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Local News Powered by First Bank Richmond Archives for 2018-11

FIVE JAILED IN GREENWOOD APARTMENT DRUG BUST

(Richmond, IN)--At least five people were taken to the Wayne County Jail late Thursday afternoon as a result of a drug bust at Richmond’s Greenwood Apartments.  36-year-old Michael Quinlan of Cedar Grove now faces charges that include dealing methamphetamine and trafficking.  Investigators recovered an unspecified quantity of drugs.  Also taken into custody were Jeremy Cavanaugh of Centerville, Jeremy Johnson, who lives in the Greenwood Apartments, Donnie Adams of Richmond, and Kimberly Wybiral of New Castle.  All remained in jail Friday morning.

I-70 IN WAYNE COUNTY WILL NOT BECOME A TOLL ROAD ANYTIME SOON

(Wayne County, IN)--You will not have to pay a toll to travel on I-70 anytime soon.  Some lawmakers had considered converting I-70 through Wayne County and the rest of Indiana into a toll road.  But, on Thursday, Governor Eric Holcomb wrote a letter to a committee indicating that the state is in good enough of a position with infrastructure that toll roads are not needed.  But, the idea could be revisited in the future.

RPD WARNS OF COUNTERFEIT 20'S

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department is issuing a warning for merchants and anyone who handles cash…be on the lookout for low-denomination counterfeit bills.  In the last few days, counterfeit 20-dollar bills have turned up.  One of them has been duplicated and has the number “1000” hand-written on the right side of the front of the bill. 

FIRE DAMAGES WEBSTER-AREA HOME

(Webster, IN)--Fire did heavy damage to a home Wednesday morning just east of Webster.  Firefighters were called to Flatley Road near the intersection of Pleasant Plain Road.  It appeared to have started in the attic with flames shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived at around 1:15 Wednesday morning.  Webster called for help from multiple agencies, including Richmond, Fountain City, and Williamsburg.  Officials indicated that the occupants escaped without injury.  Firefighters cleared up at around 4:45 a.m.  There’s no word yet on what caused the fire or the dollar amount of the damage.

INDECENT EXPOSURE CALL LEADS TO DRUG ARREST

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police were called Tuesday afternoon to the area of J.M. Hutton on an indecent exposure report and ended up making a drug arrest.  34-year-old Keith Osborn of Liberty was taken into custody in the 1500 block of South 8th.  Officers allegedly found cocaine or other narcotic drugs and syringes.  Osborn was is also accused of OWI.  Osborn has a lengthy criminal record, including an arrest just three weeks ago for possessing drug paraphernalia.

ART ASSOCIATION TO MOVE TO DOWNTOWN EATON BUILDING

(Eaton, OH)--A building in downtown Eaton is getting a new tenant.  The Preble County Art Association is beginning to rehabilitate the Stotler Building in the 200 block of East Main Street.  The Association has indicated it needs more space and wants to return the art center to downtown Eaton.  The foundation of Timken Steel is donating half a million dollars for the project.  The Association expects to move into the building next summer.

ABANDONED OLD REID DEVELOPER RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS

(Richmond, IN and Lewes, DE)--Former old Reid Hospital developer Bob Ciprietti is facing some questioning from residents in one Delaware town about delays in converting an old building into a new restaurant.  On Monday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News Director Jeff Lane appeared on WXDE Radio in Lewes, Delaware and asked Ciprietti why he has continually failed to respond to Wayne County officals who are trying to collect a massive tax debt.  Cipretti was a guest on the show to answer questions about the Delaware city and was unaware he would be asked about events in Richmond.  Here is a transcript of the on-air conversation between Lane and Ciprietti:

Host:  He’s calling from Indiana…Jeff, hello.

Lane:  Good morning.

