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Local News Powered by First Bank Richmond Archives for 2020-04

WAYNE COUNTY AVERAGING MORE THAN ONE NEW CHILD ABUSE CASE PER DAY

(Wayne County, IN)--Although the numbers don’t likely reflect the impact of Covid-19 either positively or negatively, the cases of substantiated Wayne County child abuse are up for the first quarter of this year.  Through the end of March, there had been 95 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect locally.  That’s an average of more than one new case per day, and it represents a 16% increase over the same time period last year.

STATIONS TAKE PART IN RADIOTHON TO REPLENISH FOOD BANKS

(Richmond, IN)--Our three Brewer Broadcasting radio stations – Kicks 96, 101.7 The Point, and 95-3 The Legend are all taking part Thursday in a one-day radiothon to raise money to help restock food banks.  Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, more than 12,000 people in our nine-county listening area have filed for unemployment.  Regional food banks are currently running at twice their normal capacity.  We’ll be telling you how you can help throughout the day Thursday, and we’re encouraging ongoing donations through this Sunday.

RICHMOND, CONNERSVILLE TO HOST LARGE-SCALE COVID-19 TEST SITES

(Indianapolis, IN)--Sites will open in Richmond and Connersville next week that will provide large-scale testing for Covid-19.  Governor Eric Holcomb made the announcement Tuesday that 20 sites would open in Indiana National Guard armories  "Testing is for any symptomatic Hoosier as well as close contacts of positive cases," said Dr. Kristina Box.  People can get tested without visiting a healthcare provider .  "People tested should receive their results within about 48 hours," Box added.  Testing in Richmond and Connersville will be done by appointment only either online or by a phone number which will be announced soon.  There will be no charge and insurance is not required.

10,221 FILE JOBLESS CLAIMS IN SIX-COUNTY AREA

(Whitewater Valley)--Yesterday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported exclusively that 3160 Wayne County residents had filed jobless claims in the last four weeks.  Other area counties have seen a similar effect of Covid-19.  In those four weeks, Union County has had 246 filings, Randolph has had 1198, and Fayette County has had 1513.  Combining the six-county area of Wayne, Union, Fayette, Franklin, Randolph, and Henry County over the last four weeks, there have now been 10,221 jobless claims filed.

OAK PARK RESIDENTS EVACUATED IN SHOTS-FIRED INCIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--A few residents of Richmond’s Oak Park neighborhood were evacuated late Tuesday morning during a shots fired incident.  People in the area, including an RPD officer, heard the shots which originated from a garage at a home in the 1400 block of University Boulevard.  SWAT responded to the area.  The man who fired the shots surrendered without incident and was taken to Reid Health for an evaluation.  No criminal charges are expected.

844 MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS FILE JOBLESS CLAIMS; FOUR-WEEK TOTAL HITS 3160

(Wayne County, IN)--A new report of jobless filings in Wayne County was released Monday and it shows another week of filings that is roughly 33 times higher than normal.  For the week ending April 11, another 844 Wayne County residents filed for unemployment.  In a normal week before the pandemic, about 25 people filed.  In the last four weeks combined, 3160 Wayne County residents have filed.  That represents more than ten percent of the county’s workforce.

550 RICHMOND BUSINESSES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PPP

(Richmond, IN)--Some numbers have been released that shows the extent to which Richmond businesses took advantage of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Plan.  That plan supplies small business with forgivable loans that cover payroll and expenses for more than two months.  According to the city, in Richmond, there were nearly 550 approved loans through local banks totaling about $70 million of support for local small business.  Multiple Richmond bank processed the forgivable loans.  Another round of PPP loan applications began Monday, although federal computers crashed just as it opened.

CENTERVILLE NAMES NEW SUPERINTENDENT

(Centerville, IN)--Centerville-Abington School has a new superintendent, and he’s no stranger to the system.  Mike McCoy has accepted an offer to become Centerville’s new superintendent.  He has most recently served as the high school’s principal.  The hiring won’t be official until the Board’s next meeting, which is set for May 13.  McCoy will replace the outgoing Phil Stevenson, who has been a part of the Centerville school family in various capacities for several decades.

RATE OF INCREASE OF LOCAL COVID-19 CASES CONTINUES TO SLOW

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County is now up to 31 confirmed cases of Covid-19.  That’s a 15% increase in the last five days.  Other counties surrounding have increased at similar rates in the last five days as the rate of growth continue to slow.  Fayette County is up 14% to 25 cases.  Franklin County is up 6% and now has 94 cases.  Counties on the Ohio side have seen bigger increases, but that’s due in part to changes reporting.  Cases which are suspected to be Covid-19 but are not yet confirmed by testing are counted.  Preble, Darke, and Butler County have now combined for 325 cases.

