Local News Archives for 2022-08

COURT DOCUMENTS: PAUST, FIRST BANK WORKING TOWARD RESOLUTION

(Richmond, IN)--There have been several filings in the last week in the case between Wayne County Commissioner Ken Paust and First Bank.  Last March, First Bank filed suit alleging that Paust and his wife, Linda, did not make monthly payments on a mortgage covering several west-side Richmond properties.  First Bank exercised its right to call for the entire amount, which, at the time the lawsuit was filed, totaled $733,000.  Paust said that he had sold part of the land on contract and that the buyer had failed to make payments.  He said that allowing the loan to go through the foreclosure process was the easiest way to allow First Bank to obtain a clear title.  Last month, First Bank filed for a motion of summary judgement.  New court documents indicate that the parties are continuing to discuss a resolution.

MAN FOUND DEAD AT CEMETERY DIED FROM GUNSHOT WOUND

(Connersville, IN)--Two weeks ago Wednesday, the body of Thomas Combs was found in Dale Cemetery in Connersville.  Now, in a new release from the state police, the cause of death has been confirmed as a gunshot wound.  The State Police are asking for help from the public.  Anyone who saw anything suspicious either that morning or the night before is being asked to contact the agency.  Investigators have not said how long Combs’ body was at Dale Cemetery before being discovered.

WOUNDED MARINE WITH LOCAL TIES COMPETES IN TRIATHLON

(Chicago, IL)--Here’s an incredible story of recovery.  Kelsee Lainhart, who is the daughter of Wayne County’s Jeff and Loretta Templeton, was critically injured when she was serving as a Marine during the bombing in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 13 service members last year.  "She was over there serving her country very bravely.  She was injured in a horrific explosion.  She's got shrapnel in her back," said a family friend describing her injuries.  She was left paralyzed and has spent the last year recovering to the extent that she could.  Incredibly, on the one-year anniversary of the bombing, Kelsee competed in the Chicago Triathlon from her wheelchair.  She said that she competed to honor the 13 who died last year.

NO CHANGE REPORTED IN OFFICER'S CONDITION

(Richmond, IN)--Tuesday marks 20 days since Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton was shot in the head during a traffic stop.  And, there has been no significant change reported in her condition by either her family or by RPD in the last week.  Officer Burton on Tuesday morning remained in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  Support and encouragement continues to pour in from across the country.  Meanwhile, the man charged with shooting her, Phillip Lee, is next due in court in early October for a pre-trial hearing.

STORMS KNOCK OUT POWER TO RICHMOND NEIGHBORHOODS

(Richmond, IN)--Storms that rolled through the area Monday night knocked out power to lots of Richmond residents for an extended period of time.  Many of the outages were in the Fairview area and were caused by tree limbs that came down into wires at around 7 o’clock Monday night.  Another extended outage happened in Oak Park when a pole broke.  Richmond Power and Light said at 9:15 Monday night that the Oak Park outage would be an extended one.  By 6 a.m. Tuesday, there had been no further updates.

COUPLE CHARGED WITH SERIOUSLY INJURING INFANT

(Connersville, IN)--An infant remained hospitalized Tuesday morning and a Connersville couple was facing serious charges for allegedly seriously injuring the baby.  The three-month–old child of Michael and Brittany Mengedoht suffered several broken bones and other significant injuries consistent with abuse and neglect.  The baby has been placed in the custody of the Department of Child Services.  Shortly after her arrest, Brittany Mengedoht posted on social media that she is "a good woman and a good mother and no one can ever take that away from me."  441 people responded to disagree.  She also offered babysitting services.

RICHMOND MAN KILLED IN I-70 MOTORCYCLE CRASH

(Greenfield, IN)--A Richmond man is dead following a weekend crash on I-70.  It happened on eastbound 70 near Greenfield.  Investigators say that 47-year-old Mark Webster was approaching a pick-up truck pulling a car trailer that had broken down in an area with no emergency shoulders because of construction.  Webster hit the back of that trailer and was pronounced dead at the scene.  The investigation into the crash is continuing.

HUNDREDS GATHER TO WELCOME LITTLE-LEAGUERS HOME

(Hagerstown, IN)--Hagerstown’s Little League team was the smallest small- town team to ever take part in the World Series.  And, on Saturday, hundreds lined the streets to show their appreciation.  A parade down Main Street welcomed the team home days after they competed in Pennsylvania.  Coach Patrick Vinson said they were overwhelmed by the support.  "Not just Hagerstown...Hagerstown is the best small-town community.  But the communities around Hagerstown were so supportive."  Players like Carter Sullivan got spend time with the fans.  "It was really fun.  They just wanted our autographs," Sullivan said.  About five of the players are young enough to return and take another run at the World Series next year.

MOTORCYCLIST ESCAPES THREE-COUNTY, 125 MPH CHASE

(Whitewater Valley)--A motorcyclist escaped a three-county, high-speed chase at just after midnight Monday morning.  Deputies tried to stop the rider in western Wayne County, but he fled east on U.S. 40 at speeds that, according to scanner traffic, reached 125 miles per hour.  He fled mostly through Richmond’s northwest side before getting onto I-70 and heading east.  The chase went into Preble County and then north into Darke County before it was terminated.

