RVBusiness Names Top 10 RVs of the Year, Other Honorees

“RVB’s Top 10 RVs of the Year” is a new feature generated this year by the staff and contributors of RVBusiness magazine, the Elkhart, Ind.-based trade journal that in recent years had dedicated the spine of its Nov/Dec issue’s coverage to one “RV of the Year” and four finalists along with a series of “Top Debuts.”

Because key trade/consumer events like September’s Hershey Show and Elkhart RV Open House weren’t held this year due to pandemic circumstances, however, our editorial crew was unable to review units as closely as we’d like in order to make a finite decision regarding one new model above all of the others.

So, our response, based in part on a pretty exhaustive canvas of new models on display at private dealer shows around Elkhart’s RV-building zone this fall, is to highlight – in no particular order – “RVB’s Top 10 RVs of the Year” along with 25 “Top Debuts” and another 33 “Must-See” models in an effort to recognize those manufacturers that are truly pushing the envelope with regard to the latest technological, engineering and design trends.

At the same time, for the second issue in a row, we’ll be digitally promoting this product-rich section to a vast consumer audience of more than four million people across 30 different RV-focused websites operated by the RV Life Network, a 15-year-old, Texas-based, digital media firm.

So, congratulations to the winners – but also to an industry that, once again, has not only proven its resilience but, from all appearances, soared to new heights.

TOP 10 RVs of the YEAR

  • Alliance Paradigm
  • Dutchmen Yukon 400RL
  • Fleetwood Discovery LXE 25th Anniversary Edition 36HQ
  • Forest River River Ranch by Palomino
  • Forest River Ibex 20BHS
  • Grand Design Solitude 346FLS
  • Jayco Jay Feather Micro
  • Keystone Arcadia
  • Newmar Canyon Star 3719
  • Winnebago Hike

TOP DEBUTS

  • Airstream Basecamp 2.0
  • Bowlus Endless Highways Performance Edition
  • Coachmen Sportscoach SRS
  • CrossRoads Cameo 3701RL
  • Dynamax Europa
  • East to West Tandara 320 RL
  • Entegra Ethos 20T
  • Forest River Cedar Creek 345IK
  • Forest River Impression 270RK
  • Grand Design Transcend Xplor 240ML
  • Gulf Stream Conquest 63111
  • Heartland North Trail DBS
  • Holiday Rambler Nautica 33TL
  • Jayco Seneca Prestige / Entegra Accolade XL
  • KZ Escape Hatch E17
  • Lance 1770 Ultra-Light Travel Trailer
  • Leisure Travel Vans Wonder Rear Lounge
  • nüCamp Barefoot
  • Prime Time Crusader 305
  • Roadtrek Zion Slumber
  • Thor Motor Coach Tellaro
  • Tiffin Zephyr
  • Winnebago Revel 44E
  • Woodland Park PMRV
  • Xtreme Outdoors Little Guy Micro Max

MUST-SEE RVs

  • Aliner Family Camper
  • American Tradition 37S
  • Coachmen Encore
  • Cruiser Radiance R-28BH
  • Droplet Teardrop
  • DRV Mobile Suites 41 FKMB
  • Forest River Sierra C-Class 3770
  • Forest River Sabre 37FLL
  • Forest River Wildcat 336 RLS
  • Jayco Eagle 24RE
  • Coachmen Catalina
  • CrossRoads Sunset Trail 268RL
  • CrossRoads Zinger 280RB
  • Dutchmen Voltage
  • Grand Design Momentum G-Class 30G
  • Gulf Stream Envision 25RLD
  • Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 23TWS
  • Heartland Big Horn 3120RK
  • Heartland Cyclone 4006
  • Highland Ridge Open Range Roamer
  • Holiday Rambler Armada 44LE
  • Keystone Cougar 345UMR
  • KZ Durango Half Ton D27BHS
  • Lance 2445 Travel Trailer
  • Marathon Show Coach #1317
  • nüCamp Cirrus 820
  • Roadtrek Chase
  • Roadtrek Play
  • Shasta (sanitizing station)
  • Thor Motor Coach Sequence
  • Venture RV SportTrek Touring 343VIB
  • Winnebago Micro Minnie 2108 DS
  • Winnebago Solis 59PX

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Oct 13, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| Source: https://rvbusiness.com/rvbusiness-announces-top-10-rvs-of-the-year-other-winners/

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Elkhart company wins $8 million contract with US Department of Defense

A small Elkhart company has landed an enormous government contract.

It’s come a long way over the past 20 years when it started with only two employees.

Transhield Inc. on Elkhart’s north side has grown by leaps and bounds since being founded in the 90s.

