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Thumbs down: Naughty nurses

Try not to think too hard

about this one next time you need a hospital sponge bath. On Monday (Aug. 9),

the governor's office announced it would not seek a federal grant that would

pay 75 percent of costs required to perform statewide background checks of

nurses seeking new and renewed licenses. A spokeswoman explained the state

could not afford the $1 million required in state matching funds. That means a

prolonged status quo, in which the state relies solely on the honesty of the

applicant regarding criminal history. Patient abuse in places like old folks'

homes and mental hospitals is nothing new, and it's truly abhorrent that the

state finds billions for pet projects like stadiums and failed privatizations

(IBM?) but can't scrape together a million bucks for society's most vulnerable.

Thumbs up: Green lights a go

Traffic lights around

Indianapolis are going to get a little greener over the next few months. No,

that doesn't mean fewer red lights. The Department of Public Works (DPW)

announced Monday (Aug. 9) that it had begun upgrades to more than 500

intersections around the city, converting old, incandescent bulbs to

energy-efficient, cost-saving LEDs. They'll even be brighter. According to the

DPW, today's LEDs use about one-tenth the energy used by standard bulbs;

officials expect the move to save the city about $250,000 each year. The city

has already made the switch at roughly half of the city's 1,150 signals since

2008. The second half should be finished by this fall.

Thumbs down: Tourist


Between Black Expo shootings

and Hyatt labor protests, Indianapolis tourism these days looks a little like

Mike Tyson at the end of a bout with Evander Holyfield: crazed, scrambling and

little bloody. Last week's latest doesn't help. The National Business Travel

Association produced its annual study of car rental, hotel and meal taxes among

the top 50 U.S. destination cities. Indianapolis ranked fourth worst in

discriminatory travel taxes, defined as "those imposed specifically on travel

services above and beyond general sales taxes." Last year, hotel taxes were

raised another one percent to bail out a failing Capital Improvement Board

– which, of course, was failing in part because of flagging tourist

dollars. In other words, we're shaking down tourists who come to pay for

tourists who don't. Don't be surprised if some of the former quit coming. Ever

seen a snake eating its tail?


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