WELCOME HOME PARADE SET FOR HAGERSTOWN LITTLE LEAGUERS

(Hagerstown,  IN)--Hundreds of people will be lining Main Street in Hagerstown on Saturday to officially welcome home their young heroes.  A parade and welcome home ceremony has been set for Hagerstown’s Little League team, which has spent the last week competing in the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania.  The parade steps off at 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon at Hagerstown Elementary and heads west to its final destination where it all began – at the baseball field on the west side of town.  There, the team will host a meet-and-greet and autograph session.

FRIDAY MORNING FIRE DESTROYS RICHMOND HOME

(Richmond, IN)--Fire has destroyed a vacant home in Richmond Friday morning.  It broke out at around 2 o’clock Friday morning in the 200 block of North 19th Street.  "When we arrived, it was fully involved.  No one was home at the time the fire started.  There was no power to the home.  There was no gas to the home.  It's being investigated now," said Battalion Chief Charlie Bartlett with the details.  Because there were no utilities or occupants, the fire is suspicious.  Other homes were in jeopardy because of their proximity, but Bartlett said that only one sustained minor exposure damage.

CHASE BANK BUILDING FAILS TO SELL AT AUCTION

(Richmond, IN)--There’s been a lot of talk recently about the future of the Elder-Beerman building in Uptown Richmond.  But, there are also a lot of questions surrounding the Uptown area’s tallest building.  The six-story former home of Chase Bank and Meridian Health Services at 7th and Main went up for auction earlier this month.  It was marketed by the broker as a possible location for multi-family housing, retail, or a combination of the two.  But, the auction bids did not meet the seller’s minimum required bid – meaning the property did not sell.  The listing brokers are currently working to find a suitable buyer.

WERNLE RUNAWAY SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS FOR ATTACK

(Richmond, IN)--The 15-year-old Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center runaway who stabbed, beat, and seriously injured a 77-year-old woman at her home on South L Street in Richmond has been sentenced.  Savanna Young, who live in central Indiana, was handed a ten-year prison sentence after the decision was made to try her as an adult.  The sentencing is part of a plea deal which had her plead guilty to Felony Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.  Young has been held at a juvenile center in Fort Wayne, but will now be headed to state prison.  The victim’s family has indicated it is filing a lawsuit against Wernle.

COUPLE WANTED AFTER BODY FOUND IN SHALLOW GRAVE LOCATED

(Ocala, FL)--The two people wanted in connection with the discovery of a body in a shallow grave in Darke County last Saturday were captured Wednesday night.  Dean Baker and Ashlee Fletcher were found at about 10:15 Wednesday night at a truck stop near Ocala, Florida.  U.S. Marshals helped to locate Baker and Fletcher.   They were developed as persons of interest in the homicide investigation of Corey Fleming, whose body was found at a commercial farm outside of Union City.  Baker and Fletcher are being held in a Florida jail pending extradition back to Ohio.

RV CRASH IN HAGERSTOWN CLOSES MAIN STREET, KNOCKS OUT POWER

(Hagerstown, IN)--In Hagerstown Wednesday night, Main Street was closed and power was out to many after a crash involving an RV.  It happened at around 8 o’clock on Hagerstown’s west side when the driver of the RV lost control and struck both a retaining wall and a utility pole.  One person was taken to Reid Health and then flown to a Level One trauma center.  There’s no word on that person’s identity or condition   Main Street, which is also State Road 38, had reopened and power had been restored by Thursday morning.

WELCOME HOME PARTY BEING ORGANIZED FOR HAGERSTOWN LITTLE LEAGUE

(Hagerstown, IN)--The Hagerstown Little League team’s run in the World Series in Pennsylvania came to an end Tuesday night.  But, by Wednesday morning the team was receiving nothing but accolades from everyone back home.  A statement issued by the team after Tuesday night’s eliminating loss said that the past month and a half has been the stuff that dreams are made of.  A welcome home party is being organized for the team.  As of 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, though, the time and place had not been finalized.  The statement goes on to say that the kids are truly hometown heroes and they are going to be treated as such when they return home.

SEARCH CONTINUES FOR COUPLE AFTER BODY FOUND IN SHALLOW GRAVE

(Darke County, OH)--In Darke County, the search is on for two people after a missing man was found dead in a shallow grave.  30-year-old Corey Fleming was reported missing from the Union City area last Thursday.  Investigators said Tuesday that they were searching a poultry operation days later when they found the shallow grave.  Now, the case is being treated as a homicide and authorities want to find 35-year-old Dean Baker and 37-year-old Ashlee Fletcher.  "We believe the two of them are together traveling - likely out of state at this point," said Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker.   Warrants have been issued for both.

WANTED ALABAMA CHILD ABUSER FOUND IN CENTERVILLE

(Centerville, IN)--A wanted Alabama child abuser was found early Wednesday morning at the Panoramic Apartments in Centerville.  21-year-old Selena Aldridge is now in the Wayne County Jail.  Details of what led Centerville officers to the Panoramic Apartments have not been released.  Aldridge had been indicted by a grand jury last winter and then became one of her area’s most wanted people.  Details of what led to the Alabama charge or what led her to Centerville have not been released.

