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Local News Archives for 2021-08

REID'S COVID-19 PATIENT COUNT INCREASES 29% IN A DAY

(Richmond, IN)--The number of Covid-19 patients at Reid Health has taken a big increase.  Between 4 a.m. Monday and 4 a.m. Tuesday, Reid’s Covid-19 patient count had increased from 35 to 45.  That’s a 29% increase in just a day.  Reid does not provide statistics that detail the number of patients that have been vaccinated or on the number of breakthrough cases.  Wayne County reported 55 new cases Monday and a positivity rate of 11.5%.

BODY FOUND IN ABANDONED BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Coroner’s Office removed a body from a building in the first block of North 13th in Richmond Monday afternoon.  A caller to 911 indicated that she had discovered the body inside an abandoned building.  The Richmond Police Department is investigating but has not released other information, including the person’s identity if it’s known.  Scanner traffic indicated that a gun was found nearby and that the person had been there for an extended period of time, but that has not yet been confirmed.

ONE-THIRD OF IU EAST STUDENTS UNVACCINATED DESPITE MANDATE

(Richmond, IN)--A few months ago, IU East students and staff members learned that they would have to be fully vaccinated to be able to return to campus.  Now, with classes having started, IU East is nowhere close to full compliance.  As of late last week, and according to its own figures, only 65% of IU East students have been vaccinated.  That’s the lowest rate of any regional IU campus in Indiana.  A university spokesperson indicated that they feel they can keep students safe through weekly testing of people not vaccinated.

WAYNE COUNTY HAS WORST COVID-19 WEEK OF 2021

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has just had one of its worst Covid-19 weeks since the beginning of the pandemic.  Since the outbreak began a year and a half ago, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News has tracked weekly cases on a Monday-to-Monday basis.  In the past week, Wayne County has added 443 cases.  That’s the highest total this calendar year.  To find a higher Monday-to-Monday total, you have to go back to December 7 through December 14, when there were 525 cases in a week.  Several other area counties have also just had their highest total of the calendar year.  Wayne County has added another Covid-19 death, bringing the total to 205.  The county has now had four deaths this month after not having had any for all of June and July.

DRIVER SHORTAGE DELAYS RCS BUSES

(Richmond, IN)--Businesses and organizations across the Whitewater Valley continue to deal with a shortage of employees, and that now includes the Richmond Community School system.  RCS made an announcement Sunday that buses may be late Monday and Tuesday due to what it calls "forces beyond its control as they deal with a shortage of bus drivers."  Students who take the bus and are late to school will not be counted as tardy.

WANTED WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER STABBING CALL

(Richmond, IN)--The report of a stabbing has resulted in the arrest of a wanted Richmond woman Monday morning.  Officers were sent to the 200 block of South 12th at just before 2 o’clock Mobnday morning.  There, they located 27-year-old Aaron Shearer.  Shearer was taken into custody for failing to appear in court in a previous case, but has not been charged with anything related to a stabbing.  Shearer had been arrested in May for domestic battery.

WAYNE COUNTY HAS WORST COVID-19 DAY ON RECORD

(Wayne County, IN)--On Thursday, Wayne County had its worst Covid-19 day in the history of the pandemic.  The county recorded 105 new cases of Covid-19 in just a single day Thursday.  That breaks the record of 103 set just before Thanksgiving last year.  And, of Thurday’s 105 new cases, 42 were in children.  Wayne County also recorded a Covid-19 death Thursday.  It was an unvaccinated female in her 70’s.  That the fourth Wayne County death this month.  The number of patients in Reid Health containment areas was holding steady Friday morning at 39.  Thursday’s total also means that Wayne County has passed the 8000-case mark since the pandemic began.

WAYNE COUNTY VACCINATIONS ON THE RISE

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of Covid-19 cases in Wayne County is clearly on the rise, but so is the number of people who have become fully vaccinated.  Listen to how these weekly numbers have increased beginning five weeks ago:  87, 165, 185, 271, 367.  Those 367 Wayne County residents that have been vaccinated in the last week bring the county’s total to 25,450.  That represents a little less than 39% of the county’s total population.

