Page 1

JUNE 2020 • $ 2.95

LIFE THROUGH

a DIFFERENT

LENS


PADUCAH’S CROWN JEWELER FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY

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48

contents Ethan Morgan is Cub Reporter Extraordinaire

june 2020 ★ from the editor page 4 ★ last word

16 28

A Carousel Inside a Condo in Downtown Paducah

32 35

Young Girls Win State History Day Award

Two Writers Create Book About National Parks

Donald Shively Sees a Green Future for McWright Field

38 43 46 55 58 62

Tilghman’s Memorial Stadium has a Long History

66 70 74

Wood Artist Lisa Narloch Creates and Donates

76 81

Blake Denson is Changing the Face of Opera

page 84

6

The Summer 2020 Photo Contest

Kate Davis Teaches English to Chinese Children Full STEAM Ahead at Discovery Center Precision Performance in Paducah Patty Van Dorin is Creating a New Life for an Old Storefront

This Artist Has a Lot of Patience for Felting Dr. Barbara Veazey Takes a New Turn in Her Creative Journey Jennifer Lopez is Mom, Cake Baker, Law Maker Readers Relate to the COVID Crisis

22 A Day on the Rails of the P&L Railway Visit us at paducahlife.com ★

2 • PADUCAH LIFE

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VOLUME 30, EDITION 3 executive editor/ P U B L I S H E R Darlene M. Mazzone

찝 associate E D I TO R / editorial P H OTO G R A P H Y J.T. Crawford

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F RO M ou r E D I TO R

I

T IS ONLY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT THAT we experience being alive. LIFE in all its fullness is happening right now. Despite all the sadness and the concern about where we go from here, and how we get there, we are still here. Beautiful opportunities and moments are being passed over and lost to the flow of time. And though we cannot possibly fully experience every movement of clouds overhead or every blossoming flower in our garden, sometimes we get so attached to reaching our goals and thinking about the future that we don’t pay attention to the wonder all around us. I have probably written this “same” editorial (more or less) a dozen times during the 30 years we have been publishing PADUCAH LIFE Magazine. It has always been my ongoing philosophy. But there has probably been no more apt time for it to be so vital to our health and wellbeing. On those many pages that came before, it was a gentle reminder to look around, pay attention, really see what was happening right before our eyes. This time? It is an almost mandatory objective so that we don’t squander the glorious days that we have been given, despite a global enemy that seems determined to take everything from us. LIFE must be attended to, of course. But if we are wise, we can enjoy it at the same time. We can awaken ourselves to the moment we are living right now by taking a deep breath and simply BEING. We create our lives with our thoughts, but focusing on an imagined future keeps us from co-creating with the universe our very here and now. We are truly looking at LIFE through a different lens. Our lives have been turned inside out. Our view of the world is being altered day by day. In her book Holy Envy, author Barbara Brown Taylor tells of going back to her childhood home and chasing her dog into the neighbor’s farm field. She found herself approaching a barn that she knew she should remember, but seeing it now as an adult, it seemed different. “Should this ever happen to you,” she writes, “with a barn, a person, a photograph, or a religious truth— please do not overlook the gift. It is a great thing to see something familiar from an unfamiliar angle for the first time, even if it is because you have been worried and lost for longer than you would have liked.” We may be worried. And the way may seem lost. So let’s pledge to each other to look at LIFE the only way we can—in this present moment.

Darlene M. Mazzone darlene@paducahlife.com

Editor’s Note: This photo of me, and my oldest son Vince, was taken in 1984. It’s a testament to my belief that we should always take the time to really see the intricate beauty of LIFE.

JUNE 2020 • 5


2020 PHOTO CONTEST

B

ACK AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF 2020, WHEN COLD, GREY SKIES shrouded the sun day after day, blanketing our city in a typical winter pall, we found a great deal of comfort in planning the late-spring edition of Paducah Life Magazine. An interesting aspect of putting this magazine together is that our hearts and minds are always partially in the future. We dwell on the joys to come. We saw bright sunny days— blossoms, blooms, and trees bursting forth in a dazzling, verdant display. We envisioned the city coming fully alive, awaking after a long, winter slumber, returning to the public events and activities we all cherish. We wondered how best to display the beauty of our city. That’s when we decided to ask our readers! The charm of Paducah is found not only in its places and events but also in how each of us adds to this kaleidoscope. We asked readers to submit their photos—images that reflect their unique perspectives of Paducah.

6 • PADUCAH LIFE


JUSTINE KLOPE

1st PLACE

2nd PLACE

VICK PATEL

JUNE 2020 • 7


2020 PHOTO CONTEST

Little did we know that by the end of March, as we received and sorted images, that life would be radically different this summer. Amid a worldwide pandemic, as businesses closed and events were cancelled, the photos we had received took on a different, perhaps even more deep meaning. They are joyful but also poignant in a way we could have never imagined. They set a cornerstone of thoughtfulness deep within our hearts, helping us to cherish what is truly important. As it has been borne out over the past few months, difficulties often drive us to our truest sources of self. We hope that you, too, find a renewed sense of wonder in the new normal of our everyday life. And that you can look at LIFE in our community through a slightly different lens.

PAUL GRUMLEY

3rd PLACE

LARANDA CLEMANS

8 • PADUCAH LIFE

DONNA RODEGHIERO


JIM ETHRIDGE

CLARK JARVIS

SABURINA HODGE RUSSEL BASH

MIKE BREWER

AMANDA BURTON


s

2020 PHOTO CONTEST

s

CRAIG GENTRY s

s

BEN LAWSON

STEPHANIE YOUNG

10 • PADUCAH LIFE


2020 PHOTO CONTEST

CINDY JONES

PHYLLIS RUSSELL

12 • PADUCAH LIFE


s

s

PHYLLIS RUSSELL

BARBARA CARLOSS | CHIP BOHLE


MACIE DOWELL


2020 PHOTO CONTEST

VICKI HUNKLER

JOHN THOMPSON

SARAH FARRIS

APRIL BASH

DEBRA TALBERT

GAYLE NEAL

WAYNE GARMON

JUNE 2020 • 15


nnn

Carousel Condo the

I N TH E

by E LENA W RY E

Bill and Lois Moore Decided to Take a Spin Into Paducah. What They Found was a New Place for Their Carousel and a New Life on Paducah’s Scenic Riverfront

16 • PADUCAH LIFE


JUNE 2020 • 17


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I

T COULD BE UNASSUMING AT FIRST GLANCE— THAT quaint door on Broadway nestled among bustling business entrances. But once you enter the home of Lois and Bill Moore, you’ll soon discover that it is anything but that. Were you to walk past it (which you most likely have), you may initially only see the colorful window shade that hangs from the top of the door. And should you happen to indeed peek inside for a moment, you might even catch a glimpse of a white goat figurine with bright, turquoise eyes staring back at you from the stairwell. You may have even heard about the “carousel in the condo.” And if so, you’ve probably pondered both how and why someone could transport a working, antique carousel into their living space. But when you do open the door to the condo that sits at the corner of Broadway and Water Street, you’ll be instantly welcomed with open arms to the home-away-from-home of Lois and Bill Moore. When you enter the apartment and make the trek up the stairs, Lois, with her infectious personality, will excitedly invite you in and envelope you in her wonderful gift of hospitality as she encourages you to make yourself at home. Momentarily you’ll be offered a cup of coffee, to which you’ll probably happily oblige as she excitedly offers you a tour of the home. Of course, as soon as you reached the top of the stairs you would no doubt do a quick about-face to take in the full-size and fully functioning antique carousel that sits proudly in the middle of the living space – a birthday gift to Lois from Bill one year, complete with both original seating and antique horses, which hail from England. It is eclipsed only by the magnificent view of the river that is visible from every window in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. At this point, Bill has already emerged from his writing space in the back to greet you, too. As both a writer and consistent thinker, he’ll gladly share with you the latest thing he’s been reading and will be curious

