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Byline: Brian Werth
Dec. 31--For Bloomington and most of central and southern Indiana, 2002 was a strange year for business.
On one hand, policy makers, developers and business leaders came out with
more far- reaching plans, mergers and business deals than anyone can remember. On the other hand, job losses mounted in the manufacturing area, venture capital funding began to dry up and several regional companies closed their doors.
Unemployment stayed low in Monroe, Brown and Morgan counties, but the area continued to have some of the highest jobless rates in the state in Greene, Lawrence and Orange counties.
Linda Williamson, president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., said the year passed through a cloud of economic uncertainty.
"But the foundation has been laid for growth," she said. "There are solid opportunities in place for entrepreneurs."
The area's biggest business story of the year was the announcement in July of the proposed $3 billion acquisition of Bloomington-based medical instrument maker Cook Group by …