Articles

State should target schools, not tourism EYE ON THE PIE Morton Marcus ______:

Our dear friends in the Indiana General Assembly continue to support the idea that tourism should be a state-subsidized industry. It is bad enough that we subsidize biotechnology and the Indianapolis Colts, even though we would object if any of the Colts used some of that good biotech to enhance performance. The first problem with tourism is that it creates very few well-paid jobs. Most jobs in tourism make our workers servants to other people who leave their towels on…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Giving credit where credit’s due

CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary Giving credit where credit’s due Over the last 25 years, one of the ways we’ve tried to give back to the business community that supports us is to recognize the people and companies who’ve made a difference. These programs have given us the opportunity to celebrate honorees and their accomplishments both in our pages and at public events. Each in their own way, the programs have been not only gratifying but, well, fun. I’d like to take…

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Health builders thinking small: Local hospital development in for change

Just north of Indianapolis, Clarian Health Partners plans to open a 170-bed hospital this December, a suburban complement to the 76-bed hospital it opened last December in Avon. To the south, St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers unveiled a heart center in March, counterbalancing the two stand-alone heart hospitals that sprang up on the north side a few years ago. These projects offer a snapshot of how health care development has progressed over the past few years in central Indiana….

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Union puts Harborside Healthcare on defensive: Publicity campaign highlights problems at local homes

Feces in the shower. Pressure sores. Dead worms in the corner of one building. “Be careful who you trust with nursing home care,” shout four billboards placed recently around Indianapolis by a union that wants to warn people about problems like chronic understaffing at Harborside Healthcare nursing homes. Nonsense, counter Boston-based Harborside managers. They claim the union is using isolated events to “extort” more pay and benefits from Harborside and expand union membership. Either way, Indianapolis appears to be the…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Going behind the numbers to understand price indexes

The joke about economists is that we talk about money but we don’t have any. And when it comes to having power and wealth, the status of those who compile the economic statistics we all consume is usually several notches below even that of the lowly economist. Most are employed by government agencies, after all. And the last time I checked, I didn’t see anyone from the Forbes 100 list on a public payroll. But the numbers these anonymous statisticians…

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EYE ON THE PIE: What politicians don’t know can hurt us

Last week in Jefferson City, I heard Missouri’s governor outline his economic and budgetary concerns. It sounded very much like a speech I could have heard in Indiana. His speech went something like this: Medicare is about to eat up the state budget. We have to find ways to use school funds more effectively because our education system is not sufficient for the needs of our citizens. We have to protect taxpayers from the burdens of new taxes. We need…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Statehouse battles brew as session winds down

An awful lot of things need to fall into place between now and April 29 for lawmakers to exit Indianapolis with their heads held high over their ability to get things done this session. Some may quibble (and others flat-out argue) about whether the legislative agenda this session has been active-positive or active-negative. However, there is no question that, to this point at least, lawmakers-mirroring the new governor-have been proactive. It’s a stark contrast to the passive stance of the…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Pondering the world from an economist’s viewpoint

In case you’ve ever wondered what it is like to look at life through the eyes of an economist, here are some questions to ponder: Has anyone else noticed that public schools these days are in the transportation business, the sports entertainment business, the restaurant business, the health care business, not to mention the day care business? It’s no wonder their jobs are so difficult. To those who decry the risk of diverting Social Security revenue towards personal accounts in…

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Criminal inquiry targets ex-exec: Brightpoint’s risk manager part of AIG grand jury probe

Brightpoint Inc.’s former director of risk management is a target of a federal grand jury criminal investigation into a 1999 deal regulators say allowed the Plainfield company to conceal more than $11 million in losses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis filed papers in a Manhattan federal court April 12 identifying Timothy Harcharik, Brightpoint’s director of risk management from 1997 until his dismissal in 2002, as one of the targets of the nearly complete securities-fraud probe. On the other side…

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Mission to Mexico to promote business: City officials, corporate leaders to take part in trip

Most Hoosiers visiting Mexico spend their time on the beaches of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta. But this fall, an excursion of a different kind will take local business and civic leaders south of the border to explore new opportunities for commerce and trade with Mexico. The week-long mission, scheduled for early September, is the brainchild of Sergio Aguilera, Mexico’s consul general for Indianapolis. He hopes that exposing Hoosiers to all facets of Mexican life-from government and the…

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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Protecting property rights means thinking globally Effect on Indiana business Taking action

