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Local News with Jeff Lane

MATTHEWS TO CLOSE RICHMOND PLANT ON INDUSTRIAL PARKWAY

(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.

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3247 STILL WITHOUT POWER FRIDAY MORNING

(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.

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REID TO CONVERT COUNTY MARKET INTO SENIOR REHAB FACILITY

(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.

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TWO MEN WHO SHARE A NAME ARRESTED WITH DRUGS

(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.

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SNOW, SHAFFER MEET WITH MULTIPLE JAPANESE COMPANIES

(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.

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WAYNE COUNTY ADDS SIX MORE HEPATITIS CASES

(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.

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SIX JAILED AS PART OF NORTH D STREET DRUG BUST

(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.

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FORMER NORTHEASTERN PRINCIPAL FILES LAWSUIT

(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.

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REID RECEIVES LETTER GRADE OF "B" FROM WATCHDOG GROUP

(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.

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RICHMOND MAN CHARGED WITH COUNTERFEITING

(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.

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SNOW, SHAFFER CONTINUE JAPAN VISIT

(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.

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MAN DRAGGED ALONG NATIONAL ROAD EAST

(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.

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BARNS DESTROYED BY FIRE NEAR GREENS FORK, LOSANTVILLE

(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.

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REID PURCHASES COUNTY MARKET PROPERTY

(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.

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VETERAN TO GET RHS DIPLOMA 68 YEARS LATER

(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.

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ONE PERSON DEAD FOLLOWING GARDEN CITY STANDOFF

(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.

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SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE REPORT LEADS TO DRUG ARREST

(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.

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REPUBLICANS, INCUMBENTS SUCCESSFUL IN MOST LOCAL RACES

(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.

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ROAD CONSTRUCTION TO CONTINUE INTO 2019

(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.

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WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DRUG DEALING, NEGLECT AT RICHMOND APARTMENT

(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.

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9558 PEOPLE CAST EARLY WAYNE COUNTY BALLOTS

(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.

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MAN WITH HISTORY OF ASSAULTS ARRESTED FOR RAPE

(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.

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FIRM'S RECOMMENDATION: SEND WASTEWATER TO CONNERSVILLE

(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.

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10,000 SIGN UNION COUNTY WOMAN'S PETITION FOR SCHOOL BUS SAFETY

(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.

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POLICE STILL SEEK MUSTANG CONNECTED TO DEATH

(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.

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DEPOT DISTRICT BUSINESS CLOSES

(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.

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29 OF 52 IN DRUG DIVERSION PROGRAM ARE COMPLIANT

(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.

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J&J WINERY TO CLOSE BY YEAR'S END

(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.

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GRATIS TO HOLD EMERGENCY TOWN MEETING

(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.

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JAIL MATRON INJURED IN ESCAPE

(Brookville, IN)--A Franklin County Jail matron sustained what were described as serious injuries when an inmate escaped Tuesday.  42-year-old Jennifer Broering of Laurel was being escorted from a court hearing in Brookville when she escaped the matron, causing the matron to fall to the pavement.  Broering was found hiding in a shed about a half an hour later.  A school was placed on lockdown during the search.  Broering now faces much more serious charges than the original drug charge for which she was appearing.  The matron’s name and condition have not been released.

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REID ANNOUNCES GRANTS TO PROMOTE PHYSICAL FITNESS

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health announced Tuesday that they’ve distributed more than $178,000 in grant money to multiple organizations in an effort to promote good nutrition and physical activity.  Those groups include the YMCA’s of Richmond and Preble County.  In the last five years, Reid has returned more than $176 million to the Whitewater Valley through various grants.

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MAN KILLED IN FARMING ACCIDENT

(Wayne County, IN)--A Wayne County man died in a farming accident Monday.  It happened late Monday afternoon on a farm on U.S. 27 very near Northeastern High School.  According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, 27-year-old Jesse Martin became trapped in a corn picker while trying to clean it out.  Martin was pronounced dead at the scene.

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SUSPECT ESCAPES AFTER HIGH-SPEED CHASE

(Whitewater Valley)--A suspect has escaped a wild police chase Tuesday morning.  Officers began the chase of a pickup truck in southern Randolph County.  Other agencies joined in the chase as the suspect went through county roads and farm fields in Greens Fork, Williamsburg, and Webster at speeds of a hundred miles per hour.  The driver then entered Richmond at high speeds, went briefly to Greenwood Apartments, and then headed east.  The chase then crossed the state line.  The driver went into a farm field near Paddock Road in Preble County and was able to evade police.  Officers were able to get a license plate number.  The driver’s name and other details, including what started the chase, have not been released.

