Articles

INVESTING: Merger activity no harbinger, but better market coming

On Jan. 28, Procter and Gamble agreed to pay $52 billion to acquire Gillette. Days later, SBC Communications Corp. bought AT&T for $16 billion. The track record of merger-and-acquisition activity on Wall Street leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the mergers involving large operations fail to generate anywhere near the returns management promises. But as soon as I heard about the P&G deal, I thought a lot of things make sense here. First of all, neither one of…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Telecom regulation takes center stage at Statehouse

While this session will, necessarily and constitutionally, be all about the budget, you can expect a few interesting stops during the long journey to that point. Even as the House Ways and Means Committee was hearing last week from assorted state agencies about their respective budget needs, other lawmakers were hearing from Hoosiers more interested in altering state policy than what the state’s fiscal bottom line might be. And just like the governor will be distracted this week-as he should…

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Portal plan targets humanities teachers: Technology offers access to data, lesson-planning

The Indiana Humanities Council wants to open a new doorway for teachers around the state. IHC has begun testing a trial version of an education-portal program called Smart-Desktop at six central Indiana schools, including three from IPS. The goal of the program is to help teachers teach traditional humanities subjects such as history, social science and literature more efficiently and effectively, said John Keller, teacher-designer and coordinator of K-12 development for the Smart-Desktop initiative. Starting Feb. 1, more than 30…

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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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NOTIONS: Modest proposal to make regional officials heroes

TO: Elected officials in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Morgan and Shelby counties FROM: Bruce Hetrick, Marion County Center Township peon Years ago, I wrote an advertisement for my boss. Under the headline “A different drummer,” it began: “One way to lead is to find a parade and step before it. A better way is to start the parade and keep it going.” Well, my friends, as stewards of central Indiana’s suburban communities, you face an unprecedented opportunity to…

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Cancer plan enters action phase: State health initiative unveils multi-pronged strategy to take on deadly disease

But Dr. Greg Wilson, the department’s commissioner who stepped down Jan. 25 due to the change in administrations, realizes it’s going to take more than money to snuff out unhealthful habits, such as smoking. “Three-hundred-thousand dollars will not cure cancer in Indiana,” Wilson said. “We really have to utilize the private sec- tor and we really have to involve all the participants.” Those participants include 110 organizations that make up the Indiana Cancer Consortium, an effort initiated in 2001 to…

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Making room for art: Renovated northeast-side factory to target artist tenants

An Indianapolis native with an interest in troubled real estate has set his sights on creating an arts center in a former factory in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. Investor Robby Richards has purchased the former Atlas Engine Works at 2045 Andrew J. Brown Ave. and is in the process of cleaning it up to lease to artists and others interested in the space. Richards hasn’t formally marketed the space and only recently hooked up with a broker, but he said word…

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Legal limelight:

Counsel from an Indianapolis law firm will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in April that an annual truck fee charged by the state of Michigan should be struck down. If the high court agrees, trucking firms in Indiana and around the nation could see more than $70 million in fees paid since 1995 refunded. Trucking firms have a lot riding on Scopelitis Garvin Light & Hanson. A ruling upholding the Michigan fee could embolden other states to adopt similar…

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Advocacy office leader will keep job with state: Daniels administration retains Kernan appointee, who took new position in July

Amid all the resignations and terminations in state government recently, at least one holdover appointed by the previous administration is remaining on the job. And small-business advocates could not be more pleased. David Dorff, whom former Gov. Joe Kernan tabbed in July to lead the state’s new Office of Small Business Advocacy, received word from Gov. Mitch Daniels in early January that he would remain on staff. Kernan unveiled the agency last summer as part of a series of initiatives…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Boards and commissions moratorium prompts concern

Expect House Bill 1188, authored by Rep. Rich McClain, R-Logansport, and awaiting a hearing in the new Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform, to provoke a lot of questions and controversy. In fact, the measure already has caused some panic among assorted business, professional, trade and local government interests. McClain’s measure, which should receive a favorable reception in the new panel chaired by red-tape-busting Rep. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, would place a one-year moratorium on the operation of all-yes, all-statutorily created…

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BULLS & BEARS: Investors do well to avoid asset-allocation infatuation

