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WABASH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The vice president of operations of North Manchester-based MPS Egg Farms says plans to partner with agbioscience company Hello Nature to produce natural fertilizer products are about four years in the making. The companies announced plans Monday to build and operate a $50 million fertilizer manufacturing operation in Wabash. Dan Krouse says the MPS leadership team traveled to Verona, Italy, where Hello Nature parent Italpollina has been producing specialty fertilizers for more than 50 years.

“We’re really impressed by the operation and their expertise in the fertilizer markets,” said Krouse. “They’ve been interested in doing something similar here in the United States for several years.”

The companies say the project involves the construction of two facilities totaling nearly 300,000-square feet and will employ 46 people when operational.

Artist rendering of proposed fertilizer plant for Wabash. (image courtesy: MPS Egg Farms and Hello Nature)
MPS has 11 million egg-laying hens on the job at four farming operations in northern Indiana and Illinois. Krouse says the Wabash County farms alone produce 80,000 tons of chicken litter (manure and bedding material)

“That all goes on to row crops right now [as] a great natural fertilizer. Our hope is that as our partnership, Bionutrients, ramps up production, we will eventually commit 100% of that litter production,” said Krouse.

While a majority of the chicken waste goes on row crops, like corn, Krouse says Hello Nature’s technologies create natural field nutrients for a variety of crops, including apples and blueberries.

“We believe that this new production facility will be a turning point for the North American market,” said Luca Bonini, Hello Nature’s chief executive officer. “Today the fertilizer industry undergoes multiple challenges such as rising prices, logistics issues and shortage of inputs, and there is a desperate need for innovative solutions to feed a growing population with less inputs and less land available.”

Krouse says the company evaluated several sites in two states, but decided Wabash was the ideal location for this new venture

“We have been so thrilled with the community’s engagement. A lot of community stakeholders have invested time and effort to understand this project and vet the project and make sure it’s right for Wabash County.”

The partnership purchased the ground from the Wabash County Redevelopment Commission and provided input about the project, ensuring it was a “good fit” for the community, said Krouse.

“Wabash County has always been a strong center for agribusiness and manufacturing, and this investment is the perfect marriage of the two, continuing the legacy of innovation in our community,” said Wabash Mayor Scott Long.

Based on the company’s job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has committed $490,000 in tax credits, based on job creation.

The partners will break ground this spring, with the facility fully operationally in the summer of 2023.

WABASH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Wabash-based family services nonprofit will Tuesday cut the ribbon on a new training lab that will be used as part of an advanced manufacturing training program. Josiah White’s is launching the Catapult program in partnership with Conexus Indiana that it says will open students up to job opportunities in the state’s manufacturing sector.

Josiah White’s, formerly known as White’s Residential & Family Services, provides a variety of support for children, teens and families, including residential treatment, foster care and family preservation services.

Plans for the nonprofit’s Catapult program were first announced in February. The program is being implemented as part of the organization’s Growing Teens for Life vocational development initiative.

The organization says as part Catapult, select students in its residential programs will spend the first half of their day in school and the second half in the new Catapult lab, which will amount to 160 hours over the 16-week semester. When complete, students will receive an advanced manufacturing certificate from Conexus, as well as six college credits from Ivy Tech Community College.

Josiah White’s will host an open house to view the training lab from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, with the ribbon cutting scheduled for 11 a.m.

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Farm supply and outdoor department store Stock+Field, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, will reopen several locations throughout Indiana under new ownership.

Illinois-based R.P. Acquisition Corp. says it is purchasing the assets of the retailer, formerly known as Big R.

Stock+Field has stores in Crawfordsville, Elkhart (2), Rochester, Marion, Michigan City, Wabash and Warsaw. There is no word if all of the locations will remain open, which have been liquidating inventory.

R.P. Acquisition is a subsidiary of R.P. Lumber Co. Inc., a family-owned hardware and building material retailer throughout Illinois, Missouri, Wyoming, and Iowa. R.P. says the stores will retain the Stock+Field name, and the new owners will seek input from employees and the communities they serve as they plan for the future of the brand.

“Our focus right now is on keeping Stock+Field stores open and serving the many communities they have served for years and, in some instances, decades,” said Robert L. Plummer, chairman of R.P. Acquisition Corp.

Plummer says the stores will continue to serve the same customers: farmers, ranchers and homeowners who live in rural areas.

“We love the farm and ranch space but, perhaps even more importantly, we saw this as an opportunity to invest in rural America, contribute to the growth of these great communities, and help keep many, good, hard-working people employed,” said Plummer.

R.P. Lumber Co. operates 72 stores. The acquisition of Stock+Fields’ 25 stores will bring its total ownership to nearly 100 locations.

WABASH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Grow Wabash County is launching a series of advanced training programs for local workers. The organization says the programs will support workers looking to upgrade their current skill sets in an effort to become more competitive in the workforce.

The organization says the programs are the result of partnerships with Ivy Tech Community College, Heartland Career Center in Wabash and CTS Driving Academy.

Each training program also has financial support and scholarships available, including through the state’s Workforce Ready Grant program and funding from the Community Foundation of Wabash County.

The training programs include:

You can learn more about the programs by clicking here.

WABASH, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say a northern Indiana man who was shot by police after he allegedly stabbed his 10-year-old son, mortally wounding the boy, has died at a hospital more than two weeks after that attack.

Wabash County Prosecutor Bill Hartley Jr. said Monday 32-year-old William L. Sendelbach died Saturday at a Fort Wayne hospital.

