Vacant property registry: a tool to fight blight

A few bad apples… continued
Recently, Richmond Columbian Properties conducted a Quality of Place meeting where Jeff Siegler, community consultant and principal of Revitalize or Die, was the featured speaker. Siegler has helped communities consider revitalizing historic buildings to keep downtowns vibrant. Siegler had great ideas for restoration of local downtowns, but also had useful information to help deal with residential property blight. Abandoned property, unattended for years, is left to deteriorate more each year. Properties quickly become unsightly and in the summer weeds and bushes are left to take over.

Trial set for man accused in traffic death

Prosecutor, court agree to raise bond to keep Mexican citizen in jail

A Richmond man charged with reckless homicide in a traffic crash that killed a motorcyclist is being held in Wayne County Jail after the county prosecutor’s office argued that there was a high probability he would flee the United States. An initial trial date has been set. Rafael L. Lopez, 27, who is charged with reckless homicide, is a citizen of Mexico who has been living in Richmond. After being charged in connection with the May 10 death of Samuel S. Weller of Liberty, he had been taken into custody by Wayne County Sheriff’s office, which held him in the county jail on $25,000 bond. On May 19, Lopez posted the required $2,500 cash bail and was released.

Staying cool: Agencies prepare for beating summer’s heat

Few use cooling centers; other plans being put in place to help vulnerable people

When the heat took an uncharacteristic climb for a couple of days in mid-June, one emergency cooling shelter opened in Richmond, but no one used it. Lack of use could be a problem, local officials say, and they are trying to figure out why the centers aren’t used. Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, and not everyone is able to get away from it. “All the data shows temperatures are increasing every year,” Matthew Cain, director of the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency, said. High temperatures in June were running about average in Richmond as of June 25, in the low 80s.

Early College Program extended one year

Intermediate schools will have a STEAM academy

In a series of three meetings in a week, the Richmond Community School Board decided to continue the intermediate school Early College Program for one more year and move forward with creating a STEAM academy. The board and school administration had come under criticism from teachers in recent weeks over several issues, including an administrative decision to do away with the Early College Program for the coming school year. In that program, students who qualify from Test Intermediate and Dennis Middle schools are taken to Hibberd School for fifth through eighth grade. The program is being discontinued because the Richmond High School Early College Program is being discontinued. The state increased training requirements for faculty involved in that program and the school doesn’t have adequate staffing.

COMMENTARY: Blight, a few bad apples and complex challenges

Wayne County is a beautiful place with many cultural and natural assets, beautiful large historic homes, successful businesses, a great location in the Tri-State area about one hour’s drive from Dayton, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and close proximity to a major interstate. But Wayne County shares a problem with most other communities – blighted properties. The reasons for blight are many – apathy, out-of-state landlords looking for a tax write-off lacking any community connection or pride, irresponsible landlords, and more. Some properties are vacant and unattended for years, deteriorating inside and out as time marches on. Blight impacts the property value for neighbors and can create safety issues in the community.

Museum throws dinner party for new Gennett Records exhibit

A large crowd celebrated Richmond’s legacy Saturday at the Wayne County Historical Museum. After dinner on the museum grounds, more than 100 guests previewed a new exhibit. Gennett Records: The Birthplace of American Recorded Music, tells the story of the Rchmond-based company that recorded many kinds of music in the 1920s. The museum’s director, Karen Shank-Chapman, said telling the story is something she has wanted to do since she became enchanted with the history of Gennett Records as a child . Experts from across the country told of the lasting effect that company has on modern-era musicians including Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and many others.

School Reunions

School reunions
>> The 112th Centerville Alumni Banquet will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 25, in the junior high cafeteria. Because of COVID restrictions, banquets weren’t held for two years, so the 60-year honorees will be the classes of 1960-61-62; the 50-year, 1970-71-72 and the 25-year, 1995-96-97. Reservations are due by June 15; call Rudy Toschlog, 765-855-2565; or Judie Schlotterbeck, 765-855-3346 or send email to >> Centerville High School Class of 1972 will have its 50-year reunion on the weekend of June 24-25. Invitations have been sent and reservations were due in May.

Purdue program gives students real world experience

Students design and make winning RC vehicle in partnership with Primex Plastics

When a group of engineering students at Purdue Polytechnic Institute accepted the challenge of building a plastic body for a radio-controlled model race car, they knew where to find help: Primex Plastics. Working in Primex’s advanced design and testing facility in Richmond, the Purdue Polytechnic team’s race car won a trophy in national competition sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division. Primex provided materials and equipment that helped the team’s entry win a maneuverability and stability test on a small track. SPE invited teams from across the United States to the competition, providing each with an 18-inch radio-controlled car without a body. Using plastic provided by Primex, the local students designed a body, stress-tested various plastics and then used a thermoforming process to make the shell.

State exhibit featuring Gennett Records coming home

1920s games, crafts, dance lessons, car rides planned June 26

>>>If you go
What: Public celebration for the new “Gennett Records: The Birthplace of American Recorded Music” exhibit
When: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 26
Where: Wayne County Historical Museum, 1150 N. A St., Richmond
Admission: Free with regular museum admission. Sponsor: First Bank Richmond
Info: 765-962-5756 or

Memorabilia from the days Wayne County hosted worldwide music legends such as Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael is making its way home for permanent display. A 1920s-themed interactive event with games, crafts, dance lessons and Model T rides for all ages will celebrate that homecoming later this week. Wayne County Historical Museum is planning a public celebration from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 26, to kick off its newest exhibit, called “Gennett Records: The Birthplace of American Recorded Music.”
Museum staff say the exhibit’s public opening will transport attendees through the fascinating story of Gennett Records and the contributions made by the Gennett family. “Gennett Records: The Birthplace of American Recorded Music” will be on exhibit in various locations throughout the museum, introducing visitors to this story in a new and interactive way.