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Local News Powered by First Bank Richmond Archives for 2020-05

WAYNE COUNTY FAIR HAS TENTATIVE JULY 10 START DATE

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s an update on the Wayne County Fair.  Earlier this spring, fair officials announced there would be major modifications this year due to Covid-19.  A traditional fair, with rides and other attractions that was to have taken place over the last week of June, was cancelled.  Recently, though fair officials learned that July events can go forward if the county they’re held in are at a Level 5 status.  "We are scheduled for July 10-18," said Allison Criswell, who is a Wayne County extension agent.  If it does take place, the fair will still be different.  "No vendors, no track event, no carnival," Criswell explained.  It will include livestock shows and a display of 4-H projects.

ALLEGED COCAINE DEALER ARRESTED ON CAROL DRIVE

(Richmond, IN)--A man was arrested Thursday night on what is normally a quiet, residential Richmond Street.  46-year-old Michael Timbrook was taken into custody in the 300 block of Carol Drive and jailed at around 9:30 Thursday night.  Timbrook has been charged with dealing cocaine, carrying a handgun without a permit, and possessing paraphernalia.  Details of what led to the arrest and the quantity of drugs recovered have not been released.

WAYNE COUNTY SMALL BUSINESSES TO RECEIVE PPE

(Richmond, IN)--Small businesses in Wayne County are in line for help in providing personal protective equipment.  The city of Richmond is eligible for just over $1.1 million in federal funding.  Other Wayne County communities can receive lesser amounts based on population.  Because governmental entities will likely not use it all, it can be distributed to small businesses.  The funding can cover things like hand sanitizer, masks, and protective Plexiglas.

COUNTY SEES SECOND-HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY POSITIVE TESTS

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has had its second-largest single day reporting of positive Covid-19 tests since the outbreak began.  Four positives were reported on Tuesday, according to the state’s department of health.  It’s brings Wayne County’s total to 75.  More statistics from the state this morning indicate that 21% of Wayne County’s positives are from people in their 60’s.  The state does not release specifics by county for Covid-19 deaths.  But, statewide, half of the people who have died have been at least 80 years old.

MAN JAILED AFTER ALLEGEDLY STASHING HANDGUN IN CHILD'S TOY BOX

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was taken into custody Wednesday following an incident that began with a report of him throwing a bag over the G Street Bridge.  Police came into contact with 22-year-old Isaiah Peyton.  Peyton allegedly fled into a house in the 700 block of South West 1st and placed a handgun into a child’s toy box.  Charges include possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.  Three years ago, Peyton invaded a home on 11th Street and used a hammer to rob a woman of $120.  He was sentenced to three years.

TEEN STABLE AFTER SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--A teenager was shot in Richmond Tuesday night.  At just after 8:30 Tuesday night, officers were called to Hilldell Avenue just off of Peacock Road and found that a 17-year-old had been shot in the rear end.  According to a press release from the Richmond Police Department, the shooting was the result of a dispute involving several people.  The victim was taken to Reid Health and was reportedly in stable condition.  There is no word of any arrest.

LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT BALLOONS TO RECORD HIGHS

(Indianapolis, IN)--On Tuesday morning, Kicks 96 and The Point News reported that 4683 Wayne County had filed jobless claims since Covid-19 lockdowns began.  Later Tuesday, the state released unemployment numbers that further illustrates the cost of stay-at-home orders.  Wayne County’s unemployment rate ballooned from 3 ½ in March to 14.8% in April.  Rates in other nearby counties are even higher.  Fayette County now has an unimaginable 25.5% unemployment rate.  Union County is at 16.3%, Franklin is at 18.3, Randolph County has 17.4% unemployment, and Henry County is at 17.4%.  Rates for Ohio counties come out later Wednesday.

MILLS DUO ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY, AGGRAVATED BATTERY

(Richmond, IN)--Two men were arrested Tuesday night in connection with an attack that occurred a few minutes earlier.  It happened in the 400 block of North West K Street.  Officers found 54-year-old Jeffery Johnson with multiple injuries to his head and face.  Twenty minutes later, investigators located Willie Mills Senior and Willie Mills Junior and charged them both with robbery, burglary, and aggravated battery.  The older Mills remained in the Wayne County Jail Wednesday morning.  The younger Mills has bonded out.  Mills was a key witness in a recent Richmond murder trial.

