Evansville

Mesker Park Zoo

The Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau is pledging a $300,000 dollar grant to help build a carousel and aviary at the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.

The Courier & Press reports the board of commissioners at the CVB voted to award the matching grant. The money comes from the city’s "innkeeper" or hotel-motel tax. The zoo will have to raise $300,000 on its own to receive the grant. 

The project has an overall price tag of $3 million dollars and is expected to open sometime in 2016.

Around 175,000 people visit the Mesker Park Zoo each year.

The U.S. Postal Service says it will open post office locations in Bowling Green and Evansville on two Sundays this holiday season to reduce wait times and allow customers to get a jump on holiday shipping. 

The Bowling Green General Mail Facility on Scottsville Road along with the Lawndale Station on S. Green River Road in Evansville will open on December 14th and 21st.  The facilities will be open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. those days.

The Postal Service says 607 million pieces of mail will be processed on Dec. 15th, making it the busiest day of the season. 

Fisher Dynamics

Nearly 170 new jobs will be coming to Evansville over the next two years.  Fisher Dynamics, an automotive supplier based in Michigan announced plans Wednesday to open a new facility in Evansville.

Fisher Dynamics will invest $11 millionfor the facility. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says the new jobs will pay an average of $19 an hour.

At first glance, an area of land near the state hospital in Evansville seems like a perfect place for a dog park. 

But not everyone’s on board with the proposed location.

Denise Johnson, executive director of Evansville’s Parks and Recreation department, says the 6.7 acres is well suited for a dog park.

“No. 1 there’s shade.  And you’ve already got very large trees that are 120 years old or less – but very large.  You’ve got great shade, and you’ve got a level surface to start with,” said Johnson.

She also says there is plenty of parking, it’s easily accessible by car and they’ve already worked out a deal with the state to acquire the part of the land that doesn’t already belong to the city. 

But Johnson says plans for the dog park are on hold right now. 

Evansville Museum

After two years without a permanent leader, the Evansville Museum has selected a new executive director.  Bryan Knicely comes to Evansville from Florida where he led the Coral Springs Museum of Art.

The Evansville Museum completed a major renovation earlier this year and houses 30,000 objects in its permanent collection.

"This is an exciting time for the Museum. After the successful completion of the capital campaign and building expansion, we are in a period of rapid growth and look to become the number one cultural destination in the region,” said board president Sharon Walker. “We are happy to have Bryan join the staff, as he has extensive experience leading arts and cultural centers across the country.”

Dr. John Streetman III retired at the end of 2012 after nearly four decades with the museum. Mary Bower had been serving as the interim director.

Haier

A 30,000 square foot product research and development tech center is coming to Evansville. Haier America says the center will employ 50 new workers in what it calls “high-wage jobs”.  Haier makes home appliances and consumer electronics.

“Today’s announcement is also a symbolic victory for our region and signifies a re-emergence in the appliance industry in a city with a strong manufacturing history of producing refrigerators and large appliances,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke in a written release.

The tech center in Evansville is expected to open by early next year. 

Theft Ring Hits 16 Stores In Evansville Area

Aug 5, 2014

Prosecutors in Evansville say investigators have broken up a theft ring that hit 16 stores, stealing flat-screen televisions, high-end apparel, power tools and other items.

The Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday that 19 people face charges including corrupt business influence, interstate transportation of stolen goods and conspiracy.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports the ring stole millions of dollars' worth of goods that also included vacuum cleaners, copper piping, and high end purses and accessories. Several of the stores that were hit are located in Evansville's Eastland Mall.

The investigation involved the FBI's Southwest Indiana Violent Crime Task Force, the Evansville Police Department, the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office, the Indiana State Police and the Warrick County Sheriff's Office.

Mike Festscher/Save Mesker Facebook Page

An Evansville City Councilman is imploring his colleagues to take up the issue of what to do with the shuttered Mesker Amphitheater on the city’s west side.  Al Lindsey tells the Courier & Press the City Council should include the future of the deteriorating amphitheater in the city’s 2015 budget discussions. 

The Mesker has been closed since 2012 when it was deemed unsuitable for the public. Multiple studies have been done about what it would cost to renovate the facility, which once hosted concerts by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Doobie Brothers. 

The Mesker Amphitheater opened in 1951.

The increasingly high summer temperatures are bringing the normal reminders to avoid leaving children alone in vehicles.  But an Evansville animal shelter says pet owners also need to be aware of the dangers of leaving dogs inside hot vehicles.

Vanderburgh Humane Society Executive Director Kendall Paul says many dog owners make the mistake of thinking it’s OK to leave their pet in a vehicle with the windows cracked. She says the temperature inside that vehicle increases very quickly.

