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Local News Powered by First Bank Richmond Archives for 2020-03

THREE MORE AREA RESIDENTS DIE FROM COVID-19; TOTAL NOW AT SIX

(Whitewater Valley)--The Whitewater Valley now has three more deaths directly attributable to Covid-19, bringing the total to six.  In Fayette County, an 80-year-old man who had multiple underlying health conditions died at Reid Health Connersville.  The man actually died there nearly two weeks ago, but test results now confirm the cause.  A 76-year-old man who was a resident of Greenville Health and Rehabilitation in Darke County that had tested positive has now died.  That facility alone has at least ten positive cases.  The Darke County Health District cautioned that as the number of cases increases, they may see more fatalities.  Franklin County officials received word Monday that a fourth person there has died.  Details of that person’s death have not been released.  Franklin County is part of a Covid-19 hotspot with now 28 confirmed cases.

RPD BEGINS TO ADD CHARGES FOR VIOLATING STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

(Richmond, IN)--Criminal charges are now being filed against people who violate the stay-at-home order in Wayne County.  It’s happened at least twice now.  RPD has not yet arrested anyone exclusively for violating the order.  But, if they commit another crime and are out with no legitimate excuse, the charge is added.  It happened early Tuesday morning when 43-year-old Crystal Beaty was stopped for operating while intoxicated on South West 5th.  Along with OWI, Beaty is now charged with a stay-at-home violation.  Arrested in a separate incident was 33-year-old Victor Sales.  He faces a similar stay-at-home violation after allegedly driving at nearly five times the legal limit.

30 OF 31 NEW COVID-19 TESTS AT REID ARE NEGATIVE

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health received results on a series of Covid-19 tests Monday.  The good news is that nearly all of those tests were negative.  Of 31 new results, only one was positive.  The other 30 of 31 tests that had been pending were negative.  There are now 22 test results pending.  Reid now has had a total of 99 tests come back with 11 of them positive, giving it an 11% positive rate.

WHITEWATER VALLEY HAS THIRD COVID-19 DEATH

(Brookville, IN)--The Whitewater Valley has now had its third Covid-19 death.  One patient, who was a Franklin County man in his 80’s, had been a patient at an Ohio hospital for the last ten days.  Officials received word of the third death Sunday.  Franklin County continues to have far and away more cases than most other area counties.  According to the state’s website, Franklin County now has 26 positives.  Ten patients who had been on in-home quarantine have been released, including a family of four where both parents tested positive.  It also includes four employees of a health care facility.  One tested positive and has since recovered.

UPDATED COVID-19 CASES BY COUNTY

(Whitewater Valley)--Preble County now has its first positive case of Covid-19.  Preble County health officials were notified of the positive test over the weekend.  The patient is 69 years old.  Here are the numbers for other counties according to Indiana and Ohio state websites.  Wayne County is still listed as having one case.  There are five in Fayette County, two in Randolph, one in Henry, and 26 in Franklin County.  Darke County has 12 and Butler County has 27.  Union County is now the only county in the Whitewater Valley without a Covid-19 case.

PART OF AREA LABELED COVID-19 "HOTSPOT"

(Franklin County, IN)--Part of our area has been labeled a “hotspot” by state health officials for Covid-19.  Franklin County now has 26 positive cases.  That’s an increase of six since Friday.  Those cases, combined with another 59 in Ripley and Decatur County, give that three-county region more cases per capita than not just Indiana, but the entire Midwest.  The state average for positive tests is 15%.  But, in that three-county area, the tests are coming back at more than 30%.

