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Local News Archives for 2021-06

WAYNE COUNTY'S FIRST FEMALE JUDGE TO BE SWORN IN FRIDAY

(Richmond, IN)--The swearing in of Wayne County’s first female judge will take place Friday afternoon.  The outgoing judge in Wayne Circuit Court, David Kolger, will swear in his replacement, April Drake.  Drake has been part of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for ten years.  She has also worked as a public defender in Wayne County.  Kolger steps down after having served 16 years as Circuit Court Judge.  He was the Wayne County prosecutor before that.

WAYNE COUNTY VACCINATIONS UP 22% IN LAST WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of Wayne County residents to become fully vaccinated from Covid-19 this week is up substantially from the week before.  476 people have become fully vaccinated since last Friday.  That’s a 22% increase from the 389 who became fully vaccinated the week before.  As of Friday morning, just over 35% of Wayne County residents of all ages are now considered fully vaccinated.

MEETING SET FOR RP&L COAL ASH DISPOSAL ISSUE

(Richmond, IN)--A public meeting has been set to discuss the results of a collective measures assessment of RP&L’s coal ash issue.  Over a 15-year period, 400,000 tons of coal ash were spread over about eight acres on the RP&L property.  Now, it’s got to be cleaned up.  Initial estimates of the cost two years ago came in between $38 and $55 million.  RP&L is required to have a public meeting 30 days before picking a solution.  That meeting will take place a week from Monday.

BLM PROTESTER SENTENCED TO PAY $185 IN COURT COSTS

(Richmond, IN)--Sentencing information has become available in the case of Elijah Gamber.  Gamber is the Black Lives Matters marcher who was found guilty in Wayne Superior Court III earlier this week for obstructing traffic.  It stems from an incident in Richmond last September.  Gamber was ordered to pay court costs of $185.  He will not serve any jail time.  Gamber also has the right to appeal and to seek expungement after five years or before that if the prosecuting attorney agrees.

ALL AREA COUNTIES NOW BLUE ON COVID-19 MAP

(Whitewater Valley)--Indiana’s Covid-19 map is as blue as it’s ever been, and that includes the Whitewater Valley.  The state releases an updated color-coded Covid-19 map every Wednesday.  Not only are all area counties now in the blue, there’s not a yellow county within close to a hundred miles of Richmond.  Wayne County’s positivity rate is down to 1.6%.  There were no new cases reported Wednesday, and there have been only four reported since Monday.

RCS BOARD SWEARS IN NEWEST MEMBER

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board met Wednesday afternoon and swore in its newest member.  Kristen Brunton took the seat held by Suzanne Derengowski, who moved out of the area.  The Board Wednesday also approved advertising bids for the renovation of McGuire Hall.  McGuire Hall is 80 years old and needs significant upgrades, including roofing and air conditioning.  Bids will be open until July 16.

BLM PROTESTER FOUND GUILTY

(Richmond, IN)--One of the Black Lives Matter protesters involved in an incident in Richmond last September was found guilty of a misdemeanor Tuesday.  Elijah Gamber was charged with obstructing traffic.   In a one-day trial in Wayne Superior Court III, a jury found Gamber guilty.  Gamber blocked the intersection of North 7th and A as a group of marchers wound their way through the city.  Several other marchers were charged, but their cases were settled before going to trial.  The criminal case of the driver accused of running into members of the group and fleeing, Joshua Carey, is still pending.  Carey faces charges that include leaving the scene of an accident and criminal recklessness.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS CONTINUE TO DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Two legal groups are now suing to force Indiana to continue giving an extra $300 per week in unemployment.  That federal benefit is scheduled to end in Indiana on Saturday.  Since Governor Holcomb announced that deadline, Wayne County’s jobless claims have dropped drastically.  Local jobless claims dropped 54% after the announcement, another 21% the week after that, and another 22% the week after that.  When the last stimulus check was received a couple of months ago, Wayne County jobless claims ballooned to 723.  Last week, there were 50.

