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SPICELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Spiceland-based Draper Inc. has announced the sale of its Swedish subsidiary. The company says Draper Europe AB, which manufactures projection screens, awnings and window coverings, will now operate under the ownership of its current management team.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Led by Managing Director Tomas Andersson, Draper Europe will continue to operate under the Draper brand this year, though the company did not specify if that will change next year.

“During the 25 years I’ve worked within the company, we have had an incredible journey,” Andersson said in a news release. “Under the ownership and guidance from Draper we have had stable growth over the years and diversified into the Nordic awnings and shades markets during 2012. With this background and with the acquisition into local ownership we will continue to develop and grow our position.”

Draper Inc. acquired the company in 2002. President Chris Broome says the sale will allow the Henry County company to invest in its Indiana manufacturing operations.

Draper Inc. is a manufacturer of window shades, audio visual and gymnasium equipment.

RUSH COUNTY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A solar project east of Indianapolis is underway. London-based Lightsource bp says it has secured funding for and begun construction on the Bellflower Solar farm in Henry and Rush counties.

The company first announced plans for then 173-megawatt solar farm in January. When operational, the solar farm will be able to generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of nearly 27,000 homes annually.

Lightsource says it secured a $367 million portfolio financing package, which will not only fund the Bellflower Solar project, but multiple other solar projects.

“This project financing transaction is a demonstration of the continued confidence that top-tier investors and power offtakers have in Lightsource bp, and the quality of our solar assets,” Kevin Smith, chief executive officer of the Americas for Lightsource, said in a news release. “Our commitment to responsible solar development, such as the research we’re doing at Bellflower on co-locating pollinator habitat with solar, further multiplies solar’s contribution to preserving our planet for future generations.”

Lightsource says the solar farm is expected to begin commercial operation by late 2022. The project is expected to create about 200 construction jobs with the majority of workers being hired locally.

The company says the project will generate an estimated $30 million in property tax revenue for Rush and Henry counties over its lifetime.

Lightsource has already reached a power purchase agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to acquire the power generated from the solar farm.

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Eighteen women from across Indiana have been chosen for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2021 Silver Anniversary Team. The team consists of 11 members of the 1996 Indiana All-Star team and seven other all-state players.

The Hall of Fame says the honorees were selected based on “outstanding accomplishments as a senior basketball player 25 years ago.”

The honorees include: 

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Awards Banquet has not yet set a date, due to COVID-19. The Hall of Fame says the Silver Anniversary Team will be honored during an event, once a date has been determined. 

You can learn more about the players and their accomplishments by clicking here.

KENNARD, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana State Police were called in Monday night after Henry County sheriff’s deputies found a man dead in the yard of a county commissioner’s home.

Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call around 7:45 p.m. Monday from a passerby about a deceased male outside the home in the 1400 block of North Kennard Road.

Five minutes later, deputies arrived and called the state police for investigation assistance. The home is in a rural area about 2 miles north of the small town of Kennard, about 25 miles east of Indianapolis. State police investigators arrived shortly after 8:35 p.m.

Jay Davis, chief deputy with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, told News 8 by email that the investigation is at the home of County Commissioner Kim Cronk. A former county sheriff, Cronk lost a Republican primary bid to serve beyond 2020.

The death is believed to be an isolated incident and there is no threat to the public, state police said.

The identity of the man found dead was being withheld pending family notification, an autopsy and further investigation, said Davis and a state police news release issued shortly after 11 p.m.

State police and the Henry County Major Investigation Team — personnel from the county sheriff’s office, the county prosecutor’s office and the New Castle police — were investigating. The state police news release also said, “This is all the information currently available for release.”

HENRY COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — One man is dead after a head-on collision in Henry County on Wednesday morning.

Indiana State Police say 34-year-old Kyle Beckman of Greens Fork died after being taken by medical helicopter to Indianapolis.

Investigators said the crash happened around 8:40 a.m. on County Road 300 West just north of County Road 50 North.

Police say a vehicle “crested a hill left of center” and struck Beckman’s vehicle.

The other driver was taken to a Henry County hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

ISP says the crash is under investigation.

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — New Castle Mayor Greg York says a boil order is in place for the city’s water utility through at least Thursday.

A significant water main break occurred in a residential area at Church and South Sixth streets, according to the mayor’s office and the Henry County 911 dispatch center. That location is southeast of the intersection of state roads 3 and 38.

The boil order is for all water from the city’s utility.

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — A 78-year-old New Castle woman died and two other people were in critical condition after a head-on crash of two cars Thursday afternoon just south of the city, Indiana State Police said.

Police from New Castle and Henry County plus New Castle medical crews were called just before 3 p.m. Thursday to the crash in the 2600 block of State Road 103 South, according to a news release from Indiana State Police.

Doris Crawford died after being airlifted from the scene to an Indianapolis hospital.

Investigators believe Katherine Brown, 55, of Muncie, drove a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu south on the state road when for unknown reasons the car went into the northbound lane. Brown’s car hit a northbound 2014 Chrysler 200 driven by Crawford.

Brown and a passenger in the car she drove, Jimmie Brown, 59, of Muncie, were airlifted to hospitals in Indianapolis.

