Friday, July 7, 2023

Groundbreaking Held for Largest Investment in County's History

Brian Douville, Bunge Vice President of Specialty Ingredients & Protein; Aaron Buettner, President of Bunge Food Solutions; Brad Sommer, plant manager of the new facility; U.S. Rep. Greg Pence; Brian Asher, executive director of Shelby County Development Corporation; and Dave Benefiel, Morristown Town Council President, pose for groundbreaking photos for the new Bunge facility yesterday. | photo by KRISTIAAN RAWLINGS

Official groundbreaking was held yesterday morning for a $550 million Bunge plant expansion.

“This project is the largest single investment in Shelby County’s history, right here in Morristown,” Brian Asher, executive director of Shelby County Development Corporation, said.

The facility will involve processing an additional four-and-a-half million bushels of soybeans for soy protein concentrate used in plant-based foods, processed meat, pet food and feed products, creating 70 new jobs.

“That’s not only big for Shelby County, but for the whole region here and the state of Indiana,” Asher said.

Several dignitaries, including U.S. Congressman Greg Pence (R-IN), were on hand to commemorate the occasion, hosted off North Rangeline Road in a white tent next to a food truck offering samples of foods with soy proteins.

The new facility’s manager, Brad Sommer, called the two-year planning process a team effort. “Plant-based protein is one of the newer segments that we are involved in,” he said. “We have been instrumental in saying this is where Bunge needs to be. We need to be a player.”

The facility will convert locally grown soybeans to products for shipment around the world, Sommer said.

Aaron Buettner, President of Bunge Food Solutions, called the moment “a real milestone” for the St. Louis, Mo.-based company, and lauded Morristown’s welcoming environment for the past 25-plus years.

The new plant will be adjacent to and integrated with Bunge’s existing soybean processing plant, which opened in 1996 and employs 100. Globally, Bunge employs more than 23,000 in 350-plus facilities in over 40 countries.

“The community has been nothing but supportive of us every step of the way,” Buettner said.

Brian Douville, Bunge Vice President of Specialty Ingredients & Protein, said a collective 17,000 hours have already gone into planning the facility, which is slated to open in 2025.

The new plant and location align well with the community, Morristown Town Council President Dave Benefiel said. “All of our industry seems to work together.”

Pence, who wore sunglasses due to recent cataract surgery, thanked Bunge for their continual investment. “We hope you keep growing here. I see there’s lots more land here if you want to continue to expand,” he said to laughs.

Benefiel joined the Congressman in the sales pitch. “If you come to Morristown, you’re looking at a great future,” he added.

Morristown Town Council President Dave Benefiel speaks at Bunge's groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday. | photo by KRISTIAAN RAWLINGS
Attendees gather following Bunge's groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday. | photo by KRISTIAAN RAWLINGS 


  • Shelbyville High School baseball player Aiden Smith, a rising sophomore, earned ALL-USA Super Team honors, as reported in The Indianapolis Star. "Smith is a top-100 overall prospect in the 2026 class and a dynamic two-way player for Shelbyville," the paper said. "Smith led the Golden Bears in nearly everything: batting average (.430), runs scored (29), hits (37), RBIs (21), doubles (10), wins (5), innings pitched (462/3) and strikeouts (67). His two home runs and 2.40 ERA ranked second on the team."
  • STATE NEWS: New reports from the Indiana Department of Health show the state’s abortion total during 2022 jumped by 13% — an increase caused by out-of-state patients coming to Indiana for the procedure as tighter laws took effect in Kentucky and Ohio. But in a sign of the quickly changing landscape of abortion availability, the number of Indiana procedures plunged in the last months of 2022 and the first months of 2023 as two of the state’s seven licensed abortion clinics reported no abortions during the January-March period. The monthly abortion rate dropped by one-third or more in the last months of 2022 as the state abortion ban took effect for about a week before being blocked by court order and abortion clinics faced patient confusion and staffing shortages. That decline continued into the first three months of this year, with a 15% decline from that same time during 2022. A Planned Parenthood clinic in Indianapolis, which has in the past led the state in abortions performed, and Whole Woman’s Health in South Bend, which announced its closure last month, reported no abortions during that period. (Indiana Public Media)

This Month in Shelby County History

2018: Winners of the Shelby County Fair Baby Contest included Hudson Hounshell, Finley Parsley, Tanner Bray, Leilani Mano, Cohen Shuppert, Lennox Sheidler, Leonard Parsley, Emery Chaney and Kennedy and Khloe Mack.

2013: Eight-year 4-H member and third-year Shelby Royal participant Katie Lawson won the Shelby Royal Showmanship exhibition at the Fairgrounds.

2008: Scott Spahr, property manager for Charles Major Manor at 102 E. Franklin St., organized an all-class reunion for the old Charles Major School. Spahr said he would also like to start a committee to raise funds to help clean the Balser bear statue on Public Square, which had previously been located in front of the Major school.

2003: Fourteen graduated from the 200-hour Shelbyville Police Department/Shelby County Sheriff's Department Reserve Academy. They were Nathan Batton, Todd Brandman, David Brooks, David Childs, Benjamin Coffman, Scott Debaun, Robert Elliott, Keith England, Frank Griffin, Nathan Kehl, Shawn Keller, Donald McGugan, Justin Parker and Deidra Schneider.

