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(Connersville, IN)--On Friday morning in Connersville, a man was rescued from a sewer.  Here’s how it happened.  Three days ago, the man had climbed into a sewer near the Whitewater River to hide from his probation officer.  The man worked his way through the sewer under the downtown area but became stuck when his shoulders became wedged.  Three days later, at around 2:30 Friday morning, an officer doing a routine check on a bank heard the man screaming.  The fire department arrived and got the man out.

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(Wayne County, IN)--Wayne County residents filed jobless claims this week that were more than ten times higher than this week last year.  That’s been the trend since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.  In Wayne County in the 50 weeks since Covid-19 began, there have been well over 12,000 filings.  Over the same period the year before, there were barely more than a thousand.  Federal unemployment benefits are currently set to run out in less than two weeks.

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(Whitewater Valley)--Not only has there been a dramatic drop in the number of Covid-19 cases across the Whitewater Valley, there’s also been a dramatic drop this week in the positivity rate.  Wayne County’s rate is down to 2.7%, but Union County’s is now down to 2.3% and Randolph County is even lower at 1.6%.  There were only ten new cases combined reported Thursday in Wayne and five surrounding Indiana counties.

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(Wayne County, IN)--The governor of Texas this week lifted all Covid-19 restrictions, including the wearing of a mask.  With Wayne County’s numbers drastically improving, many are wondering when that could happen here.  Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department provided the answer Wednesday.  Stinson said that Wayne County would never be less restrictive than the state, meaning that mask and distancing requirements at the county level will not be relaxed until it’s done at the state level.  But, she added that the county could be more restrictive than the state if the state were to take a path similar to Texas.  There is no specific number or statistic that will trigger the removal of mandates at the state level.

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(Whitewater Valley)--Wayne and all other Whitewater Valley counties moved into the blue Wednesday on Indiana’s color-coded Covid-19 map.  The improvement to what is now considered low-level spread also triggers relaxed restrictions on gathering.  Since Monday, Wayne County has added only 13 new cases.  The county’s positivity rate is now just 2.6%.  The entire remainder of the Whitewater Valley – combined – has added just nine cases since Monday.  Reid Health this morning has only 12 Covid-19 patients in containment areas.  The number hasn’t been that low since July of last year.

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(Liberty, IN)--Liberty’s Town Council this week passed a resolution connected to a recent police-involved shooting.  Six days ago, Officer Lorenzo Shepler shot and killed 29-year-old Maggie Dickerson when she approached him with a knife.  This week, Council passed a resolution that authorized Shepler to choose an attorney.  It also authorizes the officer to seek mental health counseling at the provider of his choice.  Fees for both would be covered by the town.

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(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health administered its 20,000th COVID-19 vaccine dose Tuesday, but officials there would like to do much more. Reid says it has the supplies and capacity at its public vaccination clinic at the Kuhlman Center to give several hundred per day. Anyone looking to sign up to get the vaccine at the Kuhlman Center can do so through the Indiana Department of Health’s website at ourshot.in.gov or they can call 935-8484 during the clinic’s regular operating hours of 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.  Reid Health is now accepting signups for a standby list for COVID-19 vaccinations. Vials of the vaccine hold multiple doses, and once each is thawed those doses must be used within a certain period or be discarded. Cancellations or no-shows can result in leftover doses at the end of each day at the Kuhlman Center clinic. Now, the standby list will be used to make sure those extra doses don’t go to waste. To be added to the list, you must sign up on the Reid Health website. Calls will begin 1-2 hours before the clinic closes. To receive the vaccine, you must be an Indiana resident and must be able to get to the Kuhlman Center within 30 minutes of receiving the call. Keep in mind that being on the list does not guarantee you’ll be called.  The age to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Indiana continues to drop.  The Wayne County Health Department indicated Tuesday that the county is now included in a minimum age that has dropped to 55 at either the former Elder-Beerman or Kuhlman Center.  Beginning Wednesday, Wayne County venues can hold events with up to 250 people as long as there can be six feet of separation.  Attendees of those larger events will still have to wear a mask.

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(Richmond, IN)--Richmond’s City building is now 52 years old, and an important part of that building is going to get its first major facelift.  The city announced Tuesday that Council Chambers will undergo an upgrade that will include improvements to technology, furniture, and fixtures.  The work is expected to take until May to complete.  Asbestos has been a concern in the building.  Results from testing show that some parts have asbestos-containing materials at a rate of 3-5%.  That will be remediated prior to renovation.

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(Wayne County, IN)--What would normally be high school prom season is rapidly approaching.  This year, though, there’s lots of confusion in Wayne County.  Christine Stinson with the county’s health department on Tuesday addressed the current prom status.  Stinson said that there is no current ban on proms for public high schools in Wayne County.  That decision will be left up to each school.  But, if schools do decide to go forward with a prom, Stinson said that masking and social distancing will still be required.  The state has indicated that no food or drink can be served.

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(Richmond, IN)--For the first time in 16 years, Richmond Power and Light customers will experience a rate increase.  Richmond Common Council Monday night unanimously approved the increase, which was needed in large part to help offset the cost of the disposal of coal ash on the RP&L property.  How large is the increase?  Here’s Tony Foster Monday night.  "An overall increase of 7.23% will be phased in over three years."  RP&L had originally requested a 9.5% increase.  It’s scheduled to be implemented in the second quarter of this year.