The road was closed for more than three hours for a state police reconstruction team.

An investigation of the crash was ongoing, state police said.

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — Residents and former officers confronted Knightstown officials over their handling of police department matters Thursday during a town council meeting.

Much of the hourlong meeting was spent discussing the future of the town’s dwindling police force and frustrations that led to a mass resignation of officers.

Approximately a dozen Knightstown Police Department (KPD) employees quit in June over disagreements with the town council, leaving the department staffed by only one full-time officer, two part-time officers, three reserve officers and interim chief Frank Beatrice.

KPD Chief Chris Newkirk remained on medical leave for a shoulder injury, officials said.

The meeting venue in Sunset Park was packed as full as social distancing guidelines permitted.

More than 30 residents — some wearing face coverings — sat six feet apart from each other inside the park’s Shelter House. Dozens more stood outside or followed social media updates from home.

Sarah Ward, the town council president, addressed the room with opening remarks that highlighted the importance of resolving conflict.

“Let’s bring accountability and transparency to our police department and its processes by working together,” she said. 

Officers had complained for years about the town council’s “micromanaging” and “mishandling” of internal police affairs, according to current and former KPD employees.

Tensions came to a head after town officials voted to replace Chief Newkirk’s handpicked interim chief with the less experienced Beatrice.

“It is a power struggle gone wrong,” said Kerry O’Haver, a former KPD reserve officer who resigned in June. “I would gladly come back in an instant if the town council could grow up.”

He stood to address residents and council members during the public comment portion of Thursday night’s meeting.

“I’m not sure what the town board has against Chief Newkirk, but it’s pretty much disgusting,” O’Haver told the crowd. “What is happening here is a repeat and everybody here should see it. It continually happens. Every time they can’t control the police chief, they drum up a phony investigation or something along that line.”

A council member thanked him for his civic engagement when his allotted two minutes expired.

“You’re welcome,” O’Haver replied; residents applauded.

Beatrice urged residents to “just bear with us” and acknowledged it would “take time” to rebuild the town’s police force and public trust.

He detailed efforts to maintain a law enforcement presence in Knightstown, including seeking assistance from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

Council members assured residents they would not let police resignations impact the town’s public safety standards.

 “We want to assure the public that we do have a police department,” Ward said.

Officials appeared to take notes as residents presented civilian recommendations for improved police operations.

Proposals included establishing community forums and meeting regularly to discuss successful policing models used by other agencies.

“We had so many great officers in this town. What happened?” a resident asked the council.

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — The Knightstown Police Department was staffed by one full-time officer, two part-time officers and three reserve officers after employees resigned en masse over disagreements with the town council, a local official confirmed Thursday.

Frank Beatrice also remained employed as the department’s full-time interim chief.

His appointment by the town council sparked complaints among officers after chief Chris Newkirk was placed on medical leave for a shoulder injury.

The status of Newkirk’s employment had not changed Thursday.

Long-standing frustrations over the town’s handling of police affairs boiled over when Beatrice was selected for the interim role ahead of a detective with more law enforcement experience, according to a former officer who resigned in protest.

Approximately a dozen officers resigned from the police department in June, employees and residents said.

Town officials maintained the mass resignations would not have a significant impact on public safety and vowed to maintain a law enforcement presence “24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“We do have a Knightstown Police Department,” Beth Huffman, the town’s clerk treasurer, said in an email to News 8.

Officer resignations and complaints were expected to be addressed during Thursday’s town council meeting.

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — A fire reduced New Castle’s street operations to rubble.

Garbage trucks are gone. Potholes can’t be filled for now.

Nobody was hurt, but New Castle is struggling to figure out how it’s going to provide street operations.

“It’s been devastating,” Mayor Greg York said. “We lost the whole building. It’s laying on the ground. We lost our whole fleet so we’re going to be starting from scratch.”

York says the estimated loss, which is expected to be in the millions of dollars, is still being calculated. A single garbage truck costs around $360,000 and the city lost three of those plus a bunch of other equipment, the mayor said.

“We’ll have to rent some vehicles,” York said. “Right off the bat, we’ll have to certainly try to lease some equipment until we can get built back up again. Hopefully, we don’t have a snow blizzard next week that we won’t need our salt trucks, but with the way 2020’s going, I can’t guarantee anything!”

For now, Muncie, Indianapolis and other nearby cities are lending New Castle some equipment and doing garbage pickup in an outdated truck. For this, New Castle officials are asking their 17,100 residents to be patient as the city tries to get everything back on track.

“We may be a few hours late. We may be a couple days late, but we’ll get all the trash picked up, and just be a little patient with us at this point in time,” York said.

The mayor says the city will be setting up in another building and will rebuild and get back on track. When the building gets rebuilt, some improvements may be made.

“This building is probably 40, 45 years old,” York said. “So I think with the size of the building, I’m sure there will be a sprinkler system in the new building. A sprinkler system would be a good place to start.”

An official cause for the fire has not been released, but the mayor says investigators suspect the blaze was caused by an electrical issue with one of its garbage trucks. York says the damage and rebuilding isn’t going to have any impact on taxes.