“I always recommend to people—try it yourself. Go out there on a hot and sit in that car for a few minutes with the windows rolled up, or even with them cracked a little bit, and you’re going to start to see what kind of temperatures very fast you’re putting your animal in. But we just recommend that you don’t do it.”

Paul adds that pet owners often tell themselves they’ll only be gone for a few minutes, and that their animal will be fine inside the car without any air conditioning.

“And often times if you just run in for a few minutes, you think it’s just going to be a few minutes in the store, but then it takes a little bit longer, or something delays you,” Paul said. “It only takes a short  amount of time—once the temperatures outside start hitting in the 70s and 80 degrees, the temperature inside that car is going to climb even higher than that.”

Published research shows a car in 84-degree weather reached an interior temperature of 110 degrees in about 18 minutes. In 88-degree weather, the car reached 110 in about 14 minutes.

The research also found that cracking a window had little effect on the car's temperature.

Emil Moffatt

Vanderburgh County has been approved to receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover some damage sustained during a brutal winter storm January 5-9.  

Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Director Cliff Weaver says much of the damage came to the water grid in-and-around Evansville. 

“We had hundreds of water mains break,” said Weaver.  “So you can imagine the labor and materials over time – plus the loss of the water.  It was a very unusual situation.” 

Weaver says the total damage amounts to $1.3 million dollars.  He says about half of that is eligible to be covered by the FEMA grant.  A total of 28 Indiana counties have been approved to receive the grants.

Emil Moffatt

Less than a month ago, Evansville was on the receiving end of good news from Indiana University. A site in downtown Evansville was chosen from among four proposed locations for a $69.5 million dollar medical education and research center.

On Tuesday, the president of IU, Dr. Michael McRobbie was in town to check out the site. But first, he spoke for a half-hour at the Evansville Rotary Club. Rotary officials said it was the largest crowd they’ve ever had.

After lunch, McRobbie and Evansville mayor Lloyd Winnecke boarded a trolley for a driving tour of the new site – encompassing 170-thousand square feet bordered by Southeast 4th and 6th streets, Cherry and Locust streets.

When they got off the trolley, it was pointed out that both Winnecke and McRobbie were wearing strikingly similar blue, pinstriped suits.

The two men weren’t only in sync with their wardrobes, but also with their feelings about the impact the new medical center will have on downtown Evansville.

 While researching his book, “Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway”, Matt Dellinger traced the very early history of I-69 to a southern Indiana landowner, who in the early ‘90s, wanted to build a toll road from Evansville to Indianapolis.  

“This man, David Graham, in Washington, Indiana, had been talking to this economist who said ‘look, your problem is, that it is too small a project. If you continued this proposed highway  all the way to Mexico, then the numbers would change and the economics of it would look a lot more attractive if it was an international trade route,’” said Dellinger.

Twenty years and billions of dollars later, I-69 remains incomplete, although there has been progress, If I-69 ever is complete, it will extend from Canada to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Dellinger says funding issues and sometimes, the proposed route of the interstate have impeded progress as each mayor, congressman or senator along the way has tried to steer it in a way that would most benefit his or her constituents.

“These arguments about the route have been going on since the idea was very, very young. It is about politics and it is about economic development,” said Dellinger.  “The bridges are obviously key points in the route.  They’re kind of the pillars that the rest of the route is defined by.”

The latest dust up over I-69 doesn’t take place far Washington, Indiana.  

National Weather Service

Eight years ago this week, an F3 tornado tore through parts of Northwest Kentucky and Southern Indiana.  It claimed two-dozen lives and left hundreds injured. Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service Paducah office said several factors led to the devastation.

“The main factor was the fact that it moved through at night. We had a major tornado that moved through a metropolitan area and unfortunately when you factor in that it impacted a mobile home park, that’s about the worst scenario that could occur,” said Shanklin.

The November 6, 2005 tornado traveled 41 miles and featured winds that reached an estimated 200 miles per hour. It touched down originally in Smith Mills in Henderson County.

Shanklin and several colleagues attended a gathering at a Red Cross facility in Evansville Wednesday.

The southern Indiana portion of our listening area got hit with as much as seven inches of snow during an early-morning snow storm Wednesday. The Evansville Courier-Press reports that Evansville's mayor has announced that all non-essential city offices will close at noon.

Emergency responders had to help numerous motorists in the area who got stuck in the snowstorm, or skidded off roads.

Motorists traveling between Henderson and Evansville, Ind., on the U.S. 41 Twin Bridges will encounter some lane restrictions this week. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane on Monday and Tuesday for deck cleaning and maintenance.

Pages