MAN SHOT AFTER THREATENING OFFICERS NO LONGER LISTED AS HOSPITAL PATIENT

(Richmond, IN)--The man who was shot by a Richmond police officer after stabbing himself and approaching officers was, on Tuesday morning, no longer listed as a patient at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  That’s where 34-year-old Brian Sherer was flown after the incident late Sunday morning with injuries that were initially described as survivable.  There is also no indication that Sherer has been booked into the Wayne County Jail.  The Indiana State Police is handling the investigation and has not released any additional information about Sherer or the status of the officers who were involved in the incident.  No officers were injured.

RATE OF GROWTH OF COVID-19 CASES SLOWS FOR MOST LOCAL COUNTIES

(Wayne County, IN)--The rate of growth of Covid-19 cases across the Whitewater Valley continues to slow, with couple of big exceptions.  The number of Wayne County cases is now at 69, which is a 13% growth.  It’s the second straight week that the growth rate has dropped.  Union and Franklin County have had no new cases at all in the last week, and Preble County has added only one.  Darke and Butler County are the exceptions.  Darke has added 35 cases in the last week.  Butler added 211 positives last week.  That’s an increase of 36% with a total of 802 cases.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS DROP FOR 5th STRAIGHT WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of jobless claims in Wayne County has dropped for the fifth consecutive week.  253 Wayne County residents filed in the week ending May 9, which is the most recent date figures are available.  It marked the eighth straight week of jobless claims filings that were at least ten times higher than normal.  In those eight weeks, a total of 4683 people have filed jobless claims.  That number represents roughly 15% of Wayne County's workforce.

HEARING SET FOR CRAIN SANITARIUM MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s an update on Heaven Johnson or Davis or Saint LaCroix.  All of those are aliases used by the woman who claimed to be a Beverly Hills designer with big plans to renovate the Crain Sanitarium at 22nd and East Main in Richmond.  Those plans, of course, never became reality.  Now, Johnson is facing new theft charges in a central Indiana county.  On her Instagram page, she still not only claims to be a designer but also America’s real top model.  Meanwhile, back in Richmond, Heaven Johnson or Davis or Saint LaCroix has a pretrial hearing in a mortgage foreclosure on the Crain Sanitarium in three weeks.

RICHMOND FALLS SHORT OF STATE'S COVID-19 TESTING GOALS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond stands to lose its Covid-19 testing site if more people don’t use it.  That was one of the messages from the Wayne County Health Department to the Health Board Thursday.  The state has set a goal of 135 people per day to be tested, but just a small fraction of that number is actually showing up for free testing.  The state is expected to reevaluate the site in less than ten days.  Meanwhile, local health officials said that the county is on a downward trend for infection but encouraged residents to continue to take precautions.  Reid Health reported its one hundredth positive test Thursday, but the number of people in containment areas is slowing coming down.

EATON POOL TO BECOME AREA'S FIRST TO OPEN

(Eaton, OH)--Details of the opening of one area community swimming pool have been released.  The Main Street Aquatic Center in Eaton will open on June 1.  The Aquatic Center’s Facebook page does not mention any special restrictions that will be in place due to Covid-19.  Daily admission is $6 for adults and $4 for kids.  The Roberts Park Pool in Connersville will open on June 15.  The Oxford Aquatic Center will open next month, although no specific date has been announced.  Richmond’s Cordell Pool will not open at all this summer.

SNOW TESTED FOR COVID-19, URGES OTHERS TO FOLLOW SUIT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow continues to urge residents to get tested for Covid-19.  "The larger the data set, and the more results collected, the better decisions on health care professionals can make," Snow said.  To demonstrate how easy it is, Snow himself got tested at the former Elder-Beerman building this week.  "Am I worried about testing positive?  Absolutely.  I don't have any symptoms today.  But that doesn't mean I'm not an asymptomatic carrier," Snow added.  Here’s Snow’s review of the testing process just as he walked out.  "That was nowhere near as bad as I thought is was gonna be.  Watching videos on the internet, I was dreading that.  It's not that bad.  It's uncomfortable, but it's certainly not unbearable and it's very quick."  The process is featured on a video on the city’s Facebook page.  There’s no cost for testing and you don’t have to show symptoms to be tested.

