Listen Now

Local News Archives for 2020-12

COUNTIES MOVE TO RED ON COVID-19 MAP

(Whitewater Valley)--Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Multiple area counties have now moved into the red.  Wayne County is not one of them.  Wayne County remains in the orange with a positivity rate of 12%.  But, Union, Fayette, and Henry County all moved from orange to red Wednesday.  Franklin County, which has been red for a couple of weeks, remained red Thursday morning.  A red coloring triggers some additional restrictions, including the limiting of gatherings to 25 people.  Fayette County has been specially flagged by the state for the large number of cases attributable to congregate settings.

MAN DIES IN I-70 CRASH

(Preble County, OH)--A crash on I-70 in Preble County two days ago has turned fatal.  The Ohio Highway Patrol said Wednesday that a 42-year-old man from the Portsmouth area died Tuesday afternoon when he rear-ended a semi about two miles from the state line.  The victim was driving a box truck and hit a semi that had slowed for a separate accident.

FIRST RESPONDERS PARADE AT LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

(Wayne County, IN)--Two drive-thru Covid-19 testing clinics were set Wednesday.  Dr. David Jetmore said Wednesday that Wayne County has had decreased testing in the last couple of weeks and added that it’s important for testing to continue.  The drive-thru clinics will be held both this coming Tuesday and the following Saturday at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.  There is no charge for testing for Indiana residents.

WAYNE COUNTY ADDS FIVE COVID-19 DEATHS

(Richmond, IN)--It was a grim day in Wayne County Tuesday.  "The Wayne County Health Department received a report of five additional Covid-19 deaths.  The five additional deaths brings the total number of Wayne County residents who have succumbed to Covid-19 complications to 138." said Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department.  It’s the second-highest single-day total since the outbreak began.  The county’s positivity rate remains hovering around 12%.  An updated Covid-19 map comes out Wednesday.  Wayne County is expected to remain in the orange.

VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County continues to prepare for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine.  "The Health Department was told to plan for a shipment of a few hundred doses - not a few thousand doses, as they had originally planned," said Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department on Tuesday.  "They're looking for people who would like to volunteer their time.  They're seeking both medical and non-medical volunteers," Stinson added.  She’s talking about Phase 1B, which will make the vaccine available for first responders and critical healthcare workers.  Those vaccines are due in a few weeks, and Stinson says help is needed.  Details of exactly who will receive the limited doses have not been released.

LOUD BOOM INVESTIGATED

(Richmond, IN)--There were widespread reports Tuesday night of an explosion or loud boom that rattled windows and shook houses across Richmond’s south side.  Residents took to social media to try to find an answer and speculate on the source.  On Wednesday morning, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said that they found the source of the sound on State Road 227.   They say it was at a private residence, although they’re not saying exactly where.  They’re also saying it was determined that there was no criminal wrongdoing and that citizens were never placed in danger, but they’re not saying exactly what the loud boom was.

WAYNE COUNTY REMAINS ORANGE ON COVID-19 MAP

(Wayne County, IN)--Indiana’s color-coded Covid-19 map was updated and released Wednesday.  Wayne County remained in the orange, as did every other area county except Franklin, which stayed in the red.  A red rating on the map could trigger more rigorous restrictions.  Meanwhile, Wayne County continues to trend in the right direction in terms of new cases.  Wayne County has reported less than 50 new daily cases for three days in a row.  That’s the first time that has happened since the first three days of November.

HALF-POUND OF METH RECOVERED FROM MOTEL

(Richmond, IN)--A New Paris man is now facing serious drug charges in both Indiana and Ohio after almost a half-pound of methamphetamine and more than $6800 in cash was found inside a room at the Richmond Inn & Suites.  35-year-old Daniel Taulbee is charged with dealing in Wayne County and aggravated trafficking of drugs in Preble County.  Investigators also found more than a pound of marijuana when Taulbee was taken into custody.

