(Whitewater Valley)--It wasn't really the snow that caused travel trouble Tuesday morning. It was the ice. Mike Sharp with the Wayne County Highway Department explains. "When it first started coming down, it was melting and freezing, which created an ice layer on the underneath side." Here’s what crews were doing Tuesday morning. "We're trying to get some abrasion put on it to help with traction, but it's going to be slick for a while," Sharp predicted. Most areas of the Whitewater Valley got between two and three inches of snow. There were a few accidents Tuesday morning across the Whitewater Valley. One of them, according to scanner traffic, involved a snow plow. A driver collided with the plow on Gravel Pit Road at just after midnight. That driver went to Reid Health. The snow plow had to be towed from the scene. There was no indication that plow driver suffered any injuries. Multiple slide-offs were reported Monday night as roadways began to freeze.
(Richmond, IN)--Two alleged drug dealers were booked into the Wayne County Jail Tuesday morning. 32-year-old Vernon Horn and 35-year-old Craig Whitt were arrested Tuesday morning near North West 5th and L. Both Horn and Whitt are charged with dealing both cocaine and methamphetamine. Quantities of drugs and other details have not been released. Whitt has a criminal history that includes failing to show up in court and resisting arrest.
(Whitewater Valley)--More local schools are closing due to the Red for Ed Day one week from today at the Indiana State Capitol. Fayette County Schools and Franklin County Schools have now joined the growing list. Richmond, Centerville, Nettle Creek, and Western Wayne all announced last week that they would be closing on the 19th. At the event, teachers will be lobbying for higher pay and to be held harmless from student scores on ILEARN exams. School districts in our area have varying make-up days.
(Richmond, IN)--Fire destroyed a Richmond home late Sunday night. It broke out at a home on South West H Street. "When we pulled up, we found heavy flames coming from the second story," said Richmond Battalion Chief Chris O'Neill. Shawn Wright has identified himself on social media Monday morning as the owner and occupant of that home. Wright said that his dog woke him up and alerted him to the fire. Both Wright and the dog were able to escape without injury. As for the cause? "Cause is still under investigation. We have investigators coming in later today to look at it, O'Neill said. Firefighters were on the scene for a couple of hours.
(Darke County, OH)--One person died Sunday afternoon after crashing a motorcycle near a wooded area near Palestine – Union City Road in Darke County. The 48-year-old northwestern Ohio man struck a tree while taking part in an Enduro Race. Other racers immediately tried to help the man. He was Careflighted to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he died shortly after arrival.
(Wayne County, IN)--Here are a couple of school notes. Centerville-Abington Schools and Western Wayne Schools announced Thursday that they would join Richmond and Nettle Creek Schools and close on November 19 to allow teachers to attend the Red for Ed event at the Indiana Statehouse. The makeup date in Centerville has been set for January 20. And, multiple employees of the Richmond Community School system have indicated that the Test Intermediate School assistant principal who was arrested a week ago for drunken driving was fired this Tuesday. RCS administrators have not – and likely will not – confirm that the assistant principal was fired.
(Richmond, IN)--An accused Richmond rapist was brought back to Wayne County Thursday after having been sought by investigators. 26-year-old Sergio Chub was captured in Iowa last month and was being held there until being returned to Richmond Thursday morning. Details of the alleged rape have not been released. The arrest warrant was issued in August of last year. That’s about when Chub’s posts on social media stopped.
(Richmond, IN)--The G Street Bridge in Richmond is in line for a significant refurbishing. Wayne County has been awarded a federal grant to rehabilitate the bridge, which is nearly 30 years old. The first step is to assess the condition, and that will require the bridge to close to traffic for three days so that crews can hang over the side to inspect it. That closure will begin a week from Monday, although it will be open in the mornings and after 3 o’clock to allow students to get to and from Richmond High School.
(Wayne County, IN)--Richmond and Nettle Creek are among schools that have cancelled classes for a day later this month. The previously unscheduled day off for students is November 19. It will allow teachers to attend a rally called Red for Ed Action Day in central Indiana. The rally is to address issues like inadequate funding, standardized testing, and teacher shortages. A month ago, Richmond teachers got a base salary increase of $3000, which represented the biggest raise in school history.
(Preble County, OH)--A new website has launched that’s aimed at connecting Preble County employers and job-seekers. The website is preblecountycareers.com. It’s a result of months of planning by the Preble County Development Partnership. It’s also an effort to keep younger local residents in their hometown by highlighting the number of jobs that are available. On Thursday morning, there were two pages' worth of jobs from some of the county’s largest employers including Neaton, Silfex, and Bullen.
(Richmond, IN)--Test Intermediate School Assistant Principal Christopher Ross had filed for a waiver of an initial hearing in Wayne Superior Court II on charges related to allegations that he was driving drunk on Halloween night. On Wednesday, that waiver was denied. An initial hearing is now set for December 2. Meanwhile, Richmond Schools continues to refuse to say if Ross is on administrative leave, citing personnel issues. And, RCS won’t say why it won’t say…whether it’s their own policy, contractual stipulations, or state law.
Here are election results from counties across the Whitewater Valley:
MAYOR: Richmond Mayor Dave Snow will hold that title for four more years. Snow beat Republican Challenger Jamie Lopeman by 192 votes out of 4000 that were cast. Independent Thomas Owens was a distant thirdy.
COUNCIL: There will four new faces on Richmond Common Council after Tuesday’s election. Republicans won all three contested at-large seats with Ron Oler, Jane Bumbalough, and Larry Parker coming out on top. For Parker, this will be his tenth term on Common Council. Democrat Bill Engle will be a council newcomer after defeating Samantha Bryant 55-45%. Other council seats were uncontested.
