Category Archives: Kentucky Life

Ebonite Bowling Balls, Rough River Dam State Park, and Forest Giants!

By Leslie Potter | 4/29/19 1:23 PM

Clogging; Ebonite Bowling Balls; Rough River Dam State Park; Forest Giants
Kentucky’s state dance is alive and well in Owensboro at the Lanham Brothers Jamboree; Hopkinsville is home to the nation’s largest producer of bowling balls, at Ebonite International; the Falls of Rough and Rough River Dam are a vacationer’s paradise; and a Danish artist brings Forest Giants to the giant forest at Bernheim in Bullitt & Nelson counties.

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Clogging has a special place in the history of Kentucky, and plenty of fans who enjoy learning the style of dance today.

“Clogging is a very old dance,” says clogging instructor Barry Lanham. “It originated in the Appalachian Mountains and is the official state dance of Kentucky. It’s been around for hundreds of years but is a mixture of African, Irish, German, and English step dancing. There are taps on the shoes, on the toes and on the heels, and I love the aspect of using your feet as an instrument.”

Lanham started dancing when he first learned about it as a freshman in college 30 years ago. He became an instructor a couple of years later, and today he teaches dancers of all ages and ability levels in Owensboro.
“We have all different levels of dancers, all different abilities,” he says. “My teaching style is very encouraging. I want to see people smiling. I want to see them having fun. They’re constantly being encouraged to keep going, to keep trying, to try to get a little bit faster as they go. And so through that encouragement and through the repetition of steps, they’re able to master that step and master a routine.”

Lanham explains that there are eight basic steps to clogging, which are the first elements that beginners learn in his classes. Routines are choreographed with different combinations of those basic steps and performed to any type of music that has a fast, lively beat.

“Me and my brother put together what’s called the Lanham Brothers Jamboree,” says Lanham. “The show is based out of Diamond Lake Resort Good Time Theater in Owensboro. Randy and I put the show together about 11 years ago. He does the music part of it. I do the dance part of it. We bring in different acts, but one thing that is always a signature part of the show is the music and the dance.”

Many of Lanham’s students come to the class through friends or family members. “It was my aunt,” says clogger Abby Burns. “She had told us one night at a family dinner that she was going to be clogging so she invited me and my mom and my grandmother and so that’s how we started.”

“I started in it and then my children joined me and as I tell people, they grew up and I didn’t,” says clogger Karen Stiff. “So I’m still here doing that and none of them do!”

“I actually attended a Lanham Brothers Jamboree and I was with a group of friends,” clogger Debbie Fillman remembers. “My friend leaned over and said, ‘this is exactly what I want to do, I want to be a clogger.’ And I said, ‘well let’s do it!’”

“There’s always another step you can learn,” Fillman adds. “There’s another dance you can learn, there’s another routine you can learn.”

Ebonite Bowing Balls
The world’s largest manufacturer of bowling balls is located right in Kentucky. Ebonite International of Hopkinsville produces up to 3,000 bowling balls a day.

“The one huge aspect about bowling that most people don’t realize is that it’s very important to have your own bowling ball,” says Rich Hanson, International Sales Manager for Ebonite. “You can go bowling with your friends recreationally and you can just pick a house ball off the rack. But it’s not custom fit to your hand. That ball’s not designed to have any performance characteristics to it.

“Having your own ball, one that fits your hand properly, makes the game so much easier,” Hanson continues. “When a ball doesn’t fit your hand, it feels heavy because the holes are too big or too small, but having that ball that’s custom fit to your hand makes the game so much more enjoyable. Here at Ebonite international that’s what we do. We design bowling balls that help bowlers get better.”

Hanson explains that Ebonite produces different brands for different purposes. Hammer and Track are high-performance balls designed for top competitive bowlers. Columbia and Ebonite are brands that offer different levels of performance from recreational bowlers on up. Bowling is a popular sport worldwide, and the equipment has evolved over the years.

“I didn’t start bowling until I was 19 and I was in the Air Force,” says Mitch Beasley, Tech Services Director. “I was in Germany. That’s where I learned to bowl. So I learned with a urethane bowling balls. They were a huge advancement compared to rubber and plastic that was made before that. I’d been bowling about four years when reactive resin balls came out and that totally changed the game because their performance was so much higher than urethane was.

