Cook County jail contract gives local firm big boost: Government Payment Service could double business

Government Payment Service Inc.’s credit-card-based jail bond service has proven to be a successful alternative to traditional cash transactions. Now the Indianapolis-based company, which has experienced tremendous growth since its founding in 1997, could double in size, having secured a contract with the country’s largest jail system in Cook County, Ill., home to Chicago. Cook County, with 5.3 million people, is the second-most populous county in the nation, topped only by Los Angeles County in California. Processing credit card bail…

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Tax credits aid blighted areas: Help open to firms targeting Center Township projects

Federal tax credits supporting roughly $6 million in economic development projects are still available for small-business owners considering expanding or locating in Center Township. The funds are administered through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, which was established by Congress in 2000 to help revitalize blighted areas. In Indiana, the locally based Urban Enterprise Association Inc. helped secure tax credits that can fund $50 million worth of projects, including $12.5 million in Marion County. The tax credits already are supporting…

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Forum tops local list of largest credit unions: $25M headquarters expansion caps decade of growth

This year, for the first time, Forum has passed Indiana Members Credit Union on IBJ’s annual list of the largest Indianapolis-area credit unions (see page 28). What’s more, with $913 million in assets, 84,159 members and 11 branches, Forum has a market foothold on par with some well-known local banks, such as the National Bank of Indianapolis and Plainfield-based Lincoln Bank. On Aug. 9, Forum will formally dedicate the latest symbol of its financial services firepower, a $25 million expansion…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Manufacturing sector keeps Indiana economy chugging

There is mostly good news on the economy. Both in Indiana and in the nation as a whole, we appear to be heading into the year’s second half with reasonably strong momentum. Buoyed by surprisingly low interest rates, a weak dollar and a strong rebound in business spending nationwide, the state economy has turned in a solid performance in the last six quarters. Through the first six months of the year, the Indiana economy is on a pace to create…

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Making way for a MONSTER: Airport to dish out millions to accommodate Airbus A380

The 7,700 acres that are Indianapolis International Airport may soon look like the city squashed by Godzilla-when big, bad A380 comes to town. And it is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars to keep the beast happy. The A380 is the Airbus Industrie superjumbo jet. Airport managers want to start crunching-er, make that estimating-what it will cost to accommodate the world’s biggest airliner. They plan to ask the Indianapolis Airport Authority board for $200,000 from the 2006 airport…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Brothers set example for today’s execs

Most of us know the fabled heroes of Bean Town. They include the Adams cousins (John and Sam). Paul Revere. The Kennedy brothers (John, Robert and Edward). Ted Williams, Carl Yazstremski, Bobby Orr, Bob Cousey, Bill Russell, Larry Bird and Tom Brady. Yet Boston’s most significant business heroes are not well-known today, at a time when their example could be most useful. Two brothers, Edward and Lincoln Filene, inherited their father’s department store in 1890. They spent the rest of…

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Radio Disney catching the ears of youth-and advertisers: Event marketing key to getting local kids to tune in

Two years after its launch, Radio Disney’s local WRZD-FM 98.3 affiliate is outperforming many affiliates in the 55-station network, even though traditional measures of its success are anything but magical. WRZD’s rating by New York-based Arbitron Inc., the industry’s standard media research firm, shows the station barely cracking the top 20 in this market. But WRZD has prospered through another number: listener calls per day. The station averages an eye-popping 4,070 calls a day, according to officials at Radio Disney’s…

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Docs asked to put ownership stake in writing: State now requires disclosure for some patient referrals

A new state law aims to shine more light on the touchy financial relationships that can crop up when a doctor refers a patient to another health care business. Since July 1, physicians have had to provide patients with a written disclosure when they make a referral to another business in which they have an ownership interest. That could mean a laboratory, specialty hospital or an imaging center, among other possibilities. State Rep. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said she wrote the…

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NOTIONS: Pugilism, Parkinson’s, politics, DNA: a powerful combination set to win

If you knew only that Scott Newman is a former prosecutor, you might think his new workouts apt. The man known for courtroom sparring now feints, weaves, jabs and thrusts with a former Golden Gloves boxing champion. But that’s not all we know about the 44-year-old Republican twice elected Marion County prosecutor. For in 2002, Newman also became Indianapolis’ most public Parkinson’s patient. Today, Newman says boxing provides the perfect exercise for the neurologically challenged. “Parkinson’s is a movement disease,”…

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Wells Fargo sees city as ripe for expansion: Commercial banking, capital management key to Indianapolis plan

Wells Fargo & Co. took a couple of quiet but important steps earlier this year as part of a plan to build a major presence in the Indianapolis banking and financial services market. The San Franciscobased corporation in March opened a local Commercial Banking Division headed by longtime banking executive Lex Curry and a capital management office headed by well-known stock manager Tom Pence. The moves, by the nation’s fifth-largest bank in terms of assets, are part of a corporate…