MAN ARRESTED FOR REVENGE PORN

(Centerville, IN)--49-year-old man was in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning and is being held on a charge that’s not often seen.  49-year-old Thomas Webb was arrested on West South Street in Centerville and charged with distribution of intimate image, or revenge porn.  Webb is also charged with domestic battery in the presence of a child under the age of 16.  Details that led to the charges have not been released.

RPD SEEKS INFO ON FATAL SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--Two women were shot on Kinsey Street in Richmond Tuesday afternoon, and one of them died.  Richmond police said that 37-year-old Carlotta Wilkerson and 30-year-old Lamita Vansickle were shot at 2 o’clock in a home at 107 Kinsey Street.  Wilkerson was pronounced dead at the scene.   Vansickle was taken to the third-closest Level One trauma center to Richmond.  There was no word on her condition Wednesday morning.  The area of Richmond where the shooting occurred has seen multiple shots fired incidents this year.  No arrests have been made in connection to Tuesday’s shooting.  Scanner traffic indicated two black males were suspects, although the release from RPD does not mention that.

DOG STRUCK WHEN SHOTS FIRED ON NORTH 16th

(Richmond, IN)--Shots were fired in the 100 block of North 16th Street Tuesday night.  According to scanner traffic, a dog was struck by one of the rounds but there were no human injuries.  Multiple shell casings were located in and area between 16th and 17th Streets.  No arrests were made.  The initial indication was that a white Impala occupied by four people fled the area.  There was no description of the people inside the vehicle.

MAN KILLED IN PREBLE COUNTY CRASH

(Preble County, OH)--Details of a fatal Preble County crash that occurred on Monday night were released Tuesday.  35-year-old Chase Spencer of West Elkton was killed on State Route 503 near Gratis-Jacksonburg Road when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a pole and a tree.  There’s no word yet on what caused Spencer to leave the road.  An autopsy was conducted Tuesday.  Spencer is the son of Darke County Sheriff Toby Spencer.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES POSITIVE COVID-19 NUMBERS

(Wayne County, IN)--There are some positive Covid-19 numbers for Wayne County.  Wayne County reported 39 new cases on Monday, and that’s the lowest single-day total of new cases this month.  Also, there were no new Wayne County deaths reported Monday.  It marks the second day in a row of no new deaths.  It’s also the first time since November 11 and 12 that Wayne County has gone back-to-back days without a Covid-19 death.  The county’s positivity rate is 11.5%.

GOLD COIN ANONYMOUSLY DROPPED INTO LOCAL KETTLE

(Richmond, IN)--The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is winding down.  This past weekend, the local Salvation Army got a nice surprise.  Someone anonymously dropped a coin into the kettle at Richmond’s Hobby Lobby.  But it wasn’t just any coin.  It was a gold coin worth $1758.  It happened on Saturday, which was a match day – meaning donations up to $7000 were doubled.  The Salvation Army of Richmond has a goal of raising $49,000 this year

AFFIDAVITS DETAIL TWO WAYNE COUNTY MURDERS

(Wayne County, IN)--Court documents detailing two recent Wayne County murders became available Monday.  In one affidavit, 16-year-old James Burkhart is alleged to have killed his own father, who was also named James and was 51 when he was shot and killed early last week in Centerville.  Burkhart can be heard in an audio recording saying that he shot his father because of the mistreatment of his mother.  Burkhart’s friend has also been charged.  The affidavit indicates the shooting took place at the home of the younger Burkhart’s teenage friend and that Burkhart had planned on blaming that teen.  Burkhart will be automatically charged as an adult.  In another affidavit in an unrelated case, a New York woman admitted to shooting her boyfriend in the back of the head at the Cozy Garden Inn in Richmond, which was formerly known as the Econolodge.  The 50-year-old suspect made the admission during a polygraph exam conducted last week.  She and the victim, who also lived outside Buffalo, had been staying in Richmond for about a month.  No motive for the shooting was contained in the affidavit.

LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT APPROACHES PRE-COVID LEVELS

(Whitewater Valley)--New unemployment numbers are out and they show an incredible recovery and a return to levels that existed just before Covid-19.  Wayne County’s rate Tuesday morning was 5.1%.  In April of this year, the rate was just shy of 15%.  Union County’s rate unemployment rate is 3.2%.  That’s fourth lowest in Indiana and is actually below what it was in March, when the pandemic started.  Ohio’s county rates come out Tuesday.