STRANGE LIGHTS OVER WHITEWATER VALLEY IDENTIFIED

(Whitewater Valley)--Did you see the strange lights Sunday night?  Lots of people did.  That string of about a hundred lights that appeared to be flying in formation over the Whitewater Valley wasn’t ET, it was actually a string of satellites called Starlink.  It provides satellite internet access and consists of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit that works with ground transceivers.

WAYNE COUNTY HEALTH DEPT. TO DISTRIBUTE MASKS TO BUSINESSES

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department will distribute protective masks to small businesses coming up on Saturday.  Some restrictions could soon be relaxed based on state guidelines.  The distribution will be conducted from 10 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon at the department’s facility at South 5th and A in Richmond.  The post does not make mention of distribution to the general public.

WAYNE, DARKE COUNTY RESIDENTS BRING LOCAL DEATH TOLL TO 34

(Whitewater Valley)--Two more Whitewater Valley residents have died as the result of Covid-19, including Wayne County’s third victim.  The most recent Wayne County resident was a man in his 70’s who died at Reid Health.  Also, within the last 48 hours, Darke County’s 12th resident has died.  Our nine-county area has now had a total of 34 deaths.  But, there continue to be positive signs as well.  Reid is down to 38 patients suspected of having Covid-19 in their containment area, and that’s the fewest number of patients since Reid began reporting that number at the first of the month.

GENESIS APARTMENTS RESIDENTS FILE LAWSUIT

(Richmond, IN)--Two residents of Genesis Apartments have filed lawsuits, and many more lawsuits appear to be coming.  That’s according to an attorney representing the two residents who say they’ve complained more than two dozen times to management about a variety of issues that include mold, cockroaches, and exposed wiring.  The lawsuit against the owners of the former Country Club Apartments seeks appropriate and punitive damages and the cost of litigation.

PHYSICIAN SUGGESTS THERE ARE UP TO 1000 CASES OF COVID-19 IN FAYETTE COUNTY

(Connersville, IN)--One Whitewater Valley physician is putting a number on what he feels is the actual rate of spread of the Covid-19 virus.  According to the News Examiner, Dr. Bradley Dubois, who sees patients at Reid Health’s new respiratory clinic in Connersville, believes that up to a thousand people just in Fayette County have the virus.  If accurate, it would mean that one in 23 residents are infected.  Dubois bases his estimate on the fact that half of the patients who show symptoms at the clinic are refusing the nasal swab test.  Dubois also said that patients with more minor symptoms are more likely to get false negatives.  The official number from the state for positive tests in Fayette County is just 22.

REID HELPS PATIENT WITNESS DAUGHTER'S WEDDING JUST BEFORE DEATH

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s a story about how Reid Health employees went the extra mile to ensure a patient could see her daughter get married.  Danielle Jackson was supposed to get married a year from now, but that was moved up to this month when her mom, Marna, was diagnosed with aggressive cancer.  But Covid-19 prevented the new wedding date this month.  Last week, Danielle was told that her mom, who was at Reid, had just a few hours left, and it was important to Danielle that her mom witness her wedding. She hustled into her wedding dress and went to Reid with her fiancé.  Meanwhile, Reid staff was busy gathering flowers,cupcakes, and a gift basket.  Two metal rings were found in an office and were used as wedding rings.  Reid Chaplain Rick Alvey then performed the ceremony on 15 minutes’ notice in Marna’s room.  Marna died just nine hours later.  The wedding was viewed live on social media by family members and friends.

A-PLUS SIGNS CREATES BOX TO HELP FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS

(Richmond, IN)--Another Richmond business is working to help frontline healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients.  Reid Health emergency physician Dr. Emily Kraft came up with two ideas for protective equipment.  One is an intubation sheet, which her husband designed and built from items purchased at a hardware store.  The other is an intubation box.  The box contains spray from patients who are being intubated.  A-Plus Sign leaders used a pencil-drawn sketch and came up with the box in two days.  They produced ten of them and donated five.

