RHS reopens after flood repairs

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.

Residents confront state legislators on policy proposals

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.

Local officials: Tyre Nichols’ death ‘indefensible,’ ‘unacceptable,’ ‘inhumane’

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.

GOP sets caucus to fill Centerville council seat

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.

Chamber recognizes community contributors

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.

Health department aims to take services on the road

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.

Local Meltdown among nation’s top winter fests

10th annual event keeps evolving

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

The festival has no paid staff.

A snowy road with trees and bushes along the side

Weather-impacted schedule updates: Jan. 24-25

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

Animal Care Alliance: Closed Wednesday.

Warming center plan nears completion

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.

Wayne Co. schools have high graduation rates

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.