Ciprietti:  Oh, here we go…

Lane:  As you know, in 2010, Bob, you went before the Common Council in Richmond, Indiana and asked for some tax credits and abatements to develop a hospital only to later abandon that hospital, leave the taxpayers with a $500,000 tax and a $4 million clean-up price tag.  How do the people of Delaware know you’re not doing the same thing here:

Ciprietti:  First of all, I didn’t do that.  I owned part of a company that tried to develop that project after we had developed another successful project prior to that in Indiana.  The mayor at the time (Sally Hutton) dragged her feet.

Lane:  Why, then, would you have not responded to county commissioners who did try to collect the over-half-million-dollar tax debt?

Cipretti:  It wasn’t my responsibility.

Lane:  If you were the owner of the LLC, then whose responsibility was it?

Ciprietti:  I was not the owner.  I was an investor.  There was, like, five other people.

Lane:  Well, there was one.  That’s Ernest Zamparini, and he also has been unresponsive.  Do you feel bad for the taxpayers…

Cipretti:  (cutting off question) There were five or six investors in that and I was not the managing partner of that, just so you know.

Lane:  So you had very little responsibility?

Host to Ciprietti:  Do you know this guy Jeff?  Do you know who this is?

Ciprietti:  I have no idea.

Lane:  What about in Denton, Maryland, Bob, where essentially the same thing happened back in 2006?  That was another development that you walked away from.  In fact, the town manager there had to come to Delaware to find you and serve you with papers.

Ciprietti:  I didn’t walk away from it.  I sold all that property to Habitat for Humanity.  Please, get your facts straight.

Host:  Thanks, Jeff.  (the host then hung up.)

Spring Grove, LLC now faces a Wayne County property tax debt that has grown to $1.3 million.  A lawsuit is pending.

FIRE DOES HEAVY DAMAGE TO SOUTH 12th HOME

(Richmond, IN)--Fire did heavy damage to a home in the 400 block of South 12th Street in Richmond Monday afternoon.  An adult and two children were sleeping upstairs but were able to get out without injury.  "It was a bedroom fire that extended out onto the porch and into the hallway," said Richmond Battalion Chief Charlie Bartlett.  The Red Cross helped the displaced family overnight.  Bartlett explained what started the fire.  "An electric heater."  Total damage has been set at $40,000.

RPD OFFICER BITTEN BY POLICE CANINE DURING CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond police officer was bitten by a police canine during a pursuit Thursday morning.  Officers were chasing two men on foot in the area of Pearl Street.  The bitten officer was taken to Reid Health.  Police were eventually able to capture 31-year-old Christopher Pitre in the 200 block of Richmond Avenue.  He faces charges that include battery on a police officer, criminal recklessness, and four counts of OWI.  31-year-old Andrew Moore of Richmond was also jailed.  There’s no word yet on what started the chase.

FIRE DESTROYS SMYRNA ROAD HOME

(Richmond, IN)--Fire destroyed a home on Smyrna Road Friday morning.  The fire broke out at around 12:30 Friday morning near Showalter Road.  Battalion Chief Tim Brown described what firefighters saw when they arrived.  "A two-story farmhouse with flames going through the roof.  It was fully involved."  The house appeared to have been undergoing a renovation.  Multiple agencies responded.  There were no injuries.  "We do not believe anybody was home at the time.  There were no cars in the driveway," Brown said.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

WHISPERING CHRISTMAS OPENS FRIDAY NIGHT IN EATON

(Eaton, OH)--It’s a Whitewater Valley tradition that gets bigger every year.  Friday night is the first night for the Whispering Christmas display at Fort St. Clair in Eaton.  Thousands will visit.  "We're thinking somehere around 18,000," said one organizer.  Visitors will see lights…lots of lights.  "We haven't counted, but we're estimating somewhere around two million lights.".  About 150 volunteers help to set up the lights in a process that began in September.  The Fort is open every night beginning at 6, although Santa’s Cabin won’t open until December 1.

