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Local News Archives for 2021-07

RICHMOND POLICE ARREST ANOTHER ALLEGED MURDERER

(Myrtle Beach, SC)--Richmond police have rounded up another alleged murder.  On the heels of the arrest of Lataj Brewer for murder earlier this week, investigators have now traveled to South Carolina to arrest 21-year-old Charles Boyce Junior on a murder warrant.  Boyce was taken into custody Thurday without incident after questioning in Myrtle Beach.  The FBI and the U.S. Marshal’s Office assisted in the case.  Boyce has not yet been brought back to Wayne County.  Investigators have not said what local murder Boyce is accused of committing.

NO INCREASE SEEN IN WAYNE COUNTY VACCINATION RATES

(Wayne County, IN)--The Delta variant of Covid-19 has apparently not prompted a substantial amount of Wayne County residents to get vaccinated.  Since last Friday, 185 Wayne County residents have become fully vaccinated.  That’s only six more than the week before and brings the total of 24,560 residents now vaccinated.  That’s 37% of the county’s overall population.  Meanwhile, the number of patients in Reid Health containment areas has increased.  There were ten patients Friday morning.  It marks the first time since May 17 that Reid has had at least ten Covid-19 patients.

JOBLESS CLAIM NUMBERS DROPPING AFTER HUGE SPIKE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s weekly jobless claim numbers are coming back down following a big spike.  When the announcement was made several weeks ago that the extra $300 weekly benefit would continue into September, eight times as many Wayne County residents as normal filed jobless claims.  Now, in the last week, those claims have been cut nearly in half.  Wayne County has dropped from 308 claims to 180 in the past week.

"SELF-PROCLAIMED GANG MEMBERS", INCLUDING ALLEGED MURDERER, JAILED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Police say they’ve rounded up four self-proclaimed gang members who are responsible for several shooting incidents and other crimes around the city in recent months.  A round-up was conducted Wednesday morning.  One of the four, 20-year-old Lataj Brewer, is now charged with the murder of 17-year-old Jakob Snider last year and the shooting of a 17-year-old girl.  Three others, including 23-year-old Dominique Walker, 20-year-old Peyton Sutton, and 19-year-old Deonte Gabbard are charged with other crimes that include armed robbery and criminal gang activity.  All four were taken to the Wayne County Jail Wednesday.  Wednesday’s round-up resulted in the apprehension of one alleged Richmond murderer, but another is still on the loose.   An active murder warrant remains in place for 19-year-old Tayshawn Newman.  Newman is accused of shooting and killing Chad Mullins on North 13th Street in April.  Newman was allegedly upset that the marijuana he had purchased from Mullins was of poor quality.  Newman admitted to a family member that he had shot Mullins.

WRIGHT WILL DETERMINE IF RCS WILL WEAR MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board on Wednesday night discussed a potential revision to a mask policy one day after the CDC recommended that all students, teachers, and staff nationwide mask up while inside regardless of whether they had been vaccinated or not.  The new RCS superintendent, Dr. Curtis Wright, is also now a new member of the Wayne County Board of Health.  The RCS Board Wednesday night indicated that it would leave the decision on whether or not to require students to wear a mask up to Wright.  As it stands now, students must wear a mask on the bus, but not in school.

PLAYERS, FANS TURN OUT TO SUPPORT SONSINI

(Richmond, IN)--Lots of supporters of Richmond High School football coach Tony Sonsini turned out at Wednesday afternoon’s Richmond Community School Board meeting to lend their support in the wake of the incident with National Trail during a scrimmage nearly two weeks ago.  Players, coaches, and fans addressed the Board and urged the Board to consider positive aspects of Sonsini’s tenure.  Sonsini struck a National Trail coach after the two teams got into a confrontation.  The Board took the public comment under advisement.  No decision has been made as to what – if any – consequences Sonsini will face.

