Indianapolis Business Journal – April 12-18, 2019


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In This Issue

Front Page

Majority owner of bankrupt Scotty’s plans to oust operating partner, focus on basics

The chain's performance declined after founder Scott Wise sold it in December 2016, and in recent months it has closed four restaurants and announced plans to close a fifth.

Hate-crime outcome leaves execs ambivalent

An army of high-profile business leaders wanted the General Assembly to pass what they called a comprehensive hate crimes law, but the effort fell short. What went wrong?

Community foundation’s new mission: helping the marginalized thrive

The Central Indiana Community Foundation’s new five-year plan focuses on making Indianapolis a more inclusive city, a goal it hopes to achieve partly by training 5,000 community leaders and residents about institutional racism.

Top Stories

Once a rising star, Wellfount collapses with little warning

The company raised about $50 million and had big plans for its product, Redbox-style vending machines in nursing homes that dispensed medicines for patients.

Timetable for City Center projects stretches past projections

Debt payments will be due before all the buildings are completed. But Carmel officials say the delays shouldn’t cost taxpayers because of safeguards the city and the developer put in in place years ago.

Battered software firm was unrelenting in quest to find buyer

Software maker Determine Inc.'s investment bankers contacted dozens of prospective suitors as the company racked up millions of dollars in losses and burned through cash.

Q&A with Jenni White, leader of program for LGBTQ homeless youth

White is the founding director of Trinity Haven, which will be the state’s first home for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning youth and young adults who have nowhere else to live.

Award-winning artist Gary Varvel to create cartoons for IBJ

Varvel will contribute a cartoon twice a month to IBJ’s op-ed pages. He joins Shane Johnson, who has been an IBJ editorial cartoonist for seven years and will continue as a regular cartoonist for the publication.

Amtrak suspends ticket sales for Hoosier State line after June 30

Amtrak on Monday issued an official notice that it plans to suspend operation of the Hoosier State line, which provides Indianapolis-to-Chicago service, starting July 1. The state hasn’t included funding for the line in its next budget.

WISH, sister station to be sold to Indy native’s firm for $42.5M

DuJuan McCoy, who has agreed to buy the stations, also is the owner and CEO of Bayou City Broadcasting LLC, one of the leading black-owned broadcast TV station affiliate groups in the United States.

UPDATE: Food manufacturer plans $310M plant, 460 jobs in Shelbyville

Illinois-based Greenleaf Foods, which makes burgers, hot dogs, sausages and other vegetarian meat alternatives, plans to build a 230,000-square-foot plant at Interstate 74 and State Road 44.


Splenda-maker Heartland adds products, continues rapid expansion

Heartland has expanded its local production facilities multiple times since 2015, adding hundreds of employees and rolling out several new products, including a brand of cold-brew coffee, Java House, that hit the market last year.

Cummins testing electric postal vehicles

The delivery vans have an all-electric range of up to 85 miles and can be fully charged in about eight hours.

MD Logistics adds Plainfield warehouse

The Plainfield-based company said it spent $1 million on improvements to the 180,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled facility at 2370 Perry Road.

Subaru building $4.2M training center in Lafayette

The facility will include a 7,000-square-foot simulated factory floor featuring training robots, assembly-line simulators, a car lift, a forklift and work space for interns.


EDITORIAL: Hate crimes law is practical move, although it’s far from perfect

We are less pleased that many Republican lawmakers did everything they could to ensure the law did not include specific language about gender identity.

GREG MORRIS: Lunar-landing anniversary highlights Hoosier strength

Indiana is home to an impressive collection of aerospace industry assets.

Brian Burton: Better addiction treatment leads to stronger workforce

A lot has been done here to fight the epidemic and establish recovery efforts, but addiction treatment is still fragmented and oftentimes inaccessible for this vulnerable population.

Now is the time to reverse state’s school-funding decline

PETE THE PLANNER: A couple disagrees about budgeting their $200,000 income

Pushing the limits of housing affordability will compromise the rest of your financial life, as it drives up utility, maintenance, taxes and insurance expenses.

Mandy Haskett: Manage your energy, not your time

Being busy all day long without feeling fulfilled is a red flag that our energy reserves are being slowly depleted—task by task, meeting by meeting, and email by email.

Ed Feigenbaum: A negative revenue forecast could cause shifts in priorities

Ratcheting down an already depressed forecast will make the final week of the session an exercise in cost-cutting and priority-shifting.

BOHANON & CUROTT: Population slowdown problematic for economy

Unfortunately, the size of the working age population has been growing slowly and even shrank slightly last year. This poses a real problem for our nation’s finances.