BENCH PLACED AT GLEN MILLER POND FOR NIQUI McCOWN

(Richmond, IN)--A new bench is in place overlooking the pond at Glen Miller Park that honors the legacy of Niqui McCown.  Niqui vanished 20 years ago and, until now, family and friends have had no resting place to remember Niqui.  But that’s changed thanks to the donation of Lowe’s employee Cody Parkerson, who, until now, was a stranger to the family.  A plaque on the bench reads “the light that shines shall lead you home.”  The family indicated they believe there are people who have information about Niqui’s disappearance and asked those people to come forward.

RCS BOARD HEARS PUBLIC COMMENT ABOUT MASK MANDATE

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board met late Wednesday afternoon with the topic of masking on the minds of those who attended.  14 people addressed the Board Wednesday night on the masking issue.  It was split evenly among people who thought masks were necessary and those who didn’t.  The last speaker was an RHS student who said that he had heard adults giving their opinions, but no one had heard from students.  He said that students overwhelming favor mask-wearing so they can remain in school.  No further action on masking was taken Wednesday night.

ALL AREA COUNTIES AT LEAST ORANGE ON COVID-19 MAP

(Whitewater Valley)--Six weeks ago, all area counties were blue on the Covid-19 map.  Now, they’re all orange on the map that was released Wednesday.  There’s one exception…Union County has moved into the red, indicating the highest level of spread.  Meanwhile, Wayne County added 93 new cases just Wednesday.  It means that Wayne County has had 258 new cases since Monday.  The county will likely surpass 8000 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began at some point Thursday.

WESTERN WAYNE IMPLEMENTS MASK MANDATE; UNION COUNTY DOES NOT

(Cambridge City and Liberty, IN)--Another area school is instituting mandatory masking as Covid-19 cases remain high.  Beginning Friday, Western Wayne will implement a mandate regardless of vaccination status.  It will include students, teachers, and staff members.  Now, all five public schools in Wayne County have a mask mandate in place.  Western Wayne’s mask mandate will remain in place indefinitely.  Wayne County schools may have now all implemented mask mandates, but Union County does not appear to be headed there any time soon.  A special meeting was held this week about whether or not to implement a mask mandate for students in the Union County – College Corner Joint School District.  70 people with extra law enforcement were on hand. The majority of people spoke against a mandate.  When the discussion ended, the school board voted unanimously – 7-0 – against instituting a mask mandate.

WOMAN CHARGED WITH FATAL SHOOTING ON SOUTH 7th

(Richmond, IN)--A 47-year-old Richmond man died in a shooting Tuesday.  It happened at just before 10 o’clock Tuesday morning at a home in the 600 block of South 7th Street.  According to a release from Richmond police, officers arrived to find Antonio Hegg on a couch with a gunshot wound.  Hegg was pronounced dead.  41-year-old Sarah Davis was at the scene when police arrived and was placed under arrest for reckless homicide.  Details about what led to the shooting have not been released.

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS 79 COVID-19 CASES TUESDAY

(Wayne County, IN)--The number of Covid-19 cases reported in Wayne County just Tuesday exploded to 79.  There has only been one day this entire calendar year when Wayne County reported more cases, and that came when 90 cases were reported way back on January 6.  Here’s another comparison…Wayne County reported more cases just Tuesday than it did for the entire period of June 1 to July 15.  And, the number of patients in Reid Health containment areas continues to rise.  There were 39 people there Wednesday morning.  On Monday, there were 29.  A week ago Monday there were 18.

RHS FOOTBALL COACH WILL NOT FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond High School’s football coach will not face criminal charges for striking a National Trail coach.  The incident, which was captured on video during a scrimmage last month, was part of the evidence reviewed by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.  In a letter to Richmond police obtained by Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News on Tuesday, the Chief Deputy Prosecutor says that RHS coach Tony Sonsini and National Trail assistant Shawn Ruebesh are verbally engaging each other when Ruebesh’s cap makes contact with Sonsini’s face.  The letter describes Sonsini’s reaction as a “push” and says that the two coaches are seen shaking hands a minute after the incident occurs.  The Prosecutor’s office says that, given the totality of the circumstances, criminal prosecution is not merited.