ALLEGED TEEN BURGLAR NOW JAILED FOR ROBBERY

(Richmond, IN)--Three Richmond people were jailed overnight and were facing high-level felonies Tueday.  41-year-old Issreal South and 27-year-old Laura Bond were allegedly found inside a home near 16th and North E and are charged with burglary.  Then, at around 2:30 Tuesday morning, officers took 19-year-old Chandler Walker into custody at his home on South 12th.  Walker is one of two teens arrested just a couple of weeks ago for allegedly breaking into cars.  But, on Tuesday morning, he faced the much more serious charge of robbery.

CHURCH TO BE CONVERTED TO BREWERY

(Eaton, OH)--In Eaton, an old church is being converted a brewery.  It will be called Bushrod Brew Works.  It’s an LLC that has applied for a liquor permit for a new brewery at a former church in the 200 block of North Barron Street.  The church building dates back to 1879.  Plans call for serving only beers brewer on-site.  The goal is to have the brewer open by the end of March.

REID HAS LOWEST NUMBER OF COVID-19 PATIENTS SINCE LATE OCTOBER

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County’s Monday-Monday total of new Covid-19 cases is fewer than it was the week before.  Wayne County added 428 cases over the last week.  That’s a hundred fewer new cases than the week before.  The number of patients on Monday in Reid Health containment areas was down to 45.  That’s the lowest that number has been since late October.  But, the county also added three new deaths over the weekend, bringing the total to 128.

TEEN MURDER SUSPECT BOOKED INTO WAYNE COUNTY JAIL

(Centerville, IN)--The victim in last week’s fatal shooting in Centerville was identified over the weekend as 51-year-old James Burkhart of Centerville.  Also over the weekend, a second teenage suspect was arrested and charged with Burkhart’s death.  The original suspect was in a juvenile detention center in the Columbus, Ohio area.  The second suspect was arrested locally.  The teens have not been identified and likely will not be unless they are tried as adults.  One of the two suspects was booked into the Wayne County Jail and just turned 16 last month.  Other information about what led to the shooting has not been released.

REID ADMINISTERS FIRST DOSE OF COVID-19 VACCINE

(Richmond, IN)--Thursday night marked a major turning point in the local battle against Covid-19 as the first area healthcare worker was vaccinated.  Dr. Thomas Huth and three others received the vaccination at Reid Health.  Earlier on Thursday, Reid received a shipment of 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.  On Friday morning, one of three vaccination clinics that will be operated by Reid will be open for designated healthcare workers.  Phase 1B vaccinations are scheduled to begin January 4 at the former Elder-Beerman building in Richmond.  Local vaccinations for the general public, according to most estimates, are still at least a few months away.

WALMART ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s Walmart was robbed at gunpoint Thursday night, and the suspect was still on the loose Friday morning.  A suspect described as a Hispanic female walked up to the customer service desk at around 7:30 Thursday night, discretely displayed a black handgun, and demanded cash.  She walked out the door with an undisclosed amount of money and got into what was described as a grey Ford Focus.  She then went north through the parking lot.  No one inside the store was hurt, and, according to one witness, most customers were unaware that the armed robbery had even occurred.  No surveillance images have been released.

ONE IN FIVE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS WITH COVID-19 HAVE DIED

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County reported 93 new Covid-19 cases Thursday.  That’s the fourth-highest single day total.  And, here are some new numbers that illustrate how dangerous the virus is – or isn’t – to various age group.  Specific to Wayne County and in people under the age of 60, there has been one death for 3201 cases.  For people in their 60’s, it’s one in 78.  For Wayne County residents in their 70’s, there has been one death in every ten cases.  And, for local people over 80, the death rate has been one in five cases.

