News & Analysis

Area air quality given mixed reviewsRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Chris O'Malley
Helped by a combination of plant closures and better emission controls, industrial air pollution in the nine-county region has fallen 14 percent since the economic boom of the late 1990s, a federal database shows. But even with the reductions, the metro area will struggle to comply with reduced ground-level ozone limits announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency March 12.
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Property-tax reform may force cutbacks in urban school districtsRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Many Indiana school districts say they have no choice but to brace for cutbacks in areas like school repairs, computers and transportation thanks to the property tax reform measure approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov.Mitch Daniels.
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Simons won't discuss succession plans for Pacers ownershipRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
Recently announced changes to the Indiana Pacers' front office leave questions about the team's long-term ownership unanswered. While Larry Bird, Pacers director of basketball operations, is set to take over for CEO Donnie Walsh at season's end, there is no indication what succession strategy, if any, exists for replacing team owners Mel Simon, 81, and Herb Simon, 73.
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Monarch eyes vacant Lawrence drive-in for HQRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Cory Schouten
The state's largest beer and wine distributor is considering a long-abandoned drive-in theater in Lawrence for a new headquarters. Monarch Beverage Co. has outgrown its home along Interstate 465 just east of the airport and has been looking for a place to move for a year.
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Developer pulls back on growth to survive precarious economyRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Cory Schouten
The CEO of locally based Lauth Group Inc. says most people he knows in the business, even the steely types who always project optimism, are privately nervous about the economic morass that began with a collapse in subprime mortgages.
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Brown County tourism industry feuds over how to ward off a slumpRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Jonathan Hiskes
Among those who stake their livelihood on tourism there is a sense that Brown County is at a crossroads. That dilemma is evident in decisions about whether to refurbish aging hotel rooms, update restaurant decor or close shop for the off-season.
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Credit-market turmoil casts uncertainty over ITT Educational ServicesRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
ITT Educational Services Inc. and other for-profit schools are facing a maelstrom of financial threats that analysts say could hurt student recruiting and profit margins--and already has driven stock prices down sharply. ITT shares are off 61 percent since hitting an all-time high of $131.82 in November.
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Anthem increases its hold on IndianaRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
J.K. Wall
Anthem Insurance Co. added nearly 75,000 commercial customers last year, pushing its total up more than 4 percent. Anthem, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., now claims a whopping 1.8 million commercial customers in the state. The trouble is, Anthem's dominance limits price competition, according to benefits brokers, making it hard for local HMOs such as M-Plan or even some national players to compete.
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Farm Fresh clients pay a premium to support local growers, organicsRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
Matt Ewer and his wife, Elizabeth Blessing, launched Farm Fresh Delivery LLC in July. With nearly 500 subscribers already, the organically- and locally-grown-groceries delivery business is blooming in a segment where many large, mass-market retailers failed during the dotcom bust.
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Struggling Noble Roman's takes over franchisee's 6 unitsRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Cory Schouten
Noble Roman's Inc. has taken over the operation of six franchised restaurants in Indianapolis in a bid to prove its concept can be executed profitably. The move--which comes amid a chorus of discontent from franchisees and as the company explores the possibility of selling itself--could help the 1,000-restaurant chain avoid the embarrassment of store failures in its own back yard.
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Tax reform fallout worries biz interestsRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Property tax reform is now Indiana law. Hoosier homeowners are thrilled. But many corporate leaders grumble the historic deal was brokered on the backs of business. Topping their concerns is the new 3-percent property tax cap for commercial and industrial properties, which they fear will slow business expansions and discourage companies from moving headquarters to the state.
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Rooney: healer or heretic in health insurance industry?Restricted Content

March 17, 2008
J.K. Wall
The "father of health savings accounts" isn't satisfied. At 80, J. Patrick Rooney is gearing up for another health care reform battle in Washington--five years after winning a colossal victory when Congress awarded health savings accounts tax-free status.
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NCAA, NBA forging youth hoops pactRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
Professional and collegiate basketball are on the brink of a landmark agreement that hoops insiders said will change the landscape of the sport in this country. Proponents say it would be good for basketball, but others say it's an attempt to further commercialize the sport.
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Texas investor wins over Steak n Shake shareholders, aims for chairmanship

