Local News Archives for 2024-04

COUNCIL DENIES ZONING FOR SOUTH 37th HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council Monday night, by a 6-3 vote, put the brakes on a large proposed housing development near South 37th and Backmeyer Road when they denied a request for a zoning change.  14 people spoke in favor of the zoning change.  They were nearly all business and community leaders who spoke about the need for additional housing.  18 more people spoke against the development.  They were nearly all people who live nearby and expressed concern about traffic, water runoff, and property value.  Some of the six council members who opposed the development talked about unanswered questions, including Larry Parker.  Parker had an exchange with the developer questioning rental prices, HOA fees, and a Forest Hills Country Club membership.  Some council members clearly struggled with the decision.  "This is so hard.  I'm gonna have to say 'no.'  I'm sorry," said Jane Bumbalough in a role-call vote.  While the people who filled council chambers Monday night had very differing opinions on whether or not the proposed South 37th Street housing and apartment development was a good idea, nearly everyone was in agreement that Richmond is in desperate need of midrange housing.  "At this moment, we find ourselves with 75 active homes on the market, and 23 of those are under $100,000," said real estate broker James Henley.  "How many time have we seen people accepting jobs in Wayne County and choosing to live somewhere else because they didn't have the type of neighborhood or the type of home they want for their family?" questioned  And this is Melissa Vance from the local Chamber.  South 37th, or Smith Hill, would have added housing for hundreds of residents.

COUNCIL TO ADDRESS SOUTH 37th DEVELOPMENT MONDAY NIGHT

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council meets Monday night with a major issue on the agenda.  It’s the zoning ordinance that would pave the way for the proposed major housing and apartment development near South 37th and Backmeyer Road.  The ordinance is on second reading Monday night.  That’s when public comment is taken.  Proponents of the project, which include nearly all city and business leaders, say that the housing is desperately needed to attract and retain employees needed to allow businesses to survive and expand.   But many nearby residents oppose the project, fearing congestion, inadequate roads, and unprotected retention ponds.  Monday night’s meeting begins at 7.  As always, you can catch it live on WCTV.

MENTALLY DISABLED ADULT MISSING FROM PREBLE COUNTY

(Preble County, OH)--The Preble County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a missing person case focused on a 49-year-old woman who functions at the level of an eight-year-old.  Amy Evans lives on Quaker Trace Road and has not been seen since Friday.  Investigators say she is believed to have been picked up near her home by a man in a dark blue mid-sized vehicle.  She is not responding to calls to her phone.

"GOOD THINGS COMING" TO FORMER FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME BUILDING

(Richmond, IN)--They’re not saying exactly what it is yet, but the National Register of Historic Districts in Richmond is indicating that "good things are coming" to the former post office building on North A in Richmond, which would later become the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame closed and the building was sold late in 2021.  Property records show the building is currently owned by First Bank Richmond.  Sunday’s hint does not indicate when an official announcement will be made.

DELUGE OF RAIN BRINGS STREET FLOODING, ROAD CLOSURES

(Whitewater Valley)--A very large amount of rain came down in a very short time Thursday afternoon and resulted in street flooding to a level that some Richmond residents said they had never before seen.  The Reeveston area of Richmond had water rise quickly.  Multiple cars became stranded as they tried to go through ponded water at South 23rd and Reeveston.  On South G Street, an image shows water up to the window of a parked car.  Water also crossed New Paris Pike near Porterfield Road.  County officials say New Paris Pike remained closed Friday morning.  In Union County, the gate at the bridge on Clifton Road over the Whitewater River was closed Friday morning.  The dry fords were also closed.

EAST CENTRAL INDIANA AWARDED $35 MILLION IN READI FUNDING

(Indianapolis, IN)--Wayne, Fayette, Randolph, and Henry are four of the eight counties in the East Central Indiana region that have been awarded $35 million in funding from what’s known by the acronym READI.  READI encourages regional economic collaboration to attract and retain talent.  Among other things, the funding is expected to attract 1500 people to the region each year, construct 7200 housing units, and increase regional per capita income by more than $22,000 in the next five years.  The award for our region was the second-largest in the state.

MY WAY FIRE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT COULD BE RETURNED TO WAYNE COUNTY

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s the latest on the class action lawsuit filed against the city of Richmond and partial property owner Seth Smith in connection with the My Way Trading fire.  Tushawn Craig and Marquetta Stokes filed the lawsuit last year.  It was moved from a Wayne County court to a federal court, but now there’s a motion to move that lawsuit back to Wayne County.  A judge has yet to rule on that motion.