18 • PADUCAH LIFE


JUNE 2020 • 19


nnn

to get your thoughts on it as well. By his easy-going tone, you most likely feel like the two of you have already been great friends for quite some time. But by now, Lois has buzzed by and grabbed the both of you to begin the tour. As you take a look around, the wide array of colors immediately draws you in. Bright hues of raspberry and periwinkle stand out both boldly and tastefully everywhere you look. The design is stunning and the home’s feeling is hospitable. It’s a style that is a breath of fresh, colorful air and Lois and Bill are personalities that are the same. Lois and Bill call Springfield, Illinois home. More specifically, “home” in Springfield for the couple is actually an old church that they renovated. Complete with stunning stained-glass windows to accent Lois’ colorful design, the immense, historic square-footage even houses a fire pole that Bill knew the space must have. The couple’s carousel had plenty of room for its antique horses to spin around and delight guests there in the church as well. Photos of the unique home can be found within the pages of Lois’s design book, Collaboration. Lois and Bill successfully owned and operated five different stores in Illinois that displayed everything from gifts and décor to antique English furniture. All the while, Lois was continuing to work as an interior designer for clients all over the country, even designing her own line of custom rugs. But when the creative, dream-following duo was searching for a getaway, and were mere signatures away from closing on one that had the perk of added studio space in Franklin, Tennessee, the thought of moving to

Paducah (the home of dear friends of theirs) danced enticingly in their heads. Unbeknownst to both Lois and Bill, the two were thinking along the same lines in regards to redirecting their path from Franklin to Paducah. It would be almost a year-long process of spending weekends in Paducah perusing homes, apartments, and even churches, before a friend told them of the former Fox Briar Inn condos that had become available. “When we got here, Lois came in just to look—but I know her—so I watched her and I thought oh, she likes this. I knew I was going to end up buying this one.” It didn’t take long for Lois to put her signature touch on the space with her design, creating not only a place of respite for the couple, but a stunning showpiece for her masterful work. Color is Lois’s signature look. The bright colors that make themselves at home along the walls, in the fabric accents, and even in the bright pink, neatly folded laundry towels, welcome you into the incredible mixture of both joy and peace that the color palette provides. But for as much color as your eye may see throughout the Moore residence, it may actually see more white— white walls, mainly white furniture, white cabinets, and even wood floors painted white in the hallway leading from Lois’ studio to the master bedroom. The “whitest white there is,” is how Lois affectionately describes her backdrop color. The white serves as a blank canvas to the array of colors that Lois uses in her design. To hear Lois talk about her passion for interior design, you quickly learn that there is so much more to her than this artistic skill that she has honed over the years. There is a designer who seeks to truly create a happy life for others by transforming their home into a reflection of themselves. Both Lois and Bill practice the hospitality that they preach. The now-colorful condo at the corner of Broadway and Water Street has already been a welcoming tool that the couple has used for both quaint lunches and large gatherings with friends old and new. The condo is always dressed and ready to welcome the next new visitor. “At the end of the day, it’s a happy life. A happy backdrop—whatever that happy looks like to every individual.”

TO SEE MORE OF LOIS’S WORK, VISIT WWW.PERIWINKLESDESIGN OR FIND HER AT LOISMOORE/PERIWINKLES ON WWW.HOUZZ.COM.

20 • PADUCAH LIFE


JUNE 2020 • 21


A Day on the

RAILS of the P&L ★

T

by DARLENE M AZZONE

HE LAST TIME I HAD BEEN ON A train was a passenger train that stopped daily at the Arlington Depot, a clapboard building darkened by coal dust and oiled floors. I was in first grade and our teacher was accompanying us on a short field trip to Fulton, Kentucky to visit a milk bottling plant. But today was very different. I was climbing aboard a P&L Railway freight train bearing 10,000 tons of coal loaded into 100 cars that would eventually wind its way past coal mines, wood yards, barnyards and backyards to its Louisville destination this cool, clear morning. And I would be along for the ride. As I climbed into the massive green and white locomotive and parked myself on a stool across from the engineer, I felt a little shiver of anticipation. Although the space we occupied together was pretty small, the incredible power beneath us and behind us seemed overwhelming. “Do you know there are people out there who would pay a thousand dollars to have that seat where you’re sitting?” Ed Mayes said to me as he applied pressure to the engine’s throttle calling on the 1,850 horses used to power our pull. He then tugged a cord, which let out a blasting bellow that awoke everyone within earshot. “Are you serious?” I replied with a little dismay.

22 PADUCAH LIFE


“You have no idea the passion people have when it comes to trains.�


A day on the RAILS

“You have no idea the passion people have when it comes to trains,” he answered. At that point, my ride took on a whole new meaning. The P&L Railway runs along a rejuvenated set of tracks that gradually climb their way eastward to Kentucky’s largest city where the line intersects with a number of major railways. Along the way the steel snake passes through rocky corridors, into cold, cavernous tunnels, by sweeping fields of grain, and next to a goldmine. It was a day I’ll never forget. We pulled away from the south side of Paducah that morning to the rhythmic “ping” of mallets striking spikes as a group of P&L employees repaired a section of the crossing. As I closed my eyes and waited for the thrust of the engine to make us mobile, my mind’s eye drifted to a time a hundred years ago when, except for the awesome power we now possessed, we could have been undertaking a similar journey. Traveling by track instead of blacktop is an entirely different perspective of the world. As we began the first leg of our trip, we quickly left the commercial bustle of city life and within minutes were immersed in a tree-lined path that bordered both sides of the train. Intermittently gaps would open to expose a stand of goats or horses, tails twitching, eyes fixed on the moving locomotive which had disturbed their grazing. As you take in the changing landscape you get a sense of being Daniel Boone blazing a trail through uncharted frontiers. The track soon approaches the dam and beneath us the glistening waters of Kentucky Lake were dotted with fishing boats and mussel rigs. This would be one of the train’s first stops on a regular work day, dumping say 10,000 tons of coal in about two hours at the BRT Terminal. But today is not a workday and we pass over the electrical generating station on our way to the east. Again, we traverse along the rolling pasturelands of western Kentucky dotted with farm gates and gently flowing creeks along red clay banks hanging heavy with fronds of blackberry bushes and honeysuckle. At the approach of an upcoming crossing Ed tugs the cord again to let out two longs, a short, and a long: the announcement that a train is coming. Cars and trucks wait in line and give way to the more powerful vehicle as Ed waves a hello and drivers wave in return. “The traffic picks up during harvest season in these rural areas, so we pay special attention when farmers are busy on tractors and combines and the like,” Ed tells me. Later we see rail cars along the sidings sprinkled with limestone dust from the nearby quarry and around Eddyville, Westvaco’s Woodyard comes into view. Shortly afterwards, the landscape changes. The sides close in

