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Local News with Jeff Lane

QUESTIONS LOOM REGARDING CLOSURE OF NW 5th STREET SQUARE DONUTS

(Richmond, IN)--The status of Richmond’s Square Donuts location on North West 5th was up in the air Tuesday morning.  The store was closed throughout the morning with no signs on the door other than a standard "closed" sign.  There is no word on whether or not the closure is permanent.  Calls to the store on Tuesday went unanswered.  Messages to the store's owner went unreturned.  The Square Donuts’ Facebook page has also been taken down.  Social media posts by people identifying themselves as employees on Monday night indicated that they had received calls earlier in the day on Monday telling them that the store had closed indefinitely.  The store’s east-side location closed just a couple of weeks ago.

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LETTER FROM DEPOT OWNERS BLASTS CITY OVER NEW BIKE PATHS

(Richmond, IN)--Business owners in Richmond’s Depot District are voicing their displeasure over the city’s new bike paths, which are currently under construction.  Those bike paths are meant to connect the Depot District to Downtown Richmond with paths on 7th and 10th Streets.  But Depot District Business owners say those new paths are taking away too many parking spaces.  A letter says , quote, the loop project may be a good one, but we don’t believe it’s good enough to warrant removing half of the already scarce parking spaces.  Unquote.  The letter goes on to say that they’re concerned that many decisions were made without input from businesses that will be affected for years to come.

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MAN ARRESTED FOR EXPOSING HIMSELF AT SOUTH 9th AND E

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was jailed late Monday afternoon after allegedly dropping his pants at a busy intersection.  52-year-old Charles Gellinger was first asked to leave the area of the southside Dairy Queen at around 5:30 p.m.  From there, he went to the intersection of South 9th and E and, according to scanner traffic, dropped his pants and exposed himself.  Gellinger was later found to have a blood alcohol content of twice the legal limit.  He was charged with indecent exposure.

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WAYNE COUNTY OVERDOSE DEATHS ON PACE TO DROP AT LEAST 17%

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County is on pace to see a reduction in the number of drug overdose deaths this year.  Last year, there were 91 confirmed deaths that resulted from drug overdoses.  Through the first half of this year, there have been 18 cases confirmed cases with 21 more possible cases waiting on final toxicology.  Even if all of those turn out positive, Wayne County is still on pace to have a 17% reduction in the number of overdose deaths.  Richmond will take part in an International Overdose Awareness Day at the end of this month.

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PART OF MAIN STREET TO CLOSE FOR WEEKS

(Richmond, IN)--Downtown Richmond businesses are bracing for another closure of Main Street that begins Monday.  INDOT says that Main Street will close east of Eighth Street today to allow Gradex to remove and reconstruct an area that recently underwent water line replacement.  INDOT said the closure will last for at least the next two weeks and could stretch until the end of the month.

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WANTED KENTUCKY ROBBER CAPTURED IN RICHMOND

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted first-degree robber from Kentucky and his brother were caught and arrested in Richmond early Monday morning.  A police canine alerted on a car in the first block of South 12th.  Methamphetamine and syringes were located.  The occupants, Lafah and Davon Dixon, originally gave police a false names and birthdates.  Further investigation revealed their true identity.  Lafah Dixon is now being held without bond until Kentucky officials can come to Richmond to pick him  up.

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PLANS FOR NEW RICHMOND HOTEL ADVANCE

(Richmond, IN)--Plans advanced Thursday night for a new hotel on Richmond’s east side.  The Fairfield Inn by Marriott was approved for variances at a site just east of the RecPlex and south of Berry Plastics off Commerce Drive.  The new hotel will be slightly bigger than the one that currently exist on U.S. 40 just across the state line.  The building will be four stories tall and have 89 rooms.  Plans call for the old Fairfield Inn to be marketed to a different company.  There’s no word yet on a projected opening date for the new hotel.

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COURTHOUSE HEATING REPAIRS COULD COST UP TO $1.75 MILLION

(Winchester, IN)--County council members got a dire report on the Randolph County Courthouse this week.  An engineer that examined the courthouse’s heating system said that the current system is not capable of heating the building and that repairs and upgrades could cost up to $1.75 million.  Air is escaping through the walls and ceiling.  Last winter, which was relatively mild, the county spent extensive dollars to heat the building.  A specific repair plan is still pending.

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CASEY'S GENERAL STORE TO OPEN WINCHESTER LOCATION

(Winchester, IN)--Not only is Casey’s General Store planning to open in Richmond, now they’re planning a Winchester store as well.  The new Casey’s will be located on U.S. 27 very close to the Randolph Inn and Suites and is expected to employ about two dozen people.  The Casey’s General Store in Centerville was the source of a hepatitis A scare last month.  Casey’s is already operating in Union City, Greenville, and Ansonia.  The new store in Winchester is expected to open in a little less than a year.

