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CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An affiliate of Wisconsin-based commercial real estate firm Phoenix Investors has acquired the former Visteon manufacturing plant in Connersville. Financial details are not being disclosed, though Phoenix says it has plans to renovate the the nearly 70-year-old facility.

The 1.7 million-square-foot plant was built in 1953 by Philco Corp., which was later acquired by Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). Visteon, a spin-off company of Ford occupied the plant from 2000 until 2007.

Today, about one-third of the plant is occupied by CliqStudios Cabinets and Phoenix Investors says the company will remain at the facility following the acquisition.

Anthony Crivello, executive vice president of Phoenix Investors, says renovations at the plant have already begun.

“We are planning on making a significant capital investment into the building within short order,” Crivello said in an email to Inside INdiana Business. “Once renovated, we believe there will be many high-quality companies interested in it. We are very excited about the redevelopment.”

Phoenix says the plant’s features and proximity to Indianapolis, as well as Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, make it an ideal site for logistics and manufacturing operations.

An estimated time frame for completion of the renovations was not provided.

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Cincinnati-based RDI Corp. is growing its Midwest operations with its first location in Indiana. The business solutions provider plans to invest more than $500,000 to expand its RDI Connect contact center division with a new facility in Connersville and create up to 125 jobs by the end of 2023. RDI Connect provides outsourced contact center services for business clients and will be moving into an 11,000-square-foot facility.

RDI says the facility is expected to be operational in September. The company is currently hiring for call center agent and management positions, both on-site and at-home. 

“Because of Indiana’s business-friendly environment and talented workforce, companies like RDI are choosing our state for Midwest growth,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger said in a news release. “Not only does RDI focus on delivering next-level service to its clients, their focus on employee growth, diversity and inclusion, and community impact is admirable and welcomed to our state.”

RDI currently employs more than 3,500 people across 11 locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Nevada, Vermont and Mexico. 

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered RDI up to $900,000 in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. The Fayette County Economic Development Group is offering additional incentives as well.

BROOKVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A 69-year-old licensed pyrotechnic died and at least four other people were hurt in a barn fire Tuesday night in Franklin County, authorities said.

Adam Strum with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said the barn owner operated a permitted firework display company, and the staff was preparing for a show this weekend. The fire broke out between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the barn east of Brookville, according to media reports.

Donald Lee Winters died in the fire, according to Franklin County Coroner Brian Baxter. Winters lived at the farmstead, Baxter said, and the show he was preparing was set for Friday night in Connersville.

Connersville Baptist Temple said in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, “Due to a tragic accident in Franklin County our Freedom Fest will be cancelled this year. Please join us in praying for all those involved, as well as their families.”

WCPO in Cincinnati reported that investigators believe a shell accidentally ignited during the preparation, setting the entire structure on fire. The four injured people were airlifted to Cincinnati hospitals, and one was in a burn unit.

CONNERSVILLE (Inside INdiana Business) — With little warning, a Fayette County cabinet maker has shut down, immediately laying off its entire workforce.

In a notice to the state, Wayzata Home Products in Connersville said market uncertainty associated with the coronavirus played a role in its decision.

The company, which is headquartered in Minnesota, said in the notice that the inability for the company to secure capital investment also was a major factor.

Wayzata told employees Friday morning it was closing immediately, and the layoffs are permanent.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to give a 60-day warning before a company closes. “However under the current circumstances,” said Wayzata’s notice, “the company could not provide such notice that far in advance due to significant and recent unforeseeable business circumstances.”

The statement went on to say, “More specifically, the recent material market and financial impact of the global spread of the coronavirus, including significant developments over the course of the last few days and the fact the company’s existing investors notified the company…that they would not make the additional capital investment required to sustain the company’s operations, led to the decision to shut down…”

The company has been operating in Connersville for less than five years.

In August 2015, the state announced Wayzata intended to invest $12.5 million to buy and refurbish the former Visteon plant.

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Richmond-based Reid Health will next month begin moving the majority of its radiology services in Connersville. The health system says the move will allow it to expand the amount of services it provides to patients.

Reid Health Director of Radiology Services Gene DiTullio says the health system’s CT, MRI and ultrasound outpatient services will be moved from the Whitewater Valley Imaging Center to the former hospital campus in Connersville beginning October 7. The Whitewater Valley location will continue to provide X-ray services to support the urgent care center on that campus.

The health system says the new, larger space will allow the radiology department to offer CT exams and MRI exams with contrast, and eventually add mammography and DEXA scanning, which was previously not possible.

