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Local News: A service of Reid Health Archives for 2015-01

RPD MAKES ARREST IN DOLLAR GENERAL ROBBERY

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Police officers arrested a man who they say robbed the Dollar General on South 9th on Wednesday night.  24-year-old Justin King allegedly wore a mask as he entered the store and demanded cash.  Thursday morning, a car matching that of the description of the one that left the scene was located and King was arrested.  RPD is still investigating possible accomplices.

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RCS TO RETURN TO SEMESTER SYSTEM

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Community Schools is returning to the semester system.  Test Intermediate School will remain on trimesters, but all other schools will switch back at the start of the next school year.  The RCS Board approved the switch this week with the anticipation of improving test scores, decreasing expenses, and maintaining class size.  RCS had operated on trimesters since 2007.

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CAMPBELL TO PLEAD GUILTY TO MURDER FRIDAY AFTERNOON

(Richmond, IN)--Robert Campbell is scheduled for plea and sentencing Friday afternoon.  Campbell is one of five Richmond men who killed Michael Sekse nearly three years ago on Sheridan Street.  The 20-year-old Campbell will plead guilty to murder.  As part of that plea deal, the prosecutor’s office will no longer seek life without parole.  The other four defendants have all been convicted and are in prison.

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WOMAN ARRESTED FOR LEAVING CHILD IN CAR THAT SMELLED LIKE DRUGS

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond woman is behind bars after allegedly leaving her child in a car that reeked of drugs.  25-year-old Briana Snider was in the Wayne County Jail Friday morning, charged with child endangerment and neglect of a dependent.  Snider was allegedly inside a home while her child was in a car on North 16th and E Thursday night.  She was not arrested on any drug charge.  The age of the child was not released.

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INGRAMS FILES, ANNOUNCES MAYORAL CANDIDACY

(Richmond, IN)--Kyle Ingram formally filed and announced Wednesday that he is running to be Richmond’s next mayor.  "My attitude about the city of Richmond is that I honestly believe we can do better.  We can do better in a lot of areas.  We can do better fighting crime.  We can do a lot better in creating jobs," Ingram said.  Ingram is a high-level NCAA basketball official and is the head coach of the RHS softball team.  He said he wants to make it easier for business owners to grow and thinks Richmond should stand on its own.  "We don't need Indianapolis, Indiana and we don't need Washington, D.C. telling us how to run our city.  We don't need that," Ingram added.  Ingram is running as a Republican.  He addressed concerns about the political action group of civic and business leaders that supports, saying that he would answer to everyone, not just that group.  "I do want to work for a special interest group.  And that special interest group is the folks of the city of Richmond, Indiana."  Ingram will likely face fellow Republican Dianna Pappin in the May primary.

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RHS TEACHERS ACCUSED OF IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP RESIGNS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond High School teacher accused of having an improper relationship with a student has resigned.  The RCS Board Tuesday night accepted the resignation of Joshua Brameier.  Brameier was a math teacher at the high school and was an assistant football coach.  There is no criminal investigation into the matter.  RCS officials did not discuss details of the relationship with the student.

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EATON ATTORNEY ASKS FOR EARLY RELEASE FROM PRISON

(Eaton, OH)--The Preble County attorney who was sentenced last summer to four years in prison is already asking to be set free.  James Thomas Junior stole more than $200,000 from clients.  "None of it was intentional.  I love each and every one of you, and I always did," Thomas told his victims last year.  Thomas stole the money of a six-year period.  Most of his victims were elderly and were unable to manage their own estates.  A hearing is set for Thursday.

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FREEDOM FROM RELIGION GROUP CHALLENGES FIRST RESPONDER MEMORIAL

(Brookville, IN)--Franklin County officials expected another fight from the group Freedom From Religion, but not until Christmas.  Now, the same group that sued over the Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn wants an emergency services memorial removed because it contains a stone with the inscription “Blessed are the peacemakers.  They are the children of God.”  The group wants the memorial removed immediately.  They claim that the reference to God in non-inclusive to minority religions.

