Local News Archives for 2021-12

WAYNE COUNTY RECORDS TWO COVID-19 DEATH, REMAINS ORANGE ON MAP

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County reported two new Covid-19 deaths Wednesday, bringing the total to 282.  It also reported 107 new cases.  That’s the highest single-day total since 110 cases were reported back on September 9.  Wayne County remained in the orange when the updated color-coded map was released Wednesday.  Union County went back into the red, and Franklin County remained red, which indicates the highest level of spread.  All other area counties remained orange.

WANTED ALLEGED ROBBER, DRUG DEALER CAPTURED THURSDAY MORNING

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted alleged robber and drug dealer was caught Thursday morning on Ridge Street in Richmond.  Investigators had been searching for 23-year-old Kreigh Hitchell ever since he failed to appear for a hearing back in February.  That hearing involved an alleged robbery that occurred more than five years ago.  Details of what led to Hitchell’s capture Thursday morning have not been released.  He also faces a meth-dealing charge that’s nearly two years old.

WOULD-BE CAR BURGLARS CAPTURED FOLLOWING CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--Two people were taken into custody following a chase Thursday morning.  It began at around 3:30 with a report that people were trying to get into parked vehicles at homes in neighborhoods off of Round Barn Road.  When deputies arrived, two people fled.  They fled without any headlights onto eastbound I-70.  At least four police cruisers gave chase.  The suspects crashed at around 4 o’clock Thursday morning on 70 near the State Road 227 exit and were taken into custody.  There’s no word yet on their identities.

1/10 OF 1% OF WAYNE CO. RESIDENTS HAVE HAD COVID TWICE

(Wayne County, IN)--With the 51 new Covid-19 cases added Tuesday, Wayne County has now had 13,115 cases since counts began.  But, how many local residents have had the virus more than once – meaning they had Covid-19, completely recovered, and then, at some point, had it again?  The answer, according to the state on Tuesday, is 116.  Stated another way, 20% of Wayne County residents have now knowingly had the virus, and 1/10 of one percent of the county’s population has knowingly had it twice.

TWO CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE FELONIES AT GENESIS APARTMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--A couple of convicted Richmond drug dealers are facing a new round of serious charges after their arrest Tuesday afternoon.  Dylan Goff and Derrick Shaffer were jailed following an investigation at Genesis Apartments at South 23rd and L.  Officers allegedly recovered drugs and at least one firearm.  Both men were charged with burglary.  Goff was charged with dealing cocaine.  Both men have extensive criminal records.

DENISE PFLUM CASE TO BE FEATURED ON VICE TV

(Connersville, IN)--The story of Denise Pflum is set to air on national TV for three consecutive nights.  The Connersville teen went missing back in 1986.  Just before his death last year, Shawn McClung confessed to killing her.  But, many think other people were involved.  The case will be featured on the show Small Town Secrets, which airs on Vice TV.  They’ll highlight the Denise Pflum case for three consecutive nights beginning January 11 at 10 p.m.

CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST DRIVER IN BLM INCIDENT CONCLUDES

(Richmond, IN)--The criminal case against a Richmond man accused of driving his SUV into a group of Black Lives Matter protestors has now concluded with his successful completion of a pre-trial diversion program.  The incident happened in September of last year at 7th and North A near downtown.  30-year-old Joshua Carey had been charged with three misdemeanors.  Those charges were dismissed after Carey completed four elements of diversion, including admitting that he committed the offenses and completing 24 hours of community service.

SHOOTING REPORTED NEAR CLEAR CREEK PARK

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police officers investigated what was reported as a gunshot wound overnight.  According to scanner traffic, one person was shot in the upper thigh in the area of the 100 block of South West 14th at around midnight on Tuesday morning.  Crime scene tape went up across the area.  The victim was reported bleeding extensively and was taken to Reid Health.  That person’s identity and condition have not been released.  There’s also no word yet on any potential suspects.

CULBERSON AMBULANCE ANNOUNCES CHANGES

(Hagerstown, IN)--Changes are coming for those who use Culberson ambulance service in the Hagerstown area.  In a social media post Monday, Rick Culberson discussed the change in which Reid Health will begin to operate ambulance service beginning at the first of the year.  Culberson began operations in Hagerstown as a funeral home and ambulance service back in 1970.  Reid will continue to operate from the same location and much of the personnel will remain the same.  Culberson’s funeral home operations will continue.