DENNIS INTERMEDIATE GOES TO E LEARNING

(Richmond, IN)--One school in the Richmond system has returned to eLearning due to Covid-19 positivity rates.  Dennis Intermediate School announced Mo nday that it would return to eLearning starting Tuesdayday.  As of Tuesday morning, in person learning is scheduled to resume at Dennis on September 1.  All extracurricular activities at Dennis have been canceled through August 31.  All other RCS schools will remain open, at least as of Tuesday morning.

MASK MANDATE ISSUED FOR RICHMOND CITY BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond is joining Wayne County by once again requiring a mask in the city building.  On Monday, the county reissued a mask mandate for all employees and visitors who enter county buildings regardless of vaccination status.  On Wednesday, that same requirement goes into effect inside the city building.  It’s the same for all other city-operated buildings.  There will also be a brief health screening for people entering those buildings.

AREA UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS SLIGHTLY

(Whitewater Valley)--Area unemployment rates are coming down.  According to numbers released by Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development Monday, Wayne County’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.2%.  That’s down from 4.4% the month before.  Wayne County lost 400 people from its workforce in the last month.  Across the area, Fayette County has one of the five highest unemployment rates in Indiana, while neighboring Union County has one of the five lowest.

COVID-19 CASES MORE THAN DOUBLE IN WAYNE COUNTY IN A WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--A month ago, the number of Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas was four.  Monday morning, it was 29.  That’s one of the more startling numbers included in the Monday-to-Monday Covid-19 case count.  Since last Monday, Wayne County has added 272 cases.  To find a higher weekly total, you would have to go back to January 4 through January 11 when the vaccine was just beginning to be rolled out.  This week’s 272 cases is also more than double the 124 cases from the week before.  All other area counties have experienced similar increases in the last week.

MASK MANDATES GO INTO EFFECT

(Wayne County, IN)--A mask mandate goes into effect Monday for all county government buildings.  That includes the Wayne County Courthouse and the County Administration Building, but does not yet include the Richmond City Building.  The mandate is in place regardless of vaccination status.  And, another mask mandate goes into effect Monday at another local school system.  Northeastern Wayne Schools has instituted a mask mandate after consultation with the Wayne County Health Department.  Northeastern joins Richmond and Centerville as schools with mandates.

SHOTS FIRED INTO RICHMOND HOME

(Richmond, IN)--Shots were fired Saturday night in the same area of Richmond where it’s happened numerous times in the last year.  Police were called to the 200 block of North West 1st Street.  Scanner traffic indicated that numerous shell casings were located in front of a vacant house.  No injuries were reported.  Witnesses indicated that the shots came from a vehicle that fled the area.  No arrests were made.

WAYNE COUNTY RELEASES NUMBERS ON BREAKTHROUGH CASES

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County on Wednesday released statistics involving breakthrough cases of Covid-19 since the Delta variant became prominent.  Since the first of this month, there have been 344 cases.  And of those 344, 21 have been breakthrough cases – meaning those people had been vaccinated but caught the virus anyway.  That’s about six percent.  Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department said that they’ve noticed that most of the breakthrough cases were among healthcare workers who are exposed to Covid-19 patients.

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS 61 CASES, 1 DEATH IN A SINGLE DAY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wednesday was another startling day for Wayne County’s Covid-19 statistics.  Wayne County reported another 61 cases.  There’s not been a day when there has seen more cases since January 6.  Also, Wayne County reported another Covid-19 death Wednesday.  It’s the third death reported in the last two weeks.  Wayne County has now had as many deaths in the last two weeks as it did for the last four months prior to that.  And, there were now 24 patients in Reid Health containment areas Thursday morning.  One month ago, there were two.

EMPLOYEES PROTEST VACCINE REQUIREMENT OUTSIDE HOSPITAL

(Eaton, OH)--Dozens of hospital employees and their supporters gathering outside Kettering Health Network in Eaton Wednesday to protest a Covid-19 vaccine requirement.  Earlier this month, the hospital required all employees, medical staff, and volunteers who work at the Eaton location to be fully vaccinated by October 4 or lose their jobs.  Most echoed the same sentiment – that what goes into their body should be a personal choice.  Kettering released a statement saying they respect the right to peacefully protest.

