Here we go again. I promised the Tucker Publishing Group team that this time I absolutely would not wait until the last day of deadline to write my letter. As I am a man of my word (when convenient), I find myself writing this letter damn near half a day early. Every November since 2005, I have written my final letter of the year for Evansville Business. Throughout the years, topics have included politics, local personalities, family, pets, death, travel, and — probably my most often chosen subject matter — litter and trash. This year, I have elected to write about some recent community observations.
• Our city has been fortunate to have two excellent leaders over the last 20 years between two-term Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and three-term Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. As retired Old National Bank CEO Bob Jones says in “Onto the Next” beginning on page 16, Winnecke has led in the same public/private collaborative style as Weinzapfel. I believe that collaborative style has become a staple over the last two decades of their collective governance, which has eliminated much of the distasteful partisan politics of the past and helped our city move forward together.
• In a community that often views itself as resistant to change, Mayor-Elect Stephanie Terry has made history as the first female mayor and first Black mayor of Evansville. Terry is eminently qualified with 13 years of Vanderburgh County Council experience and 13 years running the nonprofit Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville. Terry ran a positive campaign and gained voter trust while demonstrating a firm grasp of the issues. Early signs suggest she will be a success as mayor.
• Love him or hate him — and most Hoosiers loved him — Robert Montgomery Knight was a force of nature. I enjoyed growing up during his nearly four- decade tenure as the men’s head basketball coach at Indiana University, and he truly was a larger-than-life legendary figure. Coach Knight played by the rules, players went to class, and most loved him. Mistakes were certainly made in his later years, but I along with many other Hoosiers were sad to hear of his passing Nov. 1 at age 83.
• I am a proud University of Evansville graduate, and it has been a very exciting time to be a UE men’s basketball fan. (Yes, I know it’s still early in the season.) As of this writing, the Aces are 4-0, and what a difference a year makes. Men’s Head Coach David Ragland
and his staff have the Aces playing the epitome of team basketball, and Director of Athletics Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried and Associate Athletics Director for Revenue Generation Logan Belz have brought much-needed enthusiasm and energy back to the program. Attendance is up, and fans are talking about Aces basketball again.
• I have considerable faith that there are many big-hearted people in our community. Each Christmas, the Keep Evansville Beautiful board of directors shops for a family from Ark Crisis Children’s Center. The children in this year’s family are all boys ages two to four. Their wants are clothing items we take for granted, along with a few simple requests: a football, Spider-Man pajamas, etc. But what hit me like a ton of bricks was this matter-of-fact statement: “You will be providing the only items the child will receive for Christmas.’
I am going to do something about it. If you would like to help, please contact me at Tucker Publishing Group at 812-426-2115 or Executive Director Angie Richards Cheek at Ark Crisis Children’s Center at 812-423-9425 or email@example.com. This season, let’s pause, consider others, and make the holiday season better for Tri-State families. I guess I must have some room left in my tiny heart.
As always, I look forward to hearing from most of you.
Todd A. Tucker, President