RICHMOND WORKFORCE SHRINKS; OUTLYING AREAS GROW

(Richmond, IN)--Last week, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported on Wayne County’s shrinking workforce.  Here’s a look at some other areas.  Inside the city of Richmond since this time last year, there are only 12 fewer people working, but 540 have dropped out of the workforce.  Surrounding counties, though, have grown in the last year.  In Fayette County, 417 more people are working.  In Randolph County, the labor force has grown by almost 700 people in the last year.  Union County has seen similar growth.

WANTED WOMAN CAPTURED AFTER FOOT CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond woman was captured following a foot chase through the Fairview neighborhood Sunday afternoon.  26-year-old Deborah Shepherd was wanted after failing to appear in court on a burglary charge.  Officers caught her Sunday fleeing in the 200 block of Lincoln Street.  Shepherd was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and also gave false information at the time of her arrest.

BLOODHOUND HELP FIND MISSING RANDOLPH COUNTY MAN

(Randolph County, IN)--There was a Silver Alert issued Friday night for a missing elderly Randolph County man, and some are calling the way the case ended a Christmas miracle.  84-year-old Allen Jefferis went missing on Friday night, thought to be in extreme danger and requiring medical attention.  On Saturday, two bloodhounds were brought to the area and located Jefferies.  He was laying on the ground in the woods near a creek and was wet.  He was taken to a Muncie hospital for treatment.

94% OF WAYNE CO RESIDENTS TO DIE WITH COVID-19 HAVE BEEN UNVACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department released a staggering statistic Thursday morning.  Of the 277 Wayne County residents who have now died with Covid-19, 260 of them – or 94% - have been unvaccinated.  That 94% number essentially matches the percentage of people who are unvaccinated and in Reid Health’s intensive care unit at any given time, although, Thursday morning, 100% of them were unvaccinated.  Less red and more orange made Wednesday’s new Covid-19 map look a little better than it did before.  Franklin County is now the only Whitewater Valley County left in the red.  All other area counties are orange.  Wayne County added 37 new cases and one new death Wednesday.  The number of patients at Reid Health was down to 69 Thursday morning.

CONNERSVILLE FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE LARGE HOUSE FIRE

(Connersville, IN)--Connersville firefighters spent the overnight hours battling a large house fire in the 700 block of East 5th Street.  The initial call came in at around 10:30 Wednesday night.  Scanner traffic indicated that firefighters entered the burning home to rescue occupants.  Officials are not yet saying whether or not there were any injuries or fatalities.  Firefighters from other shifts were called in to help, and firefighters from neighboring communities were brought to Connersville to help cover other calls.  There’s no word yet on what caused the fire.  The scene was cleared at around 3 o’clock Thursday morning.  Investigators will be back on the scene later Thursday.

ALLEGED MARIJUANA DEALER CAUGHT AFTER TWO-COUNTY CHASE

(Wayne County, IN)--An alleged marijuana dealer was captured following a two-county chase Wednesday afternoon.  Police tried to stop 20-year-old Brooklyn Jones on eastbound I-70.  Jones allegedly fled at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour and exited at State Road 227.  The chase wound north on country roads into the area of Whitewater and Bethel and then went into Randolph County.  Stop sticks were successfully deployed.  Jones faces charges that include felony resisting.  She has been arrested in unrelated cases twice in the last two months.

ONE KILLED IN SCOOTER CRASH ON U.S. 27

(Wayne County, IN)--There was a fatal accident on U.S. 27 just north of Richmond Tuesday night.  It happened at around 6:30 Tuesday night just south of the intersection of Fairacres Road about a half-mile north of I-70 and involved a scooter.  According to scanner traffic, the scooter collided with an SUV.  A medical helicopter was called but then cancelled.  Names of those involved have not been released.  The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation and will likely release more information Wednesday.

IVY TECH CHANCELLOR TO BEGIN JANUARY 31

(Richmond, IN)--January 31 has been set as the first day on the job for the new chancellor of Ivy Tech in Richmond.  Dr. Walter McCollum was recently chosen as the new leader following an extensive search.  McCollum comes to Richmond after having served as an administrator in Florida at Miami-Dade College Online.  McCollum will oversee day-to-day operations in Richmond as well as other operations in the service area, which includes Union, Fayette, Randolph, and Rush County.

