Local News Archives for 2023-02

BROWN NAMED RICHMOND FIRE CHIEF

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond has a new, permanent fire chief.  On Monday, Richmond Mayor Dave Snow announced that Tim Brown will lead the department.  Brown has been with the fire department for 35 years and has received numerous accolades for his service.  Brown replaces Jerry Purcell, who was ousted late last year.  Brown had been serving as interim chief.  Purcell is now a candidate for Richmond Common Council.

SOME REMAIN WITHOUT POWER TUESDAY MORNING

(Whitewater Valley)--The Whitewater Valley escaped relatively unscathed Monday as severe weather rolled through the area.  Tornado warnings were issued for much of Franklin County and the southeastern section of Preble County.  No touchdowns were reported.  There were still a couple of dozen customers of AES without power Tuesday morning.  Most of those outages are in the 40-foot pitch area of Eaton.  More than 370 people were still in the dark in the Oldenburg area of Franklin County.  Power was out in the Hidden Valley area of Richmond after a large tree came down.  That power was quickly restored and RP&L reported no outages Monday morning.

RPD CANINE AND OFFICER COMPLETE TRAINING

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s Police Department’s newest K-9 officer has completed training.  RPD announced Monday that Officer Uphaus and Skee are now done with a six-week training course.  The pair can now start their dayshift patrol.  Vohne Liche Kennels donated Skee to the department in honor of fallen K-9 Officer Seara Burton.  The police department decided to retire Seara’s partner, Brev, following her death.

RCS BOARD SEEKS INPUT ON PROPOSED SCHEDULE CHANGE

(Richmond, IN)--It will be a few weeks at a minimum before the Richmond Community School Board decides whether or not to implement a different schedule for the next school year.  That schedule would significantly push back the start time of school each day for intermediate and high school students.  In those few weeks, the Board is looking for input on the issue from parents and teachers.  "We're going to investigate a little more.  We want more input.  Then, we'll hopefully have it up for a vote at the next School Board meeting," said RCS Board member Stacy Mopps.  If the proposal passes, each school day would start at around 9 a.m. for intermediate and high school students.

CHILD SOLICITOR CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL RECKLESSNESS

(Wayne County, IN)--A central Indiana man was taken into custody Sunday following a chase that went through Hagerstown and ended in Henry County.  Joshua Settles has been charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.  Although there’s no official word yet on whether the two incidents are connected, there was a report of shots fired on Hiser Station Road shortly before the chase began.  Settles is also charged with felony resisting.  There was no report of any injury.  Settles is also a registered sex offender who was convicted of child solicitation.

RCS BOARD TABLES PROPOSAL TO DELAY START OF SCHOOL DAY

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board this week addressed a proposal that would mean later morning start times and less actual time in the classroom beginning at the start of the next school year.  Under the proposal, elementary students would start at 8:05 each morning.  But, Test and RHS students wouldn’t start their day until 8:50 each morning.  Dennis wouldn’t start until 9:05.  Several people addressed the Board and shared concerns about decreased class time and logistical issues.  "That's time at home that will be unsupervised.  Who will get them to the bus?  Those are things that need to be addressed," said one speaker.  The Board tabled the issue and will address it again at a later date.

SCHOOL BUS INVOLVED IN SERIOUS CRASH

(Richmond, IN)--One person was seriously injured when a van collided with a school bus at the intersection of Salisbury and Rich Road Thursday morning.  No children were on the school bus at the time of the crash.  There has been no official release about the accident from law enforcement, but family members have indicated that one man was sent to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.  The intersection was shut down for a couple of hours.  There was no official word Friday morning on the identity or condition of the drivers, although a family member did indicate one man is in critical condition.

RICHMOND WOMAN SENTENCED FOR FENTANYL DISTRIBUTION

(Richmond, IN)--A 41-year-old Richmond woman is headed to federal prison for six years.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Thursday announced the sentence for Amber Bailey.  The FBI began investigating Bailey 2 ½ years ago when she distributed methamphetamine mixed with the deadly drug fentanyl.  Thursday’s release included a statement from the FBI that fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of 45.  They did not specifically tie Bailey to any fentanyl deaths.