CITY, COUNTY REACH AGREEMENT TO CRACK DOWN ON MASK VIOLATORS

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County and the City of Richmond formalized an agreement Wednesday that will crack down on businesses that blatantly violate mask requirements.  Four local inspectors will be visiting businesses and will have the authority to shut those businesses down for varying lengths of time if masks are not being worn inside.  The first incidence would result in a warning.  A second offense would result in a 24-hour shutdown.  The length of the shutdown would increase with each additional violation.  The inspectors are being funded through the CARES Act.

CENTERVILLE, IN INVESTIGATORS GO TO COLUMBUS FOR MURDER INVESTIGATION

(Columbus, OH)--Investigators have still not released the identity of the man who was shot and killed at 1st and Main Street in Centerville on Tuesday night.  Columbus, Ohio television stations are reporting that Centerville, Indiana investigators were in Columbus Wednesday.  The teenage murder suspect remained in a Columbus hospital following a crash when police there chased him into a quarry.  The teen was reportedly in serious condition but is expected to recover.  Scanner traffic indicated the suspect is just 15 years old, although investigators have not yet confirmed that.  The victim was taken Wednesday to Dayton for an autopsy.

HAGERSTOWN TO EXPERIENCE TOWN-WIDE POWER OUTAGE

(Hagerstown, IN)--Hagerstown residents are going to have to deal with a lengthy power outage on Thursday afternoon.  Duke Energy notified town officials Wednesday that there will be a town-wide interruption in service beginning at 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon.  The outage will allow Duke to make repairs and is scheduled to last for two hours.  Nettle Creek schools will dismiss 15 minutes early because of the outage.

CENTERVILLE TEEN CAPTURED AFTER TUESDAY NIGHT MURDER

(Centerville, IN and Columbus, OH)--A Centerville teen was in custody Wednesday morning after committing a murder Tuesday night.  Police were called Tuesday night to a home in the 100 block of South 1st Street.  An adult male victim was found at the scene.  Police then advised other jurisdictions to be on the lookout for a Volkswagon Jetta being driven by a boy who may be as young as 15.  Then, early Tuesday morning, that teen was spotted driving 100 miles to the east near downtown Columbus.  A chase ensued.  The teen crashed into a ditch and was seriously injured.  He was in serious but stable condition at a Columbus hospital Tuesday morning.  His name, and the name of the victim, have not yet been released.  Investigators have also not disclosed the circumstances that led to the murder.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS TO BE GIVEN AT FORMER ELDER-BEERMAN

(Richmond, IN)--Covid-19 vaccinations at the former Elder-Beerman building in Richmond are less than three weeks away.  That was the word Tuesday from Christine Stinson when the Wayne County Health Board met.  It will be Phase 1B of the vaccination program.  What’s still up in the air is exactly who will get those doses.  The county will have the capability of vaccinating 500 people each day beginning January 4.  It will take 50 people per day to run the vaccination clinic.  Wayne County is working with private companies to provide medical personnel to give the shots.  Stinson said Tuesday that it would take about two months to complete Phase 1B.

TWO KILLED IN I-70 CRASH

(Preble County, OH)--A 24-year-old trucker from Kansas and his central Indiana passenger were both killed in a crash on I-70 in Preble County Tuesday.  It happened in the eastbound lanes about two miles on the Ohio side of the state line.  The Ohio Highway Patrol said that Kansas trucker was following too closely and slammed into the back of another semi.  The impact then sent the semi that was hit into a third truck.  The crash closed eastbound 70 for a couple of hours and backed eastbound traffic up to the Chester Boulevard exit.

FIRST LOCAL COVID-19 VACCINATION TO BE GIVEN THURSDAY NIGHT

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health is only two days away from administering its first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.  According to NBC News on Monday, Dr. Thomas Huth will be the first person to get the vaccine on Thursday night.  Reid will be one of the first hospitals in the country to get to Pfizer vaccine.  The first shots will all be administered to doctors.  The process will be broadcast on a public Zoom call so that the public can see the process and hear the doctors’ thoughts.  Other local healthcare workers will begin getting vaccinated on Friday morning.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 NUMBERS ON POSITIVE TREND

