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Local News Archives for 2021-03

ONE IN FIVE WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS NOW FULLY VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has one of the higher Covid-19 vaccination rates in all of Indiana, and recent daily high numbers are starting to show up on the state’s dashboard.  According to that, 21% of the county’s entire population is now fully vaccinated.  But, when that number is filtered down to the most vulnerable – those over 65 – the number rises to just over 2/3 of the entire county population.  Wayne County added only two new cases of Covid-19 Tuesday.

WAYNE COUNTY AVERAGING ONE CASE PER DAY OF CHILD ABUSE/NEGLECT

(Wayne County, IN)--There are some disturbing numbers from Indiana’s Department of Child Services for the first two months of 2021 in Wayne County.  According to DCS, Wayne County is averaging more than one substantiated case of child abuse every single day.  That includes cases of physical and sexual abuse and neglect.  In the first two months of this year, there had been 63 substantiated local cases.  It’s roughly the same rate of abuse that occurred in the first two months of last year.

RCS BOARD APPROVES INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL RECONFIGURATION

(Richmond, IN)--On Monday night, the Richmond Community School Board made official…there will be a major reconfiguration of intermediate schools.  Beginning with the next school year, all fifth and sixth-graders in the community will go to Test, while all 7th and 8th-graders will go to Dennis.  The primary goal of the switch is to balance enrollment between the two schools.  Other options had been considered, including changing boundaries and moving fifth-graders back into elementary schools.  Start times will be staggered to help parents with students in both schools.

AREA UNEMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO RISE

(Whitewater Valley)--For the second consecutive month, unemployment rates have risen in every Indiana county in our area.  The rates had dropped every month since peaking last April, but that ended in January when every county started to rise.  That rise continued in numbers released Monday with Wayne County increasing to 4.7%.  Fayette County has the highest rate in our area at 6%, while Union County has the lowest unemployment rate at 3.5%.  Ohio rates come out Tuesday.

NATIONAL GROUP TO SEARCH FOR DENISE PFLUM REMAINS

(Connersville, IN)--This past weekend marked the 35-year-mark since the disappearance of Fayette County’s Denise Pflum.  Despite numerous searches, the remains of the teenage girl have never been found.  Now, another group has come forward to help.  The group EquuSearch has announced that it will search areas of interest in Fayette County next month.  EquuSearch has taken part in high-profile missing persons cases across the country.

SYRINGE EXCHANGE TO GO MOBILE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s syringe exchange program is expanding and will soon offer remote distribution.  The Health Department’s new mobile unit will be used to distribute syringes to addicts at Phillips Drugs locations downtown and on National Road West on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning next month.  Distribution of syringes will continue at the Health Department at South 5th and A.  The program runs through at least July.  Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman has been a long-time opponent of the program.

FUNERAL PROCESSION FOR RPD OFFICER SET FOR FRIDAY

(Richmond, IN)--A funeral procession for a Richmond police officer who died as the result of on-duty injuries will take place Friday.  Officer Kenneth Lester was injured in a crash in 1995, and died as a result of those injuries last year.  Friday’s procession will leave Doan & Mills Funeral Home at 1 o’clock , wind around the city building, and then head west again to Earlham Cemetery.  The public is encouraged to line to procession route.

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR GETS TEN YEARS TO LIFE

(Eaton, OH)--An Eaton man has been tagged as a sexually violent predator and has been sentenced to ten years to life in prison.  32-year-old Bradley Monebrake allegedly committed the acts against young children, although he denied the accusations at sentencing and called it role-playing.  If he’s ever released from prison, Monebrake will have to register as a Tier-III sex offender.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT ENDING MASK MANDATE

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Commissioners discussed the end of the mask mandate at the state level on Wednesday.  Wayne County would have the authority to extend the mandate at the county level even when it ends at the state level on April 6.  Commissioner Mary Ann Butters had said this in December.  "There are two other words for those people who refuse to wear a mask.  It's not 'macho man,' it's 'serial killer.'" She said Wednesday that early April was not the time to end mask-wearing.  Ken Paust called it "a shade early."  Local leaders could hold a special meeting before April 6 to address any potential changes.

