September 18, 2020
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Upgraded Care

Deaconess Clinic Downtown moves to new facility

In 2008, the medical landscape of Evansville — as well as the face of Downtown — was vastly different than what it is today.

That year, the Deaconess Clinic was founded when Deaconess Health System merged with Downtown Evansville’s Welborn Clinic. Made up of primary care physicians and specialists, the clinic continued in the former Welborn location, providing a Deaconess presence in the area for medical care.

Fast forward 12 years to the beginning of a new era. With the addition of new medical facilities and campuses throughout the city, the Deaconess Clinic Downtown is adding its name to the growth. Early in 2019, the health system held a groundbreaking for a new clinic facility Downtown. The new space was going to bring an upgrade to all aspects of the clinic.

“This modern building has been designed with patient needs — and great patient care — in mind,” Deaconess Clinic Vice President, Chief Physician Administrative Officer Dr. Allen White said at the groundbreaking ceremony in February 2019. “It’s an exciting time to be part of what’s happening in Downtown Evansville, particularly here in the developing medical district.”

The decision to build a clinic space came from a simple problem that arose for the Deaconess Clinic administration — whether to continue their lease at the former Welborn Clinic or seek a new location.

“When we started looking at locations, we were really focused on remaining close to the area the former Welborn Clinic is in right now,” says Julie Dingman, chief operating officer at the clinic. “And the availability of the (former Ford dealership) lot that we built on here is just perfect for us.”

Weighing their options, Dingman says the new building made the most sense for the clinic. Welborn’s former location was not only too large of a facility, it also was outdated. Planning a new space allowed the Deaconess administrators, staff, and physicians an opportunity to bring in needed upgrades to exam rooms, equipment, technology, and more.

“Working in a new, modern facility like we have here now, it’s really refreshing,” says Deaconess Clinic primary physician Dr. William Smith. “It’s big, open, and bright — what you would expect from a modern medical facility. Having patients come to a modern office, it kind of cheers them up in a way, which is helpful.”

The new building, situated at Fifth and Walnut streets, features 100,000 square feet of clinic and office space. Services offered include primary and specialty care, lab and radiology services, and a Deaconess Clinic EXPRESS location to open in October. The space also has been constructed to allow for an expansion, should the clinic need more space.

“I think it is critically important as an administrative member of Deaconess that we are always focused on putting our patients first and thinking about what we need to do to ensure we are accessible, available, and providing the highest quality of patient care we can,” says Dingman. “Having the ability to build new facilities, to upgrade, to expand our footprint gives us that connection to the community that we serve.”

More than 8,500 square feet of the facility also is being utilized by the Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville for clinical research. The dedicated research space is getting partial funding from the Regional Cities Initiative ($9 million), which has been responsible for many new projects in the Downtown area.

“I believe some of the research projects that will come out of the space at the clinic will deal with how we actually see patients in the future — that integration of technology with patient care,” says Smith. “The most exciting thing, I think, is that point of care.”

The first floor of Deaconess Clinic Downtown also will be home to the Vision Care Center. Once a part of the Welborn Clinic, the Vision Care Center separated from Welborn and created a new company during the merger with Deaconess. However, they still maintained office space in the former clinic.

“They had a very strong desire to move into the new building when they found out our plans,” says Dingman. “They’ve been a great partner, and we’ve liked having them located in our facility. It was a good opportunity for both of us.”

Another positive that comes from an upgraded facility that is tailored to the clinic’s needs is the change in how physicians, specialists, nurses, and staff collaborate. For Smith, the arrangement of departments and offices in the former clinic made it difficult to talk with colleagues about patients’ problems.

“Before, we were kind of isolated in our own little areas. Here, we have a more open system,” he adds. “We are much closer together. We have internal medicine doctors to speak with, behavioral health around the corner, where before we would have not had direct access to other colleagues to collaborate about patients.”

Even the lunchroom has been designed to promote that connection, utilizing a whiteboard and open spaces to allow for small meetings and conferences.

“The staff feel like they have the space and equipment that will allow them to continue to take great care of their patients,” says Dingman. “They are thankful; they are proud.”