WAYNE COUNTY REPORTS WORST COVID-19 DAY SINCE JANUARY

(Wayne County, IN)--Tuesday was the worst day for Covid-19 cases that Wayne County has had since January.  Just Tuesday, Wayne County reported 57 new cases of Covid-19 and one new death.  The 57 cases is the highest single-day total since 61 were reported on January 14.  It also means that the county had more cases Tuesday than it did all of last month combined.  The positivity rate soared yesterday to 8.2%, and the number of patients in Reid Health containment areas is now up to 23.  That’s Reid’s highest total of Covid-19 patients since late February.  Wayne County went 2 ½ months without a Covid-19 death, but now has had two in the last two weeks.

CENTERVILLE TOWN CLERK'S RESIGNATION EFFECTIVE FRIDAY

(Centerville, IN)--Friday will be the last day on the job for Centerville Town Clerk Susan Dillman.  A gasp of surprise could be heard from one council member when Dillman resigned abruptly during a recent meeting.  Dillman said that one of her primary responsibilities was to make sure the town follows state and federal requirements.  "However, this task is growing increasingly difficult due to the lack of expected communication," Dillman said.  A caucus will be held to pick Dillman’s replacement.

WAYNE COUNTY TO GO ORANGE ON COVID-19 MAP

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County reported just nine new cases of Covid-19 Monday.  A month ago, that would have sounded like a very high number.  But now, it’s the first time in a week that the county has reported less than ten cases.  But, it won’t be enough to prevent Wayne County from moving into the orange when Indiana’s updated Covid-19 map comes out Wednesday.  So far this month, Wayne County has had 224 cases.  The county has not indicated how many of those 224 people had been vaccinated before they were diagnosed.

CENTERVILLE-ABINGTON SCHOOLS BEGINS MASK MANDATE

(Centerville, IN)--Centerville-Abington has become the second public school system in our area to require that students, staff, teachers, and visitors all wear a mask indoors, and that requirement begins Tuesday morning.  The mandate was issued to parents Monday and is in response to 20 positive Covid-19 cases since school began a week ago Monday.  That outbreak caused 200 students to be quarantined.  Centerville said it would continue to monitor numbers and assess the situation for changing conditions.  Richmond schools issued a mask mandate before school began.

MOTHER CHANGES PLEA TO GUILTY IN BOY'S DEATH

(Hamilton, OH)--The woman who killed her own six-year-old son by dragging him to death at Rush Run in Preble County early this year changed her plea Monday.  "Guilty." was all Brittany Gosney said when questioned by the just about her plea.  "The defendant gave up her right to be referred to by me as a parent and a mother," said the prosecutor in the case.  Gosney tried to abandon James Hutchinson and his two siblings at Rush Run.  After killing him, she told investigators she dumped his body in the Ohio River.  "I absolutely believe this child is in the river," the prosecutor explained.  The boy’s body has not been recovered.  Gosney will be sentenced next month.

WAYNE COUNTY: 124 COVID-19 CASES SINCE LAST MONDAY

(Wayne County, IN)--The massive increase in Covid-19 cases across the Whitewater Valley continues.  Since this time last Monday, there have been 124 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Wayne County.  Those 124 cases represent the highest Monday-to-Monday total in Wayne County since the county had 165 cases from January 25 – February 1.  By comparison, just a month ago, instead of 124 cases for the week, Wayne County had 11.  There were also 18 Covid-19 patients in Reid Health containment areas Monday morning.  March 1 is the last time the total was higher.

COVID-19 TESTING REOPENS AT FORMER ELDER-BEERMAN BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department is moving its Covid-19 testing site back to the former Elder-Beerman building beginning Monday morning.  The department said in a prepared statement that the move was due to increased demand for testing.  It will be open from eight until four Monday through Friday.  Appointments are required and can be made online.

MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN

(College Corner, OH)--Investigators have not released any information after a man was struck and killed by a train in College Corner.  It happened Friday afternoon in an area known as the junction on the Ohio side of the state line.  The victim’s identity has not been released and there’s no word yet on what he was doing on the tracks.  The incident forced the temporary closure of U.S. 27 through College Corner.

CENSUS SHOWS WAYNE COUNTY LOST OVER 2300 RESIDENTS SINCE 2010

(Wayne County, IN)--The 2020 U.S. Census results are out, and they show that every single county in the Whitewater Valley has lost residents since 2010, which is when the last official count was taken.  Wayne County now has 66,553 residents.  Since 2010, that’s a loss of more than 2300 residents, or close to 3 ½% of the population.  The biggest area exodus in the last decade came in Union County, which lost 5.7% of its population.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES DRASTIC DROP IN PEOPLE BEING VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--The weekly number of Wayne County residents becoming fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is going down as the weekly number of cases goes up.  Two weeks ago, 185 Wayne County residents became fully vaccinated.  Last week, it dropped to 165.  And, this week, there’s been a drastic drop.  Only 87 more residents have become fully vaccinated.  The 24,812 residents that are now fully vaccinated represent 37% of the county’s total population.

WAYNE COUNTY ADDS MORE CASES IN LAST TWO DAYS THAN ALL OF JULY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County added 31 cases of Covid-19 Thursday.  That, combined with the 30 cases from the day before, means that Wayne County has added more cases in just the last two days, 61, than it did for the entire month of July.  The county’s positivity rate was up to five percent Friday morning.  There were also 18 patients in Reid Health containment areas Friday morning.  The last time there were more Covid-19 patients at Reid than there are today when it had 19 patients back on February 26.

WAYNE CO. HAS FIRST COVID DEATH SINCE MAY, HIGHEST DAILY TOTAL SINCE JANUARY

(Wayne County, IN)--The Executive Director of the Wayne County Health Department now recommends that people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.  It’s not a mandate, but the suggestion comes as the number of Covid-19 cases explodes in Wayne County.  Wayne County added 30 new cases just Wednesday.  That’s the highest single-day total since Wayne County recorded 38 cases way back on January 27 when the vaccine was starting to become widely available.  Reid Health had 16 Covid-19 patients in its containment areas Thursday morning.  That’s the most patients Reid has had since March 1.  For the first time since May 26, Wayne County has reported a Covid-19 death.  According to the Wayne County Health Department Wednesday, a female in her 80’s died with Covid-19.  She becomes the 202nd Wayne County resident to die with the virus.  Of the county’s 202 deaths, all but six came before March 15.  112 of the 202 people have been over the age of 80.  Every single county in Indiana moved to at least yellow on Indiana’s color-coded Covid-19 map Wednesday except for one – Randolph County.  Randolph County is now the only one in the blue with a positivity rate of three percent.  Wayne, Union, and Fayette County moved into the yellow Wednesday.  Franklin and Henry County jumped into the orange, which is only one step below the highest advisory level of red.

SIX ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES ON SW 15TH

(Richmond, IN)--Six people have been jailed on various drug charges Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and all six are tied to the same Richmond location.  It began at 9 Wednesday night in the 100 block of South West 15th when 50-year-old James Abney was jailed for dealing meth, dealing cocaine, and multiple other charges.  Then, Thursday morning, five more people were jailed on various drug charges.  They include Tammy Kiger, Cory Miller, Edward Barnes, Charles Stephenson, and David Jones.  Jones was charged with dealing a controlled substance.

RCS BUS DELAYS SPARK PARENTAL CONCERN

(Richmond, IN)--Plenty of parents of Richmond Community School students had anxious moments Wednesday afternoon when their kids were late arriving home from school.  Some of the parents indicated that their kids were still not home by 5 o’clock.  A social media post by RCS Wednesday said the delay was caused by heavy traffic.  Richmond police took one child home that was dropped off in the wrong area.  A few parents called 911 to report their child missing.  In an unrelated RCS issue, according to scanner traffic, a group of people identifying themselves as sovereign citizens showed up at the RCS Board meeting Wednesday and refused to leave, prompting a call to police.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES HIGHEST DAILY COVID-19 TOTAL SINCE FEBRUARY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County added 16 new cases of Covid-19 onto the state’s dashboard just Tuesday.  And, you have to go all the way back to February 24 to find a day when Wayne County added more cases in a single day.  When the state’s color-coded Covid-19 map comes out Wednesday, Wayne County will move to the yellow for the first time in months.  The county’s positivity rate this morning is 5.1%.