THURSDAY MORNING INCIDENT INVESTIGATED AT WESTWOOD APARTMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police investigators were on the scene Thursday morning of a serious incident at the Westwood Apartments off of West Main.  The initial call, according to scanner traffic, came from a resident who said that multiple people knocked on his door at 2 o’clock Thursday morning, beat him up, and robbed him.  There is also an indication that one person was injured seriously enough to be taken to Reid Health and then be transferred by helicopter to a Level One trauma center.  Investigators were still working the case at 5 o’clock Thursday morning.  No arrests have been made, and there’s been no official word yet from RPD about the incident (as of 6:30 a.m.).

EMBEZZLER SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS

(Richmond, IN)--Last year, Denise King of Richmond was charged with embezzling more than $300,000 from her employer, Logistics Revolution, which is a Richmond freight transportation company.  Now, she’s been sentenced to five years in prison.  But, King won’t spend much actual time behind bars because all but six months of the time was suspended this week.  One employee said Wednesday that what King did had a major impact on the company and its employees.

WAYNE COUNTY COULD EXTEND MASK MANDATE DESPITE STATE MANDATE END

(Wayne County, IN)--It’s the news everyone who lives in Indiana has waited for.  "On April 6, the face-covering mandate will become a state mask advisory," said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Tuesday announcing that Indiana’s mask mandate will end in 13 days.  But, each local county will be able to institute more stringent guidelines, and Wayne County has already indicated that it would be willing to do just that if the numbers warrant.  Holcomb also announced Tuesday that the minimum age to get the Covid-19 vaccine will drop to 16 just on March 31.  Also on April 6, capacity limitations on events like sporting events, concerts, and festivals will be handed over to individual counties.

COMMISSIONERS TO DISCUSS STIMULUS INCOME OF $12.8 MILLION

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County commissioners will meet Wednesday and are likely to resume discussion about what to do with an influx of millions of dollars.  Wayne County is now expected almost $12.8 million as part of the American Rescue Plan for Covid-19.  "We do know that, when we get it, we're going to have to be responsible for it.  We will be audited on it.  If we spend it incorrectly, we would have to pay that money back," said Wayne County Commissioner Ken Paust.  The money amounts to close to half of all of the county’s budgeted expenditures for this year.  The city of Richmond is expecting more than $7.3 million.

ALLEGED DRUG DEALER ARRESTED

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged drug dealer was taken into custody Tuesday.  Officers were able to arrest 21-year-old Trentavia Lear Tuesday near North 14th and H Street.  Lear is now charged with both dealing methamphetamine and cocaine or other drugs.  Lear has a criminal history that includes possession of cocaine.  Details of what led to Tuesday’s arrest have not been released.

STATS INDICATE 80% OF WAYNE CO. RESIDENTS AGE 65 OR MORE HAVE RECEIVED VACCINE

(Wayne County, IN)--If Wayne County has vaccinated its older residents for Covid-19 at the same rate seen across Indiana, it would mean that a large majority of the most vulnerable local residents have received at least the first dose.  Wayne County has just shy of 13,000 residents who are at least 65 years old.  According to the state’s dashboard, more than 10,000 of those older residents, or 80% have received at least the first dose.  98% of Wayne County residents who have died with Covid-19 have been at least 60 years old.

WAYNE COUNTY TO CRACK DOWN ON SCHOOL BUS STOP-ARM VIOLATORS

(Wayne County, IN)--The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday that it will be cracking down on drivers who disregard the stop arms on school busses when those busses are picking up or dropping off students.  "Violating this simple safety rule is a jailable offense and can be a serious felony in certain circumstances," said Sheriff Randy Retter.  Over the next couple of months, deputies will be positioned along bus routes to watch for drivers who go around extended stop arms.

FIRE DAMAGES DUBLIN HOME, TRAILER

(Dublin, IN)--Fire did heavy damage to a house and a trailer just west of Dublin Monday night.  No one was home at the time it broke out on U.S. 40 near the Wayne/Henry County line at around 9 o’clock Monday night.  Firefighters from multiple communities responded and were on the scene for several hours.  There were no injuries.  The cause of the fire and the dollar amount of the damage have not been released.

WAYNE COUNTY MARKS ONE YEAR OF HIGH JOBLESS CLAIMS

(Wayne County, IN)--It’s now been one full year since Covid-19 has had an obvious effect on jobless claims in Wayne County, and here’s how it shakes out after 52 weeks.  In the last 52 weeks, there have been 12,846 jobless claims in Wayne County.  In the 52 weeks prior to that, there were only 1069 filings.  That means that, in a full year of Covid-19, Wayne County had 12 times as many jobless claims as in a normal year.

