News and Tribune

May 14, 2013


A call to leadership from LSI grad


Leadership Southern Indiana’s Discover Program graduated its 31st class Thursday. Each year, the class selects a class representative to speak on their behalf at graduation. I would like to share this year’s speech from Mr. Trey Lewis, director of Career Development Center at Indiana University Southeast, as he challenges his class to engage:

“At this point, we find ourselves at a leadership crossroads where we are confronted with an individual choice. A choice to keep the cultural knowledge in between our two ears thus minimizing its impact or do we make purposeful decisions about our engagement as leaders in this community. For me, my personal choice comes down to the value of stewardship and community sustainability. Let me explain. 

Having been a part of such a tremendous opportunity such as this, we have gained access to some keen insights from several key stakeholders in our community thereby making informed citizens and potential leaders. As stewards of this information, I would go so far as to say that we have not only an opportunity but a responsibility to pay it forward through our engagement in the community.

One of the key indicators of success with any organization and community is its ability to develop a pipeline of future leaders. This practice ensures sustainability and I know that we are all glad that I belong to a community that not only believes in but invests in this practice. This is the lifeblood of building and sustaining our communities.

Let me acknowledge that we as a class may have heard before what I’m saying here tonight but let’s put our feet on practical ground and talk about why our engagement is so critical. When we look at our community needs ... needs that focus on positively impacting unemployment trends, economic development, educational attainment, and the ever-increasing socio-economic divide, shouldn’t we agree that sustained leadership engagement in this community is vital? I believe this to be true and I know that I stand with a cohort that also believes this.

I’ll close with just a brief thought. As a result of our experience in this year’s Discover Program through Leadership Southern Indiana, we have been given a wealth of knowledge. It has commonly been said that knowledge is power and with that power comes great responsibility. The sustainability of our community rests upon its citizens, potential leaders just like you and I who have been empowered to answer the call to impact our surroundings. However, the choice does rest with each of us as individuals. 

It’s time to answer the call and join the ranks of so many who have come before us. This community needs us, our local businesses need us, our schools need us, our children need us. 

The numbers speak for themselves but let us remember that our development as leaders comes with a great responsibility to put our knowledge into practice. Collectively, I am confident and hopeful that we will do our part to answer the call and join the ranks of so many great leaders in this community who have come before us. Thank you.”

I would like to thank Trey for doing a great job of articulating what we all need to do in our community. Leadership Southern Indiana is a leadership organization whose mission is to — “actively engage leaders and develop ethical leadership that impacts our region.”

Applications are being accepted through Friday, May 17, for the Discover Program Class of 2014. Register online at

— Mark Eddy, executive director, Leadership Southern Indiana


Jeffersonville readers ticked at trimming of trees


While we understand the vast number of agencies involved with any bridge construction through any community, we were surprised on a recent morning to see the Indiana Department of Transportation cutting down the dozen of 6-inch diameter pin oaks that have lived on one side of West Riverside Drive for more than five years. 

Sadly, it seems there is less and less coordination and communication in preserving what should be preserved, less compromising for what cannot be preserved and less effort made to design an honest solution that meets the real needs of this small neighborhood. 

In order to prepare for the relocation of preserved houses adjacent to the bridge, all — with the exception of one — of the 8-year-old pin oaks were removed along West Riverside Drive, bridge to bridge. The light polls are left because they can be temporarily dismantled given that all are in the same line running along the right of way. 

In addition, INDOT trimmed the enormous elm tree which was slated for removal several years ago. While they also cut back some of the massive dead branches of the old elm on the street side, they left the dead branches on the river side. (Working with the Army Corps of Engineers, we were able to construct the sidewalk around the tree.) 

Granted, this aged tree has needed proper trimming for years, but a certified arborist was not on site to direct the operation or the tree would not have been left with such unbalanced mass toward the river.

We imagine we will be notified not to park any of our vehicles on the street in front of our houses on relocation day, as if that is the only basic communication required in this neighborhood. We would like to believe we are all going to benefit from the relocation of the houses that Historic Landmarks fought to preserve. (Some of us thought the cost is a bit over the top, but we are not skilled preservationists.) 

There is a great deal of professional expertise along the street, so whom do we see about replanting trees of same cost value in this neighborhood? Rob Waiz, Jeffersonville Redevelopment director, is working to get deserved aesthetic attention needed for the Indiana side. 

Whom do we see besides contacting our ombudsman, Patrick Carpenter, and Carl Piercy at INDOT for information about how we can access the decision making process sooner than later, so we can all benefit from the sacrifices that are whittling away our collective community good humor?  

— Phyllis Croce and Jonn Frey, Jeffersonville