The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014


The Michindoh Truck and Tractor Pull held Friday night in front of the grandstand, was again a popular event. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

The Michindoh Truck and Tractor Pull held Friday night in front of the grandstand, was again a popular event (click here for more fair photos). (photo by Bob Barna for the Van Wert independent)

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The third day of the 158th edition of the Van Wert County Fair was a busy one indeed, with all kinds of activities and events held on a nearly perfect day, as far as weather goes.

The entertainment highlight of the day was the Michindoh Truck and Tractor Pull held Friday evening in front of the grandstand. The spirited contest included lots of smoke, clouds of dust roaring engines as competitors in several categories vied to see which one could pull a weight sledge the farthest.

Although the truck and tractor pull brought a number of fans to the grandstand, the event was far from the only thing going on during Friday’s day at the fair.

Several Junior and Senior Fair livestock shows were also held Friday, including the Senior Fair Poultry Show, Junior Fair Dairy Show, the Open Class Mules and Miniature Horse and Senior Fair Horse Show, the Senior Fair Stock Horse Show and the Junior Fair Rabbit Show, which was held in the new Rabbit Barn.

Veterans and senior citizens also got in free Friday, and there were special activities for both groups on the fairgrounds, including a Veterans Day Parade, free ham and bean soup and cornbread at lunch and doughnuts in the morning and a special program in the Entertainment Tent.

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POSTED: 08/30/14 at 7:56 am

Marsh Foundation information

The Marsh Foundation’s “Marsh Grown” garden program celebrated the end of the summer growing season with a Harvest Meal for staff, peers and trustees. The meal was held recently at First Presbyterian Church in Van Wert and featured many items grown in The Marsh Foundation garden, as well as other local products. It was entirely prepared by the garden crew.

According to Marsh Foundation activities coordinator, Sherry Grone, this year’s program has been very successful in her eyes. “Our crew has had the chance to grow in maturity, responsibility and respect through our garden program,” she said. “I also hope they have grown in respect for themselves as they develop new confidence through their job skills. One of the program’s goals is to guide them to a hope for their future; to help them connect to the larger community and find their place and maybe even their passion in the process.”

Marsh logo 8-2010The Marsh Grown youth garden program is dedicated to helping young people develop a sense of land stewardship and learn the importance of healthy food. Participants are taught valuable gardening skills throughout the season. In addition, the program serves as a catalyst for youth to develop important job skills for future employment.

Throughout the summer, the garden crew grows vegetables and sells them at the farmer’s market for income. The group will continue to be at the Van Wert Farmer’s Market on Fox Road on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. through October.

Participants in the Marsh Grown garden crew are youth who are a part of The Marsh Foundation’s Independent Living Group. They are all 15½ years of age or older and are working on skills that will help them be successful adults. The garden program is an opportunity for them to interact with peers and adults, develop quality job skills and learn how to grow healthy food.

Serving children and families since 1922, The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides behavioral treatment in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, treatment and family foster care, an intensive treatment program and independent living. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7-17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2-12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster children and community members.

The mission of The Marsh Foundation is to inspire hope, to teach and to care for children and families.

POSTED: 08/30/14 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: News

Brooke Fuerst artwork1 8-2014

Brooke Fuerst, who assisted the Van Wert Veterans Service Office this summer as part of an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services work program, is also a college student majoring in art education.  In addition to helping Van Wert County veterans get their files ready to switch to a paperless system, Fuerst also created this patriotic artwork for the front lobby of the Veterans Service office. (photos submitted)

Brooke Fuerst artwork2 8-2014

POSTED: 08/30/14 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — As warm temperatures continue into late summer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning consumers to beware of driveway paving scams and untrustworthy home improvement contractors.

“There are many home improvement contractors who do great work,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Unfortunately, there are some who don’t. To protect themselves from potential scams, consumers should check out a contractor before making any payments, especially when the contractor comes to their door unexpectedly.”

Since June, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received more than 60 complaints involving asphalt, concrete, or paving. In about half of the complaints, the transactions began with a door-to-door visit. The average disputed amount for all the complaints is more than $3,000.

In their complaints, consumers list problems including shoddy resurfacing of a driveway, rough spots or cracks in concrete, driveways that are not level, improper drainage, ineffective sealing, and incomplete resurfacing.