ONE YEAR AFTER MY WAY FIRE AND OFFICIALS REMAIN QUIET ON CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

(Richmond, IN)--It was one year ago Thursday that a large industrial fire broke out at the My Way Trading site in Richmond. Thousands were forced from their homes as billowing black smoke rose from the scene of the My Way Trading fired that could be seen for miles.  In the months that followed, lawsuits were filed including a class-action suit against the City of Richmond and another claiming that a New Paris woman died as a direct result.  The EPA completed its cleanup last month.  "Spent about $2.8 million in federal superfunds, so no city dollars were spent," said Richmond Mayor Ron Oler  What has not been addressed in the year is the cause.  It is widely assumed to have been arson, but no law enforcement agency has ever released any information about where the investigation stands.

TRAFFIC STUDY REQUESTED FOR NORTH, SOUTH A STREETS

(Richmond, IN)--After two recent serious crashes, including one that turned fatal, Richmond police on Wednesday released a statement saying they’ve requested an INDOT traffic study for North and South A Street.  Several years ago, traffic lights on those one-way streets were synchronized – meaning drivers could go the entire lengths of those streets without stopping for a red light.  Following construction a few years ago, that synchronization was removed to discourage assumptions about simultaneous green lights.  RPD says it will increase patrols on those streets until the study is complete.

EARLHAM NAMES NEW PRESIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--Earlham College has named a new president.  He’s Dr. Paul Sniegowski, who will come to Earlham after having spent more than 25 years at Penn, including as its Dean since 2017.  Sniegowski has been an advocate for first-generation, low-income students and will replace Anne Houtman, who spent five years as Earlham’s leader.  Sniegowski will begin his tenure on August 1.

WIDTH OF TOTALITY COULD EXPLAIN LACK OF ECLIPSE VISITORS

(Whitewater Valley)--There’s no question that the influx of visitors to the Whitewater Valley for the eclipse failed to meet expectations.  But why?  The answer could lie in the scope of the eclipse itself.  In a total eclipse that occurred in parts of the country in 2017, interstates were jammed with people trying to get in the line of totality.  But, in that eclipse, the path of totality was only 62 miles wide.  The path in this week’s eclipse was more than twice as wide – meaning many more options for viewing existed and people didn’t need to cram into as tight of an area.  19 million more people were in the path of totality this week than were in 2017.

ALLEGED WINCHESTER RAPIST, SEX TRAFFICKER CAUGHT IN UNITED KINGDOM

(Winchester, IN)--A Randolph County man has been taken into custody in the United Kingdom after fleeing the country following his arrest on a host of serious charges.  20-year-old Louis Galligan of Winchester was charged last December with rape, human sex trafficking, and possession of child pornography.  Investigators said Galligan had engaged in acts with juvenile males.  Following his arrest, he was released on bond but failed to show up for a court hearing in February.  Authorities were able to track Galligan to the United Kingdom.  He is being held there pending extradition back to the United States.

TEEN ARRESTED AFTER FOOT PURSUIT

(Richmond, IN)--A teen was taken into custody following a foot chase early Wednesday morning.  According to scanner traffic, 19-year-old Luis Rodriguez tossed a handgun behind a house and ran.  He was eventually captured in the 200 block of North 18th Street.  A small amount of drugs was also recovered.  Rodriguez is charged with resisting and possession.  RPD has not yet indicated what led to the chase.

ECLIPSE DRAWS RAVE REVIEWS

(Whitewater Valley)--Thousands of people from near and far were awe-struck by Monday’s total solar eclipse.  Our area caught a huge break with nearly clear skies that provided a perfect view of four minutes of totality.  And when that moment of totality came, people who had gathered in groups all across the Whitewater Valley had the same awe-struck reaction of cheering.  Wayne County leaders had prepared extensively for Monday’s eclipse and none reported any significant issues.  If you’re excited for the next local eclipse, you’ve got a while.  If you are 20 years old today, you’ll be 95 when you can see the next one here.  There are no estimates from law enforcement or other groups about the number of out-of-towners who came to the area for Monday’s eclipse.  Predictions were for as many as 100,000 visitors in Wayne County.  That number clearly did not happen, but all Richmond hotels were booked and full of people from as far away as California.  The predicted road congestion also never materialized; if anything, traffic on I-70 through the area Monday was lighter than normal.  There were no accidents reported anywhere in the Whitewater Valley that significantly impeded traffic.  If you’re wondering what to do with your eclipse glasses now, you can still put them to good use.  In Eaton, eclipse glasses are being collected at the city building to be sent to children in Latin America.  A total solar eclipse will occur there this coming August.

PEDESTRIAN DIES AS RESULT OF CRASH AT NORTH 8th AND A

(Richmond, IN)--The female pedestrian who was struck over the weekend as the result of a crash at North 8th and A Street in Richmond has now died.  Two pickups collided there Saturday night when one ran the red light at the intersection and careened into the victim.  She was taken to Miami Valley Hospital and was removed from life support early Monday morning.  Her identity has not been released.  There is no word yet on any potential criminal charges against the driver who caused the crash.