SNOW TEASES MORE POSITIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEWS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Dave Snow had an exciting prediction this week.  First, Snow recapped for Common Council the announcement of two new companies that are making large investments in the city.  "Viking Manufacturing, as you may know, is bringing 111 new jobs to our city, which comes right on the heels of the announcement of the very large investment from Liberation Laboratories.  That's $115 million and the addition of 45 well-paying jobs."  Then, Snow said this at Monday night's meeting of Richmond Common Council:  "We have more exciting news on the horizon that I can't wait to share with you.  We are looking ahead to what's going to be a landmark year in terms of economic investment in the city of Richmond."  Snow did not give any other specifics about other new projects.

POSITIVE IDENTITY MADE ON REMAINS FOUND IN HUESTON WOODS

(Preble County, OH)--Human remains that were discovered in Hueston Woods State Park have now been positively identified.  The identification is what investigators suspected; that it was Michael McKenney of Fairfield.  McKenney went missing nearly three years ago.  The remains were discovered in December in a wooded area near the covered bridge.  Investigators say no foul play is suspected.  "I will say that we're not looking for anybody right now.  We're not looking for any suspects," said Officer Brandon McCroskey.  The identity was confirmed through DNA testing.

MAN CAUGHT AFTER CRASHING INTO FRIENDS FELLOWSHIP TREE

(Richmond, IN)--One person was caught following a chase and crash that occurred on Thursday morning.  19-year-old Juan Lopez-Lopez was booked into jail at 5 o’clock Thursday morning.  Lopez-Lopez has never had a license.  When officers tried to stop him, he fled into the Friends Fellowship area off of Chester Boulevard in Richmond and crashed into a tree.  He then fled on foot into a wooded area and was caught a short distance away.

RCS BOARD TO ADDRESSED REVISED SCHOOL START TIMES

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community meets Wednesday afternoon and will discuss both school hours and the calendar for the ’23-’24 school year.  RCS administrators have identified what they call barriers to teachers that include supervision needs before and after school.  The revised schedule reduces the instructional minutes to respond to those barriers.  It also eliminates the Tuesday early dismissal schedule.  Under the proposal, elementary students would start at 8:05 each morning.  But, Test and RHS students wouldn’t start their day until 8:50 each morning.  Dennis wouldn’t start until 9:05.  Some members of the Richmond Community School Board have expressed concern about attendance throughout the school system…or, more accurately, the lack of attendance.  Two-thirds of students throughout the system are expected to miss at least 18 school days this year.  Wednesday afternoon’s meeting begins at 5:30.

WANTED RAPIST CAPTURED

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond rapist was taken into custody Tuesday night.  32-year-old Justin Croucher was located in the 700 block of Sheridan Street.  Croucher was originally charged with rape five years ago.  By the time he was formally sentenced last year, he had already served most of his sentence.  The case was reopened last week and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  Croucher was also charged Tuesday night with failing to register as a sex offender.

REID SETS OPEN HOUSE FOR NEW BROOKVILLE FACILITY

(Brookville, IN)--Reid Health is getting set to show off its new facility in Brookville.  A community open house for the new primary and specialty care center has been set for late on the afternoon of March 9.  It’s a 20,000 square foot facility that’s located on State Road 101 just north of Brookville.  The new building will replace Reid’s existing facility on Main Street.

INDOT SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT FOR I-70 WIDENING PROJECT

(Wayne County, IN)--Plans are progressing to widen I-70 through nearly all of Wayne County to three lanes.  Now, INDOT is asking for your input.  INDOT has launched a survey.  The survey asks what drivers think are the most pressing issues on the interstate in Wayne County – things like congestion relief, pavement improvement, and interchange upgrades.  The survey also asks drivers how often the drive that stretch of interstate.  To take the survey and find out more about the project, go to revivei70.com.

COUNCIL TO ADDRESS SANITARY DISTRICT BOND

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council will meet Tuesday night…a day later than usual because of President’s Day.  Council is set to deal with a resolution regarding a bond for the Richmond Sanitary District.  That bond issuance is set at a maximum of $11.5 million.  Council will also hear on first reading an ordinance involving Richmond Police Department salaries.  As always, you can catch Tuesday night’s meeting live beginning at 7 o’clock on WCTV.

WESTERN WAYNE BOARD DISCUSSES THREATENED LITIGATION

(Pershing, IN)--The Western Wayne School Board held an executive session on Friday.  Executive sessions at any school district are off-limits to the public and often involve personnel issues.   Friday’s meeting involved pending or threatened litigation.  One long-time employee has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging intimidation.  That employee also alleges sexual harassment by an administrator that occurred at a recent gathering away from school.  Numerous staff members have left Western Wayne Schools in the last two years.