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(Preble County, OH)--More details were released Monday about the horrific murder of a six-year-old boy in Preble County over the weekend.  Investigators say that 29-year-old Brittany Gosney took all three of her children to the Rush Run Wildlife Area near Camden with the intention of driving off and leaving them there because her boyfriend, James Hamilton, wanted her to get rid of the kids.  Two children were able to get back in the vehicle.  But the third, six-year-old James Hutchinson, was dragged to his death as he tried to get in.  The two then allegedly drove the body to Lawrenceburg and threw it into the Ohio River.  Recovery efforts Monday were unsuccessful.  Investigators said that Gosney has shown very little remorse.

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(Wayne County, IN)--Nearly half of Wayne County’s most vulnerable residents to Covid-19 have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Wayne County has between 11 and 12,000 residents at least 70 years old.  According to state numbers Monday, just shy of 5600 Wayne County residents over the age of 70 have received at least the first dose.  Almost 3800 have received both doses.  As for the entire Wayne County population, more than 11,700 residents have received the vaccine.  That’s about 18% of the population.

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(Richmond, IN)--Firefighters were sent to the Interfaith Apartments in Richmond when fire broke out late Monday night.  The fire was largely contained to one unit on the sixth floor of the south building after it broke out at around 11:30 Monday night.  Scanner traffic indicated that a man using a walker was able to get out of the affected unit and was not hurt.  There was no report of any other injuries.  Two and a half years ago, two people were killed in an Interfaith fire.

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(Dayton, OH)--A Richmond man has been cited for striking three Ohio Highway Patrol troopers while allegedly driving drunk.  74-year-old David Nicholson of Richmond was allegedly driving drunk Sunday morning on I-75 near the Dayton Mall when he slammed into three cruisers that were on the side of the road with their lights flashing.  Those troopers had all stopped to help in another crash.  One trooper was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

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(Preble County, OH)--A six-year-old boy has been murdered in Preble County and investigators will work Monday to find his body.  James Hutchinson was reported missing by his mother, Brittany Gosney, and her boyfriend, James Hamilton.  The couple lives in Middletown but, during questioning, admitted that the boy was killed in Preble County a few days ago.  The couple then took the body to Middletown and later dumped it in the Ohio River.  Authorities will search the river Monday.  Gosney has been charged with murder.  Details of where and how the boy was killed in Preble County have not been released.

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(Richmond, IN)--A shooting at the Panoramic Apartments in Centerville Sunday morning has led to the arrest of a man who is now charged with attempted murder.  A man was shot in the shoulder during the pre-dawn hours at Panoramic.  The shooter fled the scene.  A few hours later, 21-year-old Bryan Potter was taken into custody when officers surrounded a house on South I Place in Richmond.  Details of what led to shooting and the identity and current condition of the victim have not yet been released.

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(Wayne County, IN)--Each week for well over a month, Wayne County’s Monday-to-Monday Covid-19 case count has dropped, and that’s the case again Monday.  Wayne County has added only 52 new cases since last Monday.  That’s the lowest single-week total of new cases since late September of last year.  Reid Health on Monday morning had only 19 patients in Covid-19 containment areas.  That’s the lowest total since October 5.  The story is the same in other area counties.  Fayette County has added only 16 new cases since last Monday.  Union County has had only three.

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(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council will meet Monday night and will again take up a proposed rate hike for Richmond Power and Light.  RP&L has not had a rate increase in 16 years, but needs one now in part to help dispose of coal ash at a cost estimated to be as high as $55 million.  Council will also consider a resolution to rename Johnson Street, which leads into the gorge, to “Geobel Way” to honor the contributions of Joseph and Barbara Geobel to the Veterans Park.

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(Liberty, IN)--More details have been released about an officer-involved shooting in Liberty Friday morning.  According to the Indiana State Police, a woman now identified as 29-year-old Maggie Dickerson of Liberty has died as the result of a confrontation with Liberty Police Officer Lorenzo Shepler.  Shepler had responded to a report of a woman standing in the middle of U.S. 27 at 1 o’clock Frdiday morning.  As he tried to move her out of the highway, a struggle ensued.  Dickerson pulled a knife and advanced toward Shepler.  He fired multiple rounds.  She was flown to Kettering Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.  Shepler suffered minor injuries.  He has been placed on administrative leave following the outcome of the investigation.

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(Liberty, IN)-- [ 7 a.m. update]  There appears to have been an officer-involved shooting just south of Liberty Friday morning.  According only to scanner traffic so far, an officer was dispatched at 1 o’clock Friday morning to an area on U.S. 27 on the report of a man walking in and out of traffic.  The officer reported that he had a woman coming at him with a knife followed by a report of shots fired.  The officer then reported that the subject was hit by his rounds and that he had her at gunpoint with the knife still in her hand.  A medical helicopter was summoned and U.S. 27 was shut down.  So far, there is no word on the person’s identity or condition or other details about what has led to the incident.  The Indiana State Police is now handling the investigation.

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