The Living Record
With each passing year, we mourn and celebrate the lives lost of members of the community who made a difference in their places of work, to civic organizations, and to their families and others. We pored through death records and obituaries to find notable men and women who helped shape the Tri-State through their contributions.
Frederick Bumb, 94 — Dec. 30, 2015
Fred established Bumb Farms, Inc., and served as director of the Indiana State Fair board. He was a 4-H leader and president of both the Vanderburgh County Fair Association and the 4-H Center Board. Fred was named “Farmer of the Year,” Mayor Jonathon Weinzapfel proclaimed Nov. 12 “Frederick Jacob Bumb Day,” and he received the designation of Sagamore of the Wabash.
Robert Seibert, 83 — Jan. 3, 2016
One of the first members of the Mater Dei High School wrestling program, Bob raised his son Garren to become a member of the first Mater Dei State Championship team, and many of his grandsons carried on the tradition. After serving in the Navy, Bob returned to Evansville and owned several businesses, including the Copy Bar, AA Roofing, and Foxx Pools.
Phyllis (Igleheart) Kerdasha, 88 — Jan. 15, 2016
A descendent of one of Evansville’s original founding families, the Iglehearts, Phyllis was involved with the YWCA and Reitz Home Museum. She also was a member of the Evansville Museum, Evansville Country Club, and Evansville Kennel Club. She founded the Aline and Edgar Igleheart Foundation, an arboretum, gardens, and bird sanctuary in memory of her parents.
J. Glenn Babb, 90 — Feb. 6, 2016
Glenn served as chairman of the Convention Bureau of the Evansville Chamber of Commerce, bringing in 56 conventions and revenue of about $3 million. He co-founded Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana and served as co-chair of the New Image Committee of Evansville’s Future, Inc. He also was president of Evansville Sales and Marketing Executives, director of the Zoological Society, and chairman of the community fund drive for the Boys Club of Evansville.
Betty Buck, 82 — Feb. 12, 2016
Betty served on the board of directors of the Philharmonic Orchestra for 16 years and sat on the executive committee for a portion of that time. She owned Betty Buck Interior Design, served as president of the Three Arts Club, and was a member of the Weed and Seed Garden Club and Evansville Kennel Club.
Sarah Jessee, 78 — April 5, 2016
As a longtime Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation health and physical education teacher, Sarah coached basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and track. Her passion for golf led her to coach the Reitz High School team for six years. She was a member of both Helfrich Hills and Fendrich ladies golf associations, where she served as an officer. She won several club championships and helped on many tournament committees.
Walter “Siggy” Vanover, 85 — April 14, 2016
Siggy was Central High School’s basketball team captain, football quarterback, and baseball pitcher during winning seasons. He joined the Evansville Police Department at 19 and retired as a lieutenant after 30 years. Siggy also served as the president of Hadi Shriner’s Oriental Band and owned several businesses: Sig Vanover’s Painting and Wallpaper, Vanover’s Lease Your Way Motorhomes, Mom & Pops, The Old Manhattan, Vanover’s, and The Grand Slam.
John “Jack” Chaddock, 85 — April 11, 2016
Jack co-founded Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, served as Knight Township Trustee, and worked as a real estate professional. He was one of the founders and first president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Evansville, the first male president of Harrison High School PTA, and a president of Evansville Board of Realtors. Jack also worked with Evansville Goodwill Industries, Newburgh Town Council, Evansville Rotary Club, Evansville Boys Club, and Historic Newburgh, Inc.
Alberta Matlock, 71 — April 26, 2016
As city clerk, Alberta secured millions of dollars of child support payments, married more than a thousand couples, swore in countless police officers and firefighters, and taught classes on the election process. She received the Common Woman Award from the local chapter of the National Organization of Women, Governor’s Distinguished Service Award, Vanderburgh County Democratic Party Lifetime Achievement Award, and Albion Fellows Bacon Center Award. She also received a key to the city from three mayors.
Mary Kurtz, 95 — May 1, 2016
Mary opened a dance studio, which eventually became part of Evansville College Music Preparatory School. She later opened Chanticleer Wools in her basement and started an Evansville chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. She gained teacher certifications from the EGA and the American Professional Needlework Retailers, developing and teaching courses, workshops, and seminars. Mary also was a member of the Evansville Stamp Club and Evansville Fine Arts Camera Club.
Irma Friedman, 76 — June 1, 2016
Irma was a co-founder of Victoria National Golf Club and participated in many philanthropic efforts, including the Warrick County Community Foundation Alliance. She was recognized in 2010 by Cambridge Who’s Who for managing Victoria National with dedication, leadership, and excellence.
Alan Nunn, 79 — June 14, 2016
The Purdue University alumnus returned to Evansville to work in the family business and went on to own and operate Nunn Milling Company, Stockyard Feed and Supply, Midwestern Pet Foods, and the Pet Food Centers. He supported the Vanderburgh Humane Society and the Salvation Army.
Dolores “Dee” Browning, 93 — July 10, 2016
Dee was a volunteer with vision who enhanced the Girl Scouts, St. Mary’s Medical Auxiliary, and the Daughters of the Revolution with her talent. Dee, with her husband Charlie, helped found Browning Funeral Home and create their “Gift of Genealogy over the Last Century.” Dee created the biography program “Every Life has a Story to be Told,” which continues today. Dee was named to the YWCA “100 Years, 100 Women,” honoring women who gave significant contributions to our city.
Marvin Gray, 75 — July 27, 2016
Always carrying one of his collection of more than 600 flags, Marvin was known for supporting all Evansville sporting events. He raised the flag and operated the scoreboard at Bosse Field and often wore red, white, and blue.
Dr. L. Charles “Bud” Greif, 87 — Aug. 2, 2016
Upon returning to the U.S. after serving as a captain in the Army and director of a dental clinic in Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Greif practiced dentistry on Newburgh Road and later worked with the St. Mary’s Mobile Dental Clinic. He was appointed to the Indiana Board of Dental Examiners, was awarded a fellow and masters in the Academy of General Dentistry, and served as president of the Evansville Parks Board.
Thomas Powers, 94 — Aug. 8, 2016
Tom was the oldest living member of the West Side Nut Club. He graduated from Memorial High School, served in the Navy, and went on to own Tom’s IGA.
Frank Robert Krug, 82 — Sept. 1, 2016
Bob spent 30 years with Indian Industries/Escalade Sports and retired as president. He often volunteered with Evansville’s SCORE and ARC chapters. He also served on the Indiana ARC board and the St. Mary’s Medical Center internal review board.
Judith Heiken, 82 — Sept. 14, 2016
Judith and her husband Jack traveled the U.S. and ran the Heiken Puppets for more than 50 years. Judith created all of the puppets and was a master sculptor and puppeteer.
Donald J. Ulrich, 88 — Sept. 21, 2016
Don was the second-oldest registered piano technician in the country. He owned and operated Don’s Music Center and served as a choir director for St. Anthony and St. Mary Catholic churches. Don also was a Boy Scout troop leader and served as president of the St. Henry Society.
Adeline Wallace, 109 — Sept. 30, 2016
Adeline came to Evansville in 1945 and worked at the General Cigar Company factory. She also worked at Jerry’s Market and attended Line Street Church of Christ.
Rev. August Busch, 86 — Sept. 30, 2016
Rev. Busch served the Diocese of Evansville as a pastor for 40 years and then continued as a chaplain and substitute pastor for another 18 years. He attended the first Source + Summit Youth Retreat and continued to support the program until celebrating its March 2016 closing Mass.