WINTER WAS ONE OF RICHMOND'S MOST MILD ON RECORD

(Richmond, IN)--Catching up on some non-Covid-19 news…winter has been over now for a little more than a week, and this will go down as one of Richmond’s mildest winters ever.  Check out these numbers.  Over the 91-day winter, Richmond had below-normal temperatures on just 16 of 91 days.  On average, we were seven degrees over normal every day.  There was only a total of 12 inches of snow.  The coldest temperature of the winter in Richmond was ten degrees.  That came on Valentine’s Day.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS JUMP FROM 22 TO 623 IN ONE WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--New numbers show the staggering effect of Covid-19 and the subsequent stay-in-place orders on the Wayne County economy.  In an average week, even as recently as last month, Wayne County averages about 20 new jobless claims per week.  Twenty.  Two weeks ago, there were 22 jobless claims filed.  Last week, there were 623 new jobless claims filed.  That number also represents a 5100% increase from the same week last year.  Other area counties have seen similar increases.  Fayette, Randolph, and Franklin County have all gone from around 15 claims in a week to an average of 150 last week.

NORTHEASTERN SUPERINTENDENT A FINALIST FOR OTHER JOB; BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN

(Fountain City, IN)--Northeastern Wayne School Superintendent Laura Blessing appears to be looking to get out.  Blessing is one of seven finalists to be the new superintendent at Miamisburg.  The time frame for the hiring has been pushed back due to Covid-19.  Meanwhile, Northeastern’s assistant superintendent is still the subject of a pending criminal investigation.  That investigation is being handled by the Indiana State Police.  Two school board members have resigned in the last two weeks.  The resignations of Kristin Lumpkin and Eric Fields were approved this week by the remaining three Northeastern Board members.  No reason for the resignations was provided.  Replacements for both Lumpkin and Fields are now being sought.

EMPLOYEES SAY SUNSHINE CAFE HAS PERMANENTLY CLOSED

(Richmond, IN)--Employees of the Sunshine Café on National Road West in Richmond indicated Thursday that the restaurant has closed permanently.  Those employees said that they were told of the closure early this week but did not provide a specific reason for the closure.  Sunshine Café had operated for decades and was known largely as an overnight place to eat.  Sunshine Café’s general manager did not return a message Thursday.

POSITIVE CASES IN FRANKLIN COUNTY JUMP TO 20

(Brookville, IN)--There has been an explosion of positive cases of Covid-19 in Franklin County.  Franklin County health officials have confirmed 11 new positive cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 20.  All new cases are adults.  Health officials are not saying if there is a common tie between all the news cases.  Franklin County has had the Whitewater Valley’s only Covid-19 death.  Here’s a look at positive cases by county according to state health officials.  Wayne County has one.  Fayette County is still at three.  Randolph County has two.  Butler County is now up to 21 cases.  Darke County has one.  Union, Preble, and Henry County have not had any presumptive positives.

WHITEWATER VALLEY HAS FIRST COVID-19 DEATH

(Franklin County, IN)--The Whitewater Valley now has its first Covid-19 death.  Franklin County announced Wednesday that a man in his 60’s died as a direct result of coronavirus.  The man’s name has not been released.  He had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks.  The location of where he was hospitalized has not been released.  Reid Health did initially see some patients from Franklin County who had tested positive for Covid-19.

PRIMEX USES "APOLLO 13" MOMENT TO DEVELOP 100,000 MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health is calling something being done by Primex Plastics an “Apollo 13” moment.  It's not the moment when Tom Hanks says "Houston, we have a problem."  It's more like when Ed Harris says "with all due respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour."  In what is described as a series of miraculous circumstances, Primex developed, designed, and scheduled mass production of face shields to be used with special protective helmets at Reid in the fight against Covid-19.  And Primex did it all in just two days.  Just like in Apollo 13, they threw items on hand on a table and came up with the device.  Other health care facilities nationally are learning about the shield.  Primex is now working to produce 100,000 of them.

REQUESTS POUR INTO HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR COVID-19 TESTING

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department’s Executive Director told Wayne County Commissioners Wednesday that many people are calling the Health Department every day wanting to be tested for Covid-19.  Christine Stinson also had an ominous prediction, saying that they "know people in our community will die regardless of what we’re doing."  Still, Stinson reiterated that what’s being done at both the county and state level in terms of isolation will save lives.  She added that not all people experiencing symptoms will be able to be tested.