JUNE 2020 • 25


A day on the RAILS and stone bluffs jut out from steep hillsides. Trees with an iffy clutch on earth reach upwards at an unwitting angle. Groundhogs saunter along the tracks as the engines and cars interrupt their serenity. The early summer breeze blows the leaf-laden branches of maples and poplars and goldenrods wave their yellow heads at the passing piece of mechanization. Around the next curve we see a swampy area decorated with floating lily pads and tall, proud cypress trunks emerge from the green tinted water. Minutes later we round a bend and before us stands a limestone tunnel carved beneath a towering hill of earth and moss-covered greenery. We enter its dark interior and it accepts us just as it does the other five trains that pass through its insides each day along their way to work. We emerge into a picturesque snapshot where rails meet the sunlight once again. To the edge of the rails we see remnants of old railroad ties lying like arrow markers of days gone by when they, too, were the makings of a new railroad track. Once again the view from our square little window changes. The rails divide and coal cars line the accompanying track as coal mines appear near Dawson Springs. Old coal chutes stand guard; chutes now red with rust. Concrete columns remain strong from their earlier task now surrounded with wild flowers and foliage. Pastoral scenes along the way contrast with the harsh use of the land. The cranes tower above mounds of ore a few miles distant, the backbone of the P&L’s business. The train enters close quarters again as the lush green turns to a stone wall. Rocky hallways on both sides of the train form the faces of a thousand stony onlookers as we pass by. The areas become more uneven and the incline begins to increase as we say hello to tiny communities like McHenry and Horse Branch. A little girl in a pink, frilly dress sits in a white swing on the porch of an earlier hotel. Millwood and Clarkson are just ahead, examples of life that are a little less pretentious and a little more untouched.


Then the earth drops from beneath us and we find ourselves suspended atop the Big Clifty Bridge, 128 feet above a gorge just outside of Clarkson. We ride alongside the tops of the trees, resting on rails held up by steel girders that plunge their way steeply to the forest floor. After crossing, Ed waves to workers in the Vine Grove Cemetery and I hear Ed’s story about the world’s largest sassafras tree just north of Ft. Knox. Another thrill awaits us at milepost 23. We once more look down from 130 feet above the ground as we follow the graceful curves of the Muldraugh trestle and we get a panoramic view of an area unreachable by car. This stalwart stretch of suspended track takes us across at a staggering height only to enter another solid wall of rock into which a passageway has been cut for us to pass. We exit the tunnel and head towards West Point at the junction of Highway 60. A little to the north is Kosmosdale where we nearly grind to a halt to wait for a procession of milk cows to cross our path on their way to the barn for the evening. The light is fading now and as the evening sun drops, the glistening rail tops catch the signal lights as we pass them in periodic flashes like tiny beacons of direction as the rolling cylinders beneath us trace their path. Before long, crossings become more frequent. Cars and traffic invade the train’s traffic pattern. More and more buildings crop up around us and the busy metropolis of Louisville gains ground and encircles us. The end has come. The brakes are applied and the screech of metal against metal is an audible indication that we must stop. We go no farther. But for me, this trip will never really end. It will forever live in the visual images of this day on the rails of the P&L.

For me, this trip will never really end. It will forever live in the visual images of this day on the rails of the P&L.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article first appeared in a 1996 edition of Paducah Life Magazine.


For the

Love of National

Parks ★

by J.T. C RAWFORD

Amelia Beames Worked Her Way West to Discover Details She is Now Documenting in a New Children’s Book

28 • PADUCAH LIFE


JUNE 2020 • 29


A

AMELIA BEAMES GUIDED HER RENTED CHEVY Malibu down the center of a long dirt road, the dust flying and rising in a swirling cloud behind her. Ten miles from her departure from asphalt, she reached her destination—an old school bus surrounded by cows. The converted bus would be her lodging for the night. The next day, she would see the Grand Canyon. From there, she’d head farther west, up the coast, and across our nation’s northern border. She and friend Hannah Mabry were on a mission to see as many U.S. National Parks and Monuments as they could in a month. Staying in a bus in a cow field would be just one of many fond memories of the trip. The duo’s goal was to gather photos and information on national parks out west for a new children’s book. It all started with a grant program called Engaged Learning Initiative, which offers students and faculty at Freed-Hardeman University funding for independent projects. “I’ve always loved national parks,” says Amelia. “I love nature. And just the day before I heard about the grant program, I saw a tweet that gave the best route to see all the national parks out west. So I joked with my friends about getting the funding to do that. I was like yeah, that’ll never happen. But I talked to my photography professor, and he encouraged me to write a proposal. So my friend Hannah and I (not the Hannah who ultimately accompanied Amelia on her trip) proposed we visit 13 parks, take photos, and because she was an education major, write a children’s book about it.” To Amelia’s surprise, her proposal was accepted, and she received funding. “We were floored.” Before they left, however, Hannah had to drop out. Amelia turned to another friend (also named Hannah) to become her traveling companion. “I asked her what she was doing for the month of June,” laughs Amelia. “I told her she was going to national parks with me.”

30 • PADUCAH LIFE


The traveling twosome flew to their first location and rented a car. “We were gone from June 5 until the 4th of July,” says Amelia. “We went in a giant loop. We’d go to a Amelia, left, and Hannah, never knew what park and spend a few days they would encounter on any given day. They and then move on. We stayed hope to convey their sense of exploration to in Airbnbs. It was fantastic. the next generation of young readers. And we found out that stuff out west is really far apart. So we spent a lot of time in the car.” Amelia and Hannah made their way through the southwest before heading up the coast and then back east. “Our last stop was Mount Rushmore,” Amelia comments. “It was a little out of the way. But we did that on the 4th of July. There was nothing better than that.” Amelia credits her dad for her love of our national parks. She explains, “He just loves nature. For family vacations, we would do historical tours or go to a national park. So I had already been to Glacier and Yellowstone before my trip.” In total, they visited 17 national parks and monuments. Amelia and Hannah split the writing duties, pulling from 82 sources. The resulting book, The West U.S.: A Tour of Seventeen National Parks and Monuments, which Amelia compiled and designed, documents their trip. “We divided our research into two parts. We looked at ecological facts of each park as well as their histories. We interviewed a lot of rangers along the way.” One of the more fascinating parts for Amelia, from a historical standpoint, was Mesa Verde which contains the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. “We went on several history tours there. And in some parks, we didn’t expect to go so in-depth into culture, but we found a lot of information. That was a bonus.” They also kept a journal of the various wildlife they encountered. For some parks, they could have used more time. “We were at Yellowstone for about a week. That just gets the tip of the iceberg. There are some we will go back to.” Amelia found herself energized by the sense of adventure. Even with a great deal of planning, there were plenty of unknowns and surprises. “It was hard to pack,” says Amelia, who saw everything from deserts to snow. “The first day, I fell in a snow drift that was about five feet high. We were heading down to a frozen lake. The next day, we were hiking through the desert, and it was 80 degrees.” Documenting her sense of discovery and astonishment provided the fodder for the book. “I want to inspire kids to love the national parks,” Amelia says. The author now wants to expand the book’s printing in order to be available for widespread sale.

