DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
A Van Wert County native is hoping to bring a charter air passenger service to the Van Wert County Regional Airport.
Cathy Woodyard, a Lincolnview High School graduate whose mother also taught in the district, is also CEO of AvAir, an incorporated company that plans to offer charter passenger flights to area businesses and individuals.
Woodyard gave the commissioners and Economic Development Director Sarah Smith a PowerPoint presentation on the company, and its future plans, on Tuesday.
Woodyard, who has a master’s degree in aeronautical science, as well as a private pilot’s license, said the company is currently in the final stages of receiving certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to provide charger passenger flights. Woodyard said she estimates the company would receive the certification in the next month or so.
Woodyard also touted the benefits to businesses of having a private air charter company based in Van Wert County, noting that AvAir plans to keep costs competitive with major airlines’ first-class fares, while offering the benefit of direct flights, with no lengthy layovers or involved security check-ins.
The company will also offer some charter flights to private individuals as well, noting that a trip to Columbus for an Ohio State football game would take about 20 minutes from Van Wert. AvAir would also provide transportation to and from the airport for its business and private customers, Woodyard noted.
Niswonger PAC information
Two very extraordinary Christmas shows have just released for sale at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Sponsor Partner Celina Moving and Storage, along with the Niswonger, presents “The Holiday Ice Spectacular” on Monday, December 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Families and guests of all ages will be treated to an original theatrical ice production that combines the beauty, excitement and athleticism of figure skating with a warm and humorous holiday storyline narrated by Santa’s elves.
The stage at the NPAC will be transformed into a miniature ice skating rink using a state-of-the-art synthetic ice product that will create the perfect setting for the show’s world-class cast. Note: By utilizing this synthetic ice surface the show will leave a minimal carbon footprint — making the show earth friendly too!
The show is created, produced and directed by well-known international ice and theatre producer Jeb K. Rand, president and executive producer of Rand Enterprises & Productions. Rand’s entertainment career spans more than 30 years — first as a nationally ranked professional figure skater, and now as the creative force behind international productions worldwide.
“I am thrilled to be producing the show for a sixth season, and taking the show out on a multi-city tour in 2014,” Rand said. “It is truly a very fun and unique holiday family experience.”
“Think of the show as a ‘snow globe come to life’, where there is a little something special for audience members of all ages — and the fact that it’s performed on ice gives the show a special thrilling edge,” he added.
Tickets are on sale now and are “family friendly”, with prices beginning as low as $15. Box office tip: Tickets are selling fast and less than 300 remain. Act fast to ensure seat availability.
The Christmas season culminates in a soulful way with a “Solid Gold Christmas” featuring Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. on Friday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. This dynamic musical duo has enjoyed monumental success through the years as recording artists, performers and authors. Receiving seven Grammy awards and earning 15 gold and three platinum records, Marilyn and Billy have also enjoyed starring roles on television and stage and have performed to sold-out crowds around the world. Combining the hits from their 40 years in the entertainment industry with harmonized Christmas classics that set hearts on the meaning of the season, Christmas is complete. “How Sweet It Is” to let the Christmas spirit soar “Up, Up and Away” with Marilyn and Billy.
Tickets for Solid Gold Christmas are on sale now and begin at just $20. The Box Office is open Monday – Friday, noon-4 p.m. Purchase online anytime at WWW.NPACVW.ORG. As always, patrons can save 10-15 percent by bundling three or more events. This also provides advanced ticketing to shows that are selling out fast, like The Temptations.
The Niswonger is located at 10700 Ohio 118, in Van Wert.
Van Wert independent
In response to a lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that claimed Ohio’s voting hours discriminate against minorities, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted has directed that local Election Boards adopt the following hours as their business hours for early in-person absentee voting.
Hours are as follows:
- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, September 30, through Friday, October 3.
- 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, October 6.
- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, October 7, to Friday, October 10.
- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, to Friday, October 17.
- 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, October 20, through Friday, October 24.
- 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, October 25.
- 1-5 p.m. Sunday, October 26.
- 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, October 27, through Friday, October 31.
- 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, November 1.
- 1-5 p.m. Sunday, November 2.
- 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, November 3.
Any county voter may request and vote an absent voter’s ballot (or a provisional ballot, beginning October 7) in person during these regular business hours. Any voters in line at the end of these regular business hours must be permitted to make their applications and vote.
For a little over a month, the Van Wert County Fair Board has been working with Shelter Pets of Van Wert to find homes for the many cats abandoned to the fairgrounds. Just last week, a mother and her five kittens were removed from the grounds and a loving home is being sought for them.
Unfortunately, the fairgrounds has become a dumping site for unwanted animals and the situation has resulted in overpopulation and poor health of cats living on the fairgrounds.
Local residents who believe they are helping by feeding the feral cats actually prevent them from being caught and properly treated for many conditions, including worms and fleas, or placed into homes where they can be cared for and loved.
The fair board is asking area residents to not encourage or participate in the dumping of, or feeding of, cats at the fairgrounds, but asks that they contact Shelter Pets of Van Wert if they are interested in opening their homes to a new friend.
Willshire Sportsman’s Club information
WILLSHIRE — The Willshire Sportsman’s Club will be holding a turkey shoot on Sunday, October 12, starting at noon on the club grounds, two miles east of Willshire on Ohio 81.
Only 12-gauge shotguns will be permitted for the adult shoot and shells will be furnished. Youth shoots for children ages 16 and under will also be held. Only 20-gauge shotguns are permitted for youth shoots and shells will be furnished.
A lunch stand will be available and the public is welcome.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert County school district officials had several comments to make on the recent State Report Card results released late last Friday.