CAUSE SOUGHT FOR DOUBLE-FATAL APARTMENT FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--The identities of the two people killed in a fire at Interfaith Apartments in Richmond Monday afternoon had not been released early Tuesday morning.  Fire broke out at just after 5 o’clock on the building’s fifth floor.  Virtually all of the city’s firefighters responded, but heavy smoke made it difficult to determine where the smoke originated.  Two people found in the hallway died as a result.  Five other residents of the apartments were taken to Reid Health to be treated for smoke inhalation.  Two firefighters were also treated.  "Our firefighters were released and returned to duty," said Battalion Chief Charlie Bartlett.  The five residents are expected to be okay.  The state fire marshal’s office will be at the scene today looking for a cause. Most of the residents of Interfaith Apartments were allowed to return Monday night.  About 30 residents of the fifth and sixth floors were with relatives or friends Tuesday morning.  About six other residents were being helped by the Red Cross.  During the fire, Reid Health issued a mass casualty plan in which many extra medical personnel were called.  A triage center was set up in a neighboring building.  Firefighters carried many elderly or disabled people down multiple flights of stairs after having gone door to door to clear the building.  "There were some that needed assistance and were wheelchair bound," Bartlett explained. Firefighters from other communities arrived to help cover the city’s other runs.

COUNCIL ADDRESSES NEEDLE EXCHANGE, NEW POLICE CRUISERS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council Monday night addressed Wayne County’s needle exchange program.  A new ordinance would prevent any future needle exchange program from operating in any residential area inside the city limits.  Council on Monday night struggled to determine whether or not it’s a zoning issue.  "There's a lot of confusion with this.  The prosecutor (Mike Shipman) has one opinion.  The Attorney General is supporting what the prosecutors are saying, but the bottom line is the State Health Department is approving needle exchange programs," said Council member Misty Hollis.  Council decided to send the ordinance to the Public Safety Committee to consider how to proceed.

Several much-needed new police cruisers are coming to the Richmond Police Department.  Monday night, Richmond Common Council approved a budget transfer that will allow for the purchase of eight vehicles.  $217,000 in savings from other funds will be used to purchase the cars.  The city had a shortage of police cruisers due mainly to extra officers being hired and trained.  Several vehicles in the fleet also had excessive miles and wear-and-tear.

NEW MADISON MINI MART ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

(New Madison, OH)--A New Madison convenience store was robbed at gunpoint late Monday night.  At around 10 o’clock, a man wearing a black ski mask entered the New Madison Mini Mart and showed a handgun to two clerks who were working inside.  The man then fled with an undetermined amount of cash.  Clerks could not determine if there was a getaway vehicle.  The robber is described as a white male, about 5-8, and about 150 pounds.  The clerks were not hurt.

COUNCIL TO HEAR ORDINANCE RETRICTING NEEDLE EXCHANGE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council will meet Monday night and will consider an ordinance that would prevent any future needle exchange programs from operating in residential areas inside the city limits.  The county’s goal was to put needle exchange within walking distance of troubled areas, which is why it landed at Centerstone at North 13th and B.  But many residents have voiced concerns.  The new ordinance would not mean the end of needle exchange and it would not end the exchange at the Centerstone location.  But, if the program ever ended there, it would not be allowed to return.

POWER FULLY RESTORED DAYS AFTER ICE STORM

(Whitewater Valley)--Power has now been restored to everyone across the Whitewater Valley after last week’s ice storm.  Crews from as far away as the Carolinas came to help local power companies restore power.  Work was not complete until Sunday.  Thousands lost power during the storm, and more than 2500 were still out at noon on Friday.  Customers of Whitewater Valley REMC, Dayton Power and Light, and Duke Energy all experienced outages.

WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER EATON SHOOTING

(Eaton, OH)--There was a weekend shooting investigation in Eaton.  Officers were called to the 400 block of East Main Street late Friday night on the report of multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said that four or five shots were fired in the area.  No one was struck.  Reanna Linter was taken to the Preble County Jail and charged with using weapons while intoxicated.  Investigators have not said what led to the shooting.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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