“The cores were very simple back then,” Beasley adds. “And then you started learning you could make the cores heavier and the metal make different shapes inside the ball. They performed more. Then you started putting pieces on the side of the cores and then you started getting more performance. Ebonite’s evolved constantly to try and stay on the top and be the leader in the industry as far as performance and technology.”

Ebonite has been located in Hopkinsville for more than 50 years, and generations of family members have worked for the company. “Ebonite means a lot to the Hopkinsville community,” says Hanson. “We’ve created a lot of jobs for the community. I think it means a lot [to the community] to have a company that’s been here for this many years and that has that tenure of employees who know they have security. Every day they get up and they know this company’s been here and this company’s going to be here for a long time.”

Forest Giants at Bernheim Forest
A new art installation at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is gaining a lot of attention.
“90 years ago, when Isaac Wolf Bernheim gifted this land to the people of Kentucky, he wanted it to be a place where people could come and reside in nature with art,” says Visual Arts Manager Jenny Zeller. “For our 90th anniversary, we wanted to celebrate that, and so we commissioned Thomas Dambo, internationally renowned recycling artist, to come to Bernheim and build three giant sculptures inspired by this landscape.”

Dambo is a Danish artist who travels around the world building giant sculptures that he calls a fairytale of trolls. “I’ve done 43 of these creatures so far and now I’m here in the Bernheim Arboretum making another three,” says Dambo. “It’s a mother called Mama Loumari, then a baby girl called Little Elina, and a little boy called Little Nis.”

Dambo aims to incorporate his trolls into the landscape in ways that make them come alive. “When I have to decide where my trolls they live, I try to imagine that if I was a troll, what would I do if I were here?” he says. “I would maybe sit and lean against this tree, or I would look in this pond, and I think it’s nice that my creatures are interacting with the real world because by doing that they seem more alive. You could also put a troll inside a museum or on top of a pedestal and that would make it look more dead. And I’m aiming for having alive sculptures.”

As a recycling advocate, Dambo uses materials that would otherwise be considered trash to build his art. “Here we’re building from whiskey barrels, we’re building from pallets, old slugger bats,” he says. “The horn of my dragon is made of an old discarded slugger bat, and then we’re also building from trees that fell in the ice storm last year.”

“For [Dambo] to be able to pull off these monumentally sized sculptures, he needs to have people helping,” Zeller explains. “He has a crew in Denmark. There’s a team of maybe 15 people and so depending on who’s available for what projects, certain members will go. And this wouldn’t be possible without volunteer help as well. We’ve had 240 slots of volunteer availability and we have filled them up.

“With Forest Giants in a Giant Forest, people are coming to Bernheim for the art and are discovering all these wonderful things about Bernheim as a result,” Zeller adds. “We feel like that’s going to have great potential to motivate our community to see the importance of art in a natural environment.”

“I hope that when a family or a young couple or whoever will see the project, I hope they will take away from it that it’s worth it to leave your screen or your house and go out and experience nature,” says Dambo. “I hope that they will remember that nature is sacred and beautiful and that you can build big and amazing things from trash and ultimately remember to take care of the world we are all sharing.”

Rough River Dam State Resort Park
The Rough River Dam Reservoir in western Kentucky was originally built for flood control in the 1950s. But now, the scenic lake is a draw for tourists and new residents alike.

“I would say that Rough River Lake is the ideal lake for people who want to be close enough to home where it’s not inconvenient but far enough away that you feel like you’re getting away,” says Charlie Corbett, Land Developer with Patriots Pointe Custom Homes. “We’re an hour to Bowling Green, an hour to Owensboro, an hour to Elizabethtown. From my home to the airport in Louisville is 90 minutes, so we’re out in the middle of nowhere but we’re close. When you get here, it’s a different world.”

The area is home to Rough River Dam State Resort Park and was once owned by George Washington.
“[Washington] had bought about 5,000 acres thinking they was iron ore on the property,” says Patti Owen of Rough River Dam State Resort Park. “Come to find out, there was no ore on that land.”

The land later became prosperous thanks to the timber industry.“It was a thriving community at one time,” says Decker. “First suspension bridge in the state of Kentucky spans the river there. It’s just a really neat place.”

The construction of the dam began in 1955 for flood control and became operational in 1961, creating the reservoir. Now it’s a hotspot for boating and other activities.

