IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: BP marks completion of Whiting upgrades

2013-12-21T13:40:00Z IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: BP marks completion of Whiting upgradesGerry Dick Inside Indiana Business nwitimes.com
December 21, 2013 1:40 pm  • 

BP PLC says all major units involved in the more than $4 billion modernization effort in Whiting are "on stream." The multi-year project allows the company to increase processing of heavier crude oil from Canada.

Sources: $10 Billion Boeing Complex a 'Longshot'

Inside INdiana Business has learned Indiana will not likely pursue a new Boeing Co. complex that has attracted interest from more than one dozen other states. Sources say Indiana plans to remain competitive for economic development opportunities, but this one would be "a longshot" and incentives being offered by some other states are "way beyond the bounds." The Wall Street Journal reports lawmakers in Washington have approved a package of roughly $8.5 billion over 16 years. A statement from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says efforts continue with companies, including Boeing, to find out how the state fits into their long-term plans.

Simon Skjodt Donation Continues IU 'Love' Affair

Indiana University alumni and Hoosier basketball supporters are still buzzing about the $40 million donation that will fund renovations and prompt a renaming of Assembly Hall. The donation is from IU graduate and Indianapolis Philanthropist Cindy Simon Skjodt. She strongly believes "if you love this university, you should give back to this university." It is the largest donation in IU athletic department history. As a result, the venue will be renamed Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall when upgrades to the 1970s-era facility are complete in 2016.

South Bend Remembers 'Industrial Giant'

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Studebaker plant in South Bend. The archivist at the Studebaker National Museum says the defunct company still has an impact on the community half a century later. Andy Beckman says institutions including Memorial Hospital of South Bend began with donations of Studebaker money or land. He says current companies can learn from the Studebaker story.

Hicks: Employment Numbers 'Stunning'

A Ball State University economist says "Santa was very good" to Indiana. Mike Hicks says the more than 25,000 private sector jobs created in November are in "solid" sectors that reflect a longer-term, more positive climate. The state's unemployment rate was announced this morning at 7.3 percent, down from 7.5 percent the previous month. He says if the numbers remain this low, it could lead to more people relocating to the state for jobs. Hicks tells Inside INdiana Business the results far exceed economists' expectations.

Indiana Releases Statewide 'A-F' Grades

After months of delay, the Indiana Department of Education has released accountability grades for schools throughout the state. Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz says a new "more transparent and fair" model will replace the current one during the 2014-2015 academic year. The 'A-F' grades were approved by the state school board at a meeting this morning in Indianapolis. 938 schools received an "A."

'Major' Upgrades Set For Northern Indiana Mall

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE:SPG) is planning a multi-million dollar renovation at a northern Indiana shopping center. Improvements to the University Park Mall in Mishawaka are slated to get underway early next year and be complete before 2015. A Simon spokesman says it's the only project of this scale planned for the state.

Purdue, Notre Dame to Meet at Lucas Oil Stadium

Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame have confirmed they will face each other next year in a football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game had been scheduled for South Bend and will remain a home contest for Notre Dame. The schools have not faced each other in Indianapolis since 1984.

Central Indiana Auto Dealer Dies

A prominent Indianapolis auto dealer has died. J. Thomas O'Brien led the O'Brien Automotive Family, which operates several dealerships in central Indiana. The Cathedral High School and University of Notre Dame graduate opened his first dealership in 1962. The funeral is set for Saturday. O'Brien was 82.

Hoosier Execs Announce Major Donations

Three Indianapolis couples are planning to contribute $1 million each to United Way of Central Indiana. The gifts are from Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter and wife, Sarah, former WellPoint Inc. CEO Angela Braley and husband, Doug, and Lilly executives Andreas and Mary Sashegyi.

Companies Commit to 1,000 Hoosier Jobs

Governor Mike Pence says today's jobs announcements show Indiana is bouncing back from a "tough time in the life of our economy." He detailed expansion plans today from seven companies involving the creation of more than 1,000 jobs in the state. The projects include Bluebridge Digital, which was founded by an Indiana Wesleyan University student in his dorm room, adding nearly 200 jobs in Fishers by 2022. Other investments include expansions in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Greenfield. Pence says today's announcements show the "resiliency" of Indiana businesses.

Pie Shop Tasting Sweet Success

The owner of a Zionsville pie shop says she "can't keep up" with demand after a wave of national attention. My Sugar Pie has been featured in People magazine and a blog on Oprah.com. After teaching for 11 years, Kelly Maucere established the shop in 2008. She now has 20 employees and hopes to open a second location next year. The pies are available at several locations including St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis. Maucere discussed the company's successes during an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television.

State Supreme Court Clears Rockport Plan

An Indiana Supreme Court decision will allow a proposed $2.7 billion coal gasification plant in Rockport to move forward. The ruling overturns a Court of Appeals decision that invalidated portions of Indiana Gasification LLC's contract with the state. The contract involves the Indiana Finance Authority buying synthetic natural gas over a 30-year period and selling it on the open market.

White House Officials Coming to Carmel

Two Obama administration officials will join Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard Thursday to discuss local efforts to combat climate change. The mayor is a part of the President's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Hoosier Business Eyeing Google Glass Market

A Fort Wayne optical company believes it has developed the world's first digital prescription lenses for Google Glass technology. Longe Optical President Jeff Ostermann says a large portion of the U.S. population wears glasses, so the "sky is the limit" for the size of the potential market. Google Glass is expected to be released to the public next year and Ostermann says Longe Optical is prepared to scale up production to meet possible demand. He tells Inside INdiana Business the company is "exploring options" for commercial production.

Notre Dame Church Set For Renovations

An iconic building at the University of Notre Dame will close for three weeks after Christmas for interior upgrades. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart will undergo renovations, which include replacing the current carpeted floor with slate tiles. The structure was built in the mid-19th Century.

Winnecke Announces Hotel Groundbreaking

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says groundbreaking for the city's more than $70 million planned convention hotel could take place January 23. In October, the project received final approval from the city council after funding details, including additional private investment, were announced. Mayor Winnecke has called the development "vital" to the city's future.

State Announces New Auditor

Governor Mike Pence has named Suzanne Crouch Auditor of State. She has served as state representative for the 78th district since 2005. Crouch will succeed Dwayne Sawyer, who announced his resignation last month. Crouch, who is vice chairman of the house ways and means committee, will take over the new role January 2.

For more Inside Indiana Business, visit www.insideindianabusiness.com

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