AREA HAS ZERO CHANCE OF WHITE CHRISTMAS

(Whitewater Valley)--The Whitewater Valley has zero chance of a white Christmas this year.  In fact, high temperatures on Saturday are forecast in the 60’s.  But white Christmases here are not all that common.  Historically, only one in four Richmond Christmases features snow.  One of the more memorable times that happened was in 2004, when more than nine inches of snow fell and temperatures plummeted to more than ten degrees below zero.

SINCE THIS TIME LAST YEAR, WAYNE CO. LOSES 15 JOBS BUT 1025 IN WORKFORCE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s unemployment rate, which was at a more-than-ten-year low last month, has dropped even lower this month.  Wayne County’s unemployment rate today is a nearly impossibly low 2.1%.  How is it that local unemployment is almost non-existent but many businesses remain desperate for workers?  Here’s one primary reason.  The number of people actually working today in Wayne County as compared to this time last year is unchanged….a difference of only 15 people.  But, 1025 Wayne County residents have dropped out of the workforce since this time last year.  Other area counties have even lower unemployment rates today.  In Union County, it’s only 1.2%.

WANTED WOMAN CAUGHT IN TUESDAY MORNING CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted person was captured during a police chase in Richmond early Tuesday morning.  Police tried to stop a vehicle near Earlham College at around 12:30 Tuesday morning, but that vehicle fled.  31-year-old Adrienne Turner was caught in the 200 block of Richmond Avenue.  Turner is wanted in Fayette County and has four pending felony cases in Wayne County, including an arrest for cocaine possession less than two weeks ago.  One other person in the chase Tuesday morning was able to escape.

UNION COUNTY SCHOOLS PLAN FOR $5.5 MILLION IN UPGRADES

(Liberty, IN)--Plans for big improvements at the Union County – College Corner Joint School District are advancing.  The Board has now approved a $5.5 million bond to cover upgrades to numerous buildings in the district.  Well more than $2 million has been earmarked to install solar energy infrastructure at Union County High School.  The middle school is in line to get $800,000 for improvements to the HVAC system and roof.  Other planned improvements include football field lighting and expanded bus parking.  The school board will continue to work on the bond when it meets next month.

SIGNS POINT TO INDIANA FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLOSURE

(Richmond, IN)--There’s been no official word yet from the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, but there is every indication that it is closing its doors for good.  The Hall of Fame was established back in 1974 and operated inside what was the former post office near North 8th and A in Richmond.  Over the weekend, one former NFL player and one former city council member said on social media that the Hall was closing and that items were being returned to high schools and universities for access by families of players.  Some of those items were seen being loaded into moving trucks over the course of the last few days.

NARCAN VENDING MACHINE ESTABLISHED AT WAYNE COUNTY JAIL

(Richmond, IN)--There’s a new vending machine in the lobby of the Wayne County Jail.  You won’t be able to get a Snickers or bag of chips from it, but you will be able to get a dose of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan.  That vending machine is one of the first three placed in Indiana through a not-for-profit state organization.  There is no cost for the Narcan.  The Health Department has indicated it would also like to add outdoor boxes where Narcan can be accessed.  There’s already a box available at the Neighborhood Health Center at South 10th and A.  So far this year, Wayne County has had 50 overdose deaths.

REID COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS DOUBLE SINCE DECEMBER 1

(Richmond, IN)--The number of Covid-19 patients at Reid Health Monday morning had soared to 74.  That’s more than twice the number of patients that were at Reid when December started.  Meanwhile, Wayne County has added 308 cases since last Monday, which is on par with the weekly number of cases in the county over the last three weeks.  Wayne County’s last single-day Covid-19 case total of 79 was the highest single-day total since 84 new cases were reported back on September 17.

WEEKLY WAYNE CO. VACCINES DROP NEARLY BY HALF

(Wayne County, IN)--After a sharp rise last week, there’s been a sharp drop this week in the number of Wayne County residents who have become fully vaccinated against Covid-19.  249 more people have become vaccinated since last Friday.  That’s slightly more than half of the 446 from the week before.  29,914 Wayne County residents are now fully vaccinated.  65% of the county has now either had the virus or been fully vaccinated against it or, in many cases, both.