Trent Kreischer, director of curriculum and instruction at Crestview Local Schools, which had the best marks of the three county districts, said a highlight for him was that Crestview improved in the gap-closing (AMO) portion of the report card.
“Because many small districts, including ours, do not have enough students to create all the possible subgroups, receiving an A on the AMO measure tougher to achieve,” Kreischer said. “We worked very diligently to identify subgroups in AMO and remediate those students to the level of proficient and beyond. We did the same in targeting the value-added subgroups to provide additional intervention and enrichment for gifted (students).”
The only areas where Crestview did not ace the report card was in the subgroupings on the value-added portion of the test, where the district received Cs, and the Performance component, where the district earned a B.
“While we received an A in overall progress (district value-added), we are already looking a methods to improve our Cs in that group,” Kreischer noted. “Statistically speaking, a C represents an average of nearly ‘one year’s growth’ for students; however, our goal is to excel to more significant growth that will push our students.”
Gasoline price information
Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 11.0 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.31 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 4.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.39 a gallon, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices yesterday were 12.8 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 13.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 6.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 14.9 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
“The brief increase in the national average now appears over, as gas prices this past week have resumed their decline,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Not a single state saw its gas price average rise in the last week- certainly an impressive feat compared to last week. The good news doesn’t end there, either: prices will likely continue declining in the week ahead as EPA summer gasoline requirements end today in much of the country, ushering in cheaper to produce winter gasoline. Over the next month or two it is likely the national average will fall another 10-20 cents per gallon to some of the lowest prices of 2014. Additionally, some states in the south will see their average prices drop under $3 a gallon — perhaps even in time for Halloween,” DeHaan said.
GasBuddy operates OhioGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app that has been downloaded over 25 million times to help motorists find the lowest gasoline prices in their area.
Ohio Attorney General’s information
COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced the start of the sixth annual Take Action Video Contest, which gives Ohio high school students a chance to win up to $2,500 in college scholarships.
“In order to be informed consumers, students must be able to recognize common scams, guard against identity theft, and know how to protect themselves in the cyber world,” Attorney General DeWine said. “This contest is a great opportunity for students to better understand these important issues and possibly earn scholarship money.”
To enter the contest, Ohio high school students (grades 9 to 12) must produce and submit a 60-second video warning fellow Ohioans about one of the following topics:
- Identity theft
- Cybersecurity privacy and safety
- Online marketplace scams
- Business or government imposter scams
The deadline to submit a video is Dec. 12, 2014. Winners will be announced in March 2015 during National Consumer Protection Week.
The top three winning individuals or teams will receive college scholarships of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000, respectively, and may be featured on the Attorney General’s website.
Visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/TakeActionContest to view the official guidelines and the 2014 Take Action Contest flyer. Teachers are encouraged to print out and display a copy of the flyer in their schools.
Last year’s winning videos also are available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
U.S. House of Representatives information
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced the Propane Supply and Security Act, legislation to prevent future propane shortages and coordinate response efforts during emergency situations.
In light of what is expected to be another harsh winter, this legislation will address the root causes of the propane shortages experienced in Ohio and throughout the country last winter to ensure homeowners are not again adversely affected.
“Last winter, the lives and livelihoods of many Americans were threatened due to propane shortages across the country,” said Latta. “During extremely cold temperatures, access to heat is not a product of comfort, but rather a requirement for survival.
According to Latta, the Propane Supply and Security Act addresses the causes of past propane shortages to ensure residents in Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District and throughout the United States have access to affordable propane when they need it.
The Propane Supply and Security Act is companion to legislation sponsored by U.S. Senators Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) bearing the same name. The legislation provides for enhanced tracking of propane supplies to better forecast potential shortages and establishes the Secretary of Energy as the coordinator of federal and state emergency response efforts to ensure a coordinated response in the event of future shortages.
It also clarifies that propane shipments can be prioritized in the event of an emergency consistent with current statutory authorities.
Next, the legislation addresses propane costs by directing the Department of Commerce to more accurately calculate consumer propane prices. It also directs the Secretary of Energy to study the effectiveness and feasibility of increasing regional propane reserves to mitigate future supply shocks. Finally, the legislation expands the list of equipment covered under the USDA storage facility loan program to include propane tanks.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
COLUMBUS — Area schools received their grade cards this past Friday from the state, with mostly decent marks for the three county schools: Van Wert, Crestview and Lincolnview.
Crestview had the best results, overall, with mostly As in the six categories for which grades were given for the 2013-2014 school year. The district earned a B in performance, earning 105 out of a possible 120 points. As part of the performance ranking, Crestview had 59.8 percent of its students perform in the “Advanced” or “Accelerated” areas, versus 50.4 percent for Van Wert and 48.1 percent for Lincolnview.
Crestview earned an A for meeting 23 of 24 state indicators, with the district failing only to meet the fifth grade reading requirement. Van Wert received a B for meeting 21 of 24 indicators, with all the failed indicators coming in fifth grade (math, reading and science). Lincolnview received a C in the state indicator category, missing the 80-percent cutoff in third grade math, fourth grade math, fifth grade math and reading, seventh grade math, and eighth grade science.
In the area of gap closing, Crestview did very well, earning an A for ensuring that 93.8 percent of its students succeeded, despite low income, race, ethnicity or disability. However, the district also has the lowest number of low-income students at 295 (33.9 percent of district) and about the same number of disabled students as Lincolnview (147 versus 144).
A new exhibit, Symphony of My Heart, artist Saffron Goetschius’ collection of “mail art” – an assortment of mixed-media postcards that expresses a range of emotions from humor to loneliness – opened this weekend at Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert. In the photo above, Goetschius (center) greets those who attended the reception held Saturday at the art center, while a sampling of her mail art is shown below. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)