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Local News Powered by First Bank Richmond Archives for 2019-12

WOMAN STABBED NEAR CLEAR CREEK PARK

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond woman was stabbed early Tuesday morning.  It happened in the 1000 block of South West A Street, which is not far from Clear Creek Park.  According to neighbors and to scanner traffic, a female was heard screaming at about 1 o’clock Tuesday morning.  A police canine began tracking what was initially described as a short, white male between the ages of 25 and 35 with a thin, bony face and a pointed nose.  No arrest has been made.  There’s no word yet on the identity or condition of the victim.

WOMAN EXPECTED TO SURVIVE RICHMOND SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--A woman was recovering Tuesday morning after being shot Monday night a few blocks east of downtown Richmond.  A release from the Richmond Police Department indicates that 21-year-old Samantha Sester was found in a home near 13th and North A Street with a gunshot wound to the chest.  Scanner traffic indicated the shot was fired from a vehicle.  Sester was taken first to Reid Health and then flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  Her injuries were described as non-life-threatening.  Investigators talked to numerous witnesses at the scene but, so far, no arrests have been made.  There’s no word on the description of the shooter or a possible motive.

PETA BLAMES PREBLE COUNTY BARN FIRE ON CHICKEN EATERS

(West Alexandria, OH)--If you eat chicken, it’s your fault that chickens died in a barn fire.  That’s the message that will soon be placed on at least one billboard in Preble County, courtesy of the group PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  The billboard will go up close to West Alexandria near the site where chickens recently died in a barn fire.

SEX OFFENDER, JAILED LAST WEEK AND RELEASED, ARRESTED AGAIN

(Richmond, IN)--Last week, Richmond sex offender Rex Jordan was arrested for dealing methamphetamine and for being a serious violent felon in possession of a handgun.  Despite those felony charges, he was released from jail on his own recognizance.  Now, he’s behind bars again.  Jordan was one of four people arrested caught following a short chase Sunday morning near the west end of Reeveston Road.  Jordan has new charges including felony battery and resisting law enforcement.  One officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the chase.  Stolen items were recovered.  The other three arrested were Maureen Rivers, Dallas Scott, and Tammy Willis – all of Richmond.

SEMI CARRYING BANANAS CRASHES, FORCES CLOSURE OF US 35

(Webster, IN)--U.S. 35 was closed near Webster overnight and into Monday morning.  The closure was the result of a semi that went onto its side and spilled a load of bananas.  The initial indication was that the accident could have been wind-related.  35 was diverted at State Road 38 to the south and Webster Road to the north.  The highway reopened at around 5:30 Monday morning.  There was no immediate word on the condition of the driver, although any injuries were thought to be minor.  Crews are expected to be on the scene at times throughout the day Monday to clean up any residual bananas.

TOP LOCAL NEWS STORIES OF 2019 RANKED

(Whitewater Valley)--Kicks 96, 101.7 The Point, and 95.3 The Legend News has ranked the top local news stories of 2019 in a completely subjective and unscientific look back at the year that's coming to a close.  Here they are:

 

#10 - The closure of Richmond's K-Mart after more that 40 years in business.

 

#9 - Phillips Drugs sues the city and other entities after water seeped into the building as a result of construction outside.  That lawsuit is still pending.

 

#8 - RP&L announced that it will have to clean up coal ash that has accumulated for decades on the property at a cost of up to $55 million.

 

#7 - After years of controversy and dispute, a decision was made to treat wastewater at the Indiana Gateway Industrial Park on-site.  The expanded treatment capacity will allow growth at both SugarCreek, the park's largest tenant, and will allow the EDC to market the park to future tenants.

 

#6 - Wayne County's EDC assumed control of the now-vacant Elder-Beerman building in downtown Richmond.

 

#5 - Reid Health purchased multiple large properties across the area, including office buildings in Cambridge City, the former County Market building in Richmond, and the former K-Mart building in Eaton.

 

#4 - In mid-June, multiple tornados touched down locally.  One of those did heavy damage at the Richmond Mall.  Some tenants had to remain closed for months to allow for repair.

 

#3 - Fayette Regional Health System in Connersville went up for auction.  Reid Health was the successful bidder.  Reid assumed control under the name Reid Health Connersville.

 

#2 - Dave Snow was reelected Richmond mayor, even after an election-night snafu left some ballots uncounted.

 

#1 - After years of snarled traffic and loss of revenue to downtown merchants, a ceremony was held in mid-July to formally announce the complete of a downtown Richmond road construction project.