They make tarps and fitted coverings for use in aviation, boating, rail, automotive and the military.

Each tarp is custom engineered, not off the shelf.

“We started with two employees, originally Greg Todt and myself, and now we’ve grown to over 70 employees here within the community,” said Transhield President Jim Glick.

Their hard work paid off for military products.

Some have unit emblems or logos on them. They’re made for everything from ships and tanks to track vehicles and weapons systems.

The Department of Defense just awarded Transhield a nearly $8 million contract. They’ll make tarps and fitted covers for the Army and Navy.

It’s a contract they’ve been looking into for the past year and a half.

“We’d been working on it, we weren’t sure of the timing on it, and we weren’t sure, you know, exactly how it was all going to play out, but we had had been working on it, so we’re very excited to actually get the award,” said Glick.

He says the new DoD contract runs from now through 2023. Currently there are 70 workers employed, but he new contract could mean that more could be added.

“We look forward to fulfilling this contract and look for further contracts going forward,” said Glick. “We are always looking to increase our employee count here in Elkhart.”

He says the new military contract bodes well for Transhield employees, as well as the future of the company.

Source: https://wsbt.com/news/local/elkhart-company-wins-8-million-contract-with-us-department-of-defense

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Elevate Ventures Awards $20K to South Bend Tech Startup

SOUTH BEND – Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures has awarded $20,000 to a South Bend startup that develops high school curricula on emerging technology.

Digital Leader Academy was started in September 2019 through the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame. The company says it is trying to make complex topics, such as application development, tangible for high school students.

“We’re excited to move forward and develop new courses that will modernize how our students learn in high schools across the country,” said Ellen Joyce, Digital Leader Academy chief executive officer.

DLA also won a $20,000 pre-seed investment from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in October 2019. The funding allowed the company to create a minimum viable product and begin creating test lessons to send to teachers.

The academy is beta testing a course at Riley High School in South Bend, the district’s computer science and engineering magnet. The course, Data Science in Manufacturing, combines math, computer science, and business entrepreneurship.

Digital Leader says the new funding will allow it to refine the course based on teacher and student feedback.

Wednesday, September 23rd 2020, 10:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 24th 2020, 10:04 AM EDT
By Wes Mills, Content Manager
https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42671232/elevate-ventures-awards-dollar20k-to-south-bend-tech-startup

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MITO Corporation Partners with Elkhart Schools, Notre Dame

Elkhart, Ind.-based MITO Corporation, innovators in bringing mobile technology for comfort, convenience and safety to the RV, marine, automotive and bus industries, announced its collaboration with Elkhart Community Schools and the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) Summer Internship Program at the University of Notre Dame, to outfit at least 25 buses with WiFiRanger Teton C-19 broadcast units and Core interior routers to provide internet access for several hundred students in the Elkhart area, according to a press release from the company.

Jason Inman, director of Technology Services for Elkhart Community Schools, who oversees the deployment of technology used within the school district, began working with the CCI interns to identify a solution for distance e-learning challenges Elkhart faced in the last few months of the previous school year due to COVID-19.

Four interns, representing Elkhart High School and Goshen College, worked on the project through CCI, including Irving Suarez, a senior psychology and biology double major at Goshen College. Jose Chiquito Galvan, CCI internship program manager for Elkhart, managed the team.

“Anecdotally, we knew there was a need (for affordable WiFI), and even more so now with the pandemic. But we didn’t know exactly where it was concentrated.” Galvan said. “The goal of the surveys was to get an understanding of the overall need for WiFi access.”

“Once we saw the results of the surveys, the primary goal was to provide reliable internet to students in South Central Elkhart,” said Suarez, who was born in Elkhart and grew up in Goshen.

Coincidentally it was their survey that ultimately led MITO Corporation to reach out with a solution that fit their mission.

“While we had been marketing our WiFiRanger C-19 bus product line since the start of the pandemic, it wasn’t until we received the intern’s demographic survey of Elkhart County that MITO learned of this initiative.” said Dan Maloney, president of MITO Corporation. “I approached MITO owner, Mike Stock who is an Elkhart high school graduate and he was 100% on board for doing whatever we could as a company to help our local community and his alma mater.”

The outdoor WiFi hotspots Elkhart Community Schools will be deploying through the CARES Act, will have an omnidirectional range of about 2,000 feet. Verizon will provide the internet service for the hotspots under a program that offers discounts to school corporations. MITO is offering its own discount on the broadcast hardware, which, according to Inman, is already more affordable and reliable than competing products that are being used elsewhere in the area.

The outreach by MITO was facilitated by Andrew Tate, owner of Three Fires Creative and the marketing representative for MITO Corporation.