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FELONS SENTENCED FOR ROBBERY, DRUG DEALING

(Richmond, IN)--A couple of Richmond felons have been sentenced this week.  17-year-old Israel Scott was given a 12-year prison sentence with four suspended for robbing Hartman’s Market and battering an employee there in November of 2013.  34-year Michael Hatcher was given ten years on Tuesday for dealing cocaine.  It’s his fourth drug felony.  Both sentences were parts of plea deals.

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TRIO CAUGHT AFTER PASSING THROUGH WAYNE COUNTY WITH HALF A KILO OF COCAINE

(Henry County, IN)--Three people who had just driven through Wayne County with half a kilo of cocaine were caught Tuesday morning in Henry County.  They were traveling west in a BMW on I-70 at 94 miles per hour.  That drew the attention of a state police trooper.  Half a kilo of powdered cocaine was inside.  Troopers also found heroin and $3800 in cash.  None of the three people are from our area.

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INGRAM TO ANNOUNCE MAYORAL CANDIDACY WEDNESDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Kyle Ingram will announce his candidacy to be Richmond’s next mayor on Wednesday.  An event has been scheduled for noon at Circle U to introduce Ingram as a Republican candidate.  Ingram has the support of a political action committee of Richmond civic and business leaders.  In an email shared between its members, the PAC’s goal is to "influence future community leadership."

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MAN SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTED HOLD-UP WITH RUBBER HOSE

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond man who held up the Hoosier Pete gas station with a hose was sentenced Monday.  31-year-old Christopher Crawley appeared in Wayne Superior Court II and was handed a three-year prison sentence.  Crawley stuck a vacuum cleaner hose up his sleeve last October and tried to pass it off as a gun.  The clerk was not fooled and refused to give Crawley any money.

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MAN REACHES PLEA DEAL IN CHILD PORN CASE

(Connersville, IN)--A Connersville man caught with 2000 images of child pornography has reached a plea deal.  24-year-old Jeffrey Jones was arrested last summer after a lengthy investigation by numerous agencies.  Jones will plead guilty to possession of child porn.  Other more serious charges will be dropped.  Jones will be sentenced next month.  The recommended sentence is two years.  He had faces 16 years.

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SNOW-COVERED ICE BRINGS TRAVEL TROUBLE

(Whitewater Valley)--Road crews were out Monday morning all over the Whitewater Valley dealing with a couple of inches of snow that left travel hazardous.  Mike Sharp with the Wayne County Highway Department says the problem was not so much the snow, it was what was underneath.  "The ice underneath is pretty bad because of the wetness we had before the snow came on top of it," Sharp said.  Numerous slide-offs and accidents occurred late Sunday afternoon and Sunday night as rain changed over to snow.  Eastbound I-70 was blocked at 8:30 p.m.  It was one of at least six crashes on 70 just in Wayne County.  More than two dozen crashes occurred elsewhere, including overturned cars on Centerville Road and on State Road 1 near Milton.  A utility pole fell across U.S. 35 after a crash near Economy.  No life-threatening injuries were reported in any of those accidents.  By 7 a.m. Monday, there had been only a couple of inconsequential slide-offs on I-70 in Wayne County.

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RANDOLPH COUNTY MANUFACTURER WILL CLOSE

(Winchester, IN)--A Randolph County manufacturer is closing its doors.  OMCO Machining Concepts in Winchester has announced that it will be closing by the end of April.  The company is a subsidiary of Ross International in Pennsylvania.  That company told Winchester officials that competition from China is the primary reason for the closure.  The shut-down will affect about a dozen employees.

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BILL WOULD EXPAND PRE-K PILOT PROGRAM INTO WAYNE COUNTY

(Indianapolis, IN)--Here’s a look at a few bills that have been filed by area lawmakers…there’s now legislation to expand Indiana’s pre-kindergarten Pilot Program into Wayne County.  Jean Leising of Franklin County has filed a bill to allow concentrated animal feeding operations with IDEM approval, and Greg Beumer of Modoc has filed legislation that would prevent the Amish from having to have their pictures taken for government-issued ID’s.