JAZZ CANCELS 2020 SEASON

(Richmond, IN)--There will be no summer baseball at McBride Stadium in Richmond this year.  The Richmond Jazz announced Wednesday that their entire 2020 season has been cancelled due to Covid-19.  The decision was made by the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League.  Jazz management said that preparations that are necessary to support the operation of the team are not realistic.  They added that they plan on returning in the summer of 2021.

EXPLANATION OFFERED FOR MILITARY HELICOPTER FLYOVERS

(Whitewater Valley)--Some Whitewater Valley residents have wondered about – or, in some cases, been freaked out by – all the military helicopters that have been seen flying over the area in the last 24 hours.  Here’s what it is…a large number of Army helicopters, including Blackhawk, Chinook, and Apache are being moved from Colorado to New York.  Many are stopping at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for overnight stays or refueling.  The helicopters will continue to pass over through Sunday.

RANDOLPH COUNTY WARNS OF SCAMMER TRYING TO INSPECT REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS

(Randolph County, IN)--Randolph County Emergency Management prefaced this warning Wednesday by saying they wish they were making it up, but they’re not.  Some Randolph County residents have received calls from someone claiming to be a doctor with the Health Department and saying there’s a new strain of Covid-19 that affects reproductive organs.  The caller then offers to come to your house and inspect your genitals.  The Health Department calls this scam dangerous for obvious reasons and says that no doctor would come to a private residence to examine reproductive organs.

THREE AREA COUNTIES REPORT NEW COVID-19 DEATHS

(Whitewater Valley)--The death toll attributed to Covid-19 has climbed in our area’s most heavily affected counties.  New deaths have been reported in Darke, Henry, and Butler County.  Details of the ages and physical conditions of those most recent deaths have not been released.  The total deaths for our nine-county area this morning stands at 57.  More than half of those 57 have occurred in either Darke or Butler County.  Wayne County’s count remains at five, with the last death having been reported 13 days ago.

LARGE INCREASE IN GRADUATION RATE PREDICTED FOR WESTERN WAYNE

(Cambridge City, IN)--With an important vote regarding school financing just a few weeks away, Western Wayne School leaders are predicting a significant rise in graduation rates.  Western Wayne’s graduation rates have been, by far, the lowest in Wayne County in recent years.  Last year, it was 75%.  At a recent school board meeting, though, high school principal Renee Lakes said the rate for the Class of 2020 will be between 85 and 100%, depending on how a few students are counted.  Western Wayne leaders warned months ago that the district would run out of money soon unless a levy passes in this primary election.

DARKE COUNTY FAIR ARSONIST GETS TEN YEARS

(Greenville, OH)--The man who set multiple Darke County fires over the course of several years was sentenced Tuesday to a decade in prison.  31-year-old Randy Mogle’s fires included a massive one that destroyed part of the Darke County Fairgrounds in the fall of 2018.  He had faced as much as 208 years for all the fires he set, but that was reduced to ten years following a no-contest plea.  Mogle was also ordered to pay more than $200,000 in restitution.

355 MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS FILE JOBLESS CLAIMS

(Wayne County, IN)--Several hundred more Wayne County jobs have been lost in the last week, according to a new jobless claims report from the state.   For the week ending May 2, which is the most recent date that numbers are available, Wayne County had another 355 jobless claims.  Since the outbreak began, Wayne County has now had 4430 jobless claims.  That’s roughly 20 times the number of jobless claims over the same seven-week period last year.  It also represents roughly 15% of Wayne County’s workforce.

NEATHERY PRE-TRIAL HEARING POSTPONED

(Richmond, IN)--A pre-trial hearing that was to have taken place this week in the case against Richmond’s Austin Neathery has been postponed.  Neathery is accused of shooting and killing Tremell Carpenter outside a Norwood apartment nearly two years ago.  Neathery fled following the shooting and was eventually captured a week later in central Indiana.  A previous court entry indicated that future hearings in the case were dependent on the status of Covid-19.  Jury selection was to have started in Wayne Superior Court II a week from Friday, which would’ve been two years to the day from the shooting.