WANTED MAN FOUND HIDING IN WHITEWATER STATE PARK

(Liberty, IN)--A Richmond man who was wanted for failing to appear in court after leading police on a high-speed chase last month was found hiding out at Whitewater Memorial State Park Tuesday.  Brian McCubbins and his girlfriend fled when deputies tried to arrest him Tuesday.  Scanner traffic indicated McCubbins was caught just north of Liberty.  He was being held in the Union County Jail Wednesday morning.

BLM PROSTESTER TRIAL BEGINS TUESDAY

(Richmond, IN)--In Wayne Superior Court III today, a Black Lives Matter protestor goes on trial.  It was September of last year when a vehicle allegedly drove into a group of protestors who were crossing the street at North 7th and A.  Both the driver and several protesters were ultimately charged.  All of the protestors have had their criminal cases settled except for one who decided to take the case to trial.  He’s Elijah Gamber.  Gamber faces a misdemeanor charge of obstructing traffic.  Several people who protested last year are expected to testify.  The criminal case against the driver, Joshua Carey, is still pending.

PROSECUTION TO REST IN WAYNE COUNTY MURDER TRIAL

(Richmond, IN)--A murder trial is wrapping up in Wayne Superior Court I.  Jacob Rasner’s murder trial began last week and continued Monday.  Rasner is accused of felony murder, confinement, robbery, and battery in the death of James Herbolt II in the fall of 2017.  Prosecutors say Herbolt was hog-tied and beaten before being shot in the head.  His body was later located down an embankment on Nolands Fork Road near I-70.  Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case against Rasner on Monday.  Then, the defense will present its side.

MOST KIDS MUST NOW BE ACCOMPANIED BY ADULTS AT CORDELL POOL

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Parks and Recreation has taken another step to curb the threat of fights and violence caused by a group of teens who forced the closure of the pool over the weekend.  Now, no one under the age of 17 will be admitted to the pool unless they’re accompanied by an adult.  The only exception will be for kids who have a youth or family season pass.  The pool reopened Monday after being closed due to unruly juvenile behavior over the weekend.

SHOTS FIRED INTO HOME NARROWLY MISS SHERIDAN ST. RESIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--Shots were fired into a house late Sunday night in Richmond.  It happened in the 600 block of Sheridan Street, which continues the trend of shots fired a few blocks either side of Richmond Avenue.  In Sunday night’s incident, a family member said that one bullet narrowly missed an elderly lady who was sleeping inside.  There were no injuries.  Officers found shell casings outside.  Two suspects with varying descriptions were seen fleeing the area.  No arrests were made.

THREAT OF VIOLENCE FORCES POOL'S CLOSURE

(Richmond, IN)--The possibility of violence forced the closure of the Cordell Municipal Pool for much of the weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, a group of teens or young adults began causing a disturbance that escalated into a potential fight with some flashing gang signs.  Numerous RPD officers arrived and began clearing the pool.  Pool officials decided to close the pool for the rest of Saturday and then opted to keep it closed all day Sunday due to the potential of retaliation.  The pool is reopening Monday.

"WARTHOG" PLANE MOVING TO VETERAN'S MEMORIAL PARK

(Richmond, IN)--There’s another addition coming to the Veteran’s Memorial Park in the Whitewater Gorge in Richmond.  There are plans for the A10 “Warthog” airplane that has been on display for several years at the Richmond Municipal Airport to be moved to Veteran’s Park.  The plane’s wings will be folded up and it will be towed to its new location in the gorge, where it will join other military implements.

KOLGER RETIRES, REPLACED BY FIRST FEMALE JUDGE

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne Circuit Court Judge David Kolger has retired.  Kolger had presided over Circuit Court since 2005.  Before that, he had served as Wayne County’s prosecutor or deputy prosecutor since 1984.  Kolger was presented with Indiana’s Sagamore of the Wabash Award on Wednesday.  Governor Holcomb has replaced Kolger by appointing Wayne County’s first female judge.  April Drake will now preside over Circuit Court.  Drake has been a part of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for the last ten years.