JAIL STAFF INTERCEPTS FENTANYL

(Richmond, IN)--Jail staffers in Wayne County were able to prevent a batch of deadly fentanyl from entering the jail.  Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter said over the weekend that staffers noticed suspicious behavior from a person visiting the jail lobby.  A security sweep turned up the fentanyl in a public restroom.  The drugs were left in an attempt to get it to an inmate inside.  Retter did not indicate in his release if any arrests were made.

SUV RUNS INTO RICHMOND WALMART

(Richmond, IN)--The driver of an SUV drove into the entrance area of Richmond’s Walmart on Saturday night.  Video shows the SUV driving relatively slowly into the building, but still taking out a stone base and plate-glass window near the vending machines at the entrance.  No injuries were reported.  There’s no word on the dollar amount of the damage or what caused the incident.  Walmart has remained open.

LOCAL WATER OFFICIAL: AQUIFER CONTAMINATION FROM DERAILMENT UNLIKELY

(Whitewater Valley)--Some local residents have expressed concern that the contamination from the train derailment in eastern Ohio could sink into aquifers and affect local water.  Brad Colter with Connersville Utilities addressed that possibility Thursday.  "With our source being several aquifers away from the contamination, in this instance I feel pretty comfortable that we're in good shape," Colter said.  Colter said that he and other Whitewater Valley emergency management officials are watching the situation closely.  "We'll be ready to do what needs to be done if something needs to be done."  Contamination that entered the Ohio River will pass closest to us this weekend.

INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY AFTER COUPLE FOUND DEAD NEAR MILTON

(Wayne County, IN)--A death investigation will continuing Friday after the discovery of two people who had been found dead at a home on Wagner Road near Milton earlier this week.  Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter said Thursday that deputies doing a welfare check discovered the bodies of Randy and Jennifer Boyd.  There was no apparent evidence of an accident or foul play.  There’s no word on how long the couple may have been dead before their bodies were discovered.

TRI STUDENT CHARGED WITH MAKING THREAT

(Straughn, IN)--Investigators have released details on an area school threat that occurred earlier this week.  A Tri High School student has now been charged with felony intimidation after threatening to " shoot this place up."  That student is a 19-year-old Tri High senior who has now been identified as Draven Smith.  The alleged threat came in a classroom and was witnessed by other students.

CONCERN EXPRESSED OVER RCS ATTENDANCE NUMBERS

(Richmond, IN)--Some members of the Richmond Community School Board are expressing concern about attendance throughout the school system…or, more accurately, the lack of attendance.  Two-thirds of students throughout the system are expected to miss at least 18 school days this year.  The state identifies students classified as chronically absent.  According to the latest numbers, 34% of elementary students in Richmond are chronically absent.  The percentage at Richmond High School is essentially the same.  The numbers are worst at Vaile Elementary, where nearly half the students are chronically absent.  RCS officials recently said that attendance at the high school was better in January when students were attending online.

PHILLIP LEE MURDER TRIAL PUSHED BACK MONTHS

(Richmond, IN)--The trial for the man charged with shooting and killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton last year has now been pushed back by several months.  Phillip Lee was set to go on trial for murder in two weeks.  Now, though, that’s been cancelled and a new pre-trial date has been set for August.  That means Lee would not go on trial until September at the earliest.  That’s more than a year after the shooting.  Until then, Lee will continue to be held in the state prison system.

PASTOR CHARGED FOR ATTACKING TEEN BASKETBALL PLAYER

(Laurel, IN)--A Connersville pastor is now facing a criminal charge for allegedly attacking a 16-year-old basketball player following a game.  The alleged incident happened in Laurel last month.  Merle Seeley has been charged with battery resulting in bodily injury in Franklin County.  The incident was captured on video.  Details of what led to the incident have not been released.

TEEN GIRL KILLED, TWIN INJURED IN RANDOLPH COUNTY CRASH

(Randolph County, IN)--A crash Tuesday afternoon claimed the life of a Randolph County teen and left her twin sister with serious injuries.  It happened on County Road 1100 West a few miles north of Losantville.  Police say a vehicle driven by 17-year-old Chloe Shook left the roadway and rolled several times.  Her passenger and twin sister Ashtynn was ejected and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Chloe was flown to a Fort Wayne hospital.  Her condition Wednesday morning had not been released.  The crash remains under investigation.