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County recorded another Covid-19 death Monday.  That person became the 118th Wayne County resident to die with the virus.  On a brighter note, there have been some significant drops in other numbers.  The number of patients in Reid Health’s containment areas Tuesday morning was 55.  That’s not quite half of what it was just a week ago.  Also, the number of daily cases has dropped in the last couple of days.  After six straight days of recording at least 60 cases per day, Wayne County has added 42 and 46 cases over the last two days.  Area counties have now had a significant portion of their populations tested for Covid-19.  According to the state’s dashboard, Wayne County leads the area in terms of the number of people who have been tested.  More than 25,000 people, or about 39% of the population, have been tested.  Most other area counties have had been 30 and 40% of their residents tested.  Franklin County is the exception.  Only 20% of residents there have been tested.

JAIL OFFICER RECEIVES NATIONAL HONOR

(Richmond, IN)--A Wayne County Jail officer has received a national award.  Deputy Sophia Mitchell has been honored as the Employee of the Year by the National Institute of Jail Operations.  That’s an award that’s given annually to a detention employee who gives innovative ideas to improve efficiency.  Mitchell is credited with keeping correctional partnerships intact during Covid-19, among other accomplishments.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES HIGHEST MONDAY-MONDAY COVID-19 TOTALS

(Wayne County, IN)--Two Whitewater Valley counties have seen their biggest Monday-Monday increases in Covid-19 cases since the outbreak began.  One of those two is Wayne County, which has added 525 cases since last Monday and stands today at 4356 positives.  The county’s positivity rate on Monday was12.4%.  The other county that’s seen its biggest increase is Preble.  There have been 342 new cases, bringing the total to 2250.  That means that roughly one of every 18 Preble County residents has tested positive.  Three more Wayne County Covid-19 deaths have been reported since Friday.  That brings the total, according to the state Department of Health’s dashboard, to 117.  It also means that 29 Wayne County residents have died with the virus just since the first of this month.  On Saturday, Wayne County had its highest single-day total of new cases since the outbreak began when it added 96.  The number of patients in Reid Health containment areas continues to drop.  There were 63 Monday morning.  Last Monday, that number was 101.

REID DESIGNATED AS COVID-19 VACCINATION DISTRIBUTION SITE

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health has been designated by the Indiana Department of Health as one of the sites to distribute the first doses of Covid-19 this week.  Reid now expects 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for frontline healthcare workers.  Reid’s area of responsibility includes Wayne, Union, Fayette, and Randolph County.  Reid has already purchased and installed a special freezer for storage of the vaccine.

STUDY OUTLINES RISK OF GATHERINGS IN WAYNE COUNTY

(Wayne County, IN)--A Georgia Tech group has put together a map that puts a risk level on gatherings on a county-by-county basis.  Numerous factors are taken into account, including the fact that many people are likely carrying Covid-19 but are asymptomatic.  In Wayne County, according to the study, if you attend a gathering with ten people, there is a 42% chance that at least one person has Covid-19.  For a Wayne County event with 20 people, there’s a 67% chance that one person has Covid.  For a 50-person event, it becomes a near certainty…a 94% chance.

FOUR MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENT DIE WITH COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--Four new Covid-19 deaths and 85 new cases of the virus were reported in Wayne County Thursday.  This is 11th day of the month, and Wayne County has now reported 26 Covid-19 deaths since the first of December.  As the numbers increase, the demographics of those most at risk remain the same.  93% of Wayne County residents who have died with Covid-19 have been over the age of 70.  The number of patients in Reid Health’s containment areas continues to drop.  It’s dropped by 42% since Monday and stood at 71 Friday morning.

FIRST RESPONDERS CIRCLE REID IN SHOW OF SUPPORT

(Richmond, IN)--Sirens blared around Reid Health Thursday night.  There was no fire or police situation; it was instead a show of solidarity and support from first responders to the doctors and nurses who are working inside on the front lines to help those with Covid-19.  More than four dozen emergency vehicles from Richmond and numerous surrounding communities took part in Thursday night’s display of support.