WAYNE: In some other Wayne County races, Karen Chasteen easily won four more years as Richmond City Clerk. Chasteen got more than twice as many votes as her two challengers combined. The five winners for Dublin Town Council were Bruce Moles, Rex Snyder, Patricia Finley, Larry Walters, and Pamela Chaney. And, for Milton Town Council, winners were Phillip Edwards, Ryan Coby, Robert Simon, John Noland, and Hugh Payne. Wayne County’s voter turnout was 18.5%.
PREBLE: In Preble County, two school renewal levies passed. Levies at both National Trail and Eaton passed by roughly 2-1 margins. In mayoral races, Karen Ross got 60% of the vote to win in Camden. In Gratis, Benjamin Roles will be mayor after having won by just 27 votes. And, in West Alexandria, Dan Utsinger came out on top by a 71-29% margin. Most other tax issues also passed, including for the city of Eaton, Preble County Library, and for the village of New Paris.
FAYETTE: Connersville will have a new mayor. Republican Challenger Chad Frank defeated incumbent Harold Gordon by a 56-44% margin yesterday. Members of Connersville City Council will be Mike Bishop, Diana Phillips, Clarence Werner, Jennifer Barrett, Brian Robb, and Bill Gray. All six of those winners are Republicans.
UNION: Here are some results from Union County. The race for Liberty Town Council was a close one. Derek Tipton was the top vote-getter, but only by 14 votes. Derrek Jenkins was second, but only by five votes. And, Matt Barnhizer was third, but only by 18 votes. In the race for West College Corner Town Council, Emily Bourne came out on top, but only by four votes.
DARKE: Darke County had an extremely close race. In the race for Tri Village School Board, 711 votes were cast. Shane Coby beat Tim Bevins by just one vote – 356-355. It was also extremely close in the race for Arcanum Council. With 615 ballots cast, Jacob Banks won by just nine votes. Most tax levies in Darke County easily passed. That includes in both New Madison and Greenville.
(Richmond, IN)--Polls opened across the Whitewater Valley Tuesday morning for traditional Election Day. Absentee voting in Wayne County ended Monday with extremely low turnout numbers. Only 1940 ballots were cast early this year, and that’s the lowest number since the county began using vote centers back in 2007. Richmond hasn’t had more than 30% of voters turn out in any of the last four city elections. In those elections, more than half the ballots had been cast during early voting. If you are planning on voting Tuesday, you’ll need a state-issued ID card. There are five polling places in Wayne County. Four are in Richmond. WCTV will have live coverage Tuesday night beginning at 6.
(Richmond, IN)--Selassie Ward is back in the Whitewater Valley. Ward is a relatively well-known rapper who performs under the name 1Way Frank and whose videos have millions of views on Youtube was booked into the Wayne County Jail Monday afternoon. Wayne County is holding Ward for Union County. Ward, who is a Florida resident, is accused of breaking into multiple cars at Whitewater Memorial State Park earlier this year. He was captured in Oklahoma last month. There’s still no word on why Ward was in Union County.
(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council didn’t mess around Monday night. In a meeting that lasted less than half an hour, council passed a salary ordinance by a 6-3 vote. The ordinance dealt with a pay raise for ASFCME workers, which include city employees in the Street, Sanitation, and Parks Department. Council members who opposed the ordinance did so over disagreements with the structure of the city’s new Department of Code Enforcement.
(Eaton, OH)--A former Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper who was already facing multiple counts of gross sexual imposition is now facing even more charges. 45-year-old Christopher Ward, who lives in Preble County, was accused of pulling female victims over and touching them inappropriately during the traffic stops. Now, two more alleged victims have come forward, bringing the total number to seven. Trial is set to begin next week. If convicted, Ward faces up to life in prison.
(Connersville, IN)--Fentanyl was recovered during a Fayette County drug bust this week, and it was enough to kill more than half the population of Connersville. Investigators had worked for more than a year on a case involving 58-year-old Pennie Robinson. She was taken into custody at her Boulevard Place home Monday. 23.5 grams of Fentanyl was located. That would be enough to kill nearly 8000 adults. Robinson has been charged with dealing a narcotic drug.
(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Community Schools has not commented publically on the status of Test Intermediate School Assistant Principal Christopher Ross. Ross was arrested late Thursday night for drunken driving and resisting arrest. So far, RCS has not publically acknowledged that the incident took place or said if he’ll be in school Monday. Ross has bonded out of jail. It’s the 4th alcohol related arrest in the last 11 years. The most recent was an OWI in Rochester four years ago. Ironically, Ross had this message to Test students in a Facebook video address just last week. "Red Ribbon Week is about getting real with the problem of substance abuse in our country. It's about not lying to ourselves and saying things like 'it's only one time.'" Ross was employed by RCS shortly after resigning in Rochester.
(Richmond, IN)--Voter turnout remains low in Wayne County in advance of Tuesday’s traditional Election Day. You can cast a ballot Monday, but only until noon. Then, on Tuesday, polls open at 6 a.m. and will remain open until 6 Tuesday night. Polling locations Tuesday include the Kuhlman Center, First English Lutheran Church, First Baptist Church, and Mount Olive Baptist Church – all in Richmond – and the Golay Center in Cambridge City.
(Richmond, IN)--Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center has denied allegations of negligence in a legal response to a lawsuit. That lawsuit was filed by a Bloomington-area couple who claim that Wernle allowed their child to be housed with older, violent teens who ultimately repeatedly attacked the boy earlier this year. The lawsuit also alleges Wernle was aware of the attacks and refused to let the parent see video of the incidents. In the response, Wernle denies any responsibility.