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Local News Archives for 2021-01

DCS: WAYNE COUNTY HAD 321 CASES OF CHILD ABUSE/NEGLECT IN 2020

(Wayne County, IN)--Indiana’s Department of Child Services has released its report for child abuse and neglect last year.  That report shows that Wayne County’s trend of averaging nearly one new case of child abuse or neglect every single day is continuing.  DCS found 321 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect last year.  That’s up slightly from 2019, but well below 2017.  There were 417 substantiated cases that year.

CREWS PREPARE FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL

(Wayne County, IN)--The Wayne County Highway Department is getting set for winter’s first significant snowfall.  A winter storm watch goes into effect Saturday night.  The National Weather Service predicts 5-8 inches generally north of I-70, with 3-5 inches south of 70.  Mike Sharp with the Highway Department says they’ll do the best they can with what they’ve got.  "Probably, at nighttime, there won't be a lot of crews out.  We don't have the people to run a full night crew," Sharp explained.  And, they’re hoping for help from Mother Nature.  "Snow may be heavy enough that we shouldn't have a lot of problems with drifting.  That's what we're hoping," Sharp added.  The storm watch continues through Monday morning.

REID EASES VISITOR RESTRICTIONS AS COVID-19 NUMBERS IMPROVE

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s a result of improving Covid-19 numbers.  Beginning Thursday, Reid Health will allow a limited number of visitors on its main campus and at physician offices.  Beginning Thursday morning, patients in the hospital who are not positive or suspected to have Covid-19 can have one visitor per day.  In certain cases, two visitors per day will be allowed.  For doctors office visits, patients can bring one companion to the appointment.  There was a noticeable reduction in the number of red counties when Indiana’s new color-coded Covid-19 map came out Wednesday, including in our area.  Union, Fayette, and Henry County are now out of the red and into the orange.  Wayne County, which has been orange for the last several weeks, remained there Thursday.  Franklin County is the only area county to remain red and is one of only five red counties left in Indiana.  It has the second-highest positivity rate at just under 16%.

LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS TO PRE-COVID-19 NUMBERS

(Whitewater Valley)--Whitewater Valley counties have now fully returned to the extremely low unemployment rates that existed just before the Covid-19 outbreak a year ago.  According to figures released by the state Wednesday, Wayne County is down to a 4.2% unemployment rate.  When Covid-19 broke out last spring, the rate had jumped to nearly 15%.  Ohio counties in our area saw a similar decrease when numbers were released earlier this week.

SEARCH UNDERWAY FOR MISSING TEEN

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the help of the public in locating a teenage boy who has not been seen for nearly a month.  17-year-old Kyle Hokey-Jackson was last seen in the Richmond area a few weeks ago.  Investigators say he may be in the Franklin County area and is not believed to be in immediate danger.

AFFIDAVIT DETAILS CHARGES AGAINST NORTHEASTERN ADMINISTRATOR

(Fountain City, IN)--More details have become available regarding charges against Eric Green.  Green is still listed as the Assistant Superintendent on the Northeastern Wayne Schools website.  According to an affidavit of probable cause, the investigation into Green began in February of last year when the parent of a Northeastern male student discovered that Green had been sending inappropriate text messages to her son.  A state police investigator interviewed two Northeastern boys who stated that Green purchased alcohol for them in October of 2019.  The boys went to Green’s house in Randolph County, where all three drank together.  Northeastern released a statement after Green’s charges were reported on Kicks 96 and the Point News Tuesday.  That statement says that Northeastern has cooperated with the investigation.

REID ACQUIRES FORMER CONNERSVILLE K-MART BUILDING

(Connersville, IN)--Reid Health has acquired yet another large, empty building.  Reid has obtained the former K-Mart property in Connersville and has begun demolition of the building.  That building had been empty for more than a decade and had become an eyesore.  Reid said that it had no immediate plans for the property.  In recent years, Reid has purchased the former County Market building in Richmond and the former K-Mart in Eaton.

