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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.

UPLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Taylor University has announced students, faculty and staff will return to regular academic schedules this fall. The 2021-2022 academic year will begin with in-person classes on August 30 and will include a full spring break.

The university says it will comply with instructions from state and local health officials regarding COVID-19 protocols.

“This year has brought many reasons to celebrate,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Michael Hammond. “Our shared creativity in classes, cooperation with cleaning protocols, and measured care for one another have meant that Taylor has been able to keep our campus truly open to students, with most of our classes meeting in person.” 

The university says masks will still be required in academic buildings, administrative buildings and chapel. 

UPLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Nearly two years after the former president of Taylor University stepped down, the Christian-focused institution has named its next leader, following a lengthy, national search.

The Taylor University Board of Trustees on Tuesday appointed D. Michael Lindsay, as its next president. Lindsay will assume the position in August.

He will take over for previous Taylor Board Chair Paige Comstock Cunningham, who has served as interim president since August 15, 2019. She stepped in after former Taylor University President Paul Lowell Haines announced his resignation in June 2019.

“Dr. Lindsay is a gifted individual of deep personal faith and proven servant leadership. He excels in areas of innovation and creative adaptation, and he is uniquely qualified to lead the University forward with humility, wisdom and courage,” said Chris Goeglein, board chair and presidential search committee co-chair.

Since 2011, Lindsay has served as president of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He previously announced his intention to step down as Gordon’s president effective June 30, 2021.

Lindsay earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and graduate theological degrees from Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Click here to learn more about Lindsay.

UPLAND, Ind. (WISH) — A former Taylor University professor was arrested Friday morning on multiple child-sex charges after an Indiana State Police investigation.

Jeffrey Marsee, 59, of Upland, is charged with a count of child molesting, two counts of child exploitation, and four counts of possession of child pornography in two separate criminal filings in Grant Superior Court 2 in Marion.

Marsee was a Taylor associate professor of kinesiology, the study of body movement. Upon discovery of the allegations in December, the university placed him on administrative leave and barred him from the campus of the Christian liberal arts college about 45 miles northeast of Indianapolis. State police said he was dismissed from his job Dec. 11.

In a news release, state police said an investigation found Marsee allegedly committed sexual acts with a boy age 12 to 13 between summer and fall of 2002 at a Grant County home.

“During a forensic examination of Marsee’s electronic devices, investigators allegedly located child pornography. Further investigation revealed evidence that in 2016 Marsee purportedly uploaded photos containing child pornography to a web-based chat group,” the release said.

On Friday afternoon, Marsee was listed as an inmate at the Grant County Jail in Marion. Bonds were set at $100,000 and $20,000, the state police said. An online court system on Friday afternoon said warrants were issued for Marsee’s arrest but did not report any court dates for his cases.

The university’s interim president, Paige Comstock Cunningham, said in an online post Friday that initial reports in the fall from the Upland Police Department were shared with Taylor University, which reported the allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Services. She said the university cooperated with local and state police.

“While the criminal investigation is not yet complete, the Indiana State Police have informed us that none of the individuals were students at Taylor when the alleged abuse took place,” the Taylor leader said in her online post. “We know it takes courage to come forward with information about possible sexual abuse, and are grateful for those who have offered information to aid in the investigation.”

Comstock Cunningham asked people to pray for the victims. She also said Taylor’s counseling center is available at 765-998-5222.

The Taylor leader said anyone with information about the case should contact one of three sources: Jeff Wallace, Taylor University Police chief at 765-998-7765; Skip Trudeau, Taylor University vice president of student development, at 765-998-5368; or Detective Joshua Miller of the state police at 765-475-8111.


“Dear Taylor Community,

“I write to you with an important update to a situation about which we reported last month regarding a former Taylor employee. Today, the Indiana State Police (ISP) announced the arrest of former Taylor professor Dr. Jeff Marsee. The full statement is available here

“The arrest follows an investigation that began last fall, which initially focused on allegations of sexual abuse. 

“This is difficult information to share. It is even more difficult to learn that a former member of our Taylor community has been charged with grievous harm to a child.

“As a reminder, the initial reports were made to the Upland Police Department and then shared with Taylor University.  Upon learning of the allegations, Taylor University placed Dr. Marsee on administrative leave and barred him from campus.  Taylor also reported the allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Protective Services, and then worked with local and state law enforcement to investigate the allegations. Taylor continues to fully cooperate with ISP.

“Given the gravity of the misconduct allegations, Taylor University has independently retained an outside firm of forensic experts to investigate the allegations of abuse.

“While the criminal investigation is not yet complete, the Indiana State Police have informed us that none of the individuals were students at Taylor when the alleged abuse took place.

“We know it takes courage to come forward with information about possible sexual abuse, and are grateful for those who have offered information to aid in the investigation. If you have relevant information about this or any other situation involving sexual abuse, we invite you to contact one of the sources below. Please know that you do not need to process this information alone. Our Counseling Center is available to assist (765.998.5222).

“Please join me in continuing to pray for the victims and all those who have been affected by this situation. Please also pray for the local community and for our campus community to be comforted and restored by the Holy Spirit.”

“Taylor University Police Chief Jeff Wallace (765.998.7765)

“Taylor University Vice President of Student Development Dr. Skip Trudeau (765.998.5368)

“Indiana State Police Detective Joshua Maller (765.475.8111)”

Paige Comstock Cunningham, interim president, Taylor University

UPLAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Taylor University Board of Trustees has decided to freeze tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year. Interim President Paige Comstock Cunningham says the decision was made citing financial challenges faced by students and families.

Dr. Comstock Cunningham says this is the first time in the school’s recent history that tuition will not be increased, with the usual increase being less than 5%. Also, the school has decided that room and board fees will increase by 3.5%, which is less than $400 total. 

“This is the right thing to do for our students and for our families,” said Cunningham. “This year, more than ever before, it’s absolutely critical that holding steady to our mission looks different.”

The tuition freeze has also been approved by the Taylor Senior Leadership Team, following a review of pricing options and university budget stipulations. 

UPLAND, Ind. (WISH) — A man died Friday afternoon in a motorcycle crash in Grant County, the sheriff’s department said Friday night.

Kevin Hairell, who was driving the motorcycle, died in the crash with another vehicle. A news release from Lt. Matt Sneed of the sheriff’s department did not have Hairell’s age, his hometown, or the type of vehicle that the motorcycle hit.

The crash happened shortly before 4:30 p.m. Friday at State Road 5 and County Road 200 South. That’s about 2 miles north of Upland.

A child on the motorcycle with Hairell wore a helmet, received injuries and went to Parkview Regional Hospital in Fort Wayne. The child’s name, age, hometown, and condition when taken to the hospital were not in the news release.

The driver of the other vehicle, Arlene Hunt, was taken to Marion General Hospital for treatment, police said. The news release did not indicate her condition.

No additional information, including what might have caused the crash, was available in the release.