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Planking with a Purpose

Weekday plank breaks keep April Nading refreshed and rejuvenated
April Nading, an instructor at Yoga 101, streams her “plank breaks” each day Monday through Friday as a way to motivate others.

It’s 11 a.m. in the Tri-State. Most people are finishing up tasks before heading to lunch, but if you head to Yoga 101’s Facebook page, you can join in on an exercise that takes no movement and only five minutes.

April Nading, an instructor at Yoga 101, streams her “plank breaks” each day Monday through Friday as a way to motivate others and encourage them to get simple, daily exercise. She started in April 2020, when many were staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody was stuck at home, and the studio was closed, and I was just kind of in a funk one day, and I remembered I had admin privileges to our Facebook page, and so I thought, ‘I think I’m going to do a plank and stream it on our page,’” she says.

Nading held it for one minute her first time, but kept at it. She added on time for each plank, working her way up to five minutes. She had her hip replaced last May and had to start all over with planking, but eventually worked her way back up to five minutes.

“It just became a fun thing, and now I don’t want to quit doing it,” she says. “I don’t know why I would stop now.”

Nading insists you don’t have to be in tip-top shape, or even have workout attire, to plank. She herself has planked in a variety of places, including in her dining room, on a beach, in offices, and even on a rooftop.

“My real goal here to try to motivate people to do a little more and try,” she says. “A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I just can’t do it.’ I’ve had people tell me they thought they could only hold it 10 seconds and they held it 30.”

Taking a Break
facebook.com/evvyoga101

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A-maize-ingly Made

Professor Tobert's Orange Corn is Indiana grown
Purdue professor Torbert Rocheford set out on a mission in the 1990s to make corn more nutritious through biofortification

Corn, or maize, is the world’s most consumed staple food that, along with rice and wheat, comprises nearly half of all human food consumption.

With this in mind, Purdue professor Torbert Rocheford set out on a mission in the 1990s to find a way to make corn more nutritious through natural selection, a process called biofortification. His main focus was on providing vitamin A-rich corn for sub-Saharan Africa.

Wanting to bring this healthier corn to the United States, Torbert and his son Evan co-founded NutraMaize in 2015. Torbert handles the corn breeding, while Evan serves as the company’s CEO.

The nutritional boost from this “Orange Corn” comes from increased levels of natural antioxidant pigments called carotenoids — the same compounds that gives carrots their orange color and health benefiting reputation.

Non-GMO Orange Corn is now grown in more than 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States, NutraMaize grows its Orange Corn in Indiana with a farmer near Rushville, about 50 miles outside of Indianapolis.

Colored Crop
professortorberts.com

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One Year Later

Governor Eric Holcomb addresses the state on March 16, 2020

On March 11, 2020, I was sitting on the tan carpet of my grandmother’s living room in southern Missouri when my phone buzzed. It was spring break for the University of Evansville, so the email from President Chris Pietruszkiewicz came as an unalarming surprise.

It was mere seconds later, as I was still reading the first few lines of the email, that my phone buzzed again. This time with messages from my friends and roommates — UE would close its campus for two weeks due to the impending threat of COVID-19.

It’s a moment repeated in the lives of every American; we can all remember where we were, who we were with, what was said when lockdown began. While I drove back to my parents’ house in St. Louis (where I spent quarantine after UE moved completely to online instruction on March 17), the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Indiana had its first reported COVID case on March 6, but like many state leaders, Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t announce restrictions until March 12, after the WHO’s declaration. Non-essential gatherings were limited to no more than 250 people and schools were told to prepare for possible closures.

On March 16, 69-year-old Beech Grove resident Roberta Shelton became Indiana’s first reported COVID death. Unfortunately, Birdie (as she was known to her family and friends) was the first of many to lose their lives to the pandemic, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Holcomb. The Governor ordered all public and non-public schools to close until May 1 and delayed income taxes, utility shut offs, and evictions/foreclosures on March 19.

Despite increased restrictions the pandemic still felt separate from our lives. While events and schools had come to a halt, many people still gathered with their close friends and family, even celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. All the while I checked my email at least 20 times a day desperate to see a new update from President Pietruszkiewicz; “UE is open, come home!” But the moment never came.

On March 23, Gov. Holcomb ordered a two-week shutdown for the entire state. It was this moment that cemented COVID-19 into our history, our record books, and our memories.