RESTAUARANT OWNER TAKE PLEA DEAL IN FEDERAL MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

(Liberty, IN)--A massive list of criminal charges against the owner of Mexican restaurants in Liberty and Brookville were reduced to just one in exchange for a guilty plea.  Jose Leon had been accused of money laundering, human trafficking, and failing to pay taxes in several southeastern Indiana counties.  A plea deal has led Leon to plead guilty only to failing to maintain taxpayer records.  He was sentenced to a year behind bars with all time suspended.  Leon is partial owner of El Reparo in Liberty and Brookville.

FORMER NORTHEASTERN ADMINISTRATOR FACES CRIMINAL CHARGES

(Fountain City, IN)--A former Northeastern school administrator is now facing criminal charges.  Eric Green, who is the former Assistant Superintendent at Northeastern, has now been charged with two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor following a lengthy investigation.  A Randolph County judge has determined that probable cause exists.  The alleged crimes occurred while Green was operating in the capacity of Northeastern assistant superintendent.  The juveniles involved were allegedly students in the Northeastern system at the time.  An initial hearing has been set for February 10 in Randolph County.  Additional criminal charges are possible.

REID HEALTH PASSES 7000-VACCINE MILESTONE

(Whitewater Valley)--Reid Health has already vaccinated 7000 people for Covid-19.  Reid crossed that threshold Monday and stood at 7006 vaccinations Tuesday morning from all of their locations.  That includes roughly 3500 at the Richmond Medical Office building, 1900 at the Kuhlman Center, 950 in Connersville, and 700 in Lynn.  Meanwhile, Covid-19 numbers remain positive in Wayne County.  Only 21 cases were added Monday and there were no new deaths.  The positivity rate is now down to 9.3 percent.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES LOWEST COVID NUMBERS SINCE OCTOBER

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s Covid-19 numbers are continuing on the positive trend that began with the first of the new year.  Since last Monday, Wayne County has added only 224 new cases of Covid-19.  That’s the lowest Monday-Monday weekly total of new cases since October 12-19 of last year.  According to the state’s dashboard, more than 5700 Wayne County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine.  Just under 600 have now been fully vaccinated.  There has been a dramatic decrease in the number of Wayne County Covid-19 deaths.  There has been only one Covid-19 death reported in the last four days.  There’s been only three days this month where more than one death was reported.  Last month, there were 15 such days.  Numbers from the Indiana Department of Health continue to show the recoverability to those under the age of 60.  In Wayne County, 4341 people under the age of 60 have tested positive for the virus.  99.9769% of them have not died from it.

WOMAN JAILED FOR ABANDONING CHILD AT MOTEL

(Centerville, IN)--A woman was in the Wayne County Jail Monday morning after allegedly leaving a small child outside a Centerville-area motel Sunday night and then driving off.  According to scanner traffic, the woman dropped off a seven-year-old child outside the room of a family member, but didn’t check to see if the family member was there.  The child was able to wander to the motel’s office, where an employee called police.  Officers located 35-year-old Danielle Baker on Industries Road.  She’s charged with neglect of a dependent.

COUPLE CHARGED WITH ROBBERY

(Richmond, IN)--Two Richmond residents were arrested Sunday and charged with robbery.  Witnesses reported that officers surrounded a home near North 12th and Main and took 20-year-old Colten Tout and 23-year-old Mikala Dunaway into custody.  Tout was also charged with drug possession.  There’s no word yet on specific details of the robbery the two are accused of having committed.

SOME LOCAL TEACHERS RECEIVE COVID-19 VACCINE

(Wayne County, IN)--Some Wayne County teachers are eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine.  The Wayne County Health Department is making available a very limited number of doses to teachers due largely to the packaging of the vaccine.  "We're incredibly grateful that we're included," said Western Wayne Superintendent George Philhower.  Doses come in packs of ten and must be given within a couple of hours.  Doses that cannot be given to older residents are going instead to local teachers.  Other school employees, including administrative staff and bus drivers, are also eligible.  About 25 teachers were vaccinated Thursday.