“The recreational use of the lake for the local economy is really what’s impactful,” says Corbett. “We have about 2 million visitors per year and there are several campgrounds maintained around the lake by the Corps of Engineers. They do a fabulous job with that. We’ve got a little bit of something for everybody. You can camp, you can boat, you can hunt, you can fish. You can jet ski, you can do just about anything outdoors that you want to do.”

Fulton Banana Festival

By Leslie Potter | 2/21/19 11:36 AM

Bananas grow in tropical climates, and no part of Kentucky fits that description. So why is Fulton, a small town on the border with Tennessee, home to an annual banana festival?

“Fulton was called the banana capital of the world because about 70 percent, sometimes as high as 90 percent of all the bananas coming out of South America came through Fulton and South Fulton,” says Fred Fahl, a lifelong resident of Fulton.

The towns of Fulton, Kentucky, and South Fulton, Tennessee (locally known as the Twin Cities) developed along the Illinois Central Railroad, which ran a freight line between New Orleans and Chicago.

“Bananas grown in South America would be loaded on boats, brought to the port of New Orleans where they would be cross-loaded on to trains,” says Jeff Campbell, a sixth-generation Fultonian. “They would be iced down in New Orleans in the warm months to keep the fruit at 58 degrees. They would travel as far north [as they could go] before the temperature started to rise and they had to stop in Fulton. And Fulton constructed one of the largest ice plants in the world, and so these 100-car banana trains were constantly coming through Fulton and being re-iced before continuing on to Chicago.”

Fulton’s banana festival started in 1962 and continues as a beloved tradition today. Activities include pageants, banana bake-offs, contests, and parades.

“I think what gets most people excited is the grand parade,” says Christie Rogers, a seventh-generation Fultonian. “I think the greatest thing is the excitement is building up for the very end when they have the one-ton banana pudding. It does take several hours to make. Usually we’ll have about 30 to 50 people that will help volunteer to put it together.”

Volunteers make the pudding the day before the festival, and it’s kept frozen until right before parade time. It makes its way through the parade route and back through downtown where festival activities take place. Residents and visitors can then come and get a serving of the town tradition.

Fulton’s one-ton banana pudding earned a long-standing world record, but one that was challenged in 1987.

“In 1987, in Ontario, Canada, somebody decided they were going to take the record away from Fulton,” says Fahl. “And they made one, and they made it in a hot tub.”

The chairman of the festival that year wouldn’t let the record slip away from Fulton for long.

“They made a two-ton banana pudding that one year,” says Fahl. “[The chairman] said, ‘I don’t know about you folks, but we’re going to eat ours. I don’t know if they’re going to eat theirs. I don’t know who would want to eat something out of a hot tub.’ So anyway, we got it back, and then they went back to one-ton banana puddings because that’s a lot of pudding to serve people.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life #2408 which originally aired on February 2, 2019. Watch the full episode here.

Mammoth Bones from Kentucky

By Leslie Potter | 2/21/19 11:31 AM

In the late 18th and early 19th century, Northern Kentucky was a hotbed of fossil discovery. Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is now located where many of those fossils were found, and is named for the salt springs and mineral deposits that attracted ancient animals to the area.

“Big Bone Lick Historic Site is known as being the birthplace of American vertebrate paleontology as this area is where the first organized digging of fossils with a backbone was initiated,” says park interpreter Amelia Hulth. “That was initiated at the direction of Thomas Jefferson and executed by William Clark and George Rogers Clark.”

According to Hulth, the predominant fossil remains that have been found at the site are: American mastodon; Columbian mammoth; Harlan’s ground sloth; Jefferson’s ground sloth; woodland musk ox; ancient bison; giant stag moose; and complex-tooth horse.

Paul Simpson, Bison Program Coordinator, explains that originally it was believed that the fossils came from animals that came to the then-swampy area and got stuck in the marsh. But now evidence suggests that animals hunting along the creek banks were the main reason so many bones were left behind.

“George Rogers Clark, in 1781 during the Revolutionary War on the campaign to the Ohio Valley, sent a large mammoth tooth back to [Thomas] Jefferson,” says Simpson. “Jefferson, upon examining it…it really piqued his interest.”

Jefferson wasn’t entirely convinced that these species were extinct.

“When he sends Lewis and Clark down, he lists on their orders to attempt to find remains of animals rare and extinct,” says John Moorman, Associate Guide at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. “In 1818, he’s still writing about it. He doesn’t really believe that these things are gone, but you can tell he was kind of starting to shift his mind.”