CASES BY AGE IN WAYNE COUNTY MIRRORS AGE OF THOSE TESTED

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Wayne County, when broken down by age, almost exactly mirrors the ages of people who have been tested.  For example, 12% of Wayne County’s positives are people in their 70’s.  14% of people tested have been in their 70’s.  18% of positives are people in their 50’s.  17% of Wayne County residents who have been tested are in their 50’s.  And here’s one unusual number…Wayne County has tested nearly twice as many females for Covid-19 as males.

INCREASED TESTING REVEALS MORE LOCAL COVID-19 CASES

(Wayne County, IN)--Increased testing across the Whitewater Valley has yielded a big increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the last week.  The official count for Wayne County residents this morning is 61.  That’s a 13% increase from the week before.  Henry County now has now passed Franklin County for the most cases in our area with now 125 cases.  Franklin and Darke County have now each had over a hundred cases.  Even though the number of cases rises predictably, the number of patients in Reid Health containment areas has held steady for weeks at around 50.  Here are some more numbers involving Covid-19 for Indiana.  Across Indiana, for every 100,000 residents under the age of 70, only seven have died from Covid-19.  In Ohio, the number is even less.  For all residents there under the age of 70, only four in 100,000 have died.  Also, the amount of ventilator use remains very low.  Right now in Indiana, only 6.7% of available ventilators are in use.

McNEW GRADUATES IU EAST IN THREE YEARS; WILL ATTEND LAW SCHOOL

(Richmond, IN)--One of IU East’s most inspirational graduates this spring is Austin McNew.  McNew was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a sledding accident as a student at Northeastern.  Now, McNew has completed a double-major at IU East in just three years and is now headed to law school.  Austin said that his spinal cord injury pushed him and that he realized he could work with his mind or his body, but chose law so that he could work with his mind.  He added that he pushed himself to move through the courses quickly to show anyone that, no matter the circumstances, anything is possible.

FATHER OF TEEN SHOOTING VICTIM CLAIMS VICTIM WAS SHIELDING FRIEND

(Richmond, IN)--There have been no arrests in the shooting and killing of a teen in Richmond last Sunday, and now that boy’s father is offering an explanation of what happened.  In the details of a gofundme account, the boy’s father says the 17-year-old " was gunned down in front of his own home while he was shielding one of his friends and trying to protect his girlfriend."  Meanwhile, it appears from scanner traffic during an incident Thursday night that investigators continue to search for a specific person of interest and that there is a BOLO, or “be on the lookout” for that person.  The identity of the victim and any suspects have not been released.

MULTIPLE WEAPONS RECOVERED IN LATE-NIGHT FOOT CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A young Richmond man was taken into custody late Thursday night after allegedly fleeing police on foot and throwing guns in the process.  22-year-old Jeremy Gammon allegedly brandished a gun in the 400 block of South 13th.  Police gave chase, captured Gammon a few blocks away, and recovered two guns.  As of Friday morning, Gammon had been charged only with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

AUTHORITIES SEARCHING FOR MISSING TEEN

(Brookville, IN)--The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help in locating a missing teen.  16-year-old Jenna McConnell has been missing for two weeks after last being seen at her home in southern Franklin County.  She’s now listed on the National Center for the Missing and Endangered registry.  No other details about her disappearance have been released.  Jenna has shoulder-length red hair and hazel eyes.

NO ARRESTS MADE IN STABBING

(Richmond, IN)--The person who stabbed someone Wednesday in Richmond was still on the loose Thursday morning.  The victim showed up at the Village Pantry on South 9th Street and collapsed on the floor.  First responders discovered that the victim had not only been stabbed multiple times, but was also overdosing.  That person was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton and was last listed in serious condition.  His or her name has not been released, and there’s no information about a suspect.  There have also been no arrests in the shooting and killing of a teenage boy in Richmond last Sunday.