JUNE 2020 • 31


Breaking More Barriers by DARLENE M AZZONE

Sasha Black and Madelyn Bolling Took First Place in Kentucky History Day Contest

C

LARK ELEMENTARY FIFTH-GRADERS SASHA Black and Madelyn Bolling were inspired by our Jan/Feb PADUCAH LIFE Magazine article on the genderbusting high school football career of Shelby Nickal— so much so that they used the idea to win First Place in the Kentucky National History Day competition! “I was inspired because I love sports, and I knew it wasn’t always equal for boys and girls,” said Sasha Black, “so I wanted to learn more about that. It made me feel proud, as a girl, to see Shelby play on the Paducah Tilghman football team. We wanted to share Paducah Public Schools’ history of girls athletics because we are part of that family.” Madelyn Bolling partnered with Sasha to enter the annual competition,

32 • PADUCAH LIFE


which presents a theme each year for the contest. The theme for 2020 was Breaking Barriers in History. “We knew that Shelby played football at Tilghman, and our friend KiKi played for the Clark Elementary School team,” added Madelyn. “At recess the girls kept getting told we couldn’t play football with the boys. Lots of girls can play sports just as well as boys. Sasha and I play basketball together, and our coaches have been mostly women who have played basketball, too. We interviewed our coach Ms. Jan Godwin about what her experience has been. Girls are stronger than people think.”

Ceglinski ANIMAL CLINIC Vets Who Love Pets Rennie Church, D.V.M. John Kelley, D.V.M. Laura Williams, D.V.M.

5401 Blandville Road • Paducah, KY 42001 • 270.554.0171

Girls are stronger than people think.” Participants first compete at regionals. The top winners in their category go on to compete at the state level. There are many rules and regulations the girls had to follow, specific to the category (website, exhibit, paper, performance, documentary-individual, and group). “They learn to do high level research,” said Sarah Black, Sasha’s mother. “They had to include annotated bibliographies, citations, etc. At the state level they also had to do an interview. Once they are in middle school, they can compete at a national level. They really learned skills that they would not otherwise have been exposed to until they are much older. It was a great experience for them.”

JUNE 2020 • 33


ACT PREP!

IMAGINE THE DIFFERENCE 4-7 POINTS CAN MAKE. JUST ASK THESE STUDENTS.

St. Mary Ramsey Collins and Vasav Rachan | Marshall County Kate Outland McCracken County Reese Hutchins, Lynae Lawrence & Jessica Stephens | Massac County Gracie Stewart

Congratulations to Julianna Moore for scoring a perfect 36 on ACT Reading!

“The skills I learned in Sylvan’s Advanced Reading Skills class made all the difference. I could immediately see the improvement in my testing and in my classwork! Thank you, Sylvan.” — JULIANNA MOORE, PADUCAH TILGHMAN SENIOR

July 18th ACT Prep begins June 15.

270-554-4111

www.educate.com

ACT® is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc.

English • Math • Reading • Science Reasoning • Writing and More!

McMurry & Livingston, PLLC, is pleased to announce that Warner T. Wheat has joined the practice. Warner focuses his practice on the areas of divorce, child custody, adoption, and personal injury. McMurry and Livingston has been in practice in Paducah for more than 50 years. We welcome Warner as a member of the next generation of McMurry & Livingston legal professionals.

201 Broadway, Paducah KY • 270-443-6511 This is an adverTisemenT

34 • PADUCAH LIFE


Take TO THE

FIELD Bringing Paducah Tilghman’s Football Field into the Future is just One Part of a Grand Plan ★ by J.T. C RAWFORD

O

CCASIONALLY, PADUCAH PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT DR. DONALD Shively takes a stroll around the Paducah Tilghman High School grounds. He contemplates history and traditions—156 years’ worth. He thinks about the future with the continued construction of the Innovation Hub. He sees the old. He sees the new. But mostly, he sees opportunity. Sometimes, he makes his way over to Memorial Stadium and McRight Field, the home of the Paducah Tilghman football and track and field programs. These are hallowed grounds. As he pauses on the field, he imagines something new. Dr. Shively recently crafted a plan to bring the field into the future by installing artificial turf to expand the field’s offerings as well as save funds over time. “An artificial turf means expanding its use possibilities to 365

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Athletics is our number one dropout prevention program. It’s vital. These programs not only help keep kids engaged, it teaches them to drive for excellence.

days a year,” he says. “This would also allow us to bring soccer from the Jetton field to the campus.” The first step was a review of research provided by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association and the National Football League regarding injuries on artificial turf versus natural turf. “Player safety is on the front end of anything we are doing.” Artificial turf presents the opportunity to use an additional layer below the surface which allows for a higher absorption of force. A higher absorption level can potentially help not only with impact injuries but may also reduce wear and tear on players’ joints. Additionally, there is a total cost saving with artificial turf. “The cost is upfront with artificial turf,” adds Dr. Shively, “but when you look at it ten to twelve years out, it’s a savings over time.” The turf project is just one of many changes the Paducah Public Schools are implementing for the future of education in our city. “I want our Tilghman campus to look like a small college campus and be able to offer the things you’d be able to do at a small college,” Dr. Shively says. He looks at the multiple components that comprise Paducah Public Schools, and he sees interconnectivity that should be reflected in the system’s physical landscape. That starts with the Innovation Hub, bringing art and design principles together with practical trades under the umbrella of Paducah Tilghman High School. The school system’s central offices will be brought on site. And the system received a grant that set plans in motion to relocate the preschool to the expanded Tilghman campus. “We’ll have the high school, which is central to our elementary schools and middle school, along with the Hub as the focus of aligning students to the workforce. From there, I can see a lot of cool things that we can do.”

The turf project will be a community- supported effort. For more information on how to donate, contact Dr. Shively at 270-444-5600 or the Community Foundation of West KY at 270-442-8622 and ask about the McRight Field project.

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For example, Dr. Shively envisions working with adults who need an uplift in skills. If there are issues with childcare, there will be help with that. There is also room for expanded mental health supports as well as the opportunity to create an early childhood education pathway. Each asset Paducah Public Schools brings to fruition creates additional opportunities when linked together. “We’re bringing things closer in proximity,” adds Dr. Shively, “which allows us to leverage resources not only for our students but for the community. And we are central to a lot of our workforce as we partner with business and industry—from the hospitals to the river industry to the arts district to businesses like CSI. We’re also close to WKCTC, the UK College of Engineering, Paducah School of Art and Design, and the Murray State Campus. It’s been exciting to reimagine what the educational experience is.” When it comes to sports programs, Dr. Shively sees them as a valuable component to overall education and a fundamental component to the overall plan. And, just like with all other endeavors, Paducah Public Schools wants to continue to build their sports programs with excellence. “Athletics is our number one dropout prevention program,” Dr. Shively says. “It’s vital. These programs not only help keep kids engaged, it teaches them to drive for excellence. And students begin to look at bettering themselves not only for self, but for the whole of a team. A lot of the skills businesses and industries are looking for are taught in athletics. Many times we’ve lost focus on those kinds of skills in education—things like discipline, teamwork, resiliency. This is about whole child development.”

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Victories and Vestiges of Days Gone by Build a Lasting

memorial ★ by J.T. C RAWFORD

I

N 1956, JUST ABOUT EVERY

buttoned-front shirt in Paducah was on the verge of popping with pride. Construction wrapped on the new Paducah Tilghman High School building, and that fall, students returned to classes in a beautiful, state of the art building. Not included in the overall plans, however, was the kind of football field and stadium that many felt the city deserved. Augusta Tilghman High School’s football program had called Keiler Field home for years. Sure, there was plenty of history there and lots of fond memories. But it was described as dusty, poorly-lit, and had a lack of adequate seating. Tilghman football was a source of great pride, and the gridiron needed to reflect that feeling.

