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FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Crossing School of Business & Entrepreneurship has opened a manufacturing skills lab at its campus in Frankfort. The center will use curriculum and equipment provided by Catapult Indiana, a career training program developed by Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing initiative.

The Crossing is an alternative high school that helps high school and adult students get a second chance at education. There are eight campuses across the state.

Catapult Indiana is a 160-hour training program that teaches broadly applicable advanced manufacturing skills through classroom instruction and simulated work experiences.

Conexus says the program placed on average 85% of its graduates in advanced manufacturing jobs.

“Not only does the advanced manufacturing sector pay well above the family standard of living, but it offers health and retirement benefits and is one of the few sectors that promotes from within, offering a true career ladder for those with less than a four-year college education,” said Brad Rhorer, chief talent programs officer with Conexus Indiana.

Conexus says The Crossing in Frankfort has an internship program with NHK Seating, a manufacturer of seats for Subaru of Indiana Automotive.

Through Catapult, students will have the opportunity to train, intern with NHK and other manufacturers in the community and earn full time employment upon graduation.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Riggs Community Health Center Inc. is planning to open a new affordable healthcare center in Frankfort. Riggs, which serves Tippecanoe and Boone counties, says final approvals have been completed and construction is underway to renovate a 7,500-square-foot facility.

Riggs says it will be hiring for a variety of medical assistant, patient services, nursing, and support positions. The facility is expected to open in June.

“Our Riggs team is so excited to open a facility in Frankfort,” said Dr. McQuade-Jones, president of Riggs. “As we have talked to community members over the last several years, it became clear that our services for the underinsured and uninsured are much needed in the community. We look forward to providing the community with local, high-quality primary care.”

The facility will offer primary healthcare through a nurse practitioner team to uninsured and Medicaid and underinsured patients.

The Frankfort clinic will serve Clinton County and the surrounding area. The practice first opened in 1988.

“We are pleased and looking forward to Riggs coming to Frankfort,” says Lorra Archibald, Executive Director of The Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition. “Our community-wide social services programs encounter many community members who need affordable high-quality care. Riggs’ ability to see uninsured and underinsured patients fills a great need here.”

You can view Riggs’ job postings by clicking here.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An expansion of operations and new jobs are coming to the Frito-Lay plant in Frankfort. Frito-Lay parent PepsiCo Inc (Nasdaq: PEP) says it will invest $60 million in the facility and add 50 jobs, which brings the total investment in the plant to more than $230 million over the last two years.

Frito-Lay says the expansion includes a new manufacturing line and increased capacity to allow for future growth. The company says the site will grow to 135 acres with 21 operating snack production lines.

“Frito-Lay’s continued financial investment and creation of jobs in Frankfort during these challenging times, reinforces their commitment to strengthening our local economy,” said Mayor Judy Sheets. “I am grateful to the company and everyone who played a role in making this project happen.”

The city of Frankfort collaborated with Frito-Lay on a personal property tax abatement to help deliver the investment and new jobs. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. also offered the company up to $550,000 in conditional tax credits based on job creation plans. 

Frito-Lay says construction is set to begin early next year, with completion set for early 2022. 

In September 2019, the company announced plans to invest $70 million to add a new snack line, expand a warehouse, and add 45 jobs. More than a year prior, Frito-Lay announced a $159 million expansion that would create 50 jobs.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WISH) — Christina Everman felt torn between family and finances when the coronavirus pandemic upended her life.

The single mother of three stopped working as a delivery driver so she could supervise e-learning and watch her children – all under the age of 12 – after their schools closed in March.

When Congress failed to reach an agreement to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, Everman said she was forced to choose between buying back-to-school supplies and paying bills. She was collecting only $149 a week, before taxes, without the weekly $600 payments. She chose school supplies.

By August, Everman was behind on rent. She unsuccessfully sought rental assistance from the state (her landlord refused to participate), township trustees (she was ineligible because of a filing fee on her account), the Salvation Army (they couldn’t help because she wasn’t more than a month behind on rent at the time) and other organizations.

She hid her tears from her children when she found an eviction notice on their door in late September.

“I didn’t know how to tell them,” Everman said. “I had done everything I was supposed to do and thought that I was going to have some protection.”

Everman is among a growing number of Hoosier renters facing eviction despite meeting the requirements of the eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The federal order – issued to slow the spread of coronavirus – halts nonpayment eviction proceedings against covered tenants until the end of the year. But the moratorium does not explicitly protect people from lease expiration or eviction unrelated to lease violations, making it possible for landlords to find other methods of removing tenants unable to afford rent.

The National Housing Law Project, a nonprofit national housing and legal advocacy center, said tenant advocates “should argue the order prohibits any eviction” that doesn’t fall into the CDC’s five exempted categories: engaging in criminal activity on premises, threatening the health or safety other residents, violating building codes or health regulations, damaging property and violating contractual obligations other than timely payment.

“The effect is going to be the same [no matter what somebody is evicted for],” said Andrew Bradley, policy director at Prosperity Indiana. “If people are put out on the streets, then that still increases the threat to public health if they’re not able to be stably housed.”

A University of Pennsylvania study found every 70 households evicted during the pandemic corresponded with at least one additional coronavirus death. Researchers leading the epidemiological simulation used a mathematical model of COVID-19 spread to predict the potential impact of evictions on public health. Even a “low eviction rate scenario” resulted in a “relatively large death rate attributable to evictions,” according to the study.