WHILE RICHMOND'S POOL CLOSES, CONNERSVILLE'S WILL OPEN

(Connersville, IN)--Two local communities are handling their summer recreation very differently.  While Richmond announced earlier this week that Cordell Pool will not open at all due to Covid-19, Connersville has now announced that Roberts Park Pool will open to the public in mid-June.  Richmond also announced there would be no in-person summer youth camps.  In Connersville, though, kids will be able to take part at various locations.  Connersville officials say they’ll take precautions and are moving forward based on recommendations from the county’s health department.  Community pools in Eaton and in Oxford are currently planning on opening at some point this year.

TWO MORE LOCAL RESIDENTS DIE FROM COVID-19

(Whitewater Valley)--There have been two more deaths in the Whitewater Valley attributed to Covid-19.  One person died in Randolph County, marking that county’s third.  Another has died in Darke County, making the 15th person to die from the virus there.  There are no other details about either person.  Our nine-county area has now had 52 Covid-19 deaths.  30 of those 52 are in Darke and Butler County.

NO ARRESTS AS RESULT OF SEARCH WARRANT IN HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION

(Richmond, IN)--A search warrant connected to the murder of a 17-year-old boy on Sunday was executed Tuesday afternoon at a home at the corner of South 21st and E Street in Richmond.  Lots of law enforcement agents searched the home and a garage but, as of Wednesday morning, no arrests have been made.  Some of the people inside were detained for questioning.  A vehicle was towed from the scene and is expected to be searched for evidence.  Investigators have not released other details of the shooting, including what may have prompted it.

TEENS FOUND WITH GUNS, MARIJUANA CLOSE TO HOMICIDE SITE

(Richmond, IN)--There was an incident Tuesday night with teens and guns and it happened just two blocks from where two teens were shot – and one was killed – on Sunday.  At around 8:30 Tuesday night, officers were called to an area near North West 4th and Richmond Avenue.  There, scanner traffic indicated that officers located a 16-year-old with a gun and with marijuana.  That teen was taken to RPD headquarters .  No shots were fired.  A caller to 911 reported that three teens were brandishing handguns.

TURNOUT LIGHT FOR COVID-19 TESTING AT ARMORY

(Richmond, IN)--So far, turnout for Covid-19 testing at the National Guard Armory has been fairly light.  It prompted Wayne County Health Department Director Christine Stinson to take to social media Tuesday to encourage residents to get tested.  "Just come on down.  They'll register you for an appointment.  Right now, there's no waiting," Stinson said.  It’s important to note that the test will not reveal if you’ve had Covid-19 and recovered; it will only tell you if you’re currently positive.  "Chances are, you've come into contact with someone and you could be one of those asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19," Stinson added.  Testing runs daily at no cost.

CORDELL POOL WILL NOT OPEN; FIREWORKS DELAYED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s Cordell Pool will not open this summer.  That’s the word from the city and Park Department and becomes the latest fallout from Covid-19.  A statement said that the decision to keep the pool closed for the summer was made for the health and safety of the community.  Also, the park’s summer camps, including JUKO, will not take place in the traditional format.  And, there’s another impact.  There will be no 4th of July fireworks at Roosevelt Hill.  There is still a plan for fireworks this year.  As of now, the celebration has been moved to Labor Day Weekend in early September.  Other park amenities, including playgrounds, are beginning to reopen.  Those who visit are asked to take multiple precautions to protect their health.

INFORMATION STILL SOUGHT IN FATAL SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--By Tuesday morning, there had been no new information in the last 24 hours about the shooting and killing of a teenager in Richmond.  The 17-year-old boy was killed in the 300 block of Lincoln Street late Sunday afternoon.  Presumably, Richmond Police investigators are still seeking additional information.  There have been no arrests made.  The only description of any possible suspect was that of a black male seen fleeing the area.  That description came from witnesses.  Richmond police have not released the name of the boy, and Kicks 96 and the Point News will not do so until it’s released by investigators.

399 MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS FILE JOBLESS CLAIMS

(Richmond, IN)--Another jobless claims report came out Monday, and it shows that Wayne County’s loss of hundreds of jobs each week is continuing.  In the new numbers, which showed data ending the week of April 25, another 399 Wayne County residents filed jobless claims.  That’s the lowest number since the Covid-19 outbreak began.  Still, though, it brings to total number of jobless filings in Wayne County during the pandemic to 4075.  That’s roughly ten percent of every Wayne County resident between the ages of 18 and 65.  The county’s jobless filings in just the last two and a half weeks are more than all of 2019.