To help protect themselves, consumers should follow these tips:

  • Check contractors’ reputations by searching for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. Also do a basic Internet search of the business. Even if you don’t find complaints, don’t assume the contractor is reliable. Unscrupulous contractors and scam artists often change their business names regularly to trick unsuspecting consumers into handing over their hard-earned money.
  • If a contractor tells a potential customer that he just completed a job nearby, has excess asphalt, and can give that person a good deal, get the previous homeowner’s name and address and contact the homeowner to verify the claim.
  • Ask family and friends for recommendations of reliable contractors. Word-of-mouth recommendations are among the best ways to find reputable businesses. If possible, check out the work contractors have done for previous customers.
  • Sometimes scammers will give potential customers a verbal estimate prior to doing the work, but then charge two to three times more afterward. Get everything in writing. A written contract should include the contracted amount along with the contractor’s name, street address, and phone number. Consumers should be cautious of contractors who only provide a post office box or who claim to work for a company but want a check written to an individual.
  • Don’t pay a large down payment or payment in full until the job is complete and the work is inspected. Avoid paying in cash, if possible, because cash will leave customers with little paper trail if something goes wrong.

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POSTED: 08/30/14 at 7:10 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Thursday was Kids’ Day at the Van Wert County Fair, with children under 8 getting in free and admission reduced to $3 for everyone else. Youngsters also had the chance to drive a tractor around the Grandstand racetrack as part of Kids Dream Day, while Ronald McDonald performed “A Friendship Adventure” in the Entertainment Tent early Thursday evening and rolling video games were located near the old Treasurer’s Office in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds.

Ronald McDonald shows off a trick to some fascinated youngsters on Wednesday at the Van Wert County Fair. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Ronald McDonald shows off a trick to some fascinated youngsters on Wednesday at the Van Wert County Fair. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Junior Fair livestock shows also got underway with the Turkey Show, held in the Turkey Barn. FFA Crop and Shop judging and interviews were also held Thursday.

Harness racing continued Thursday evening in front of the grandstand, while the Freedom Quartet performed at the Gospel Pavilion and Country group Polly Mae played in the Entertainment Tent.

Things really get swinging at the fair today, which is both Veterans Day and Senior Citizens Day. All veterans and those age 60 and above are admitted free today.

Free doughnuts will be available for vets and senior citizens at the Entertainment Tent from 8:30-10 a.m., while the Veterans Service Office will also be available in the Entertainment Tent to talk to veterans.

There will also be a Veterans Day Parade at 10:45 a.m. that starts on Balyeat Avenue, while a special Veterans Day program will begin at 11 a.m. in the Entertainment Tent, where free ham and bean soup and cornbread will be served to veterans, starting at noon.

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POSTED: 08/29/14 at 7:13 am. FILED UNDER: News

Crisis Care/HOT information

Crisis Care Line/House of Transition has launched its “Lights of LOVE” campaign as part of its 35th anniversary celebration.

Individuals, civic groups, and businesses are invited to honor or remember someone who has made a positive difference in their life by purchasing a light for that person. Purchased lights will be placed on a tree at the Garden of the Senses in the 100 block of East Main Street in Van Wert, and will be lit during the month of October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

A lighting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 1, in the garden. In addition, all individuals honored and remembered will be recognized in a window display at the Van Wert County Board of Elections, in a “Book of Remembrance”, and in a press release.

All contributions are tax deductible and will be used for permanent improvements and maintenance of the House of Transition, the local domestic violence shelter. During the past 35 years, Crisis Care has not only provided advocacy, guidance, and shelter, but also has worked to restore personal dignity and independent living, free from abuse, to hundreds of women, children, and men.

Contributions to Lights of LOVE of $25 can purchase a white light, $100 a purple light, and $500 a starlight. Any donation to assist victims of domestic violence and their children will be greatly appreciated.

Brochures for Lights of LOVE are available at the Crisis Care booth in the Commercial Building at the Van Wert County Fair. In addition, pamphlets are available at the Board of Elections in downtown Van Wert, Mengerink’s Source for Sports, and Orchard Tree Restaurant in Van Wert; Convoy Tastee Freeze, and Ohio City Express.

For more information about Lights of LOVE, call Crisis Care at 419.238.4641 or email vwcrisiscareline@gmail.com.

POSTED: 08/29/14 at 6:50 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

COLUMBUS — Labor Day weekend tends to see a spike in traffic incidents, so the Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to buckle up, keep focused on the road, and not drive impaired. During last year’s four-day holiday reporting period of August 30 through September 2, 16 people lost their lives on Ohio’s roadways, with eight of those deaths involving an impaired driver.

osplogoOhio’s roadways saw the safest year ever in 2013, and 2014 is on track to see even fewer fatalities from traffic-related crashes.

