Dave Paxton
Dave Paxton
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LOCAL NEWS

STATE REPORT: 445 FEWER PEOPLE WORKING IN RICHMOND TODAY THAN A YEAR AGO

(Richmond, IN)--On Tuesday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported that new numbers from the state show that Wayne County has lost 700 members of its labor force since this time last year.  Now, here’s a look specifically at the city of Richmond.  Richmond has lost 312 members of its labor force in the last year.  More eye-opening, though, is the fact that there are 445 fewer Richmond residents who are employed as there were a year ago.  The city’s unemployment rate stands at five percent.


SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR ARRESTED IN RICHMOND FOR BURGLARY

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police caught a man classified as a sexually violent predator who is now also an alleged burglar Tuesday.  50-year-old Christopher Cones was taken into custody in the 100 block of South West 4th Street.  Details of that burglary have not been released.  Cones was convicted of first-degree rape in Oklahoma back in 1998.  In Wayne County, this now makes his fifth criminal case in the last ten months.  The previous four involve trespassing and theft.


BABYSITTER SENTENCED TO 33 YEARS FOR TODDLER'S DEATH

(Richmond, IN)--33 years in prison is the sentence for a former Richmond woman who was responsible for the death of a two-year-old boy in 2019.  Pamela Barger operated a babysitting service.  Barger failed to seek medical attention in a timely manner after the toddler suffered blunt force trauma to the head.  A co-defendant, Todd Volker, had previously been sentenced to 25 years for his role in the boy’s death.


REID TO "EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS" FOR SMITH HILL DEVELOPMENT

(Richmond, IN)--Last week, Richmond Common Council denied rezoning that would have advanced the plan to create a large housing development called Smith Hill located near the intersection of South 37th and Backmeyer Road.  The property is owned by an LLC formed by Craig Kinyon and Reid Health.  Reid incidated the property had been purchased to help solve a housing shortage in Richmond that makes it difficult to recruit and retain employees.  Monday, a Reid Health spokesperson issued a short statement on what Reid will do with the land now that zoning was rejected.  The statement said simply that Reid is exploring other options, but did not indicate what those options entail.


WAYNE COUNTY LABOR FORCE SHRINKS BY 700 IN ONE YEAR, NOW UNDER 29,000

(Wayne County, IN)--Numbers released by the state Monday show that Wayne County is holding steady at its highest employment rate in the last three and a half years.  Wayne County’s rate remained at 4.6% Tuesday morning.  Most other area counties in Indiana saw a slight decline.  The number of people listed as unemployed and the number of people in Wayne County’s workforce remain nearly identical to last month.  But, Wayne County’s labor force has shrunk by nearly 700 people since this time last year and now stands at just under 29,000 people.


STATE RULES ABINGTON DID NOT VIOLATE OPEN DOOR LAWS

(Abington, IN)--Indiana’s Public Access Counselor has determined that the Abington Township Advisory Board did not violate Indiana Open Door laws regarding a meeting earlier this year.  The allegation was that the Board held an executive session without providing public notice.  That was one of three investigations by at least four separate agencies regarding the Board and the volunteer fire department.  There is another meeting scheduled for either Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.  The notice on the department’s door says the meeting is Tuesday the 24th, meaning either the day or the date is incorrect.


RESIDENTS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER UNION COUNTY POLICE CANINE

(Union County, IN)--There has been no response yet from law enforcement agents in Union County after allegations centering on the treatment of a police canine named Ice swirled across social media over the weekend.  Several concerned residents claim that the dog’s original handler recently took another position outside of the department and that the police canine was placed in the local shelter.  They further claim that the handler offered to keep the canine until another handler was put in place, but that request was denied.


MAN JAILED ON METH, RESISTING CHARGES

(Richmond, IN)--A New Paris man is facing numerous felonies after an overnight incident Sunday night.  31-year-old Kyle Burwick was taken into custody in the 3200 block of East Main Street in Richmond and booked into the Wayne County Jail two minutes before midnight Sunday night.   An undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine was recovered.  Burwick is also charged with felony resisting arrest.  Details of what led to the arrest have not yet been released.


WAYNE COUNTY'S CHILD ABUSE NUMBERS SKYROCKET IN 2024

(Wayne County, IN)--There has been a huge jump in the number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Wayne County so far this year.  According to new numbers from the state, Wayne County has experienced 93 confirmed cases of abuse and neglect so far this year.  That’s an 86% increase in the number of cases as compared to the first three months of last year.  Local officials have not speculated on the reason for the drastic increase in cases.


