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Tuesday, May 04 2010

Evansville Cotton Mill

Mead Johnson has been an Evansville institution since 1915, but the site of this world-renown company goes back even further.   The premises was originally that of the Evansville Cotton Mill.  The expanding mill moved from downtown to just west of town at the foot of St Joseph Ave in 1875.  The main building had a tower that is clearly visible in many pictures and housing was built to the south for its workers.  In 1910, however, the plant ceased operations and closed.

The mill sat vacant for a while until E. Mead Johnson's company bought it in 1915.  Mead Johnson Co was located in New Jersey, but moved to Evansville to be close to its corn supply.  The company remodeled the buildings, installed new equipment, and began manufacturing baby food products by March of 1916.  Tremendous growth followed as have several additions over the years.  In the 1940s, offices were built on the southwest corner of St Joseph Ave and Pennsylvania St (now the Lloyd Expressway), and sometime around 1990 new offices were built on the southeast corner.  Much of the original building has been subsumed, but you can still make out the base of the tower looking along Ray Becker Parkway (see slideshow).  Mead Johnson Nutritionals is still going strong as a company and is presently expanding once again, ever committed to making Evansville its home.

Evansville Cotton Mill / Mead Johnson at


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 30 2010



A study from Evansville-based Atlas Van Lines shows businesses are optimistic about the volumes and budgets for future corporate relocations. The annual Corporate Relocation Survey indicates more than one in five firms expects relocation volumes to increase this year. Atlas says a majority of the firms surveyed also anticipate their overall financial performance to improve compared to 2009.


EVANSVILLE, Ind.--Despite the current economic recession, businesses are optimistic about the volumes and budgets for future corporate relocations, according to Atlas Van Lines' 43rd annual Corporate Relocation Survey, released today. More than one in five firms surveyed expect relocation volumes to increase in 2010, a great improvement over last year, when more than half of surveyed firms predicted a decrease in relocations. Other positive signs include the majority of firms indicating they expect their overall financial performances to improve compared to 2009. With guarded optimism, most responding firms expect stability or even improvement in both the U.S. economy and real estate market.

The Atlas survey--the only survey of its kind--has for 43 years explored trends in how corporations move existing employees or newly hired staff. Most survey respondents work in human resources/personnel or relocation services departments for service, manufacturing, wholesale/retail, financial or government organizations, and more than half work for international companies. Atlas, the Evansville-based corporate relocation, transportation and global logistics firm, announces its survey results to coincide with the annual Atlas Forum on Moving in April. "These survey results are a possible early sign of a recovery for the relocation industry, and they indicate that companies are finding ways to contain costs while retaining employee incentives," said Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas Van Lines. "But the best news is that firms are predicting a brighter future both for themselves and the overall economy."

Here's a closer look at developing trends in corporate relocation: Employees more willing to relocate Employees appear to have been slightly more willing to relocate in 2009 than they were the previous year. More than half (56 percent) of responding firms saw employees decline relocations, compared to 65 percent in 2008. For the second year in a row, housing/mortgage concerns surpassed family issues/ties as the No. 1 reason for refusing relocation. Seventy-seven percent of respondents cited housing concerns, including worries about selling a home, as the reason for declining relocation.

However, 66 percent of firms responding offered employees incentives to encourage relocations, with relocation bonuses, loss-on-sale protection, cost-of-living adjustments and extended duplicate/temporary housing benefits rounding out the top four methods used. In 2009, extending duplicate/temporary housing benefits jumped to the most popular perk, with 69 percent of firms offering this incentive. So successful were these incentives that 90 percent of companies said they "almost always" or "frequently" convinced an employee to relocate. Forty-five percent of companies also help an employee's spouse find work in a new location. Economy, not lack of local talent, impacting moves For the first time since 2003, a lack of qualified people locally was not the biggest influence on relocation. Instead, more than half (53 percent) of companies cited economic conditions as the biggest influence on relocations, with just 31 percent citing a lack of qualified people locally. And 37 percent say declining an opportunity that involves relocation can hinder an employee's career. A more encouraging outlook for 2010 Responding firms indicated the number of employees relocated and relocating budgets significantly decreased compared to 2008. Forty-two percent said they moved fewer employees last year, compared to just one-fourth experiencing declines in relocation volumes in 2008. Additionally, over a third saw decreases in relocation budgets last year (compared to 19 percent in 2008); while only 18 percent indicated budgets increased. The percentages of firms expecting increases in relocation volumes and budgets in 2010 are roughly twice that of last year. Internationally, relocation volume expectations improved slightly overall compared to the previous year. Nearly two-thirds of firms expect international relocation volumes to remain stable. Survey fast facts · Eighty-two percent of firms have a formal relocation policy. ·

Relocations were almost equally split between transferees and new hires in 2009. · Males age 36-40 were the most frequently relocated employee in 2009; only 17 percent of relocations involved female employees. · Forty-five percent of relocations involved employees with children; 60 percent of those relocated were homeowners. · One-quarter of responding firms give employees one week or less to accept a relocation offer. · More than three-fourths of companies reimburse moving companies to pack all items; 29 percent will even reimburse the cost of moving pets. · The Midwest was the top destination of transfers (36 percent) followed by the South (28 percent) and the Northeast (27 percent). · Among international relocations, the most frequent destinations were Europe (47 percent) followed by Asia/Pacific Rim (36 percent). ·

Over the past two years, the percentages of firms using full, lump sum (relocation allotment) or partial reimbursement for new hires have become nearly identical. Nearly 300 corporate relocation professionals completed the online survey between January 11 and February 26. Respondents must have relocation responsibility and work for a company that has either relocated employees within the past two years or plans to relocate employees this year. Half of the companies surveyed this year relocate employees between countries. For complete survey results, visit AAtlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 700 people throughout North America. More than 500 Atlas interstate agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate relocation, household moving services and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, new fixtures and furniture. Visit for more information on the company and Atlas agents. Source: Atlas World Group

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 29 2010

Organizing Your Linen Closet

Sort and Organize - Sort all your towels and sheets to determine which are worth keeping and which should go to charity. Try to limit yourself to three sets of sheets per bed and as few as three sets of bath sheets or towels, hand towels, and washcloths per person.

Make a Plan - First, divide linens into groups: bedrooms, bathrooms, dining, etc. The everyday and the current season should be stored at eye level, and the special-occasion and out-of-season linens farther from reach.

Map the Closet - If you're short of space, think compact. Another good idea is to slip folded sheets into the matching pillowcases. And don't forget the closet door: It's a great place to hang robes or shallow baskets for soaps and toilet paper.

Label Everything - Once everything is in order, label the shelves to help you keep the closet that way. Use adhesive labels or tape a slip of paper to the shelf front to indicate “Master Bath,” “King Fitted,” or “Summer Blankets.”

The key is to use your closet¯however tiny¯for daily linens while moving the less needed items elsewhere. Whatever you do, aim at a system that works best for the person who's doing the laundry.


Essential Spring-Cleaning Tools

Microfiber Cloths - Woven from superfine synthetic fibers, these delicate cloths safely clean computer screens, stainless steel appliances, and other surfaces that are easily scratched. Fingerprints and other small smudges can be rubbed off with a dry cloth; a damp one will clear away even stubborn marks.

Chopsticks - Save spare sets of these take-out utensils and repurpose them as stakes for indoor plants and stirrers for paint. Or carefully place one under the edge of just-washed stemware that's resting on a towel to ensure the glasses dry completely.

Corn Broom - Corn brooms are best for rough surfaces, such as a garage floor, driveway, or sidewalk. They will scrape up debris such as leaves and gravel but won't pick up fine dirt. Look for a nonslip handle that is comfortable to hold -- thicker handles cause less strain. 

Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser - This gently abrasive powder leaves enamel stove tops and stainless steel pans spotless, without a scratch. It's also great for routine shower and tub cleaning and removing stains from outdoor furniture. The cleanser is nontoxic and biodegradable and contains no dye, fragrance, or bleach.



How to Save Money on Groceries

Plan your meals and shopping lists around featured sale items - Use your store's weekly sales ad flier to plan your menus for the week. Write your shopping list around the items and brands that are on sale. Taking a few minutes to make a detailed plan will save you the time of making unplanned trips to the store during the week—which can ruin your budget. 

When is the best time to use grocery coupons? Use grocery coupons, ideally when the item is on sale. Buy the Sunday newspaper—75% of grocery coupons come from the newspaper. Buy two to three copies per week to save dramatically. Go online—grocery stores often have their best deals and printable coupons on their websites.

When should you buy the store brand? Be flexible about brands and stores.  Buy the brand that's on sale with a coupon, or get the store brand if it's less expensive. Shop at the store with the best prices for your items that week.



Asparagus Gruyere Tart


Flour, for work surface

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

5 1/2 oz (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded

1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

EASY Repair Process: Warranty Wisdom

A home service agreement can make your repair process easy. We make the call to arrange for a licensed and insured contractor to take care of your problem. With a home service agreement, you pay a small trade fee for your covered repairs…without it you could pay hundreds. A HomeTrust Warranty® home service agreement gives you the protection you need against breakdowns of covered appliances and major systems such as plumbing, heating, electrical and A/C. Ask your Realtor® about


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 26 2010

It's not unusual for home improvement stores to host how-to workshops, but the one Saturday at Evansville's East Side Lowe's was a bit different.

It was aimed at women, and it was about more than just home-improvement skills.

The session was the first of two clinics held in conjunction with Women Build, a Habitat for Humanity program that encourages women to help construct homes for families in need. Another clinic will take place Saturday at Lowe's on the West Side.

Habitat for Humanity joins with families worldwide to build affordable housing. Habitat homeowners pay for their homes through interest-free mortgages, and they must contribute 300 hours of volunteer labor, or "sweat equity," to build their homes and those of others.

Women Build recognizes that 80 percent of Habitat homeowners are single mothers, said Sister Jane Michele McClure, development director for Habitat for Humanity of Evansville.

Lowe's workshop targets Women Build volunteers


"As Habitat, we know the power that comes from building your own house. ... It's a way for women to take charge of their own life."

Habitat's national Women Build week is May 1-9. The Evansville affiliate will mark the occasion with a ceremony and work session May 8 at a home under construction in the Glenwood neighborhood at 314 Ridgeway Drive. The official Women Build home project, also in Glenwood, takes place in September.

This will be the sixth Women Build event in Evansville, but it's the first time local Lowe's stores have hosted Women Build clinics.

Lowe's is a national sponsor of Women Build. Locally, the retailer is donating $5,000 to the effort.

Susan Simon, manager of Evansville's East Side Lowe's, said her store was glad to host the clinic — especially because some of its employees were affected by the November 2005 tornado.

"We've had the personal experience of someone losing their home," she said.

One of those employees, Simon said, is now a Habitat homeowner.

At Saturday's clinic, about 50 women learned about painting, window and door installation, tool use and landscaping.

Among them was Harriet Burtt of Grayville, Ill., who came for two reasons. She's remodeling her own home, and she wants to become a Habitat volunteer.

Burtt said she considers herself "fairly handy," but she did pick up some pointers at the clinic.

Impressed with what she learned about Women Build, Burtt plans to join the Evansville project this fall.

"To help women all over the world who are disenfranchised," she said. "I'm all for that."


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Sunday, April 18 2010
Confusion reigned for Jack and Sue Schriber in the moments before they accepted the Rotary Club of Evansville's 2009 Rotary Civic Award on Tuesday.

Sue Schriber showed up at the Coliseum, unbeknownst to her husband, and ducked behind a door out of his line of sight. Tipped off that he would win the prestigious annual award, she was poised to make an entrance to help him celebrate when his name was called.

When the Schribers' names, plural, were called, Sue Schriber wasn't sure what she'd heard.

"(Rotary member) Mark Miller had me behind this door," she recalled afterward with a laugh. "Mark came over and said to me, 'Did you hear all of that, Sue?'"

Jack Schriber recalls being locked in on Niel Ellerbrook, Vectren Corp. chief executive officer, convinced that Ellerbrook's name would be the one called.

"His wife wasn't here, but the rest of his family was, and I felt, 'Well, she's probably said she couldn't be there, and she's hiding out there with the people and she's going to come in and surprise him,'" Jack Schriber said.

Even when Rotary member Donna Leader came to his seat as everyone watched to see who would be tapped, Schriber still wasn't sure exactly what was going on.

"When Donna said, 'Congratulations, Jack,' I looked behind me because there was another Jack there," he said, chuckling.

Once it sunk in to the Schribers that they had won the award together, the Rotary Club's Tuesday luncheon became a full-scale celebration of their contributions to the local arts community.

"Who could better light up the stage as Santa Claus in the Peppermint Pops concerts than Jack Schriber?"

Rotary Past President Matt Volkman told the luncheon, "Who could better guide high school students through the process of presenting professional summer musicals than Sue Schriber? The answer to both questions is 'nobody.'

"Jack and Sue have placed their imprint on practically every worthy arts endeavor in the community, whether the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Evansville Civic Theatre, Reitz Home Murder Mysteries or the Evansville Museum."

The Rotary Civic Award publicly recognizes winners for their civic, charitable, humanitarian and cultural services to Evansville and its residents.

Jack Schriber, a teacher of public speaking at the University of Southern Indiana, retired three years ago as the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.'s supervisor of fine arts. He later returned to EVSC as a community outreach consultant.

Sue Schriber is Oak Hill Middle School's counselor to students. She taught vocal music from 1973 until 2000 at Columbia Elementary School, then at Oak Hill Middle School. She is the drama director for the Public Education Foundation and EVSC's annual summer musical project, where she is directing her 17th production, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."

The Schribers called the Rotary award a high honor.

"The real honor is looking at the list of people who won it in the past," Jack Schriber said of the annual Civic Award, first given to E. Mead Johnson Sr. in 1927.

Sue Schriber said accepting the award with her husband made it especially sweet.

"To be able to serve the community in any way that we can, and do it having a good time with each other, and then to be recognized for it, is just wonderful," she said.


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Tuesday, April 13 2010

The Evansville Arena Project Committee has revamped its Web site and logo for the new downtown arena. The site contains the latest news on the project, reports on economic impact and financing and a webcam. The arena will be the region's center for sports and entertainment and is set to open in fall 2011.

A revamped website and logo for the new Evansville Arena Project were unveiled Thursday evening at a public meeting of the Evansville Arena Project Committee. The changes are meant to make the website more user-friendly and provide complete, up-to-date information on the project.

The website,, includes reports on economic impact, financing and the public process that resulted in the development of the new arena. The site also contains the latest news on the project, answers to frequently asked questions, information for vendors, and a webcam that provides images of arena construction progress. In addition, citizens can subscribe to email alerts about construction, traffic and other arena-related subjects.

“Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel appointed our Committee in part to make sure that the public was kept fully informed about this crucial step forward in the City’s future,” Committee Chair Kathy Kleindorfer said. “This site will make information about the arena project available 24 hours a day and provide a way to ask questions and express concerns.”

The website, as well as the revamped logo for the arena project, was developed by McCool Media, Inc. of Evansville. The logo combines the profile of the arena with images of celebrating fans to express excitement about the arena and the impact that it will make on downtown Evansville and the rest of our community.

“The design of the arena has brought cheers from the community,” Kleindorfer said, “and we know that the real thrills will start when the new facility opens.”

The new Evansville Arena will be the region’s center for sports and entertainment, designed to host basketball, hockey, concerts, exhibitions, and shows for audiences as large as 11,000. It is set to open in fall 2011.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 12 2010

     What a difference a year, and maybe a little sunshine can make.  Real estate sales in March were significantly better; by practically any measure, than they were just a year ago.  January and February of 2010 from a local real estate perspective were virtually identical to the same two months in 2009, but everything changed for the better in March.  Last month, in our area, we closed 391 home sales, compared to 307 a year ago, a 27.4% increase.  The average sale price this March, on those closed sales was $123,980 compared to $114,002 last March, an 8.8% increase.  Finally the supply of homes on the market, measured by month’s supply, declined to 7.45 months compared to 9.7 month’s supply last March.  The 7.45 month supply was the second lowest monthly total in the past two years.  Only June of 2009 with 7.37 month’s supply was better.

     National surveys suggested that March was going to be a good month in many parts of the country.  The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward looking indicator based on contracts signed, but not yet closed, increased in February.  The PHSI in February of 2010 was 17.3% above the corresponding month in 2009.  Since contracts typically take 1-2 months to close increased March closings were inevitable. 

     So what does this mean going forward?  I am confident that closed sales in April will be significantly higher than last April.  (OK I cheated on this one because I know that pending transactions were higher this March than last March)  I am also confident that closed transactions will stay strong in May.  The unknown is the degree to which the expiration of The Home Buyer’s Tax Credit will affect sales this summer.  The credit expires if contracts are not signed by April 30.  I believe that sales this summer will be similar to last summer’s putting our market on a more steady and sustainable level.  I know we all want to avoid the significant price and sales declines of 2008 and 2009, and I believe we will; Great news for both buyers and sellers.     

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 09 2010

The Evansville Area Association of Realtors reports a 28.4 percent increase in area home sales this March over last March.

The housing market in the Tri-State appears to have rebounded and continues on the upswing.

The fact that the first-quarter sales of this year have outpaced last year confirms that to be the case, said Chris Dickson, president-elect of the Evansville Area Association of Realtors.

"2010 is a good year for real estate in this area," he said.

Dickson said the latest statistics from the association shows a 28.4 percent increase in the number of single-family homes sold in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey and Gibson counties this past March compared with the number of sales in March 2009.

Pending home sales also appear on an upward surge nationally, likely in response to the homebuyer tax credit, said the National Association of Realtors.

Its March index won't be released until May 4, but the national association reports sales showed a healthy gain in February.

According to the Evansville Area Association of Realtors, a total of 307 homes were sold in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey and Gibson counties last month, compared with 239 sold in March 2009.

The increased activity caps off a strong first quarter, which saw the number of homes sold increase by 11.4 percent over last year's first quarter.

A total of 650 homes were sold in the four-county area this January through March, compared with 582 sold last year during the same period.

Dickson attributed the increase to historic low interest rates and plenty of mortgage money available from local lenders, even though the requirements for approval are tighter.

