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Local News with Jeff Lane Archives for 2019-05

MAY ENDS IN RICHMOND WITH RAIN ON 23 OF 31 DAYS

(Richmond, IN)--A round of heavy rain with some embedded hail caused street flooding in some areas of Richmond Thursday night.  A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for Wayne County, but no significant damage was reported.  The rain, though, is nothing new.  Check this out.  Friday marks the 72nd day of spring.  So far in Richmond, there has been measurable rain on 50 of the 72 days of spring.  That includes 23 of 31 days with rain in the month of May.

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LOCAL BUSINESSES ACCEPT TORNADO DONATIONS

(Richmond, IN)--Several local businesses are working to collect donations for people affected by Monday’s tornadoes.  Personal use items, water, non-perishable food, and cleaning supplies are being collected today and this weekend at locations that include Cronin Toyota, Wetzel Chevrolet, Wallace Heating and Air, and Kroger in Richmond along with the Preble County YMCA in Eaton.  Primex Transport is donating a truck to take the donations to those in need.  Volunteers are still needed to load the trailers.

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U.S. 52 TO CLOSE FOR THREE MONTHS

(Franklin County, IN)--A heavily traveled Whitewater Valley highway is about to shut down for three months.  U.S. 52, which connects Brookville to Cincinnati, will be shutting down between Cedar Grove and New Trenton on Monday to allow a company to construct a wall to stop a hillslide.  It further compromises traffic into the Brookville Lake area, which has already been affected by the closure of the Fairfield Causeway.

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NWS CONFIRMS TWO TORNADO TOUCHDOWNS IN DARKE COUNTY

(Darke County, OH)--The National Weather Service issued updated information Wednesday and now says that two tornadoes touched down in the New Madison area on Monday night.  Both were determined to be EF-1 tornadoes with wind speeds of 110 miles per hour.  One touched down at 9:48 that night two miles south of Hollansburg.  It was on the ground for two minutes and covered a mile and a half.  The second tornado touched down nine minutes later in New Madison and was on the ground for two minutes.

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TRAIN STRIKES CAR STUCK ON TRACKS

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the breaking news Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point reported Wednesday in which a car was hit by a train at a Richmond railroad crossing.  According to a battalion chief, a driver was headed north on Hayes Arboretum Road with a flat tire.  Witnesses said the wheel was throwing off sparks.  The car became stuck on the tracks.  The driver, who has not been identified, had plenty of time to get out before the car was struck by a westbound train.  The car was pushed a short distance toward the Elks Road crossing.

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MAN ARRESTED FOR RAPE, INCEST

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man who was wanted for rape and incest was taken into custody Wednesday.  24-year-old Lane Fultz had an active warrant for those felonies and was located at Westridge Estates on Indiana Avenue in Richmond.  Details of what Fultz is accused of doing have not yet become available.  Fultz remained in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning.

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CLOSEST TORNADO TO RICHMOND TOUCHED DOWN EAST OF PREBLE CO. LINE

(Montgomery County, OH)--The National Weather Service issued reports Tuesday on the storms that rolled through the area on Monday night.  They say multiple tornadoes touched down.  The closest touched down about five miles east of the Preble County line.  It grew to an EF-3 tornado and was on the ground for 20 miles.  Although storm damage was significant in the New Madison area, the National Weather Service did not make the determination that it was a tornado, but more likely was strong straight-line winds.

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TRIO JAILED AFTER FEMALE REPORTS FLEEING FROM PEOPLE WITH GUN

(Richmond, IN)--Three people are in custody after a woman reported being chased by someone with a gun in the area of Sheridan Street and Waterfall Road at around 1 o’clock Wednesday morning in Richmond.  The occupants of a car were eventually stopped on Chester Boulevard.  43-year-old Horace Williams was charged with dealing cocaine and criminal recklessness.  Jannae Cole was also in the car.  She has a lengthy criminal record despite being 19 years old.  24-year-old Zachary Vansickle was found hiding in weeds nearby.  He was arrested less than two weeks ago for strangulation.  No shots were fired.

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GALO'S NAMED INDIANA'S BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond has the best Italian restaurant in all of Indiana.  That’s according to the website tasteofhome.com, which says that Galo’s on Garwood Road in Richmond tops all others statewide.  The website touts Galo’s signature bread and seasoned olive oil, as well as the inside décor that includes a large ceiling mural.

