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Sunday, August 14, 2022

September / October 2014


On Center Stage

Evansville’s theatrical roots were planted in the middle of the 19th century when independent theater companies were established and performed throughout the Midwest. Evansville’s own Civic Theatre traces its history to the 1920s, when the community theater movement swept the country. Today, with creative cousins in regional theaters, well-respected university theater departments, veteran actors, and many special events, there is plenty of live theater to enjoy.

Good Living

On the Bench

Naturalization ceremonies are among Richard Young’s favorite moments. As a U.S. District Judge, Young gets to preside over the moment when immigrants are finally granted U.S. citizenship. He likes them because everybody leaves the courtroom happy.

Company Front

A year after Castle High School installed a new 40-foot band tower, the senior class presented the name Eifler to the structure as their senior gift. “It was very cool,” says Mark Eifler, a band director at Castle High School since 2003. Eifler co-directs with Tom Dean. “I’ve never had a structure named after me before.”

Hard Hitting

Samantha Ramsey, 31, didn’t know the first thing about Evansville’s roller derby league, Demolition City, but she could skate. She learned that flat track roller derby is a fast-paced contact sport played with two five-member teams roller-skating in the same direction around a track. Teams assist their own scorer, or the jammer, while preventing the other team’s at the same time. Ramsey joined the league in August 2009, and later competed for the all-star team, the Dynamite Dolls.

Boing! Boing! Boing!

Let’s face it; everyone loves jumping on a trampoline. You don’t have to be a kid to admit that. But when I learned I would be testing out the SkyRobics fitness class at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, I had horrid flashbacks of getting pinched as my evil younger brother “double jumped” me, sending me flying onto the springy edge. Although I was safe from the springs at Sky Zone, I definitely felt this adventure the next day: the heart-pumping trampoline cardio class kicked my butt.

Basketball and Politics

If you think schools are tumultuous today, ask your grandparents if they remember the name Glen Bretz. Bretz was the boys’ basketball coach at Central High School from 1935 to 1947. In the 1945-46 season he led Central to the state finals, losing finally to Anderson, but posting a 25-2 record.

Growing to Give

Inside the barn at Seton Harvest, produce is placed in bins market-style, and scales are readily available for customers to weigh and bag their choice of healthy offerings. But no money is exchanged here; instead, shoppers own shares of the harvest.

Jazzed Up

Jazz music is uniquely American. It was born a century ago in the Deep South, but its style and rhythms changed as it spread across the country. Today, jazz is often little more than wallpaper at a corporate function, in the background with muted tones. But coming across jazz in clubs is rare these days. In some ways, hearing jazz in the Tri-State has reverted to the new “salon culture,” the house concert.

Dinner and a View

Hungry patrons searching for freshly fried chicken and slow-cooked ribs flock to the Overlook Restaurant, located on a picturesque bluff in Leavenworth, Indiana. The aptly named restaurant — about a 90-minute drive from Evansville — is situated above the horseshoe-shaped bend in the Ohio River. The high vantage point of the eatery provides vistas for miles around. “It’s the view that gets people. We have people who will drive for three hours to visit,” says Karen Haverstock, owner of the Overlook Restaurant.

Up Front

An Offer

Be careful what you offer a magazine editor. She will likely recall what was proffered — just when she needs it — and soon you’re rolling off a German manroland web press and onto the pages of Evansville Living.

Neighborhood Jewel

In the beginning, pictures were hung on a clothesline strung tree to tree. Fifty-eight years later, the Louisville-based St. James Court Art Show has grown to attract nearly 750 artists displaying art ranging from drawings, prints, and ceramics, to pottery, jewelry, and stained glass. This year, Evansville native Nikki Pritchett will be representing our city with the winning poster design.


Learning to Lead

One year ago, Sean (not his real name) was struggling in school. The Glenwood Leadership Academy student, who has special needs and a behavior disorder, had trouble focusing in class and often became frustrated or angry. Sometimes he would storm out of class and stand in the school’s foyer, refusing to speak or move.