LAWSUIT FILED OVER FRANKLIN COUNTY DROWNINGS

(Franklin County, IN)--Numerous governmental bodies have been named as defendants in a lawsuit over the deaths of four people near Laurel last March.  One adult and three children drowned when their vehicle drove into a flooded creek that had washed out a bridge.  "I called to let them know that the bridge was out, but nobody showed up," said one person lives close by.  Now, surviving family members have filed suit against Franklin County Council, Commissioners, and the Sheriff’s Department, among others.  The lawsuit alleges the county failed to respond to three different calls to 911 indicating the bridge was out.  The first one came a full hour and a half before the drownings occurred.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS JUMP DRAMATICALLY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County saw its number of weekly jobless claims explode at around the same time the second round of stimulus checks were distributed.  In the first week of this month, there were 90 jobless claims.  It was the first time since early October that there were under 100 claims.  But then, the following week, those claims went seven times higher at 648.  Since the start of the virus, Wayne County has had almost 11,700 jobless claims.  That’s 12 times higher than the previous year.

REID HEALTH PASSES 5000-VACCINE MILESTONE

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health has reached a milestone by delivering its 5000th Covid-19 vaccine.  The milestone came on the same day this week that Reid opened its new vaccination site at the Kulhman Center.  That move will greatly improve Reid’s capacity to distribute the vaccine.  725 doses were administered at the Kulhman Center on its first day of operation.  Vaccination clinics remain open in Connersville and Lynn, but only for people getting their second round of shots.  First shots are no longer available at those two locations.

WAYNE COUNTY REMAINS ORANGE AS METRIC SCORE DROPS

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s continuing improvement with Covid-19 metrics showed up when Indiana released its new color-coded map on Wednesday.  Wayne County remains in the orange, but dropped to a metric score of 2.0.  Only one county in the entire state has a lower score than Wayne.  The county’s positivity rate has dropped below ten percent.  Fayette County on Wednesday improved from a red to an orange county.  But, Union, Franklin, and Henry County all remained in the red.  Union County now has the second-highest positivity rate in Indiana at 19.9%.

Wayne County crossed the 6000-case Covid-19 threshold Wednesday.  The county now stands at 6037 cases.  It took Wayne County almost a month to go from five to six thousand cases, but it took only two weeks for it to go from four to five thousand cases.  Preble County has gone over the 3000-case mark, and Henry County on Wednesday went over the 5000-case mark.

TWO KILLED WHEN DRIVER CROSSES CENTER LINE

(Darke County, OH)--Two people were killed Wednesday when a driver crossed the center line on State Road 49 near Greenville.  Police say 21-year-old Adam Godwin crossed the center line and hit an oncoming SUV head on.  Godwin was not seriously hurt, but two occupants of the SUV he struck died.  They’ve been identified as two 27-year-old Arcanum women – Karley Borger and Ashley Fish.  A one-year-old child in the back seat was flown to Dayton Children’s Hospital.  That child’s condition is unknown.  There’s no word yet on why Godwin crossed the center line.

FAYETTE COUNTY RESPONDS TO STATEMENT IN DENISE PFLUM MURDER CASE

(Connersville, IN)--The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department has now issued a response to a statement from earlier this week by the attorney for the man who confessed to killing Denise Pflum.  Attorney Jud McMillan said that Shawn McClung recanted his confession about killing Denise back in 1986.  The Sheriff’s Department now says that it’s their understanding that McMillin in now withholding a statement from a potential witness that has not been turned over to investigators.  McClung either could not or did not reveal the location of Denise’s remains before he died last year.

JANUARY BRINGS MARKED DECREASE IN WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

(Wayne County, IN)--Two Covid-19 deaths were reported in Wayne County Tuesday, bringing the total number to 159.  The encouraging news, though, is that there has been a drastic drop in Wayne County’s Covid-19 deaths this month as compared to last month.  Through the first 18 days of January, there have been 13 deaths.  But, for the same time period last month, there were 38 local deaths.  The average number of daily cases continues to drop.  28 new cases were reported Tuesday.

TWO MEN CHARGED WITH WALGREEN ROBBERY

(Richmond, IN)--Two men are in custody after a robbery at Walgreen on National Road East in Richmond Tuesday morning.  Two men fled in a car following the robbery.  The driver pulled over and surrendered near the ramp onto I-70.  But the passenger then became the driver and led police on a chase that went into Preble and then Darke County.  The driver, who is from Kentucky, was eventually captured just south of Greenville.  47-year-old Harry Henson of Richmond was the alleged initial driver and is in the Wayne County Jail.  No injuries were reported in the robbery.  The search continued Wednesday morning for the man who robbed a Dollar General store on North West 5th in Richmond Tuesday.  Investigators say a white male wearing multi-colored tennis shoes fled west on foot toward a trailer park.  A police canine responded and officers positioned themselves on the railroad overpass on North West 5th, but the suspect could not be located.  There were no injuries.  No images have been released.