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LOCAL OFFICIALS SAY NO CONFIRMED TORNADOS MONDAY NIGHT

(Whitewater Valley)--Weather was quiet across the Whitewater Valley Tuesday morning after severe storms rolled through Monday night.  Despite a tornado warning with two extensions, there were never any confirmed tornado touchdowns in Wayne County.  County officials said Tuesday morning that damage reports so far have been minimal.  Residents mostly north of a line from Hagerstown to Middleboro did experience some golf ball-sized hail.  There was also no confirmed touchdown in Randolph County, although suspected straight-line winds did bring down trees and power lines near Arba.  In the New Madison area, there was some structural damage reported to buildings, although there is no confirmed tornado touchdown there.  No injuries were reported anywhere in the Whitewater Valley.

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FOUR MEN JAILED IN PROSTITUTION STING

(Richmond, IN)--Four men – mostly older – were jailed following a Friday prostitution sting in Richmond.  Officers targeted alleged would-be johns in an area of Richmond that has not yet been disclosed.  It took only about three hours in the sting operation to arrest 23-year-old Jeremy Whorton, 57-year-old Jack Turner, 62-year-old David Burnett, and 80-year-old Douglas Lindstrand.  All four were taken to the Wayne County Jail.  Patronizing a prostitute is a Class A misdemeanor.

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NEW CENSUS ESTIMATES SHOW POPULATION DECLINE

(Whitewater Valley)--Nearly every Whitewater Valley city and county continues to lose residents.  That’s according to new census estimates released this week by the federal government.  Richmond’s population now stands at 35,353.  That’s down 1459 people since the last hard count in 2010.  Since then, Wayne County has lost 3000 people and with a new population of 65,936.  Connersville, Eaton, Liberty, and Brookville have all lost residents.  Only one community in our area is actually growing, according to the new numbers. That’s Oxford, which has grown by 1500 people.

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WASTEWATER TREATMENT SOLUTION DELAYED ANOTHER MONTH

(Cambridge City, IN)--It will be at least another month before plans to treat wastewater at the Gateway Industrial Park near Cambridge City move forward.  This week, the Western Wayne Regional Sewer District indicated it wanted more information about possible expansion from SugarCreek Packing.  Wayne County Commissioners have supported the option of sending the wastewater to Connersville.  They’ve offered $3 million if the Connersville option is chosen.

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MURDER VICTIM FOUND IN PREBLE COUNTY

(Preble County, OH)--A murder victim has been found in Preble County.  A Rumpke driver spotted the body on Monday on Eaton-Gettysburg Road.  Sheriff Mike Simpson said Wednesday that an autopsy revealed that the victim was 57-year-old Adolph Hunter from central Indiana and that Hunter died as the result of a homicide.  Investigators don’t yet know how the man ended up in Preble County, but they say he had been dead for several days before being discovered.  A specific cause of death has not been released.

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OVERDOSE CALL LEADS TO DRUG ARREST

(Richmond, IN)--overdose call in the problem area of the 100 block of Richmond Avenue Thursday morning has led to the arrest of a 25-year-old Richmond woman on three felony charges.  Crystal Brant was charged with obstruction, possession of cocaine, and trafficking with an inmate.  Brant allegedly still had drugs in her possession while being booked into jail at just past midnight Thursday morning.

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AREA NEARS RECORD-LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

(Whitewater Valley)--On Tuesday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported that Wayne County had very positive new unemployment numbers with the rate falling to just 3.2%.  But it’s not just Wayne County.  Other Whitewater Valley counties have also experienced big drops are now approaching historically low unemployment rates.  That includes Union County, which is now down to just 2.9%.  Even Fayette County’s rate is 4%.  By comparison –earlier in the decade – Fayette County’s rate was 14%.  And, in rates released Tuesday, all three Ohio counties of Preble, Darke, and Butler were at just 2.8% unemployment.  Those numbers also are approaching historically record lows.

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CIVIC THEATER NAMES FIRST-EVER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Civic Theater has named its first-ever executive director.  It took near a year and a nationwide search to locate Whitney Reeves.  Reeves is an IU East graduate whose time at the Civic Theater dates back to when she was five years old.  She will focus on fundraising, supporting volunteer leadership, and day-to-day administrative management.  There are two other Civic Theater staff members.