TWO TEENS SHOT, ONE KILLED, ON LINCOLN STREET

(Richmond, IN)--One teen is dead and another was wounded following what appears to have been a Mother’s Day shootout in a heavily populated Richmond neighborhood.  Officers were called at 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon to a home in the 300 block of Lincoln Street.  Two 17-year-olds – one male and one female – were found with gunshot wounds.  The female victim was treated and released, but the male victim was taken to Reid Health and later pronounced dead.  The Richmond Police Department has not released the victims’ names or other details of the shooting, but they did say that no arrests have been made and have asked for anyone with any information to contact them.   Scanner traffic indicated that neighbors heard between eight and 12 gunshots.  Some of those witnesses saw one person run into a house and return fire.  One weapon was found on the side of a house during the investigation.

FIRE DESTROYS HOUSE NORTH OF CENTERVILLE

(Wayne County, IN)--Multiple firefighting agencies responded to a fire between Centerville and I-70 Sunday afternoon.  It broke out in the 1400 block of West Grove Road at around 2:30.  High winds made battling the fire more difficult for units from Centerville, Greens Fork, and Cambridge City.  Water had to be hauled to the scene.  It took more than two hours for the fire to be declared under control.  There were no reports of any injuries.  There’s no word yet on the cause of the fire or the dollar amount of the damage.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 CASES UP 39% IN LAST WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--As the amount of Covid-19 testing increases, predictably, so does the number of positive cases.  According to state numbers, Wayne County has had 53 confirmed cases.  That’s a 39% increase in just the last week.  The most dramatic jump has been in Henry County.  Cases there have nearly doubled in just the last week from 44 to now 81.  Reid Health has had 90 lab-confirmed positives and, at last report, had 43 people in containment areas.  1085 people have been tested.

TWO MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS DIE FROM COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--Two more Wayne County residents have died from Covid-19.  Two men, who were both over the age of 60, died earlier this week at Reid Health.  They’re the first Wayne County residents to die from the virus in two weeks.  It brings the death toll for Wayne County residents to five and the total in our nine-county area to 42.  More than have of those deaths have been in Darke and Butler County.

WHITEWATER VALLEY JOBLESS FILINGS TOP 14,000

(Whitewater Valley)--New jobless filings in Preble and Darke County brought about by Covid-19 are bringing into clearer focus the effect on jobs across the Whitewater Valley.  According to the most recent numbers 14,143 people have filed jobless claims in just the last five weeks in Wayne, Union, Fayette, Franklin, Randolph, Henry, Preble, and Darke County combined.  Wayne County has had the most filings, with 3676.  Even Union County has had 279 filings, which represents one filing for every 15 adults of working age.

MORE WIDESPREAD COVID-19 TESTING TO START IN RANDOLPH COUNTY

(Randolph County, IN)--More widespread Covid-19 testing is already underway in Richmond and Connersville.  And, soon, it will begin in Randolph County.  So far, the only testing in Randolph County has been done at St. Vincent Randolph Hospital, with less than a hundred tests having been conducted.  But now, Randolph County has been picked as one of 50 additional testing sites across Indiana.  The testing is expected to begin in about a week at a location that has yet to be determined.  To be tested, Randolph County residents will have had to experience symptoms and pre-register online.

COUNTY LIFTS TRAVEL ADVISORY, ANNOUNCES DIFFERENCES IN STATE RESTRICTIONS

(Richmond, IN)--City and county leaders met at the Wayne County Administration Building Wednesday afternoon and announced modifications to Covid-19 restrictions.  Primarily, the Level II Travel Advisory that specified only essential travel was permitted has now been lifted.  There are also now three differences in Wayne County directives as compared to state directives.  Employees of both public and private businesses now must wear a mask if they come into contact with the public.  Wayne County pools cannot open until June 14.  The state will allow pools to open on May 24.  Also, Wayne County movie theaters cannot open until June 14.  At the state level, theaters can open on the 24th.  Local leaders say that other modifications are possible depending on the changing number of cases.