WOMAN WITH HEAD WRAPPED IN TAPE STOPPED ON I-70, CHARGED WITH METH

(Centerville, IN)--A Pennsylvania woman was stopped on I-70 late Thursday night with methamphetamine and with packaging tape completely wrapped around her head.  47-year-old Cynthia Kirkwood was pulled over near the Centerville Road exit.  Troopers allegedly found meth and drug paraphernalia.  Kirkwood was taken to Reid Health, where she was ultimately charged with multiple crimes, including meth possession and OWI.  She was then taken to the Wayne County Jail with some of the tape still wrapped around her head. 

2019: A LOOK BACK AT LOCAL NEWS

Here is a look back at local stories that made news this year.  Stories are sorted by category and are being featured Thursday morning on Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point.

 

WEATHER: 

We begin our look back at 2019 by remembering some of the weather stories that made headlines.  The Whitewater Valley doesn’t often see tornado touchdowns, but got more than its fair share this year.  Weather headlines, though, started in January. 

 

  • Heavy rain and melting snow causing flooding that caused multiple road closures in late January. 
  • Six days later, the issue was the cold.  The temperature on the 30th dropped to eight below. 
  • One of the more significant tornadoes touched down near West Alexandria in mid-May. 
  • It was in June 15 that three tornadoes struck, including one that did heavy damage to the Richmond Mall.  "I swear, I thought I was gonna die.  I thought I wasn't gonna see my family again," said Jeremey Kantrell, who was nearby when the tornado struck.  Other tornadoes touched down that night near the Richmond airport and near Bentonville in Fayette County. 

 

CRIME:   

 

ECONOMY: 

We continue our look back at the year that’s ending by looking back at events that affected the local economy. 

 

  • It began in late January, when Richmond Mayor Dave Snow announced Richmond Rising, which would lay out the city’s direction for the next decade.  "Together, we make Richmond rise," Snow said. 
  • Also in late January, the first of what would be several auction dates was scheduled for the now vacant Elder-Beerman building downtown
  • The last day of February brought an announcement that Needler’s Market in Eaton would close. 
  • In mid-march, Fayette Regional Health System in Connersville announced that it would go up for auction.  The successful bidder a few months later would be Reid Health. 
  • Speaking of Reid, the hospital made multiple purchases of large chunks of real estate.  In mid-April, Reid announced that it had purchased buildings in Cambridge City.  Reid would also purchase the former K-Mart building in Eaton and the former County Market building in Richmond. 
  • Richmond lost a downtown icon in April.  "It just wasn't working anymore.  There was too much payroll, and then we had a lot of construction in the back for years," said the owner of Joy Ann Bakery, which closed for good. 
  • Governor Eric Holcomb was in Richmond in June to cut the ribbon on the new Blue Buffalo plant.  "It's another great day in Richmond, Indiana.  I'll tell you that," Holcomb said.  Blue Buffalo will employ 165 people. 
  • Another major closure announcement came in early September when it was learned that Richmond’s K-Mart would close after 40 years. 

 

POLITICS: 

  • It began on the first day of the year, when new Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter was sworn in
  • In late January, Richmond learned that it had received approval for funding for Phase II of the bicycle path project known as “The Loop.” 
  • In April, RP&L General Manager Randy Baker announced the utility is facing a huge cost to clean up 400,000 tons of coal ash.  "Our cost of doing that is $55.5 million," Baker said. 
  • In May, Wayne County Council and Commissioners discussed discontinuing their relationship with the county’s health department after ongoing disagreements and personality conflicts. 
  • In late spring, Wayne County towns on U.S. 40 discussed a proposal from INDOT to reduce U.S. 40 to one lane in each direction with a turn lane in the middle.  Everyone said thanks, but no thanks. 
  • In mid-July, a ribbon was cut to mark the end of downtown construction that clogged city streets for well over a year.  "The end result has made it worth it - to see how it looks now," said Mayor Dave Snow. 
  • The city of Richmond and Wayne County dealt over the summer with allowing off-road vehicles like golf carts and snowmobiles on public streets and roadways.  The county gave approval.  The city did not. 
  • In September, Phillips Drugs sued the city and other entities after construction caused water to seep into their downtown building.  That lawsuit is still pending today. 
  • In October, Common Council decided against an ordinance that would prevent semis from parking in residential driveways. 
  • Last month, Richmond Mayor Dave Snow was elected to serve for four more years.  "We've gotten a lot done, and that's really created the momentum to propel us through the next four years," Snow said. 
  • Also last month, after years of debate, it was finally decided that wastewater at the Gateway Industrial Park would be treated through a new, local system.