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memorial stadium The estimated cost was high, but community members felt like they could raise the funds to build a magnificent stadium. Organizers announced a goal on Thanksgiving day of 1955 at the annual Tilghman/Mayfield game. Tilghman won 53-7, the newspaper headline reading “Tilghman Wallops Outclassed Mayfield.” The game provided plenty of fuel. Joe Mitchell wrote in The Paducah Sun: “A quarter-million dollars. Biggest sum Paducah ever set out to raise. Sounds ambitious, even audacious. And yet, if it came to betting, I’d risk more money on its success than on any sizable campaign in the past 20 years. Why? Because it appeals to people. It will be a facility they can see, feel, use and enjoy—a monument and a memorial for perhaps a half-a-hundred-years.” Joe was right. Day after day, the paper reported donations and a rapidly rising total. The school began construction. Before long, it looked like the stadium might be open by the fall of ’56. Organizers dubbed it Memorial Stadium as the plans included ways for donor names to be memorialized within the structure. Persons closely connected to the project broke ground in early June of 1956. On Saturday, October 20 of that year, the stadium opened with a game against the Jackson Tennessee Golden Bears. The school named the press box after Sam Livingston, Chairman of the Memorial Stadium Committee. Ralph McRight, who had played at Alabama on a scholarship (which was a little more rare in his day) had been coach of the Tilghman football squad since 1937. He was considered to be “one of the most effective counselors of young people in the annals of local schools. Troubled or mixed-up or misunderstood and mistreated youngsters by the score found themselves and straightened themselves out under his sympathetic supervision and through the strength of his exemplary guidance,” as reported in The Paducah Sun after his death. That fall, the school named the field Ralph McRight Field. Memorial Stadium and McRight Field remain central to the Tilghman experience 64 years after their construction. Over time, the litany of state titles earned by the high school’s sports programs were posted on the back of the stadium, thus displaying to the community a civic pride that has persisted for generations. And it continues to give the name Memorial an even deeper meaning.

40 • PADUCAH LIFE


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Breathing New Life Into Opera Blake Denson is Hitting all the High Notes on His Way to a World-Class Career in Classical Performance ★ by J.T. C RAWFORD

W WHEN PADUCAH TILGHMAN

alum Blake Denson took the stage to perform at New York’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in March of 2020, he was humbled. But he wasn’t surprised. From birth, it appeared that Blake’s possibilities would be extremely limited. And singing with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra was the least likely event to occur. Life’s odds had conspired against him. But Blake’s not one for playing the odds. He felt that God had bigger plans despite his circumstances. Singing via the largest opera platform in the world was not out of the question for a man with such hope. Earlier this year, while in his second year of his master’s program at Rice University, Blake entered the Met competition. 1000 singers participated in auditions held in 40 districts throughout the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and

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BlakeDenson

Mexico. Blake began with a pool of 26 contestants in the Tulsa, Oklahoma district competition. Out of those 26, he advanced to the regionals. Out of the 12 regional finals, Blake advanced to the national semi-finals. In the semi-finals, which narrowed the field down to nine, Blake again prevailed. “The semi-finals are very important,” says Blake.“Managers from all over the world, opera companies from all over the world, come and sit in. You simply sing with piano accompaniment.” Blake made his way through the semi-finals and became one of nine grand finalists. “For a week, we rehearsed with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,” adds Blake. “We had free seats for that week and had access to the building. We were made members of OPERA America.” At every stage, Blake earned a cash prize as well as funds toward continuing education. For the grand finals, Blake performed with the orchestra. “It’s all black-tie attire,” he says. “The 5,000-seat house was about 85% full. That’s on top of the hundreds of thousands listening online. It was an amazing experience. It is the largest opera house in the world. It’s the largest stage in the world. And it’s the largest platform for opera in the world. It can’t be touched. “And I give all the glory to God,” he says as he begins to reflect on the path that brought him to this moment. “I was born with chronic asthma. I was allergic to 20 different fruits, vegetables, and foods. For me to be on that stage singing opera with my history of asthma—that’s a testimony. God had been preparing me for a long time, though, to do that. When the other kids were outside playing, I had to be indoors doing breathing exercises and doing breathing treatments. I was being prepared.” Additionally, Blake credits influential people in his life for his love of singing. “When I was at Tilghman, I auditioned for the choir. Mr. Deweese let me in the

freshman choir. He was about to retire and was doing some big things with the large choir, so he allowed me and some other guys to participate with them. Right before Mr. Deweese retired, he suggested I apply for the Governor’s School of the Arts.” Blake credits his experience with the GSA as a turning point. There, his talent was recognized and encouraged. “They spoke life into me and told me that the gift I have is a rarity. I had always thought I’d be an anesthesiologist. But I wanted it for the wrong reason.” Through Governor’s School for the Arts, Blake felt God calling him to a new direction. “I shouldn’t be able to sing the way I do with the asthma I have. As a kid, doctors wanted me on 12 different medicines a day. I was a bubble boy. But there I was, being told that my voice was a rarity.” Blake is on the road to becoming a Verdi baritone. George Preston, opera producer for Chicago’s WFMT, describes Verdi baritones as “elite performers, athletes among baritones, thrilling their fans with blazing top notes and plumbing the depths of some of the most dramatically complex roles in opera.” Now that Blake has graduated with his master’s from Rice, he will be returning to Wolf Trap Opera in

“ ”

For me to be on that stage singing opera with my history of asthma— that’s my testimony.

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Virginia just outside Washington D.C. where he performed last season. After that, he has a two-year contract with the Houston Grand Opera Studio program. Out of over 1500 applicants, Blake was one of six people accepted. “It’s one of the top two programs,” says Blake. “It’s there with the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann program. I am going into that legacy with the Houston Grand Opera Studio program.” Blake sees himself as an ambassador to bring opera to everyone. “You don’t have to be an upperclass white male to enjoy or be a part of this art form. My mom says that she thinks I will help change the face of what people think opera is. It’s for everyone. It’s for everyone who wants to enjoy it. Opera just does something to your heart.”

Accents on

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JUNE 2020 • 45


Language of The

Learning Kate Davis’s Classroom Reaches Around the Globe

A

★ by A MY S ULLIVAN

T 4:30 AM, MOST PEOPLE ARE STILL ENJOYING A blissful night’s slumber, with an hour or two left before the dreaded alarm goes off. Few folks are “up and at ‘em” at such an early hour. But Kate Davis Lambert, many mornings, has to not only be UP, but also ON, by the dawn’s early light, teaching the first of four lively lessons online to young children in China! Kate works for VIPKid, an online educational company that began in 2013 and now employs more than 100,000 instructors, primarily from the United States and Canada, to teach English to approximately 700,000 Chinese students. Similar to tutoring lessons in the United States, parents privately pay VIPKid instructors to teach their children the English language after their normal school hours. Though several similar companies exist, Kate likes VIPKid’s one-to-one platform that allows her to teach an individual child one at a time for a 25minute session. She can also set her preferred schedule, teaching as much or as little as she wants, all night long, or early in the morning. For Kate, early morning works best, before her full-time job teaching fifth grade at Clark Elementary School begins. Kate explained that this particular company hires indigenous English speakers, with no accent. “Parents that choose VIPKid don’t just want their kids to learn English from a Chinese citizen who knows English,” Kate explained. “They want their kids having conversations with native English speakers, and they want teachers to correct pronunciation mistakes.” “You get to know the kids and their families,” Kate expressed. “I ask them questions about what they like to do, and I have found responses are usually much the same as they are with American kids. They do play a lot of table