William Clark and his team did uncover a wealth of fossils in the area. Unfortunately, many of them were lost long ago. Moorman explains that the easiest route to ship the fossils was down the Ohio River to the Mississippi, and then from New Orleans by sea to Washington, D.C. One of the ships carrying the fossils stopped in Cuba where it was deemed unseaworthy. The crates of fossils it carried were never retrieved.

Nevertheless, the fossils that remain at Monticello are considered to be an important part of Jefferson’s legacy.

“I think the bones really speak to Jefferson’s intense goal to make a [case for] American exceptionalism,” says Emilie Johnson, Assistant Curator at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. “Jefferson is looking at natural history and America’s resources as the counterbalance to Europe’s long political and cultural history…Where Europe has thousands of years of buildings and ruins and temples, America has new species, grand species, really important things that help us learn about the natural world.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life #2408 which originally aired on February 2, 2019. Watch the full episode here.

Kentucky Adventurer Joe Bowen

By Leslie Potter | 2/21/19 10:57 AM

“We’re given so many hours. So many days and months,” says Kentuckian Joe Bowen. “We can choose to sit in front of the television, or we can choose to partly live it, or we can choose to live it to the hilt.”

Bowen has chosen the latter option over and over again throughout his remarkable life. After serving time in the Air Force in hopes of seeing the world—but instead seeing an isolated vessel base in Southern California for four years—he was inspired to tour the country on his own. His vehicle of choice was a bicycle.

“I left California with forty-three dollars and eighty-five cents in my pocket to do a 14,000-mile trip on a bicycle,” says Bowen. “Had the American people not helped me, I would not have been able to do it.”

Bowen is a people person by nature, and he found traversing the country on a bicycle gave him the opportunity to meet lots of people and learn their stories.

“You never run out of material, because this country is great,” says Bowen. “And there are still great people in this country today. Incredible people today that are doing great things.”

Bowen went on to top his own feat, crossing the country via a less efficient mode of transportation. He broke the world stilt-walking record by walking from California to Powell County, Kentucky, using the feat to raise money for muscular dystrophy research. He continued from there to New York City and was awarded an Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor alongside American heroes like Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali.

“In the very beginning, I thought I was going to die,” Bowen remembers. “It hurt so bad. The blisters on my feet would look like small tomatoes. I would get up and put the shoes on and put on the stilts and I was in horrible pain, and I remember, I wanted to quit, but I’d made a commitment.”

His inspiration in the tough times came from a little boy with muscular dystrophy who he’d met in California.

“I would go back in my mind and I would remember that little California poster child that rode on my shoulders and he had those little aluminum braces on his legs,” says Bowen. “Every time I would get down on myself, I’d think, he will never take his off. I can take my stilts off, but he will never take those braces off. And I decided then, somewhere in those first four or five days, if I have to crawl across the country, this will be done.”

Bowen wanted to re-create his bicycle journey on the 40th anniversary of the original trek. However, when his knee started giving him trouble, he opted to do it on the 38th anniversary, in 2005, before his joints had a chance to deteriorate further. The 2005 trip was sponsored by the state of Kentucky to promote the new state tourism motto introduced by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, “Unbridled Spirit.”

“Governor Fletcher made me the first Unbridled Spirit,” says Bowen. “All I had to do was ride the bicycle and talk to the public about Kentucky and how great we are, and it was incredible.”

This segment is part of Kentucky Life #2408 which originally aired on February 2, 2019. Watch the full episode here.

Paradise Point

By Leslie Potter | 11/29/18 11:23 AM

Just up the road from Barren River Lake State Park, visitors pass by a distinctive, colorful building known as Paradise Point. Visitors can drop in for a bite to eat or to peruse the artwork and the collection of what owner John Erskine refers to as junk.

“I’m a junk guy. I love junk,” says Erskine. “I can’t help it. I always tell people the difference between being on the show ‘Pickers’ and the show ‘Hoarders’ is a store, because if you can’t get rid of your junk, you’ll end up on ‘Hoarders.’ So we have a place to get rid of things. We put it out front. Anything we can put out front that will attract someone’s attention, we’re willing to do it as long as it’s PG.”

Erskine and his wife, Sebrina, ended up in the food-and-junk business in a roundabout way. It started when Erskine saw a “for sale” sign over a boat near Barren River Lake. He called the number and learned that the sign wasn’t for the boat, it was for the building.