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EL RODEO RESTAURANT OWNERS CHARGED, FINED FOR CHEATING ON TAXES

(Richmond, IN)--The two Richmond El Rodeo restaurants were among 26 in Indiana that were cheating taxpayers by grossly underreporting cash revenue.  Prosecutors held a press conference Thursday.  They said between 40 and 60 percent of restaurant revenue should be cash.  For El Rodeo, it wasn’t even close.  "Looking at the 26 restaurants, 7.25% of the deposits were cash," a Marion County prosecutor said.  The owners have been charged with theft and will have to pay $4.5 million.  "We understand that this practice goes on.  One of the things we hope to demonstrate by this investigation and this resolution is that we're watching," that prosecutor added.  Authorities could have shut down El Rodeo entirely, but that will not happen.  A Tippecanoe County prosecutor Thursday explained exactly how El Rodeo restaurants, including those in Richmond, cheated on its taxes, resulting in the arrest of its owners and millions in fines.  When a customer paid cash, that money never went through the cash register and was never reported.  A police officer in Lafayette caught it.  "He noticed that as he paid, the cash drawer was never opened.  No one ever rang up the sale.  He was returned his cash back out of another drawer," that prosecutor explained.  A plea deal filed Thursday will keep the owners out of prison.

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RICHMOND GETS ADDITIONAL GRANT FOR BLIGHT REMOVAL

(Richmond, IN)--It’s good news for the city of Richmond.  The city learned Thursday that it will receive another $1.3 million to help tear down and remove abandoned homes that have become eyesores and safety hazards.  Last year the city was awarded $2 million.  The additional amount means that 56 more unsightly properties can be cleaned up.  Hagerstown received $150,000.  Greens Fork is getting $68,000.

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FORMER RICHMOND ATTORNEY SUSPENDED AMIDST CLIENT COMPLAINTS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond attorney Tom Kemp has had his license suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court after several clients complained he took payment for legal services that he never provided.  Kemp could also face criminal charges, although that has not happened yet.  Another Richmond attorney accused of essentially the same thing, Chuck Hyde, is currently set to go on trial in Wayne County in April.

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MAN ARRESTED AFTER GUN TOSSED INTO SEWER

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police officers recovered a gun after an incident at North 14th and B Streets Wednesday.  As officers approached a group of men, one ran while another tossed a gun down a storm sewer.  31-year-old Tavonn Crisp was charged with carrying without a license.  21-year-old Daviante Crisp was charged with resisting.  Both charges are misdemeanors.  Both men have bonded out of jail.

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RAISE APPROVED FOR RP&L EMPLOYEES

(Richmond, IN)--A pay raise has been approved for employees of Richmond Power and Light.  The RP&L Board this week signed off of a 3% across-the-board raise.  The increase had been negotiated last year by the board and the union.  The increased payroll costs will be covered through decreased health insurance costs and will cover all of RP&L’s 100 employees.

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DONATED EQUIPMENT SAVES PET IN PREBLE COUNTY FIRE

(Lewisburg, OH)--A pet was saved Wednesday with the help of some newly-donated equipment in Preble County.  A fire started near a wood-burning stove at a home on Swishers Mill Road just outside of Lewisburg.  The owner told firefighters she was awoken by the smell of smoke.  Firefighters found an unresponsive cat inside and resuscitated it with a special apparatus designed for pets.  "It's a good thing to come out of something bad," said one neighbor.  A damage estimate has not been set.

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TWO UNION SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN IN PROTEST

MODOC-Two Union School Board members resigned at the meeting last night in protest of the suspension of Superintendent Fred Herron. The outraged board members Alan McCormick and Garth Jenkins, along with others who attended the meeting, were unaware of the Superintendent’s suspension, which happened the day before the meeting. The board’s attorney, Susan Traynor Chastain, says the suspension with pay is pending an investigation of Herron’s performance.

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TWO TEENS ARRESTED FOR BURGLARY IN RICHMOND

RICHMOND- Two Richmond boys were arrested on charges of burglary on Monday. Officer Aaron Stevens was driving home in his marked police car Monday afternoon when he first saw the two 15-year-olds. When they saw his car, they began to run, ignoring Stevens’ commands to stop. He then began a foot pursuit of the boys which stopped at North J Street. The boys had a lot of strange items on them, including a large number of coins. When officers discovered two homes had been burglarized earlier, they arrested the boys in those burglary cases.