1998: Danielle Blain, 13, left for Hershey, Pa. to participate in a national track meet. Blain started her running career on the fifth-grade track team at Loper Elementary and set two records in her first year. She was also an active participant in the Shelby County Track Club, founded by Gary and Michelle Nolley. Blain was an honor student at SMS, where she was coached by Gail Devers and Mike Johnson.

1993: Scott Beyer, Flat Rock, and Shawn Simmons, Shelbyville, were achievement record book winners at the 75th annual 4-H Round-up at Purdue University.

1988: John C. DePrez, publisher of The Shelbyville News, died at age 75. He had been the only publisher of The News since the merger of the former Shelbyville Republican morning newspaper and the evening Shelbyville Democrat in 1947. He was widely acclaimed as one of the most respected publishers in the nation. The News was named Indiana's Blue Ribbon Daily in 1979 and 1986. DePrez had started his career with the old Daniel DePrez Manufacturing Co., an ice and coal sales and delivery business that had been owned by his father, the late Herbert DePrez. John C. DePrez had also been appointed receiver for the William Nading Grain Co. in 1935 and brought the company out of receivership during the drought and Depression years of the late 1930s. He also served as president of Shelbyville Radio, Inc. from 1946 to 1952. That company operated Shelby County's first commercial radio station, the former WSRK-FM with studios in the upstairs portion of the News building, 123 E. Washington St. Shelbyville News Executive Editor Jim McKinney noted "today is the first day since 1938 that John C. DePrez has not been associated with the newspaper industry in Shelbyville." He then added that DePrez wouldn't have liked that line. "Only the publisher died," McKinney wrote. "The newspaper - both the physical institution and the cherished right of a free press that he devoted his life to preserving - are very much alive."

1983: Warren Brown, 69, prominent local attorney and longtime partner in the Brown, McQueen and Linder firm, died. He had been admitted to the Indiana State Bar in 1936. He had served as county attorney. Early in his career he formed a partnership with Mike Sullivan, and in 1938 he joined Adams and Brunner, which in 1957 became Brunner, Brown and Brunner. It then became Brown, Brown and McQueen and then Brown, McQueen and Linder. Surviving were his sons, Phillip W. Brown, James Brown and Steven Brown, and six grandchildren. Attorney George Stubbs Sr. would give the eulogy at the funeral.

1978: The Wall Street Journal quoted Sgt. Brooke Appleby of the Indiana State Police, a Shelbyville resident, in an article about the use of hypnosis in police work.

1973: In Waldron Little League action, Smith Grocery defeated Alley Lumber, 5-4, as Keith Loveless delivered a single with the bases loaded for the winning run. Mark Adams and Joe Miller each had a double for Alley's. Steve Lux threw a one-hitter and delivered a bases loaded single as Home Telephone defeated Pruitt's Studio, 2-1. Lux struck out 12. State Bank of Waldron blanked Pope's Skelgas, 5-0, as Eric Laird pitched a two-hitter. Mike Olson had a double and Kevin Olson drove in three runs for the winners. Gregg O'Dell had a double for Pope's. Other strong performances came from Mark Carlson (11 strikeouts), Ronnie Adams and Mark Adams (home runs).

1968: Sheldon Spelbring, 30, was hired as the new head basketball and baseball coach at Triton Central High School, succeeding Gordon Pope.

1963: Winners of prizes at the annual Sidewalk Sales event were Mrs. William O'Byrne, Katherine Keiper, Erma Evans, Mrs. Tony Vandiver, Edith Wilson, Nadine McDaniel, Mrs. Denny Ivie, Beatrice Dixon, Bonnie Fisher, Pete Myers, Ethel Pence, Reba Peck, Pat Theobald, Anthony Ziman and Marshall Kinney.

1958: Walls and rafters were erected at the new addition to the St. Joseph Parochial school on E. Broadway. Construction was also underway at the site of the new Shelbyville High School, scheduled for completion in early 1959.

1953: Fred Kennedy, 82, founder of Kennedy Car Liner and Bag Company and Kennedy Hotel, died at his home in Boggstown. He had sold his remaining interest in KCL in 1950.

1948: Development of Riley Village addition, by developers Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Harrell, began. Homesites had been platted with plans for 75 lots and a playground. In other development news, 174 lots went up for sale in the new Wellington Heights subdivision on East State Road 29 on land owned by Mr. and Mrs. Correl Eberhart. Chamber of Commerce officials said there had been a severe housing shortage in Shelbyville since the close of the war.

1943: Despite rules on child labor, local boys and girls ages 14 to 18 would be permitted to help full-time with the local pea canning pack due to the war effort, officials announced. A state official said there were "many jobs boys and girls can do adequately without danger to either their health or their morals."

1938: James Fuller won first prize in the Griffey Brothers fishing contest by catching a large fish at the Parrish pit near Fenns Station.

1933: Despite cool weather, more than 300 enjoyed "free day" at the Porter Memorial Pool, which included a city swim meet. Winners of the various races and age groups were Cleophas Mahaffey, Pauline Taylor, Frank Coffin, Ed Page, Stanley Faulkner, John Anderson and Joyce Poe.

1928: City Council discussed the option of lighting streets every night instead of just on the "moonlight" schedule, which it had followed for many years. There were 165 lights in the city with 60 "candle power" each. The new schedule would cost an extra $375 per year, light company officials said.

1923: "Spud" Campbell, third baseman with the Indianapolis Indians and brother of Shelbyville High School athletic director Tim Campbell, visited with the SHS baseball team to lead them in drills and offer advice.