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Local News: A service of Reid Health

WAYNE COUNTY NEARS DROPPING BELOW 30,000 IN THE WORKFORCE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County continues to shrink in relation to the number of people working and the number of people in the workforce.  According to newly released numbers, Wayne County continues to move toward having less than 30,000 people in the workforce.  Today, the number is 30,178, and that’s a drop of 95 people from last month and 643 fewer than this time last year.  The number of people actually working in Wayne County dropped by 266 last month.

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TWO ARRESTED FRIDAY MORNING IN VETERANS PARK ON DRUG CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Lots of drugs were recovered when a couple was arrested in Richmond’s Veteran’s Memorial Park Friday morning.  34-year-old Jesse Gross of Bath and 36-year-old Amanda Hoskins of Liberty were allegedly using drugs in the Whitewater Gorge.  Hoskins was charged with possession of drugs, syringes, and paraphernalia.  It’s Hoskins’ fourth drug arrest in Wayne County just this year, including one as recently as three weeks ago.

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HISTORICAL MARKER TO BE DEDICATED

(Randolph County, IN)--A brand new state historical marker will be placed in Randolph County on Sunday.  It’s located in a very rural area northeast of Spartanburg and will mark the location of the Union Literary Institute.  The school was a noted stop along the Underground Railroad and was one of the first in Indiana to allow black students.  When it was established in 1846, black students were excluded from public schools by state law.  It was attended by Hiram Revels, the first black U.S. Senator.

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COUNTY CONSIDERS PULLING PUBLIC NOTICES FROM PALLADIUM-ITEM

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County is considering ending the publishing of legal ads and public notices in the Palladium-Item.  The county and other entities are legally required to publish notifications of meetings, sheriff’s sales, and a host of other issues.  Historically, that’s been done in the local newspaper.  But it’s not likely to happen any longer.  County Attorney Ron Cross told Wayne County Commissioners that the Palladium has not been responsive to requests for legal ads.  Cross added that Sheriff Jeff Cappa reported problems with advertising sheriff's sales with the Palladium-Item.  Cross also said that other municipalities in Wayne County are also switching from the Palladium to Western Wayne News.  Now, the county is considering using the Western Wayne News and Nettle Creek Gazette.  A change would mean a significant savings.  In the last four years, the county has spent $144,000 with the Palladium, but only $27,000 with Western Wayne News.

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WAYNE COUNTY RECEIVES OVER $1 MILLION IN ROAD GRANTS

(Wayne County, IN)--New grant money has been awarded for more local road projects.  State Representative Dick Hamm announced Wednesday that Wayne County would get half a million dollars.  The city of Richmond will get nearly $550,000, while Hagerstown will get $270,000.  Meanwhile, traffic on Chester Boulevard between Sim Hodgin Parkway and North C Street will be shifted Friday onto new pavement on the east side of the road.  One lane will stay open in each direction.

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MARIJUANA RECOVERED AFTER DUI CRASH

(Richmond, IN)--Marijuana was recovered following a crash on Elks Road in Richmond early Thursday morning.  Police reports indicate a car driven by 33-year-old Lindsey Hedge of Fountain City sheared off a utility pole when she crashed near the east entrance to Glen Miller Park.  Hedge was taken to Reid Health, where she allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .213.  The amount of marijuana that was recovered has not been released.

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16 STUDENTS INJURED IN FAYETTE COUNTY BUS CRASH

(Fayette County, IN)--16 students were taken to Fayette Regional Health System when a school bus crashed just south of Connersville High School Tuesday afternoon.  The students were all members of the Sunman-Dearborn Middle School swim team who were headed to Connersville for a swim meet.  The superintendent said it was a scary sight.  "When you show up and see a bus on its side with fluid on the ground and windows broken out...you can imagine how frightened the students were."  None of the injuries were serious.  The bus driver told investigators that the brakes went out as the bus was coming down a hill.

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U.S. 27 TO CLOSE AT I-70 INTERCHANGE

(Richmond, IN)--Yet another major Richmond roadway is set to be affected by construction.  It will happen this weekend, when an INDOT contractor closes U.S. 27 at the I-70 interchange.  The good news is that it will only last for the weekend beginning at 9 o’clock Friday night, but it will prevent travel on 27 between Richmond and Fountain City.  Contractors will be replacing bridge joints and modifying the concrete deck.

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SMITH IMPLEMENTS ACQUIRED BY KOENIG EQUIPMENT

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond business is being acquired by another company.  Smith Implements sells farm and other equipment near the junction of U.S. 35 and State Road 38.  Smith Implements is being acquired by Koenig Equipment.  Keonig is based in Botkins Ohio and operates a store in Oxford.  The first day of business for the new operation is scheduled for the end of next month.  Smith Implements had operated for nearly four decades.

