The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum makes the first local 2-1-1 call, while United Way Executive Director Deb Russell listens. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum makes the first local 2-1-1 call, while United Way Executive Director Deb Russell listens. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Often, people needing services are unsure of where to find them. Now, they have a place to find information on a variety of services and social programs: 2-1-1. The new program had its rollout Wednesday during a presentation in Van Wert City Council Chambers.

Like the 9-1-1 enhanced emergency telephone system the county has used for nearly two decades, the new 2-1-1 system can be accessed by dialing three easy to remember digits. The new system should also lower the number of non-emergency calls now made to 9-1-1 dispatchers, freeing up dispatchers to take emergency calls.

On hand to talk about the system were United Way of Van Wert County Executive Director Deb Russell, as well as Nick Roman, 2-1-1 director for Ohio United Way, and Diane Gatto-Barrett, who is in charge of the Cleveland call center that will answer Van Wert 2-1-1 calls.

“2-1-1 is a gateway to health and human services,” said Gatto-Barrett. “It makes it easy for people to connect to the resources they would otherwise have no idea existed.”

She also explained that the 2-1-1 system also eliminates duplication of services and keeps people from having to go from one agency to another looking for help.


POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:49 am

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Three people were given prison terms during a busy day Wednesday in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. Four people were sentenced overall, two changed their pleas to guilty, three appeared for bond violation hearings and one person was charged with violating a treatment in lieu of conviction program.

Drew Kenny, 21, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 17 months in prison on a charge of trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school, a felony of the fourth degree. Judge Charles D. Steele also gave Kenny credit for 123 days already served.

Chad Boyd listens as he is sentenced in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Chad Boyd listens as he is sentenced in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Shad Boyd, 38, of Lima, was given nine months in prison on a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He will report to the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at noon on Friday, October 31, to begin his sentence.

Jeremy Lindeman, 32, of Van Wert, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after admitting he violated his community control program by testing positive for drugs and being terminated from a counseling program at Westwood Behavioral Health Center in Van Wert. Judge Steele gave Lindeman credit for 265 days already served, effectively shortening his sentence to 100 days in prison.

Also Wednesday, Joe Quevedo, 50, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control on a charge of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, which includes a 60-day jail term. Quevedo was also prohibited from contacting Stacy Young or her children as part of his sentence.

A second probation violation case and three bond violation hearings were held in Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.

In the probation violation case, Kristina Diltz, 34, of Van Wert, was resentenced to three years of community control for testing positive for opiates and refusing a drug screen at Westwood. Judge Steele ordered her held in jail until she begins a Vivitrol program in November.

Bond violation cases include the following:

Kaitlin Russell, 19, of Delphos, admitted violating her bond by failing to report to probation as ordered. She was re-released on a surety bond until her sentencing.

Darren Stutz, 25, of Van Wert, had his bond revoked and will be held in jail until all assessment are completed, after he admitted to violating his bond by not reporting as ordered. Judge Steele granted Stutz work release.

Emily Bollenbacher, 23, of Van Wert, admitted to violating her bond by consuming alcohol and being arrested for drunk driving. She was re-released on a surety bond on the condition that she not operate a motor vehicle. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, November 19.


POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

Niswonger PAC information

First Federal Savings & Loan of Van Wert proudly presents the world’s first Country music a cappella vocal band, Home Free, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on January 31, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

When Home Free was crowned Season 4 Champions of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in December 2013, its victory was by no means the beginnings of a career for the five country stars from Minnesota. Rather it was a satisfying culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and commitment to a vocal craft growing in popularity.

Home Free

Home Free

Founded by brothers Chris and Adam Rupp during their college years in the early 2000s, Home Free had been perfecting its live show for years prior to “The Sing-Off”, performing together for crowds at countless state and county fairs, on college campuses, for Fortune 500 companies, and in theaters all across the country. It was the group’s experience on the road that carried them to the “Sing-Off” victory, swelling their fan base and bringing their homegrown country style into a national spotlight.

Home Free has now performed to countless sold-out crowds across the country as part of its 32-city, 36-show “Sing-Off Tour Live!” The group entertain audiences with its high-energy show, peppered with quick-witted humor that meshes Nashville standards with pop hits dipped in country flavor.

Home Free’s tour is on the heels of their Columbia Records debut release, Crazy Life. Listen to the group’s sound at

Tickets for the January 31 show are now available, beginning at just $15, online at or through the Box Office, noon-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Niswonger Box Office is located at 10700 Ohio 118 on the south edge of Van Wert.

Home Free is a featured “dinner and a show” event. Dining partner Willow Bend Country Club features its prime rib buffet for $19.99 for all ticketed guests. Seating is limited. Call early for reservations 419.238.0111.

Home Free is also sponsored by Mercer Landmark, Dark Horse Productions, Times Bulletin Media, and Willow Bend Country Club. Season sponsors are StateWide Ford Lincoln and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.

POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:37 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Defiance College information

DEFIANCE — Van Wert business and civic leader Edward Buhl is the new chair of the Defiance College Board of Trustees. He began his two-year term as chair in July.

Edward Buhl

Edward Buhl

Buhl, senior vice president and secretary of Central Mutual Insurance Companies, is an alumnus of Defiance College, graduating in 1973. He has served on the Defiance College Board of Trustees since 1995.

Buhl is a member of the Board of Directors for Central Mutual, All America Insurance Companies, and the Van Wert Federal Savings and Loan. He is a member of the Society of CPCU, past president of the United Way of Van Wert County, and a past president of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce.

Buhl and his wife, Tavie, are the parents of two sons, Brett and Blake. Brett and wife, Ashley, have a daughter, Kennedy.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is

POSTED: 10/30/14 at 5:35 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The American Red Cross is making some changes to become more efficient and Van Wert County will be affected by those changes, to some extent.

David Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of West Central Ohio, talks about changes to the local organization. (Rick Ford/Van Wert independent)

David Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of West Central Ohio, talks about changes to the local organization. (Rick Ford/Van Wert independent)

David Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of West Central Ohio, a 10-county region that includes Van Wert County, talked Tuesday about some of the changes that will be seen locally, which include the loss of the current Red Cross office on East Main Street and elimination of Community Director Sandy Lane’s position, although Lane has agreed to remain in her position as a volunteer to help with the organizational transition.

Collins said the local office would close next June, unless donated space is found in the community to maintain an office, something that has already been done in Paulding County.

“We’re just buried in real estate,” Collins said, noting that office rental costs and other related operational costs were a financial drain on the Red Cross, eating up a large portion of the Red Cross’ donated funds.

Following the transition, operations for Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Williams counties will be handled through the West Central Ohio office in Lima, Collins noted, although the local Red Cross board will remain in force and the local volunteer organization will continue.

“Really, the community won’t see much difference in the delivery of services: blood, health and safety, service to armed forces, and disaster services will all be maintained through the transition,” Collins noted, adding that the Red Cross also hopes to upgrade the local disaster services vehicle, with the help of Eaton Corporation.

Collins said reasons for the planned changes, which have been ongoing for several years at the national level, include the fact that donations weren’t going where they really need to go: to help others in need because of disasters, a need for blood and other reasons.


POSTED: 10/29/14 at 7:27 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Chamber of Commerce information

The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer area residents, their families and friends a free discount drug from the United Networks of America.

Shown are the front and back sides of the Chamber prescription drug card. (submitted images)

Shown are the front and back sides of the Chamber prescription drug card. (submitted images)

This program is open to the entire community, and no Chamber membership is required. With so many small businesses and smaller ag-based business in the Van Wert area, the Chamber is excited to provide this benefit to the entire community.

Simply pick up a card at the Chamber office, 118 N. Washington St., or at Clark’s Rx Pharmacy, 1166 S. Shannon St. Area residents may also print as many free cards as they need on the Chamber website, This card is pre-activated and can be used immediately.

Card members may receive savings of up to 75 percent at over 56,000 pharmacies across the country. The card may be used locally at Chamber members Clarks Rx Pharmacy and Walmart, and may also be used at CVS.

The card is especially helpful for those who are uninsured or underinsured; however, even those who have insurance can still use the card to get a discount on non-covered drugs. All prescriptions processed through the program are completely confidential (no name required on card.)

This program also includes discounts on eyeglasses, hearing, diabetic supplies and more.

Contact the Chamber at 419.238.4390 for additional information.

POSTED: 10/29/14 at 7:15 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

OSU Alumni Club information

The Ohio State Alumni Club of Van Wert and Paulding Counties will be having its Fall Bash on Friday, November 14, at Wassenberg Art Center, 214 S. Washington St. in Van Wert. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 that evening.

Ohio State University logo 7-2014There will also be a live auction of Ohio State items that will include two tickets for the 2014 Ohio State vs. Michigan football game in Columbus.

The speaker will be Cornelius Green, who was the quarterback of the Buckeye football team in the mid-1970s, during the years of famed running back Archie Griffin. His honors include captain of the football team (1975), All-Big Ten quarterback (1974,1975), and All-American quarterback (1975). Presently, he is involved with helping kids attain their goals.

The price of a ticket for the event is $15. To order tickets or for more information, contact Jeffery-Mohr Dentistry at 419.238.5810 or send checks payable to OSU Alumni Club of VW/Paulding County to Jeffery-Mohr Dentistry, 685 Fox Road, Van Wert, OH 45891.

POSTED: 10/29/14 at 7:07 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Historical Society information

Mark those calendars and sign up soon for the Van Wert County Historical Society’s second year of making ornaments at A Night at the Museum program to be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, November 13, in the Van Wert Historical Society’s Annex (located behind the mansion).

