The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2019

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Civic Theatre is ready to open its 61st season of “Life. Live. Onstage.” at its 170-seat venue on South Race Street in Van Wert. This season will continue the tradition of all-volunteer casts and crews producing high-quality, award-winning theatre for audiences at a very economical price.  

The public is invited to purchase a flex pass to be sure to get a prized seat all season long. Flex pass holders get a significant savings on tickets, early access to the box office, invitations to special events, personal reminders of upcoming shows, and the flexibility to use the passes for any shows they want.  Flex passes start at $60, and the lowest level pass provides five admissions to be used to any performance of any show and a savings of 25 percent off at-the-door prices. Tickets at the door are $16 for all shows. 

For those folks who want to not only attend the shows, but also to support VWCT at a higher level, Patron flex passes are available. The Patron flex passes begin at $150 and includes 10 admissions usable for any performance and box office access five days before the general public. Patrons receive postcard reminders, an invitation to the annual patron party, and their name in each play program. 

VWCT offers three other patron options for those who love to support live entertainment. The most exclusive is the Patron Angel at $500, providing 20 admissions to use as admission to performances of any play, all the benefits of the patron level, and a highly visible program mention. Visit to purchase a flex pass before the season opens on September 26. Beginning this year, tickets can be purchased online.  

The 2019 -2020 season opens with the musical Assassins, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman.


POSTED: 09/17/19 at 7:24 am

Van Wert independent news

Coldwater Exempted Schools Treasurer Michelle Mawer has been hired as the new treasurer for Van Wert City Schools.

Mawer was chosen from a field of four applicants and was approved during a special Van Wert City Board of Education meeting on Monday. She’s replacing Mike Ruen, who recently took a similar position with Hicksville Local Schools.

Prior to Coldwater, Mawer had budget management experience with Dayton Public Schools.

“She brings a wealth of experience and we are very excited for her to start,” VWCS Board President Scott Mull said. “She will be working with leadership in developing a comprehensive budget process, getting familiar with the district and recommending and implementing continuous improvement initiatives in her role as CFO.”

“We are confident that she will follow in the tradition of prior treasurers in ensuring fiscal responsibility and working with what we have to capitalize on available resources to provide best-in-class educational opportunities for all students in line with our mission and vision,” Mull added.

Mawer was not at Monday’s special meeting and was unavailable for comment.

POSTED: 09/17/19 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners has issued a clarification of earlier information it provided concerning a change in pricing for recycling services.

The commissioners earlier noted that the Van Wert County Solid Waste Management District (SWMD) is in need of additional operating funds because the cost of administering a countywide recycling program has risen, particularly in the areas of labor, fuel, and vehicle maintenance, while the cost of recyclable commodities, such as newspaper, office paper, steel, plastic, and cardboard, has decreased dramatically.

After much consideration, effective January 1, 2020, the charge for Van Wert County SWMD services will increase as follows:

The charge for curbside pick-up for residents of the city of Van Wert, as well as the villages of Convoy, Elgin, Middle Point, Ohio City, Venedocia, Willshire, and Wren, will increase from $34.40 to $52 per year, per household, which includes an annual fee of $1 for administrative services provided by the Van Wert County Auditor’s Office.

The charge for residents of Van Wert County who live outside Van Wert and county villages will increase from $6 to $10 per year, per household, which also includes an annual fee of $1 for administrative services provided by the County Auditor’s Office.

For more information about recycling services in Van Wert County, contact the SWMD at 419.238.7767.

POSTED: 09/17/19 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The Van Wert High School Theatre Department announces its 2019-2020 season.

The school’s fall production, Sherlock Holmes, will be performed at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio on Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23, starting at 7 p.m. each day.

Rehearsals have begun on the show and students are looking forward to sharing the classic tales of Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr. Watson.

This play, originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted by Tim Kelly, is set in the 1890s and is full of suspense and mystery.

Join the cast to see if Holmes can solve the case. General admission tickets are $6 and are available from cast and crew members, the NPAC box office, and at the door the night of the performances.

Sherlock Holmes is produced with special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.

On April 2-4, 2020, the VWHS Theatre Department presents Tarzan®, the Stage Musical on the NPAC stage, starting at 7 p.m. each day.

Auditions will be held in December and students will begin rehearsals in January 2020.