“We immediately knew this would be a golden opportunity for MITO to do some goodwill in our own backyard in these uncertain times. We knew we had a hyper-competitive product that could translate the Notre Dame CCI interns’ hard work and study into a real-world solution.” Tate said. “It gives myself, and I’m sure, all other parties that came together, great satisfaction to help our community, but also by showing North Central Indiana entities can come together to solve major problems will reinforce the innovative strength and economic development of the Norther Indiana area as a whole.”

For more information on the WiFi Solution, visit www.student-wifi.com, email oem-sales@mitocorp.com, or call 574-295-2441.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Sep 10, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| https://rvbusiness.com/mito-corporation-partners-with-elkhart-schools-notre-dame/

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Liegl Signs ‘Pledge To America’s Workers’ at VIP Event

As reported yesterday by RVBusiness, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt was joined by U.S. Senator Todd Young and U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) as they highlighted the importance of outdoor recreation and the resurgence of the American economy during a Wednesday (Aug. 19) visit to East To West RV, according to a release from the Interior Dept.

Following a tour of the facility’s manufacturing operations, Forest River Inc. and East To West RV signed President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to invest in their workforce and expand job opportunities in Indiana.

Since 2018, more than 440 companies have signed the Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to support more then 16.3 million job and training-related opportunities for American workers. More Americans are getting back to work as the economy continues to rebound and reopen. Over the past three months, 9.3 million jobs have been added.

“The Trump Administration is working to enhance the visitor experience on our public lands – places like the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge – so more Hoosiers can enjoy recreating in the great outdoors,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “Many recreational visitors utilize RVs to experience national parks, refuges and campgrounds throughout the country. I applaud these business leaders’ commitment to support the Pledge to the America’s Workers and for providing great job opportunities in Elkhart, the RV capital of the world.”

“The Great American Outdoors Act will support tens of thousands of jobs in the state of Indiana,” Senator Young said. “Aside from National Parks themselves, no other industry will benefit as much from the GAOA as the RV industry. When parks are well-kept, when facilities are maintained and improved, and when conservation is prioritized, people naturally will want to visit these national treasures, many of which are right here in Indiana.”

“Manufacturers in Elkhart – the RV Capital of the World – know the importance of investing in the current and future American workforce,” said Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02). “Their commitment to building opportunities and creating jobs for hardworking Hoosiers will be key to our economic recovery. As we continue to rebuild our nation’s economy, the Great American Outdoors Act will improve access to our public lands and give Indiana’s outdoor recreation industry an added boost. I’m grateful for the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt in protecting our national parks, defending the American worker and supporting Hoosier manufacturing.”

“Our country’s iconic national parks are one of the most favored destinations for RVers. We are grateful to the leadership of Secretary Bernhardt in ensuring these public lands receive the funding they deserve,” said RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary and his team as they implement the Great American Outdoors Act to identify projects that will make the biggest impact to improve the access, safety, and enjoyment of RVers for generations to come.”

“East to West RV is excited to sign President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers as we are committed to hiring more great employees and helping them grow with our company,” said Lisa Rees Co-General Manager of East to West RV.

At East to West RV, Secretary Bernhardt discussed the Department of the Interior’s (Interior) role in facilitating outdoor recreation across the country, managing approximately 500 million acres of land, and how RVs help the public visit America’s national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

More than 80 percent of RVs sold in the US are manufactured in Indiana with demand increasing throughout the United States amid COVID-19. In Elkhart County, the RV Industry has an annual economic impact of $14.5 billion and supports nearly 35,000 jobs, 178 businesses and pays $2.5 billion in wages.

Following the tour and signing at East to West RV, Secretary Bernhardt traveled to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to meet with National Park Service employees and inspect facilities that have deferred maintenance needs. The Great American Outdoors Act, recently signed by President Trump, provides $1.9 billion a year for the next five years to address deferred maintenance needs at national parks, refuges, American Indian schools and other public lands throughout the country.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Aug 20, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News|https://rvbusiness.com/forest-river-signs-pledge-to-americas-workers/

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Indiana Businesses Receive Manufacturing Grants

INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty Hoosier businesses have been awarded Manufacturing Readiness Grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Conexus Indiana. The nearly $2 million in funding comes from the Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement program designed to spur investments in manufacturing.

“The response we received from Indiana businesses to the Manufacturing Readiness Grant program was incredible, as manufacturers across the state have been enduring the pandemic and are moving forward with positive momentum despite shared challenges,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “We couldn’t be more grateful to these companies for contributing to Indiana’s bright economic future.” 