“I reluctantly decided to look at the building, and I fell in love with it and I bought it,” Erskine recalls. “And then I had to go home and tell my beautiful wife that I bought a building instead of a boat. So that’s how it all started.”

In the beginning, the shop was only open on weekends and the Erskines had no plans to get into the food business. But visitors to the Lake remembered the building from its previous life as a restaurant and would stop in looking for lunch. Eventually, they added a hot dog cart to appease the crowds.

“The best part about this place is there is an outside which is where we eat and have some art and loud music and quite a party,” says Erskine. “The inside has really morphed into more gifts. My wife loves to do that, and I love to do [the food], so it works perfect.”

Paradise Point is a source of joy for the Erskines, and they aim to share that with their customers. John worked as a chiropractor in nearby Bowling Green for 35 years. Sebrina managed his office. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with a serious illness.

“Sometimes the most awful thing turns out to be the catalyst for some of the best things,” says Erskine. “It made me stop and realize there is a time factor in my life. I’m 61. I feel young, I act young, I think young, but I’m not young. I’m at an age where I have to think about time. And what occurred to me was, how much more time do I get with my wife? So after she got well, we began to wonder about what we were doing with our practice. 35 years is a long time. I had done everything I wanted to do in my professional life, so we decided to sell everything and just dedicate our life to [Paradise Point]. It’s been an amazing journey, and she’s right here with me, healthier than ever.”

This segment originally appeared as part of Kentucky Life episode #2406 which originally aired on November 10, 2018. Watch the full episode.

Helping Veterans, Purple Toad Winery, and a Hip Marketplace!

11/11/18 9:00 AM

Veterans and their families affected by war heal through dance in Louisville, Purple Toad Winery is a top Paducah tourist destination and the state’s largest winery, and vacationers at Barren River Lake can enjoy the funky junk and fun atmosphere at Paradise Point Marketplace in Scottsville, Kentucky.

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Dancing Well

Once a week, veterans and their families along with supporters attend recreational dances in Louisville hosted by a group called Dancing Well.

“Dancing Well’s mission is to uplift veterans who are suffering from PTSD or brain injury and to also include and uplift their spouses, children and other significant others in their lives who are indirectly affected every single day,” says Deborah Denefeld, Executive Director of Dancing Well.

Continue reading about Dancing Well and watch the video.

Purple Toad Winery

Kentucky’s largest winery is Paducah’s Purple Toad Winery, a family business that has found its niche with high-quality but accessible wines.

“We’ve got 41 wines,” says winemaker Allen Dossey. “We’ve got eight dry wines, but we sell a ton of sweet wines. We sell a lot of starter wines. We make what we trademarked as gourmet sweet wines. We just specialize in that market.”

Inspired by a trip to Napa, Allen planted his first grapes in Paducah nine years ago. Today, Purple Toad wines are among the top sellers at shops in Lexington, Louisville, Indianapolis and Nashville.

Read more about Purple Toad Winery and watch the video.

Paradise Point

Just up the road from Barren River Lake State Park, visitors pass by a distinctive, colorful building known as Paradise Point. Visitors can drop in for a bite to eat or to peruse the artwork and the collection of what owner John Erskine refers to as junk.

“I’m a junk guy. I love junk,” says Erskine. “I can’t help it. I always tell people the difference between being on the show ‘Pickers’ and the show ‘Hoarders’ is a store, because if you can’t get rid of your junk, you’ll end up on ‘Hoarders.’ So we have a place to get rid of things. We put it out front. Anything we can put out front that will attract someone’s attention, we’re willing to do it as long as it’s PG.”

Continue Reading about Paradise Point and watch the video.

Judy Drive-In

11/04/18 11:46 AM

Running a successful drive-in theater in the 21st century requires a certain set of conditions, including a good location and a dedicated staff. Judy Drive-in, located in Mt. Sterling, has both.

“It’s just magic,” says Chris Erwin, manager of the Judy Drive-in. “One of the first memories I can recall of showing movies to people was in third grade I brought my dad’s home movie projector and showed some Mickey Mouse cartoons for show and tell,” says Erwin “I just remembered how good that felt, entertaining people, making people happy, and I get to do it on a weekly basis in the summer.”

Judy Drive-in has been in continuous operation since it was built in 1952. Erwin says that it has had around five different owners, but it’s always been an independent, mom-and-pop operation. Today, Erwin and his wife are in charge. Their young daughter Cecilia is already getting in on the family business, selling lemon shake-ups during special events.

In order to have a successful drive-in theater, Erwin says that the location has to be close enough to town that people are willing to make the drive, but far enough that development doesn’t encroach on the spot. Light pollution from nearby cities or towns detracts from the picture on an outdoor screen, so being somewhat remote, like Judy’s location in Mt. Sterling, is beneficial.

“It’s quiet. It makes you feel like yesteryear,” says employee Elizabeth Day. “Everything is so fast-paced now. Everything’s on the computer. Everybody’s got their face in their phones, and this is just a time to chill out.”

Longtime patron and Mt. Sterling resident Aleia Adkins agrees that the necessary slower pace of the drive-in is part of the appeal. “To get a good spot you have to come early which means spending a couple of hours with your family waiting for the movie to come on,” she says. “You eat, roll around in the grass, spend family time.”

But drive-in theater operators do have to keep up with the times to maintain a thriving business. Erwin makes sure to get first-run movies, and opens them with their national release dates.
“You can’t really make it off nostalgia,” he says. “I couldn’t show Grease or American Graffiti every week, even though those are great movies and I love them, and our audience loves them. You have to have current product to pull in that new client.”

Judy Drive-in also takes pride in its concession stand, which is more than just enticing popcorn—although that is a popular offering on the menu.

“We take our food service very seriously,” Erwin says. “We eat here too. This is what we feed our family, so it has to be the highest quality. We serve everybody else like we serve our own family. It’s made with love.”

That balance of location, new movies with a hint of nostalgia, and homemade touches in the concession stand, make Judy Drive-in a beloved part of the Mt. Sterling community.

“People have always supported it, and here we are,” says Erwin. “It’s still magic and I still get butterflies. And I’ll still do it as long as I still feel that way.”

This segment originally appeared as part of Kentucky Life episode #2405 which originally aired on November 3, 2018. Watch the full episode.

Central Auto Sales and Service, Inc.

11/04/18 11:41 AM

It might look like just a retro gas station and service shop on the outside, but Central Auto Sales and Service in Clay, Ky., is a place where the community comes together, and young employees get a jump start on workplace skills.

Jeff Cherry is the current owner of Central Auto. He got his start at the shop when he was a young teenager in the 1970s. He believes the helpful, in-person service the shop offers keeps it going even as online services encroach on nearly every business sector.

“Us old-school people, we still like to be face-to-face and I think that’s a lot of the reason why we’ve still got our doors open,” says Cherry. “People still trust us. We just try to be fair to everybody and that’s really all you can do. The town means a lot to us and we mean a lot to the town and if we weren’t here it would definitely impact our little community a lot. There’s a lot of hands-on stuff that people need that you just can’t get on your computer and get right now. There’s still a need for places like what we have for Central Auto.”

Scott Clark was an employee at the store for four years, beginning when he was still in high school. “I do electrical work now and I’ve got a small business here in Clay,” says Clark. “Back when I worked here years ago, working behind the counter selling auto parts, one of the main things I learned was how to treat people. Just be nice to folks. It was a great place to start.”

Cherry agrees that the shop is a great training ground for any future career path. “I think everybody needs to work for the public a little bit,” he says. “Working behind the counter is kind of like being a bartender without the alcohol…because sometimes you ask somebody how they’re doing, and you get the whole story whether you want it or not!

“Younger people need to learn to interact,” Cherry continues. “Especially in this day and time when everything is on social media. Probably one of the biggest lessons is just, show up at work. Work ethic. Learn how to get along with your coworkers and the customers. It helps you later in life because you can be really good at something, but if you can’t get along with people then you’re not going to achieve maybe what you could.”

This segment originally appeared as part of Kentucky Life episode #2405 which originally aired on November 3, 2018. Watch the full episode.

Music Therapy from the Heart

By Leslie Potter | 11/04/18 11:33 AM

Music therapist Brian Schreck works with patients at the Norton Cancer Center in Louisville and has found a unique way to bring life to his practice. Recordings of patients’ heartbeats serve as a metronome for the songs they learn to play as part of their therapy. Hearing that heartbeat reminds them that they’re alive, even though many of them are facing terminal diagnoses.

“It’s inside of all of us,” says Schreck. “It’s always working, no matter what it sounds like. I think music is something different for everyone. I think it’s something that can be a vehicle to help you get where you’re going or want to go.”

Lisa Boyer is a patient who is going through her second round of cancer treatment. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and was later told by her orthopedist that the cancer was in her bones.

“I thought, okay, I’m going to die,” she says, remembering hearing the diagnosis. “And then I thought no, I’m alive right now. I’m not going to die. I’m going to live until I die. This is just a way to keep on living and music therapy I think is just wonderful. I love it. I really do.”

Boyer has learned to play 50 songs on the ukulele since beginning sessions with Schreck in November 2017. She says the therapy brings her joy, but it also has practical effects. Some of the medicine used to treat the effects of cancer can affect memory. Playing music help keeps the brain engaged and challenged.

For Schreck, the therapy works both ways. “I’m trying to do something to help them, but also they’ve changed my life,” he says. “They’ve changed the way I look at the world. They give me hope. They make me feel alive. I try to make that a cycle with them as well.

“I like to say this at the end of every session, whether it’s outpatient or inpatient or wherever we are: we’re going to get through this day, and we’re going to get through every day, and that’s that. See you next time.”

This segment originally appeared as part of Kentucky Life episode #2405 which originally aired on November 3, 2018. Watch the full episode.

A Treetop Adventure, Georgetown’s Ward Hall, Helping Children in Need, and More!

By Leslie Potter | 5/10/18 9:00 AM

Indulge your adventurous side with Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson State Park, Georgetown’s Ward Hall is one of the finest 19th-century homes in the nation, the Feminist Artists of Kentucky raise funds for children in need in Africa, and the Filson Historical Society is the home of Kentucky’s history.


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Levi Jackson State Park Treetop Adventure
At Levi Jackson State Park, just east of the Daniel Boone National Forest, adventurous visitors can challenge themselves with obstacles high – and not-so-high – above the ground.

“This is an aerial adventure park,” says Chris Robinson, executive director of the London Tourism Commission. “We have five trails, and each trail has 12 obstacles. We just say 60 obstacles built into the trees.”

Find out more about Treetop Adventure and watch the video.

Ward Hall
Just outside of downtown Georgetown, Ward Hall stands as one of the most significant examples of Greek revival architecture in the country. The mansion was built in 1857 as a second residence for multi-millionaire Junius Richard Ward.

Ward was a native of Scott County who made his fortune on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. His primary residence was a mansion in Mississippi, and the 12,000 square foot house on 550 acres in Kentucky was essentially a vacation home.

“Ward Hall became the epitome of Greek revival architecture in Kentucky,” says historian Ron Bryant. “This was built for a party house. They would come up here from Mississippi in about May, and they would stay until nearly October so they would miss out on the real heat of the Mississippi delta and yellow fever epidemics and they would come up here and party. If you got an invitation to Ward Hall you know you have arrived socially.”

The building has some age-related decay, but is still a remarkable example of the architecture of its time.

“One of the highlights of the house is the double elliptical staircases,” says Bryant. “There’s supposed to be only one other like them in the country and that’s in Mississippi. The double elliptical staircase goes clear to the third floor, and if you stand at the top at the attic stairs and look down, it’s a 30-foot drop. It’s breathtaking.”

Ward Hall is furnished with pieces from the 1850s and 1860s. Portraits – some of them copies of the originals still owned by the Ward family – date back to the 1840s.

“It is magnificent to think that you could have so much about one family and one time period here that literally you can just walk through and feel like they’ve just kind of stepped out and may be back at any moment,” says Bryant.

Feminist Artists of Kentucky
Since 2013, a group of women in Berea have shared their artistic interests and talents to raise money for charitable causes, locally and globally.

“We started because we all loved art, and found out that painting and making art can become a lonely, solitary experience, and that if we met together with others we would really motivate one another,” says artist Pat Jennings. “And we have.”

Learn more about Feminist Artists of Kentucky and watch the video.

Filson Historical Society
John Filson was a schoolteacher and land surveyor who published a map of Kentucky and a book about his travels through the area in the 1780s. He’s now considered Kentucky’s first historian. The Filson Historical Society in Louisville exists today to document the history of Louisville and the Ohio River Valley.

The Filson collects and stores documents, photographs, and artifacts. There are items that were brought over from Europe by eventual Kentucky settlers that date back to the 1600s.

Continue reading about the Filson Historical Society and watch the video.