FLUCTUATION IN WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 CASES EXPLAINED

(Richmond, IN)--The number of actual cases of Covid-19 at Reid Health and in Wayne County can be confusing, and there were a couple of changes Tuesday.  The one case that had been attributed to Wayne County has now been assigned to Fayette County, because that’s where the patient spent the majority of his time.  That patient has been caring for someone else who also has Covid-19.  But also Tuesday, Reid received its first confirmation of coronavirus at the hospital.  Four other tests are listed as presumptive positive.  There have been 21 negative tests at Reid, and 32 more are pending.

REID ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO CURB COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health announced Tuesday that it is taking additional steps to protect patients and staff through the Covid-19 emergency.  Visitors, in most cases, are being limited to personal caregivers.  All who enter are now required to have their temperature taken and are required to keep a mask on at all times.  There’s a new triage process for emergencies that begins outside.  Some outpatient physician practices have now closed to free up providers and staff.  The closed practices so far include Reid Family Health and Reid Medical Associates.  Clinics in Brookville and at Richmond’s Meijer also remain closed.

HOME DESTROYED, TWO OTHERS DAMAGED BY FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--One house was destroyed and two others were damaged in a house fire in Richmond early Wednesday morning.  It broke out in the 300 block of North 14th Street.  "We arrived on the scene and found heavy fire coming out of the windows.  Crews made an aggressive interior attack.  We had to come back out due to the fire growing in intensity," said Tim Brown with the Richmond Fire Department.  Not only was that house destroyed, but two others suffered exposed damage.  The total damage estimate is $87,000.  There were no injuries.  The house had no utilities, making the fire suspicious.

COUNCIL PASSES COVID-19 RELATED ORDINANCES

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council gathered – mostly electronically – Monday night to take further steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Council passed an ordinance to deposit city money only twice a week instead of daily.  Another officially extended to the city the orders that were announced last Friday that directs citizens to end all social gatherings and go out only for the essentials.  Mayor Dave Snow said Monday night that most citizens, so far, have been cooperative.

REID ACCEPTS DONATIONS OF HOMEMADE FACE MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--On Tuesday, Reid Health will begin to accept homemade face masks.  Reid said that it will accept those homemade masks as a way to provide contingencies because of national supply issues with Personal Protective Equipment.  They will make sure they’re laundered with infection control standards and then made available for use.  Reid has even posted directions on how to sew the masks on their website.  The masks can be dropped off in the valet area of Reid Health’s main entrance.

PAY EXTENDED TO COUNTY WORKERS IDLED BY COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--A resolution was approved by Wayne County Commissioners Monday that will ensure county workers will be paid while they’re staying away from their normal places of employment.  The county’s department heads will determine which and how many employees will be necessary for those departments to function.  Other employees will be asked to work from home if possible.  Last week, city and county leaders called for all businesses to reduce staff by at least 30%.  Monday’s resolution includes pay for part-time county workers.

RICHMOND COMMON COUNCIL TO HOLD EMERGENCY MEETING

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council will be holding an emergency special meeting at 6 o’clock Monday night.  According to City Attorney Andrew Sickman, the purpose of the meeting is to introduce an ordinance extending emergency executive orders signed by Mayor Dave Snow.  Council members now have the option of appearing at the meeting electronically.

CURRENT POSITIVE COUNTY-BY-COUNTY COVID-19 LIST

(Whitewater Valley)--Here’s an updated look at the number of positive coronavirus cases in the nine counties that make up the Whitewater Valley.  Butler County, which encompasses College Corner and Oxford, now has 17 confirmed cases.  Franklin County has four positives.  Wayne County, along with Fayette and Darke County, have all had one confirmed case.  Union, Preble, Randolph, and Henry County have not yet had any positive cases.

IDENTITIES RELEASED FOR SIX WHO DIED IN FRANKLIN COUNTY BRIDGE WASH-OUT

(Franklin County, IN)--Details have now been released about a horrific incident in Franklin County that claimed six lives.  In the heavy rain last Friday morning, a bridge over Sanes Creek near Laurel washed out.  Two vehicles drove off the bridge in the pre-dawn hours and into the swollen creek.  Haley Lewis is a family member of one of the six killed.  She said calls were made, but authorities could not get there in time to close the bridge.  The victims have been identified as 47-year-old Shawn Roberts and 48-year-old Burton Spurlock in one vehicle.  The four in the other vehicle were all members of the same family including 35-year-old Felina Lewis and three children ages 13, 7, and 4.

