The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

2014 Convoy Community Days collage 9-2014

The village of Convoy celebrate Community Days on a glorious Saturday with lots of events held at Edgewood Park and in the downtown area. Shown is a collage of photos from the festival’s annual parade. (photos by Beth Marchek for the Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 09/29/14 at 7:34 am

VW Area Chamber of Commerce information

There’s a new logo with pizazz and five new categories for this year’s Salute to Small Business Awards.

The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Salute to Small Business Awards. The Chamber will spotlight businesses built on an entrepreneurial spirit that play a vital role in the Van Wert community and economy. A business’ nomination is a tribute to its leadership and employees. This year we will recognize the following including five new categories:

Spirit of Entrepreneurship:

An innovative, established business that demonstrates initiative, perseverance, profitability and commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources.

Salute to Small Business logo 9-2014Ag Business:

An established agricultural business that demonstrates sound business practices and excellence and a commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources.

Charitable Non-Profit:

A substantiated history of an established Charitable Non-Profit organization 501(c)(3) with a volunteer Board of Trustees or governing body that demonstrates sound business practices, innovation and leadership in offering human services within the Van Wert community.

Service Industry Showcase:

An established business in the service industry such as insurance, legal services or contracting that demonstrates sound business practices, excellence and a commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources. 

Retail Champion:

An established retail business that demonstrates sound business practices, excellence and a commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources.

Palate Pleaser:

An established food service or restaurant business that demonstrates sound business practices, excellence and a commitment to support community-oriented projects through the use of time and other resources.


POSTED: 09/29/14 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: News

DONNA HORN/for the Van Wert independent

Off Stage Productions gives us the gift of laughter with its latest production, The Hallelujah Girls. This is a laugh-out-loud comedy suitable for all ages.

After a successful weekend run, The Hallelujah Girls will again be presented October 3 and 4 at the Van Wert Council on Aging, 220 Fox Road, Van Wert. A delicious buffet style dinner is provided by Catering at its Best by Sonya and Diane. Tickets are $25 for the dinner and show. Doors open Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. followed by the show at 8 p.m.

Offstage Productions' " The Hallelujah Girls" is a fun-filled play. (photo submitted)

Offstage Productions’ ” The Hallelujah Girls” is a fun-filled play. (photo submitted)

The “Hallelujah Girls” consist of Sugar Lee Thompkins and her four closest friends.  After the death of one of their old friends, Sugar Lee decides that they must do something with their lives. She buys an old wreck of a church and transforms it into the Spa Dee Dah. Each of the women has her own set of problems. Carlene has buried three husbands and believes she is a black widow doomed to kill any man she marries.  Nita has a problem son with jail time and a probation officer.  She spends all her money and time trying to keep him happy and out of jail.  Mavis’ marriage is so dull and routine that it is in serious trouble. The last friend is the innocent younger sister of Carlene who celebrates every holiday with costumes and original songs. Sweet Crystal bakes treats for them and does everything she possibly can to raise their spirits.

Sugar Lee has an old enemy, Bunny Sutherland, a well-to-do, jealous and well-connected rival who is determined to get the spa and transform it into a museum.  Bunny has been jealous of Sugar Lee since high school.

Love enters the picture, bringing more complications.  In the end it all works out, but it must be seen to be believed.  You’ll be saying “Hallelujah” for The Hallelujah Girls.

Cast members include Mary Yackey as Carlene Travis, Lisa Eichler as Nita Mooney, Pat Howard as Mavis Flowers, Mandy Fifer as Crystal Hart, Terri Stevens as Sugar Lee Thompkins, Rebecca Coleman as Bunny Sutherland, Dan Bulau as Bobby Dwayne Dillahunt, and Ed Eichler and Bud Preston sharing the role of Porter Padgett. The play is directed by Carol Snyder, with Amy Shoppell as co-director.  This is a hilarious, feel good comedy that will make audience members happy they came.

Call 419.605.6708 for reservations. Reservations must be secured with a credit card.  More information may be obtained by calling the same number.

POSTED: 09/29/14 at 7:12 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Internal Revenue Service information

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued a fraud alert for international financial institutions complying with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).  Scam artists posing as the IRS have fraudulently solicited financial institutions seeking account holder identity and financial account information.

The IRS does not require financial institutions to provide specific account holder identity information or financial account information over the phone or by fax or email. Further, the IRS does not solicit FATCA registration passwords or similar confidential account access information.