LIBERTY COUPLE CAUGHT WITH DRUGS AT RICHMOND HOTEL

(Richmond, IN)--For the second time in a little over a year, a Liberty couple has been jailed on various drug charges in Richmond.  Jeff Harvey and Ashley Phillips were taken into custody at an east-side Richmond hotel.  Officers allegedly recovered meth, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.  Quantities have not been released.  Harvey was just sentenced two weeks ago to two years with all time suspended in a previous meth possession case.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES 3rd STRAIGHT WEEK OF SLIGHT COVID-19 INCREASES

(Wayne County, IN)--For the third straight week, there’s been a very slight uptick in the number of weekly cases of Covid-19 in Wayne County.  Since last Monday, Wayne County has added 39 new cases.  But, after slowly increasing in the last week, the county’s positivity rate has taken a substantial drop and was at just 2.3% Monday morning.  Fayette County’s is even lower at 1.3%.  But Union County’s rate is high.  It was just under six percent Monday morning.  There are 11 patients in Reid Health’s containment areas.

REID ISSUES 25,000th COVID-19 DOSE, URGES MORE TO GET VACCINE

(Wayne County, IN)--Reid Health administered its 25,000th COVID-19 vaccination dose on Thursday, but the pace of appointments at the health system’s Kuhlman Center Vaccine Clinic has slowed as the state’s age eligibility has dropped. Reid officials are urging more people of all ages to get the vaccine, saying we are still far from the levels needed to reach herd immunity and a return to our normal lives. The clinic at the Kuhlman Center is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Anyone who needs help in scheduling an appointment can call the clinic at (765) 935-8484.

WOULD-BE ARMED ROBBER HITS CENTERVILLE MOTEL

(Centerville, IN)--Law enforcement agents searched Thursday for a man who likely intended to commit an armed robbery.  Surveillance video showed a man entering the Super 8 Motel at I-70 and Centerville Road with a gun.  But when he saw that no one was in the office, he took money from the register and fled.  The suspect fits the description of a man suspected in a couple of other area thefts.  He’s a thin black male wearing a puffy Calvin Klein jacket.

AREA COUNTIES RANK POORLY FOR OVERALL HEALTH

(Wayne County, IN)--A few area counties continue to rank very poorly in terms of its overall health.  According to new numbers from County Health Rankings & Road Maps, Wayne County ranks 87th of Indiana’s 92 counties for overall health of its residents.  Randolph County ranks 84th, and Fayette County is dead last. Contributing factors to Wayne County’s low ranking include a population in which 38% are obese, 31% are physically inactive, and 21% smoke.

RCS RECOMMENDS TEST, DENNIS RECONFIGURATION

(Richmond, IN)--There’s likely to be a major reconfiguration of intermediate schools in Richmond.  RCS on Wednesday night officially recommended converting Test into a school for only 5th and 6th graders, while Dennis would be home to 7th and 8th graders.  RCS says the conversion will balance enrollment without disrupting any elementary school boundaries.  It will also result in smaller class sizes.  Test will operate with an elementary component while Dennis will operate as a middle school.  The RCS Board will vote on the proposal a week from Monday.

RESIDENTS EVACUATED THROUGH UPSTAIRS WINDOWS DURING STANDOFF

(Centerville, IN)--Residents of a Centerville apartment building were evacuated out of upstairs windows when a man holed himself up in a stairwell overnight.  It happened late Wednesday night at the Panoramic Apartments in Centerville.  According to scanner traffic, a man now identified as 28-year-old Todd Frady tried to get into the apartment of a female resident.  As officers arrived, Frady, who was thought to be armed, remained in a stairwell.  Other residents of the building were evacuated - some out of second-story windows.  Frady eventually surrendered without incident.  He’s in the Wayne County Jail facing multiple felonies.

UNION COUNTY DOWNGRADED TO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Union County, IN)--One Whitewater Valley county took a turn for the worse when Indiana’s new color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Union County was downgraded from blue to yellow with a positivity rate that has risen to 6.7%.  All other area counties, including Wayne, remained in the blue.  Despite being downgraded to yellow, Union County has had only two new positive cases in the last week.  Wayne County’s positivity rate stands today at 2.8% with 13 new cases reported since Monday.

MAN CAUGHT AFER MOTORCYCLE CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--There was a motorcycle chase through Richmond streets Wednesday.  Richmond police had attempted to stop a motorcycle being ridden by 18-year-old Isaiah Matthews.  But Matthews took off in the area of Glen Miller Park and was, at times, riding through grassy areas trying to elude police.  Matthews was finally taken into custody near Chester Boulevard and North J.  He’s charged with felony resisting.