He said, "Buyers also are very active now because they need to be under contract by April 30 to qualify for the federal tax incentives. ... There are more buyers, looking to take advantage of the incentives.

"Homes are receiving multiple offers. Sellers need to be on the market now."

The only thing holding the market back from more expansion is the low number of homes on the market today, Dickson said.

"Now is the time for sellers to get back into the market."

The area association of Realtors also reports the average sale price increased 9.7 percent for the quarter, rising to $127,149 from $115,845 last year.

The increase in number of sales and increase in average prices combined to generate a 22.5 percent increase in overall volume and contribution to the economy. More than $82.6 million homes were sold in the first three months of this year, compared with $67.4 million during the first three months of last year.

Dickson said, "Topping off the good news is the fact that it takes two to three weeks less time to sell a home this year compared with last year.

The average time to sell a home now is approximately 141/2 weeks compared with almost 17 weeks a year ago.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:06 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 06 2010

City officials are looking to widen part of Oak Hill Road, making it safer for both walkers and drivers.

But to do that, they need to close the stretch between U.S. 41 and Weinbach Avenue to most vehicles. Only local traffic will be able to go to businesses and homes there while the construction proceeds.

Betty Phillips, who lives on Lake Drive north of the affected section, said she finds Oak Hill Road an easy route to take from her house to the Lloyd Expressway. The coming construction will "be an inconvenience," she said.

"But I'll just find another way," Phillips said. "That's the way I go. But I could go straight on Weinbach to get to the Lloyd or on Boeke."

The official detour established by the city will direct drivers to U.S. 41 and Morgan Avenue.

Other parts of the same proposal will have Oak Hill Road closed to northbound traffic between Weinbach and Eichel avenues. Oak Hill will be reduced to single lanes conveying traffic in each direction in the stretch between Morgan Avenue and Pigeon Creek.

The Evansville Safety Board plans to vote on the proposed road closing when it meets at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 301 of the Civic Center. If the plan is approved, the closings will start immediately after the meeting.

Brad Mills, director of the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the work will widen the affected parts of Oak Hill Road to three lanes from the existing two. One of the new lanes will be designated for turning. That change will prevent traffic from backing up behind drivers turning left.

Bicycle lanes

The widening also will allow officials to add bicycle lanes and sidewalks. Mills said those changes are meant to give residents more opportunities for exercising outdoors. As a result, the city will have to rebuild sewers, curbs and gutters along the stretch.

The work is expected to last until the end of this year or early next year. It will cost about $6.9 million, nearly $400,000 of which is to come from the city. The federal government will provide the rest, both from stimulus money and transportation funds.

A second phase will make similar changes to Oak Hill Road between Pigeon Creek and Lynch Road. That construction is scheduled to start in 2012.

The project is similar to work done last year to make turning left on parts of Lincoln Avenue easier. Lincoln was widened between South Rotherwood Avenue and just west of South Green River Road, as well as between Martin Lane and Kirkwood Drive.


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Friday, April 02 2010

— Just like tiny Hickory in “Hoosiers” or the current crop of Butler Bulldogs, the Voyage roller coaster at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is trying to pull a David & Goliath upset.

Only this single-elimination tournament — while patterned after this weekend’s NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis — isn’t being played on a basketball court but on the nation’s computers as theme park fans decide the “Best Attraction in America.”

The Voyage has made the Final Four and voting continues through 6 p.m. today to see which two attractions meet for overall bragging rights Monday, according to Holiday World spokeswoman Paula Werne.

You can vote today (just once) by going to

“We’re the Cinderella,” Werne chuckled, “but I guess I better be careful using that term since we’re going up against the Big Mouse (Disney).”

Theme Park Insider — a Pasadena, Calif., Web site popular among families and others planning vacations — began the contest March 18 with 64 attractions divided into four brackets: Roller Coasters, Best Themed Ride, Best Live Show and Best Movie or Animated Show.

What was different for the Voyage — which has ruled the wooden coaster world — was in this contest it was pitted against the big steel coasters from major parks such as Cedar Point in Ohio, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., and Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

This week the Voyage defeated Cedar Point’s top-seeded Millennium Force (winning 63 percent of votes cast), then won a majority of the 2,000 votes cast Thursday to oust Apollo’s Chariot from Busch Gardens-Williamsburg to reach the Final Four.

Just like Butler, the Voyage had been seeded fifth.

Today’s Final Four voting — between the Voyage and Best Themed Ride winner Haunted Mansion of Disneyland — will determine the favorite theme park ride.

The other two brackets (for live or animated shows) pit Fantasmic! from Disney’s Hollywood Studios against Mickey’s PhilharMagic from Walt Disney World.

On Monday, the best ride and best show winners will face off in voting to determine the overall attraction champion.

Earlier this morning, the Voyage was ahead of Haunted Mansion, with 55 percent of the vote.

“It’s been an amazing couple of weeks for us,” said Werne, “as each matchup was with a steel coaster from a huge corporate park. When I took this job (public relations) 19 years ago, I would never have thought we’d be going head to head with a Disney park for bragging rights. We’re the smallest park in this competition.”

Holiday World, which draws about 1 million customers a year, begins its 64th season in early May and will debut the world’s longest water coaster, the Wildebeest, on May 14.


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Friday, March 26 2010

An Arizona-based real estate investment trust says it has completed the purchase of a five building medical office portfolio in Evansville and Newburgh for $45.2 million. Healthcare Trust of America Inc. acquired 260,500 square-feet of space currently leased to Deaconess Clinic Inc. The buildings are located near the Deaconess Hospital campus.

Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. ("HTA"), a self-managed, non-traded, real estate investment trust, announced the completed purchase of a five building medical office portfolio located in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana for $45,256,500.

The approximately 260,500 square foot portfolio is 100% master-leased to Deaconess Clinic, Inc., an affiliate of Deaconess Health System, Inc. Deaconess Clinic, Inc. is comprised of 110 primary care and specialty physicians. The buildings are positioned in strategic locations and are adjacent to a hospital or clinic campus. The neighboring hospitals include Deaconess Hospital, a 365-bed acute care teaching hospital, and Deaconess Gateway Hospital, a new six story facility with 116 beds. Deaconess Health System, Inc. guarantees the leases on all five buildings, carries an A+ rating from both Standard & Poor's and Fitch and is the largest health system in Southern Indiana.

"The Deaconess Portfolio provides us with the opportunity to own core real estate assets essential to the healthcare delivery model in Southern Indiana," stated Mark D. Engstrom, Executive Vice President – Acquisitions. "This portfolio is consistent with the new era of healthcare which involves hospitals and physicians working together in new ways to meet the needs of their communities."

"We are impressed with the strength and quality of the Deaconess Health System. The acquisition of the Deaconess portfolio is consistent with our strategy of acquiring high quality and strategically located assets, with high quality tenants," said Scott D. Peters, Chief Executive Officer and President of HTA. "We believe these assets will have a positive accretive impact on our portfolio."

For more information on Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. and to download the current prospectus, please visit

About Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.

Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. is a self-managed, publicly registered, non-traded, real estate investment trust. Since September 2009, when HTA completed its transition to self management, it has acquired approximately $492 million in medical office and healthcare-related assets. These assets include a total of 12 acquisitions and one other real estate-related asset, representing approximately 2.3 million square feet. Since its formation in 2006, HTA has made 56 geographically diverse acquisitions valued at approximately $1.54 billion based on purchase price, which includes 187 buildings and two other real estate-related assets. HTA's portfolio totals approximately 7.8 million square feet, and includes 168 medical office buildings, six hospitals, nine skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and four other office buildings located in 21 states.

Source: Healthcare Trust of America Inc.

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Thursday, March 25 2010

Fred C. Tucker III mostly leads from afar from his Indianapolis F.C. Tucker Co. headquarters. But officials of F.C. Tucker Emge Realtors — an affiliate of the company in Evansville — appreciate that he is always very accessible.

“We can call him at home, or on his cell phone or at the office and he’s always anxious to help us, if we need help,” said F.C. Tucker Emge co-owner Kevin Eastridge.

Tucker, 63, announced Tuesday he will retire, effective April 1, after 33 years of growing the F.C. Tucker Co. into the state’s largest independently owned Indiana-based residential real estate firm -- with more than $2.2 billion in annual sales.

Kathy Briscoe, also an F.C. Tucker Emge co-owner, said Tucker “is first a gentleman, and always a student of real estate law.”

Both Briscoe and Eastridge described Tucker as “very much in touch with agents and managers.”

“He’s very kind and thoughtful,” said Briscoe.

In a prepared news release, Tucker’s retirement was hailed as marking “a pivotal and positive day” in the company’s 92-year history.

It marks the time when the company’s two leaders and sole owners — Tucker and H. James Litten, 63 — will shift responsibilities to maintain leadership continuity and the company’s continued growth and success, said the release.

Tucker, president of the F.C. Tucker Co., will retire and sell his ownership interest to his longtime business partner Litten, president of F.C. Tucker Co. Residential Real Estate Services.

Eastridge said he looks forward to continuing an amicable and friendly business relationship with Litten.

“It’s been wonderful ... We have confidence in Litten’s ability to run the F.C. Tucker Co.”

Tucker said “Jim Litten will provide the passion, drive and business intellect needed to carry F.C. Tucker Co. to the next level.”

Litten praised Tucker for creating “a one-stop shopping convenience experience for customers and significantly boosting F.C. Tucker Co. sales year after year.”

Besides becoming president of F.C. Tucker Co., Litten will assume the responsibility of managing both Tucker’s Residential Real Estate Services and Tucker’s family of additional businesses, including:

• Home-Link Services

• Title Services, LLC

• Tucker Associates, Inc. (franchising)

• Tucker Insurance Agency

• Tucker Mortgage LLC

• Tucker Referrals Inc.

• Tucker/Schrader Auction Co. LP.

• Tucker School of Real Estate (licensing)

Litten will also oversee the company’s two strategic alliances, HMS Home Warranty and The BryantCo. (residential leasing and management).

Tucker is a third generation of Tuckers to run the F.C. Tucker Co., following his grandfather, the founder, and his father.

Said Tucker: “When Jim Litten, David Goodrich and I bought the F.C. Tucker Co. from my father and his partners in 1986, we wanted to strength and enhance the company’s position as the dominant real estate company in Indiana.

“Our strategy was to provide superior customer service, to develop our employees and sales associates and to grow and mentor the leadership necessary to create long-term financial stability and growth for the company.”

They, indeed, accomplished all that.

F.C. Tucker Co. grew from $300 million in sales in 1986 to more than $2.2 billion in sales in 2009.

The company now oversees 45 offices and more than 1,500 sales associates and employees throughout Indiana and in select Kentucky markets.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 21 2010

Official State of Indiana website:

For information about obtaining an Indiana drivers license, registration and/or title:

BMV Locations:
1.  East Side Branch, 6240 E. Virginia Street, (812) 477-7911
2.  North Side Branch, 4209 N. U.S. Highway 41, (812) 425-8289
3.  West Side Branch, 2421 Allens Lane, (812) 424-3102

For information on voter registration:
Vanderburgh County call (812) 435-5222
State Elections Division at 1-800-622-4941

To establish water & sewer service, as well as trash pick up:
City of Evansville Water & Sewer Department
(812) 436-7846 or

To establish electric & gas service:
1-800-227-1376 or

For bus service:
Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS)
(812) 435-6166 or

To establish local telephone service:
AT&T 1-800-288-2020
Insight (812) 422-1167 or (812) 838-2044
Sprint/Nextel (812) 467-0335
TDS Telecom (812) 874-2255
WOW! (812) 437-0345

To establish cable service:
Insight (812) 422-1167 or (812) 838-2044
WOW! (812) 437-0345
AT&T 1-800-288-2020

To contact local school districts:
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
1 S.E. 9th Street
(812) 435-8453

Catholic Diocese of Evansville
4200 E. Kentucky Avenue
(812) 424-5536

To locate the nearest post office:
Main Post Office, 800 Sycamore Street, 812-429-3400
West Wabash, 801 N. Wabash Avenue, 812-423-6090
River City, 1915 Washington Avenue, 812-471-1966
Lawndale, 802 S. Green River Road, 812-473-4151
Diamond Valley, 600 Cross Valley Circle, 812-424-1475

Evansville Public Library
Central Library
200 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 812-428-8200
East Branch
840 E. Chandler Avenue, 812-428-8231
5115 Washington Avenue, (812) 428-8236
3001 Oaklyn Drive, (812) 428-8234
Red Bank
120 S. Red Bank Road, (812) 428-8205
North Park
960 Koehler Drive, (812) 428-8237
2100 Stringtown Road, (812) 428-8233
West Branch
2000 W. Franklin Street, (812) 428-8232 


Chamber of Commerce
100 NW Second Street, Suite 100, 812-425-8147

Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau
401 E. Riverside Drive, (812) 421-2200 or 1-800-433-3025

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 19 2010

Realtors cite federal tax credit, very low interest rate.

The $6,500 federal tax credit for home-owners buying their next home is being credited for part of the upward movement in house prices in Vanderburgh and surrounding counties.

According to a report by the Evansville Area Association of Realtors, the sale price of single-family homes in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey and Gibson counties in January and February increased by 13.5 percent over the same period last year.

Chris Dickson, the association's president-elect, said he believes the tax credit brought out buyers for homes in the range of $150,000 to $250,000.

"There are more buyers in the market looking to take advantage of the federal tax incentives," said Dickson.

"The fact that average sale prices in 2010 are starting out strong, compared to 2009, also shows that the housing market in this area continues to rebound."

Dickson also attributed the increase in part to mortgage rates that remain at historic lows.

Bob Reid, president of the Realtors association, agreed.

He predicted March and April also will be strong as the April 30 deadline nears for the expiration of the $6,500 tax credit and for the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers.

"There's been no discussion about extending the credits," Reid said.

According to Reid, a person must sign a contract agreement to buy a house by April 30 and must close on the house purchase by June 30 to be eligible for the tax credits.

In January and February this year, the average house sale price in the four counties was $126,282, up from $111,603 in the same two months in 2009, according to the association report.

In Vanderburgh County, the average sale price for the two months rose 7.7 percent to $104,380.

The price was $96,849 for the same period in 2009.

Dickson said Warrick County had the biggest increase, rising by 15.59 percent to $186,818, compared with $161,148 in 2009.

The number of homes sold in the four-county area remained about the same: 341 sold the past two months compared with 343 for the same period last year.

The number of days it took to sell a house on average was 100 in January and February, compared with 110 in 2009.

Because of the increase in the average sale price, the overall volume rose 12.8 percent with more than $43.1 million in homes sold in January and February, compared with $38.2 million last January and February.

"Unfortunately," Dickson said, "many sellers are under the mistaken impression that the market is poor, so they are hesitant to put their homes on the market."

As a result, the number of homes available to buyers dropped to its lowest level in over two years, according to Dickson.

"We need more homes on the market to supply the buyer demand. ... Homes that are in good condition and priced well are selling."


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 17 2010

— A newly renovated Old Gallery opened to the public Sunday at the Evansville Museum, showcasing a small portion of a planned $17.5 million project that also includes an expansion.

The exhibit space had been closed since January. It originally was dedicated in 1985 as part of the museum's South Wing addition.

"We're making something old new again," said Museum Director John Streetman. "At that time, there was no other venue for people in the arts to show their work."

The 5,000-square-foot gallery is the museum's largest changing exhibit space. Since its opening 25 years ago, more than just art has graced its space.

The gallery has hosted receptions, community events and concerts.

"It became, really, kind of the living room of our community," Streetman said.

The multipurpose gallery has received new walls, wall coverings, floor covering and lighting. In addition, from the end of the gallery facing the Ohio River and adjacent to the gallery's kitchen are facilities that can be closed off and used for smaller meetings and activities.

It is named the Charlotte M. Richardt Memorial Room in honor of a longtime museum benefactor.

The approximately $700,000 overhaul received major funding from Old National Bank. The gallery originally was created with funding from the bank in honor of Dorothea Schlechte, who opened the first Old Gallery in 1964 in a bank branch at Washington Square Mall.

The public unveiling of the renovated gallery also kicked off a public portion of the museum's "Reach for the Stars" fundraising campaign to underwrite the proposed expansion.

Already, the museum has quietly raised $13 million toward its goal from area corporations, foundations and other major donors.

"The public campaign is just the next step. Our commitment is to keep those signs up until the last penny is raised," said Jeffrey Berger, a museum trustee.

Streetman said raising the remaining $4.5 million is essential to maintaining the quality and extending the life of the institution. He said the Evansville Museum is one of only about 50 general museums still operating in the United States.

"Never have we needed it more than we need it now," he said. "If we don't raise the $4.5 million, we don't do the rest of the project."

When the expansion is completed, it will include a 21/2-story glass pavilion main entrance, a new planetarium and immersive theater; new history and science exhibition spaces; a family gallery for hands-on science learning; a permanent exhibit about Evansville's involvement in the World War II home front, including the LST shipyards; two learning centers for classes and workshops; space for the museum's art consultation service; new museum shop; and needed infrastructure improvements.

"This has got to work. This is my favorite place in town," said Sharon Harrison.

The Downtown resident said she frequents the museum and attends art classes there.

Shirley Tarter, another Downtown resident, said the museum is an important part of the continuing Downtown improvements. "It's important not to neglect the sciences and arts," she said.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 16 2010
The snow is gone and we are ready to sell some homes. It seems however that our market is not leading the nation in the housing recovery. Almost half of the country showed an increase in the price of homes in the 4th quarter compared to the previous year. The number of homes sold increased in 48 states in the 4th quarter compared to the 4th quarter of the previous year. Nationally the supply of homes on the market is less than 6.5 months. These are all positive and encouraging statistics.
When the real estate market started slowing a couple of years ago our market stayed stronger longer and never declined to the same extent as the nation as a whole. Since our market slow down started later and since we did not fall as far, our recovery is running a little later than most parts of the country. For the first two months of 2010 our market is virtually unchanged having closed 2 fewer homes than the corresponding period in 2009. Average prices however were slightly higher at $118,075 compared to $112,319. Our inventory of homes is still too high at just under 12 months supply. I am certain that we will show a significant increase in closed sales in March compared to January or February. We have also seen more activity in more expensive home transactions in the past few months. Pending transactions increased significantly the second half of February and I firmly believe that sales will stay strong at least through April. I am confident about the April date partially because of the Home Buyers tax credit which is still available for contracts that are completed by April 30 and close by June 30. Smart shoppers and prudent sellers need to act soon to take advantage of this credit before it expires.
Remember the best place to start your home search is at, where you can register yourself and receive automatic notifications at My   Signing up is simple and easy.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:11 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 09 2010

Newburgh has been awarded a $50,000 grant which it will use to fund a downtown revitalization planning study, according to Cynthia Burger, town manager.