HAGERSTOWN LITTLE LEAGUE FALLS INTO ELIMINATION BRACKET

(Williamsport, PA)--It’s now win or go home for the Hagerstown Little League team at the World Series in Pennsylvania.  Hagerstown’s loss Monday night means it falls into the elimination bracket.  People from not just Hagerstown, but from across the Whitewater Valley, were glued to screens Monday in a close game with tension that was built by a rain delay.  Hagerstown now plays a team from Pennsylvania at 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon.  If Hagerstown wins, they’ll play again Wednesday night.  But, if they lose, they’ll be heading home.

WAYNE COUNTY'S LABOR FORCE RISES SUBSTANTIALLY

(Wayne County, IN)--New unemployment numbers were released Monday.  The unemployment rate for every Indiana county in our area is up, but there is some good news among the new figures.  Wayne County’s rate jumped from 3.3 to 3.6%.  There are, though, positive indications that people are returning to the workforce.  There are 637 more people included in Wayne County’s workforce than there were at this point last year.  Inside the city of Richmond, just over 200 more people are in the workforce as compared to this time last year.  Fayette County now has the third highest unemployment in Indiana at 5.2%.

CHASE EXTENDS FROM RICHMOND TO NEW LEBANON

(Richmond, IN)--There was a police chase through some of Richmond’s busiest areas Monday morning.  Officers began pursuing a passenger vehicle (pictured) on Richmond’s south side.  The driver fled toward the city’s east side, making several U-turns around National Road East.  The chase then went into New Paris, then to Eaton, then to West Alexandria, and then into New Lebanon in Montgomery County.  Scanner traffic indicated that the abandoned vehicle was located but the suspect was not.  That person’s identity is known to law enforcement.

HAGERSTOWN LITTLE LEAGUERS RIDE WITH MAJOR LEAGUERS

(Williamsport, PA)--Once again Monday afternoon, Hagerstown’s attention will be focused to the east as its Little League team plays in the second game of the World Series in Pennsylvania.  Hagerstown will take on a team from Tennessee representing the Southeast at 3 o’clock.  On Sunday, the team got to ride buses with the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox when those two Major League teams arrived to play.  Monday afternoon’s game will air on ESPN.

CAMBRIDGE CITY TRUCKER KILLED

(Indianapolis, IN)--A Cambridge City truck driver was killed in a crash in central Indiana Sunday morning.  According to the Indiana State Police, 70-year-old Billy Ray Ervin was headed west on I-70 when he went off the road and hit a concrete barrier.  Ervin’s semi rolled over and pinned him underneath.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.  Investigators were initially unable to determine why Ervin lost control.  There was no indication that he had tried to brake

HAGERSTOWN ADVANCES WITH WALK-OFF WIN

(Williamsport, PA)--Hagerstown and all of the Whitewater Valley was still buzzing Friday morning after a thrilling walk-off win in the Little League World Series Thursday afternoon.  Kaden Hall’s fielder’s choice propelled Great Lakes into a Monday matchup and sent a crowd that had gathered at Hagerstown High School into a frenzy.  Monday’s game will take place at 3 o’clock.

FBI INVESTIGATES EATON BUSINESSMAN FOR CHILD PORN

(Eaton, OH)--The I-Team from our news partners at WHIO-TV is reporting that a man who owns at least four businesses in Eaton is the subject of an FBI investigation into child pornography.  A search warrant was executed at a home on Bantas Creek Road.  Property records show it’s the home of Ernest Hatmaker.  The case originated when an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force contacted Preble County investigators regarding the sharing of child pornography.  An IP address was obtained, and that’s what led investigators to the Bantas Creek Road home.  Hatmaker and his attorney have declined comment to the I-Team.

LOCAL BUSINESS DONATES $15,000 TO SEARA BURTON

(Richmond, IN)--Numerous Richmond businesses have stepped up with donations to help the family and friends of Seara Burton, the Richmond police officer who was shot in the head on Wednesday of last week.  On Thursday, Smiley’s Pub set the standard.  Smiley’s delivered a check for more than $15,000 to RPD.  Much of the proceeds came from a golf outing.  Meanwhile, there’s no word of any change to Seara’s condition in the last 24 hours.  The man accused of shooting her, Phillip Lee, has an initial hearing set for Friday afternoon in a Wayne County courtroom.

INITIAL HEARING SET FOR ACCUSED RPD OFFICER SHOOTER

(Richmond, IN)--There were a couple of developments Wednesday in the criminal case against the man charged with shooting and critically injuring RPD Officer Seara Burton.  According to Odyssey online court records, defense attorney Andrew Maternowski was appointed Wednesday to represent Phillip Lee.  An initial hearing was also set.  That initial hearing was set for 3:30 Friday afternoon in Wayne Circuit Court.  According to county officials, Lee remained at Miami Valley Hospital Thursday morning, although he is listed as an inmate on Wayne County’s jail roster.

EXCITEMENT BUILDS HOURS BEFORE HAGERSTOWN'S FIRST PITCH

(Hagerstown, IN)--Excitement was building Thursday morning to a fever pitch with the first pitch in Hagerstown’s quest for a Little League World Series Championship just hours away.  On Wednesday, Wayne County Commissions proclaimed it Hagerstown Little League All Star Day.  Banners featuring individual players have gone up along Main Street.  And, the team got this message from former Reds and current Tigers catcher Tucker Barnhart.  "Enjoy representing the town of Hagerstown and the state of Indiana and just know that the entire state is behind you.  Good luck, guys," Barnhart said.  First pitch is at 3 Thursday afternoon on ESPN.  Hagerstown will be referred to as Great Lakes and will wear orange and blue.