WAYNE COUNTY PASSES VACCINATION MILESTONES

(Wayne County, IN)--As expected, Wayne County passed two Covid-19 vaccine milestones Tuesday with 15,000 residents now having received at least one dose and 10,000 residents having gotten both doses.  Wayne County has now had 23% of its residents get at least the first shot.  That’s the highest rate in our area.  Other area counties are at between 17 and 22%.  There’s one exception.  Franklin County so far has still had only 12% of its residents get the first dose of the vaccine.

AREA UNEMPLOYMENT RATES INCREASE

(Whitewater Valley)--The first unemployment numbers for the Whitewater Valley were released Tuesday.  Covid-19 numbers have gotten better, but unemployment numbers have taken a turn for the worse.  Unemployment jumped up in all nine area counties by roughly half a percentage point.  Wayne County is up from 4.2 to 4.6% today.  Fayette County has our area’s highest rate at 5.8%.  That’s also the sixth highest rate in Indiana.

MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS FOR MOLESTING PRESCHOOL GIRLS

(Winchester, IN)--A Union City man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing two preschool-aged girls.  31-year-old William Brandenburg was arrested in May of last year after one of the girls reported the abuse.  Investigators then found multiple forms of child pornography on Brandenburg’s phone.  Two years ago, Brandenburg abandoned two dogs and left them chained to his mobile home.  One of those dogs died.

WAYNE COUNTY TO PASS COVID-19 VACCINE MILESTONES

(Wayne County, IN)--More than 20% of Wayne County’s population has now received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.  Either Tuesday or Wednesday, Wayne County will pass two milestones:  15,000 people will have received at least the first dose and 10,000 will have received both doses and are considered fully vaccinated.  Only three new cases were reported Monday.

COUNCIL APPROVES CHESTER BOULEVARD TOWN HOMES

(Richmond, IN)--Some new town homes are coming to Chester Boulevard in Richmond.  Common Council on Monday night gave unanimous approval to rezoning a part of the 1900 block to allow for construction.  It will begin with five two-family town homes, but there could be more.  "The petitioner has stated that, should the market support Phase 1, that it's likely that five additional homes could be added as a Phase 2," said Richmond's city planner.  Some nearby residents feared wind turbines could be part of the plan, but council was told Monday night that has not been discussed.

REMEDIATION CONTINUES AT OLD REID PROPERTY

(Richmond, IN)--Environmental work is still being done on the old Reid Hospital property.  "(Reid) has recently received approval from IDEM for additional remediation investigation," said Beth Fields when addressing Richmond Common Council Monday night.  It was part of a discussion regarding an interlocal agreement between the city and the county.  City Attorney AJ Sickmann said it’s up to the city to decide the final use.  "The city could ultimately choose to convey this to someone for nominal consideration - for example, a dollar - just to spur future developments."   IDEM will also place environmental restrictions on the property.

BURIAL PROCESSION SET FOR FALLEN RPD OFFICER

(Richmond, IN)--A burial procession has now been set for a Richmond police officer who was critically injured in the line of duty 26 years ago.  Officer Kenny Lester was critically injured when he was responding to a burglary call back in 1995.  He died as a result of those injuries a year ago.  On the 26th of this month, a procession will leave Doan & Mills Funeral Home, circle around the city building, and then head to Earlham Cemetery for burial.  Members of the community are encouraged to line the procession route.

WAYNE COUNTY FAIR: "WE'RE BACK"

(Richmond, IN)--“We’re back.”  Those are the first two words in a press release from the Wayne County 4-H Fair over the weekend.  Organizers say the fair will include favorite events like fair food, 4-H shows and projects, Poor Jack Amusements, and fireworks.  The fair is scheduled to run from June 19-26.  The fair cautions, though, that county and CDC guidelines may change the schedule.

COUNCIL TO ADDRESS DISTRIBUTION OF PROCEEDS OF OLD REID SALE

(Richmond, IN)--An agreement between the city of Richmond and Wayne County regarding the cleanup of the old Reid Hospital property is on Common Council’s agenda for Monday night.  To date, the city has paid just over $2 million for cleanup and remediation.  The agreement specifies how parties will be reimbursed from the sale of the property.  The county is continuing to pursue former owner Bob Ciprietti for more than $1.3 million in unpaid property taxes.  You can catch Monday night’s meeting live on WCTV.

