A Staggering Effort

I have rewritten the opening of this letter, at least in my mind, a dozen times — more than in any letter before. Should I say, “Goodbye, 2020 — we are sick of you in the most awful, literal way?” Should I say, “Hello, 2021; just turning the calendar makes us feel better?” My comments on 2020’s pandemic and racial, social, and political strife would not add to the ongoing conversation. Then, as this issue was in final production, the Jan. 7, 2021, headline of the Wall Street Journal read “Mob Storms Capitol.”

I will record here for the people in the coming decades who read our digital archives or print issues still laying around that while we were hopeful of turning the page on a brighter new year, 2021 began with a siege of insurgents on the U.S. Capitol. Supporters of the president amassed in Washington, D.C., to protest the certification of the electoral college vote which had elected Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th president of the U.S. Five people died in the breach of the Capitol; one was shot by U.S. Capitol Police; one was a member of Capitol Police.

What I do want to say is Happy New Year. I certainly want that for you! This letter will focus on two topics: the feature, “Holding Down the Home Front” (page 40) and celebrating the work of Creative Director Heather Gray, who after more than a decade at Tucker Publishing Group, is departing to lead creative on Feast and Field, a new food-based digital platform by Lee Enterprises. Heather served our account from an advertising agency for about five years before she came on board. She has set the tone for the bright, creative style we think is our design trademark and readers and colleagues alike appreciate Heather’s wit. She will mostly work from her Posey County home so once we are out and about at street fairs again, you might see Heather in New Harmony, Indiana, at a festival perusing art or pottery.

We hate to say goodbye but we are happy Heather can expand her wheelhouse with two of her passions — food content (Feast and Field is associated with Missouri-based food magazine Feast) and digital design. Meanwhile, she leaves an experienced team to continue to guide our page design, website, Insider e-newsletter, and more.

Our feature story was inspired by the return of Tarheel Hal, one of the 6,670 P-47 Thunderbolts produced by Republic Aviation in Evansville for World War II. Hal flew to its new home at the Evansville Wartime Museum in October. From 1942 to 1945, Republic Aviation employed between 5,000 and 10,0000 people. Across town on the bend in the river, the Evansville Shipyard employed a workforce of more than 19,000 and completed two massive Landing Ship Tanks a week. Evansville’s own LST-325 was not produced here but now is moored Downtown in its new home (see our story on page 16), a tribute to our wartime production.

The sheer size of our city’s wartime workforce and the staggering volume of output astonished me. I was eager for our team to dive into this story. I think you will find like I did that these heroic efforts truly did shape Evansville.

Please take care. Happy New Year! As always, I look forward to your comments.


Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor

Farewell, Heather!

We will not only miss Creative Director Heather Gray, we’ll miss her cheery office! Here are three items filled with memories:

To know Heather is to know her love of candy and her penchant for sharing it! Any time a sweet treat was needed, she would have a bounty of sugary or chocolatey goodness in her fun candy dishes or tucked away in the drawers of her desk ready for anyone.

The rules were simple — walk into Heather’s office with a question or for a brief meeting, and you could move one block on the Jenga stack.

If you knocked down the stack on a visit, the person who went before you won the game!

Often perched on a chair in Heather’s office, Veronica, a velvety soft Squishmallow plush toy, was popular with many of the staff members. Veronica was always at the ready for a good hug or two should the occasion arise during deadline.

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