WAYNE COUNTY ASSESSOR DIES FROM COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County’s Assessor has died from Covid-19.  Betty Smith-Henson died Wednesday and was being remembered by friends on social media Thursday morning.  Those friends are remembering Smith-Henson for her kindness and generosity both inside the county administration building and on a personal level.  Services for Betty Smith-Henson are pending.

WAYNE COUNTY REACHES 4000 CASES OF COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--As expected Wednesday, Wayne County passed the 4000 case mark for Covid-19.  That milestone comes just 15 days after the county passed the 3000 case mark.  Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department says that she expects the rate of about 70 new cases per day to continue.  "We have not felt the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday and we head into the Christmas holiday.  This is a time when we have a natural instinct to gather together.  Please avoid those urges."  Wayne County added three more Covid-19 deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 108. 69 of those 108 have come since the first of November.

TWO DEAD IN FRANKLIN COUNTY MOBILE HOME FIRE

(Franklin County, IN)--More information was released Wednesday afternoon on the fire Wednesday morning just east of Brookville.  The State Fire Marshal now says that two men, ages 57 and 50, died when fire broke out in a mobile home on Riley Pike.  A third man inside was able to escape.  The only source of heat was a wood-burning stove.  Final identification is pending from the Franklin County Coroner.  No foul play is suspected.

STINSON: REID TO GET FIRST DOSES WITHIN A WEEK

(Richmond, IN)--Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department talked Tuesday about when the first rounds of a Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in the area.  "Reid Health will begin Phase 1A in a matter of days to a week.  They will begin to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers most at risk of contracting Covid-19."  Doses are expected at the Health Department ahead of schedule.  "We are projecting to be able to begin the vaccinations of the most at risk in our population in February.  This is ahead of the target over the summer to have vaccinations beginning in the spring," Stinson explained.  Stinson said that about 300 people are being tested daily in Wayne County.

FOUR MORE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENT DIE WITH COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--On Monday, Wayne County recorded no Covid-19 deaths for the first time in more than three weeks.  But, Tuesday, there were four more deaths.  It brings the total to 105.  On Wednesday, Wayne County will almost certainly pass the 4000 case mark.  It was only 14 days ago that the county went over the 3000 case mark and 16 days before that that it went over the 2000 case mark.  The county’s positivity rate has increased to 14%.  There was, though, another significant drop in the number of Covid-19 patients at Reid Health Tuesday.  On Monday, it was 101.  On Wednesday, it was 83.

INVESTIGATORS SAY TEENS MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MULTIPLE THEFTS

(Richmond, IN)--Two Richmond teenagers who may be responsible for numerous break-ins and thefts were captured Tuesday.  19-year-olds Farrington Street and Chandler Walker were taken into custody following a short foot chase that ended near the post office in Centerville.  Stolen property, drugs, and weapons were recovered.  Investigators said they’re now looking to see if the two are connected to other recent stolen vehicle and theft calls.  Both Street and Walker were in the Wayne County Jail Wednesday morning facing numerous charges.

LONG-TIME EATON MAYOR STEPS DOWN

(Eaton, OH)--Long-time Eaton Mayor Gary Wagner officially stepped down this week.  Wagner will continue to serve as a council member.  He’s been an Eaton employee since the mid 1960’s, has been a council member since 2003, and served two different terms as Mayor beginning in 2009 and again in 2017.  Joe Renner is Eaton’s new mayor.

WAYNE COUNTY BREAKS COVID-19 DEATH STREAK

(Wayne County, IN)--Monday broke a streak of consecutive Covid-19 deaths in Wayne County.  Before Monday, Wayne County had reported at least one Covid-19 death for 23 consecutive days.  The total number of Wayne County residents who have died with the virus remained at 101 Tuesday morning.  For the eight-county area, the total stands at 323.  The number of patients in Reid Health’s containment areas has taken a significant drop.  Monday morning it was 101.  On Tuesday, it was 79.