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NWS: SECOND TORNADO HIT PREBLE COUNTY

(New Hope, OH)--The National Weather Service said Monday that a second tornado touched down in Preble County on Sunday night.  An EF-1 tornado with wind speeds of 90 miles per hour touched down on Toby Road just west of Eaton.  It was on the ground for 4.5 miles.  Sheet metal from a barn flew for nearly half a mile.  The National Weather Service added Monday that the tornado that touched down near West Alexandria was also an EF-1.  Wind speeds with that tornado reached 95 miles per hour.  In addition to confirming that two tornados touched down in Preble County on Sunday, the National Weather Service explained Monday why weather warning sirens never sounded.  A weather service spokesperson said that Doppler radar did not indicate rotation in the storm, possibly due to the distance from where it’s situated in Dayton.  The spokesperson also said that the tornados formed extremely quickly.  A tornado warning was never issued, although a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect.

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REID TO EVALUATE NEED FOR FAYETTE REGIONAL EMPLOYEES

(Connersville, IN)--Reid Health is remaining fairly non-committal with details of its recent purchase of Fayette Regional Health System.  But, CEO Craig Kinyon did tell the Connersville News-Examiner that the hospital’s emergency room service will remain intact.  Reid will evaluate whether or not to reopen the delivery room for expecting mothers.  And, as for the 437 employees of Fayette Regional, Reid indicated that it would evaluate what positions and jobs are needed.  A meeting will take place with retained employees to explain how the transition will occur.

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WAYNE COUNTY SEES LARGE DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has seen a downturn in one employment indicator.  That’s according to new numbers released from the state Monday.  The number of people in the workforce shrank by 167 people in the last month.  It’s also down 181 people from this time last year.  But, on the positive side, 125 more people are employed in Wayne County now as compared to last month.  The unemployment rate is down to 3.2%.  That’s nearly a full-percentage-point drop from last month.

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TORNADO TOUCHES DOWN IN PREBLE COUNTY

(West Alexandria, OH)--A tornado touched down as storms swept through the Whitewater Valley Sunday night.  It was first spotted by a police officer on the western edge of West Alexandria.  There was no immediate indication of injury.  Several barns and other buildings suffered structural damage.  The National Weather Service will be in West Alexandria Monday to survey the area.  There were sporadic power outages across our area last night.  Nearly all power has now been restored.

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MAN JAILED FOR SEXUAL BATTERY, STRANGULATION

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man is facing serious violent charges and multiple felonies after his arrest over the weekend.  38-year-old Chris Mays is today facing charges that include sexual battery, criminal confinement, and strangulation.  Mays’ listed residence is in the 500 block of South 8th.  He was arrested by an RPD investigator.  Details of what Mays is alleged to have done have not been released.  He was arrested last year for possessing methamphetamine.

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REID: "NO SPECIFIC PLANS" FOR EATON'S K-MART BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health on Thursday released a short, informal statement about its purchase of the former K-Mart building in Eaton that we exclusively told you about yesterday.  Reid said "we don’t have any specific plans for the property outside of anticipating future growth needs for patient care in Eaton and Preble County."  Reid paid $1.5 million for the property.  K-Mart left the building just shy of three years ago.  It’s been vacant since.  Reid already operates an urgent care center in Eaton.

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DEPUTIES RETURN SUSPECT TO RICHMOND FROM MISSISSIPPI

(Richmond, IN)--Local law enforcement officers went all the way to Mississippi Thursday to bring 39-year-old Lakendall Hunter back to Richmond to face local charges.  Hunter was wanted in Wayne County for serious crimes that include aggravated battery and criminal recklessness.  Details of what he alleged did locally have not been released.  In Mississippi, he was being held for involvement in a robbery and drive-by shooting.  Hunter was last listed locally as a resident of Merle Henderson Apartments.

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EIGHT ALLEGED DEALERS CAUGHT IN DRUG SWEEP

(Connersville, IN)--SWAT Team and Task Force members in Connersville and Fayette County have wrapped up a huge drug sweep that led to the arrests of eight alleged drug dealers.  Chrystal Coker, Dylayna Swallow, Ian Lore, Brae-Ann Joliff, Gayge Isaacs, Lonny Purciful, Paul Chasteen, and Stephanie Herbert were all arrested for dealing various types of drugs – mostly methamphetamine.  Those arrests led to the arrests of multiple other people who had outstanding warrants.

