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ATLANTA, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Hamilton County-based Beck’s Hybrids will Wednesday mark the completion of its new east soybean processing tower. The facility is part of a $60 million expansion announced in 2019 that is expected to create nearly 60 jobs by the end of 2022.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the 10-story tower is one of the largest of its kind in the world, capable of processing three million bushels of soybeans annually. In addition to the tower, the expansion project includes five new warehouses for seed and equipment storage and office space.

Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers will join Beck’s executives to celebrate the tower’s completion.

Shortly after the expansion project was announced, Beck’s Chief Executive Officer Sonny Beck and then-IEDC President Elaine Bedel appeared on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk about the investment. You can watch the interview by clicking here.

ARCADIA, Ind. (WISH) — Students who had their prom canceled because of a fatal car crash are getting another chance thanks to the generosity of others.

Hamilton Heights High School announced to students Thursday the district will be having another prom.

The announcement came almost two weeks after Kalen Hart was killed on her way to the dance. Her boyfriend, Lendon Byram, a student at Cathedral, was also killed in the crash.

School officials have been overwhelmed with community support, which was part of the reason they thought they owed it to the kids to accept the kindness of so many strangers.

From the venue to the tuxes, from the food to even the special hairstyles, it’s all free for the roughly 330 students who purchased tickets.

“It doesn’t surprise me but it’s very overwhelming,” said Whitney Gray, Hamilton Heights assistant principal. “It’s such a good reminder that people are good.”

Sara Smith, owner of Maple Lane Pavilion in rural Arcadia, told the school leaders they should look at their barn just down the road from the high school as potential venue for the rescheduled prom.

Gray said, “We’re really just blown away by how perfect this would be and how close to the school it was. When we stood there and asked her, ‘OK, what would we owe you for this?'”

Smith finishes the story. “I kind of looked at her all confused because I’m like, ‘I didn’t want you to come out here to try to make a sale. I want you to come and see what I could offer you.'”

That was just the beginning.

The Elite Banquet & Conference Center in Kokomo, where the original prom happened, offered to cater for free.

The J. Everett Light Career Center in Indianapolis, which some students attend, will provide free hair services from its cosmetology students, and free desserts from its culinary students.

After Prom, at Bowl 32 in Noblesville, is also free.

Staff first informed Kalen’s family, then told the students.

“It was really fun to see their faces and how respectful they were in hearing that information and knowing there’s still a lot of emotions involved to really see their demeanor shift and be excited about this event,” Gray said.

Louie’s Tux Shop where 28 had rented their tuxes initially offered free re-rentals at first, then called back two days later to offer free rentals to all which means anywhere from 150-175 free rentals.

“They understood how expensive it is. I think that was one of the first thoughts for the guys,” Gray said. “Cool to see that, means a lot.”

Everyone hopes this helps the community heal, in a small way redeeming a night that will be remembered forever for all the wrong reasons.

“It just broke my heart to know that not only are they hurting for their lost classmates but they’re also hurting because they missed out on a really important high school event,” Smith said. “I feel that by giving them this prom it will help so much with their healing and help with the fellowship with their friends because with COVID they couldn’t hang out all the time.”

There will also be some chances to honor Kalen’s memory. Gray said that includes a lantern glow at the end of the night, but officials don’t want it to be the focus either.

“It’s something we want to recognize,” Gray said. “We don’t want it to overtake the evening and be at the forefront of what kids are seeing of that night but we want to be respectful about it.”

More plans and special things are likely to be added as more vendors continue to offer up their services.

The rescheduled prom is set for Thursday June 3, the day after the last day of school and two days before graduation.

For students who choose not to go for whatever reason, they can get a full refund of their ticket or donate the cost of their ticket to Kalen Hart’s memorial fund.

Gray estimates that 98% of students so far have told the school they want to go.

ATLANTA, Ind. (WISH) — A controversial barn project in Hamilton County will not go forward. 

The landowner said the barn would be part of his agricultural tech company but some neighbors are staunchly against it. 

The Hamilton County Planning Commission gave the project a thumbs up in February. It was then passed to the Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday. After a vote, the project was rejected which puts property owner Terry Henderson at square one. 

Henderson is the president of Achieva, an agricultural technical company and communications business. He said the barn would be used for training sessions and community events. Henderson did admit private functions like weddings could potentially take place.

