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LOOGOOTEE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — RTC Communications, headquartered in the Daviess County town of Montgomery, is continuing its expansion of fiber broadband in its service area. The company announced its next project will be in Loogootee, where it will make a $4 million investment to deploy fiber to the 2,200 residents and businesses.

RTC says once the network is deployed, users will have access to 1 gig synchronous broadband speed. The installation will include areas outside city limits.

“If you are a rural resident and not part of our current fiber builds, know we are aggressively identifying and developing grant applications and strategic community partnerships, and other initiatives to ensure all residents are served throughout Daviess, Martin and Lawrence Counties,” said RTC Chief Executive Officer Kirk Lehman.

The company says early sign-up to gauge customer interest will determine where the network is built first. RTC say the registration period begins July 26.

“RTC’s investment in Loogootee is a milestone for enhancing the quality of life in the area while also adding to our county’s competitive advantage for future growth and investments,” said Angie Risacher, executive director of the Martin County Alliance for Economic Development. “With community ventures like this, we have opportunities for population, housing, school programs, and business growth.”

The digital firm plans to have the city wired by the end of November.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division has named Dr. Angie Lewis as its new technical director, which makes her the first female to hold the position. Lewis will serve as senior civilian at Crane, which has more than 3,800 military and government civilians supporting the Navy’s acquisition engineering and technical support.

Lewis has been in various roles at Crane for 13 years, most recently serving as the business director and corporate operations department manager

“As our nation faces some of the toughest challenges we have seen in recent memory, the expertise of our workforce in Strategic Missions, Expeditionary Warfare, and Electronic Warfare will remain a critical component to ensuring the future security of our country. As the first woman to serve in this role, I understand what this milestone represents to future generations and young girls interested in STEM and business fields. It will take passionate people from diverse backgrounds to meet future mission needs”, said Lewis.

Lewis has also served as acting technical director at Crane, overseeing component and system level product engineering. 

“It is my goal to ensure the experts at NSWC Crane have the tools they need to be successful to ensure our Warfighters can do their jobs and come home safe,” said Dr. Lewis.

LOOGOOTEE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Martin County Alliance for Economic Growth’s board of directors has hired Angie Risacher as its new executive director. The alliance says Risacher will be responsible for leading business attraction, retention and expansion efforts in the county.  

“Angie is a good fit for this position as she has extensive experience as a small business owner, working with local and federal government, grain processing centers, banks and school systems, as well as being involved in multiple organizations each with the goal of making Martin County a better more prosperous community,” said Alliance board member Dan Gregory.

The alliance says Risacher has already started working with Radius Indiana on some economic development projects for the area. 

“We’re delighted to have Angie as a partner who can direct us on promoting and serving economic development in Martin County communities, including Shoals, Loogootee, and Crane. She is already scheduling activities with us that are good steps forward for her communities,” said Jeff Quyle, president and chief executive officer of Radius

Risacher succeeds longtime executive director Tim Kinder, who left the organization this summer to pursue an advanced educational degree.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a $10.4 million contract to Jasper-based Krempp Construction Inc. The contract calls for construction of a railcar holding yard at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in southern Indiana.

The DoD says all work will be performed in Crane.

The department says the railcar site work will include demolition of the existing buildings and site features, including docks, ramp retaining walls and rail track. Work will also include signage and pavement work.

Work is expected to be completed by October 2022. The contracting activity is Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The U.S. Navy has awarded a $133 million contract to Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC). The contract calls for the company to provide mission engineering and integration services at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, where it employs some 550 workers.

SAIC is tasked with delivering engineering, technical support, analysis and modeling, studies, inventory and logistics, and quality assurance services in support of tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems at the Maneuver, Engagement and Surveillance Systems Division at NSWC.

The one-year contract comes with four one-year options. SAIC says the contract covers a variety of technological areas, including tactical communications, mobility platforms, and software development.

The contract comes less than a week after the U.S. Department of Defense awarded SAIC an $85 million contract boost for the production of torpedo equipment and support. More than half of the work on the contract will be performed in Indiana.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division has named Captain Duncan McKay the Commanding Officer. NSWC Crane held a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the announcement.

McKay is a native of Florida and has a 24-year naval career. He most recently served as the operations officer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.