Many felt like the tragedies of quarantine would finally be a thing of the past on Sept. 23, 2020, when Indiana entered Stage Five of its re-opening plan. COVID began to feel like an annoying mosquito that wouldn’t quit buzzing in our ears.

A few days later, I had my first day as Staff Writer with Evansville Living. Social distancing, mask wearing, and other practices recommended by the CDC were in place in our office and across the nation — we were all living a “new normal.”

But nothing about this past year was normal. Office plants withered, servers hung up their stained aprons and non-slip shoes, and I watched my senior year at UE fade into obscurity. While I missed out on my graduation and lived out of my spring break suitcase for almost two months, most Americans faced much worse.

Over the course of the pandemic more than 12,000 Hoosiers have lost their lives to COVID-19. Nearly 528,000 nationally and 2.61 million people globally died. By now, almost every American has or knows someone close to them who’s tested positive for COVID.

Today, exactly one year since the WHO’s historic announcement, it can be painful to reflect but doing so will show us how far we’ve really come. In the face of anti-mask and anti-lockdown campaigns, a major election, and the revitalization of several social justice issues, we’ve weathered the pandemic storm together.

As global death tolls and cases continued to rise and restrictions fluctuate in Indiana, the world banded together to push forward. Our collective losses and negative experiences in 2020 led to something incredible — a vaccine.

Operation Warp Speed was a program by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services created to expedite a vaccine for COVID-19. By pooling global resources, the brightest minds in vaccination science, and years of prior research on coronaviruses and mRNA vaccines, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were put on the fast track and approved for emergency use by the FDA on Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 respectively.

Johnson & Johnson joined the vaccination efforts with their own version on Feb. 27, 2021.

Currently, Indiana residents ages 50 and older, long-term care residents, first responders, and healthcare workers are eligible for vaccinations. On March 2, 2021, President Joe Biden announced all U.S. adults will have access to the vaccine by May. The figurative light at the end of the tunnel is slowly becoming a reality after one very long year.

One year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours.

Today, March 11, 2021, we can look forward to a brighter year, happier months, joyful weeks, and safer days. But it’s important to not forget all the lessons we learned this year. The CDC has begun releasing guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals (one is fully vaccinated two to four weeks after their final dose) but wearing masks, social distancing, and practicing good hygiene are still crucial to the fight against COVID.

Above all, it’s important for us to remember our “old normal” as we move into a new era of public health and daily life. You don’t have to discard 2020 or shove it into the back of your scrapbook. It’s okay to grief those events we missed, the birthdays uncelebrated, the hours wasted on the couch in quarantine, and, most importantly, the friends and family we lost.

Yes, 2020 changed Indiana and the world, so will 2021, and 2022, and so on. So, as we look back on March 11 thinking “what a year it’s been!” just think what a year it could be.

Photos provided by IN.gov and Governor Holcomb.
 

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Tapping In

It’s almost spring in the Tri-State and that means it’s time for the 43rd annual Wesselman Woods Maple Sugarbush Festival.

Staff members and volunteers from Wesselman will show participants the process of tapping sugar maples from the first drop of sap to the final boil of maple syrup.

Guided hikes showcase the nature preserve’s sugarbush and visitors will have the chance to explore Wesselman Woods on their own with interactive and informative self-guided hikes. Masks are required to be worn inside the Nature Center and during guided hikes.

Due to COVID-19, the traditional pancake breakfast before the start of the event is cancelled, but you can still enjoy the maple syrup by purchasing it from the Nature Center.

The Maple Sugarbush Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 2 through March 6. Regular admission of $10 is required for entry.

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G is for Greenway

Evansville has many beautiful landscapes and trails, and one of the most ambitious projects over the past two decades in the city has been construction of the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage, an effort by community leaders to further compliment the area’s environmental allure.

Winding through the heart of Evansville along the Pigeon Creek and Ohio River, the 10-foot wide paved trail highlights the creek and banks of the river in Downtown as well as connecting parks, businesses, and nature areas. The Greenway is a scenic route perfect for exercise, skating, riding your bike, or walking your dog.

The Greenway was designated a National Recreation Trail by the National Parks Service in 2004, which makes it a component of a larger national trail system stretching across the country.