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BRIDGE WORK STARTS IN MARCH ON INDIANA 227

RICHMOND- Road construction is set to begin in March on a bridge over Whitewater River’s Middle Fork on Indiana 227. The nearly million dollar project will replace the bridge overlay, the center curb, the bridge railing, and other minor repairs. INDOT spokesman Harry Magnity says two way traffic will be maintained on the bridge during construction, and it is scheduled to be completed by September 1st of this year.

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KKK FLYERS DISTRIBUTED IN EATON

EATON- Flyers from the Ku Klux Klan were were reportedly distributed in the areas of Jamesway Drive and Little League Drive in Eaton yesterday on Martin Luther King Day. The flyers, claiming to be from the Loyal White Knights, were placed on porches in a Preble County neighborhood Sunday night. They read, “Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are sick and tired of double standards! Apparently it is wrong for a white cop to defend himself against a vicious black thug who had just robbed a store. But no national media coverage, outrage, or riots for innocent white teen killed by black cop in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 11th. Since the government controlled media won't spread the news or defend the victims of anti-white hatred, the KKK will!”

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NUMBER OF PEOPLE USING UNION COUNTY HEALTH CLINIC ON THE RISE

LIBERTY, IN--The number of patients at the Union County Health Clinic is on the rise. The clinic's revenue doubled from November to December, which secretary, Diann Timberman, says should generate $8000. However, Auditor Gene Sanford says the clinic will need about $12,000 to pay its' bills, plus the clinic must wait for approval from the City Council in order to use revenue funds. For now, the clinic has enough money to stay opened through mid-February, and Council President Alan Alcorn says it is easier to say "yes" to helping with funds with the numbers trending upward.

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CAR SLAMS INTO A HOME IN GREENVILLE

GREENVILLE, OH--Early Saturday morning, a Volkswagen Jetta crashed into a Greenville home on the 100 block of Pine Street. Police say the vehicle crashed into the front porch around 12:30am, and witnesses recall seeing two people feeling the scene. No one was inside the home at the time of the crash.

 

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RPD TAKES DOWN SECOND MARIJUANA GROW OPERATION

(Richmond, IN)--The second marijuana grow operation in as many days was located and taken down by the Richmond Police Department Thursday.  Officers served a search warrant at a home in the 400 block of South West 5th.  There, they found four grown and 50 more small starter marijuana plants in a bedroom that had been converted to a small greenhouse.  The home’s resident, 33-year-old Justin Robbins, was arrested.  Robbins has already bonded out of jail and was free Friday.

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MAN SENTENCED FOR CHILD MOLESTING

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man has been sentenced for child molesting.  21-year-old Jeremiah Blasingame pled guilty this week in Wayne Superior Court II as part of a plea deal.  Blasingame admitted to a Class C Felony and was sentenced to four years behind bars with two of those years suspended.  He had sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl on multiple occasions 2 ½ years ago.

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RESIDENTS ESCAPE LEWISBURG APARTMENT FIRE

(Lewisburg, OH)--Fire did heavy damage to a Lewisburg apartment building Thursday night.  Crews from three agencies were called to the three-unit building on East Dayton Street.  All of the occupants were able to get out without injury.  The Red Cross was on the scene by 10 o’clock to help displaced residents.  There’s no word yet on what started the fire.  It broke out at around 9 o’clock Thursday night.

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SEARCH WARRANT YIELDS STOLEN ITEMS; TWO ARRESTED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police have arrested a couple they believe to be responsible for numerous burglaries in the Glen Hills, Reeveston, and Crestdale neighborhoods.  A search warrant was served in the 2200 block of Glen Court Wednesday.  A large amount of stolen property was recovered, and 39-year-olds Glenn Williams and Alison Hunter were taken into custody.  A second search warrant was executed at a gold exchange business on East Main, but no stolen property was found there.  Investigators will now work to return the property to its owners.

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MARIJUANA GROW OPERATION LOCATED ON SOUTH E

(Richmond, IN)--A burglary investigation led to the discovery of a marijuana grow operation in Richmond Wednesday.  Investigators found several mature pot plants and about five pounds of processed marijuana at a home at 815 South E Street.  51-year-old Todd Vitatoe was taken into custody.  Vitatoe has a lengthy criminal record.  He was able to post bond and was free Thursday morning.