REID SAYS COVID-19 IS KEEPING PATIENTS WITH OTHER HEALTH EMERGENCIES AWAY

(Richmond, IN)--Covid-19 has had an indirect effect on the health of some local residents.  A Reid Health physician indicated Tuesday that some local people suffering from non-virus medical emergencies – things like heart attacks and strokes – are delaying seeking immediate care for fear of being exposed to the virus.  The Reid statement Tuesday states that contracting the disease as a result of a trip to the hospital is less likely that contracting it from a trip to the grocery store.  Reid cardiologist Dr. John McGinty said that delaying treatment for a heart attack can be the difference between life and death.

RESTAURANTS REOPEN FOR CARRYOUT WITH MANDATES AND SUGGESTIONS

(Richmond, IN)--Restaurant lobbies are opening again in Wayne County.  The Wayne County Health Department notified restaurant owners and managers Tuesday afternoon that customers can again come inside.  The notification includes a mix of mandates and suggestions.  Mandates include a limit of ten customers inside at a time and that distancing of six feet be maintained.  The primary suggestion is that masks be worn by the public and restaurant staff.  Seating inside all Wayne County restaurants is still prohibited.  The county also Tuesday lifted restrictions on self-service food and drink stations at convenience stores.

FIRE DOES HEAVY DAMAGE TO EIGHT-UNIT APARTMENT BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--An eight-unit apartment building near downtown Richmond was heavily damaged – if not destroyed – by fire Tuesday afternoon.  It broke out at around 4:30 in the 1300 block of East Main.  East Main was shut down in that area as firefighters battled the blaze from inside, outside, and from an aerial truck.  Crews were on the scene for several hours.  One resident claims to have started the fire by falling asleep with a lit cigarette.  There were no injuries.  The Red Cross is helping some of the people who have been displaced by the fire.  While Richmond firefighters were dealing the fire, Richmond police were also at the scene dealing their own issues.  According to scanner traffic, a fight broke out.  Also, a man later identified as 29-year-old Gary Rose Junior was at the scene of the fire and laying down.  When police checked on him, Rose allegedly took a swing at an officer.  He’s charged this morning with felony battery on a police officer.

PRIMEX SHIPS 207,000 FACE SHIELDS MONDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Primex Plastics in Richmond – with the help of a few other local industries – continues to manufacture and distribute face shields to be used by doctors, nurses, and first responders who are battling Covid-19.  On Monday, an incredible 207,000 face shields rolled out of Primex to be distributed nationally.  Those shield were shipped in boxes with “We R Richmond” printed on them with the block “R” used by Richmond Community Schools.  Primex also said that social distancing signs are now being requested.

CITY MONITORING CASES AS HIGHLAND LAKE REOPENS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow told members of Richmond Common Council Monday night that the city will continue to monitor what has been a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in consideration of relaxing restrictions on May 1, which is now just ten days away.  Council Monday night dealt with multiple ordinances involving Covid-19 relief.  Meanwhile, it’s a sign of hope even for non-golfers.  Highland Lake Golf Course reopened to the public on Monday with some restrictions in place, including only one rider per cart and the fact that the cups have been turned upside-down.

LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT INCREASES ONLY SLIGHTLY

(Wayne County, IN)--New unemployment numbers were released Monday, but they clearly don’t yet show the full impact of Covid-19.  The numbers are only up slightly due to the lag time in compiling statistics.  Wayne County’s official rate is 3.7%.  That’s the highest it’s been since July of last year.  But, it’s also important to note that more than 2300 Wayne County residents have filed jobless claims in just the last three weeks.  Most of those numbers will be reflected in next month’s unemployment report.  The city of Richmond has an unemployment rate of 4%.

REID MODIFIES VIRTUAL SCREENING HOURS

(Richmond, IN)--More local residents are able to take advantage of coronavirus screening during the day, and that’s prompted Reid Health to reduce the hours of its free virtual screening that are offered through its Reid HealthNOW tool.  The virtual screening will now take place daily from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.  If necessary, patients would then get an appointment at the respiratory clinic in either Richmond or Connersville.  Testing for Covid-19 still requires an order from a physician or advanced practice provider.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 CASES TREND UPWARD FOR FIRST TIME IN TWO WEEKS

(Whitewater Valley)--After a downward trend in Wayne County in the number of Covid-19 cases, the last five-day period has shown an increase.  In the first three five-day segments of April, Wayne County increases were trending downward from 400 to 100 to 25%.  But, in the last five days, there’s been a 42% increase with the total now standing at 27.  Other area counties have also seen significant increases in confirmed cases over the last five days.  Preble County has gone from 16 to 21.  Franklin County has gone from 73 to 89 cases, and Butler County has ballooned from 121 to now 164 cases.