The grant money comes from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) administers the grants.

The study will assess the city’s downtown area and business district and provide recommendations with cost estimates for improvements. Items in the study will include: sidewalk and curb improvements, storm drainage and utility issues, streetscaping and beautification projects and other strategies to create a more economically viable downtown district.

More information about The CDBG grant program is available at


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 05 2010

— Recycle Drop Off day is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the old Walmart on the West Side.

Items accepted during off-site collections are aluminum cans; glass containers of all colors; steel food cans; newspapers, including inserts; plastic bottles (small necked) and only No. 1 and No. 2 plastic (milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles and soda bottles); magazines and catalogs; mixed paper (junk mail, notebook paper, wrapping paper, copy paper); cardboard and paperboard, including cereal boxes.

Bottles that contained a hazardous material such as bleach or antifreeze cannot be accepted.

Items should be separated by the material types and placed in separate bags or boxes. Flatten boxes to be recycled before arrival if possible. Items should be clean and dry, and lids should be removed.

Wesselman Nature Society also conducts monthly drop-off recycling opportunities at various sites in Vanderburgh County for certain recyclable items. For a full listing of these off-site recycling opportunities, log on to

Additional information is available by contacting the Vanderburgh County Solid Waste District at (812) 436-7800 or


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 25 2010

The Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana is launching a free application, titled Discover Southwest Indiana, for use on iPhones and certain iPod models.

Matt Meadors, the chamber president and chief executive officer, said the iPhone app strongly complements the organization’s efforts to communicate the region’s attributes as an excellent location to live and successfully operate a business while providing the chamber with a tool to connect with its members and the broader community in real time.

Designed by Agent511, an Owensboro, Ky.- and Chicago-based mobile technology company, the Discover Southwest Indiana app has a number of featured links, including Southwest Indiana Events, CCSWIN Marketplace, Business Directory, Public Policy on Twitter, Chamber CEO on Twitter, Employment, Become a Member and Contact Us.

The application is available for downloading from the Apple iTunes store.

Meadors said “The Chamber’s professional staff will now be able to continually update the business community and others on the organization’s activities, efforts and impact.

“Our new CCSWIN Marketplace feature will provide our members with a mechanism to drive customers to their businesses by providing them with a dynamic communications tool that they can modify at will to offer coupons, specials and other incentives to the consumer.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 17 2010

— As international efforts continue to heal, feed and shelter victims of the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 Haitians and displaced millions more, an Evansville couple are helping supply clean drinking water.

Five days after the Jan. 12 earthquake struck, Joe and Jenny Smith flew from St. Louis to work with Potters For Peace, an organization that teaches locals to make, assemble and distribute inexpensive ceramic filters that provide families with safe drinking water now and for years to come.

Even before the earthquake, illnesses and death from dirty water plagued Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries.

The situation is critical now and will become worse, the Smiths said. A volunteer physician told them, "For all we can do for these people now, they'll still die if they don't have clean water."

The couple recently returned after three weeks working in Haiti and the Dominican Republic with Potters For Peace, a nonprofit organization based in Brisbee, Ariz.

Joe Smith took leave from Oakland City University, where he has taught ceramics for 31 years. He spent his time outside Santiago, Dominican Republic, working 13-hour days with local potters in an established ceramic filter operation to expand operations and increase production.

Jenny Smith, a former international aid worker who most recently operated an art gallery in Evansville, moved into a massive tent city in Jacmel, Haiti. She helped distribute the clay filters made 150 miles away at the factory in Santiago where her husband was working.

Since the quake, an estimated 2,000 clay water filters have gotten to Haitians, more are waiting to be shipped and the Santiago operation has double production, promising an increased flow of filters moving into Haiti in the future, said Jenny Smith.

Raising funds

The couple plan to return this summer to help set up one or two new local operations to make clay purification systems in Haiti. While they're home, they'll work to raise money for the factories, estimated to cost about $60,000 each.

That's nothing compared to what it will take to build water systems for the cities, suburbs and villages that eventually will rise from Haiti's rubble. The ceramic filters do offer an immediate solution for families.

The filter, developed in Guatemala in the early 1980s, looks something like an oversized terra cotta flower pot without drain holes. It's made from clay mixed with prescribed amounts of sawdust, rice husks or other suitable combustible materials available locally.

When fired, the combustible material burns out, leaving a porous vessel that allows water to pass through while filtering out particles. A coating of colloidal silver painted on the inside kills bacteria.

How effective are they? The filters "effectively eliminate 99.88 percent of most waterborne disease agents," according to Potters For Peace's Web site,

Fitted with a plastic lid, the fired clay unit slips like an oversized coffee filter into a large manufactured plastic storage bucket equipped with a spigot at the bottom. Each can hold several gallons of water, which filters through at a rate of up to 21/2 quarts per hour.

"If you fill it up at night, by the morning you'll have enough water ready for a family," Jenny Smith said. "We used one in Haiti, in the tent camp and we never got sick. As a matter of fact, I thought the water tasted better than what we drink (from the tap) here in Evansville."

Depending on the region and local resources, the entire unit costs between $15 and $25, and replacement filters typically run between $4 and $6, according to Potters For Peace.

The Smiths first worked with Potters For Peace in 1999, when the organization helped set up ceramic filter operations in Managua, Nicaragua, as that city struggled to recover from Hurricane Mitch.

Since then, the organization has helped set up operations throughout Central America and in areas around the world lacking clean water.

The factories often are open-air structures consisting of mixing areas, clay presses (using concrete molds and hand-pumped hydraulic truck jacks), drying racks and kilns.

Locals own and operate them as businesses, providing not only clean water, but also employment for the potters and others needed to make and distribute them.

Jenny Smith said she's heard stories about looting in neighborhoods and violence at food distribution points, "but I never felt endangered and I never saw any violence," she said. "I think about how the Haitians I saw helped us and helped each other."

She doesn't blame starving people for being angry.

"There were warehouses full of water and food and it was not being distributed, and there were a lot of communities not getting what they needed," she said.

"I found it very frustrating. Once, when I held a child, I remember thinking, 'This child may not be living in two weeks.'"


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 10 2010
January started an exciting year for F.C. Tucker Emge REALTORS. We had our annual kickoff meeting to begin our 100th year of service to Tri-State home buyers and sellers. A video was produced chronicling our company history which began when Eli Huber drove his horse drawn buggy to Rockport, IN and sold a farm. From that, we have grown to the area’s dominant real estate company. We now have over 200 REALTORS and employees located in 8 locations. The tools we use combined with the best agents in the area led to market dominance in 2009. According to local Multiple Listing Service data, we sold $50 million more than our closest competitor in 2009. Furthermore, I am proud to work at a company that is involved in so many community organizations and is committed to the future of our area.
Although our company is well positioned, January sales in our area were somewhat below my expectations. Our local Multiple Listing Service reported closed transactions were down slightly from January of 2009. That said, the average sales price was up, resulting in an increase of $1.4 million in sales volume for the month. January’s weather, although not highly unusual, did not lend itself to leisurely home shopping. I am very optimistic that March and April will show much better sales figures. I anticipate that improved weather and some help from the extended and expanded tax credit will boost sales. As I mentioned last month, buyers must have a signed contract by the end of April in order to receive either a $6,500 or $8,000 one time gift from the U.S. Treasury. Call me for more details about this one time opportunity.
I am excited to inform you that “The Easiest Search On The Web” just got even better. When you visit and scroll over a picture of a home the picture automatically enlarges and property pictures throughout the site are bigger. In addition, we now list all area open houses so it’s even easier to find your dream home all on one site.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 02 2010

— In addition to Tri-State residents donating more than $100,000, area businesses are giving however they can to Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

"There have been a number of businesses that have stepped up," said Greg Waite of the American Red Cross for Southwestern Indiana.

Within days of the earthquake, Mead Johnson Nutrition shipped $100,000 worth of baby formula to Haiti. The company, whose corporate offices are in Evansville, also has operations in the Dominican Republic.

"Having a neighboring business was so beneficial because we were able to act so quickly," said Susan Wedeking, a spokeswoman for Mead Johnson. "We will provide additional assistance as we can. Each disaster is different, but oftentimes we are able to provide help."

The company is also one of several in the area that is matching their employees' donations to relief efforts.

Other companies doing so include Vectren, Duke Energy, Toyota and several banks.

AmeriQual, which specializes in the production of shelf-stable food products that don't require cooking, is ramping up production to replace all of its reserves it had in stock to help during a disaster.

Tim Brauer, the company's president, said it has distributed close to a million meals and another million to the American Red Cross.

"That's a lot of meals moving around that are hopefully getting to the people who need them," he said. "We maintain in the range of a million to 2 million meals in storage just for events like this."

Designed to assist in disasters, the American Red Cross has been a leading organization with relief efforts in Haiti.

The national organization's focus has been on three areas:

n Sending food to those in need, including 3 million pre-packaged meals and funding for World Food Program efforts that will enable them to feed up to 1 million people for a month.

- Providing clean drinking water.

- Distributing shelter items, such as blankets, tarps, sleeping mats and tents to homeless families.

Locally, Waite said, the Tri-State has donated more than $100,000 to the agency to help with relief efforts.

"That's from people who've walked in through a chapter door or made a donation online," he said. "(The community) has been amazing, and they're asking, 'What else can we do?'"

Waite said a key part is making sure the community is up to date on efforts in Haiti, "so when they see those images, they're reassured" about where their donation is going.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 01 2010

The city of Evansville enters 2010 looking to continue to manage the recession. Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel says the area's unemployment rate has consistently remained under the state average, currently by a full two points. He says companies like Mead Johnson and Berry Plastics have been adding jobs and that several construction projects are underway, led by the new $125 million downtown arena.

Weinzapfel says the city also made the decision to bring management of local water and sewer utilities back to local government, which is expected to save an estimated $14 million over the next five years.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:06 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, January 25 2010
January is a great time to reflect on last year as well as plan for this year. 2009 was the year that residential real estate stopped its temporary decline in sales. Although our market saw fewer sales in the first six months of 2009 compared to 2008 (1879 vs. 2098) the second half of 2009 showed significant improvement. Units sold in the second half of 2009 improved 20.8% compared to the first half of the year and were up 7.6% compared to the second half of 2008. Our local market showed 4149 closed residential transactions representing almost $500 million in sales.   Another encouraging statistic is the supply of houses currently for sale. In mid December, there were fewer than 3000 houses listed for sale. In August and September of 2007, there were over 3700 homes on the market. Even more importantly, the “months supply” (listed homes divided by number of monthly sales) declined over the course of 2009. Over the first six months of 2009, months supply averaged 10.19 with a peak of 15.1 months supply last January. The second half of the year averaged 8.3 months supply, a significant improvement. These numbers put us in a much better position for home sales than we were in a year ago and that is exactly what I believe will happen.
The extended and expanded Home Buyer Tax Credit will definitely help sales start this year much better than last year. I know I mentioned this credit last month but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to start now if you are considering buying or selling this year. For sellers, your house has to be listed to expose it to this Spring’s buyers. For buyers, it is not unusual to spend some time looking for a home before signing a purchase agreement and buyers need to allow enough time to arrange financing and complete the closing.
As always the best place to look for homes is at FCTUCKEREMGE.COM “The Easiest Search On The Web”. I have some exciting things to share about my company in next month’s Market Watch and in the meantime call me with any of your real estate questions.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 14 2010

Ligonier-based Emergency Radio Service Inc. (ERS) has made an acquisition in the Evansville market. It has acquired Tri-State Communications Inc., which has been in southern Indiana since 1957. ERS already has more than 130 workers in offices throughout the state including Fort Wayne, South Bend and Indianapolis.

Evansville, Indiana—January 12, 2010— Emergency Radio Service, Inc. (ERS), of Ligonier, Indiana announced today the acquisition of TSC, Inc., dba Tri-State Communications, of Evansville, Indiana. Tri-State Communications has been an Authorized Motorola Dealer since 1957, and serving the Southwest Indiana region.

“We are very happy to have Tri-State Communications as a part of the ERS family and look forward to the opportunity to work with their team and their many years of experience in the territory.” says Brian Hull VP/GM of ERS, “We are eager to put our combined knowledge and resources to work in Southern Indiana and build on what we have accomplished over the past 62 years.”

ERS has a wide offering of wireless solutions and a dedication to emerging technologies. ERS provides the full line of Motorola two-way radios, wireless networking systems, wireless video surveillance, and emergency communications solutions. ERS has expertise in technologies such as Mesh, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint broadband, and leads the way in indoor WLAN, WWAN, VoWLAN and mobile computing solutions.

ERS is an Authorized Motorola Two-Way Radio Dealer, Motorola Manufacturer Representative, Premier Service Partner, and a Motorola Authorized Channel Partner for Wireless Broadband and Enterprise Mobility.

TSC, Inc has been in business for over 50 years providing high quality two-way radio communications systems to the Government, Public Safety, Commercial and Enterprise customers with offices located in Evansville and Huntingburg, Indiana.

Emergency Radio Service, Inc has been a family owned business since 1948 with a dedicated staff of over 130 members in offices and Service Centers located in Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Ligonier, Muncie and South Bend, Indiana. ERS has developed their business with the promise to provide Exceptional Customer Service, earn Customer Loyalty, conduct business in an Honest and Ethical manner with Knowledgeable Employees to provide High Quality Products and Outstanding Field Service at Fair Competitive Prices.

Source: Emergency Radio Service Inc. & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, January 13 2010

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden in Evansville reports 2009 was a record year for attendance and revenue. More than 202,000 people visited the zoo, compared to nearly 181,000 in 2008. Revenue was $1.4 million, up from $1.2 million the previous year.

(EVANSVILLE, IN)-2009 shattered attendance and revenue records set in 2008 at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. Attendance in 2009 was 202,224, a 12% increase over 2008 (180,857). Revenue in 2009 was $1,456,627 which was 20.7% higher than in 2008 ($1,206,645).

“It is rewarding to see how much interest the Zoo is attracting. We had high hopes for AMAZONIA when it opened in 2008 and it has certainly lived up to those expectations,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “It is especially gratifying to have such a good year when other state attractions did not fare as well.”

Zoo staff set a goal of breaking 200,000 visitors in 2009. They were aided in that effort by a free admission day on December 26th which was underwritten by Toyota. 3,766 people took advantage of the free admission; it also brought out some visitors who hadn’t been to the Zoo in years.

“In addition to the idea of doing a free day to reach our mark, the day represented a good marketing tool for individuals who would not visit the Zoo otherwise and we look forward to them coming back to visit this summer when the zoo and botanical areas are in full splendor,” said Amos Morris, Zoo Director

The opening of AMAZONIA, Forest of Riches helped boost numbers and revenue in 2008. The Zoo also began operating its own gift shop. Attendance in 2009 was increased again by the popularity of AMAZONIA, which now has its own new attraction – 2 new female jaguar cubs named Zimba and Maya. In 2009, the Zoo also welcomed a new Indian rhino, Mechi, and unveiled the newly renovated nocturnal exhibit in the Kley Building.

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is open 365 days a year from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; the entry gate closes at 4:00 p.m. Reduced winter admission rates for adults are $6.50 and children ages 3 -12- are $5.50. Children under three are free. In recognition of their support, Vanderburgh county residents receive a $1 discount. Please visit for more information regarding yearly memberships or other zoo services.

Source: Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 12 2010

An approval in the Indiana House Monday means voters in Indiana will likely have a say on whether property tax caps should go into the constitution.

The General Assembly is considering a constitutional amendment that would cap residential property tax rates at 1% of the home's value, agriculture at 2%, and business property at 3%.
The House passed the amendment 75-to-23.

From southwestern Indiana Democrats Dennis Avery, Trent Van Haaften, Kreg Battles, and Russ Stilwell voted against it.

Democrat Gail Riecken joined Republicans Mark Messmer and Suzanne Crouch in voting "yes."
If the Senate passes the resolution, which is expected, the issue will be on the November ballot.


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Monday, January 11 2010

Top-Rated Bank in Indiana and Kentucky

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Old National Bancorp (NYSE:ONB) is the 18th best performing bank in the nation and the highest rated bank in Indiana and Kentucky, according to a comprehensive Forbes Magazine ranking of the nation's 100 largest banks. The list was published December 30, 2009, in a article titled "America's Best and Worst Banks." is the online arm of Forbes Magazine.

"This is a tremendous validation of Old National's strength and stability from one of the world's foremost business and financial publications," said Bob Jones. "We are honored by this prestigious recognition and the dedication to exceptional client service that it represents."

In order to measure the health and stability of the nation's largest financial institutions on the list, Forbes turned to SNL Financial, a renowned Charlottesville, Va.-based financial research firm. SNL examined eight key financial measures:

 * Return on average equity
 * Net interest margin
 * Non-performing loans as a percentage of loans
 * Non-performing assets as percentage of assets
 * Reserves as a percentage of NPLs
 * Two capital ratios (Tier 1 and risk-based)
 * Leverage ratio

The asset size of the 100 financial institutions on the Forbes list ranges from $5.2 billion to $2.3 trillion.

About Old National Bancorp

Old National Bancorp, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2009, is the largest financial services holding company headquartered in Indiana and, with $8 billion in assets, ranks among the top 100 banking companies in the United States. Since its founding in Evansville in 1834, Old National has focused on community banking by building long-term, highly valued partnerships with clients in its primary footprint of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. In addition to providing extensive services in retail and commercial banking, wealth management, investments and brokerage, Old National also owns one of the largest independent insurance agencies headquartered in Indiana, offering complete personal and commercial insurance solutions. For more information and financial data, please visit the Company's website at

The Old National Bancorp logo is available at

CONTACT:  Old National Bancorp
          Kathy Schoettlin
          (812) 465-7269

Old National Bancorp Logo 


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Sunday, January 10 2010

The city of Evansville says controlling its own water and sewer systems is expected to save approximately $14 million over the next five years. Evansville Water and Sewer Utility will take over the systems from private companies. Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel says "private management has not fulfilled expectations nor provided the necessary level of industry expertise."

