Articles

Library project set to resume: Firms play blame game over bungled work

Steel erection for the troubled Central Library expansion is finally expected to begin next month, library officials say. But they acknowledge the start of construction on the six-story addition won’t signal they’ve finished fixing defects on the underground garage or resolved who’s to blame for them. While officials say they’re confident it’s safe to build atop the garage that will serve as the foundation for the addition, they say it will continue to undergo repairs for another year or so….

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: At half-time in the Statehouse, it’s politics 1, people 0

This column is typically devoted to the intersection of politics, government and business (with an occasional tortured sports analogy tossed in). We don’t usually address the higher order of the universe, but after last week, we find that we must delve into the field of metaphysics to provide you with some perspective on legislative events. March 1 marked the halfway point in the 2005 session of the Indiana General Assembly. But with more than 130 bills dying for lack of…

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GIZMOS: High-tech watch keeps information at your fingertips

The idea of a portable device to indicate the time of day is nothing new in the world of technology. Watches of various forms have been around for years. However, it’s only been in the last 30 years or so that modern technology has changed the face-literally-of telling time. Since the days of the original Pulsar LED digital watches (think red calculator digits) in the early 1970s, watch manufacturers have tried to appeal to technology’s early adopters by adding functionality…

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Differing views on smoking ban:

With the smoking ban being considered by the City-County Council, we’ve begun to hear a lot of talk about rights: smokers’ rights, non-smokers’ rights, business owners’ rights, etc. As proponents of the proposed ordinance attempt to garner increased support from the public, we constantly hear that non-smokers should have the right to breathe air free from the health risks contained in secondhand smoke. If that were truly the issue, this debate would long be over, as most smokers agree 100…

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CLOUD OF CONTROVERSY: Suburbs might follow city’s lead Backers: Tough Indy ban would sway others

The City-County Council’s handling of a proposed smoking ban has implications well beyond Indianapolis, to neighbors poised to adopt their own laws but watching the outcome in the state’s most populous city. If Indianapolis doesn’t enact a smoking ban, or adopts one that’s politically unpalatable to neighboring cities and counties, those communities might adopt a confusing variety of laws, observers on both sides of the debate say. They say a lack of uniformity could even spawn a migration of bar…

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FAMILY BUSINESS: Consider having lawyer audit your business Small doses of advice from all of the professionals you consult with can prevent serious problems in the future

Many family business owners view their lawyer as a necessary evil. It’s almost as though we carry some deadly disease; call your lawyer only when the life of your business depends on it! But just as physicians have learned to control smallpox with small doses of vac cine, administered over time, the owners of a family business can also use regular doses of lawyers and other advisers to minimize the risks of the many problems that can put your business…

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Ex-execs fly solo: Horn, Shoopman, others trade big firms for small

As president of The Dura Cos. Inc., Paul Shoopman was responsible for a 155-employee company that brought in $75 million in revenue in 2003 and built as many as 700 homes a year in Marion and the surrounding counties. Last year, Shoopman won an Ernst & Young national Entrepreneur of the Year award and sold his company to publicly traded California-based KB Home. This year, he’s starting over. Shoopman, 51, opened Indiana Land Development Co. in early January. From his…

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Mann seeks larger digs as growth strategy pays off: Busy developer eyes property for new headquarters

On Bash Street, off the beaten path from often-congested East 82nd Street, Mann Properties has quietly built a commercial real estate development business that is outgrowing its cozy quarters. The location in the developer’s secondoldest office park has served Mann well since the mid-1980s. But flanked on both sides by other companies, the space offers virtually no chance to expand, let alone any opportunity for increased visibility. So Managing Partner Brian Mann, 37, has brokered a deal to purchase 20…

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Studies: Bans don’t burn biz: Restrictions in other cities didn’t reduce overall sales, but some taverns were hurt

“My business was down 15 percent at first,” recalled Gina Scott, co-owner of the Lexington pub. Lately, she added, “It’s still down a bit. I don’t know with the ban it will ever go up to where it was.” This ban-in the heart of tobacco country-may offer a glimpse of what’s to come for Indianapolis bars and restaurants if proponents of a smoking ban prevail in the City-County Council. The proposed Indianapolis ordinance is one of the most stringent in…

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George’s role as team owner draws criticism: Some say purchase is conflict of interest

Nine years of hunting for sponsors, recruiting and trying to retain drivers, and managing costs that had nearly doubled in recent years had taken its toll. The founder of locally based Kelley Racing shuttered his Indy Racing League team at the close of last season. And with the close of Kelley Racing, a new era for the Indy Racing League opened. Founded in 1996 as an alternative to CART, the open-wheel racing series stepped into what IRL founder Tony George…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Tax talk begins to make Republican lawmakers hinky