NATIONAL TRAIL STAFFERS SAY CHARGES BEING PURSUED AGAINST RHS COACH

(Richmond, IN)--Members of the coaching staff of the National Trail High School football team say that the coach who was struck by a Richmond High School football coach officially pursued charges Tuesday.  It’s a result of an incident that occurred during a scrimmage at Lyboult Field 12 days ago.  Video shows the Richmond coach striking a National Trail coach in the face or head on the field after tempers flared among players.  According to National Trail staff members Tuesday, the coach who was struck went to the Richmond Police Department Tuesday to pursue charges and was told that the case would be turned over to the Indiana State Police due to a conflict of interest.  One Richmond police officer is also a member of the Richmond Community School Board.  The Richmond Community School Board meets Wednesday afternoon.  So far, RCS administrators have not announced any action or publically acknowledged that the incident occurred.  (Note:  The image accompanying this story is from a screenshot of a video sent to Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News and depicts the moment the coach was struck.)

LOCAL COUNTIES INCLUDED IN NEW CDC MASK RECOMMENDATIONS

(Whitewater Valley)--The CDC on Tuesday issued new Covid-19 guidelines that indicate that counties with high transmissions return to mask-wearing indoors, and that includes three counties in our area.  Wayne County is not included in the recommendation, but Union, Preble, and Franklin County are.  The CDC says people in those counties should wear a mask indoors whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.  The CDC also recommends now that, when school begins, everyone wear a mask indoors including students, teachers, and staff – again, whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.  No local governmental entity has addressed the new guidelines, although Wayne County Commissioners meet Wednesday morning and the Richmond Community School Board meets Wednesday afternoon.

MAN SENTENCED FOR CENTERVILLE-AREA MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--The third of four people who took part in the murder of James Herbolt in Centerville almost four years ago has now been sentenced.  Donald Bailey was sentenced this week to 50 years in prison as part of a plea deal.  With good-time credit, the 30-year-old Bailey won’t be free until he’s 67 years old.  Herbolt was shot to death and his body was tossed into a ditch on Nolands Fork Road near I-70.  The fourth and final suspect, Jacob Rasner, is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

DELTA VARIANT CONFIRMED IN WAYNE COUNTY

(Wayne County, IN)--The Delta variant of Covid-19 is now officially in Wayne County.  On Monday, the Health Department was notified of the first Wayne County sample testing positive for the Delta variant.  Only a fraction of all samples are sent for DNA specification, and county officials have already been operating under the assumption that the Delta variant has been prevalent.  The county has scheduled several vaccination clinics at remote sites in the coming weeks, including at the Boys & Girls Club, Centerville Middle School, and Starr Elementary School.  Preble County’s Health Department is also reaching out and expanding vaccination efforts.  In the last few weeks, Preble County has had far more cases of Covid-19 per capita than any other county in the Whitewater Valley.   The health department there on Monday scheduled a vaccination clinic at Lakengren’s marina this Friday night from 6 until 7.  People don’t need to be a Lakengren resident to receive the vaccine.

NEW TIERNAN CENTER FLOOR RENEWS MASCOT DEBATE

(Richmond, IN)--It’s a debate that has existed for decades, and it’s heating up again.  Richmond High School’s Tiernan Center is sporting a brand new floor which features a large, angry-looking devil at center court.  Many people love it.  Others, just as they have for generations, say it’s a bad look and that the devil should not be the school’s mascot.  One former RHS basketball standout on Monday night called for the image’s removal and a mascot change.

WOMAN WANTED FOR ABUSING DOGS JAILED

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond woman who was wanted for months for abusing nine dogs was booked into the Wayne County Jail late Monday night.  22-year-old Allison Junkin now faces one criminal count for each of those nine dogs.  Junkin and Marcia Morgan allegedly abandoned the dogs last winter at a home in Milton that was deemed unfit for habitation.  Two of the dogs were left outside.  None had access to food or water.

WAYNE, PREBLE SEE HIGHEST COVID-19 CASE COUNTS IN OVER A MONTH

(Wayne County, IN and Preble County, OH)--Wayne County has just had its highest Monday-to-Monday total of Covid-19 cases since early last month.  The county has added 18 cases in the last week.  It’s the most since the county added 19 in the week ending June 7.  Wayne County’s positivity rate has jumped up to 3.6%.  Preble County continues to be the hotspot in our area.  Preble County has added 25 cases since last Monday.  That’s its highest weekly total since late April.  There were four patients in Reid Health containment areas Monday morning.