ISP INVESTIGATES BODY FOUND IN CONNERSVILLE

(Connersville, IN)--The Indiana State Police is now handling the investigation after a man was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in Connersville.  The body was discovered Wednesday morning in Dale Cemetery.  Officials are not releasing the person’s identity and they have not said whether or not a weapon was found near the body.  All they’re saying this morning is that it’s an ongoing investigation.

RICHMOND FIREFIGHTER, VETERANS' ADVOCATE, DIES AT 57

(Columbus, OH)--Richmond firefighters on Wednesday morning were mourning the loss of one of their own.  Pete McDaniel died Tuesday at an Ohio State medical facility following a two-year battle with cancer.  While McDaniel served a long stint as a firefighter, he was also well known for his efforts to advance local services for veterans.  Services are pending.  Pete McDaniel was 57.

WATCH PARTY SET FOR LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES

(Hagerstown, IN)--The Hagerstown Little League team will take part in opening ceremonies Wednesday for the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in advance of Thursday afternoon’s opening game.  Now, a watch party has been set for people who won’t be able to travel to the games.  A large screen will be put up in the gym at Hagerstown High School.  Members of the public are being invited to gather at the gym to watch the game together.  Doors open at 2:45 in advance of the 3 o’clock game.  There is no charge for admission.

RANDOLPH COUNTY WOMAN DIES IN CRASH

(Randolph County, IN)--There was a fatal crash in Randolph County Tuesday.  Sheriff Ken Hendrickson said that 28-year-old Kelsey Smith had been driving in the 1400 block of Union City Pike when she lost control, went off the side of the road, and struck a tree.  First responders worked for 25 minutes to extricate her.  Smith was taken to St. Vincent Randolph Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.  There’s no word on what caused her to lose control.

32 STUDENTS ESCAPE SERIOUS INJURY SCHOOL BUS CRASH

(College Corner, OH)--32 students escaped serious injury when a school bus crashed into a house in College Corner Monday morning.  It happened just off of State Line Road in College Corner at around 7:30 a.m.  The bus went into the house of John Sibert.  "When I came to the back out the house and looked out the front window, then I seen (sic) the school bus up on the front porch," Sibert said.  First responders and school officials helped students off the bus and checked them out.  "School did an excellent job of accounting for the kids...taking care of the kids," said Fire Chief Don Jackson.  The crash happened because the driver suffered a medical incident.  He was taken to Reid Health.  There’s no word on his condition.

DOT, VANDOR ANNOUNCE EXPANSIONS

(Richmond, IN)--Two Wayne County companies are expanding.  One of them is Vandor.  The Wayne County EDC announced Monday that Vandor is adding a new product line into facilities at both Progress Drive and Rich Road.  It represents an investment of $2.8 million by the end of the year and the creation 28 new jobs in the next three years.  Vandor is getting a $38,000 EDIT grant as part of the expansions.  Dot Transportation is the other company.  Dot is growing its semi-truck driver training program called Earn to Learn.  Dot will invest five-and-a-half million dollars over the next three years to expand office space at its location in the Gateway Industrial Park near Cambridge City.  The EDC is helping with an $86,000 EDIT grant.  The EDC says a driver for Dot can earn $80,000 in their first year and then a six-figure income in subsequent years.

MAN GETS 25 YEARS FOR CAUSING TWO FENTANYL DEATHS

(Brookville, IN)--A Brookville man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday for selling drugs that resulted in the overdose deaths of two people.  25-year-old Seth Donohue admitted to contributing to the deaths of two other Brookville residents – 23-year-olds Jacob Berting and Garrett Johnson by selling them drugs laced with fentanyl.  The two deaths occurred a month apart in 2020 but were both tied back to Donohue.  Trial is pending for a second suspect in the case.

NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES REPORTED IN OFFICER BURTON'S CONDITION

(Richmond, IN)--There’s been no significant change reported by the Richmond Police Department or family in the condition of RPD Officer Seara Burton.  She remains in critical condition Monday morning at Miami Valley Hospital after being shot last Wednesday.  Mayor Dave Snow talked about Seara during a prayer vigil attended by a thousand people on Friday night.  "If you know Seara, she's an absolute warrior."  Over the weekend, customers of numerous businesses donated to help Seara and her family.   Richmond City Employees Federal Credit Union is continuing to accept donations.  On Sunday, Seara’s fiancé posted on social media to thank everyone for their support.

HAGERSTOWN LITTLE LEAGUE TO FACE IOWA IN SERIES OPENER

(Williamsport, PA)--Hagerstown’s Little League team was waking up in Pennsylvania Monday morning as it continues to prepare for the World Series.  A message was recorded for the team Sunday by attendees to a rally of sorts at the Hagerstown baseball diamond.  Meanwhile, the team got a message from Desmond Bane.  "Hagerstown, I've been watching you from afar.  Great to see people from our area doing well and having success.  Proud of you guys.  I'm rooting you on.  Go win the whole thing," Bane said.  Hagerstown will be referred to as Great Lakes and will begin play against a team from Iowa at 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon.