46 • PADUCAH LIFE

tennis over there, and a lot of the boys love basketball.” Kate teaches kids in the age range of five to twelve years, sometimes older. The younger children are a little more timid and nervous because they haven’t had as much practice with English. Kate indicated she has to be very patient and bring a lot of bubbly energy, especially at this early hour. VIPKid trainers encourage using props when teaching. The little ones like when you act silly, just like kids in the United States, Kate says. Kate must incorporate TPR—Total Physical Response—where she uses her hands the entire time, pointing, cupping her ear, and providing other hand motion interactions. “It’s a different sort of thing, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy,” Kate remarked. If you want to be successful, ideally you keep regular “slots” opened and available so that you


create a following. Kate currently has 85 students who follow her and she regularly teaches 10 of these. She has taught some of her routine students close to 100 times. After her lessons, Kate is evaluated by the students and their parents. “I’m basically an independent contractor—like an Uber driver of English lessons,” Kate metaphorically mentioned, describing the scoring system used by VIPKid. “The kids’ parents rate you, and some of them can be quite brutal in their feedback. I’ve been doing this for two years, and out of around 700 classes taught, I’ve only had three or four negative reviews.” Teachers can attempt to get bad ratings invalidated so they won’t adversely affect their bookings. Over the past few months, Kate has seen a bit of a change in both her routine and the students’ schedules, as COVID-19 started to impact their lives. She began to notice a shift around Chinese New Year, the end of January. Though two to three weeks are normally set aside for this holiday, Kate saw an unusual increase in students signing up for VIPKid classes during their daytime hours, when they normally should have been back to school. She realized then that the pandemic had closed her pupils’ schools. In late March, Kate asked one of her students when he thought he might be going back to school, and he was hoping sometime in April. Things were looking up at that point, because he mentioned being outdoors playing basketball. During the pandemic’s prime, the families of her students who lived in close, heavily populated apartment buildings were not permitted to even go outdoors. As of the beginning of April, Kate’s students were not back to school just yet, but it was finally on the horizon. VIPKid emphasizes community building among its teachers, and they have meet-ups all over the country, Facebook groups, and various online social and professional development groups. During the pandemic, teachers collaborated to send masks to their Chinese students, especially their regular pupils. Some of the parents have also sent masks over to the American tutors now that COVID-19 is impacting the U.S. “We try to keep conversations about this situation positive with the children,” Kate stated. “The parents do pop in occasionally and ask how we are doing over here, just as we were concerned when COVID-19 was impacting their lives.”

You really get to know the kids and their families.”

VISIT VIPKID.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TEACHING ONLINE WITH VIPKID.

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IN THE

Ethan Morgan Hit a Home Run in the Field of Broadcasting ★

by J.T. C RAWFORD

48 PADUCAH LIFE


W

WHEN ETHAN MORGAN started playing t-ball as a child, he wasn’t all that enthused. It was just another activity inflicted upon him by his mom. What he’d yet to experience was the generational impact of America’s pastime. “My grandfather took me aside, and we started practicing every day. I started to learn the fundamentals of baseball. We’d watch Cardinals games on TV, and that helped me,” says Ethan, who is now 11. His uncle also provided some input when it came to the love of baseball. “He’s a Cubs fan,” adds Ethan. “He grew up watching WGN. I spent some time with him watching the Cubs.” Ethan’s love for the sport grew, and he threw himself wholeheartedly into play. “I wanted to one day be the star,” says Ethan, “but I came to the reality that it’s probably not going to happen. I set my standards a bit lower.” Like with most young baseball fans, Ethan had only imagined himself as a player. Then, a seemingly random contest entry changed his trajectory. “A contest was posted on the MLB at Bat app,” says Ethan’s mom Jennifer. “The winner would get four tickets to the 2018 All-Star game and got to report for the MLB at the game.” Ethan created a one-minute video, pretending to interview players.” “He was in a suit, and we printed

50 • PADUCAH LIFE

Over the course of the season, Ethan racked up a roster of players and legendary broadcasters to interview. Here he is with Freddy Freeman, Kris Bryant, Robinson Cano, Brandon Dixon, and Bob Costas and Joe Girardi.


out players’ faces and put them on paper plates. He was behind a desk, and we were holding the players up. He asked them questions, and then he’d answer for the player. The whole family was able to get in and help on that.” Jennifer submitted his entry. Like with most contests, it came and went, and the majority of entrants, including Ethan, figured they didn’t win. Then, in March of 2019, Jennifer received an unexpected call from Major League Baseball. “They decided they wanted a

Say YES to a PADUCAH PREPARED for the future! Our community is facing difficult times, but together we can find POSITIVE ways to a strong recovery. Let’s say YES to strategies that create a bright future for the next generation!

• YES to an economic rebound and recovery from COVID-19 • YES to policies and programs encouraging entrepreneurs, business growth and new business recruitment • YES to school systems and educational projects that provide unequaled opportunities for students • YES to arts and cultural offerings that enhance our community’s way of life • YES to growth for our community • YES to local, regional, and statewide relationships that support our economic/infrastructure needs • YES to ideas and innovations that make us the very best we can be!

national reporter for the whole season,” says Jennifer. “They had gone through all those video submissions, narrowed it down, and chose Ethan.” He then became the first National Chevrolet Play Ball Reporter. Ethan reported for MLB Network, appearing on the Play Ball show every Saturday. MLB also sent Ethan and his family to games all over the country. “We went to the stadiums before they opened for games,” adds Jennifer, “which was really neat—to be there with the teams.”

I would sincerely appreciate your YES vote on June 23.

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JUNE 2020 • 51


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“It didn’t scare me too much,” says Ethan, recalling his first times in the studio and reporting in the field. Ethan had not considered a career in baseball via broadcasting, but after his first experience, a potential career path emerged. He found a way to be a part of baseball and be among his heroes. Ethan, who says he had limited travel experience before 2019, quickly adapted to catching flights for work. He reported at games from New York to Cleveland to Denver to Omaha to Houston. As a Cubs fan, a high point for Ethan was working at Wrigley. “Kyle Hendricks broke his bat at practice,” says Ethan, “and he gave it to me. And David Bote tossed a ball to me.” At the 2019 All-Star game, Ethan interviewed a Ethan enjoyed access to stadiums where he met some of his favorite players. Clockwise are Joe Adell, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Jose Altuve, and Keon Broxton.


Ethan interviewed Tom Verducci, legendary sports commentator, at Boston’s Fenway Park.

long roster of the sport’s biggest stars. “That was one of the best experiences,” he says. “There were so many players. It was great having one-on-one access. Really, they are the nicest people.” He met over 100 players including Ken Griffey, Jr. He also met and interviewed legendary broadcaster Bob Costas. Ethan also gained access to the greatest baseball stadiums in the world. In Boston, for example, he got to go in the Green Monster, the famous left-field wall at Fenway Park. While there, he signed his name on the wall. At the end of the season, MLB invited Ethan to cover game one of the World Series in Houston, Texas. “We were a part of media day the day before,” he says. “The city was all decked out.” After his experience, Ethan envisions a career in baseball—but not in the way he’d seen his career playing out before. “I want to play college baseball,” he says. “I’d like to then be a reporter of some sort for the MLB Network. Ultimately, my dream job would be to work in management for the Chicago Cubs. I don’t know.” Ethan smiles. “Pitching coach, hitting coach, bench coach, water boy—anything.” We’d say it’s likely that Ethan will excel no matter into which “field” his career may take him!

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Fifth graders use scientific methods in an archeological dig to better understand our indigenous people.