LOCAL PATIENT WITH COVID-19 NOW ON VENTILATOR

(Brookville, IN)--The Whitewater Valley now has four confirmed cases of coronavirus including one in Wayne, one in Fayette, and two in Franklin County.  Now, a family member of one of those victims says that their father is in serious condition.  That man is a Franklin County resident who is now hospitalized in serious condition and is now on a ventilator.  That man’s wife is also now showing symptoms including a fever, but has not yet been tested.

19 TEST RESULTS PENDING AT REID FOLLOWING THREE POSITIVES

(Richmond, IN)--Two more people have tested positive for Covid-19 on the local level, according to an announcement from Reid Health Wednesday.  One of the new positive cases involves a person from Fayette County.  Another positive earlier this week was for a resident of Franklin County.  As of yesterday, Reid had tested a total of 24 people with 19 test results still pending.  Most of those people have self-quarantined.

MORE DETAILS RELEASED ABOUT POSITIVE LOCAL COVID-19 PATIENT

(Brookville, IN)--More details have been released about a positive coronavirus patient in Franklin County.  The patient is a member of the Brookville Fire Department.  That firefighter had not been in the fire station and had minimal contact with other members prior to his positive test.  According to the fire chief, the patient is doing much better and is nearly over his illness and quarantine.  No other members of the department have shown any symptoms.

RCS, OTHER SCHOOLS DISTRIBUTE FOOD TO KIDS

(Richmond, IN)--Food service workers at Richmond Community Schools were working Thursday morning to distribute breakfast and lunch to students even though they’re not in school.  "They did almost 600 meals for our grab-and-go food offering throughout the city," said Rob Tidrow with RCS about Wednesday’s efforts.  It will be the same Thursday morning and beyond.  "The grab-and-go is offered to any student, 18 years and under.  You don't have to be an RCS student.  You don't even have to be from Wayne County.  Stop in to any of our buildings between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning and ask for the packs," Tidrow advised.  There are 11 locations for pickup across Richmond.  Other school systems across Wayne and Preble County are providing similar services.

WAYNE COUNTY JAIL VISITATIONS SUSPENDED

The sheriff in Wayne County has added coronavirus precautions for the Wayne County Jail and its corrections officers.  Sheriff Randy Retter says on-site jail visitation will be suspended until further notice.  The sheriff says remote visitation will continue as normal through inmatecanteen.com.  Retter says no inmates have tested positive for the virus and that all inmates have medical screenings during intake.  The sheriff also says he is taking precaution to separate deputies working inside the jail to avoid potentially transmitting the virus.

OHIO POLLS CLOSED TO PROTECT VOTERS AND POLL WORKERS

Ohio’s presidential primary is off again.  State Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order late last night to keep the polls closed today to protect voters and poll workers.  The order goes against a judge’s ruling last night that said the state could not move the primary unless the legislature voted to do so.  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says holding the primary today would mean the polls could not comply with CDC guidelines on avoiding crowds to help prevent the spread of the virus.   Florida, Illinois and Arizona are also scheduled to host primaries today and are not delaying their votes.

INDIANA REPORTS ITS FIRST COVID-19 DEATH

Indiana has reported its first coronavirus death, and state officials are cracking down on public activities.  The death was reported in Marion County – the governor says it was a person over the age of 60 who had an underlying health condition when they contracted COVID-19.   There are now 24 confirmed cases across the state, but that does not include a presumptive positive case reported by the sheriff in Franklin County.  The state health commissioner says that number will rise as more people are tested.

 

Governor Holcomb also called for all restaurants, nightclubs and bars to close starting today to help hold down crowds and stem the spread of the virus.  Ohio and other neighboring states had already made that directive to bars and restaurants.  Nearly all of Indiana's school districts have closed to students through at least the end of the month.