ACCUSED OFFICER SHOOTER TO BE HELD ON MILLION-DOLLAR BOND

(Richmond, IN)--The criminal case against Phillip Lee – the man accused of shooting RPD Officer Seara Burton – now appears in online court records.  Charges include attempted murder along with possessing meth, cocaine, and other drugs.  A habitual offender designation has also been applied.  The case has been assigned to Wayne Circuit Court.  No hearing dates have been set.  He will be held on a million-dollar bond.  There’s been no update on his condition after having been shot during his apprehension.

RPD OFFICER SHOWS "SLIGHT SIGNS OF RESPONSIVENESS"

(Dayton, OH)--Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton remained in very critical condition Friday morning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton after being shot in the head on Wednesday evening, but there were some positive signs Thursday afternoon.  According to the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, Burton survived a surgery Thursday at Miami Valley.  RPD Chief Mike Britt said at 8 o’clock Thursday night that she has not regained consciousness but has shown slight signs of responsiveness.  There has been no update on the condition of the suspect, Phillip Lee.  But, a judge has already found probable cause.  A long list of charges against Lee includes attempted murder.  Lee is not yet in the Wayne County Jail.

PRAYER VIGIL SET FOR INJURED OFFICER

(Richmond, IN)--A prayer vigil has been set Friday night for Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton.  The vigil will take place Friday night at 7 o’clock at the south side of the Richmond City Building.  "Those of you who pray...I ask that you pray for her," said Police Chief Mike Britt.  Attendees to the prayer vigil are asked to wear blue as a sign of support.  Many other organizations around Richmond have also asked everyone to wear blue on Friday.  That includes Richmond Community School students.  "RCS would like everyone throughout our community to wear blue Friday to extend our thoughts and prayers to Officer Burton, her family, and others," said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Wright.

HAGERSTOWN ADVANCES TO LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES

(Whitestown, IN)--In some much-needed good news, the Hagerstown Little League team was boarding a bus Friday morning to make the roughly eight-hour trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to take part in the Little League World Series.  "It's one of those things that moves you to emotion," said Hagerstown Little League President Shawn Murphy.  The team did not come home Thursday night.  Instead, they were boarding a bus Friday morning with Coach Patrick Allred’s philosophy.  "Why not us?  We're gonna keep working and see what we can do when we get to Williamsport," Allred said.  At the World Series, Hagerstown will be referred to as “Great Lakes.”  They’ll first play next Thursday.

RPD OFFICER VERY CRITICAL, "FIGHTING FOR HER LIFE", ACCORDING TO CHIEF

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond police officer was fighting for her life overnight and into Thursday morning after being shot in the head during a traffic stop near North 12 and C Streets at around 6 o’clock Wednesday night.  28-year-old Officer Seara Burton had recently become a canine officer and was involved in the stop of 47-year-old Phillip Lee, who was riding a scooter in the area.  Officer Burton’s gave a positive indication for drugs.  That’s when this happened.."a suspect drew a weapon and fired multiple shots at the officer," said a spokesperson with the Indiana State Police, which is now handling the investigation.  Cedric Hunter witnessed the incident.  "Next thing I hear is "pow" where he shot her and then two or three other officers came running up on the side of the porch," Hunter explained.  Other officers returned fire at Lee, who was struck, taken into custody after a short chase, and then sent to Reid Health.  Evidence was still being gathered late into the night Wednesday night.  Here’s Richmond Police Chief Mike Britt.  "The thing that we do know for certain is that my officer is in very critical condition fighting for her life.  Those of you who do pray - I ask that you pray for her."  Officer Burton was taken to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  A Miami Valley representative at 5 o’clock Thursday morning declined to release the officer’s condition.  Despite initial reports to the contrary, Lee did not die shortly after his apprehension and he was arrested on probable cause.  His condition is also not being released.  Following the shooting, off-duty RPD officers donned uniforms to help at the scene, gather at the city building, or travel to Miami Valley.  "We've had an officer physically injured, but I also have some emotionally injured officers as well," Britt said.  Again, there has been no updated information on the current condition of Officer Burton after being described as very critical overnight.  She was going to get married next week.

ALLEGED SHOOTER OF RPD OFFICER HAS MASSIVE CRIMINAL RECORD

(Richmond, IN)--The man accused of shooting RPD Officer Seara Burton has a massive criminal record.  47-year-old Phillip Lee had been charged with child molesting last year.  That stemmed from an allegation that he was making sexual comments to a teenage girl while he was in prison.  According to Odyssey online court records, that charge was dismissed back in the spring.  But plenty of other charges against Lee stuck in Wayne and Randolph.  He had just served a four-year sentence in state prison after being convicted in 2018 for possessing drugs and syringes.  Lee has previous convictions for burglary, escape, attempted burglary, possession of cocaine, and perjury.  At the time of his arrest on child molesting charges, he was also tagged as a habitual offender.