WAYNE COUNTY CHILD NEGLECT CASES DROP

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has seen a downturn in the number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect.  According to new numbers from the state, Wayne County has had 47 confirmed cases over the last 60 days.  That’s a 21% drop from the previous 60-day period.  The 47 cases include human trafficking, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect.  For the year, though, Wayne County is slightly ahead of last year’s pace.

MISSING MILTON TEEN LOCATED

(Milton, IN)--A missing teenager has been located.  Tuesday, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department issued a request for help in locating 16-year-old Phillip Pitcher of Milton.  The notice said that Pitcher had gone missing from the Milton area, but did not say how long ago.  Later Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Department indicated that the boy had located thanks to observant citizens.  No other information was released.

WAYNE COUNTY TO GO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Wayne County, IN)--The uptick in recent Covid-19 cases in Wayne County will cause the county to jump to yellow on the state’s color-coded map when it comes out Wednesday.  It will end a months-long run in the blue.  Wayne County added 11 new cases Monday.  If there’s good news, it’s that Wayne County has not reported a single Covid-19 death since May 26.  Since that date, there have been 232 new cases without a death.  Of the 201 people to die with Covid-19 in Wayne County, all but four have been at least 60 years old and no one under the age of 50 has died.

35 TO CLOSE NEAR WEBSTER THROUGH LABOR DAY

(Webster, IN)--On Monday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News told you about a weeks-long closure of U.S. 35 through part of Preble County.  Now, 35 is also closed in part of Wayne County.  35 is closed in both directions near Webster Road between Richmond and Williamsburg.  The closure is expected to last through Labor Day.

EARLHAM KICKS OFF ACADEMIC YEAR UNDER MASK MANDATE

(Richmond, IN)--Earlham College kicked off its academic year Monday with a mask mandate in place.  Earlham is requiring everyone wear a mask while inside any building regardless of vaccination status.  Members of the Earlham class of 2025 include students representing 33 different states and 23 countries.  About ten percent of students had at least one parent graduate from Earlham.

COUNTIES SEE HIGHEST COVID-19 TOTALS SINCE EARLY MAY

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has had 46 cases of Covid-19 since last Monday, and that blows away the Monday-to-Monday totals that the area has seen in recent months.  The 46 cases in Wayne County last week is one more than the county had for the entire month of July and is the highest single-week total since 49 cases were reported for the week ending May 10.  Other area counties including Preble, Union, Franklin, and Henry all saw higher totals in the last week than they’ve seen since at least early May.

ACCUSED MURDERER RETURNED TO RICHMOND

(Richmond, IN)--An accused Richmond murderer was back in the Wayne County Jail Monday morning.  The extradition process was completed late last week and now 21-year-old Charles Boyce Junior is behind bars in Richmond charged with murder and criminal gang intimidation.  Boyce was located in a South Carolina bowling alley last month and had been jailed there.  Boyce is charged in the fatal shooting in May of last year of 17-year-old Jakob Snider on Lincoln Street in Richmond.

RCS MASK REQUIREMENT BEGINS MONDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Monday is the day that you’ll have to begin wearing a mask inside any Richmond Community School building.  That goes for students, staff, teachers, and visitors.  RCS Superintendent Dr. Curtis Wright was left to make the decision himself about whether or not to require a mask, although there was input from other local leaders including Health Department Executive Director Christine Stinson last week.  "We have recommended that they go back to masking, and that's for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students," Stinson said.  No other Wayne County public school has implemented a mask mandate as of Monday morning.

