The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

Gasoline price artwork 7-2013Ohio gasoline price information

Average retail gasoline prices in Ohio have risen 12.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.30 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 increased 1.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.34 a gallon, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Ohio during the past week, prices Sunday were 7.8 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 4.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 8.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 8.6 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“Hard to believe, but in a week that saw U.S. airstrikes on Iraq targeting ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) terrorism, the resulting ‘spike’ in crude oil prices was barely a ripple,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski. “The benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) ended the week just $2 per barrel higher than it started.”

“Undoubtedly, robust U.S. oil production this year has greatly reduced the potential volatility in global markets that such events would have otherwise induced,” he added.

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: 09/30/14 at 7:33 am

T.P. BRADSHAW/for the VW independent

Got your attention didn’t it? The only rumors being spread by Van Wert Civic are the ones in the production of Neil Simon’s farce Rumors.

In “Rumors,” four wealthy couples gather in suburban New York at their friends’ anniversary party. The play begins with Chris and Ken Gorman, portrayed by Amber Evans and Jeff Kerr, frantically trying to hide the fact their host has been shot, his wife and the servants are missing and — gasp! — there are no snacks, appetizers or ice.  Because the host is the deputy mayor of New York, they decide to do everything they cannot to alert the police, portrayed by Joelle May and Sarah Bennett, or the media, and the lies pile higher than the national debt.

The 'Rumors' cast on the staircase of the Van Wert Civic Theatre set. (photo submitted)

The ‘Rumors’ cast on the staircase of the Van Wert Civic Theatre set. (photo submitted)

Rumors is Simon’s only true farce, although it is a bit more literary than the thousands of slamming doors, pranks and pratfall-filled antics of something like Noises Off or Lend Me a Tenor.  While there are some comedic falls, and a rather sophomoric dance scene, hilarious in itself, the real comedy is in the dialogue — these are gossipy upper-class society types after all. Theatre veteran Steve Lane delivers one of the funniest monologues written with superb comedic timing.

This is a true ensemble piece, all the characters distinct and individually crafted, and director P.S. Luhn (we wonder what the P and S stand for?) gets the very best from his cast. What the show does is highlight the sight gags (Kari Gall’s see-it-to-believe-it dress), sheer lunacy (Jeff Kerr with a towel wrapped around his head) and outright silliness (Jon Hodges trying to keep his air of professionalism as a psychiatrist, during the unraveling of his senses).

Jennifer Napier is the cheated wife of an oily politician, Joe Maurer, and flirts, fumes and flaunts about the stage as if she owns it. Kim Warnecke and Steve Lane establish the most fun relationship as the New Jersey couple who constantly bicker. Jeff Kerr as Chris Gorman has the most fun during a spell when his character is deafened by a gunshot (watch for his facial expressions and the witty humor in the misunderstanding of the ongoing conversation surrounding him).


POSTED: 09/30/14 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Christmas Garden information

On Wednesday, November 26, at 6:30 p.m., the Children’s Garden In Van Wert will again be turned into the Christmas Garden. Organizers say 100 percent of funds raised will go towards the goal of transforming the Children’s Garden into a place where a child’s imagination becomes reality!

But help is needed to do so, meaning it’s time for the Christmas Garden Fundraiser fpr 2014.

Organizers of the Christmas lighting project need to raise at least $2,500 to tilt the campaign, but the preferred goal this year is $7,000. The Lighting of the garden has quickly become a much loved Holiday tradition in the area and we have a lot of Magical things we would like to ad this year but we cannot do it without you!

I Lit Up the Christmas Garden artwork 9-2014This year, Christmas Garden long sleeved t-shirts will be given to everyone making a donation of $50, and hoodies for any donation of $100 or more. These will be awesome, one-of-a-kind Christmaswear.

A visit by Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Elves, Shrek and maybe even the Grinch is also planned. Music and special lighting will be provided by Mike Endicott of Centerstage Productions and Willy Wonka Chocolate Bars will be distributed to the first 200 children in line … with 25 of those to include a golden ticket inside that can be redeemed for gifts from Santa that very night.

It’s going to be a magical night in the Garden, so invite friends from near and far to the fundraiser, as well as opening night. Just remember that the lights will be lit the moment the first Christmas song is played.

Those who can’t attend the fundraiser, but want to make a donation, can go to event website at or find it on Facebook at “3rd Annual Lighting of the Christmas Garden”.

POSTED: 09/30/14 at 7:22 am. FILED UNDER: News

Vantage students put in flagstone walk 9-2014

Students in Vantage Career Center’s Building and Grounds class taught by Larry Mengerink are shown installing a flagstone walk between the log house and the annex at the historical society museum. (VW County Historical Society photo)

POSTED: 09/30/14 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert Elections Board information

The Van Wert County Board of Elections has announced a change in the early voting scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 30, in that office.

Earlier on Monday, the United States Supreme Court stayed the district court’s preliminary injunction of AM. S.B. 238 and Directive 2014-17 from the Ohio Secretary of State. As a result of this action, early voting will not begin today, but on Tuesday, October 7. The following will be the dates and hours of absentee voting at the Van Wert County Board of Elections, beginning on that day:

  • October 7-10 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each weekday
  • October 14-17 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each weekday
  • October 20-24 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each weekday
  • October 25 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday
  • October 27-31 – 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on each weekday
  • November 1 — 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday
  • November 2 — 1-5 p.m. on Sunday
  • November 3 — 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday before the election

Any questions concerning this change in the voting process may be answered by contacting the office at 120 E. Main St. or by calling 419.238.4192.

POSTED: 09/30/14 at 7:17 am. FILED UNDER: News

United Way of VW County information

Jessica Hardesty, 2014 United Way Day of Caring chair, announced that the Day of Caring blood drive resulted in 177 units of blood and 27 deferrals.

“Our goal was 190, so we fell short, but we are still very happy with the results,” Hardesty said.

Day of Caring sponsors include Eaton Corporation, Federal-Mogul Corporation, Taylor’s Auto Sales, StateWide Ford Lincoln, Central Insurance, Citizens National Bank, Cooper Farms Cooked Meats, First Bank of Berne, First Federal Savings & Loan, Foster Family Chiropractic, Greve Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Lee Kinstle GM Sales & Service, Marsh Foundation, Pizza Hut, Van Wert Bedrooms, Van Wert County Hospital, Van Wert Federal Savings Bank and Van Wert Manor.

POSTED: 09/30/14 at 7:16 am. FILED UNDER: News

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. FILED UNDER: News

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