(EVANSVILLE, IN) – Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel today announced that the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility will take over the operation and management of the City’s water and sewer systems, leading to an estimated savings of approximately $14 million over the next five years compared to current costs under the existing contracts.

“We will be able to better control costs, direct staff more effectively, and put a management team in place that will allow the Utility to run the water and sewer systems more efficiently than a private company,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “It’s the Utility’s experience that private management has not fulfilled expectations nor provided the necessary level of industry expertise. The savings we will realize under City control will go toward operations and capital improvements and allow the Utility to hire and retain expertise required to run a first-rate operation.”

The wastewater system is currently managed by Environmental Management Corporation (EMC) whose contract with the City was initiated in 1992. The drinking water system is managed by American Water.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in August 2009 as contracts with EMC and American Water neared the end of their terms. A review committee evaluated proposals submitted by EMC, American Water, United Water and Veolia, and decided that the operation and management of the Utility should be brought in-house.

The City will evaluate all positions at the Utility to determine appropriate management staffing levels. Most of the Utility’s front line workers are already City employees and the anticipation is that many of the current managers will be retained.

The Utility Board will formally ratify the decision made by the review committee during its January 12th meeting. The Utility will take over the operation and management in March 2010. American Water, which has purchased EMC, has pledged its cooperation through the transition. Residents should see no disruption in service.

Source: City of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business

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Wednesday, January 06 2010

After years of discussion, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has decided on a location on Evansville’s far East Side for a new VA Outpatient Clinic.

An 11.1-acre site in the Waterford Park commercial subdivision is the proposed building site.

The land at 6226 Waterford Blvd. is just west of North Burkhardt Road and is behind Integra Bank and Kruckemeyer & Cohn Jewelery. The main entrance to the three-story clinic will be off Waterford Boulevard, which is off Burkhardt north of East Lloyd Expressway.

The facility is the second new government building announced within a week. On Dec. 30, plans for a new Social Security Administration building at 2300 N. Green River Road, south of Menards, were revealed.

The site was chosen for its easy access to I-164 and other major thoroughfares and surrounding businesses and services.

“Everything, including amenities such as shopping malls, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants and offices, are all located within two miles of the location,” said Mike Richardson, a broker/developer with Remax Commercial Services who led the site search the past 21/2 years.

“This is where the growth is taking place and that is why the site was selected.”

City bus service includes routes in the area, according to the METS office.

Greg Wathen, president of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, said the new clinic will be a regional draw that will enhance the Tri-State health care sector.

“It will bring people into the marketplace to purchase products and services. It’s a positive thing.”

No figures on the number of jobs the new clinic will create or the cost of the project were immediately available.

VA officials closed on the land deal Nov. 30, but didn’t release the news until Wednesday.

Summit Smith Healthcare Facilities in Milwaukee, Wis. — the lead developer assigned to the project — bought the land from Evansville-headquartered Decem Investments, Inc., a group which includes Dr. Sanford E. Schen, president, and developer Joseph A. Ream and other investors.

Ream said Summit Smith plans to lease the proposed building and land to the VA for 20 years.

No land sales figures were disclosed.

The start of construction on the all-green, high-tech facility is planned for this summer, if not earlier, weather permitting.

A fall 2011 opening is anticipated, Laurie Tranter, spokeswoman for the VA in Washington, D.C., said by phone.

Veterans from all parts of the nation, not just the region, will be served at the facility, she said.

The red brick clinic with white trim and 436 parking spaces is expected to replace the VA Outpatient Clinic at Walnut and Garvin streets near Downtown.

The new facility will include 95,908 net usable square feet of space, said Tranter.

Discussions about bringing a larger VA outpatient clinic to Evansville began more than five years ago.

The main building of the former Welborn Baptist Hospital was once seriously considered as a potential site.

In all, Richardson said, the Waterford Park site was one of more than 20 sites studied. “Basically, the sites were between locations Downtown and on the East Side.”

Richardson was aided by 15 current and retired VA leaders from Washington, D.C., and other areas of the country who surveyed each potential site carefully.

“All agreed unanimously on Waterford Park,” Richardson said. “No stone was left unturned.”


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Thursday, December 31 2009


Professor of Economics and Dean of Business, College of Business, University of Southern Indiana

November 2009

During every recession over the past five decades, the Evansville metro economy has exhibited resiliency and a capacity to withstand the adverse impacts associated with national recessions. The recession that began at the end of 2007 is no exception. While the declines in output, employment, real income, and real retail sales intensified in 2009, the depth of these impacts are less pronounced in Evansville than in many other metro areas of similar size and structure. The dynamics of the Evansville area labor market underscore this with a drop in the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from 8.6 percent in January 2009 to 7.6 percent in September 2009, compared with a rise in the national unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to 9.8 percent over the same time period.

Economic performance in 2009 was driven by job losses in key sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and financial services. Traditional recession-resistant sectors such as health care and education were also adversely affected. Employment increases were evident only in the hospitality and government sectors. In 2009, nominal personal income is estimated to decrease by 3.1 percent and real gross metro product is estimated to decrease by 3.8 percent. The manufacturing sector continues to be an important base to metro area household incomes and consumer spending activity even as the economy adjusts to an ongoing diversification away from manufacturing-industry dependence.

As the Evansville economy tracked the U.S. economy in 2009, there were indications of a slowly improving housing market, some deterioration of credit quality, and higher delinquency rates. Homeowners experienced some home price depreciation, but the median home price has not dipped by as much as it has nationally. Existing home prices declined from an average of $94,000 in 2008 to $89,000 in 2009, and mortgage originations are estimated to increase from $715 million in 2008 to $761 million in 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, single-family housing permits are estimated to have dropped by 57 percent and personal bankruptcies per 1,000 persons are estimated to have increased from 5.1 to 8.9.

The national downturn and weaknesses in credit markets negatively impacted a number of the metro area’s largest employers. These include workforce reductions announced by a plastics firm, automotive parts manufacturers, and a financial services firm. Recent announcements from Whirlpool Corporation about the closure of its Evansville manufacturing facility in 2010 and the decision to keep its product development unit in Evansville underscore both the challenges and opportunities for the Evansville economy in the future.

In-migration, which has boosted local population growth in recent years, was not evident in 2009 as the widespread nature of the national recession has limited residents’ mobility. In 2010, the Evansville metro economy will benefit from an announced $26 million investment by Mead Johnson Nutritionals to build its new Research and Development Technology Center as well as the stimulative impacts associated with the nearly $21 million expansion by Berry Plastics.

Given the proportion of output that is sold outside the metro area, the rebound will not begin until the broader economy strengthens and demand for locally produced goods returns to the level of the preceding five years. Consequently, personal income and output growth in the next year will be below levels of the past five years.

Given Evansville’s dependence on manufacturing, the metro has been noticeably impacted since the inception of the current recession. Since September 2000, Evansville’s manufacturing workforce has fallen 25.2 percent or about 9,400 workers. As a result, manufacturing as a share of total nonfarm employment has continued to decline (see Figure 1). However, manufacturing earnings as a share of total earnings has remained stable at about 27 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Figure 1: Manufacturing Employment as a Percent of Total Nonfarm Employment in the Evansville Metro, 1990 to 2009

Figure 1: Manufacturing Employment as a Percent of Total Nonfarm Employment in the Evansville Metro, 1990 to 2009

In 2010, output is forecasted to increase by 0.1 percent, the number of jobs is projected to decrease by 1,900, and the forecast for nominal personal income growth is zero percent. Figures 2 and 3 provide a comparison of forecasts for the Indiana segment of the Evansville economy and the state of Indiana for the 2008–2012 period.

Figure 2: Average Growth of Personal Income

Figure 2: Average Growth of Personal Income

Figure 3: Average Growth of Total Employment

Figure 3: Average Growth of Total Employment

Since the pace of structural change in the Evansville economy has quickened during the past year, there are likely to be added transitional challenges as the regional economy adjusts from its manufacturing-industry dependence, particularly in nondurable manufacturing (see Table 1). In addition, when the elderly age cohort and the youth age cohort make up large shares of the population, it places greater pressures on in-migration as a source of the human capital needs of the region.

Table 1: Manufacturing Percent of Total Employment, September 2009

Industry Evansville Metro United States Indiana
Manufacturing 16.2 9.0 15.6
Durable Goods 52.3 60.9 69.4
Nondurable Goods 47.7 39.1 30.6

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Thursday, December 24 2009

The goal for Evansville's Front Door Pride program is to build nice homes that blend into existing neighborhoods.
There are eight homes currently under construction.
Officials announced building had started on the houses back in October, and the goal was to finish in 90 days.
Two or three homes will come in under that.
A few will go a little over the target date and perhaps slightly over-budget.
"With site work you just never know what you're going to run into, said Tom Coe, with HOPE of Evansville. "Several of these have had old basements that have to be completely excavated."
"We were over-budget on the site work but on budget for the house," said Bill Badger, who is the general contractor on six of the houses. "No, you've got to stay on budget, and our suppliers and subcontractors all know that. When they give us a bid, that's it."
But, Coe said this won't affect how much the homes will cost.
"The house is going to appraise for what it appraises for. How much it costs to build doesn't really factor into that."
Two have already been pre-sold.
The other major goal while building these homes is to make sure they fit the vibe of the area - both inside and out.
"It's a little more modern on the inside, but we try to keep a little bit of the neighborhood also on the inside with the historic colors and things like that," Badger said.
As far as the outside, Badger said that's mission accomplished, too.
Coe said the city is working hard to find more potential buyers.
He's especially interested in people who already live in the area and want to upgrade.
Evansville could then buy the old house and continue the front door pride process there.


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Wednesday, December 23 2009

The Indiana Association of Realtors (IAR) says statewide home sales increased 36.5 percent in November, compared to the same month a year earlier. It is the second consecutive monthly increase. IAR also reports median prices last month increased 10.5 percent.

The Indiana Association of REALTORS (IAR) today released its “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” for the month of November as a continuation of its “Indiana is Home” project.

The Report, found online at, is the first-ever county-by-county comparison of existing single-family home sales in Indiana. IAR obtains the data directly from the state’s 23 largest Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and the Broker Listing Cooperative (BLC) in central Indiana. To date, the Report represents 98% of the housing market statewide.

Statewide, November sales increased 36.5% from the same month last year; median prices saw an increase of 10.5%. This is the second consecutive month that there has been an increase in sales over the previous year.

“The numbers that we have seen from November, as well as October, are welcomed news as we approach the end of the year,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer. “It remains the fact that homes continue to be affordable to Hoosier families. And while the recent jump in numbers can be linked to the impact of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, it’s important to recognize that Indiana’s housing markets are continuing to make a turnaround after a very tough year.

“The increase in sales combined with other housing statistics, including increases in new construction, are important steps forward for our state’s and country’s economic recovery,” Berron added.

More about “Indiana Is Home”

It is a multi-media project hosted by media professional Pat Carlini and aimed at keeping Hoosier homeowners, would-be homeowners, policymakers and the media well-informed on the ever-changing local real estate markets.

This month, Carlini narrates a video explaining the extension and expansion of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit.

Indianapolis-based Boost Media and Entertainment shot and produced all videos found at

IAR represents more than 16,000 REALTORS® who are involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in Indiana. The term REALTOR® is a registered mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the world’s largest trade association, the National Association of REALTORS®, and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Source: Indiana Association of Realtors & Inside INdiana Business

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Wednesday, December 23 2009
Chris Dickson, president-elect of the Evansville Area Association of Realtors, said he believed that the federal incentives, both for the first-time home buyer and the second-time home buyer, will keep the market in the Tri-State active in the first quarter of 2010.

"The first half of 2009 was very quiet in residential sales, but the last half was much stronger, and that indicates upward movement into 2010.

"We're ending the year strong and looking forward to continued growth."

Dickson, a sales associate for ERA First Advantage Realty Inc., said he believed we've "been through the bottom and now we will be moving on. ... It is a good time for both buyers and sellers. There is a lot of buyer interest now."

Bob Reid of Evansville-based Appraisal Consultants said people wanting to buy homes is historically strong and constant.

"When we have external forces that we have had, that slows sales activity; the demand continues to grow even stronger."

Reid said in an overall look at the market, the number of sales and sale prices are running true to numbers seen in 2008.


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Tuesday, December 15 2009


The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is out with the 11th edition of its Indiana's Best Buys report. For 2009, 135 public high schools have been designated a "best buy" giving taxpayers the most value for their money, according to the chamber. In addition, 26 high schools have received "honor roll" distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median.

Hoosier high schools offering the highest educational achievement levels for the lowest amount of tax dollars were recognized today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce with the release of the 11th edition of its Indiana’s Best Buys report.

The study examined 357 Indiana public high schools with the appropriate available data. Using ISTEP+ pass rates, ISTEP+ Pass+ rates, graduation rates, SAT participation rates and average composite scores, and Advanced Placement (AP) passing scores, the Indiana Chamber developed a total school performance index for each school.

This index, called the school’s quality index, was then compared to each school’s total revenues per pupil to determine “best buy” schools. From that list, “honor roll” schools were selected based on each school’s at-risk student/poverty rate, as measured by participation in the federal free/reduced lunch program.

For 2009, 135 public high schools were designated as a “best buy” for giving taxpayers the most value for their money. Two methods determined this honor. A school was named a best buy if it had a quality index above the state median and revenues below the statewide median of $10,179 per student. The second method was by having a quality index ranking that was 20% higher than the school’s revenue ranking.

In addition, from the best buy group, 26 high schools were given the “honor roll” distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median. For their exemplary efforts, the top five schools from the best buy and honor roll lists were then selected as “head of the class” members.

The 2009 “head of the class” selections are:

- Adams Central High School in Monroe (Adams County);

- Forest Park Jr.-Sr. High School in Ferdinand (Dubois County);

- North Central High School in Indianapolis (Marion County);

- Northwestern High School in Kokomo (Howard County);

- Plainfield High School (Hendricks County);

- Plymouth High School (Marshall County);

- Signature School in Evansville (Vanderburgh County).

- South Adams Jr.-Sr. High School in Berne (Adams County);

- Triton Jr.-Sr. High School in Bourbon (Marshall County); and

- Warsaw Community High School (Kosciusko County).

Indiana Chamber officials are recognizing the 10 head of the class honorees during an award presentation at each school. Among the selections, there were several familiar faces. Signature School, Indiana’s first charter high school, and North Central return from the 2008 group – with Signature making the top list three years running. Meanwhile, Adams Central returned to the list for the second time (2007 marked its first appearance).

“All of the Best Buy schools are getting the utmost out of their taxpayer dollars by, in turn, delivering high-quality education to their students. This balancing act of limited funding while realizing a varied and competitive education is no easy task. Businesses and communities in these areas should be very proud of what their schools are achieving and how their students are being readied for further education paths and a competitive job market,” states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

The SAT and AP test data used in the Best Buys report was provided directly by the Indiana Department of Education; all other data was collected from Indiana Department of Education databases.

This latest edition of Indiana’s Best Buys continues to include a broad range of school performance data and an emphasis on high school graduation rates for the calculation of each school’s quality index. The AP measures and ISTEP+ Pass+ rates are an attempt to give schools additional recognition for their attention to higher performing students.

To view the report and learn which high schools are among Indiana’s Best Buys, visit

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has been the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy organization for over 85 years. The nearly 5,000 member companies employ 800,000 Hoosier workers.

Source: The Indiana Chamber of Commerce & Inside INdiana Business

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Tuesday, December 08 2009

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana House committee heard arguments Monday on whether caps on property tax bills should be placed in the state constitution, and the panel plans to vote on the measure next week.

A Senate committee plans to vote on the legislation Tuesday. If approved by the full Legislature during the session that gets under way in earnest in January, voters would decide whether the caps should be constitutional. Supporters say this would make it more difficult for future legislatures to undo the limits.

Several people who spoke in favor of the legislation before the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday said it would give property owners certainty about their future tax bills. Opponents said the caps already are taking a hit on the revenue streams of local governments, and there should be no rush to make them permanent.

Under a law passed in 2008, property tax bills on homeowners this year were capped at 1.5 percent of their homes' assessed values, with 2.5 percent limits on rental property and 3.5 percent caps on business property. The caps are to be lowered to 1 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2010.

The caps are expected to save property owners about $465 million in 2010 and $488 million the next year, but that's money local governments and schools will not get as a result. Counties and a handful of large cities can raise local income taxes to help offset losses due to the caps.

The caps were passed as a result of large increases in property taxes that occurred in 2007 in many parts of the state. The increases were due to a variety of reasons, including spending hikes by local governments and a move to annual assessment changes based on sales price data of property.

Taxpayer Aaron Smith of Lebanon spoke in favor of the constitutional resolution.

"For some folks, permanently capped property taxes are the tipping point keeping them from having to make terrible choices between keeping their homes, life-enhancing medication and nutritious meals," he said.

Kristen Brown of Columbus, who said she was testifying solely as a taxpayer, had no sympathy for local officials concerned about their revenue.

"It is really important that we taxpayers have some sort of degree of financial control over what I believe is excessive spending at the local level," she said.

Some opponents said classes of property should not be treated differently. Others said more time and data about the effects of the caps is needed.

"When we see how fast the world is moving we need to be prudent and keep as many options open as possible rather than confining ourselves to the cement of a constitutional change, said Chuck Little, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said his city already has cut 70 employees because of lost revenue due to reductions in property tax money.

"Our constitution should only be changed after proper analysis and debate," he said. "The 1, 2, 3 percent caps have not even gone into effect, therefore we have not even debated the consequences because we haven't seen the impact."


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Friday, December 04 2009

There’s a lot to do this weekend, depending on whether you favor warm indoor concerts or chilly outdoor parades, whether you’re into outdoor ice skating or prefer to watch the semipros slap sticks before a noisy indoor throng.