POSTED: 09/17/19 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Just a reminder that Main Street Van Wert and the Van Wert Convention & Visitors Bureau are teaming up to put on Van Wert’s favorite Harvest Moon Festival.

There will be everything area residents need for a fun day with their families: Food trucks, vendors, and even some fun activities for the kids. There will also be outhouse races and axe throwing, and don’t forget Cadillac Ranch and Kaitlyn Schmit and the Move will also be playing that day. 

It’s all coming to downtown Van Wert from 3-11 p.m. Saturday, September 28.

POSTED: 09/17/19 at 7:08 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

It was 1869. The Civil War had only been over four years. That’s when Van Wert’s four independent ward fire brigades decided to join together to form a citywide fire department. On Saturday, city firefighters celebrated the department’s 150 years of existence with an open house at the fire station.

Van Wert Fire Chief Jon Jones talks to visitors to the VWFD’s 150th anniversary celebration Sunday in front of the department’s first steam fire engine at the fire station. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

“We had an open house because the fire department belongs to the community, and we wanted to give back to everyone,” said Fire Chief Jon Jones. “We wanted to have a celebration of the department’s 150 years of service and have our community be a part of that.”

Chief Jones got his wish, as hundreds of people came out to help the department celebrate.

The department begin its celebration with a 5K run, while there were also fire truck rides, a station where children could dress in fire gear, equipment displays, including the city’s first steam fire engine and hose rack from Central Insurance Company’s Fire Museum, a tour of the firehouse, and a number of demonstrations of firefighting and other skills.

“The fire department performs many functions beside firefighting and advance life support EMS,” Chief Jones noted. “Our personnel train to provide the best emergency services we can/.


POSTED: 09/16/19 at 7:45 am. FILED UNDER: News

Shown are scenes from the Van Wert Fire Department’s 150th anniversary celebration on Sunday at the Van Wert Municipal Building. photos by Bob Barnes and Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/16/19 at 7:41 am. FILED UNDER: News

Wynonna brought her big voice and her Big Noise Band into the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio for a Country music bash that included all her hits — and more besides — on Sunday evening. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 09/16/19 at 7:21 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Off Stage Productions Inc. has announced the cast for its Fall 2019 dinner theatre production of A Doublewide, Texas, Christmas, a Jones, Hope, Wooten comedy. This two-act farce is being directed by Matt Krol. 
Cast members include the following:

  • Big Ethel Satterwaite — Terri Stevens
  • Georgia Dean Rudd — April Hanf
  • Lark Barken — Kelly Smith
  • Haywood Sloggett — Ed Eichler
  • Patsy Price — Mary Yackey
  • Norway “Baby” Crumpler — Travis Nihiser
  • Joveeta Crumpler — Amy McConn
  • Caprice Crumpler — Dolores Foreman
  • Nash Sloggett — Dan Bulau
Cast members for A Doublewide, Texas, Christmas include (front row, from the left) Terri Stevens, Kelly Smith, Dolores Foreman, April Hanf; (middle row) Amy McConn and Mary Yackey; (back row) Travis Nihiser, Ed Eichler, and director Matt Krol. Off Stage photo

In this outrageously funny comedy, it’s Christmas-time in the newest — and tiniest — town in Texas, and it’s beginning to look a lot like trouble in Doublewide. Not only are the trailer park residents dealing with the stress of the holiday season, but they’ve just discovered that Doublewide is being doubled-crossed by the county. With their official incorporation papers in jeopardy, this band of eccentric Texans throws itself into taking on the Big Guys. Determined to bolster their legitimacy, Doublewide residents first set their sights on the countywide “Battle of the Mangers” competition. They conspire to win this smackdown with their “Nativity at the Alamo” entry … by any means possible.

In addition to that shaky undertaking, and trying almost single-handedly to keep the new town afloat, Mayor Joveeta Crumpler has to wrangle her celebrity-obsessed mother, her beleaguered brother (who’s being bullied by a pack of vengeful raccoons), and her demoralized best friend (who’s at the end of her rope from dating every loser this side of the Rio Grande). 

To make matters worse, Joveeta finds herself increasingly wary of the newest resident, Patsy Price. Patsy, fresh out of the local mental institution, clearly has her own devious agenda and the county competition over in Fayro is just the place for her to settle an old score. By the time this full-tilt rocket ride of lunacy climaxes in a what-else-can-go-wrong live television presentation, the audience will have doubled its Christmas spirit. So spend the Yuletide in Doublewide and let this hilarious Jones Hope Wooten Comedy make Christmas merry and bright … because there’s no place like a good ole Texas-sized mobile home for the holidays!

