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Local News Archives for 2021-05

RHS BASKETBALL PLAYER ARRESTED FOR HAVING GUN IN SCHOOL

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond High School boys basketball player was arrested on Wednesday after bringing a gun to school.  Details of the incident were released Thursday.  It began when two players returned to the inside of the school smelling of marijuana.  One of the players was searched and an unloaded handgun was found in a backpack.  No ammunition was found.  The boy was taken to a juvenile detention center in Muncie.  His name is not being released because of his age.   The player was one of several brought to the city for basketball in the last couple of years.  Wednesday’s incident was the latest in a series of allegations surrounding the program recently that include recruited players living unsupervised in a rented home on South West 3rd.  Earlier this year, one coach in the program was fired as part of a criminal investigation.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS IN WAYNE COUNTY DROP SHARPLY

(Wayne County, IN)--There’s been a sharp drop in the number of Wayne County residents who have become fully vaccinated from Covid-19 in the last week.  245 Wayne County residents became fully vaccinated this week.  That’s down by nearly 50% from the week before.  There are now just over 22,000 local residents to be fully vaccinated.  That’s just over a third of the population.  Franklin County continues to have one of the worst vaccination rates in the state.  Only two counties have lower vaccination rates than Franklin.

RICHMOND FIREFIGHTERS RECEIVE TACTICAL VESTS

(Richmond, IN)--It’s a piece of equipment that, years ago, most would have considered unnecessary for firefighters.  On Thursday, though, the Richmond Fire Department received shipment of tactical vests – much like those worn by police officers.  In a social media post, the fire department said that it’s a different world now and they want to make sure those saving lives on a daily basis are protected.  The department has worked on obtaining the vests for the last couple of years.

COMMISSIONERS TO EXTEND SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County’s syringe exchange program is being extended for two more years.  Technically, that won’t occur until a resolution is drafted.  But the extension is a foregone conclusion after Wayne County Commissioners on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of drafting that resolution.  Several people spoke in favor of the extension, including Jennifer Smith with Meridian Health.  "Not only do we give out needles, but we also encourage treatment," Smith said.  Since the program’s implementation five years ago, Wayne County has dropped from fourth in Indiana for hepatitis-C to sixth.

UNION, RANDOLPH CO. GO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Whitewater Valley)--There were some notable changes when Indiana’s update color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Fayette and Franklin County both improved and moved into the blue from yellow, but Union and Randolph County both took steps backward.  Union and Randolph County are now in the yellow.  Union County has a positivity rate of 7.8%.  Wayne County remains in the blue and has added only nine new cases since Monday.

15 GRAMS OF FENTANYL RECOVERED IN DRUG BUST

(Richmond, IN)--Enough Fentanyl to kill 5000 people was recovered when the Wayne County Drug Task Force and the SWAT Team executed a search warrant at a home in the 300 block of South 12th Street in Richmond Wednesday.  15 grams of the deadly drug were located at the home of Shawn Farrow following a lengthy investigation.  Numerous used syringes from the county’s syringe exchange program were also located.  Farrow was arrested and now faces two felony dealing charges.

SHOTS FIRED INTO RICHMOND, CENTERVILLE HOMES WEDNESDAY MORNING

(Richmond and Centerville, IN)--Shots were fired in Richmond Wednesday morning in the same general area where it’s happened over and over again in the last couple of years.  At around 5 o’clock Wednesday morning, shots were fired into a home on North West 3rd near Kinsey and Pearl Streets.  More than 20 shell casings have reportedly been found in an alley.  There were no injuries.  Investigators were checking to see if other homes or vehicles had been struck.  No arrests have been made.  Shots were also fired into a home in Centerville Wednesday morning.  At least one round hit a house on North 3rd Street.  There were no initial reports of any injury.  The State Police have been called in to help with the investigation.  There’s no word on any description of a suspect or getaway vehicle.  There’s also no word yet on whether or not the Centerville shooting may be connected to shots fired into the Richmond home.

ALLEGED MARIJUANA DEALERS ARRESTED

(Richmond, IN)--Two alleged marijuana dealers were taken into custody Tuesday night on Chester Boulevard in Richmond.  Officers stopped 20-year-old Lataj Brewer and 19-year-old Korion Farris.  According to scanner traffic, as they were being searched, they threw baggies of marijuana into bushes.  Several baggies were recovered.  Both Brewer and Farris have already bonded out of jail.

