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(WISH) — A total of eight Indiana centers will be open by Thursday for Hoosiers recovering from tornadoes and storms that hit March 31 and April 1.

New centers are opening Thursday in Grant and Owen counties.

Federal Emergency Management Agency tornado recovery centers will be available in Frankfort, Kokomo, Marion, Martinsville, Monticello, Spencer, Sullivan and Whiteland. A center in Merrillville is no longer open.

The deadline to apply for federal assistance is June 14.

These centers will be open from 8 a.m-6 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and May 15-16; and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and May 15:

These centers will be open from 8 a.m-6 p.m. May 11-12; and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 13:

These centers will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Eastern weekdays, and from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays until further notice:

People and businesses in Allen, Benton, Clinton, Grant, Howard, Johnson, Lake, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Sullivan and White counties can visit any open center for help. To find a nearby center, go online.

To apply for FEMA assistance without visiting a center, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, go to, or use the FEMA app. If you use a relay service such as video relay service, a captioned telephone service or other services, give FEMA your number for that service.

GAS CITY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A synthetic lumber manufacturer is growing operations in Grant County. Earthwise Plastics Inc. says it will add a production line at its Gas City facility to manufacture walls and doors for semi-trailers and add a small number of jobs.

Earthwise makes products recycled from High Density Polyethylene, which can be found in milk cartons and other consumer and industrial goods. The company’s products are used in the outdoor furniture, transportation, marine and industrial markets.

“It’s exciting to see Earthwise Plastics expand right here in Gas City,” Mayor Bill Rock Jr. said in written remarks. “We are proud that they started in Grant County, and the City of Gas City is committed to helping them grow and expand right here.”

The expansion is expected to add about eight employees. The company currently employs 52 in Gas City.

Earthwise is funding the expansion with the help of a U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan through the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corp. and Community First Bank.

The total investment figure for the expansion was not provided. Earthwise did not respond to requests for more information from Inside INdiana Business.

GRANT CO., Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Marion Health has announced plans to invest $80 million to build a new medical campus in Gas City near I-69. The health system says the four-story, 100,000-square-foot hospital will include in-patient acute care, ambulatory services and an emergency department with a helipad.

“This expansion will bring convenient, state of the art care to our community in the southeastern region of Grant County,” said Stephanie Hilton-Siebert, president and chief executive officer of Marion Health.

Marion Health says the project will comprise about 100 acres in the northeast corner of I-69 and State Road 22.
Hilton-Siebert says proximity to the interstate was key.

“There’s a stretch of 93 miles on I-69 where there are no convenient options for emergency services,” said Hilton-Siebert. “This campus will meet the need for convenient, accessible care for both travelers and our community.”

The health system says it will maintain all existing hospital-owned buildings and integrate their future use into the campus.

Marion Health says the first phase will create approximately 100 new jobs. Construction has already started, and it plans to be operational in 2022.

FAIRMOUNT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Noblesville-based Aspire Indiana Health has opened a new health center in Grant County. The organization says the clinic, located at the former Madison-Grant United School Corp. administration building, will provide primary healthcare services to students, as well as their families, school staff and community members.

The new clinic is the result of a partnership between Aspire and the school district. Aspire says students requiring care during school hours can go to the on-site health center in a similar fashion to seeing a school nurse.

The organization says the clinic opened with three new full-time workers. The facility will provide a variety of services, including family medicine, prescriptions, lab tests, pediatrics, acute and chronic care management, elder care, and Hepatitis C treatment. 

“Part of Aspire’s mission is to serve underserved populations,” Jerry Landers, vice president of strategy and business development for Aspire, said in a statement to Inside INdiana Business. “What better place to do that than at a school that serves as the hub for a large rural area?”

The clinic is located on the grounds of Madison-Grant Jr.-Sr. High School. Aspire says while the clinic is open to anyone, non-students will not be allowed to enter any school buildings.

MARION, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A recent study commissioned by Ivy Tech Community College reveals the Marion campus, which serves Grant, Blackford, and Jay counties, supports the equivalent of nearly 500 jobs, including 100 full-time and part-time faculty and staff. The report is part of a statewide examination of the economic impact of each of Ivy Tech’s 19 campuses.

The school says in fiscal year 2018-19, Ivy Tech Marion alumni generated $19.9 million in added income for the service area economy.

“With the vast majority of Ivy Tech graduates staying in Indiana, we are excited to be a partner is strengthening our communities,” said Ivy Tech Marion Chancellor Alex Huskey. “By providing students with affordable pathways to industry certifications, certificates, and associate degrees, students are able to develop skills that are needed in today’s marketplace.”

The broader study, which was conducted by labor market data company Emsi, indicates Ivy Tech Community College has an annual economic impact of $3.9 billion throughout the state. The study focuses on job creation, salaries, and increased business productivity, among other factors.

Click here to view the economic analysis of the Marion campus and click here for detailed analysis of the school system.