TWO TEENS BANNED AFTER BRINGING AR-15 RIFLE TO SKATE PARK

(Richmond, IN)--Two teens have been banned from Richmond Parks and Recreation facilities after allegedly bringing a loaded AR-15 rifle to the skate park.  According to the Richmond Police Department, Djuan and Deviante Mathis were pointing the rifle and prompted a police response.  When officers arrived, they found the rifle leaning against a fence and a full magazine in one of the boys’ pockets.  Neither was arrested.  Djuan Mathis has a pending criminal case for pointing a firearm after an arrest in April.

COUPLE RESCUED FROM WHITEWATER RIVER

(Wayne and Fayette County, IN)--A couple that became stranded overnight while floating down the Whitewater River was rescued Sunday morning.  According to a release from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Jesse and Shawna Mohler of Spiceland were floating down the river on a tube when they ripped their tube on a dam late Saturday night.  They called relatives for help, but then could not be located.  First responders searched overnight and found the couple at 7:15 Sunday morning near Whitaker and Neuman Lake Road with the help of a drone.  They were not hurt.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS SPIKE AFTER EXTENSION OF $300 CHECKS

(Wayne County, IN)--A huge jump in Wayne County’s unemployment claims appears to coincide with the announcement that the $300 weekly checks would continue until September according to numbers released Thursday.  Listen to the jobless claims by week recently in Wayne County and you’ll hear the jump when the benefit extension was announced.  50-46-60-59-463.  The same type of jump was seen earlier this year when stimulus checks were distributed.  Then, Wayne County’s claims by week went 132-101-123-763.

DELTA VARIANT NOT INSPIRING WAYNE CO. RESIDENTS TO BECOME VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--Lots of talk about an uptick in Covid-19 due to the Delta variant has apparently not motivated many people to become vaccinated.  Since last Friday, there have been 179 Wayne County residents to become fully vaccinated.  That’s the lowest Friday-to-Friday vaccination total in at least a month.  24,375 Wayne County residents are now fully vaccinated.  That represents 37% of the entire population.  Deducting young children who are not yet eligible raises Wayne County’s vaccination rate to around 42%.

MAN CAPTURED AFTER ELUDING POLICE ON BROOKVILLE LAKE

(Dunlapsville, IN)--There was a police pursuit of a different kind late Thursday afternoon.  Richard Smith was wanted in Union County for domestic battery and strangulation.  Smith fled, but not on the road and not on foot.  Smith took to Brookville Lake in a boat as officers tried to apprehend him.  Scanner traffic indicates Smith was going up and down the lake between the Treaty Line and Dunlapsville boat ramps.  Both the DNR and state police were involved.  Smith was eventually taken into custody, although there’s no word yet on exactly how that occurred.

THURSDAY IS 20-YEAR MARK SINCE NIQUI McCOWN DISAPPEARANCE

(Richmond, IN)--Twenty years ago Thursday is the day that Richmond’s Niqui McCown was seen for the last time.  Niqui vanished from the laundry on South E.  She has never been found and no arrest has ever been made.  A prime suspect took his own life a decade ago as police tried to apprehend him for another murder.  Niqui’s daughter, Payton, was nine years old at the time.  Now, she’s 29 and a mother herself.  She talked about her mom.  "I got married and I went through pregnancy without having that motherly advice.  And that's something that I've always longed for."  On Thursday, an event is scheduled at the laundry where Niqui disappeared.  It’s called “Keep the Light Alive”.  There will be games for kids, food, and a chance for everyone to remember Niqui.  The event runs from 5-8 p.m.

BANE TO RETURN TO ALMA MATER FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL EVENT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s NBA superstar is giving back to his hometown following a very successful rookie season.  Desmond Bane has set up a website to help Richmond by enabling the purchase of merchandise.  Portions of the proceeds then are given to charitable organizations.  The website is desmond-bane.com.  Bane is also hosting a back-to-school drive at Seton Catholic High School a week from Saturday.  Soon after that, he’ll be heading to Las Vegas to take part in the NBA Summer League.