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RAINY FORECAST PROMPTS CHANGES TO TRICK-OR-TREAT

(Whitewater Valley)--Some local communities are changing their trick-or-treat times due to nasty weather in the forecast Wednesday night.  So far, Richmond’s trick-or-treat is still Wednesday night from 5-8, although that could change at some point.  Connersville has postponed until Friday night.  Liberty’s trick-or-treat is now set for Saturday night.  Eaton’s trick-or-treat is on for tonight; that’s when it was originally scheduled.

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VOTE CENTERS OPEN; 500-PLUS CAST BALLOTS SATURDAY

(Wayne County, IN)--Four vote centers are opening across Wayne County at 10 o’clock Monday morning and will be open all week in advance of the traditional Election Day, which is a week from Tuesday.  The vote centers are at the Kuhlman Center and First English Lutheran Church in Richmond, the Golay Center in Cambridge City, and the New Testament Church in Hagerstown.  Early voting was described as heavy on Saturday at the Kuhlman Center with more that 500 people casting ballots.  Some voters reported waiting in line for about an hour to cast their ballots.

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CAMBRIDGE CITY WOMAN FOUND DEAD

(Henry County, IN)--A Cambridge City woman who was the subject of a statewide Silver Alert over the weekend has been found dead.  The alert was issued after 76-year-old Rhea Cash left her home early Saturday morning.  Her crashed car was located on Bentonville Road in Henry County, but Cash could not be found.  On Sunday morning, her body was discovered in a ravine about a quarter of a mile away from the crash site.  No foul play is suspected.  An autopsy is pending.

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BELDEN PRAISED AT WHITE HOUSE FOR PROGRAM

(Washington, D.C.)--Belden representatives were at the White House Wednesday and met with President Donald Trump to discuss their efforts to curb the opioid epidemic.  Belden’s Pathways to Employment was the focus of that discussion.  The program offers drug-addicted job applicants treatment, and then a job, if the treatment is successful.  The company is developing what’s called the “Belden Blueprint”, which will help other organizations implement similar programs.

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RICHMOND MAN CAPTURED AFTER HIGH-SPEED CHASE

(Fayette County, IN)--One person was in jail after a high-speed chase that covered three counties Wednesday morning.  The chase began in Randolph County at around 2:40 Wednesday morning.  From there, 40-year-old David Joiner of Richmond allegedly fled south on State Road 1 through Wayne County at speeds that topped 120 miles per hour.  Joiner crossed into Fayette County, where stop sticks were successfully deployed.  Joiner had already been labeled a habitual traffic violator before Wednesday morning’s chase.  Details of what led to the chase have not been released.

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TEEN CHARGED WITH RECKLESS DRIVING, DUI AFTER CRASH

(Wayne County, IN)--One teen was jailed late Tuesday night after a Wayne County crash that allegedly involved both reckless driving and alcohol.  The crash happened at around 9:30 on Round Barn Road near Skyline Drive.  18-year-old Jared Presley was spotted by a law enforcement officer, allegedly driving at a high rate of speed.  Presley hit a tree before he could be pulled over.  Presley and an occupant were taken to Reid Health to be treated for minor injuries.

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BEECHWOOD GOLF COURSE SET FOR AUCTION

(Arcanum, OH)--Another Whitewater Valley golf course is in major jeopardy.  This month, we’ve told you about an auction scheduled for Brook Hill Golf Course.  Now, another course is up for auction.  It’s Beechwood Golf Course just outside of Arcanum.  The auction site lists Beechwood as either a turnkey business or site for estate homes.  It’s currently a 27-hole course that also includes a large clubhouse and banquet center.  The land covers about 251 acres.  The auction date is November 27.

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PREBLE COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS FOR CHILD PORN

(West Alexandria, OH)--A Preble County man has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.  29-year-old Jeremiah Armstrong of West Alexandria was the focus of an investigation by the FBI.  Agents seized his computer and found more than 600 videos and 200 images.  Many of the 72 different children were described a pre-pubescent.  None were thought to be from the area.