REID RELAXES VISITOR RESTRICTIONS, ENDS COVID-19 HOTLINE

(Richmond, IN)--Improving Covid-19 numbers mean some relaxed restrictions at Reid Health.  Beginning Friday morning, non-Covid 19 patients can have two visitors per day and, in some situations, three visitors.  Also, Reid’s Covid-19 hotline and its Respiratory Clinic are now ceasing operations.  Reid’s vaccination clinic will remain open six days per week.  As of Friday morning, Reid had provided just over 23,000 Covid-19 vaccinations across all locations.  There were 12 patients in containment areas Friday morning.

DARKE COUNTY FAIR TO OPEN NORMALLY IN AUGUST

(Greenville, OH)--Our area’s largest county fair is planning to open as usual in August.  Officials at the Great Darke County Fair said Thursday that they’re shooting for business as usual following Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement that fairs can reopen starting in June.  As for the Wayne County Fair, which is scheduled to start June 19, officials released a tentative schedule early last month.  That schedule has not been modified.

INVESTIGATION INTO UNION COUNTY SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ENDS WITH NO CHARGES

(Liberty, IN)--An investigation into an employee of the Union County College Corner Joint School District by the Indiana State Police has concluded.  That employee, who has not been identified, was placed on administrative leave a month ago.  The state police have now notified the school that the investigation is over and no criminal charges will be filed.  The nature of the allegations that led to the investigation was not disclosed.

ALL WHITEWATER VALLEY COUNTIES GO BLUE

(Whitewater Valley)--Every Whitewater Valley county is in the blue on Indiana’s updated Covid-19 map, which was released Wednesday.  Only 15 new cases combined were added Wednesday across our six-county area, including just six new cases in Wayne County.  Wayne County’s positivity rate is down to 2.1%.  Another 326 Wayne County residents were reported Wednesday as having been fully vaccinated.

FOUR FACE DRUG CHARGES AFTER TRAFFIC STOP

(Richmond, IN)--Four men were taken to the Wayne County Jail late Wednesday morning after a slow-speed pursuit that went from 22nd Street to an area near Elks Road in Richmond.  One of the men, 23-year-old Kylier Childress-Shelby, already has a massive criminal record and is facing new drug-dealing charges today.  Scanner traffic indicated police found a large amount of drugs and unknown pills.  Patrick Ramsey, Trenton Williams, and Jordan Weiser were all jailed on lesser charges.  New charges against Childress-Shelby include dealing meth and marijuana.

MAN RETURNED FROM PRISON TO FACE CHILD MOLESTATION CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Deputies traveled to northern Indiana Wednesday to take Richmond’s 45-year-old Phillip Lee out of prison to bring him back to Wayne County to face child molestation charges.  Lee is in prison after being classified as a habitual offender.  Four years ago, Lee was charged with molesting a child under the age of 14.  Around that time, he had barricaded himself inside a garage on Pearl Street.  That incident brought about a SWAT standoff.

TEEN DIES AS RESULT OF ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond teenager who accidentally shot himself in the head last weekend has apparently died from those injuries.  On Wednesday, a gofundme account was established for the family of 18-year-old John Schober.  Investigators say accidentally shot himself in the 200 block of South 11th last Sunday morning.  Several witnesses at the scene had been interviewed, helping to lead to the determination of an accidental shooting.

WAYNE COUNTY: LESS THAN TEN CASES FOR 12 STRAIGHT DAYS

(Wayne County, IN)--Covid-19 positivity rates across our area continue to drop.  This morning, Wayne, Union, Franklin, and Henry County all have positivity rates that have dropped below three percent.  Randolph County has now dropped below two percent.  Only four new cases were reported in Wayne County.  It makes the 12th straight day that there have been less than ten new cases.  185 more Wayne County residents were reported yesterday as being fully vaccinated.

PAUST LEADS OPPOSITION OF WIND TURBINE BILL

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County Commissioner Ken Paust is leading a statewide effort to stop House Bill 1381.  Wayne County has opposed large wind turbines like those that are visible across Randolph County.  Paust says the bill would take away a county’s ability to negotiate on behalf of the community and place decisions about turbines in the state’s hands.  About 2/3 of Indiana’s counties have voiced opposition to the bill.