WAYNE COUNTY HAS SINGLE-HIGHEST COVID-19 DAY SINCE EARLY MAY

(Wayne County, IN)--All Whitewater Valley counties remained in the blue when Indiana’s updated Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  But, Wayne County did report eight new cases, which is its highest single-day total since it reported nine new cases back on May 7.  Meanwhile, President Biden was within 50 miles of Wayne County Wednesday night to tell a national audience about the effects of Covid-19.  "We've lost more people in the United States than every war we've ever fought.  And that's come to a screeching halt for those who have been vaccinated," Biden said.  Biden pleaded for people to get vaccinated when he addressed the country from Mount St. Joe on Cincinnati’s west side.

SHOOTING UNDER INVESTIGATION

(Webster, IN)--Deputies investigated a shooting Tuesday near Webster.  The initial indication was that the victim shot himself accidentally.  It happened in the 4000 block of Webster Road at around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.  The victim was taken to Reid Health.  There’s been no word on his identity or condition.  According to scanner traffic, several children were in the house at the time of the shooting.

CENTERVILLE TO SEE CONSTRUCTION TO REMOVE INTERURBAN TIES

(Centerville, IN)--Centerville is the site of a new round of road construction.  From now until sometime around Labor Day, crews will be working to dig out ties from the interurban railroad that connected Centerville and Richmond before there were automobiles.  U.S. 40 was constructed over the top of those ties, and they’ve been in the ground ever since.  Here’s Police Chief Ed Buccholz at a recent meeting of town council.  "Everybody needs to pay close attention to the traffic pattern.  Things will be changing.  We'll be monitoring and doing what we can to get people slowed down."  While one crew takes out the ties, another will be doing backfilling.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB EXPANDING

(Cambridge City, IN)--The Boys & Girls Club is expanding into Western Wayne County.  The organization announced Tuesday that it will be operating inside the Western Wayne Schools Administration building on Queen Street.  Funding for the project is the result of efforts to offset loss in educational time due to Covid-19.  Kids from ages six to 18 will be able to join for $15 per year.

IU EAST STUDENTS MUST BE VACCINATED FOLLOWING JUDGE'S RULING

(Richmond, IN)--IU East students will be affected by a federal judge’s ruling.  That judge has upheld IU’s vaccination policy that requires students attending any IU campus this fall - including IU East - to have been vaccinated against Covid-19.  A group of students had sought an injunction against the policy.  Proof of vaccine, though, will not be required.  As of Tuesday morning, less than four in ten people of traditional college age across Indiana have received the Covid-19 vaccine.  The students who tried to get an injunction say they’ll appeal the judge’s ruling.

WAYNE COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS AS WORKFORCE EXPANDS

(Wayne County, IN)--There is some positive news regarding Wayne County’s unemployment.  According to figures released Monday, Wayne County unemployment rate continues to slowly but steadily drop to pre-Covid-19 numbers.  Wayne County’s rate Tuesday morning stood at 4.4%.  What’s most notable in the new report is the growth in the size of Wayne County’s workforce.  There are now nearly 31,800 people in the local workforce, which is nearly 1500 more people than this time two years ago.

FOUR JAILED AFTER OVERNIGHT BRAWL AT RICHMOND APARTMENT COMPLEX

(Richmond, IN)--There was a large brawl at the Westwood Apartments in Richmond Monday night into Tuesday morning.  It broke out at around midnight and involved about a dozen people.  A large police response resulted in multiple juveniles being taken to police headquarters and four adults going to jail for disorderly conduct.  They include Krisandra Barnett, Wanda Brock, Nelson Holsinger, and Autumn Reid.  There were no report of serious injury or word on what started the melee.

COVID-19 CASES RISE IN WAYNE, PREBLE COUNTY

(Whitewater Valley)--Wayne County has just had its highest weekly Covid-19 count in more than a month.  The county has added 16 cases since last Monday, which is the most since it recorded 19 in the week ending June 7.  All other area counties have added just a few cases in the last week except for Preble County.  Preble County has added 22 cases in the last week.  Wayne County’s positivity rate is at 1.5%.  There were two Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas Monday morning.

RCS INVESTIGATING SCUFFLE BETWEEN COACHES AT FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE

(Richmond, IN)--An incident at a football scrimmage between Richmond and National Trail over the weekend is being reviewed by RCS administrators.  Players were not in full pads and there was no tackling in the seven-on-seven scrimmage.  But, video shows one player throwing another player down, which caused benches to clear.  As coaches separated players, two coaches got into a confrontation with one coach striking another.  A few parents then came onto the field.  Richmond was ultimately disqualified.  No injuries were reported.