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AT LEAST ONE KILLED IN FRANKLIN COUNTY CRASH

(Franklin County, IN)--A crash that shut down U.S. 52 in Franklin County for much of Wednesday morning turned out to be a fatal one.  A semi and a passenger car collided on 52 near Cedar Grove Road.  One unconfirmed report indicated a 16-year-old was traveling with his or her grandparents in that passenger car.  Other details are still being withheld, including the names of the victim, the condition of survivors, and factors that led to the crash.

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PREBLE, DARKE COUNTY TO GET NEW AREA CODE

(Columbus, OH)--The new area code for southwest Ohio, including Preble County, has been determined.  Earlier this year, it was announced that the 937 area code is running out of numbers.  Beginning in about a year and a half, new phone numbers in Preble County will begin with the area code 326.  That number was announced Wednesday.  The new area code will apply to new numbers only.  People who already have a number with the 937 area code will not have to change.

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SHIPMAN: "DRUG ABUSERS ARE MANIPULATING SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM"

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman indicated Tuesday that drug abusers are manipulating the needle exchange program to allow for re-use of needles.  Shipman pointed to a recent case in which Wendy Ford was allegedly parked directly behind the Centerstone building in Richmond where the needle exchange takes place.  Officers located a syringe that had come from the exchange, but also located multiple used plungers – the part of a syringe that pushes the drugs out.  Ford told officers that exchanging plungers allows the needle exchange syringes to be used multiple times and bypass the exchange’s safety system.  Shipman has been a vocal opponent of needle exchange.

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RICHMOND TIM HORTON'S REMAINS OPEN DESPITE REGIONAL CLOSURES

(Richmond, IN)--Multiple Tim Horton's stores in the region have closed abruptly, but the Richmond store is not one of them.  Richmond employees said Wednesday morning that the store is open as usual with no plans to close.  That’s not the case in Oxford, though, where the Tim Hortons on Locust Street has shut down.  It had opened in November of last year at what was described as an ideal location.  Four other stores within 70 miles of Richmond have closed this week.

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FUNERAL SET FOR WEDNESDAY FOR FORMER CITY ATTORNEY

(Richmond, IN)--A funeral service will be held Wednesday afternoon at Stegall-Berheide-Orr Funeral Home for Richmond’s Andy Cecere.  Cecere was a long-time political figure in Richmond and had served as the city’s attorney.  He a World War II veteran who remained active and connected to the city even into his 90’s when he published two books.  He died last Friday.  Andy Cecere was 96.

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RICHMOND TEEN KILLED BY WRONG-WAY DRIVER

(Henry County, IN)--A Richmond teenager was killed Monday night by a wrong-way driver.  It happened on I-70 just west of New Castle.  19-year-old Chase Thomas of Richmond was headed east when he was hit head-on by a 55-year-old woman who was driving west in the eastbound lanes.  Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver that caused the crash was removed by medical helicopter.  Investigators don’t know why she was driving the wrong way.  Eastbound I-70 was closed for more than two hours as a result of the crash.

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FINANCE COMMITTEE TO REVIEW PROPOSED OLD REID TAX STIPULATION

(Richmond, IN)--An ordinance that would require any future buyer of the old Reid Hospital property to pay taxes regardless of their tax status went before Richmond Common Council Monday night.  Councilman Bruce Wissel wondered if there was precedent for such a requirement.  "Any potential purchased would come to the table with their eyes open," responded City Attorney AJ Sickmann.  Council member Misty Hollis said keeping properties on the tax rolls is a high priority for many people.  "When we're putting significant tax dollars into this piece of property, then we should try to get some of that tax money back."  The ordinance was referred to the Finance Committee.

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CREWS TO FILL LARGE HOLE AT OLD REID

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council got its monthly update on the demolition of the old Reid Hospital site Monday night.  "B Wing is no longer there.  Jenkins Hall has been demolished.  We've begun demolition on Reller Hall," said Brooks Bertyl with the demolition crew.  Now, there’s a large hole where those buildings once stood.  The priority now is to fill it.  "This week, the concrete crusher is supposed to show up.  They'll spend quite a bit of time working to fill that large hole," Bertyl added.  Bertyl said it will likely be a few more weeks before any more visible demolition of existing structures takes place.

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WELCOME CENTER TO CLOSE FOR MONTHS; REST AREA TO CLOSE PERMANENTLY

(Preble County, OH)--Not only will drivers soon not be able to exit I-70 onto eastbound U.S. 40 at the state line, they soon won’t be able to stop at the Ohio Welcome Center either.  That rest area is shutting down for renovation and is not scheduled to reopen until late winter or early spring of next year.  Meanwhile, the rest area for the westbound lanes near the state line will be completely demolished and will not be rebuilt.  That demolition will begin in about a month and a half.

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COUNCIL TO ADDRESS OLD REID ORDINANCE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council meets Monday night.  And, when it does, it will get the first reading of an ordinance dealing with the old Reid Hospital property.  The ordinance requires that any buyer of the former hospital property will be assessed taxes regardless of that buyer’s tax status.  In other words, the ordinance would guarantee that the property would remain on the tax roll.  The city of Richmond is now the owner of the property after the former owner walked away, leaving an unpaid tax bill well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Monday night's meeting begins at 7:30 and can be viewed live on Whitewater Community Television.

