Government

Former Mays exec grows business of his own: Thompson gains notice in local construction industryRestricted Content

September 4, 2006
Scott Olson
If it weren't for an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal more than 20 years ago, John Thompson likely would have never come to Indianapolis and ultimately start his plumbing and electrical supply distributorships. Thompson, 52, launched Thompson Distribution Co. Inc. in 2001 after purchasing the old Mutual Pipe & Supply company in the 2200 block of North College Avenue. Two years later, he founded First Electric Supply Co. Inc. at the same location. Mutual brought in $1...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Let's ditch revenue forecastingRestricted Content

September 4, 2006
Morton Marcus
"This humidity is the worst part of living in a Hoosier forest. I can't take off more clothes and maintain an appropriate degree of decency. Even then, this soggy air still would be oppressive." Faye of the Forest was perched on my deck railing complaining about the weather. I just endured, puffing a cigar as if I were Sydney Greenstreet in one of those 1940s movies set in the jungle. All I was missing was the white suit. "So," she...
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St. Vincent makes bigger investment in charity care: Need drives construction of Primary Care Center set to open in mid-2007Restricted Content

August 28, 2006
Tom Murphy
Here's a lesson they don't teach in business school: Take an entity that loses $4 million annually and expand it 50 percent. That's the plan St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital unveiled earlier this month when it broke ground on a new, larger Primary Care Center serving indigent, underinsured and uninsured patients. That population of poor, mostly Spanish-speaking patients has more than doubled its annual visits since 2000. St. Vincent officials say the new $4 million center is 10 years overdue. Their...
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TAWN PARENT Commentary: Community woes? Not my problemRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Soaring crime rates. Declining school performance. Litter. It's easy to find things to complain about. And I do my fair share. Since my son started kindergarten at an Indianapolis Public Schools magnet last year, I have lamented the lack of parental involvement. "It's a shame that some kids don't have anyone to help with their homework," I say to myself. "It's a shame that some moms and dads don't make it to parent-teacher conferences. It's a shame that some of...
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NOTIONS: Has our love for labor been lost?Restricted Content

August 28, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
Bruce Hetrick is on vacation this week. In his absence, this column, which appeared on Sept. 1, 2003, is being reprinted. The Labor Days of my memory are happy-sad affairs. The weather is muggy. The family's gathered at some park or pond, river or lake. Burgers sizzle on the grill. Frisbees fly through the air. And after supper, there's touch football with dads and brothers, kids and cousins, until dusk drops her shadowy curtain on yet another summer. In my...
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IEDC shelves proposal to copy Ohio initiative: Program matches promising startups with capitalRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
An Ohio program launched in 2003 to urge development of extremely earlystage companies has already spurred investments worth $239 million in 68 Buckeye startups. Venture capitalists would like to duplicate the program here. But their proposal has been languishing at the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for a month. "We have the application. We haven't done anything with it," said IEDC Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Bruce Kidd. "This is a classic steeple chase. You've got lots of hurdles to...
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Woman sets sights on freedom: Disability isn't keeping shop owner from goalRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Candace Beaty
Two doors opened for Pam Evans on Aug. 5-one to her own clothing store and the other to her independence. The Cherry Shop represents both to Evans, who lost most of her sight over the course of a weekend in 1998 to a genetic eye disease called angioid streaks. Left with only her peripheral vision, she also lost her career in real estate and corporate sales. After a period of depression, Evans decided she wouldn't lose it all. "I felt...
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Charter schools leader tackles new role: Mayor chooses Harris to launch broader public education programRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Scott Olson
The Indiana General Assembly's decision in 2001 to hand Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson the keys to the city's new charter schools initiative marked the first time in the nation that a municipal leader had been given the authority to grant charters. The unusual approach to improve educational opportunities here has earned the city several accolades, including last month's prestigious Harvard University Innovations in American Government Award. Now the mayor wants to expand upon the program's success and launch a not-for-profit...
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EYE ON THE PIE: If you make a mistake, then 'fess up to itRestricted Content

