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AUBURN, Ind. (WISH) — An Indiana packaging plant, that is a branch of a Fortune 500 company, will cease operations in August, according to a letter to the state from Graphic Packaging International.

Graphic Packaging International is permanently closing its converting facility located at 1201 S. Grandstaff Dr. in Auburn.

The company makes various packaging products from cookie to produce boxes, food service containers and packaging product machinery.

GPI is headquartered in Georgia and operates several mills and packaging plants throughout the United States.

70 employees will be terminated on or before August 4.

(Provided Photo, Graphic Packaging International)

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A lawsuit over a planned sports park in Auburn has made a step toward possible resolution. An attorney for the defendants in the suit, Rodney Sinn and Auburn Sports Group, have filed to withdraw a Motion to Dismiss, and both the plaintiff and defendants have agreed to a permanent and preliminary injunction.

The lawsuit was filed in Hamilton County Superior Court in February by Grand Park Fieldhouse LLC and alleges that Sinn, a principal with ASG improperly used confidential information from his time at Grand Park Fieldhouse in Westfield, now known as the Pacers Athletic Center.

Grand Park Fieldhouse is a privately owned and operated business on the grounds of Grand Park Sports Campus, which is owned by the city of Westfield. However, a spokesperson for the city says Sinn was never an employee of Grand Park Sports Campus.

According to the lawsuit, Sinn served as president of operations at the fieldhouse from July 2015 to July 2016. Grand Park Fieldhouse alleges that Sinn has shared confidential information he obtained during his time in Westfield to entice third parties to invest in the Auburn sports park development and also disclosed Grand Park Fieldhouse’s business plan for the Auburn development.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges Sinn “is also using Grand Park Fieldhouse’s confidential financial information, business plans and marketing strategies to plan, develop and market the Auburn Sports Park.”

The new motion to withdraw the Motion to Dismiss, was filed Monday. Defense counsel David Boyer said in the filing, “The parties have entered into an agreement by terms to settle the case.”

However, the plaintiff filed a response to the Motion to Withdraw saying the statement regarding a settlement is inaccurate.

The court granted a preliminary injunction and permanent injunction agreed upon by both parties. Sinn and ASG voluntarily agreed to “refrain from further use of Grand Park Fieldhouse’s Confidential Information, remove all of Grand Park Fieldhouse’s information from Defendants’ documents and marketing materials, and return/destroy all of Grand Park Fieldhouse’s Confidential Information.”

Grand Park Fieldhouse says the litigation can potentially be resolved if the defendants fully comply with the agreed order.

“But, the Parties are not there and it is still to be seen whether Defendants will (or can) fully comply with the Agreed Order,” Grand Park Fieldhouse said in its response. “In short, while Plaintiff agrees to the withdrawal of the Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff wanted to make clear to the Court—to avoid any confusion—that the case is not actually settled.”

Auburn Sports Group unveiled plans for the $42 million sports park in January. Designs called for 16 basketball/volleyball courts, a domed indoor facility, eight baseball/softball fields and three artificial turf soccer/football fields.

ASG indicated the facility could be operational by mid-summer and create 200 jobs.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Sinn was an employee of Grand Park Sports Campus.

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana is kicking off its two-day JA JobSpark event in Auburn Tuesday. The organization says more than 4,000 middle and high school students from Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange and Noble counties will learn about various career paths from more than 50 local businesses.

As part of the event, which is taking place at the J. Kruse Education Center, students will hear about careers in eight industry clusters through live demonstrations, hands-on activities and conversations with industry experts. They will also learn about the skills needed for in-demand jobs when they graduate.

“It’s imperative that we provide students the tools and resources they need to succeed, and this hands-on, real-world experience educates them on the skills they need today for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Mike Kamphues, executive director of banking for JPMorgan Chase, one of the participating businesses.

The industry clusters represented at the event include advanced manufacturing, engineering and logistics; agriculture, food and natural resources; architecture, engineering and construction; business, finance and marketing; government, law and public service; health and life sciences; hospitality, tourism and arts; and information technology.

Junior Achievement says the goal of the event is to give students a better understanding of the courses they need to take, a track for post-secondary learning, and a clear career pathway that aligns with their interests.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here.