MAN RETURNED FROM PRISON TO FACE CHILD MOLESTATION CHARGE

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County deputies went to a state prison Thursday to pick up 46-year-old Phillip Lee so that he can face local child molesting charges.  Lee had been in prison on drug charges.  While in prison, Lee allegedly made sexually charged telephone calls to a teenage girl.  That led investigators to question the girl, who claims Lee touched her inappropriately over a six-month period in 2017 when she was 13 years old.  Lee has a lengthy criminal record in Wayne and Randolph County.

ANOTHER AREA SCHOOL DEALS WITH THREAT

(Lewisburg, OH)--There will be an extra police presence at a Whitewater Valley school Friday, making it the fourth area school in the last month to deal with a threat.  According to calls made Thursday night to parents in the Tri County North district, a threat involving the middle school was discovered Thursday.  Law enforcement resolved that threat, but extra officers will still be on hand.  Franklin County and Talawanda schools have had threats in the last week.

WAYNE REMAINS ORANGE, BUT SURROUNDED BY RED ON COVID-19 MAP

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County remained orange when the state’s updated Covid-19 map was released Wednesday, but it’s now nearly surrounded by counties in the red.  Union, Fayette, Franklin, and Randolph County are now all in the red as positivity rates increase.  Even though it’s in the orange, Wayne County’s positivity rate Thursday morning was up to 10.6%.  It also recorded a Covid-19 death Wednesday, bringing the total to 274.

CHASE SUSPECT'S ARREST WAS SECOND IN 72 HOURS

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the arrest of Jeremy Reed, who was the alleged driver who led police on a chase through Richmond on Tuesday night before being caught in the New Paris area.  New information confirms it was Reed’s second major arrest in just a few days.  On Sunday night, he was jailed in Richmond after being stopped in the 900 block of North 14th in Richmond and charged with possessing a handgun without a license, cocaine, and marijuana.  Before this week, Reed had been arrested 15 other times in Wayne County.  He was still in the Preble County Jail Thursday morning.

BRADFORD APARTMENT BUILDING DEMOLISHED

(Richmond, IN)--The Bradford Place Apartment building has stood at the corner of 12th and East Main in Richmond for 118 years…until Tuesday.  Crews took down the deteriorating building as part of an effort to rehabilitate the entire block.  Two other buildings in the block came down last month.  Another long-standing building is set for demolition very soon.  The original Kessler’s building between 9th and 10th is coming down.  That block also closed to traffic Tuesday.

MAN CAUGHT NEAR NEW PARIS AFTER CHASE THAT BEGAN IN RICHMOND

(New Paris, OH)--One man was in the Preble County Jail Wednesday morning following a chase Tuesday night that began in Richmond.  It began in the Fairview area, wound its way to National Road East, and then headed toward New Paris Pike.  At some point, stop sticks were successfully deployed but the driver continued on his rims at speeds under ten miles per hour.  He bailed out in an area near New Paris and was caught.  He’s now been identified as Jeremy Reed.  Reed faces charges that include fleeing and eluding.  There’s no word yet on what started the chase.

EAST CENTRAL INDIANA GETS $15 MILLION READI GRANT

(Indianapolis, IN)--East Central Indiana learned on Tuesday that it is receiving a large amount of money through the state’s READI program.  "East Central Indiana Regional Partnership is awarded $15 million," said Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers.  Governor Eric Holcomb talked about what the funding will do.  "Funding projects that have to do with housing deficiencies and trails and child care and broadband and wellness initiatives and workforce development initiatives."    The CEO of Wayne County’s EDC, Valerie Shaffer, was on hand Tuesday to represent a group called Forge ECI, which includes Wayne County and nine others.

REID ISSUES SECOND STATEMENT IN TWO DAYS ABOUT COVID-19 STATUS

(Richmond, IN)--For the second day in a row, Reid Health issued a statement on Monday about the situation with Covid-19.  On Sunday, Reid described current conditions as an emergency.  On Monday, Reid said conditions now are more dire than this time last year, when more than a hundred people were hospitalized.  Reid indicated that the Delta variant has resulted in longer hospital stays, meaning beds don’t turn over as quickly.  Reid had 69 patients Tuesday morning.  56 of the 69 are unvaccinated.  All 15 patients in the ICU Tuesdaay morning were also unvaccinated.

DNA, GENEALOGY CONNECT CONNERSVILLE MAN TO TWO RAPES

(Oxford, OH)--A Connersville man has now been arrested for a rape at Miami University that occurred 15 years ago.  And, there’s also a DNA link to a Connersville rape case.  Investigators used DNA coupled with forensic genealogy to arrest 58-year-old Lloyd Ailes.  Ailes was working construction in Oxford at the time of the 2006 rape.  There was a similar attack in Connersville three months later.  Investigators knew the same man committed both crimes, but could not come up with an identity until extensive genealogy work was complete.  Ailes will be in a Butler County courtroom next month.