NATIONAL TRAIL RESOURCE OFFICER RELEASED FROM JAIL

(Preble County, OH)--The Preble County school resource officer arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a National Trail student posted bond Monday and was released from jail.  Mason Williams was released after posting a $50,000 bond.  Williams must wear an ankle monitor and has been ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.  Williams has been the resource officer for two years and remains on paid administrative leave.

MOST VISITORS WILL HAVE TO ARRIVE MONDAY IF ECLIPSE PREDICTIONS ARE TO BE MET

(Wayne County, IN)--In the last year, many local officials had predicted up to 100,000 visitors would descend on Wayne County for Monday’s eclipse.  Some are wondering, though, if that estimate will pan out based on what they experienced over the weekend.  At the Wayne County Fairgrounds Sunday, scheduled performances by some bands were cancelled.  The organizer, who is not associated with the Fairgrounds, notified bands early Sunday morning that poor attendance would prevent the bands from being paid.  Attendance at another popular spot just off of I-70 in Wayne County Sunday afternoon was no heavier than on any other Sunday.  The Richmond Farmer’s Market, though, did report heavier-than-normal attendance with lots of out-of-state license plates Uptown.  Richmond hotels Sunday night remained booked and did not report a significant number of cancellations.

NWS DETERMINES TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ON RICHMOND'S NORTHERN EDGE

(Richmond, IN)--Over the weekend, the National Weather Service determined that a tornado touched down on the northern edge of Richmond last week.  It was part of a line of storms that rolled through last Tuesday night.  The tornado was the weakest on the Fujita scale – an EF-0 with maximum wind speeds of 80 miles per hour.  It touched down near the Gaar Mansion on Pleasant View Road.  It went northeast across Buttermilk Road and I-70 before lifting just after crossing the state line.  There was some damage to barns and outbuildings, but no one was hurt.

PARKS DEPARTMENT TO REMOVE ECLIPSE-RELATED SIGNS AFTER PUBLIC RESPONSE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Parks and Recreation issued a statement late Thursday night after community uproar earlier Thursday.  Park closure signs had gone up in various locations related to the eclipse, causing some to question why the city would promote visitation only to close public spots.  In the statement overnight, the Park Department said the signs will be removed Friday and that they were never placed to be unwelcoming – only to provide measures to help out emergency personnel.  Barricades will remain in place.

SOUTH 37th-AREA RESIDENTS COME TOGETHER TO OPPOSE HOUSING PROJECT

(Richmond, IN)--Residents who live around the planned large housing development at South 37th and Backmeyer Road in Richmond are coming together to oppose the project.  That project would create 178 new homes and up to 250 apartment units.  Richmond Common Council will address it on April 15.  According to opponents, 101 nearby residents responded to letters sent by the city.  Of the 101 who responded, one hundred responded in opposition.  They’re worried about increased traffic, exposed retention ponds, and drainage.  They also claim a conflict of interest because they believe a council person’s family member is a candidate for a high-ranking job at Reid Health.  A Reid spokesperson said Thursday that the CFO position is open and that there are no in-house candidates.  Reid, through an LLC, paid a million dollars for the property in 2021.  Opponents also claim that potential lot buyers were promised a membership at Forest Hills Country Club by the developer.  Forest Hills denies that offer is in place.

WOMAN JAILED AGAIN AFTER PIT BULL ATTACK

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond woman with a lengthy criminal record was back behind bars Friday morning after an incident Thursday in the area of Salisbury Stables.  According to Wayne County officials, Taylor Steele of New Castle was invited into the home there by resident Laura Turner.  Upon entry, Steele was attacked by a pit bull and was taken to a hospital for surgery.  The dog was later euthanized.  Turner was charged with failure to appear.  Turner now has eight pending criminal cases and 15 in the last decade.

80% REPLICA OF VIETNAM WALL COMING TO RICHMOND

(Richmond, IN)--A huge tribute is coming to Veterans Memorial Park in Richmond for Memorial Day next month.  The Wayne County Veterans Memorial Committee announced Wednesday that the American Veterans Traveling Tribute is coming.  The traveling display features an 80% sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.  There will also be a 9-11 tribute commemorating first responders.  All events will be free and open to the public.

PLANS FOR U.S. 35 INTERCHANGE MODIFIED TO INCLUDE ROUNDABOUTS

(Richmond, IN)--Plans have changed for the U.S. 35 – or Williamsburg Pike – interchange with I-70 as part of the Revive I-70 project that will widen the interstate to three lanes through Wayne County.  Now, plans call for a tight diamond interchange with two single-lane roundabouts.  The original plans called only for extension of the entry and exit areas.  There are already roundabouts coming to the U.S. 40 interchange at the state line.