Wesley W. Weber, 93 — Oct. 2, 2016
Wesley owned Weber Equipment Co. and worked there until retirement in 1984. He was a lifetime member of Old Tyme Auto Club and a charter member of a Tri-State club for Model A Fords.
James “J.P.” Johnson, 99 — Oct. 11, 2016
J.P. founded and owned Johnson and Son Construction Company Inc., which employed 10,000 people over J.P.’s career and was one of the largest black-owned businesses in the state. He also served as a deacon, trustee, and choir member at Greater St. James Missionary Baptist Church. J.P. received the Hoosiers Award and a key to the City of Evansville.
Bonnie Kolb, 99 — Oct. 20, 2016
Bonnie was a founding member, officer, and board member of the West Side Improvement Association. She served 20 years as the first chairwoman of the association’s West Side Nut Club Fall Festival food booth. She also worked for Citizens Commercial Realty and was a president of the Lady Elks.
David Locker, 68 — Oct. 26, 2016
David worked with the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Willard Library, and Newburgh Library systems. As manager of the former Central Library, he was instrumental in the development and construction of the current Central Library. With his passion for sharing knowledge, David also led book-discussion groups.
Donald Ingle, 95 — Nov. 12, 2016
Don served in World War II, where he was among the heroes involved in the Battle of Anzio. He later served as president of the Evansville City Council, led the Rotary Club of Evansville, and was instrumental in the development of Roberts Municipal Stadium. Upon retirement, Don took to sculpting. His works include busts of Purdue University presidents, a bust of Governor Robert Orr, and the sculpture of William Tell now at the City Hall square of Tell City, Indiana.
David Rinehart, 46 Sophie Rinehart, 17 Ruth Ann Rinehart, 74 —Nov. 13, 2016
David served as the worship and music pastor at Crossroads Christian Church. He played a major role in organizing the Worship Arts Academy and created the church’s youth choir. Sophie was a junior at Castle High School, where she participated in marching band and show choir. She also led youth worship at Crossroads. Ruth Ann was a member of the YWCA board of directors and taught music in EVSC elementary schools. She also participated in Crossroads Choir and was an accompanist at several churches.
Mary McCullough, 91 — Nov. 21, 2016
Mary and her late husband Harry started H.G. McCullough Designers in 1948. Both also were original members of Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Mary’s love of entertaining was displayed through the many wedding cakes she created over the years.
Best of the City 2017
Selected by the readers and editors of Evansville Living, these local businesses, restaurants, people, and events are the best of all our city has to offer.
Donut Bank Bakery
& Coffee Readers’ Pick
Best Bakery, Best Place for a Cup of Coffee
Forget the neon signs and an overload of coffee drinks — when it comes to fresh doughnuts and bakery treats, readers head to locally owned and operated Donut Bank. Last year’s Best Of winners for cup of coffee and breakfast meeting spot, the shops started by Harold Kempf claim a new title of Best Bakery. To showcase the company’s tasty talents, Evansville Living worked with Donut Bank’s bakers and decorators to create a unique cover to celebrate the annual Best Of list. We have to say, it was a tasty way to ring in the New Year!
* Nine locations in Evansville, Newburgh, Princeton, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky, donutbank.com
Best Place for a Men’s Haircut Reader's Pick
Step into Old Town Barber Shop at 400 S.E. Second St. and be ready for an experience not many places can replicate. “I try to mostly create a comfortable environment for everyone to be in,” says shop owner Nicholas Goodman. The Victorian home in Downtown may not be a traditional choice to house a barber shop, but it has worked well for Goodman and his crew, who offer hair cuts and colors for men and women, young and old. “There is a homey environment. People feel really comfortable when they come in here,” says Goodman. Want to relax a bit while your hair is trimmed? Goodman says Old Town now offers beer and wine for customers to enjoy.
* 2400 S.E. Second St., 812-449-0706, facebook.com/oldtownladiesandgents
SugarBakers Home Fashions
Best Home Accessories Boutique Reader's Pick
“When a customer visits SugarBakers for a project, selecting beautiful pieces to meet their needs is only a small fraction of what we do,” says Ann Pate, interior designer and owner of SugarBakers. Winner of the 2016 Best Place To Accessorize Your Home, SugarBakers Home Fashions claims another home décor victory from Evansville Living readers. Along with its full retail storefront, the four interior designers on staff can help customers design and furnish their homes exactly how they wish. “We can help you create the space from floor to ceiling,” says Pate.
* 1100 Tutor Lane, 812-475-1344, sugarbakers.us
Mystique Winery & Vineyard
Best Tri-State Winery Reader's Pick
Nestled in the woods near Lynnville, Indiana, just a short 40-minute drive from Evansville, rests Mystique Winery & Vineyard. With a motto of “Where friends meet and the wine is unique” and a Mardi Gras feel, it’s no surprise readers chose the winery as their favorite. Opened in 2008, the vineyard produces six wines and offers a patio which hosts musicians, parties, and events throughout the year. On your way out of the tasting room, don’t forget to grab some Mardi Gras beads as souvenirs.
* 13000 Gore Road, Lynnville, IN. 812-922-5612, mystiquewine.com
YMCA Camp Carson
Best Overnight Summer Camp Write-In Pick
In the second year Evansville Living has offered a write-in category for Best Of, readers made their voices heard by voting YMCA’s Camp Carson as the Best Overnight Summer Camp. Camp Carson is about growth and guidance, not to mention summer fun. Activities are chosen by the campers themselves and include classics such as horseback riding, archery, and woodworking to more nontraditional activities like water zip lines, dirt bike trails, and human foosball. At Camp Carson, kids are “ACE — Accepted, Challenged, and Empowered,” providing them a positive environment that teaches them how to take on challenges and succeed.
* 2034 Outer Lake Road, Princeton, IN, 812-385-3597, campcarson.org
Treats Worth the Dough Editor's Pick
If you have a craving for European food, you don’t have to travel far — just head to Cisse’s Bakery and enjoy any of the freshly made treats. Idrissa Cisse — a classically trained baker originally from West Africa — makes pastries, breads, cinnamon rolls, and muffins at his bakery, which opened in 2015. During the summer, Cisse also sells his baked goods at the Downtown Farmers Market and Franklin Street Bazaar. While each confection is downright delicious, the chocolate- or fruit-filled pastries are especially sweet.
* 4711 Bayard Park Drive, 812-589-2768, facebook.com/Cisses-Bread-Bakery-556784534460021
Best Pizza Reader's Pick
Even with all the new competitors on the scene, Evansville Living readers still choose Turoni’s as their favorite pizza pie. Year after year, Turoni’s pizza and its cracker crust, secret sauce, mozzarella cheese, and vast selection of toppings keep the Tri-State coming back for more. Many also choose to sample one of Turoni’s many on-tap beers, including its local favorite Honey Blond Ale.
* Three locations in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, turonis.com
Best Antique/Vintage Store Tie!
All it takes is vision and some paint for co-owners and mother/daughter duo Deb Rhodes and A.J. White to turn vintage furniture into modern masterpieces. Rhodes and White opened Re:Creation Designs Studio in 2014, but changed the name once they made the historic Newburgh Country Store the business’s new home in 2015. “It was such a refining process for us,” says Rhodes. “Once we saw the building, we realized how this was going to complete the vision we had — with the ability to bring in a coffee shop and a space where people could gather upstairs while shopping for different and unusual things. It just encompassed everything that’s been important to us.”
