The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2019

An aerial photo shows work is progressing on Van Wert Health’s $45 million expansion project. photo provided

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The beam signing scheduled to begin this Thursday marks a milestone in the largest expansion project Van Wert Health has undergone in its 115-year history.

Community members, physicians, hospital employees, and volunteers are all invited to sign the beam during any of the designated dates and times. Guests should enter the Van Wert Health main campus at 1250 S. Washington St. and park near the large white tent that houses the 32-foot beam to be signed.

Beam signings will be held June 20-23, and 27-30, from noon-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.

Construction on the Surgery and Inpatient Expansion Project began in September 2018 and has seen substantial progress over the past nine months.

“We’re energized about the progress thus far on the project and we look forward to celebrating this milestone with the entire community, and ultimately celebrating the evolution of the project as we move into the next era of health care in our region,” said Van Wert Health President/CEO Jim Pope.

When complete, the current hospital will be anchored by a new two-story, 84,000-square-foot facility that will help further address the health care needs of residents and visitors to the area.


POSTED: 06/19/19 at 7:21 am

VW independent/submitted information

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, in partnership with Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District, continues to provide funding for assistance programs for farmers to help protect water quality in the western basin of Lake Erie. The sign-up period for these programs begins June 17. 

The Ohio Working Lands Hay Buffer Program encourages producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) to establish year-round vegetative cover on eligible cropland. The program promotes the conversion, establishment, and maintenance of forage/hay land on certain cropland acres. These buffers act as another line of defense to filter surface water while allowing participants to harvest forage from the established areas.

The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program encourages producers in the WLEB to plant small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, or cereal rye on eligible cropland. Participants must plant and harvest small grains, land apply manure, and plant a cover crop to receive a cost-share payment to help offset operating costs. The program supports the planting of small grains and cover crops for the conservation benefits and provides livestock producers with a longer season to land apply manure and nutrients. 

The goal of these programs is to reduce nutrients entering Ohio waterways to lessen harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. Funding is available to farmers installing conservation practices that benefit water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin. 

Farmers will be able to sign up for the program at their local soil and water conservation district.  Local soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) will manage the program sign-up and verification of eligibility and crop establishment.

For more information, contact the Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District at 419.238.9591.

POSTED: 06/19/19 at 6:47 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

This Friday, June 21, Buckeye Youth will be serving pulled pork sandwiches, grilled hamburgers, jumbo hot dogs, chips, soft drinks, homemade cookies, and brownies in Fountain Park.  

The concession stand will begin serving at 5:30 p.m. The band for the evening, Bless the Rains: The Ultimate Toto Tribute Experience, will begin its performance at 7 p.m. The band sounds like the original band and will perform such favorites as “Africa”, “Rosanna”, “Hold the Line”, and “I Won’t Hold You Back” from the iconic ‘80s band.  

Buckeye Y Youth is a United Way agency and a Van Wert County Foundation grant recipient. 

POSTED: 06/19/19 at 6:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

CONVOY — Brad Perrott is the newest member of the Crestview Local Board of Education.

Perrott, a 1983 Crestview High School graduate, was sworn in during Monday night’s monthly meeting. He’s replacing Jake Sawmiller, who resigned in May.

Brad Perrott is sworn in as a new member during Monday night’s meeting of the Crestview Board of Education. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“This is my home school, it’s where I graduated and previously, when I lived in Indiana, I served on the Manchester school board there for five years,” Perrott explained. “When we moved back in 2005 I thought it would be something I’d like to do to give back to my community.

“Professionally, I’ve spent 32 years in the non-profit world so I see things from a little different angle and that sometimes helps as well,” he added.

Perrott has also served as Knight Pride Club president for six years.

His appointment to the school board runs through December 31, and he said he plans to run in November to fill the remaining two years of the term.

Also Monday, the board approved Alexander and Bebout’s bid of $2.7 million to handle the district’s classroom addition and renovation project and approved a contract with the Van Wert-based firm. Alexander and Bebout will also design and build Crestview’s new Early Childhood Center at the site of the former Vancrest Health Care Center in Convoy.

“Alexander and Bebout’s presentation was very thorough and well thought out, and the board looks forward to partnering with them for the creation of these projects,” Superintendent Kathy Mollenkopf said.

Mollenkopf added she’s hopeful both projects will be done in time for the 2020-2021 school year.

The district’s three principals updated the board on the latest round of proficiency testing.


POSTED: 06/18/19 at 6:48 am. FILED UNDER: News

Submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) joined his colleagues in re-introducing his Affordable Medications Act, comprehensive legislation to hold large pharmaceutical companies accountable for high prices and bring down the costs of prescription drugs. 

Sherrod Brown

The Affordable Medications Act is commonly referred to as the bill that “combines just about every policy idea drug lobbyists hate,” and proposes to increase transparency for drug companies that are setting exorbitant prices, end the restriction that prevents the federal Medicare program from using its buying power to negotiate lower drug prices for its beneficiaries, and curb drug company monopoly practices that keep prices high and prevent less expensive generics from coming to the market.

The bill also includes several provisions authored by Senator Brown, including his Stop Price Gouging Act, which would require drug companies to report and justify increases in drug prices, and penalize drug companies that engage in unjustified price increases with financial penalties proportionate to the price spike. It also includes Brown’s provision to reduce the exclusivity period for biologics from 12 to 7 years, which would help expand access to affordable medications. 