I-70 SPEED LIMIT AROUND RICHMOND TO RETURN TO NORMAL SOON

(Richmond, IN)--It won’t be long before the speed limit on I-70 around Richmond returns to its normal 70 miles per hour.  Construction signs have restricted the speed limit to 55, despite the fact that there has been no significant construction or lane restriction for a month from U.S. 35 to the state line in both directions.  An INDOT spokesperson said Monday that guardrail work is being done this week and that construction signs will come down shortly after that.

CONNERSVILLE TOPS AREA COMMUNITIES FOR COVID-19 INFECTION

(Connersville, IN)--Here’s a look at how pervasive Covid-19 has been in some communities in our area.  When taken as a percentage of the population, Connersville has been most affected.  6.9% of the residents of Connersville have tested positive.  In Richmond, 5.4% of residents have been positive.  Most other area communities are in the 4-5% range.  The lowest spot in our area, according to new state numbers, is Fountain City.  Only 3.8% of residents there have tested positive.

WAYNE COUNTY RECORDS 100th COVID-19 DEATH

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has passed a grim Covid-19 milestone.  Over the weekend, the state reported that Wayne County had its 100th Covid-19 death.  Wayne County had recorded at least one Covid-19 death on 23 consecutive days through Saturday, according to Indiana’s Covid-19 dashboard.  64 of the 101 deaths in Wayne County have been people over the age of 80.  Only one has been under the age of 60.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 CASES DROP FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County and other surrounding counties are trending downward in terms of the weekly number of new Covid-19 cases.  It’s only a slight drop, but represents the second straight week that numbers came down.  Wayne County has added 422 new cases since last Monday.  The week before that it was 487, and the week before that it was 505.  Reid Health had 101 cases in its containment areas Monday morning.  That’s ten fewer than last Monday.

TWO ARRESTED FOLLOWING MULTI-COUNTY, HIGH-SPEED CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--Two Englewood women are in custody following an overnight high-speed chase that went through Preble County and Richmond before ending in Union County.  The two women were fleeing west in a stolen car on I-70 at 100 miles per hour late Sunday night when they tried to run an OHP trooper off the road.  They exited I-70 at the state led and fled down East Main at 60 miles per hour, even after hitting stop sticks.  They driving on rims when they went south on 27 toward Liberty.  Their PT Cruiser finally gave out south of Liberty on 101.  Multiple charges are pending.

BLM MARCHERS REACH DIVERSION AGREEMENT

(Richmond, IN)--The criminal cases against four of five people charged in connection with a Black Lives Matter march in Richmond in September have been settled and will not go to trial.  Four marchers who were accused of blocking traffic on North A have reached diversion agreements.  The four will not be charged, but will have to meet requirements that include an admission that they committed a crime, perform eight hours of community service, and pay a $274 fee.  The fifth marcher who was charged is still set to go to a bench trial next month.

WAYNE COUNTY PASSES 10,000 JOBLESS CLAIMS DURING COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has surpassed another milestone that illustrates one of the impacts of Covid-19.  Since the start of the outbreak and subsequent business restrictions, there have now been in excess of 10,000 Wayne County jobless claims.  The exact number is 10,064.  The number for the same period last year was 639.  That translates to 16 times more jobless claims from last year to this year.

NEW NUMBERS SHOW IMPACT OF VIRUS ON LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

(Wayne County, IN)--Here’s an updated look at Covid-19 in Wayne County’s long-term care facilities.  According to new numbers from the state, Ambassador Healthcare has had 18 residents die with the virus, and that now surpasses Forest Park, which has had 13 deaths.  Those two facilities, along with Rosebud Village , Friends Fellowship, and Arbor Trace, have combined for 175 cases among residents and  another 146 cases among staff members.  48 people have now died from those five facilities.

WAYNE COUNTY REMAINS ORANGE, RECORDS TWO MORE DEATHS

(Wayne County, IN)--Two more Wayne County Covid-19 deaths were reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 92 and continuing a recent increase in the frequency of deaths from the virus.  Wayne County has reported 35 Covid-19 deaths in just the last two weeks, although not all of those deaths occurred in that time frame.  Wayne County has also reported more Covid-19 deaths in the last three weeks than it did in the first eight months since the outbreak began.  Indiana released its updated, color-coded Covid-19 map Wednesday and it contains at least a little bit of good news.  Both Fayette and Franklin County have moved out of the red and Thursday morning are in the orange level, which represents the second-highest level of community spread.  Wayne County had been in the orange and remains there.  All other Whitewater Valley counties are also orange on the new map.