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THREE CHARGED WITH METH POSSESSION IN VP LOT

(Richmond, IN)--Three people are in the Wayne County Jail after a drug bust late Sunday afternoon on the lot of the Village Pantry on North West 5th Street in Richmond.  Officers found methampthetamine, syringes, and drug paraphernalia and arrested Amanda Hoskins of Liberty, Ronnie McMillan of Eaton, and Amber Watson of Richmond.  Jail staff allegedly found more drugs on Hoskins when she was booked in.  The led to the addition of a felony trafficking with an inmate charge.

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MONKEY-HEADED MAN CAUSES STIR IN CONNERSVILLE

(Connersville, IN)--There were plenty of sightings, but no arrests, in Connersville over the weekend.  A man was spotted all over town riding a red bicycle while where green shorts, a sports coat, and a large monkey head.  Police became involved when the monkey-headed man allegedly tried to talk to some young girls outside Connersville’s Walmart.  Officers spoke to him but did not charge him.

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BODY OF RICHMOND NATIVE, ACTIVE SOLDIER, RETURNED HOME

(Connersville, IN)--The body of an active soldier who was born in Richmond and graduated from Connersville was returned home Thursday night.  19-year-old Spencer Rose was stationed at The Big Red One in Fort Riley, Kansas.  His body was found at an apartment complex there last week in a case that remains under investigation.  Many flags along the route to Showalter-Blackwell-Long Funeral Home in Connersville were lowered.  The service will be Saturday afternoon.  Spencer Rose had just graduated from Connersville High School last year.

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LIBERTY WOMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING $230,000 FROM DISABLED MAN

(Liberty, IN)--A Liberty woman is accused of stealing nearly a quarter of a million dollars from a 25-year-old disabled man.  When he was seven, J.P. Phillips was nearly killed in a propane gas explosion.  His estate was awarded a settlement of more than a million dollars.  56-year-old Carola Antrim was appointed to oversee the money.  Antrim allegedly linked J.P.’s account to her new debit card last fall and immediately began spending large amounts of money for a variety of things, including trips.  Her debit card had received more than $229,000.  Antrim is due to go on trial in January.

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MAN SHOT, KILLED AT FORMER COUNTRY CLUB APARTMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--A man was shot and killed Thursday morning at the Genesis Apartments in Richmond, which was formerly known as the Country Club Apartments.  Police were called to the area at around 2 o'clock Thursday morning on the report of multiple gunshots.  The body of 27-year-old Jason Lewis was located outside, near a corner of one building in the older section of the complex.  Multiple shell casings were found about a hundred feet away near another building.  The crime scene covers a large area and included the entry way of at least one building.  The suspect is still on the loose.  As word of the shooting spread on social media, at least two dozen people gathered in the area.  That prompted a response from other law enforcement agencies for crowd control.  That group included several possible witnesses, although many refused to cooperate.  Investigators will likely remain on the scene for most of the morning.  Other details, including what led to the shooting, have not been released.

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RICHMOND-AREA BUSINESSES ON OHIO SIDE UNAFFECTED BY RAMP CONSTRUCTION

(New Paris, OH)--Earlier this week, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported that businesses on the Indiana side of the state line on U.S. 40 had suffered substantial financial losses due to construction on two of the four exit ramps from I-70.  That has not been the case on the Ohio side, though.  Representatives of both Iron Skillet and the Fairfield Inn said Wednesday morning that they’ve noticed little – if any – loss in business.  It was Indiana Senator Jeff Raatz who worked to shorten the construction schedule.  "INDOT was very professional and worked well, but they were unwilling to change anything.  They gave us a few concessions, but it didn't help the retailers," Raatz explained.  Raatz said that he had to go high up the INDOT ladder to shorten the construction schedule.

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INDIANA AMERICAN APPROVED FOR MASSIVE REPLACEMENT OF LEAD WATER LINES

(Richmond, IN)--Indiana American Water on Tuesday announced plans for a massive project that could impact Richmond in the future.  A state commission has granted approval for a plan to replace customer-owned lead service lines. 50,000 lead service lines are still present across Indiana.  It will take at least ten years to replace the lines at a cost of $177 million.  There’s no word yet on how Richmond specifically will be impacted.

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THREE JAILED AS PART OF ALLEGED METH DEALER ARREST

(Richmond, IN)--Three people, including an alleged meth dealer, were booked into the Wayne County Jail at 2:30 Wednesday morning after a car was stopped in the 1200 block of South C in Richmond.  44-year-old Lanny Fultz is now charged with dealing methamphetamine.  33-year-old Brandon Jackson and 25-year-old Cheyenne Ross are charged with maintaining and visiting a common nuisance, respectively.  Other details of the meth dealing charge have not been released.