Hands-on demonstrations in ornament designing will be given by Fran Neiswander. The cost of making three ornaments is $10.

To register, or for more information, call Neiswander at 419.749.2476 by Monday, November 10, to register. Registration will be complete upon receipt of payment.

POSTED: 10/29/14 at 7:02 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council had a quick, and largely uneventful, meeting on Monday evening.

Van Wert Law Director John Hatcher reports on efforts to prosecute taxpayers who either didn't file a return or failed to pay taxes owed to the city. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert Law Director John Hatcher reports on efforts to prosecute taxpayers who either didn’t file a return or failed to pay taxes owed to the city. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Council President Ken Mengerink provided an update on Mayor Don Farmer, who had open-heart surgery last week, noting he was doing well, but adding that the mayor won’t be released from Lima Memorial Hospital until Wednesday.

Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming also noted that the mayor was doing well, while also updating Council on the various activities of city departments.

Fleming provided an update on the street paving project, and also noted that leaf pick-up would begin Monday, November 3. Leaves must be placed in a not-more-than 40-gallon bag and must not be raked into the street.

The safety-service director also noted that the dock at the third city reservoir has been removed for the winter.

Also Monday, Mengerink provided Council with an update on the hiring of an economic development program director to replace Darlene Myers. Mengerink said Ohio State University-Extension received 24 applications for the position, but has now culled the number to the five finalists who will be interviewed here in Van Wert next week.

City Law Director John Hatcher also reported on enforcement efforts against those who either did not file a city income tax return for 2013, or failed to pay income taxes owed, noting that a number of people have settled with the city.


POSTED: 10/28/14 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW Area Chamber of Commerce information

They’ve taken chances. They worked countless hours to see their dreams evolve to reality. They are small business owners, and they are the cornerstone of the Van Wert economy.

The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce will celebrate and honor outstanding small businesses at its Salute to Small Business Luncheon and Awards Program on Friday, November 14, 11:45am-1pm at Willow Bend Country Club. Luncheon registration is now open and the community is invited to attend, as the Chamber recognizes outstanding businesses in eight categories based on an independent entrepreneurial spirit. Each nominated business plays a vital role in the Van Wert community and economy.

Chamber President/CEO Susan Munroe (left) with 2013 Ag Business award winner Pond Seed owners Marcia and Fred Pond. (Chamber photo)

Chamber President/CEO Susan Munroe (left) with 2013 Ag Business award winner Pond Seed owners Marcia and Fred Pond. (Chamber photo)

The following businesses were nominated for their excellence in each of the following categories for this year’s Salute to Small Business Awards:

Spirit Of Entrepreneurship

Shine Premium Auto Detailing, Guaranteed Auto, Cakecrazy, The Embroidery Coop, Window Creations, Messmakerbaker Jams & Jellies, Van Wert Carts & More

Ag Business

Advanced Biological Marketing, Kenn-Feld Group, Lincoln Ridge Farms, Something From The Garden, Bunge, Van Wert Terminal, Mercer Landmark

Charitable Non-Profit

Van Wert Rotary Club, Venedocia Lions Club, Wassenberg Art Center, Van Wert Elks Lodge 1197, Van Wert County Farm Bureau, The Salvation Army

Service Industry Showcase

Home Health Care Solutions, Van Wert Manor, Vancrest Health Care Center, R&R Employment, Ultra Computer & Networking Solutions, Quality Painting & Roofing, Fortman’s Crescent Linen Services

Retail Champion

Sisters Bridal Boutique, Once I Was, Laurie’s Naturescapes, The Bridge, Slusher’s Jewelry, Hall’s Custom Meats



POSTED: 10/28/14 at 6:46 am. FILED UNDER: News

Gasoline price information

Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 10.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.96 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 3.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.05 a gallon, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices yesterday were 29.8 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 35.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 28.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 25.9 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

Gasoline price graphic 8-2012“You know, I wonder if gas stations will run out of 2′s to use on their signs because they can’t remember where they put them all,” said senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this many stations nationally under $3 a gallon — nearly four years.

“The best part is that Americans are saving a staggering amount of money — almost $110 million a day — versus what was being spent at the pump a year ago,” DeHaan said. “We’re quickly approaching 70,000 gas stations in the U.S. selling under $3 per gallon versus around 7,500 stations one year ago.

But while prices will continue declining in most areas across the country, there is some bad news for motorists in the nation’s midsection — mainly the Plains states — but the issue may trickle over into a few neighboring states. There has been some supply tightness surrounding seasonal refinery work that’s causing wholesale prices in that region to rise.

“While the problem is temporary and may last a couple weeks, we want to inform motorists in that area that they may notice prices rising, but it is a short term problem, not a long-term one,” DeHaan noted. “For motorists everywhere else, pump prices should continue to drift lower in the week ahead.”

About GasBuddy

GasBuddy operates 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.

POSTED: 10/28/14 at 6:41 am. FILED UNDER: News