Tower Power

The local radio market is going through some big changes, some more obvious that others to listeners. Townsquare Media made a major format change on WJLT, South Central Communications is selling its radio stations, and a new FM signal will soon hit the airwaves. South Central Media, owner of WIKY and eight other stations, announced in May that it would sell the stations to Midwest Communications, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. South Central owns stations in Evansville, Nashville, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Gridiron History

Before 1918, there was only one high school in Evansville. But in the next six years, three new high schools sprung into existence: F.J. Reitz, Benjamin Bosse, and Reitz Memorial. At the time, football was not nearly as popular as baseball. But that didn’t stop Bosse and Reitz from constructing beautiful stadiums for football on their respective campuses. Those stadiums are now Evansville landmarks, though one of them is about to undergo a major renovation.

Home and Style

In the Details

Even as a little girl, Tracy Watson spent hours rearranging and decorating her bedroom. Through the years, the habit stuck and branched into helping friends decorate and find rugs and artwork for their homes. “I one day asked myself, ‘Why don’t I just try this?’” says Watson, owner of Tracy’s Attic, a home accessories store located at 2730 Mount Vernon Ave. “There is nothing like this on the West Side. I felt like we needed something on this end of town for unique pieces and unique gifts.”

Out of the Dark

I do not know how many times I have said the weather we are experiencing this summer is absolutely amazing. The days have mostly been pleasant — great times to sit outside. As fall approaches, we will be blessed with many more days that are just begging us to get outside and relax.

Handcrafted Design

Etsy — just what does the name of the popular online commerce retailer of vintage items, arts, and supplies mean? For a number of years, the founder of the Brooklyn-based company responded obliquely about the company’s name; however, in 2010, Rob Kalin told Reader’s Digest “I wanted a nonsense word because I wanted to build the brand from scratch. I was watching Fellini’s 8 ½ and writing down what I was hearing. In Italian, you say ‘etsi’ a lot. It means ‘oh, yes.’ And in Latin, it means ‘and if.’”

Quaint and Curious

“I have two loves in my life besides my family — art and gardening,” says artist Jaime Haney. “And a lot of times, they fight each other.” Haney’s home studio is a combination of both loves, with an attached greenhouse, a koi pond just outside the windows, multiple plants, and Mocee Mimosa Moxie — the studio cat.

Grand Entrance

On a nearly perfect, warm weather morning, Joni Matthews opens her front door to greet an out-of-town guest with warmth and excitement. A small but dressy affair is in the making and the house’s energy is palpable as preparations flow for the late afternoon gathering — cocktails with a few family and friends.


Conducting Business

When Maestro Nick Palmer first came to Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1998 to become the music director and conductor of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, he was immediately impressed by the community’s interest in the arts.

Lively Lincoln

Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln invite you to a Civil War ball in Rockport, Indiana, where visitors will be swept back in time to a different world to pay homage to the area’s colorful past. Hosted by Friends of Lincoln Pioneer Village & Museum — including actors portraying the Lincolns — this year’s ball will take place 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Spencer County Courthouse in Rockport. The grand march will start at 6:30 p.m. where couples will be announced one by one as they walk elegantly down the courthouse staircase.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

From what to plant in the growing season to the effects of climate change in the Tri-State, those who have a passion for gardening can explore several different topics at the Ohio Valley Garden Conference Oct. 18 inside the Tropicana Evansville Conference Center.

Bark at the Park

It took 11 years and more than 300 truckloads of dirt to get Evansville’s only dog park, Central Bark, up and running. “I went to New York and became crazy about the idea of a dog park,” says Alice Rademacher, president of the nonprofit Evansville Dog Owners Group. “When we asked the board of commissioners for a dog park though, they were hesitant.”

Jewel of the City

Anna Maria Josephine Reitz and her family had a spectacular jewelry collection. And after she died, a local jeweler used it to make something special. In 1929, David Cohn, one of the founders of Kruckemeyer & Cohn Fine Jewelry, designed a gold chalice for Reitz. She donated it to Holy Trinity Catholic Church just before her death. Cohn then used the chalice, along with her jewelry, to create a tribute to the church.

