(Richmond, IN)--Kicks 96 and the Point News confirmed Friday morning that the Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions located on Industrial Parkway in Richmond is closing. A corporate spokesperson said Friday morning that the closure will begin early next year and will continue throughout the year. The plant is expected to be completely shut down by the end of next year. Matthews said that production that’s currently being done in Richmond will be shifted to both Aurora, Indiana, and to a plant in Pennsylvania. The spokesperson would not elaborate on the reason for the closure or the number of jobs that will be lost. Estimates based on other sources puts the number of employees at the Richmond plant at between 150 and 200 people. Matthews said that operations at its other Richmond plants would not be affected by the closure of the plant on Industrial Parkway.
(Whitewater Valley)--Thousands of Whitewater Valley residents were still without power Friday morning following Thursday’s ice storm. And, those outages could last until well into the weekend. Crews from out of the area are coming in to help restore electricity that was lost due mainly to falling tree limbs. Right now, 1840 customers of Whitewater Valley REMC are out in our area. Another 962 customers of Duke Energy are out. And, 445 Dayton Power & Light customers were out Friday morning in Preble and Darke County. That’s a total of 3247 customers still affected. There’s no specific estimated time of restoration.
(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health issued a statement Thursday saying that the former County Market building on National Road West in Richmond is being converted into a health center for senior citizens. Specifically, it will be a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly – or PACE – location. It’s an alternative for older people who need primary care, rehabilitation, or adult day care and want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Renovation is set to start soon with a projected opening date sometime late next year. Reid paid $1.75 million for the property and will maintain the leases of other businesses in the plaza.
(Richmond, IN)--Two men who share a last name were both arrested early Friday morning near a Richmond gas station and are facing a host of drug charges. 45-year-old Lanny Fultz and 26-year-old Dillon Fultz were apprehended at 12th and North E and were allegedly in possession of methamphetamine, syringes, and drug paraphernalia. The two Fultzes have a combined 80 criminal charges in their history. They’ve been jailed six times already this year. Lanny Fultz has been charged with dealing Friday morning.
(Seto City, Japan)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow and EDC CEO Valerie Shaffer continued their tour of Japan Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re part of a contingent of eastern Indiana leaders visiting manufacturers and other employers. On Wednesday, Snow and Shaffer met with leaders at Honda, Tochigi Prefecture, Asahi Tech, and Suncall. On Tuesdayday, they met with leadership at TBK America and discussed a recent Richmond expansion.
(Wayne County, IN)--The number of cases of hepatitis A in Wayne County continues to slowly but steadily rise. According to the Indiana Department of Health, six new cases have been added locally in the last two weeks, bringing the total to 129. It’s now 49 cases more than the next highest county of Clark. Nearly 3300 vaccines have now been administered. Fayette County now has 14 cases of hepatitis A.
(Richmond, IN)--Six people were hauled off to the Wayne County Jail following a drug bust just north of downtown Richmond Tuesday. The arrests came in the 1200 block of North D Street. Franklin Jones, Trentavia Lear, Michael McKenn, Nicholas Owens, Cierra Welch, and Christina White were all jailed at around 5:15 yesterday morning. Christina White faces the most serious charges, including dealing cocaine and possession of methamphetamine.
(Fountain City, IN)--A former Northeastern High School principal has filed a lawsuit against the school corporation. A year ago, Wes Wisner was essentially fired after a host of allegations, including insubordination and intimidation. But it was a controversial end to Wisner’s employment, due in part to what some supporters said was lack of communication between the Board, administrators, and parents Now, Wisner is seeking unspecified damages for age discrimination, defamation, and invasion of privacy. A pretrial conference is set for November 20.
(Richmond, IN)--A non-profit watchdog group called Leapfrog has released grades for hospitals across the country, including in our area. The grades cover a variety of topics, including infections, problems with surgery, and safety issues. Those are then combined into an overall grade. In Richmond, Reid Health received a B. McCullough-Hyde in Oxford received an A. Fayette Regional did not appear. As for larger regional hospitals, both Good Samaritan and the Christ in Cincinnati received A’s. IU Methodist received a D.
(Richmond, IN)--The series of arrests of alleged counterfeiters continued Monday. 29-year-old Lucas Mann was taken into custody yesterday morning in Richmond’s Walmart plaza and charged with both felony counterfeiting and criminal conversion. Unlike other recent arrests of people from Chicago and central Indiana, Mann is local. It’s at least the fifth time Mann has been jailed just this year.
(Unnan, Japan)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow and EDC CEO Valerie Shaffer are in Japan today on a goodwill trip. Snow and Shaffer have been there for the last several days. So far, they’ve met with representatives of Richmond’s sister city, Unnan, and gotten re-acquainted with a group of students that was in Richmond this summer. Snow and Shaffer made a similar trip to Japan last year.
