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"NO GUNS" SIGNS POSTED AT WAYNE CO. COURTHOUSE IN ADVANCE OF INAUGURATION

(Richmond, IN)--Security will be tight at statehouses and in Washington for Wednesday’s inauguration, but what about at the local level?  Wayne County attorney Ron Cross said local judges don’t want to ignore any threat.  "They have quite an interest in making sure that we are not inattentive to the problem or naive."  Commissioner Mary Ann Butters called for “no guns” signs to go up on courthouse doors.  "I would just like to have that at all of our entrances between now and the 20th of January," Butters said, which brought this reaction from Commissioner Ken Paust.  "If somebody was really going to do something, a sign is not going to stop them."  Sheriff Randy Retter has been involved in inauguration security discussions.

UNION COUNTY TOPS INDIANA FOR COVID-19 POSITIVITY

(Union County, IN)--Union County has a dubious Covid-19 distinction Monday morning.  Union County now has the highest positivity rate in all of Indiana with a rate of 25.9%.  The county’s rolling seven-day average of positive tests has been steadily climbing for a month and a half, according to number from Indiana’s Department of Health.  There have been 611 positives, which represents one in every 12 Union County residents.

WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER ALLEGEDLY THROWING KNIVES IN RESTAURANT

(Richmond, IN)--One woman was taken into custody late Sunday night after allegedly entering a Richmond restaurant, going into the kitchen, and throwing knives.  28-year-old Brandi Riley was in the Wayne County Jail Monday morning facing charges that include criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and intimidation.  Riley is accused of going into Pizza King on West Main Street Sunday night and throwing the knives.  She left but was stopped by police a few blocks away.  Scanner traffic indicated there was a handgun in her car.  There were no reports of injury or word on what led to the incident.

RICHMOND MAYOR EMERGES FROM COVID-19 QUARANTINE

(Richmond, IN)--Friday is an important day for Richmond Mayor Dave Snow, and one he’s been waiting for since testing positive for Covid-19.  "I am officially out of quarantine as of (Friday).  It ended (Thursday) evening.  I have no symptoms," Snow said.  Snow indicated Thursday that he is feeling fine.  When he was diagnosed, Snow turned his kitchen table into a makeshift desk with couriers delivering important documents.  Snow said that, in a sense, he had already had practiced.  "Before coming down with Covid, I had shifted to a lot of Zoom meetings to try to reduce face-to-face contact."  Snow on Thursday described the virus as being "no joke", and encouraged everyone to maintain safe practices.

CRASH SHUTS DOWN I-70

(Richmond, IN)--At least four vehicles were involved in a crash that shut down I-70 in Richmond late Thursday night.  One occurred in the westbound lanes at the state line.  There were no reports of any serious injuries.  One person was taken to Reid Health for a blood draw to check for intoxication.  There’s no word on the condition of the victims or whether or not any arrests were made.  Interstate traffic came into Richmond during the shutdown.

MAN WANTED FOR ALLEGEDLY ATTACKING BROTHER WITH KNIFE CAPTURED

(Dublin, IN)--Officers were able to round up a man in western Wayne County who was wanted for allegedly attacking his own brother with a knife.  Skyler Burchett was taken into custody in Dublin Friday morning.  Burchett has been charged with battery with a deadly weapon.  He’s also accused of meth possession, neglect of a dependent, and is also wanted in Henry County.

2223 WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS HAVE RECEIVED COVID-19 VACCINES

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of people who have been vaccinated for Covid-19 is now being reported at the county level by the Indiana Department of Health.  As of Wednesday in Wayne County, 2223 people have received one dose.  That’s about 3% of the total population.  Only 315 people, which represents only 1 in 206 Wayne County residents, have been fully vaccinated.  Less than 20% of those vaccinated have been over the age of 80.

WAYNE, RANDOLPH COUNTY ONLY 2 OF 19 STATEWIDE TO REMAIN ORANGE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County is one of just 19 counties in Indiana that is not in the red after the state’s new color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Wayne County remains in the orange.  Randolph County is also on that list, although it has been flagged due to a large number of cases attributable to congregate settings.  Union, Fayette, Franklin, and Henry County are all in the red with positivity rates that exceed 15%.  Wayne County added 34 new cases Wednesday, meaning it daily new case average in January remains significantly lower than what it was last month.