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MAN JAILED FOR BATTERING POLICE OFFICER BY BODILY WASTE

(Richmond, IN)--A New Paris man was taken into custody on Chester Boulevard in Richmond late Tuesday afternoon and is facing charges that include battery on a police officer by bodily waste.  31-year-old Darryl King was picked up near the old Reid Hospital.  There had been earlier complaints on Chester Boulevard, including a theft at Nature’s Nook and at Nine North Apartments.

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548 MORE PEOPLE WORKING IN WAYNE COUNTY NOW THAN LAST YEAR

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of people working in Wayne County has risen by 163 people in the last month, and it’s up even more substantially from this time last year.  That’s according to new numbers from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  Wayne County has 548 more people actually working now than were working at this point last year.  Those additional workers have resulted in a drop of Wayne County’s unemployment rate from 4 to 3.2%.  Other area counties saw similar drops this month.

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UNIQUE-TO-RICHMOND LOTTERY FUN FACTS

(Richmond, IN)--Tuesday night’s $1.6 billion Mega Millions has lots of people dreaming big.  Here are a few unique things you could do with the money if you’re the winner.  If you wanted to be generous and decided to share it equally with every Wayne County resident, you would be able to give every man, woman, and child in the county $24,000.  If you wanted to fund Richmond city government, you could do that by yourself until the year 2102.  If you wanted to buy a house in Wayne County at the median price, you could buy 17,000 homes.  If you took the winnings in hundred dollar bills and stacked them up, the stack of hundreds would be as tall as eight Leland buildings in downtown Richmond stacked on top of each other.  If you lined up those hundreds end-to-end, they would stretch from Richmond to Salt Lake City.

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EARLY VOTING UP IN WAYNE COUNTY

(Richmond, IN)--Only about 27% of registered Wayne County voters cast ballots in the last midterm election four years ago.  But, based on absentee voting, that’s on pace to increase this year.  Close to 600 people have cast ballots locally already through either mail-in ballots or showing up at the Wayne County courthouse.  Early voting will continue this week.  On Saturday, the first voting center opens at the Kuhlman Center.  Three other vote centers across the county will open Monday of next week.

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WAYNE COUNTY HEPATITIS A CASES ON THE RISE AGAIN

(Wayne County, IN)--After leveling off for a couple of weeks, cases of hepatitis A in Wayne County are on the rise again.  Wayne County has added 11 new cases of hepatitis A in the last two weeks, bringing to total number of cases to 123.  It also means that, despite increased public awareness, Wayne County has averaged almost one new case each day for the last month.  The 123 cases is twice the number of cases in Indiana’s largest three cities combined.  Wayne County has issued more than 2900 vaccines.

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ONE HOSPITALIZED AFTER POLICE CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--One person was taken to Reid Health after a police chase Sunday.  The chase went down Sim Hodgin Parkway and ended when a suspect crashed into a pole at the intersection of North West I and Sheridan Street.  The suspect sustained a large gash on the head and was taken to Reid.  There’s no word yet on an identity or condition.  Scanner traffic indicates that police found a vacuum-sealed bag of marijuana inside the vehicle.  Another person is thought to have fled the scene of the crash on foot.

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DRIVER WHO CAUSED FATAL CRASH SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS

(Richmond, IN)--A year and a half ago, Anthony Zircher went speeding down State Road 227 near Middleboro, tried to pass on a double-yellow line, and caused a head-on crash that killed five-year-old Jocelyn Gesell.  Zircher on Thursday was given just a three-year prison sentence, mostly because Indiana considers reckless homicide a relatively low-level felony.  Jocelyn’s mother, Britney Byrley, addressed Zircher and said it was sad that she’ll spend more time in a wheelchair because of the crash than Zircher will spend in prison.  Zircher apologized to the girl’s family by reading a prepared statement.

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CAR SLAMS INTO REAR OF FIRE TRUCK ON I-70

(Preble County, OH)--A fire truck was involved in an accident on I-70 in Preble County Thursday night.  Firefighters had responded to an area of westbound 70 near the Preble-Montgomery County line at 8:45 Thursday night for a rollover crash.  A fire truck had parked on the side of the interstate and was struck from behind by another driver.  No firefighters were hurt.  The driver of the car that struck the fire truck sustained non-life-threatening injuries.  The fire truck was from Brookville and sustained heavy damage.