Here’s a roundup of ideas from Weekend Planner:

— Two sporting events are slated at 7 p.m. today at Roberts Stadium and adjacent Swonder Ice Arena. At the stadium, the University of Evansville basketball Aces tip off against Alabama State ($13) while across the parking lot the Evansville Icemen battle the Chi-town Shooters of Chicago ($7).

— In Santa Claus, Ind., the town’s Christmas festival continues at Kringle Place shopping center this evening through Sunday. For $15 ($11 with discount from McDonald’s) you can drive through the Land of Lights display at Lake Rudolph, adjacent to Holiday World, beginning at 5 p.m. There’s also a free Tuba Christmas at 2 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Hills Baptist Church in Santa Claus. For festival and other information, call the tourism office at (812) 937-4199.

— Closer to home, Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights in Garvin Park has 61 lighted displays and even horse-drawn carriage rides daily. Admission starts at $7.

— Residents of Henderson, Ky., will light their community Christmas tree in Central Park at 6 p.m. today. On Saturday there’s the downtown Christmas parade at 10 a.m. at Fifth and Main streets followed by a Nativity Fest near Central Park. Kids will find St. Nick inside his house at Central Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (pictures $5).

— For an Olde World treat later today, sample the Madrigal Feaste at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Southern Indiana ($28 to $32, call 461-5237) or try Christmas at Germania at 7 p.m. at 916 N. Fulton Ave., $25, call 422-1915.

— During the 6th annual Winter Wonderland in Owensboro, Ky., you can drink hot cocoa and watch or skate ($5) on the large outdoor ice rink next to RiverPark Center. The event also includes carnival rides, concessions and outdoor movies. Tip: Saturday morning and late Saturday afternoon are the best time for families with small children to skate.

— Jasper, Ind., has its O’Tannenbaum Days celebration this evening through Sunday with skilled artists, carolers, carriage rides and more downtown. Call (800) 968-4578 for more details.

— The gospel-singing Bill Gaither and his friends are back with a holiday show at 6 p.m. Saturday at Roberts Stadium ($29.50 and $42.50). Go to the stadium box office, visit or call (800) 745-3000.

— The Peppermint Pops concert by the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra at The Victory (Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.) brings Evansville natives Paula Leggett Chase (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) and Steve Morgan (“Mamma Mia!”) home for the holidays. Call 425-5050 for tickets.

— Newburgh’s Christmas celebration includes caroling, Saturday house tours (look for the trolley at Old Lock & Dam Park), roasting chestnuts and more today through Sunday. Call 853-2815.

— The Christmas celebration in New Harmony, Ind., features a tree lighting this evening. On Saturday there’s a 10 a.m. parade followed by a 3 p.m. performance of “The Children’s Nutcracker” ($10) at Murphy Auditorium.

— In Rockport, Ind., where the town’s Christmas festival gets under way Saturday, activities include a 2 p.m. parade and a “Radio Days Christmas Program” featuring local talent. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday ($7 to $10) and 2 p.m. Sunday ($5 to $7) at the Spencer County Courthouse.

— Elberfeld, Ind., has a Christmas parade and celebration at 10 a.m. Saturday while the holiday parade in Boonville, Ind., begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.

— In West Baden, Ind., there’s a Tea Dance from 3 to 6 p.m. EST Sunday under the famed dome of the West Baden Springs Hotel featuring the 17-piece Moonlight Big Band from Louisville, Ky. Dance tickets are $45, including tea and finger sandwiches. Reservations required at (866) 571-8687.


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Friday, December 04 2009

NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- A startup company has announced plans for a development and production facility making small-scale wind turbines in southern Indiana.

WindStream Technologies Inc. said Monday that its operations in New Albany could have more than 260 workers by 2012. The company is now based in California and plans to begin hiring as facility and equipment upgrades are made at the site in the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana.

WindStream says its TurboMills are designed to capture wind energy in urban areas. The devices are intended as a low-cost way to supplement a customer's electricity needs.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered WindStream up to $1.5 million


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:08 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, December 04 2009

A partnership has been formed to advance motorsports training, research and education in Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation Motorsports Initiative, the Indiana Motorsports Association and several colleges and universities have established the Indiana Motorsports Education Alliance. The participating schools plan to offer several racing related courses involving team management and motorsports engineering.

The education institutions involved in the alliance are:

-Indiana State University
-Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
-Ivy Tech Community College
-Marian University
-Purdue University
-Vincennes University.

All offer motorsports-related courses and/or degree programs.

The alliance will also help grow the state's motorsports industry, and promote the ways the sector can be a catalyst for energy efficiency, sustainability and diversity.


Source: Indiana Motorsports Education Alliance & Inside INdiana Business

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Saturday, November 28 2009

Evansville Real Estate

Evansville Indiana (IN) real estate has expanded quite rapidly due to a tremendous rise in the city's economy. Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana. The city is the center for trade in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. The wide economic base of the region has helped the city a lot and it has become famous for its stability, diversity and vitality. Major business in the city is through manufacturing and distribution. Other business options include retail, health care, finance and warehousing. As a result it attracts a lot of job seekers for a wide range of employment opportunities. Moreover the excellent transportation accessibility accounts as a major factor in making Indiana a global economy. The city possesses well connected & maintained road, rail, and water transportation system. The well connected and expansive transportation has also helped the city to become an industrial hub. Therefore it attracts a lot of labor towards employment opportunities.

Real Estate Agents in Evansville IN

This further generates a necessity of housing requirements including homes/houses for sale/rent. People interested in buying real estate in Evansville (IN) which can be apartment flats, floors, bungalows for sale/rent can contact the real estate agents in the city. These brokers are professionally trained and are aware of the increasing and decreasing trends of the real estate market. Therefore it becomes extremely vital to consult them before purchasing any kind of realty. These realtors also have complete knowledge about skilled interior designers and professional architects in town.


Evansville Real Estate Rentals

Also incase the home seekers are willing to get their homes constructed through their choice and requirements then the homebuilders in the city are to be contacted. The housing authority of Evansville Indiana (IN) looks after the entire property management of the city. Apart from looking after the overall development of the infrastructure of the community the authority also provides low/middle-income families with various rental options to purchase homes for rent. People can avail these rental plans at low mortgage loan rates according to their affordability. With the increasing profits in real estate business many insurance companies have also established who take the charge of protection of people's valuable estates from any kind of natural calamity or unexpected happening. By viewing the market demand we can safely predict that the interest in real estate Evansville Indiana (IN) will further flourish in the coming years.




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Friday, November 27 2009

WindStream Technologies Inc. is locating a new development and production facility in the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana and creating 260 jobs by 2012. The small scale wind turbine manufacturer plans to invest several million dollars to establish a new operation at the Purdue Technology Center in New Albany. The startup, currently operating out of Manhattan Beach, California, is looking for assembly and distribution workers and professional staff.

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (Nov. 23, 2009) - WindStream Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of wind energy technology announced today that it will site a new development and production facility here, creating more than 260 new jobs by 2012.

The company, which manufactures small scale wind turbines called TurboMills, will invest several million dollars to establish its newest operations at the Purdue Technology Center in the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana.

"WindStream Technologies represents yet another win for Indiana's growing renewable energy economy," said Governor Mitch Daniels. "We know the partnership created by WindStream and Purdue Research Park will result in new high-growth opportunities for Hoosiers."

The startup, currently operating out of Manhattan Beach, Calif., plans to begin hiring assembly and distribution associates and professional staff as facility and equipment upgrades are made at the site.

"We are very excited about the opportunity of locating our operations in New Albany and the support that Indiana has pledged to the company. It was clear from our first discussions that Indiana is looking to become a leader in the green economy and WindStream is proud to be a part of that positive effort," said Dan Bates, president and chief executive officer of WindStream.

WindStream's TurboMills are designed to capture wind energy in urban settings. The devices are engineered to be an efficient, low-cost option used to supplement a customer's energy needs, reducing electricity cost and carbon footprint.

"Companies such as WindStream Technologies fit in well with the environment of the Purdue Research Park network," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and chief operating officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "WindStream Technologies is the second company to move from another state into the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana, which shows that the state of Indiana is a highly coveted location for businesses to prosper."

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered WindStream Technologies up to $1.5 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $84,500 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. The city of New Albany will provide additional funding for facility improvements and equipment purchases at the request of One Southern Indiana.

"We are excited about these jobs and very proud to welcome WindStream Technologies as our newest corporate citizen," said Mayor Doug England. "Attracting a cutting edge company such as this to New Albany is evidence that the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana will play a critical role in this region's future economic prosperity."

WindStream's announced expansion in New Albany comes only two weeks after Kemper Foods announced it would invest more than $6.8 million to expand its food production facility here, creating more than 350 new jobs by 2012.

About Windstream Technologies
WindStream Technologies is a developer of small scale wind turbines for the micro wind power market. The company, based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., has created technologies and manufacturing processes for the development and assembly of small scale wind turbines to capture wind energy in urban settings. Captured energy is used to supplement the energy requirement of low-power systems and equipment.

About Purdue Research Park
The 725-acre Purdue Research Park ( ) has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The park is home to more than 160 companies. About 100 of these firms are technology-related and another 39 are incubator businesses. The park is owned and managed by the Purdue Research Foundation. In addition to the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, the foundation has established technology parks in other locations around Indiana including Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.

About IEDC
Created by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Daniels. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob serves as the chief executive officer of the IEDC. For more information about IEDC, visit .

Source: Indiana Economic Development Corporation & Inside INdiana Business

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Thursday, November 19 2009

EVANSVILLE, Ind.-- Shoe Carnival, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCVL) a leading retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories, today announced sales and earnings for the third quarter ended October 31, 2009.

Net sales for the third quarter of 2009 increased 12.6 percent to $191.5 million compared to net sales of $170.1 million in the third quarter of 2008. Comparable store sales increased 10.2 percent.

Net earnings for the thirteen-week third quarter increased 188 percent to $7.5 million compared to $2.6 million in the thirteen-week third quarter ended November 1, 2008. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter increased to $0.59 from $0.21 in the prior year third quarter.

The gross profit margin for the third quarter increased to 29.8 percent compared to 27.2 percent in the third quarter of the prior year. The merchandise margin increased 1.1 percent primarily as a result of improved inventory management resulting in less clearance product along with strong sales of boots which carry a higher margin. As a percentage of sales, buying, distribution and occupancy costs decreased 1.5 percent through a combination of higher sales and lower occupancy and distribution expenses for the quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the third quarter increased $2.5 million to $44.9 million. As a percentage of sales, these expenses decreased 1.5 percent.

Speaking on the results, Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said, "Our large selection of value priced name brand footwear resonated well with consumers resulting in the highest third quarter comparable store sales gain in the Company’s history. We experienced higher than expected sales of athletic product during the back-to-school season and very strong boot sales later in the quarter. Our 10.2 percent comparable store sales gain was significantly above our expectations for a low to mid single digit comparable store sales increase for the quarter. The sales increase, combined with a higher gross profit margin and controlled expenses, resulted in our second best quarterly earnings in the Company’s history."

Mr. Lemond continued, "We are encouraged by our third quarter momentum and entered the fourth quarter with inventories well positioned to capitalize on key fashion trends. We expect the early strength in boots, particularly women’s fashion boots, to continue into the holiday season. In addition, we anticipate continued strength in the athletic category, in part, due to the favorable consumer response to wellness footwear. This type of footwear was not available in our stores last year. We remain optimistic that consumers will continue to respond well to our value proposition and currently expect our comparable store sales to increase in the range of three to five percent in the fourth quarter."

Net income for the first nine months of 2009 was $12.6 million compared to net income of $8.4 million in the first nine months of last year. Diluted earnings per share increase 49 percent to $1.00 as compared to $0.67 in the first nine months of last year. Net sales for the first nine months were $511.6 million compared to net sales of $490.7 million for the same period last year. Comparable store sales increased 1.4 percent. The gross profit margin for the first nine months of 2009 was 28.3 percent compared to 27.6 percent last year. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased $1.6 million to $124.0 million. As a percentage of sales, these expenses decreased 0.6 percent to 24.3 percent for the first nine months of 2009.

Store Growth

Evansville-based Shoe Carnival Inc. (Nasdaq: SCVL) is reporting a 188 percent increase in net earnings for the third quarter. The shoe retailer says earnings for the period were $7.5 million, compared to $2.6 million a year earlier. Chief Executive Officer Mark Lemond says the company experienced higher than expected athletic product sales during the back to school season.

The Company has completed its store openings for the year with 16 new stores in the first nine months of fiscal 2009. Three stores have been closed so far this year with six additional stores expected to close in the fourth quarter. Store openings and closings by quarter and for the fiscal year are as follows:

New Stores Stores Closings
1st Quarter 2009 10 1
2nd Quarter 2009 2 1
3rd Quarter 2009 4 1
4th Quarter 2009 0 6
Fiscal 2009 16 9

The Company opened four stores during the third quarter including locations in:

Market/Total Stores in Market

Des Moines, IA Des Moines/3

West Melbourne, FL Orlando/8

Chandler, AZ Phoenix/2

Goodyear, AZ Phoenix/2

Shoe Carnival is a chain of 317 footwear stores located in the Midwest, South and Southeast. Combining value pricing with an entertaining store format, Shoe Carnival is a leading retailer of name brand and private label footwear for the entire family. Headquartered in Evansville, IN, Shoe Carnival trades on The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC under the symbol SCVL. Shoe Carnival's press releases and annual report are available on the Company's website at

Source: Shoe Carnival Inc. & Inside INdiana Business

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Tuesday, November 10 2009

Market Watch
Great news to report this month both nationally and locally. The home buyer’s tax credit has been extended and expanded. The $8,000 first time credit is extended. In addition to the first time buyer’s credit there is a new $6,500 credit for buyers who have lived in their current residence for five of the past eight years. Both credits apply to transactions under contract by April 30th as long as the transaction closes by June 30th 2010, and neither credit will be extended again. As always consult your tax advisor for specifics as it relates to your situation.
 Locally the dollar amount of closed transactions in October was 11.5% higher than last October. In addition the average days on market in October were under 100 days for only the second time this year (OK it was only 98 days but under 100 is under 100). The best news however is the supply of listed homes on the market. We now have 7.7 months supply of homes for sale. This is the second lowest figure in over two years and is a clear indication that market conditions have improved. Our market is not booming but it is stable and has improved significantly over the past year. 
 Although no one knows exactly how much impact these tax credits will have on our local market, they will definitely create some new buyers. Given that contracts must be signed no later than April 30th, buyers and sellers should take action quickly to take advantage of this valuable opportunity. Buyers on average start looking at homes about 12 weeks before they sign a contract. If you are considering selling your home it is not too soon to have it on the market. Real estate in our area is somewhat seasonal but last winter, in the slowest market in decades we still sold over 1,000 homes from November through February. While having prospective buyers in your house during the holidays can be an inconvenience, it is a small price to pay if the result is a successful sale and a new home in 2010.   
Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving holiday.    
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Tuesday, November 10 2009

The Vienna Choir Boys are coming to Newburgh to sing at 7 p.m., Nov. 22, in Newburgh United Methodist Church, 4178 Indiana 261.

Admission to the concert is $25, with proceeds going to A Home for the Holidays, a project with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a family in the Newburgh area.

Tickets go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. Monday at the church. For more information, call (812) 853-2946.

By Roger McBain Source:

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Monday, November 09 2009

The University of Southern Indiana Board of Trustees has approved a new degree program. A Bachelor of Science degree in sport management could be offered next fall with state agency approvals. The board also directed the finance/audit committee to approve design plans, cost estimates and construction schedules for a new $16.5 million teaching theater on campus.

Trustees’ agenda includes new degree program and new construction The University of Southern Indiana Board of Trustees met on Thursday, November 5 and approved a new degree program, the candidates for degrees for the 2009 fall Commencement, and authorized the finance/audit committee to approve design plans, cost estimates, and construction schedules for a teaching theatre on campus.

Sport management degree approved

The trustees approved a Bachelor of Science degree in sport management. The degree will help meet regional and state needs to fill employee positions in an industry that is the fourth largest in growth in the United States. The program will have four distinct student constituents. The degree is designed for college freshmen who seek to study the sport management field in pursuit of a career; for practitioners such as coaches and health/fitness managers to advance their skills, knowledge, and careers through professional development; current USI kinesiology majors seeking to expand their specialization with coursework in sports management; and for students earning a minor in sport management and/or coaching wanting to expand their knowledge. The program will be offered through the Bower Suhrheinrich College of Education and Human Services. The degree will prepare students for entry-level positions for recreation centers and theme parks, fitness clubs, collegiate and professional sport organizations and leagues, sport marketing agencies, recreational sports, and more. With state agency approvals, the degree could be offered in fall 2010.


Fall 2009 Commencement

Over 550 students who will complete degree requirements in the fall semester were approved for the December Commencement, scheduled for Saturday, December 10 in the Physical Activities Center on campus. Two ceremonies will be held that day. At 10 a.m., students in College of Business, College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Pott College of Science and Engineering will graduate and at 1 p.m. the students in the College of Liberal Arts, the Bower Suhrheinrich College of Education and Human Services, and Extended Services will march. Dr. Kevin Valadares, director of the Health Services program and the 2009 Integra Bank Distinguished Professor, will deliver the Commencement address at both ceremonies.


Design beginning on new theatre

With construction funding for a teaching theatre authorized by the 2009 Indiana General Assembly, the trustees directed the finance/audit committee to approve design plans, cost estimates, and construction schedules for the new theater. Holzman Moss Architecture of New York City, which has an international reputation for the design of theater and performing arts facilities, partnered with the Evansville firm of Hafer Associates for related engineering, will provide design services for the theatre, which will be attached to the University Center expansion currently under construction. The expansion of the University Center was designed by the same architectural team. The theater will seat 350, and has a project budget of $16,500,000. Funding for the theatre will come from state funding, private donations, and University resources. Planners and designers are meeting with USI theatre faculty and others to discuss needs and expectations for the new facility. A construction start is possible in the coming academic year. The on-campus theater replaces a deteriorated facility long operated by the University off-campus on Iglehart Avenue.