LAWSUIT AGAINST RICHMOND, FOUNTAIN CITY DROPPED

(Richmond, IN)--A lawsuit against both the city of Richmond and the town of Fountain City was dismissed this week.  It was filed last year by Matthew Meyers of Lynn.  Meyers claimed in the lawsuit that potholes and other debris on Round Barn Road caused him to lose control of his motorcycle and crash last summer.  Meyers was seeking unspecified damages for both physical and emotional trauma.  The lawsuit was dismissed this week because the accident occurred neither inside the city limits of either Richmond or Fountain City.


OLER VISITS WITH "MAYOR" OF URANUS

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Mayor Ron Oler met this week with the self-proclaimed mayor of the Uranus Fudge Factory this week.  Uranus will soon be opening a new site on U.S. 40 at the state line.  The two mayors exchanged gifts and posed for photos.  The mayor said that he was excited to open Uranus in Richmond.  The general store is expected to open before the end of this year and will employ a hundred people.


SITE ASSESSMENT TO ADVANCE ELDER-BEERMAN PROJECT

(Richmond, IN)--Thursday, Richmond’s Board of Public Works will address a contract to perform an environmental site assessment at the former Elder-Beerman building.  The assessment will include adjacent lots and the skywalk that connects the building to the municipal parking garage.  It’s the latest step to convert that property into a new building with roughly 150 market-rate apartments.  Right now, Richmond has a vacancy rate of only one percent for those types of units.  A large proposed development on South 37th that would have included those types of apartments was struck down by Common Council earlier this week.


NO CHARGES FILED IN UNION COUNTY SHOOTING

(Liberty, IN)--Union County’s prosecutor will not be pursuing a criminal case against a man involved in a shooting last month.  It happened on March 30 on Liberty Pike.  A deputy was originally dispatched there for a dispute between two men.  Bradley Bowling was found lying in the road with multiple gunshot wounds.  A handgun was found under him.  Oscar Gentry was then located nearby and taken into custody without incident.  The charging decision indicated that Gentry will not be tried because of evidence that the shooting was done in self-defense.


BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE MEANS DELAYS TO RCS ROUTES

(Richmond, IN)--A shortage of bus drivers is impacting Richmond Community Schools both Thursday and Friday.  RCS, in a message Wednesday, called the shortage “unexpected” and encouraged anyone who can arrange their own morning and afternoon transportation to do so.  The driver shortage will impact the entire district.  There is no indication that the shortage will extend into next week or beyond.


INDOT TRAFFIC COUNT CONFIRMS ECLIPSE BROUGHT NO ADDITIONAL VEHICLES

(Wayne County, IN)--Traffic numbers from the Indiana Department of Transportation confirm there was virtually no effect on the volume of vehicles in the area as a result of last week’s eclipse.  Some local leaders and agencies had predicted up to 100,000 out-of-towners would arrive to view the eclipse, but it simply did not happen.  According to the state’s newly released counts, on the day before and the day of the eclipse, there were just over 35,000 vehicles on I-70 in Wayne County.  In each of the eight days before that, there were actually more vehicles passing through on the interstate than on the day before and the day of the eclipse.


ANOTHER STATE AGENCY INVESTIGATES ABINGTON VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

(Abington, IN)--There is another development now regarding various investigations into the Abington Volunteer Fire Department.  Township Trustee Steve Kaiser is already under a criminal investigation involving a fabricated letter used to secure a donated fire vehicle from an Ohio department.  Now, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is actively investigating another Abington firefighter based on accusations that he falsified records to obtain an EMS certification.  This now makes three separate investigations by multiple agencies into the department and the advisory board.  Abington’s advisory board meets late Wednesday afternoon.


ROUNDABOUT FEEDBACK REQUESTED

(Richmond, IN)--If you hate the thought of roundabouts enough to take the time to sound off about it, now is your chance.  The Indiana Department of Transportation recently announced plans to add roundabouts to the U.S. 35 and I-70 interchange in Richmond when the interstate is widened to three lanes.  Now, they’re asking for public feedback.  A banner has been added to the website revivei70.com that allows the public to weigh in on roundabouts.  There are also roundabouts planned for the state line exit of I-70.


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.