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HABITUAL OFFENDER DESIGNATION FILED AGAINST ALLEGED GREENWOOD APTS. POLICE ATTACKER

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on an arrest at Greenwood Apartments in Richmond that Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point reported earlier this week that sent an RPD officer to Reid Health.  Newly released court documents indicate that 40-year-old Damien Allen punched RPD officer Ryan Gray as Allen resisted arrest while he was carrying meth, marijuana, and Ecstasy.  Allen then ripped Gray’s radio off his uniform and swung it as a weapon.  A habitual offender designation has also now been filed against Allen due to his extensive criminal record.

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FAYETTE REGIONAL SAYS CANCER CENTER WILL REMAIN OPEN

(Connersville, IN)--There’s more fallout from the recent bankruptcy filing by Fayette Regional Health System in Connersville.  This week, some cancer patients were contacted and told to seek chemotherapy treatment at another hospital.  Fayette Regional said that message was the result of a gap in service from one medication provider.  The hospital said that its cancer center is not closing and that they’re working to minimize disruption to patients.

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DECISION ON WESTERN WAYNE WASTEWATER STILL A MONTH AWAY

(Cambridge City, IN)--A report that analyzes two options for the Western Wayne Sewer District has now been complete.  Wastewater treatment there must be expanded or there can be no additional growth at the Gateway Industrial Park.  Options include expanding local capacity or sending the wastewater to Connersville.  Plant Manager Ron Holbrook said this week that a decision is still at least a month away.  Wastewater treatment capacity has been an issue for the last three years.

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CAMBRIDGE CITY MAN CHARGED WITH MAINTAINING NUISANCE

(Cambridge City, IN)--A Cambridge City man was taken into custody Wednesday night for the second time in less than two months.  31-year-old Billy Neal is charged with maintaining a common nuisance.  That’s a charge usually given to the occupant of a home or vehicle where drug activity is taking place.  Neal was arrested Wednesday night in the 100 block of West Church Street in Cambridge City.  He was arrested in Richmond last month for possessing methamphetamine.

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MAN RETURNED TO WAYNE COUNTY TO FACE DRUG CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--A man who lives in central Indiana but has a massive criminal record in Wayne County was returned to Richmond Wednesday.  Deputies traveled to another jail to bring back 45-year-old William Conrad.  Conrad is charged with possessing cocaine and methamphetamine.  His most recent arrest came in January.  Conrad has a total of 33 Wayne County offenses.

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RPD OFFICER CHECKED FOR CHEST PAIN AFTER GREENWOOD APTS. INCIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--One Richmond Police officer was taken to Reid Health to be checked out for chest pain after an incident at Greenwood Apartments Tuesday night.  34-year-old Meghan Amburgey said that 40-year-old Damien Allen showed up there to get tattoo equipment.  It led to Allen, who was allegedly armed, fleeing into a wooded area.  Officers eventually caught Allen and found meth, marijuana, and synthetic drugs.  He was also charged with felony battery on a police officer and had to be Tased to be taken under control.  Amburgey was charged with assisting a criminal.  The officer was checked out at Reid and released.

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INSPIRING NORTHEASTERN GRAD ESCAPES SERIOUS INJURY IN CRASH

(Richmond, IN)--A recent Northeastern graduate who has inspired many was involved in a traffic accident Tuesday.  The good news is that Austin McNew and his mother, Teresa, both escaped serious injury when an oncoming Jeep crossed the center line on Salisbury Road and hit their van head-on.  Teresa McNew had to be cut from the wreckage.  Both she and Austin were taken to Reid Health and later released.  Stephen Deffibaugh of Williamsburg was the driver of the Jeep.  Police don’t yet know why he crossed the center line.  Fountain City and the Northeastern community rallied around Austin McNew after he was paralyzed in a sledding accident in January of 2016.

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EARLHAM COLLEGE PROWLER CAPTURED AFTER CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man who had been banned from the Earlham College campus was caught Wednesday morning after showing up there again late Tuesday night.  43-year-old Faron Haycock had allegedly tried to climb through Earlham windows before and had been banned.  After being spotted there again late Tuesday night by Earlham security officers, Haycock fled south.  RPD officer pursued and caught Haycock on U.S. 27 near Beelor Road.  His charges include felony criminal trespass, drunken driving, and resisting arrest.

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RICHMOND'S 2019 BUDGET APPROVED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council addressed the city’s 2019 budget Monday night.  One source of controversy in that budget was a request from Mayor Dave Snow to create a new city department.  A code enforcement office would work to force residents to clean up dilapidated properties, keep trash out of streets and alleys, and make sure lawns do not become overgrown.  Some council members had questioned the cost of a new department.  After a compromise that eliminated an administrative assistant position, council approve next year’s budget last night by a 5-2 vote.