* 224 W. Jennings St., Newburgh, IN, 812-629-2250, therefinerynewburgh.com
Riverside Antique Mall
Best Antique/Vintage Store Tie!
Open seven days a week, the Riverside Antique Mall features more than 50 independent dealers who buy and sell items such as antiques, collectibles, and handmade décor. Inventory changes often, so visit regularly to find the item you didn’t know you needed.
* 1205 E. Riverside Drive, 812-469-2255, facebook.com/Riverside-Antique-Mall-360319270739855
Best Local Community Advocate Readers' Pick
Amy Word-Smith may be stepping down as president of the Franklin Street Events Association (FSEA), but don’t expect her to stop advocating for her hometown anytime soon. Five years ago, Word-Smith — who owns Lamasco Bar & Grill and The Dapper Pig — founded FSEA, which now hosts about 45 events from parades and summer bazaars to Dickens Christmas and movie nights. “It’s not that I’m going anywhere, I’m just refocusing my energy into what would be best for our community,” says Word-Smith, who will turn her attention to long-term planning for FSEA. “You’re not going to get rid of me that easily.”
* 1331 W. Franklin St. 812-480-0323, fallinlovewithfranklin.org
Lamasco Bar & Grill
Best Live Music Venue, Best Bar Readers' Pick
After a renovation in 2015, Lamasco Bar & Grill quickly became a hotspot for both musicians and music-lovers. Attendance at Lamasco’s shows — 250 a year, featuring local favorites such as Factor Primo, The Henhouse Prowlers, and Calabash — skyrocketed. Owner Amy Word-Smith says sometimes she still can’t believe how quickly Lamasco has become a city favorite. “When the room is full, the masses are dancing, and there is nothing but smiling faces, it is the most profound moment for me,” says Word-Smith. “It’s all I have ever dreamed and wanted for it — to share music, laughter, and love.”
* 1331 W. Franklin St., 812-437-0171, lamascobarandgrill.com
Haynie Travel Service
Best Local Travel Agency Readers' Pick
When it comes to travel, Bob Haynie and his agents of Haynie Travel Service know collaboration is key to the perfect vacation. “The bottom line is we’re here for our clients before, during, and even after the trip,” says Haynie, owner of the agency at 641 S. Hebron Ave. The business got its start in 1938 when Bob’s grandmother Mildred Smith Haynie began booking trips for customers from her home on Sunset Avenue. Today, Haynie Travel is a member of the Signature Travel Network and an affiliate with Frosch International, a $1.5-billion, privately owned agency. “It really gives us enormous clout with various travel suppliers,” says Haynie. “It’s one thing that really sets us apart.”
* 641 S. Hebron Ave., 812-477-8833, haynietravel.com
Best Local Beer Readers' Pick
With four years under its belt, Tin Man — which takes its name from helping re-revolutionize the beer industry trend of packaging brew in aluminum cans — again is voted Best Local Beer; the company first took the honor in 2014. Owners Nick and Sara Davidson have taken their beer north with the December 2016 opening of a Tin Man tap room in Kokomo, Indiana’s historic train depot.
* 1430 W. Franklin St., 812-618-3227, tinmanbrewing.com
West Side Nut Club Fall Festival
Best Outdoor Festival Readers' Pick
Fall is not official in Evansville until the Nut Clubbers set up on West Franklin Street for their annual week-long West Side Nut Club Fall Festival. Like a well-oiled machine, members close off the street and set up space for more than 126 food booths, entertainment stages, rides, and more. Munchie maps in hand, folks here become food connoisseurs and peruse treats from deep-fried elephant ears and bread puddings to pronto pups and walking tacos. Rumor has it the Fall Fest is one of the largest street festivals in the U.S. Judging by the crowds each year, it is easy to see why this Evansville tradition is one many visitors flock to as well.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Best Running/Walking Event Readers' Pick
Be more than pink, and you will do more than you think! The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held annually in October in Evansville brings more than awareness to breast cancer, a disease that touches so many lives. It also helps raise funds so people can receive life-saving detection, treatment, education, and other services. The 2016 race drew more than 7,700 people and raised about $410,000 to make an impact locally.
Best Local Comedian Editor's Pick
On the stage of Bokeh Lounge at Haynie’s Corner, Rachael Goldman takes hold of a wireless microphone, moves to the edge of the stage, and strikes a pose. “It’s easy to be a female comedian. I know this for a fact because so many men have told me so,” she jokes. A fifth-generation pawnbroker at her family’s business Goldman’s Pawnshop, 107 S.E. Fourth St., Rachael has moonlighted as a comedian in Evansville and around the Midwest for three years. “The first time I got on stage at Bokeh Lounge, it was okay. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it, but it was great,” she says. “So I kept doing it, and it turned out I loved it.” Rachael draws her comedy from things she does every day, from work and family to her hometown of Evansville. She describes her favorite jokes as “sassy” and isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself. “It just keeps going along,” she says. “You just keep working, keep hustling, keep being funny hopefully.”
* Twitter: @rachaelgoldman
Best Hotel Readers' Pick
Whether for a vacation or a staycation, Le Merigot is the people’s choice for lodging in the River City. As Evansville’s first and finest boutique hotel, Le Merigot’s rooms and suites offer amenities such as glass-enclosed showers with multi-unit body sprays and overhead rainmakers, Italian bed linens, goose-down duvets, and plush micro-fleece robes that are sure to please even the most discriminating traveler.
* 615 N.W. Riverside Drive, 888-633-1770, tropevansville.com/hotels/le-merigot-hotel
Harmonie State Park
Best Place to Camp Readers' Pick
Those who live in scenic Southern Indiana know there are numerous places to pitch a tent for a few days and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. But if you’re looking for a spot close to home with walking, biking, and hiking trails to keep you busy, then Evansville Living readers recommend Harmonie State Park, 3451 Harmonie State Park Road, New Harmony, IN. The camp grounds reside on the banks of the Wabash River and feature cabins for rent, 200 camping sites, a nature center, picnic areas, a swimming pool, and more.
* 3451 Harmonie State Park Road, New Harmony, IN, 812-682-4821 or in.gov/dnr/parklake/2981.htm
Fusion Spa & Boutique
Best Place for Spa Services Readers' Pick
Owner Theresa Baggett says Fusion Spa & Boutique’s combination of services from massage and skincare to hair and makeup — everything but injectibles — combined with personal care is what makes the spa and boutique stand out. “We have a lot of personal services to offer. We’re in a unique position,” says Baggett, who encourages her staff to build a relationship with each client. “We want to give them a very personal experience when they come in here. Everybody on staff takes it very personally. We try to over-exceed expectations.”
* 7144 E. Virginia St., 812-402-6004, fusionspaevansville.com
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke
Best Community Leader Readers' Pick
At the beginning of 2016, after winning his second mayoral term, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke told our City View staff, “I believe the best thing about Evansville is its citizens.” And Evansville residents feel one of the best things about the city is their mayor. Born and raised in the River City, Winnecke and his administration have been on the front line helping implement new development projects, particularly new work Downtown. “The thing I enjoy most about being mayor is knowing I have a role in solving problems,” says Winnecke. With Evansville moving forward and Winnecke at the helm, the future is looking bright for the city.
Best Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer Readers' Pick
Tony Maslan knows if he doesn’t show up, neither will his clients. While helping clients achieve results, Maslan also finds ways to make working out fun. “I really focus on being present when I’m with them. The real key is the personal connection with the client,” says Maslan, director of personal training at Bob’s Gym. “If they enjoy their workouts, they’re going to keep coming back.”