Asset allocation is a term regularly used in the investment industry. A close cousin of diversification, it refers to the division of an investor’s dollars between a variety of different “asset classes,” and is generally considered to be a tool to control risk. The two most basic asset classes are simply stocks and bonds. There was a time when simple “models” were employed by institutional investors, such as pension funds, with the rule of thumb formula being a portfolio of…

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Wild over wilderness: Alaska conservation effort keeps Galyan’s founder busy

But Galyan’s name still carries weight like one of his old store’s GoLite Gust backpacks. Galyan-thesalesman-turned-fund-raiser managed to attract 30 outdoorsmen last week to dine in a bistro that carved vegetables into unmanly shapes. Then he convinced them to fork over cash to help protect 40 million acres of land-in southwest Alaska. “I’m Pat Galyan, of former Galyan’s fame,” he told an audience that ranged from the CEO of a window company to a top-dog lawyer who told his tablemates…

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A business decision: Appointee: Finances, not tax woes, led to reconsideration

Harold Calloway said his sudden decision last week to decline his appointment as Indiana’s next insurance commissioner boiled down to a reluctance to leave the business he built from scratch. His change of heart had nothing to do with several state-income-tax warrants filed against him and his wife, Frankye, according to Calloway. All the warrants have been satisfied or paid, according to state records. Gov. Mitch Daniels announced late last month that he had picked Calloway, 58, to become the…

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Incubator shakeup puts prez under fire: Rose-Hulman Ventures in turmoil after resignations

But outside his camp, others at Rose-Hulman are calling for Midgley’s scalp. They fear the man who replaced Samuel Hulbert in July is another George Armstrong Custer. A pair of sudden resignations at nationally renowned business incubator Rose-Hulman Ventures provoked the skirmish that now threatens to become an all-out assault on Midgley’s leadership. “We cannot trust him,” said a Rose-Hulman dean who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This is by far not the only time I have felt this way,…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Daniels needs Dem. votes to pass budget measure

Lawmakers were treated Jan. 18 to what Hoosiers have quickly become accustomed to seeing from the new governor: a well-conceived strategy perfectly executed. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, delivered a compelling State of the State address, reminding the audience at the Statehouse-and in living rooms in all 92 counties-of the marching orders they gave him in November. He detailed the daunting but not insurmountable short-term problems Indiana faces, and outlined how bright he believes the future can be in just…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Understanding factors in public-sector job growth

There is nothing like a war and a recession to increase the size of government payrolls. Yet the hiring behavior of the public sector in the last four years has been unusual, when compared with previous recessions. The data tell us much of the growth in recent years has come from state and local governments. But they do not tell us why. There has been much stronger job growth in the public sector than in the private sector in the…

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NOTIONS:

The other night, former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton appeared on my TV. They said the tsunami had been devastating. They said people need help. They asked me to send money. “No one can change what happened,” Bush said. “But we can all Slow tsunami wreaks havoc in Indiana change what happens next,” Clinton said. I went to lunch with my editor. After the waiter announced the specials, he pointed to a tent card on the table. It…

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Outlook is good for entrepreneurs:

Could 2005 be the tipping point for Indiana to become the center for entrepreneurship in the world? That is a pretty bold statement, considering Indiana’s poor track record. As executive director for Entrepreneur’s Alliance of Indiana, I talk with many entrepreneurs that are excited about the direction Indiana is headed. We have in place a strong educational component with several universities ded icated to research and development and the incubation of new ideas. Geographically we have always had an advantage,…

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NOTIONS: New Year’s resolution: It’s time for status quo to go

In the Jan. 3 issue of The New Yorker, writer Malcolm Gladwell reviews Pulitzer Prize-winner Jared Diamond’s new book, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” Diamond’s premise, says Gladwell, “stands in sharp contrast to the conventional explanations for a society’s collapse.” While conventional wisdom has it that “civilizations are destroyed by forces outside their control, by acts of God,” Gladwell writes, “the lesson of ‘Collapse’ is that societies, as often as not, aren’t murdered. They commit suicide: they…

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Parking protest: Spurned operator questions airport contracting methods

The nation’s largest parking operator is complaining that Indianapolis International Airport canceled its joint-venture contract and handed the business to the local half of the venture without seeking competing proposals. Nashville, Tenn.-based Central Parking Corp. said that, given the chance, it would have offered the airport more to manage the Premier Business Class parking lot than its now-former partner, Global Parking System of Carmel, did. A counteroffer from Central came after the Indianapolis Airport A u t h o r…

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