The grant recipients include:

  • A&T Concrete Supply Inc. – Gibson County; $2,000 to invest in a new, software-based production platform to increase workflow efficiency for its entire workforce.
     
  • Advanced Cabinet Systems – Grant County; $83,000 for equipment to modernize production.
     
  • Arroyo Industries LLC dba Direct Path Alliance – Marion County; $11,000 for 3D printing in order to streamline tooling and fixture development while reducing lead times.
     
  • Bed Techs Inc. – Dearborn County; $150,000 to develop an innovative antimicrobial copper coating that can be applied to surfaces for the health care industry and kills 99.9% of bacteria within two hours, while continuing to kill 99% of bacteria even after repeated contamination.
     
  • Beverly Industrial Service Inc. – Ripley County; $10,000 to update equipment to manufacture knives, spacers and tooling for the slitting industry, including aerospace, medical, textile and automotive.
     
  • C&R Advanced Cooling Technology – Marion County; $162,500 to expand into new markets including aerospace, defense and autonomous vehicles.
     
  • Custom Cut Decor LLC – Elkhart County; $37,500 to upgrade its production management software in order to streamline customer orders. 
     
  • D.A.S. Services Inc. – Steuben County; $36,242 for new software to transform their in-plant and mobile business. 
     
  • Indiana Face Mask – Jasper County; $161,769 for mask production machinery.
     
  • Indiana Furniture Industries Inc. – Dubois County; $90,879 for technology that will enable them to increase speed, reduce waste, enhance design capabilities and expand product offering within their seating operation.
     
  • Metro Plastics Technologies Inc. – Hamilton County; $125,000 for new, high-tech equipment to increase production speed.   
     
  • Mursix Corporation – Delaware County; $116,837 for manufacturing face shields and components for respiratory-assist devices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
  • OMR Automotive – Marion County; $250,000 to invest and hire as it scales up to handle additional contact awards to double capacity and employment in the next 12 months.
     
  • Overton and Sons Tool & Die Company – Morgan County; $32,500 to invest in measurement technology to significantly improve production efficiencies.
     
  • PBTT – Warrick County; $189,180 to invest in advanced machining with COBOT automation to increase their capacity while hiring additional employees to manage these advancements in high-tech processing.
     
  • Pike Lumber Company – Fulton County; $95,320 for machining technology in order to upgrade one of its Indiana sawmills located in Akron.
     
  • Sugar Creek Bottling Company – Marion County; $109,144 for new machinery to bottle large-sized containers of hand sanitizer.
     
  • Tube Forming Systems – Johnson County; $93,250 for additive manufacturing to shorten development cycle times.
     
  • Universal Blower Pac Inc. – Hamilton County; $25,000 for high-tech equipment to improve production capabilities.
     
  • Wolf Corporation – Allen County; $155,980 for new machinery after retooling operations to produce hospital gowns for frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The IEDC says the program has $4 million available in matching grants up to or equal to the amount of qualified investment in new equipment and machinery.

More applications are under review, even though Conexus says the allocated program funding would be exceeded if any more are accepted, the peer review panel will continue to make recommendations to the IEDC.

More information is available here


Thursday, August 20th 2020, 10:06 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 20th 2020, 1:19 PM EDT
By Reed Parker, Writer/Reporter

Source: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42522086/indiana-businesses-receive-manufacturing-grants

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Utilimaster to Host Second Drive-Thru Job Fair in Bristol, Ind.

Utilimaster, a go-to-market brand of The Shyft Group’s Fleet Vehicles & Services business unit (NASDAQ: SHYF), a North American leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing, assembly and upfit for the commercial, retail, and service specialty vehicle markets, is hosting its third drive-thru job fair of the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 5 at 603 Earthway Blvd., in Bristol, Ind., in response to COVID-19 health concerns.

Utilimaster is seeking to fill additional positions on its Bristol campus to meet increasing product demand from customers. In an extended effort to follow social distancing protocols, and for the comfort of applicants, interviews will be offered in both car-side and open-air sit-down formats, where masks will be required.

“We continue to experience growing demand for last mile delivery fleet vehicles, as more and more consumers are shopping online simultaneously increase the delivery of both essential and non-essential goods, direct to their doorstep,” said Chad Heminover, president, Shyft Fleet Vehicles & Services. “As a result, we’re looking for even more new team members to join us in Bristol and help us build the vehicles and upfits our customers need.”

Offering highly competitive wages, positions for hire include full-time, day and night shift general assembly positions with day wages starting at $15.50 an hour and night shift positions starting at $17.25 an hour. Both shifts include full benefits that will commence on the first day of work, which include tuition reimbursement, 80 hours of holiday pay, as well as traditional medical and wellness benefits.