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SNOW BECOMES FIRST TO FILE FOR MAYOR

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond radio personality Dave Snow became the first candidate to file for Mayor.  Snow filed Wednesday after being cleared last week to run as a Democrat.  Because he had never voted in a primary, Snow had never declared a political party.  He has the support of current Richmond Mayor Sally Hutton.  "He's been talking to me for over a year, gathering ideas and talking about different things.  He's a bright young man.  He's got a lot of energy," Hutton said when Snow announced he would run last November.  One other person filed Wednesday.  Doug Goss will run to keep his seat on Richmond Common Council from District 1.

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STRANGE COLUMNS OF LIGHT PROMPT CALLS TO POLICE, DISPATCHERS

(Richmond, IN)--Dispatchers received some calls Tuesday night about strange columns of light in Richmond.  The columns of light appeared to originate from rooftops and shoot skyward, much like an advertising search light.  But that’s not what it was.  Police investigated and determined it was a phenomenon called a light pillar.  It occurs when light reflects off of ice crystals that hang in the air on clear, cold nights.  The photo accompanying this story was posted on Speak Out Richmond's Facebook page and was taken from near Richmond High School.  Two columns can be seen extending upward on either side of the tower.  Similar pillars were seen at other locations around the city.

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HUSBAND-WIFE BURGLARY TEAM CAUGHT

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged newlywed husband and wife burglary team was caught in the act Wednesday morning in a Richmond neighborhood.  Jeremy and Tiffany Reed were caught by Richmond police as they attempted to break into a garage in the 300 block of South West 4th.  Both are being held on $10,000 bonds.  It was Tiffany’s first felony arrest, but Jeremy has a lengthy record involving drugs and stolen property.

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PLEA DEAL REACHED FOR DRUG DEALER

(Richmond, IN)--A plea deal has been reached for a Richmond drug dealer.  30-year-old Lance Perkins has four years left to serve on an earlier conviction.  When that’s done, he’ll begin another ten-year sentence.  Perkins was tracked down in Las Vegas after being arrested and bonding out for dealing heroin from a home in Pershing.  As part of the plea deal, Perkins will also have to testify against other defendants.

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OFFICER INJURED IN CRASH

(Centerville, IN)--Details of an accident involving a member of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department were released Monday.  Sergeant Jeff Chenowith lost control of his cruiser on Centerville Road on Sunday and hit a tree.  Chenowith was taken to Reid Hospital with minor injuries.  His canine partner, Marco, was also hurt and taken to the Greens Fork Animal Hospital.  Chenowith was off duty for nearly a year after a much more serious crash on the same road 13 years ago.

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UNRESPONSIVE MAN SLIDES ACROSS FROZEN POND IN CAR

(Union County, IN)--Freezing cold weather may have prevented a Union County man from drowning Monday.  32-year-old Michael Quinlan passed out behind the wheel on Snake Hill Road Monday.  He went across a field toward a pond.  But, because the pond was frozen, his car slid across it and into a yard.  Quinlan faces charges that include operating while intoxicated and being a habitual offender.

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ADMINISTRATORS SAY LACK OF SCHOOL CLOSINGS MONDAY WAS UNRELATED TO COUNTY HOOPS TOURNAMENT

(Wayne County, IN)--Many parents of Wayne County students were upset that county schools were operating on a delay Monday and not closed.  They thought schools specifically opened so that the county basketball tournament could be played Monday night.  Centerville Superintendent Phil Stevenson said that was not the case.  "None of the schools even mentioned that county tourney.  We're all looking at the roads.  None of us were thinking about it...never even heard it mentioned," Stevenson said.  Despite what most people think, not all schools are governed by a rule that says schools must be in session that day to play an athletic event that night.  "We don't do that here.  I don't know what other schools do.  I leave it up to the building principals."  Richmond schools did close Monday.  But that was because of the poor conditions of sidewalks.  Richmond has many more walkers than county schools.

