Tag Archives: From the Editor

From the Editor | June/July

I GREW UP in a family where there were three things you rarely – if ever – talked about: religion, money and politics.

My father was a Methodist minister for several years, but when he divorced my mother, who was awarded full custody of all five of us kids, we quickly joined the Baptist church that was literally located next door to where we had previously worshipped in our rural Michigan town.

I don’t recall much of anything – I was six – except a bit of guilt for preferring the cushioned seats at our new church over the pews we used to sit in. (I figured God was so big and great, surely He’d know I was praising him in a new location and wouldn’t hold the comfy seating preference against me.) But my family never talked about what the change in churches meant or how any of us felt about it.

Nor did we talk about how little money we had, especially once my father left us, though, of course, it was obvious. Thankfully, our mother worked hard – and not just at her job as a full-time nurse – to teach her kids the value of being grateful for what we did have, and we knew enough not to ask why our father seemed to have more as we struggled with less.

I also still have no idea how any of my parents – grandparents, stepparents and Godparents included – have voted or vote in elections and would never think of asking. That was considered rude and, frankly, very personal. It was a conversation you simply didn’t have.

Oh, how times have changed.

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I now understand religion – and faith – in a way that allows me to accept and appreciate others beliefs, even when they differ from mine. And I want to talk about it and hear others talk about it, too.

I’m still uncomfortable talking about money, but I don’t (fully) avoid discussions anymore. I do, however, find myself bewildered by the power – both positive and destructive – money can have in myriad aspects of life. I know people with wealth who are the poorest people I’ve ever met, people with nothing who have the richest lives and lots of people who fall somewhere in between. Thanks to my upbringing, I am still far more grateful far for what I do have than I long for what I don’t.

But politics? Ugh.

I loathe talking about it, feel anxiety when others do, tiptoe around sharing how I really feel and usually refrain. Because when you do talk about politics these days, it almost always seems to evoke confrontation – or worse – instead of discussion, unless you only seek opinions from those whose opinions are aligned with yours (which research shows most of us do).

But just because we’re uncomfortable about a subject doesn’t mean we should avoid it. That’s a life lesson I continue to learn again and again.

In this issue of Extol, you’ll find a diverse collection of stories about people and places connected to Southern Indiana: WAVE 3 mainstay and community advocate Dawne Gee shares her inspirational story about finding hope after having a stroke. Our explorer JD Dotson travels to Tell City. Writer Miranda McDonald explains what is “fast fashion” and why you should care. Ray Lucas may evoke a tear or two the next time you see a robin in the yard in his A Life in Progress column. Longtime education reporter Toni Konz, of WDRB, offers 10 ways to mesh education with fun this summer. And Hoosier Mama columnist Farrah Alexander shares how she has opted to explain how she feels about President Donald Trump to her child.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the stories and columns we feature in Extol – and then, I invite you to respond by sending an email to angie@extolmag.com.

If you like what you see, let me know. If you don’t, let me know. Because goodness knows, we all could benefit from a bit more discussion and discourse with one another about what connects us AND what makes us uncomfortable.

As always, thank you for taking the time to pick up Extol. I hope to hear from you.

Yours truly,

Angie Fenton
Editor in Chief

From the Editor | April/May 2017

THE FIRST TIME I attended the Kentucky Derby was in 2001, a year before I moved from Michigan to Louisville. For the first time in my life, I donned a hat that wasn’t a ball cap or winter beanie and enjoyed the hoopla, but it wasn’t until I saw the now-late actor James Avery — who was best known as Uncle Phil from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” starring Will Smith — seated at a table near where I walked that I realized whatever this was, it must be kind of a big deal.

Several years later, I worked as the entertainment columnist for The Courier-Journal and soon was also hired by Churchill Downs Racetrack to interview celebrities on the red carpet on Derby Day.

The week leading up to the first Saturday in May was hellacious (in terms of workload), amazingfte1 (thanks to the people I worked with and for) and awe-inspiring, because no matter how many celebrities came to town or how many parties I covered, I fell in love with the spell that seemed to have been cast over the community for that brief time and occurred at the same time year after year. I also quickly saw that the real stars are locals who go out of their way to ensure everyone, whether from near or far, feels like they’re part of something special during Derbytime.

My job, back then, was to dish about the glitz and glamour, and the occasional mishap.

[For the record: Hugh Hefner was always very kind and sweet, though one of the gals from his former trio of girlfriends was most definitely not; Adrian Grenier of “Entourage” fame was, let’s just say, one of my least favorite interviews ever; Brooke Shields is as beautiful inside as she is out; Martha Stewart is hilarious…and imposing; Bill Belichick does smile; both Rick Pitino and John Calipari are a lot of fun but definitely remain on your toes when they’re in the vicinity; Travis Tritt should be given a key to the City of Louisville, as should Joey Fatone formerly of *NSYNC; Danica Patrick is fierce and fun; Darryl McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. treats people like they matter; so does Diane Lane, who starred in “Secretariat,” and happily took a pic of partygoers at Churchill Downs when I watched in awe as they didn’t recognize the acclaimed actress but instead asked her to take a photograph, which she did; and the first year Louisville’s own Larry Birkhead was invited to attend the Barnstable Brown Gala as a guest, he received the loudest applause from onlookers and has remained an oft-silent but incredible father to his daughter, Dannielynn (her mama is the late Anna Nicole Smith) and is as good of a person to those around him as he has been philanthropically (and quietly) to our Louisville and Southern Indiana community.]