NEW MONUMENT IN GLEN MILLER HONORS STADIUM, NEGRO LEAGUE PLAYERS

(Richmond, IN)--There’s a new monument in place in Glen Miller Park near East Main Street in Richmond.  A hundred years ago, there was a baseball stadium called Exhibition Park on the south side of East Main and at the bottom of the hill almost across from the Rose Garden.  That’s where a Negro League team called the Richmond Giants played.  Now, a home plate has been placed in a concrete pad with a sign that notes the proximity to the former stadium.  More than a dozen Negro League players now in the Hall of Fame played there.

REID VACCINATION CLINIC BEGINS AT KUHLMAN CENTER

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health’s new Covid-19 mass vaccination site opens Tuesday at the Kuhlman Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.  The new site will replace the one that has been operating on Reid’s main campus.  It will also greatly expand Reid’s capacity to vaccinate those who are eligible.  Indiana residents who are at least 70 years old and first responders are now eligible to be vaccinated.  Ohio residents are excluded at the Reid site unless they work in Indiana.  Online registration must still be made prior to vaccination.  The number of Wayne County residents who have received the Covid-19 vaccine is slowing growing.  As of noon Monday, according to the state’s dashboard, 3418 Wayne County residents had received the first dose of the vaccine.  That represents about five percent of the population.  Only 386 Wayne County residents have already received both doses and are considered fully vaccinated.  Wayne County reported giving 127 doses in its most recent single day.

RICHMOND RESIDENTS STARTLED BY LOW-FLYING PLANE

(Richmond, IN)--There’s no explanation yet about something that drew the attention of lots of residents on Richmond’s south side Monday night and Tuesday morning.  Numerous residents began reporting an extremely low-flying plane before 11 Monday night.  Most witnesses have described it as at least one single-prop plane.  A resident in the Reeveston area said she thought it was landing.  Another resident on South 46th said she almost took cover.  It woke up Jon Turner on South 7th at 5 o’clock Tuesday morning.  "It was enough to shake my house," Turner said.  He said the plane was low…really low.  "Oh, it was within two stories of the top of my house...top of the trees.".  Calls to the Richmond Muncipal Airport had not been answered by 7 a.m.

McCLUNG ATTORNEY SAYS MURDER ADMISSION WAS FALSE

(Connersville, IN)--Connersville’s Shawn McClung told investigators last year that killed Denise Pflum.  She’s the Fayette County teen who went missing back in 1986.  But now, McClung’s attorney says McClung’s admission was nothing more than a desperate attempt to spend his remaining days out of jail and that the real killer is still free.  The Connersville News Examiner has published a statement from attorney Jud McMillan.  McMillan said McClung thought he would have immunity and be free, although he was dying and knew it.  McClung was not able to tell investigators where Denise’s remains were located.  He died five days after telling his attorney that he made up his confession in an attempt to be set free.

"NO GUNS" SIGNS POSTED AT WAYNE CO. COURTHOUSE IN ADVANCE OF INAUGURATION

(Richmond, IN)--Security will be tight at statehouses and in Washington for Wednesday’s inauguration, but what about at the local level?  Wayne County attorney Ron Cross said local judges don’t want to ignore any threat.  "They have quite an interest in making sure that we are not inattentive to the problem or naive."  Commissioner Mary Ann Butters called for “no guns” signs to go up on courthouse doors.  "I would just like to have that at all of our entrances between now and the 20th of January," Butters said, which brought this reaction from Commissioner Ken Paust.  "If somebody was really going to do something, a sign is not going to stop them."  Sheriff Randy Retter has been involved in inauguration security discussions.

UNION COUNTY TOPS INDIANA FOR COVID-19 POSITIVITY

(Union County, IN)--Union County has a dubious Covid-19 distinction Monday morning.  Union County now has the highest positivity rate in all of Indiana with a rate of 25.9%.  The county’s rolling seven-day average of positive tests has been steadily climbing for a month and a half, according to number from Indiana’s Department of Health.  There have been 611 positives, which represents one in every 12 Union County residents.

WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER ALLEGEDLY THROWING KNIVES IN RESTAURANT

(Richmond, IN)--One woman was taken into custody late Sunday night after allegedly entering a Richmond restaurant, going into the kitchen, and throwing knives.  28-year-old Brandi Riley was in the Wayne County Jail Monday morning facing charges that include criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and intimidation.  Riley is accused of going into Pizza King on West Main Street Sunday night and throwing the knives.  She left but was stopped by police a few blocks away.  Scanner traffic indicated there was a handgun in her car.  There were no reports of injury or word on what led to the incident.

RICHMOND MAYOR EMERGES FROM COVID-19 QUARANTINE

(Richmond, IN)--Friday is an important day for Richmond Mayor Dave Snow, and one he’s been waiting for since testing positive for Covid-19.  "I am officially out of quarantine as of (Friday).  It ended (Thursday) evening.  I have no symptoms," Snow said.  Snow indicated Thursday that he is feeling fine.  When he was diagnosed, Snow turned his kitchen table into a makeshift desk with couriers delivering important documents.  Snow said that, in a sense, he had already had practiced.  "Before coming down with Covid, I had shifted to a lot of Zoom meetings to try to reduce face-to-face contact."  Snow on Thursday described the virus as being "no joke", and encouraged everyone to maintain safe practices.

CRASH SHUTS DOWN I-70

(Richmond, IN)--At least four vehicles were involved in a crash that shut down I-70 in Richmond late Thursday night.  One occurred in the westbound lanes at the state line.  There were no reports of any serious injuries.  One person was taken to Reid Health for a blood draw to check for intoxication.  There’s no word on the condition of the victims or whether or not any arrests were made.  Interstate traffic came into Richmond during the shutdown.

MAN WANTED FOR ALLEGEDLY ATTACKING BROTHER WITH KNIFE CAPTURED

(Dublin, IN)--Officers were able to round up a man in western Wayne County who was wanted for allegedly attacking his own brother with a knife.  Skyler Burchett was taken into custody in Dublin Friday morning.  Burchett has been charged with battery with a deadly weapon.  He’s also accused of meth possession, neglect of a dependent, and is also wanted in Henry County.

2223 WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS HAVE RECEIVED COVID-19 VACCINES

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of people who have been vaccinated for Covid-19 is now being reported at the county level by the Indiana Department of Health.  As of Wednesday in Wayne County, 2223 people have received one dose.  That’s about 3% of the total population.  Only 315 people, which represents only 1 in 206 Wayne County residents, have been fully vaccinated.  Less than 20% of those vaccinated have been over the age of 80.

WAYNE, RANDOLPH COUNTY ONLY 2 OF 19 STATEWIDE TO REMAIN ORANGE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County is one of just 19 counties in Indiana that is not in the red after the state’s new color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Wayne County remains in the orange.  Randolph County is also on that list, although it has been flagged due to a large number of cases attributable to congregate settings.  Union, Fayette, Franklin, and Henry County are all in the red with positivity rates that exceed 15%.  Wayne County added 34 new cases Wednesday, meaning it daily new case average in January remains significantly lower than what it was last month.

LAW ENFORCEMENT TO STEP ON PATROL IN I-70 IN WAYNE, PREBLE COUNTY

(Wayne, Preble County)--Law enforcement agents on both sides of the state line have teamed up to patrol I-70 from now until the end of the month.  A 17-mile stretch of I-70 in Wayne and Preble County will receive extra attention for distracted driving from agencies that include the Richmond police, Indiana State police, the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Highway Patrol.  There were numerous accidents, including some fatalities, through that stretch of interstate last year.