MARY SCOTT ORCHARD DEDICATED

(Richmond, IN)--On Tuesday, the Mary Scott Community Orchard was officially dedicated.  It’s located in the Mary Scott park near Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond.  The project was two years in the making.  "It teaches food sustainability and provides an essential and key educational component to all the students in this area," said Richmond Mayor Dave Snow last year, when work got underway on the orchard.  The orchard features apples, berries, and lots of other types of produce.

RHS SEEKS NEW BASKETBALL COACH; RCS MUM ON ALLEGATIONS WITH PROGRAM

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond High School is looking for a new basketball coach.  RHS Tweeted on Monday that it’s looking for a replacement for Shabaz Klaliq.  Both RCS administrators and the athletic director have ignored repeated requests from Kicks 96 and The Point News over the last two months for comment on allegations surrounding the program this past season, although one RCS Board member said that the only comment is “no comment.”  One assistant coach was fired mid-season.  Another varsity coach of a different sport has recently been placed on leave.

GROUND BROKEN ON REID FACILITY IN WINCHESTER

(Winchester, IN)--Reid Health is expanding into Winchester.  On Monday, ground was broken on what will be a 17,000 square foot facility that will house a variety of services once it’s finished including primary care, orthopedics, cardiology, and X-ray.  It will be located on Symmes Center Drive on the southeast side of the city and represents a nearly $8 million investment.  There are no current plans for the future use of the Randolph Medical Center building on Oak Street once the new facility is up and running.

TRIAL PENDING THREE YEARS AFTER MURDER OF TREMELL CARPENTER

(Richmond, IN)--This Saturday will be the three-year mark since Richmond teen Tremell Carpenter was shot and killed on Richmond’s north side, allegedly by then 18-year-old Austin Neathery.  And, three years later, the criminal case is nowhere near being resolved.  Neathery is still in the Wayne County Jail.  Earlier this year, he was granted a new court-appointed attorney.  His trial, though, is currently not set to start until March of next year.

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS 30 COVID-19 CASES IN A WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has had just 30 new cases of Covid-19 since last Monday, and that ties for the lowest Monday-to-Monday case total since September of last year.  The county has also had just 106 new cases since the first of the month.  At the height of the pandemic last December, Wayne County was adding as many as 535 cases in a single week.  The county’s positivity rate this morning is down to 2.2%.

SUV REPORTED IN WATER OFF QUAKERTOWN RAMP

(Dunlapsville, IN)--Union County officials were refusing to give any information Monday morning about an incident at the Quakertown boat ramp on Brookville Lake over the weekend.  A dispatcher said Monday morning that she was under strict orders to say nothing, including which agency is handling what was reported as a vehicle going into the water there on Saturday night.  One person at the scene reported that an SUV occupied by one person drove down the ramp and into the water.  He reported that he and other people nearby tried to rescue the man but that the doors were locked.  There is no word on the victim’s identity.

MOWER FATALITY REPORTED IN RANDOLPH COUNTY

(Randolph County, IN)--There’s no official word yet from Randolph County on reports indicating there was a fatal accident just southwest of Lynn.  First responders were sent Sunday to an area of County Road 50 East on the report that a zero-turn mower had overturned on a man and that the man had been trapped there overnight.  The victim’s name and other details of the incident have not been released.

COUNTY SETTLES WITH FORMER OWNER OF OLD REID

(Richmond, IN)--For eight years, Wayne County has tried to squeeze unpaid property taxes out of the former owners of the old Reid Hospital property.  Now, that chase has ended with a settlement.  The owners of Spring Grove Development gutted the old Reid property and skipped out on a tax bill that now totals $1.36 million.  One of those owners, Bob Ciprietti, has agreed to a $75,000 settlement.  It means that the county is collecting about 18 cents for every dollar owed.  Another owner, Ernesto Zamparini, never responded to the lawsuit.  The county won a default judgement against him for the full amount, but none of it has been recovered.