AREA'S COVID-19 DEATH TOLL RISES TO 27

(Whitewater Valley)--The number of Whitewater Valley deaths directly attributable to Covid-19 has grown.  Not only did Wayne County see its second death late last week, there have also now been additional deaths in Fayette, Darke, and Henry County.  It brings the total number of deaths in our nine-county area to 28 and now includes every county except Union.  Darke County has had the most Covid-19 deaths with ten, with many of those begin tied to Greenville Nursing and Rehab Center.  Franklin County has had seven.

SEAN LAMB RAISES $22,000 FOR LOCAL COVID-19 RELIEF

(Richmond, IN)--Over the weekend, a local musician and member of the Kicks 96 air staff raised significant dollars to help offset the effects of Covid-19.  Sean Lamb grabbed his acoustic guitar, took to Facebook Live, and performed a relatively impromptu concert.  Lamb said he thought raising $500 would’ve been a success.  But, donations poured in and more than $22,000 was raised.  A portion of the money raised will go to the Wayne County Cares Fund.

DOCTOR PRAISES LOCAL RESIDENTS FOR HOPEFUL SIGNS

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Health Officer Dr. David Jetmore gave the county’s health board positive news Thursday that confirms what recent numbers have shown about the Covid-19 outbreak.  Jetmore told the board that the number of cases is leveling off and that there are hopeful signs that the virus is beginning to taper off.  Jetmore also told the board that Reid Health now has the capability to test a thousand people a day.  The positive numbers prompted Jetmore to say that – if the trend continues – some restrictions at the local level could begin to be lifted in as soon as two weeks.  Jetmore said that all of the positive news is the result of Wayne County residents taking the stay-at-home order seriously and practicing other preventative measures.

REID: MASKS STILL NEEDED

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health issued a statement Thursday indicating that they are still in need of masks.  The call is going out to people who have been making hand-made masks and asks them to continue because so many are being provided to patients and family members.  Randy Kirk, who is the president of the Reid Foundation, said that the outpouring of donations has been tremendous.  Masks can be dropped off at the main entrances to Reid in both Richmond and Connersville from 9 until 3, Monday through Friday.

MUSHROOM HUNTER FINDS MONEY BAGS STUFFED IN STUMP

(Brookville, IN)--A Franklin County mushroom hunter got a lot more than he bargained for Thursday.  Dan Johnson went hunting mushrooms in the woods near his Brookville home Thursday.  He noticed a strange-looking tree stump.  Inside that tree stump were numerous money bags.  It turned out that the bags had been stolen from an armored car in northern Kentucky more than two and a half years ago.  Thousands of dollars went missing.  There’s no word yet on how the money bags ended up in the woods near Brookville.

THIRD FIVE-DAY SEGMENT OF APRIL SHOWS SLOWING GROWTH OF VIRUS

(Wayne County, IN)--The third five-day segment of April has ended with Wayne County continuing its downward trend of confirmed cases of Covid-19.  In the first five-day segment, from April 1 to April 5, cases grew by 400%.  In the second, from April 6 to April 10, cases grew by 100%.  Now, in the third five-day segment that ended Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases rose by 25%.  It’s much the same in Fayette County, where cases have increased by 78%, 13%, and now 10%, respectively.  Wayne County now has 20 confirmed cases and one death.

LESS THAN HALF OF WAYNE COUNTY HAS RESPONDED TO CENSUS

(Wayne County, IN)--With all the focus on Covid-19, the fact that the U.S. Census’s ten-year count is occurring right now appears to have gotten lost in the shuffle, and it shows in our area’s response.  As of Thursday morning, only 48% of Wayne County households have responded to the census either online or by mail.  The most responsive county has been Darke County, where 59% of households have already responded.  The lowest is Union County, where 47% of households have returned their census questionnaires.

RICHMOND AIRPORT GETS GRANT THROUGH CARES ACT

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Municipal Airport is getting a sizeable grant as part of the Trump administration’s CARES Act Program to replace lost revenue as a result of Covid-19.  $30,000 is coming to the airport for capital expenditures and operating expenditures like payroll and utilities.  The FAA is encouraging Richmond and all other airports to spend the grant funding immediately to minimize the impact of what it calls the current public health emergency.

WAYNE COUNTY 4-H FAIR CANCELLED

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County 4-H Fair is the latest local event to be cancelled due to the coronavirus.  Information was sent to Wayne County 4-H members Tuesday indicating that the Purdue Extension Department has prohibited face-to-face contact with members until July 1.  And, because the fair was scheduled for the week before, the order means the fair cannot take place.  There will still be an effort to allow 4-H members to exhibit projects at some point after July 1, but it will not be in the format of the typical fair.