Construction on the Greenway has been split into several phases since it’s initial construction nearly 20 years ago. The plan is to eventually have it encircle the city and reach as far east as Angel Mounds. To date, sections of the Greenway total 6.75 miles from Sunrise Park to Canoe Launch.

Just upstream in Newburgh, Indiana lies another greenway.

The Newburgh Rivertown Trail is a multi-sue greenway that extends from Angel Mounds to the Locks and Dam Park along the Ohio River Scenic Byway. Bending through the town’s riverfront, the trail is marked with interpretive signage and attractive landscaping as well as restaurants, coffee shops and a farmer’s market on Saturdays.

Dedicated in November 2010, the Rivertown Trail extends about one mile in length. Each year, Newburgh hosts a 5K that uses the trail as a substantial part of the course. The plan is to eventually connect the Evansville Pigeon Creek Greenway with the Newburgh Rivertown Trail upon completion.

There’s no better way to see our city than taking a jog on these intricate trails!

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Clearing Connections

Proven interactive tool helps heal the mind

Your brain is hardwired to make connections. And it’s really good at doing it.

Walk into a room and you have a reaction. Most likely, it’s nothing substantial — the brain surveys what is around and then acts in response. However, there are times when someone may be triggered by another person, sound, or smell in a negative way that may cause a flight, fight, or freeze reaction.

“Our brain makes associations with all kinds of things all the time because that’s how it works,” says Lampion Center Therapist Andrew Martin. “But sometimes our brain makes associations with things that don’t really add up or don’t really go together, but it’s there.”

Those negative associations caused by trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction, or other mental issues can be addressed by one of the many forms of therapy that are used, with the most common being talk therapy, where a patient sits and discusses issues, situations, and more with a trained therapist, counselor, etc.

But therapy can be more than just talking, and one model that is used successfully in treating an array of issues is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, referred to as EMDR.

Initially developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the 1980s as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, Martin explains the technique uses dual stimulation — simple movements with the hand or other device that a patient follows back and forth with their eyes while they recall their triggering event or issue.

“The theory holds that trauma is experienced in the middle part of our brain that houses our memories and emotions due to the threat reposes cycle. These emotions and memories do not get moved to the front part of our brain for processing. In other words, they’re stuck there,” says Within Sight Partner and Psychotherapist Caron Leader. “EMDR helps them get relocated using dual stimulation, done in multiple, short sets of time while clients’ target a troubling memory.”

To put it simply, think again about connections. EMDR is about weaving your left brain (logic) and your right brain (emotion) together to help understand why we react, explains Susan Milligan, clinical coordinator for counseling services and counselor at Catholic Charities of Evansville. EMDR helps patients get both the left and right brain together to dive into why a reaction occurs, what trauma triggered the reaction, and then drive down the negative belief associated with the trauma, allowing a new positive belief to emerge.

“What’s so interesting is how we responded in the midst of our trauma is oftentimes the way we continue to respond in years well after the trauma occurred when we feel triggered again,” says Milligan. “EMDR is a means by which we can go back and change the narrative of the trauma with far more adaptive, healthy responses.”

“There’s a lot of neuroscience in EMDR as well. It’s this idea that whatever fires together, wires together,” adds Martin. “When I’ve done EMDR with people, we have gotten down to the fact that the triggering event was something very small and very benign. But it led to these dominoes that eventually got bigger and bigger that felt very overwhelming.”

Though the practice of EMDR is widely used, accepted, and found to be very effective, patients simply do not walk off the street into a clinic and request the therapy. Whether a patient is aware of EMDR or not as a possible therapy, all three counselors stress how they assess their patient first before suggesting the technique. The importance doesn’t lie in a client being “right” for the treatment — it’s about the comfort level of the patient.

“The client is always in control. In the midst of a session, if they want to stop, I will always honor that. If I suggest EMDR and they don’t want to try it, then we can use other modalities to meet the goals of care,” says Milligan.

“We educate people about EMDR and other therapy methods, discussing what is more effective for their presenting issue,” adds Leader. “Then we decide together based on what feels right for them.”

If a client chooses to try EMDR therapy, a beginning phase of resourcing happens, where the therapists help their clients learn how to bring down anxiety to stabilize and ground themselves — or become regulated. This helps the client once the therapy moves into processing the targeted traumas or anxieties, so that they do not leave a session uncomfortable or triggered after addressing issues.