MULTIPLE DRUG OVERDOSES REPORTED IN 24-HOUR PERIOD

(Richmond, IN)--There has been a rash of drug overdoses in Richmond between noon Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday.  Scanner traffic indicates first responders were sent to seven separate overdoses since noon Sunday.  Four have occurred after 10 o’clock Sunday night.  One of them turned fatal just north of Richmond.  Another overdose occurred in the McDonald’s drive-thru.  One Sunday occurred in the Walmart restroom.  Dylan Shipley was charged in that case with possessing a syringe.  David Williams was arrested for the same thing on South J Sunday.

MORE CHARGES ADDED AGAINST TEEN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--A new charge has added against the Richmond teen who was charged Wednesday night with attempted murder.  18-year-old Jason Duncan remained in the Wayne County Jail Friday morning following a shooting incident Wednesday night and subsequent search of a home on Mid Drive.  The attempted murder charge remains in place.  On Thursday, the charge of arson resulting in serious bodily injury was added.  Investigators have not yet said what incident led to the arson charge.

WAYNE COUNTY VACCINATION RATE NEARS 37%

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County residents continue to become fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at a rate of roughly 200 per week.  That’s been the average for the last several weeks.  202 Wayne County residents have become fully vaccinated since last Friday, bringing the total to 24,196.  That’s not quite 37% of the population and lags behind state totals.  About 43% of Indiana residents are now fully vaccinated.

SCOOTER RIDER CRITICALLY INJURED

(Richmond, IN)--A male scooter rider was critically injured in a crash Thursday night.  It happened near South 8th and B in Richmond.  Officers were checking surveillance video from nearby businesses to see if any other vehicles were involved and fled the scene..  South 8th was shut down.  A family member indicated the rider was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  There’s no word on his identity or current condition.

TEEN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER AFTER WEDNESDAY NIGHT SHOOTING

(Richmond, IN)--A juvenile sustained minor injuries during a shooting in Richmond Wednesday night.  But, this time, there has been an arrest.  The shots were fired in the area of North 12th and G.  Scanner traffic indicates that the victim was only grazed.  Officers then tracked the alleged shooter to a house on Mid Drive off of New Paris Pike.  There, they arrested 18-year-old Jason Duncan.  Duncan was in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning on charges that include attempted murder and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.  Other teens were detained and questioned.  There’s also no word yet on whether or not Duncan is suspected in other recent shots fired incidents around the city.  Investigators now have a lot of evidence to process that’s potential related to other shots fired calls.  During the investigation Wednesday night, a search warrant was served at a house at 63 Mid Drive.  A total of seven vehicles were towed from that location and are now being processed for evidence.  There have been numerous incidents in recent months of shots being fired from vehicles in Richmond.

MAN WANTED FOR RICHMOND TODDLER'S DEATH CAPTURED

(Hancock County, IN)--One of Wayne County’s most wanted men is now in custody.  54-year-old Todd Volker was located and arrested in Hancock County and returned to the Wayne County Jail Wednesday.  Tips from the public helped investigators locate him.  Volker is accused of abusing and neglecting a two-year-old boy with serious injuries in Richmond.  That boy ultimately died.  Volker, who is also a convicted sex offender, then failed to show up for court hearings.  He was in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning with a bond that now totals $535,000.

MOVIE BEING SHOT IN UNION COUNTY

(Liberty, IN)--A scene in an upcoming movie was shot in Liberty Wednesday.  The movie is called "Bones and All" and is a drama that stars Taylor Russell and Jessica Harper.  It’s about a young couple that has survived a challenging past and is traveling across America in the 1980’s.  Cars from that era surrounded the Union County Courthouse Wednesday for filming.  Another scene is also being shot at an undisclosed home in Union County.

OBSERVANCE TO MARK 20-YEAR POINT SINCE NIQUI McCOWN DISAPPEARANCE

(Richmond, IN)--A week from Thursday marks the 20-year point since the disappearance of Richmond’s Niqui McCown.  Now, and event is planned to remember her.  The event is called “Keeping the Light Alive.”  It’s being organized by Niqui’s daughter Payton with the help of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, which has purchased the laundry from which Niqui disappeared back on July 22 of 2001.  That building will be converted into a recovery center for people who need various types of help.