WANTED DRUG DEALER JAILED

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond drug dealer was taken into custody at Reid Health Wednesday.  31-year-old Sharae Jackson had warrants for dealing cocaine and other drugs after she failed to show up for an initial hearing last month.  In February, police found cocaine and the drug molly when they investigated a shooting on South West 17th.  Jackson was charged with dealing after 19 grams of cocaine were recovered.  She was convicted of dealing meth back in 2018.

WHITEWATER VALLEY ESCAPES DESTRUCTIVE WEATHER

(Whitewater Valley)--The Whitewater Valley on Tuesday escaped the destructive weather that meteorologists had said was a strong possibility.  Many schools dismissed early in anticipation of severe weather that never materialized.  There were, though, some effects.  Strong winds did some structural damage to several sheds and barns in the Smryna Road area of Wayne County.  There was also minor street flooding in several areas.  The Whitewater River at Alpine crested just below flood stage early Wednesday morning.

FORMAL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST ABINGTON TOWNSHIP ADVISORY BOARD

(Abington, IN)--A formal complaint has been filed with Indiana’s Public Access Counselor which accuses the Abington Township Advisory Board of violating state Open Door laws.  It’s the latest in a series of allegations leveled against that body and Abington Township Trustee Steve Kaiser.  In particular, the complaint alleges the date of last month’s meeting – at which controversial discussion of the donation of a fire vehicle and subsequent firefighter suspensions was expected to take place – was improperly changed.  A response from the Township’s Advisory Board is required by the state by the 22nd.

DISASTER LOAN OUTREACH CENTER OPENS FOR TORNADO VICTIMS

(Winchester, IN)--Beginning Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Small Business Administration will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center for Randolph County residents impacted by the March 14 tornados.  Residents who suffered damage can ask questions related to their recovery and receive one-on-one assistance with connecting to resources.  The office opens Wednesday at the Randolph County Center For Family Opportunity on South Oak Street.

OLER UPDATES MY WAY FIRE CLEANUP, WARNS OF HAZARDS AT SITE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Ron Oler updated Common Council Monday night on progress at the My Way Trading fire site.  The EPA turned the property back over to the city last week after months of cleanup.  Here’s what the city is dealing with now:  "There are a lot of pits and basements and loading ramps.  The city is in the process of filling those.  One of the pits is 15 feet deep," Oler said.  And the city is still having issues with Seth Smith, who owns part of the fire site.  "We'll keep a security fence around the trailers until their fate is decided.  That's an ongoing issue with the owner.  The owner still has a site there that has debris on it," Oler explained.  Oler also cautioned about the smokestack, which is still standing and has been filled with concrete.  He called it the most solid structure in Richmond after the EPA was unable to knock it down.

FELON ARRESTED AFTER SHOTS FIRED

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man with a long criminal history is facing a new list of serious charges after an incident Monday night.  At around 8 o’clock, there was a shots fired call connected to Harris Street.  There were no reports of injury.  Shortly afterward, officers took 36-year-old Joshua Harrison into custody on Waterfall Road and recovered a handgun.  They also recovered some meth.  Back in the summer of 2020, Harrison shot someone at the Garden City Trailer Court and prompted a large manhunt.

NATIONAL TRAIL SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER INDICTED

(Eaton, OH)--The National Trail school resource officer who was arrested last month for an alleged sexual relationship with a student was formally indicted Monday.  Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday that 26-year-old Mason Williams is charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of tampering with evidence.  Each count is a third-degree felony.  Williams remained in custody Monday without bond.

WAYNE COUNTY ADDS 470 PEOPLE TO LIST OF UNEMPLOYED SINCE START OF '24

(Wayne County, IN)--For the second straight month, Wayne County’s unemployment rate has spiked and stands this morning at a rate not seen in three and a half years.  The new rate today is 4.6%.  That’s up from 2.9% since the start of the year.  This morning, there are 470 more Wayne County residents who are classified as unemployed than there were when 2024 started.  Unemployment for just Richmond is even higher than the county rate.  Richmond’s rate today is 5.1%.

TWO ARRESTED IN SHOTS FIRED INCIDENT

(Richmond, IN)--A weekend shots fired incident landed to Richmond men in jail – both the alleged shooter and the suspected intended victim.  26-year-old James Dupree was taken into custody Saturday near 18th and West Main Street.  He’s charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and neglect of a dependent.  23-year-old Clayton McFarland was taken into custody later on Chester Boulevard.  He faces similar charges.  There is no indication that anyone suffered any serious injuries, and there’s no word yet on what led to the incident.

JUVENILE PEDESTRIAN STRUCK

(Richmond, IN)--A juvenile was reportedly in stable condition this morning after being struck in Richmond yesterday.  It happened late yesterday afternoon near North 12th and G Street.  A medical helicopter was summoned.  The juvenile was taken to Children’s Hospital in Dayton.  His or her identity has not been released and there’s no word on what led to the incident.  The driver of the vehicle was not charged.