 

ODD: 

It seems like every year, there are local stories and events that just leave you shaking your head. 

 

  • In late January, a Richmond man was arrested in Connersville when he went into a restaurant and began punching himself in the face. 
  • In mid-February, not only did a man break into a Richmond home, he took a shower there, put on the resident’s boxer shorts, climbed into the victims’ bed, and went to sleep. 
  • In March, a car burglar was arrested for breaking into a vehicle on Grand Boulevard in Richmond and eating the Starburst candy inside…but just the red ones. 
  • There was a gruesome hoax in Fayette County in early June.  Someone had placed what appeared to be a decapitated body along Gray Road.  It caused passers-by to stop and call police. 
  • In August, Richmond police were searching for a naked scooter rider.  It turned out the man wasn’t naked, but was actually wearing salmon-colored shorts. 
  • Without a doubt, the strangest thing that happened this year happened in Preble County in August.  That’s when a group of kids playing in a creek near West Alexandria noticed a large, live crocodile in the water.  "We praise God that somebody was on the bridge that happened to observe it.  We could have all been in the water, and it would've been a whole different story," said an adult in the area.  There was never any definitive word on how the full-sized crocodile ended up in Bantas Creek.

 

GOOD NEWS: 

We’ll wrap up our annual look back at the year that was – as we always do – by remembering the good news stories. 

 

  • In late January, we learned that a Connersville doctor had died and left his fortune to charity.  Do you remember how much?  It was $57 million. 
  • In early February, everyone survived uninjured when a plane slid off the runway and across State Road 227 at the Richmond Municipal Airport. 
  • In mid-February, first responders were honored at the Indiana Statehouse for their response to the Dennis Intermediate School shooting incident. 
  • A few days later, we learned that Wayne County would see a significant reduction in the number of overdose deaths from the year before. 
  • In March, an international publication called Richmond the best small city in the United States in which to buy a home for less than $100,000. 
  • Just in time for Memorial Day, a Huey helicopter was placed at Veteran’s Park in the gorge in Richmond as a tribute to those who fought in the Vietnam War.  "It's always amazing to me to come down and see one monument and then there's three more and then three more after that," said Vietnam vet Bill Engle, who will be sworn in as a Richmond Common Council member next week. 
  • A miracle occurred in Richmond in mid-June.  A toddler fell out of a window at the Nine North Apartments.  The child fell four stories, but landed on a soft bed of mulch and was virtually uninjured. 
  • In October, a Seton High School baseball player taught us that teenagers can do many positive things.  "You can help me either throw 50 times or hit 50 times in a day," said Luke Leverton, who raised well over his original $5000 goal to rehab McBride Stadium. 
  • And, just a few weeks ago, New Paris got a six-figure gift to help rehab the former C.R. Coblentz school grounds.  "It's a miracle for Christmas," said one village leader. 

That’s a look back at the good news stories from the year, and it wraps up out look back at 2019.

SEX OFFENDER, VIOLENT FELON RELEASED FROM JAIL

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man who is not only a registered sex offender, but who was also arrested earlier this week was released from jail at 2 o’clock Thursday morning on his own recognizance.  44-year-old Rex Jordan was arrested this week for dealing meth, trafficking with an inmate, and being a serious violent felon in possession of a handgun, but he was free Thursday morning.  Jordan was arrested and jailed just last month for a burglary.  He was convicted a decade ago in West Virginia for the Indiana equivalent of child molestation.

SEX OFFENDER CAUGHT WITH METH, HANDGUN

(Richmond, IN)--registered Richmond sex offender is facing seven new criminal charges after his arrest Tuesday morning.  44-year-old Rex Jordan was booked into jail after just after two this morning after having been found on 13th Street allegedly with methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and a handgun.  More drugs were found when Jordan was being booked in, leading to a felony trafficking with an inmate charge.  Jordan was convicted of sexual abuse ten years ago and has been a registered sex offender since then.

WAYNE CO. WORK FORCE DROPS BY 454 FROM THIS TIME LAST YEAR

(Wayne County, IN)--New numbers are out regarding employment in our area.  In Wayne County, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.4% due to 47 more people being out of work than were last month.  The most notable figure in the new report is that there are now 454 fewer people in Wayne County’s workforce than were at this point last year.  Union County has the area’s lowest unemployment rate at 3%, while Fayette County has the highest at 4.6%.  Ohio numbers in our area come out Friday.

