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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015

Home Free

Home Free is one of three shows coming to the NPAC for this Christmas season.

VW independent/submitted information

The highly anticipated Niswonger Christmas show lineup begins its release this week. Together with Season Sponsors StateWide Ford Lincoln and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank, the NPAC offers ticket sales to some of the seasons most sought after events: MercyMe, Dave Koz & Friends Christmas and Home Free Christmas.

On Tuesday, September 1, starting at noon, Christian crossover sensation MercyMe tickets go on sale. Celina Moving & Storage presents this concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 5. Since its debut in 2001, Grammy®-nominated, American Music Award and multiple Dove Award winner MercyMe has sold more than 8.5 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered 26 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with “I Can Only Imagine,” “Here With Me”, “Homesick” and “So Long Self.”

The group’s radio success has continued with its recent single “Greater,” which held the No. 1 spot on Christian radio for 16 weeks. MercyMe made history in 2014 as “I Can Only Imagine” surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double platinum in the digital domain. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s “Word Of God Speak” the “No. 1 Song of The Decade” and the group the “No. 1 Artist of the Decade” in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories, recognizing the group as one of the industry’s most notable talents.


POSTED: 09/01/15 at 7:41 am

VWHS Robotics Team information

Wassenberg Art Center and the Van Wert High School Robotics Team partnered this past July to raise funds for the team, the art center and Main Street Van Wert.

Proceeds from selling plastic ducks for the first annual Duck Derpy race on Town Creek took place July 11. MSVW Program Manager Adam Ries and Wassenberg Executive Director Hope Wallace presented a check for $722 to the team this past week.

“We are heading into year 5 of the robotics team and the level of support and commitment from the community is what allows us to continue to offer this academic team after-school opportunity,” said team Coach Bob Spath. “In addition, Van Wert High School has been chosen to host the Northwest Ohio Regional Qualifier for the second consecutive year on January 30.”

Shown are (from the left) Main Street Van Wert Program Manager Adam Ries, VWHS senior and Robotics Team member Nick White, Wassenberg Art Center Executive Director Hope Wallace and Robotics Team Coach Zane McElroy. (photo submitted)

Shown are (from the left) Main Street Van Wert Program Manager Adam Ries, VWHS senior and Robotics Team member Nick White, Wassenberg Art Center Executive Director Hope Wallace and Robotics Team Coach Zane McElroy. (photo submitted)

Walmart is also sponsoring the robotics team through a generous donation of $1,500.

“Jeff Welker has been super supportive of our team the past few years,” Spath noted. “This past summer, we had team members demo our robot to the staff of Walmart at the local store. We gave the opportunity for Walmart employees to drive and control the robot and several jumped out of their seats to be the first to drive.”

The Van Wert County Foundation, through the generous donation from the Frank W. Leslie Memorial Fund, donated $1,500 to the robotics team. Leslie was a graduate of Bowling Green State Normal School. After teaching for one year, he helped form the Peoples Savings Bank (now Wells Fargo Bank) in 1903, serving as CEO until his passing.

Leslie was also instrumental in forming the Van Wert County Foundation, while his son, Gaylord, set up a fund in his name through the foundation.

“Current Foundation Executive Secretary Seth Baker met with robotics team coaches at the end of last school year and the team is thrilled to have the Van Wert County Foundation support,” Coach Spath said. “Our budget to build a robot and travel to various competitions is primarily paid for by the contributions by local companies, businesses and team fundraising.”

For additional information, contact either Spath or Coach Zane McElroy at Van Wert High School.

POSTED: 09/01/15 at 7:35 am. FILED UNDER: News, Youth

VW County Hospital information

The 2015 Van Wert County Health Aware Fair and Teddy Bear Clinic will be held Saturday, September 12.

This highly anticipated event will be held at Van Wert Elementary School, 10992 Ohio 118 in Van Wert.  The Health Aware Fair will take place from 7-11 a.m., with the Teddy Bear Clinic beginning at 9 that morning. The Health Aware Fair is free and open to the public and will be jam-packed with family-friendly activities; free health screenings; a tour of a Life Flight helicopter (pending no area emergencies); a child safety station, including optional free photo ID; information about pet first aid; and a bike safety clinic.

Health Aware Fair logo 9-2010Blood profile screening will be available for $49 for those who register prior to September 4. The cost is $55 for walk-ins the day of the event. A 12-hour fast is required to perform the blood draw. This screening will test for 23 different items, including electrolytes, kidney function, blood counts and cholesterol.  To schedule an appointment and pre-pay for the screening, call 419.238.8643.

The Teddy Bear Clinic is new this year and will allow children to see what it’s like to be a little patient at Van Wert County Hospital. Children are requested to bring a stuffed animal or doll and will do breathing treatments on their Bear and make a cast to mend their Bear’s broken bones. The first 50 children will also receive a copy of the “Berenstain Bears Hospital Friends” or “Little Critter — My Trip to the Hospital.”