RCS SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS WITH 64 POSTED JOB OPENINGS

(Richmond, IN)--Wednesday is the first day of school for many students across the Whitewater Valley, including those who attend Richmond, Northeastern, Nettle Creek, and Western Wayne.  In a welcome message to students, parents, and staff, RCS Superintendent Dr. Curtis Wright said that the district is "equipped to combat any form of adversity that may be upon us."  Some of that adversity could come in the form of staffing - or lack thereof.  Richmond’s website Wednesday morning is listing 64 job openings for certified and classified personnel.

HAGERSTOWN NOW ONE WIN AWAY FROM LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES

(Whitestown,IN)--There was plenty of excitement around Hagerstown Tuesday in advance of Tuesday’s Little League baseball game in Whitestown.  Now that the team is just one win away from a trip to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, that excitement level is bound to go through the roof.  "We live in a community that selfless and wants to come out and support these kids," said Jay Hale, whose son plays on the team.  The championship game takes place Thursday afternoon at 4.  Some Hagerstown groups are forming watch parties for Thursday.  The game will be televised live on ESPN2.

WINCHESTER MAN FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER

(Winchester, IN)--A Winchester man has been found guilty of murder following a week-long trial.  A Randolph Circuit Court jury deliberated Tuesday and determined that Monty Cook killed David Brumley at Brumley’s home nearly four years ago.  And now Cook, who is 62 years old and was also found guilty of auto theft, faces a maximum 65-year prison term.  After killing Brumley, Cook fled west in Brumley’s car and was eventually captured in Arizona.

HAGERSTOWN LITTLE LEAGUE TWO WINS AWAY FROM WORLD SERIES

(Whitestown, IN)--Don’t expect much activity around Hagerstown Tuesday afternoon.  That’s because much of the town will be either literally or figuratively in Whitestown as a group of Hagerstown kids compete for a spot in the Little League World Series.  "It's one of those situations where the town kind of shuts down," said Hagerstown Little League President Shawn Murphy.  Hagerstown now represents all of Indiana and is now just two wins away from a trip to Pennsylvania for the World Series.  "This is an opportunity that a lot of these kids are never going to get again," Murphy added).  The team takes on Kentucky at 3 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.

WERNLE RUNAWAY TO BE TRIED AS ADULT FOR APRIL ATTACK

(Richmond, IN)--Back in April, an elderly woman was seriously injured when a Wernle Youth & Family Treatment Center runaway broke into her home and then stabbed and robbed her.  Now, the 15-year-old accused of committing the crime will be tried as an adult.  Savanna Young is charged with felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.  Young has had numerous placements in juvenile services in the last two years.  Superior Court III Judge Darrin Dolehanty, who oversaw the case, ruled that continued juvenile placements posed a significant risk to the public.  The family of the victim is continuing to work toward a civil suit against Wernle.

POSTAL EMPLOYEE ACCUSED OF STEALING CASH, GIFT CARDS

(Eldorado, OH)--An arrest has been made after numerous people in the Eldorado area complained about their mail having been opened.  According to Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson, 21-year-old Austin Stutsman began working at the post office in Eldorado last December.  Stutsman has now admitted to opening mail that appeared to contain greeting cards in search of cash or gift cards.  Investigators also found that Stutsman was issuing more than $2000 in money orders from the post office and then cashing them for his personal use.  Stutsman faces multiple felonies and is in the Preble County Jail.

REWARD OFFERED FOR SUBJECT OF SILVER ALERT

(Richmond, IN)--A statewide silver alert remained in effect Monday morning for a missing Richmond man.  51-year-old Merle Church has not been seen since last Wednesday and was last known to have been in the area of South 11th and F.  Now, a one-thousand-dollar reward has been offered for information leading to finding Merle.  He’s a 5-7 white male who would likely be wearing sunglasses because he’s legally blind.  The Silver Alert states that he is in extreme danger and may be in need of medical assistance.

SCHOOL BEGINS FOR SOME AREA STUDENTS

(Centerville, IN)--It’s hard to believe, but school was back in session Monday morning for some Whitewater Valley students.  Students at Centerville-Abington schools returned to the classroom Monday.  Centerville’s incoming kindergarten class is decidedly smaller this year.  Last year, about 140 kids entered as kindergartners.  This year, that number is only 99.  Eight new teachers are beginning at Centerville on Monday.  Richmond, Northeastern, Western Wayne and Nettle Creek are among the school districts that will return on Wednesday.

SEMI SMASHES INTO HISTORIC COVERED BRIDGE

(Preble County, OH)--A historic covered bridge in Preble County was heavily damaged and possibly destroyed when a semi driver inexplicably tried to squeeze his semi through it.  It happened at the Brubaker Bridge, which is about a quarter-mile outside of Gratis.  The semi’s trailer took out the top and sides of one end of the bridge.  The county engineer’s office has inspected the damage and said that the bridge, which dates back to 1887, is closed indefinitely.

PLAN TO CONVERT ELDER-BEERMAN INTO APARTMENTS ADVANCES

(Richmond, IN)--There’s been more movement on the conversion of the former Elder-Beerman building in downtown Richmond into apartment buildings.  This week, EDC CEO Valerie Shaffer updated county leaders on that project.  A letter of intent has been signed by the EDC from a developer than plans to convert the building into 150 apartments.  Nearly $3 million has already been allocated for the project in state funding.  Elder-Beerman vacated the building four years ago.