FORMER TROOPER SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS, BUT WON'T REPORT TO PRISON

(Eaton, OH)--The Preble County resident and former Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper who sexually assaulted multiple women on duty was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison, but he won’t be locked up anytime soon.  Here’s one of Christopher Ward’s victims, Brittany Crank.  "I am very hurt that this is how it ended, and that he's just walking around right now."  There are two reasons Ward won’t serve time immediately:  one is a pending appeal, but the other is because of Covid-19.  "I understand that the pandemic is dangerous, but we also have someone who has been very dangerous to many people and affected many lives," Crank added.  Ward not only accosted women while on patrol, he also assaulted a teenage girl who was sleeping over with his daughter at his house.

COUNTY SEES 100th POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST

(Franklin County, IN)--Our area’s hotspot for Covid-19, Franklin County, passed a milestone Wednesday as the 100th resident tested positive.  Franklin County has more positive tests that all other Whitewater Valley counties on the Indiana side of the line combined.  It also has one of the highest infection rates in the entire country.  The total of 101 confirmed cases means that one in every 225 residents has tested positive.  By comparison, the ratio in Wayne County is one in 1500.

LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS FACE LARGE BUDGET CUTS

(Columbus, OH)--Local school districts in Preble and Darke County are facing massive cuts due to decreased tax revenue brought about by Covid-19.  On Wednesday, the governor’s office announced just how much will be cut from each school.  Eaton schools will have a $400,000 budget cut.  National Trail will lose just under $200,000 in revenue, while Tri Village will lose $143,000.  It will be up to each district to decide how to deal with the budget cuts.

516 MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS FILE JOBLESS CLAIMS

(Wayne County, IN)--New jobless claims are out for Wayne County today and the report shows another huge loss in the last week.  The good news, if there is any, is that the number of jobs lost last week is down by more than 300 from the week before. Still, another 516 Wayne County residents filed jobless claims in the week ending April 18, which is the most recent week reports are available.  In the last five weeks, 3676 Wayne County residents have filed jobless claims.  For the same five-week period last year, instead of 3676 local claims, there were 80.

REID TESTS 1000th PATIENT FOR COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health passed a milestone Tuesday with the submission of its 1000th Covid-19 test.  The per-day number of tests submitted by Reid is continuing to increase at a greater rate than early in the outbreak.  Of the 1002 tests that have been submitted by Reid, there have been 82 lab-confirmed positives.  There are also 52 patients now in Reid containment areas.  That number wavers slightly daily but has been generally in the 50’s for the last couple of weeks.  There have now been 41 positives for Wayne County residents.

RCS ANNOUNCES COMMENCEMENT PLANS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Community Schools has announced plans for what will be a very unusual commencement for the Class of 2020.  Beginning on the 19th of this month, seniors will have an individual presentation of their diplomas by walking across the stage at Civic Hall in the caps and gowns.  Those presentations will be recorded along with speeches and the declaration.  The walks across the stage will be put together on video and then broadcast on WETV Channel 20 on Sunday, May 31.  It will permit seniors and their families to view what will appear to be a more normal graduation ceremony together at home.

MAN ARRESTED FOR CHILD SOLICITATION

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man has been accused of soliciting a child for sex.  34-year-old Daniel Ball was booked into the Wayne County Jail Tuesday night after being taken into custody on a warrant at his home in the 3300 block of North West B.  Ball has already posted bond and was free Wednesday morning.  Details of what Ball is alleged to have done have not yet been released.

30 JOBS COMING TO INDUSTRIAL PARK

(Richmond, IN)--A new tenant is coming to the industrial park at Round Barn and Gaar Jackson Road in Richmond, and they’ll bring 30 jobs with them.  Element 13 LLC will use 15 acres near Blue Buffalo in their construction of aluminum billets.  Billets are solid metal tubes that are then sold to other manufacturers for extrusion.  Richmond Common Council Monday night approved several tax abatements for Element 13.  The plan is to construct a 50,000-square-foot facility and to pay employees just over $20 per hour on average.

DRIVER ARRESTED FOR FLEEING AFTER STRIKING CHILD WITH SUV

(New Paris, OH)--A man was booked into jail early Tuesday morning after allegedly striking a child in New Paris with his SUV and then fleeing the scene.  The Preble County Sheriff’s Office Monday night posted very graphic video of the child running out of a cemetery and being struck.  The department received lots of tips.  On Tuesday morning, 35-year-old Phillip Rehmert was jailed and charged with leaving the scene of an accident.  Family members say the young girl received stitches but will be okay.