“For too long, Big Pharma has prioritized profits over patients, exploiting Ohioans and their families and forcing working families to make impossible decisions between putting food on the table and affording their child’s insulin,” said Brown. “It’s time to put an end to Big Pharma’s abusive practices of price gouging consumers year after year and ensure Ohioans can afford the medications they need to live longer and healthier lives.” 

Specifically, the Affordable Medications Act will work to lower drug prices by:


POSTED: 06/18/19 at 6:42 am. FILED UNDER: News

Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, recently held its annual Flag Day ceremony at the lodge. Assisting this year was Harriet Schaadt, who gave the Response, while Boy Scouts (above) from Troop 31 assisted in the program, carrying the flags. The Elks is the first and only fraternal organization to mandate that every year each Elks Lodge must conduct a solemn and beautiful Flag Day ceremony. Elks photo

POSTED: 06/18/19 at 6:39 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

The railroad crossing on North Washington Street will be closed all day for repairs on Wednesday, June 19, and Thursday, June 20, weather permitting. 

The repair project will close down Washington Street at the crossing. 

POSTED: 06/18/19 at 6:36 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

A Health, Business, and Industry Fair will be held Wednesday, June 26, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., in the Junior Fair Building on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds.

Several businesses will be present to share info with people on services they offer, including health related topics, insurance needs, home improvements, and more. 

Free blood pressure and pulse oximetry checks, as well as balance screenings, are being offered by area hospitals. Admission is free, lunch is available for donation, and there will be door prizes.

POSTED: 06/18/19 at 6:33 am. FILED UNDER: News

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Members of local veterans groups gathered under cloudy skies Saturday morning for a flag retirement ceremony in the parking lot of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803 in Van Wert.

VFW Post 5803 Commander Pat Freeman (right) reads from the Flag Code the section used for retiring American flags no longer in good condition, while incoming VFW commander Derek Sneed holds the representative flag to be retired. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

The ceremony, which is held by veterans groups and scout groups to officially honor old and used flags being taken out of service, is one normally held every year or two by such groups. The ceremony Saturday at VFW Post 5803 was presented by VFW Post Commander Pat Freeman and incoming commander Derek Sneed.

As Sneed held the representative folded American flag to be retired, Commander Freeman spoke the words from a portion of the Flag Code used for retiring flags.

“This flag has served its nation well and long,” the VFW post commander noted. “It is worn to a condition in which it should no longer be used to represent the nation.


POSTED: 06/17/19 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Local gasoline prices vary widely this week, with about two-thirds of Van Wert stations under the state average and the others as much as 20 cents higher than the average statewide price.

Murphy’s USA station in the Towne Center shopping center has the lowest price at $2.42 a gallon, 7 cents lower than the state average. Two South Washington Street stations — Shell and Casey’s General Store — are selling gasoline at $2.47 a gallon, while three others, the two Pak-A-Sak Marathons stations on South Shannon and North Washington, and the Lassus Handy Dandy station on North Washington Street, are at $2.48 a gallon.

Those higher than the state average include the Brookside Marathon station on West Main Street and One Stop Shop Sunoco station on North Washington, at $2.53 a gallon, and the Short Stop Sunoco station on East Main, which is selling gasoline at $2.69 a gallon.

Ohio gas prices have fallen 7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.49 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 5,345 stations. Gas prices in Ohio are 25.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, yet stand 20.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Ohio is priced at $2.12 per gallon today while the most expensive is $2.89 per gallon, a difference of 77 cents per gallon. The cheapest price in the entire country today stands at $1.92 per gallon, while the most expensive is $5.89 per gallon, a difference of $3.97 per gallon. 

The national average price of gasoline has fallen 6.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.67 per gallon on Monday. The national average is down 19.3 cents per gallon from a month ago, yet stands 22.2 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

“For the sixth straight week, gasoline prices have declined nationally, a feat not often seen heading into the prime of summer driving season,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “It was a perfect week with every state seeing average gas prices decline versus last Sunday as stations continued to pass along the lower replacement cost as oil prices remain under considerable selling pressure, even after last week’s attack on two oil tankers, which caused not much more than the oil market to blink.

“Gas prices have been, and will be, unaffected by last week’s oil tanker attack and we’re highly likely to see the national average decline for its seventh straight week barring any curve balls,” DeHaan added. “For some states like California, Illinois, and Ohio, the party may partially end in just two weeks as those states prepare to raise gasoline taxes a noticeable amount, sending their gas prices higher just in time for July 4.

“For the rest of us, not only can we celebrate the holiday with fireworks, but celebrate the falling prices heading into it,” DeHaan noted. “Not a bad summer to be hitting the road as Americans are spending nearly $100 million less every day on gasoline than a year ago.”

POSTED: 06/17/19 at 7:44 am. FILED UNDER: News

VW independent/submitted information

Children participating in the Brumback Library’s Summer Reading Program have the chance to see the MadCap Puppet presentation of The Great Space Caper at the Bagley Auditorium on the campus of the Marsh Foundation. Preregistration is required to see the performance.

The presentation is in keeping with this year’s theme of A Universe of Stories! Other events this week will include an Asteroid Scavenger Hunt this week at the Main Library in Van Wert, with a variety of story time activities at the main library and its five branches in Convoy, Middle Point, Ohio City, Willshire, and Wren.

Click here for a full calendar of events.

POSTED: 06/17/19 at 7:39 am. FILED UNDER: News