WANTED RICHMOND WOMAN CAPTURED

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond woman was taken into custody Monday, and police allegedly recovered more drugs in the process.  40-year-old Jamie Howard had a warrant for failing to appear in a different case.  She was located Monday afternoon in the 1100 block of North West 6th.  Howard allegedly had methamphetamine, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.  The quantity of drugs recovered has not been released.

REID USES THE WORD "EMERGENCY" TO DESCRIBE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION

(Richmond, IN)--In a release Sunday describing the Covid-19 situation, Reid Health uses all-capital lettering and underlines the word “emergency.”  Hospitals that Reid Health normally would work with to ensure patient placement are not accepting patients because either they don’t have rooms for them or not enough staff to care for them.  As a result, Reid is boarding patients in the emergency departments in Richmond and Connersville as staff work to find suitable places for them elsewhere.  Reid listed 60 patients Monday morning.  That’s the highest it’s been since late September, but well below the 111 that were hospitalized in late November of last year.

WAYNE COUNTY ADDS 300-PLUS COVID-19 CASES IN LAST WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--Since last Monday, Wayne County has had 306 Covid-19 cases, and that’s the highest Monday-to-Monday total since the last full week of September.  Just two weeks ago, that total was just 126.  It continues a sharp upward trend in the rolling five-day average of daily cases.  Back on November 27, Wayne County was seeing, on average, 21 cases per day.  Now, it’s up to 44.  All 16 patients in the Reid Health ICU Monday morning, which includes 14 on ventilators, are unvaccinated.

CONTINUED DECLINE PREDICTED IN WAYNE COUNTY WORKFORCE

(Wayne County, IN)--The state of Indiana is projecting a steady drop in the number of people in the Wayne County workforce in the years and decades ahead.  For the last decade, the number of people in Wayne County’s workforce has hovered around 30,000.  But, according to the state, that number will drop to 27,000 by 2030 and drop to under 25,000 by 2050.  Similar drops are predicted in the workforces of all other Whitewater Valley counties.

WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS SOAR IN LAST WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--There’s been a huge increase in the number of Wayne County residents who have become fully vaccinated against Covid-19.  Since last Friday, 446 more Wayne County residents can now claim full vaccination.  That’s well more than twice the 208 residents that had become vaccinated in the week before.  29,665 residents are now fully vaccinated.  Meanwhile, the county’s positivity rate jumped back over ten percent Friday morning.

MISSING TEEN LOCATED

(Richmond, IN)--A missing Richmond teen has been found.  It was two months ago Friday that 14-year-old Courtney Tout went missing.  A Silver Alert was issued for her earlier this week.  A release from the Richmond Police Department Thursday said that Courtney had been found.  No other information about the circumstances of her disappearance were released, including where she had been for the last two months.

REID MAKES LARGE DONATION TO SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health presented a large check to the Wayne County Health Department Thursday in support of the county’s syringe exchange program.  Community Benefit Director Angela Cline delivered the $30,000 check.  The syringe exchange program has been controversial since it began five years ago.  Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman has long opposed it, citing the role those syringes play in fatal overdoses.  Others, though, tout benefits like a reduction in infectious diseases.  The syringe exchange program will remain through at least June of 2023.

REID PAUSES ELECTIVE SURGERIES

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health announced Wednesday that they have once again paused all elective inpatient surgeries due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.  There were 53 Covid-19 patients in the hospital Thursday morning.  11 are on ventilators.  All 11 are unvaccinated.  On Wednesday, Wayne County added 64 new cases and one new death.  Union and Franklin County are in the red on the new map released Wednesday.  Wayne County and the rest of the Whitewater Valley remained orange.

TWO ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--Two people were taken into custody Wednesday as part of a drug investigation in Richmond.  44-year-old Milleta Carpenter was taken into custody on North 17th and charged with possession of cocaine and maintaining a common nuisance.  She was charged with the same thing just last week.  Also taken into custody there was 23-year-old Tyrus Adcock-Bell.  He was charged just a few weeks ago with battery with a deadly weapon.  Both Carpenter and Adcock-Bell remained in the Wayne County Jail Thursday morning.

MAN FOUND GUILTY OF RAPING YOUNG GIRL

(Greenville, OH)--A Darke County man on Wednesday was found guilty of raping a female family member under the age of ten.  The jury deliberated for just a couple of hours before finding 33-year-old Scott Sutherland guilty at the end of a three-day trial.  Sutherland raped the young girl in the spring of last year.  He was face a mandatory 25 year-to-life prison sentence.  If he is ever released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

ACCUSED MURDERER TELLS POLICE THAT THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT

(Richmond, IN)--Vincent Hoffman shot and killed his wife, Jessica Hoffman, last week because the devil told him to do it.  That’s according to information in an affidavit of probable cause in the case obtained Tuesday.  When questioned by police, Vincent Hoffman denies being at the mobile home park on Hickory Lane in Richmond.  But, after investigators confronted him with video showing him driving his vehicle through the gate, Hoffman admitted his involvement.  Evidence at the scene indicated Hoffman kicked the home’s door twice to gain entry.  Hoffman also said that he had been up for a couple of days doing cocaine.  He has an initial hearing set for Thursday in Wayne Circuit Court.

RHS ANNOUNCES CHANGE TO TIERNAN CENTER ATTENDANCE POLICY

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond High School athletic department issued a statement in advance of Tuesday night’s girls basketball game against Franklin County at the Tiernan Center.  Fights among spectators had interrupted or stopped two previous games this season.  The statement said that RHS had partnered with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department for increased security.  RHS has eliminated pass outs at all athletic events.  Once someone leaves the Tiernan Center, they are no longer allowed to return.  RHS fell 41-40 Tuesday night with no incidents in the stands.

NUMBER OF COVID-19 PATIENTS AT REID SPIKES

(Richmond, IN)--The number of Covid-19 patients at Reid Health took a big spike Monday.  Between 5 a.m. Monday and 5 a.m. Tuesday, the number of patients has rose from 45 to 57.  That’s the highest patient count since late September.  It includes seven people, who are all unvaccinated, on ventilators.  It also includes 11 people in intensive care.  All but one of those are unvaccinated.  Wayne County’s positivity rate was up to 8.9% Tuesday morning.

SILVER ALERT ISSUED FOR MISSING RICHMOND TEEN

(Richmond, IN)--A month ago, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point reported that a Richmond teen appeared on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website.  Now, 14-year-old Courtney Tout has been made the subject of an Indiana Silver Alert.  The alert says that she is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical attention.  This coming Friday will mark the two-month point since Courtney was last seen.

NEATHERY'S REQUEST FOR MOVE FROM WAYNE CO. JAIL DENIED

(Richmond, IN)--Accused Richmond murderer Austin Neathery had recently requested a transfer from the Wayne County Jail for his own safekeeping, but that motion has now been denied.  Neathery is accused of killing Richmond teen Tremel Carpenter three years ago.  The denial means Neathery will remain in Wayne County until the murder trial, which is currently scheduled for late March.  Neathery will have a hearing next week for a case in which he allegedly attacked two members of law enforcement at the Wayne County Jail last month.

ACCUSED MURDERER HAS HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

(Richmond, IN)--There was no bond Monday morning for Vincent Hoffman.  The 24-year-old was arrested for murder on Saturday and remains in the Wayne County Jail pending an initial hearing.  Hoffman is accused of shooting and killing his wife, 34-year-old Jessica Hoffman.  She was found Friday afternoon on Hickory Drive in Richmond with two gunshot wounds to the chest.  Evidence in the case was located in the Dayton suburb of Riverside and along I-70 in Wayne County.  Investigators with the Richmond Police Department indicated that Jessica had recently separated from Vincent Hoffman due to what was described as a poor domestic relationship.  According to his social media page, the two had been married for less than three months.  Vincent Hoffman had a criminal history that included an arrest three years ago for criminal recklessness and domestic battery with a deadly weapon.  That stemmed from an incident in which Hoffman beat a female outside the Dollar General in Centerville with a young child in the car.  Most of the charges in that case were dropped as part of a plea deal that resulted in a year-long prison sentence.

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

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County has just had its highest Monday-to-Monday Covid-19 case count since the last full week of September.  There have been 296 cases reported since last Monday.  That’s well more than twice the total number of cases from the week before.  The 296 cases push Wayne County over the 12,000-case threshold since Covid-19 began.  There were also 45 Covid-19 patients at Reid Health Monday morning.  That’s the highest Monday total since October 11.  82% of patients currently at Reid are unvaccinated.