The Deaconess Clinic Downtown also will continue to serve a capacity in helping to train medical students at the nearby Stone Family Center for Health Sciences campus. That proximity is extremely important, says Dingman, as Deaconess partners with local universities to provide as high a level of hands-on training and experience with the health system’s providers as possible.

“It’s also important to many of our nurse practitioners and physicians,” she adds. “They feel they have a responsibility to give back to those who are moving through their own training.”

“Deaconess is very innovative,” says Smith. “They are always bringing new technology to us, new ways of doing things. I look forward to seeing some of that applied here to the new Downtown clinic.”

“We really try to put ourselves where we can be convenient to people in the community that we serve,” says Dingman of the new facility. “We hope this facility provides convenient access to health care for the people who live and work in the Downtown area.”


Food Resilience

Urban Seeds helps nourish community
Robin Mallery

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down many things, but Evansville organization Urban Seeds continued going strong.

During the quarantine, the group saw an increase in local food and nutrient insecurity. The Urban Seeds team, led by executive director Robin Mallery, pivoted from their normal structure to provide relief efforts. Over the course of the stay-at-home order, Urban Seeds cooked and served 350 healthy meals each week for families in need through the Dream Center, YWCA, Memorial Baptist Senior Housing, Vision 1505, Lucas Place II, Garvin Lofts, John Cable Center, and Lincoln School.

“Our focus with Urban Seeds is to facilitate resilience building in families through restorative initiatives,” says Mallery. “Resilience is where families are confident and able to perpetuate well-being in their own household around nutrition because they’ve been given not only the tools but also the access to nourishing foods on a regular basis.”

To Mallery, a healthy food system means local growers and food producers feel embraced and supported in the community. Urban Seeds accomplishes this mission through educational programs like Nourish, a community grocery buying club initiative that bridges the gap between healthy cooking and expensive ingredients. Other food-centered programs include meal planning, cooking classes, and use of SNAP benefits at farmers markets.

Amanda Bradshaw-Burks, movement manager for Urban Seeds, adds there often are barriers to accessing healthy foods, whether it be transportation, money, knowledge, or other factors.

Urban Seeds, founded in 2005, has developed from a community garden project to a fully functioning nonprofit. Although the past 15 years have seen changes in leadership and structure, the intention of providing access to nourishing foods for the Evansville community has remained the same.

“For us, we really try to focus on the restorative efforts and provide that long-term accessibility to nourishing foods,” says Bradshaw-Burks. “We’re trying to find where those barriers are and break the barriers down, so people can continue to access the healthy food.”

530-263-4827 •


Johnathan Pope

Education: Bachelor’s degrees in communications and theater, Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Michigan

Resume: Associate executive director, YMCA of Saginaw (Saginaw, Michigan), 2007-2009; executive director and district executive director, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, Michigan), 2009-2019; president and CEO, YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, 2019-present.

Hometown: Daytona Beach, Florida

Family: Wife Chandra and daughters Sydney and Savannah

Johnathan Pope was set to follow a path into journalism when he moved from Florida to attend college at Saginaw Valley State University. Plans changed, however, when his mentor at the university, Dr. Roosevelt Ruffin, recommended him for a new roll at the Saginaw YMCA.

“I had the good fortune of being mentored by Dr. Ruffin, a member of the university administration, during my senior year,” says Pope. “He was, unbeknownst to me, the chairman of the local YMCA board, and on his recommendation, I was able to land a role as the assistant youth director, a newly created role at that time.”

The Y was not new in Pope’s life. He remembers attending summer day camping programs with his brother and cousins at one of the YMCA campsites in Volusia County YMCA. Taking the position at Saginaw would kick off a 26-year career with the organization that brought him to the executive director position in Evansville in 2019.

“I was drawn to Evansville because of the opportunity to work with a model YMCA — one that is mission focused, has a strong board of directors, and has a seasoned staff,” says Pope. “People want to partner with the Y, to support the organization, and the community really believes in the work of the YMCA.”

What was it like coming into the newly created role at Saginaw YMCA when you were just out of college?
It was eye opening. It was my first job outside of university; everything before that was just student employment. It was a big step for me.

