Articles

Seeking to sway politicians: Lobbyists savor the challenge of playing the game, which requires chess-like strategizing

When Maureen Ferguson was a lobbyist for the Indiana Petroleum Council, she went skiing for the first time, in Colorado. As her ski instructor was taking her up the mountain, he asked her what she did for a living. When she told him, he “went off” on how the oil industry was corrupt and running the government, and she recalled that she found herself fearing for her life. Now when someone asks Ferguson what she does, sometimes she tells them,…

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Checking credit status set to get easier: New law lets consumers obtain 3 free reports each year, implements changes to help fight identification theft

Aging medical bills that fell off the radar screen, unused bank accounts that were never closed and continue to rack up monthly fees, or an erroneous charge placed on the report by mistake all can wreak havoc on consumers’ plans. Beginning in March, however, a law signed by President Bush in December 2003 will make it easier for Indiana residents to keep closer tabs on those credit reports and head off troubles at the pass. The Fair and Accurate Credit…

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GERALD BEPKO Commentary: State should help insurance industry grow

GERALD BEPKO Commentary State should help insurance industry grow Everyone seems to agree that state governments must facilitate job growth and wealth creation. As pioneers in publicprivate partnerships, Indiana’s leaders have envisioned a future for Indiana that includes many partnership economi c – d eve l o p m e n t strategies. One reflection of this vision is the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership-led focus on key sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, logistics and life sciences. The priority associated with…

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Regulators probe Galyan’s trades: Investigation reason for leave of absence for McDonald stockbroker Dave Knall

Securities regulators are investigating allegations of insider trading in Galyan’s Trading Co. stock before the company’s sale to Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. last summer, IBJ has learned. Sources said those under scrutiny include star Indianapolis stockbroker Dave Knall and his son James, who worked with his father at a McDonald Investments office on 96th Street in Indianapolis. Dave Knall, 60, one of the nation’s top-producing stockbrokers, has been on a voluntarily leave of absence from McDonald since Dec. 3. The…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Let’s explore options to finance stadium

Phinneas Phogghorn, Indiana’s third U.S. senator, was home for the holidays and in fine voice at the Dixie Donut Shoppe. “Rubbish,” the jewel of Jeffersonville intoned to his assembled admirers. “Unadulterated rubbish is all I can say about the view held by too many Hoosiers that a stadium for the Indianapolis Colts is not for the benefit of all the people of Indiana. The Colts are more than a mere symbolic representation of the state in the minds of football…

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Mayor seeking broader control: Indianapolis Works proposal gives Peterson more authority over suburban budgets

Some parts of local government are financed by the city. Others are the bailiwick of the county or the townships. For years, the split didn’t much matter. Today, it means everything. While they held sway during the first three decades of Unigov, Republicans could iron out financial wrinkles behind closed doors. But the 1999 election of Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat, provoked a turf war. It escalated in 2003, when Democrats won their first-ever City-County Council majority. Now Democrats dominate…

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Major sewer system renovations await federal approval: With waste pouring into White River almost every time it rains, Indianapolis is in dire need of sewage overhaul

The city’s long-term plan to prevent the flow of raw sewage into White River and its tributaries should receive federal approval soon, nearly five years after Mayor Bart Peterson introduced a proposal to fix the antiquated system. City officials expect to receive permission from the Environmental Protection Agency in April to proceed with a plan to construct tunnels, underground storage tanks and new sewers to capture raw sewage that would otherwise overflow into waterways during heavy rains. Peterson presented his…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Prices recover in 2004; expect same in 2005

A few weeks of big price changes, particularly on the up side, and the armchair economists seem to really come out of the woodwork. Oil prices peaked in October at levels 40-percent higher than in July, and so did rumblings about conspiracies, windfall profits and pricegouging. To hear some lunchroom conversations, as well as the saber-rattling of some attorneys general around the country, the only thing that keeps businesses of all kinds from fleecing the American public with unconscionable prices…

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Readers say transportation should top city’s agenda: Growing traffic delays, struggling IndyGo system, possible rapid transit system among issues facing planners

The average Indianapolis motorist sits in traffic delays more than nine times longer than he or she did 20 years ago: 37 hours a year vs. just four hours in 1982, according to a recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute. Growing delays have not only brought inconvenience and lost productivity, but also have earned the metro area “nonattainment” with federal air-quality standards. That raises the specter of expensive vehicle-emissions testing. IBJ Daily readers ranked solving congestion/public transportation issues as…

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Ivy Tech president secured: After 21 years in charge, Lamkin signs first job pact

Ivy Tech State College trustees last month approved a first-ever employment contract for longtime President Gerald Lamkin, giving him a 9-percent pay raise and relative job security until his intended retirement in mid-2007. Such deals are increasingly common in higher education, trustees said, and the timing was right for Ivy Tech as the school takes over control of the state’s community college system and expands it to all 23 of its campuses. Formalizing Lamkin’s future now-after 21 years in the…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: It’ll be full speed ahead as legislators start term

Words once uttered by a man who certainly qualifies as an honorary Hoosier-Mario Andretti-will probably prove prophetic as we watch Indiana’s new governor and General Assembly over the next four months. “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough,” Mario once said. That may well be the mantra of Gov.-elect Mitch Daniels and the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives. While writing the initial column previewing the legislative session is always a daunting task, it…

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Federal grants are flying to Indiana airports: Record money a boon for capital improvements

Indiana airports landed record federal grants of $61.9 million in fiscal 2004 for everything from building taxiways to extending runways to transmitting weather data to pilots. The $17 million, or 38 percent, increase from 2003 could bode well for economic development in cities with growing airports, such as Columbus. “About 65 percent of our traffic here is business during the week. The more accessible we become, it’s bound to have an impact,” said Rod Blasdel, manager of Columbus Municipal Airport….

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‘Works’ proposal would overhaul Unigov: Yesterday’s system isn’t keeping up with current makeup of Marion County

Three decades ago, before Republicans conceived the local government consolidation they called Unigov, Indianapolis was the sleepy burg folks drove through on their way somewhere else. Once city and county government began working together, Indianapolis enjoyed dynamic growth. Today’s vibrant, modern metropolis is consolidation’s direct legacy. But in 35 years, Unigov has ossified. Most Marion County residents now live outside the old city limits. Yet the tax structure maintains the fiction they don’t. Old city residents shoulder the burden of…

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