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An old-school approach: Woodley Farra Manion takes its large-cap strategy into the institutional market

Circa 1999, high-tech growth stocks were going up, up, up. Professional investment advisers hardly seemed necessary. And a strategy focused on unadventurous large-cap value sounded downright old school. “There were clients at the cocktail parties,” remembered Woodley Farra Manion Portfolio Management Inc. cofounder and principal George Farra. “They heard about their friends who had [quickly] doubled their money, and it all looked pretty easy.” But today, most investors still feel the sting of their recession-induced losses. Ironically, the dot-com bust…

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Insurers look to make uncommon comeback: Pafco, Superior hope to leave rehabilitation this year

Only the hum of central air-conditioning broke the silence when Doug Symons recently led a quick tour of the Indianapolis office where his Superior Insurance Group once employed about 180 people. Rows of gray cubicles sat empty. Boxes filled with old claims and underwriting files lined the aisles. “This,” Symons said as he waved his arms around, “is what an empty office looks like waiting to be filled.” Those bare cubicles could fill up with dozens of new employees and…

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Planner sinks his teeth into dentists’ finances: Four Quadrant builds business around one industry

Dentists know a lot about operating a dental drill, but sometimes not so much about operating a business. That’s where Four Quadrant Wealth Advisors likes to comes in. Indianapolis-based Four Quadrant provides its dental clients with financial advice on everything from running the money side of their practices to building their retirement funds. As one of a fairly small number of financial advice firms that focus on a single type of client, Four Quadrants limits its clients to dentists or…

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Tech-park program tightens guidelines: Daniels administration hopes grants spur more innovation

In Shelbyville, home of the state’s third certified technology park, economic development officials are excited. They just broke ground on a promising new park business: A Santa Fe Steakhouse. Since 2003, the state has approved $1.2 million for Shelbyville to help develop its technology park-one of 17 now scattered across Indiana, each meant to modernize the state through the attraction and development of high-tech companies. In total, the state has approved $9 million in grants since the certified technology park…

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INVESTING: Performance of stock indexes hasn’t told whole story

The S&P 500 finally broke out of its seven-month trading range, and there are stories coming out that the bull market is on again. To us, the bull market never left. It all depends on your perspective. Since the late 1990s, the structural makeup of the major averages has served to mask the underlying action and confuse the average and professional investor alike. By the spring of 1998, the vast majority of stocks on both the New York Stock Exchange…

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Office sales shatter records: National investors spend big in string of real estate deals

National buyers hungry for commercial properties have started focusing on second-tier markets like Indianapolis, a trend that’s resulting in quick sales at prices previously unheard of here. One and Two River Crossing sold as a package in early July for $41.6 million, or $203 per square foot, setting a new high-water mark for Class A multitenant office space in the Indianapolis market. Before the River Crossing sale, the sales record for suburban office space was $145 per square foot-a mark…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: China Syndrome hits 21st century

The Chinese have taken a keen interest in U.S. corporations of late. Just this year, a Chinese firm acquired the personal computer business of IBM Corp., and a consortium led by a large Chinese conglomerate investigated-but dropped-the idea of buying appliance maker Maytag. Though they involved long-standing and cherished American brands, neither deal raised too much reaction from American business executives or politicians in Washington. By contrast, when China’s CNOOC Ltd. offered in June to acquire California-based Unocal, all hell…

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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Setting up home wireless not for faint of heart Books, articles, Web pages and instruction manuals may help you through it, but then again …

There are some big steps in life that merit serious thought. One is marriage. Another is buying a house. Yet a third is whether to set up a wireless network at home or in a small office. Of the three, the first two may be the less stressful. A friend of mine recently tried to set up a small WiFi (wireless) network at home, and gave it up in frustration after days of technologically induced anguish. He’s been married for…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Neither SEC, Dick in rush to bring fraud suit to trial

The Securities a n d E x c h a n g e Commission didn’t file its civil-fraud suit against former Conseco Inc. Chief Financial Officer Rollin Dick until 2004, four years after he resigned under pressure. Under a timetable approved by federal Magistrate Judge V. Sue Shields July 14, Dick won’t stand trial until May 2007 at the earliest. By then, he will have turned 75, and the transactions challenged by the SEC will be more than seven years…

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More not-for-profits try for-profit ventures ______: Mission, not money, should be motivation, observers say

Finding money for the agency’s burgeoning hunger-relief and job-training programs was difficult, and additional growth would only add to the challenge. So leaders asked themselves an increasingly common question: “What else can we do?” And like a growing number of its not-forprofit peers in Indianapolis and elsewhere, Second Helpings thinks it has the answer in a for-profit venture. Using part of a $250,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and the expertise developed in seven years of preparing and delivering meals…

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