I learned a tremendous amount about myself and my passions. I was able to work with kids, and something I really found in that role was I really enjoyed working with children. That was where I was able to cut my teeth and how I ended up where I am now.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in your first year in Evansville?
By far, the biggest challenge has been COVID-19. YMCAs are gathering places where people look forward to seeing their friends. Like many organizations working in this environment, we’ve had to pivot to maintain connectedness with our communities of people — such as members, donors, program participants, staff, and volunteers — all while at a distance. Every other challenge this year pales in comparison to what’s at hand. But turnover in some key leadership positions and the opening of a new Downtown branch have proved to be formidable tests as well.

Moving forward after the COVID-19 shutdown, what does the future of the Y look like?
The quarantine has taught us there are other ways to engage with people despite not having access to our typical gathering places. We are considering the positive response our virtual content has gathered (nearly 200,000 wellness video views during quarantine), and what would it look like to make wellness opportunities as accessible post COVID.

What excites you most about the YMCA and Evansville?
I am most excited about the credibility that has been established for the Y in our community and what that credibility will allow us to do moving forward. There has been sound leadership at the helm at this Y, partnered with a passionate and engaged board of directors. The community has recognized that. I am excited by what we can do with the equity the YMCA has generated in this community.


Life During COVID-19

While the city quarantined, residents and businesses stepped up to help Evansville
Community One staff members deliver needed supplies to local families every Monday during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Social distancing. Face masks. Hand sanitizers. The COVID-19 outbreak throughout the U.S. and the world has changed all of our lives drastically in a very short amount of time. As Indiana entered the second part of a five-stage plan to reopen businesses and bring life back to normal beginning May 4, Evansville began to reemerge as well after weeks of quarantine.

For Indiana, Stage 1 began in March, when Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a stay-at-home order, closing businesses and workplaces except those deemed providing the necessities of life. Restaurants closed dining rooms and became carry-out or delivery only. Retailers shut their doors as well, fulfilling call-in and online orders through curbside pick-up and delivery. Social gatherings of more than 10 people were restricted. Life began to change.

As the days stretched into April, our community stepped up to help our local businesses and residents in full force.

The United Way of Southwestern Indiana, the Community Foundation Alliance, the Welborn Foundation, Koch Foundation, Old National Bank, Vectren, and many others partnered with the city of Evansville to form the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region on March 27. The fund’s purpose is to provide assistance and relief to area organizations affected by the COVID-19 virus.

In April, $200,000 of the funds were awarded to seven nonprofit organizations, and in May, another round of more than $450,000 was awarded to 25 more. The fund has raised more than $4.7 million (with a goal of $6 million) to continue assisting area nonprofits.

Evansville Day School held an EDS STRONG online auction and fundraiser from April 18 to April 25 in place of its annual gala. In addition to fundraising for its academic programming, EDS also added a Healthcare Heroes relief drive to the event. Members of the high school’s Student Leadership Council asked the public to donate funds to support healthcare workers at Deaconess, Ascension St. Vincent Evansville, and Ascension St. Vincent Mercy hospitals. These donations were accompanied by handwritten notes from EDS teachers and students, offering words of encouragement to those on the frontline.

“The Student Leadership Council members decided the most important thing we could do right now is to help our local hospitals and medical professionals,” said EDS freshman and SLC Academic Committee member Shriya Naraya.

In late March, local McDonald’s employees delivered 800 meals to healthcare workers at Ascension St. Vincent. Local franchise owners Rick and Susan Mann, Chip and Katie Kenworthy, Paul Snider, and Michael Burrell also provided hundreds of gift cards to frontline workers at Deaconess Health System. In all, the area locations donated more than 3,200 meals to healthcare workers.

The Downtown Evansville-Economic Improvement District jumped in as well, creating a virtual tip jar to provide aid to those service industry employees laid off, furloughed, or otherwise affected by closures. Those wishing to help can access the tip jar online and leave a tip in a server’s, bartender’s, or hair stylist’s Venmo, Paypal, or Cash App account.

It became about the little things to Evansville residents — acts of kindness and solidarity.

The Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, which had postponed upcoming performances in late March, joined the Songs of Comfort project, sharing music with the public through social media. The Eykamp String Quartet and members of the orchestra perform each Wednesday on the EPO Facebook page. Maestro Alfred Savia, whose final performance with the EPO was postponed until Aug. 15, also hosted a symphony series called “Bedtime with Beethoven.”

The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana opened its annual members-only exhibit to all local artists to submit work and produced a virtual gallery for residents to enjoy from the safety of home.

The Need a Neighbor Initiative was created by Community One and area churches. This project allowed those residents in need of a meal, groceries, essential supplies, or just a friendly voice on the other end of a phone call to connect with neighbors who could help.

Businesses also shifted focus. Anchor Industries picked up production on emergency relief tents for hospitals and medical professionals. Tents were shipped throughout the country, particularly in New York City, Washington D.C., and Baltimore.

In April, Berry Global made a switch to increase production of face mask materials at their North American plants. The company also partnered with The Women’s Hospital at Deaconess to produce face shields for newborn infants, which helped medical staff transport them safely.

When it came to facemasks, Evansville residents stepped up. As supplies of masks dwindled in stores and online, local seamstresses came to the rescue. Mary Jo Hinton of Evansville donated more than 1,500 masks to hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, and residents in Evansville and Henderson, Kentucky.

Terry Mominee of Mominee Studios developed her own mask pattern using Velcro-type fastening, a bendable wire to adjust the mask, and a pouch inside that could carry soft respirator filters or a standard N95 mask. Mominee offered the pattern for free to others and submitted copies to the Stained Glass Association of America to share with stained glass workers from around the country and world.

“We are not doing these for profit,” says Mominee. “We are very excited about this design and its potential to be a major improvement in fabric mask design.”

When the Back on Track Indiana plan was released in early May, members of the Reopen Evansville Task Force had already been hard at work. Areas of business assistance, workplace safety and testing, quality of life, government operations, food security, and communications were all addressed by task force groups to provide resources.

A collaboration between Deaconess Health System and the Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville announced the first local study on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the area in an effort to help leaders and employers understand how to safely reopen. Up to 1,000 employees from several different industries were selected and results were expected by the end of May.

“This is the first of hopefully many phases of testing,” says Dr. Steven Becker, associate dean and director of the Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville. “What we learn from this testing will be used to design and implement future rounds of testing.”

Just because opening efforts had started did not mean help was no longer needed by local businesses.

On May 18, an announcement came from local government leaders concerning outdoor seating for restaurants. The Evansville Restaurant Relief Program is designed to enable restaurant operators to expand their outdoor dining areas temporarily onto existing property and public rights-of-way, according to Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s office.

For Evansville residents, the efforts of us all — from business owners and restaurant employees to schoolteachers and government leaders — made it seem as if life could get back to normal easily when our state began to gradually reopen.

During Winnecke’s state of the city address on May 6, he discussed how the city fared in the wake of the pandemic.

“Because of our response and so much more, I’m really proud to report that the state of our city is resilient,” Winnecke said. “I have a front row seat to witness a city full of grace, charity, kindness, compassion, and a profound sense of humanity.”

“If you can think of a good deed, it’s been performed right here in Evansville,” he added. “It’s the Evansville way.”

Though Evansville, the state, and the world are not back to normal as the effects of the pandemic virus continue to ripple across the community, ongoing efforts can ensure we will, one day, be able to live life as we did. Until that time, Evansville continues to stay strong, together.

Stay updated on reopening efforts, relief funds, and more COVID-19 information pertaining to Evansville and the region:


Taking A Shot

IV Therapy Solutions brings wellness trend to Evansville
Nikki Motz, RN, inserts an IV hooked up to the Myers’ Cocktail on one of IV Therapy Solutions’ owners, Todd Veeck.

With a demanding job that involves lots of travel, Todd Veeck wanted a solution for his jet lag.

“I’m a private investigator and a military contractor, so I was constantly going all over the U.S.,” he says. “I would basically have to hit the ground running, so what I would do is I would find an IV therapy place as soon as I landed.”