IRS logo 12-2013“Tax scams using the IRS name can take many forms and they are not limited by national borders,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  “People should always be cautious before sending sensitive information to anyone.”

Financial institutions directly registered to comply with FATCA and those in jurisdictions that are treated as having in effect intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) to implement FATCA through intergovernmental cooperation have been approached by persons representing themselves as the IRS.  The IRS has reports of incidents from multiple countries and continents.

These fraudulent solicitations are known as “phishing” scams.  These types of scams are typically carried out through the use of unsolicited emails and/or websites that pose as legitimate contacts in order to deceptively obtain personal or financial information.

Financial institutions or their representatives that suspect they are the subject of a “phishing” scam should report the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800.366.4484, or through TIGTA’s secure website.  Any suspicious emails that contain attachments or links in the message should not be opened, and the email should be forwarded to

More information on prior alerts and scams can be found on

POSTED: 09/29/14 at 7:04 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

2014 VWHS football Homecoming layout 9-2014

Senior Brittney Boaz (right) is crowned 2014 Van Wert High School Football Homecoming queen by 2013 Queen Holly Lawson prior to Friday night’s game between Van Wert and Elida (see story and photos on Sports Page). At left is the 2014 VWHS Homecoming court (from the left) Alexis Rupert, freshman attendant; Emily Bair, senior attendant; Queen Brittney; Tiffany Ricketts, senior attendant; Meghan Moonshower, sophomore attendant; and Chloee Gamble, junior attendant. (photos by Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 09/27/14 at 8:09 am. FILED UNDER: News

Niswonger PAC information

It’s a celebration of musical artistry on Saturday, October 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6:30 that evening and the lobby will be filled with the excitement of a new season, along with the added thrill of giveaways and sweet treats.

The award-winning Annie Moses Band of PBS fame will kick off the Niswonger’s “Community Concert Series” by giving away an autographed violin in honor of the string sextet’s “Rhapsody in Bluegrass: The Art of American Music” tour.

Annie Moses Band promo pic 9-2014Another lucky ticketholder will be the winner of a 5-carat Ametrine slide set in solid sterling silver valued at $400 from Slusher’s Jewelry. All ticket buyers are automatically entered to win.

The winners will be announced from the stage at intermission, and all attendees will be treated in the lobby to Bob Evan’s featured fall dessert samplers. In addition, coupons for free Bob Evans desserts will also be distributed while supplies last.

The autographed violin is signed by the six Wolaver siblings that comprise the Annie Moses Band: Annie Dupre, Alex Wolaver, Benjamin Wolaver, Camille Wolaver, Gretchen Wolaver, and Jeremiah Wolaver. The oldest three, Annie, Alex, and Benjamin, were trained at the Juilliard School in violin, viola and cello, respectively.

The Annie Moses Band is a classical crossover ensemble, with accolades that include more than 1,200 hours on PBS, two chart-topping albums, as well as debuts at the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall. The multi-instrumental group also includes piano, harp, mandolin, and electric and acoustic guitar, as well as the critically acclaimed vocals of Annie Dupre.

“Rhapsody in Bluegrass,” inspired by George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” and other iconic American compositions, is a high-energy reinvention of classic American melodies. The show fuses Appalachian bluegrass, Irish fiddle, folk, and classic themes to create a musically diverse, family-friendly concert experience for all generations.


POSTED: 09/27/14 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Van Wert independent

Two trials scheduled for next week were averted on Friday when both defendants pleaded guilty to weapons-related charges in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Forest Gordon, 49, of Van Wert, entered a guilty plea to a charge of attempted complicity to falsification to obtain a concealed handgun license, a felony of the fifth degree. The charge was reduced from complicity to falsification to obtain a concealed handgun license, a felony of the fourth degree.

Court artwork 12-2013 copyJudge Charles D. Steele ordered a presentence investigation in the case and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 29.

Also Friday, Dain Stauffer, 37, of Cairo, pleaded guilty to a prosecutor’s bill of information charging him with falsification, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was originally charged with falsification to obtain a concealed handgun license, a fourth-degree felony offense, but that charge was dismissed in exchange for his plea to the lesser charge.

A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. October 29.

Two other hearings were held on Friday.