SHOTS FIRED PROMPTS WARNING FOR LYNN RESIDENTS

(Lynn, IN)--Residents of Lynn were being advised to stay indoors Friday morning as police searched for the suspect in a shots-fired incident.  The situation was initially described as an active shooter in the 300 block of North Franklin Street in Lynn.  But, by 5:30 Friday morning, it was downgraded to a shots fired investigation.  Residents said that the area was covered with police and that a helicopter was circling the area.  The suspect was described only as a man with a rifle.  No injuries were initially reported.  By 6 o'clock Friday morning, a suspect had been contained to a home that was surrounded by police officers.

BREAKTHROUGH CASES EXTREMELY RARE IN WAYNE COUNTY

(Wayne County, IN)--Thursday night, WCTV brought together local health leaders and aired a special live version of In Focus to address the uptick in Covid-19 cases.  During that program, Dr. Thomas Huth said that Reid Health is now seeing some younger patients who are seriously ill.  He described some common traits.  "Not vaccinated, middle-aged, overweight, and most of them diabetic."  Dr. David Jetmore talked about breakthrough cases.  "Five percent of everyone that gets the vaccination will get Covid," Jetmore explained.  But Wayne County’s numbers are much better.  Only  one in 618 Wayne County residents have tested positive for Covid-19 after being vaccinated.  The number of cases of Covid-19 in Wayne County is going up, but the number of people becoming fully vaccinated is going down.  Since last Friday, Wayne County has had 165 more people become fully vaccinated.  That’s 20 people fewer than the week before.  It means that 24,725 – or about 37.5% - of local residents are now fully vaccinated.  Vaccination rates are not coming up in Franklin County, either.  Franklin County has the third worst vaccination rate in Indiana.

IU EAST STUDENTS, STAFF, AND VISITORS MUST AGAIN WEAR MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--A release from Indiana University Wednesday indicated that anyone who enters a building, including students, staff, faculty, and visitors, must again wear a mask beginning Thursday.  That would appear to include buildings on the IU East campus.  The new mask requirement comes on the heels of the requirement that all IU East students be vaccinated to attend, although there are exceptions to that requirement.  According to an email from IU, the school’s reported vaccination rate is approaching 85% of all constituents, which would be more than double the rate of the general public.

MOST AREA COUNTIES GO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Wayne County, IN)--A Whitewater Valley Covid-19 map that was all blue just a few weeks ago changed Wednesday and now is mostly yellow.  Wayne and Union County are the only two counties in our area that remained blue Wednesday on the updated color-coded map.  Fayette, Franklin, Randolph, and Henry County have now moved into the yellow, indicating rising positivity rates.  That’s especially true in Franklin County, where the rate Thursday morning is 13.5%.  Franklin County added six new cases Wednesday.  Wayne County added eight more Covid-19 cases Wednesday.  That, combined with the 11 cases from the day before, makes the highest two-day total that Wayne County has seen since late March.  The number of patients in Reid Health containment areas also rose Wednesday to 12.  There’s only been one day since February that the number was higher than 12.  32 Wayne County residents became fully vaccinated Wednesday, which is substantially above the daily average over recent weeks.

RICHMOND BEST BUY EMPLOYEE ARRESTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT

(Richmond, IN)--An employee of Richmond’s Best Buy was arrested Wednesday at Best Buy for allegedly embezzling up to $50,000.  19-year-old Hunter Burton’s mug shot depicts him still wearing his Best Buy shirt.  Details of exactly what Burton is alleged to have done have not been released, and there’s no word on whether or not the personal information of customers may have been compromised.  Burton has already bonded out of jail.

WAYNE COUNTY SEES HIGHEST SINCE-DAY COVID-19 COUNT SINCE MARCH

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County reported 11 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, and that’s the highest single-day total since way back on March 30.  Reid Health has also climbed to 11 Covid-19 patients in containment areas.  There has only been one other day since mid-March that Reid has had more than ten patients.  Positivity rates across the Whitewater Valley are also up substantially.  While Wayne County’s rate is at 4.4%, Fayette County is at seven percent.  Henry County is at nearly nine percent, and Franklin County’s positivity has ballooned to more than 13%.