TWO ARRESTED FOR BURGLARY, BATTERY

(Richmond, IN)--Two alleged burglars were taken into custody Tuesday in what has been a problem area of Richmond.  24-year-old Dylan Reed and 23-year-old Dalton Mills were both arrested on Randolph Street and charged with felony burglary.  Both have also been charged with felony battery causing moderate bodily injury.  Other details have not been released.  Reed has bonded out, but Mills remained behind bars Wednesday morning.

13% OF WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS NOW FULLY VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--The CDC said Monday that anyone who has gotten both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine can now gather with others who have also been fully vaccinated without wearing a mask.  In Wayne County, that amounts to 8882 people, or about 13% of the county’s residents.  Another 4900 Wayne County residents have received the first dose and are still awaiting a second.  Between the county’s health department and Reid Health, Wayne County has the capacity to vaccinate over 500 people per day.

MULTIPLE SUSPECTS CAUGHT FOLLOWING HIGH-SPEED CHASE

(Wayne County, IN)--Multiple people have been taken into custody following a high-speed chase across I-70 in Wayne County on Tuesday morning.  Speeds reached 110 miles per hour at around 4:15 Tuesday morning when officers began to pursue a vehicle headed west.  Stop sticks were successfully deployed near State Road 1.  Several people bailed out and were eventually caught.  There’s no word yet on their identities or why they were fleeing police.

KAYAKER PULLED FROM ACTON LAKE AT HUESTON WOODS

(College Corner, OH)--A kayaker was pulled from Acton Lake at Hueston Woods State Park Monday.  The man fell into the lake near the marina at around 3 o’clock Monday afternoon.  Rescue crews were able to pull him out of the frigid lake and get him to McCullough-Hyde hospital.  His name and condition have not been released, although he was unresponsive at the scene.  There’s no word yet on what caused him fall into the water.

WAYNE COUNTY AVERAGING LESS THAN FIVE DAILY COVID-19 CASES

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County is now averaging just a handful of new Covid-19 cases every day.  Since last Monday, Wayne County has averaged less than five new daily cases.  The average has not been that low since mid-July of last year.  In the last week, Wayne County has added only 30 new cases.  Fayette County has had 12.  Randolph County has had only ten, and Union County has added just four new cases.  Reid Health was down to just 11 patients in its Covid-19 containment areas Monday morning.

TEEN ACCIDENTALLY SHOOTS SELF IN HEAD

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond teen was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton early Sunday morning after accidentally shooting himself in the head.  Investigators say that alcohol likely played a role when 18-year-old John Schober was shot in the 200 block of South 11th.  Several witnesses were questioned and the investigation is still open.  There was no word on Schober’s condition Monday morning.

WANTED WOMAN CAUGHT ON I-70

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond woman was taken into custody on I-70 on Monday morning.  Officers were able to locate 20-year-old Alexis Wintrow near Chester Boulevard.  Wintrow had been wanted for failing to appear for a court hearing on charges that included meth possession and prostitution.  On Monday morning, she allegedly gave officers a false name and resisted arrest.

MAN RESCUED AFTER BEING STUCK IN SEWER FOR THREE DAYS

(Connersville, IN)--On Friday morning in Connersville, a man was rescued from a sewer.  Here’s how it happened.  Three days ago, the man had climbed into a sewer near the Whitewater River to hide from his probation officer.  The man worked his way through the sewer under the downtown area but became stuck when his shoulders became wedged.  Three days later, at around 2:30 Friday morning, an officer doing a routine check on a bank heard the man screaming.  The fire department arrived and got the man out.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS CONTINUE TO RUN TEN TIMES HIGHER THAN NORMAL

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County residents filed jobless claims this week that were more than ten times higher than this week last year.  That’s been the trend since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.  In Wayne County in the 50 weeks since Covid-19 began, there have been well over 12,000 filings.  Over the same period the year before, there were barely more than a thousand.  Federal unemployment benefits are currently set to run out in less than two weeks.

AREA POSITIVITY RATES DROPPING DRASTICALLY

(Whitewater Valley)--Not only has there been a dramatic drop in the number of Covid-19 cases across the Whitewater Valley, there’s also been a dramatic drop this week in the positivity rate.  Wayne County’s rate is down to 2.7%, but Union County’s is now down to 2.3% and Randolph County is even lower at 1.6%.  There were only ten new cases combined reported Thursday in Wayne and five surrounding Indiana counties.