WHITEWATER VALLEY HAS FIRST PRESUMPTIVE POSITIVE CASE

(Brookville, IN)--Where are the closest confirmed cases of coronavirus to Richmond?  There is now a presumptive positive case in Franklin County.  Reid Health announced Sunday night that it has closed its Family Medicine office in Brookville due to potential exposure to healthcare workers.  Other patients who were in the office at the time the infected patient entered the building are now being contacted.  There are also six confirmed cases in a county that nearly borders Wayne County.  It’s in Butler County.  Butler County encompasses College Corner and Oxford, although the confirmed cases are more in the West Chester area, which is about 45 miles from Richmond.

CITY, COUNTY TO SCREEN ENTRANTS TO GOVERNMENTAL BUILDINGS

(Richmond, IN)--Both the city of Richmond and Wayne County have announced changes that will go into effect beginning this morning in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.  Entry to the city building will only be through the police lobby.  There, visitors will go through a brief health screening.  The Wayne County Administration Building will have a similar health screening. Other facilities will be closed to the public, including the Senior Center.  Roseview Transit and Para-transit will continue to operate normally.  Mayor Dave Snow will issue an executive order to suspend all sanitation late fees and disconnections.  Residents are being asked to conduct city and county business online or by phone if possible.

Wayne County School Buildings to Close For Three Weeks

Wayne County School Buildings are set to close for three weeks following a meeting this morning between Wayne County's Health Department Board and local public school superintendents. 

 

In an effort to curb an outbreak of coronavirus all Wayne County School Buildings will close at the end of the school day on March 20th and will not reopen until the morning of April 13th. 

 

Administrators representing each school district will be communicating with parents about how those days will be covered through e-learning or other methods.

 

We will follow up as soon as we have more information.

SCHOOL LEADERS TO ATTEND HEALTH DEPARTMENT MEETING

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department Board will be meeting Thursday morning with an update on coronavirus precautions as the primary expected topic.  There are still no confirmed cases anywhere within a 70-mile radius of Richmond.  Some community leaders, including representatives of Wayne County schools, are expected to be on hand as well.  Some Wayne County events have been cancelled, but most will continue as scheduled.  School districts across the Whitewater Valley are continuing to prepare for potential extended closures due to coronavirus.  Richmond Community Schools has posted on its website that it is continuously updating and reviewing emergency preparedness plans.  It’s the same at Eaton, where all parents were notified last night that the school is finalizing how it would use its e-learning system in the event of an extended closure.  Most local and regional colleges have suspended classroom teaching beginning and ending on various dates.  That includes IU East, Miami, Ball State, UC, UD, and Xavier.

COUPLE CAUGHT WITH METH; CHARGED WITH NEGLECTING DEPENDENTS

(Dublin, IN)--A Western Wayne couple was behind bars Thursday morning accused of possessing drugs and neglecting their dependents.  First responders were sent to the Dublin home of Skyler and Paige Burchett on an initial report of an overdose.  Officers located methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  Quantities have not been released.  For Paige Burchett, it’s her third arrest in the last five months.  It’s Skyler’s second.

Ohio Relocating Polling Places Away From Nursing Homes

Ohio’s Secretary of State has ordered the relocation of polling places for next week’s presidential primary away from retirement homes or senior care facilities.  The coronavirus seems to affect older people the most.  

 

In Darke County, the polling location at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville will be moved to the youth building at the Darke County Fairgrounds.

Local Universities Suspending Class Due to Coronavirus

IU and Purdue universities are suspending classroom teaching at all their campuses statewide – including IU East - following spring break because of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Both schools will teach online classes to all their students until at least April 6th.   

 

Miami University is taking the same action, joining a growing list of schools across the country keeping students off campus to help stop the spread of the virus.  

 

Earlham College says as of now, they plan on resuming classes after spring break on March 23rd, but say that’s subject to change.  