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ICE MAKES TRAVEL DIFFICULT

(Whitewater Valley)--Ice was making travel difficult across the Whitewater Valley Monday morning.  Mike Sharp with the Wayne County Highway Department was out at 4 a.m. working the roads.  "Most everything is kind of a slushy ice.  It's driveable, but at slow rates.  Give plenty of stopping time," Sharp advised.  He said all his crews can do is try to improve traction for drivers.  "There's nothing out there to plow, so we're going to try to get some salt and sand down the middle to try to get it to break up a little bit."  There were relatively few weather-related accidents in the overnight hours.  And, by 6 a.m., there were ice-related power outages.

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USA TODAY IDENTIFIES FAYETTE COUNTY AS POOREST IN INDIANA

(Connersville, IN)--The USA Today recently identified the poorest county in each state.  And, for Indiana, it’s Fayette County.  The publication cites a median household income that’s only about 75% of the state average.  It says that nearly one in four residents is living in poverty, and that less than one in ten has a bachelor’s degree.  One in three Fayette County children was living in poverty between 2010 and 2013.

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CAUSE STILL UNDERTERMINED IN BUSINESS FIRE ON PREBLE COUNTY LINE

(Somerville, OH)--Fire claimed a popular eatery in the town of Somerville on the Preble and Butler County line over the weekend.  Megan’s Grocery and Pizza was completely destroyed by a fire that brought 11 emergency crews.  Those crews were able to save the owners’ home, which is next door and did sustain some damage.  Investigators were still looking into the cause Sunday.

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BICYCLE BANDIT APPREHENDED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s Bicycle Bandit has been caught.  33-year-old Dustin Sullivan was jailed earlier this week for allegedly breaking into a Crestdale home.  Investigators then pieced together information and served search warrants at three locations that tied Sullivan to three robberies of the uptown branch of First Bank Richmond.  Sullivan’s address is listed as 135 South 9th, which could explain how he was able to escape capture using just a bicycle as a getaway vehicle.

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HENNY PENNY BECOMES EMPLOYEE OWNED

(Eaton, OH)--Employees of Henny Penny in Eaton learned in a surprise meeting at Eaton High School on Thursday that it will become an employee-owned company.  "This was a big surprise.  This gives us an opportunity to remain privately-held and remain headquartered in Eaton," said CEO Steve Cobb.  Henny Penny employs 600 people.  Last fall, they announced a $7.5 million expansion.  The company designs and produces food equipment for clients like KFC, McDonald’s, and Chick-fil-A.

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McCULLOUGH-HYDE NO LONGER AN INDEPENDENT HOSPITAL

(Oxford, OH)--As of Thursday, McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford is no longer independent.  McCullough-Hyde signed a partnership agreement with Cincinnati-based TriHealth.  TriHealth will immediately invest $17 million into upgrades and renovations.  McCullough-Hyde leaders said that more government-backed insurance policies made it impossible for the hospital to survive on its own.

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WAYNE COUNTY CUTS EXPENSES BY MORE THAN $3 MILLION IN TWO YEARS

(Richmond, IN)--Details of spending reductions in Wayne County were detailed at a council meeting Wednesday.  In 2014, Wayne County spent $3.2 million less than it did in 2012.  According to most county officials, the cuts were made without a noticeable reduction to service.  Wayne County has $6.5 million in the general fund.  If tax caps were not in place, that number would be about $2 million higher.

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AREA J.C. PENNEY STORE TO CLOSE

(Greenville, OH)--J.C. Penney has announced a round of store closures.  One of those stores set to close its doors in the spring is in Greenville.  About 56 employees will be affected by the closure, which is set for early April.  J.C. Penney becomes the third Greenville retailer to close recently.  The K-Mart and Staples stores both recently announced closures.  The Richmond J.C. Penney was not on the list.

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STUDENT INJURED IN SCHOOL BUS CRASH

(New Madison, OH)--A Tri Village school bus was involved in a crash on State Route 121 Wednesday.  The bus was pulling out of a driveway when it was struck on the side by 38-year-old Laura Hall of New Madison.  45 students were on board.  A 15-year-old girl was taken to Reid Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.  Hall was taken to Wayne Healthcare, also with minor injuries.  The investigation continues.

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87% OF RCS TEACHERS RATED EFFECTIVE OR HIGHLY EFFECTIVE

(Richmond, IN)--The overwhelming majority of Wayne County teachers were rated as either effective or highly effective in new numbers released by the Indiana Department of Education.  87% of teachers in Richmond and Lincoln reached those levels.  It was 96% at Northeastern and Nettle Creek.  And, at Centerville, the number was 98%.  Randolph Southern was the only Whitewater Valley school with a teacher rated ineffective.