August 28, 2006
Morton Marcus
I spoke at a meeting last week on the prospective impact of Honda in Greensburg on the Columbus economy. Several speakers had preceded me and I did not know what they had said, since I arrived an hour late. Naturally, I apologized for my tardiness. Punctuality is a virtue in societies, like ours, that value efficiency above comfort. Then I proceeded, unwittingly, to make a fool of myself. I proclaimed, in my best stentorian manner, that the key factor for...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Simplistic ideas get in way of efforts to increase wagesRestricted Content

August 21, 2006
Patrick Barkey
To the small cadre of economists who have worked their entire professional lives trying to understand the complexities of how and why the labor market rewards some skills, occupations and people more than others, the popularity of the idea of a government-mandated minimum wage must be depressing. But it shouldn't be surprising. The notion that complex market outcomes can be explained by simplistic notions like greed or discrimination-solvable by the stroke of a lawmaker's pen-will probably always have a superficial...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Yes, Virginia, there is an 'Indiana economy'Restricted Content

August 21, 2006
Morton Marcus
"Is there really such a thing as the 'Indiana economy'?" The question came from Ed Doric, a pillar of our community. We were at one of the many fests that provide camaraderie and calories during our humid Hoosier summers. The crowd moved us apart so I could not answer his inquiry. Let the following be accepted as my response. Yes, Ed, there is an Indiana economy. As certainly as there is a U.S. economy, as surely as you or I...
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TOM HARTON Commentary: Still trying to get it rightRestricted Content

August 14, 2006
We're about to pave a small neighborhood park so that patrons of a bar in a government building will have a place to stash their cars while they drink. What better time than now to revisit a couple of previous columns about urban design? (More on the playground later.) Back in May, I wrote about local entrepreneur Tom Battista's work to restore commercial life to the 800 block of Massachusetts Avenue and what's left of the 900 block. The 900...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Politics sometimes fuels destructive public policyRestricted Content

August 14, 2006
Patrick Barkey
If you called someone a royalist these days, you'd probably just get a blank stare. But 200 years ago, you would have started a heated discussion and perhaps even a deadly duel. The accusation was often leveled toward those who managed the economy in those days, perhaps for good reason. Then, as now, bankers, financiers and the other moguls trusted with responsibility for national money matters were not always a democratic lot. While politically incorrect then as well as now,...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Low-impact development likely to make a big impactRestricted Content

August 14, 2006
Brian Mann
Every time Indiana experiences one of its summer cloudbursts, the rainfall sets into motion one of a real estate development's most expensive and least appreciated systems. As rain hits the ground, it quickly collects into wellengineered courses to swales and gutters, through pipes and culverts and into detention ponds. Flowing around, over and through the land that once absorbed it, the water is efficiently collected and conveyed off the site. In other words, gather it up and drain it off....
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NOTIONS: A taste of political cynicism served at minimum wageRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
I eat out a lot. Heck, I eat out more than I eat in. So I'm something of a restaurant whiz. From locals to chains, fast food to fancy fare, I can tell you who serves what, how well and for how much. But until my friend Cheri read a book called "Nickel and Dimed," in which author Barbara Ehrenreich recounts a first-person social experiment working low-wage jobs, I never asked a waiter or waitress about the going rate for...
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Create-a-job program serving disabled threatened: Federal funding cuts could mean early end for options available through customized employment initiativeRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
Andrea Muirragui
Bryan Ballard and Cody Feldman never dreamed they'd end up here, soaking up the sun along Indianapolis' downtown canal, peddling frozen treats from their very own ice cream cart. They certainly never planned to become business partners when they met as adolescents playing Special Olympics basketball. But it happened anyway, thanks to a federally funded program intended to help significantly disabled individuals find work that fits their interests and skills. What makes the so-called customizedemployment effort unusual is its emphasis...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Your eye-dentity is the key to our futureRestricted Content