Sendelbach was charged with one count of murder stemming from the death of his son, Kayden Sendelbach, who was stabbed Oct. 8.

His father was shot by police after he fired at two officers call to the scene, wounding one of them. Officers then found Sendelbach’s son mortally wounded inside the house.

WABASH, Ind. (WISH/AP) — The 10-year-old boy stabbed Thursday by his father in northern Indiana died Saturday morning, state police said Monday night.

The man was shot multiple times by Wabash City Police Department officers after he fired several shots from a shotgun, striking one officer in the leg.

Indiana State Police say 32-year-old William Sendelbach was waiting outside his Wabash home Thursday morning and fired multiple shots from a shotgun as officers arrived in response to a domestic disturbance call.

The boy was identified Monday night as Kayden Sendelbach.

A Wabash police officer, Sgt. Nick Brubaker, was struck in the leg and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. He is expected to fully recover.

Sendelbach was hospitalized and is expected to survive his injuries.

Officers discovered that Sendelbach had stabbed his son multiple times.

Police were continuing to investigate the murder. An autopsy was pending, state police said. No criminal charges have been filed, according to online court records.

Brubaker and Patrolman Dan Henderson both discharged their duty weapons. They were placed on paid administrative leave until the preliminary investigation is complete.

WABASH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Six historic homes in a Wabash neighborhood will be rehabilitated by Indiana Landmarks in an attempt to sell the homes next year. Indiana Landmarks plans to overhaul the exteriors of the homes and to add curb appeal before putting them on the market in early 2021. 

“When 23 historic houses recently came up for auction in Wabash, we saw an opportunity to make a big impact,” said Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks. “We decided to focus on six of the most architecturally significant homes in a concentrated area.”

The homes are located in the East Wabash Historic District, which is listed on the National Register, and most recently were used as rental housing, with some being transformed into apartments.  

“These homes today are detractors for that neighborhood,” said Parker Beauchamp, Wabash native, business owner and past chairman of Indiana Landmarks’ board of directors. “Once Indiana Landmarks has fixed them up, I hope the biggest detractors will become the biggest attractors, the reason why people would move to that neighborhood.”

Indiana Landmarks says some of the homes were built in the 1870s, while others were erected in the 1910s, and include a small, wood-frame house to large Victorian homes.

“From our past experience with Indiana Landmarks, we know that these houses are going to be returned to a much better condition and standard once they are done with them,” said Wabash Mayor Scott Long. “Wabash is seeing a resurgence of people who want to take on historic homes and repair them to their former grandeur, but it’s been tough to buy in certain categories. We hope this fills a need.”

Indiana Landmarks says the projects carry an estimated price tag of $770,000 and will be funded by Indiana Landmarks, the city of Wabash and private donations. 

The homes to be renovated:

Indiana Landmarks previously partnered with Wabash to buy and rehab the 1848-built Alber House, which is the city’s oldest extant house, along with working with the Wabash County Commission on the 1880 Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail, which was listed on the Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list.

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana is continuing to distribute food in “tailgate” events, with new dates confirmed for the coming week.

The group expanded its tailgate events in April on the coronavirus began taking a toll on Indiana. Gov. Eric Holcomb dispatched 30 Army National Guard members to help with the efforts to expand the food distribution.

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana is the region’s largest hunger-relief organization serving over 100 pantries and meal programs in eight counties: Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph and Wabash.

Here are upcoming food distributions:

No IDs or proof of address or need are required; all are welcome. Distribution is while supplies last. If you are walking up or coming via a vehicle too small to carry a load of food, please arrive an hour after the tailgate starts.

Coronavirus links

Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.

WABASH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – After a nearly two-year renovation process, the Eagles Theatre in Wabash is slated to re-open in the next few weeks. Leading up to the official opening, the 114-year-old theatre is set to host preview events at the end of February into March.

The four-story facility now touts two theatres:  the original Eagles Theatre and the new Ferguson Theatre. The 560-seat Eagles Theatre has updated with a new projection system, sound system and lighting to offer movie showings and live concerts and performances.

The Ferguson Theatre is on the lower level and is a new addition to the building. Officials say the 50-seat movie theater will offer first-run movies and sensory-friendly showings, independent films, student showcases and more.

The renovation also features a restoration of Parkview Ballroom, one of the original rooms of the 1906 construction. The room has been updated to host weddings and other receptions and its historical characteristics have been preserved and accentuated. 

To kick off the reopening events, Crystal Gayle will perform at the theatre on Feb.  29. More events such as movie showings and performances will commence through March. 

 “We’re grateful for the partners and support that have helped us breathe new life into this incredible structure. Our goal is to provide a space where there’s something for everyone, whether it’s entertainment, arts, events or education,” said Tod Minnich, president and chief executive officer of The Honeywell Foundation. “We are proud of what Eagles brings to the region and we can’t wait to share this incredible renovation with our community and beyond.”

To see a full list of the March preview events, click here.

WABASH, Ind. (WISH) — A business in northern Indiana is hoping to help keep the memory alive of two girls murdered in Delphi in 2017.

Brandt’s Harley-Davidson in Wabash donated a motorcycle to a raffle, which raised $21,000 to help fund the Abby and Libby Memorial Park, which includes a softball complex and a playground in honor of the two Delphi teens found slain in February 2017. 

Chris Christenson, the winner of the raffle, was presented with the motorcycle on Friday morning.  

Owners of the business said they also hope the raffle serves as a reminder that the search for the girls’ killer is far from over.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the tip line at 844-459-5786.