ICE FESTIVAL WILL CONTINUE WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

(Richmond, IN)--Preparations are continuing for this year’s winter ice festival in Richmond, although it will be a lot different because of Covid-19.  This year, it’s being called the “Motor Meltdown.”  Ice carvers will be back with their work on display in the downtown area, but there won’t be any large gatherings.  The festival takes place during the last week of this month.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 NUMBERS DROP IN JANUARY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s recent streak of encouraging Covid-19 numbers is continuing.  The number of Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas this morning stands at 38.  That’s the lowest that number has been since late October.  Wayne County added 27 new cases yesterday.  In December, Wayne County averaged 57 new cases per day.  So far in January, that average is 40 new daily cases.  Reid Health’s Covid-19 vaccine clinics in Connersville and Lynn will remain open next week when the Richmond location moves to the Wayne County Fairgrounds.  Reid said Tuesday that the initial plans called for those two sites to close, but later made arrangements to keep them open.  The vaccination clinic at Reid will remain open through Saturday.  This coming Tuesday, it moves to the Kuhlman Center.  The Health Department will continue to operate its own clinic in the former Elder-Beerman building in Richmond.

EARLHAM, IVY TECH ANNOUNCE TRANSFER AGREEMENT

(Richmond, IN)--A new transfer agreement between Earlham College and Ivy Tech is one of the first of its kind in the country.  Earlham recently became one of just two national liberal arts colleges to offer transfer agreements for graduates of Ivy Tech.  It means that Ivy Tech students who earn associate degrees can transfer to Earlham as juniors with every credit counting toward Earlham degree requirements.

COUPLE ARRESTED ON METH, CHILD NEGLECT CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond couple who, according to their social media pages, were married just a few months ago spent Tuesday in jail together after drugs and syringes were found allegedly found in their home with at least one child.  Officers responded Tuesday to the home of Brian and Kristin Drook in the 400 block of South 15th.  There, they allegedly found an unspecified amount of methamphetamine.  Both face multiple felony charges.

FEARED COVID-19 SURGE FROM NEW YEAR'S EVE NOT SEEN LOCALLY

(Wayne County, IN)--Fears of local New Year’s Eve events causing surges in local Covid-19 cases have not panned out – at least not yet.  On Monday, Wayne County reported just 30 new cases.  In the 72 days that have passed since the first of November, Wayne County has reported less than 30 cases only six times.  On seven of the ten days reported in January, Wayne County has been under its rolling average of cases.  That average stood Tuesday at 48 new cases per day.

CIPRIETTI FILES RESPONSE IN LAWSUIT OVER OLD REID

(Richmond, IN)--A lengthy response has now been filed in the dispute between Wayne County and the former owners of the old Reid Hospital property.  Wayne County has filed suit against Bob Ciprietti after the county was stiffed for more than $1.3 million in property taxes.  In the 24-page response, Ciprietti, through his attorneys, maintains that he never had personal control over the property.  In a deposition, Ciprietti admits that his company scrapped all of the metal out of the building with the intent of paying off the bank.  Ciprietti had originally told Richmond Common Council he would convert the building into apartments and student housing.  Instead, the property became the city’s biggest eyesore.

ALLEGED METH DEALER ARRESTED TUESDAY MORNING

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged methamphetamine dealer was taken into custody early Tuesday morning.  Police contacted 48-year-old David Jones on Williamsburg Pike at around 1 o’clock Tuesday morning.  An undisclosed amount of methamphetamine was recovered along with drug paraphernalia.  Jones was taken to the Wayne County Jail.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES COVID-19 CASES DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has added 333 new cases of Covid-19 since this time last Monday.  It marks only the second time since mid-October that the county has added less than 350 cases in any week running Monday to Monday.  The number of Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas has held fairly steady for the last four weeks and was at 59 Monday.  In other counties, Randolph County went over the 2000-case mark over the weekend.  Preble County will cross the 3000-case mark at some point in the next couple of days.

MAN CHARGED WITH BATTERING RESIDENT DURING BURLARY

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was taken into custody Sunday night after allegedly breaking in to a home on South West A and battering the occupant.  The suspect fled, but police found a shirt, pants, and a wallet behind the home.  39-year-old Shaun James was captured a few houses away.  According to scanner traffic, James also admitted to stealing from a nearby Speedway.  There’s no word on the condition of the home’s occupant.  James is charged with burglary and felony battery.

MAN IN BUNNY PAJAMAS JAILED ON DRUG CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Four people were arrested on drug charges Monday morning, including one who appeared to be wearing a bunny costume.  At around 3:30 Monday morning, officers went to a home in the 1300 block of East Main.  There, they recovered various drugs and syringes.  Justin Day, Elizabeth Boyd, Jeremy Gammon, and Matthew Jarrett are all in jail facing various charges.  Jarrett appears to be wearing onesy-style pajamas that double as a bunny costume.