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BARN DESTROYED BY FIRE

(Fountain City, IN)--Fire destroyed a Fountain City–area barn Tuesday.  Crews from four volunteer fire departments responded to the fire on New Garden Road.  Those firefighters trucked in water to pour onto the metal structure - which is owned by B&B Construction - but it could not be saved.  Fountain City chief Jeff Himelick indicated a tractor may have started the fire.  There were no injuries.

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TWO VACANT RETAIL STORES COULD GET NEW OCCUPANTS

(Cambridge City, IN)--Two soon-to-be vacant area retail stores might not be vacant long.  Alco Stores is liquidating its inventory in advance of closing stores in Cambridge City and Brookville.  Many of the Alco stores nationally are being acquired by Orschelin Farm and Home stores.  Orschelin has stores in Richmond and Winchester, but could now be adding stores in Cambridge City and Brookville.

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JACKKNIFED SEMI CLOSES EASTBOUND I-70

(Wayne County, IN)--Eastbound I-70 was shut down Tuesday morning after a semi jackknifed.  It happened at just before 6 a.m. just west of the Chester Boulevard overpass.  Crews arrived to find fluid leaking.  Eastbound interstate traffic was being diverted into the city of Richmond at Williamsburg Pike.  Most of the traffic was using Industries Road to Chester Boulevard and getting back onto eastbound 70 there.  Between four and six inches of snow fell across the Whitewater Valley overnight.

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SALE OF TOM RAPER DEALERSHIPS BEING FINALIZED

(Richmond, IN)--Tom Raper RV’s is on the verge of selling.  Owner Dave Bane has indicated that he will sell the business to Camping World, which operates a hundred locations nationwide.  Included in the deal are Raper locations in Fairfield and Columbus.  Those three locations combined employee close to 200 people.  The transition is expected to close by the end of March.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Tom Raper began in business in 1964.

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RICHMOND BAR ROBBED

(Richmond, IN)--There was a robbery at a Richmond bar late Monday night.  It happened at just before 11 at the Jus 1 More Bar and Grill on South Fifth.  A suspect described only as a white man told the bartender he had a gun, but never displayed one.  Clothing was found near the scene that the suspect may have been wearing.  So far, though, no arrests have been made.

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CHILDREN, DRIVER ESCAPE SCHOOL BUS FIRE

(Abington, IN)--A school bus caught fire near the intersection of Abington Pike and Centerville Road.  It happened around 7:30 a.m. Monday.  Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa said the kids and the driver are all okay.  "The kids are all safe.  They were evacuated by the bus driver and taken over to a home where they're safe and warm.  The fire department is putting the fire out.  So, once they get that done, we'll have more information.  The intersection of Abington Pike and Centerville Road was closed at 8 a.m. Monday.

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RP&L GM SEARCH INTENSIFIES AS FEDERAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

(Richmond, IN)--The RP&L Board and Common Council will meet Monday night.  Both will elect new officers for 2015.  Later this week, the RP&L Board will begin to interview the final three candidates to replace Jim French as general manager.  French is the subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation and resigned last summer when a voluminous amount of inappropriate material was allegedly found on his work computers.

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A DOZEN CRASHES FOLLOW LIGHT SNOWFALL

(Wayne County, IN)--Not much precipitation came down Sunday, but it was enough to cause numerous accidents on I-70 and in other locations across the Whitewater Valley.  Wayne County dispatched crews to a dozen crashes between 5 and 7 o’clock Sunday night.  Most were property-damage-only accidents, although one SUV did overturn and land on its top near the Union Pike overpass of I-70.

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FIRE DAMAGES WINCHESTER RESTAURANT

(Winchester, IN)--Some weekend news from Winchester…fire did heavy damage to the Round the Corner Café downtown on Friday night.  Crews will continue clean-up efforts today.  There’s no word yet on the cause or dollar amount of the damage.  Also, a Winchester man was taken into custody and charged with child molesting.  David Newman was allegedly involved with a 13-year-old girl.

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