Neighbor Ben Cox said the land is not zoned for commercial development. News 8 asked Hamilton County Planning Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt about the property. He said the project fits within the requirements. 

I think this truly comes down to not understanding that this is going to be an agricultural training barn, Henderson said. 

This business is actually a sales and marketing business, Cox said. It has agricultural clients and that’s a big difference. 

The barn would have been built just off 27th street in rural Hamilton County. Neighbors displayed their opinion by placing signs of disapproval along the side of the road. 

News 8 is checking with the Hamilton County Planning Commission to see if there’s a chance Henderson could appeal his case. 

ATLANTA, Ind. (WISH) — Nickel Plate Express is bringing in St. Patrick’s Day with the Irish Express Saturday.

The Irish Express is an hour and a half train ride complete with live music, food and a beer tasting experience.

The St. Patty’s Day train ride will feature beer from Indianapolis-based brewery Sun King Brewing Company.

“Sun King’s beer is second to none and their support of local nonprofits is admirable. I think celebrating St. Patrick’s Day aboard the train will be a truly special way to spend the holiday weekend,” said Nickel Plate Express executive director, Dea Holt.

The hour and a half excursion will feature live Irish folk music from Hamilton County musician John Gilmore and several bagpipe jigs from the multi-talented engineers of Nickel Plate Express.

The train departs from downtown Atlanta at 1 and 4 p.m.

Tickets for the event cost $35 per person and include the hour and a half train ride, three sample-sized pours, gourmet popcorn and live music.

Tickets for the Irish Express are available here. 

ATLANTA, Ind. (WISH) – If you’ve ever traveled up north on State Road 37, you’ve probably noticed the building.

For truckers back in the 1940s, it was known Scotty’s. A natural place for them to stop, eat and rest overnight on their way to and from Fort Wayne.

Later, it became a diner known as Wheelers.

It sat vacant after Wheelers moved out in the early 1990s until it was bought by the father-and-son duo of J.R. and Nick Roudebush.

Through their vision and hard work, they’ve created Mercantile 37. The business is at 25625 State Road 37. That’s off State Road 37 near its southern merger with State Road 13.

 It’s a kind of one-stop shop for home goods made by 45 Indiana artists. There’s everything from tables custom-made from the reclaimed wood of an Indiana barn to goat milk soap from Alexandria. Many of the products are custom-made on site, and customers can even design their own lighting fixtures and furniture pieces. 

The Roudebushes even put in a cafe and called it Wheelers just like the old truck stop. The menu is made up of items from Indiana farmers. Nick said it was important to keep the Wheelers name to emphasize Mercantile 37 as a community hub where people still come to meet.

So far, they’ve had a great opening and gotten a positive response from the public. They are also thrilled to support 45 families who create the products that are sold there.

Shop, dine and enjoy homemade local goods. Mercantile 37 has taken an old, familiar place and given it new energy for people to once again enjoy. 

EAST UNION, Ind. (WISH) — A road worker died Wednesday afternoon when he was hit in a construction zone on U.S. 31 in northern Hamilton County, police said. 

Justin Nance, 32, of Anderson, died when a semitractor-trailer crashed into a construction vehicle in the northbound lanes about halfway between 286th and 296th streets, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. 

Nance is an employee of Anderson-based E&B Paving, which is resurfacing U.S. 31 for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said INDOT spokesman Scott Manning. 

The sheriff’s office release said semi driver Brian C. Harris, 43, Decatur, was northbound on U.S. 31 around 12:40 p.m. Harris told police he did not see construction vehicles with arrow boards telling motorists to get into the left lane and was unable to avoid a collision with one of the vehicles. The crash forced the construction vehicle into Nance. 

The crash investigation unit of the sheriff’s office was continuing to investigate the fatal crash. No citation or action against the driver will be taken until the investigation is complete, said sheriff’s office spokesman Maj. Tom Gehlhausen. 

The time of the crash has been updated from the initial report from a dispatcher.

ATLANTA, Ind. (WISH) — There is a new push to get trains rolling for the northern part of Hamilton county.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad Inc. is working to get passenger trains rolling from Atlanta to south of Cicero. That’s an 8-mile stretch.

IBJ said the trains would run 75 days out of the year and attract 30,000 to 50,000 passengers annually.

Leaders in southern Hamilton county decided to stop the trains, citing maintenance concerns with the rails.