STINSON: WAYNE COUNTY WILL NEVER BE LESS RESTRICTIVE THAN STATE, BUT COULD BE MORE RESTRICTIVE

(Wayne County, IN)--The governor of Texas this week lifted all Covid-19 restrictions, including the wearing of a mask.  With Wayne County’s numbers drastically improving, many are wondering when that could happen here.  Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department provided the answer Wednesday.  Stinson said that Wayne County would never be less restrictive than the state, meaning that mask and distancing requirements at the county level will not be relaxed until it’s done at the state level.  But, she added that the county could be more restrictive than the state if the state were to take a path similar to Texas.  There is no specific number or statistic that will trigger the removal of mandates at the state level.

AREA COUNTIES MOVE TO BLUE; NEW CASES BECOME MINIMAL

(Whitewater Valley)--Wayne and all other Whitewater Valley counties moved into the blue Wednesday on Indiana’s color-coded Covid-19 map.  The improvement to what is now considered low-level spread also triggers relaxed restrictions on gathering.  Since Monday, Wayne County has added only 13 new cases.  The county’s positivity rate is now just 2.6%.  The entire remainder of the Whitewater Valley – combined – has added just nine cases since Monday.  Reid Health this morning has only 12 Covid-19 patients in containment areas.  The number hasn’t been that low since July of last year.

LIBERTY TO FUND OFFICER'S LEGAL DEFENSE, COUNSELING

(Liberty, IN)--Liberty’s Town Council this week passed a resolution connected to a recent police-involved shooting.  Six days ago, Officer Lorenzo Shepler shot and killed 29-year-old Maggie Dickerson when she approached him with a knife.  This week, Council passed a resolution that authorized Shepler to choose an attorney.  It also authorizes the officer to seek mental health counseling at the provider of his choice.  Fees for both would be covered by the town.

REID ISSUES 20,000th DOSE, CREATES STANDBY LIST FOR VACCINE

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health administered its 20,000th COVID-19 vaccine dose Tuesday, but officials there would like to do much more. Reid says it has the supplies and capacity at its public vaccination clinic at the Kuhlman Center to give several hundred per day. Anyone looking to sign up to get the vaccine at the Kuhlman Center can do so through the Indiana Department of Health’s website at ourshot.in.gov or they can call 935-8484 during the clinic’s regular operating hours of 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.  Reid Health is now accepting signups for a standby list for COVID-19 vaccinations. Vials of the vaccine hold multiple doses, and once each is thawed those doses must be used within a certain period or be discarded. Cancellations or no-shows can result in leftover doses at the end of each day at the Kuhlman Center clinic. Now, the standby list will be used to make sure those extra doses don’t go to waste. To be added to the list, you must sign up on the Reid Health website. Calls will begin 1-2 hours before the clinic closes. To receive the vaccine, you must be an Indiana resident and must be able to get to the Kuhlman Center within 30 minutes of receiving the call. Keep in mind that being on the list does not guarantee you’ll be called.  The age to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Indiana continues to drop.  The Wayne County Health Department indicated Tuesday that the county is now included in a minimum age that has dropped to 55 at either the former Elder-Beerman or Kuhlman Center.  Beginning Wednesday, Wayne County venues can hold events with up to 250 people as long as there can be six feet of separation.  Attendees of those larger events will still have to wear a mask.

RICHMOND COUNCIL CHAMBERS TO UNDER RENOVATION

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s City building is now 52 years old, and an important part of that building is going to get its first major facelift.  The city announced Tuesday that Council Chambers will undergo an upgrade that will include improvements to technology, furniture, and fixtures.  The work is expected to take until May to complete.  Asbestos has been a concern in the building.  Results from testing show that some parts have asbestos-containing materials at a rate of 3-5%.  That will be remediated prior to renovation.

PROM DECISIONS LEFT TO WAYNE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOLS

(Wayne County, IN)--What would normally be high school prom season is rapidly approaching.  This year, though, there’s lots of confusion in Wayne County.  Christine Stinson with the county’s health department on Tuesday addressed the current prom status.  Stinson said that there is no current ban on proms for public high schools in Wayne County.  That decision will be left up to each school.  But, if schools do decide to go forward with a prom, Stinson said that masking and social distancing will still be required.  The state has indicated that no food or drink can be served.

COUNCIL APPROVES RP&L RATE INCREASE

(Richmond, IN)--For the first time in 16 years, Richmond Power and Light customers will experience a rate increase.  Richmond Common Council Monday night unanimously approved the increase, which was needed in large part to help offset the cost of the disposal of coal ash on the RP&L property.  How large is the increase?  Here’s Tony Foster Monday night.  "An overall increase of 7.23% will be phased in over three years."  RP&L had originally requested a 9.5% increase.  It’s scheduled to be implemented in the second quarter of this year.