Best Massage Therapist Readers' Pick
After Tony Maslan brings the pain, let Troy Peachee massage it away. As a massage therapist with 25 years experience and manager of The Spa at Bob’s Gym East, Peachee creates experiences as unique as his clients and their needs. Peachee helps his patrons achieve total health with his therapeutic sessions. “I’m passionate about what I do, so I give as much mental and physical focus as I can for each individual,” says Peachee.
* Three Bob’s Gym locations in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, 812-402-2627, bobsgym.com
Best Burger Readers' Pick
G.D. Ritzy’s just keeps on sizzling. Voters have chosen the restaurant’s burger as the city’s best four other times, making this year’s honors the fifth in Evansville Living’s Best Of history. Top it the way you want — lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, bacon, or plain — and order it with a side of Ritzy’s shoestring fries or a hand-dipped ice cream. Delicious!
* Three locations in Evansville. For more information find each location on Facebook.
Best TV Personality Readers' Pick
“If you don’t like the weather in Southern Indiana, just wait a day!” It’s a phrase most Tri-Staters are familiar with. To get a jump on the weather, our readers turn to Jeff Lyons, chief meteorologist at 14 News. Tracking storms, snow, and fair weather in Evansville and Southern Indiana since 1988, Jeff has a knack for nabbing Best Of wins — a six-year consecutive winner of best weather anchor and three-time winner of Best TV Personality. When not on screen, Jeff travels to area schools and visits civic groups to tell tales of weather forecasting. He also serves as an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern Indiana.
Best Place for a Child's Birthday Readers' Pick
One trampoline can provide hours of entertainment for children. Now imagine a room full of bouncing surfaces where your children and their friends can be unleashed, and you have Sky Zone Trampoline Park. With private party rooms or the options to rent the entire park, Sky Zone is the best place to celebrate your child’s special day, according to our readers. The Evansville location, which opened its doors in 2014, also offers fitness classes, a SkySlam court, the chance to flip into a pit of foam cubes, glow parties, and more.
* 49 N. Green River Road, 812-730-4759, skyzone.com/evansville
Best Place to Take a Visitor Readers' Pick
Picturesque sunsets; the Four Freedoms Monument; the Pagoda; the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science; and more greet visitors of the riverfront in Downtown. When spring and summer come to the Tri-State, the paved path bustles with the traffic of walkers, runners, and cyclists. Crowds find their way to the lower plaza in the summer for Shriners Fest shows and other events. Along with a new Upgrade Bikeshare station at the Pagoda, the River City’s namesake waterfront is the best place to introduce our city to guests.
Best BBQ Readers' Pick
Evansville’s Mission BBQ opened in March 2016. The eatery is founded on giving back to the men and women who serve our communities — soldiers, firefighters, police officers, and first responders. Like other locations nationwide, Evansville’s restaurant — located in Eastland Shoppes — offers six sauces to complement its chicken, brisket, ribs, turkey, pork, sausage, and salmon.
* 1530 N. Green River Road, 812-213-0200, mission-bbq.com/node/801
Best Caterer Readers' Pick
Executive Chef Doug Rennie says the recipe for his catering company’s success involves choosing both quality ingredients and employees. Whether he’s serving up his most-requested pecan-encrusted tenderloin or training employees, the key is consistency and quality. “We only buy the best food,” says Rennie, who co-owns Just Rennie’s with his wife Marla. “You also have to hire the right people to be successful. You are only as good as the people you hire.”
* 100 S.E. Fourth St., 812-401-8098, justrennies.com
Best Person to Watch Shark Week With Editor's Pick
Diving into shark-infested waters with just a cage between you and 16-foot Great Whites may seem like a nightmare to some, but to Doug Duell, it was a great adventure. “I love sharks, I’m not afraid of them,” says the owner of Evansville Mazda, Kia, Volvo and Evansville Hyundai. “They’re just beautiful.” In October 2016, Duell along with a group of divers from Evansville traveled to Guadalupe Island in the Pacific Ocean to dive with the crew of the Solmar V, a live-aboard dive vessel based out of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The trip provided Duell three days to be submerged in a cage with sharks ranging from 12 feet to 16 feet long. There are few places that offer the chance to dive with sharks, according to Duell, and trips on the Solmar V often fill up quickly. “People are afraid of them, thinking they are going to attack, but the sharks don’t,” says Duell. “They’re just amazing animals.”
Best Public Park Readers' Pick
There’s something for everyone at Wesselman Park, which offers a playground, golf course, softball fields, and a nature preserve. Owned by the city and operated by the Wesselman Nature Society, the Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve features some of the state’s oldest trees and unspoiled land for walking, hiking, canoeing, and learning. Support conservation with a membership to Wesselman Nature Society and receive free admission to the Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve and its new Welborn Baptist Foundation Nature Playscape, set to open in the spring.
* 551 N. Boeke Road
Best Local Artisan or Craftsman Readers' Pick
A decade after a chemistry experiment with her daughter, Mary Allen has turned soap making into an art. Sixth Street Soapery, which celebrated its one-year anniversary Dec. 1, 2016, is Allen’s endeavor into the business of natural soap, face and body care, bath products, and more. “I love making soap,” says Allen, a certified soap maker, “but probably the most enjoyable part about my business is the customers.” For those new to the natural soap game, Allen cheerfully offers this advice: “Think about replacing one item in your home. Going toward a more natural living is a journey, so don’t get overwhelmed.”
* 44 Washington Ave., 812-431-3835, sixthstreetsoapery.com
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library
Best Resource to Rediscover Editor's Pick
Did you know we have eight public library branches in Evansville? The patrons who visit annually do. Of course, we love to visit the “new” Central Library, now open more than two years — its sheer size and programs continue to impress us. But so do the two Carnegie libraries — East and West branches — and our newer branches, like the Oaklyn Branch with its rooftop garden. While we encourage visits, e-books can be checked out via the system’s slick app. Our resolution is to set reading goals for the New Year!
* Eight locations, 812-428-8200, evpl.org
The Lollipop Tree
Best Boutique Store for Kids Readers' Pick
When Amy Bagby purchased The Lollipop Tree in August, it was because she wanted to share her love of fashion with others. “I have three daughters and they’re little divas as well,” she says. “I love being able to dress other people up and help them feel good about themselves.” The store carries upscale casual clothing in women’s, girls’ (newborn to 14), and boys’ (newborn to 6) sizes. Bagby also purchased LaPetite Demoiselle in October 2016. “My hope is to eventually merge the two stores and have it be more of a family store,” says Bagby.
* 5625 E. Virginia St., Ste. D, 812-401-8733, facebook.com/lollipoptreeboutique
Best Food Truck Readers' Pick
For two years running, Pizza Revolution has captured the taste buds of Evansville Living readers with its larger-than-life food truck. It’s hard not to be curious about a double-decker red bus offering Aaron and Stephanie Peckenpaugh’s signature wood-fired pizzas. The thin-crust pies are cooked in the bus’s first level oven; customers can take their pizza upstairs and enjoy the views.
* Various locations in the Tri-State, 812-430-5945, facebook.com/The-Pizza-Revolution-166603110134924
Best Landscaper Readers' Pick
Trees, shrubs, perennials, groundcovers, gifts, garden staples, and unique plants — green-thumbed readers of Evansville Living make their way to Combs Landscaping when they’re looking to spruce up their gardens in the spring. Located at 3801 N. Burkhardt Road, family-owned Combs has offered a multitude of plant and gardening options to the Tri-State for more than 30 years. If you lack that special talent with greenery, Combs has a comprehensive landscape design and installation service to tackle your landscape for you.