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REID HEALTH BUYS EATON'S K-MART BUILDING

(Eaton, OH)--Reid Health has acquired another major piece of property in the Whitewater Valley.  According to the Preble County Auditor’s website, Reid Properties LLC is the new owner of the former K-Mart building in Eaton.  The sale was registered on May 9.  The listed price for the building was $1.5 million.  So far, Reid has not released any information about the purchase or the building’s intended usage.  It has been vacant for more than two years.  In just the last two months, Reid has purchased property in Cambridge City and most of Fayette Regional Health System.

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125 MPH CHASE ENDS WITH RICHMOND CRASH

(Richmond, IN)--A police chase Thursday morning entered the Richmond area at speeds of 125 miles per hour.  The chase began at around 1:30 Thursday morning for reasons not yet released in Delaware County.  It entered Wayne County on U.S. 35 and then headed south on State Road 1.  The suspect then got onto I-70 and headed east.  Stop sticks were successfully deployed on the interstate when speeds still topped 100 m.p.h.  The driver entered Richmond on Williamsburg Pike.  He was driving on his rims by the time he reached downtown.  The chase ended when he crashed into a utility pole near 19th and East Main.  Witnesses saw containers being removed from the suspect’s car.  His name has not been released.  A passenger was also taken into custody.

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RICHMOND MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSING CHILD PORN

(Richmond, IN)--Law enforcement agents went to a home near North West 5th and Richmond Avenue Wednesday to arrest a 33-year-old man for possessing child pornography.  David Cochran ran to his computer when officers arrived, but was apprehended and numerous electronic devices were confiscated.  The arrest wrapped up a weeks-long investigation by several agencies.  Cochran remained in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning.

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MAN REVIVED WITH NARCAN AND TASED IN SAME INCIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man on Wednesday was both revived with Narcan and Tased in the same incident.  Police were sent to the 400 block of South 10th.  Scanner traffic indicates multiple does of Narcan were used to revive 37-year-old Ronald Ruble following an overdose.  Once he was revived, Ruble allegedly resisted arrest and had to be Tased.  He was in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning and has been charged with dealing methamphetamine.

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AFFIDAVIT: BAKERY OWNER OFFERED BOY MONEY FOR SEX

(Richmond, IN)--A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday in Wayne Circuit Court for the owner of Hagerstown’s Bowman Bakery on a child solicitation charge.  Details in the affidavit against 33-year-old Travis Bowman indicate that Bowman offered a 14-year-old boy $100 to perform a sex act on that boy.  The boy told police that Bowman had approached him twice in the area of Clear Creek Park to ask directions and then made the sexual advance.  After reporting the incident, the boy picked Bowman out of a police photo lineup and identified Bowman’s vehicle.  An August trial date was set Tuesday.  Bowman is free on bond.

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WAYNE COUNTY CHILD ABUSE, NEGLECT CASES DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Wayne County has dropped in the last month.  According to new numbers from the Indiana Department of Child Services, Wayne County had 25 new cases in April.  It’s down from 41 cases the month before.  That brings the total new cases this year to 107.  That’s not quite one new case each day.  Fayette County had 20 cases last month.  Union County didn’t have any.

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ALLEGED METH DEALER ARRESTED AT RICHMOND MANUFACTURER

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged methamphetamine dealer had drugs in his pocket when he was arrested at his place of employment Tuesday.  That’s according to the Wayne County Drug Task Force, which had conducted a lengthy investigation on 28-year-old Lewis Reed.  Primex Plastics cooperated with Reed’s arrest on the job.  The Task Force indicated it had made several controlled buys from Reed in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s arrest.  Reed now faces a lengthy prison term based on his previous criminal history.

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OXFORD, MIAMI U. POLICE TRY TO IDENTIFY ASSAULT SUSPECT

(Oxford, OH)--Oxford and Miami University Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who committed an assault and then fled on a strange getaway vehicle.  They’ve posted very clear surveillance images of a middle-aged white male who committed the attack near Center Drive and drove away on what was described as an electric skateboard.

