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January 20, 2010
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Hey, wait a minute! That was the reaction, somewhat delayed, by the Indiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, to a late-December change to federal health reform legislation. The Senate version of reform exempts companies with fewer than 50 employees from a requirement to provide health benefits. But in late December, Senate leaders made a change for construction firms, saying the exemption would apply only if they have five or fewer employees. The change was a favor to union groups, which said non-union construction contractors would have an advantage over unionized shops that do provide health benefits. Local NFIB leaders staged a protest/press conference last week, calling on Congress to “strip this job-killing provision from a final health care bill.”

Orbis Education, a locally based maker of nursing-education software, received $8 million in venture capital from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Lightspeed Venture Partners. Founded in 2003, Orbis offers online instruction to help universities and hospitals train new nurses. A key hurdle in the looming nursing shortage is the lack of capacity for nursing schools to accept all qualified applicants. Last year, it had $4.5 million in revenue and 33 employees. Orbis aims to boost its work force past 50 by the end of the year. Orbis had previously raised $4 million from family, friends and angel investors.
Watch out, Eli Lilly and Co. A Greenwood pharmaceutical firm plans to build a $28 million insulin facility there to make a cheaper version of the diabetes-fighting medicine. According to the Daily Journal of Franklin, Elona Biotechnologies expects its 50,000-square-foot facility to employ as many as 70 people. Greeenwood officials are considering $8.5 million in incentives, including some loans, to help Elona build the facility and get it approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Elona was founded in the late 1980s by former Lilly  researcher Ron Zimmerman.

West Lafayette-based IVDiagnostics LLC won a $124,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to further its cancer diagnostics research. The Small Business and Innovation Research Phase 1 grant will pay for the company to improve the design of its IVFLow medical device, which analyzes and monitors tumor cells without taking blood from a patient.

Physicians working in a surgery center connected to Community Hospital South kicked in $500,000 to help the hospital complete a massive expansion. The gift, given by 65 doctors, boosts to $1.2 million the money raised for the project by the philanthropic arm of Community Health Network. The $130 million expansion will add 40 beds. It is scheduled to open in mid-2010.


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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.