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CONVERSE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A bank headquartered in the town of Converse is launching a program designed to give a boost to food banks. First Farmers Bank & Trust says it is working with Hoosier pork producers and processors to provide protein to food banks throughout Indiana and eastern Illinois.

The bank says “Pigs to People to Pork” is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic causing a “dramatic disruption in the availability of protein to those in need.” 

Jeff Rodibaugh, chief agricultural lending officer for First Farmers, says he and other key bank personnel created an ad hoc network of farmers and local processors willing to donate or reduce livestock and processing costs.

The bank is partnering with statewide nonprofit Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry to boost the program’s impact.

“During this time of uncertainty, our lending team called on their lifelong relationships to find the compassion of local processing owners and staffs to put in extra hours to process pigs that are getting precariously big for their stressed owners into one-pound ground pork packages for the people of our communities,” said Rodibaugh. “It is the hope of our employees, processors and pig farmers that through our ‘Pigs to People to Pork’ partnership with Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry that we will provide a smile to a person or child that was looking for a meal this week.”

You can learn more about the program by clicking here.

CONVERSE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A husband and wife team in the Grant County town of Converse have opened a unique business inspired by their special needs daughter. Ryan and Beth Frank wanted to have a safe place in which their teenage daughter Luci, who has autism, and other people with special needs could work. So they acquired an old car wash and renovated it into what is now known as Luci’s Carwash and Drive-Thru Convenience Store. 

In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta, Beth Frank explained the message they want to promote with Luci’s Carwash.

“Since Luci’s was born, we have believed that she was fearfully and wonderfully made and that she was made for a purpose. And so since she has gotten older, we have thought about what that purpose could be in areas that she would be interested in, areas that she would feel a connection with the community and when the car wash idea came up, we thought this is great,” said Frank. “Also for the students she’s in school with, for other adults in our community that have special needs, we really want to provide a place for them where they feel a connection with the community, where their differences are celebrated and a place where they can shine.”

Ryan Frank said the drive-thru convenience store is a key component of the business. The store is filled with racks of snacks and candy, as well as coolers with drinks. But he says there is more to the store.

“We have a small kitchen where we’re serving some hot food in the morning like biscuits and gravy, throughout the day things like nachos and pretzel bites and breadsticks, fountain drinks and gourmet soda. So it’s been a really fun experience.”

The couple says the community has been tremendously supportive of the business.

“Facebook has been so good for us,” said Ryan Frank. “We really haven’t spent a dollar on marketing but the small town community, school system, the people have just gotten behind it.”

Beth Frank says there has been a learning curve opening a brick-and-mortar business, but interacting with the community on a daily basis makes everything easier.

MARION, Ind. (WISH) — A Grant County judge on Wednesday dismissed a child seduction charge against a teacher at Oak Hill High School, according to court records.

Mitchel Hueston, who was 33 when charged in January, was alleged to have inappropriately touched a 16-year-old girl during the summer of 2016.

Prosecutors decided after further review of the evidence and the results of a polygraph test that they could not successfully try the case, The Chronicle-Tribune reported.

School officials informed the Grant County Sheriff’s Office of the allegations in January, which led to a four-week investigation before Hueston’s arrest.

Upon his arrest, Hueston had been placed on paid administrative leave by the school. His current status was not immediately available. Oak Hill High School is in Converse, about 35 miles north of Indianapolis.

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