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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.

PORTLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A manufacturing training program launched by the John Jay Center for Learning in the Jay County town of Portland has been designated as a State Earn and Learn program. The SkillsTrac training program helps adult students to earn a state certification in a variety of manufacturing jobs. The program was designed and is supported by local manufacturing companies that are trying to build a pipeline of talent in east central Indiana. It includes students and manufacturers from Jay, Blackford, Wells, and Adams counties, along with added involvement from companies in Ohio.

“By partnering with the end user to create and deliver quality education and training, we are enabling students to better their lives financially and positively contribute to the communities in which they work and live,” said Rusty Inman, director of the John Jay Center for Learning. “We are succeeding in our mission and lives are being changed through our work.”

SEAL programs are geared toward both adult and youth populations, and they satisfy Indiana’s new graduation pathway requirements. Claire Berger, regional director of the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship, says SkillsTrac SEAL program should be held up as a model for effective adult training around industrial maintenance.

“Rusty and his team have collaborated with the key stakeholders in the area to build a program that meets the needs of not only the industries in and around Portland, but the people of Portland and the community,” said Berger. “Years of discussions with stakeholders, planning for the development of the lab space, and finding the right resources has resulted in an extremely strong, flexible program.”

PORTLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A small software company based in Jay County is playing a major role in helping global agriculture companies fulfill their sustainability initiatives, while also helping farmers earn a premium for their crops.

The MyFarms platform helps farmers track their production practices, including data on erosion rates and water, air and soil quality.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, MyFarms founder and chief executive officer Chris Fennig said the environmental impact is a key component.

“It’s a platform that is built with the farmer in mind but also caters to some of the world’s largest businesses that want to empower farmers but also want to track progress toward environmental goals that they have as a company,” said Fennig.

One such company is Germany-based BASF, which owns two of the most well-known cotton seed varieties in the U.S.

“For consumers, knowing where cotton comes from and how it is grown is increasingly important. It is a story we value, and one we can help share,” Malin Westfall, U.S. Cotton Lead for BASF, said in a news release when the company launched its sustainability program.

Cotton farmers who grow certain BASF brands can get their cotton certified and verified through independent audits, “allowing us to track specific environmental and social measures to an individual farmer.”

The registered growers get paid more for their cotton.

The verification is attractive to clothing brands that want to lessen the impact on the environment through the farmers where they get their raw products, such as cotton.

Fennig says the data collected by MyFarms goes to a third party to certify the sustainability of the crop.

‘Essentially every pass across the field is documented by the grower whether it be the planting operation, fertilizer, spraying tillage operations. And then we pass that data that operational data to third party scientific models,” explained Fennig. “Then we take the output of those models, and we aggregate them. The brands can speak to consumers about topics that are of great importance to them.”

Fennig, who grew up on a fourth-generation family farm near Portland, says the platform can be accessed for any crop where the end-user wants to know the sustainability practices of the farm.

“Any major corporation that’s taking those concerns seriously, when they do a truly science-based analysis of their supply chain…if you want to be serious about mitigating some of these environmental issues, those are the types of things that we get called on to help out with,” said Fennig.

MyFarms has recently partnered with Indianapolis-based Eleven Fifty Academy to hire several of their graduates to join the software development team.

JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Jay County Sheriff Dwane Ford is warning residents to stay off the streets or risk being ticketed, after a possible tornado caused considered damage near Portland and Dunkirk.

Ford said the amount of damage and flooding is causing problems throughout the county.

Dozens of homes, barns, and other buildings have been badly damaged after storms Sunday afternoon pounded the area with high winds, torrential rain, lightning, and a possible tornado.

The National Weather Service is expected to survey damaged areas Monday to confirm any tornadoes.

A natural gas substation near Portland suffered damage from the storm. Crews have been evaluating the situation but it’s not clear how much damage was caused.

Jay County Schools announced Sunday evening that classes were canceled for Monday.

Tornado and storm damage is most significant in an area from County Road 150 North and State Road 1 in a northeast direction toward County Road 700 East and County Road 400 North.

No injuries have been reported.

A pig farm also suffered significant damage, but it’s not clear if any animals were hurt.

Power outages range in the thousands and crews are assessing the damage and working to restore electricity. It’s not clear when the power might be back on.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Severe weather threatened communities across Indiana on Sunday.

Flash flood warnings have also been issued for Bartholomew, Brown, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Clinton, Decatur, Delaware, Fountain, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Jennings, Lawrence, Monroe, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Morgan, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Tipton and Warren counties until 4 a.m., Nov. 6.

The following school closures and delays were put into place on Sunday night:

The Madison County Emergency Management Agency reported that there were many utility lines down blocking roadways and some farm structures had experienced damage.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department confirmed reports of a barn collapsed north of Westfield in Sheridan at Ditch Road and 276th Street. 24-Hour News 8’s Brittany Lewis sent photos of the damage on her way to Madison County to continue coverage. A deputy on the scene said this was the worst damage in the county. Some trees were also down nearby, as well as a power line at that location. The homeowners were not home at the time of the damage, according to the deputy.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that a tornado had touched down in the eastern part of Lawrence County near Springville. They say they have received reports of homes destroyed and other serious damage, but no reported injuries. 24-Hour News 8’s Megan Sanctorum is gathering information in Springville.

