The president of the Indiana Retail Council believes a truce between his group and the Indiana Beverage Retailers Association on Sunday alcohol sales marks the beginning of a new era at the Indiana Statehouse.

"It really sets a new tone for both of our organizations and our memberships going forward," said Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council. "I think it puts an end to the alcohol wars in the Statehouse for a long time."

The two groups recently announced a deal to support Sunday carryout sales of alcohol, but oppose expanded cold beer sales. Last week, the Alcohol Code Revision Commission voted to support Sunday sales, but tabled a decision on the cold beer issue. Monahan, who appeared this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television with IBRA Chief Executive Officer Patrick Tamm, responded to criticism from convenience store owners, including Anderson-based Ricker Oil Co. co-founder Jay Ricker, of "a backroom deal."

Pelath stepping down as head of House Dems: The outgoing Indiana House Minority Leader says the Democratic Party will seek an "energetic" successor to continue his work over the last five years. Scott Pelath (D-9) will step down Tuesday from the post and will not seek re-election for the House seat he's held since 1998. The decision, Pelath said, is in part because of his desire to spend more time with family. During an address to the media Monday following the Indiana Chamber Legislative Preview, Pelath discussed points he said are important to Democrats in the House moving forward.

Lawmakers reconvene, battles to begin: The 2018 General Assembly ceremonially kicked off Tuesday with Organization Day at the Statehouse and workforce remains a common talking point among influential members of both parties. Republicans, who again hold a super-majority in the House and Senate, and Democrats, who will soon have a new House Minority Leader with incumbent Scott Pelath (D-9) stepping down from the role, have used the days leading up to the first gavel to sound off on topics like jobs, education, voting rights and health care. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Senate Majority Floor Leader Brandt Hershman (R-7) said Indiana will use its fiscal position to its advantage in the legislative session. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-16) says efforts to bolster the state's workforce need to go beyond efforts by legislators. 

Chamber sharpens workforce focus: Workforce issues again are among the top issues for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce heading into the new legislative session. The chamber's priorities, announced at Monday's annual Legislative Preview, include requiring computer science for high school graduation and better aligning the state's education and workforce programs. Vice President for Education, Workforce Development & Federal Affairs Caryl Auslander says the business community needs to have a bigger voice in workforce development strategy. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Auslander said the state's workforce plan needs to be "better aligned to high-demand, high-wage jobs." 

Medical device company details growth plans: Versailles-based Innovative Health Solutions Inc. has announced plans to expand operations. The medical device company will invest nearly $500,000 to move into a larger office in Carmel and create 30 jobs, while maintaining its headquarters Ripley County. The announcement comes less than a week after IHS received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its NSS-2 BRIDGE device, which is designed to help treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. 

Liberty Mutual plans 400 new jobs in Carmel: Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group Inc. is planning to add up to 400 Carmel jobs as part of a $14 million expansion plan. The insurance company has a global presence and currently employs 1,430 in central Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the new jobs, expected to be created by 2021, will pay more than the state and Hamilton County average wages.

Purdue unveils boiler affordability grants: Purdue University is launching another affordability effort. The Boiler Affordability Grant is designed to cover expenses not taken care of after Indiana resident undergraduates have pursued need-based financial aid. It will fund tuition, fees and book costs using a pool of existing university resources, donations and through Purdue savings efforts. President Mitch Daniels says the grants are part of the goal of "lowering every barrier we can" for a student to attend Purdue.

Venture competition to serve as community, university spark: Entrepreneurs and startups in Elkhart, St. Joseph and Marshall counties can now take part in a University of Notre Dame-run competition. The McCloskey New Venture Competition, which was previously only open to entries within the Notre Dame community, features competitors vying for more than $200,000 in winnings. Director Karen Slaggert says the competition, held at Notre Dame's IDEA Center innovation hub, helps set participants up for success. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, McCloskey New Venture Competition Director Karen Slaggert says a key component is the connection created between university and community.

INnovators: safety, style drive fashion tech startup: A Hoosier entrepreneur has launched a startup marrying peace-of-mind with fashion. Indianapolis-based Aubry Lane designs and manufactures handbags that integrate GPS tracking technology and cellular "S.O.S." devices to alert contacts during dangerous situations or when the bag is lost. During The INnovators with Dr. K, founder and Chief Executive Officer Jordan Hetland said the company is poised to grow by $30 million - $60 million within the next five or six years. Aubry Lane, Hetland said, is already planning to enter international markets, including Mexico and Brazil. 