MAN JAILED AFTER SHORT CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--There was a pursuit on Richmond’s east side this morning that ended with the arrest of a Richmond man.  It began on North 22nd Street when officers noticed that a vehicle being driven by 34-year-old Jim Lemaster was improperly plated.  Lemaster allegedly fled toward his home on Henley Road and was taken into custody there.  He’s charged with felony resisting law enforcement.

DEALING METH IS 40th CRIMINAL CHARGE FOR 24-YEAR-OLD RICHMOND MAN

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond man who is only 24 years old but has racked up 40 criminal charges has been arrested again.  Zachary Vansickle faces a new charge of dealing methamphetamine and other lesser drug charges after being arrested on Friday.  In May, Vansickle was arrested for strangling his girlfriend.  He was jailed a month before that for pointing a gun.  Four years ago, Vansickle was wanted for questioning related to several robberies of Richmond businesses, including a Richmond Village Pantry.  Vansickle has bonded out and was free Monday morning.

FOUR JAILED FOR RICHMOND RESIDENTIAL ENTRY

(Richmond, IN)--Four people have now been charged with kicking in the door of a Richmond home and entering with at least one gun.  It happened in an area near the Greenwood Apartments.  No one inside was hurt.  The four people fled the scene and were captured in the 1400 block of South 14th.  They include Jamarr Hill, Raymond Lewis Junior and Senior, and Tony Mays.  All four are charged with felony residential entry.

WAYNE COUNTY SYPHILIS OUTBREAK CALLED "PUBLIC HEALTH MINI-EMERGENCY

(Richmond, IN)--In the last two years, Wayne County has dealt with high levels of hepatitis.  Now, there’s something new.  This is from the meeting of the Wayne County Board of Health Thursday:  "We have a public health mini-emergency with syphilis. Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread by sexual contact.  The State Department of Health contacted local officials about a big spike in numbers.  Normally, there is just a case or two each year.  Now, the number is at least five times higher.  "This year, we have documented 11 cases," said Dr. David Keller.  At-risk residents are being urged to get tested.  "I'm sure we have more than 11 cases (of syphilis) in Wayne County," Keller added.  State officials are now investigating and are offering to help test residents.

RICHMOND RISING GETS PLAN COMMISSION APPROVAL

(Richmond, IN)--“Richmond Rising”, which is the name given to the city’s comprehensive plan for the next decade, received unanimous approval Thursday night from the Richmond Advisory Plan Commission.  The passage Thursday night is the result of months of study from consultants and community leaders and input from the public.  Richmond Rising lays out a dozen priorities over the next ten years including workforce development, departmental master plans,  and ideas about what to do with the old Reid Hospital property.  Common Council is expected to approve Richmond Rising next month.

RICHMOND MAN CAUGHT WITH METH AND SCALES

(Eaton, OH)--Richmond man is facing drug charges in Preble County.  46-year-old David Jones was stopped on U.S. 35 in Eaton for a traffic violation.  Jones was found to be driving on a suspended license, and that prompted a search.  Inside Jones’ vehicle, deputies found 30 grams of methamphetamine and digital scales.  Jones is today facing charges that include aggravated possession of drugs.

CENTERVILLE MAN JAILED FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH A MINOR

(Centerville, IN)--A Centerville man was in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning after having been arrested for sexual misconduct with a minor.  29-year-old Tyler Kilgus was taken into custody at the Centerville Police Department Wednesday morning.  Kilgus is now charged with a Level 4 felony.  Details of what he is alleged to have done have not been released.  Kilgus does not have a criminal history in Wayne County.

MAN DRIVES FROM MISSOURI TO SURRENDER ON ARSON WARRANT

(Richmond, IN)--On Wednesday, a man drove all the way from Missouri to Richmond to turn himself in on felony warrants.  35-year-old Anthony Harms bonded out quickly after making the long trip.  Harms is charged with arson and felony criminal mischief.  Details of what he is alleged to have done have not been released, but Harms is accused of causing over $50,000 in damage to property.  The warrant was issued two weeks ago.

TEEN DIES IN SNOWMOBILE ACCIDENT

(Darke County, OH)--A teenager is dead following a snowmobile accident Tuesday night in Darke County.  Investigators say 18-year-old Jonathan Gehret was riding in a farm field just northeast of Greenville at around 8:30 Tuesday night when he struck an embankment along the Stillwater River.  Gehret was pronounced dead at the scene.  The case will remain under investigation.