Jay County has also sustained serious damage with reports of power lines down and damage to homes in the northeastern part of the county around Trinity. The Jay County Emergency Management Agency confirmed reports of damage to the Ohio Valley pipeline and a potential gas leak in northeastern Jay County near the state line. Jay County Sheriff’s Office also sent the following advisory to residents:

The following power outages were being reported:

In Clinton County, roughly 1,500 Duke Energy customers were without power Sunday.

In Delaware County, about 9,877 Indiana Michigan Power customers were without power Sunday.

In Grant County about 4,388 Indiana Michigan Power customers were without power Sunday.

Reports of strong winds, trees down, power lines down in the Muncie and Ball State area have been reported. There were also two reports of trees fallen on homes but no serious damage. The city of Muncie provided the following information about storm damage, including damage around Muncie Fieldhouse:

The city of Muncie also advised residents that City Hall would be open as a shelter.

Stay with WISH-TV,, and the WISH-TV weather app for updates.

DEERFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — A $200 million wind-turbine project in Jay and Randolph counties hosted a construction tour Monday.

The project includes construction of the Bluff Point Wind Energy Center in southern Jay County and 57 General Electric wind turbines, said NextEra Energy Resources in a news release.

“This project has been years in the making and it’s exciting to see it all come together,” said Zack Melda, project director for NextEra Energy Resources, in the release.

The wind turbines are expected to generate power to more than 36,000 homes, and the center is expected to create more than $30 million in tax revenue for Jay and Randolph counties over its operational life. “It has created 200 construction jobs and will create another 8-12 full-time jobs once the site is operational in November,” the release said.

The wind energy center is located about 2 miles north of Deerfield and 7 miles south of Portland off U.S. 27.

“This project has been years in the making and it’s exciting to see it all come together,” said Zack Melda, project director for NextEra Energy Resources. “We have great community partners here in Randolph and Jay counties and we are so pleased to know they will benefit from the good jobs, added tax revenue and clean, home-grown energy this project will create.”

DUNKIRK, Ind. (AP) – An eastern Indiana city judge has been placed on probation for shoving a police chief who also is his nephew.

The (Muncie) Star Press reported Tuesday that 62-year-old Dunkirk City Court Judge Tommy Phillips II received a one-year suspended sentence Monday in Jay County Superior Court.

Phillips also will perform 100 hours of community service and must have no contact with Dunkirk Police Chief Dane Mumbower.

The newspaper reports that Phillips had pleaded guilty to battery against a public safety official. He was charged in Sept. after Mumbower was shoved during an August meeting at the Dunkirk police station.

Indiana’s Supreme Court later suspended Phillips.

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JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – The Indiana Supreme Court has imposed an immediate interim suspension without pay on Judge Tommy D. Phillips, II of Jay County Dunkirk City Court for aggressively pushing a police officer.

According to an affidavit from the Jay County Clerk’s Office, Phillips has been charged with one count of battery against Dunkirk Chief of Police Dane Mumbower, who is also Phillips’ nephew. Battery against a public safety official is a level 6 felony.

The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed a “Notice of Criminal Charges and Request for Suspension” with the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday. The interim suspension will remain in effect until further order of the court or final determination of any disciplinary proceedings.

The affidavit revealed that Phillips, Chief Mumbower, and Dunkirk Mayor Gene Ritter were meeting to discuss a conflict between Phillips and the Dunkirk Police Department. During the meeting, Chief Mumbower allegedly felt he was not being respected by Phillips and decided to leave. It was at this point that Phillips “aggressively charged” Mumbower and shoved him with both hands in the chest area, knocking him back into a wall.

Mumbower alleged that Mayor Ritter told him as his boss that he was not permitted to leave the meeting. Mumbower later reported feeling a “sore/pain sensation” in his lower back. Audio and video of the meeting provided evidence in support of Mumbower’s claim.

An initial hearing has been set for October 10, at 4:30 p.m. at the Jay County Superior Court in Portland, Indiana.

JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) The man police say drove drunk into a home Friday night, killing a Jay County teenager, will be formally charged today.

Bryce Paxon is facing a single charge of operating while intoxicated causing death with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or greater.

Police said Paxon was drunk when he missed a curve on East Largo Street in Pennville and slammed his F-350 pickup into the home of 16-year-old Seth Corwin Friday night as the teen was watching television. The impact killed Corwin and injured his 10-year-old stepbrother who was sitting a few feet away.

The Jay County Sheriff’s Department said Paxon’s initial blood-alcohol level was .175.

Paxon will be arraigned at 4:30 p.m. at the Jay County Superior Court.

PORTLAND, Ind. (AP) – A prosecutor is seeking a life sentence for a Jay County man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 5-week-old daughter.

The (Muncie) Star Press reports that 21-year-old Dalton R. Davis is charged with murder in the death of Lillian Grace Lloyd. He’s accused of slamming the infant repeatedly against the cement ground outside their home because he was upset with her mother.

Jay County Prosecutor Wes Schemenaur filed documents Thursday to pursue a life sentence without the possibility of parole for Davis. A murder conviction in Indiana usually carries a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison.

Davis was arrested Sept. 30 and is being held without bond in the Jay County jail.

It wasn’t immediately known if Davis has an attorney.