AREA SUMMER BAND COMPETITIONS, CAMPS CANCELLED

(Whitewater Valley)--Not only are lots of spring events being cancelled across our area, there are now beginning to be cancellations that stretch into the summer.  That includes multiple band competitions for area high school students.  Summer band competitions at Centerville and Winchester have been cancelled by the Central Indiana Track Show Association.  Northeastern’s band camp at the Raper Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds is now off.

786 MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS FILE JOBLESS CLAIMS

(Wayne County, IN)--Another huge amount of jobless claims have been filed by Wayne County residents.  According to new figures from the state for the first week of April, 786 more Wayne County residents have filed for benefits.  Over the last three weeks, 2316 local residents have filed.  In the same three-week period last year, 45 people filed.  The 2316 people who have filed in the last three weeks represents about eight percent of the people who were working two months ago.

GROWTH RATE OF LOCAL COVID-19 CASES SLOWS

(Wayne County, IN)--The rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in local counties over the last five days has not been as dramatic as it was previous five-day periods.  In the period from April 1 to April 6, cases in most local counties at least doubled.  In that period, Wayne County cases rose by 400%.  But, in the last five days ending April 13, the number of confirmed cases in Wayne County has risen by 19%.  Fayette County case grew by 78% in the first five days of the month, but are up only 10% in the last five days.

LOCAL COVID-19 DEATH TOLL INCREASES TO 25

(Darke County, OH)--There’s been another death in the Whitewater Valley attributable to Covid-19.  Again, it’s come in Darke County.  The ninth person to die there was confirmed yesterday.  Greenville Health and Rehabilitation has been linked to many of Darke County’s confirmed cases, which has now risen to 49.  The death raises the toll in our nine-county area to 25.  Butler County also had another death yesterday.  It was their third.

LOCAL MEDICS HEAD TO NYC TO HELP WITH COVID-19

(Liberty, IN and Greenville, OH)--Members of one local medical transport company have gone to New York City to help in what is the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak.  Roughly 1/3 of all cases in the U.S. are in New York City.  Four ambulances from Liberty and Greenville representing Spirit Medical Transport left last Thursday and were in New York City Monday morning.  It’s in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s request for help.  The health of local crew members will be monitored carefully as they help in both New York and New Jersey.

FRANKLIN COUNTY IN TOP 100 NATIONALLY FOR COVID-19 CASES

(Franklin County, IN)--Franklin County has one of the highest per capita rates of coronavirus infections in the entire country.  That’s according to the Associated Press, which puts Franklin County in the top 100 nationally.  There are now 69 confirmed cases.  Beginning Monday, the Indiana State Department of Health will be focusing efforts in the Franklin County area by doing additional testing.

WHITEWATER VALLEY HAS 23rd COVID-19 DEATH

(Darke County, OH)--There’s been another Covid-19 death in our area.  The 8th resident of Darke County has died as a result of the virus.  Specific information about that person has not been released.  Darke County now has our area’s largest death toll.  Many of those victims have direct ties to Greenville Health and Rehabilitation.  A total of 23 people have died in our nine-county area.  15 of those 23 deaths have been in Darke and Franklin County.

COVID-19 RESULTS PENDING ON THREE MORE RICHMOND FIREFIGHTERS

(Richmond, IN)--Results are now pending on Covid-19 testing for three additional Richmond firefighters.  That’s according to a new online dashboard that tracks how local firefighters are affected.  Those three pending tests were added over the weekend.  There have been four lab-confirmed positive tests for Richmond firefighters.  The first two positives came on April 5.  The most recent positive test was last Thursday.

RICHMOND FIREFIGHTER, HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19, RETURNS HOME

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond firefighter who was stricken with Covid-19 and was hospitalized has returned home.  Nick Arbogast described his experience on Thursday through a series a social media updates posted by his wife.  "It's been a long process for sure, but it's good to be home," Arbogast said.  Arbogast spent a total of three nights in the hospital.  He said a particular drug helped.  "They started me on hydroxychloroquine mixed with zithromycin and I immediately began feeling better with that."  He’s still feeling the effects.  "I'm still a little short of breath...still trying to get my lungs back a little bit.  But I'm really feeling pretty good," Arbogast said.  He is able to be in the same room with his family as long as he wears a masks and keeps a safe distance.