WAYNE COUNTY STILL HAS 100-PLUS WEEKLY JOBLESS CLAIMS

(Wayne County, IN)--At least a hundred Wayne County residents per week are still filing jobless claims.  It’s happened 58 out of 61 weeks since Covid-19.  Weekly claims are still five times higher than pre-Covid numbers.  Here’s a rundown of Wayne County’s weekly claims just before and just after stimulus checks.  Note the weekly jump in Wayne County’s claims that corresponds with the distribution of stimulus.  108, 163, 132, 101, 123, 763, 399, 150, 112, 105.  This week, Indiana announced that weekly $300 payments will be ending soon.

SHOTS FIRED AT RICHMOND HOME

(Richmond, IN)--The resident of a home in the area of North 12th and B in Richmond claims that shots were fired into her house overnight.  Police were called there after neighbors reporting hearing the shots at just before midnight Thursday night.  Officers located shell casings.  The resident indicated that no one was home at the time and there were no injuries.  The sounds of the shots were captured on surveillance video, but there were no images of whoever fired the shots.

AREA COUNTIES DOWNGRADED TO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Whitewater Valley)--A couple of Whitewater Valley counties took steps backward when Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Both Fayette and Franklin County were downgraded from blue to yellow based on increased positivity rates.  Fayette County’s rate is now over seven percent and Franklin County’s positivity rate is nearly ten percent.  Henry County also remains in the yellow.  Wayne County is still blue.  Since Monday, Wayne County has averaged three new cases per day.

SETON HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL LEAVING FOR NORTHEASTERN

(Fountain City, IN)--Northeastern has a new principal for the high school, and they didn’t have to leave Wayne County to find him.  John Markward is stepping down from his post as the principal of Seton High School to become the new Northeastern principal.  Markward was at Seton for the last four years.  He’s also coached various sports and has degrees from both IU East and Earlham College.  Markward will start on the first of July.

POLICE CHIEF ADDRESSES ISSUES WITH NEW JEWISH RESIDENTS

(Centerville, IN)--Centerville Police Chief Ed Buchholz recently addressed issues and misconceptions about a group of new residents.  In the last year, between 12 and 15 Hasidic Jewish families have moved into the Centerville area from New York.  In one case, a Jewish man went to the wrong home and police were called.  "This is part of the thing where we need to get used to them, and I'm sure they're still getting used to us.  They have different ways about them that we're not used to in our community," Buchholz said.  Buchholz explained why residents are seeing some of their new neighbors out late.  "The days are getting longer now.  They're prayer meetings don't start until night.  Afther they're done, you'll see them walking home."  The Jewish group has recently donated to a local food drive.

AFFIDAVIT: MURDERER WAS OPERATING MARIJUANA GROW OPERATION

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man jailed for murder last week was also operating a large marijuana grow operation inside his home on New Paris Pike, according to court documents.  Probable cause was found Tuesday in the case against Elick Allen in the shooting death of John Day.  When investigators executed a search warrant following the shooting, they found 45 marijuana plants under grow light, more than 17 pounds of finished product, and scales, seeds, and $3400 in cash.  Allen shot someone else 12 years ago in a dispute over a girlfriend.  That man survived.

ALLEGED DRUG DEALER AMONG WANTED PEOPLE JAILED TUESDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Several people with active warrants have been rounded up and taken to the Wayne County Jail in the last 24 hours, including an alleged drug dealer.  35-year-old Tiffany Wells was brought back to Richmond from Randolph County yesterday.  She’s charged with dealing meth and cocaine.  Officers also located Maureen Rivers and Brian Reed, who had both failed to appear on various charges.  Leanne Dickey was also taken into custody for possessing cocaine.

ELDERLY WOMAN HURT IN DUI CRASH

(Randolph County, IN)--An elderly Randolph County woman was injured when an allegedly drunken driver crossed the center line on U.S. 27 just south of Winchester on Tuesday.  87-year-old Bette Robbins was taken to Reid Health after her car was struck head-on by 29-year-old Christopher Higgins.  Higgins was taken to the Randolph County Jail.  There was no word on Robbins’ condition Wednesday morning.  The crash closed 27 for a short time.