Performances will once again be held in the commons area at Vantage Career Center on October 18-20 and 25-27. Enter at the back doors, where there will be plenty of free parking spaces available. 

Friday performances are “Popcorn Night”, with doors opening at 7 and the show beginning at 7:30, with free popcorn and pretzels (no dinner). The cost is $13. 

Saturday and Sunday dinner shows include full buffet by Romer’s Catering for $28. On Saturdays, the doors open at 6:30, buffet at 7, show at 8, while doors open at 12:30 p.m., with buffet at 1, and show at 2 for Sunday matinees.

Reservations will open for members on September 30 and to the public on October 2. Call the Off Stage Box Office at 419.605.6708.

Additional information can be found online at and on Facebook at

POSTED: 09/16/19 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

WREN – It was the end of an era when the Wren Garden Club held its last meeting September 10 in the home of Michele Young.

The club was organized in January 1932 by homemakers in Wren and surrounding area and joined the

Ohio Garden Club Association (OAGC) two years later in November. Members chose the club motto as “A Better Community Through Gardening”, and their endeavors showed an earnest desire to actively pursue the motto.

Wren Garden Club members gather following their final club meeting. photo provided

Through the club’s history, numerous activities were accomplished as flowers were tended to in the Wren Park and on the streets of the village. A flower bed was established at the Harrison Township building and eventually increased in size. Trees were planted in the park and at the Town Council. The Wren library branch was decorated at Christmas time. Donations were made to Wren School for band uniforms and potlucks were held to honor the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. Over 100 Christmas cards were sent out to shut-ins one season and gift baskets for the needy were made.

In addition, monetary donations were given to numerous organizations through the years, as well as contributing food to restock the food banks. At times, families were chosen to be recipients of financial aid in their times of need. 

The Wren Garden Club participated in regional meetings, the Jubilee Flower Show in Van Wert, and the Wren Homecoming Parade. 

In the beginning, membership numbered 25 to 27 consistently, often with guests attending. Women gathered to discuss gardening and share ideas.

However, the world has changed, and the Internet now allows people to find information online quickly, and the club has struggled to gain new active members. Although members regret the Wren Garden Club is unable to survive as an organization, they are proud that the club lasted for 87 years, with four generations of several area families participating as members.

POSTED: 09/16/19 at 7:05 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Two people are facing drug-related charges following execution of a search warrant at a North Wayne Street residence early Saturday morning.

Kendra Keesler
Charles Jenkins

Charles Jenkins, 42, and Kendra Keesler, 24, both of Van Wert, were arrested on one count of aggravated possession of drugs, each a felony of the fifth degree, in connection with the warrant. There were taken to the County Correctional Facility, where they are being held prior to their initial appearance in Van Wert Municipal Court.

According to Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach, the warrant, which was served at 1:53 Saturday morning, was the result of an investigation by county deputies into possible drug activity at the residence.

The sheriff noted that seven people were found in the residence when the search warrant was executed. Five of the individuals were released following a search of the residence.

Items taken for evidentiary purposes include the following:

  • A moderate amount of what is suspected to methamphetamine
  • Bundles containing an unknown powder
  • A loaded handgun and ammunition
  • A moderate amount of drug paraphernalia, including baggies and scales
  • A large number of syringes
  • Several cell phones and other digital devices
  • An undisclosed amount of cash

Sheriff Riggenbach said the incident remains under investigation and additional charges may be filed. A nuisance abatement letter was also sent to the property owner related to the incident, with the property owner directed to take action to prevent further illegal activity. If no action is taken and the owner permits further illegal activity, the law does allow for the seizure of the property.

The sheriff also asks that anyone with information on local drug activity should contact his office at 419.238.3866 or use the sheriff’s office website at and click on the “submit a crime tip” link. Anyone reporting information can remain anonymous, Sheriff Riggenbach stated, while adding that his office will continue to aggressively pursue all drug tips received.

Other crimes can also be reported anonymously by using the above options or by calling Crime Stoppers at 419.238.STOP.

POSTED: 09/14/19 at 8:58 pm. FILED UNDER: News