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HOTELS LOSE $21,000 IN THREE DAYS TO CONSTRUCTION; SCHEDULE SHORTENED

(Richmond, IN)--The construction schedule on the ramps on I-70 at the state line has been sped up as businesses there loose thousands of dollars.  A survey of four hotels at that interchange conducted from the 19th to the 22nd of this month showed that those businesses were down a total of $21,000 from their normal revenue over those nights.  The Shell station recently announced reduced hours and layoffs.  Now, State Senator Jeff Raatz has worked with INDOT to finish the project quicker.  Crews will now be working 16-hour days.  The work is now expected to be done this Friday, but that’s dependent on weather.

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AUTOPSY TO TAKE PLACE ON BODY DISCOVERED AT NEEDLER'S MARKET

(Richmond, IN)--An autopsy is scheduled to take place Monday on the body of 27-year-old Amanda Reece.  Reece’s body was found Saturday night in the parking lot of Needler’s Fresh Market on National Road West in Richmond.  She had been missing for six days before being found dead.  Investigators so far have not said how long she may have been dead and have not indicated whether or not surveillance video exists that shows how the vehicle arriving in the Needler’s lot.  Interviews were conducted over the weekend, but no arrests have been made.

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WOMAN BUSTED FOR METH, NEGLECT OF DEPENDENT FOR SECOND TIME IN TWO WEEKS

(Richmond, IN)--It was just two weeks ago that Richmond’s 33-year-old Samantha Norris was arrested for possessing meth and neglecting her dependents.  She was released from jail.  But now – just 12 days later – she was arrested for the same thing.  This time, Norris was taken into custody near South 10th and E.  Again, she was allegedly in possession of meth.  And, again, she allegedly has neglected her dependents.  Norris is also charged this time with resisting law enforcement.

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CITY NO LONGER CONSIDERING MAKING 7th A ONE-WAY STREET

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond is apparently now no longer considering making 7th Street a one-way street going north.  The proposed change was due to the narrowing of 7th Street brought about by a new bicycle path.  Council President Misty Hollis said Thursday that designs will be changed to allow for two-way traffic.  Hollis, though, called for better communication.  "We seem to have had some struggles with communication...struggles with communication to the businesses on 7th Street, struggles with communication with the businesses downtown."  Construction on 7th near Fort Wayne Avenue has gotten underway.

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FOUR JAILED AFTER DRUGS FOUND IN SOUTH 8th STREET HOME

(Richmond, IN)--Four people were taken into custody when RPD officers entered an alleged drug house in the 700 block of South 8th Thursday.  Kylier Childress-Shelby, Joshua Lamott, Aeriel Selby, and Tayonne Tevis were all taken to the Wayne County Jail.  According to scanner traffic, marijuana seeds were found in some sheets next to a child and cocaine was found on a dresser.  Tevis had just been arrested last week for drug dealing and other charges.  He bonded out, was arrested again Thursday, and has now bonded out again.

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FORMER DARKE COUNTY JAILER CHARGED WITH RAPE

(New Madison, OH)--A former Darke County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer who lives in New Madison has now been indicated on a charge of felony rape.  19-year-old Lathan Frech is now longer employed by the sheriff’s office.  Details of the alleged crime have not been released.  Frech has been released on his own recognizance and is due in court for the first time in three weeks.

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PROPOSAL WOULD MAKE 7th STREET ONE WAY

(Richmond, IN)--There is a proposal to convert 7th Street in Richmond to a one-way street going north.  That proposal was made during Wednesday’s construction meeting of a Stellar project that will also place a bike path on 7th Street.  The issue is that the bike and walking paths, as designed now, would reduce the width of 7th Street.  First responders have indicated it would be difficult for fire trucks and busses to navigate the street when the new paths are finished unless the street is changed to one-way.  One downtown Richmond business owner, who also happens to be a Wayne County Council member, is already voicing his opposition.  Pete Zaleski, who is the owner of Phillips Drugs, called it an "awful idea."  Zaleski said that he would rally other business owners to oppose converting 7th Street into a one-way street.  The Board of Public Works will ultimately make the decision.

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SALE PENDING ON POTENTIAL HOTEL SITE

(Richmond, IN)--A new hotel may be headed to an area of Richmond where multiple hotels exist.  A “sale pending” sign is now posted on a piece of property on Commerce Road very near the Rec Plex.  An unidentified hotel management firm is working to purchase the property.  Closing on the sale has not been set.  Another nearby hotel is nearing a re-opening date.  Renovations at the former Quality Inn are nearing completion.  The manager of that facility last week refused to give an approximate re-opening date.

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FOURTH FLOOR BLUES CLUB TO HOST WORLD-RECORD ATTEMPT

(Richmond, IN)--One Richmond business is taking a shot at a world record.  Rick Parker, who is the owner of the Fourth Floor Blues Club, has received notice from the Guiness Book of World Records that his application has been accepted.  The title of the application is "Largest Soul Train Dance"  Details of the world record attempt have not yet been released, but it will be attempted in conjunction with Depot Fest.  Depot Fest will take place in early September.

