Retiring trustee brought ‘conscientious, caring’ approach

Joe, Mindy Smith built social services of Jefferson Township office

Joe P. Smith is stepping down as Jefferson Township Trustee on Dec. 31, having served 20 years. Those who’ve worked with him in helping residents of the Hagerstown area say that he’s fulfilled far more than what the role requires. Indiana’s 92 counties are subdivided into 1,005 townships. The trustee’s function in each is different depending on location and population.

Tree sale becomes wise fundraiser

Richmond Family YMCA tradition celebrates 75th year

Richmond Family YMCA’s Christmas tree lot has continued 75 years, through wars, economic challenges and other circumstances. But there’s a first time for something new to go wrong. Before opening last Friday, unexpected challenges had to be overcome. The first issue: The expected Nov. 19 arrival of 360 trees from Canada was delayed for about 24 hours in getting through customs. It took an extra day to resolve a trucking paperwork snag and undergo a full truck inspection.

Two high school basketball players competing for the ball

2022-23 Boys Basketball Preview

By Dan Harney

Year after year it seems that some basketball programs confidently look forward to the new season, while other programs are apprehensive. Area programs may still face concerns, but it is easy to find positives in all six Wayne County programs.

Cambridge City Lincoln
Head coach Rodney Klein, entering his 12th season at Lincoln, and 26th overall as Varsity coach, has reason for optimism. His team has size, shooters, speed and arguably one of the area’s best players in senior Tyler Wyles. Wyles, a 6-foot-4-inch-tall wing player, led the Eagles in scoring, rebounding and assists last season and presents a match up problem for opposing defenses. If opposing teams try to double team Wyles, his teammates can make them pay.

RP&L measure passes by 37 votes; Zaleski, Mopps, Claypoole win contested school board seats

Wayne County voters returned many familiar faces to government offices, but a few new faces will be in leadership positions for Richmond and Northeastern schools. And, by a 37-vote margin, Richmond Power & Light will opt out of what the utility’s officials called expensive state rate studies. School boards

Richmond pharmacist Peter Zaleski and former Richmond Community Schools administrator Stacy Mopps have been elected to at-large seats on the RCS board. Of the 10 candidates, Zaleski led with 3,250 votes, or 23.15 percent. Mopps had 18.62 percent of the vote.

Early voters: A resounding ‘yes’ for paper ballots

Wayne County voters new to paper ballots consistently showed support for the process leading up to Election Day. “It was so much easier,” said Christine Guarisco of Cambridge City, who previously worked elections in Michigan. After voting at the Golay Community Center, Agnes Fisher of Milton said she likes the ease of the paper ballots and said older voters will remember them. Bob Smith of Richmond also supported the use of paper ballots after casting one at First Bank Kuhlman Center. He said he appreciated how those votes can be verified, compared to Wayne County’s votes previously cast on computerized equipment.

A panel discusses addiction treatment options

Panelists: County focused on opening doors to addiction treatment

Wayne County is moving away from solely locking up those battling addiction to viewing them as people who can be helped when they’re open to assistance. Five area leaders in law enforcement, government, health care, education and harm reduction participated in a panel discussion Oct. 19 at Holiday Inn in Richmond as part of Meridian Community Health’s speaker series. Participants were Charmin Gabbard, executive director of Connection Café, harm reduction advocate and subject expert; Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter; Richmond Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Curtis Wright; Lisa Suttle, regional vice president of clinical services for Meridian Health Services; and Dr. Brad Barrett, who is currently running for re-election as District 56’s state representative. Retter said he’s proud that local law enforcement is moving beyond “warehousing” residents and instead helps them find resources to address their addiction and/or mental health concerns, because inmates often deal with one or both.

Photo of a memorial marker

For first time, RFD honors firefighter killed in 1860

Researcher finds more details about previously unknown sacrifice on 29th birthday

Philip Riley and his wife came to Wayne County from Ireland in pursuit of a better life. However, the father of three died on his 29th birthday while fighting a fire in downtown Richmond on Oct. 28, 1860. Riley’s death had not been included as part of the in-the-line-of-duty deaths mourned each year by Richmond Fire Department, but RFD officials learned about him earlier this year, and have begun honoring him. The oversight was corrected during RFD’s 52nd memorial service Friday, when a helmet was placed at the traditional Firefighter Memorial Table, a bell was rung in his memory, and his story was told.

Victims can get help from anywhere

Advocates now meeting domestic violence, sex assault survivors in 8 counties

Local advocates for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault say they are trying creative ways to reach residents in need of services, and those efforts are paying off as their number of clients rises. A Better Way, formerly known locally as Genesis of Richmond, is now providing mobile advocacy throughout eastern Indiana, traveling to meet potential clients wherever they feel comfortable. Other initiatives include the distribution of hundreds of new informational packets, visiting more social service agencies to increase visibility among staff and residents, and posting QR codes that can subtly help connect those in need with services. Numbers at a glance

According to Richmond site coordinator Candra Ramsey, 1,317 comprehensive services have been provided for victims of Wayne, Union and Fayette counties between January and late August 2022, with 1,272 of those services provided to Wayne County victims.

A Better Way has served 103 primary and secondary victims from Wayne, Union and Fayette counties during that timeframe, with 95 of those victims from Wayne County. The need for domestic violence services increased in 2020 in the months after the pandemic began, based on the 2,700 calls reporting physical or verbal abuse to Wayne County dispatchers.

County’s OK sought for another solar park

2 meetings addressing short-term, long-term guidelines

Noting a growing interest in cultivating solar energy, including a proposal for a new solar park being considered this week, Wayne County officials also are working on new guidelines for future projects. Proposal for new solar park
During an Oct. 13 public hearing offered by Wayne County Board of Zoning Appeals, Indiana Municipal Power Agency and applicant Chris Sanders will request a variance of use to operate a 27.73-acre solar park at 4752 Gates Road in Centerville. The hearing is set for 6 p.m. Thursday in Wayne County Administration Building, 401 E. Main St., Richmond. IMPA also will ask for a variance from development standards to allow an increase in the height of the park’s fence.

Our community grieves

First responders from around nation attend K-9 officer’s visitation, funeral

Wayne County eagerly has courted many events to draw visitors over the years for its arts and culture, agriculture and recreation amenities. However, no one ever wanted U.S. law enforcement officers to visit Richmond for a calling and funeral to mourn one of their own, but some came Sunday from Oregon, Massachusetts, and everywhere in between, including Chicago. Hundreds of area residents and regional first responders also were among those patiently waiting for hours Sunday afternoon and evening amid windy conditions to remember Richmond Police Department K-9 Officer Seara Burton, the county’s first female K-9 handler. Officer Richard Storm, representing Portland, Oregon, said it was an honor to come to Indiana, and that words can’t describe the tragedy that Burton’s family has experienced. Portland tries to send a representative to all funerals of U.S. officers killed in the line of duty when possible.