MUCH OF DEPOT DISTRICT CITY BLOCK TO BE DEMOLISHED

(Richmond, IN)--Four buildings that cover an entire city block on a heavily traveled street in Richmond have been approved for demolition.  This week, Richmond’s Historic Preservation Commission unanimously approved demolition of three homes in the 400 block of North 9th and another in the 800 block of North D.  Those buildings are at the south end of the U.S. 27 overpass of the Depot District.  The demolition will pave the way for construction of a $3.2 million, 26,000 square-foot, three-story building.  Much of the space in that new building will be rented out by its owner, Abilities Richmond.

NO NEED FOR PRIMARY IN WAYNE COUNTY

(Wayne County, IN)--There won’t be any primary election in Wayne County this year.  That’s because Republicans challenged the candidacies of both David Flannery and Shawn O’Conner for Mayor of Richmond.  Election officials this week upheld those challenges because Flannery and O’Conner did not vote in the two previous primaries.  That requirement is part of state election code.  This week’s decision means that Ron Oler will be the only Republican candidate on the November ballot for Richmond Mayor.  Current Mayor Dave Snow will be the only Democrat.  The cancellation of the primary election will save Wayne County close to $60,000.

MASS SHOOTING AT MICHIGAN STATE

A gunman opened fire last night on the East Lansing campus at Michigan State University, killing three people and wounding five more, before turning the gun on himself after an hours-long manhunt that forced students to lock-down and hide.  Campus police announced the man's death early this morning, after the shootings occurred at Berkey Hall, an academic building, and later nearby at the Michigan State University union.  The manhunt quickly covered the campus area searching for the suspect who was eventually found and confronted by police off-campus before killing himself.  The name of the suspect has not yet been released, but police did say the man was not a student or employee and had no known affiliation with Michigan State.  MSU has about 50,000 students, including 19,000 who live on campus.  All classes, sports and other activities were canceled for 48 hours as the investigation continues.

INDIANA GOVERNOR BANNED FROM RUSSIA

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is among a large group of Americans that were recently banned from Russia.  Governor Holcomb joins Kentucky Governor Andy Bashear on a list made up of a total of 33 governors, and some other mid-ranking state and federal officials.  Russia put out the list in a retaliatory move for the U.S.'s support for Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.  The U.S. and its allies, including Britain and other NATO countries have added hundreds of members of Russia's political and business elites to their own sanction lists since Moscow invaded Ukraine a year ago.

WAYNE COUNTY PRIMARY CANCELED

The Wayne County 2023 primary has now been officially canceled, after county election officials agreed yesterday that no primary is necessary this spring.  The cancelation came after officials upheld a challenge lodged by Wayne County Republican Chair Gary Saunders that two of the three GOP candidates for Richmond Mayor do not meet the state's requirements of voting as a Republican in the previous two primary elections.  That leaves only one challenger to Democratic incumbent Dave Snow in that election, and no other Richmond races have more than one candidate seeking their party's nomination.  The cancellation of the May primary can save the county between 55 and 60,000 dollars since there would be no need to hire poll workers, security staff, print ballots or any other expenses normally associated with holding an election.

COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY PASSED IN GREENVILLE, OH

The Darke County Sheriff's office has released information of their investigation into a recent report of counterfeit money being passed at a local business in Greenville Ohio.  The Sheriff's office took the initial report of the crime on Friday, February the 10th about the incident that occurred the previous day.  A local bank discovered the counterfeit money when the business dropped off its deposit.  The United States Secret Service was also notified, and Darke County Sheriff's office released a photograph of the suspect.  We'll post that photo online and if anyone has information, they are asked to notify the Darke County Sheriff's office. 

INDIANA LEGISLATURE LOOKS TO IMPROVE CHILD CARE TAX CREDIT

Indiana lawmakers are considering legislation to improve child-care access by creating a tax credit in 2023 for employers who help provide those services.  Senate Bill 186 would provide a tax credit to company owners who provide child-care to their employees.  Some small businesses could also qualify by paying for tuition at a center that already exists.  The tax credit would fund up to 50% of expenses, and is intended to improve overall access to child-care for working parents.  The Senate Appropriations committee could vote on the bill as shortly as later this week.