BODY OF MISSING MAN FOUND IN WHITEWATER RIVER

(Fayette County, IN)--The body of a missing man was found in the Whitewater River Tuesday.  26-year-old Robert Austin of Connersville had not been seen for nearly a week, although his vehicle had been found near Three Mile Bridge off of 121 south of Connersville.  The exact cause of death won’t be released until an autopsy is complete.  Conservation officers and sheriff’s deputies had searched the river for the last several days before Tuesday’s discovery.

SHOTS FIRED ON NORTH 13th

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police investigated a shots fired call Tuesday night.  Officers were called to the 300 block of North 13th after multiple callers to 911 reported that shots had been fired in the area.  There were no reports of injury.  Police were searching for were was described as two shooters – one male and one female – that fled the scene in a silver Honda.  No arrests have been made.

WAYNE COUNTY SCHOOLS: MASKS WILL BE OPTIONAL FOR RETURNING STUDENTS

(Wayne County, IN)--The superintendents of Wayne County’s five public schools met recently and, on Monday, released details of Covid-19 plans for the upcoming school year.  All Wayne County public schools will reopen with in-person learning.  Masks will be optional in the classroom but will still be mandatory on school buses.  Staff and students who are not vaccinated will be subject to contract tracing.  The superintendents say those plans could change based on CDC recommendations.  Indiana’s health department has sent a survey to school districts, including those in our area, about testing and vaccinations.  It will be up to each school district to decide whether they’ll offer Covid-19 vaccinations and testing on-site.  Vaccinations would not be administered without the consent of parents.

PRIMEX TO EXPAND WITH HELP OF EDC GRANT

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond manufacturer is expanding.  With the help of an EDIT grant from the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, Primex Design and Fabrication is investing $1.4 million in a new digital printer to expand its market.  The EDC announced the project on Monday.  Six new jobs will be created and 12 more will be retained.  Those full-time jobs pay an average of $20 per hour.  The grant still needs formal approval from Wayne County Commissioners.

PLAYER FROM RHS'S '92 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM FOUND DEAD

(Richmond, IN)--A member of Richmond High School’s 1992 state champion boys basketball team has died.  Dedric Thompson was found dead at the home of a relative over the weekend.  Thompson was known for his leaping ability and infectious smile, but it was his three-pointer in the state championship semi-final that helped propel the Red Devils to their own and only title.  A cause of death has not been released.  Services for Dedric Thompson are pending.

WHITEWATER RIVER SEARCHED FOR MISSING MAN

(Fayette County, IN)--Authorities from numerous agencies spent the weekend searching the Whitewater River in the Nulltown area for a missing Connersville man.  The search involved an air boat, drones, and kayaks and centered on an area near what’s known as Three Mile Bridge.  Investigators also walked the river banks as part of the search.  Fayette County officials indicated Monday morning that he still has not been found.  The missing man has been identified as 26-year-old Robert Austin.  His vehicle was found in the area last Thursday night, but Austin is still missing.

WAYNE COUNTY RETURNS TO DOUBLE-DIGIT COVID-19 CASES

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s weekly Covid-19 case count has reached double digits for the first time in a month.  Wayne County has added 11 new cases since last Monday.  Union and Franklin County did not add a single case for the entire week.  The hot spot in our area continues to be Preble County.  Preble County has added 14 cases since last Monday.  It also has had less than a third of its population vaccinated so far.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS CONTINUE TO LAG

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of Wayne County residents fully vaccinated against Covid-19 continues to lag well behind state and national averages.  As of Friday morning, 23,994 Wayne County residents are fully vaccinated.  That’s about 36.5% of its residents spanning all age groups.  It also means that only about 1300 residents have become fully vaccinated in the last month.  Reid Health on Thursday reinstated its Covid-19 vaccination clinic at the Kuhlman Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS UP 23%

(Wayne County, IN)--New jobless claim numbers are out, and they show that Wayne County is following a national trend for jobless claims.  Wayne County’s jobless claims have risen by 23% in the last week, according to numbers released by the state Thursday.  The 59 claims filed most recently are still more than three times higher than what they were in this week of 2019, before Covid-19 affected jobless claims.

