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.

The Indianapolis suburbs are growing, while rural areas of the state lose residents.

That trend isn’t new, but it deepened in 2016 census data analyzed this summer by the Indiana Business Research Center.

The data shows Indiana’s fastest-growing city is Whitestown, in Boone County. It’s topped that list for six years running, as its population has more than doubled.

The cost of an Independence Day picnic’s worth of groceries continued to drop in Indiana this year, as part of a race to the bottom in the prices of competing food products.

The Indiana Farm Bureau tracks the cost of different sets of grocery items throughout the year. For July Fourth, it’s a 10-person barbecue – hot dogs, hamburgers and ribs, watermelon and other sides, plus drinks and condiments.

It all costs $51.50 this year, down 35 cents from last year and about 75 cents from 2014.

A federally-funded program that helps Indiana homeowners avoid foreclosures stopped taking applications at the end of June.

The Indiana Hardest Hit Fund provides mortgage assistance to people in danger of losing their homes.

It stopped taking new applications at the close of business Friday, after learning in the spring that it would need remaining funds for current participants.

Economic rebirth in Indiana downtowns can be a two-way street – literally.

Hoosier cities are spending millions to convert one-way main streets into two-way arteries.

The change can help boost the local economy, but it can also be hard on small businesses, like the one John von Erdmansdorff runs in West Lafayette.

Von Erdmansdorff is a local legend who’s spent almost 50 years selling all kinds of treasures out of his row of stores, Von’s Shops, on State Street.

An Indiana consumer advocacy group is suing over access to public records that could shed light on how the Carrier company reached a deal with the state and President Donald Trump late last year.

About 45 tax and fee increases take effect in Indiana July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Most of the tax and fee hikes the legislature passed this year are pretty routine, says John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. The exceptions are tied to road funding – chiefly, a 10 cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.

“Gosh,” says Ketzenberger, “It’d been almost 20 years since we raised the fuel taxes, so it is unusual, and we talked about it for a couple of years before we did it.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb says a range of state agencies will no longer ask job applicants if they have been arrested or convicted of a crime.

The executive order, issued Thursday, aims to give Hoosiers with criminal records more chances to become state employees.

Right now, applicants for state job openings have to self-report any criminal history.

Holcomb’s order says this can make it hard for people with records to “have productive lives because of the stigma of their past.”

Uneven, wet weather is complicating the growing season for Indiana farmers.

There’s much more cash cropland this week that has too much moisture in its soil than at this time last year, according to the USDA’s latest crop progress report.

And the federal agency says the current condition of Indiana’s corn and soybeans isn’t as good as it was a year ago.

Indianapolis-based Anthem will look to settle a class-action suit over a massive 2015 data breach at the giant health insurance company.

It would be the largest-ever settlement in a data breach case if approved. That’s according to attorneys for the victims in the case.

Federal housing officials will hold a public hearing Monday night on plans to tear down a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago. The demolition plan got federal environmental approval last month, but residents want a chance to raise concerns.

Residents from the West Calumet Housing Complex area wrote to the Department of Housing and Urban Development this month. They asked for a public hearing and more time to comment on the demolition plan.

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