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ESTEP TRANSFERRED OUT OF WAYNE COUNTY JAIL

(Richmond, IN)--The surviving brother that was the subject of a weekend manhunt near Middlefork Reservoir in Richmond was removed from the Wayne County Jail Tuesday and returned to the central Indiana county where he will face a felony child molesting charge.  Charles Estep will likely not face any charges locally.  Estep and his now-deceased brother allegedly molested a four-year-old child.  Estep has a criminal history that includes battery, theft, and fraud.  He was also convicted of passing in a no-passing zone in 2009 and causing a crash that killed a female high school student.

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TIME CAPSULE REMOVED FROM COURTHOUSE, OPENED

(Eaton, OH)--One hundred years ago, a time capsule was placed in a cornerstone of the Preble County Courthouse.  On Tuesday, it was removed and opened for the building’s 100th birthday celebration.  The capsule contained newspapers, county directories, photographs, and coins that were all in excellent condition.  A crew spent several hours cutting into the side of the courthouse to remove the time capsule.

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COMPETENCY HEARING TO BE HELD FOR TRUCKER CHARGED WITH CAUSING TRIPLE-FATAL CRASH

(Camden, OH)--A competency hearing will take place Wednesday for the Centerville trucker who caused a crash last September that killed three members of a family and an unborn child.  It happened at the intersection of Highways 127 and 725 in Camden.  Brian Murphy faces multiple counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.  The semi’s black box allegedly indicated that Murphy was speeding as he drove his truck through the intersection.

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UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RISE IN WAYNE COUNTY

(Wayne County, IN)--Some new employment numbers were released for Wayne County Monday, and those figures show an increase in the number of unemployed residents.  191 more people are unemployed now than were last month.  Conversely, the number of working residents has dropped by 185.  It’s caused Wayne County unemployment rate to jump from 3.5 to 4.1%.  The number of people in the local workforce has remained relatively unchanged.  Unemployment rates are up across the Whitewater Valley.  Every area Indiana county’s rate jumped by about a half a percent.  Fayette County’s rate is up to 5.1%.  That’s the second highest in the state.  Randolph County is at 3.9%.  Henry is at 3.8.  Franklin County is at 3.7%.  Union County has the lowest rate in our area at 3.4%.

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MASKED BICYCYLE RIDER PUTS VAILE-AREA RESIDENTS ON EDGE

(Richmond, IN)--Residents in the Vaile neighborhood were on high alert after an incident Monday night.  A man wearing a Jason mask and riding a purple bicycle was in the area of the Vaile playground when children were playing there at around 8 o’clock Monday night.  He was also carrying what was described as something that ranged from a box cutter to a machete.  Residents who had come outside gave RPD officers different directions of travel.  Officers questioned one man but could not determine if he was the masked bicycle rider.

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MANHUNT SUSPECT REMAINS IN WAYNE COUNTY JAIL

(Richmond, IN)--The surviving brother of two that were the subject of a massive manhunt that began Friday afternoon and ended Saturday morning remained in the Wayne County Jail without bond Monday morning.  Charles Estep is being held for a parole violation and will be returned to a central Indiana county to face a child molestation charge.  His brother, Alan Estep, took his life in a wooded area just east of Richmond’s Meijer.

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BUSINESS BLAMES CONSTRUCTION FOR LAYOFFS, REDUCTION IN HOURS

(Richmond, IN)--Some new road construction has already prompted one east-side Richmond business to restrict its hours.  The Shell station on National Road East will no longer be open 24 hours – at least until the construction that has affected ramps on I-70 at the state line is complete.  The cutback in hours has resulted in multiple temporary layoffs.  Shell staff members indicated their business is dependent on I-70 traffic and that they had very little advance notification that the construction would take place.

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DRIVER SURVIVES CRASH WITH SEMI

(Preble County, OH)--A Honda drove underneath a semi at U.S. 127 and Orphans Road near Eaton Sunday morning.  The impact essentially sheared the top of the car off and left it wedged underneath the semi.  The driver’s identity has not been released.  Injuries were described as non-life-threatening.  The semi driver was not hurt.  The image is courtesy of our partners at WHIO-TV.

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WAYNE COUNTY TO OFFER ADDITIONAL HEPATITIS A VACCINATIONS

(Richmond, IN)--A second round of hepatitis A vaccinations is now being arranged by the Wayne County Health Department after more than 400 people showed up Thursday.  The large turnout was in response to a warning to customers of Casey’s General Store in Centerville.  Wayne County has given out 500 vaccinations this week.  300 additional doses are expected to be available sometime next week.  Anyone who ate prepared food at Casey’s between July 5 and 12 is considered at risk.

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THREE ARRESTED IN DEPOT DISTRICT DRUG BUST

(Richmond, IN)--Three people were behind bars after a drug arrest in the heart of Richmond’s Depot District early Friday morning.  Officers stopped a car in the 100 block of Fort Wayne Avenue at around 1 o’clock Friday morning and found Justin Anderson of Centerville and Kenneth Custer and Ashley Graw of western Wayne County.  Officers also allegedly found methamphetamine, heroin, and syringes.  The quantities of drugs recovered have not been released.