* 3801 N. Burkhardt Road, 812-477-2869, combslandscape.com
Best Radio Personality Readers' Pick
In December 2015, the University of Southern Indiana graduate returned to her hometown station Hot96 after working in radio in Las Vegas. She soon took over the morning show. “It was kind of a dream-come-true scenario, one I thought could happen years down the road,” says Ballard. “When the opportunity came up, I just went for it.” Tune in weekdays to hear Claire make morning-show magic with cohorts Shelby and Cooper.
Best Place to Buy Jewelry Readers' Pick
While they strive to have the best selection, the experts at Brinker’s Jewelers also think outside their iconic Little Green Box to keep customers coming back. What keeps them golden with customers? “We have two family mottos that we run our business by — treat each customer’s piece like it’s your own, and treat others how you want to be treated,” says Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Brinker. For the fifth year in a row, Brinker’s is the gem of the city.
* 111 S. Green River Road, 812-476-0651, brinkersjewelers.com
Best Workday Lunch Spot Readers' Pick
The lunch hour trifecta – jewelry, gifts, and delicious soup and salad (and more) – that’s what readers profess to like for a second year, naming Café 111 as the best workday lunch spot. While the menu is very nice, surely some of the appeal comes from the ease of shopping at Brinker’s and Brinker’s Etc. before or after lunch.
* 111 S. Green River Road, St. D, 812-401-8111, cafe-111.com
Kid Who Stays on Pointe Editor's Pick
While many high school sophomores were studying for driving examines, Tanner Logan of Evansville was poring over college application forms. The deal from her parents was for Tanner to apply to colleges of her choice before leaving Memorial High School to train year round at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “She realized at the end of her sophomore year while at a summer intensive (a summer ballet program) in Miami that if she was going to go to the next level of dance, she needed to stop going to traditional school,” says Tanner’s mother Donna. And that’s exactly what Tanner did. After enrolling in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation’s virtual school to continue her high school classes, Tanner auditioned and was accepted to train at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. While traditional students spend their days in math, science, English, and other classes, Tanner and other dancers take dance education courses. “Tanner likes to perform, but she enjoys the daily classes the most,” says Donna. “It’s the challenge of doing something better the next day than she did the day before.” Tanner also performs in productions put on by the PBT School — The Nutcracker was the chosen performance for December with another show planned for the end of spring. “I think she’s a brave girl,” says Donna. “We’re proud of her. She’s very talented and beautiful on stage.”
Best Local Band Readers' Pick
Although the band had its beginnings in Nashville, Tennessee, Evansville’s burgeoning music scene drew Paul Wiemeier, Jarod Heim, Greg Smitha, Ryan Hadley, and Zach Slingerland back to the Tri-State in 2009. Heim says it’s the band’s timeless, diverse style that keeps crowds coming to see them play. “There’s nothing like playing live music. It’s a good feeling,” says Heim, lead singer and rhythm guitarist. “Not one show is ever the same.”
* 812-618-7698, facebook.com/calabashband
Best Golf Course Readers' Pick
The 120 acres of rolling hills at Helfrich Hills Golf Course offer more than a picturesque view — they also present a challenge. The course featuring lakes, Bermuda grass fairways, and bent grass greens has been testing golfers’ skills for years. “We’ve been an integral part of growing the game here in Evansville,” says Dave McAtee, Helfrich’s head golf professional. The course is open to the public every day of the year, weather permitting.
* 1550 Mesker Park Drive, 812-435-6075, vanderburghgov.org/index.aspx?page=571
Best New Restaurant Readers' Pick
Owner Randy Hobson took a huge risk when he opened Pangea Kitchen in March 2016 — not just because he left a job in the corporate world, but also because nothing like the restaurant’s eclectic menu had been tried in Evansville. “This is my way of giving back and trying to create a better food culture here,” says Hobson. “People in Evansville were ready for this. I think our timing was good.” Pangea’s fare includes Neapolitan pizza, Thai noodle bowls, gelato, and French macarons.
* 111 S. Green River Road, 812-401-2404, tastepangea.com
On a Mission
When Tracy Gorman became president and CEO of the Evansville Rescue Mission (ERM) in 2008, he expected a learning curve.
“I had been a pastor my entire career,” says Gorman, a New Castle, Indiana, native and former pastor of New Life Church in Newburgh, Indiana. “I truly did not know the day I took this job every aspect that the Evansville Rescue Mission was involved in.”
The Evansville Rescue Mission, 500 E. Walnut St., is more than a 204-bed men’s residence center; it also operates Camp Reveal, Youth Care Center, two thrift stores, and a donation center, with plans for additional thrift stores and a women and children’s shelter in the distant future.
Gorman’s position at the ERM gives him a front-row seat to the issue of homelessness, which he says is more encompassing than most people realize.
“It doesn’t always fit so nicely in a package,” says Gorman, who has seen every demographic come through the ERM’s doors — men and women; children and elderly; doctors, lawyers, and even a chemical engineer. “I think we get a picture in our mind of what it looks like, and sometimes we’re wrong. I was wrong.”
Since Gorman took the job, the need for the ERM’s services has risen exponentially. The Gobbler Gathering held each November has grown from serving 800 families in 2008 to more than 2,200 families expected this year. Gorman also reports a dramatic rise in the need for daily housing and meals — the ERM is on course to have more than 50,000 bed spaces and serve more than 210,000 meals by the end of the year — and the need is not likely to decrease anytime soon.
“We had the types of numbers in the summer that we normally don’t see until winter,” says Gorman. “We’re anticipating using all our bed spaces this winter, plus all our cots.”
However, Gorman isn’t deterred. Thanks to social media, relationships built with elected officials and businesses, and mailings regularly sent to homes, Gorman says the ERM’s annual giving has doubled and its presence within the community has grown.
“I think the community trusts us. We’ve been here 99 years. We’re not the new kid on the block,” he says. “I think we’re at a point where we can make a huge impact on the community even more than we ever have in the next few years. For me, that is really exciting.”
For more information about the Evansville Rescue Mission, call 812-421-3800 or visit evansvillerescuemission.org.
Our Golden Girl
To the rest of the world, she’s America’s outspoken Olympic swimmer who won her first two gold medals in Rio. But to those who really know her, she’s Lilly King — daughter, sister, friend, and small-town girl with a fun-loving spirit and heart of gold.
Lilly on Deck
EL: As you touched the wall to win your first gold at the Olympics, what was the first thing that popped in your head?
LK: I honestly was just really relieved, to tell you the truth. You know, after speaking out and then having this race that had been hyped up so much, it was really nice to come out on top like I was supposed to. I think that was the No. 1 feeling, the relief. But then obviously the excitement, too. I had just won an Olympic gold medal, which is kind of a big deal.
EL: How was Rio?
LK: It’s a beautiful city. It’s kind of hard to get around because the Olympic Village was about an hour from Copacabana with no traffic. But other than that, it was great. It was a really cool experience. Like I said, the city is absolutely gorgeous. Really, driving around, it looks like you’re in Jurassic Park. I was expecting a pterodactyl to come flying out of the mountains at any point. But it was really cool.
EL: Lots of people are saying your life is never going to be the same, and we’re sure you’re already experiencing some big changes. What do you think about all of the new things you’re experiencing right now?
LK: It’s weird, because my life is changing, but I still feel the same. I’m still the same old Lilly. But especially with the social media, the following has skyrocketed. I’m enjoying it right now. I think it’s going to die down in a couple months, hopefully. But it’s been fine so far.