FullSteamAhead The River Discovery Center is Creating Opportunities in Science, Technology, Math, and the Arts to Lead Local Students Toward Global Careers

M

★ by C A’ RE S ETTLES

OST OF US ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE ACRONYM STEM AS IT RELATES TO education and stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In 2016, it was changed to STEAM to include the arts. This initiative is widely accepted in the corporate world and is a hot topic now as STEAM-related careers are in high demand. The River Discovery Center in Paducah, our region’s science center, has recognized the importance of adopting the STEAM elements into all of its educational programming and has launched the FULL STEAM AHEAD initiative. Science and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. STEAM education also helps bridge the ethnic and gender gaps sometimes found in math and science fields.

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s

Students learn the purpose and use of gear used on towboats in the Skipper Program. Below, students work with Murray State researcher, Karen Baumann, on analyzing water samples during the summer camp series in 2019.

Studies Institute is a Master’s program within the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology designed to prepare students for careers or for further graduate studies in the broader aspects of watershed management and science. “We know how important STEAM learning is and it is crucial that we offer programs that focus on each of these areas,” commented Julie Harris, Executive Director of the River Discovery Center. “Children in our region will be

Each of the River Discovery Center’s programs are grade specific and meet STEAM standards in addition to Kentucky’s standards and Next Generation Science Standards. STEAM-focused education helps students to think more deeply and develop life skills in logical reasoning, algorithmic thinking, collaboration, and structured problem solving. Additionally, it expands their knowledge in the five core disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Another benefit of STEAM education is that it helps to inspire children to pursue STEAM degrees, of which the jobs are in high demand giving them higher earning potential. The River Discovery Center works closely with area school districts and develops all content for their programs with the help of educators who know the value of offering such programming. Ramona Patton, K-5 Science Lab teacher at Concord Elementary says, “The programs provided at the River Discovery Center are such an asset to our local community. The different educational programs at the elementary level are designed to meet NGSS standards, and all offer such interesting applications to classroom learning.” Additionally, the River Discovery Center is now partnering with Murray State University’s Watershed Studies Institute on programming. The Watershed

better prepared for their futures. It is great to collaborate with our region’s school systems as well as Murray State University to make this happen.” Due to the current health pandemic, The River Discovery Center is working on various options for continued engagement of students, whether in the classroom or on a virtual platform.

YOU CAN VISIT THE RIVER DISCOVERY CENTER AT 117 SOUTH WATER STREET IN DOWNTOWN PADUCAH, GO TO THE WEBSITE AT WWW.RIVERDISCOVERYCENTER.ORG, OR CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION AT 270.575.9958.

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JUNE 2020 • 57


PRECISON. PADUCAH.

.

UACJ Whitehall Produces Pieces of Luxury that Leave Paducah for Parts Unknown ★ by J.T. C R AWFO R D t’s a typical, sun-soaked, southern california day as steven spielberg merges his Tesla onto the Pacific coast highway. The ground-breaking director has just left his l.a. home, on his way to a meeting about a new project. he glances up through the glass roof into the blue beyond, imagining the touch of the wind whipping by. he reaches down to the central control panel to slide open the sunroof. at that moment, he has interacted with a bit of Paducah, kentucky. The connection comes via uacJ whitehall industries located in an unassuming facility near i-24’s exit 3. There, uacJ whitehall extrudes aluminum into various parts for automobile manufacturers such as Tesla. and they are doing it with unmatched precision. whitehall began as a small machine shop in a garage in luddington, michigan. By 1974, they were manufacturing components for the copier industry for kodak and Xerox. “it’s always

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“ In our extrusion, we are a leader in precision.”

been about precision, aluminum machining,” says Dave Cooper, UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries COO. “Quality was always very important, and we’ve maintained that.” It is such an attention to precision that brought Whitehall into the automotive industry, supplying parts for customers who demand consistency and parts with the smallest of measurement tolerances. The business grew in Luddington, then Whitehall opened another plant in central Mexico in 2011 and then the Paducah facility in 2014. Whitehall was later acquired by UACJ, a Japanese company with a history dating back to 1897. UACJ had specialized mostly in rolled aluminum products, producing for aluminum cans, foil, and automotive body sheet. “In automotive, we started with sunroof tracks and now do convertible top parts, structural components, the battery box for electric vehicles, and bumpers,” adds Dave. “This plant in Paducah produces a lot of the sunroof racks— some of the most challenging ones we have. That started with a relationship with Tesla. At the time, it was a risk to

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go with that new Tesla car company. It was a big bet for us. But they are the real deal.” In recent years, there has been a shift in using more aluminum in vehicle construction due to its lightweight nature. That means more business for Whitehall. One area of growth has been in aluminum bumpers. “We do a lot of testing,” says Dave. “These are crash alloys. If a vehicle crashes, it has to absorb the energy. We make sure our aluminum has the right properties to do that. It’s all meant to protect the occupants.” Much of UACJ Whitehall’s aluminum parts are produced through the process of extrusion. Aluminum logs (about the size of telephone poles) are segmented, heated, and pushed through a die at 5 million pounds of pressure. The best comparison of the procedure is that of the Play-Doh Fun Factory. The aluminum exits each specific die in long planks which are then cut and further shaped according to the final products’ needs. Within the process are a few robots, designed to reduce repetitive injuries to humans and to ensure exacting measurements


within the tiniest of tolerances. “In our extrusion, we are a leader in precision,” says Plant Manager Keith Ginter. “As we developed our extrusion, we were told that other plants said certain things couldn’t be done. But we didn’t have anyone here who’s said it couldn’t be done. We have some of the greatest engineers who strive for the best. We didn’t know what we couldn’t do. We didn’t see any limitations.” Tolerances are holding to less than the width of a human hair. Precision has earned UACJ Whitehall final destination clients who appreciate the highest of quality. Those include Chevrolet Corvette, Tesla, BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Mercedes, Lexus, Nissan, and new electric vehicle company, Rivian, which produces trucks and SUVs. “We are nearly perfect on quality,” says Dave. “We received an award from GM for eight years with zero defects. We started with that mindset years ago. And now, all of a sudden, aluminum has become very popular in automobiles. That’s great for us and growth in Paducah. And Paducah does some of the most challenging parts we have. We’re in the right place at the right time.” UACJ Whitehall sees growth and expansion potential for the Paducah facility, a location they chose due to its location and the welcome from the city. They’ve also been in a position to hire employees from other manufacturing operations in the region that have closed down. Within the industry, UACJ Whitehall is in a good place. Geographically, Paducah is in just the right spot for UACJ Whitehall.

We’ll Get Through This Together

BIKING WILL MAKE IT EASIER! whether you’re biking for transportation, fitness, or famly fun, all of us at Bikeworld want to make sure you keeP riding! There’s never been a more important time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors! you don’t even have to come inside the store. we’ll come to you. Bikes to be serviced can be picked up and retrieved at curbside. new bikes, fitness equipment, and all your bicycling gear can be ordered by phone, online, or from our website. you can pick up at the store or take advantage of free home delivery within 60 miles of Paducah. Tell us what you want, and we can usually make it happen. we will get through these uncertain times. Biking will make it a bit more fun.