NEW MARKETING EFFORT TO PROMOTE EAST CENTRAL INDIANA

(Richmond, IN)--A new marketing effort has been established by the multi-county group called East Central Indiana Regional Partnership.  It’s a group that includes ten counties, including Wayne, Fayette, Randolph, and Henry.  Now, a committee called Elevate ECI will work to promote positive aspects of living in the area.  It’s an effort that’s geared toward stopping the loss of population and attracting or keeping recent college graduates, who often go away to school and don’t return to their hometowns.

FAYETTE COUNTY TO RESUME NEEDLE EXCHANGE

(Connersville, IN)--Fayette County’s needle exchange program is returning next month.  The program went on hiatus last May.  It will return using the name Fayette County Harms Reduction Alliance and will be located at Meridian Health Services on West 3rd Street.  Just as in Wayne County, Fayette County’s program will provide clean needles and opportunities for counseling.  Reid Health has indicated that it will help to secure supplies.  The program was approved by Fayette County Commissioners Tuesday.

ISP TO INVESTIGATE DEATH AT WAYNE COUNTY JAIL

(Richmond, IN)--There’s an investigation underway after a death over the weekend at the Wayne County Jail.  On Saturday, 57-year-old Dean Lamb collapsed from what appeared to be medical issues.  Efforts to resuscitate Lamb were unsuccessful.  The Indiana State Police is investigating at the request of Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter.  Lamb was serving time for felony intimidation and public intoxication.

FAMILY CALLS 911 TO SAY THEIR HOME WAS ON ROADWAY

(Cambridge City, IN)--There was a strange call to Wayne County dispatchers Sunday afternoon.  A family called to report that they had come home to find that their mobile home was laying broadside across Frontage Road near I-70 and Cambridge City.  A photo on social media confirms that the mobile home was completely blocking the roadway.  The caller told dispatchers they had no idea how it happened.  Then, another photo surfaced showing a small pickup trying to tow the mobile home away.  Frontage Road has been cleared and was open Monday morning.

TEEN SHOT, KILLED IN UNION CITY

(Union City, OH)--The death of an 18-year-old male found shot in Union City is now being treated as a homicide.  The victim lived in the Taffy Court Apartments.  His body was found in a unit other than where he lived Thursday.  Two other men who live in the apartment complex were stopped by police earlier Thursday afternoon because they were carrying what Police Chief Mark Ater described as AR-style weapons, but they have not been charged.  Ater also said there were multiple people in the apartment.  "We're still in the process of interviewing multiple witnesses.  There were five or more people who were inside the apartment at the time."  The victim’s name has not been released.

MORE ALLEGED VICTIMS OF FORMER TROOPER TESTIFY

(Eaton, OH)--More alleged victims took the stand Thursday at the Preble County Courthouse in the case of former Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Christopher Ward.  Ward is accused of multiple sex crimes.  One woman testified Thursday that she was patted down in an overly aggressive manner.  This trooper testified about how pat-downs should be done..."You get one pat-down.  You get feel of the area and then you have to move on."  Another victim testified that Ward forced her to perform a sex act on him when he pulled her over.  The case could go to the judge Friday, who will decide Ward’s guilt or innocence.  There is no jury.  Ward faces up to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

TRUCKER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN STATE LINE CRASH

(Wayne County, IN)--A truck driver was seriously injured in a crash on State Road 122 at the state line just east of Boston late Thursday afternoon.  According to an initial report, a driver on State Line Road pulled out in front of the trucker.  He swerved to avoid a crash and lost control.  The semi ended up on its side with the driver being thrown from the cab.  A medical helicopter was called.  There’s no word Friday morning on the trucker’s identity or condition.  Manure also spilled from the semi, creating a HAZMAT situation.  122 was closed for several hours.

TROOPER CLAIMS TO HAVE REACHED FOR CAT WHEN TOUCHING GIRL

(Eaton, OH)--Testimony continued at the Preble County Courthouse Wednesday in the case of former Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Christopher Ward, who is accused of multiple sex crimes – some while on duty.  In one case, a 15-year-old friend of Ward’s daughter, who was spending the night at his house in Eaton and sleeping in the same bed as his daughter, claims Ward came into the room and touched her inappropriately.  Ward, in the initial investigation, claimed he was reaching for a cat.  "I go to the head of the bed to grab it.  And, in doing so, her friend that was staying all night, rolls over toward me," Ward claimed.  The trial continues Thursday.  Ward is expected to take the stand.  He faces up to life in prison if found guilty.