EL: Have you been back in the pool yet?
LK: I got back in this morning (Friday, Aug. 26). This was my first morning back in. I actually lifted on Wednesday and feel like I can’t walk right now because I’m so sore. But I’m back in. I’m getting started on my full training schedule next week (starting Aug. 29). It was nice to have a little break.
EL: Do you see yourself being a multi-game Olympian?
LK: I hope! Right now I’m looking to swim through 2024. But still, that’s eight years down the line. Definitely looking forward to Tokyo in 2020. But we’ll see. If Los Angeles gets the bid for 2024, I would really like to keep swimming to that point. I would like my last games to be in the Unites States. That would be pretty neat.
EL: Do you still have a goal to teach swimming?
LK: Yeah, definitely. I’m majoring in physical education; right now I’m thinking either teaching or coaching or maybe both. That’s kind of where my mind is right now. I don’t know, though; I’m 19 years old. Everyone asks, “What are you going to do with your life?” and I’m just thinking, “I don’t know. I’m going to swim until I can’t swim anymore. I guess.”
EL: Would you like to coach back here in Evansville or just wherever you land?
LK: I don’t know. I think wherever I land. I’d like to stay in the Midwest, though. I’m not really a California girl; I learned that when I was looking at colleges.
EL: Can you give us the story on your tie-dye towel you had at the Olympics?
LK: I had a friend, she had special needs and she passed away right before my junior year in high school. Her mom sent me the towel at the beginning of my freshman year at IU. So I kind of bring it with me everywhere; it’s my special, lucky towel.
We caught up with Lilly King’s dad Mark after his return from Rio to learn what the Olympics really were like.
How was what the media portrayed at the Olympics different from reality?
NBC’s role is to document the events taking place, but they also attempt to create a narrative the viewing audience will find compelling and give them a reason to tune in. We did not see NBC’s portrayal until we returned home; we were only aware of it because of social media. NBC did not have broadcast rights in Brazil. When you’re at an Olympic venue, you are “in the moment” watching the races as you’ve watched them a thousand times before. The stadium is a little larger, the lights are a little brighter, and the stakes are certainly much higher. But at the core, it’s still a swim meet and the pool is 50 meters long, just like the pool every kid trains and competes in.
How often were you able to interact with Lilly in Rio?
We had very little interaction with her during the week. USA Swimming works to build a team culture between the kids, and one of the ways they accomplish this is to minimize outside distractions — parents and family are rightfully considered distractions. Folks who are outside this world may consider this unfair, but the cumulative effect of getting together, chatting, and dining together during a major competition can be draining on the athlete. On her way up, Lil took a number of overseas trips (Hawaii, Japan, and Singapore) and she took those trips without us. We did have a number of phone conversations when she returned to the Olympic Village each night. We sometimes talked about swimming, but often we just talked about who she met, what she had for lunch, and just everyday-type discussions you would have with your child.
What did Lilly do in her downtime, especially after swimming events were over?
USA Swimming made it possible for the kids to get out and see some of the city. She was able to visit the beaches and also to see Christ the Redeemer. We also had an athlete, staff, and parent social on Ipanema Beach after the competition ended. It gave us an opportunity to interact with all of the athletes (minus Michael Phelps). We were struck by how exhausted everyone (athletes, staff, and parents) seemed to be. Just to get to this point of the year is a real grind.
What was Rio like?
Rio is a real contrast. On one hand, it is a beautiful city (as shown on TV), but there also is poverty and suffering that is hard to describe. The weather was great, as it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere. The strangest thing, perhaps, was the fact that it got dark around 5 p.m. We enjoyed food from a small plaza that was directly across from Olympic Park. For some reason, it seemed we were the only visitors who discovered it. We found a variety of foods, such as pizza, pasta, and shish kebabs. Brazil’s currency is in a bit of a drop, so everything was quite affordable, too.
Several coaches in the Evansville area and beyond helped Lilly King toward her Olympic journey, creating a special bond with her:
DAVID ESTES: Estes was head coach of Greater Evansville Aquatics Team (GREAT) when King was 8 to 10 years old. He now lives in Owasso, Oklahoma, and coaches swimming in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“The first few months I was there, we would do a lot of drill work. Lilly was only 8, but she was energetic, happy, dancing around all the time. She never could be still, but she was paying attention at the same time. She was fearless as a little girl; every time you spoke to her, she made good eye contact.”
MIKE CHAPMAN: Chapman is a former head coach for GREAT and former head age group coach for Newburgh Sea Creatures. He currently is head swimming coach for Boonville High School and Boonville Aquatic Dolphins. He accompanied the King family to the Rio Olympics.
“One of the keys in Lilly’s development is that we never did too much too soon. I’ve seen many kids in the sport get burned out because they start doing two-a-day practices, lots of yardage, or weight training too early. We always were patient and let Lilly enjoy the process. She didn’t do doubles until her sophomore year of high school and didn’t lift weights until college. I think that’s why we saw her pop when she got into college.”
AARON OPELL: Opell took over as head coach of Newburgh Sea Creatures at the start of King’s junior year of high school.
“I was not surprised (that she won the individual gold medal). If you said three years ago she would win a gold medal, I would’ve been very surprised. But every single year, she made improvement by leaps and bounds. You will often see athletes rise and have success (like an S curve), exponentially improve, then some will level out. Lilly is still on the exponential rise, which is nuts because she just won an Olympic gold medal.”
DAVE BAUMEYER: Baumeyer is the transportation manager at Courier & Press, as well as assistant cross country coach and boys and girls head swim coach for Reitz High School. He coached Lilly during her four years of high school, from 2012 to 2015. He saw her swim as an eighth grader, went to some of her club meets, and watched her swim with GREAT.
“She wasn’t afraid to tell someone in her lane they needed to work harder. She took time out of her own practices to help some of the other kids.”
RAY LOOZE: Looze is the head swim coach at Indiana University, where King is a sophomore. Looze was in Rio with IU’s Olympic swimmers.
“There were a lot of factors (in King’s success her freshman year). She got into a great team environment; she had a lot of people to compete with every day. She joined a rich culture, got top-notch training and coaching. She never missed a practice session. We’ve got a great weight coach. Lilly’s body has really changed; her fitness level has gotten so much better.”
Katie Schnautz and Jessica Coleman — two of Lilly’s real-life friends since grade school — stopped by the offices of Evansville Living to tell us about the real Lilly King.
• To get ready for a race, she gets pumped up to music. Currently it’s Christina Aguilera; she also has loved No Doubt and Miley Cyrus. They call her music taste “diverse.”
• Lilly jokes that her tear ducts are broken. The only time she would ever cry was when watching Olympics. “We thought she would hear the National Anthem and lose it on the podium.” (Jessica)
• Lilly was most excited to meet Michael Phelps in Rio. She told the girls, “We’re friends now.” She also liked meeting Nathan Adrian and Missy Franklin.
• Lilly doesn’t get nervous before meets — she has more of an excited energy.
• Lilly maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school despite being out of school often for meets out of the state or country.
• Costumes, especially making them (loves trick-or-treating too). Low-down on the red costume seen in the swimming karaoke video: “She’s always wanted a fat suit. When she saw one for $15 in high school, she convinced her mom she needed it. She would bring it to swim practices to make us laugh.” (Katie) “It’s had its fair share of use.” (Jessica)
• Kentucky Derby: In 7th grade, Lilly threw a giant party where she had a craft station to make hats and also did a “horse race.” She froze horse-shaped toothpicks inside ice cubes and then had a race where kids blew the piece of ice across the table to determine a winner.