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WEEKEND MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF NIQUI McCOWN DISAPPEARANCE

(Richmond, IN)--This weekend will mark the 17-year point since Richmond’s Niqui McCown disappeared.  Despite numerous searches, national television features, and an ongoing effort to find answers, Niqui’s family and friends are still left wondering what happened.  A Facebook page titled “Missing Niqui McCown” is still being maintained and now features other missing persons cases.  The Richmond Police Department still considers the case active and still would like to hear from anyone with any information.

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ENGINEER PRESENTS COST ESTIMATES FOR GATEWAY WASTEWATER OPTIONS

(Cambridge City, IN)--An engineering firm has presented cost estimates for wastewater treatment at the Gateway Industrial Park near Cambridge City.  Without an expansion, tenants like SugarCreek – and the park itself – cannot grow.  The firm said the cost of sending wastewater to Connersville would be $22.4 million.  Building a new treatment facility on site would cost between $13 and $16 million.  Sending the wastewater to Connersville would require the installation of a 24-inch line.  Sewer Board President Tom Lee has said he favors the Cambridge City option.

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RPD SAYS NORTH 17th INCIDENT WAS SHOOTING, NOT STABBING

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s an update on what was originally reported as a stabbing on North 17th in Richmond on Tuesday night.  Investigators now say that Alex Irwin was shot by someone who he claims not to know.  His injuries were non-life-threatening.  Irwin has a lengthy criminal record that currently includes 37 offenses with most involving drugs.  He was arrested in August of last year for dealing cocaine.

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NO ARRESTS MADE IN NORTH 17th STREET STABBING

(Richmond, IN)--No arrests have been made in connection with a stabbing that happened in Richmond Tuesday night.  A man arrived at Reid Health from the 200 block of North 17th Street with a stab wound.  A subsequent search warrant was executed at the home.  The suspect’s identity and condition have not been released, although his injuries were initially thought to be non-life-threatening.  There’s also no word yet on what led to the stabbing.

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CASEY'S GENERAL STORE TO OPEN RICHMOND LOCATION

(Richmond, IN)--On Tuesday, Kicks 96 and The Point News reported that vaccinations would be given on Thursday from 3-6 p.m. for people who had eaten prepared food at Casey’s General Store in Centerville as a precaution against the contraction of hepatitis A.  Now, Kicks 96 and the Point News has confirmed that Casey’s will open a location in Richmond.  A corporate spokesperson confirmed the opening Tuesdayday, but declined to say exactly where the store will go.  Initial reports indicated it would locate in the 100 block of South West First.

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ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP AT VISTEON DEEMED COMPLETE

(Connersville, IN)--Environmental cleanup at the former Visteon property in Connersville is nearly complete.  The Connersville Board of Public Works approved a resolution this week that will be sent to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.  The property had 545 wells.  Some were treated with vegetable oil.  Most have been sealed.  Cleanup has been ongoing for the last nine years.  The site is now home to Wayzata after what was supposed to have been a 1500-job company called Carbon Motors failed to get off the ground.

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AFSCME TO REQUEST ARBITRATION

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council met Monday night under the shadow of a request for arbitration from the AFSCME, the city’s largest union.  The union is challenging the city over its computation of vacation time for first and second-year employees.  Union leaders have also expressed dissatisfaction in the delay of the implementation of a new contract which was agreed to two months ago that includes a pay raise.  The union has extended a deadline until the end of this month for the contract to be approved by the Board of Public Works.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO ADMINISTER HEPATITIS A VACCINATIONS

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department will administer hepatitis A vaccinations to customers of Casey’s General Store in Centerville Thursday afternoon from 3-6 at the department’s headquarters in Richmond.  The Health Department issued a statement Monday saying only those who bought food prepared at Casey’s between July 5th and 12th should be vaccinated.  Meanwhile, Casey’s corporate officials Monday did not return calls about the possibility of a location in Richmond.  Casey’s had reportedly shown interest in property between Main Street and National Road west on the west side of the Whitewater Gorge.

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RPD CHIEF APPOINTED TO STATE COMMISSION

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Police Chief Jim Branum has been appointed to a state commission.  Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has appointed Branum to serve on the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board.  Four other people statewide, including a judge and a prosecutor, were appointed.  Branum’s term will expire at the end of June in 2022.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO RELEASE DETAILS ABOUT CASEY'S HEPATITIS VACCINATIONS

(Richmond, IN)--A warning remained in place Monday for anyone who may have eaten food at Casey’s General Store in Centerville between July 5th and this past Thursday to have a vaccination for hepatitis A no later than the 26th of this month.  The Wayne County Health Department said an employee who was working at the store has the disease.  An announcement about when and where those vaccinations can be obtained will be made Monday.  Casey’s becomes the second area business to be the subject of a hepatitis warning.  A similar case happened at Jell’s in Eaton last month.

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PATIENT IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER AMBULANCE CRASH

(Centerville, IN)--An ambulance struck a deer on U.S. 40 just west of Centerville Sunday morning and resulted in a crash that sent three people, including an EMT, to hospitals.  After hitting the deer, the ambulance rolled down an embankment and caught fire.  Driver Blake Wentz and EMT Jim Wolf were both sent to Reid Health. Their conditions have not been released.  The patient in the ambulance, Raymond Smith of Connersville, was in critical condition Monday morning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  The ambulance was en route from Fayette County to Reid Health when the crash occurred.