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this session’s first five weeks has been all the talk about imposing or raising taxes. A surfeit of Republicans ran for assorted offices last year complaining about the condition of the state budget, but pledged to bring it back into balance by attacking fraud and waste, and simply cutting more programs. Many Democrats who ran against them acknowledged budget “issues,” but suggested they could be managed and the budget would not be balanced on…

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Mission: possible: Financial crisis averted, but work remains

Humane Society of Indianapolis saved itself in 2004. Poised on the brink of financial disaster, agency leaders came up with a deceptively simple recovery plan: Spend less, raise more and borrow some to make up the difference. So far, so good. Expenses last year came in about a half-percent under budget, fund-raising revenue was up 37 percent, and the shelter didn’t use as much credit as expected. Then there was the real victory-nearly 53 percent of the 8,985 animals that…

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NOTIONS: Must we all inhale the toxic air of hypocrisy?

Here’s what I want you to do: Take your left index finger and place it on your chin. Now, slide it along your jaw up to your left ear. Now slide it straight down your neck. When you’ve reached the base, slide your finger outward, halfway to your shoulder. Now, imagine that instead of a fingertip, you employ a head-and-neck surgeon with a scalpel. And imagine that after slicing your jaw and neck, he pulls down the resulting flap of…

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EYE ON THE PIE Morton Marcus: Time for a tax strategy to boost retail

It is time to recognize the role of retail trade in economic development. Too often, we follow the notion that a community grows only because it exports. That which we mine, grow, harvest or manufacture is an acknowledged part of the economic base. It brings in dollars from outside. In some communities, we recognize tourism, medical and other specialized services as part of that export base. Just a few places see retail trade as a means of economic development. Yes,…

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Eco suit spawns flurry of litigation: Class actions hit Honeywell in wake of thermostat fight

Industrial powerhouse Honeywell International Inc. suddenly finds itself under siege by an army of aggressive class-action attorneys-all because it decided to mess with a couple of determined entrepreneurs from Lebanon. Attorneys from around the nation in recent months have filed six class action lawsuits in state courts charging New Jersey-based Honeywell used deception to obtain the trademark for its ubiquitous round thermostat, then used its lock on the round-thermostat market to overcharge customers. T h e l eg a l…

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Zoo gets boost from marketing campaign: Attraction is drawing record crowds by luring more visitors from farther away

The Indianapolis Zoo’s attendance has increased 50 percent in the last decade, reaching record levels the last two years. More than 1.2 million people visited the downtown attraction last year. Zoo officials credit an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign in 2003 and 2004 for the most recent attendance jumps. The zoo hired Lodge Design Co. to help spread its message around central Indiana, but also asked the small, Indianapolisbased agency to help bring in more remote visitors, targeting those within…

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Funding a chance at success: Bowens have helped 300 find career hope

Sharon Townsel is old enough to be Kori Buford’s mother. But despite the age difference, the women share a common bond: They’re both scholarship recipients of the Bowen Foundation. Robert and Terry Bowen launched the not-for-profit a decade ago and since have doled out $600,000 of their own money to nearly 300 black recipients who want to better their lives. By helping them learn a skill or trade, the object of the foundation is to assist those who need the…

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Study shows lack of women law partners: City firms rank below national average of 17 percent

Prominent local attorney Virginia Dill McCarty earned her law degree from Indiana University in 1950, the only woman to do so at the school that year. That trend certainly has changed since then, with far more women entering the bar. Still, the number of women at the highest levels of most law firms is far smaller than many expect it should be, according to a report from the National Association for Law Placement in Washington, D.C. In Indianapolis last year,…

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IDEM levies fewer fines: Air pollution violators account for half of state’s penalties

Four of the 10 largest environmental penalties levied against Indiana companies in 2004 involved air pollution violations, an area of regulation likely to come under renewed focus after the first-ever “fine particulate” health warning was issued last week for Marion and five other counties. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which sounded the alarm, assessed $1.2 million in air pollution penalties last year-almost half of the $2.4 million in 1999, according to state records. The decrease in air penalty amounts…

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Broader Airport Authority sought: Bill would dilute mayor’s pull, give board 4 regional slots

A bill in the Legislature seeks to dilute Mayor Bart Peterson’s influence on the city’s airport board by adding four board members, two appointed by neighboring counties and two by the governor. House Bill 1734 would recast the Indianapolis Airport Authority board with more regional representation and a more bipartisan flavor as development encroaches on the Airport Authority’s smaller, suburban airports and as the board approves contracts for the $974 million terminal project at Indianapolis International Airport. The bill with…

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