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Severe weather shuts down business in metro area

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Commerce in the Indianapolis metro area ground to a halt Monday morning, as businesses and government offices stayed closed to help employees and customers avoid dangerous winter weather.

The closings included state and local government, corporate headquarters, factories and retail stores.

Ball State University economist Mike Hicks predicted losses in the tens of millions of dollars from the cost of snow removal, the mobilization of extra manpower, and damages to property, especially if damage to homes is significant.

But the shutdown of travel and everyday transactions isn't permanent, so much of that business will be recouped later, Hicks noted.

“These sorts of closings are not uncommon, and this one is probably well-timed, coming as it does at the early part of the year,” he said.

Large companies including OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc., Eli Lilly and Co. and Rolls-Royce Corp. closed their downtown headquarters Monday.

Lilly spokesman Ed Sagabiel said essential employees reported to work, and drug production was not affected. Jet-engine maker Rolls-Royce canceled all shifts of factory work, spokesman George McLaren said. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana canceled the first shift at its Greensburg plant.

Several Simon-owned malls in the area closed for the day (Hamilton Town Center, Fashion Mall, Clay Terrace) or delayed their openings to 2 p.m. or later (Castleton Square, Circle Centre, Greenwood Park and Washington Square).

Fishers-based Forum Credit Union – the largest credit union in the area – closed all locations, and Old National Bank delayed opening until noon.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard urged businesses to stay closed Tuesday as well, because subzero temperatures are expected to continue.

Kroger, however, was doing its best to keep stores and regional operations going. Six stores in Indiana were closed or partly closed, spokesman John Elliott said. One of the stores that remained open, at 71st Street and Binford Boulevard, lost power Sunday and ran on a generator.

Distribution centers, the bakery and dairy were struggling to catch up on restocking after record sales Friday and Saturday. They were running about 24 hours behind, partly because Kroger gave employees the option to stay home for personal safety, Elliott said.

The storm was well-timed for the FedEx distribution hub at Indianapolis International Airport. The company does not sort packages on Sundays, so there were no FedEx flight cancellations on Sunday, during the height of the storm, Indianapolis Airport Authority spokesman Carlo Bertolini said.

“It's our understanding they plan a normal operation today,” he said.

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  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

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