“It is an honor to lead the expert workforce at NSWC Crane,” said McKay. “Crane is recognized for their technical expertise and support of the fleet in Strategic Missions, Electronic Warfare and Expeditionary Warfare. I am thrilled to lead such a dedicated workforce who ensure the rapidly evolving needs of the warfighter are met every day.”

McKay’s naval career began in 1996 and has included deployments to the North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. You can read more about his career by clicking here.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Five Hoosier companies are each receiving a $17.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. The contracts, one of which is also being awarded to a New Jersey company, call for the production of build-to-print machined parts for various military projects.

The companies include J&R Tool Inc. and Loughmiller Machine Tool & Die, both based in Loogootee, as well as MSP Aviation Inc. and Specialty CNC Inc., both based in Bloomington. Springville-based Embree Machine Inc. was also awarded a contract.

The parts being produced through the contracts are used in military projects such as the fixed forward firing weapons and interface unit automatic processor systems used in military helicopters.

The DoD says the contracts include options which could bring the total value of each contract to $35 million. Work on the contracts is expected to be complete by June 2025 or June 2030, if the options are picked up.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division is the contracting activity.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Technology Transfer Office at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division says it is now offering its library of over 300 patented technologies to interested businesses. The Naval base says it intends for businesses and entrepreneurs to utilize its technologies to help protect Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic growth.

The Technology Transfer Office says it has been authorized to negotiate royalty-free patent license agreements at a reduced price.

NSWC Crane says it has technology transfer partnerships with more than 100 businesses, individuals, and universities, helping link federal research and development to academic institutions and businesses in the private sector.

The Navy lab intends for businesses and entrepreneurs to utilize its technologies to help protect Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and to support job and economic growth.

Montana-based TechLink is providing on-call certified licensing professionals for businesses pursuing patent license agreements.

“We’re in it to help any way we can,” said Sean Patten, senior technology manager at TechLink.

You can find more information or view the patent portfolio by clicking here.

CRANE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane and the Office of Naval Research are offering a cash prize for a method to reduce the hazards of transporting small amounts of lithium batteries. The $750,000 challenge is the first for NSWC Crane, with open applications until May 7.

“The Department of Defense needs a safe and easy way to carry medium-sized lithium batteries aboard ships, along with other potential defense and commercial applications,” said NSWC Crane engineer Sam Stuart, a lead on the project. “This challenge will bring bright ideas and new innovations to solve this lithium battery problem for our warfighters – and maybe for us civilian travelers, as well!”

Lithium batteries in cargo holds are a fire hazard for commercial and military transportation and NSWC Crane is seeking development of a containment system to carry the batteries to mitigate the hazards. 

“With this Prize Challenge, we hope to attract ideas and technology to solve some of our most pressing obstacles,” said Anne Fields, Midwest Tech Bridge director. “Working together with our Innovation Ecosystem partners will result in better – and faster – solutions for all service members.”

More information on the containment challenge can be found here

(The video with this story may contain images considered to be disturbing to some viewers.)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An effort to strengthen animal cruelty laws and make the penalties much harsher went before Indiana lawmakers on Wednesday. 

The message in the bill from Rep. Ryan Hatfield is clear. The Democrat from Evansville said the bill calls for people who hurt or maim an animal to face felony charges. If convicted, they would be thrown in prison.

Missy Mosby, with Hoosiers Unite for Animal Rights, talked in a hearing about caged dogs, most with matted fur and damaged teeth. “It’s just horrific,” she said. “What these animals have to go through.” 

Mosby took the pictures after she said a puppy mill was busted two weeks ago in Loogootee in southern Indiana. She helped Martin County Humane Society clean up and take care of dozens of dogs. Some of them died. 

“They were malnourished.” Mosby said. “They were covered in their own feces and urine. Some of them were out in the elements.” 

“This cruelty cannot keep happening without punishment.”

Most criminal cases of animal cruelty involve misdemeanors, Rep. Hatfield said. In the bill, he said, “We’re increasing any penalties where you kill an animal, from a Level 6 felony to a Level 5 felony, which means its punishable by up to six years in prison.” 

Hatfield has spent three years trying to pass a bill that addresses how animal cruelty cases are treated. 

“These are serious crimes,” Hatfield said. “They need to be held accountable, as felonies. The link between abusing animals and abusing children is strong enough that in the state of Indiana, we’re going to take it seriously.” 

A committee advanced the bill Tuesday, and the measure now heads to the House floor for consideration.