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RPD REQUESTS NEW CRUISERS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department is in need of new police cruisers.  RPD’s Mike Britt addressed Richmond Common Council Monday night and explained a problem.  An expanded number of new officers are finishing training and are ready to patrol, but there are not enough police cars for them to use.  The department has asked council for eight new cruisers that would cost a total of $216,000.  About half of that money would be covered through asset forfeiture.  18 cars have been identified that need to be retired due to excessive miles and rust.  Monday night’s request was sent to the finance committee.

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FAYETTE REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM BEING SUED FOR $1.5 MILLION

(Connersville, IN)--Just a few days after it announced that it had filed for bankruptcy protection comes word that Fayette Regional Health System is being sued.  A central Indiana company called Siskin Physicians is suing, claiming that the Connersville hospital has failed to pay a million and a half dollars.  Siskin had contracted to provide emergency room services at Fayette Regional.  In its bankruptcy filing, Fayette Regional lists $10 million in assets and $50 million in liabilities.

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CHILD MOLESTER JAILED FOR FAILING TO REGISTER

(Richmond, IN)--A convicted Richmond child molester was jailed over the weekend after authorities determined he was violating the terms of his sex offender status.  27-year-old Michael Eaton was taken into custody in the 200 block of North West J Street.  He’s charged with illegal residency and failing to register as a sex offender.  Eaton was arrested for the same thing in Hagerstown in May.  Eaton was convicted of child molestation back in the spring of 2012.

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LOCAL DEER HUNTERS WARNED ABOUT BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS

(Whitewater Valley)--There’s a warning today from the Department of Natural Resources for deer hunters in the Whitewater Valley.  They say that if you’re hunting in the southern part of our area – especially in Franklin County – you should be on the lookout for bovine tuberculosis.  Bovine TB had affected some deer in that area a couple of years ago, and there have been two positive tests on cattle this year.  If you suspect bovine TB while field-dressing a deer, the DNR wants to hear from you immediately.

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FAYETTE COUNTY'S NEEDLE EXCHANGE REOPENS

(Connersville, IN)--Fayette County’s needle exchange program has re-opened in a different location.  The program ended back in May due mainly to staffing issues.  Fayette Regional Health System has now taken over operation of the program from the county’s health department and has opened at a location in the 2100 block of Indiana Avenue.  The exchange will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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FAYETTE REGIONAL FILES BANKRUPTCY, CLOSES OB DEPARTMENT

(Connersville, IN)--Fayette Regional Health System has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.  A statement issued by the hospital in Connersville says that Fayette Regional faces unfunded care mandates, government funding cuts, and other challenges.  The statement goes on to say that Fayette Regional could not continue to operate under mounting debt and tightening financial resources.  The filing does not mean that Fayette Regional is closing; instead, it will give the hospital the opportunity to reorganize its debt.  The hospital was founded back in 1913.  While the hospital will remain open, one department will not.  Fayette Regional has announced that it will end obstetric services on October 19.  The hospital is collaborating with other hospitals that offer obstetric services to make the transition for expectant mothers easier.  Mothers entering the ER to deliver babies will be stabilized and sent to other hospitals.  Staff members are being offered other jobs inside the hospital.  Fayette Regional’s gynecology and pediatric services will remain open.

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CHILD MOLESTER ARRESTED FOR FAILING TO REGISTER

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond child molester was arrested again Thursday.  62-year-old Barry Reffitt was picked up at his home in the 600 block of South 8th.  Reffit had failed to register as a sex offender and failed to show up for a court hearing.  Thursday was the latest in a long list of arrests for Reffitt.  Last year, a drunken Reffitt stripped himself naked at Reid Health and began threatening medical staff members.  He was subdued by multiple officers.

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BROOK HILL GOLF COURSE TO BE AUCTIONED UNLESS COUNTY STEPS IN

(Brookville, IN)--Brook Hill Golf Course’s days could well be numbered.  The golf course just north of Brookville is set to be split up and auctioned off in December unless the city or county agrees in the next few weeks to buy it and maintain it as a municipal golf course.  It would take an estimated $1.2 million to purchase the course.  Some city leaders would like to save the course.  They say the loss of Brook Hill would decrease property values in the area, which would translate to a loss of property tax revenue.