REID CUTS VACCINE HOURS AS DEMAND DWINDLES

(Richmond, IN)--A decrease in demand for the Covid-19 vaccine means that Reid Health is cutting back the hours of its vaccination clinic at the Kuhlman Center in Richmond.  Instead of operating six days a week at the fairgrounds, Reid will offer the vaccine there only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays beginning on May 27.  Reid will continue to distribute the vaccine at its Urgent Care facilities in Richmond and Connersville as well as at Reid Ready Care Clinic in the Richmond Meijer store.  A Reid Health timeline shows how demand for the Covid-19 vaccination has dwindled.  The first dose was given in mid-December.  From January until April, Reid was averaging roughly 5000 doses every two weeks.  But the most recent 5000 doses have taken nearly a month to be given.  That’s across all of Reid’s coverge area – not just Wayne County.  Since last Friday, Wayne County is averaging 53 residents per day becoming fully vaccinated.

DOG BREEDER DISPUTES INCLUSION INTO "HORRIBLE HUNDRED" LIST

(Brookville, IN)--A Brookville basset hound breeder is taking major issue with her including in the Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred list.  On Monday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported that Clearview Bassets made the list that highlights some of the worst conditions for animals nationally.  But owner Becky Rosenberger says they’ve met inspection.  "Anybody is welcome to inspect us and see us.  We're a clean facility," Rosenberger said.  She challenges nearly every aspect of the report, including that the dogs had not been vaccinated.  "They're required, and our vet comes here every year," Rosenberger added.  The facility is now fully licensed.

GROUND BROKEN ON AFRICAN WILDLIFE CENTER

(Lewisburg, OH)--Ground has finally been broken on a new wildlife center  in Preble County.  After working for years to obtain grants, Wild Hearts African Farm in Lewisburg is ready to begin construction on a new education center.  The grants mean the farm will grow to seven times its current size and that it will be able to accommodate larger groups of people from around our area.  Wild Hearts is the first zoo in Ohio to be labeled a Humane Certified Zoo.

INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO FATAL CAR/TRAIN CRASH

(Greens Fork, IN)--The investigation is continuing Tuesday into Monday morning’s fatal car/train accident in Greens Fork.  LaterMonday morning, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as 47-year-old Tonya Rader of Lynn.  Rader was the only occupant of the vehicle.  She was travelling to a family member’s home in Greens Fork.  Investigators are working with authorities at Norfolk Southern to determine other factors in the crash.

ONE DEAD AFTER CAR STRUCK BY TRAIN IN GREENS FORK

(Greens Fork, IN)--One person was killed when a car was struck by a train in Greens Fork Monday morning.  It happened at 6 o’clock Monday morning near Plum and Water Street in Greens Fork.  The initial report was that a medical helicopter had been summoned for a female driver but could not fly because of the weather.  The identity of the victim and other details of the incident have not been released.  The incident did not currently affecting traffic on State Road 38.

WAYNE COUNTY PUPPY MILLS NO LONGER ON "HORRIBLE HUNDRED" LIST

(Franklin County, IN)--In recent years, Wayne County has had dog breeders appear on the Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred list, which tracks the worst puppy mills in the country.  The 2021 list is now out.  There are no longer any Wayne County breeders on that list, but there is one in Franklin County.  The Clearview Basset Farm in Brookville is listed on the Horrible Hundred.  The report alleges that 57 dogs were being kept without adequate shelter.

WANTED ALLEGED CHILD ABUSER CAPTURED

(Connersville, IN)--A Richmond man who had been wanted for seriously injuring and neglecting his own four-year-old daughter has been located and was behind bars Monday morning.  28-year-old Matthew Shaffer is accused of causing broken bones and a brain injury to the young girl.  He failed to show up for a court hearing last week, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  This weekend, Shaffer was found in Connersville.  He and Casey Miller face decades in prison when they go on trial in August.

TWO SHOT, ONE KILLED, AT NEW PARIS PIKE TRAILER COURT

(Richmond, IN)--An ongoing dispute over a driveway led to a shooting in Richmond Thursday night that left one person dead and another hospitalized.  It happened a little after 6:30 at the trailer park at the intersection of State Road 227 and New Paris Pike.  Police say that there was first a physical fight.  After that fight was over, 41-year-old Elick Allen allegedly shot 72-year-old Brenda Day and 46-year-old John Day.  John Day was pronounced dead at the scene.  Brenda Day went to Reid Health and was in surgery for a gunshot wound to the stomach.  Allen has been charged with both murder and attempted murder.