March 17, 2008
Cory Schouten
Texas investor Sardar Biglari rode a wave of shareholder anger to a landslide victory in his quest for Steak n Shake Co. board seats. Now, the dissident 30-year-old investor who models his approach after Warren Buffett's is hoping to deliver on his promise to turn around the Indianapolis-based chain, with or without the chairmanship he covets.
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Knauf plans state's first 'gold-certified' buildingRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Chris O'Malley
in an uncommon move among Indiana manufacturers typically more preoccupied with foreign competition and deteriorating margins, Knauf Insulation is rebuilding its research and development facility, destroyed in a fire last year, to make it 30 percent more energy-efficient than a conventional office building of its size.
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Proposals to loosen Indiana's wine distribution system failRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Jonathan Hiskes
At IBJ press time, the General Assembly was set to close another session without significant change to the state's complex alcohol distribution system, ensuring another year of wrangling between wineries and wholesalers. A proposal to raise the direct shipping limit to 10,000 cases failed. So did a broader deregulation bill brought by a new Indiana wine drinker's group, VinSense.
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Creditor pursues troubled Premier's property

March 10, 2008
Cory Schouten
Wachovia Bank has begun foreclosure proceedings on one of Premier  Properties  USA Inc.’s most prized developments, a giant Ohio lifestyle center anchored by Target and J.C. Penney.
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Local restaurants add sites, consider taking on chainsRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
Several local eateries are going through a growth spurt, adding locations despite central Indiana diners' reputation for being addicted to national chains. Ironically enough, the expansions could be the first step in transforming the local restaurants into chains themselves.
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College Summit's goal is more skilled workersRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
Business leaders and educators agree on what's needed to improve Indiana's economic health and enhance its place in the global economy: a larger pool of skilled workers. Toward that end, a group of notfor-profits is expanding a program to get more low-income Indianapolis students to further their education after high school.
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Museum of Art fashion show to highlight local designersRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Gabrielle Poshadlo
It's not easy to make a living in high fashion, especially in a city where the "garment district" extends only to the nearest Hancock or Jo Ann Fabrics. Still, Indianapolis has a little something up its sleeve--more than a dozen designers who are prepping their collections for "Project IMA," a fashion show modeled after Bravo's reality hit "Project Runway."
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Oprah's beau advises struggling Pacers on image managementRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
Best-selling author Stedman Graham says professional athletes should think of themselves as "a corporation unto themselves." Graham--perhaps best known as television star Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend--brought that message to the Indiana Pacers during a three-hour private seminar in late January designed to get the players to rethink the importance of their individual images.
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IU follows Purdue lead, overhauls business-development strategyRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie calls it "Innovate Indiana." His ambition is to corral all of IU's strengths under one new branded initiative to boost the Hoosier economy. Purdue University already has leveraged a similar strategy, promoted with "Go BusinessMakers!" billboards, to national acclaim.
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Creditor pursues Premier propertyRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Cory Schouten
Wachovia Bank has begun foreclosure proceedings on one of Premier Properties USA Inc.'s most prized developments, a giant Ohio lifestyle center anchored by Target and J.C. Penney. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank also is foreclosing on a vacant former Wal-Mart store in front of Premier's Metropolis mall in Plainfield.
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Centaur tempted to buy Aztar casinoRestricted Content

March 3, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Indiana riverboat casinos don't go up for sale every day. So when one becomes available, it's bound to spark interest. Hence, the dilemma facing Centaur Inc., the Indianapolis-based casino developer.
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Many of state's new jobs are at call centersRestricted Content

March 3, 2008
Cory Schouten
The state's economic development leaders have been touting 2007 as a banner year that brought commitments for more than 22,000 new jobs, including positions in manufacturing, logistics and life sciences. But almost 20 percent of the announced jobs would be in call centers--jobs that typically pay near or below the state's $35,000 average annual wage.
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