Letter: Lifting up civic duty

Two columnists from two completely different geographic and political sections of the country, and both understand the importance of civic involvement and political duty, and not just for the biased and trend-following portion of our urban population.

Letter: No apologies from township schools

Prior to making broad generalizations around the need for “attention, engagement, and scrutiny,” it is important to ensure that all of the facts are in place.

In Brief

Long-simmering church redevelopment project in Cumberland receives tax breaks

Work finally has begun on construction of a 60-unit apartment project for seniors behind the former St. John United Church of Christ, which will receive $1.5 million in preservation work.

Philadelphia firm buys majority stake in locally based KSM Consulting

Indianapolis-based accounting firm Katz Sapper & Miller has sold a majority stake in KSM Consulting to Philadelphia-based private equity firm Renovus Capital Partners.

Council passes plan to buy new vehicles, tear down Oak Tree Apartments

The often-bipartisan Indianapolis City-County Council cast a rare politically divided vote Monday night on a proposal that would, among other things, spend nearly $850,000 to buy new vehicles for city employees.

Indiana Fever, Salesforce sign multiyear sponsorship agreement

The Indiana Fever on Wednesday announced a multiyear sponsorship with Salesforce that will make the tech firm the team’s new jersey sponsor.

Zotec Partners planning 300 jobs in Carmel at new $47M HQ

The announcement came Tuesday during a groundbreaking for the planned five-story, 120,000-square-foot office building at the southeast corner of Illinois Street and Fidelity Way.


Todd Young: Green New Deal unaffordable, unattainable, unrealistic

This is not a serious proposal. A serious plan would include continued use of energy sources like clean coal, natural gas and nuclear.

David Konisky: Cut global warming with Earth-friendly commitment

Without any evidence anywhere in the text of the proposal, detractors insist the deal would ban cars, airplanes and even cows. Those are trumped-up, imaginary fears.

Marshawn Wolley: Vague new law creates lots of confusion

While many people are concerned the law won’t protect some of those who need it most, I’m alarmed it could end up being overused to protect or punish too many people.

Megan Robertson: More wrong than right with so-called bias crimes law

Sadly, people like Micah Clark, an architect and backer of the RFRA mess, were sending out emails calling this bill a victory.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Are privilege and good ol’ networking different?

When it comes to other jobs, college admissions, you name it, there is probably going to be some element of “unearned access.”

Jim Shella: Daily newspapers need to offer more convenient options

Newspapers have failed to find a way to get enough people to pay for their product.

Tom LoBianco: Don’t dismiss Mueller media coverage as a ‘WMD’

It’s not a journalist’s job to file indictments, argue cases in court, present defenses or levy sentences—that’s the purview of the justice system.

Christina Hale: Hoosiers deserve tax break for diapers, tampons

In her lifetime, the average woman will use more than 11,000 tampons or pads. And they aren’t cheap.

Dr. Richard Feldman: Old cemeteries show lives cut short before vaccines

It is easy to take vaccines for granted since their very success, the elimination of diseases, makes their value invisible. It’s hard to appreciate what one does not experience.

Deborah Daniels: Expand conventions, hotels to keep downtown vibrant

A market analysis was conducted by HVS, the global leader in such studies, giving officials confidence that the city can sustain the necessary hotel additions.

Glenda Ritz: School-accountability bill at Statehouse goes too far

High school educators are upset with the proposal that they will be held responsible for student post-secondary outcomes six months after graduation.

Shariq Siddiqui: Trump presidency a symbol of nation’s prejudice

Ethical Republicans and others who have supported the president must not embrace Attorney General William Barr’s summary as proof that Trump is in the clear.

Pierre Atlas: U.S. can’t emulate New Zealand’s crackdown on guns

We have formal separation of powers and constitutional checks and balances, a republican form of government that was designed to restrain the passions of the majority.

Andrew Ireland: Use trading power to aid persecuted Muslims in China

Today, more than 12 million Muslims face an Orwellian hell in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Jennifer Wagner: Humble, cocooned Hoosiers relucant to embrace reform

I want to focus on the broader perspective of why change is so hard here.

Michael Leppert: Biden’s greatness aside, it might be Buttigieg’s time

It’s easy to get excited about Mayor Pete if you are a Democrat in Indiana. His brand is as refreshing as there is on the national stage.

Curt Smith: Mayor Pete’s only stumble is his attacks on Pence

Mayor Pete (his preferred nickname) is off to a start that’s more than impressive; it is stellar.

Randall Shepard: Debate over Electoral College more nuanced than it seems

Our own South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has urged us to move to a popular vote system, saying the current system has “made our society less and less democratic.


MIKE LOPRESTI: Follow Kyle Guy from desolation to redemption

Former Lawrence Central star used a historic loss as motivation in Virginia’s championship run.