TWO DIE FROM OVERDOSES MINUTES APART AND BLOCKS AWAY

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond had three drug overdoses within an hour Thursday in the same area of the city, and two of them turned fatal.  At around 1 o’clock Thursday afternoon, CPR was being performed on an overdose victim at the Dollar General on North West 5th.   Within the same hour, there was an overdose on Ridge Street and another one on Pearl Street.  Both of those turned fatal.  Wayne County is on pace to pass its 2020 overdose death total by this August.

REID GIVES 40,000th DOSE OF COVID-19 VACCINE

(Richmond, IN)--Kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can now receive the Covid-19 vaccine through Reid Health at the Kuhlman Center.  That announcement was made Thursday along with word that Reid had given its 40,000th dose of the vaccine.  The milestone comes five months after the first vaccine was given.  According to the state, 21,404 Wayne County residents are now fully vaccinated.  That represents a third of the county’s population.  74 more people became fully vaccinated Thursday.

AREA'S COLOR-CODED COVID-19 STATUS REMAINS UNCHANGED

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County remained in the blue when the state’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  The map for the Whitewater Valley did not change.  All area counties are blue except for Henry, which remains in the yellow.  Wayne County continues to add between five and ten new cases daily.  The number of patients in Reid Health containment areas were up to 13 Thursday morning.  That’s the highest that number has been since early March.

RCS BOARD TO DISCUSS DISPLAY OF TEN COMMANDMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board meets Wednesday afternoon and, when it does, will consider a policy that will allow the displaying of the Ten Commandments at buildings across the district.  The displaying of the Ten Commandments in Richmond was a major issue 19 years ago.  That’s when the ACLU filed suit to have them removed from the lawn of the Wayne County Courthouse.  The RCS policy states that the Ten Commandments can be displayed along with other documents of historical significance that have influenced the U.S. government.

ACLU SUES RANDOLPH COUNTY SCHOOL OVER STUDENT VIDEO

(Parker City, IN)--A Randolph County school system was the target of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU Tuesday.  According to a release from that organization, a student at Monroe Central made a video that was shared on TikTok.  In that video, the student calls out other students who used language that she didn’t like or considered offensive.  The ACLU claims that the student was suspended for creating and then sharing the video.  There has been no comment so far from Monroe Central.

WANTED MAN JAILED FOR SEXUAL BATTERY

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was taken into custody at his home in the 600 block of South 7th Tuesday and charged with sexual battery.  The charge against 58-year-old Melvin Newton alleges that Newton compelled the victim to submit by the threat of force.  A warrant for Newton’s arrest had been issued last week.  His criminal record shows 20 entries dating back to 1989.

JUST UNDER 1/3 OF WAYNE CO. RESIDENTS NOW FULLY VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County reported that 20 more people became fully vaccinated from Covid-19 Monday.  It brings the total number of local residents to be fully vaccinated to 21,176.  That’s just shy of a third of the total population.  At one point, Wayne County had one of the state’s highest rates of vaccination, but that’s not the case any longer.  Franklin County still has one of Indiana’s lowest rates.

MAN JAILED FOLLOWING PLEA ON SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH A MINOR CHARGE

(Richmond, IN)--A Centerville man was sent to jail Monday following a change of plea hearing in Wayne Superior Court II.  30-year-old Tyler Kilgus had been arrested for sexual misconduct with a minor a year and a half ago.  Trial dates for Kilgus had been set and rescheduled numerous times before he entered into a plea agreement in March.  Details of the plea agreement have not yet become available.  Kilgus has no other criminal history in Wayne County.

IU EAST TO GRADUATE JUST OVER 800

(Richmond, IN)--IU East is getting set for its commencement.  It will held this Friday in front of Whitewater Hall.  Just over 800 degrees will be conferred on students that represent 64 Indiana counties, 35 states, and 20 countries.   The youngest graduating student is 19 and the oldest is 65.  More than a third of the students will be first-generation college graduates.

