Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar has strong words for the General Assembly following the effective end of a bill that would've raised the state's legal smoking age to 21. "There is no valid reason why House Bill 1380 — which passed the House Public Health Committee unanimously Monday — wasn't allowed to make it to the House floor for a vote," he said in a statement. Brinegar cited Indiana University School of Public Health figures that suggest smoking is a more than $6 billion a year drag on the economy. In a Studio(i) interview prior to Tuesday's full House session, Brinegar told Gerry Dick only tobacco companies win with the status quo.
I-69 bridge project: The preliminary alternative routes for three potential I-69 bridge corridors over the Ohio River have been unveiled. Transportation officials from Indiana and Kentucky are continuing to seek feedback on the proposals that have taken into account factors including access, traffic performance and safety. Funding is expected to come from a combination of tolling, traditional sources and grants.
Record December adds to RV industry surge: The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, which has a regional office in Elkhart, is reporting a more than 17 percent annual jump in wholesale shipments. The organization represents manufacturers and suppliers that it says build 98 percent of all American-made RVs. The RVIA full-year report shows 504,599 units were shipped in 2017, compared to 430,491 in 2016. The final month of the year, the figures suggest, was the best December on comparable record.
South Bend airport eyes international nonstops: South Bend International Airport has launched efforts to secure something it has never offered: a nonstop international flight. Executive Director Mike Daigle says the next steps involve working with federal regulators, travel professionals and carriers to zero in on the right targets. Right now, Indianapolis International Airport is the only airport in the state to offer commercial nonstop international service. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Daigle explained the journey for additional air service varies for each airport.
Bill to give control of MCS to Ball State heading to senate: A bill that would give control of Muncie Community Schools to Ball State University has passed the Indiana House. Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns says the terms of House Bill 1315, which now heads to the Indiana Senate for consideration, must also be approved by the university's board of trustees.
Indiana Carson's stores set to close: Five Carson's department stores throughout Indiana are set to be closed. The stores are among 42 that parent company The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is shuttering as part of its "store rationalization program."
Indiana-made opioid symptom device gaining traction: A Versailles-based company that has developed what it says is the first medical device to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms is "very close" to receiving insurance approval for use in multiple states. Innovative Health Solutions Inc. President Brian Carrico says crossing the hurdles at the state level with the NSS-2 BRIDGE will help offset costs for the technology and procedure that could cost up to $1,500. During an interview in the Business of Health, Carrico said the device serves patients at the most challenging part of their addiction: the withdrawal stages.
Stellar communities goes regional: A well-known state program designed to boost the quality-of-life in smaller communities of the state is being restructured to take a regional approach. The Stellar Communities Designation Program, which is run by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Development, will now focus on collaboration among adjoining towns, cities and counties. In order to support talent attraction, retention and development efforts, Crouch says, communities have to work together.
Indy Eleven to play at Lucas Oil Stadium: The Indy Eleven joined representatives from the city of Indianapolis and the Capital Improvement Board Monday to announce plans to move most of its home games to Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2018 season. Indy Eleven Owner Ersal Ozdemir says the decision is part of the team's "commitment to fielding a high quality club in a high quality environment."
IMS to offer 'tiny' accommodations for 500: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is offering another luxury accommodation for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. The Speedway is partnering with Try It Tiny LLC to create the Tiny House Hotel, which will give race fans the chance to stay at the track during race weekend.
Nelbud picks Indy for HQ: Nelbud Services Group, which merged with Indianapolis-based 360 Services in 2015, has chosen the city for its headquarters. The commercial kitchen exhaust system cleaning, maintenance and repair company, formerly based in New Jersey, has also named Michael Crafton chief executive officer.
German American continues record performance: Jasper-based German American Bancorp says 2017 marks an eighth-consecutive year of record profit. The banking company is reporting full-year net income of $40.7 million, compared to $35.2 million in 2016.
Emmis moves to sell St. Louis radio stations: Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications has announced agreements to offload its radio stations in St. Louis. The company says it plans to sell KSHE 95 FM and The Point 105.7 FM to Minnesota-based Hubbard Radio and FM News Talk 97.1 and NOW96.3 FM to Entercom Communications of Pennsylvania.
Lilly results beat estimates: Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. is reporting a fourth quarter loss of $1.7 billion, compared to net income of $772 million in the same quarter a year earlier. However, when special items including recently-passed tax reform are accounted for, the company earned $1.2 billion, beating Wall Street estimates. The results, the pharmaceutical maker says, were also affected by more than $1 billion in charges mainly associated with a previously-announced, comprehensive restructuring. Lilly is also adjusting its 2018 guidance upward.
IU Health details statewide reach of new foundation: Indiana University Health has announced the launch of the IU Health Foundation. IU Health Chief Philanthropy Officer Crystal Miller, who will be a guest this weekend on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, will serve as president of the statewide foundation. She says 12 hospital foundations will fall under the umbrella of the new entity as part of a system-wide integration effort. Miller says the structure of the foundation will benefit every IU Health community with the ambitious goal of transforming Indiana into one of the healthiest states.
New leader for Jeffersonville port: The Ports of Indiana has selected an Indiana native as the new director for the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville. Jeff Miles, who most recently served on the senior executive team for the North Carolina State Ports Authority, succeeds Scott Stewart, who stepped down in January.
Visit Indy: record tourism, best 'yet to come': Visit Indy's new annual report shows visitor spending has reached a record level for the sixth consecutive year. In all, 28.6 million visitors pumped $5.2 billion into the Indianapolis economy in 2016, supporting 80,600 full-time-equivalent jobs throughout the region. State and local taxes generated by visitors totaled $719 million. Visit Indy Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hoops says work continues to keep the records coming.