“As we have said since we announced our expanded presence in Connersville earlier this year, we have and will continue to assess additional and sustainable services we can provide to support the health care needs of the people we serve in the region,” Reid Health Chief Executive Officer Craig Kinyon said in a news release. “We are very pleased to expand these services for our patients in the Connersville area.”

The move follows Red Health’s acquisition of a large portion of the former Fayette Regional Health System’s assets. The deal was finalized in mid-July. The health system says the acquisition helped avoid the loss of some 300 jobs in the area, as many former Fayette Regional employees joined Reid Health.

Reid Health did not specify if the expansion of its radiology services would result in any new jobs.

BENTONVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Drone footage shows the extent of severe weather damage in Bentonville, in the northern portion of Fayette County on Saturday night. 

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado hit nearby Rushville Saturday evening, about 15 miles southwest of Bentonville. 

Viewer Branden Granger shared drone video that shows the damage to a church from possible straight line winds or a possible tornado in the area. 

One wall of the church has completely collapsed, revealing interior rooms. The roof is also missing and the exterior building materials are scattered across the lawn and nearby cemetery. 

(Photo Provided/Brandon Granger)

The National Weather Service said this morning in a tweet that it would conduct surveys in Bentonville to determine if a tornado touched down. 

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Four men and a boy now face charges in relation to a homicide at a Fayette County trailer park. 

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday in a Facebook post that 37-year-old Frank Logan Jr. and 22-year-old Brady T. Price are the latest to be arrested. 

Logan was captured early Sunday after police surrounded a home in the 1900 block of Old U.S. 52 in Laurel, Indiana. Logan ran from an outbuilding, but was eventually taken into custody, the post said. 

Logan faces a murder charge in the homicide of 37-year-old Michael Shane Hamilton. The sheriff’s office said he was killed just before 1 a.m. Sept. 20 at the Elephant Hill Trailer Park. 

Price faces a charge of assisting in a robbery with a deadly weapon resulting in death. 

Both men were in the Fayette County Jail with no bond. 

A 16-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the crime Friday night. The juvenile was preliminarily charged with a felony count of murder. 

Authorities previously had arrested two other suspects, 18-year-old Mark A. Bennett and 44-year-old Rodney A. Bennett. Mark Bennett faced a preliminary charge of murder while Rodney Bennett faced preliminary charges obstruction of justice and aiding in a robbery.

Connersville is about 50 miles east of Indianapolis. 

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Authorities in Fayette County are looking for Franklin Logan Jr.

He’s wanted for questioning in connection to a homicide at the Elephant Hill Trailer Park in Connersville.

A 37-year-old man, Michael Shane Hamilton, was killed there early Thursday morning. 

The sheriff’s office said Logan should be considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, call 911. 

Authorities have already arrested three others suspects: 18-year-old Mark A. Bennett of Connersville, 44-year-old Rodney A. Bennett of Connersville and a 16-year-old boy.

Mark Bennett was charged with murder.

Rodney A. Bennett was charged with obstruction of justice and aiding in a robbery.

The juvenile was preliminarily charged with murder.

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Deputies in Fayette County have arrested two men in connection to a Sept. 20 homicide.

Mark Bennett, 18, and 44-year-old Rodney Bennett have both been taken into custody.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says someone was killed just before 1 a.m. Thursday at the Elephant Hill Trailer Park. 

Fayette County Coroner Mary Poe identified the victim as 37-year-old Michael Shane Hamilton. 

Poe said Hamilton’s cause and manner of death were pending a Friday morning autopsy. 

According to a Thursday morning Facebook post by the office, there are possibly three suspects in the case. The Facebook post describes them as white and in their 20s, possibly driving a red or purple Dodge Neon.

Mark Bennett faces preliminary charges of murder while Rodney Bennett faces preliminary charges for obstruction of justice and aiding in a robbery.

Anyone with information can call 765-825-1110.

BENTONVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – A semitractor-trailer driver was hurt in a rollover crash that spilled corn onto a Rush County road on Thursday morning, police said.

Around 8:20 a.m., Indiana State Police troopers responded to a report of a rollover crash involving a semi hauling grain on Rush County Road 800 East just south of County Road 900 North, which is on the Rush-Fayette county line. That’s about 2-1/2 miles west of Bentonville.

Trooper found a 1998 Freightliner had been going northbound on 800 East when it got off on the soft shoulder on the right side of the road causing it to overturn in the ditch, state police said in a news release.

As the truck overturned in the ditch, it dumped the open trailer full of corn, the release said. County Road 800 East was closed for about 2-1/2 hours while crews worked to upright the truck and clean up the spilled grain.

The driver of the truck, Kevin Lucas, 61, of Brownsville, was taken to Rush Memorial Hospital with a cut to his head, the release said. Lucas was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.