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  • The New U.S. 31 Hamilton County Freeway Opens for Business

    December 21, 2015 No comments

    4540405_origIndianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today celebrated the opening of the new U.S. 31 Hamilton County freeway with Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, Congresswoman Susan Brooks and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson, as they joined project personnel, designers and contractors to commend five years of ambitious construction resulting in free-flowing traffic on U.S. 31 in Hamilton County.


    “Hamilton County has seen significant growth in recent years and ensuring our infrastructure keeps pace with this part of the state is essential,” said Governor Pence. “The unprecedented progress on the new U.S. 31 in Hamilton County and points north is a tribute to the vision of leaders across Indiana. Hoosiers can be confident that my administration will continue to build on these significant investments and ensure that Indiana remains the Crossroads of America.”


    Last week, northbound and southbound U.S. 31 traffic was shifted onto new bridges over 106th and 116th streets, opening the freeway to three lanes in each direction and effectively removing the final two traffic signals from U.S. 31 through Carmel.  All ramps at the I-465 and U.S. 31 interchange, including the new free-flowing ramps from I-465 to northbound U.S. 31, are anticipated to be open to traffic and in their final configurations next week.


    “The opening of the new U.S. 31 in Hamilton County is the culmination of a decades-long effort to build a safer, more efficient connection between Indianapolis and South Bend that would be a catalyst for economic development along the entire corridor,” Congresswoman Susan Brooks said. “This highway now moves at the speed of commerce. By completing U.S. 31 earlier than originally planned, Governor Pence and the leadership in Hamilton County are sending a strong message that this corridor, and all of Central Indiana is truly – open for business.”


    “U.S. 31 has always been a vital corridor for Carmel and we were happy to support the upgrade to this highway, not just for our benefit but for the benefit of the State of Indiana,” said Mayor Brainard. “We applaud INDOT for working with local communities throughout the process of improving traffic flow through Carmel and all of Hamilton County. It’s good to see the substantial completion of the highway project and we look forward to next spring when the remaining related projects will be completed.”


    About the New U.S. 31

    INDOT broke ground on the new U.S. 31 Hamilton County freeway in 2011 near the north end of the project at State Road 38.  Approximately $350 million has been invested to upgrade 13 miles of highway, build 49 new bridges and 12 new interchanges through Carmel and Westfield.


    “Upgrading U.S. 31 to freeway standards has helped open the door for Westfield to compete for national economic development projects,” Mayor Cook said. “The US 31 freeway has brought Westfield about 15 minutes closer to Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport.  Combine that with development projects like Grand Park, and now our family-focused community is being recognized as one of the best places to raise a family.”


    Combined with the previously completed U.S. 31 Major Moves projects near Kokomo and South Bend, more than 32 traffic signals have been removed from U.S. 31 north of Indianapolis – saving drivers 30 minutes of travel time. This eases congestion, increases safety, and provides continuity of commerce and regional travel for a U.S. highway that stretches from Michigan to Alabama.


    Final work continues in 2016

    Construction along the corridor is expected to continue in 2016 as crews complete the U.S. 31/Meridian Street transition underneath I-465 and the roundabouts on 106th and 116th streets under U.S. 31.  The speed limit between I-465 and Old Meridian Street will remain 45 mph through the work zone.  The speed limit north of Old Meridian Street will be raised to 55 mph.

    Posted by in Statewide News

  • The Branches Church to Host Two Christmas Eve Services

    December 21, 2015 No comments

    xmas branches logoPlainfield, IN, December 24 — On Thursday, December 24th, The Branches will host two family-friendly Christmas Eve services at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. You can eat Christmas cookies, drink hot chocolate, and participate in a candle-light Christmas Eve Service with Christmas carols. All kids will be invited to participate in a children’s live nativity during the service.


    The Branches Church meets at the Plainfield Rec & Aquatic Center every Sunday from 10 – 11 a.m. You can expect free coffee, donuts, friendly smiles, a modern worship service, and a message you can relate to. Twigs (infants-5th grade) meets in the Rec Center’s Play World and gym during the service. Bring your friends and make some new ones!