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REID HEALTH ACQUIRES FAYETTE REGIONAL

(Connersville, IN)--Reid Health has acquired much of Fayette Regional Health System.  A statement released Monday from Reid indicated that it has entered into an agreement to acquire much of the assets of the Connersville hospital.  The deal calls for Reid to pay nearly $13 million to Fayette Regional’s bankruptcy estate.  The hospital filed for bankruptcy protection last fall.  Final approval must be granted by a federal Bankruptcy Court.  It’s expected to be finalized in two months.  Fayette Regional employees – nearly 400 of them – were told last week that they would no longer be employed by Fayette Regional by mid-July.  There was no specific word on how the deal affects those employees.

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EDC: 2018 SAW 377 JOB COMMITMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--The EDC of Wayne County held its annual meeting Monday and highlighted its accomplishments in 2018.  The EDC last year worked on projects that resulted in 377 new job commitments and more than $51 million in private investment.  That vast majority of that success comes from expansions at two manufacturers – Omen USA and SugarCreek Packing.  When those expansions are complete, the two companies will employ a total of 850 people.

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ALLEGED DRUG DEALER ARRESTED AT TRAILER COURT

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged drug dealer was taken into custody Monday in the trailer park where State Road 227 meets New Paris Pike in Richmond.  50-year-old Linda Allen is charged with dealing methamphetamine and maintaining a common nuisance.  Details of what led to the arrest have not been released.  Allen was arrested two years ago for trying to prevent Richmond police from handcuffing a known drug dealer.

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ALLEGED ROXXY'S ROBBER FACES NEW CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Two men who were allegedly in possession of a variety of drugs were taken into custody on South 7th in Richmond on Sunday.  50-year-old Robert Grays of Richmond and 39-year-old Patrick Logue of Liberty now faces charges that include possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, other narcotic drugs, and marijuana.  Details of what led to their arrest and the amount of drugs recovered have not been released.  Grays is the man who allegedly used a butcher knife to rob Roxxy’s near downtown Richmond just five months ago.

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MAN CHARGED WITH POINTING LOADED WEAPON IN DEPOT DISTRICT

(Richmond, IN)--A 70-year-old Richmond man was out of jail Monday morning after allegedly pointing a loaded weapon at people at a Depot District business on Saturday night.  Willard Goff was charged with felony intimidation and pointing a firearm.  Scanner traffic indicates police responded to a possible fight involving up to 15 people at New Boswell Brewery and Tap Room.  Police were able to break up the incident and no shots were ever fired.  Goff was issued a banning order.

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FIRST ROUND OF CLEAN-UP YIELDS 85 TONS OF TRASH

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s ongoing city-wide cleanup shifts Monday to the northwestern quadrant of the city.  It’s an opportunity for residents to get rid of larger items that are often dumped in alleys…things like tires and old furniture.  The first round of cleaning wound up over the weekend.  In that round, the Sanitation Department collected more than 85 tons of unwanted items.  That includes 500 old tires.  Details of how to get rid of large items can be found on the city’s Facebook page.

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BAKERY OWNER FREE ON BOND AFTER CHILD SOLICITATION ARREST

(Hagerstown, IN)--The owner of a Hagerstown bakery who was arrested Thursday for child solicitation has bonded out and was free Friday morning.  33-year-old Travis Bowman was taken into custody Thursday at Bowman Bakery.  No details about what Bowman is alleged to have done have not been released, but law enforcement officials have said the arrest is not connected to a multijurisdictional investigation in January of last year.  Computers and electronic devices were taken, but Bowman was never charged.  He bonded out of jail late Thursday afternoon.  There’s no word on the status of the bakery.

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IU EAST, IVY TECH TO HOLD LOCAL COMMENCEMENT

(Richmond, IN)--Commencement ceremonies for the IU East Class of 2019 will be taking place Friday night at the Tiernan Center.  842 diplomas will be handed out.  Included in that number are students from 69 Indiana counties, 32 states, and 14 countries.  The youngest graduate is 19 years old; the oldest is 69.  Nearly 40% of the graduates will be the first-generation college graduates.  Ivy Tech graduates will gather at the Tiernan Center in Richmond on Saturday to receive their diplomas or certificates.  About 180 students will cross the stage.  747 students will have completed their degree or program.  98 dual credit students will get Associates degrees from Ivy Tech three weeks before they graduate from their respective high schools.  Saturday’s commencement includes students from the Richmond and Connersville campuses.