• Dogs, especially beagles. Lilly’s friends recall a trip to the mall in Bloomington where they spent two days, hours at a time, playing with the puppies at Anthony’s Pets.
• Cincinnati Reds • Lip sync battles • Target • Gilmore Girls and Friends • The Slice and El Charro in Evansville
No Vegetables, Please
Lilly loves food. From Twinkies to Donut Bank and McDonald’s, her diet is “anything but healthy,” say Lilly’s friends. Naturally, she considers Evansville’s annual West Side Nut Club Fall Festival her “favorite holiday.” Catch Lilly as the Grand Marshal of the Fall Festival Main Parade on Oct. 8.
Farms, Factories, and Faces
Born and raised in the Midwest, Kelsey Timmerman understands manufacturing and farming, which he examines internationally in his books “Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes” and “Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy.” The latter is Evansville’s 2016 One Book, One Community selection. Evansville Living caught up with the author, who will speak at 7 p.m., Sept. 21 at the Old National Events Plaza.
How did your upbringing shape who you are today and the work you do?
Technically I was born a Hoosier, raised a Buckeye, and have lived in Muncie, Indiana, since 2007. I grew up surrounded by farmers and fields. Homeruns landed in cornfields. The high school I went to had a drive your tractor to school day. My dad grew up helping his father on the family farm. In many ways I was raised by farmers and those who do manual labor. These are individuals the economy might not always value, but I learned from their work ethic, wisdom, and dignity. I learned early on to appreciate what they did and how they did it. I think my upbringing really shaped what I’ve focused much of my work on — putting a face and giving voice to those who produce many of the things in our lives that we take for granted.
What do you plan to talk about in September?
Whether in my books, on stage, or with the nonprofit I cofounded, The Facing Project, my mission is always the same: connect people through stories to strengthen community. I’ll share how I got into this traipsing around the world thing, and then stories of farmers near and far, and how we are connected to them. Once I make this connection, I’ll talk about how I’ve sought to act as a responsible consumer, global, and local citizen. Every single issue I write about — poverty, hunger, slavery — takes place on some level in our own communities. I’ll point the audience to ways they can get involved in the Evansville community to combat these issues.
Almost lost behind the stacks of projects covering her desk, Christina Hager shoulders an enormous responsibility. As the executive director of the Evansville Civic Theatre, she must act as a sort of curator for its treasured legacy while propelling it full-force into contemporary performance and on into the future.
She doesn’t look worried. She looks confident and excited.
Now located at the corner of Fulton and Columbia, ECT has been at the cultural heart of the city since it was founded as the People’s Players back in 1925. Its popularity swelled and shrank a few times over the years, then enjoyed resurgence in the decades leading to the millennium while it was in the capable hands of acclaimed director Dick Engbers. Although it continued to offer high-quality entertainment, the theater faltered a bit after his retirement; ticket sales began to slow, the facility showed its age, patrons drifted away, and the vibrancy began to dim.
Enter Hager, stage left.
In the year since she came on board, attendance has increased, there have been improvements to the physical structure, and the offerings have expanded in scope. In June, after several years relying on guest directors, the organization announced it had hired a new artistic director, Kevin Roach.
In addition to its Main Stage productions, ECT partners with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana to offer experimental “Black Box” theater in its Underground series. Its NEXTWAVE program provides theater classes for children, teens, and adults, and the hands-on experience of participating in a live production.
This season’s offerings include “Peter and the Star Catcher,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and“Crimes of the Heart,” on the Main Stage. The Underground includes “The Conversation About the Keys,” and “The Nether.”
Why did you decide to join ECT, and what was your prior experience?
I started as a grant writer with the Girl Scouts and became development director. Then I worked several years with Tales and Scales, a non-profit group promoting “music telling” and conducting programs for kids. We received Kennedy Center honors, but funding was an ongoing issue and it was difficult for the organization to operate on its own. I helped to transition it into a program at the Evansville Philharmonic.
The experience at Tales and Scales was a little bit similar to the situation ECT was facing, and when I first learned they were seeking an executive director, I did not apply. I said I’d have to be crazy to do that again. But the board members were passionate and determined, and that convinced me. If you’ve got a good board of directors, you’ve got something to work with.
What are some of the physical challenges, and what improvements are in the works?
We have a four-phase renovation project underway. We’re currently making structural repairs to the south side of the building and repainting. We’ll tackle the east side next; work there will include replacing doors and repainting that wall.
We were fortunate that we got our box office remodeled thanks to a Boy Scout who handled it for his Eagle Scout project. Another item high on the to-do list is the ladies restroom. It’s upstairs and there is no elevator, making it inaccessible for some people. So come hell or high water, we’re going to address that.
We’ve had the opportunity to make an offer on the property next door, so in the near future we should be able to expand and offer more parking. There is long-range talk of a whole new facility and we’ll continue that discussion, but in my mind it makes no sense to allow this place to fall down around our ears while we’re talking.
What’s the advantage of having both an artistic director and an executive director?
Dick Engbers was able to handle both areas. He was probably the most influential person in the history of ECT next to its founder Frances Golden. But it is the rare individual who can do that.
If you have to be concerned with things like fundraising, ticket sales, and the cost of repairs, it starts to affect your ability to be creative. If an executive director handles the administrative aspects, the artistic director is free to concentrate on production. He doesn’t have to worry about how to pay the light bill; he just thinks of how to make the magic on stage.
We’re really excited to have Kevin Roach come in as artistic director; he’s been a guest director in the past. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. He seems to be the perfect complement to the other staff.
How would you describe the Main Stage and the Underground?
The Main Stage productions are more traditional theater and are the most popular. Plays on the Main Stage run for six performances, and musicals run for eight performances. The Underground features are lesser-known, more edgy plays that generally run for just four performances. Sometimes the audience is sparse.
We did a lot of promotion of the Underground last season and the series really started building some momentum. “Bug” got a phenomenal response; that show was standing room only all four performances. We plan to build on that.
For tickets and more information about the Evansville Civic Theatre, call 812-425-2800 or visit evansvillecivictheatre.org.
For Newt Crenshaw, vice president of oncology at Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, helping people has been the passion driving his career.
The Newburgh, Indiana, native and Castle High School graduate studied economics and mathematics at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, before he was hired in at Eli Lilly. It was his work as an intern for the pharmaceutical giant, he says, that opened the door to start his 31-year career with Lilly, where he’s served in various roles.
“I knew I wanted to go into business,” says Crenshaw. “The good thing about sales is you are able to understand your customers and what their needs are. I think that’s very important.”
During his years at Eli Lilly, Crenshaw has filled a variety of roles for the company, including running two of Lilly’s largest business units in the U.S. and serving five years as the president and general manager for Eli Lilly’s Japan operations.
“Probably the most unique and memorable experience (at Eli Lilly was) spending five years in Japan … and where I had responsibility for all of our sales marketing, medical, manufacturing, and our research and development,” he says. “That was quite an interesting cross-culture experience as well as business experience.”
Now, Crenshaw and his wife Susan are planning to start a new venture. In April he accepted the position of president with Young Life, a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle and high school, and college-aged students in the U.S. and more than 100 countries around the world. It’s an organization Crenshaw has been familiar with since his youth.
“I’ve been involved with Young Life for longer than I’ve been with Lilly,” he says. “As I graduated Castle High School in the summer of 1981, my mom and dad began to explore getting Young Life started in Newburgh.”
