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.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt made his first visit to a Superfund site Wednesday, meeting in East Chicago with lawmakers and residents affected by lead contamination.

Pruitt made a short statement outside a shuttered elementary school in the USS Lead Superfund, after a closed briefing with Gov. Eric Holcomb, state and federal lawmakers, and local officials.

“And the reason I’m here is because it’s important that we restore confidence for the people here in this community, that we’re gonna get it right going forward,” Pruitt says.

Egg producers are scrambling to keep up with rising corporate demand for cage-free eggs.

For Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms, the nation’s second-biggest egg producer, that means building three huge, new, high-efficiency cage-free houses in Pulaski County – capable of churning out a million eggs a day.

Going cage-free is not as simple as setting chickens loose, or taking cages out of a conventional chicken house. It can cost up to $50 a bird, and construction can take months.

A new report from the Animal Welfare Institute says Indiana lags in enforcing humane slaughter rules at small, state-inspected meat plants – that it issues citations, but never stops production.

The Indiana Board of Animal Health took issue with that logic, saying its inspectors are doing their jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency and East Chicago’s mayor remain at a standstill over the future of a lead-contaminated public housing complex.

After Mayor Anthony Copeland doubled down on his insistence that the EPA clean West Calumet Housing Complex to a residential standard, the EPA has maintained it can’t move forward with cleanup until it gets more information from the city.

Dozens of families are still living in East Chicago’s lead-contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex, a week after the city had wanted everyone moved out.

In late March, the East Chicago Housing Authority assigned remaining West Calumet residents to temporary public housing units elsewhere in the city, as well as in Gary and Chicago.

Purdue University researchers are releasing new findings about how Indiana counties regulate big livestock farms, in hopes of determining what rules work best to help farmers get along with their neighbors.

Paul Ebner’s team at Purdue has spent years mapping out the wide range of zoning rules counties use to regulate confined animal feeding operations – known as CFOs – and their bigger, more concentrated counterparts, called CAFOs.

President Donald Trump is touting a new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers that shows record optimism among American factory owners – a rosier picture than a similar Indiana survey painted last fall.

 

March 31 was supposed to be the deadline for families in a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana to move out, or be sent to temporary housing. But some are still appealing those assignments – and they won’t be forced out until their complaints are settled.

Hearings for residents who filed grievances about their temporary housing assignments will be held Monday April 3 and Tuesday April 4.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was published, federal officials have said that West Calumet families with nowhere else to go will now have until Monday, April 3, to appeal their temporary housing assignments before they’re forced to move. This story has been updated to reflect this change, and we’ll keep following the situation as it develops. 

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has approved $7 million in tax incentives for the Carrier company to keep about a thousand jobs in Indianapolis.

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