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ELECTED LEADERS: UNION COUNTY COULD CEASE TO EXIST

(Liberty, IN)--Union County will not be a stand-alone county for much longer.  That strong warning came from elected officials during a recent meeting of Union County Council and Commissioners.  They say new tax laws designed to help heavily populated counties around big cities are hurting small, rural counties like Union.  A representative of the Governor’s office said three years ago that, in a decade, several small counties would cease to exist.  Union County continues to experience decreasing tax revenue and increasing expenses.

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ADULT, CHILD SERIOUSLY INJURED IN EAST MAIN CRASH

(Richmond, IN)--An adult female and a child were suffered serious injuries in a crash near the intersection of Elks Road and East Main Street at just after 9 o’clock Wednesday night.  Richmond police have not yet released any information about the crash.  But, according to scanner traffic, the driver lost control and hit a concrete sign.  At least one victim was flown to a Level One trauma center.  Scanner traffic also indicated officers tried but were unable to obtain a blood draw to test for intoxication and that a false name was given for the child.  Westbound East Main Street was shut down shortly after the crash.

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DOCUMENT: PUBLIC HEALTH EMPLOYEES MUST VACATE BY YEAR'S END

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the pending separation of the Wayne County Health Department from county government that Kicks 96 and The Point News reported on Wednesday.  According to a mediation agreement, public health employees will vacate its current location at 201 East Main Street in Richmond as soon as practical but no later than the end of this year.  The parties would then enter into a three-year lease.  There would also be a right of first refusal if the county wants to sell the property.

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POLICE: TRI VILLAGE BOYS MADE UP ABDUCTION ATTEMPT

(New Madison, OH)--For nearly a week, some parents of children who attend Tri Village schools have been on edge after two ten-year-old boys reported someone tried to lure them into his vehicle.  Last Friday, the boys gave investigators a detailed description of the man and the vehicle he was driving.  Now, the investigation has concluded and it’s been determined that the boys made the entire story up for no particular reason.  One of the boys has admitted to concocting the story.

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COMMISSIONERS AND COUNCIL AGREE TO PART WAYS WITH HEALTH DEPARTMENT

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Council and Commissioners have entered into a mediation agreement with the Wayne County Health Department to discontinue their relationship at the end of the current grant period.  The results include the transformation of the Health Department into an independent entity and to release nearly $2 million at the request of the Auditor.  Employees of the Health Department would no longer be county employees.  The agreement was signed last month and has now become public.

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COUNCIL APPROVES PARK BOND

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council Monday night approved a four-year, three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar bond to fund various equipment and infrastructure upgrades for the Park Department.  Council approved the bond 7-2, but virtually all members expressed disappointment with how it came about.  "Here we are...first quarter...and all of a sudden the sky is falling and we need money," said Misty Hollis.  "I was hoping tonight that we would have a solution presented that would finance this short of issuing bonds," added Clay Miller.  Jamie Lopeman echoed their sentiments.  "I don't like the way this happened, but I do understand the need.  At  this point, I will support it begrudgingly."  Some council members wanted the issued addressed during last year’s budget process.  Bruce Wissel called the process a step away from a payday loan.

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500, 600 BLOCKS OF EAST MAIN TO CLOSE SIMULTANEOUSLY

(Richmond, IN)--Soon, two full blocks of East Main Street will be completely shut down for construction.  Beginning Thursday, the 500 block will shut down.  That closure will combine with the shutdown of the 600 block of East Main, which has already been in effect for several weeks.  Kate Barber gave Richmond Common Council an update Monday night.  "There will be a period of times when both blocks will be under construction, and that is due to unforeseen utility work and weather," Barber said.  A tentative reopening date is June 19.  Also, Barber said there would be additional construction this week at 7th and East Main.

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FAYETTE REGIONAL EMPLOYEES TOLD NO JOBS BY MID-JULY

(Connersville, IN)--Every employee of Fayette Regional Health System has been notified that they will not have a job after mid-July with the current ownership of the Connersville hospital.  The notice, which was sent to almost 500 employees, says that the hospital will go out of business as early as July 3.  If the hospital sells, current employees may have the opportunity to work under new ownership.  Negotiations are continuing with at least one potential buyer.

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FAYETTE REGIONAL AUCTION CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF QUALIFIED BIDDERS

(Connersville, IN)--Thursday’s auction of Fayette Regional Health System was over before it began.  The auction was called off because no entity submitted a qualified bid that was high enough.  One condition of the bid is that it would need to cover the Connersville hospital’s liabilities, which includes about $16 million to one bank.  Now, negotiations will be renewed with interested parties.  Reid Heath officials had toured Fayette Regional in advance of the scheduled auction, but declined this week to publically address its level of interest.