COUNTY RECORDS 6th HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY COVID-19 TOTAL

(Wayne County, IN)--After five straight days of reporting less than 50 daily cases of Covid-19, Wayne County exploded Thursday with 91 new cases of the virus.  It’s the highest single-day total since December 16 and the sixth highest single-day since the outbreak of the virus.  Wayne County residents in their 50’s remain the most susceptible.  Residents under the age of 20 make up the age group that is most frequently tested.  And, the virus remains most dangerous to those over 80.  One in every five Wayne County residents that has tested positive for the virus has died from it.

RICHMOND BANK BRANCH TO MERGE INTO LIBERTY BRANCH

(Richmond, IN)--A local bank announced this week that it would close a Richmond branch to merge with one in Liberty.  In April, First Merchants Bank will no longer operate a branch on Chester Boulevard.  It will merge into the branch on West Union Street in Liberty.  A statement from First Merchants indicated the merger was due mostly to the increased use of online and mobile banking from their clients.

FUNERAL SERVICE ON HOLD FOR FORMER COUNCIL MEMBER, MAYORAL CANDIDATE

(Richmond, IN)--Funeral services will wait until after virus restrictions have been lifted for a Richmond man who served the community in a variety of roles.  Bob Goodwin died earlier this week at Ambassador Healthcare.  Goodwin was a former planning director and member of Richmond Common Council who made an unsuccessful run for mayor ten years ago.  Bob Goodwin was 79.

WAYNE COUNTY DAILY COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Two Whitewater Valley counties have in excess of 20% positivity for Covid-19, according to the state’s dashboard.  Union County now has a rate of 21.6%.  But Franklin County has now moved into the top ten in Indiana with a positivity rate just shy of 25%.  Meanwhile, Wayne County continued its decided drop in the number of daily cases with 37 new cases reported Wednesday.  The last five days is the first time Wayne County has had less than 50 cases for five consecutive days since October 23-27.

VACCINATIONS OF THE ELDERLY TO BEGIN NEXT WEEK

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County residents who are at least 80 years old will be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine this coming Monday.  Wayne County Commissioners were updated on the vaccine distribution Wednesday.  Appointments for the vaccine can be made online beginning Friday morning.  After the first shipment of 200 doses, Wayne County is now expecting two more 400-dose shipments this month – one on the 18th and another on the 25th.  There is no timeline for obtaining additional doses past this month.

INDOT OUTLINES AREA CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

(Wayne County, IN)--INDOT has released a list of construction projects for this year, and it includes more work on I-70 around Richmond.  This spring and summer will see work around the exits of U.S. 40 and State Road 227.  There will be work in the fall near the Chester Boulevard exit.  There will also be a $3 million project on U.S. 40 near the state line in late summer.  Other projects include bridge work on U.S. 35 in Williamsburg and State Road 227 in Middleboro.

SNOW TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19; SOME ON COUNCIL MAY QUARANTINE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow announced Tuesday afternoon that he has tested positive for Covid-19.  Snow made the announcement on social media, saying that he began showing symptoms on Monday night and was tested Tuesday.  When that test came back positive, Snow said that he would continue to work virtually and will be quarantining at home.  He described his symptoms as “manageable”.  As of Wednesday morning, there was no word on whether any members of Richmond Common Council would quarantine.  Seven of the nine members of Common Council were together with Snow in the Community Room of the City Building on Monday night, just hours before he tested positive for the virus.

SIX AREA FAMILY VIDEO STORES TO CLOSE PERMANENTLY

(Whitewater Valley)--All remaining Family Video stores, including six of them in the Whitewater Valley, will be closing permanently.  Family Video’s parent company announced Tuesday that all stores have begun liquidation sales that include movies, video games, and even store fixtures.  Each location will close once all inventory is sold.  Family Video had operated stores on East Main and National Road West in Richmond, along with locations in Eaton, Connersville, and Oxford.

