Articles

States stake their tourism claims to Lincoln

With the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth approaching, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky all are fighting for
a share of the bicentennial limelight. Each has a valid claim to the 16th president: Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Ky.,
on April 12, 1809, moved to a southern
Indiana farm with his family at age 7, then moved to Illinois at 21.

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Local restaurants joining online reservation trend: High-tech systems tool up customer service

A last-minute meeting with a key client pops up at the end of a workday. If the host wants to take the group to dinner afterward, he could ask an assistant to scramble, calling his favorite restaurants in search of a last-minute opening. But nowadays, there’s a simpler option: With a couple of mouse clicks, he can use an online reservation system to check availability at some of the city’s best haunts. “Businesspeople use [online reservations] the most,” said Kimberly…

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Farmers’ markets are blossoming in Indiana: Consumer demand for local produce increasing; sellers see bigger profits without the middleman

On summer Saturdays, Ross Faris starts work at 4:30 a.m., packing up zucchini, peaches and other produce for the trek to farmers’ markets in Broad Ripple and Zionsville. Then he stands in the 90-plus-degree heat, answering questions about heirloom tomatoes or new varieties of peppers, greeting regulars and loving every minute of it. “It’s just a rewarding experience,” Faris said. “I can’t tell you how many people appreciate what we do here.” Faris, owner of Indianapolis-based Your Neighbor’s Garden, is…

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Downtown hotel towers in works

South-side developer J. Greg Allen is pitching a massive project along Pennsylvania Street downtown that includes hotel towers–one
28 stories, the other 17–to be built on property now used mainly for surface parking.

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NEWS UPDATE: Essentials intact in convention center plan

Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects today unveiled final plans for a 420,000-square-foot expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. Among the details: 254,000 square feet of additional exhibit space, 63,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a new banquet kitchen and 100,000 square feet of so-called “pre-function space”-including three-story entry pavilion planned for the intersection of Capitol Avenue and […]

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Indiana short on honeybees

A cold snap wiped out at least half of Indiana’s honeybee hives over the winter. For some beekeepers, the loss was as high
as 80 percent. Fortunately, most don’t look to bees for their livelihood.

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New management brings youth, profit: Industry experience makes hotel more professional

After unwrapping gifts on Christmas Day 2005, Colleen Fanning got something else from her dad: an offer to run the small inn he bought in 2002. Bill Fanning spent more than two years tearing down, rebuilding and expanding the Brick Street Inn, a fixture on Main Street in Zionsville. But it struggled financially after reopening in the fall of 2004, and his patience was at an end. “He told me: ‘Either I’m going to sell the inn or you can…

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Phone providers eyeing small biz: Competition heats up to serve growing companies

It seems that, in the phone world, everybody loves small businesses these days. AT&T, central Indiana’s primary landline provider, is highlighting small-business offerings in its recently re-branded Cingular stores throughout the region. Cable company Comcast, meanwhile, is rolling out its small-business phone options over local lines and Bright House Networks plans to get in the game within a year. Then there are the scrappy, independent providers such as locally based Indiana Telephone Co. Inc., which have expanded their offerings to…

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Local music festivals struggle for footing: Is there any such thing as a consistent money-maker?

The humidity and mercury are rising as a slew of summer music festivals tune up. There’s bluegrass in Brown County, jazz in Military Park. But all the music events-even those with years of history-struggle to break even. Blame uncertain weather, large price tags and fickle fans. “As a general rule, only very large pop music festivals make money,” said Christopher Hunt, a professor at Indiana University’s arts administration program. “Smaller festivals of every kind-jazz, pop, classical-almost always lose a good…

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Jazz Fest ditches Ticketmaster

Two weeks before the annual Jazz Fest begins, donations and corporate sponsorships are running about $150,000 short of the $1.3 million budget. So organizers are aiming to boost ticket sales by eliminating the $8.50 Ticketmaster fee.

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Veteran grocer plays new role: O’Malia teaches customer service as training-firm VP

In the late 1950s, when Daniel O’Malia was a kid working in the first store his father owned, he would often keep busy weighing and bagging potatoes. But on occasion, a customer would ask for something the small grocery didn’t stock. Joe O’Malia would hand his son some change and tell him to run to a nearby Kroger grocery to pick up the item. He had the competitor’s prices memorized and always gave his son the right amount. “He would…

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Classic Niche: Local insurer riding wave of classic-car enthusiasm

In 1993, Dan Yogodnik started a business with a friend that leased out exotic cars for special occasions. The biggest hurdle the partners encountered was lining up insurance for the cars. That experience spurred Yogodnik, who had been working in the banking industry, to start his own insurance firm. “If we had our own insurance agency, then we wouldn’t have to chase all over the country [for the niche policies],” he said. What started out as a side business targeting…

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Gorilla exhibit to be one of nation’s largest: Apes and new oceans area designed to boost attendance, conservation

Fresh off the debut of a $9.5 million Oceans exhibit, the Indianapolis Zoo is already laying the groundwork for its next blockbuster. But it may come with a beastly price tag. A gorilla and bonobo habitat scheduled to open in 2013 is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. “I can’t tell you if this is a $30 million project or a $50 million project,” said Indianapolis Zoo President Michael Crowther. “What I can tell you is that we’re…

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Otterness sculptures on their way back: But officials are still deciding where they’ll end up

Three bronze sculptures by Tom Otterness soon will be brought out of storage and shipped to Indianapolis, thanks to a private effort to raise money to buy the public art pieces that captivated the city in 2005. The roly-poly statues-with a total weight of more than 4,200 pounds-will be hoisted by art moving specialists, packed in crates and sent on their way, likely within three weeks. But what happens to them once they get here is still up in the…

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UPDATE: Marriott revision shines on West Street

The West Street corridor will get more attention under the new convention hotel plans released May 15. The 1,000-room, 29-story JW Marriott-increased from 800 rooms and 20 stories in the original design-has been flipped to run north-to-south along West Street instead of along Maryland Street. The new look means a more complete view of the […]

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Museum seeks leader to stem attendance slide

The new Indiana State Museum building–a 230,000-square-foot study in glass, steel and limestone–opened in 2002 to blockbuster
attendance, with nearly 260,000 of its 614,000 total visitors checking out the exhibits. Fast forward to its five-year anniversary
and the news isn’t so rosy.

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Two more Central Canal competitors unveiled: The Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations may ask the city and state for more public input

A 140- to 160-room boutique hotel straddling the Central Canal has been added to the mix of proposals to develop a nearly one-acre parcel the state owns but wants to lease out for development. Four groups submitted plans by an April deadline, but details were not released until May 1. IBJ reported the specifics of two of the proposals April 16. The newly released plans from Wichita, Kan.-based LodgeWorks LP are by far the most ambitious, calling for the state…

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