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DRUNKEN, GREEN-MASKED ARMED ROBBER CAPTURED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police caught an alleged armed robber Wednesday night.  A man wearing a green mask entered the Conoco gas station in the 1200 block of South 9th with a knife and took not only cash; he took the entire cash register.  The man was pursued by a civilian, who helped lead police to a home a few blocks away.  38-year-old Chad Capps was taken into custody.  The money, the cash register, the knife, and the mask were all recovered.  Capps is charged with armed robbery and public intoxication.  He allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .181 at the time of the robbery.

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WOMAN DIES IN RANDOLPH COUNTY CRASH

(Randolph County, IN)--Details of a fatal Randolph County accident were released Wednesday.  It happened Tuesday at the intersection of County Roads 500 West and 200 North.  58-year-old Brenda Florea of Winchester was headed north and did not stop at the intersection.  She struck a pickup driven by 35-year-old Benjamin Passmore of Winchester.  Florea was pronounced dead.  Passmore was treated at Reid Health for non-life-threatening injuries.

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ABSENTEE VOTING BEGINS IN WAYNE, SURROUNDING COUNTIES

(Whitewater Valley)--Absentee voting is now underway in Wayne County and across the Whitewater Valley in advance of the November 6 general elections.  It began Wednesday at the Wayne County Courthouse and will continue until November 5.  Most area counties have seen an increase in people who vote absentee in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue this year.  Vote centers in Wayne County will open on October 29.

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DNA TESTING BEING CONDUCTED ON HUMAN REMAINS

(Hagerstown, IN)--It will likely be at least three more weeks before remains found in a Hagerstown farm field can be identified.  Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa Tuesday that the remains are undergoing DNA testing, and that that process usually takes about a month.  The remains were found nine days ago.  DNA from the skeletal remains is being compared to DNA taken from items belonging to people currently considered missing.  No estimate of how long the remains may have been in the field has been made public.

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RICHMOND EXPERIENCES WARMEST-EVER OCTOBER TO DATE

(Richmond, IN)--It will all come to an end after Wednesday.  But, so far, this has been the warmest October in Richmond’s recorded weather history.  That’s according to the National Weather Service office in Wilmington.  Through the nine days of October ending Tuesday, Richmond has been above normal every day. And, we’ve been at least ten degrees above normal seven of the nine days.  In total, Richmond has been 139 degrees above normal over these last nine days.

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WAYNE COUNTY: 216 CASES OF CHILD NEGLECT THROUGH AUGUST

(Wayne County, IN)--Statistics are in for the first eight months of this year.  Those numbers from the Indiana Department of Child Services show that Wayne County had more than 200 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect.  With 216 cases, Wayne County now averages just short of one new, substantiated case every day.  Also, in the last two months, there have been five new cases of sexual abuse of Wayne County children.

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SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MAN ACCUSED OF TRYING TO ARRANGE MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--The search is on Tuesday for a Richmond man accused of arranging a contracted killing of a confidential informant who was going to testify in the suspect’s drug case.  40-year-old Larry Blackstock allegedly conspired  with Ryan Carpenter and Bradi Louden, who are already jailed on conspiracy to commit murder charges.  Police say Blackstock offered up to $30,00 for Louden to kill the informant.  The plan was to give the informant a deadly concoction of heroin and fentanyl so that the informant would fatally overdose.  Blackstock failed to show up for a court hearing Monday.

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CHARGES INCREASED AGAINST COUPLE CHARGED IN CHILD'S BEATING

(Richmond, IN)--An affidavit became available Monday in a weekend case of child abuse.  Sarah Dunn and Matthew Day both remained behind bars Tuesday facing charges that now include battery to a child younger than 14 resulting in serious bodily injury.  According to the affidavit, Sarah Dunn returned home from work to find that her four-year-old boy had been severely beaten by Day.  The boy’s injuries were extensive and he was sent to a central Indiana children’s hospital.  The boy had been removed from the home by CPS last year, but was allowed to return after Day moved out.  But, Dunn allowed Day to return this spring.  Both now face a standard nine-year prison term.

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COUPLE ARRESTED FOR BATTERING CHILD

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond couple was behind bars Monday morning after allegedly seriously abusing a four-year-old boy.  Paramedics requested Richmond Police officers when they arrived over the weekend at the Harris Street home of 29-year-old Matthew Day and 27-year-old Sarah Dunn after an initial report that the child was unconscious.  The boy was taken to Reid Health.  His condition Monday morning had not been released.  Both Day and Dunn have been charged with felony battery and neglect of a dependent.

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