LAW ENFORCEMENT TO STEP ON PATROL IN I-70 IN WAYNE, PREBLE COUNTY

(Wayne, Preble County)--Law enforcement agents on both sides of the state line have teamed up to patrol I-70 from now until the end of the month.  A 17-mile stretch of I-70 in Wayne and Preble County will receive extra attention for distracted driving from agencies that include the Richmond police, Indiana State police, the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Highway Patrol.  There were numerous accidents, including some fatalities, through that stretch of interstate last year.

ICE FESTIVAL WILL CONTINUE WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

(Richmond, IN)--Preparations are continuing for this year’s winter ice festival in Richmond, although it will be a lot different because of Covid-19.  This year, it’s being called the “Motor Meltdown.”  Ice carvers will be back with their work on display in the downtown area, but there won’t be any large gatherings.  The festival takes place during the last week of this month.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 NUMBERS DROP IN JANUARY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s recent streak of encouraging Covid-19 numbers is continuing.  The number of Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas this morning stands at 38.  That’s the lowest that number has been since late October.  Wayne County added 27 new cases yesterday.  In December, Wayne County averaged 57 new cases per day.  So far in January, that average is 40 new daily cases.  Reid Health’s Covid-19 vaccine clinics in Connersville and Lynn will remain open next week when the Richmond location moves to the Wayne County Fairgrounds.  Reid said Tuesday that the initial plans called for those two sites to close, but later made arrangements to keep them open.  The vaccination clinic at Reid will remain open through Saturday.  This coming Tuesday, it moves to the Kuhlman Center.  The Health Department will continue to operate its own clinic in the former Elder-Beerman building in Richmond.

EARLHAM, IVY TECH ANNOUNCE TRANSFER AGREEMENT

(Richmond, IN)--A new transfer agreement between Earlham College and Ivy Tech is one of the first of its kind in the country.  Earlham recently became one of just two national liberal arts colleges to offer transfer agreements for graduates of Ivy Tech.  It means that Ivy Tech students who earn associate degrees can transfer to Earlham as juniors with every credit counting toward Earlham degree requirements.

COUPLE ARRESTED ON METH, CHILD NEGLECT CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond couple who, according to their social media pages, were married just a few months ago spent Tuesday in jail together after drugs and syringes were found allegedly found in their home with at least one child.  Officers responded Tuesday to the home of Brian and Kristin Drook in the 400 block of South 15th.  There, they allegedly found an unspecified amount of methamphetamine.  Both face multiple felony charges.

FEARED COVID-19 SURGE FROM NEW YEAR'S EVE NOT SEEN LOCALLY

(Wayne County, IN)--Fears of local New Year’s Eve events causing surges in local Covid-19 cases have not panned out – at least not yet.  On Monday, Wayne County reported just 30 new cases.  In the 72 days that have passed since the first of November, Wayne County has reported less than 30 cases only six times.  On seven of the ten days reported in January, Wayne County has been under its rolling average of cases.  That average stood Tuesday at 48 new cases per day.

CIPRIETTI FILES RESPONSE IN LAWSUIT OVER OLD REID

(Richmond, IN)--A lengthy response has now been filed in the dispute between Wayne County and the former owners of the old Reid Hospital property.  Wayne County has filed suit against Bob Ciprietti after the county was stiffed for more than $1.3 million in property taxes.  In the 24-page response, Ciprietti, through his attorneys, maintains that he never had personal control over the property.  In a deposition, Ciprietti admits that his company scrapped all of the metal out of the building with the intent of paying off the bank.  Ciprietti had originally told Richmond Common Council he would convert the building into apartments and student housing.  Instead, the property became the city’s biggest eyesore.

ALLEGED METH DEALER ARRESTED TUESDAY MORNING

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged methamphetamine dealer was taken into custody early Tuesday morning.  Police contacted 48-year-old David Jones on Williamsburg Pike at around 1 o’clock Tuesday morning.  An undisclosed amount of methamphetamine was recovered along with drug paraphernalia.  Jones was taken to the Wayne County Jail.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES COVID-19 CASES DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has added 333 new cases of Covid-19 since this time last Monday.  It marks only the second time since mid-October that the county has added less than 350 cases in any week running Monday to Monday.  The number of Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas has held fairly steady for the last four weeks and was at 59 Monday.  In other counties, Randolph County went over the 2000-case mark over the weekend.  Preble County will cross the 3000-case mark at some point in the next couple of days.