NEARLY 400 BECOME FULLY VACCINATED IN WAYNE CO. IN LAST WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--Less than 400 Wayne County residents have become fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the last week.  The number stood Friday morning at 22,708 residents fully vaccinated.  The exact number to become fully vaccinated since last Friday is 389.  It means that just over 34% of Wayne County’s population is now fully vaccinated.  That’s well below both state and federal averages.  Franklin County now has the third worst vaccination rate in Indiana.

ALLEGED METH DEALERS CAUGHT ON NORTH E

(Richmond, IN)--A couple of alleged methamphetamine dealers were behind bars Friday morning after being taken into custody at their home in the 1500 block of North E Street in Richmond Thursday night.  33-year-old Justen Hoots and 29-year-old Brittany Nixon are both charged with dealing meth and maintaining a common nuisance.  Details of what led investigators to their house have not been released.

AREA HAS BEST COVID-19 MAP SINCE OUTBREAK BEGAN

(Whitewater Valley)--Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map is full of good news for the Whitewater Valley.  That map is updated each Wednesday.  Not only is every county in our area now in the blue, but two counties – Union and Franklin – have a metric score of zero.  It’s the first time that’s happened since the mapping system began.  Wayne County’s positivity rate is 2.1%.  There have been only eight new cases reported in Wayne County since Monday.

MAN KILLED IN CRASH IDENTIFIED AS CONNERSVILLE COACH

(Bentonville, IN)--One of the two people killed in a crash near Bentonville on Tuesday was a Connersville football coach.  Details of the crash were released Wednesday.  Investigators say 36-year-old Phillip Keller crossed the center line and hit an oncoming vehicle driven by 59-year-old Bonita Plont head-on.  Both were pronounced dead at the scene.  Keller was Connersville’s middle school head coach and becomes the second coach to be killed in an accident this year.  Wrestling coach Mac Taylor was killed on New Year’s Day.

SEARCH INTENSIFIES FOR SEX OFFENDER ACCUSED IN CHILD'S DEATH

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department is making a renewed effort to locate Todd Volker.  Volker has several felony warrants, including one for neglect of a dependent causing death.  Volker is a sex offender who is accused in the death of a two-year-old child last year.  Volker and Pamela Barger were operating a babysitting service on North 19th.  Volker failed to appear for a hearing last fall and has been wanted ever since.

TWO REPORTED DEAD IN FAYETTE COUNTY CRASH

(Bentonville, IN)--More information is expected to be released later today regarding what was originally reported as a double-fatal accident in the Bentonville area of Fayette County on Tuesday.  Initial reports indicate that two vehicles collided head-on and that two people were trapped on a county road south of Bentonville.  There’s no word yet on the identity of the victims or conditions that led to the crash.

MAN STABBED IN WEST COLLEGE CORNER FIGHT

(West College Corner, IN)--Details of a West College Corner stabbing were released Tuesday.  It happened at just after midnight Tuesday morning.  Police reports indicate 28-year-old Adam Wyatt and 31-year-old Joshua Hacker got into a fistfight that escalated to Wyatt being stabbed.  He was taken to McCullough-Hyde Hospital in Oxford and then flown by medical helicopter to University Hospital in Cincinnati.  Wyatt is expected to survive.  The case remains under investigation.

WOMAN WITH MULTIPLE DRUG WARRANTS SURRENDERS

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond woman surrendered at the Wayne County Jail Tuesday.  32-year-old Ashley Phillips had multiple drug warrants, including two for possessing cocaine and two more for possessing methamphetamine.  She’s now being held on a $50,000 bond.  Phillips was sentenced to two years in prison last fall for possessing meth in a different case, but nearly all of that jail time was suspended.

NATIONAL ROAD WEST REZONING GETS APPROVAL

(Richmond, IN)--Plans for a new development on National Road West in Richmond were green-lighted by Richmond Common Council Monday night.  Several homes directly east of Earlham College and near Needler’s Market had been taken down recently to make room for a multi-unit development.  The city’s plan commission had split 3-3 on whether or not to allow rezoning.  But, Monday night, Common Council received more information and unanimously approved the project.  Several people attended Monday night’s meeting to speak in favor of the development.  Two spoke against it.