As fun and interesting as the glitz and glamour was, year after year, I always left the track by myself – utterly exhausted – before the Running of the Roses and would drive to a neighborhood bar to watch the Kentucky Derby with those who made Derbytime so special: those who live here year-round and love our community regardless of the season. Sometimes, I’d drink a beer at the bar surrounded by a throng of individuals. Other times, I sat by myself as torrential rains poured outside and the staff and I watched the race in near silence.

Then, on Sunday, I’d meet up with friends and enjoy brunch, a Bloody Mary or two and rehash the past week before heading to bed well before the sun went down.

Times have changed, for me at least.

I’m married now, my professional obligations are different and I have a daughter who isn’t yet old enough to understand what it means to Do Derby.

fteThis year, I’m going to emcee the Boys & Girls Haven Oaks Day Brunch – featuring Linkin Bridge – with my husband and our daughter, Olive, in tow. After that, we’ll most likely return to our home in New Albany and, weather permitting, do yard work and enjoy the day until watching the Kentucky Oaks on TV. The following morning, we’ll probably get up, eat breakfast, maybe attend a Derby party for a bit, watch the race on TV, and then rise on Sunday morning, gather together for brunch and prepare for the week ahead.

This is how we — it’s no longer just about me — do Derby SoIN style, at least in 2017. Here’s to a winning Derby season, no matter how you spend it.

Yours truly,

Angie Fenton
Editor in Chief

From the Editor | February/March 2017

THE EXTOL TEAM debuted our first issue — featuring WHAS11’s Chief Meteorologist Ben Pine on the cover — in February 2015. Thanks to you and our advertising partners, over the past two years, we’ve increased in circulation, distribution locations, pages, scope and the size of our own team. To say we’re grateful is an understatement.

In addition to continuing bimonthly production of Extol Magazine and hosting regular Extol events — which included the Extol Sports Inaugural Benchmark Mile presented by Norton Sports Health on the morning of Dec. 31, 2016 — in January, we debuted Extol Sports, a monthly publication dedicated to fitness, health and sports in our community, which spans both sides of the Ohio River and has allowed us to welcome a bevy of writers talented in this arena. To say we’re growing is an understatement, too.

So, what comes next? Plenty, and we hope you’ll stay with us on this exciting ride.

But, that also means we’ve decided to take a break from our bimonthly launch party. We’ll be back with more in-person events, but for now, we have focused our time on relaunching a revised www.ExtolMag.com and launching www,ExtolSports. com for your viewing and reading pleasure. Please bear with us as we work out the kinks and start delivering much more content on both platforms and our social media channels, too. Soon.

As far as this issue of Extol is concerned, inside our pages you’ll find a myriad of stories, tips, features and coverage I hope offer at least a momentary reprieve from the overwhelming negativity that seems to surround us these days. Yes, it’s important to be informed about what’s happening daily in our world, but the Extol Team works hard to bring you positive stories we think are just as important and lasting.

As always, thanks for taking the time to pick us up. I hope we do the same for you.

Yours truly,

Angie Fenton 

Editor in Chief

From the Editor | December-January 2016/17

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I met with Jessica Bostock and her husband, John, who is featured on our cover. Despite the fact that he is battling a serious form of brain cancer and was originally told in July 2015 that he only had six to 12 months to live, the couple exuded hope and a fervent refusal to give up. They also bostockexpressed a willingness to share their story, and I’m so grateful that they have in this issue of Extol. The Bostocks tale — which is far from over — is a beautiful example of triumph over tragedy and proof that no matter what is occurring in our lives, we have the power to choose hope over helplessness and inspire others to do the same.


So Sharp

Guess the cat is out of the bag – or should I say the cardinal? – now that we can officially announce Todd Sharp, head coach of the University of Louisville’s Ladybirds, will star in his own reality show on Lifetime. We featured Todd, who also coaches the Floyd Central Dazzlers, on our August/September cover in an article we titled, “So Sharp.” According to the championship coach (who’s known for his no-holds-barred approach to life), his reality show will be called, fittingly, “So Sharp.” You can say you saw it here first. Filming for the first season of the show, which is produced by Collins Avenue, should begin no later than January.


Extol on the Move

Nearly two years ago, my husband, Jason Applegate, and I debuted Extol Magazine, a publication with a mission of celebrating Southern Indiana.

The first person who invested in our dream was John Neace, a longtime New Albany resident and successful businessman who is known for leading a life of integrity and valuing people based on their word.

Thankfully, John believed in what we wanted to accomplish and, along with Vitor Bueno, who is now with 3 Crown Capital, silently put forth the investment as minority ownership partners that, combined with everything Jason and I had in our savings, made Extol come to fruition and flourish, thanks to you, our readers, and the talented Extol Team.

Recently, we made the decision to accept the opportunity to operate under John’s private equity company, Neace Ventures, which is headed up by President Brad Estes and includes Old 502 Winery, Brownies “The Shed” Grille & Bar, Falls City Brewing Co., Louisville City FC pro soccer team, Blue River Cabinetry, AllTerrain Paving & Construction and many other locally-owned and operated businesses in the portfolio.

While Jason and I will continue to guide Extol and remain focused on our mission of celebrating — and serving — the Southern Indiana community, becoming a part of the Neace Ventures family is going to give us growth opportunities, the likes of which will benefit you. We can’t wait to share what happens next.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read Extol.

Yours truly,

Angie Fenton

Editor in Chief