RICHMOND MAN FLEES CRASH FOR 7th NON-LICENSE CHARGE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man who was not supposed to have been driving was caught after allegedly fleeing the scene of a crash Thursday afternoon.  The crash happened near North 9th and A.  25-year-old Devin Ackman was stopped nearby and charged with leaving the scene and being a habitual offender.  There was no immediate word of any injury.  Ackman has had four separate criminal cases in just the last two years.  Court records also indicate this is now the 7th time Ackman has been charged in Wayne County for driving without a license.

101 CLOSURE DELAYED UNTIL AFTER LABOR DAY

(Union County, IN)--Here is some great news for everyone who travels between Richmond and Brookville Lake through the summer months.  The closure of State Road 101 just south of Liberty, which was supposed to have gone into effect this week, has now been delayed until after Labor Day.  The closure would’ve meant a long detour for people heading to places like Brookville Lake, Ainsley’s Café, Harbor Links Golf Course, and Mounds Beach.  But now, all of those popular summer spots will remain easily accessible.  INDOT had received numerous complaints over the timing of the planned closure.

BOY CRITICALLY INJURED IN SKATEBOARD ACCIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--A boy was critically injured in what was reported as a skateboard accident in Richmond Wednesday night.  First responders were called to the Veterans Memorial Park in the Whitewater Gorge on the report of an unconscious male at around 9 o’clock Wednesday night.  The boy was taken to Reid Health and was met there by a medical helicopter.  There’s no word yet on his identity, current condition, or conditions that led to the incident.

UNION COUNTY DOWNGRADED TO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Union County, IN)--For the first time in the last few weeks, not every Whitewater Valley county is in the blue on Indiana’s color-coded Covid-19 map.  Union County was downgraded Wednesday from blue to yellow with a positivity rate of 5.6%.  In one day last week, Union County reported three new cases after having reported only three for the entire month of June.  Wayne County’s rate Thursday morning was at 1.9%.

ALLEGED DRUG DEALER APPREHENDED

(Richmond, IN)--Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the apprehension of an alleged Richmond drug dealer late Wednesday afternoon.  34-year-old Dustin Scott was taken into custody at his home in the 700 block of North J Street.  Scott is accused of dealing both methamphetamine and cocaine or other narcotic drug.  He failed to show up for a court hearing last month following his arrest in May.  An unspecified amount of drugs were recovered during Wednesday’s arrest.  A female at the scene was questioned but was not jailed.

PUBLIC THANKED FOR HELP IN ARREST OF ALLEGED HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Police Department on Tuesday thanked the public for its help in the arrest of a driver who they say fled the scene of a crash that was a juvenile still in ICU Wednesday morning.  30-year-old Dakota Egner allegedly fled the scene after hitting a bicyclist at Woodside Drive and Hayes Arboretum Road last weekend.  Egner is now charged with leaving the scene of a serious bodily injury accident.  Egner was identified after public response to the release of a photo of the vehicle she was driving.

MAN JAILED FOR DRUGS FOR SECOND TIME IN A MONTH

(Richmond, IN)--Drugs were recovered during a traffic stop Tuesday in a problem area of Richmond.  23-year-old Jordan Marcum was jailed after a stop in the 100 block of Richmond Avenue.  Officers recovered an unspecified quantity of cocaine or other narcotic drugs and paraphernalia.  Marcum also has never had a license to drive.  Marcum was arrested last month for driving without a license and also for possession of methamphetamine.

NEW WELCOME SIGNS PICKED FOR CONNERSVILLE

(Connersville, IN)--New signs will be placed at entries into Connersville later this year, and now a design for those signs has been picked.  For two years, Connersville has tried to come up with welcome signs that would stand out.  Fayette County’s Chamber of Commerce asked for designs.  The one that was picked was posted this week on its Facebook page.  It says “Welcome to Connersville – a city that moves” and features images of farming and basketball.

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS SINGLE-DIGIT CASES FOR 3rd STRAIGHT WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--For the third week in a row, Wayne County’s new Monday-to-Monday Covid-19 case count has been in the single digits.  Wayne County has had eight new cases in the last week and has a positivity rate this morning that’s under one percent.  One county has had an unusually high case count in the last week.  The 16 new cases in Preble County in the last week are as many as all Indiana counties in our area combined.