Last month, 10 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked the Bush administration to initiate trade disputes before the World Trade Organization and to identify nations that don’t protect intellectual property rights under U.S. trade law. The Representa tives pointed to a number of countries-Brazil, China, Pakistan, Russia and Thailand-that have been identified in the “National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers” as having poor enforcement of trademarks and copyrights. While the lawmakers’ concerns are valid, the expression…

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NOTIONS: A passionate, personal plea for public smoking ban

I’d rather not be here today. And I don’t mean just this public hearing. I mean if I weren’t responsible for two sons and 27 employees, I’d rather not be anywhere. Since you began this process, I’ve watched your proceedings on TV. I’ve heard folks question one another’s statistics and call one another names. I’ve heard the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, of which I’m a member, say we must “balance” human health and corporate profit. And I’ve had Council members…

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Special Report: Flawed funding: Years of guaranteed increases set stage for school crisis

Indiana’s decades-long effort to protect shrinking school corporations from drastic cutbacks may well backfire on the very districts that most depend on it-including Indianapolis Public Schools. Critics say the promise of more money regardless of enrollment has allowed some school systems to bloat their budgets, and now state legislators are poised to let the air out. School funding already represents more than one-third of Indiana’s $24 billion, twoyear budget, and lawmakers want to rein in expenses and eliminate a projected…

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Changes sought in Citizens Gas pipeline project: Industrial customers argue that alliance drives up cost

Citizens Gas & Coke Utility should build a new pipeline to reap cheaper wholesale gas from the West and Canada, but it should ditch its unregulated partner on the project, say industrial customers and the state’s utility consumer watchdog. The Citizens Industrial Group and the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor don’t want Citizens Gas’ ProLiance Energy subsidiary to be involved in certain financing, ownership and management aspects of the proposed $17 million pipeline. They say the joint venture, known as…

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Navigating a painful journey: St. Vincent Pediatric Hospice helps families cope

Erin Sammons knew nothing about St. Vincent Pediatric Hospice when she gave birth to her son, Hart, last November. She just knew that Hart had a chromosome disorder, and doctors expected his life to last only minutes or maybe days. The hospice offered help, so she took it. Hart lived for almost a month, and Sammons said the hospice staff walked her family through every step of that journey. “It was a tragedy, and my heart breaks every day ……

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Banker fits bill at art museum: Ex-Bank One CEO O’Connor leads facility through final stages of $74M expansion

Just over a year after retiring from the top position at central Indiana’s largest bank, former Bank One of Indiana CEO Lawrence A. O’Connor Jr. found himself giving up his newfound freedom to run another big business-the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Making the jump from financial services to arts and culture might seem unlikely, but O’Connor, who’s been serving as IMA’s interim executive director since November, finds himself at home running Indianapolis’ largest arts-related not-for-profit. “This is a wonderful place,”…

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Income tax neither simple nor fair EYE ON THE PIE:

It’s that time again. You do your federal income tax and then you do your Indiana income tax. Ah, the Indiana income tax. We are so proud that we have only one tax rate (3.4 percent) instead of an evil graduated income tax. This, we think, makes our tax simple and equitable. Yet the Indiana individual income tax is neither simple nor equitable. It is a complex mess of special treatment based on arbitrary and inconsistent sentiment. Some examples: Indiana…

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IUPUI discovers Office for Women still needs to exist: Program uses workshops, discussions and awards to keep the issues affecting women in the forefront

While many universities have programs dedicated to women’s equality, the IUPUI Office for Women is not taken for granted by the administration there. “It is important as part of the university’s diversity department,” said Kathy Grove, director of the IUPUI Office for Women. “It helps women to fulfill their potential and ensure that we have an environment free of harassment based on gender.” Established in October 1996 under the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Warfel, who was a professor of pathology…

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Aging employees, parents face care-giving challenges: More Americans balance jobs, elder-care concerns Long-distance care

More than 14 million employees today face the challenge of balancing job duties with the responsibility of caring for an older relative, according to the San Francisco-based Family Caregivers Alliance. And the numbers are growing as America ages. Employers and employees are feeling the cost of elder-care work conflicts to the tune of more than $11 billion in lost productivity annually, according to a MetLife study. Many baby boomer care givers find themselves sandwiched between caring for their own children…

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TOM HARTON Commentary: Riding the rails from first to worst

When my grandparents took the interurban from Rushville to Indianapolis to see the 1920 Indianapolis 500, they probably didn’t appreciate how lucky they were to live in a state that was a leader in public transportation. Indiana had one of the earliest and most extensive interurban systems in the country. The state’s electric railway network converged at the Indianapolis Traction Terminal, thought to be the largest interurban station in the world. The massive building on West Market Street served 462…

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