The 2015 Van Wert County Health Aware Fair and Teddy Bear Clinic is sponsored by Van Wert County Hospital, American Red Cross, Van Wert Rotary Club and the Van Wert County Health Department.  For additional information, find this event on Facebook or visit the website at

POSTED: 09/01/15 at 7:28 am. FILED UNDER: News

Gasoline price information

Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 30.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.35 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 gas outlets in Ohio. This compares with the national average, which has fallen 12.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.47 a gallon, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices Sunday were 109.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are unchanged versus a month ago. The national average has decreased 19.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 96.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

Gasoline price graphic 8-2012“Nationally, gas prices saw their largest weekly drop of the year,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “Prices moved lower in all but one state, Utah, with plunges at the pump throughout the Great Lakes as a result of BP’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery coming back online.

“The national average now stands at its lowest point since April, a fitting way to close out the summer driving season with Labor Day approaching,” DeHaan added. “While oil prices rallied late last week, I don’t yet expect it to impact pump prices, as they still have some catching up to do with the drop in crude oil prices.”

Since June 30, oil prices have fallen 23 percent, while retail gasoline prices have fallen about half that amount, meaning that gasoline prices will move lower again this week, DeHaan said.

For a complete listing of current averages and other fuel price data, visit For fuel news and alerts, follow @GasBuddyNews on Twitter.

POSTED: 09/01/15 at 7:26 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW County Sheriff’s information

Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach has announced that during this year’s Van Wert County Fair, the Sheriff’s Office will once again be assisting citizens with registering to receive automatic emails alerting them when a registered sex offender moves near their home.

Sheriff Riggenbach said that on Saturday, September 5, and Monday, September 7, county residents attending the fair can stop at the Sheriff’s Office booth in the Commercial Building and a deputy will assist them in registering to receive the automatic email alerts. The hours on both days will be from noon to 6 p.m.

VW County Sheriff's Star 9-2014Sheriff Riggenbach said those wanting to register can expect the process to take no more than 2 or 3 minutes. Information about signing up to receive automatic sex offender email alerts will be available all week during the fair at the Sheriff’s Office booth. Sheriff Riggenbach encourages people to stop by the booth at any time to pick up this information, which will help citizens be more informed about registered sex offenders.

Sheriff Riggenbach said his office provides the Offender Watch Program, which is a tool that citizens can use to protect their children and stay informed about offenders in their area. In addition to the automatic email alert feature, the Offender Watch Program also provides citizens with real-time maps of registered offenders in their area, tips for parents to talk with their children, as well as safety advice for children.

The Offender Watch Program can be accessed by visiting the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office website at and clicking on the “Sex Offender” link at the top of the page. Citizens will then click on the “Click Here To” link to access the Offender Watch Program.

In addition to this service, Sheriff Riggenbach said there will be information available on other services provided by the Sheriff’s Office, including concealed carry licenses, DARE, child seat safety and photo IDs for kids.  Families who want to have a free photo ID of their child made can do so at the Sheriff’s Office booth on Thursday, September 3, and Friday, September 4, from noon to 8 p.m., and Monday, September 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

POSTED: 09/01/15 at 7:25 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert County Veterans Service Officer Barry Johns announced that Thursday, September 3, has been designated Veterans Day at the Van Wert County Fair.

The county Veterans Service Commission, as well as every veterans service organization in the county, is sponsoring the event. All activities are being held where the gospel pavilion was formerly located, behind the Fair Administration Building on the east side of the fairgrounds.

The events planned are free admittance to the fair for veterans and their spouses from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Our program will begin at 11 a.m. Dennis Kimmet, president of the Veterans Service Commission, will be master of ceremonies, while the guest speaker will be Jay Miller, associate director of operations for the Northern Indiana Health Care System.

Free ham and bean soup with cornbread will be served after the program until its gone.

The Veterans Service Office will move to the fairground for the day and will open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to answer questions pertaining to Veterans Administration benefits.

Van Wert County Recorder Kim Hughes will also be available to answer questions pertaining to the importance of recording service discharges, as well as other services available through her office.

POSTED: 09/01/15 at 7:23 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert County Fair crowned its 50th Junior Fair king and queen on Sunday as Chloee Gamble and Travis Lichtensteiger were chosen to preside over this year’s Junior Fair activities.

2015 Junior Fair royalty include (from the left) Emily Bauer, queen runner-up; Ronnie Schumm, king runner-up, 2015 King Travis Lichtensteiger and 2015 Queen Chloee Gamble. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

2015 Junior Fair royalty include (from the left) Emily Bauer, queen runner-up; Ronnie Schumm, king runner-up, 2015 King Travis Lichtensteiger and 2015 Queen Chloee Gamble. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

Gamble, the daughter of Greg and Keely Gamble, said being crowned queen meant a lot to her.

