Last Updated Mon., March 30, 2015 - 5:52 AM

Manhole inspections nearly complete in downtown Indianapolis 5:49 AM

Associated Press
The utility company originally planned to inspect about 300 manholes, but decided to bring in out-of-state crews to conduct inspections on more than 1,200 manholes following a series of explosions.

Existing casinos concerned about proposed Pokagon casino11:22 PM

Associated Press
Because Four Winds Casino would be on land-in-trust controlled by a Native American tribe, it would not be subject to the same tax and regulatory system as other casinos in Indiana.

Indiana governor: New law 'not about discrimination'12:12 PM

Associated Press
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the new state law that's garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination and said Sunday on national TV that it wasn't a mistake to have enacted it.

As Circle Centre turns 20, declining performance, anchor woes spur worry

Sales per square foot are down, the building itself is aging, and persuading the lone anchor, Carson Pirie Scott, to stay another three years required generous incentives.

Executive pay continues on upswing

The median senior executive collected $923,705 in salary, stock or stock options, incentive pay and perks in 2013, IBJ found in a review of proxy statements at 64 companies.The median compensation rose 20 percent from 2012 and doubled since 2006.

No-holds-barred tactics lifted developer Ozdemir

Ersal Ozdemir, who heads the development and construction firm Keystone Group, has charmed elected officials for years with big ideas—and hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions.

Special Report: City's building spree leaves trail of spoils

Mayor Greg Ballard takes pride in Rebuild Indy, the city’s nearly $400 million program that doubled the volume of public works projects—and became engineering and construction firms' largest business opportunity with the city in more than a decade.

City bans bulk land-bank sales after lopsided deal with not-for-profit

Indianapolis last year sold 154 properties from its land bank for $1,000 each to a novice not-for-profit, which immediately flipped them for a total $500,000 profit. More than a dozen have changed hands multiple times since then, making investors more than $1 million. (with interactive map)

SPECIAL REPORT: Stock-based pay builds wealth for Indiana execs

IBJ's annual review of proxy statements for Indiana public companies found senior executives' median compensation rose 14 percent in 2011. But that analysis uses the fair market value of stock and options awards on the date they were granted. If a company's stock price surges, executives can make out far better. (with searchable database)

Crean, Painter contracts packed with rewards for postseason success

Indiana University Coach Tom Crean and Purdue University Coach Matt Painter cash in big time when their teams perform well, especially in postseason play.

Airport execs' globetrotting sparks scrutiny

Indianapolis Airport Authority CEO John Clark and two key officers spent more than $67,000 last year on travel that included extended business trips to Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Morocco and Switzerland.

BioCrossroads has stoked state's life sciences industry, but challenges remain

In the 10 years BioCrossroads has been promoting life sciences in Indiana, the effort has netted more than 330 new companies, an infusion of more than $330 million in venture capital, a tripling of exports, and a growing number of mentions in national reports on life sciences.

Warnings about broker's tactics went unheeded

Several state employees openly questioned how John Bales' real estate brokerage did business long before the FBI launched an investigation that led to his indictment.
More Special Reports
Last Updated Mon., March 30, 2015 - 5:52 AM

Manhole inspections nearly complete in downtown Indianapolis 5:49 AM

The utility company originally planned to inspect about 300 manholes, but decided to bring in out-of-state crews to conduct inspections on more than 1,200 manholes following a series of explosions.

Existing casinos concerned about proposed Pokagon casino11:22 PM

Because Four Winds Casino would be on land-in-trust controlled by a Native American tribe, it would not be subject to the same tax and regulatory system as other casinos in Indiana.

Indiana governor: New law 'not about discrimination'12:12 PM

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the new state law that's garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination and said Sunday on national TV that it wasn't a mistake to have enacted it.

Pence supports bill clarifying religious objection law

The governor said he's been in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend. He expects that a clarification bill will be introduced this coming week to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act he signed Thursday.

Colleges getting out of health insurance business

The main driver of colleges getting out of the insurance business is a provision in the Affordable Care Act that prevents students from using premium tax subsidies to purchase insurance from their college or university.

