Articles

Unifying Indiana’s IT efforts: State’s new CTO plans to centralize computing

Indiana’s state Web portal, access-Indiana, won at least a dozen awards over the last four years. It was frequently lauded as a model of modern government efficiency-robust, reliable and user-friendly. But, according to new Indiana Chief Technology Officer Karl Browning, the reality was only skin deep. Certainly, accessIndiana is the handsome public face of state information technology. But beneath the surface, there’s a tangled mess of unconnected systems, each managed independently by a separate agency. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican,…

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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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SPORTS: Tournament committee ready to pick and defend

He describes the experience as gutwrenching, intense, agonizing and exhausting. But also, some kind of fun. “It’s like going off to basketball junkies camp for a week,” said Jon LeCrone, commissioner of the Indianapolis-based Horizon League. “Camp” convenes this Wednesday, when LeCrone joins nine other members of the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball committee to select, seed and bracket the 65 invitees to the tournament, aka the Big Dance. To be sure, it’s not Camp Granada, with rustic cabins, bunk…

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Republic Airways ponders employee concessions: But union complains about ‘disingenuous’ memo

A memo by Republic Airways warns of the need for employee concessions if ailing partner U.S. Airways ceases operations, Teamsters officials said. The union representing 1,000 cockpit crew members and 600 flight attendants at Republic’s Chautauqua Airlines unit has found itself-not the Indianapolis company-on the defensive, however. Union leaders are wrinkled at what they say is a disingenuous memo Republic CEO Bryan Bedford sent to workers about seven weeks ago, alleging that the union has withheld information from pilots and…

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TV weather war becoming a race for arms: Local TV news ratings, advertising dollars at stake VIPIR attack

A storm is brewing. But the weather-related tempest has as much to do with television viewer ratings and advertising dollars as it does with tornadoes and hailstorms. With an array of new forecasting technology hitting the market, Indianapolis’ four local TV news operations are arming for a weather war that would make Dorothy and Toto run for the nearest Doppler radar. “The weather is an enormous driver in local TV news ratings,” said Bill Perkins, president of locally based Perkins…

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As leaders argue, local crime rises: Inner-city residents fear police consolidation, but city says it can’t afford current structure

Despite Mayor Bart Peterson’s addition of 200 cops in 2000-which gave IPD the strength to try community, or preventive, policing-crime jumped 11 percent over the last two years. Between them, the Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department responded to 5,487 more offenses last year than in 2002. Unless new money is found, Peterson has repeatedly warned, the cash-strapped city soon will be forced to fire IPD officers. Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson already struggles to fight suburban…

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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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INVESTING: Big investors make Time Warner, Comcast look good

Two weeks ago, I was talking to one of my analysts and he brought up a couple of stocks he thought could be really interesting over the next 12 months. Remember, I am a technician and not a fundamental analyst, and the analysts I trust are all technical guys. He said these two stocks showed solid bottoming formations on their charts in the fall, which could lead to solid gains in the next year. When he mentioned the names, I…

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Radio Slayer?: The 3.6-ounce iPod could become a 500-pound gorilla

The 3.6-ounce iPod could become a 500-pound gorilla Radio’s death knell has tolled before. In the 1950s, television was supposed to kill radio. And in the last 30 years, there have been a cavalcade of challengers from cassette tapes and Walkmans to compact discs and portable disc players. Even though a record $20 billion was spent nationally in radio advertising in 2004, a new predator on the landscape has the potential to take a serious bite out of the industry’s lifeblood….

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Johnson County gets major gated community: Development planned next to The Legends golf course

Johnson County is set to get its first major gated housing development, and The Legends of Indiana golf course-coowned by former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight-should reap a much-needed financial boost. Construction on the $35 million project on 35 acres in Franklin is set to begin this spring. The project, consisting of 144 homes and condominiums, will be constructed between the front nine and the back nine of The Legends’ Jim Fasiodesigned championship course. There will be 38 single-family…

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SPORTS:

After spending much of his adult life with a stopwatch, Duke Babb knows something about time. In this case, it’s his. Having just turned 70, he says it is time to get off this “great ride” through football he’s been on the past 50 years. Time to let someone else tend to this behemoth he’s created, which is popularly known as the NFL scouting combine. Time to still have the energy to “kick the dog a little bit.” That’s figurative…

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VIEWPOINT: Get ready for big-time public art

As president of Central Indiana Community Foundation, I get challenged by a lot of people who have a lot of questions. “Why can’t we have some of the cool stuff other cities have, like major public art?” a CEO of a public company asked me the other day. This time I was pleased to be able to answer not only that we can, but that we will. The Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission, with generous support from the Deborah Joy Simon…

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New suitor sees future in Standard: Investor says he’ll leave life insurance arm in Indy

John Franco left Kentucky-based ARM Financial Group Inc. more than a year before it imploded, and he sees Standard Life Insurance as his ticket to re-enter the insurance market. ARM Financial sank a few years ago under the weight of enormous losses, bankruptcy, shareholder lawsuits and insurance downgrades. Franco and others say he had nothing to do with the demise of the company he helped found. “After I left, the company pursued a very different path and the rest is…

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Artsy edge propels Y&L: Agency shows its creativity with 2nd Globe

But Indianapolis-based Young & Laramore needed more than the “I think I can” mantra of bedtime stories to make tracks for the big time. It needed a plan. The four-part strategy was simple in concept, if challenging in execution: Attract the talent necessary to do national-caliber work, put it to good use, get results and earn widespread recognition. “I’m a big believer in developing plans for growth and working hard at them,” said Paul Knapp, a lawyer by training and…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Does good biz mean good guv?

CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary Does good biz mean good guv? It’s already crystal clear that Gov. Mitch Daniels intends to live up to his promise to shake things up in Indiana government. It’s even clearer that he believes the people who will help him succeed in doing so are people who have been successful in business. I’m guessing a large number of IBJ readers are eating this up. For as long as I can remember, businesspeople have complained about government bureaucracy…

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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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Celluloid tax credits?: Incentives for movie makers getting bipartisan support

House Bill 1639 would put in place a hefty set of tax incentives for companies making movies, television shows, music videos, commercials and corporate videos on Hoosier soil. Though the bill has bipartisan support in the House, a similar measure was spiked last year because of concerns over lost tax revenue. Even the bill’s author thinks there could be a fight over the measure in the Senate. Those who think the idea of drawing movie producers to Indiana is far-fetched…

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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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