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ENROLLMENT STRONG AGAIN AT IU EAST

Enrollment at IU-East is strong again, even though numbers are down slightly.  The school says almost 35-hundred students are enrolled for the fall semester.  That’s down 2.6-percent from the fall of 2016, but IU East says the decline was caused by a change in how enrollment is calculated. The Indiana University system no longer counts high school students taking dual-credit classes as part of enrollment at its campuses.

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PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON RICHMOND SEWER HIKES

Public hearings will be scheduled on a proposed hike in sewer rates.  No vote was taken after a first reading of the rate increase during last night’s meeting of Richmond Common Council. The increase would pay for court-ordered improvements to the sewer system, and sanitation engineer Elijah Welch says the city is trying to keep costs as low as possible.  The proposal would raise sewer rates for customers by 35-percent over the next three years.

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RICHMOND COMMON COUNCIL APPROVES LOANS TO DEMOLISH OLD REID

The Richmond Common Council has approved two loans to pay for the demolition of the old Reid Hospital.  The amount of one of the loans was cut after the city got a contribution of more than 1.4 million dollars from Wayne County.  Councilman Clay Miller is among those happy that the city is also spending some cash on hand for the project.  The two loans total around eight million dollars.

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ROUND BARN ROAD TO CLOSE FOR CONSTRUCTION

Road crews are starting work on Round Barn Road today.  That means a stretch of the road from Gaar Jackson Road to Industries Road will be closed for the next 45 days.  The project will widen Round Barn Road so it can handle truck traffic from the new Blue Buffalo plant being built at the Midwest Industrial Park on the far northwest side of Richmond. 

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INDIANA AMERICAN WATER WORKING WITH INDOT ON EAST MAIN FIX

(RICHMOND)- Part of East Main Street in Richmond is still closed almost two weeks after a water main break.  Now, Indiana American Water says it will be shutting down more lanes of the street soon to make permanent repairs.  The westbound lanes of East Main near 16th Street have been impacted since a water main broke on September 5th.  The water company says it is working with INDOT on a plan to replace all five lanes of a section of East Main sometime over the next two weeks.

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COUNCIL TO ADDRESS SEWER RATE HIKE MONDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond residents are facing the possibility of a substantial increase in sewer bills.  Richmond’s Common Council on Monday will address a proposal that would increase sewer rates by 35 percent over the next three years, beginning with a 15 percent increase next year.  The increase would cover $33 million in bonds for five projects that are largely court-mandated repairs to an aging sewer system.  Richmond is currently eight years into a 21-year rebuilding schedule.

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INVESTIGATORS RECOVER SEMI'S BLACK BOX IN TRIPLE-FATAL CRASH

(Camden, OH)--Investigators in Preble County have recovered the black box from the Richmond semi that caused the death of three people and an unborn child earlier this week in Camden.  Police say Centerville’s Brian Murphy was speeding and was inattentive behind the wheel of the semi.  This investigator said the black box can confirm it.  "...how fast the truck was going...did the truck put the brakes on?...It will tell us everything that was going on in that truck."  Murphy was still in a medically induced coma Friday morning.  The company that Murphy was driving for, Family Tradition, LLC in Richmond, refused to comment Thursday.

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FIRE FORCES NURSING HOME EVACUATION

(Winchester, IN)--78 residents of the Randolph Nursing Center were evacuated in ten minutes when a fire broke out there Thursday.  The fire started because of a faulty roof ventilation unit.  Winchester firefighters saw flames shooting from the roof when they arrived.  The fire was quickly contained and caused only about $2500 in damage.  There were no injuries.  Winchester Fire Chief Gary Moore said the fire could have been much more devastating if not for the staff’s quick reaction.

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OHIO DOE RELEASES SCHOOL REPORT CARDS

(Columbus, OH)--The Ohio Department of Education released report cards for schools across the state Thursday, including those in our area.  Only a handful of schools statewide got A’s, and a small percentage got B’s.  In Preble County, National Trail, Eaton, and Twin Valley all received C’s.  Tri County North and Preble Shawnee got D’s.  Tri Village in Darke County also received a D.

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AUTOCAR TO EXPAND IN ALABAMA

(Hagerstown, IN)--Autocar in Hagerstown is expanding, but it won’t be anywhere close to the Whitewater Valley.  Autocar is investing $120 million into a facility in Birmingham, Alabama that will create 750 new jobs.  "Not just any jobs, but jobs that pay a high salary," said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey making the announcement Wednesday.  The announcement does not mean that Autocar will close its Hagerstown plant that employs 170 people, but it does mean that some production lines will be moved or decreased.  Autocar said it chose Alabama because of its great business environment and skilled workforce.