An estimated 248,000 to 313,000 Hoosier households are at risk of eviction.

“That means that there could easily be 3,500 to 4,500 additional deaths in Indiana unless we successfully prevent those evictions,” said Bradley.

Everman fought to keep her family housed. She emailed a signed declaration to property management stating she qualified for protection under the CDC’s order. Her landlord filed for eviction anyway. 

She immediately sent the sworn statement again via priority mail with signature confirmation. A property manager signed for it but didn’t acknowledge receiving it when Everman asked. She sent a third declaration to her landlord’s attorney but never got a signature confirmation receipt.

Everman’s eviction hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7. If the judge rules against her, she and her children will likely stay with relatives in the type of congregate housing arrangement the CDC sought to prevent amid the pandemic.

“It feels like the protection’s not actually there,” Everman said of the federal order. “I’m sure I’m not the only person going through this.”

FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Frankfort Redevelopment Commission and the city of Frankfort have created a forgivable loan program to provide financial relief for small businesses. Businesses that have experienced a financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive up to $2,000 through the new Emergency Relief Forgivable Loan program.

The city says it will start accepting applications on Wednesday.

“We want to help our small businesses and show them we haven’t forgotten about them. This forgivable loan program is a step in the right direction,” said Frankfort Redevelopment Commission President Joe Palmer.

To be considered eligible for the loan, the city says businesses must be located within the Frankfort TIF district and have no current property tax liens or legal judgments and cannot be a part of a national chain or franchise.

The city says the emergency loans are 100% forgivable after 12 months if the business continues to operate and does not relocate outside of the Frankfort TIF district.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WISH) — The Frankfort Police Department is investigating the death of a 4-month-old child.

Police said investigators were called to Turtle Creek Apartments around 7:15 a.m. Thursday.

The infant was found unresponsive and taken to a local hospital, where the child was pronounced deceased.

Detectives are investigating along with the Clinton County Coroner’s Office.

No arrests had been made by early Thursday afternoon.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The new mayor of Frankfort has officially taken office. Judy Sheets was sworn in as mayor Saturday, exactly one month after former mayor Chris McBarnes announced his resignation.

Sheets has served as Frankfort clerk-treasurer for the past 12 years. She was elected to become McBarnes’ successor by a Republican caucus last month.

“I plan to hit the ground running and show residents that I am committed to working to promote growth and stability in this community,” Sheets said in a news release. “I want this community to know that I work for them and that I will do so through an open, honest, and transparent government.”

McBarnes said in late January he was stepping down after accepting a job as executive director for a Wyoming-based nonprofit The WYldlife Fund. McBarnes was first elected in 2012 and became the state’s youngest mayor at the age of 23.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A manufacturer of track and field equipment is growing in Clinton County. Richey Athletics has invested nearly $2 million to relocate to a vacant building in the Frankfort Industrial Park and add a small number of jobs.

The more than 70,000-square-foot building along State Road 28 more than double’s the company’s previous manufacturing capacity. Richey says the move also brings its manufacturing and distribution operations under one roof.

Richey Athletics was founded in Michigantown in 1962. The company manufactures high jump and pole vault standards and pits, as well as related equipment, that are used by high schools and colleges nationwide.

Co-owner Michael Griffy tells Inside INdiana Business the company invested more than $1.8 million to acquire and renovate the Frankfort facility. Plans are also in place for an additional $300,000 investment in new equipment that will allow the company to enter the football equipment space.

Richey Athletics employs more than 20 at the facility and Griffy says the company added two salespeople. Additionally, the company has formed a partnership with The Crossing School in Elkhart, in which students will become interns at the facility.

The project went forward with the help of a $690,000 U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan provided by The Farmers Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corp. 

Frito-Lay to invest $70M, add to Frankfort facilities

FRANKFORT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Frito-Lay plant in Frankfort is about to receive a multimillion-dollar investment and add nearly four dozen new jobs. 

PepsiCo, the parent of Frito-Lay, said it will invest $70 million in the existing plant, adding a new snack line and expanding a warehouse.

The food products supplier perhaps best known for its chips said it expects to add 45 jobs with the expansion. The announcement comes more than a year after another expansion announcement from Frito-Lay, which involved a $159 million investment and 50 additional jobs.

“Frito-Lay’s continued financial investment in Frankfort, and their desire to create more jobs in our community, reflects a dedication to growth and success while strengthening our local economy,” said Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes. “Frankfort is committed to cultivating a pro-growth, business-friendly environment so that companies like Frito-Lay can continue moving their business forward.”

McBarnes said Frito-Lay has been in Frankfort for more than 30 years, employing 1,100 full-time workers at two sites in the city.

Texas-based Frito-Lay runs more than 30 snack manufacturing facilities in the country and produces 17 different snacks at the Frankfort sites.

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WISH) – Police in Frankfort are asking for help in the search for a missing woman and her three young children.

According to the Frankfort Police Department, Kacey McGuire and her 6, 5 and 3-year-old children have been missing since Dec. 23, 2018.

McGuire is described as a white female with blue eyes, blonde hair. She is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 117 pounds, according to FPD.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts and her three children is asked to contact the Frankfort Police Department at 765-654-4277.