 

Earlham has barred all school-sponsored travel to three states that have been impacted by the virus the most – New York, Washington state and California.

Two additional cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Indiana.

Two additional cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Indiana.  That means a total of six cases of the COVID-19 disease are in the state now.  The Indiana State Department of Health says the virus was found in patients in Adams County and in Boone County.  Earlier cases were in Marion, Hendricks and Noble Counties.  Late last night, Eli Lilly confirmed that one of its employees at its Indianapolis headquarters had tested positive for the virus.

RICHMOND RESIDENTS HAVE $124 MILLION IN TOTAL CREDIT CARD DEBT

(Richmond, IN)--According to new numbers from wallethub, Richmond residents have done a good job in the last year of reducing their credit card debt.  Richmond is in the 88th percentile for reducing credit card debt in 2019.  Still, listen to these numbers.  Richmond’s current credit card debt, meaning the total debt of all residents who have credit cards on those cards, is over $124 million.  That averages out to $8620 in debt per adult with one or more credit cards.  Connersville residents have an average credit card debt of about $7800.

FIRST RICHMOND EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

(Richmond, IN)--There are no cases of coronavirus anywhere near Wayne County, but local informational programs geared toward helping area veterans and their families have been cancelled anyway.  One program was scheduled for Tuesday at the Richmond Senior Center.  Another was to take place next month at the Golay Center.  The programs were cancelled at the instruction of the VA.

WAYNE COUNTY STARTS 2020 WITH 28 ABUSE, NEGLECT CASES

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County is off to a rough start in 2020 in terms of the number of cases of substantiated child abuse and neglect.  According to new numbers from the state, Wayne County had 28 confirmed new cases in January.  That’s essentially the same number as January of last year.  Wayne County ended 2019 with 308 confirmed new cases of child abuse and neglect.

MAN ACCUSED OF ATTACKING OFFICER

(Richmond, IN)--Two Richmond men with a history of drug and alcohol arrests were taken into custody Sunday night after an incident in the 100 block of North 12th.  42-year-old Michael Townsend is accused of fleeing the area and then battering a police officer when caught.  53-year-old Keith Green allegedly had methamphetamine and syringes.  Townsend was caught in a drug raid a couple of years ago at Richmond’s Econo Lodge.

CAR CRASHES INTO HOUSE

(Richmond, IN)--No serious injuries were reported when a car crashed into a house in Richmond late Saturday night.  It happened on a curve near the intersection of South 27th and E Streets.  Scanner traffic indicated that there were two juveniles in the car and an adult with only a Mexican passport and an active warrant.  All three occupants went to Reid Health to be treated for lacerations.  No one inside the home was hurt.  There’s no word yet on what caused the crash.

ULLERY'S ICE CREAM TO BE INSPECTED AFTER EXTERIOR BRICKS TUMBLE DOWN

(Richmond, IN)--Parts of the Depot District in Richmond were blocked off late Thursday night after bricks fell off a building and produced a smell of gas.  The bricks fell from the south side of the Ullery’s Ice Cream building in the 100 block of Fort Wayne Avenue.  Battalion Chief Eric Holmes talked about how much came down.  "About half of the south side of it...the side that has a mural on it," Holme explained.  Parts of North 6th, 7th, and 8th Streets were shut down.  Vectren Gas arrived and was able to get the situation under control.  First responders determined there was no explosion or other specific reason for the bricks to have fallen, but they did damage a gas meter.  This is Holmes' primary concern now.  "...any more of the bricks coming down and someone with someone just happening to be walking down or driving down the street and the bricks hit them.  The bricks were out in the street."   Ullery’s issued a statement saying that the store would be temporarily closed.