CRASHES TIE UP EAST MAIN STREET TRAFFIC

(Richmond, IN)--Two unrelated accidents not far apart in terms of both distance and time affected traffic on East Main in Richmond Wednesday afternoon.  One driver suffered a broken collarbone when he took out a light pole and rolled over onto eastbound Main Street at the intersection of South 37th.  He was treated at Reid Health and released.  East Main was shut down for a time.  That intersection sees more crashes than any other in Richmond.  Shortly before that occurred, there was a multi-vehicle crash when a car slammed into the back of another at the light just east of Elks Road.  No serious injuries were reported.

NETTLE CREEK, TEST MAKE HIRES AT WEDNESDAY BOARD MEETINGS

(Hagerstown and Richmond, IN)--Nettle Creek Schools has a new leader.  On Wednesday night, the Nettle Creek Board approved the hiring on Dr. Kyle Barrentine.  Barrentine was one of 15 candidates to be interviewed for the position.  He will start on January 6.  Barrentine had served previously in various roles in the Anderson and Kokomo area.  Test Intermediate School in Richmond now has a new assistant principal.  Jamie Thomas has taught and coached in various roles with Richmond Community Schools for the last 15 years and is currently the Program Director for Every Child Can Read.  Thomas will begin her new role at Test on January 2.  Meanwhile, a trial date has now been set for February for the previous Test assistant principal, who is charged with driving drunk and fleeing police on Halloween night.

TROOPER REJECTED PLEA DEAL; TRIAL CONTNUES

(Eaton, OH)--The trial of a former Ohio Highway Patrol trooper got underway Tuesday at the Preble County Courthouse.  Christopher Ward is charged with five counts of gross sexual imposition and two counts of sexual battery after allegedly forcing female victims to perform sex acts while he was on duty and in uniform.  A prosecutor indicated Tuesday that Ward had previously rejected a plea deal.  He now faces up to life in prison.  Ward’s defense attorney called the charges "phooey."  The trial is a bench trial, meaning there’s no jury and the judge alone will decide Ward’s guilt or innocence.

TWO JAILED, JUVENILE RELEASED IN DRUG BUST

(Richmond, IN)--At least three young Wayne County residents, including one who is underage, were involved in a drug bust Wednesday morning.  It happened in the 1500 block of Holsapple Road.  23-year-old Kyla Gabbard of Richmond now faces charges that include possessing narcotic drugs, controlled substances, and marijuana.  18-year-old Brooklyn St. Clair was also behind bars Wednesday morning, charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  At least one juvenile was released to a family member.  Quantities of drugs recovered have not been released.

CHARGES FILED AFTER BODY FOUND IN SCHOOL PARKING LOT

(Brookville, IN)--In June of last year, a dead body was found in a van in the parking lot of a Brookville school.  Now, two men have been charged.  Prosecutors say that William Garrett died at a Brookville home from a heroin overdose.  Two other men – Benjamin Herd and Michael Presley, put the body in a van, drove it to the school parking lot, and left it there sitting in the passenger seat.  Both are charged with alteration of scene of death, which is a low-level felony.  There’s no word of why they allegedly drove the body to the school.

SHOTS FIRED REPORT PROMPTS CLASSROOM SECURE STATUS

(Richmond, IN)--There were reports of shots fired at three different locations in fairly rapid succession Monday afternoon, and one of those reports brought reaction from a school.  There was a report of a man running down an alley in the area of North West 2nd and Randolph Street after having fired multiple shots.  That report prompted Dennis Intermediate School to go on classroom secure status.  There were no reports of injury and no arrests were made.  A woman had also reported that her window had been shot out in the 400 block of North 10th and a resident of Tingler Road reported finding a bullet hole in a kitchen window.

ANONYMOUS DONOR GIVES NEW PARIS

(New Paris, OH)--The village of New Paris has received an incredible Christmas gift.  "It's a miracle for Christmas.  It was wonderful," said New Paris Mayor Kathy Smallwood.  For years, New Paris leaders have worked to demolish the former CR Coblentz K-12 school building and redevelop the land into a park.  The village had come up with $250,000, but that will still well short of the estimated cost.  Then, this happened..."We had word that there was an anonymous donor who was going to give us $100,000 to finish the project.  We are ecstatic," Smallwood said.  Smallwood knows they may never know who the donor is, but wants to thank that person or family.

MAN FREE ONLY 12 DAYS BEFORE METH BUST

(Richmond, IN)--Formal charges were filed Monday against a Richmond man who was allegedly found over the weekend with nearly 35 grams of methamphetamine.  43-year-old James Harris had been out of jail for only 12 days after having pled guilty to possessing cocaine in a different case.  An RPD officer found the meth when responding to a domestic situation on North 10th.  Harris denied that the meth was his.  It had a street value of about $1500.