This is the third drive-thru hiring event to take place across The Shyft Group corporation in the last month in support of continuing demand for its vehicles. This past June, the company — formerly known as Spartan Motors, Inc. — rebranded to The Shyft Group, to be more reflective of its next phase of business transformation and focus on high-growth commercial, retail, and service specialty vehicle markets, following the divestiture of its fire truck business. The name represents speed, efficiency, agility, and a high-intensity approach.

Visit Utilimaster.com/careers for more information.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Aug 4, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| https://rvbusiness.com/utilimaster-to-host-second-drive-thru-job-fair-in-bristol-ind/

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Alliance RV Celebrates Milestone with 500th Fifth-Wheel

At a recent company gathering, Alliance RV, Elkhart, Ind., announced the production of its 500th Paradigm fifth-wheel.

During the gathering, Co-Founder Coley Brady noted, “We launched Alliance RV with a mission of providing a superior customer ownership experience and are thrilled with how the shift in business philosophy is resonating with both our dealer partners and product owners.  To experience the validation that we have seen over the last six months has been very humbling.”

Co-Founder Ryan Brady continued the sentiments with a thank you to Alliance RV’s 150-plus team members as well as the Alliance product owners (known as Allies) who have been instrumental in driving the design of the Alliance RV product.  Ryan went on to say, “A solid foundation has clearly been put in place to responsibly grow Alliance RV into the future.  We will remain resolute in our mission of exceeding customer expectations with a guiding principle of ‘doing the right thing’”.

Located on 112 acres in the heart of Elkhart, Ind., Alliance RV began production in fall 2019 with the first product line focused on the luxury fifth-wheel market. The company’s vision is to “create a product driven by our customers, through their experience and input, and execute on those ideas at the highest level.”

For more information on Alliance RV, please visit www.AllianceRV.com or join the Alliance RV Facebook page at “Alliance RV Group.

By: RVBusiness|Published on: Jul 8, 2020|Categories: Today’s Industry News| https://rvbusiness.com/alliance-rv-celebrates-milestone-with-500th-fifth-wheel/

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Manufacturing Readiness Grants Now Available from Conexus

Indiana’s manufacturing industry is critical to the state’s economy and success. To ensure the industry retains its national leadership position and embraces advanced technologies, Conexus Indiana is partnering with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to launch a new Manufacturing Readiness Grant program.

In partnership with the IEDC, Conexus Indiana is now accepting applications for up to $200,000 in matching grants for companies committing to increasing their competitiveness by integrating smart technologies and processes in order to improve capacity, capability, speed and quality. Funding may also be utilized for health care manufacturing technology, providing financial assistance to manufacturers supporting COVID-19 response efforts.

Apply Now

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Water Monitor Named ‘Coolest Thing’ in Elkhart County

Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 12:07 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 24th 2020, 12:18 PM EDT
By Mary Willkom, Writer/Reporter

The SonSetLink Water Monitor was voted 'Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County' (photo courtesy of Made in Elkhart County)

The SonSetLink Water Monitor was voted ‘Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County’ (photo courtesy of Made in Elkhart County)

ELKHART COUNTY – The Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s “Coolest Thing Made in Elkhart County” campaign has named its winner. The SonSetLink Water Monitor, developed and built by SonSet Solutions, earned the top honors.

The water monitor is a universal satellite monitoring system that reports data on the health of water systems in underdeveloped countries. SonSet says the system can track information such as the number of gallons flowing from a single system as well as the levels of chlorination in the water.

Inspired by the Vibrant Communities initiative in Elkhart County, the campaign culminated with a public vote. The bureau says SonSetLink Water Monitor received nearly 25% of all votes.

More than 4,000 votes were cast between June 1 and June 15 for 30 different products from ice cream to RVs. The campaign was first announced in January.

The winner was announced via the Made in Elkhart County Facebook page on Wednesday.

SonSet says it has deployed more than 750 water monitoring units to more than 25 countries across the world so far.

The top ten winners are listed below:

  1. SonSet Solutions: SonSetLink Water Monitors
  2. Janus Motorcycles: Halycon 250
  3. Bonneyville Mille: Grist Mill Flour
  4. Vanilla Bean Creamery: Amish Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  5. Electric Brew: Bald Brothers Coffee
  6. Lizard Loves Mustache Costumes: Fursuits
  7. Antonio’s: Vegas Fortuna
  8. Soup of Success: Mittens on a Mission
  9. Rocket Science: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
  10. Agdia: ImmunoStrips

Source: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42284898/water-monitor-named-coolest-thing-in-elkhart-county

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