INVESTIGATION CONTINUES IN DEATH OF WAYNE CO. MAN

Authorities continue working to determine what led to the death of a man in Wayne County.  Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a call involving an unconscious person at the 11000 block of Center Rd. in Williamsburg, IN last Thursday, Feb. 9th.  That person was later identified as 51-year-old Jonathan Benge. The Sheriff's office said the body of the Lynn resident was found by the property owner, lying next to a pickup truck that belonged to Benge.  A cause of death has not been confirmed at this time. An autopsy has been scheduled as the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and coroner’s office continue investigating the circumstances of the death.

ALMOST $3 MILLION WORTH OF COCAINE SEIZED ON I-70

A semi pulled over by an Indiana State Trooper Friday afternoon resulted to the discovery of a large amount of cocaine.  The semi, with no trailer, was eastbound on I-70 east of Post Road and was pulled over for failing to signal a lane change.  The state trooper began to be suspicious of the driver and called ina K9 to assist with the investigation.  A search followed that found approximated 154 pounds of cocaine inside the sleeper-birth of the semi.  Street value of the seizure, according to the ISP Drug investigations section is estimated to be 2.8 million dollars. The 43-year-old driver, from California, was arrested on drug charges and transported to the Marion County jail.

MAN ARRESTED ON CHESTER BLVD AFTER HIGH-SPEED CHASE

A scanner call that indicated an altercation between a white male with a firearm dragging a woman into the woods, led to high-speed chase along Chester boulevard yesterday.  Police eventually stopped a blue Jeep Liberty driven by 41-year-old Matthew Curtis Hensley and resulted in the arrest of Hensley on multiple felony charges including domestic battery with a deadly weapon, invasion of privacy, intimidation and confinement.  As well as disorderly conduct, public intoxication and operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a prior conviction.  Hensley is currently being held on more than $25,000 bond.

INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY INVOLVING CHILD'S DEATH

(Wayne County, IN)--A few details were released Thursday about the death of a Wayne County child on Wednesday.  Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter said that deputies responded to the home of a one-year-old child on Brick Church Road near Hagerstown on the report that the child was unresponsive.  The child was taken first to Reid Health and then to a distant children’s hospital.  The child died after several hours of medical intervention.  Two adults and two other children were home at the time.  Names are being withheld until the investigation is complete.

RCS: DENNIS THREAT IS NOT CREDIBLE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Community Schools on Thursday night issued a statement saying that a threat involving Dennis Middle School is not credible.  Details of what led to that statement were not disclosed, but RCS did say there would be an increased police presence at Dennis Friday.  Administrators are still investigating and RCS said that all threats are taken seriously.  The school system also asked students and parents to avoid sharing rumors on social media.

SHOTS FIRED AT GENESIS APARTMENTS

(Richmond, IN)--Shots were fired at Genesis Apartments in Richmond Thursday night.  Officers were called to the complex formerly known as Country Club at South 23rd and L at around 8:30 Thursday night.  Residents reported hearing about five shots fired.  Investigators located shell casings.  No one was injured and no arrests were made.  There was no description of any suspect.

COUNTY COULD TAKE POSSESSION OF CRAIN BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--The former Crain Sanitarium building at the corner of 22nd and East Main in Richmond could become the property of the county.  That property is included with others in a deed sale set for early June.  Wayne County Commissioners could then sell it to a private investor.  But, the county would also be responsible for either upkeep or demolition if the Crain building does not sell.

SUGAR CREEK SEEKS ABATEMENT FOR LARGE EXPANSION

(Cambridge City, IN)--A big expansion is in the works at Sugar Creek in the Gateway Industrial Park near Cambridge City.  At a county council meeting next month, approval will likely be granted for two tax abatements that will help to fund an $11 million investment.  It will come in the form of building expansions and renovations.  571 people now work at Sugar Creek with an annual payroll close to $30 million.  The company has added 26 employees since last May.

MAN ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC BATTERY RESULTING IN SERIOUS BODILY INJURY

(Centerville, IN)--In Wayne County overnight Wednesday night and Thursday morning, law enforcement agents dealt with four simultaneous domestic calls.  In the most serious, deputies were called to Three Mile Road southwest of Centerville.  36-year-old Clyde Patterson turned himself in to a DNR officer outside the Wayne County Jail at 1 o’clock Thursday morning.  Patterson is charged with domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury.  There’s no word yet on the condition of the victim.  The incident occurred in the presence of children.

