Columnist: After a string of veteran suicides, let us never forget our solemn pledge

We must believe in our ability to work together to solve our toughest problems


On Memorial Day, 1945, the war in Europe had ended but the fighting in the Pacific continued.  Lt. Gen. Lucian Truscott voiced remarks at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy. Turning his back on the assembled VIPs, he faced the rows upon rows of headstones and apologized to the 20,000 fallen Americans who had been laid to rest far from home. He was quoted as saying, “All over the world our soldiers sleep beneath the crosses. It is a challenge to us – all allied nations – to ensure that they do not and have not died in vain.”

Fast forward to Memorial Day 2022, and the familiar voices of brothers in arms begin to call one another on the phone. People usually think of reconnecting with former military buddies as a joyous happening.

Centerville HS views mock accident response

Emergency response personnel from several agencies worked together to put on a mock accident demonstration to Centerville High School juniors and seniors before their prom.  Sponsored by SADD, help came from the Centerville police and fire departments, Wayne County EMS, Reid Health’s Trauma Unit and Wayne County Coroner Kevin Fouche. Coroner Fouche discussed the impact drunk/distracted driving would have on family members. Senior Cameron Nocton plays the part of the deceased, while teacher Lesli Walther and student Phoebe Chasteen are impacted by the sad news of the accident. Find more photos from this event in the May 25 edition of Western Wayne News. Photo by DAJO Photos

Arrest made after fatal crash near Centerville

SUV driver faces reckless homicide charge

A Richmond man was arrested on a charge of reckless homicide eight days after a Union County man died in a crash near Centerville. Shortly after 8:30 p.m. May 18, Indiana State Police and Richmond Police Department officers went to the 300 block of North 17th Street in Richmond to execute an arrest warrant on Rafael Lopez, 27, accusing him of reckless homicide. Lopez was taken into custody without incident, according to RPD Capt. Curt Leverton. Lopez was arrested and preliminarily charged with reckless homicide, a Level 5 felony, and operating a vehicle without ever receiving a license (prior), a Class A misdemeanor. He was taken to the Wayne County Jail.

More than 1,000 Richmond properties cited for code violations

Common Council hears report; also grants industrial zoning request

Richmond residents who see an eyesore or unsafe conditions can get the city’s help in getting it cleaned up. The city has ticketed 1,058 properties since the first of the year for tall weeds and brush, outdoor trash and unsafe conditions, according to Derek Hill, head of the city’s code enforcement department. He spoke to the Common Council on May 16. Each ticket is a citation requiring a property owner to alleviate the conditions before the city steps in. Hill outlined what his department does and its progress so far in helping clean up the city.

WW Schools get $2.5 million for school improvement

2 grants will focus on making schools among the best, superintendent says

Two grants worth about $2.5 million will be used by Western Wayne School Corporation to improve student performance by building on successes. The school corporation will receive $2.45 million from the Next Generation School Improvement Grant (Next Gen SIG) program, funded by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Western Wayne Schools is one of 8 schools funded, out of 40 applicants. The funding will be spent over four years, with the first-year funds geared to planning and implementation to take place in each of the following years. Western Wayne will use the money to improve educational rigor for students in k-12.

Industrial park adding 326 acres

Goal of $4.4M purchase is to recruit large employers

Nearly $4.5 million of land is being purchased to expand Midwest Industrial Park in hopes of luring large employers to Wayne County. Wayne County and the City of Richmond will buy a total of 326 acres from Toschlog Family Farms LLC at $13,750 per acre, for a cost of $4,483,737.50. The price is nearly split between the two units of government. The county will buy 160 acres on the west side of Round Barn Road at the intersection with Gaar Jackson Road. Richmond will buy 166.09 acres on the east side of Round Barn.

Club honors service to Centerville community

Four Centerville residents received the Community Service Award and the Centerville United Methodist Church Food Distribution Program and its leaders received the Outstanding Citizens award from the Centerville Lions Club on May 9. Individual Community Service Award recipients include Kim Young, Mark Culbertson, Ty Farmer and Mark Howell. In honoring Kevin Smith, Sam Dixon and Jim Potter, the leaders in the Centerville United Methodist Church Food Distribution Program, Lion Dennis Stephen said that small community food pantries had operated for several years before the program started. “About five years ago their pastor, Ted Chalk, said to church leadership, ‘We can do better.’ Kevin Smith said he would lead such an effort. He soon had help from Sam Dixon and Jim Potter.

Trash pickup rate increase planned in Cambridge City

Cambridge City Town Council will conduct a public hearing in June to discuss an incremental increase in customers’ trash pickup costs. It will cover the last four years of the town’s five-year contract with Rumpke. The hearing takes place along with council’s June meeting at 6 p.m. June 13 in town hall. Customers now pay a trash fee of $14.95 per month for a 96-gallon container, along with an 18-gallon recycling bin at no extra charge if desired. The rates would increase every year:

*April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023: $15.37 per unit per month

*April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024: $15.80 per unit per month

*April 1, 2024 – March 31, 2025: $16.25 per unit per month

*April 1, 2025 – March 31, 2026: $16.71 per unit per month

See blight in Cambridge City? New report form available

Cambridge City residents concerned about blight now have a new form they can use to alert town officials to properties they believe need help. Town attorney Bob Bever created the “Citizen Complaint Form for Potential ‘Blighted’ Property” that is available at town hall. It asks for the address of the property and owner/occupant if known, a brief description of the property that they believe is blighted or violates other town codes. The town currently has tools (code sections) regarding tall grass/weeds, unsafe buildings and excess litter/neglected properties. It also has rules regarding abandoned vehicles.

Cemetery restoration moving slowly

Cub Scout pack organizing a fun run to help raise money for repair

Chapter Three in the second life of Capitol Hill Cemetery is taking a slow but steady pace, as donations continue to trickle in, increased security is suggested and a youth group decides to dedicate part of its fund-raiser to cemetery repair and restoration. A Cambridge City town employee discovered extensive damage to memorials and tombstones in the town’s oldest cemetery on April 1. Grave markers were not just knocked down: Whole stones and heavy decorations were picked up and cracked or smashed. Some had been carried to other parts of the cemetery and used to damage other stones. Although a professional cemetery conservator estimated that it took several hours to create so much havoc in the cemetery, police have arrested no suspects, largely because the cemetery is isolated and no one is sure when the destruction occurred.