LOCAL NEWS

Felon arrested on Multiple Firearm Charges

An accident early Sunday morning on I-70 eastbound right at Wayne/Henry line has resulted in an arrest. David Lee Powell was taken into custody on multiple charges, including theft of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.  The 32-year old is being held on a 30,000 bond. 


RHS Back In Session for In-Person Learning

After Christmas-weekend water damage that forced Richmond High School to close for repairs.  Students are back as of this morning for in-person attendance.  Richmond had been operating under "synchronous" virtual learning since early January, as repairs - that originally were expected to be completed by mid-month, were extended.  But this morning - weather permitting - classes resumed as of 8:15 am.


Child Vaccination Rates Down Across Indiana

Vaccination rates for children are down across Indiana and it's pushing state health agencies to take action. Just over half of kids between 19 and 35 months old are not current on their vaccines, and that number is down 3% since 2021. Some health officials believe Covid-19 vaccines and children transitioning to E-Learning might be some of the reasons the vaccination rate is lower. The goal - of course - is 100% of children immunized and the officials hope that increasing community engagement and targeting populations with the biggest gaps in care is the key to raising vaccination rates.


Dollar Generals Close Over Weekend

Following up on a story Jeff Lane has been covering, as of last Friday morning, every Dollar General in Ohio were temporarily shut down.  As previously reported, Ohio had sued Dollar General for deceptive pricing and it is alledged that the stores continued the practice even after the lawsuit was file. Dollar General was also recently fined just under $400 thousand for hazardous work conditions. A spokesperson for Dollar General confirmed that "Dollar General closed select stores to address an overnight systems error."  and that “The issue has been resolved and all impacted stores were reopening.  As of earlier this last weekend, the stores were open again.


New Trend: Buying a House With Your Friend(s)

And finally, would You Buy A House With A Friend? Inflation is going down and mortgage rates dipped this week, for the first time in months. But they're still over 6% and the Fed is expected to announce another interest rate hike this week. So this very mixed picture, has spurred the latest trend, buying your home with friends or relatives.  According to the housing website Zillow, 20% of homebuyers in the last year bought a house with a friend or relative to help drive the costs of buying a home down, and while thanks to major lending reforms we are nowhere close to the kind of housing crisis we faced in 2008. Zillow does also report the average mortgage payment is up 77% over the past year.


WAYNE COUNTY GRADUATION RATES ALL EXCEED 90%

(Wayne County, IN)--New graduation rates for schools in our area released by the state for the Class of ’22 show a continuation of the recent trend of rising rates.  Every Wayne County school district had a graduation rate over 90%.  Hagerstown had the highest rate at 98.7%.  Richmond counted 256 graduates last year and a graduation rate of 93.8%.  Back in 2006, Richmond was called a “dropout factory” by a national publication with a graduation rate of just 54%.


CONNERSVILLE POLICE SEEK VICTIMS OF WINDOW PEEPER

(Connersville, IN)--Connersville police Thursday issued a call for anyone who may have been the victim of a voyeur to come forward.  According to the release, the man has been peeping in the windows of girls between the ages of 12 and 20.  A search warrant was executed on the man’s phone.  In one instance, the victim was visibly startled when she saw the man making a video recording of her outside her window.  The release does not say if the incidents were confined to a specific area of Connersville.  Police are not releasing the man’s name.


BOIL ADVISORY LIFTED

(Centerville, IN)--A lengthy water boil advisory for parts of the town of Centerville has finally been lifted.  That advisory began a week ago today for areas along Main Street and was put into effect based on the repair of a water main.  The break also required testing of the water.  Thursday, the town indicated that the boil advisory has been lifted and residents can resume normal usage of water.


RCS BOARD MEMBER VOICES CONCERN ABOUT STATE BILLS

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board Wednesday night.  At least one member of the Board is not happy with what’s happening right now at the Indiana Statehouse.  "I don't even know how to describe what's going on over at the Statehouse, but it is not education-friendly.  Our own Senator Raatz has been very busy writing his own bills," said John Weber.  One of Raatz’s bills would require schools to notify a student’s parents if that student wants to change name, pronouns, or identify in a manner that is inconsistent with their biological sex at birth.  That bill has drawn both strong support and strong opposition statewide.  Also Wednesday night, the board addressed salaries for non-certified employees.


MELTDOWN FESTIVAL RANKED IN TOP TEN NATIONALLY

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s Meltdown Winter Ice Festival is underway, and now it has garnered national attention.  The website timeout.com says that Richmond’s festival is one of the ten best winter festivals in the country.  Most of the activities begin Friday with live ice carving set for Friday night.  Six ice-carving professionals will be here and will be centered at Jack Elstro Plaza.


FAMILY BLAMES CELL PHONE CHARGER FOR FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s an update on a fire that Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported Wednesday morning on Arbor Drive in Richmond.  Family members now indicate that the fire broke out in a girl’s bedroom at around 6 a.m.  The girl was sleeping in her bed and woke up to see flames.  A total of five girls were in the house.  All five were able to escape and firefighters were able to contain the fire mostly to one bedroom.  Family members claim that a faulty cell phone charger started the fire.