Source: University of Southern Indiana & Inside INdiana Business

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Saturday, November 07 2009

The Vienna Choir Boys are coming to Newburgh to sing at 7 p.m., Nov. 22, in Newburgh United Methodist Church, 4178 Indiana 261.

Admission to the concert is $25, with proceeds going to A Home for the Holidays, a project with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a family in the Newburgh area.

Tickets go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. Monday at the church. For more information, call (812) 853-2946.

By Roger McBain Source:

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Thursday, October 22 2009
A free Multi-Cultural Festival will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Main Street between Riverside Drive and Second Street.

The festival will include about a dozen booths offering international food, handmade crafts from different countries, entertainment, children's crafts and a general introduction to life around the world.

Latino, Indian, Greek, Italian, Asian and Scottish cultures will be among those represented.

The entertainment includes Egyptian belly dancers, local bagpipers, the Boom Squad drummers, Latin American performer Daniela Vidal and an international folk-dancing troupe.

This is the first year the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville and Downtown Rotary Club are joining forces on the event. Radio station WIKY-FM104.1 also is a sponsor.

Singer Gina Moore will open the event with "God Bless America."


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Sunday, October 18 2009
Market Watch For October 2009

Most economists and Ben Bernanke believe that the recession is over.  In addition, the “pending sales index” has increased for seven consecutive months, the first time that has occurred since the index was started in 2001.  Although both of these pieces of information sound great, and they are good, we should look beyond headlines to see what is really happening in the Evansville area.  We have seen a Toyota expansion, we are losing some Whirlpool jobs and we are adding some Berry Plastics jobs.  Currently national unemployment is almost 10% while the Evansville area is less at 8.6%.  Although the economy is improving no one we know is forecasting rapid economic growth.

Local housing sales continue at a very steady rate.  Over the past four months our local MLS has sold 1585 homes compared to 1600 over the same period last year.  Month to month sales have been virtually unchanged since May.  The supply of homes on the market in our area has also stayed very steady.  Although we can not say that sales are brisk, we can say that in some locations and price ranges the supply of homes is limited.  If you are curious about the housing market in a specific location or price range give us a call and we can help you with that information.

From our friends in the financial services industry we have the following to report: But for mildly weak 3-month and 30-year Treasury auctions last week, it was a strong week for the credit markets and even stronger for the real estate market. The reported quantity of mortgage applications for the week prior showed a 16.4% rise overall, with strong jumps for both the purchase money and the refinancing mortgages. The Freddie Mac weekly loan average rate fell to 4.87%. And the average of all mortgage rates (including jumbos, whose rates are declining while applications rise) ended the week at 5.27%.   

A little over a year ago my company, F. C. Tucker Emge Realtors launched a completely redesigned website designed specifically to help make the home buying process easy.  At the same time we started spending less money on print advertising and spent more resources enhancing and promoting our website.  This decision was one of the best decisions we ever made.  We are now selling more real estate than our next two competitors combined and more and more buyers are finding their new home at  If you haven’t visited the site please do.  We think you will like what you see.

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Wednesday, October 14 2009

PRINCETON, IN - Sustaining 4,200 Tri-State jobs. NEWS 25 finds Toyota's Princeton plant held on to a number of workers during this strained economy, even when production was way down. 

This week the plant started making the company's Highlander mid-size SUV model and NEWS 25 gets a look inside to see if production is stepping up.   

$450 million went into preparing the plant for its newest model. Plant managers tell us, in the end, it will provide job security for plant workers.

It's been a year of slow go for workers at the plant.

"We were training all, most of the time because the plant wasn't running," says Ralph Goodwin, a Toyota employee.

Last year, Toyota pulled its Tundra pick-up out of Princeton, and left behind the Sienna mini-van, and Sequoia full-size SUV, but with the troubled economy, demand for the Sequoia went way down.

"When the gas prices went up, with the size of that vehicle, the sales went down," says Wil James, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Quality Control for the Princeton plant.

James tells us production at the plant also went down, but Toyota was determined not to lay anyone off.

Workers went into training mode, and prepared the plant for the Highlander mid-size SUV.

"We made a strategic decision to keep our employees even when we didn't have the volume to warrant them to be here. So I won't say that it would save jobs because we were saving the jobs anyway, but it did protect the jobs," says James.

James tells NEWS 25 bringing the Highlander here, means more job security for plant workers, since it's a popular model among car buyers.

It's now made next to the Sequoia, but three times as many Highlanders will be driven off the line.

"With the Highlander coming we were able to work a lot more. Everybody's excited because it’s something new," says Goodwin.

NEWS 25 learned the Princeton plant is now in the process of retooling another part of its plant to make way for a new Sienna mini-van design, rolling out at the beginning of next year.


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Monday, October 12 2009

Indianapolis-based accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller is out with its fourth annual Indiana manufacturing survey. The report shows more than half of respondents believe the economic downturn had a significant, negative impact on sales volume, however Hoosier manufacturers expect steady or improved results in 2010. Other key findings reveal suppliers are often not deeply involved in the manufacturing process in such a way to maximize the efficiency of the supply chain, the demand for workers has declined and Hoosier manufacturers with a greater focus on globalization tend to be more successful than those focused solely on U.S. markets.

INDIANAPOLIS (October 9, 2009) – The certified public accounting firm of Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP today released the results of its fourth annual Indiana manufacturing survey, The Gear and Fulcrum: Performance and Practice of Indiana’s Manufacturers. The study is commissioned by Katz, Sapper & Miller and developed in partnership with the Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises (DCMME) and the Global Supply Chain Management Initiative (GSCMI) in the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.

More than half of the respondents to the survey reported that the recent economic downturn had a significant, negative impact on sales volume. The study did, however, indicate that Hoosier manufacturers expect steady or improved results in 2010. Other key findings reveal:

·Internal Supply Chain – Suppliers are often not deeply involved in the manufacturing process in such a way to maximize the efficiency of the supply chain. This suggests that improvements – technological, communication, etc. – could increase the overall supply chain profitability.

·Staffing – The demand for workers has declined. Most workforce changes occurred on the shop floor and in administration, with minimal changes in purchasing, human resources and sales. The location of job cuts indicates companies may be anticipating the need to ramp-up operations quickly after the recession.

·Global Opportunities – Hoosier manufacturers with a greater focus on globalization tend to be more successful than those companies focused solely on U.S. markets.

·New Products – Survey respondents indicated that they are looking outside of their current markets for growth opportunities. Alternative energy was the area reported as being favored by most respondents.

“This year’s study suggests that past ‘business as usual’ practices are being re-evaluated, resulting in innovations among forward-thinking manufacturers,” said Scott Brown, Partner-in-Charge of
Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Manufacturing and Distribution Services Group. “Such changes may hold the key to emerging successfully in 2010.”

The survey goes on to reveal that while many Hoosier manufacturers believe that their own internal company changes are necessary, additional considerations for their long-term success must include a renewal in consumer confidence, greater access to traditional financing, and the recovery of the automotive industry.

“We found that companies have actively focused on improving their supply chain competitiveness by examining every aspect of their business and choosing to do what they are best at or finding other companies to assist. The best performers through this difficult economic transition also took advantage of global opportunities to find new markets and raw material sources,” said Dr. Ananth Iyer, Director of the Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises and the Susan Bulkeley Butler Chair in Operations Management. “Companies are making critical and difficult moves that will position them for growth as the economy turns more favorable; they are exploring new opportunities in the wind, medical devices and defense sectors. In short, Indiana manufacturing companies in the survey showed that they are ‘pulling themselves up by their bootstraps’ and doing what it takes to become competitive.”

Research Methodology

The Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises (DCMME) at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management completed the 2009 Gear and Fulcrum study between April and August of 2009. The online survey was designed to provide insights into management choices made in 2009 by manufacturing and distribution companies across Indiana. Participants spanned the supply chain from raw material suppliers to final assembly OEMs.

To view the complete results of The Gear and Fulcrum: Performance and Practice of Indiana’s Manufacturers visit:

About Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP

Katz, Sapper & Miller is the largest Indianapolis-based accounting firm. In business since 1942, the firm has earned a reputation as a leader in the areas of accounting, audit, tax, and consulting services. The firm has been named one of the “Best of the Best” accounting firms in the nation by INSIDE Public Accounting magazine and was ranked ninth among the “Best Places to Work in Indiana” by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The firm is an independent member of Nexia International, a leading global organization of independent accounting and consulting firms. For more information visit us at

Source: Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP & Inside INdiana Business

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Wednesday, September 23 2009

Old National Bancorp (NYSE: ONB) in Evansville has launched a $150 million public stock offering. The company plans to use the proceeds to support ongoing and anticipated growth, which could include acquisitions of other financial institutions, possibly involving assets of failed banks. The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the shares.

Old National Bancorp (NYSE:ONB), the holding company for Old National Bank, today announced it has commenced an underwritten public offering of $150 million of its common stock, subject to adjustment.

The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes and to support ongoing and future anticipated growth, which may include opportunistic acquisitions of other financial institutions, possibly including acquisitions of assets and liabilities of failed or distressed financial institutions in FDIC-sponsored or assisted transactions.

Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P. is the sole book-running manager.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. are co-managers.

The Company intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the shares offered to cover over-allotments, if any. The shares will be issued pursuant to a prospectus supplement to the prospectus filed as a part of the Company's effective shelf-registration statement on Form S-3 (File No.

About Old National Bancorp

Old National Bancorp, with $8.0 billion in assets, is a financial holding company headquartered in Indiana. Old National Bank, its banking subsidiary, is focused on community banking in its primary footprint in Indiana, eastern and southeastern Illinois, and central and western Kentucky. Old National Bancorp also owns financial services companies that provide services to supplement its banking business, including fiduciary and wealth management services, insurance and other financial services.

Source: Old National Bancorp

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Tuesday, September 22 2009

Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN) is expanding its Evansville operations over the next year and adding 35 jobs. The pediatric nutritional company will invest nearly $33 million in equipment and building improvements for a powder infant formula production line at one of its existing facilities. Mead Johnson employs approximately 1,200 workers at its Evansville-based North American production headquarters.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Sept. 21, 2009) — Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE:MJN), a pediatric nutritional company, announced today that it will expand its operations here, creating up to 35 new positions by 2010.

Best known for its infant formulas, Mead Johnson will invest $32.8 million in equipment and building improvements needed to bring a powder infant formula production line to one of its existing facilities located on the Lloyd Expressway.

“From Fort Wayne to Evansville, well-known, global companies have recognized the value of doing business in our state,” said Governor Mitch Daniels. “Mead Johnson’s expansion and commitment to Indiana brings new, high-paying jobs for Hoosiers and reinforces southwest Indiana’s economic strength.”

Mead Johnson employs approximately 1,200 associates at its Evansville-based North American headquarters. Also located in Evansville is the Evansville Supply Center, where Mead Johnson develops, manufactures and packages liquid infant formulas. The company plans to begin staffing the additional manufacturing positions over the next year as the new powder production line is phased in.

“The additional manufacturing capacity will enhance the company’s ability to respond to the growing consumer preference for powdered infant formula products,” said Jeff Jobe, Mead Johnson senior vice president, global supply chain. “The new facility will allow us to better meet consumers' needs and help fulfill our mission to create nutritional brands and products trusted to give infants and children the best start in life.”

Founded in 1905, Mead Johnson markets more than 70 products in over 50 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, employing 5,300 associates worldwide.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Mead Johnson & Company up to $3.25 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $28,500 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The city of Evansville will create a tax increment financing district which will allow Mead Johnson to capture and reinvest property taxes into its business and it will offer an additional property tax phase-in.

“This investment proves that Evansville has created the right climate to attract new business at a time when there is such strong competition among cities for new jobs,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “We are pleased that we are able to continue our partnership with Mead Johnson and create additional jobs and investment in our community.”

Mead Johnson’s growth in Indiana comes just over a month after Dow AgroSciences announced that it would expand its biotechnology research operations in Indianapolis, creating 100 new jobs. Since the IEDC was created in 2005, more than 60 life science companies have committed to create 10,000 new jobs and invest more than $1.1 billion in their Indiana operations.

About Mead Johnson
Mead Johnson & Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (NYSE: MJN). Mead Johnson Nutrition, a global leader in pediatric nutrition, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes more than 70 products in over 50 markets worldwide. The company’s mission is to create nutritional brands and products trusted to give infants and children the best start in life. The company’s “Enfa” family of brands, including Enfamil® infant formula, is the world’s leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. For more information, go to

About IEDC
Created by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Daniels. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob serves as the chief executive officer of the IEDC. For more information about IEDC, visit

Source: Indiana Economic Development Corporation

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Saturday, September 19 2009

The start of construction on the new downtown Evansville arena is going to mean the start of big traffic headaches in the surrounding area.
Now, we know what form those headaches will take.
Hafer Associates, one of the design firms on the project, discussed Tuesday at an Evansville Redevelopment Commission meeting what traffic patterns will have to change downtown to accommodate the arena construction.
The city will shutdown the southeast-bound lanes of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Walnut and Main once the building process gets under way.
"While we recognize that it is one of the most traveled arteries downtown, it is also adjacent to a construction site where a building several stories tall is going to be constructed," said Jeff Justice, with Hafer Associates. "So, we have to have room around that facility to accommodate all of the lifts and construction vehicles that are necessary to build the exterior envelope of the arena."
He said traffic will still flow both directions on MLK.
The change will just confine drivers to one lane each way on the currently northwest-bound side.
Crews will take out the median for fencing then replace the median when the project is done.
And, the closures don't stop there.
The arena will sit on top of what is now locust street between MLK and 6th.
So, that part of Locust will be gone for good.
There's 6th street, too.
The city will go a step further there than it will on MLK.
"There is a two-way street just to the river side of that, 5th St., so we felt like it was possible to be able to completely close 6th St. between Main St. and Walnut," Justice said.
The Evansville Philharmonic offices and the Victory Theatre sit at the corner of 6th and Main Sts.
The organization will feel the effects of this as much as anyone.
But, Executive Director Glenn Roberts isn't worried.
"We don't have any major concerns about it," he said. "It's going to be a little noisy for us as they do the construction. And, as far as, patrons coming to the philharmonic for concerts, we know that the traffic will be redirected, and patrons mostly come from the north. So, it's not really an issue for us."
The Signature School also sits in that area.
And, Justice said his firm and the city are working with the school to accommodate its unique concerns, like car pool pick up at the end of the day.
He said these closures will likely go into effect around the start of November and run through the completion of the arena.
Redevelopment Commission President Bob Goldman said the road closure discussion at the meeting was purely informative for his board.
It took no action on the matter.


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Monday, September 14 2009

— For the third year in a row, Holiday World's Voyage roller coaster has been named the No. 1 wooden coaster in the world while its new Pilgrims Plunge water ride tied for fifth in the "best new amusement park ride" category.

The announcement was made Thursday night by the trade journal Amusement Today during the industry's annual "best of the best" Golden Ticket Awards ceremony at Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif.

The 1.2-mile Voyage is the Southern Indiana theme park's longest, tallest and fastest coaster, known for its 24.2 seconds of "air time" — time in which passengers are lifted from their seat.

For the 10th straight year, Holiday World was named the country's cleanest park, outranking Disney World, Kings Island, Dollywood and Cedar Point. However, it came in second in the friendliest park category that it has won in the past.

Holiday World spokeswoman Paula Werne said Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., "squeaked by" Holiday World as the friendliest park "and we congratulate them."

Splashin' Safari remained the No. 2 water park behind perennial winner Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. Holiday World's ZOOMbabwe water slide was voted second-best water park ride.

'Incredible honor'

Holiday World President Will Koch called the Voyage's top ranking an "incredible honor" because there are so many "amazing roller coasters around the world."

Pilgrims Plunge, the world's tallest water ride, opened last May to much fanfare, but Werne said it was competing against "some great new roller coasters" for the best new ride title.

The awards and rankings are based on surveys of theme park customers.

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is closed this weekend, but it will reopen for weekends only from Sept. 19 to Oct. 11.


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Thursday, September 10 2009
We trust you enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day weekend. I know we did.   The next two months will be busy in the real estate business. The $8,000 first time homebuyer’s tax credit is scheduled to Expire November 30th. There is very little time to complete purchases in time to take advantage of this program and we anticipate that title companies will be scrambling to accommodate closings scheduled for the end of November. 
There have been some very positive articles recently about home sales nationally. Specifically pending contracts (a forward looking indicator) have increased for six consecutive months and are at their highest level since July of 2007. Although reviewing National information is fine, local statistics are much more important to your personal housing decisions. Locally, average sales price for all of 2008 was $119,301. This year through August average sales price is $117,390, a decline of only 1.6%. List price to sale price is also virtually unchanged from 95.61% for 2008 compared to 94.69% this year to date. These numbers suggest that prices have declined but only very slightly and that buyers who think they are going to buy homes at significant discounts from a couple of years ago will be disappointed. As we said last month sales and inventory levels in our local market remain remarkably consistent. Our market, although not booming, is still healthy. The best way to determine market value for your home is to compare it to recent sales of homes of similar condition and location. We would be happy to help you determine the market value of your home, just give us a call at 812-499-9234 or email at
Things are going very well here at F. C. Tucker Emge Realtors and next month we will update you on some of the services we make available to our customers and clients.
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Thursday, September 10 2009

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) is implementing a program to address issues at three schools designated by the state department of education as chronically underperforming. Educators have voted in favor of what the corporation calls the Equity School Concept, which will investigate the needs of each of the schools. EVSC Superintendent Vince Bertram says the schools are in need of fundamental change if educators are going to make a difference with the students.

Educators in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation have voted in favor of the adoption of the Equity School Concept in three EVSC schools – Delaware Elementary, Howard Roosa Elementary, and McGary Middle School. The concept was developed by EVSC personnel and Evansville Teachers Association leadership. Voting through the Evansville Teachers Association took place for the past several days and was completed on Sept 2.

Excellence and Quality Unite in Transforming Youth will investigate the individual needs of each of the schools, which have been identified by the state Department of Education as chronically underperforming schools.

