Count volunteers have a good day, finding many of the largely unseen among us
Among the people without homes who came into a Richmond church for lunch last Wednesday is one who says he needs an official identification card to get a job. But to get an ID, he needs a birth certificate from his home state and says he doesn’t have the money needed to get that. James Lineberry, known as Tennessee because that’s where he grew up, has been living in Richmond for about two years. We spoke on Jan.
Commissioners also review requests for opioid settlement funding
Wayne County Fairgrounds rentals are beginning to rebound after slipping sharply because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That trend must continue for the fairground’s finances to become self-sustaining, which is the ultimate goal. The fairgrounds drew $136,000 in rental income during 2017; however, it brought in just $89,000 during 2022.
Power utility helps prepare district for battery-powered buses
As Northeastern Wayne School Corp. marches toward the electrification of its bus fleet, other schools may be dropping off because their support structure won’t be ready for it. Northeastern schools received notification that the federal government is providing a $2.37 million grant to buy six battery-powered school buses in the next two years.
Centerville schools target routes with most violations
Area motorists are warned: Centerville-Abington Community Schools has installed five new stop-arm cameras on buses to catch those who might endanger student safety. Assistant Superintendent Sean Stevenson told the school board Jan. 25 meeting that new cameras especially target where most violations occur: U.S. 40 and Pottershop and Centerville roads.
Board OKs new courses; Test planning 100th anniversary
Richmond High School reopened Monday, Jan. 30 for instruction after a 90,000-gallon water leak during winter break led to extensive repairs. Glen Slifer, who oversees the district’s facilities, told the school board at its Jan. 25 meeting that the restoration was going well. He noted new flooring had been laid and furniture had been placed, with a few smaller projects remaining.
Discussion covered ‘furries,’ gender, economic, health issues
Residents brought their questions and concerns to Friday’s legislative forum with Wayne County’s state lawmakers. Topics during the event at Indiana University East included “furries,” student safety, economic development tactics, historic preservation and the environment. State Rep. Brad Barrett and State Sen. Jeff Raatz briefly described some challenges during their first few weeks in the legislative session, then took questions from the audience of more than 30 people. Barrett leads his chamber’s public health committee, and Raatz oversees education and career development in the Senate. The two are busy vetting bills — Barrett noted nearly 90 affecting public health alone — before committee discussions, revisions and potential advancement to a floor vote.
Statements issued after body camera footage widely shared
Several local officials have issued statements condemning the actions of five former Memphis police officers who allegedly beat a man to death after a traffic stop. Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter called Tyre Nichols’ death “horrific and indefensible.” Richmond’s Chief of Police Mike Britt callled it “unacceptable and repulsive.” And Richmond Common Council member Dr. Lucinda Wright said the officers’ behavior was “totally heinous, deplorable and inhumane.”
On Friday, Jan. 27, a grand jury indicted the former officers on charges of second-degree murder.
Centerville soon will have a new council member. Wayne County Republican Party Chairman Gary Saunders has scheduled a caucus to take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Fire Station #1, 414 S. Morton Ave. At that gathering, Centerville’s four GOP precinct committee members will select the new councilor from among the eligible applicants who apply. It is open to the public.
Annual dinner celebrates all pieces working together
Drawing on a story from an old photo and events of the past year, the new Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce board chair said the county is “at its best when all the pieces are connected, working in relationship with one another, and focused on a common purpose and mission.”
The Chamber of Commerce celebrated 32 businesses, individuals, and organizations with about 600 people in attendance for their annual dinner Friday, Jan. 20 in the First Bank Kuhlman Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. In his remarks, incoming board chair Jeff Carter of Bethany Theological Seminary referred to an 1893 photo featuring the Dille and McGuire Diamond High Grass Mower, invented and manufactured in Richmond. “ … (I)n its mechanics, every gear, cog, sprocket, and blade must operate together in timed precision. If you are missing a piece or a part, a cog or sprocket, then you will not be cutting grass — the purpose of a lawn mower.
Director hopes for monthly RV visits in 4 county towns
The Wayne County Health Department is a half-hour or longer drive away for some county residents, creating challenges for those wanting to use services the department provides. Christine Stinson, the department’s executive director, would like to take services to those residents. Stinson outlined five departmental goals for 2023 during the year’s first Board of Health meeting Jan. 19. One is to use the department’s mobile unit for monthly visits to Fountain City, Cambridge City, Centerville and Hagerstown.
The 10th Meltdown Winter Ice Festival has exceeded local expectations, and even landed on a national list of the best winter festivals. Volunteers initially understood that their commitment in 2014 — providing the community a reason to get out of their homes in January — would be short-lived. However, enthusiasm and financial support are still strong, so the festival has continued beyond its initial goal of a few years. “The Richmond community and surrounding area really showed an interest and desire for it to continue,” said Monica Koechlein, who serves on the steering committee. She credits Meltdown’s survival to at least three factors:
Financial support from businesses and grants
Organizations and businesses offering complementary events such as live music and children’s activities that continue to make the festival exciting
Volunteers who donate hundreds of hours for planning, preparing and hosting the events
Wayne and surrounding counties are under a Winter Storm Warning beginning at 12 a.m. Wednesday, and several organizations have announced changes to their regular schedules. Heavy snow is forecast during Wednesday morning’s commute, and roads could be slick on Thursday morning as well after melted snow freezes overnight. Here’s information about plans for treating the roads, details on a new temporary overnight shelter, and what cancellations have been announced so far. This page will be updated as more information becomes available. Cancellations, postponements, announcements
Group scrambles, hoping to beat subfreezing weather forecast
Weather sent a group planning for a warming center in Richmond scrambling. Making plans since late December, a group of more than 50 people have been hoping to have a warming center ready to open during the next cold snap for people experiencing homelessness. While there has been substantial progress made in four weeks, arrangements had not quite been finalized last week, and the weather forecast for this week included subfreezing temperatures. Volunteers continued working over the weekend to secure permission to open at least one warming center in downtown Richmond. A temporary location might be in a downtown church.
About 95% of regular students who start here in 9th grade earn diploma
By Bob Hansen and Millicent Martin Emery
Nearly all students who start high school in Wayne County graduate with a diploma, excepting those who go into special programs.
That’s the news in a nutshell from a statewide listing of high school graduation rates. But it is a bit more complicated than just comparing the number of ninth graders with the number of students from that class who get a diploma. Indiana Department of Education lists graduation rates annually, releasing its 2022 list on Dec. 30. Every Wayne County school graduated more than 92%, ranking all in the top third of the state.