Federal sentencing awaits former Pharmakon exec: The former compliance director of now-defunct Pharmakon Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Noblesville has pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges. The Office of United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler says Caprice Bearden will be sentenced at a later date for alleged crimes that include introducing adulterated drugs into interstate commerce and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

ISU proposing intelligence analysis program: Indiana State University will launch a new major following input from employers, a former military intelligence officer and law enforcement professionals. The intelligence analysis program will be part of the department of criminology and criminal justice and draw on additional departments and colleges. 

Clocktower project set to begin: An organization in Montgomery County says work on a new clocktower at the Montgomery County Courthouse will begin immediately, after more than 20 years of fundraising. The Montgomery County Clocktower Committee says the project is expected to be complete in May. 

Holiday World details $3.5M investment: Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus says it will pump $3.5 million into new attractions and improvements. Plans include new children's water slides and wave pool facilities to be named Tembo Falls and Tembo Tides. The travel destination says the slate of additions and upgrades will be in play for the 2018 season, which opens in May.

Blackhawks, Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium will be the site of a high-profile National Hockey League game next season. The league has announced the University of Notre Dame will host the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.

DuPont Hospital gets new CEO: DuPont Hospital in Fort Wayne has named Lorenzo Suter chief executive officer. He most recently served as chief operating officer of the Baptist Medical Center in downtown San Antonio. He will begin in his new role in mid-December.

Mainstreet reorganization results in 12 Layoffs: Mainstreet says it is undergoing a corporate-level reorganization that will eliminate or consolidate 12 positions. The move is a result of a new strategy and to support what the real estate development, investment and health care company says is faster growth in its operations functions. 

Indiana American Water acquires southern Indiana utility: Greenwood-based Indiana American Water has acquired another water utility in southern Indiana. The utility says the deal for Georgetown Water, valued at $6.4 million, will add about 1,300 residents to its customer base and result in lower rates for Georgetown customers.

Merging Boys & Girls Clubs name leader: The combined organization created through the merger of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana has a leader. Ryan Smiley, who currently leads the Porter County organization, will serve as president and chief executive officer of combined club. 

Dexter to acquire Utah manufacturer: Elkhart-based Dexter Axle is adding to its portfolio. The company has announced plans to acquired Utah-based Henderson Wheel & Trailer Supply Inc., which manufactures sprung and torsion axles and fenders.

South Bend VA clinic under new ownership: A Washington D.C.-based Real Estate Investment Trust has taken over ownership of another South Bend property. Easterly Government Properties Inc. (NYSE: DEA) has acquired a Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic. 

Greater Fort Wayne Community Foundation names CEO: The board of directors for the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has selected Brad Little as president and chief executive officer. Little, who currently serves as CEO of the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation in Iowa, will begin his new role Jan. 8. 

LCI Industries adds RV vet to board: A well-known figure on the northern Indiana recreational vehicle scene is joining the Elkhart-based LCI Industries (NYSE: LCII) board. Grand Design Recreational Vehicle Co. co-founder Ron Fenech previously held executive positions with Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) and Keystone RV Co.

Calumet completes sale of subsidiary: Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP (Nasdaq: CLMT) has announced the sale of its subsidiary, Oklahoma-based Anchor Drilling Fluids USA LLC, to Q’Max America Inc in Houston. Calumet will receive approximately $84 million in considerations as a result of the deal.

Purdue startup scores federal funding: The National Science Foundation has awarded a $750,000 grant to a Purdue University-based tech startup. The university says the funding will help Perceive Inc., which is located at the Anvil coworking space on the West Lafayette campus, further develop its automated customer service coaching software.

Indiana included among least tax-friendly states: A personal finance magazine has ranked Indiana among the 10 least tax-friendly states in the country for retirees. The ranking is part of Kiplinger's Personal Finance's 2017 Retiree Tax Map, which compares all 50 states on senior tax breaks, as well as taxes on income, property, everyday purchases and estates.

Apprenticeship collaboration 'natural fit' for Ivy Tech: Ivy Tech Community College has announced it is handling a new job training resource. As a U.S. Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship sponsor, the school will register companies' apprentice programs, collect on-the-job learning hours and assist with related D.O.L. audits. 

Vote on North River property deal delayed: The Fort Wayne City Council has delayed a vote on whether to purchase a 29-acre property near the city's downtown. Our partners at WPTA-TV report some members of the council are concerned about the more than $4 million deal, as the city will not know the results of an environmental study until after the transaction is complete.

Jay County Hospital to join IU Health: Jay County Hospital and Indiana University Health have signed an agreement for the hospital to join the health system next year. The deal, which goes into effect March 1, brings IU Health's total number of Indiana hospitals to 16. 

Traders Point Creamery to launches home delivery: Zionsville-based Traders Point Creamery is adding a new service for customers in central Indiana. The company, which produces organic dairy products launched the new service Saturday.

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