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LOCAL NEWS POWERED BY FIRST BANK RICHMOND

INTRODUCTION OF PLACE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

(Richmond, IN)--The highlight of Richmond Mayor Dave Snow’s State of the City Address Thursday night was the announcement of the PLACE Program, which essentially loans building to entrepreneurs to spur downtown growth.  "If successful, this will not only put entrepreneurs back into the building, but will also further entice downtown liveability," Snow said.  Snow also identified the first building to be renovated with the program.  It’s the vacant former home of Readmore.  "Starting soon, work will begin to breathe new life into Readmore and it will once again house downtown local business," Snow  explained.  In addition to renovations downstairs, upstairs windows and other upgrades will be made to create new living space in the Readmore building.


RPD TAKES DOWN 35 DRUG DEALERS IN 2020

(Richmond, IN)--Some impressive statistics on crime reduction were included in Mayor Dave Snow’s address to city residents Thursday night.  Back in 2015, there were more than 2200 reported crimes.  Last year, that number had been cut in half.  And, there’s this:  "We closed 12 drug houses just last year alone and arrested 35 high-level drug dealers," Snow said.  RPD responded to 41,000 calls for service last year, but less than one percent resulted in arrest.  On the fire and EMS side, Snow said average response time last year was less than three minutes.


FORMER NORTHEASTERN ADMINISTRATOR ENTERS PRE-TRIAL DIVERSION

(Winchester, IN)--The criminal case against former Northeastern Assistant Superintendent Eric Green has been settled.  Green had been charged after providing underage Northeastern male graduates with alcohol at his home in Winchester.  Green has entered a pre-trial diversion program.  It means that charges against him will be dropped a year from now if he meets certain conditions.  Those conditions include permanently surrendering his teaching license, getting counseling, and not getting arrested again.


WAYNE COUNTY STAYS BLUE, RECORDS 199th COVID-19 DEATH

(Wayne County, IN)--Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  Wayne County remains in the blue with a positivity rate that stands this morning at 4.3%.  Franklin County, which had been in yellow, has improved to blue.  Henry County is now the only are county in the yellow.  The positivity rate there is 6.2%.  Also Wednesday, one Wayne County resident was reported as having died with Covid-19.  It brings Wayne County’s total to 199.  It was the first Wayne County Covid-19 death since April 12.


WRIGHT SIGNS CONTRACT TO LEAD RCS

(Richmond, IN)--It became official Wednesday night…Dr. Curtis Wright signed a contract to formally become the next superintendent of Richmond Community Schools.  The RCS Board met Wednesday night to approve the contract.  Wright returns to lead the school system from which he graduated in 1997.  He spent much of Wednesday touring buildings and meeting with students, staff, and parents.  His contract goes into effect on June 1.  While Richmond schools have a new superintendent, another Wayne County school system is searching for its next leader.  George Philhower’s time as the leader of Western Wayne schools is coming to an end.  Philhower is stepping down to take a new position as superintendent at Eastern Hancock.  A search team made up of professors from regional universities is helping with the search at Western Wayne.  Philhower had been with Western Wayne for 13 years.


DAYTON POLICE SAY MURDERER MAY BE HIDING OUT IN RICHMOND

(Dayton, OH)--Investigators in Dayton say a man who murdered a woman there last weekend could well be hiding out in Richmond Thursday morning.  Shanika Bogan was murdered last weekend with her children present.  Her mother said Kendall Beasley told the children he was going to give Bogan a massage but said this when he came out from a bedroom.  "He came out and told my grandson that she's taking a nap," said the victim's mother.  Beasley told the children to eat some cereal and that he would be back, but never returned.  Police say Beasley has family and numerous other connections in Richmond.


WAYNE COUNTY REACHES 7000th COVID-19 CASE

(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County added nine new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, and that means it has surpassed the 7000-case mark.  It took Wayne County three and a half months to add its last thousand cases.  At the height of the outbreak in mid-November, it took only two weeks to add a thousand cases.  The county’s positivity rate continues to tick upward and stood at 4.9% Wednesday morning.  The state’s new color-coded Covid-19 map comes out later Wednesday.


CRUSE-NICHOLSON TO STEP DOWN FROM COUNCIL

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s longest consecutively tenured Common Council member is stepping down.  The Wayne County Democratic Party announced Tuesday that Kelley Cruse-Nicholson will be stepping down because she is moving outside District 2.  Cruse-Nicholson has served as council’s representative from that district for more than 13 years.  She will remain in Richmond.  When she does move, the Democratic Party will hold a caucus to pick a replacement.  There’s no specific timetable for the move, but it will occur relatively soon.


MAN JAILED AFTER OVERNIGHT FIRE DESTROYS GARAGE

(Richmond, IN)--One person was jailed after fired destroyed a garage in an alley behind South 13th Street in Richmond overnight.  It broke out at around midnight Wednesday morning near South 13th and A.  The garage was fully engulfed and could not be saved.  Investigators located 48-year-old William Conrad nearby.  Conrad was charged with criminal trespass, possessing a syringe, and resisting.  He has not been charged with setting the fire.  Another smaller fire was set a few blocks away just before the garage burned.