IV therapy has risen in popularity in the last few years, especially in bigger cities like Las Vegas and Nashville. Todd and his wife Abby, along with partners Rick Wallis and emergency medicine physician Dr. James Spiller, decided to open their own wellness clinic, IV Therapy Solutions at 206 N. First Ave., so people in the Evansville area had easy access to the treatment. While IV therapy has received attention as a cure for hangovers, Todd says it can treat much more, like migraines, dehydration, fatigue, acute asthma, muscle recovery, colds and flu, and other issues.

IV Therapy Solutions, which opened on Dec. 13, 2019, offers seven different IV treatments that focus on everything from hydration and muscle recovery to boosting immunity. All are given by licensed paramedics or registered nurses. A popular treatment is the Myers’ Cocktail for overall wellness, a combination of magnesium, B vitamins, calcium gluconate, and ascorbic acid created by Baltimore, Maryland-based Dr. John A. Myers prior to his death in 1984. If IVs aren’t for you, the clinic also offers shot injections of vitamin D and B12.

“It was one of those things, after getting them done and feeling so much better, if I started to get sick, I would get one done,” says Todd. “I would get a boost of energy or my cold would happen a lot faster.”



Sustainable Change

Fifth Third Bank embraces collaboration in renovated office

Fifth Third Bank received more than a makeover after consolidating its offices to the 10th and 11th floors in the Fifth Third Center at 20 N.W. Third St. The building was sold to Riverview Investments in May 2018, which has since allowed the bank to approach its workspace in a new way.

Instead of a traditional office where each employee has a designated office or desk, the bank has transitioned into a collaborative space. There are few assigned seats and offices. Employees are encouraged to move around freely between desks with standing capabilities, huddle rooms, focus study spaces, treadmill desks, phone booths, conference rooms, and a commons area that includes a foosball table for monthly tournaments and an outdoor patio on the 11th floor overlooking the city.

“People are happier at work,” says Court Kull, Fifth Third Bank’s president of the southern market of the greater Indiana region. “Relationships have grown stronger with their coworkers and genuine friendships have developed as a result of it, and that’s by far the most important thing that has happened. For our clients and customers, the next most important thing would be our level of collaboration has increased substantially.”

The new office also showcases Fifth Third Bank’s commitment to sustainability. Last year, the bank converted to 100 percent renewable energy for the entire bancorp across the country, purchasing energy from a solar field to power its facilities. The office utilizes motion-sensing lights to reduce energy use and emphasizes recycling and going paperless.

Even the financial center on the ground floor at the corner of Sycamore and Third streets has been renovated to be more welcoming to customers and clients, with comfortable seating areas, complimentary beverages, and a library with financial resources.

“It represents an almost $5-million investment on Fifth Third Bank’s part in this community, which is significant,” says Kull. “It’s a big commitment for us. Downtown Evansville is going through a real renaissance, and we are too.”

812-456-3205 •


Brick, Mortar, and Pestle

Paul’s Pharmacy opens new East Side location with focus on customer comfort
Owners Jacob and Kari Mayer worked with a creative team to ensure customers were relaxed in a comfortable atmosphere.

The timing was perfect for Jacob and Kari Mayer.

The co-owners of Paul’s Pharmacy (with two locations in Evansville) had been looking for the right stand-alone building with high visibility for their East Side location. Turns out, the spot that worked for them was not too far from their location inside Washington Square Mall — it was just outside in the former Premiere Video building.

“I had been approached about other spaces, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for,” says Jacob. “When the owners of the mall came to me and said this building was open, I thought it was a good possibility. It has easy accessibility, parking, and is very visual.”

It’s hard to miss the new Paul’s East Side location, which opened in October 2019. Drivers along South Green River Road will likely catch the colorful and unique mural painted on the side of the building as they pass by.

“It’s been fun,” says Kari of the art. “Kids come by and do their senior photos out here. During the Christmas dance season, we had some come by and do photos then, too.”

The exterior is just the start of the new experience the location offers customers. Upon stepping inside, it’s hard to believe the store is a pharmacy, save for the traditional counter with staff members ready to help fill prescriptions or answer medication questions. The décor of Paul’s Pharmacy East resembles more of a homey farmhouse store than an industrial-style pharmaceutical business.

