marketing practices. House Bill 52 makes several reforms to regulate the solicitation of real property deeds.

House Bill 52, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Rezabek (R-Clayton), comes in response to deed solicitation scams plaguing many Ohioans, whereby companies outside of Ohio send official looking notifications to homeowners informing them they need a copy of their property deed. Further, the notices request up to $90 for the deed, preying on individuals who are unaware that they can receive a copy of their deed from the county recorder’s office for a minimal fee.

“House Bill 52 is smart legislation that will allow the state to prosecute those who take advantage of Ohio’s most vulnerable population,” said Rep. Riedel. “The purpose of this bill is to provide consumers with better information when they are deciding to purchase their property deeds.”

The provisions under the legislation require that specific disclosures be made to consumers when they are solicited a fee for real property deeds, including the cost to obtain the deed from the county recorder, the contact information for the county recorder, and the name and address of the person soliciting the fee. Other reforms prohibit the charging of a fee more than four times the cost to obtain a copy of a deed from the county recorder. A violation of these requirements falls under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and may result in a fine.

House Bill 52 is a part of the Buckeye Pathway, the policy platform of the Ohio House Republican Caucus, as it seeks to protect our vulnerable populations and strengthen families and communities. The bill now awaits consideration in the Ohio Senate.

POSTED: 03/24/17 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: News

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COLUMBUS — The Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office has adopted and implemented state standards established by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board as part of the state’s efforts to strengthen community and police relations.

VW County Sheriff's Star 9-2014More than 500 agencies employing over 27,000 officers (in all 88 counties, representing 79 percent of all law enforcement officers in Ohio and most of Ohio’s metropolitan departments) are either certified or in the process of becoming certified by meeting standards for the use of force, including deadly force, and agency recruitment and hiring.

The standards are the first of their kind in Ohio and were developed by the collaborative in August 2015.

The state has partnered with the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to help certify Ohio’s nearly 960 law enforcement agencies on a process to ensure that they are in compliance with Ohio’s new standards.

The first list of all Ohio compliant agencies will be published by the end of March.

For more information on the Ohio Collaborative, the certification process for law enforcement and the complete list of agencies who have been certified, please visit:

POSTED: 03/24/17 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: News