MAN CHARGED WITH BATTERING RESIDENT DURING BURLARY

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was taken into custody Sunday night after allegedly breaking in to a home on South West A and battering the occupant.  The suspect fled, but police found a shirt, pants, and a wallet behind the home.  39-year-old Shaun James was captured a few houses away.  According to scanner traffic, James also admitted to stealing from a nearby Speedway.  There’s no word on the condition of the home’s occupant.  James is charged with burglary and felony battery.

MAN IN BUNNY PAJAMAS JAILED ON DRUG CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Four people were arrested on drug charges Monday morning, including one who appeared to be wearing a bunny costume.  At around 3:30 Monday morning, officers went to a home in the 1300 block of East Main.  There, they recovered various drugs and syringes.  Justin Day, Elizabeth Boyd, Jeremy Gammon, and Matthew Jarrett are all in jail facing various charges.  Jarrett appears to be wearing onesy-style pajamas that double as a bunny costume.

COUNTY RECORDS 6th HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY COVID-19 TOTAL

(Wayne County, IN)--After five straight days of reporting less than 50 daily cases of Covid-19, Wayne County exploded Thursday with 91 new cases of the virus.  It’s the highest single-day total since December 16 and the sixth highest single-day since the outbreak of the virus.  Wayne County residents in their 50’s remain the most susceptible.  Residents under the age of 20 make up the age group that is most frequently tested.  And, the virus remains most dangerous to those over 80.  One in every five Wayne County residents that has tested positive for the virus has died from it.

RICHMOND BANK BRANCH TO MERGE INTO LIBERTY BRANCH

(Richmond, IN)--A local bank announced this week that it would close a Richmond branch to merge with one in Liberty.  In April, First Merchants Bank will no longer operate a branch on Chester Boulevard.  It will merge into the branch on West Union Street in Liberty.  A statement from First Merchants indicated the merger was due mostly to the increased use of online and mobile banking from their clients.

FUNERAL SERVICE ON HOLD FOR FORMER COUNCIL MEMBER, MAYORAL CANDIDATE

(Richmond, IN)--Funeral services will wait until after virus restrictions have been lifted for a Richmond man who served the community in a variety of roles.  Bob Goodwin died earlier this week at Ambassador Healthcare.  Goodwin was a former planning director and member of Richmond Common Council who made an unsuccessful run for mayor ten years ago.  Bob Goodwin was 79.

WAYNE COUNTY DAILY COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Two Whitewater Valley counties have in excess of 20% positivity for Covid-19, according to the state’s dashboard.  Union County now has a rate of 21.6%.  But Franklin County has now moved into the top ten in Indiana with a positivity rate just shy of 25%.  Meanwhile, Wayne County continued its decided drop in the number of daily cases with 37 new cases reported Wednesday.  The last five days is the first time Wayne County has had less than 50 cases for five consecutive days since October 23-27.

VACCINATIONS OF THE ELDERLY TO BEGIN NEXT WEEK

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County residents who are at least 80 years old will be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine this coming Monday.  Wayne County Commissioners were updated on the vaccine distribution Wednesday.  Appointments for the vaccine can be made online beginning Friday morning.  After the first shipment of 200 doses, Wayne County is now expecting two more 400-dose shipments this month – one on the 18th and another on the 25th.  There is no timeline for obtaining additional doses past this month.

INDOT OUTLINES AREA CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

(Wayne County, IN)--INDOT has released a list of construction projects for this year, and it includes more work on I-70 around Richmond.  This spring and summer will see work around the exits of U.S. 40 and State Road 227.  There will be work in the fall near the Chester Boulevard exit.  There will also be a $3 million project on U.S. 40 near the state line in late summer.  Other projects include bridge work on U.S. 35 in Williamsburg and State Road 227 in Middleboro.

Richmond, IN WEATHER

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