The Crenshaw family has a “real heritage and legacy” with the ministry, he adds. Following the work of his parents, Crenshaw and his wife have served as volunteer leaders, were the founding committee chairs for Young Life in Zionsville, Indiana, and started a Young Life ministry in the Kansai region of Japan during their time living there.
“I’m excited about serving the Young Life staff as the leader of the organization, as they are out there caring for kids and loving them by sharing the gospel. That for me is a real high calling,” says Crenshaw.
For more information about local Young Life ministries in the Tri-State, visit younglife.org.
As a female working in the manufacturing industry, Janette Hostettler admits early in her career at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana in Princeton, Indiana, she struggled with anxiety over what her team members would think about what she had to say.
“I was my worst enemy and I would worry about what to say at the meeting and what people would think of me,” says Hostettler, who serves as the general manager of Paint, Plastics, and Plant Engineering at Toyota. “Then someone would say what I was thinking and I missed my opportunity.”
Hostettler says she learned to acknowledge and use her strengths and quickly she climbed the ladder from a team member in the quality engineering group in 2000 to her current position where she is responsible for 1,000 team members, managers, engineers, leaders, and more. The 46-year-old recently was honored as one of 130 women around the nation who work in manufacturing at the 2016 STEP Ahead Awards in Washington, D.C.
Women make up about 47 percent of the labor force, but only 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce.
“This award means I have an obligation to give back to the other women and encourage them to face their fears so we can turn things around,” says Hostettler, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Purdue University.
Hostettler credits shadowing her father, who worked as an anesthesiologist in Cleveland after emigrating from the Philippines to the U.S. with her mother and five daughters at the time, with what ignited her passion to be a leader in manufacturing. She began her career as a chemist at Red Spot Paint and Varnish Co. in Evansville.
Hostettler has raised three children with her husband Robert while working at Toyota. She says the Japan-based company allows her to balance work and home life and has daycare facilities and lactation stations as well.
Toyota is celebrating its 20th anniversary since breaking ground on its production facility in May 1996 in Princeton. The company has invested $4.3 billion into its Princeton operations and created more than 5,300 Indiana jobs.
“Going through the economic downturn you could hear a pin drop in the factory,” says Hostettler. “We went through the tsunami and some winter storms and had come up with creative ways to keep things running. Toyota has the capacity and capabilities to get through anything.”
For more information about Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, call 812-387-2266 or visit tourtoyotaindiana.com.
Basketball was a game changer in Mike Blake’s life. In high school, the Munster, Indiana, native played the sport, though he admits he saw more time on the bench than on the floor. When his career in news broadcasting began, it would be in the Evansville high school sports scene, including basketball, where he would make his name. Now his work covering local athletics has earned him a spot in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame with the Indiana Pacers Silver Medal award.
Each year, the Hall of Fame committee selects an individual who has contributed significantly to Indiana basketball in some way other than being a player or a coach. The honor was established in 1962 and past winners include former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight, University of Evansville Hall of Famer Arad McCutchan, and former Evansville Courier and Press writer Dan Scism.
“I think for anyone who grows up in Indiana … basketball is, I don’t know if you’d call it a religion, but it’s more than just another game,” says Blake, who is a graduate of Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, and the University of Iowa, Iowa City
Blake made his start at 14 WFIE-TV in 1970 as a nightly weatherman and in 1971 began his duties as sports director at the station. Over the 41 years he had covered sports — Blake’s 46-year-plus career still continues at WFIE — he has covered numerous sporting events in the Tri-State, including the tragedy of the UE men’s basketball team plane crash in December 1977. It has been a career that surprises even Blake.
“Ironically, shortly after my wife Jenny and I got married, I said, ‘Honey, we’re probably going to have to leave Evansville.’ Career-wise I wanted to get to Chicago or New York,” he says. “Fortunately that never happened because if it had, I would have never had the opportunity and privilege to cover so many wonderful athletes, coaches, school officials, athletic directors, referees, fans, and parents. All the people that make up this basketball-crazy state.”
Blake and his wife traveled to Indianapolis March 23 to accept his award in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,150. It was a truly wonderful, overwhelming, and humbling day, says Blake, but one he was honored to be a part of. In his three-minute acceptance speech — keeping to three minutes was the challenge Blake says with a laugh — he thanked his family and his co-workers at WFIE through the years.
“I had said, ‘They never made a movie about high school basketball in North Carolina or Kentucky. But they did about Indiana, because Indiana basketball is special.’ Hoosiers are special,” says Blake. “This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime honor and I’m so grateful to have been recognized for it.”
For more information about the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, call 765-529-1891 or visit hoopshall.com.
Hometown: Campbelltown, Indiana
Job: Director of Corporate Communications, Vectren
Resume: Senior Biological Products Specialist,Sanofi Pasteur, 2004-2010
Family: Husband Chuck, son Clark, 3, and daughter Haven, 2
Working in the field of communications wasn’t something Natalie Hedde had planned while attending the University of Evansville. Her original idea had been to pursue education, but a talk with her academic advisor changed that.
“During a conversation with her, I shared my plans and she sort of laughed and said, ‘How about communications?’” says Hedde. “It’s as if she knew something I didn’t. I look back now and realize how influential that conversation was.”
For the last six years, Hedde has found a home at Vectren, and most recently as the director of corporate communications. It’s a company and job she truly finds rewarding.
“When you work for Vectren, you work on a team. You work for an organization that will work as hard for you as you choose to work for the company,” she says.
What do you enjoy the most about working in the energy industry?
What I enjoy most, including that of the areas we serve, is that energy is evolving. We challenge ourselves with anticipating what our customers are going to demand of us in an evolving energy market. As we learn from our customers, we too will continue to evolve and do our best to communicate to our customers the value and quality of the service they receive for the price they pay.
What is the most challenging aspect about your job?
The unforeseen. I think that pretty much sums it up.
What other organizations are you involved with in the Tri-State?
I recently finished serving six years on the board of Gilda’s Club Evansville. It is a tremendous organization doing a multitude of good things for our community. I also have given time to March of Dimes the past several years and am excited to see their Signature Chefs Auction event become even better. I remain active within the UE Schroeder School of Business. I really enjoy collaborating with my old professors to bring work to the classroom in a way that hopefully better prepares current students for the challenges of a career.
What is something you enjoy doing off the clock?
My husband and I, having both played athletics at UE (Natalie played softball and Chuck played basketball), really enjoy Aces games of just about any sport. We have a lot of fun being able to take the kids, who currently think any team dressed in purple is the Evansville Aces. We’re working on that. They love to be ‘announced’ out of the locker room and come running down the hallway at home like it’s the tunnel leading to the game floor. They each are co-captains on Team Hedde.
When I take the time, I also enjoy cooking. I’m not certain that it’s the food that I enjoy as much as what sitting around a table and sharing a meal with people you care about means to me. I grew up in a home where we ate dinner together; my husband did as well. We still get together with our parents very regularly and dine together. The sound of laughter that erupts during these times is a sound I will cherish and remember the rest of my life.
How do you balance your home-life with your career?
For all women, moms who pursue a career and to those who work full time for their families at home, cheers to all in their effort to strike a balance. It isn’t easy but there is a great deal to learn from one another and for that, I’m grateful.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to jump into communications?
Be nimble and practice patience. There are so many facets to communications, a person can work broadly or find a niche within this area of practice. It is a great platform from which to grow.
For more information about Vectren, call 812-491-4000 or visit vectren.com.