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MAN JAILED FOR 58th CRIMINAL OFFENSE AFTER MONDAY MORNING CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was caught after a short police chase Monday morning.  23-year-old Tayonne Tevis allegedly fled police in the 100 block of South 5th at 3 o’clock Monday morning.  He was captured at South 5th and E.  Officers found marijuana at the scene.  More drugs were discovered on Tevis as he was being booked into jail.  Counting Monday morning’s charges, Tevis now has a total of 58 criminal offenses at age 23.

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ARSONISTS STRIKE THREE LOCATIONS WITHIN 15 MINUTES

(Richmond, IN)--Arsonists struck multiple locations in Richmond nearly simultaneously Friday morning and stretched the city’s fire department very thin.  Two different garages and one couch that was sitting outside were lit on fire in the area of the first three blocks of North 18th and 19th all within 15 minutes of each other at around 3 o’clock Friday morning.  "We actually had four of the five engines out on the garage fires.  We only had one engine remaining." said Battalion Chief Tim Brown.  A garage on 18th was a total loss.  There were no injuries.  Police are working to obtain surveillance video.

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BIKE PATH CONSTRUCTION TO RAMP UP SOON

(Richmond, IN)--A schedule for construction of the new bike path that will connect downtown Richmond with the Depot District was discussed this week at a meeting of city and county leaders.  It will mean major construction on 7th and 10th Streets.    Construction will pick up soon on 7th Street at Fort Wayne Avenue and work its way south toward downtown.  Also, according to one county official, that construction will mean that sidewalks that have already been torn up in the area of Main Street between 5th and 7th Streets will remain torn up until sometime next year.

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RANDOLPH COUNTY NATIVES AMONG ALASKA PLANE CRASH RESCUERS

(Mount Jumbo, AK)--Earlier this week, a plane crashed onto the side of a mountain in Alaska.  Incredibly, all 11 people on board survived.  And, two Randolph County natives were involved in their rescue.  Rick Hines and Jason Harris still call Randolph County home.  They are now members of a sea-level team of first responders.

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BUDD COMMENTS ON RESIGNATION; CALLS ENVIRONMENT "TOXIC"

(Richmond, IN)--Beverly Budd, who resigned earlier this week as the city of Richmond’s Building Commissioner, spoke Wednesday about her decision.  Budd said that she resigned over her frustration at conditions inside the city building.  "The only word I can think of is 'toxic.'  It was not good for me," Budd said.  She said some city employees are not on the same page.  "We're all working, I guess, in different circles.  I don't even get it."  Budd said she will be working in the same capacity but will be independent of city restraints.  "There are a lot of incredible people out there that are working to make Richmond a better place.  But, by the same token, there's a number of them that are trying to keep it exactly the same as it is."  The city issued a statement Wednesday saying that Budd’s resignation gives it a chance to "continue to reexamine our talent deck."  Budd's resignation this week came on the heels of the resignation of Jack Cruse.

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RCS WORKS TO OBTAIN METAL DETECTORS

(Richmond, IN)--Handheld metal detectors are coming to Richmond Community Schools.  The RCS Board was updated on efforts to obtain those metal detectors Wednesday night.  The state is now offering one device for every 250 students .  Chief Operations Officer Rob Tidrow told the board that RCS is working to obtain the maximum number of handheld metal detectors.  A plan for their use has not been developed.  The detectors won’t arrive until at least a couple of weeks after the start of school, which is August 8.

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WESTERN WAYNE TO ADD SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER

(Cambridge City, IN)--Western Wayne Schools will be adding another school resource officer when school begins next month.  Until now, Western Wayne had two buildings but just one officer.  Funding for the additional officer will come from a $35,000 state grant with a local match.  Cambridge City’s Town Council has approved the purchase of a used car for the new officer.

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SANDERS JEWELRY BUILDING TO HOUSE ARCHITECTURAL FIRM

(Richmond, IN)--Another business is saying goodbye to downtown Richmond.  Vivian Himelick, who is the owner of Sanders Jewelers, indicated Tuesday that the store would be closing soon after it had operated at multiple locations in the downtown area for the last 77 years.  The primary reason given for the closure was a change in retail climate.  The building is being purchased by an architect who plans to renovate the upper two floors of the building for use by an architectural firm.  The Sanders building, along with the Readmore and former Hoppe building, have now all been purchased by individuals or companies with architectural ties.

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FREE BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHES TO BE PROVIDED TO ALL RCS STUDENTS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Community Schools announced Tuesday that every student, regardless of income, will be able to get a free breakfast and a free lunch every day of the upcoming school year.  It’s because all RCS schools have been designated as meeting Community Eligibility Provision.  School systems qualify for the federal program when there’s a high percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches.