    The Branches Community Church – P.O. Box 875 – Plainfield, IN 46168

    Worship Services at The Plainfield Rec & Aquatic Center – 651 Vestal Rd.

    – Plainfield, IN 46168 www.IAmTheBranches.com – Facebook.com/branchescc – Twitter: @branchescc

    Posted by in Local Events


    December 18, 2015 No comments

    BHS_Amanda_DotlichBrownsburg senior Amanda Dotlich has signed a letter of intent to continue her education and play soccer at Olivet Nazarene University.  Amanda served as team captain this season, led the Bulldogs in scoring, and was also a member of the Academic All-State and HCC All-Conference team.  BHS head girls soccer coach Hayley Moore says, “Amanda Dotlich is an exceptional student, athlete, and leader.  I have watched her develop in to an outstanding player; scoring game-changing goals, having the confidence to make the important passes, and inspiring underclassmen.  I know Amanda will do great things at Olivet Nazarene University.”
    Sitting L to R: Michael Dotlich (dad), Amanda Dotlich, Robin Dotlich (mom)


    Standing L to R: Rachel Fulkerson (BHS Assistant Coach), Bill Bahr (ONU, Head Coach), Hayley Moore (BHS Head Coach), Nicole Duncan (BHS Assistant Coach), Ava Dotlich (sister)

  • Heartland Foods Increasing Production, Adding 150+ Jobs in Central Indiana

    December 18, 2015 No comments

    CL32201LOGOINDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 18, 2015) – Heartland Food Products Group, a producer and marketer of low calorie sweeteners, drink mixes, coffee and nutritional beverages, announced plans today to expand its operations here, creating up to 187 new jobs by 2020.  “Indiana is home to the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the country,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Every day, Hoosiers are making products – from cars and trucks to sweeteners and coffees – that are used around the world. Thanks to our state’s pro-growth economic climate and skilled workforce, companies like Heartland continue to choose Indiana for job creation because we are a state that works for business.” Heartland will invest approximately $26 million to increase production capacity at its Indianapolis facility. In August, the Carmel-headquartered company announced plans to acquire the Splenda® low calorie sweetener brand from McNeil Nutritionals LLC, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. Significant work on the expansion is expected to commence during the first quarter of 2016. The company, which also has production and distribution operations in the Netherlands, currently employs 450 associates in Indiana. Last year, Heartland announced plans to create up to 160 new jobs by the end of 2017, and is exceeding its goals as the company anticipates meeting the prior job commitment next year. This expansion, in addition to the company’s originally-planned 160 new jobs, will create jobs across Heartland’s Indianapolis manufacturing plant, distribution center and Carmel corporate office. Interested applicants can learn more at http://www.heartlandsweeteners.com/careers.html. “Acquiring the Splenda® brand business not only fits well within our strategy to offer the very best tasting products to sweeten foods and beverages without adding calories, but the acquisition also creates new jobs and career opportunities supporting  economic growth within our community,” said Ted Gelov, chairman and chief executive officer at Heartland.   Founded in 2004, Heartland produces drink mixes and low calorie sweeteners, supplying the majority of U.S. retailers with their store brand sucralose, stevia, saccharin, aspartame and monk fruit-based sweeteners. The company was one of the first liquid enhancing product producers to introduce electrolyte enhanced sport formulas and also offers consumer-preferred flavors for leading retailers.  The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered TC Heartland (dba Heartland Food Products Group) up to $1,750,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Carmel supports the project and the city of Indianapolis will consider additional incentives at the request of Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber.  “Indianapolis has earned the reputation of being an ideal place to start and grow a business,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.  “I am pleased to welcome Heartland Food Products Group to the extensive list of companies that are choosing to invest and expand here, and I am delighted that this investment will create 187 new jobs for our region’s talented workforce.” At 4.4 percent, Indiana’s unemployment rate has dropped to a 14-year low while the Hoosier State has added more than 54,100 private sector jobs in the past year, including 12,000 manufacturing jobs. Indiana continues to have the highest concentration of private sector manufacturing jobs in the country.  “Today’s news is certainly sweet for one of the world’s top producers of sweeteners, but it’s also good for Carmel, where Heartland Food Products Group is headquartered and has become one of our rising stars in our growing list of corporate headquarters,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. “We congratulate Heartland and look forward to watching them continue to grow in the future.” About Heartland Food Products Group Based outside of Indianapolis, Heartland Food Products Group is a global leader in the production of low calorie sweetener products, creamers, beverage concentrates, coffee and nutritional drinks. Visit Heartland at www.heartlandfpg.com About IEDC The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, focusing on helping companies grow in and locate to the state. Governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov

    Posted by in Statewide News


    December 18, 2015 No comments

    1234Also Provides for the Common Defense and gives the U.S. More Control over World Oil Market


    Washington, D.C. – United States Representative Todd Rokita (IN-04) issued the following statement after he voted for a package of two bills that likely will end up on the President’s desk.  The bills lock in major conservative policy victories for Hoosiers.


    Permanent Tax Relief that Provides Certainty


    The package provides permanent tax relief to Indiana families and businesses.  It also freezes Obamacare’s 2.3% medical device tax for the next two years, protecting the over 20,000 Hoosiers who rely on the medical device industry for a job.  Indiana is second in the country in life sciences exports, totaling nearly $10 billion.


    It also permanently enhances and extends Section 179 deductions that will give certainty to Hoosier farmers and manufacturers to make investments in equipment and plan long-term.


    Many provisions in this bill will help Hoosiers keep more of their hard-earned dollars and grow their businesses.  This package is a huge win for the Indiana medical device and life science industries.  Taxing the industry more only yields less innovation.  When it comes to life-saving medical technology that can lower total health care costs, I want more of it,” said Rep. Rokita.


    Rep Tape Reform and Pro-Life Initiatives


    The legislation also accomplishes a number of conservative victories that will block the burdensome policies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):


    • Supports Hoosier farmers by prohibiting the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches, effectively blocking the harmful Waters of the U.S. regulation.
    • Repeals harmful labeling requirements on American meat, the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements, ensuring our agriculture industry will not suffer more than $1 billion in trade penalties.
    • Rejects funding for new or expanded EPA programs that let top-down bureaucrats pick winners and losers, holding the agency to its lowest spending level since 2008.
    • The package severely restricts IRS’s income stream by funding the IRS at $1.7 billion lower than President Obama’s budget request.
    • Prohibits the IRS from suppressing free speech by interfering with the civic participation of 501 (c) (4) organizations.
    • The package builds on pro-life family values, by renewing the Hyde Amendment and adding new provisions that protect the unborn by prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion.


    “Traveling through Indiana and speaking with Hoosiers, I continue to hear about the need to rein in the federal government in all industries from farming to manufacturing.  In addition to growing our economy by permanent and consistent tax policies, the legislation significantly rolls back government red tape. Hoosiers around Indiana consistently tell me about the need to block corrupt government agencies that are hurting businesses,” added Rokita.


    National Defense and Oil Market


    Finally, it strengthens national security by adequately funding our defense and tightening the requirements under our Visa Waiver Program due to the imminent threats to our homeland from radical Islamic terrorism.  It also lifts the government’s 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports which will encourage investment, spur innovation, and create jobs here at home instead of depending on countries like Russia and Iran.


    • Denies visa waiver status to any individual who has traveled to certain terrorism hotspots, including Syria and Iraq, in the last five years.
    • Upholds our Constitutional duty to protect our country by dedicating 62% of spending toward national defense.
    • Gives the United States more control of the market and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
    • Lifting the 1975 American oil ban will also reduce the trade deficit.


    “The legislation strengthens our military and repeals the outdated ban on oil exports.  It ensures we have a funded defense department at a time when there is a lot of uneasiness in the world and shifts energy dependence away from bad actors like Russia and Iran,” said Rokita.


    The entire package contains the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus spending bill as well as the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.