“We must fundamentally change these schools if we are to make a difference for our children,” said Superintendent Vince Bertram during a news conference on Friday (9-4-09). Bertram explained that Equity Schools will include a professional development academy that trains educators for these schools, a longer school year and a change in the structure of the school day.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett believes that in many cases innovation is necessary for improvement. “The leadership of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in the quest for student success is well documented,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. “When I look at districts that are known for innovation, the EVSC is one that always is at the front of my mind.”

In order to work at one of these schools, an individual must have successfully completed the professional development academy that will be offered from October 2009 through December 2009 – for a total of 40 hours of training. Participation in this academy is by application and approximately 150 teachers, administrators and counselors will be selected. After completing the academy, teachers will be able to teach in an Equity School, or have the opportunity to take the knowledge gained in the academy out to other schools and build capacity throughout the corporation.

Evansville Teachers Association President Keith Gambill said the program will devote more resources “to teachers in the classroom who understand the children they serve each day.” Applications for participation in the Equity Schools Academy were sent today to administrators, teachers and counselors in the corporation. Individuals will be selected to participate based on responses the employees submit on their application.

Bertram said additional days of instruction and a longer time in the classroom, would be a benefit to students and will be employed at these schools. Teachers and administrators will work collaboratively to determine the school’s structure.

Educators selected for these positions will be compensated for the additional time and effort required to address the needs of our students in these schools. The EVSC is hopeful that these efforts undertaken by these innovative schools will be acknowledged by the awarding of Race to the Top funding, provided through the federal government for innovations in education. “This funding is critical if we are to sustain the expected ground-breaking results that our students and community deserve,” Gambill said.

Source: Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation & Inside INdiana Business


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Thursday, September 10 2009

Garbage crews will begin picking up “heavy trash” from Evansville residents later this month.

The collections will run from Sept. 14 to Oct. 16. The city considers heavy trash to consist of sofas, tables, chairs, mattresses, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, televisions, stereos, building materials and similar things.

For the collection, the city has divided the city into a number of areas. Crews will spend one day picking up heavy trash in each of the areas.

To see a map showing the collection schedule, go to HeavyTrash.

To be picked up, items must be put out before 6 a.m. on the collection day.

The heavy trash should be set in the same place where normal trash is collected. Building materials or debris must be placed in trash cans or boxes. The containers should be light enough to be lifted by two adults.

No concrete blocks or steel poles will be collected. Sections of fencing should be cut in half or to a smaller size.

The work crews will not pick up trash that can be set out for normal collections. Nor will they accept automobile parts, batteries, tires, computer equipment or hazardous substances. For more information, call Allied Waste at (812) 424-3345.


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Wednesday, September 09 2009

Later this month, drivers going east or west on Newburgh Road will find themselves stopping at Burkhardt Road.

In August, local officials approved turning the intersection there into a four-way stop. That change will require placing two stop signs on Newburgh Road, work that crews plan to undertake in the next couple of weeks.

The purpose is to make the intersection safer, said Brad Mills, the executive director of the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization. Mills said a study conducted in March found that 303 vehicles passed through there on Newburgh Road each hour. For Burkhardt, the frequency was 281 an hour.

Both counts exceeded the minimums required for stop signs to be installed at an intersection. Their concerns raised, officials next turned to accident reports.

Mills said they found 45 crashes had occurred at the intersection between Sept. 2003 and April 2009. Of those, many were “t-bones,” in which a vehicle traveling Burkhardt had been hit on the side while crossing Newburgh.

Mills estimated that a four-way stop would help to prevent 87 percent of the crashes there.

Such is the hope of Rusti VonderHaar, who complained to local officials about Newburgh and Burkhardt roads about three years ago. Two of the intersection’s features give rise to her fears: its being on a hill and its being formed with Newburgh Road on a diagonal.

Both make it difficult for drivers on Burkhardt to see cross traffic, VonderHaar said.

“That intersection, because of its curvature, is extremely dangerous,” she said.

Still, she wondered if traffic lights wouldn’t serve the purpose better. Stop signs present their own difficulties, she said.

“People can never figure out whose turn it is to go,” VonderHaar said.

Others think they have a better way to make the intersection safer: simply cut down the hill on Burkhardt Road. Joe Kiefer, who sits on the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s board, said that change would prevent further congestion.

Newburgh Road between Interstate 164 and Green River Road is one of the few stretches in Evansville where drivers can travel east or west without having to stop often, Kiefer said.

“Putting that four-way stop there, to me, ruins a nice little transportation artery,” Kiefer said.

Mills said that is one way to look at it. Another is to consider the drivers on Burkhardt Road, who now must sometimes wait a long time for a gap in traffic on Newburgh Road.

Besides, Mills said, lowering the hill would have no effect on traffic counts, which would still dictate that a four-way stop be installed.

“And that’s much more expensive than putting up a couple of signs,” he said.

Even so, Mills concedes that adding stop signs may lead to other troubles, at least in the short run.

More vehicles, for one, may be rear-ended since drivers on Newburgh Road won’t at first expect a stop at Burkhardt. To prevent such crashes, officials plan to install secondary signs that alert drivers to the approaching changes.

“But cutting down the hill would not solve the problem,” Mills said.


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Wednesday, September 09 2009

Evansville Living hometo open for tours

The 2009 Evansville Living Idea Home will be open for tours Saturday through Sept. 20. Tours will be held from 11 a.m. to7 p.m. daily.

The 8,300-square-foot showcase home is located at 5844 Cypress Pointe Drive, in The Estates at Victoria.

The home was built by Messinger Construction and features work from area designers, builders and craftsmen.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at any Schnucks location or online at

All proceeds will benefit the Tri-State Food Bank, Warrick County Community Foundation and other local charities.

— John Lucas


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Monday, September 07 2009

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is joining forces with the Evansville Levee Authority this week to assess the integrity of the city's 27 miles of flood protection levees and their pumping stations.

The Evansville levee system, begun after the disastrous 1937 flood, is designed to protect the city from the floodwaters of the Ohio River and is divided into seven sections.

Construction of the Knight and Howell levee — the city's first — began in 1939 and was completed in 1948. The newest section, along Pigeon Creek on the city's North Side, was added in 1994. The Federal Emergency Management Agency began calling for the certification of levee systems throughout the country in 2007 in response to levee failures at New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina

By FEMA regulations, levee systems must provide protection from an annual 1 percent flood chance, often referred to as a 100-year flood. FEMA also uses the information to formulate new flood insurance rate maps.

Jay Perry, superintendent of the Evansville Levee Authority, said monthly inspections are made to the system, but he added that the FEMA certification inspection process is much more intense and expensive.

The inspection process alone will cost the Levee Authority $408,000.

"It's a lot more thorough than our other inspections we've had, too," Perry said. "They're looking at everything from Point A to Point B and everything in between."

The 28 Corps engineers operate in teams that review the geotechnical, structural, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic aspects of the levees.

Daniel Frank, the Corps' levee safety program manager, said the inspections are just "the field scenario portion" of the accreditation process, which he expects to end Friday.

After the inspections and field reports, Frank said, the Corps will have until Nov. 12 to report to FEMA.

If Evansville's levee system fails to meet accreditation requirements, Frank said the levee authority then would have 18 months to meet the regulations before being classified as unaccredited. Such a classification could lead to FEMA deeming the area a flood zone.

"If that were the case, people who don't have to pay for flood insurance now may have to pay for it in the future," Perry said. "Hopefully, it won't come to that here. We have a few things here that aren't perfect, but that's with anything."

At the river stage of 26 feet, station pumps begin dumping rain and storm water into the Ohio River, Perry said.

"Our pumping season is from November to June. Sometimes we pump into July. This year, the river came up in August, so it really all depends on weather conditions."

The levee sections have 19 pumping stations that include 55 pumps.

Perry said small units can pump about 1,000 gallons of water per minute, and the larger units can process 143,000 gallons per minute.

In addition to paying for the inspections, Perry said, the Levee Authority will spend $100,000 to clean six miles of pipes at the pump station locations. The process must be videotaped and sent to FEMA for further assessment.


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Friday, September 04 2009

The former Welborn Baptist Hospital building in downtown Evansville is headed to the auction block.
St. Mary's owns the building, but officials said they haven't used it for anything in three years.
And, now the hospital system wants out.
The biggest part of the property is this hospital building and the land it's on.
But, St. Mary's is also including two other disconnected parking lots.
Kurtz Auction and Realty is running the bid process.
Interested parties can make bids through October 22.
And, there will be a final decision on October 28.
Tim Flesch, St. Mary's CEO, said he doesn't know if anyone's interested yet nor how much money people would be willing to pay for the site.
And, Jason Blue, with Kurtz, said there's no minimum bid.
So, if high bid is one dollar, then that's how much the winner will pay for the property.
Commercial developers across the region are now asking themselves if they can make a profit by owning the old Welborn Baptist Hospital.
The medical system is eager to get it off the books.
St. Mary's spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on it each year.
And, the building hasn't even been used since 2006.
"We do pay real estate taxes on it. I don't know those numbers," Flesch said. "We still have it insured. We maintain the grass and the facility and the building. And, we have heat, light, power still on at the levels necessary to maintain the building."
But, how much the property costs for St. Mary's to own right now and how much its worth to a commercial developer could be two very different numbers.
"There's some value there," said Jason Blue, with Kurtz Auction and Realty. "But, it's tough to determine what that value is."
The bids will determine exactly what that value is, especially because there's no minimum bid.
Commercial developers FOX 7 spoke with had mixed feelings about the property.
Some said it was a good building with a lot of potential.
Others said there are so many questions about the property they'd be hesitant about bidding.
One of the potential issues in selling this property is that the Welborn building actually shares some of its utilities with the one next door. And, that one isn't on the auction block nor owned by St. Mary's. Just think about that. What if you and your next door neighbor had the same furnace to heat your homes?
Another possible issue, it was built as a hospital.
Moving forward, the new owner can't use it that way.
"We don't believe we need another acute care facility in town, another acute care hospital. So, a restriction is that it can't be turned into that," said Flesch.
But, that doesn't exclude the possibility of putting in a nursing home or assisted living facility - the path that might be easiest for a developer to handle.
Speaking of nursing home facilities, there's one that's been in the news a lot recently, Riverwalk Communities, which currently uses the McCurdy Building.
The plan is to move the residents to the old Knights of Columbus building.
Ben Kunkel, whose company is working that space, said going into this space instead is not a realistic option.


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Friday, September 04 2009
An Evansville attorney files a claim against the Executive Inn Hotel, which has the potential to slow down construction of the city's new downtown arena.

NEWS 25 has been following this story and talked to arena project coordinators to find out the implications of this move.

NEWS 25 obtained a copy of the paperwork which lists intentions of holding a lien against the hotel for $127,200. It was filed last Wednesday with the County Recorder, but the man behind this action tells NEWS 25 his intention is not to hamper the building of the new arena.

Since 1975 the law office of Evansville attorney, Ron Freson has been inside the Executive Inn, on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Tuesday NEWS 25 obtained the document, which states Freson's intent to hold a lien against the hotel.

NEWS 25 went to talk to Freson to find out more about his intentions. He did not want to issue a public statement but tells NEWS 25 demolition of a section of the hotel violates his lease agreement which doesn't expire until 2012. Freson says he wants to be compensated for damages and expenses his firm will suffer, with him losing his office space, and having to relocate.

"Mr. Freson is the only tent ant in the part of Executive Inn that is to be demolished and we know he has a lease and he's been trying to negotiate with the owners, Mutual Bank for sometime," says John Kish, Evansville Arena Project Coordinator. Now Freson is left to negotiate with the hotel's new owners, United Central Bank, who took over the property after the FDIC got involved with the hotel's previous owner's, Mutual Bank.

"The financial ramification of that negotiation are between him and the owner of the real estate and we're buying it free and clear of claims." 

NEWS 25 asked Kish, "Is this going to hold-up the demolition process?"

Kish says "We're confident that it will not interrupt the schedule for demolition." He did tell us demolition is about three weeks behind schedule, due to the FDIC involvement, and part of the hotel should come down by the third week in September.

We did talk to a United Bank spokesperson who would not comment about the lien because of the sensitive nature. The Executive Inn's new General Manager tells NEWS 25 it's still business as usual at the hotel until the sale of the property is finalized.


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Thursday, September 03 2009

Americans may want to check their sweaters and shovels — the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a cold winter.

The 2010 edition of the venerable almanac goes on sale Tuesday. It predicts numbing cold from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.

Managing Editor Sandi Duncan says it’s going to be an “ice cold sandwich,” with milder weather on the coasts.

The Maine-based almanac issues forecasts based sunspots, planetary positions and the effects of the moon.

The National Weather Service is calling for a warmer-than-normal winter because of an El Nino weather system that has developed in the Pacific Ocean.


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Wednesday, September 02 2009

Evansville Regional Airport Authority officials say they are interested in property owned by Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) for a proposed runway expansion. Our partners at the Evansville Courier and Press report airport officials would like to explore the possibility, if the 1.7 million square-foot refrigerator plant is torn down after production moves to Mexico next year. Airport officials have not discussed the idea with Whirlpool.

The company's corporate communications director tells the newspaper they plan to work with Evansville-area real estate agents and economic development experts to market the plant for a potential sale.

Whirlpool announced last week that it will close the facility in mid-2010, leaving 1,100 people out of work.

Source: Evansville Courier & Press & Inside INdiana Business


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Wednesday, September 02 2009

Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel says any discussion of using the Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) property in the city as a landing strip are "premature." Our partners at the Evansville Courier & Press have reported officials with the city's airport authority want to explore the possibility of using the property for a runway expansion, if the plant is razed after production moves to Mexico. Weinzapfel says the focus for the property is "jobs and job creation."

“With regard to the future use of the Whirlpool property, our focus is on jobs and job creation. We will review all opportunities for the constructive reuse of this land that would allow us to bring in new businesses and jobs to the area. Any discussion of the use of this property as a landing strip is premature,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.

Source: Office of the Evansville Mayor & Inside INdiana Business

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Wednesday, September 02 2009
The University of Evansville says it welcomed its largest freshman class in more than a decade this morning. UE says the class of 701 is the largest in 13 years and the overall full-time student body is up 6 percent over last year. The university says it experienced increased enrollment from students in Vanderburgh and surrounding counties and saw its number of transfer and adult students grow this fall.

The University of Evansville began fall classes this morning with an increase in overall student enrollment, including the largest freshman class in more than a decade.

UE's freshman class of 701 is the largest in 13 years, and the full-time student body is up 6.0 percent over last year. The new class also ranks among the strongest in the last decade, with higher SAT scores and a larger percentage of students who ranked in the top 10 of their high school graduating classes.

"We are extremely pleased to see such strong growth of full-time students on campus," said Thomas Bear, UE vice president for enrollment services. "Seeing this kind of increase, especially in these difficult economic times, is an endorsement to the quality of education UE provides. Our recent rankings in U.S. News & World Report as a top 10 Masters-granting institution in the Midwest, #6 strong commitment to teaching, and #2 Best Value in the region has prompted more students locally to consider UE."

The University experienced increased enrollment from students in Vanderburgh and surrounding counties. Additionally, UE saw its number of transfer and adult students grow this fall.

"There continues to be a strong desire for many local students and residents to obtain a University of Evansville education. Several local veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan have embraced UE’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. This financial award provides these servicemen and women a full-tuition scholarship," stated Bear. "To support the enrollment of these students, the University opened an Office of Veterans' Affairs on campus."

As in past years, diversity is a hallmark of the UE student body for the 2009-10 academic year, with students representing 44 states and 48 countries. Ten percent of the entering class are domestic minority students, meeting another University strategic goal.

Source: University of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business

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Tuesday, September 01 2009

The University of Evansville will provide an open discussion next week about health care issues. The forum, which will be held September 10 at UE's Schroeder Family School of Business Administration, will address America's health care system, some of the plans for change and possible ramifications of various ideas. UE says it wanted to create a non-political event to discuss the system and various options for changes.

With Congress preparing to return to work, and health care the topic on every American’s tongue, faculty from the University of Evansville are looking to provide an open discussion about the issues.

The forum, which will be held Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. in Harkness Hall (room 162) of UE’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration, will be a discussion of America’s health care system, some of the plans for change, and possible ramifications of various ideas.

The event is free, and open to the public.

“Obviously, health care is always an important issue for quality of life. Currently, there is considerable controversy surrounding the best way to provide quality and access while managing cost,” said Lynn Penland, dean of UE’s College of Education & Health Sciences. “With all of the attention being paid to the issue, we wanted to create a non-political event where we can discuss our system and various options for changes.”

The forum will begin with brief comments from Penland, who will serve as the moderator, and the three panelists. They then will open the floor for questions and comments.

The panel will include:

· Dr. Amy Hall, chair of the UE Department of Nursing
· Dr. William Stroube, UE Professor and Director of Health Services Administration
· Mary Kessler, chair of the UE Department of Physical Therapy
· Dr. Robert Clark, dean of the UE Schroeder Family School of Business Administration

The Core Purpose of the University of Evansville is to provide life transforming educational experiences that prepare students to engage the world as informed, ethical and productive citizens.

Source: University of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business

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Tuesday, September 01 2009

The University of Evansville's Ridgway University Center is the second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in Vanderburgh County — and the second on the UE campus.

The building, located on Walnut Street across from the Carson Center, opened in November 2008. It was designed by Hafer Associates and Mackey Mitchell Associates and built by Industrial Contractors as an environmentally friendly building, and was registered with LEED before construction began in mid-2007.

"At the University of Evansville, we are proud of our commitment to sustainable, 'green' living," said UE President Stephen Jennings. "As a university, we have made it one of our goals to reduce our carbon footprint in any way we can, and by building the county's first two LEED-certified structures, we are backing up that commitment with action. These campus facilities have been constructed so they require less energy, use less water, and adhere to all of the standards laid out by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design."

The Alcoa Foundation also provided generous financial support to the LEED components of the Ridgway University Center.

Buildings must earn points in six categories set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council in order to achieve LEED certification. Those six categories are: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

Construction was completed on Ridgway University Center in late summer 2008. The center opened in November 2008. After opening, all LEED-registered buildings must go through several months of use and testing before being officially LEED-certified.

