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.

President Donald Trump’s immigration order barring refugees, as well as immigrants and visa-holders from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan, impacts businesses with many foreign workers – including Cummins Engine.

The Columbus-based manufacturer has many employees born in other countries, and more than half of its workers are based overseas.

Indiana’s $11 billion farming sector is hoping to benefit under President Donald Trump.

The new commander-in-chief has threatened some trade deals that agriculture relies on. But many in the industry hope his nominee to lead the Department of Agriculture will have a different take.

Sonny Perdue is a former Georgia governor and commercial farming veteran. His home state is known for cotton, peanuts and livestock, not corn and soybeans.

But Jane Ade Stevens, Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Soybean Alliance CEO, says Perdue still has a background in cash crops.

The Senate Local Government Committee will wait to vote on a bill that would require law enforcement to clear protesters from roadways by “any means necessary.”

The proposal raised alarm with lawmakers and members of the public Wednesday at its first hearing.

The bill, from state Sen. James Tomes (R-Wadesville), would require a mayor or other public official to dispatch all available law enforcement within 15 minutes of a report of a mass traffic obstruction.

A federal judge says a farm labor recruiter must pay $56,631 in back wages to a group of visa workers who came from Mexico to Indiana in 2014.

The 26 Mexican workers got H-2A visas through Tejas Workforce Connection of Texas, which recruits temporary agricultural workers for companies including Beck’s Hybrids in Hamilton County.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) will introduce a bill in Congress later this month to punish companies for outsourcing American jobs, using federal contracts and tax breaks as leverage.

At a press conference in Indianapolis Friday, Donnelly spoke alongside workers from companies moving production from Indiana to Mexico, including Rexnord and Carrier.

Lita Freeman is one of 700 employees who will be laid off at Carrier’s factory in Huntington.

 

Gov. Eric Holcomb told Indiana factory owners Wednesday that he and the state legislature will do more this year to help find and train new workers.

At the Indiana Manufacturers Association’s annual legislative briefing, Holcomb said he knows factories are struggling to find enough qualified employees.

 

East Chicago’s lead crisis came up Thursday at Ben Carson’s confirmation hearing to lead the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson, the retired neurosurgeon from Detroit tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to lead HUD, was answering a question from U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Donnelly asked if Carson would continue HUD’s response to lead contamination in an East Chicago public housing complex.

Purdue University is seeing more research funding from its corporate partners, a trend that has officials hoping they can be less reliant on public funding.

Purdue gets about a quarter of its research funding from the private sector. An average of 500 companies chip in every year.

But the school’s corporate and global partnerships officer, Dan Hirleman, says the funds those companies contribute have increased from $37 million in 2013 to as much as $55 million the past few years.

President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly tapped former Indiana U.S. Sen. Dan Coats to be his national intelligence director.

Elected officials, including Coats’ former colleague U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), are praising the choice. It had not been officially confirmed as of late Thursday afternoon.

If appointed, Coats would lead the nation’s intelligence community. The national intelligence post is separate from that of CIA director.

A northern Indiana RV-maker will add more than 400 new jobs in LaGrange County in the next two years, as the region’s mainstay industry continues to rebound.

Forest River is one of northern Indiana’s leading recreational vehicle manufacturers, employing 11,000 Hoosiers in Elkhart and LaGrange counties.

It now plans to repurpose several empty factories in the small town of LaGrange and add 425 jobs. It’s receiving tax incentives from the town and state to do so.

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