“We wanted to get a space that was more welcoming,” says Jacob. “We wanted more of a homey feel, where you are resting, relaxing, and just starting your journey to get better.”

Paul’s Pharmacy has a long history in Evansville, starting with Jacob’s father. Paul Mayer began his career when he was young, delivering medications on his bicycle for the former Canon Drug Store on Franklin Street in the 1950s and ’60s. In March 1977, Paul took the next step by purchasing Canon Drug Store, renaming it Paul’s Pharmacy.

From the beginning, Paul kept the focus on his customers and also on investing in technology for his business. Paul’s was one of the first pharmacies in Evansville to computerize its processes. It’s a tradition his son has continued. Jacob joined his father’s pharmacy staff in 2001 after graduating from Purdue University. It was later that year the father-and-son team opened the East Side location on Professional Boulevard just off Washington Avenue. The business moved into Washington Square Mall in December 2011.

As the pharmacy has continued over the years, new technology has allowed Jacob, Kari, and their staff to offer a high level of service. Paul’s has IVR, an interactive voice response phone system, which gives customers the option to leave voice mails and call in after-hour prescription refills. The pharmacy also utilizes ScriptPro, an automated prescription technology that counts and labels filled prescriptions.

▲ Paul’s Pharmacy East Retail Manager Arielle Ricketts is just one of the many staff members who greet and assist customers at the retail pharmacy. The staff’s knowledge of products are what help Paul’s stand out in the community, says Kari. “Arielle is just a wealth of knowledge,” she adds.

Paul and Jacob also opened a closed-door pharmacy in 2009, which only serves skilled nursing homes, assisted living and group homes, and waivered homes instead of the general populace. It also houses robots that do unit packaging of medications.

The new East Side Paul’s Pharmacy incorporates the technology with a boutique approach toward the care of its customers and patients. Jacob and Kari not only took time to research a location but also met with pharmacy owners from across the country. They also hired a creative team highly recommended by other pharmacies, Cre8 Sales and Marketing, to help them with the redesign.

“I wanted to do this for years,” says Jacob. “I wanted to bring in and build up the retail space. I just didn’t have the knowledge to get what I wanted. With this, I got to see how creative people can be. Some of the things they can do with spaces is pretty neat.”

“They got to know everything about our family,” adds Kari. “They didn’t just ask us what we wanted for the pharmacy. They wanted to know our kids, our in-laws, everyone in the family, what we stood for, and our beliefs. They turned that into the face of the pharmacy.”

The design of the store also includes elements of science tied to the pharmacy — hexagons and benzene rings appear in different décor pieces while light fixtures resemble beakers.

Just as important to the couple as the comfortable feel of the space were the products they could offer the community. Paul’s sells a private label vitamin and supplement line, which has been carefully crafted by input from Jacob. The Image skin product line provides different levels of care for customers to find the perfect fit and typically is only sold in dermatology offices. They also offer an all-natural makeup line, Glo, which ensures purity and longevity without the use of parabens or talc. Paul’s also has a variety of selections for men’s care as well, visible right as customers walk in the door. The pharmacy even carries a pet line. And the majority of products are made in the U.S. and as natural and organic as possible.

“We wanted to make sure there were options out there for everything — pets, kids, women, men, essential oils, and wellness,” says Kari.

“We’ve gone to some of the larger cities and found small, boutique-style locations with some nice, good products that you just couldn’t find elsewhere in the city,” adds Jacob. “Bringing that feel into Evansville was something the city and the community was ready for.”

The staff at Paul’s Pharmacy is a big benefit as well, adds Kari, not only in their friendliness to both new and old customers, but also their knowledge of the products.

“You are only as good as the team that stands behind you. We really have the best staff in town,” she says. “I think the staff does an amazing job of giving their best to make everyone feel their best, too.”
The new store along South Green River Road allows the Mayers and their staff to expand on the idea of what a pharmacy means to the community of Evansville. But to Jacob and Kari, this new chapter in the story of Paul’s Pharmacy simply is a continuation of what the store has been known for over the last 50 years — combining the latest pharmacy innovations with the best options for their customers.

“Everything has been focused on better health for the patient and customer. I think this is just another phase of that,” says Jacob. “We’re finding good products out there and getting them to the community to increase the quality of life.”