POLICE CHIEF, OFFICER PLACED ON LEAVE AFTER ARREST ALLEGATIONS

(Brookville, IN)--In Brookville, Town Council met Thursday night and addressed allegations that Police Chief Terry Mitchum and Officer Ryan Geiser conspired to keep a Brookville resident from running for town council because that candidate had made negative statements about police.  As a result of Thursday night’s meeting, Mitchum and Geiser are now on paid administrative leave.  Council voted unanimously for the suspension that also includes an order that keeps them off of town property.  The Indiana State Police has now taken over the investigation.  The two officers allegedly charged the candidate with rape despite an investigation that turned up no solid evidence.  The case was dropped.

ALLEGED DEALER FOUND WITH $7000 IN MARIJUANA

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Drug Task Force on Thursday released details of another drug bust that occurred early this week.  It happened on Monday when officers stopped Marcus Glover near South 8th and F.  Inside, investigators found $7000 worth of marijuana, $1500 in cocaine, and more than $3600 in cash.  Glover faces multiple dealing charges this morning.  Five years ago, Glover was sentenced to eight years in prison for dealing cocaine.

INDUSTRY NEWSLETTER REPORTS SMITH FOODS ACQUIRED BY KANSAS CITY COMPANY

(Richmond, IN)--A publication called Food Business News reported on Wednesday that a long-time Richmond manufacturer has been acquired by a Kansas City-based organization.  It reports Dairy Farmers of America has acquired Smith Foods, which encompasses the Richmond processing plant.  Smith Foods makes extended shelf-life dairy and non-dairy beverages, as well as ice cream and shake mixes.  The plant will be renamed Richmond Beverage Solutions.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.  Smith Foods began in Richmond as Wayne Dairy 101 years ago.  According to the EDC website, Smith Foods employs 203 people and is Wayne County’s 14th largest employer.

MURDER TRIAL UNDERWAY IN RANDOLPH COUNTY

(Winchester, IN)--It’s been nearly four years since 61-year-old David Brumley was found dead in a Winchester home.  This week, Monty Cook is on trial for Brumley’s murder.  Cook went missing following the murder in November of 2018.  He was eventually captured in Arizona after having been spotted driving the victim’s car in Arkansas.  At the time of his arrest, Cook also had warrants for arson and theft in Randolph County.  If convicted of murder, Cook would face a standard 55-year prison sentence.

$30,000 IN COCAINE AND CASH RECOVERED IN DRUG-DEALING ARREST

(Richmond, IN)--More than $30,000 in cocaine and cash was recovered when an investigation by the Wayne County Drug Task Force culminated with a traffic stop in Richmond Tuesday.  Officers stopped 34-year-old Raymond Lewis Junior.  After a positive hit by a canine, officers located 145 grams of cocaine with a street value of $29,000 and another $1500 in cash.  Lewis allegedly tried to flee but was caught immediately.  Lewis has a previous conviction as a cocaine dealer.

SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES NEW APP

(Wayne County, IN)--The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department launched a new phone app Tuesday.  It enables users to quickly access all kinds of information connected to the department, including searching inmates, warrants, and sex offenders.  There is also a way to submit tips to the Sheriff’s Department.  It’s available by searching “Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, IN”.   Sheriff Randy Retter has said that one of the goals of his administration was to expand community outreach through all forms of communication.

MAN WANTED FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT OF CHILD CAUGHT AT RICHMOND McDONALD'S

(Richmond, IN)--A man wanted for more than a year for allegedly sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl is now in custody.  68-year-old Claude Kidd was located by U.S. Marshals at a Richmond McDonald’s.  He was indicted in April of last year for gross sexual imposition in a case in the Dayton area.  Kidd remained in the Wayne County Jail Wednesday morning awaiting extradition back to Montgomery County.

POPULAR RANDOLPH COUNTY RESTAURANT THE CHOCOLATE MOOSE TO CLOSE

 

The Chocolate Moose, a popular 1950's-style diner that's been serving up burgers, pork tenderloins and ice cream at 101 North Main Street in Farmland for 25 years, will close for good this Saturday, August 6th.  The restaurant's Facebook page announced that the pandemic, supply chain challenges, labor shortages and the sharp increase in the cost of products, and the loss of a co-owner are factored into the decision to close.

POLICE CRACKING DOWN ON SCHOOL BUS STOP-ARM VIOLATIONS

 

With state and area schools opening up for the new school year, state and local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on school bus stop-arm violators.  It's all part of the back-to-school Stop Arm Violation Enforcement campaign - or SAVE.  Violators could pay a fine of up to $10,000 and have their license suspended for up to 90 days for the first offense or up to a year for the second.  Officers will use a range of enforcement strategies from high-visibility patrols to police spotters on buses.  As a reminder, in Indiana, it is illegal for drivers to pass a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended on all roads except for highways that are divided by a barrier, such as a concrete wall or grass median.

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN OHIO'S SECOND PRIMARY ELECTION

Today is Ohio's second primary election in what is turning into an unusual election year.  Polls will be open today from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM.  And Ohio voters, you can find your polling location at voteohio.gov.