(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police investigated the report of a man being drug by a car on National Road East Sunday afternoon. The incident began as a domestic dispute near Texas Roadhouse. Scanner traffic indicated the man was hanging on to the window and was drug east to Garwood Road. The female driver stopped a few blocks south. The man sustained only minor injuries. Garwood Road was shut down for a short time. There’s no word yet on identities or whether or not criminal charges were filed.
(Whitewater Valley)--Fire light up the overnight sky and destroyed a barn near Greens Fork Monday morning. It broke out at around midnight in the 3000 block of Sowers Road. Multiple agencies joined Centerville. "We had units from Cambridge City and Greens Fork there to assis us," said one Centerville firefighter. The barn was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. It’s a complete loss. The cause of the fire has not been released. There were no injuries. A large barn burned to the ground in southwestern Randolph County Sunday. Multiple crews responded to the area of County Road 1200 West near Losantville. The barn had already burned to the ground and could not be saved. No dollar amount of damage has been set yet. There’s no word on a cause. No injuries were reported.
(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health has purchased the former County Market on National Road West in Richmond and 16 acres of land that surrounds it. The property is called Kings Plaza and includes several retail spots…some vacant and some currently occupied. The deal closed Thursday for an undisclosed amount of money. It’s assessed at just over a million dollars. Reid is not saying what it’s planning to do with the County Market, although renovations have been underway inside. The building has been vacant for the last 17 years.
(Richmond, IN)--A diploma will be handed out at Richmond High School Friday morning. But it’s not just any diploma…it’s a diploma earned by a Navy veteran 68 years ago. Bill Grimes left RHS in the middle of his junior year to serve as a mechanic in the Navy during the Korean War. 20 members of Grimes’ family will be on hand to watch him get his diploma. It will be a part of Veteran’s Day services that get underway at 9 o’clock Friday morning at the Tiernan Center.
(Wayne County, IN)--One person is dead following a standoff at a home in the Garden City Trailer Park on U.S. 27 between Richmond and Fountain City. Sheriff’s deputies and the state police were called there at around 7 o’clock Thursday night on the report of a suicidal subject. According to scanner traffic and residents at the scene, officers tried to coax the residents out with a P.A. system. Scanner traffic then indicated flash grenades were used to gain entry. The Wayne County Coroner was then called to the scene. More information will likely be released by the Sheriff's Department on Friday.
(Hagerstown, IN)--The report of a suspicious vehicle Thursday morning on North Pearl Street in Hagerstown ended with a significant drug arrest. Officers stopped 30-year-old Christofer Summers and found methamphetamine, marijuana, controlled substances, syringes, and drug paraphernalia. Summers recently offered new tools for sale in unopened boxes on his Facebook page. Investigators have not said if they suspect those tools were stolen.
(Whitewater Valley)--Here's a recap of local and regional results from the 2018 General Election:
GENERAL: A total of 20,142 people cast ballots in Wayne County for this year’s general election, and that’s almost double the 11,000 people that voted in the last midterms four years ago. The majority of those people – about 11,000 - cast ballots before yesterday. More than half voted straight-party tickets, with 2/3 of those voting Republican. Voting was steady at all Wayne County polling places yesterday, although no significant waits were reported. There was one issue…about a dozen people who said they had registered through the BMV did not appear on voter rolls.
SCHOOL BOARDS: Here’s a look at school board races across Wayne County. In Richmond, newcomer Keith Morey and incumbent Jeff Slifer were the top two at-large vote-getters for seats on the RCS Board. Suzanne Derengowski also won, although she will switch to District 3. Brad Lambright easily won the only challenged school board seat in Centerville. At Northeastern, Eric Fields defeated incumbent Angela Cline by a nearly 2-1 margin. Marcie Jo Houghton and Shaun Lieberman won at Nettle Creek, while Dennis Feller, Lucius Pitcock, and Phil Pflum were successful at Western Wayne.
WAYNE COUNTY COUNCIL: Wayne County Council will have a new member. It’s Cambridge City’s Beth Leisure, who defeated Democrat Nick Elder by more than a thousand votes in the council’s only contested race. Three Republicans ran unopposed for council. They include Bob Chamness, Jeff Plasterer, and Tony Gillam.
INDIANA STATE: In state races with local impact, Brad Barrett easily won the House District 56 seat. Jeff Raatz also won in District 27. Republican Greg Pence defeated Democrat Jeannine Lake by nearly a 2-1 margin in the race for the Sixth District Congressional Seat. The race for a seat in the U.S. Senate was closer. Republican Mike Braun defeated Democrat Joe Donnelly 53-43%. And, Connie Lawson easily won the race for Secretary of State.
PREBLE: Nearly 16,000 people cast ballots in overwhelmingly Republican Preble County. Rodney Creech easily won the race for county commissioner. Various tax levies passed in Eaton, Camden, Twin Valley, New Paris, Lewisburg, and West Alexandria. A tax levy for the Preble County Health Department failed by just 60 votes out of the almost 16,000 that were cast.