Horror Channel

While the idea of a coffin ride and being buried alive might make the average person cringe, for Chris Lankford it’s just another day at the office. During the fall months, Lankford serves as the owner and operator of Eville Studios, a haunted house located at 210 N. Fulton Ave. As a full-time job year round, Lankford, an Evansville resident, works as a team leader at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana in Princeton, Indiana, where he has been an employee for the last 16 years.

Breathe On

Just breathe. It’s something you say to your friend about to go on stage in a play or to your wife as you hold her hand in the hospital room. It’s part of life; it seems so easy, but for those with pulmonary fibrosis, it is an everyday challenge. Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which the tissue deep in the lungs becomes scarred over time. Although medical research has been ongoing, there is no effective treatment or cure for the disease.


Chew On This

Sidewalk Café (228 Second St.), a new restaurant in Henderson, Kentucky, opened July 9. It offers gourmet chicken salad, Italian beef, tomato basil turkey wrap, loaded potato soup, and strawberry cake. Bella e Dolce Ristorante (970 S. Hebron Ave.), a new Italian fine dining restaurant, opened Sept. 1, in the former Lorenzo’s Bistro Bakery. It offers pastas, pizzas, bruschetta, side dishes, and more. Broadway House Bistro (404 W. Broadway), a new eatery in Princeton, Indiana, opened June 30.

Ciao Down

It’s the Germans who get all the attention in Evansville — so strong is our heritage with the republic. Yet Italians also have made their mark on the city. By 1900 there already were about 150 Italian immigrants living here — a small percentage of the population of 50,000 but still large enough to make one wonder how these people found Evansville.

That’s Amore!

The term “casino” is born of Italian origin with the root word being “casa” or house. Tropicana Evansville is getting back to its roots with its latest Italian restaurant, Mama Mia’s, which opened in December 2013. Mama Mia’s became the first Italian restaurant to be housed in the casino since Passaggio Italian Gardens occupied the same space beginning in 1996. Tropicana Evansville, originally named Casino Aztar, was opened by the Aztar Corp. in 1995 as Indiana’s first casino riverboat on the Ohio River.

Creamy Comfort

In the day-to-day operations of being a restaurant manager, I often find myself worrying about the business while awash in “busy-ness.” When I am afforded a moment of clarity in the midst of organized chaos, I sometimes find myself desiring a reprieve. It is in those moments that I desire comfort and simplicity, especially with my food. I have a few go-to dishes in my back pocket that I pull out for just such an occasion.

Taste Your Way

Autumn in Southern Indiana offers those gorgeous halcyon days; perfect for meandering along Indiana’s newest wine trail. Founded in 2012, the Hoosier Wine Trail touts nine wineries as it winds along 100 miles of the southern part of the state.


Throw out the bad, and bring on the good! That’s what Jason’s Deli serves on the table as the first major restaurant in the U.S. to ban artificial trans fat, and also the first to eliminate high-fructose corn syrup. Bringing true freshness and nutrient-filled ingredients, Jason’s Deli welcomed its first customers Sept. 9, 2013, at 943 N. Green River Road on Evansville’s East Side. Jason’s Deli began in 1976 when Joe Tortorice Jr. opened the original restaurant in Beaumont, Texas. Today, there are approximately 240 delis in 28 states.

Final Detail

Give Me a Sign

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. There are so many signs along the landscape that we all sort of overlook them. But there are some pretty cool signs in Evansville. Some of them are vintage neon, while others, like the Corner Bar & Grill on Mount Vernon Avenue promoting Ski, advertise local favorites.

Online Exclusives

Life on Stage

While USI’s new teaching theater won’t open until next year, the university has been sending graduates into theatrical professions for many years. Here is a short, not-in-any-way complete listing of some of the University of Southern Indiana Theatre students who have gone on to professional success (as supplied by Elliott Wasserman at USI).

Best of Evansville 2015

Vote for the Best of Evansville! Tell us the latest and greatest the city has to offer! The 14th annual Best of Evansville competition is your chance to vote for your favorites. So, what people and places stand out to you?

Lights, Camera, Action

The success of a university is often judged by the accomplishments of its graduates. For the University of Evansville Department of Theatre, there is no shortage of stories of achievement in front of the camera, onstage, or behind the scenes. Actors: Kelli Giddish ‘02 – Series regular, Detective Amanda Rollins, on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”