Hot Dog! Likely New Frankfort Mayor is 23-Year-Old Butler Student

My parents and grandparents are from Frankfort and I lived there until I was five, so it’s an Indiana town I have a strong affinity for. Seeing this news yesterday was quite intriguing: Soon-to-be Butler University grad Chris McBarnes won the GOP primary, likely making him the town’s next mayor.

Good luck to him, and I think it’s safe to say he won’t end up like another young government exec — "Parks & Recreation" character Ben Wyatt. Wyatt became mayor of his hometown of Partridge, Minnesota at 18 years old, only to bankrupt the burg by investing all too heavily in "Ice Town." Newspapers then blasted the young mayor with the headline: "Ice Town Costs Ice Clown Town Crown." Thankfully, Mr. McBarnes seems far more fiscally responsible, so this likely won’t be an issue.

Every weekend since October, McBarnes said, he and a core group of supporters were out knocking on doors and talking to residents. He estimated the group of about 25 volunteers knocked on the doors of 90 percent of the homes in Frankfort.

The grass-roots approach succeeded in raising about $15,000, most of which came in donations of less than $100, McBarnes said.

Terri Jett, an associate professor and chairwoman of Butler’s political science department, said McBarnes’ strategy was diligent and effective. Jett didn’t have McBarnes as a student or know him from campus, but she said his message must have resonated in Frankfort.

"The success of someone his age depends on the makeup of the community," Jett said. Frankfort "looks to be a changing community with an influx of immigrants and a population that’s relatively young. So there are people there who are not so tied to the old system."

McBarnes talked to potential supporters about his plans to unify city and county governments, end infighting and promote small-business growth. He promised to engage citizens and make sure people could speak up at local government meetings without feeling intimidated.

Youth involvement also was part of his platform. McBarnes wants to create a job-shadowing program to help high school students explore various professions. He also hopes to work with city youths and inspire them to return to Frankfort after college.

"Some of the youths feel shoved aside in this community," McBarnes said. "I want to make sure those who go on to further education are proud of their community and make them want to come back."

Other commitments he’s made include preserving municipal employee health insurance benefits, working on city beautification, seeking grant funds and assisting with the Frankfort Roundhouse — a project to build a proposed railroad museum and business center on the city’s west side.

Hog Heaven: Frankfort Company to be Featured on QVC

From Clinton County to the bright lights of the television studio: Indiana Chamber member Shoup’s Country Foods (Frankfort) will be featured this Memorial Day (May 31) on QVC between 11 a.m. and noon. The network will promote Shoup’s famous Hogburgers — aka "the ultimate porkburger" — as well as Shoup’s seasoning. Representing the company will be Amy Shoup Mennen and Cindy Shoup Cacy.

And if the thought of these meaty treats gets your mouth watering, go ahead and check out the company’s web site. Perhaps you can place an order for your own Memorial Day celebration. You might also be interested in Shoup’s catering offerings and mini-hog roasts, as well.

Safety Worth Celebrating

Safety is something that can easily be taken for granted – that is until something happens.

When an employee died on the job at Strick Corporation in 2002, the Monroe-based company knew change was needed. “The incident rate was almost a recordable one (to OSHA) each day” prior to that fatality, notes Cheryl Pike, plant nurse and safety coordinator.

Impacted by the death of a co-worker, employees started volunteering for the company’s safety programs. The company’s culture changed for the better. The transformation at Strick Corporation earned the company INSHARP (Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) status in 2008.

Today, Strick was honored at the 2009 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards for its overall safety program.

Joining Strick in earning awards at the Indiana Safety and Health Conference were:

  • Turner Construction Company of Indiana LLC in Indianapolis – education and outreach by a construction company award
  • Bayer Healthcare LLC, Product Supply/Diabetes Care facility in Mishawaka – education and outreach by a large company award
  • Futurex Industries Inc. in Bloomingdale – education and outreach by a medium company award
  • Monsanto Company, Windfall Soybean Production division in Remington – education and outreach by a small company award
  • ERMCO Inc. in Indianapolis – innovation by a specialty contractor award
  • Indianapolis Power & Light Company – innovation by a large company award
  • Emerson Industrial Automation, Emerson Power Transmission division in Monticello – innovation by a medium company award
  • DSM NeoResins+ in Frankfort – innovation by a small company award
  • Kimball Electronics and Advanced Rehabilitation, Inc. in Jasper – partnerships award
  • Cerrowire Inc. in Crothersville – small company safety award
  • Solid Platforms Inc. in Portage – specialty contractor safety award

The 2009 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards are presented by the Indiana Department of Labor, on behalf of Gov. Mitch Daniels, the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Indiana Chamber.

Frito-Lay a Real Blue Chip for Frankfort

My parents and grandparents are all from Frankfort, and I spent the early part of my life as a Hot Dog. So it’s with great pride that I get to blog about a thriving business in this great town (known also to many as the place where "Blue Chips" was filmed). Frito-Lay not only employs 1,500 people at its Frankfort site (which includes two locations in the city), but it is making great strides in some key areas. Here are some facts you may not know about one of America’s premier snack makers:

  • The Frankfort plant is the largest site in Frito-Lay’s entire operation
  • Frito-Lay was the first major food company to remove trans fats from its entire snack chip portfolio
  • The Frankfort facility is working on a zero-landfill initiative. The company has been getting advice from Subaru in Lafayette, which has embarked upon a similar measure.
  • For its environmental awareness, the company won the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2008.

So there you go. The next time you devour a chili cheese Frito, don’t forget that you’re also supporting an outstanding Hoosier business. Frankfort workers will be grateful for your contribution — and Nick Nolte won’t make you run sprints after practice.