Indiana officials look to stem 'religious freedom' fallout

Supporters of the bill that Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed Thursday say discrimination claims are overblown. They maintain courts haven't allowed that to happen under similar laws covering the federal government and in 19 other states.

Indianapolis monument needs more work than expected

Officials say repairs to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis won't be done before this May's Indianapolis 500 activities as hoped.

U.S. economy grew at 2.2-percent rate in fourth quarter

Economic growth for all of 2014 was also unchanged at 2.4 percent, only a tiny improvement from the 2.2-percent growth seen in 2013. For the past five years, growth has averaged a subpar 2.2 percent.

NCAA Final 4 to interrupt Indiana Legislature's schedule

Indiana lawmakers will have a slightly extended break from the Statehouse while the NCAA men's basketball Final Four is in Indianapolis.

UPDATE: NCAA to 'examine implications' of 'freedom' bill

NCAA President Mark Emmert says the association is keeping an eye on the impact of the "Religious Freedom Restoration" bill that Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Thursday.

Utility installs locking manhole covers ahead of Final Four

Indianapolis Power & Light Co. said Thursday it has enlisted 50 technicians from Ohio and Illinois to help inspect about 1,300 manholes and vaults in the utility's downtown underground network.

Candidates to replace Coats in Senate quickly emerge

Former Indiana Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb, State Sen. Mike Delph and Congressman Todd Young have all expressed an interest in succeeding Sen. Dan Coats.

Pence set to sign 'religious freedom' bill into law

Gov. Mike Pence's spokeswoman said the governor has planned a private ceremony for Thursday to sign the measure, which has come under fire from numerous business groups and leaders.

Justices side with ex-UPS worker who claims pregnancy bias

The Supreme Court is giving a former UPS driver another chance to prove her claim of discrimination after the company did not offer her lighter duty when she was pregnant.

EPA adds Kokomo site to priority cleanup list

A nearly 300-acre plume of tainted groundwater in Kokomo has been added to the federal Superfund program's priority list that seeks to move along investigations of industrial contamination.

Lawmakers: Search fee for records to be removed from bill

Indiana lawmakers say a provision that would allow government entities to charge a $20 search fee for records requests that take longer than two hours will be removed from a proposal.

High court: Constitution doesn't require school bus service

The decision stems from a case involving the Franklin Township school district in Indianapolis, which was sued after it eliminated free bus service for the 2011-2012 school year.

Dan Coats says he won't run for Senate in 2016

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana announced Tuesday that he would retire at the end of his term rather than seek re-election in 2016. His announcement opens the way for what could be a lively GOP primary to replace him.

Pence set to sign 'right to try' trial drugs bill

A proposal aimed at giving terminally ill patients in Indiana easier access to experimental drugs not yet on pharmacy shelve is about to become law.

Steak n Shake makes first foray into racing sponsorship

Steak n Shake will enter IndyCar this year as primary sponsor for Graham Rahal for five races, including the Indianapolis 500.

Officials hold out hope for historic plant dormant since 2009

A half-mile long and more than a million square feet in size, the former BorgWarner Automotive plant is a fading landmark in Muncie where more than 5,000 used to work. Today, the building is on sale for $1.75 per square foot.

Former TSA chief learning the ropes as university president

Three weeks into his tenure at Anderson University, John Pistole is embarked on a crash course about how to be a university president and is relishing the challenge.

NFL suspending TV blackouts for 2015 season

No NFL games will be blocked from local television next season, the league said Monday at the owners' meetings. The teams voted for a one-year suspension of the long-standing blackout policy for the preseason and regular season.

Indiana House OKs religious objection bill by wide margin

Republicans cast all the "yes" votes as House members voted 63-31 to support the bill that would prohibit any state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.

House panel weighs giving equal access to adoption records

Efforts to expand Indiana adoptees' access to more than 50 years of sealed records hit a snag Monday after an aide to Gov. Mike Pence raised concerns about how the plan could impact biological mothers.