AFFIDAVIT DETAILS HORRIFIC MURDER OF BOY IN PREBLE COUNTY

(Preble County, OH)--More details were released Monday about the horrific murder of a six-year-old boy in Preble County over the weekend.  Investigators say that 29-year-old Brittany Gosney took all three of her children to the Rush Run Wildlife Area near Camden with the intention of driving off and leaving them there because her boyfriend, James Hamilton, wanted her to get rid of the kids.  Two children were able to get back in the vehicle.  But the third, six-year-old James Hutchinson, was dragged to his death as he tried to get in.  The two then allegedly drove the body to Lawrenceburg and threw it into the Ohio River.  Recovery efforts Monday were unsuccessful.  Investigators said that Gosney has shown very little remorse.

NEARLY HALF OF WAYNE COUNTY'S ELDERLY RESIDENTS VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--Nearly half of Wayne County’s most vulnerable residents to Covid-19 have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Wayne County has between 11 and 12,000 residents at least 70 years old.  According to state numbers Monday, just shy of 5600 Wayne County residents over the age of 70 have received at least the first dose.  Almost 3800 have received both doses.  As for the entire Wayne County population, more than 11,700 residents have received the vaccine.  That’s about 18% of the population.

OVERNIGHT FIRE DISPLACES INTERFAITH RESIDENTS

(Richmond, IN)--Firefighters were sent to the Interfaith Apartments in Richmond when fire broke out late Monday night.  The fire was largely contained to one unit on the sixth floor of the south building after it broke out at around 11:30 Monday night.  Scanner traffic indicated that a man using a walker was able to get out of the affected unit and was not hurt.  There was no report of any other injuries.  Two and a half years ago, two people were killed in an Interfaith fire.

RICHMOND MAN ACCUSED OF DUI, STRIKING OHP TROOPERS

(Dayton, OH)--A Richmond man has been cited for striking three Ohio Highway Patrol troopers while allegedly driving drunk.  74-year-old David Nicholson of Richmond was allegedly driving drunk Sunday morning on I-75 near the Dayton Mall when he slammed into three cruisers that were on the side of the road with their lights flashing.  Those troopers had all stopped to help in another crash.  One trooper was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

SIX-YEAR-OLD BOY MURDERED IN PREBLE COUNTY

(Preble County, OH)--A six-year-old boy has been murdered in Preble County and investigators will work Monday to find his body.  James Hutchinson was reported missing by his mother, Brittany Gosney, and her boyfriend, James Hamilton.  The couple lives in Middletown but, during questioning, admitted that the boy was killed in Preble County a few days ago.  The couple then took the body to Middletown and later dumped it in the Ohio River.  Authorities will search the river Monday.  Gosney has been charged with murder.  Details of where and how the boy was killed in Preble County have not been released.

MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER AFTER PANORAMIC APT SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--A shooting at the Panoramic Apartments in Centerville Sunday morning has led to the arrest of a man who is now charged with attempted murder.  A man was shot in the shoulder during the pre-dawn hours at Panoramic.  The shooter fled the scene.  A few hours later, 21-year-old Bryan Potter was taken into custody when officers surrounded a house on South I Place in Richmond.  Details of what led to shooting and the identity and current condition of the victim have not yet been released.

COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Each week for well over a month, Wayne County’s Monday-to-Monday Covid-19 case count has dropped, and that’s the case again Monday.  Wayne County has added only 52 new cases since last Monday.  That’s the lowest single-week total of new cases since late September of last year.  Reid Health on Monday morning had only 19 patients in Covid-19 containment areas.  That’s the lowest total since October 5.  The story is the same in other area counties.  Fayette County has added only 16 new cases since last Monday.  Union County has had only three.

CITY TO RENAME STREET FOR COUPLE'S CONTRIBUTION TO VETERANS PARK

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council will meet Monday night and will again take up a proposed rate hike for Richmond Power and Light.  RP&L has not had a rate increase in 16 years, but needs one now in part to help dispose of coal ash at a cost estimated to be as high as $55 million.  Council will also consider a resolution to rename Johnson Street, which leads into the gorge, to “Geobel Way” to honor the contributions of Joseph and Barbara Geobel to the Veterans Park.

Richmond, IN WEATHER