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MAN CHARGED WITH HIGHEST LEVEL OF CHILD MOLESTATION

(Richmond, IN)--An investigation has ended with the arrest of a Richmond man on the highest level of felony child molesting.  66-year-old Terry Pierson, who lives in the 600 block of South 13th, was taken into custody Thursday at Richmond Police headquarters.  He remained behind bars Friday morning on a Level One felony charge.  Details of what Pierson is alleged to have done have not yet become available.

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ALLEGED METH DEALER JAILED

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged Richmond methamphetamine dealer was captured in the Fairview area Thursday.  Richmond police arrested 22-year-old Derrick Shaffer near the corner of North West J and Hunt Street and charged him with two counts of dealing meth.  He was also wanted for failing to appear in a previous criminal case.  Shaffer has a previous meth arrest and was taken into custody just last week, but was released.

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IU EAST RELEASES VERY POSITIVE LOCAL BUSINESS OUTLOOK SURVEY

(Richmond, IN)--IU East on Wednesday released its annual Business Confidence Index and Survey.  96 Whitewater Valley businesses in five counties were surveyed about business activity in 2018.  Here are some of the highlights…65% of companies have increased production in the last year.  An incredible 90% had the same or more employees.  85% of companies said they made the same or higher profits.  As for 2019, only 4% predicted a cutback.  90% said they will maintain employment or hire additional workers.  2/3 of companies responding said they anticipated a higher cost of doing business.  Business owners’ two main concerns are the lack of qualified workers and prolonged road construction.

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REID NOT COMMENTING ON ITS INTEREST IN FAYETTE REGIONAL

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health on Wednesday released a statement about the auction process that’s going on this week for Fayette Regional Health System.  Fayette County elected officials have gone on the record to say that Reid officials had toured the Connersville hospital in advance of the auction.  Reid’s statement says in part that they care about the future of healthcare in Connersville.  It also says "we respect that the process for Fayette to find the right partner is confidential, so we will not be commenting on Reid’s perspective or whether or not we are involved at this time."  If there was more than one qualified buyer identified on Tuesday, an auction will take place Thursday.

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CHARGES FILED AGAINST PARENTS OF SILVER ALERT CHILD

(Cambridge City, IN)--Criminal charges have now been filed against the parents of a three-year-old Cambridge City girl who became the subject of a Silver Alert back in March.  Neither Jeffery Hancock nor Windy Nash have custody of Zoey Nash.  Windy Nash allegedly allowed Hancock to take Zoey during what was supposed to have been a supervised visit.  Hancock then allegedly told investigators that he had no plans to return the girl.  She was later located unharmed at a western Wayne County home.

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LESS THAN 100 CAST BALLOTS IN RICHMOND MONDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Voter turnout remains low for the primary election battle in Richmond between incumbent Democratic Mayor Dave Snow and challenger Jack Cruse.  Numbers from Tuesday have not yet become available.  But, on Monday, less than a hundred people bothered to cast ballots at either First English Lutheran Church or the Kuhlman Center.  48 people turned out at the Kuhlman Center.  Only 22 showed up at First English.  Early voting continues for the remainder of the week.  Primary Election Day is this coming Tuesday.

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PREBLE COUNTY HOMEOWNER FACES FEDERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES

(Dayton, OH)--A Preble County homeowner is one of four men facing a list of federal charges involving corruption.  Clayton Luckie, has a home just south of Eaton, is also a former Ohio State Representative.  The FBI says Luckie devised a fraudulent scheme to take advantage of programs offered by government entities to help disadvantaged businesses.  "Today's arrest should serve as a wake-up call.  This type of behavior will not be tolerated.  It will be investigated and prosecuted," said one FBI agent.  Luckie had been convicted several years ago of money laundering and election falsification.

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RHS RANKS IN TOP 100 OF INDIANA HIGH SCHOOLS

(Richmond, IN)--U.S. News & World Report is out with its annual rankings of the best high schools across the country, including in the Whitewater Valley.  The report looks at six criteria, including college readiness and graduation rates.  In Indiana, one area school ranked in the top 100.  That was Richmond, which ranked 78th.  On the Ohio side, both National Trail and Eaton ranked around 345th statewide.

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