WAYNE CO. JOBLESS CLAIMS EXCEED 100 FOR 56 OF LAST 59 WEEKS

(Wayne County, IN)--Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb says he will issue an executive order early this week requiring people to file for unemployment benefits to prove they are searching for work.  It comes at a time when businesses in Richmond and across the region are desperate for employees.  Many, especially restaurants, have had to reduce their hours.  Wayne County had 112 jobless claims last week.  In 56 of the last 59 weeks, Wayne County has had at least a hundred claims.  Before Covid-19 and the benefits that came with it, Wayne County averaged about 20 filings per week.

WAYNE CO. COVID-19 CASES HAVE HELD STEADY SINCE MARCH 1

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s Monday-to-Monday total of Covid-19 cases was 49.  The number of weekly cases has held very steady for the last two and a half months.  Since the first week of March, Wayne County has never less than 30 or more than 50 cases in any single week.  Other area counties are also seeing steady numbers – just not as high.  Since March 1, Union County has seen between four and ten cases every week.  Fayette County has had between five and 20 cases every week since March 1.

TASK FORCE SHUTS DOWN ALLEGED DRUG HOUSE

(Hagerstown, IN)--The Wayne County Drug Task Force has been working to shut down a suspected drug house in Hagerstown, and now it’s happened.  Hagerstown police requested the aid of the task force.  Ryan Sharp has now been charged with dealing methamphetamine.  Sharp has already bonded out of jail.  The specific location of the house was not released.

INTRODUCTION OF PLACE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

(Richmond, IN)--The highlight of Richmond Mayor Dave Snow’s State of the City Address Thursday night was the announcement of the PLACE Program, which essentially loans building to entrepreneurs to spur downtown growth.  "If successful, this will not only put entrepreneurs back into the building, but will also further entice downtown liveability," Snow said.  Snow also identified the first building to be renovated with the program.  It’s the vacant former home of Readmore.  "Starting soon, work will begin to breathe new life into Readmore and it will once again house downtown local business," Snow  explained.  In addition to renovations downstairs, upstairs windows and other upgrades will be made to create new living space in the Readmore building.

RPD TAKES DOWN 35 DRUG DEALERS IN 2020

(Richmond, IN)--Some impressive statistics on crime reduction were included in Mayor Dave Snow’s address to city residents Thursday night.  Back in 2015, there were more than 2200 reported crimes.  Last year, that number had been cut in half.  And, there’s this:  "We closed 12 drug houses just last year alone and arrested 35 high-level drug dealers," Snow said.  RPD responded to 41,000 calls for service last year, but less than one percent resulted in arrest.  On the fire and EMS side, Snow said average response time last year was less than three minutes.

FORMER NORTHEASTERN ADMINISTRATOR ENTERS PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION

(Winchester, IN)--The criminal case against former Northeastern Assistant Superintendent Eric Green has been settled.  Green had been charged after providing underage Northeastern male graduates with alcohol at his home in Winchester.  Green has entered a pre-trial diversion program.  It means that charges against him will be dropped a year from now if he meets certain conditions.  Those conditions include permanently surrendering his teaching license, getting counseling, and not getting arrested again.

WAYNE COUNTY STAYS BLUE, RECORDS 199th COVID-19 DEATH

(Wayne County, IN)--Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Wayne County remains in the blue with a positivity rate that stands this morning at 4.3%.  Franklin County, which had been in yellow, has improved to blue.  Henry County is now the only are county in the yellow.  The positivity rate there is 6.2%.  Also Wednesday, one Wayne County resident was reported as having died with Covid-19.  It brings Wayne County’s total to 199.  It was the first Wayne County Covid-19 death since April 12.

WRIGHT SIGNS CONTRACT TO LEAD RCS

(Richmond, IN)--It became official Wednesday night…Dr. Curtis Wright signed a contract to formally become the next superintendent of Richmond Community Schools.  The RCS Board met Wednesday night to approve the contract.  Wright returns to lead the school system from which he graduated in 1997.  He spent much of Wednesday touring buildings and meeting with students, staff, and parents.  His contract goes into effect on June 1.  While Richmond schools have a new superintendent, another Wayne County school system is searching for its next leader.  George Philhower’s time as the leader of Western Wayne schools is coming to an end.  Philhower is stepping down to take a new position as superintendent at Eastern Hancock.  A search team made up of professors from regional universities is helping with the search at Western Wayne.  Philhower had been with Western Wayne for 13 years.