ARREST MADE IN CONNECTION WITH DECEMBER MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--An arrest has been made in a Richmond murder.  On Tuesday, a warrant was issued for 41-year-old Damien Rowe.  Rowe is accused of shooting and killing 42-year-old Brandy Fox in an incident in the 100 block of Randolph Street in Richmond back on December 10.  Rowe was taken into custody Tuesday without incident and charged with murder and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.  Rowe’s criminal history includes convictions for drug dealing and pointing a firearm.  He has another drug-dealing case still pending.  Rowe was being held Wednesday morning without bond.

WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER BODY FOUND IN WINCHESTER BEDROOM

(Winchester, IN)--In Winchester, a grisly discovery has led to the arrest of 48-year-old Terri Alyea.  Officers were called to an apartment on the report of an unwanted person.  When they arrived they found that that person – Christopher Lecklider – was dead in a bedroom.  There were no immediate signs of foul play.  Police reports indicate the apartment was filled with moldy food and trash.  A child living in the apartment told investigators she had been told not to go in the bedroom because "Daddy was in a bad mood."

I-70 WIDENING DRAWS SAFETY CONCERNS

(Centerville, IN)--It’s not visible yet, but work is underway on the I-70 widening project through Wayne County.  Currently, the plan to widen the interstate to three lanes each way through nearly all of Wayne County is in the preliminary design stage with environmental analysis also being conducted.  Surveying is also being done.  At a recent meeting of Centerville Town Council, first responders expressed concern about both I-70 and U.S. 40 being under construction, saying it will create a dangerous situation.

CORONER: MORE HUMAN REMAINS WILL LIKELY BE UNCOVERED AT

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County officials on Monday discussed in more detail the human remains that were recently discovered when a gas crew dug to move a line at the north end of the U.S. 27 overpass of the Depot District in Richmond.  The grassy area on both side of the road was once a cemetery.  Wayne County Coroner Kevin Fouche said that many marked graves were moved back in the 1950’s, but that there are also numerous unmarked graves in the location.  There is a high probability that more remains will be discovered as work progresses to replace the overpass.  A state team will take control of any remains that are found.  They will eventually wind up in another Richmond cemetery.  Fouche added that the discovery of remains will not delay the overpass project.

COUNCIL REJECTS FIREFIGHTERS' CONTRACT RECOMMENDATION

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council met Monday night and addressed a new contract for firefighters.  The recommendation on the table from a fact-finding panel was for a two-percent raise for the next two years and the creation of three new positions to help with overtime.  Council rejected the recommendation for approval, which means that the issue will now go back to the fact-finding panel.  Under the previous contract, firefighters had received a five-percent raise each year from 2020 through 2022.

LONG-TIME RICHMOND EDUCATOR, COACH DIES

(Richmond, IN)--A long-time Richmond educator and coach has died.  John Lebo died Sunday.  Lebo was the first Dean of Students at Richmond High School and spent 28 years there.  He served on numerous boards and helped to found the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.  In 1995, he was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash – the highest award an Indiana civilian can receive.  Visitation will be this Saturday at Doan & Mills Funeral Home.  John Lebo was 90.

HUMAN REMAINS UNEARTHED AT DEPOT OVERPASS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

(Richmond, IN)--Some of the very first elements of construction on the new US 27 overpass over Richmond’s Depot District hit a major snag.  Several weeks ago, crews digging to move a gas line dug up human remains.  The remains were found in a grassy area at the northern end of the overpass.  One city official said that the area was cordoned off.  On morning, there was a blue tarp covering an area where digging had begun, although it has not clear that that is where the remains were found.  That entire area was once a cemetery.  It was called Friends Graveyard and was adjacent to the former site of the Friends Meeting House.  That’s an area that would later become Barker’s Fireplace Shop.  The bodies in the cemetery were moved in the 1950’s when the overpass that exists today was built.  There’s no word yet from INDOT on whether the discovery will delay the project.

RICHMOND MAY NOT NEED MAYORAL PRIMARY ELECTION

(Richmond, IN)--The deadline to file to run to be Richmond’s next mayor came and went last Friday, and now there’s a possibility that there won’t be any primary voting in May.  Incumbent Dave Snow is the only Democratic candidate.  There were three Republican candidates, but two of them – David Flannery and Sean O’Conner – are being challenged because they didn’t vote as Republicans in previous elections.  If they drop out or are removed, it would leave only Ron Oler.  The Wayne County Election Board will hear challenges to the Republican candidacies on February 13 if the two candidates don’t drop out before then.