NEW CITY, COUNTY GUIDELINES ISSUED FOR COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--City of Richmond and Wayne County leaders issued a new set of guidelines Thursday that all deal with slowing the spread of Covid-19.  Here’s a look.  Face masks are now recommended in all public places and for restaurant workers in those businesses.    Every business is asked to limit the number of people inside to 25% of the stated occupancy on fire permits.  Gas stations should have signs directing people to sanitize before and after pumping gas.  Bus fares have been suspended in Richmond.  Local leaders said they will continue to monitor the situation and that even more restrictive measures could be taken if the situation warrants.

WAYNE COUNTY FOUNDATION CREATES FUND TO HELP WITH COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Foundation has created a fund that is now helping individuals and families affected by Covid-19.  It’s called the Wayne County Cares Fund.  First Bank Richmond is matching donations dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000.  The foundation also yesterday announced a special series of grants connected to agencies on the front line.  Nine local agencies are receiving funding, including Circle U, Communities in Schools, Rock Solid Ministries, and the Wayne County Food Council.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 CASES DOUBLE IN THREE DAYS

(Richmond, IN)--The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Wayne County residents has doubled in the last three days.  According to state numbers, Wayne County had eight cases on Monday.  But, Thursday morning, the number stood at 16.  The number has also jumped in some other area counties.  In the last three days, Preble County has gone from five to eight cases and Union County has gone from three to five cases.  But the biggest jump has been in Butler County, which has jumped from 68 to 102 cases.

TWO MORE AREA RESIDENTS DIE FROM COVID-19

(Eaton, OH)--Two more Whitewater Valley residents lost their battles with Covid-19 Wednesday.  Preble County now has its first death directly attributable to the virus.  The victim is a female in her 60’s.  Also Wednesday, Darke County lost its 7th resident.  Details about that case have not been released.  It brings the total number of local deaths to 20.  That includes seven people each in Franklin and Darke County, three in Fayette County, and one each in Wayne, Randolph, and Preble County.

STRONG STORMS TAKE DOWN POWER LINES

(Whitewater Valley)--A strong spring storm brought down trees and power lines across the Whitewater Valley Wednesday night.  Union, Fayette, and Franklin County appear to have gotten the worst of it, with multiple roads closed when power lines came down.  Fayette County dispatchers report that several county roads were still closed Thursday morning as crews work to repair power lines.  The Centerville area also had power lines come down.  Many residents there were without power for much of the overnight hours.  High winds toppled two semis on I-70 in Henry County.  Traffic was affected for a couple of hours.  Richmond reported a wind gust of 50 m.p.h.

DEATH OF CONNERSVILLE TODDLER UNDER INVESTIGATION

(Connersville, IN)--The death of a Connersville toddler is being investigated.  A 16-month old boy who lived on Wayne Avenue in Connersville died on Sunday.  The Criminal Detective Division began an investigation.   Preliminary results of an autopsy conducted Wednesday have not yet become available.  The number of deaths due to Covid-19 could mean those results will take longer to come back than normal.  The boy’s identity and other circumstances surrounding his death have not been released.

B&F PLASTICS, AHAUS TOOL JOIN FORCES WITH PRIMEX TO PRODUCE MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--Last week, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News was first to report that Primex Plastics had begun to manufacture specialized masks that they had created to help protect those on the front lines of the battle with Covid-19.  Those masks are now being distributed across the country.  And now, other local manufacturers have joined in the production effort.  B&F Plastics and Ahaus Tooling have joined Primex in production.  Some of the masks have been donated to local law enforcement agencies, including the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.

SHOTS FIRED IN FAIRVIEW NEIGHBORHOOD FOR 2nd STRAIGHT NIGHT

(Richmond, IN)--:  For the second night in a row, there has been an incident in Richmond’s Fairview neighborhood involving shots fired.  Witnesses lateTuesday night told police a black truck fled the area of the 1300 block of Ratliff Street.  Shell casings were found in the area.  There’s no word on whether or not the incident from Monday night is connected.  There were also shots fired overnight in the 1800 block of North Salisbury Road.  40-caliber casings were found in front of a house there.  There was no word of any injury or property damage.

ONLY FOUR INDIANA COUNTIES HAVE MORE COVID-19 DEATHS THAN FRANKLIN

(Franklin County, IN)--Franklin County has had another Covid-19 death.  The latest victim is a female in her 90’s.  It’s Franklin County’s 7th death, and it continues to rank high in Indiana.  Only four Indiana counties have had more Covid-19 deaths than Franklin County.  But, in all four of those counties, the total population is at least six times more than it is in Franklin County.  A total of 13 other residents have met the criteria to be released from quarantine.