You can think about it like grief — when somebody first experiences grief, it's really intense and very physical. Then overtime, that intensity lessens. EMDR does that — it lessens the intensity of the experience."

— Psychotherapist Caron Leader

Though Martin, Leader, and Milligan all work in different organizations and with all types of patients, each agrees EMDR therapy can accomplish what many clients are seeking — processing their triggers and being able to address them better.

“It looks to pinpoint certain issues very directly. So, it can really get at some of the issues and very specifically at what it is that we’re trying to work on. Another great benefit about this, and a lot of the research shows this too, is it can also move people through therapy much more quickly than it would in other ways,” says Martin.

Milligan has seen the same with her patients. On average, she sees patients working through EMDR find closure to their trauma in four to six sessions. While that is not the case with every client, she says, it certainly has helped many address triggers and anxieties that once seemed impossible to overcome.

“It’s a way to process issues without necessarily just doing talk therapy. It’s another tool for therapists to use in their toolbox,” she says.

According to Leader, though the overall result is a change in thought patterns, the outcome of EMDR therapy is much more as patients change the way the mind and body holds a negative experience, and teaches them how to move that experience not just in the mind, but feel it differently in the body as well.

“You can think about it like grief — when somebody first experiences grief, it’s really intense and very physical. Then over time, that intensity lessens,” she says. “EMDR does that — it lessens the intensity of the experience.”

Help is available for everyone, no matter their socioeconomic status. If you or someone you love is experiencing difficulty processing trauma, anxieties, depression, addiction, etc., trained therapists and counselors are available at Lampion Center, Within Sight, and Catholic Charities to assist.

For more information on EMDR Therapy in Evansville, Visit:
lampioncenter.com
iamwithinsight.com
ccevansville.org

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A Silver Lining

Deaconess Gateway Hospital welcomes arrival of COVID-19 vaccine
Dr. Gina Huhnke, medical director for the Emergency Department and Medical Affairs, received the vaccine on Dec. 16, 2020.

Deaconess President Dr. James Porter addressed media and hospital personnel on Dec. 16, 2020, as a small white cart carrying the newly created vaccine rolled in front of the crowd.

“These are people seeing COVID patients on the frontline every day and we thank them and are very excited to see them receive this historic vaccine,” he says. “We hope people look to these examples and know the vaccine is a better option [than COVID].”

When Deaconess received their first shipment of 900 doses on Dec. 15, they opened one vial — which contains five doses — and practiced the vaccination process on five unnamed frontline workers.

Another 900 doses were delivered to the hospital later that week, allowing many more volunteers to be vaccinated. Dr. Gina Huhnke, medical director for the Emergency Department and Medical Affairs, explained the safety of the vaccine, despite the quick timeline and many unknowns of COVID.

“This vaccination uses your own body to build antibodies against the Coronavirus so that the virus cannot attack you,” she says. “This vaccination produces an antibody against the spike protein which allows entry into the body’s cells. So, unless the spike protein mutates, which is a possibility but not as probable as other mutations, we’ll have a vaccination against many different varieties of coronavirus.”

The Pfizer vaccination requires two doses and volunteers had scheduled their second shot for early January.

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First Day Trek

Lace up those hiking boots and kick off 2021 with others across the country during the First Day Hike at John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, Kentucky, on Friday, Jan. 1.

This event is a part of a nationwide initiative in state parks across the U.S., spanning from the east to west coasts, to encourage people to get out of their homes and take in the beauty that national parks have to offer. According to the American Hiking Society, last year’s New Year’s Day hiking event saw nearly 55,000 participants, logging more than 133,000 miles hiked throughout the country’s wilderness.

While these hikes are normally guided by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers, this year’s event at the Audubon is taking on a virtual twist. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., hikers can take to a one-mile trail where park naturalist Lisa Hoffman has set up info spots with QR codes. Simply scan the code with your phone’s camera, and a short YouTube video will explain different parts of the park.

Hikers are encouraged to participate solo or with family and friends at their own pace. To be counted in the First Day Hike numbers afterward, contact Hoffman through email at lisa.hoffman@ky.org or call 270-826-2247 ext. 228 to confirm your participation. Hikers are asked to remember social distancing practices and to wear a mask whenever possible to protect yourself and fellow hikers.

Remember to dress appropriately for cold weather hiking! Friday's weather calls for a high of 59 degrees with a 76 percent chance of showers.