FIRST CLASS OF REID OFFICERS GRADUATE FROM POLICE ACADEMY

(Richmond, IN)--The first class of officers from Reid Health’s new police department graduated this week from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.  Earlier this year, Reid decided to transform its security team to a full-fledged police department.  Eleven of the 23 members of the security team have been sworn in so far.  It will take about two years to get all members through the academy.  Last year, Richmond police officers responded to Reid nearly 900 times.

FRANKLIN COUNTY WANTS TO IDENTIFY SCHOOL BURGLARS

(Brookville, IN)--Here’s another request from a local law enforcement agency asking the public to help identify two burglars.  The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department has issued surveillance photos of two men who broke into Franklin County High School.  The two men entered with what appeared to be adult beverages in hand and then fled in an older white or silver SUV.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 DEATH TOLL REACHES 90

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County recorded four more Covid-19 deaths Tuesday, and that brings the total to 90.  One of the deaths reported Tuesday actually occurred more than a month ago and three of the four were over the age of 80.  According to the Indiana State Department of Health statistics, age continues to clearly define the risk of Covid-19.  In Wayne County, more than 17% of Wayne County residents over the age of 80 who have contracted the virus have died.  But, less than 1/20th of one percent of Wayne County residents under the age of 60 to get Covid-19 have died.

FIREFIGHTERS DEVOTE HOURS TO TRICKY PURINA FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--Firefighters spent hours at Richmond’s Purina plant Tuesday.  A drier had caught fire and was put out by employees.  "However, the fire had extended into the ventilation system." said Battalion Chief Tim Brown.  The building was never in jeopardy.  Here’s what made the fire tricky.  "It was difficult to get to the fire because of the vent system.  There were only a few access panels to where we were able to get to the fire," Brown explained.  Firefighters were on the scene for more than five hours.  The incident caused production to be stopped.  Employees had been evacuated before firefighters arrived.

RPD SEEKS INFO ON SAGGY-PANTS CAR BURGLARS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department on Tuesday released a surveillance image of two car burglars that they say committed numerous break-ins over Thanksgiving.  The image shows two men placing items into the back of a truck.  Anyone who can identify the burglars by their clothing should contact RPD at 983-7247.

WAYNE COUNTY RECORDS 86th COVID-19 DEATH

(Wayne County, IN)--Another Covid-19 death was reported for Wayne County Monday, bringing the total to 86.  20 of those 86 have died in the last ten days.  The demographics of the new deaths continue to show the vulnerability of the elderly.  In Wayne County, people over the age of 80 account for only nine percent of the total number of cases, but make up 62% of the deaths.  79 of the 86 Wayne County residents who have died have been over the age of 70.  Only one of the 86 has been under the age of 60.

FIRE DESTROYS WEST MAIN STREET HOME

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond firefighters battled a house fire Tuesday morning.  It broke out at around 3:30 Tuesday morning at a house in the 600 block of West Main Street.  The house was heavily involved when firefighters arrived.  Scanner traffic indicated the home appeared to be vacant and that squatters may have been staying there.  Occupied homes on both sides of the burning house were evacuated.  No injuries were initially reported.

OVERNIGHT ACCIDENT CLOSES I-70

(Cambridge City, IN)--Westbound I-70 was closed for several hours Tuesday morning.  A crash near the Wayne / Henry County line at around midnight caused westbound interstate traffic to be diverted onto State Road 1 until 5:30 Tuesday morning.  That diversion is creating other issues.  Multiple semi drivers have tried to use country roads and have become stuck.  At 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, three semis were stuck on a slick hill at Frank Myers and Brick Church Road.  There were initial reports that the crash resulted in a fatality, but the State Police later indicated there was an injury, but no fatality.

Richmond, IN WEATHER