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Perpetual Industries Inc. has relocated its corporate headquarters to Auburn. The company, which describes itself as an incubator for the development of new and innovative energy-efficient technologies, is investing up to $40 million in the facility with plans to create about 20 jobs.

The company says the 22,000-square-foot facility will provide more space for research and development efforts, as well as room to execute a large-scale Bitcoin mining center expansion for its cryptocurrency division. 

“We have seen significant growth in the operation of our divisions over the past couple of years,” Chief Executive Officer Brent Bedford said in a news release. “It made sense to increase our space to maximize the Company’s return on assets and capitalize on the fast-growing blockchain ecosystem with our data center expansion.”

Perpetual Industries operates multiple divisions, some of which are centered on its XYO Mechanical Balancing Technology, which is designed to eliminate vibration in rotating equipment, such as wind turbines and washing machines. Other divisions are focused on cryptocurrency mining and blockchain applications.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A controversial bill under consideration at the Statehouse would repeal the law that requires Hoosiers to obtain licenses to carry handguns.

Supporters say the legislation, House Bill 1369, is getting a hearing is a huge step in the right direction to restore Second Amendment rights; the opposition sees the measure as dangerous.

“We have a real issue with guns in Indiana for sure. We are the 19th state for deaths by gun,” Patricia Rettig, a volunteer with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action, told News 8 on Wednesday.

Moms Demand Action is making its voices heard.

“We want to increase public safety. We respect the Second Amendment,” Rettig said. “We aren’t trying to take guns away from people. We simply want to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

On Wednesday, state lawmakers heard testimony on the House bill, which specifies that people would not be required to get or have a license or permit from the state if they are not prohibited by law from carrying or possessing a handgun.

“It lowers the bar. It removes permitting, which removes background checks,” Rettig said. “People who are otherwise unable to get a gun now would be able to if you take away that background check. So, while it may state there are certain stipulations, how are we going to know those stipulations are there until something tragic happens?”

The group Hoosier Gun Rights, which supports the measure, argues in a statement that “as a law-abiding citizen, you shouldn’t need any ‘permission slip’ from the government to keep and bear arms.”

Candee Anderson supports the measure.

“When you punish citizens by making more laws, more fees, making them jump through more hoops, it doesn’t stop the criminal element,” Anderson said. “All it does is penalize law-abiding citizens who just want to carry out their constitutional rights to protect themselves and their families.”

The measure was written by Rep. Ben Smaltz, a Republican from Auburn. No votes on the measure have been recorded on the legislature’s website. The chair of the committee that heard the measure Wednesday said, over the next few days, people can talk with legislators about their support or opposition of the bill.

The bill sponsor says he expected the legislature would dedicate the $3.5 million in permits fees that police departments now collect and spend on equipment and training. The Associated Press reported several police officials spoke against the bill, saying it would make it more difficult to identify who shouldn’t possess handguns.

To watch testimony that was presented in committee, click here.

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Ireland-based Eaton Corp. PLC (NYSE: ETN) is planning to close its facility in northeast Indiana. In a notice to the state, the power management company says the Auburn plant will shut its doors permanently next spring, leaving more than 100 employees out of work.

The company did not provide a specific reason for the closure. The facility manufactures components for Eaton’s global clutch business.

Eaton says the plant is expected to close in May 2021. The layoffs are set to take place over a two week period after February 10.

The hourly employees affected by the closure are represented by the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Local 164. The affected salaried employees are not represented by a union and do not have bumping rights.

Inside INdiana Business has reached out to Eaton for comment on the move.

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Germany-based vehicle technology company is planning to expand operations in Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says Continental will invest more than $4 million to grow its ContiTech Vibration Control subsidiary in DeKalb County and create up to 45 jobs by the end of 2023. 

The company plans to renovate and equip a 100,000-square-foot facility in Auburn, which it says will consolidate its existing technical centers in Canada and Michigan.

The facility, Continental says, will support research and development of technologies to reduce noise vibrations for the automotive and commercial sectors.

“Continental’s decision to expand in DeKalb County continues a long-standing trend of German companies picking Indiana for growth,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “With operations all around the world, we’re grateful that Continental is choosing to grow in northeast Indiana, developing innovative products that are used across the globe while providing quality career opportunities for Hoosiers.”

Continental expects to have the facility fully operational by the end of 2024. The company says it will begin hiring for a variety of positions, including testing, prototype, design and product development.

The IEDC has offered Continental up to $650,000 in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. The city of Auburn has approved additional incentives.

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Allendale Treatment, a detox and inpatient treatment center, is set to open in Auburn. Greater Fort Wayne Inc. says the $1.8 million facility, which will be the only of its kind in northeast Indiana, will create up to 30 jobs.

GFW says Allendale will be the only treatment center of its kind in northeast Indiana and will offer primary substance abuse disorder detox and stabilization.

“When we started this journey two years ago, we quickly found out that there was a critical need for detox services,” said Mickey Ashpole, co-founder and executive director of Allendale Treatment. “We are proud to offer the only primary substance use disorder, free-standing inpatient detox and stabilization center to the local area. We provide a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere to help our patients through the withdrawal symptoms associated with detox from drugs and alcohol.”

Allendale’s medical staff focuses on individualized care and withdrawal symptom management. GFW says the center is equipped with individual accommodations for every patient.

“My goal has always been to bring quality, individualized treatment centers to northern Indiana, as opposed to having to go out of state for treatment services,” said Ashpole. “Addiction treatment is a daily job, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to help our community by providing high quality, individualized treatment services.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for August 7 and is open to the public.

AUBURN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — After nearly seven months of work, DeKalb Health has officially become an affiliate of Parkview Health in Fort Wayne. As a result of the partnership, the Auburn-based hospital will be renamed Parkview DeKalb Hospital.

The boards of directors of both organizations approved the affiliation in late August. The two health systems signed a letter of intent regarding a potential affiliation in early March.

“We’re proud to welcome DeKalb to Parkview Health,” Mike Packnett, chief executive officer of Parkview, said in a news release. “Our organizations share a commitment to delivering excellent, community-centric care, and this partnership will strengthen the foundation of health and well-being for Auburn and the surrounding communities. We’re excited to be a part of DeKalb County not only as a health care provider, but also as a community partner.”

Parkview says the transition will be gradual, with signage changing over the next several months. Many physicians will also transition to the Parkview Physicians Group, according to the health system, and patients will be notified as the changes are finalized.

Parkview DeKalb Hospital will maintain its own board of directors, as well as its foundation for philanthropic efforts. The former DeKalb Health Foundation will be renamed the Parkview DeKalb Foundation.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Do you think you could pass the U.S. citizenship test?

A Republican state lawmaker from northern Indiana wants to make passing the test a high school graduation requirement for Hoosier students. 

Ten random questions from the text were posed to people on the streets of Indianapolis. Matt Thomas of Indianapolis took the challenge and said his curiosity was piqued. “I’m pretty confident, yeah.”

Asked to name one branch or part of the government, Thomas correctly answered, “Oh, the judicial branch.”

The other correct answers: executive, which is the president, and legislative, which is Congress.

Thomas said, “I think that’s important to have a good understanding of how our country works.” 

Caitlin Rider of Terre Haute was asked what Martin Luther King Jr. did.  She correctly said, “He helped African-Americans get more rights.”

A couple questions stumped some people. Joshua Worrall, of Terre Haute, was asked to name a U.S. territory. 

“New York?” Worrall answered, immediately realizing what he said and laughing. “You got me like half-asleep!” 

The correct answers: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

State Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn has filed a bill to require high schoolers to take a civics exam that has the same questions you’d find on the U.S. citizenship test. Students could take the test as many times as needed to pass. If the bill becomes a law, students would have to score at least 60 percent, which is a “D,” to pass. Passing would be a requirement for high school graduation.

State Sen. Jeff Raatz is the chairman of the Education and Career Development Committee. He said Friday about the bill, “That’s the heart behind the whole thing is making sure folks have the basic knowledge of the United States government and some history, not that we’re not doing it in high school or K-12.” 

The Republican from Centerville in east central Indiana said the plan is for lawmakers to discuss the bill next week.