MAN SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS FOR MAKING VIDEOS OF GIRLS IN SHOWER

(Connersville, IN)--A Whitewater Valley man has been sentenced to a total of 22 years in prison.  A total of 26 felony charges were first filed against Travis Swiderek four years ago.  Swiderek put a hidden camera in his bathroom to make video recordings of girls showering in his home.  More photos, including of some girls under the age of 12, were found on a thumb drive.  Swiderek will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

REID HEALTH PAUSES VACCINATION MANDATE

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health has announced it has paused its efforts surrounding a vaccine mandate for its staff after a federal judge brought a temporary halt to the vaccine mandate issued under the direction of the Biden Administration, according to our news partners at WHIO-TV.  A prepared statement indicated that Reid "is very pleased with the news of the temporary stay on the federal vaccine mandate.  While the organization has actively encouraged employees to be vaccinated, it has also maintained the choice should a personal one based on accurate, verified information about the vaccines."  The deadline to get the first dose of the vaccine for employees was to have been this coming Monday.

CENTERVILLE SCHOOL LEADERS INVESTIGATE THREAT

(Centerville, IN)--Notification was sent to Centerville school parents Thursday about a threat.  Centerville High School leaders were contacted around the start of school Thursday about a threat that was made by phone to two high school students.  Law enforcement was contacted and worked to try to determine who made the threat.  Extra law enforcement was present at Thursday night’s basketball game.  There will also be increased security at school Friday.

VISTEON BUILDING SELLS TO MILWAUKEE FIRM

(Connersville, IN)--A Milwaukee real estate investment firm called “Phoenix” has purchased the former Visteon building in Connersville.  The 1.7 million square foot building was first built as part of Philco and Ford back in 1953.  Visteon left in 2007.  For the last eight years, about a third of the building has been occupied by a cabinet manufacturer.  Phoenix has not announced specific plans for the building, but said that they would "renovate the property in a first-class manner and restore it to greatness."  Details of the deal were not disclosed.

RHS TO TAKE EXTRA SECURITY MEASURES FOLLOWING TWO FIGHTS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond High School indicated Wednesday that extra security measures are being put into place following Tuesday night’s fight that broke out in the stands of the girls game against Rushville.  RHS also added in a prepared statement that four people were arrested.  There is no indication that anyone was booked into jail, meaning they cannot be identified.  It was the second time in three weeks that off-the-court fights in the Tiernan Center brought girls games to a halt.  RHS said there’s no indication that the incidents are connected.  Rushville’s athletic director refused to say Wednesday if that team would return to make the game up.  The next RHS girls home game is this coming Tuesday night against Franklin County.

EAST MAIN TO CLOSE IN TWO SPOTS BEGINNING MONDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the closure of a block of East Main Street in Richmond that Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point was first to report early this week.  The closure of East Main between 9th and 10th Street is now set to begin this coming Monday to allow for demolition of a building in that block.  On Thursday, the Board of Public Works will hear a request to close both East Main and North 12th to allow for demolition of the Bradford Place Apartment Building.  That project is also expected to begin this coming Monday and should last for two weeks.

SEMI CRASH CLOSES EASTBOUND I-70

(Preble County, OH)--Eastbound I-70 was shut down for several hours in Preble County early Thursday morning following a fiery crash involving two semis.  It happened at just before 1 o’clock Thursday morning about four miles into Ohio near the Oxford-Gettysburg Road overpass.  One of the semis went onto its side and burst into flames.  There were no reports of any injury.  Eastbound 70 was closed through about 4:30 Thursday morning.  Traffic had backed up to the state line.

FOR 2nd TIME THIS SEASON, FIGHT DISRUPTS RHS GIRLS BASKETBALL GAME

(Richmond, IN)--For the second time already this season, a fight in the stands at a Richmond High School girls basketball game brought the game to a halt.  It was early in Tuesday night’s game against Rushville when a fight involving multiple adults broke out in the stands.  Witnesses indicated one adult female went tumbling down the steps of the Tiernan Center bleachers.  Some adults rushed into the stands when they noticed a fight had broken out.  The court was cleared and the game ended.  There is no record that any adults were booked into jail as a result.  RHS has not commented on Tuesday night’s incident.

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