For more information, head over to facebook.com/johnjamesaudubonstatepark.

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Crafting Solutions

Evansville city government adjusts amid unfamiliar territory

The 2021 Evansville city budget, similar to every city across the country, has taken a hit in a tough year where COVID-19 has decimated tax revenues and affected processes.

The Evansville City Council voted 6-3 in October to approve Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s proposal for the 2021 city budget in its entirety. Totaling $427 million, the city planned for an expected loss of $4.3 million from tax revenue sources, including a 7.91 percent decrease in the Motor Vehicle Highway fund and an approximately $4 million loss in the Casino fund with the city projecting to take in a little more than $9 million for the fund, largely from gaming taxes and property rental. Comprising about two percent of the total budget, the fund itself is a key revenue source for the city that suffered immensely from the pandemic with decreasing funds representing nearly all of the total losses to the 2021 budget.

Initially, the city was expecting a 12 percent decrease in the Local Income Tax (LIT), but after receiving further state guidance, they expect a six percent increase in 2020.

“With the uncertainty COVID has brought, we’ve really had to adjust and think about how we were going to plan this year out,” says Evansville City Council President Alex Burton.

While Burton, D-Fourth Ward, says he was ultimately satisfied with the budget that was passed, he would have liked to see more money allotted to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Burton had proposed an amendment that would have moved $250,000 to Affordable Housing from the Public Safety Local Income Tax fund. He withdrew the amendment prior to the council’s final vote.

“In the middle of the pandemic, there were so many people who were unable to pay their rent and were in the process of getting evicted and housing was already an issue of concern in our community,” says Burton. “This was the perfect time to put additional funds toward that cause, but it became super politicized, so it didn’t pass.”

Only city police officers and firefighters received pay raises. Burton says this puts the police department on par with other departments around the state to have a competitive salary to attract officers in the future.

Only two nonprofit organizations, United Neighborhoods of Evansville and the I-69 BridgeLink, received funding as part of the budget. Because of the revenue decreases this year, LIT grants, which are usually available to nonprofits, were reduced substantially.

Evansville Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer says the city was still very involved with the local United Way campaigns and supplemented some of the nonprofits who lost out on funding through the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region.

Though the city could not contribute funds to local nonprofits, the state government offered these organizations a grant program through the federal CARES Act in which they could apply for.

“Even though the city funding wasn’t there, we were able to raise money in the community from corporate and individual contributions and through state grants to try and help them maintain operations,” says Schaefer. “We’re just trying to help everybody as best we can.”

The city received about $3.8 million from the CARES Act, with the majority of those dollars being used for public safety compensation. This was in line with the restrictions and limitations put on fund distribution by the federal government. The money also had to be spent by the end of 2020.

“The good news is that a lot of these revenues are coming back,” says Schaefer. “As we reopened the local economy, money is being spent and there’s more activity. We’re hoping that we won’t have another shutdown.”

City departments start the process for annual budget funding requests in April or May. Internal meetings with staff are held to determine priorities for the year and in the summer, the mayor and controller’s office meets with each department head to go through the proposed department budgets. It’s at this point they start making cuts, recommendations, and changes.

During this time nonprofits can apply for the LIT grants as well, though it was not included in this year’s process. The City Council then has budget hearings in which every department head is called to go through the same process. Negotiations start in the fall and the council can propose amendments and approve a final budget.

“It’s a long, painful process, especially this year when we had to make so many adjustments and modifications when you are dealing with significantly less revenue,” says Schaefer. “It’s a good time to re-evaluate your programs, your operations, and how you are doing business.”

He adds the process wasn’t made any easier when they didn’t receive new projections from the state until late in the year. The state government will give projections to local government a few times each year in terms of how much revenue they expect to collect.

Another difficulty with the budget is that a large majority of revenue comes from property taxes, which is funneled through the state, and then comes back to local communities. The city only receives property tax revenue two to three times a year and some city funds will go negative because money won’t be received until later.

“It’s difficult because you wouldn’t manage your checkbook like that, because you get a regular paycheck,” says Schaefer. “Try doing it with getting paid only two or three times a year.”

With revenues being down, future budgets also are expected to be significantly impacted. Experts tell Schaefer that 2022 or 2023 is when to anticipate budget challenges, as they expect a hit to LIT in the coming years. He adds that once the city gets behind it is difficult for them to adjust and make decisions for several years out.