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RCS TO PUT CR RICHARDSON BUILDING UP FOR SALE

(Richmond, IN)--On Wednesday night, the Richmond Community School Board approved putting the CR Richardson Elementary building up for sale.  That building has gone unused by RCS for several years but is the current home to both the Excel Center and the YMCA.  Leases go into next year and would be honored with any purchase agreement.  An asking price for the building was not discussed.  One more RCS note…Wednesday’s postponed homecoming parade takes place Thursday night.  It goes from 10th and East Main along Main Street and ends at the high school.

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MOTHER IN TRIPLE-FATAL PREBLE COUNTY CRASH WAS PREGNANT

(Camden, OH)--The death toll has risen to four in a Preble County crash that happened Tuesday afternoon.  Family members said Wednesday that Melissa Hudson was pregnant with her first boy.  She, her husband Schon, and daughter Emeri were all killed because Centerville truck driver Brian Murphy blew through a red light.  Investigators said Murphy was speeding and was inattentive.  The Hudsons leave behind two other daughters, who are both elementary students in the Preble Shawnee system.  "The school and the community is going to do everything it can to support that family financially and emotionally...whatever it takes to get them through this terrible time," said Superintendent Matt Bishop.  Murphy remained in a medically induced coma Thursday morning.  He was driving for Richmond’s Family Tradition LLC.

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THREE KILLED; INVESTIGATORS BLAME INATTENTIVE CENTERVILLE TRUCKER

(Camden, OH)--A mother, father, and child were killed Tuesday afternoon because of the inattentive driving of a Centerville trucker.  That’s the initial conclusion of investigators in Preble County. Deputies and witnesses said 61-year-old Brian Murphy of Centerville blew through a red light and slammed into multiple cars at the intersection of U.S. 127 and State Route 725 in Camden.  34-year-olds Schon and Melissa Hudson of Camden and their three-year-old child Emerie all died instantly.  Two other people were hurt.  Murphy was also seriously injured.  Criminal charges are possible and the investigation continues.  127 was closed for more than seven hours.

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TAX CAPS TO COST RICHMOND, WAYNE COUNTY $7.3 MILLION IN 2018

(Wayne County,  IN)--A new state report shows how much tax caps are expected to impact Richmond in the next year.  Tax caps limit how much local governments can collect on residential and commercial property taxes.  According to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, the city of Richmond will lose out on $4.1 million in 2018.  The rest of Wayne County will lose out on an additional $3.2 million.  Connersville will also be hit hard.  Next year it will have to do without $3.6 million.  The effect on Liberty and Brookville is not nearly as significant.  Those two communities combined will lose a quarter of a million dollars.

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WAYNE COUNTY OD DEATHS SURPASS 2016 TOTAL

(Wayne County, IN)--49.  That’s the number of people who have died for sure in Wayne County due to drug overdoses already this year.  That number is higher than the total number of deaths for all last year.  Coroner Ron Stevens presented the numbers at a recent Heroin is Here meeting.  The number now is actually likely higher than that due to the lag time between overdose deaths and confirmation from testing.  Five of those deaths are due to an elephant tranquilizer known as carfentanil.  Drugs including marijuana, cocaine, and LSD have all been found locally laced with fentanyl of some type.

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REID HEALTH ANNOUNCES PHYSICIANS' PARTNERSHIP

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health announced Monday an agreement between the Reid Health Physicians Associates and CareSource.  The agreement will allow people currently under the care of physicians in the Reid network to continue to receive outpatient care from that same doctor.  Before CareSource’s recent announcement that it was offering local residents a marketplace health plan option, those people were at risk of having no coverage at all.  The agreement does not extend to inpatient hospital coverage.

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MAN JAILED FOR BATTERING MULTIPLE OFFICERS

(Cambridge City, IN)--A Cambridge City man was in jail after allegedly battering several police officers Tuesday morning.  Police responded at around 12:30 Tuesday morning to the report of a drunken Amish man pleasuring himself on a bridge on U.S. 40 in Cambridge City.  Officers chased 30-year-old Paul Fisher for four blocks, then Tased him to get him under control.  None of the officers was seriously injured.  Fisher faces charges that include public indecency and felony battery on a police officer.

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TEEN CHARGED WITH CHILD MOLESTING

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond teenager was jailed late Monday night for felony child molesting.  18-year-old Justin Kegley was booked into the Wayne County Jail at 10:20 Monday night, although he was no longer listed as an inmate Tuesday morning.  Details of what Kegley is alleged to have done will become public when an affidavit is filed in Wayne Circuit Court.  That will happen in the next couple of days.

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LOCAL MAN KILLED IN CRASH NEAR DAYTON AIRPORT

(Vandalia, OH)--A Preble County man was killed in a crash near the Dayton International Airport Monday.  Investigators say that 29-year-old Mickey Soard of Lewisburg lost control and hit a tree on Airport Access Road.  The car then burst into flames.  Soard was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police do not yet know if drugs or alcohol played a role.  A passenger in the car survived the crash.  On social media, Soard listed his home as Liberty.

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U.S. 35 TO REOPEN, CLOSE IN DIFFERENT AREA

(Wayne County, IN)--More road construction changes are taking place.  U.S. 35 is expected to reopen Monday just north of State Road 38 after a culvert replacement.  But, 35 will close later this week between Carlos Road and Newman Road for about three weeks.  And, starting this Thursday, southbound 35 between I-70 and Love’s Truck Stop will also close for repairs.  INDOT had hoped to keep that area open and patch pavement, but they’ve determined it will have to be completely closed.  There’s no word yet on how long that stretch will remain closed.

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TWO INJURED IN RANDOLPH COUNTY CRASH

(Randolph County, IN)--Two people were injured, including one who was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, after a crash in Randolph County late Sunday night.  Two vehicles collided at the intersection of State Road 227 and U.S. 36 just east of Lynn.  One person had to be cut from the wreckage.  While one occupant went to Miami Valley, another victim was sent to Reid Health.  Names and conditions have not been released.

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CONSTRUCTION RAMPS UP ON I-70, SOUTH 8TH

(Richmond, IN)--Backups as long as ten miles on westbound I-70 are expected to begin in Preble County Saturday.  That’s because 9 o’clock Friday night, crews will reduce 70 to one lane at the New Paris Pike overpass in Richmond to slide a new bridge into place.  INDOT predicts traffic on National Road East, East Main, and Chester Boulevard will see increased traffic as people look to avoid construction.  The closure will last two weeks.  The backup is predicted to go east of U.S. 127.  A new area of construction is affecting traffic in the Uptown Richmond area.  Crews began Thursday to restrict lanes and remove pavement on Eighth Street from Main Street to South C.  On Friday, they’ll dig a much deeper trench as part of a project that will continue for several months at a minimum.  Friday also marks a shift of construction on the State Road 1 bridge over I-70 near Cambridge City.  Construction will shift from the west side to the east side of the bridge.  That project should be done by November.

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THREE ARRESTED IN SEPARATE METH BUSTS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s string of methamphetamine arrests continued Thursday.  It began early Thursday morning, when police caught 22-year-old Paul Farrow of Lynn at the east-side Richmond McDonald’s with meth.  During a stop Thursday afternoon on Henley Road, 37-year-old Bruce Gibbs was arrested for possessing meth, cocaine, and other drugs.  Three hours later, 42-year-old Hector Santiago was stopped at North 9th and A.  Santiago allegedly had both meth and heroin.  All three men remained in jail Friday morning.

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BARNHIZER MOVES TO FORMER BENCHMARK GRAPHICS BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--Barnhizer and Associates is moving into the former Richmond home of Benchmark Graphics.  The 23,000 square foot building on Industrial Parkway will contain all of Barnhizer’s equipment and operations.  The future of the two buildings that Barnhizer has occupied in the 700 block of South 9th Street will be determined once the transition to the new building is complete.  Barnhizer has provided local restoration and cleaning services since 1983.

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COUNTY COUNCIL, COMMISSIONERS APPROVE OLD REID CONTRIBUTION

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Council and Commissioners on Wednesday both passed resolutions asking the EDC to use $1.42 million in EDIT funds to help with the cleanup of the old Reid Hospital property.  That amount represents half of the cost of environmental remediation.  The next step is EDC Board approval, and that will come Monday.  Then, the proposal to borrow a total of $8 million goes back to Richmond Common Council for a vote on the 18th.

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POLICE RELEASE PHOTO, CHARGES FOR MAN ACCUSED OF ATTACKING GRANDMOTHER

(Eaton, OH)--Eaton police have now released images of the man who they say beat up his own grandmother on Tuesday.  49-year-old Bill McClellan is wanted today on charges that include felonious assault, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery.  McClellan attacked his 90-year-old grandmother and caused serious head trauma.  She is recovering from the attack.  McClellan is known to have ties to both Richmond and Huber Heights.

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FAYETTE COUNTY GOVERNMENT TARGETED IN CYBER ATTACK

(Connersville, IN)--Fayette County government has been the target of a cyber attack.  The county’s IT director told Fayette County commissioners this week that, last month, there were more than 2100 bad log-in attempts on county email accounts from countries that include Russia, China, Rumania, and Bulgaria.  Accounts were not compromised.  The director said it was likely that hackers were trying to get access to the server to send out spam email.

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OLD REID LOAN VOTE ON HOLD AS CITY, COUNTY NEGOTIATE

(Richmond, IN)--City and county leaders discussed their partnership as it relates to the cleanup of the old Reid Hospital grounds Tuesday night.  Richmond Common Council held off on a vote to authorize the pursuit of two loans for the project totaling eight million dollars.  County Council President Pete Zaleski told city leaders that the county is still working on determining what its contribution will be and is working on a series of concessions from the city, including that the city match any county contribution.  A final vote is now expected to take place on the 18th.

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OFFICIALS ASSESSING DAMAGE AFTER EAST MAIN WATER MAIN BREAK

(Richmond, IN)--East Main Street at 16th Street in Richmond remained closed Wednesday morning as officials assess the damage and begin to repair a large water main break that occurred late Tuesday afternoon.  Water pouring from the 14-inch main forced the street, with its new pavement, to buckle and swell.  By late Tuesday night, crews had begun to pump water from underneath the street’s surface.  Indiana American could not put a time frame on complete repair.  By Friday, some interstate traffic is expected to pass through that intersection as I-70 westbound is reduced to one lane.

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U.S. MARSHALS CAPTURE ESCAPEE IN LIBERTY

(Liberty, IN)--A work release escapee from Logansport was captured in Liberty Tuesday night.  U.S. Marshals received a tip that 59-year-old Vonny Craw was hiding out at the Liberty Motel.  Marshals surrounded the motel at 6 o’clock Tuesday night and found Craw, a stolen car, and some cash.  Craw had been serving 20 years for armed robbery when he escaped.  Craw is suspected of having robbed a bank in Linton a couple of weeks ago and committing other crimes recently across southern Indiana.  Charges in Union County are also possible.

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POLICE IN EATON, RICHMOND SEARCH FOR MAN WHO BEAT HIS OWN GRANDMA

(Eaton, OH)--Police in Eaton are searching for a man who they say tied up and beat his own 91-year-old grandma before stealing her van and fleeing the area.  William McClellan has ties to Richmond, and RPD is aware of the search.  McClellan assaulted his grandma at her home on North Street in Eaton Tuesday afternoon.  She was taken to the Preble County Medical Center to be treated for head injuries and was last listed in stable condition.  Police are on the lookout for a 1991 grey GMC Safari van.

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RPD SEEKS TO IDENTIFY ARMED ROBBERS

(Richmond, IN)--RPD investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying three residential armed robbers.  Surveillance images were released Tuesday from an incident that occurred last week in the 400 block of North 14th.  The three men forced three women who were standing outside to enter a home.  The victims were then tied up with electrical cord.  Y

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ACCUSED CHILD RAPIST FACES MORE CHARGES

(Winchester, IN)--Five more new sex crimes have filed against a Randolph County man who has been in jail since last December for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl.  22-year-old Brandon Kolc now faces five new counts of child solicitation.  Court documents say Kolc engaged in explicit conversations with a 14-year-old girl by phone from the Randolph County Jail, including discussions of how he was going to meet her when he was set free.  That’s not likely to happen any time soon.  He’s set to be sentenced on the original charges in two weeks.

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OUTAGE FORCED REID TO DIVERT E.R. PATIENTS TO EATON UNTIL 6 A.M. TUESDAY

(Richmond, IN)--By 7 o’clock Tuesday morning, Reid Health’s emergency room was again accepting patients after an overnight power outage.  Firefighters were sent to Reid at just before 1 o’clock Tuesday morning after what is assumed to have been a lightning strike.  Power went out and backup generators also failed in at least a part of the hospital.  No patients were moved out of their rooms, but multiple patients had to be diverted to the Preble County Medical Center in Eaton.  The most recent confirmed patient went to Eaton at 5:50 Tuesday morning.  That was for a possible stroke that was occurring on University Boulevard – just a few blocks from Reid.  Reid sent a short message to Kicks 96 and the Point Tuesday morning saying that patient care has continued uninterrupted.

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FIREFIGHTERS RESPOND TO HENNY PENNY

(Eaton, OH)--Firefighters were called overnight to one of Eaton’s largest employers.  Crews were sent to Henny Penny on U.S. 35 at around 11:20 Monday night.  By about midnight, the fire was declared contained.  Officials have not yet elaborated on what caught fire, what caused it, or the extent of the damage.  There was no immediate report of any injuries.  More details are expected to be released a little later Tuesday morning.

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WILDFIRE SMOKE PROMPTS LOCAL CALLS TO 911

(Whitewater Valley)--Did you notice the sunset Monday night or the odd-looking, orange moon?  That occurred because smoke from the wildfires in the western United States and southern Canada made it all the way to the Whitewater Valley.  The ensuing rain led to the smell of smoke in our area, prompting many local calls to 911 last night.  Smoke in the upper atmosphere can also intensify lightning.

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TWO ARRESTED FOR ARMED ROBBERY

(Richmond, IN)--Two alleged armed robbers were jailed Thursday.  25-year-old Christopher Fluhr was booked into the Wayne County Jail Thursday afternoon at 5 o’clock.  He was located in the 800 block of South E.  42-year-old Jeremy Parker was also jailed Thursday afternoon.  He was captured at his home on South 11th.  Investigators have not yet said which armed robbery or robberies the two are suspected of committing or if their cases are tied together.  Both were still behind bars Friday morning.

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STATE ROAD 1 STOP LEADS TO METH ARRESTS

(Wayne County, IN)--A Richmond couple was jailed Thursday morning after methamphetamine was found during a traffic stop on State Road 1 in western Wayne County overnight.  31-year-olds Christina Parks and Brandon Winters are both now charged with possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.  Both were jailed at around 4:15 Thursday morning.  Parks was allegedly pulled over and was driving on a suspended license.  The quantity of meth recovered was not released.

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WALMART THEFT LEADS TO METH DISCOVERY

(Richmond, IN)--What started as a shoplifting incident at Richmond’s Walmart Wednesday led to the discovery of methamphetamine.  It was less than three months ago that 19-year-old Jeremy Moore and 32-year-old Sarah Mangas of Union City were arrested for dealing meth at a Fountain City convenience store.  On Wednesday, the couple was arrested at Richmond’s Walmart.  Moore was allegedly in possession of meth and other drugs.  Both were in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning.

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FINAL PUSH MADE FOR SENSORY PLAYGROUND FUNDING

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Park Superintendent Denise Retz is making one final push to raise $651 for a new sensory playground.  Earlier this year, Earlham students proposed constructing a playground at Clear Creek Park that is geared toward kids with special needs.  Retz said Wednesday that if the final $651 can be raised by the end of the day Thursday, a matching grant will kick in from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

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MAN ACCUSED OF CAUSING CHILD'S DEATH JAILED, THEN RELEASED

(Richmond, IN)--The man who caused a crash that claimed the life of a five-year-old Union County girl was booked into the Wayne County Jail Tuesday, but bonded out Tuesday night.  Local officials traveled to northern Ohio Tuesday and brought back Anthony Zircher on a charge of reckless homicide.  Zircher posted bond after six o’clock Tuesday night.  Investigators say Zircher was speeding and tried to pass another vehicle on a double-yellow line on State Road 227 near Whitewater in May.  Jocelyn Gesell of Brownsville was killed in the crash.

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AFFIDAVIT DETAILS JAIL CONTRABAND CASE INVOLVING CORRECTIONS OFFICER

(Richmond, IN)--Court documents obtained Tuesday reveal the types of contraband that former Wayne County Corrections Officer Timothy Knight was smuggling into the local jail.  Knight admitted to delivering Suboxone strips, tobacco, and a lighter to inmates at the Wayne County Jail last week.  He had become the subject of a Drug Task Force investigation after another inmate tipped off authorities.  Knight admitted to the allegations.  He’s currently being housed in the Hancock County Jail for his own protection.

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EATON ISSUES MARIJUANA MORATORIUM

(Eaton, OH)--The Eaton City Council has placed a six-month moratorium on the production of medical marijuana.  Recently, changes to state law allowed for the growth of medical marijuana.  Two growing sites will be permitted in the three-county region of Preble, Darke, and Butler.  But council’s moratorium will prevent the growth inside Eaton city limits until at least February of next year.

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MAN ARRESTED FOR BATTERING OFFICER

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man is charged with felony battery on a police officer after an incident at a bar early Tuesday morning.  29-year-old Darren Griffith allegedly attacked an officer after fighting with bouncers at the E Street Pub.  Griffith was finally subdued after pepper spray was used and was booked into jail at just before 1:30 Tuesday morning.  Griffith was also charged with disorderly conduct for the second time in less than a year.

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HISTORIC TANK TO RETURN TO EATON

(Eaton, OH)--A historic tank is coming back to Eaton.  The tank, which is known as Miss Preble, was placed in front of Eaton’s armory in 1957 and stayed there until its rather controversial removal five years ago.  A group of private citizens worked with the National Guard to get Miss Preble returned.  Now, it will sit in front of Fort St. Clair.  There will be lighting, and access drive, and parking.  A ceremony has been set for the 23rd of next month.

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RICHMOND WOMAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

(Richmond, IN)--A woman was held at gunpoint and robbed overnight in Richmond.  It happened at just before midnight Sunday night in the 400 block of North 14th Street.  The incident was apparently captured on video and shows three black men, all armed with guns, robbing a female in her basement.  The three then fled in a Chevy Tahoe, which was located a couple of blocks away.  There was no immediate indication that the victim was hurt.  The Tahoe was taken to an impound lot to be processed for evidence.

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RPD PREPARES FOR BIG TRAFFIC HEADACHE

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department is preparing for what could be a big traffic headache starting soon.  RPD met with INDOT officials to discuss what will happen between September 8th and 22nd.  That’s when westbound I-70 will be diverted to one lane to allow for work on the New Paris Pike overpass.  RPD says big backups will likely occur on 70 that will cause drivers to divert onto U.S. 40 into Richmond.  Those drivers will then head north on Chester Boulevard, which is also undergoing major construction.

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GLEN COURT PYTHON CAPTURED

(Richmond, IN)--If you live in the Glen Court area of Richmond, you can now sleep a little easier at night.  The python that’s been on the loose in the area for the last week has finally been captured.  The snake has been spotted a few times in the last week and was finally caught Sunday evening in the area of North 21st and Glen Court.  The python was taken first to police headquarters and then released to the Department of Natural Resources.

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COUPLE CAUGHT WITH METH, PARAPHERNALIA

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond couple remained in the Wayne County Jail Monday morning after a weekend drug arrest.  Mark and Amanda Cotter, who are both in their 30’s, were taken into custody late Saturday night near the Richmond Post Office.  Both were allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  The Cotters were also arrested together – a year ago nearly to the day – for fraud.

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WAYNE COUNTY CORRECTIONS OFFICER JAILED FOR TRAFFICKING WITH INMATES

(Richmond, IN)--A Wayne County Jail corrections officer woke up Friday morning on the inside of a jail cell after having been arrested for multiple felonies Thursday night.  40-year-old Timothy Knight, who lists a Greenville address, is charged with felony trafficking with an inmate and official misconduct.  An investigation led to Knight’s arrest at 8:15 Thursday night.  Details of the types and quantities of contraband that Knight was allegedly bringing into the jail for inmates have not been released.

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RICHMOND, CONNERSVILLE PLACE POORLY IN STATE RANKINGS

(Richmond, IN)--The website wallethub.com has released a ranking of the best places to live in Indiana for families, and the results for local communities are not good.  Wallethub took 21 key indicators into account.  In the category of most families living below poverty level, Richmond finished 74th of Indiana’s 78 largest communities.  Only Gary, East Chicago, Michigan City, and Elkhart were worse.  Connersville finished dead last in the category of families with fewest kids, and 76th of 78 for highest divorce rate.  Overall, Richmond was determined to be the 59th best place to live.

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WOMAN JAILED AFTER YOUNG CHILD FOUND WANDERING STREETS

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond woman was jailed Thursday night after a young child was found wandering city streets several blocks from her home.  46-year-old Melinda Mills has been charged with neglect of a dependent and disorderly conduct.  Multiple witnesses saw the child, who they described as about five years old, walking in the area of South 10th and G with minimal clothing.  Officers found the child, but she was unable to communicate with them.  They were eventually able to locate Mills.  The young girl was checked medically and was determined to be okay.

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BLUE BUFFALO TO HOLD EVENT GEARED TOWARD HIRING

(Richmond, IN)--Blue Buffalo will be holding its first community event specifically dealing with the 165 jobs that are expected to be created.  Blue Buffalo has now set September 11 as the date for a public gathering.  Company representatives will be on hand to talk about what positions will be available and what skills and experience will be necessary.  The event is from 3-6 on September 11 at Johnson Hall at Ivy Tech in Richmond.

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REID HEALTH CONDUCTS ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILL

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health conducted its first-ever active shooter drill Wednesday.  The drill took place in the emergency room but tested the response of the entire campus.  Staff and volunteers were posted in waiting areas and with patients to make sure no one thought the event was real.  A Reid spokesperson said that staff reacted well.  Reid security officers have been armed for four years and train monthly with the Richmond Police Department.

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SLEEPING RPD OFFICER DISCIPLINED, BUT NOT FIRED

(Richmond, IN)--The issue of the sleeping RPD officer has been closed.  Chief Jim Branum has indicated that the officer who was photographed sleeping in a cruiser earlier this month has been disciplined but not fired.  Branum did not reveal the officer’s name or elaborate on the punishment, but did indicate that the officer was not on duty at the time he was photographed.  The photograph had made its rounds on social media.  The other person in the cruiser was not an officer.

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WAYNE COUNTY LABOR POOL DROPS BY 350 PEOPLE IN LAST MONTH

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has had another 350 people drop from its workforce as the county continues on a track to drop below 30,000 in the labor pool.  Wayne County now has just 30,245 people either working or seeking jobs.  Also, 490 people have been added to the list of unemployed Wayne County residents in just the last month, and that has caused the county’s unemployment rate to jump half a percentage point to 3.8%.  All other Indiana counties in our area saw a similar increase.

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EATON GAS STATION ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

(Eaton, OH)--An armed robber struck a Preble County gas station late Wednesday night.  According to scanner traffic, a robber entered a gas station on U.S. 35 on Eaton’s western edge at just before midnight and tied up a clerk at gunpoint.  The suspect then fled.  Police canines were brought to the area, but there was no immediate word of any arrest.  Police have also not yet said whether or not the clerk or anyone else was hurt.

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WEST NILE VIRUS APPEARS IN WHITEWATER VALLEY

(Franklin County, IN)--The West Nile Virus has shown up in the Whitewater Valley.  A mosquito sample taken earlier this month in Franklin County has tested positive for West Nile.  So far this summer, there have been only two human cases of West Nile in Indiana and neither of them was in our area.  Most experts say that the odds of getting bitten by an infected mosquito are extremely long.  And, even if you do, a serious medical reaction would be rare.

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COUNCIL ADVANCES OLD REID LOANS

(Richmond, IN)--After changing some language in the ordinances that would allow the city of Richmond to enter into two loans to take down the old Reid Hospital building, Common Council advanced the ordinances to a third reading in two weeks.  Before the vote Monday night, Richmond Police Chief Jim Branum discussed some of the issues at old Reid.  "So far, the police department has responded to (old) Reid Hospital 58 times since January 1."  Fire Chief Jerry Purcell talked about the dangers.  "Believe me, there is tragedy after tragedy awaiting us there," Purcell said.  That includes all of this.  "We have flooded basements.  We have a 20-foot deep mechanical pit to the north of the building that's at ground level.  We have open elevator shaft doors leading to those flooded basements," Purcell added.  Council Monday night capped the rate of one loan at two and a half percent.

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RPD MARKS TWO-YEAR POINT SINCE UNSOLVED HOMICIDE OCCURRED

(Richmond, IN)--Saturday marks the two-year point since 18-year-old Caleb Stevens was shot and killed inside his home in the 1600 block of South 13th Street in Richmond.  The Richmond Police Department issued a statement Thursday saying that they’re still actively involving the unsolved homicide.  There were not a lot of leads, but police did find drugs inside the home.  This was Mike Britt with RPD two years ago.  "I don't know if we can call it a drug house or not.  However, after we obtained our search warrant and entered the crime scene and began our search, there were some illegal substances discovered," Britt said.  The reward for information leading to an arrest has now exceeded $26,000.

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WAYNE COUNTY CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT CASES DROP IN JULY

(Wayne County, IN)--There has been a drop in the last month in Wayne County in the number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect.  The number of cases for July, according to new numbers from the Department of Children’s Services, was 37.  That’s down from 51 new, substantiated cases in June.  Wayne County is still averaging more than one new case of child abuse or neglect every day.  Officials say drugs are a factor in the vast majority of those cases.

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RPD RESUMES COFFEE WITH A COP PROGRAM

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department will resume its Coffee with a Cop program next week.  It will take place beginning Monday morning at 7:30 at the McDonald’s on East Main Street.  Coffee with a Cop is a program that was designed last year and was designed as a way for community members to connect with police officers on an informal basis.  RPD representatives say more than 2000 people have taken part since the program’s inception.

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CITY ASKS COUNTY FOR $2 MILLION FOR OLD REID CLEANUP

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond has asked Wayne County to kick in $2 million for the cleanup of the old Reid Hospital property.  Mayor Dave Snow made the request Wednesday night at a joint meeting of Wayne County Council and Commissioners.  Snow told county leaders that city/county partnerships are critical.  County leaders said they needed time to take the $2 million request under consideration.  The city has an October 1 deadline to proceed with two loans.  Richmond’s Common Council will discuss those loans again on Monday night.

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DRUG OVERDOSE CALL LEADS TO DRUG ARREST

(Richmond, IN)--What started as a drug overdose call led to a substantial drug arrest on Wednesday.  First responders were sent to the home of 24-year-old Shawn Farrow in the 100 block of Richmond Avenue.  Farrow was in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning facing a slew of charges that include dealing methamphetamine and a substance represented to be a controlled substance and possession of a syringe and smoking instrument.  23-year-old Jeffrey Henson was also arrested.  There was no word on the outcome of the overdose victim.

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MAN CONNECTED TO 26-POUND PREBLE COUNTY METH BUST ARRAIGNED

(Eaton, OH)--A man who police say is connected to the discovery of 26 pounds of crystal meth on I-70 in Preble County was arraigned Wednesday.  39-year-old Waiman Yu is suspected of being part of a large drug trafficking organization for 20 years.  Federal agents put a GPS tracking device on Yu’s car, which was stopped in on I-70 in Preble County.  The drugs had a street value of $400,000.  Yu has already done six years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.

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RPD FEARS McDONALD'S DEMOLITION WILL PROMPT PROSTITUTION SHIFT

(Richmond, IN)--An interesting letter has been sent from the Richmond Police Department to owners of businesses just east of the Uptown area.  The letter says that there has been an increase in prostitution complaints inside McDonald’s at 18th and East Main.  There have also been complaints outside the building.  That McDonald’s is set to close at the end of the month for a three-month demolition and reconstruction project.  RPD is concerned prostitutes may set up shop in or near a different business.  Nearby business owners have been invited by RPD to a meeting on August 30 to address the situation.

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