Ex-BMV chief, others knew about overcharges, report says

A top deputy commissioner under former BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell testified in a pending lawsuit that he urged Waddell and then-Chief of Staff Shawn Walters to conduct an independent audit of the bogus fees, but they refused.

State suspends VA manager who made fun of suicide

The Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Board voted Monday to suspend clinical social worker Robin Paul's license for 90 days.

Bill addressing foreclosure-prevention options under fire

An Indiana law that has helped thousands of residents at risk of foreclosure keep their homes could be "gutted" under a bill being considered by state lawmakers, housing advocates say.

Foes of central Indiana reservoir plan urge end to proposal

Opponents of a proposed reservoir stretching from Anderson to Muncie are urging an economic development group to abandon its push for the $450 million project.

Lawmaker with casket firms helped kill bio-cremation bill

A state lawmaker who owns two businesses that make caskets helped kill legislation that would have legalized a new alternative to traditional burial in Indiana.

Debates simmering over wages, education board

Indiana lawmakers are expected to again face contentious debates in the next few weeks over repealing the state law on public construction project wages and allowing the replacement of Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz as leader of the state Board of Education.

'Right to try' trial drugs bill heads to governor's desk

A proposal to give terminally ill patients easier access to experimental drugs not yet on pharmacy shelves has been forwarded to Gov. Mike Pence for his signature.

House GOP rejects changes to religious objections bill

Proposals to add amendments to the religious-objections bill were defeated in largely party-line votes, with just three of the 71 House Republicans supporting any of the amendments. The House could vote next week on approving the bill.

State superintendent requests shift in House budget funds

Indiana's state schools superintendent asked lawmakers Thursday to shift money that a House budget plan allocated for charter schools to public schools instead and also outlined her plan to cut the cost of student testing.

UPDATE: Emergency meeting called on underground blasts downtown

Explosions shot manhole covers into the air at a busy downtown Indianapolis intersection on Thursday, raising safety concerns as the city prepares to host the Final Four next month. IPL said the explosions caused "significant damage to the electrical infrastructure."

UPDATE: 'Religious freedom' bill gets more corporate criticism

Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, has joined opponents of the "religious freedom" bill. And some Indiana lawmakers question whether new day care rules could be threatened.

New signups for Indiana health care program reach 100,000

The expanded health care program for low-income residents has enrolled more than 100,000 new people in the two months since it received federal approval.

House panel passes utility energy-efficiency bill

An Indiana House committee has approved a proposal that would reduce state oversight of the energy-efficiency programs of major utilities.

Donnelly urges Indiana, feds to work together on Amtrak line

Sen. Joe Donnelly urging the two agencies to "work closely" to resolve the matter and keep the four-days-per-week Hoosier State passenger line running.

UPDATE: House panel passes bill banning powdered alcohol

Supporters of a ban say Palcohol would encourage underage drinking and could easily be concealed at school events.

Bankrupt Toll Road operator execs to share $2.5M bonus

Five top executives from the bankrupt operator of the Indiana Toll Road will split $2.45 million in bonuses once an Australian company closes on a $5.72 billion deal to buy the lease-holding business.

Indianapolis Hindu temple getting $10M expansion

The expansion, set to be unveiled in June, includes construction of a worship hall with 17 shrines.

Indiana House backs 3-year ban on building nursing homes

Indiana would have a three-year moratorium on construction of most new nursing homes under a proposal the state House narrowly approved Tuesday.

Indiana Senate passes 'right-to-try' trial drugs bill

The Indiana Senate has approved a measure that would allow terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs that are not yet on pharmacy shelves.

Jury awards Anderson woman $1.7M in suit with hospital

A jury found in favor of Billie Jo Sayers on Monday in her lawsuit against IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

Local tech firm Blue Pillar moving headquarters to East Coast

Blue Pillar, which just landed nearly $14 million in equity funding, agreed to move its headquarters from Indianapolis to Maryland after getting $500,000 from a state-sponsored venture capital fund.

Mass Ave blast traced to underground electrical vault

Indianapolis Power & Light says an explosion that startled patrons Monday night in the downtown district occurred in a chamber where transformers became over-pressurized.