Hangin’ Tough

Strike a pose in Downtown YMCA’s aerial yoga class

It takes a lot for me to trust — especially when it involves a hook in the ceiling holding a fabric hammock I’m sitting in.

Yoga has long been one of my favorite activities. After its opening, the Downtown Ascension St. Vincent YMCA announced it would offer a new aerial yoga class to members, and I was eager to try. The class uses traditional seated, inversion, and balancing poses adapted to be performed with the use of a hammock suspended from the ceiling.

For me, one of the most important aspects of trying a new class is having a welcoming instructor who understands my reservations. The Monday morning aerial yoga instructor Lindsay Benedyk was just that. She walked me through how to hang the hammock, then gave me a few tips on positions and using the fabric, including just sitting in the hammock to get used to it before class started.

When it came to the actual poses, I found following along was easy. We began by lying in the hammocks as we moved through side and leg stretches. Outside the hammock, poses gradually increased in intensity, testing our balance and strength.

There were modified ways to do a pose, and Benedyk was helpful when she noticed I was unsure in a move. When the class got to inverted poses, I was hesitant, but Benedyk assured me sometimes it was better to start with small steps and work up to the pose. So I spent the time building my trust in the hammock, turning upside down a few times before we went into our final meditation.

By the end of the class, I was happy and felt I completed a good workout. It was low intensity, but I also felt the work in my core and upper body. Plus it was just fun to swing on the hammocks.

Fly High
812-423-9622 •


On The Run

Ultimate Fit finds the perfect fit in new space
Relief Manager Cory Jones (son of Curt and Cindy), Curt, Cindy, Fit Specialist Caleb Sherry, and Manager Jim Nolan.

When the neighboring business moved out of the space at 1412 S. Green River Road, the thought of moving never occurred to Curt Jones, owner of Ultimate Fit. That is until his wife and co-owner Cindy suggested moving their shoe and home fitness business into the bigger space. Ultimate Fit has now been in its new location since May 1, even celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and Curt says they already are at home in the space.

“We even took a little more space in the back than I assumed we needed, but it’s already filled up,” he says. “In the new space, it’s just the room, just the feel.”

“It feels right,” says Cindy.

The new location not only gives the business more room for inventory, but it also allows customers space to browse. All of the products in the new space were offered in the previous store next door, though Curt says items were so packed in that some regular customers didn’t realize the scope of accessories and equipment available until they shopped in the new location.

Ultimate Fit now can better serve customers, with more space to fit shoes, use the foot balance machine, and determine the ideal fit of shoes for runners, walkers, and everyday active people.

“I cannot say enough about the backing they give us from the walking community to the running community,” says Curt. “We’re talking about workers, doctors, just general people who are going to Disney. We were the same store in the old space, but when you come in the door now, it represents what we really are.” • 812-431-0201


One Check At A Time

Fundraising is a goal many people strive to meet each year, but may fail to accomplish. But the local organization 100 Guys Who Care looks to give members a unique chance to participate in charitable giving they otherwise miss out on.

Kevin Coon, co-founder of 100 Guys Who Care and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Agency manager, came across the concept in November 2017.

“We’re just a bunch of guys who come together to give back to organizations,” says Coon.

Each quarter, members nominate organizations of their choice — all nominations must be local nonprofits.

After nominations are narrowed down to the top three choices and each organization presents themselves, 100 Guys Who Care’s members vote and each write a $100 check directly to the winner. Coon says winners receive about $10,000 to $15,000 and are not eligible for donation for three years.

“The beauty of our group is the power of numbers,” he says. “When more than 100 guys write a $100 check, now you’re talking about thousands of dollars.”

With around 170 current members — including business owners, lawyers, and stay-at-home dads — they continue to increase membership and awareness.

Along with their formal meetings, 100 Guys Who Care have one social meeting to network and recruit. However, Coon says word of mouth is their best form of recruitment.

At their November meeting this year,
100 Guys Who Care officially passed a donation milestone, topping $100,000 given since its inception.

“We don’t know what the future will hold,” says Coon. “The sky’s the limit with us.”