August 7, 2006
Morton Marcus
By my calculations, the U.S. population will reach 300 million on or about Oct. 15. There is no need to specify the hour and minute. The population clock at the U.S. Bureau of the Census indicates that we are adding to our numbers at a rate of nearly one person each 10 seconds. Even though our population growth rate has been declining, the absolute growth numbers, and their implications, remain staggering. For example, if we average two persons per housing...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Impact from small biz smaller than we think?Restricted Content

July 31, 2006
Patrick Barkey
The images are out there, reinforced almost every day. Big business is bad, led by overpaid executives who are out of touch and hire lobbyists to get laws changed in their favor. Or, worse yet, they drive smaller companies out of business. Small business, in contrast, is noble, led by energetic people following their dream, facing special challenges and deserving of our support. Nobody, it seems, is rooting for Wal-Mart to get bigger, and no one ever made a movie...
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SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE: JP PARKER CO.: Business blooming for specialty florist Flower farm, retail shop feed green thumb's growthRestricted Content

July 31, 2006
Jo Ellen
SMALL BUSINESS PROFILE JP PARKER CO. Business blooming for specialty florist Flower farm, retail shop feed green thumb's growth More than 300,000 sunflowers are in various stages of growth on Needham, Ind., farmland, where a third generation carries on the family tradition with a modern twist. These tall summer annuals follow a spring where 1,000 blooming peony plants yielded at least 11,000 stems for a Chicago broker. Smaller plots of delphiniums, larkspur, zinnias, coneflowers, mints, herbs and other greenery also...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Too much manufacturing is not Indiana's problemRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Morton Marcus
We know that, relative to the United States, Indiana is neither a rich state nor one growing with vigor. Two weeks ago in this space, I discussed our more recent employment experiences. A friend read the column and asked, "How much of our lack of job growth is due to the slump or collapse in manufacturing jobs?" Nationally, only three states (Nevada, and the Dakotas) had any gain in manufacturing jobs between May 2001 and May 2006. Alaska and Wyoming...
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New fiscal year, no cuts for IU School of Medicine: But concern remains about funds for future growthRestricted Content

July 24, 2006
Tom Murphy
No layoffs. No seven-figure budget cut to sweat through. IU School of Medicine Dean Dr. Craig Brater had many reasons to raise a toast this month, when a new fiscal year began and the school left behind an old one marked by the worst budget cuts in decades. Indeed, Brater said he is breathing a little easier as the school starts fiscal 2006-2007 with a budget of more than $815 million. An increase in clinical revenue and grant money helped...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Will telecom reform bring cell service to remote areas?Restricted Content

July 17, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Those of us who spend a lot of time in airports get an effective education in the economics of competition by observing-and paying-the fares charged by airlines. It's really quite simple. Fly a route served by several airlines, especially if one of them is a low-cost, no-frills carrier such as Southwest, and fares will be reasonably low. But if you are unlucky enough to fly to or from a smaller city, or even a large one where a single carrier...
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NOTIONS: How fear and loathing make the world go 'roundRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
In her social work class, my friend Cheri was assigned a paper on hate groups. The professor sent her master's degree students to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Web site. There, they were to find the map of active hate groups in America, read about those operating in Indiana and discuss their reactions to what they learned. Cheri was left wondering why so many people are so afraid of those they perceive as "different," and why "different" so often equates...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Who needs economists, anyway?Restricted Content

July 17, 2006
Morton Marcus
Economists are not stupid people. They are timid and tend to hide their timidity behind a wall of overbearing self-confidence. But they are not stupid. In fact, often they are too smart to talk about what they do and do not know. As they wiggle over the rocks of uncertainty, they appear to others as either sneaky or formless. Let's take interest rates as an example. Economists like to talk about how, if the Fed raises interest rates, home mortgage...
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VIEWPOINT: Consumers should take charge of healthRestricted Content

July 17, 2006
David Lee
In an environment where we're all being asked to pay a larger share of our own health care costs, it's interesting to see how little time we spend thinking about major decisions that have an impact on our health. Like selecting a primary care physician or any medical specialist, for example. According to a recent Managed Care Weekly Digest survey, 67 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-64 said they spent eight hours or more researching an automobile purchase, yet only...
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