MARION, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A division of Marion-based nonprofit Family Service Society Inc. is transitioning from a domestic violence shelter to a new mobile advocacy model. Hands of Hope says the change will better serve victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking.

The nonprofit says switching to a mobile model will reach more victims and survivors by meeting them where they are, in a safe location of their choice. 

“While we have helped hundreds of men, women, and children in the shelter over the years, we acknowledge that communal living is hard, shelter is expensive and capacity is limited,” said Linda Wilk, director of Hands of Hope. “We’ve heard from many victims that they don’t want to enter a shelter. We believe mobile advocacy will allow us to reach individuals and families who may be in danger and those who may have never reached out to us for services before because of the barriers often associated with entering a shelter.”

Hands of Hope says it has fully transitioned out of its traditional residential facility, but will provide accommodation solutions for victims and survivors when emergency shelter is needed. The organization adds it will continue to work with law enforcement, community organizations and regional shelters to ensure the safety of survivors.

“We have always been at the forefront of leading the adoption of innovation in domestic violence programs and services,” said Wilk. “We believe this innovative change is the right one for survivors of domestic violence or sexual violence in our community and all who are committed to their safety.”

You can learn more about Hands of Hope’s mobile advocacy efforts by clicking here.

UPLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — NASA and the U.S. Space Force have awarded contracts to an aerospace manufacturer in Grant County. NearSpace Launch Inc. says the contracts call for further development of its ThinSat Constellation devices, to be used for studying space weather and rapid payload testing.

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. NSL says NASA is seeking a space weather constellation that “integrates different payloads from leading space weather partners.” Meanwhile, the Space Force will receive a scaled-up ThinSat Constellation for rapid testing of commercial systems and raising technology readiness levels for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The ThinSat Constellations are small satellites developed by NSL to make it more cost effective to get research into space.

“NSL has had the privilege of seeing 600+ systems and subsystems go into orbit over such a short time period through the hard work and dedication of our team,” said Dr. Hank Voss, co-founder of NSL and inventor of ThinSats. “It has been accomplished in partnership with so many different customers across the USG and industry. We look forward to continue working more with our commercial partners, NASA and the USSF.”

Last month, NSL announced plans to develop a new central office in the Grant County town and add 10 jobs.

UPLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An aerospace manufacturer in Grant County is expanding its footprint. NearSpace Launch Inc. says it is investing more than $100,000 to develop its new central office in Upland and double its workforce by adding at least 10 jobs.

The company, which builds small satellites for NASA and the U.S. Space Force, is currently renovating the space in downtown Upland. The new location is expected to be operational in early 2022.

The location will also serve as the home for the company’s nonprofit arm, NearSpace Education, which was established last year with the goal of helping students “achieve their dreams of near space science research in atmospheres and astronomy.”

Chief Operations Officer Matthew Voss says adding the new location is an important next step for the company.

“We see it as a maturing step, kind of phasing out of that startup and starting to scale up a little bit,” said Voss. “It allows us to take on bigger contracts, improve production, and do research at the same in different areas so we can have multiple projects going on simultaneously.”

NSL says it will continue to operate out of its current locations in Upland until renovations are complete.

SIMS, Ind. (WISH) — A United Parcel Service delivery truck driver died after hitting another truck Tuesday afternoon at a rural crossing, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office said.

Marion General Hospital and Swayzee Fire Department emergency crews and Grant County deputies were called shortly after 5:40 p.m. Tuesday to a personal-injury crash at the intersection of county roads 975 West and 400 South. That’s about halfway between Marion and Kokomo.

The driver of the box truck, Daniel Meza, 47, and passenger Wilmer Corrales, 18, were hurt in the crash. Meza declined medical treatment, but Corrales was flown to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, where he was treated for cuts to his head and later released.

The county coroner identified the UPS delivery truck driver as William Burns. His cause of death was pending.

Sheriff’s Capt. Ed Beaty said in a news release that an initial investigation found the UPS truck driver was southbound on County Road 975 West approaching the “T” intersection with 400 South. The box truck was westbound on 400 South when the UPS truck failed to yield the right of way and hit the passenger side of the box truck. The UPS driver was ejected from the delivery truck. Both vehicles ended up off the road in a soybean field.

WHITESTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indiana companies on the search for talent are pulling out all the stops in a tight labor market. Whitestown-based Weaver Popcorn Manufacturing Inc. is offering $5,000 signing bonuses, as it looks to hire 100 new employees.

The popcorn maker says it is looking for skilled machine operators and technicians for its facilities in Whitestown and in the Grant County town of Van Buren.

Weaver says it is undergoing a large-scale capital expansion to add production capacity.

“This is due to high growth with our customers and overall demand in the popcorn category,” said Weaver Chief Executive Officer Jason Kashman. “We’re continuing to add new customers on top of this.”

In addition to the bonus, the base pay ranges from $22 to $29 per hour, among other benefits. The company says there is also a $2/hour premium for working nights.