MAN CAUGHT AFTER CHASE NEAR SUNSHINE CAFE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was caught following a foot chase near the Sunshine Café on Richmond’s west side Tuesday night.  Police responded to a suspicious person call in that area when 37-year-old Travis Means allegedly fled.  Means was tackled in a back yard and then allegedly gave a false name.  Means was charged with burglary and possession of meth in an unrelated case on Christmas Eve.  He had already bonded out of jail by Wednesday morning after Tuesday night’s arrest.

HEALTH DEPT. PURSUES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST DEPOT DISTRICT BUSINESS OWNER

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Health Department Executive Director Christine Stinson indicated Monday that she plans to pursue legal action against a Richmond business owner for alleged violations of Covid-19 gathering restrictions.  Under current guidelines, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.  Stinson said she had received a complaint alleging that New Boswell Brewery and Tap Room planned to violate that restriction.  Stinson said Monday that, on the day before New Year’s Eve, she talked with New Boswell owner Rick Parker and reminded him of the restriction.  Parker, according to Stinson, said the planned New Year’s Eve event would continue.  Stinson said she and other Health Department personnel then went to New Boswell on New Year’s Eve and observed between 70-100 people.  Stinson said she then issued a verbal warning – and then a written warning and citation – all of which were ignored by Parker.  Stinson asked the Richmond Police Department to intervene, but said Monday that RPD declined to do so.  Stinson said that the matter is being referred to the county attorney.  Kicks 96 and The Point News called New Boswell Monday.  Parker did not return the call seeking comment.

COUNTY WILL GET ONLY 200 DOSES FOR FIRST RESPONDER VACCINE CLINIC

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County learned Monday that its Health Department will receive a shipment of vaccine in time for its vaccination clinic this coming Monday, January 11.  But, only about 200 doses will be available for first responders and health care workers.  Christine Stinson talked Monday about when the vaccine may be available to the elderly and at-risk population.  "I wish I could tell you the exact date and time.  The uncomfortable answer is that we just don't know at this point."  Stinson said it’s out of the county’s hands.  "We would love to be able to have thousands of Wayne County residents vaccinated sooner rather than later, but we are at the mercy of being able to receive the vaccine."  The vaccine for Monday is from Moderna.

CHARGES UPGRADED IN CONNECTION TO GIRL'S SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the shooting of a four-year-old girl in Richmond.  Charges have now been upgraded to neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury against Khylier Childress-Shelby.  According to an affidavit that became available Monday, Childress-Shelby left the girl and two other young children in a van with a loaded handgun while he did laundry.  After discovering the girl was shot, Childress-Shelby tried to hide the gun in an air conditioning unit.  The girl continues to recover.

MOTHER GIVES BIRTH EN ROUTE TO REID HEALTH

(Richmond, IN)--One of Wayne County’s newest residents entered the world in dramatic fashion Sunday.  An expectant mother woke up in labor at just past midnight in western Wayne County.  She and her fiancé headed to Reid Health.  When they turned north on Salibury Road, they realized they were not going to make it to the hospital.  With a Wayne County dispatcher coaching the couple, the baby was born on Salibury Road somewhere near Industries Road.  The three then continued to Reid with police blocking Chester Boulevard.  Both mother and baby appeared to be okay on arrival at Reid.

SIX WAYNE COUNTY FACILITIES ACCOUNT FOR 60% OF COVID-19 DEATHS

(Wayne County, IN)--Here is an updated look at how Covid-19 has impacted local long-term care facilities.  In Wayne County, the most heavily impacted facilities include Ambassador, Forest Park, Arbor Trace, Friends Fellowship, Rosebud Village, and the Springs.  Those six facilities have combined to account for 622 cases of Covid-19 among staff and residents.  They’ve also combined for 87 deaths, which represents 60% of Wayne County’s total.

REID BEGINS AMBULANCE SERVICE IN UNION COUNTY

(Liberty, IN)--Reid Health has expanded its ambulance service into Union County.  Reid was awarded the contract late last summer, and it took effect at the beginning of the new year.  The ambulance and its crew are stationed on North Market Street in Liberty, which is the same location as the Neighborhood Health Clinic.  There will be one ambulance available at all times, with a second ambulance planned for warm-weather weekends, when Union County sees an influx of boaters and campers.

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