REID GETS LETTER GRADE OF A FROM NATIONAL WATCHDOG

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health has been given an “A” in this spring’s Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.  Leapfrog is an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety.  That organization’s president said they "hope the “A” helps to thank the people who work at Reid.  They are role models in putting patients first and their service has been extraordinary in our country’s time of need."

38 WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--The number confirmed cases of Covid-19 cases in the Whitewater Valley this morning reflects both a change in the way cases are reported and increased testing.  Our nine-county area now has 663 cases, with roughly half of those in Butler County.  Wayne County has had 38 cases.  That’s a 23% increase from a week ago.  In our area’s hotspot, Franklin County, the number of cases stands at 97.  But that’s an increase of just three percent in the last week.  Reid Health now has 50 patients in containment areas with 837 tests having been submitted.

New Covid-19 testing will beginMonday at the National Guard Armory on West Main in Richmond and in Connersville.  Testing will be done by appointment only with results being made available in 48 hours.  But, there are other limitations.  Testing will be available only to people who are showing symptoms, have had close contact with positive cases, or are residents of congregate living settings.

PROSECUTOR HIGHLIGHTS NEEDLE EXCHANGE CALAMITIES

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman is providing details about some of the more egregious recent cases of overdose as he works to stop the renewal of the needle exchange program.  One recent case occurred in January on North 16th in Richmond.  Two parents were using drugs in a bathroom, including the father, who was on the toilet, with two young girls in that bathroom.  Both parents passed out.  Their bodies trapped the young girls in the bathroom.  The girls were rescued and the mother was revived, but the father later died.  Inside the pocket of the man who died was an uncapped needle from the needle exchange program.  While Shipman fights against renewal, the Health Department is pushing for it.  Kicks 96 and The Point News will highlight other cases in advance of Wednesday’s meeting.

WINCHESTER POLICE INVESTIGATE FATAL SHOOTING

(Winchester, IN)--Winchester police investigated a fatal shooting over the weekend.  At around 11 o’clock Saturday morning, numerous people reported a body on a sidewalk in the 300 block of East North Street in Winchester.  A man in his mid-20’s was found with a single gunshot wound to the head.  A nine-millimeter handgun was found close to the body.  Investigators were working to establish an identity and say that the investigation is continuing.

WAYNE COUNTY HEALTH DEPT. UPDATES BOARD ON COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department met Thursday and was updated on the county’s fight against coronavirus.  Executive Director Christine Stinson told the Board that some of the first local residents to test positive several weeks ago have been retested and are still testing positive.  A change in tracking procedure has allowed residents to be counted as clinical positives for Covid-19.  In the first three days of this week, 42 Wayne County residents were counted as clinical positives.  Beginning at 10Saturday morning, the Health Department will distribute 1200 masks to the public from its facility at South 5th and A in Richmond.  On Monday, more widespread testing will begin at the National Guard Armory.

TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS PICKED FOR NORTHEASTERN

(Fountain City, IN)--Two new members have been picked for the Northeastern Wayne School Board.  Alice Johnson, who is an education professor with Purdue, will replace Eric Fields.  Nate Clevenger, who is a detective with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, will replace Kristin Lumpkin.  Fields and Lumpkin both resigned in March.  Johnson and Clevenger come to the Board at the time when the Superintendent has recently been named as a finalist for a new job in Miamisburg and the Assistant Superintendent is the subject of a criminal investigation.

WAYNE COUNTY FOUNDATION, REID ANNOUNCE GRANTS

(Richmond, IN)--Some significant local grants were announced Thursday.  The Wayne County Foundation has provided $17,000 in Crisis Response grants connected to Covid-19 and another $51,000 to other nonprofit organizations.  Most of that funding came from individual donations.  Also, Reid Health Community Benefit is awarding nearly $125,000 for 16 programs designed to improve mental health and combat substance abuse.  Some of the larger recipients include Centerstone, Genesis, and the Boys & Girls Club.

Richmond, IN WEATHER

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