“I’m very involved in 4-H and I want to be able to represent it as best as I can throughout the fair week and the rest of the year,” she said. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity and I’m very thankful to be chosen as Junior Fair queen.”

A senior at Van Wert High School, Gamble is used to taking on new roles and is very involved in her school and community. She is a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Council, Spanish Club, Service Pack, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was a representative to Buckeye Girls’ State. She is also an accomplished athlete who has participated in cross country, track and swimming, and is also a member of the band and choir.

Her 4-H activities include being a member of the Shooting Stars 4-H Club and the Junior Fair Board. She also is active in the Ohio City Community Church’s youth group and worship team.


POSTED: 08/31/15 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: News

4-H Award program 8-30-15

The annual 4-H Awards program was held Sunday evening in the Gospel Pavilion on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. A number of awards were distributed during the event, which was held following the Junior Fair King and Queen coronation ceremony and Cloverbud graduation. Here, Van Wert County Foundation Trustee Mike Gearhart presents Sophie Wilson with a Black Inc. award. (Jan Dunlap/Van Wert independent)

POSTED: 08/31/15 at 7:24 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Buckeye Y Youth Inc. and Advance America, Cash Advance of Van Wert, with the help of Redeemer Lutheran of Convoy, Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Van Wert and many generous Van Wert community members have donated backpacks and school supplies to needy students.

Shown are (front row) Connor Partin, with some of the donated school supplies; (back row, from the left) Skyler Lewis, Ashton Lewis, Buckeye Y Youth Board Member/Safe & Secure Instructor Carey Partin, Anna Partin, Emma Partin and Advance America Manager Tammy Methot. (Buckeye Y Youth photo)

Shown are (front row) Connor Partin, with some of the donated school supplies; (back row, from the left) Skyler Lewis, Ashton Lewis, Buckeye Y Youth Board Member/Safe & Secure Instructor Carey Partin, Anna Partin, Emma Partin and Advance America Manager Tammy Methot. (Buckeye Y Youth photo)

The book bags were filled full of school supplies and distributed to Van Wert County area students, schools and organizations such as Crisis Care.

With the help of these organizations and businesses, more than 50 book bags were filled with all the needed school supplies necessary from requirements requested by Van Wert County schools and teachers.

In addition, Advance America provided gift cards for other items, such as shoes and clothing. The donations and contributions were greatly appreciated, and Buckeye Y Youth Inc. will continue to distribute supplies as needed throughout the year.

If anyone is still in need of school supplies, a limited amount is still available. Call the Buckeye Y Youth office at 419.238.3546 and leave a message with a name and phone number and the call will be returned. Buckeye Y Youth is a United Way agency and receives grants from the Van Wert County Foundation.

POSTED: 08/31/15 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

Ohio State Highway Patrol information

BRYAN — The Defiance Post of the Highway Patrol is currently investigating a one-vehicle fatal crash that occurred at approximately 5:40 p.m. Saturday on U.S. 6, near milepost 13, in Williams County.

osplogoA 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Amy Bibler, 32, of Findlay, was westbound on U.S. 6 when the vehicle veered off the north side of the road, went airborne and then overturned in a creek.

Bibler and her passenger, Richard Eagleson III, 35, of Deshler, were trapped in the partially submerged car.  Both Bibler and Eagleson were later removed from the vehicle by emergency personal and transported to Bryan Hospital. From there, they were then taken by Promedica Life-Flight to the Toledo Hospital.

Eagleson died at the Toledo Hospital, due to injuries sustained in the accident, and Bibler is currently listed in critical condition.

The crash remains under investigation. Seat belts were not in use by the occupants of the vehicle and alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.  Assisting at the scene were the Williams County Sheriff’s Office, Williams County EMS and Bryan Fire Department.

POSTED: 08/31/15 at 7:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert independent/submitted information

A special license plate featuring the familiar red, white and blue Lincoln Highway logo has been awarded to the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, thanks to State Senator Clifford Hite of Findlay, who introduced the bill last year. The new plate will also include the declaration: “America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road”

Lincoln Highway license plate 8-2015The new vanity plate will be created once 150 orders are received. Proceeds from the sale of the special plates will help provide signage and better awareness of the historic road.

The Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (OLHHC), better known as the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, is a non-profit corporation organized in 2000 to promote the history of the road through travel and tourism. It was granted Ohio byway status in 2004.

“Everybody knows about Route 66 because of books, a TV series and even movies in the past,” said Mike Hocker, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Association, “but the Lincoln was built earlier, is much longer and more influential to the birth of the automotive culture we know today.

“This new plate will be a fun way to let your friends and others know about the road, but also support our cause to make people more aware of it,” he added.


POSTED: 08/29/15 at 8:06 am. FILED UNDER: News