PROPOSED SNAP CHANGES COULD AFFECT WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS

(Wayne County, IN)--A new work requirement could affect hundreds of Wayne County food stamp recipients.  The new rule, which has been proposed by the Trump administration, could mean adults between ages 18 and 49 who don’t have a disability would lose some or all food stamp benefits if they’re not working or enrolled in school.  There are currently 7577 Wayne County residents, which represents about 12% of the population, who receive food stamps.  Each Wayne County resident gets, on average, $128 per month.

OFFICE MAX TO REOPEN RICHMOND STORE SOON

(Richmond, IN)--A specific reopening date has been set for the last retail store in the Richmond Mall area to reopen after a weak tornado damaged it in June.  Office Max is now scheduled to reopen a week from Wednesday.  Office Max suffered damage that included a hole in the roof, broken windows, and an air conditioning unit that flew onto National Road East.

RPD SEEKS NEW OFFICERS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department wants you to know that it’s actively recruiting new officers.  Monday is the day that preliminary testing begins at Ivy Tech in Richmond.  Applicants have to be between the ages of 21 and 35, be a high school graduate or have a GED, be an Indiana resident, and have never been convicted of a felony.  Preliminary testing will run through January 10.

MAN KILLED FLEEING RICHMOND POLICE (UPDATED TO INCLUDE NAME)

(Richmond, IN)--One person is dead following a car chase early Friday morning.  For reasons that have not been released, officers pursued a BMW in a residential area near Richmond High School at around 1 o’clock Friay morning.  The driver fled to Abington Pike and lost control on an S curve near the city limits.  The BMW then hit a tree and caught fire.  Scanner traffic indicated the driver had initially fled the scene, but he was found in the wreckage.  The driver has now been identified as 36-year-old Phillip Casebolt of Richmond.  Casebolt's body has been taken to Dayton for autopsy to determine if drugs and/or alcohol were a factor.

AFFIDAVIT: CONNERSVILLE MURDER WAS RETALITATION FOR DRUG OVERDOSE

(Connersville, IN)--More details about the Connersville murder we told you about earlier this week have become available.  According to an affidavit, a bloody baseball bat was found at an East 5th Street apartment that 59-year-old Deborah Morphew shared with 64-year-old Michael Bunner.  Bunner was found dead inside last weekend.  Morphew told police that she had "put him down the day before."  Morphew believed that Bunner was responsible for the death of her daughter, who had died from a drug overdose a year to the day that Bunner was killed.  Morphew claims the killing was done in self-defense.  She’s being held in the Fayette County Jail without bond.

RP&L EXPLORES POSSIBLE RATE INCREASE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Power and Light is considering a rate increase.  It’s the result of a Cost of Service study done by an independent, third-party firm.  "They are recommending we do some kind of increase," said RP&L General Manager Randy Baker.  A letter is being distributed the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC indicating the rate increase would be $4-5 per month for the average residential customer.  One reason for the increase is the cost of remediating ash that’s been at RP&L for decades.  "Rough estimates we've got at this point go as low as $18 million and as high as $55 million depending on how the remediation goes and what you have to do with the ash," Baker explained.  The last RP&L rate increase came way back in 2005.

TWO ARRESTED FOR METH DEALING AT RICHMOND MOTEL

(Richmond, IN)--Two alleged Richmond drug dealers were taken into custody Wednesday on the city’s north side.  43-year-old Benjamin Wilks and 30-year-old Rachel Hofer were arrested in an area near the Red Roof Inn on Chester Boulevard.  Officers recovered methamphetamine, other drugs, syringes, and paraphernalia.  Quantities were not released.  Hofer has a lengthy record that includes arrests for possessing heroin, meth, and cocaine.  Wilks has a record that includes contempt and auto theft.

LARGE CHUNK OF UNION COUNTY LAND SELLS AT AUCTION

(Union County, IN)--A huge chunk of Union County land has sold at auction.  More than 800 acres of land in the area of Clifton Road and U.S. 27 went up for auction and drew about 300 people.  The winning bid was $6.38 million.  Organizers of the auction say that the interest in the land and the selling price indicates demand for farmland in the area is strong.

DALAI LAMA ADDRESSES EARLHAM STUDENTS

A group of Earlham College students got an incredible experience Tuesday when they met with the Dalai Lama as part of the Tibetan Studies program.  One of those students asked about political polarity in Richmond.  "My name is Evan.  I am a student at Earlham College in the United States.  Your Holiness, a concern that I have for my community in the United States is the issue of political polarization."  Here was the response.  "Use human wisdom, human interest, and look through one dimension."  The Dalai Lama then wore and Earlham baseball cap and posed for photos with students.

INCIDENTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF WAYNE COUNTY CHILDREN SPIKE

(Wayne County, IN)--Sexual abuse of Wayne County children has increased dramatically in recent months.  That’s according to new numbers from the Indiana Department of Child Services.  Typically, Wayne County will have only one or two new, confirmed cases of sexual abuse in a month.  But, in October, which is the most recent month available from DCS, there were nine confirmed, new cases.  23 other cases were found to be unsubstantiated.  No reason for the dramatic increase has been given.  Wayne County now has 257 confirmed new cases of child abuse and neglect so far this year.

CONNERSVILLE POLICE LOOK FOR CHRISTMAS LIGHT THIEVES

(Connersville, IN)--Connersville police have released a surveillance image with the hope that it will help to catch two people who stole some Christmas lights and destroyed others at Roberts Park.  Two females took lights from a gazebo in the Miller Garden.  They then ripped lights from shelters and smashed them and damaged the Spartan Tree.  All of it was done in daylight and the images captured are good ones.

SMITHFOODS TO ADD 34 JOBS IN $9 MILLION RICHMOND INVESTMENT

(Richmond, IN)--34 new jobs are coming to Richmond as part of a $9 million investment.  The EDC of Wayne County announced Monday that SmithFoods will expand by adding a new production line to increase production of dairy and non-dairy products.  The new jobs at the plant on North West 11th street are expected to pay an average wage of $22 per hour, although it will be two years before all of those jobs will be filled.  SmithFoods will receive a $93,000 EDIT grant from the EDC.  SmithFoods began operations in Richmond 98 years ago under the name Wayne Dairy.

MODIFIED PEACOCK ROAD PLAN GETS COUNCIL APPROVAL

(Richmond, IN)--A modified plan to upgrade parts of Peacock Road advanced through Richmond Common Council Monday night.  Difficulty in moving utilities on Peacock from 13th Street west is one of the reasons the project is now divided into two different phases.  The first phase will address 11th to 13th Street and would include painted bike lanes.  There will now be no dedicated bike lanes west of 13th.  Four Peacock Road-area residents spoke against the project Monday night.  The city will learn in March if its grant application is successful.  Even if it is, construction won’t start for five years.

CONNERSVILLE WOMAN CHARGED WITH MURDER

(Connersville, IN)--A Connersville woman has now been charged with murder in connection with a weekend incident at Colony Court Apartments.  Officers were called there Saturday afternoon and found a man dead inside an apartment.  The victim has now been identified as a 64-year-old resident of Akron, Ohio.  Police arrested 59-year-old Deborah Morphew.  Morphew is in the Fayette County Jail.  Investigators have not yet said how the man died or how he was connected to the suspect.

HEPATITIS A CASES HOLD STEADY IN WAYNE COUNTY IN 2019

(Wayne County, IN)--When the year began, Wayne County had 142 cases of hepatitis A.  Now, as the year is winding down, Wayne County is holding steady at 143 cases.  It’s a vast improvement from 2018, when the number of cases exploded and put Wayne County in the top ten counties per capita nationally for the number of hepatitis A cases.  Some neighboring counties have seen substantial increases this year.  Randolph County has 26, Henry County has 25, Fayette County has 22, and Union County has seven cases.  Users of illicit drugs are among those most at risk.

COUNCIL TO HEAR PUBLIC COMMENT ON PEACOCK ROAD PROPOSAL

(Richmond, IN)--Members of the public will have a chance to sound off Monday night on proposed major modifications to another heavily traveled Richmond city street.  An ordinance that would allow the city to apply for a grant to modify a portion of Peacock Road is on public hearing Monday night at the Richmond Common Council meeting.  The grant would allow for the installation of bicycle paths and sidewalks on Peacock from North West 11th to North West 18th.  The grant would cover much of the estimated $3.2 million cost.  Even if approved, construction would likely not begin for five more years.   Monday night’s meeting begins at 7:30.  You can catch it live on WCTV.

MAN JAILED AFTER ALLEGEDLY POINTING LOADED GUN AT WOMAN'S HEAD

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man remains behind bars Morning morning after allegedly pointing a loaded gun at a woman’s head and threatening to shoot any police officer who attempted to intervene.  26-year-old Cory Comp was arrested at his home on East Whitewater Road on Saturday.  Despite the threat, Comp was taken into custody at gunpoint.  He now faces four different felony charges.  No injuries were reported.

Kicks Country WEATHER