Melissa Frasl, 33, of Delphos, was found competent to stand trial after an evaluation completed by Court Diagnostic Treatment Center of Toledo. A pretrial conference will be scheduled at a later date.

Shad Boyd, 38, of Lima, changed his plea to guilty to a drug possession charge, a felony of the fifth degree. Two other drug possession counts were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea to the first charge.

A presentence was ordered and Boyd will appear for sentencing at 9 a.m. October 29.

POSTED: 09/27/14 at 7:46 am. FILED UNDER: News

Day of Caring 2014-food drive

The United Way of Van Wert County’s annual Day of Caring kick-off event went smoothly on Friday. Above, volunteers sort food at The Salvation Army during the Day of Caring food drive. Day of Caring Chair Jessica Hardesty said the food drive exceeded its goal of 30,000 food items, with 33,619 items donated. Blood drive figures will be released early next week, but organizers there also thought they would at least met the goal of 190 units. (photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 09/27/14 at 7:38 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Area CVB information

Soon area residents will be able to support the Ohio portion of the Lincoln Highway (the Ohio Lincoln Historic Byway) and show their pride for America’s first coast-to-coast road as they drive.

On May 14, Senate Bill 339 was introduced by Senator Cliff Hite of Findlay and co-sponsored by six other state senators whose districts include the historic byway. The bill will authorize the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles to produce and make available for sale a special license plate recognizing the importance of this highway.

While the Ohio Legislature works to pass this bill, the Lincoln Highway Association needs local residents’ commitment now to purchase one or more of the special license plates. Once the bill is signed, Lincoln Highway supports will need to reserve 500 license plates in order to put the plates into production.  The fee is like all other Ohio special plates — $30 additional to the regular plate cost.

Lincoln Highway license plate 9-2014Area residents may also keep their personalized plates, provided the maximum number of characters (letters, numbers and spaces) totals no more than six, or six characters and a space.

The Van Wert Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s office (136 E. Main St.) and the Delphos Public Library (309 W. Second St.) have the forms people need to sign to reserve their special Lincoln Highway license plates. The form will ask for purchasers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, their current license plate numbers and their Ohio driver’s license card number.

There is no cost at this time, but by signing the form, people are making a commitment to purchase the plate when it becomes available. Statewide, 500 names are needed by October 31. Bureau office hours are Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  The Delphos Public Library opens each day at 9 a.m., except Wednesdays when it opens at noon.

The Lincoln Highway was the first automobile road across the United States.  It began in Times Square in New York City and ended in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.  It enters Ohio near East Liverpool in Columbiana County and leaves the state in Van Wert County. Locally, it follows the southern edge of the Great Black Swamp — also known as the Van Wert-Delphos Road.


POSTED: 09/27/14 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW City Board of Education information

The Van Wert City Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, October 1, in the S.F. Goedde Building conference room to act upon the resignation of a board member.

There are no other items listed as being part of the meeting’s agenda.

POSTED: 09/27/14 at 7:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

A former Delphos businessman was back in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Thursday, this time to plead guilty to six misdemeanor counts related to violating a civil protection order.

Robert Fishbein appears for an arraignment on eight new felony charges on Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Robert Fishbein is shown at his arraignment earlier this year in Common Pleas Court. (VW independent file photo)

Fishbein, 51, former CEO of I&K Distributors in Delphos, entered a change of plea to six counts of attempted violation of a civil protection order, all misdemeanors of the first degree. He was originally charged with eight counts of violation of a civil protection order, but two of the counts were dismissed and the other six reduced to misdemeanor offenses in exchange for Fishbein’s guilty plea.

Fishbein is currently serving a three-year prison term in the Southeastern Correctional Facility in Lancaster on charges of intimidation of a witness and felony telephone harassment.

A presentence investigation was ordered in the case and sentencing scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 22.

Three others also entered changes of plea during hearings held Thursday.

Casey McMillen, 30, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty on a charge of escape, a felony of the third degree. A second count of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea. A presentence investigation was ordered and McMillen will appear for sentencing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 5.

Ruth Ann Napier, 22, of Van Wert, changed her plea to guilty to two counts of burglary, each a felony of the third degree. The charges were reduced from second-degree felony offenses in exchange for her guilty plea, while two other counts of burglary, one count of vandalism and five counts of misdemeanor theft were dismissed.

A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. November 5.


POSTED: 09/26/14 at 7:30 am. FILED UNDER: News