DAYTON POLICE SAY MURDERER MAY BE HIDING OUT IN RICHMOND

(Dayton, OH)--Investigators in Dayton say a man who murdered a woman there last weekend could well be hiding out in Richmond Thursday morning.  Shanika Bogan was murdered last weekend with her children present.  Her mother said Kendall Beasley told the children he was going to give Bogan a massage but said this when he came out from a bedroom.  "He came out and told my grandson that she's taking a nap," said the victim's mother.  Beasley told the children to eat some cereal and that he would be back, but never returned.  Police say Beasley has family and numerous other connections in Richmond.

WAYNE COUNTY REACHES 7000th COVID-19 CASE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County added nine new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, and that means it has surpassed the 7000-case mark.  It took Wayne County three and a half months to add its last thousand cases.  At the height of the outbreak in mid-November, it took only two weeks to add a thousand cases.  The county’s positivity rate continues to tick upward and stood at 4.9% Wednesday morning.  The state’s new color-coded Covid-19 map comes out later Wednesday.

CRUSE-NICHOLSON TO STEP DOWN FROM COUNCIL

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s longest consecutively tenured Common Council member is stepping down.  The Wayne County Democratic Party announced Tuesday that Kelley Cruse-Nicholson will be stepping down because she is moving outside District 2.  Cruse-Nicholson has served as council’s representative from that district for more than 13 years.  She will remain in Richmond.  When she does move, the Democratic Party will hold a caucus to pick a replacement.  There’s no specific timetable for the move, but it will occur relatively soon.

MAN JAILED AFTER OVERNIGHT FIRE DESTROYS GARAGE

(Richmond, IN)--One person was jailed after fired destroyed a garage in an alley behind South 13th Street in Richmond overnight.  It broke out at around midnight Wednesday morning near South 13th and A.  The garage was fully engulfed and could not be saved.  Investigators located 48-year-old William Conrad nearby.  Conrad was charged with criminal trespass, possessing a syringe, and resisting.  He has not been charged with setting the fire.  Another smaller fire was set a few blocks away just before the garage burned.

ISP: CASE OF MISSING RICHMOND WOMAN REMAINS ACTIVE

(Richmond, IN)--A missing person case in Richmond was still considered active Monday morning.  According to the Indiana State Police, agents have requested that the case of 27-year-old Mikaela Estes remain active but said Monday morning that there’s no specific evidence that she is being held against her will or that foul play is involved.  She was reported missing on Saturday after failing to return home from central Indiana.  The indication is that she appeared to bypass Richmond and was confirmed to be 100 miles east in Columbus on Sunday.

NUMBER OF SENIORS ELIGIBLE FOR CAR GIVEAWAY TRIPLES

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County’s Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for an annual event that has a big impact on the life of one Wayne County high school senior who has had perfect attendance.  Covid-19 means that instead of the usual 70-90 students eligible to win a free car, there will be more than 220 this year.  Much like school has been for some students in the last year, this year’s Senior Celebration will be held virtually.  It’s set for Thursday night.

Richmond's Common Council to Adopt Climate Action Plan

Richmond’s Common Council will talk about a resolution to reduce carbon emissions during tonight’s scheduled meeting.  The proposed resolution says the effects of climate change can already be seen locally but does not provide specifics.  By the end of this year, city leaders want to adopt a Climate Action Plan, hire a Sustainability Coordinator, and take steps to encourage walking, biking, and carpooling.  Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 o’clock.  You can watch it live on WCTV. 

Road Construction Ramping Up

Road construction season is ramping up across the Whitewater Valley with a couple of larger projects now underway.  INDOT has begun a large resurfacing project on U.S. 40 in western Wayne County.  That project will result in lane closures from now until October.  Crews are also working to rebuild the exit from I-70 and the transition to U.S. 35 in western Preble County near New Westville.  That project is also expected to take several months to complete. 

Man Dead After Becoming Trapped Under Elevator In Connersville

A man is dead after what’s being called an elevator accident at St. Gabriel Catholic School in Connersville.  The school posted on Facebook that an “elevator man” became trapped under an elevator floor.  The school says the accident happened last Thursday, and Connersville Police say the man died over the weekend at a hospital.  The victim’s identity has not been released. 

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