ALLEGED SHOOTER APPREHENDED AFTER STANDOFF

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was shot Thursday afternoon in an incident that came to an end following a two-hour standoff with the alleged shooter.  Police and first responders were called to a building in the 800 block of South G.  That building houses the Dragon’s Den tattoo parlor.  Earlier in the day, the suspect, who has been identified as 29-year-old Alex Irwin, had entered the basement.  The basement was full of scrap metal.  Irwin allegedly shot the building’s owner through the knee when the owner started down the basement steps and then refused to come out.  The SWAT Team responded and was eventually able to get Irwin out.  He’s being held on a bond totaling just over $16,000.  Irwin’s criminal record includes multiple drug-dealing arrests.  The victim is out of the hospital.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CONTACTED ABOUT GENESIS APARTMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--A governmental entity could soon become involved with the situation at Genesis Apartments in Richmond.  That complex, which was formerly known as Country Club Apartments, has fallen into disrepair.  Many units are uninhabitable due largely to extensive water damage.  A Facebook group titled “Victims of Genesis Apartments” includes numerous photos depicting extensive mold issues.  There has also been a large increase in serious crime, including a murder nearly two years ago.  Now, State Senator Jeff Raatz’s office has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security about the situation.  According to an email, Raatz’s office is awaiting a response.  Attempts to contact the current Genesis owners were unsuccessful.  City officials did not return messages left early this week.

PREGNANT WOMAN ESCAPES THROUGH WINDOW FOLLOWING EXPLOSION

(Gratis, OH)--A pregnant woman jumped from a window to escape a house fire following an explosion in Preble County Wednesday night.  It happened on Coleman Avenue in Gratis.  Two women were trying to light a kerosene heater when it blew up.  The more seriously injured of the two was flown to UC Medical Center to be treated for burns.  There’s no word this morning on her condition or the condition of her unborn child.  The second victim was not as seriously hurt.  Damage to the home was extensive.

BOSTON RESIDENTS WATCH FOR SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE

(Boston, IN)--Many people in the town of Boston have been watching a very suspicious vehicle over the last few days.  One resident reported an older blue Jeep with Kentucky plates occupied by four Hispanic males parked in behind her home for an extended period of time, walking around her property, and up to her door but never knocking.  Other residents have seen the Jeep on various private properties around Boston.  Law enforcement was on hand Wednesday as some children got off their school bus.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO CLOSE DURING MOVE

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department is getting set to move to its new location at South 5th and A, and released some information about that move on Tuesday.  The department said that the move will come in stages and will be closed on March 16 through the 19th.  No birth or death certificates will be issued during those dates.  Meanwhile, the Wayne County Health Clinic will continue to offer public health nursing until the first of June.  That includes childhood immunizations.

REID: PENDING LEGISLATION COULD AFFECT SERVICES

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health has indicated that pending legislation at the state level could have a major impact on some of its services.  The legislation would dramatically cut reimbursements to outpatient and off-site locations.  Examples of Reid services that could be affected are the wound healing, sleep center, and adult and pediatric rehab.  CEO Craig Kinyon indicated it would not be able to maintain those types of services if the legislation passes.  As proposed, the legislation would take effect on the first of July.

COUPLE CAUGHT WITH DRUGS, COUNTERFEIT HUNDREDS

(Wayne County, IN)--A traffic stop over the weekend on U.S. 40 at Airport Road between Richmond and Centerville ended with multiple felony charges against two people.  K-9 Ozzy gave a positive indication on a vehicle occupied by 29-year-old Matthew Gregory and 36-year-old Jessica Hersey.  Inside, officers found methamphetamine, scales, counterfeit hundred-dollar-bills, and paraphernalia.  When she was searched at the jail, another 25 grams of meth, marijuana, a meth pipe, and plastic baggies were found on Hersey and, in the police report, were described as “discretely concealed.”  Charges for both include counterfeiting and dealing meth.

ALLEGED METH DEALER CAUGHT IN DOWNTOWN RICHMOND

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged meth dealer with an active warrant in Preble County was caught in downtown Richmond Sunday night.  Officers checked a suspicious vehicle occupied by 36-year-old James Hale of Richmond.  Drugs were in clear view of the officers, and, according to scanner traffic, a larger bag of drugs was found underneath the car.  Hale went to the Wayne County Jail.  Of the 17 people jailed in Wayne County since Friday morning, 12 were for drug and/or alcohol charges.

Kicks Country WEATHER