— Mark Wilson


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Monday, August 31 2009
Christmas will be a monthlong celebration this year in this Spencer County town famous for its name and gung-ho-ho spirit.

In past years activities were packed into one weekend.

“This is going to be the event we’ve always wanted but never had,” said Philip Koch, president of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, coordinating the celebration with Kevin Klosowski of Santa’s Candy Castle.

Activities will begin Nov. 20.

A major addition will be a 1.2-mile “Family Christmas Light Adventure” light show at Lake Rudolph next to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari theme park.

Costing several hundred thousand dollars and telling the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, it will feature 35 scenes — each 20 to 30 feet tall — and is being custom built by Carpenter Decorating out of South Carolina.

“I always thought Santa Claus, Ind., should be celebrating Christmas in a tremendous way,” said Koch, “and last year on the Travel Channel I saw some other Bavarian communities (in Georgia and Oregon) that were doing a better job than we were.

“I found myself in the same position my grandfather (Evansville industrialist Louis J. Koch) was in in 1945 when he built Santa Claus Land here to give people something to do.”

Koch said he’s been told the light show will be the largest drive-through attraction of its kind at a campground in North America and the only one featuring an actual story line.

It will use energy-efficient LED lighting.

Plans also call for an illuminated Nativity scene, 23 feet high and 150 feet long, on the theme park’s parking lot — “kind of our gift to the community,” said Koch.

He said the campground 35 miles east of Evansville will involve charities in the light show and charge admission.

Visitors will have the option of staying in their car or renting a golf cart, according to Dave Lovell, marketing director at Lake Rudolph.

Other events during the town’s celebration will include a Nov. 20 tree lighting ceremony, a pre-Christmas dinner at Santa’s Lodge, a puppet show, Christmas Karaoke every Friday and Saturday, an early December parade and contests ranging from Christmas tree decorating and fruit cake eating to gingerbread house building.

Besides the lights at Lake Rudolph, the annual Festival of Lights tour of homes will continue the second and third Saturdays of December in nearby Christmas Lake Village.

There also will be chestnut roasting and performances by area choirs at the Candy Castle, a possible weekend craft show at Lake Rudolph and a wine tasting at Christmas Lake Golf Course.

Koch is asking charities and other organizations interested in running food booths or having entertainment to call (812) 224-1790.

“We want to help everyone in town,” Koch said, “churches, schools, charities, businesses and individuals. We want families to come here and create wonderful memories, to make people happy, raise money for charities and businesses and grow the town of Santa Claus.”

Meanwhile, Koch (three of his siblings own the adjacent theme park) expects to open the new Santa Claus Christmas Store by Labor Day in Kringle Place shopping center here. It’s being developed by his Santa Claus-based HO HO HOldings, which owns the campground.

It’s described as the largest store of its kind in the region and will carry gift items, indoor and outdoor Christmas lights, wreaths, tree trimmings, nativities, Christmas yard art, home decor, collectibles, candy and cookies.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas children can have their picture taken with St. Nick.

Koch says his goal is to make the town of 2,000 “synonymous with Santa Claus” and “attract people from all over the world to Santa Claus, Ind., no matter the season.”


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Saturday, August 29 2009

City of Evansville
One N.W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Evansville, Indiana 47708
Office of the Mayor
Jonathan Weinzapfel
August 28, 2009                                                                    Contact: Audra Levy
For Immediate Release                                                                        Communications Director
   (812) 436-4962
City of Evansville Forms Rapid Response Team
To Address Whirlpool Announcement
(EVANSVILLE, IN) – The City of Evansville, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana and the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, have formed a rapid response team to assist employees who will be effected by the closure of Whirlpool Corporation’s Evansville, IN manufacturing facility. The team will also work to retain the Product Development Center currently located in Evansville, which serves as the North American center for all refrigeration technology within Whirlpool.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the hard-working men and women who have to cope with what this decision will mean to their lives and the lives of their families. This is devastating news for them,” said Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “I want to assure the workers and their families that our team will be working with Whirlpool, the State and the Federal Government over the coming months to help them through this difficult transition.”
The rapid response team will immediately assemble all of the resources at its disposal to support employees as they work through the closure process. The team will also put together a competitive proposal to keep the Product Development Center and its jobs here in Evansville, and identify reuse opportunities and potential partners for redevelopment of the Whirlpool facility.
“Whirlpool Corporation has been a valued partner in our community for more than 50 years,” said Matt Meadors, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana. “Even though the Company has assured us that there was nothing that the City or the State could have done to prevent this morning’s announcement, we need to do whatever is possible to retain the remaining pieces of Whirlpool’s footprint in our City.” 
The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, which acts as the umbrella economic development organization for Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties, will take the lead on crafting a competitive proposal to keep Whirlpool’s Product Development Center in Evansville. “As difficult as the impact of the closure of Whirlpool’s manufacturing facility will be, we must also focus on how to retain the 300 technical jobs associated with the Product Development Center,” said Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Coalition. “In spite of this morning’s announcement, the Evansville economy is still strong. We are confident that, with the State’s help, we’ll be able to keep the Product Development Center here and continue to attract new business and industry to the area.”
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Friday, August 28 2009

Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE:HR) says it will close its Evansville facility in mid-2010, eliminating approximately 1,100 positions. Production of top freezer refrigerators will be transferred to Mexico. Icemakers are also produced in Evansville, but the company has not determined where that work will be relocated. Whirlpool is also evaluating options for the Refrigeration Product Development Center, which has 300 workers in Evansville.

It was seeking up to 100 employees and those reductions were due to start this month.

In February, workers accepted a new three-year contract, which included a pay raise of 95 cents per hour, new health insurance plan and a $350 signing bonus for most hourly workers.


Press Release

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., Aug. 28 -- Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR) announced today changes to its North American manufacturing operations resulting in the closure of its manufacturing facility in Evansville, Indiana. The closure will eliminate approximately 1,100 full time positions in mid-2010.

Production of top freezer refrigerators made at Evansville will be transferred to one of the company's existing manufacturing facilities in Mexico. Production of icemakers produced in Evansville will be relocated to a company-owned site yet to be determined. The announcement follows a comprehensive review of alternatives for product consolidation within the refrigeration product category.

The company also said that it is currently evaluating options for the best location for the Refrigeration Product Development Center, which is co-located with the Evansville manufacturing facility and has approximately 300 employees. A decision is expected in the near futur"This was a difficult but necessary decision," said Al Holaday, vice president, North American Manufacturing Operations, Whirlpool Corporation. "To reduce excess capacity and improve costs the decision was made to consolidate production within our existing North American manufacturing facilities. This will allow us to streamline our operations, improve our capacity utilization, reduce product overlap between plants, and meet future production requirements.

"We are announcing this decision nearly one-year in advance as part of our commitment to make the transition as smooth as possible."

Whirlpool is committed to helping the affected employees and their families with the transition. Conversations regarding transition assistance will begin immediately. The company also said it would work with local and state officials to help ensure that all available training resources are made available to affected employees, and to reposition affected facilities for future job development opportunities within the community.

The company's earnings and cash flow outlook for the full-year 2009 remain unchanged from the last update contained in its earnings release dated July 22, 2009.
About Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $19 billion in 2008, 70,000 employees, and 67 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at

Whirlpool Additional Information



Source: Inside INdiana Business, Evansville Courier & Press

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Thursday, August 27 2009

An Evansville eatery has been named the "Manliest Restaurant in America." The men's lifestyle Web site, which is operated by AOL, says the Hilltop Inn has won the honor for 2009 in an online vote. The Web site's editor says the fried brain sandwich helped put the restaurant over the top. He says there's something about it "that's guaranteed to put hair on your chest."

Our partners at the Evansville Courier & Press reports the owners say they sell 13,000 pork brain sandwiches a year.

The Hilltop Inn captured nearly 67 percent of the 50,000 votes cast online.

It beat out restaurants from San Francisco, Boston and Arlington, Virgina in the final round of the competition.

Source:, Evansville Courier & Press

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Thursday, August 27 2009

New U.S. home data out Tuesday suggests the U.S. may be easing out of its 3-year housing slump.

The U.S. home prices index is made up of home prices in the 20 largest U.S. cities, and while Evansville isn't one of them, an Evansville mortgage banker says home sales here are following suit.

The for sale signs still litter neighborhoods, but the housing market is busy making its comeback.

"We have definitely seen a big increase in the number of purchase transactions we're doing over the last few months," says Shannon Curry-Bartnick, President of Mortgage Masters.

Curry-Bartnick says part of this "rise from the slump" comes as people's fears subside and they take advantage of the many incentives out there. The most talked about one being the 1st Time Home Buyer Credit.

"It's a really great opportunity to get a tax credit back, get yourself into a new home, and right now, there are historically low interest rates," Curry-Bartnick explains.

To be eligible, you either have to be a first time home buyer or have not owned a home in the last three years.

The credit is worth ten percent of the home's value, up to $8,000.

Home buyers have to close the deal by November 30th to get their credit.

If you're anxious to take advantage of the first time home buyer credit, but have a less than stellar credit history, Curry-Bartnick says you're not completely out of luck.

"There is more leniency there for things that may have happened in your past but that you may have remedied or overcome. You would potentially still be eligible," she explains. 

In addition to the first time home buyers credit, Curry-Bartnick lists off dozens of other deals and loans that can save a buyer money.

"There's the FHA loan, Rural Housing loans, VA loans, and conventional loans," she explains.

Not to mention bank-owned and foreclosed upon homes coupled with low rates. Buyers can walk away with a steal.

"We look at each person individually and find out what's well suited for their situation," Curry-Bartnick says.

To find out what you qualify for, Curry-Bartnick recommends sitting down with a mortgage banker. She says consultations are typically free.

But as NEWS 25 also learned, the Evansville housing market is not problem free, and there are hurdles that are keeping many deals from closing.

NEWS 25 will investigate those hurdles in a follow up story Wednesday.


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Wednesday, August 26 2009

St. Mary’s Medical Center’s quality improvement efforts have earned the Evansville hospital recognition in the U.S. News and World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” August 2009 issue. The issue included 569 other hospitals across the nation.

The recognition is based on St. Mary’s success using the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) quality improvement program.

In addition, in May the American Heart Association gave St. Mary’s a Silver Performance Achievement Award for its efforts to ensure patients with coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke receive the care they need according to the association’s guidelines. The hospital had a one-year, 85 percent compliance rate with those standards of care.


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Tuesday, August 25 2009
The Hilltop Inn on Evansville's west side has been named the "manliest restaurant in the midwest". It's now in the running for the national title. The Hilltop Inn is the home of our "Dinner with the Coach" segment, as well as the famous brain sandwich. You can vote for the restaurant online at . Voting ends Wednesday.
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Sunday, August 23 2009

Ivy Tech Community College says it has a record fall enrollment and is still signing up as many as 2,000 students a day.

Some students are having trouble getting into classes they want or need to take. The school says those still planning to enroll for fall semester can get on waiting lists for courses, decide to take a class at another Ivy Tech campus or choose classes that start later in the semester.

Ivy Tech says a record 106,000 students are already enrolled in campuses across the state. That’s a 24 percent increase over last year’s fall semester and more students are still registering.

Classes start Monday at Ivy Tech campuses across Indiana.


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Sunday, August 23 2009

We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet, but a zebra has been born at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden and is on display with its parents in the zoo’s lower zebra area.

Zoo spokeswoman Charlotte Roesner said the foal's birth occurred early Thursday.

She said zookeepers won’t be able to examine the young zebra for several days, giving the animal time to bond with its mother.

And until they know the gender, they aren’t tossing out names.

“Sometimes the zookeeper who discovers (the birth) gets to name the baby and sometimes the zoo staff comes up with one,” said Roesner.

In the meantime, she said the youngster “is up and running around and nursing off its mother.”

Zebra foals typically weigh about 55 pounds at birth and are a fuzzy, light-brown color, with the black stripes coming later, said Roesner.

The baby’s 25-year-old mother is named Press after the city’s evening newspaper which closed in the late 1990s; the 21-year-old father is Courier in honor of the morning daily.

This brings the zoo’s zebra population to five.

The West Side attraction is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (entry gates close at 4 p.m.)

Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for ages 3-12, with Vanderburgh County residents receiving a $1 discount.

Visit for more information.


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Sunday, August 23 2009
The newly released U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" data lists the University of Evansville 10th among master's-granting institutions in the Midwest.

UE comes in second on a list of best values in the Midwest, trailing only Creighton University, and sixth in a "strong commitment to teaching" list for the region.

"Ranking where we did in each category, among 142 eligible institutions, is just one of the many indicators confirming our success in maintaining the highest academic quality at the University of Evansville," UE President Stephen Jennings said.

The magazine measures academic quality by using the assessments of administrators at peer institutions, student graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

In a nationwide list of best universities, the top 10 consist of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Duke and the University of Chicago.

Notre Dame comes in 29th on that list, while Illinois is 40th, Purdue is 66th, Indiana is 71st and Kentucky is 116th.

Purdue is 22nd and IU 29th on a nationwide list of public universities, and IU's Kelley School of Business is rated the 12th-best business program.

Like Jennings, leaders at IU and Purdue were quick to tout their positions in the magazine's report.

IU Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson said that magazine rankings "tell only a small part of the story, and their importance is often overemphasized.

But U.S. News performs a service by highlighting programs that are linked to student success, such as our student learning communities, study-abroad opportunities and the emphasis on writing."

Purdue University President France A. Cordova said the rankings "reflect our continued commitment to the student experience."

On a regional list of top master's-granting universities in the South, Murray State University is 18th, while Western Kentucky University is 29th.

The "Best Colleges" rankings are available today at and will be published in the September issue of U.S. News & World Report, available Monday.


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Saturday, August 22 2009

What used to be bare lawn is now a colorful playground at the Albion Fellows Bacon Center for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

The yard at the shelter for women and children in Evansville was never fancy — just green lawn inside a nondescript privacy fence — but it was graced with the cooling, peaceful shade of a large hardwood tree.

However, the loss of that tree in a storm last year left the yard with only a picnic table and no shelter from the sun.

That changed recently with the receipt of a $4,694 "two-for-two" grant from the Indiana Pacers Foundation and Verizon Wireless. The communications company pledged to contribute $2 for every two-point field goal the Pacers made during the 2007-2008 season. The Albion Fellows Bacon Center applied for and received a grant to transform its yard into a more hospitable space.

"The backyard used to just be a plain, grassy lawn. On a day when it is 95 degrees, there is not a woman who is going to sit out there without shade," said Jenny Ballard, assistant director.


The center used the money to purchase three new saplings of a variety of maple that is expected to grow into shade trees within a few years. More tables and a small shed also were added.

The main additions, however, were a swing set and a large piece of play equipment set in soft playground mulch.

The changes provide a secure place for children to play and their mothers to watch them outside the confines of the shelter's walls.

Help for guests

An average of about 25 women and children a month stay at the shelter. Women and minor children may stay there up to 45 days.

In addition, the shelter operates a 24-hour domestic violence and sexual assault hot line, support groups, crisis intervention counseling, advocacy and help referrals.


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Saturday, August 22 2009

Inside INdiana Business has learned that Shelby County is under consideration for a Harley-Davidson, Inc. motorcycle assembly plant and hundreds of jobs. "I can tell you company officials were in Shelby County Wednesday," said Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson, who added the company is interested in a site outside city limits. The Milwaukee-based company is considering closing or restructuring a plant in York, Pennsylvania and moving that work to a new location.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee is reporting sites in Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana are among finalists for the investment and management has made official visits to all three states.

This week, sources have told Inside INdiana Business the new plant could mean between 800 and 1,500 jobs.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

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Saturday, August 22 2009

Bank of Evansville finds 'Bank On' program works

A Bank of Evansville program led to the opening of 324 bank accounts in the first half of 2009.

The program is a response to Census statistics indicating that 6,000 Evansville households lack bank accounts. It is believed those who live in such households spend more than $800 a year to cash paychecks and to write checks for their bills.

The 324 accounts added in the first half of 2009 were opened by the 15 financial institutions participating in the program. That number makes up 27 percent of 1,200 accounts the city wants to see opened through Bank on Evansville this year.

The average monthly balanced held in them was $219.

The National League of Cities has reported that Evansville has the fastest expanding "Bank On" program in the United States.

"These numbers show that Bank on Evansville is really making an impact in our community," Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel said.

— Dan Shaw


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Friday, August 21 2009

The Indiana Association of Realtors (IAR) reports statewide sales of single-family homes in July dropped 6.3 percent, compared to the previous year. IAR also says the median price declined by only 0.9 percent. Chief Executive Officer Karl Berron says there are signs the decline in home sales is slowing. He adds the state may be "near or at the bottom of this challenging period."

The Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR) today released its “Indiana Real Estate Markets Report” for the month of July as a continuation of its “Indiana is Home” project.

The Report, found online at, is the first-ever county-by-county comparison of existing single-family home sales in Indiana. IAR obtains the data directly from the state’s 18 largest Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and the Broker Listing Cooperative® (BLC®) in central Indiana. July’s Report includes Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley, Switzerland and White Counties for the first time, bringing the Report’s representation to 93% of the housing market statewide.

July’s report was similar to June’s in that statewide sales of existing single-family homes decreased from the previous year. From July 2008 sales decreased 6.3%, but median prices declined at a much smaller rate of .9%.

“The decline in sales is slowing and when compared with a year ago, sales have not declined as much as they did in the first half of the year,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer. “This indicates that we may be near or at the bottom of this challenging period. Combined with the signs of the overall economy, there is cause for optimism.”

Clark, Allen, Johnson, Grant, Porter and Montgomery Counties saw increases in sales, median prices or both.

More about “Indiana Is Home”

It is a multi-media project aimed at keeping Hoosier homeowners, would-be homeowners, policymakers and the media well-informed on the ever-changing local real estate markets.

This month, media professional and host Pat Carlini narrates a third reportisode entitled, “1st Timer,” which explains how the $8,000 tax credit can be used by first-time home buyers, or those who have not purchased a home within the last three years.

Indianapolis-based Boost Media and Entertainment shot and produced all videos found at

IAR represents more than 16,000 REALTORS® who are involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in Indiana. The term REALTOR® is a registered mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the world’s largest trade association, the National Association of REALTORS®, and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

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