    The bill passed 316 to 113.

    Posted by in Statewide News

  • Governor Pence Hails Suspension of Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

    December 18, 2015 No comments

    Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence, a long-time advocate for the repeal of Obamacare and the medical device tax today issued the following statement regarding the suspension of the excise tax on medical devices for two years as part of the year-end government funding and tax provisions bill.


    “The medical device tax is a job killer in Indiana. Hoosier-based medical device companies and the thousands of Hoosiers employed in this industry should applaud the news that Congress has acted to suspend this onerous Obamacare tax for two years. Indiana ranks second in the nation when it comes to the export of life sciences products. I have heard, time and again, from medical device companies throughout Indiana that the medical device tax has forced these employers to reduce operations and wages or put expansion plan on hold.


    “The life sciences industry has a $59 billion impact on Indiana’s economy, employing more than 56,000 Hoosiers with 20,000 of them in medical device-related jobs.


    “Indiana’s continued economic growth in the life sciences industry is largely dependent upon having a federal and state tax code that encourages continued investments in the products that save and improve lives. I will continue to work with our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. until the medical device tax is repealed once and for all.”


    Governor Pence has long advocated for the repeal of the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax, which was originally created as part of Obamacare.  Governor Pence has previously sent letters to Congress and the President detailing his opposition to the medical device tax. Those letters can be found attached to this release.imagesMSVK9BTE

    Posted by in Statewide News

  • First Lady Shares Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse at Governor’s Residence Holiday Decorations

    December 18, 2015 No comments

    3Indianapolis – First Lady Karen Pence today shared photos she captured of the Governor’s Residence to show a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the holiday decorations adorning the Residence and grounds. This year’s decorations incorporated Indiana’s state colors, blue and gold, in honor of Indiana’s Bicentennial celebration.


    The photos can be found on the Governor’s Flickr account here and the First Lady’s photo gallery here.


    Recently, the Governor and First Lady announced additional tour dates had been added for Hoosiers to see firsthand the holiday décor at the Residence. Hoosiers overwhelmingly responded, and all tour dates and times for the remainder of December have been filled. Regular tours will resume mid-January on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. ET and 11:00 a.m. ET.

    Posted by in Statewide News

  • Cover Crop Workshop Openings

    December 17, 2015 No comments

    IMG_1850Farmers who want to attend a special local cover crop workshop have until Jan. 1 to reserve seats. Reservations for those who are not attending the National No-Tillage Conference in Indianapolis will be accepted on a first-come basis for the Jan. 6 event at Starkey Farms.

    Cost is $15, which covers the workshop and lunch. Advance payment, due Jan. 1, should be made to the Hendricks County Soil & Water Conservation District, 195 Meadow Dr., Ste. 2, Danville, IN 46122

    Workshop topics include cover crop interseeding, managing residual herbicides, cover crop equipment engineering; and a no-till planter, interseeding drill and air flow unit.

    Starkey Farms is located at 10132 E. CR 700 N outside Brownsburg.

    Call the Hendricks County SWCD, 745-2555, ext. 3, for details.

    Posted by in Local Events

  • Representative Steuerwald Recognized as Legislator of the Year for Work on Mental Health

    December 17, 2015 No comments

    123Indianapolis, IN, December 17, 2015 — The Indiana Psychological Association (IPA) is proud to announce that it has selected Representative Greg Steuerwald as Indiana’s 2015 Legislator of the Year.  This award is presented annually to an outstanding mental health leader in the Indiana legislature.


    IPA announced the award at their Annual Meeting in November and presented Representative Steuerwald with the award at their December board meeting. Upon acceptance of his award, Rep Steuerwald said, “It is an honor to be recognized by the Indiana Psychological Association. I look forward to continuing to work with the association on important issues, which positively impact public health and access to mental health services for all Hoosiers,”


    Representative Steuerwald represents House district 40 which covers portions of Hendricks County including the towns of Plainfield, Brownsburg, and Avon.  During the 2015 legislative session, Representative Steuerwald co-authored House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1269, which makes the Department of Corrections (DOC) an inmate’s authorized representative for applying for Medicaid for those who are potentially eligible for Medicaid and who incur medical care expenses that are not otherwise reimbursable.