WANTED MAN CAUGHT IN MONDAY MORNING CHASE

(Union County, IN)--A police chase early Monday morning ended with the capture of a man who police describe as dangerous.  Jeremy Baxter had warrants from multiple states.  Officers first located him in Camden at just past midnight Monday morning.  Baxter fled west on State Road 725 and crashed between the state line and Nine Mile Road in Union County.  Despite rolling his vehicle and being ejected from it, Baxter fled on foot through cornfields.  Baxter was eventually taken into custody and was in the Union County Jail Monday morning.  He will be extradited back to Ohio to face charges there first.

LIBERTY WOMAN KILLED IN MOTORCYCLE CRASH

(Delaware County, IN)--A Liberty woman has been identified as the victim in a fatal motorcycle crash just outside of Muncie.  Investigators say that Jennifer Curry of Liberty was riding a motorcycle on U.S. 35 when she lost control, crossed the center line, and struck an oncoming pickup truck.  A medical helicopter was summoned, but Curry was pronounced dead before it arrived.  The driver of the truck was not hurt.

WAYNE COUNTY REACHES ONLY HALF OF FEDERAL VACCINATION GOAL

(Wayne County, IN)--Months ago, President Joe Biden said that the national goal was to have 70% of U.S. citizens vaccinated from Covid-19 by the 4th of July.  The country will fall short, but Wayne County is not even in the ballpark.  As of this morning, Wayne County can count 23,765 of its residents as fully vaccinated.  It’s nowhere near 70%; it’s only 36%.  The 23,000-plus is only half the total needed for Wayne County to reach 70%.  Franklin County now has the third-lowest vaccination rate in Indiana.

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CENTERVILLE MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--Another person involved in the murder of James Herbolt II in 2017 has pled guilty to his role in the crime.  30-year-old Donald Bailey Junior pled guilty Thursday to felony murder in the death of the Centerville man.  The plea deal calls for Bailey to be sentenced to 50 years in prison, although that has not officially taken place yet.  Bailey shot Herbolt and then dumped his body on Nolands Fork Road as part of a robbery.  Three other men have all been convicted for their roles in the murder.

WOMAN ASKING DEPUTIES TO COME BACK WITH WARRANT GETS HER WISH

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County deputies went to the house of Amanda Cole Thursday.  Cole is accused in a robbery and had an active warrant for failing to appear.  On her doorstep was a mat that read “come back with a warrant.”  Deputies had one and took Cole into custody.  But then, Wayne County posted a picture of the mat, along with Cole, on their Facebook page and said that they take pride in their service and aim to please.

FORMER RP&L LEADER JAILED FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH A MINOR

(Richmond, IN)--The former general manager of Richmond Power & Light was jailed Wednesday on a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor.  65-year-old Jim French was booked into jail following an appearance in Wayne Superior Court I.  French was originally charged with child molesting more than four years ago.  Wednesday’s jailing was the result of a plea and sentencing hearing in which French pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.  French resigned quickly as RP&L’s leader seven years ago when allegations surfaced that inappropriate images had been found on his work computer.

FIRE CAUSED BY LIGHTNING DESTROYS CENTERVILLE HOME

(Centerville, IN)--Lightning appears to be to blame for a fire that destroyed a house south of Centerville Wednesday.  The fire broke out when storms rolled through Wednesday morning at a house in the 3800 block of Willow Grove Road.  According to scanner traffic, firefighters from multiple communities were called to the scene.  Firefighters were on the scene for more than three hours.  No injuries were reported.  A gofundme account was established to help the occupants.

PREBLE COUNTY LEADERS DISCUSS EFFECTS OF RAILROAD CLOSURES

(Eaton, OH)--The former general manager of Richmond Power & Light was jailed Wednesday on a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor.  65-year-old Jim French was booked into jail following an appearance in Wayne Superior Court I.  French was originally charged with child molesting more than four years ago.  Wednesday’s jailing was the result of a plea and sentencing hearing in which French pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.  French resigned quickly as RP&L’s leader seven years ago when allegations surfaced that inappropriate images had been found on his work computer.

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