VICTIMS, WITNESSES NOT COOPERATING AFTER RICHMOND SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--Details of a weekend shooting in Richmond were released Monday.  It happened early Sunday morning in the 300 block of South West 3rd Street.  Two teenagers – 18-year-old Jason Duncan of Richmond and an Anderson teenager both showed up at Reid Health with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.  18-year-old Brian Dawkins allegedly fled on foot when officers arrived on South West 3rd.  Dawkins was captured and charged with carrying a handgun without a license.  None of the shooting victims or other people who were at the scene are cooperating with police.

ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR RICHMOND MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--There’s an active murder warrant in connection with a Richmond shooting in April.  26-year-old Chad Mullins died after being shot in the stomach in the 200 block of North 13th.  The warrant was issued a couple of weeks ago for 19-year-old Tayshawn Newman.  Newman was described by witnesses at the scene of the shooting as a short, black male.  Once he’s apprehended, Newman will be held without bond.

AREA COUNTIES REPORT LOWEST WEEKLY COVID-19 CASES IN A YEAR

(Whitewater Valley)--Check out these numbers of Covid-19 cases in area counties…Randolph County, 4.  Franklin County, 2.  Fayette County, 1.  And Union County, 0.  But that’s not for a day.  That’s all of last week.  Since last Monday, some area counties have seen the lowest number of new Covid-19 cases in more than a year.  Wayne County has reported 19 cases in the last week.  That’s the lowest weekly total since last June.  There were only two Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas Monday morning.

SUV GOES INTO RIVER DURING PURSUIT

(Richmond, IN)--An SUV went into the East Fork of the Whitewater River in Richmond early Monday morning.  Police pursued the SUV at a little after midnight.  The driver went into the river near North 15th and J.  According to scanner traffic, a female got across the river and escaped into a wooded area.  A male also eluded capture.  Several guns were reportedly found inside the vehicle.  There’s no word yet on what started the pursuit.

ALLEGED DRUG DEALER SURRENDERS AFTER MISSING HEARING

(Richmond, IN)--An alleged Richmond drug dealer who was arrested last week was back behind bars Monday morning.  31-year-old Alex Irwin was charged with multiple counts of dealing last week after an investigation into his activities.  Irwin bonded out after his arrest, but failed to show up for an initial hearing.  A warrant was issued.  Late Sunday night, Irwin showed up at the Wayne County Jail with a family member to turn himself in.  A failure to appear charge has been added to the list of charges he faces.  Irwin is now being held without bond.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS DROP DRASTICALLY WITH WORK MANDATE

(Wayne County, IN)--New jobless claim numbers for Wayne County show a drastic drop in jobless claims that corresponds to Governor Eric Holcomb’s announcement that unemployed people must again prove they’re trying to get a job.  In the week after that announcement was made, Wayne County’s jobless claims dropped by 54%.  The 74 new jobless claims are the fewest Wayne County has had in a single week since before Covid-19 effects became evident in March of last year.

AREA FLOODING, COLD-AIR FUNNELS REPORTED

(Whitewater Valley)--Water was receding across the Whitewater Valley Friday morning after two days of nearly steady rain.  The heaviest fell in parts of southern Preble County, with some areas receiving nearly five inches over a 48-hour period.  College Corner had significant flooding.  Thursday’s weather also spawned at least two cold-air funnels.  One was seen just off of I-70 near Gaar Jackson Road.  Another was seen in Lynn.  Cold-air funnels rarely touch down or cause damage, and that was the case in our area Thursday.

WAYNE COUNTY VACCINATIONS CONTINUE TO WANE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s Covid-19 vaccination rate continues to taper off.  The total number of residents to be fully vaccinated, as of Thursday, was 22,319.  That’s only six tenths of one percent of an increase in the total number of residents vaccinated from the week before and barely more than a third of Wayne County’s residents.  That’s well below the state average and even further behind the national average.  Franklin County is maintaining the fourth worst vaccination rate in Indiana.