He says working with the current Evansville City Council has been good as they understood the situation and worked with the mayor’s office on many issues.

“I’m grateful to work with a council that is really focused on solving issues,” says Burton.
“We’re not in a space where we’re panicking. Everybody is just kind of watching to see how long this really goes on.”

[evansvillegov.org/city]
 

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What a Year It’s Been

Kristen Tucker

You do not need me to tell you what a year this has been. What I do want to say is that for legions of Americans, Hoosiers, and southwestern Indiana residents, 2020 has no silver lining. This past summer as the pandemic continued to reveal itself, we grasped for the positives. The magazine staff was able to continue working and we counted our lucky stars that the content of Evansville Living still could be a bright spot for so many homebound readers — and we hope that still is the case; that’s what we work hard for every day. But we understand there are no silver linings this year for so many of us.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has claimed 1.26 million lives (as of press time, Nov. 9, 2020); 50.7 million people across the globe have contracted the disease. In the U.S., there have been 10.1 million cases of COVID-19 with 238,00 deaths. The Hoosier state has seen 214,509 cases with 4,418 deaths. At home here in Vanderburgh County, we have seen 7,497 cases of COVID-19 with 90 deaths, the greatest majority of these illnesses and tragic deaths being recorded since August. In the eight-county area in southwestern Indiana containing Vanderburgh, Posey, Warrick, Gibson, Spencer, Pike, Perry, and Dubois counties, there have been 15,679 cases and 253 deaths.

While a vaccine is promised by early 2021, that will not change the number of seats that will be empty at holiday dinner tables around the world.

It was in this context that we framed the feature of this issue, “All in the Family” (page 37). Longtime readers may recall that some years we plan for the November/December holiday feature a year in advance — so we can capture the “Doors of Christmas” (as we did last year) or a homeowner’s festive décor. This year we left our options open; we did not shoot holiday photos last season for this season. We were glad we could shape a holiday feature story that felt right for this year.

Not surprisingly, our conversations quickly turned to the comfort of home cooking — a ritual that continues to sustain so many people during the pandemic. Would readers share their most requested, treasured, perhaps even sacred recipes enjoyed in their homes? We asked the question on social media and identified among ourselves a few supreme hosts we knew personally.

Roxane Patton shares her egg pie (you might call it chess pie) with our family. I like to call our family friend Janice Stratton the hostess with the mostest; Janice is not out to impress (though she always does) — her mission is to share and nourish. It also is not surprising to me that Janice and Jingle Hagey, who you also will meet in this feature, both volunteer at soup kitchens.

Managing Editor Trista Lutgring summed up the project:

“Features such as these are my favorite, not simply because of the amazing food we showcase (and eat!), but because of the enthusiasm from our cooks!

I got such a joy being in the kitchen with Janice Stratton as she talked about her love affair with cooking while we browsed her cookbooks. Leigh Anne Howard let me stand at her stove and stir her oyster stew while she made the grilled cheese sandwiches, which made me feel a little like I was a part of her tradition. The history pouring off the property of Houston Keach’s home was just as amazing as his family’s practice of smoking hams. And sitting around a table with Bob Renock, discussing spices and flavors, was just about as much fun as I could have on a Wednesday afternoon.

I truly enjoyed listening to our cooks speak on why these recipes mean something to their families. Most are simple, but all have a unique story.”

Staff Writer Riley Guerzini shares his visit with Jingle Hagey, a frequent source for story ideas. (Philip Hooper’s story on carriage houses, “Old World Spirit,” page 82 comes from Hagey alerting us to a similar story in the Wall Street Journal’s Friday “Mansion” section.)

“Just standing in Jingle Hagey’s presence gives you the impression she has been cooking for her entire life,” says Guerzini. “Her history and knowledge of food and her willingness to share everything she knows about her family’s rich history of home cooking is inspiring to those looking to create a delectable homemade dish.”

Staff Writer Dallas Carter spoke of a storied holiday tradition shared in our office.

“Miranda Simmons and her cheese log lit up our office,” says Carter. “Simmons’s story of a loving family and the inside jokes and quirks that can develop into traditions took the spotlight during our interview. Each staff member who came to try a bite left with a happy stomach and a full heart.”

And that is our wish for you this holiday season. From the staff at Tucker Publishing Group and Evansville Living, may you have a happy stomach and a full heart.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor