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Update, 9pm Thursday: Big names and big money arrived all afternoon Thursday at the Chancellor estate. Former President George Bush arrived by private jet at Evansville Regional Airport and was taken by motorcade to the Republican fundraiser and the event for the Steve Chancellor International Wildlife Foundation.

Most of the guests arrived by limo or their own transportation, but Newswatch caught up with actress Bo Derek driving a German Township fire truck. The actress told Newswatch Ben Jackey, “Am I not the luckiest girl in the world today? Doesn everyone want to drive the fire truck?” Derek says she not very active politically, but she does support the Chancellors wildlife foundation. Click the exclusive streaming video at left for more of Derek comments and shots of the former President arriving at the event.

Former President Bush left the party about 7:30 Thursday evening. The event wrapped up about three hours later.

Update, 5pm Thursday: The festivities are underway at the Chancellor estate in Vanderburgh County. Look for live reports on the celebrities on Newswatch at 5, 6 and 10.

Earlier: Big names are headed to the Tri state Thursday for two fund raisers at the Vanderburgh County home of Steve Chancellor.

The first fundraiser at Chancellor home is for the Republican Party. The other is for the Steve Chancellor International Wildlife Foundation.

Wednesday, Chancellor confirmed for Newswatch some of the guest list. The list includes former President George Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and retired General Norman Schwarzkopf.

You might remember those same three were here back in 2000 for a similar event to raise money for current President Bush presidential campaign. That event raised about two million dollars.

Chancellor says during Thursday event, former President Bush will receive the person of the year award from his wildlife foundation. General Schwarzkopf received the honor last year, and Quayle two years ago.

There are more guests on the list. Besides Bush, Quayle and Schwarzkopf, there will be some big names from the entertainment industry.

They include actress Bo Derek and her boyfriend, actor John Corbett. Country star Aaron Tippin will be on hand to provide entertainment throughout the evening.

Most of us would be frightened to have a neighbor like Donna Winkler

“Mainly I see the front of the home. Who coming down the street. Who coming in,” says Winkler. “They have wonderful parties. I never been invited. Always a neighbor, never at the party.”

Winkler has lived next to the tycoon estate for a year and a half. She seen limo after limo carrying stars to the mansion,
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but hasn and most likely will never, see inside it.

Former Evansville mayor Russell Lloyd has seen a glimpse or two, but won this year.

“I not going to go this year,” says Lloyd. “I busy with some other things.”

It could be the $5,000 price tag that will keep Lloyd away from the golden gates, but that what draws the best of the entertainment, political and culinary worlds.

“Normally, there several bars set up within the home. It normally well catered with excellent hors d explains Lloyd. “I know the last time we went. I believe Le Ann Rimes was there and Kenny G. So, that was pretty fabulous.”

U of E political science professor Bob Dion says little to none may go to George W. Bush. So he says don count out the president campaigning and fundraising in the Tri state in a more public forum, maybe not in a Republican stronghold like Indiana, but perhaps Kentucky or Illinois.

“It a little shadowy. It a little unclear,” says Dion. “I haven gotten my $5,000 invitation. It unclear precisely who the recipient is, but it appears under the new campaign finance laws. These things may be intended to go towards the party. Where the party can help mobilize or educate voters. If Bush were to come to town, I guarantee you in the context of an election year, he would do something for public consumption because he looking for votes.”
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