    Representative Steuerwald also co-authored HEA 1304 that allows a person with an Intellectual Disability, Developmental Disability, or Autism Spectrum Disorder to participate in a forensic diversion program. The law also authorizes a prosecuting attorney to require a person participating in a prosecutorial diversion program to receive mental health treatment to reduce recidivism, and allows diversion and deferral fees to be used to fund mental health treatment programs to reduce recidivism.


    Representative Steuerwald has served in the Indiana House of Representatives since 2007.   He is currently Assistant Majority Caucus Chair and serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.  In addition, he serves on the Courts and Criminal Code and Criminal Code Evaluation Committees.  In these roles he has been instrumental in recognizing the need to treat substance use and mental health disorders in the corrections system.   Dr. Tom Barbera, IPA Governmental Affairs Committee Chairperson, noted that “Representative Steuerwald has been an effective leader in shifting the corrections system culture in Indiana from one of labeling and stigmatizing Hoosiers with substance use and other mental health disorders to one focused on treatment and prevention.”


    Past recipients of IPA’s Legislator of the Year Award include Representative Ron Bacon, Senator Vaneta Becker, Senator Ron Alting, Representative Charlie Brown, Senator Brent Steele, and Representative Peggy Welch.

    Posted by in Local News

  • State Parks begin 100th anniversary celebration

    December 16, 2015 No comments

    2497980-MThe Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday used a three-stop tour to kick off a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Indiana state parks system.

    The tour began with a pancake breakfast and ceremonies at Indiana’s first state park – McCormick’s Creek in Owen County – and included a proclamation from Gov. Mike Pence declaring the day as Indiana State Parks Day.

    Additional stops were at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, where First Lady Karen Pence was the featured speaker, and at Turkey Run State Park in Parke County.

    “Indiana’s citizens have certainly enjoyed this birthday gift they first unwrapped in 1916,” said Karen Pence, recalling childhood memories of state park camping trips. “Today there are an estimated 15 to 16 million visits each year. People hike, camp, stay in our great Indiana State Park Inns, ride a mountain bike, or visit a nature center.”

    Fritz Lieber, great grandson of Col. Richard Lieber, read a passage from his great grandfather’s report to the 1916 Indiana Historical Commission that proposed development of a state parks system.

    “The chief purpose of State Parks is to refresh and strengthen and renew tired people, and fit them for the common round of daily life,” Richard Lieber wrote. “In conclusion, I hope and trust that the small beginning we have made will have laid the foundation for a comprehensive system of State Parks which will not only stand forever as a token of the past, but which will bring health, wealth and happiness to our own generation and the many that will come after us.”

    McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run were presented to the State on Dec. 16, 1916, as Indiana’s first two state parks, representing a gift to Indiana citizens to mark the first 100 years of statehood.

    Richard Lieber later became the first director of the Department of Conservation, the predecessor of today’s DNR.

    DNR director Cameron Clark noted at the morning ceremony at McCormick’s Creek that the agency’s Division of State Parks has grown to include 24 state parks, eight reservoir properties, and seven state park inns. The division encompass about 170,000 acres with 2,000 building, 700 miles of trails, 38 state-dedicated nature preserves embedded with parks, 8,400 campsites, more than 200 shelters, 22 nature centers, 16 swimming pools, 15 beaches, 631 hotel/lodge rooms and 149 cabins.

    Other speakers at the three events included DNR deputy director John Davis; DNR State Parks director Dan Bortner; Perry Hammock and Mary McConnell from the Bicentennial Commission; and students from McCormick’s Creek Elementary School, Crestview Elementary School in Lawrence Township, and Turkey Run Junior Senior High School, who spoke about their appreciation for state parks.

    State Parks all across Indiana will continue the celebration through 2016 with a variety of special events. For more information on dates and locations, go to INStateParks100.com.

    Posted by in Statewide News

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