“It’s so much more than just a record. Fewer fatalities on Ohio roadways means more people are getting home safely to their family,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “It’s simple. If you are impaired, don’t get behind the wheel.”

Preliminary data indicates 569 confirmed deaths and an additional 31 provisional unconfirmed deaths, for a total of 600 traffic deaths during the first two-thirds of the year. During the same time period in 2013, there had been 610 people killed in traffic-related crashes.

Motorists are encouraged to continue using #677 to report impaired drivers and drug activity.

POSTED: 08/29/14 at 6:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

Internal Revenue Service information

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has issued a consumer alert providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.

These callers may demand money or say taxpayers have a refund due and try to trick them into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about the person called, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If a person called doesn’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

IRS logo 12-2013 “These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a telltale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  • Call people about taxes they owe without first mailing them an official notice.
  • Demand that people pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say is owed.
  • Require people to use a specific payment method for their taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have people arrested for not paying.

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POSTED: 08/29/14 at 6:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

2014 VW County Fair-1st day-Fair board ice water challenge

Fair Board members and others participating in the Grand Opening ceremony for the 158th Van Wert County Fair are doused with buckets of ice water as part of the ALS Ice Water Challenge. The group was “called out” by Fair Board member Sarah Smith, who took the challenge on Tuesday evening on the fairgrounds. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 08/28/14 at 5:30 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The 158th edition of the Van Wert County Fair opened like most of the fairs in recent memory: with a ribboncutting by members of the Fair Board and local business and government leaders. This year’s opening then cooled off considerably, as those involved in the opening ceremony then underwent another ceremony: the ALS Ice Water Challenge (see photo at top of page).

Fair Board Director Sarah Smith, who was doused by ice water on Tuesday evening while on the Fairgrounds for the Tug A Truck event, had called out her Fair Board colleagues and others participating the Official Grand Opening to also take the Ice Water Challenge.

Van Wert County Foundation Executive Secretary Seth Baker (left) hands out Black Inc. 4-H awards in the Gospel Pavilion on Wednesday. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Van Wert County Foundation Executive Secretary Seth Baker (left) hands out Black Inc. 4-H awards in the Gospel Pavilion on Wednesday. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

After the dousing of the opening ceremony participants, things got back to normal quickly. Midway rides had opened earlier Wednesday afternoon, while harness racing events began a couple of hours later that evening. The annual 4-H Special Awards ceremony was also held Wednesday evening in the Gospel Pavilion, with 4-H members receiving trophies, certificates and checks provided by various donors, including The Van Wert County Foundation.

A dog show was also held in the Farm Focus Arena on Wednesday evening.

Today is Kids’ Day, which includes a $3 admission for everyone, while kids age 8 and under get into the Fair for free.

The Junior Fair Turkey Show will be held in the Turkey Barn at 9 a.m., while FFA Crop (Agriculture Building) and Shop (Junior Fair Building) judging will begin at noon.

Kids Dream Day will be held from 2-5 p.m., and includes a chance for youngsters to drive a tractor around the grandstand racetrack.

Ronald McDonald will perform “A Friendly Adventure” in the Entertainment Tent at 5 p.m., while Rolling video games will occur near the old Treasurer’s Office in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds.

The Freedom Quartet will perform at 7 p.m. in the Gospel Pavilion, while harness racing will be held from 7-10 p.m. in front of the grandstand.

Also from 7-10 p.m., Country music group Polly Mae will perform in the Entertainment Tent.

POSTED: 08/28/14 at 5:27 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent

The docket was light in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, with two sentencings, a change of plea and a time waiver the only hearings held yesterday.

Aaron Joseph, 26, of Van Wert, was sentenced to three years of community control, to include 180 days in jail, on a charge of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fourth degree.

Court artwork 12-2013 copyJoseph’s driver’s license was also suspended for six months and he was ordered to pay restitution to the Van Wert Police Department totaling $175.

Josh Kessler, 25, of Hamilton, Indiana, was given one year of community control on a charge of attempted carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor of the second degree. He was also fined $750 as part of sentence.

Also Wednesday, Kiel Martin, 28, of Delphos, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on each of three counts of burglary, all felonies of the second degree. Two other burglary counts and two theft charges were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 8.

Wayne Toth, 51, of Elyria, waived his Constitutional right to a speedy trial and his request for a continuance of his trial, which was originally set for September, was granted.

POSTED: 08/28/14 at 5:21 am. FILED UNDER: News