TWO MORE AREA RESIDENTS DIE FROM COVID-19

(Whitewater Valley)--Two more Whitewater Valley residents have died from Covid-19.  Randolph County has now had its first death from the virus.  Fayette County has also had another death.  Details about each person are being withheld.  As of Wednesday morning, a total of 18 people in our area have died.  That includes seven people in Franklin County, six in Darke County, three in Fayette, and one person each in Wayne and Randolph County.

WAYNE COUNTY RECORDS FIRST COVID-19 DEATH

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County announced its first death from Covid-19 on Monday.  The victim was a man in his 60’s who was a Wayne County resident and who had been a patient at Reid Health.  There was also another death in Darke County.  It brings the total of Whitewater Valley deaths to 15.  Twelve of the 15 are in Franklin and Darke County.

ZONING APPROVAL GRANTED TO CONVERT K-MART TO U-HAUL

(Richmond, IN)--storage facility.  Richmond Common Council Monday night gave its approval of a zoning change that will pave the way for U-Haul to operate at the site for truck and trailer rentals, retail sales, and self-storage warehousing.  U-Haul is expected to invest up to $8 million into the property and will hire about a dozen employees.  Its operation on Elmhurst Drive will remain open.  There’s no word on when the new U-Haul will open.

RESTRICTIONS ADDED TO CITY'S PARK SERVICES

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond on Monday issued further restrictions due to Covid-19.  Most involve access to facilities in the Richmond Parks Department.  "You will see basketball rims come down.  Playground entrances will be barricaded off.  Any of our areas that have fencing or gates will be locked.  That includes the skate park.  Tennis nets will be coming down.  Our golf courses will be completely closed.  That includes the driving range at Glen Miller and the full golf course at Highland Lake," said Mayor Dave Snow.  Other restrictions were issued at the state level yesterday.  Necessary retail business are being asked to limit the number of customers inside and provide special hours for the elderly and vulnerable people.

907 FILE WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS LAST WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has had another week of incredible jobless claims.  In a normal week, Wayne County has about 20-25 jobless claims.  Two weeks ago, that number jumped to 623.  And now, according to brand new numbers from the state, 907 more Wayne County filed jobless claims.  That's for the week ending March 28.  It means that more Wayne County residents have filed jobless claims in the last two weeks than did in all of last year.  The 1530 people who have filed in the last two weeks represents about five percent of the people working in Wayne County.

LOCAL CASES INCREASE SIGNIFICALLY OVER WEEKEND

(Whitewater Valley)--There’s been a significant increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in counties surrounding Wayne County in the last few days.  Here are the county-by-county numbers Monday morning as they’ve increased since April 1.  Wayne has gone from two to eight.  Union has gone from zero to three.  Fayette has jumped from nine to 16.  Franklin County has increased from 38 to 53.  Randolph is up from three to five, Henry County has gone from one to 11, Preble County gone from one to five, Darke County has increased from 13 to 32, and Butler County is up from 38 to 68.

LOCAL COVID-19 DEATH TOLL INCREASES TO 13

(Whitewater Valley)--The death toll from Covid-19 in the Whitewater Valley has now jumped to 13, and many of them have come from the same facility.  Health officials in Darke County now say that of the county’s 32 cases, 27 are directly tied to Greenville Health and Rehabilitation.  All five Darke County residents who have died are also connected to that facility.  Elsewhere, six Franklin County residents have died, with two more in Fayette County.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT: REID HAS 120-150 TESTS AVAILABLE

(Richmond, IN)--The number of positive Covid-19 cases in Wayne County has risen to six.  Christine Stinson, who is the executive director of the Wayne County Health Department, also told the county’s health board Thursday that the actual numbers are skewed by the ability to test.  Reid Health has only 120-150 test kits available at any given time.  Those tests right now are going mostly to people most at risk, first responders, and health care workers.  There have been no further discussions about further limiting the number of customers allowed inside essential businesses like grocery stores, although Stinson did not rule that out if cases increase substantially.

FORMER RP&L GENERAL MANAGER CHARGED WITH CHILD MOLESTATION

(Richmond, IN)--The former General Manager of Richmond Power and Light has been charged with child molestation.  On Friday morning, there was an active arrest warrant for 64-year-old Jim French.  French has been charged with two counts of child molesting and two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.  He is accused of improperly touching and fondling a 15-year-old girl while she slept.  French began as the leader of RP&L in early 2013, but resigned abruptly a year and a half later.  There were allegations of improper activity leading up to French’s resignation.