FAYETTE: There were plenty of contested races in Fayette County. Dale Strong won for commissioner in District 1. Republicans Michael Wenta, Kathleen Rhoades, John Clarke, and Kayla Nobbe won council seats in Districts 1-4, and Joey Laughlin won in the race for sheriff.
RANDOLPH: Republicans swept contested races in Randolph County. Bob McCoy won in the race for a District 4 council seat. Art Moyster was elected sheriff, and Jane Grove won as recorder. None of those contested races were close.
(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council members were given an update on street construction in the downtown area Monday night. The bottom line is that construction will continue well into next year. INDOT managers said work on South A and North 8th won’t likely be done until sometime next April. Bike path construction on East Main and 10th Street is not expected to wrap up until next June. INDOT did tell a city representative that all lanes of U.S. 40 and U.S. 27 would be opened for the winter months.
(Richmond, IN)--There was a significant drug bust at a Richmond apartment complex Monday night. According to scanner traffic, a large amount of drugs was located in plain view by officers in a unit at Winding Ridge Apartments off of Chester Boulevard. 24-year-old Taylor Smallwood was taken into custody and charged with both dealing heroin and dealing methamphetamine. At least one child was allegedly present based on the additional charge of felony neglect of a dependent.
(Wayne County, IN)--Final voting numbers are in for the week leading up to Tuesday’s Election Day in Wayne County. So far, 9558 Wayne County residents have cast ballots. In the last midterm four years ago, roughly 11,000 people voted. But that includes traditional Election Day, and this year’s 9558 total so far does not. 82% of people have voted at one of three Richmond locations. Votes can be cast at the courthouse until noon Monday. Polls are open from 6-6 Tuesday in Indiana and from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. in Ohio.
(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police on Sunday arrested an accused rapist with a long history of assault and other crimes. 27-year-old Justin Croucher was taken into custody Sunday at a home in the 400 block of North 20th and charged with rape and criminal confinement. Details have not been released. Croucher has at least eight other arrests for battery, including one in which the victim was a 14-year-old girl. Two years ago, he was caught pleasuring himself on an electric box near the pond at Glen Miller Park. In 2010, an appellate court said Croucher could not safely be released into the community.
(Cambridge City, IN)--Wastewater treatment needs to be expanded for the Indiana Gateway Industrial Park near Cambridge City to grow. The debate for years has been whether to build a new treatment plant or send the wastewater to Connersville. Now, a private engineering firm has finished a study and given a recommendation. That recommendation…send it to Connersville. In general, the study said sending it to Connersville would be 35% cheaper over the next 25 years. Next in the process is a rate evaluation.
(Union County, IN)--A Union County woman has collected more than 10,000 signatures on an online petition after a tragedy last week in which three children were killed getting onto a bus in northern Indiana. Here’s what has motivated Liberty’s Jessica Jones to work to prevent similar tragedies. "My children were on a school bus here in Union County and they witnessed an accident that took the life of a friend," Jones said. Eight-year-old Jaret Philbeck was killed crossing U.S. 27 near Cottage Grove five years ago. Jones has worked in the five years since to change legislation. This is was she wants. "Pass a law that prohibits kids from being asked to cross a highway to board a bus." You can find the online petition at change.org.
(Winchester, IN)--Both Winchester and the Indiana State Police continue to look for a car today after a body was found in the 500 block of West South Street over the weekend. Investigators today are still not saying who that person is, what may have caused the death, or how long the body had been in a home there. The car should not be hard to spot. It’s a red 2006 Mustang GT black stripes and a black scoop on the hood. Police say citizens should not approach the car if they see it.
(Richmond, IN)--A business in Richmond’s Depot District has announced that it is closing. According to a social media post made by The Kitchen at The Loft, that business’s last day of operation was Thursday. The owners said that they had spread themselves too thin among multiple businesses that they own. A new tenant is actively being sought for the space in the 400 block of North 10th. The owners stressed that it will be business as usual for other entities inside the Loft.
(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman has released new numbers regarding the county’s drug diversion program. That program allows drug charges to be dropped if offenders can complete drug treatment programs. There are 52 current participants. 29 of those 52 are considered compliant. Since the program’s inception in June of 2016, 207 people have attempted it. 22 people have been successful.
(Richmond, IN)--J&J Winery is closing. The winery has operated for the last decade on National Road West in Richmond, but that will come to an end by the end of this year. In a release yesterday, J&J said that owners Jeff and Melody Haist wanted to travel and become involved with other activities. The café has already closed. Sales of all remaining product will be conducted over the next four Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Equipment, fixtures, and the facility itself will also be available for purchase.
(Gratis, OH)--An emergency town meeting has been called for Thursday night in the Preble County village of Gratis. Beginning Thursday, Gratis will not be receiving any more tax dollars because village leaders have not turned in a budget as required by state law. Roughly 325 households are being affected. Gratis village leaders have not yet commented on the situation.