Annie Ropeik

IPBS Economy Reporter

Annie Ropeik is the economy and business reporter for the Indiana Public Broadcasting network, based at WBAA. She’s covered farming, fisheries and other industries at public radio stations from Massachusetts and Delaware to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and earned accolades from the Alaska and Delaware Press Clubs for her reporting on rural business issues. Originally from Silver Spring, Md., Annie has a Hoosier mother and a degree in classics from Boston University. She also performs a mean car concert, boasts a worryingly encyclopedic knowledge of One Direction lyrics and is a Hufflepuff.

Indiana’s ports system hopes a new contractor will help bring more bulk cargo than ever into Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan.

Metro Ports is a stevedoring company. It helps manage how cargo gets off- and on-loaded and distributed at 27 ports in 10 states, including huge facilities at Long Beach, California and Seattle-Tacoma, Washington.

Burns Harbor will be the company’s first Great Lakes operation when it takes over the bulk cargo terminal next month.

Rolls-Royce and the state are chipping in to expand Purdue University’s work on making small gas-powered turbine engines more efficient.

The company already opened one big facility at Purdue this year. Now, it’s investing another $10 million into two new wind tunnels at Purdue’s turbine research lab.

Mechanical engineering professor Guillermo Paniagua leads the research there. He explains what gas turbine engines do.

Indiana corn growers hope a deal on sugar trade between the U.S. and Mexico will protect their stake in the high-fructose corn syrup industry.

Mexico could slap new tariffs on imports of the syrup if the deal isn’t finalized, and the effects of that tariff could trickle down to farmers.

About a third of all high-fructose corn syrup produced in the U.S. goes to Mexico, and it includes a lot of Hoosier corn. As much as 5-10 percent of Indiana’s corn crop goes to factories that produce the syrup, such as Tate & Lyle in Lafayette.

The $130 billion merger between Dow and DuPont received conditional federal approval Thursday.

The companies still have to address areas where the Department of Justice says they’ll have too big a market share, but those aren’t the areas that have Indiana farmers worried.

In approving the merger, the DOJ says Dow and DuPont have to relinquish control of a few assets – a chemical plant in Texas for Dow, and two of DuPont’s insecticide and herbicide brands.

Thursday marked the beginning of the end for 18 Marsh stores that weren’t bought out at a bankruptcy auction earlier this week.

Forty-four Marsh locations in Indiana and Ohio stayed open as the company started going through bankruptcy last month, but only 26 found a buyer at auction Monday.

The remaining 18 – in the Indianapolis area, Lafayette, Muncie, Kokomo, Carmel, Logansport, Connersville and Noblesville – have now started selling off their inventories.

The 18 Marsh grocery stores that don’t have a buyer will start selling off their inventories Thursday, according to a company spokesperson.

And a CVS spokesperson says his company has “settled” a dispute with the two Ohio grocery chains that want to buy Marsh’s 26 other remaining stores.

This clears the way for the combined $24 million deal with a Kroger subsidiary and another Ohio chain, Fresh Encounter, to go forward.

UPS announced plans this week to open a $260 million shipping hub in Plainfield by 2019 – one of the first big logistics investments to come after the state passed its road funding plan.

The repairs and upgrades that $1 billion-a-year funding package will fund with tax and fee increases are a big deal for companies that rely on roads.

Two Ohio-based firms offered to buy more than half of the remaining Marsh grocery stores at Monday’s bankruptcy auction.

The deal hinges on the outcome of a dispute between Indiana-based Marsh and CVS Pharmacies.

At the auction in Delaware, Kroger subsidiary Topvalco offered $16 million for 11 Marsh stores in Indianapolis, Zionsville, Muncie, Bloomington, Brownsburg, Fishers and Greenwood.

That’s according to bankruptcy court documents filed Tuesday.

EDITOR’S NOTE, JUNE 14: This developing story has been updated. Read more here.

What’s left of the Marsh grocery chain went to auction Monday morning – but there’s no word yet on how the bidding went.

Attorneys in the Delaware law office where the auction was set to take place did not immediately return requests for comment. They represent Indiana-based Marsh in its bankruptcy proceedings.

Eric Holcomb leaves Monday for his first international economic development trip as governor. He’ll spend 10 days in Hungary and France, hoping to shore up global ties for Indiana’s top-earning manufacturing and automotive industries.

Indiana is already a center of investment for countries that include Japan and Germany. But the Indiana Economic Development Corporation says the Hoosier State will be the first to create what it calls a “formal framework with Hungary” to promote business and trade development.

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