PREBLE COUNTY HAS HIGHEST JOBLESS CLAIM RATE INCREASE IN OHIO

(Preble County, OH)--Preble County has had the largest increase in initial jobless claims in all of Ohio.  Preble County’s jobless claims have risen an incredible 5756% from the week before.  Denise Robertson, who is the president of the Preble County Board of Commissioners, said that the huge increase was fully predictable.  The stay-at-home order has now been extended until May 1.

RANDOLPH COUNTY LIMITS ACCESS TO STORES, INCLUDING GROCERIES

(Randolph County, IN)--Randolph County has issued restrictions on the number of people that can be in retail and grocery stores.  As of Thursday night, no more than 10% of a store’s stated fire capacity can be inside the store at any given time.  It’s up to staff at each store to count the number of customers entering and exiting, and to enforce the limits.  Stores in Randolph County are also now required to establish exclusive hours for those in high-risk populations, including seniors.

8th WHITEWATER VALLEY RESIDENT DIES FROM COVID-19

(Brookville, IN)--There has been yet another local Covid-19 death.  And, once again, it’s happened in hard-hit Franklin County.  The most recent person to lose her battle with the virus is a female in her 70’s.  She was admitted to an Indiana hospital on March 20 and then transferred to an Ohio hospital, where she died Wednesday.  Franklin County now has 44 confirmed positive cases.  The Whitewater Valley’s death toll now stands at eight.  That includes six in Franklin County, one in Fayette, and one in Darke County.

COVID-19 POSITIVE PERSON ATTENDED LOCAL EVENT WITH 200

(Richmond, IN)--There are now two more positive cases of Covid-19 for Wayne County residents, bringing the total number of positive cases to four.  The Wayne County Health Department also disclosed Wednesday that one non-Wayne County resident who has now tested positive attended an event in Richmond on March 14 with more than 200 people.  The Health Department did not disclose the event.  That was the night of both the local Dancing with the Stars event and a Mardi Gras at the 4th Floor Blues Club.  Health Department spokesperson Christine Stinson indicated that it’s difficult to say if that person was shedding the virus at that time.  Local health officials also indicated Wednesday that there are more than four cases in Wayne County and that many of those cases are not being tested, but are instead being sent home to self-isolate.

REID DOCTORS: 20-40% OF COVID-19 TESTS ARE YIELDING FALSE NEGATIVES

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health explained Wednesday why it changed its reporting data regarding Covid-19.  After Reid reported earlier this week that 30 of 31 tests had come back negative, it also said those numbers could create a false sense of security.  The hospital is now listing presumptive positives.  A Reid spokesperson indicated that doctors there who have studied the cases say that the rate of false negatives could range from 20 to 40 percent.  Late Wednesday afternoon, there were 23 lab-confirmed positives and 55 patients in containment areas.

REID CHANGES REPORTING; 23 POSITIVES, 46 IN CONTAINMENT AREAS

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health is now sharing its own data regarding Covid-19 due to the lag time in state-reported data.  As of Tuesday afternoon, the data released by Reid will no longer include the number of negative test results as studies are showing a relatively high “false negative” outcome of testing.  The new Reid figures include the number of lab-confirmed positive tests.  That number is 23.  It also includes the number of patients in containment areas.  That number is 46.  There have now been a total of 166 total tests submitted.

SEVENTH AREA RESIDENT DIES FROM COVID-19

(Franklin County, IN)--The Whitewater Valley has had another Covid-19 death.  It’s happened again in Franklin County.  Health officials there announced that a man in his 70’s has died.  He had been in the care of doctors at an Ohio hospital since March 22.  His death becomes the fifth in Franklin County directly attributed to Covid-19.  There have been two other local deaths – one in Fayette and one in Darke County.

LOCAL COVID-19 CASES UPDATED BY COUNTY

(Whitewater Valley)--Here’s a look at current confirmed cases of Covid-19 by county of residence as of Wednesday morning.  Numbers in parenthesis are from one week ago.  Wayne 2, (1).  Franklin, 38 (7).  Fayette, 9 (3).  Randolph, 3 (0).  Henry, 1 (0).  Union, 0 (0).  Darke, 13 (1).  Preble, 1 (0).  Butler, 38 (18).

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