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MOTEL FIRE OFFICIALLY RULED ARSON

(Preble County, OH)--Investigators were on the scene Tuesday of the fire that did heavy damage Tuesday morning to a Preble County motel.  The fire at the New Budget Inn near the junction of I-70 and U.S. 127 has now officially been ruled an arson.  Officials have not said exactly what led them to make that determination.  There were no injuries.  One initial report stated that individuals may have been attempting to manufacture drugs inside one of the rooms.

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MOTEL OCCUPANTS ESCAPE SUSPICIOUS FIRE

(Preble County, OH)--Fire has caused significant damage to a motel Tuesday morning.  It broke out at just after midnight at the New Budget Inn at the junction of I-70 and U.S. 127 just north of Eaton in Preble County.  "I heard a woman screaming so I jumped up out of bed, opened the door, and saw black smoke coming from everywhere," said occupant Tracy Thompson.  Multiple units have been destroyed.  The initial indication is that the fire was caused by people trying to manufacture drugs.  "There's a few things that lead it to be suspicious, but I'm not at liberty to say too much about that yet," said West Manchester Fire Chief Dave Baker.  All of the occupants were able to escape without injury.  Investigators will be on the scene for most of the day Tuesday.

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MAN KILLED, TEEN INJURED IN MOTORCYCLE CRASH

(Franklin County, IN)--More details have been released about a fatal motorcycle crash in Franklin County.  It happened on State Route 252 near Little Cedar Road, which is just a couple of miles east of Brookville.  A 51-year-old Cincinnati motorcyclist lost control on loose gravel and hit an electric fence.  He was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.  A 15-year-old passenger was wearing a helmet and was AirCared to University Hospital in Cincinnati.  That teen’s condition has not been released.

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CLOSING DATE STILL PENDING FOR RICHMOND ELDER-BEERMAN

(Richmond, IN)--There’s still no specific closing date for Richmond’s Elder-Beerman store, although the end is certainly nearing for the downtown Richmond retail anchor.  A spokesperson for Elder-Beerman’s parent company, Bon-Ton, could not provide an exact date but did say that it would be before the end of next month.  That spokesperson also indicated that greater discounts - up to 75% off – would be offered until the Richmond merchandise is gone.  A bankruptcy judge gave the company until the end of August to complete sales.  The building is still for sale.

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CORVETTE CRASH RESULTS IN POWER OUTAGE, FIELD FIRE

(Wayne County, IN)--An overnight crash on State Road 227 between Richmond and Boston sheared off a utility pole, knocked out power to the area, and caught a field on fire.  The driver of a Corvette lost control late Sunday night near Wolfe Road.  That driver was taken to Reid Health but was not thought to have suffered life-threatening injuries.  His or her identity has not been released.  Power has been restored.  There’s no word yet on what caused the crash.

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FOUR ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH WAYNE COUNTY MURDER

(Centerville, IN)--Three men have been charged with a Wayne County murder.  On Thursday afternoon, authorities arrested 26-year-old Donald Bailey Junior of Centerville and charged him with murder, robbery, battery, and criminal confinement.  Two men who were already in jail on different serious charges had a murder charge added Thursday.  Those two are 23-year-old Jacob Rasner of Richmond and 30-year-old Jesse Boggs of Centerville.  A fourth man, 49-year-old William Mathews of Richmond, was charged with assisting a criminal.  Bailey, Rasner, and Boggs are accused of killing 27-year-old James Herbolt and dumping his body in a field just off of Centerville Road in October of last year.  Other details, including what led investigators to charge the trio, have not yet been released.  Mathews’ alleged role in the crime has also not been specified.

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HUSBAND OF BOARD PRESIDENT ARRESTED AT FOUNTAIN CITY TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

(Fountain City, IN)--A meeting of the Fountain City Town Board this week ended with the arrest of the husband of the Board’s president.  The tension began during a discussion of sidewalk repairs and replacement.  Some residents and at least one business owner were vocal proponents of the upgrades.  According to some in attendance, 51-year-old Steve Nester then told those people to be quiet.  The situation escalated and Nester was escorted out.  He was then charged with disorderly conduct and taken to the Wayne County Jail.  He bonded out a few hours later.

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RETTER WILL BE WAYNE COUNTY'S NEXT SHERIFF

(Wayne County, IN)--The absence of any filing by a Democrat this week means that Republican Randy Retter will become Wayne County’s next sheriff when Jeff Cappa’s term comes to a close.  Retter’s appointment as sheriff was essentially a foregone conclusion after the May primary.  But, this week, it became official that he will face no opposition in the general election in November.  Retter’s term will begin the first of next year.  He will continue to serve as a lieutenant and commander of the Sheriff Office’s Enforcement Division until then.

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ADDITIONAL ASBESTOS FOUND AT OLD REID

(Richmond, IN)--Mayor Dave Snow filled in for a supervisor of the old Reid demolition project by giving common council members a monthly update.  Snow said that additional asbestos has been discovered between the floorboards in the oldest section of the complex.  Removing it will add a couple of weeks to the project and will cost an additional $172,000.  Leeds Tower is now down with debris being sorted.  The demolition and cleanup is expected to be done a year from now.

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