MURDERER SENTENCED TO 62 YEARS

(Richmond, IN)--The last of four men to be sentenced for the murder of Centerville’s James Herbolt has received the longest prison term of all of them.  26-year-old Jacob Rasner was described as the ring leader of the group that tied up Herbolt, beat him, robbed him, and then dumped his body near Nolands Fork Road.  Rasner has now been sentenced to 62 years in prison.  Rasner said that he was high on meth and had been up for nine consecutive days when the murder occurred.  He plans to appeal.

MAN ARRESTED FOR BROOKVILLE SHOOTING

(Brookville, IN)--There’s been an arrest in a Brookville shooting.  24-year-old Dakota Burgess has now been charged with shooting another man in his leg and arm.  The injuries were non-life-threatening.  According to police reports, residents on Whitewater Drive reported that the two men had been involved in a verbal dispute that escalated to a shooting.  The victim is Burgess’s cousin.

RHS FOOTBALL COACH TO BE SUSPENDED, BUT NOT FIRED

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond High School Head Football Coach Tony Sonsini will not lose his job after striking a National Trail coach last month during a football scrimmage at Lyboult Field.  Many of Sonsini’s supporters addressed the RCS Board last week and encouraged the Board to keep Sonsini.  RCS did not announce any punishment at that time and they still have not as of Tuesday morning.  But National Trail staffers have indicated that they were told by Richmond that Sonsini would be suspended but not terminated.  Those staffers indicated that the suspension would not be for the entire season.  The incident was caught on video which was widely circulated on social media.

IU EAST STUDENTS MUST BE VACCINATED FOLLOWING FAILED APPEAL

(Richmond, IN)--The IU East fall semester begins in three weeks.  An appellate court’s ruling on Monday means that students will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend.  The Court of Appeals issued its ruling, which applies to all IU campuses statewide, Monday after a group of students fought the vaccination requirement.  One appellate judge went straight to the point, saying that if students didn’t like the requirement they could go somewhere else.  As of Tuesday morning, less than 40% of people of traditional college age in counties near the IU East campus have been vaccinated.

WANTED SEX OFFENDER CAPTURED NEAR RICHMOND

(Wayne County, IN)--A wanted Fayette County sex offender was caught in Wayne County and now faces a new round of charges after methamphetamine was recovered.  Several years ago, 30-year-old Jeffery Jones of Connersville was caught with more than 2000 images of child pornography.  He had failed to register as a sex offender in Fayette County and had an active warrant.  Monday night, he was stopped on U.S. 27 north of Richmond.  The amount of meth recovered Monday night has not been released.

COVID-19 CASES SPIKE ACROSS WHITEWATER VALLEY

(Whitewater Valley)--Nearly all Whitewater Valley counties have seen large spikes in Covid-19 cases since last Monday.  That includes Wayne County, which has had 32 cases since last Monday.  That’s the highest Monday-to-Monday total of new cases since May 10.  Preble County continues to be our area’s hot spot, with 36 new cases in the last week.  That’s Preble County’s highest weekly total since March 29.  There were ten patients in Reid Health containment areas Monday morning.  That’s Reid’s highest total since May 17.  Last week, the county’s health department announced that the Delta variant had been officially found in Wayne County, although it was suspected to have been here well before that.

58 WAYNE COUNTY EVICTIONS FILED AS MORATORIUM ENDS

(Wayne County, IN)--A national eviction moratorium ended over the weekend, and that will begin to affect people locally.  The moratorium was put into place due to Covid-19 nearly a year ago and prevented landlords from forcing out tenants who did not pay their rent.  According to the website evictionlab.org, there have been 58 eviction filings in Wayne County since the end of June.  Wayne County eviction filings are down 11% from the average.

FIRE DAMAGES HOME ON U.S. 40

(Cambridge City, IN)--Fire did heavy damage on Sunday to a home on U.S. 40 in Cambridge City.  It broke out Sunday afternoon at a home adjacent to a former Dollar General store.  Firefighters from multiple agencies responded.  Wind and the close proximity of another house made fighting the fire more difficult.  There was no report of any injury or official word on what started the fire.

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