ISP: CASE OF MISSING RICHMOND WOMAN REMAINS ACTIVE

(Richmond, IN)--A missing person case in Richmond was still considered active Monday morning.  According to the Indiana State Police, agents have requested that the case of 27-year-old Mikaela Estes remain active but said Monday morning that there’s no specific evidence that she is being held against her will or that foul play is involved.  She was reported missing on Saturday after failing to return home from central Indiana.  The indication is that she appeared to bypass Richmond and was confirmed to be 100 miles east in Columbus on Sunday.


NUMBER OF SENIORS ELIGIBLE FOR CAR GIVEAWAY TRIPLES

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County’s Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for an annual event that has a big impact on the life of one Wayne County high school senior who has had perfect attendance.  Covid-19 means that instead of the usual 70-90 students eligible to win a free car, there will be more than 220 this year.  Much like school has been for some students in the last year, this year’s Senior Celebration will be held virtually.  It’s set for Thursday night.


Richmond's Common Council to Adopt Climate Action Plan

Richmond’s Common Council will talk about a resolution to reduce carbon emissions during tonight’s scheduled meeting.  The proposed resolution says the effects of climate change can already be seen locally but does not provide specifics.  By the end of this year, city leaders want to adopt a Climate Action Plan, hire a Sustainability Coordinator, and take steps to encourage walking, biking, and carpooling.  Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 o’clock.  You can watch it live on WCTV. 


Road Construction Ramping Up

Road construction season is ramping up across the Whitewater Valley with a couple of larger projects now underway.  INDOT has begun a large resurfacing project on U.S. 40 in western Wayne County.  That project will result in lane closures from now until October.  Crews are also working to rebuild the exit from I-70 and the transition to U.S. 35 in western Preble County near New Westville.  That project is also expected to take several months to complete. 


Man Dead After Becoming Trapped Under Elevator In Connersville

A man is dead after what’s being called an elevator accident at St. Gabriel Catholic School in Connersville.  The school posted on Facebook that an “elevator man” became trapped under an elevator floor.  The school says the accident happened last Thursday, and Connersville Police say the man died over the weekend at a hospital.  The victim’s identity has not been released. 


30% OF WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS NOW FULLY VACCINATED

(Wayne County, IN)--If Wayne County reports as many residents becoming fully vaccinated from Covid-19 on Friday as it did Thursday, it will mean that 20,000 residents are completely protected.  As of Friday morning, Wayne County has 19,775 residents fully vaccinated.  That represents 30% of the population.  On average, more than 200 people are becoming fully vaccinated daily.  Wayne County continues to have one of the higher per-capita vaccination rates in all of Indiana.


TEEN ARRESTED AFTER THIRD STRAIGHT DAY OF SHOTS FIRED

(Richmond, IN)--For the third straight day, Richmond police Thursday investigated a shots fired incident.  This time, though, an arrest was made.  Officers found shell casings after a call that originated from South 19th and J.  A suspect was later found in the 1000 block of South F.  He’s been identified as 18-year-old Kieran Eubanks.  No injuries were reported.  Eubanks was in jail Friday morning facing charges that include possessing a handgun without a license and possessing stolen property.  Investigators have not said whether or not they believe this week's shots fired incidents are connected.


CHAMBER LAUNCHES HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM

(Richmond, IN)--Wayne County’s Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that it is launching a new program to help small businesses provide health insurance to its employees.  The program will give roughly 400 small businesses that are members of the Chamber an opportunity to save up to 25%.  Family members of the employees will also be eligible.  For more information, log onto the Chamber’s website.


MAN ARRESTED AFTER ALLEGEDLY POINTING GUN AT PARK

(Richmond, IN)--A man was captured after allegedly pointing a gun at people at a Richmond park and then fleeing police.  It happened Thursday afternoon at the 7th Street Park.  Scanner traffic indicated an off-duty officer helped to chase down a man later identified as 46-year-old Eric Carr.  Carr was arrested at his home in the 400 block of South 6th.  No one was hurt.  Carr has a lengthy criminal record.


MAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING HIGH-SPEED CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was taken into custody following a wild chase Wednesday afternoon.  Police tried to stop a car driven by 39-year-old Brian McCubbins.  But McCubbins fled through the Fairview area, went north on Chester Boulevard, and then east on I-70 at speeds that reached 110 miles per hour.  He exited at the state line and went back into the city on National Road East.  He bailed out Fire Station #3 and was caught in a wooded area.  McCubbins was driving despite a lifetime license suspension.


UNION COUNTY DOWNGRADED TO YELLOW ON COVID-19 MAP

(Union County, IN)--One Whitewater Valley county was downgraded from blue to yellow when Indiana’s updated color-coded Covid-19 map was released Wednesday.  It’s Union County.  Union County has added only three cases in the last week.  But, according to the state’s dashboard, now has a positivity rate in excess of nine percent.  Wayne County remains blue with 15 new cases since Monday.  Franklin County, which had been yellow last week, has improved to blue on the state’s new map.


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