INDIANA HOUSE HOLDS PUBLIC TESTIMONY TODAY

With the Indiana House now considering the Senate-approved abortion ban, the public will get likely its last chance to testify today during a House committee hearing.  The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee will take public testimony on the proposed abortion band starting today at 9 am.  Republican Committee Chair Wendy McNamara, from Evansville, is the House sponsor of the bill, and said she wants to hear from as many people as possible but would not commit to allowing every person who signs up to speak.  

 

 

INDIANA SPECIAL SESSION ENTERS SECOND WEEK

 

Indiana's special legislative session now enters its second week, after a contentious first week of debates lasted into Saturday.  The Senate narrowly passing their abortion legislation, which bans abortions at zero weeks except in the cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the pregnant woman, so it will now head to the House for consideration.  The House, meanwhile, passed legislation that covers a wide range of fiscal matters, including a taxpayer refund for Hoosiers, as well as providing additional funding for Medicaid, a grant program to reduce infant mortality and the Child Care and Development Fund voucher program, which support families and children.  It would also get rid of the 7% sales tax on diapers and increase the adoption tax credit.  That bill will now move to the Senate.

CDC COVID MAP SHOWS 53 INDIANA COUNTIES AT 'HIGH RISK'

As of August 1st, more than half of Indiana has been classified in the high-risk category for spreading Covid-19.  53 counties - including Shelby and Rush counties - are listed as high community risk of spreading Covid-19.  There were also 35 more counties listed as "medium" risks, including Wayne, Randolph, Delaware, Henry, Fayette and Franklin counties.  Over the past seven days, Indiana has recorded 15,576 new cases and 56 deaths.  Wayne County reported 288 cases, Henry county 143 cases, Fayette county 111 cases, Union County 6 cases, and Randolph County 60 cases.  In Ohio, Preble and Darke counties are both classified as "high-risk".  Preble recorded 97 cases and Darke 201.  All local counties had no deaths in the week prior. Currently, all Americans age 5 and over are eligible for a booster shot five months after their initial series.  A second booster is now recommended for those 50 and over and for younger people with serious health issues.

MAN KILLED IN SHOOTING OUTSIDE MUNCIE WALMART IDENTIFIED

A man killed in a shooting at a Muncie Walmart has been identified as 34-year-old Samuel Gollum of Eaton, Indiana.  The shooting occurred in the parking lot of Walmart on Clara Lane in Muncie Saturday night around 8:45 pm.  Muncie police responded, pursued and caught the suspect in a nearby wooded area.  Gollum was transported to Ball Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

INDIANA HAS 45 MONKEYPOX CASES, INCLUDING 2 IN CHILDREN

 

A total of 45 monkeypox cases, including 2 in kids, have now been reported across the state of Indiana in the last month and a half, according to the state's Department of Health.  Indiana so far has received only 3,232 doses of the monkeypox vaccine, which have been prioritized for close contacts of positive cases, but additional vaccine is expected soon.  Monkeypox does not easily spread through brief casual contact, but the Health Department cautions that anyone can be affected if they are a close contact of a positive case.  Monkeypox typically begins with fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and exhaustion about 5 to 21 days after exposure, followed by a rash.  Anyone who believes they may have been exposed are urged to contact their healthcare provider.

I-70 TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN DRUG ARREST

 

A Friday afternoon traffic stop on I-70 by the Wayne County Sherrif's department resulted in an arrest on suspicion of the possession of narcotics.  Sheriff's deputies stopped the vehicle with Texas plates driven by 19-year-old Maria Bustamante and arrested her on drug charges.  She was taken into custody and booked into Wayne County Jail.

ELWOOD POLICE OFFICER SHOT AND KILLED IN TRAFFIC STOP

 

Police departments across the state are mourning the loss of a fellow officer.  An Elwood Indiana police officer was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop Sunday morning.  Indiana State Police say that around 2:00 am Sunday, 24-year-old Elwood Officer Noah Shahnavaz was conducting a traffic stop on State Road 37 in Madison County, and for reasons unknown at this time, the suspect exited the vehicle and fired multiple rounds, striking Officer Shahnavaz at least once.  Shahnavaz was flown to an Indianapolis area hospital and was pronounced dead soon after.  The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Carl Roy Webb Boards II, from Anderson, fled the scene in their vehicle but was later taken into custody and faces multiple charges.

INDIANA SENATE PASSES INFLATION RELIEF PLAN

After debating the abortion bill for hours, the Indiana Senate did act on a bill to address the effects of inflation on Hoosiers.  In a 40-4 vote the Senate bill that proposes a 6-month moratorium on the state's utility tax, along with a cap on the state gas tax.  Supporters of the bill say the suspension of the 7% sales tax on electricity, water, gas, internet and phone bills would provide an estimated savings of 260 million for Hoosiers.  The bill would also cap the sales tax on gas at 29.5 cents through June 30th, 2023.  The Senate measure differs significantly from the House version, which more closely resembles Governor Eric Holcomb's original plan to return $1 billion from the state's surplus to Indiana taxpayers through $225 payments.  

NEAR-TOTAL ABORTION BAN PASSES INDIANA GOP-CONTROLLED SENATE

The special session of Indiana's state legislature has pushed a near total ban on abortions through the state Senate.  The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill Saturday which would ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions.  The bill passed 26-20 and now moves to the Republican-controlled state House for debate.  If it makes it through the House, it will go into effect September 1st.  

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