Lilly joins $100M global Alzheimer's venture fund

Major drugmakers—including Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.—the British government and a top Alzheimer's research charity are pooling more than $100 million to create a global fund to accelerate efforts to find a treatment or cure.

Indiana joins 10 states in opposing tougher EPA ozone limits

Gov. Mike Pence says the proposed new standards would harm Indiana "just as our economy appears to be turning a corner."

State recovers $126,000 in Medicaid settlement

The settlement with Indiana, 48 other states and the federal government will resolve five lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo Inc.
Last Updated Mon., March 30, 2015 - 5:52 AM

MARCH 30-APRIL 5, 2015

Thisissue1-033015

Final Four payoff from 2004 NCAA pact continuing to escalate

A deal struck 10 years ago to bring the men’s Final Four to Indianapolis every five years has become a much-beefier cash cow for the city than any of the pact’s architects could have imagined.

Front Page

IU Health nurses to vote on union

Nurses at Indiana University Health’s downtown hospitals are moving quickly to form a union in a bid they say is designed to improve their own working conditions and pay and to improve care for patients.

In-store bank branches fall out of favor

The number of in-store bank branches—mostly at grocery stores—has been trending downward for years, and in the coming months they’ll be all but gone from Indianapolis.

Top Stories

Ballard, like predecessor, doesn’t have city email address

The mayor declined to set up a city email account when he took office in 2008, and he does not use one to this day.

Deciding whether to join union a tough call for Indianapolis actors

Whether to join the union has always been a dilemma for regional actors, but in Indianapolis the decision is even more difficult as non-union professional theaters proliferate and offer plum roles to build experience.

Valet services expand beyond the expected clients

Valet service in central Indiana has expanded beyond upscale restaurants and luxury hotels to hospitals, casual eateries and even a grocery store.

Does Biglari’s Steak n Shake storyline rewrite history?

Steak n Shake's parent company quotes longtime director Ruth Person as calling the period before Sardar Biglari took the helm "the scariest of times." But the CEO back then said the burger chain was on solid financial footing.

Focus

Residential Real Estate: Marketplace

Look here to see the latest housing sales in the Indianapolis area, as well as the most expensive local house sold recently, and a map showing where households with the greatest incomes are located.

Online real estate brokerage Redfin enters market; brokers unfazed

A residential real estate service that prides itself on its tech-savvy ways and alternative methods of compensating agents hopes to make a splash in the Indianapolis market.

Couple rescues Italianate farmhouse from decay

Couple called in favors and even kept a picture taken by a photographer who entered the shot in a contest for an image best portraying the emotion of fear.

A&E, etc.

LOPRESTI: Organized to the teeth for the Final Four, but for one detail

The Final Four is so close, you can almost hear the trombones in the pep bands. Look around downtown.

DINING: Creperie added to Mass Ave mix

I say vive la difference when it comes to eateries on Mass Ave, especially when a new taste in the area is presented in such a bright, fun way.

Opinion

EDITORIAL: ‘Freedom’ bill is just the opposite

Indiana’s Republican-led General Assembly—refusing to cede a losing battle against the tide of history—has sullied Indiana’s reputation again, sending one more message of divisiveness.

MAURER: McClelland, a giant in entrepreneurship, retires

As president of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Jim McClelland helped the least-productive people in our city gain a sense of dignity and self worth.

RUSTHOVEN: Coats among dwindling, respected breed

Sen. Dan Coats’ decision not to seek re-election sparked immediate speculation about a raft of potential candidates for what was a “safe” Republican seat, and whether that seat is now in play in 2016. A flurry of articles and emails on this were circulating within hours of Coats’ announcement.

FRIEDMAN: Hoosiers throw Hoosiers under the bus

If I told you that a state agency, charged with protecting the interests of Hoosiers, actually endorsed the bid of an offshore equity fund to buy the Indiana Toll Road lease over a viable Hoosier bid, you wouldn’t believe it.

FEIGENBAUM: Harris quietly got things done in the Legislature

Despite having served in the House since 1982, Earl Harris wasn’t familiar to most Hoosiers, not having served in posts from which lawmakers are elevated to the statewide public spotlight. Nor was Harris well-known outside Lake County for having authored signature legislation that galvanized or polarized Hoosiers.

KIM: More wisdom from Buffett: Don't bet against America

Buffett believes in America and puts his money where his mouth is.

BOHANON & STYRING: Beware politicians' boasts about jobless rates

The widely publicized unemployment rate is one of those chameleon numbers, where apparent good is sometimes bad, and vice versa. All is not always what it seems when you peek behind the wizard’s curtain.

No alarm over Indiana pensions

Concern about the Indiana Public Retirement System investment results [March 16] arises from a revolution in institutional investing that started in the 1960s.

Armbands for bigots

I loved Mickey Maurer’s [March 16] column, “If religion dictates, be prejudiced and proud.” I have an additional suggestion.

Common construction wage debate marred

Indiana’s common construction wage statute is being vilified in recent media releases using information that is almost laughably inaccurate. The releases espouse that public works projects such as schools, libraries, hospitals and the like can achieve savings of 20 percent by eliminating the common construction wage.

In Brief

Justice center panel to work at fast clip

A board set up to review Mayor Greg Ballard’s criminal justice complex proposal is scheduled to vote April 8, and the five members will be asked to digest loads of information in a two-week span.

Senate panel backs renovating Carroll Stadium for soccer

Indiana Senate fiscal leaders threw their support Tuesday morning behind spending $20 million to improve the Michael Carroll Stadium at IUPUI to benefit the Indy Eleven professional soccer team and to lure other events to Indianapolis.

Energy-efficiency bill advances to governor

Senate Bill 412 reflects Gov. Mike Pence’s policy on energy efficiency, which he promised to craft after allowing the Energizing Indiana program to be terminated in 2014.

Bill that would let small brewers produce more beer advances

Sun King and other Indiana beer makers could produce more barrels of their product while remaining small breweries under a bill the House Public Policy Committee passed Wednesday.

Records

Records for March 30, 2015

Records for March 30, 2015.

Blogs

Priority list includes free Rihanna/Imagine Dragons concerts, and a basketball game...at the IMA

Okay, so you're probably going to spend a fair amount of time this weekend watching basketball. There are plenty of other options available, though, in and around (or instead of) the Final Four.

Speedway exploring new 125-room hotel for Turn 2

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has asked developers to propose a track-side hotel—possibly including apartments and a restaurant—that could be built and ready for occupancy by May 2017.

The Fan's JMV leads afternoon sports-talk radio battle by wide margin

With March Madness in full swing and the Final Four headed to Indianapolis, plenty of people will be tuning in to sports talk radio. Indianapolis has three stations cranking out sports talk, and all three are trying to grab the lucrative afternoon drive-time audience.

Civic Theatre plans special events to celebrate centennial

The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is celebrating 100 years in the Indianapolis area with a special exhibit and season-ending gala.

Semper Reformanda

Think we’re almost done with changes from Obamacare? Think again. Things won’t settle down any sooner than 2017, and they could actually get even wilder after that.

A&E, etc.

Existing casinos concerned about proposed Pokagon casino

Because Four Winds Casino would be on land-in-trust controlled by a Native American tribe, it would not be subject to the same tax and regulatory system as other casinos in Indiana.

Priority list includes free Rihanna/Imagine Dragons concerts, and a basketball game...at the IMA

Okay, so you're probably going to spend a fair amount of time this weekend watching basketball. There are plenty of other options available, though, in and around (or instead of) the Final Four.

Final Four payoff from 2004 NCAA pact continuing to escalate

A deal struck 10 years ago to bring the men’s Final Four to Indianapolis every five years has become a much-beefier cash cow for the city than any of the pact’s architects could have imagined.

Deciding whether to join union a tough call for Indianapolis actors

Whether to join the union has always been a dilemma for regional actors, but in Indianapolis the decision is even more difficult as non-union professional theaters proliferate and offer plum roles to build experience.

More A&E, etc.