EDC WORKS TO SECURE NUMEROUS LARGE PROJECTS

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County’s Economic Development Corporation is on a roll following the recent announcement that Liberation Labs would set up shop in the Midwest Industrial Park and create 45 new jobs.  On Monday afternoon, a resolution will be sought to allow negotiations for the sale of 40 acres in the third phase of the park for Project Delta.  That’s an unnamed project that would bring 111 more jobs and $63 million in investment.  There are three more projects in the negotiation stage that would bring a combined 128 more jobs and $212 million in investment.  And, there are seven local expansion projects underway.

PRE-TRIAL HEARING, TRIAL DATES CANCELLED FOR PHILLIP LEE

(Richmond, IN)--As expected, Friday’s scheduled pre-trial hearing for the man charged with shooting and killing RPD Officer Seara Burton has been cancelled.  Next month’s trial date for Phillip Lee is also off.  Numerous motions have been filed in Wayne Circuit Court this week.  One of the orders granted Thursday – according to Odyssey online court records – is an order regarding qualifications of counsel.  No new pre-trial or trial dates for Lee have been set.  The cancellations of dates are nothing out of the ordinary in Wayne County.  Pre-trial and trial dates for high-level felonies are often pushed back numerous times before a trial actually occurs.

CHAMBER RELEASES TOUCHING VIDEO PAYING TRIBUTE TO SEARA BURTON

(Richmond, IN)--Recently, the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce presented its annual awards, which included a posthumous award for the Emergency Professional Officer of the Year for RPD Officer Seara Burton.  Now, an incredibly touching ten-minute video that pays tribute to her life and service has been released.  It includes new tributes from her fellow officers…officers like Keifer Uphaus, who talked about Seara’s wish to be the first RPD canine officer.  "when she sets her mind to something, she does it," Uphaus said.  Another RPD officer, Jesse Tyree, appears in the video.  "She just made everything better.  Whenever she came into a room, it just made the energy better," Tyree said.  And, the member of the RPD family closest to Seara – Ami Miller - is included in the video.  ""Seara was and always will be my hero," Miller said.  You can find a link to the video on the RPD Facebook page.

MAN WANTED FOR BEATING, STRANGLING PREGNANT WOMAN SURRENDERS

(Richmond, IN)--A man who was wanted for allegedly strangling and beating a pregnant woman surrendered at the Wayne County Jail early Thursday morning.  A warrant had been issued last week after probable cause was found against 35-year-old Cody Drook.  Drook showed up at jail Thursday morning with enough money to bond himself out and was released.  Future hearing dates are pending.

LOCAL EMPLOYER ANNOUNCES MAJOR LAYOFFS

(Eaton, OH)--A large number of layoffs will be finalized Wednesday at a major Whitewater Valley employer.  Silfex in Eaton has already begun the layoffs.  Here’s one employee who asked to remain anonymous:  "Not everyone had any notice.  Some people worked a full shift.  Then, at the end of the shift, they got pulled aside and walked out the door."  The specific number of people to be laid off in Eaton has not been released.  Silfex issued a statement saying that the layoffs are the result of recent trade restrictions limiting the ability to do business with China.  Silfex employs 419 people in Eaton.

INDOT ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR NORTH A STREET RESURFACING

(Richmond, IN)--INDOT on Tuesday released plans for another major local road project.  It’s not the I-70 widening or the new bridge over the Depot District in Richmond.  This one is a plan to repave North A Street.  A $3 million contract has been awarded to Milestone Contractors for asphalt resurfacing of North A from 16th Street west to 3rd Street.  The work is expected to begin in a couple of months and continue through late fall.  INDOT says that at least one of three of North A’s lanes will remain open through construction.

WOMAN CHARGED WITH FELONY FOR DUMPING PUPPY

(Preble County, OH)--A Preble County woman appeared in court Tuesday and now faces felony cruelty to animals after a horrible case of abuse.  26-year-old Kayla Brown allegedly put a beagle puppy in a small crate and dumped it last month on Verona Road in 25-degree-weather.  The crate was found on its top with the dog still inside.  A vet determined that the puppy was malnourished and dehydrated.  Brown was arrested on Monday at her home.  Brown is now being held on a $25,000 bond.

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