IRWIN ARRESTED FOR DRUG DEALING FOLLOWING LENGTHY INVESTIGATION

(Richmond, IN)--A large amount of drugs was found Wednesday as the result of an investigation into the activities of Richmond’s Alex Irwin.  Investigators served a search warrant at a home in the first block of South 21st.  Inside, they found 46 grams of meth, 55 grams of cocaine, two handguns, $4500 in cash, and enough fentanyl to kill 8600 adults.  Irwin was behind bars Thursday morning facing multiple dealing charges.  Last year, he allegedly shot a property owner on South G.  Dustyn Harris and Kacey Lawrence were also arrested Wednesday as part of the investigation.

AREA IMPROVES ON COVID-19 MAP

(Whitewater Valley)--This section of Indiana looked a little better when Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Randolph County improved Wednesday from yellow to blue.  It leaves only Union County in the yellow in our area with a positivity rate of 5.5%.  Wayne County remains in the blue with a positivity rate of 3.4%.  Wayne County reported eight new cases Wednesday.  That’s the highest single-day total since May 5.

PARTS OF AREA IDENTIFIED AS USA'S #1 OPIOID OVERDOSE HOTSPOT

(Whitewater Valley)--Parts of the Whitewater Valley are included in an area that’s identified as the nation’s #1 spot for opioid overdose.  According to a national study released Wednesday, Richmond is on the very edge of an area that stretches through southeastern Indiana, southwestern Ohio, and into northern Kentucky.  The study identifies places were overdoses and overdose deaths are more tightly clustered than anywhere else.  Wayne County is on pace to exceed last year’s overdose total by this August.  There were two overdose calls in Richmond Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS ZERO COVID-19 CASES

(Wayne County, IN)--Something happened Tuesday with Wayne County’s Covid-19 daily case count that’s only happened a few times in the last year.  The county’s case count was zero.  It continues the downward trend of reported cases in Wayne County and across the Whitewater Valley.  By comparison, Wayne County’s worst Covid-19 day was November 19 of last year.  On that day alone, 103 new cases were reported.  Reid Health was down to just two patients Wednesday morning.

HALF-MILLION DOLLARS IN COCAINE FOUND ON I-70

(Henry County, IN)--Half a million dollars’ worth of cocaine was taken off of I-70.  Details were released Tuesday of a weekend drug bust in Henry County.  A California man was pulled over for following too closely.  A canine hit on the vehicle and, when it was searched, deputies found 15 kilos of cocaine stuffed into two hidden compartments in the vehicle.  The man now faces up to 30 years in prison.

ALLEGED DRUG DEALER FOUND WITH GUN, THROWING STAR

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man  is facing a set of serious charges after being arrested near 16th and East Main Tuesday night.  Brandon Miller was being held Monday morning on a $31,000 bond.  He’s accused of dealing cocaine and resisting arrest.  He’s also charged with being in possession of a firearm as a felon and possession of a throwing star.  Other details of the arrest have not been released.

WAYNE COUNTY HAS BEST COVID-19 WEEK SINCE LAST JULY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has just had its best weekly Covid-19 case count since July of last year.  Wayne County has added only 22 new cases since last Monday.  That’s the lowest Monday-to-Monday total since last July 13.  Most other area counties have had single-digit cases since last Monday, including Preble with six, Fayette and Randolph with seven, and Union County with six.  There were only four Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas Tuesday morning.

WAYNE COUNTY SURPASSES 200 DEATHS WITH COVID-19

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s Covid-19 case numbers may be the best they’ve been in close to a year, but the county still has just passed a grim milestone.  Wayne County has had its 200th person die with Covid-19, and that total now stands at 201.  There were three total deaths reported in May.  Roughly 95% of Wayne County’s Covid-19 deaths came before the vaccine was available.  Of Wayne County’s 201 deaths, 197 have been in people over the age of 60.

EATON WOMAN KILLED IN CRASH

(Franklin County, IN)--Details of a crash that killed an Eaton resident have been released.  It happened on State Road 1 south of Brookville in Franklin County.  Ronald and Vanessa Bailey are a husband and wife that were driving in separate cars.  As Vanessa rounded a curve, and oncoming vehicle that went left of center struck her head-on.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the vehicle that caused the crash was taken to a Cincinnati hospital.  Investigators suspect he fell asleep behind the wheel.

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