NEW TENANT, 45 JOBS COMING TO MIDWEST INDUSTRIAL PARK

(Richmond, IN)--The Midwest Industrial Park in Richmond has landed its tenth tenant.  On Tuesday, the EDC of Wayne County announced that a company called Liberation Labs will construct a facility on a 36-acre tract of land in the park.  Liberation Labs is a fermentation manufacturer.  The new facility will be the first commercial-scale precision fermentation plant in the country.  The project will represent a $115 million investment that will create 45 new jobs.  Groundbreaking is expected to take place sometime this spring.


10,000 TIRES PULLED FROM PREBLE COUNTY CREEK

(Preble County, OH)--An incredible number of old tires have been pulled from a creek that feeds the Rush Run area of Preble County.  The EPA recently notified Preble County that the cleanup was taking place on private property and that a grant was helping to cover the cost.  How many tires were pulled from the creek?  More than 10,000 of them.  The tires were piled into a large mound in a field and then removed.  There’s no word on whether or not the property owner will face any penalities.


MAN CHARGED WITH DISARMING OFFICER FOLLOWING CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--A Centerville man was jailed Tuesday morning after a chase ended with him on the business end of a Taser.  It began as a foot chase Monday night on School Street.  29-year-old Kyle Hamilton then allegedly jumped into a vehicle and fled at 90 miles per hour toward I-70.  Once reaching 70, Hamilton went east.  Stop sticks were successfully deployed, which forced Hamilton off the interstate and eventually to Rich Road.  That’s where the chase ended.  Hamilton is charged not only with felony resisting, but also with disarming a law enforcement officer.


TRAIN DERAILMENT BLOCKS STATE ROAD 1 IN CONNERSVILLE

(Connersville, IN)--A heavily traveled street in Connersville was closed for most of the day Monday because of a train derailment.  It affected Eastern Avenue – which is also State Road 1 – at 10th Street.  The derailment was barely noticeable from a distance and the train’s cars remained upright.  Crews and equipment were brought to the scene to get the cars back onto the tracks.  The crossing reopened Monday night and remained open Tuesday morning.


RPD RELEASES IMAGE OF SUBWAY COUNTERFEITER

(Richmond, IN)--The string of counterfeit bills being passed in our area is continuing.  Recently, the same man was accused of passing counterfeit hundreds in Richmond and New Paris.  Monday, Richmond police released images of a different suspect who passed a counterfeit hundred at the Subway on Richmond’s west side.  The plan is often the same…make a relatively small purchase with a large phony bill.  The counterfeiter keeps not only the purchase but also the real change which usually amounts to $80 or $90.


FIRST I-70 WIDENING MEETING SET FOR MONDAY NIGHT

(Richmond, IN)--Monday night is the first public meeting for INDOT to discuss and answer questions about the massive I-70 widening project that’s scheduled to get underway late next year.  That project will add a third lane in each direction to I-70 from the state line to the State Road 1 exit in Wayne County.  It begins at 5:30 Monday afternoon at Whitewater Hall on the campus of IU East in Richmond.  The project will include the widening of 40 bridges and the rebuilding of the interchanges at both US 40 and US 35.  Another virtual meeting will be held Tuesday night at 6.


STANDOFF SUSPECT MOVED FROM REID TO JAIL

(Richmond, IN)--The man who allegedly caused a standoff on Friday morning in the 700 block of North 16th Street in Richmond is now behind bars.  35-year-old Ryan Hahn was moved from Reid Health to the Wayne County Jail Sunday.  Hahn now faces numerous charges that include burglary and extortion.  Hahn is still scheduled for trial next month in an unrelated incident last July in which he allegedly battered a public safety official and was a serious violent felon in possession of a handgun.


BUS LINE ADDS STOP IN RICHMOND

(Richmond, IN)--This week, a new long-distance bus service comes to Richmond.  It’s called Megabus and it begins Richmond service on Wednesday.  Through a partnership with Miller Transportation, Richmond will be a stop on a line that connects to cities  across the country but primarily runs to Chicago.  The pickup and drop-off location is the Rose City Shell Station on Industries Road.  Tickets can be booked online.  For example, a ticket to Chicago from Richmond this Saturday would cost $70 for a trip that is scheduled to take six hours.


MAN WHO CAUSED FATAL WAYNE COUNTY CRASH SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS

(Richmond, IN)--The man who caused a Wayne County crash last year that killed a Liberty man has been sentenced to three years in prison.  Rafael Lopez pled guilty this week to reckless homicide.  Lopez was in the country illegally and driving without ever having had a license.  He was going 86 miles per hour when he tried to pass another car on a double-yellow line on Pottershop Road and hit Samuel Weller of Liberty.  Weller was riding a motorcycle and died at the scene.  Weller’s wife now indicates that three years in prison is not enough and she will work with legislators about strengthening laws.