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JUNE 2020 • 61


All

by R OSEMARIE S TEELE

Roads to Paducah W Lead

The Journey of a World-travelled Textile Artist Brought Her to a Historic Habitat in Her New Hometown

HEN PATTY VAN DORIN GOT HER FIRST PAYCHECK, THE FIRST THING she bought was a box of Crayola crayons . . . the BIG one with a sharpener and rows of hues and shades that just begged you to pick them up and create. Entering the door to Tuscan Rose, Patty’s shop at 533 North Fifth Street, is like opening a box of crayons. It’s a sensory experience of color, texture, and excitement. Small folded squares of hand dyed fabrics are neatly displayed, gradually transitioning from one shade to another. Rayon ribbons, dyed threads, and quilted covered journals make you want to take them home and play. Whimsical jewelry made from fabric scraps and found objects compliment a unique assortment of upcycled clothing—a boutique experience you definitely won’t find anywhere else on the planet. A modern quilt and surface design trendsetter, Patty is the dynamic one-woman force behind this distinctive fabric, textile art, and clothing store on the perimeter of Lower Town . . . at least for now. As her Paducah story unfolds, it’s a tale of fate and fulfillment that begs the question. Did she choose Paducah or was something beckoning her here? “Textile arts—especially quilts—have been an integral part of my life from early years making clothes and quilts for dolls, to traditional quilt construction while living in Japan,” said Patty. Patty grew up at her grandmother’s heels, a tailor/seamstress who replaced linings in fur coats. “There was always a soft pile of coats to nap on when I got home from school,” she recalls. Playing and creating with all the precious scraps of silk and fur sparked the beginning of a passion that has evolved and resurfaced at every stage of her life. Recognizing her love for color and textiles, the fine arts path was Patty’s desired choice for college, but “Memaw” insisted that she pursue a “real” career. Thus, Patty earned her degree in Health Sciences and set off on her occupation as a medical equipment contractor for the government. Her job required her to work abroad–travelling three to four weeks at a time to exotic places like Mumbai, Egypt, and Italy. The adventure of living abroad also meant a lot of solitary time, which she filled quilting and creating on

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her 1954 model Singer 99K. While in Misawa in northern Japan, Patty frequented a kimono shop that had baskets of beautiful silk remnants free for the taking. What a nod to her past and lure for this lady of silks, scraps, and color. The shop owner connected her to a man who taught shibori, a Japanese manual resist dyeing technique. Though he only worked with indigo dyed cotton, this process launched Patty’s interest in dying and designing fabric. Not only did Patty’s international career path lead to new creative experiences, it also introduced her to the man she married. Aaron Van Dorin was a metrologist engineer in the United States Air Force. He calibrated the medical equipment that Patty operated so they frequently encountered each other in various parts of the world. She first met him during a typhoon in Japan while seeking shelter at the hotel where they were both staying. In spite of that stormy start, the two adventurers forged a relationship and eventually married. But the travels that brought them together, also kept them apart, so they agreed that Patty would retire while Aaron continued his military career. Retirement looked more like resurgence as Patty took several bold moves along her creative path. A workshop in fiber reactive dyes at the University of Texas had a powerful impact on her. “It blew my mind,” said Patty. She went back to college and earned a Masters Degree in Fine Arts with a focus in textiles. Little did she know how much more of her artistic journey was still ahead. Traditional quilting came naturally for Patty, as she had a history of piecing colors and shapes. But once stateside, she made friends with a woman in the Modern Quilt Guild who inspired her to work more improvisational. “That’s when quilting clicked,” said Patty. Construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct…and maybe repeat it all over again became her mode of operation. “I turn, cut any which way and piece it all together like a puzzle, then watch and see how the fabrics work with each other.” The contemporary quilts on the walls of Tuscan Rose featuring her hand dyed and printed fabrics look like modern art. Though many of today’s art quilters use long-arm free motion top stitching to enhance their creations, Patty has chosen elongated straight lines that she often does with her old faithful Singer. “Too much movement creates chaos. The straight lines give a subtle resting place for the color. It gives it more texture without saying–hey look at me.” So how did a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art that is home to The National Quilt Museum become the next chapter of Patty’s journey? Paducah became a frequent stopping point as she and Aaron made regular treks from visiting his family in Iowa back to the Air Force Base in Florida. “We loved it here. The river. Walking the dog. The nearby outdoor activity. It’s clean and safe and there’s always something to do.” Paducah

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looked like the perfect retirement community for this dynamic duo. After living in six states and three continents, two-and-a-half years ago Patty and Aaron put down roots in Western Kentucky. They bought a house on 11th Street but it just wasn’t big enough to realize her emerging dream for a studio/shop/home so they spread out and purchased the house next door. Soon 533 North 5th Street became available for rent when fellow textile artist Lily Lui moved to Oregon. The shop was reincarnated as Tuscan Rose and before long it was filled to the brim with Patty’s creations. Even with three locations, the set up was not ideal now that Aaron has also retired. Aaron’s pastime as a cabinetmaker required space for his tools and workshop as well. “A combined studio and shop space and to be able to LIVE there was something I wanted for years and years,” said Patty. They looked in Lower Town and Downtown but couldn’t find anything just right until a chance meeting at the Paducah Antique Mall directed her across the street to 420 Broadway and everything just clicked. “I knew as soon as I walked in that this was our building.” From the display windows and the showroom floor to the 2,000 square foot mezzanine Patty envisioned as a printing and dye studio, this four-story building was perfect for their needs. In addition to being the culmination of Patty’s vision, the history of 420 Broadway had a personal appeal. It was once home to Jean’s dress shop and, more recently, The Guild fabric store. “We will finally close the circle,” says Patty as Tuscan Rose takes residence at 420 Broadway. “Who retires and starts a business?” she jokes. But Patty is just coming into her own. “I feel like I finally came to be ME.” Any given day in her studio, Patty is all momentum. She can’t wait to get out of bed and get started. “Aaron says I can get more done before eight o’clock than most people do in a day.” She may have six or seven dye baths going, and while the fabrics are soaking, Patty works on her sewing machine. The reveal of her dyeing efforts is the best part. “It’s like Christmas! I love seeing the colors and how they play with each other.” The Broadway location will give her a place of her own where she can live, create, interact more with the community and visiting quilters/textile artists, and host workshop instructors…“all in one landing spot.” With four floors to explore, Patty has discovered memorabilia dating back to the 1920s. “It’s been a bit of a scavenger hunt, but I found the drawers on the second floor that belong to a cabinet that is on the fourth floor,” said Patty. Patty and Aaron have been busy meshing their skills and having fun exploring and planning. She jokingly calls their combined style “Bohemian Industrial.” With an anticipated August opening, it won’t be long before the plywood on the front windows is removed and the 2020 version of 420 Broadway displays a more spectacular color ambience than that first box of Crayola crayons she bought decades ago. Maybe the stately old structure was waiting for her all along.

“ ”

It’s like Chirstmas! I love seeing the colors and how they play with each other.

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One Good Deserves Another by C ONSTANCE A LEXANDER

I create. You buy. We donate. OOD ARTIST LISA NARLOCH’S BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY is straightforward. She rescues wood from various sources—downed trees, old barns, backyard wood piles—and gives it a new voice. And when she sells a piece, part of the proceeds go to charity. She thrives on her ability to transform wood into unique forms and functions, describing the journey as her “second life.” Before moving to Paducah in 2019, she lived in Ithaca, a college town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. By day she worked in the tech industry. In her free time, amidst bucolic surroundings of stunning natural beauty, she tackled some tricky do-ityourself projects, including rebuilding a 1999 Jeep Wrangler and restoring an 1845 Greek Revival house. On November 11, 2011, engrossed in a DIY task that entailed working on a lintel over a doorway in her house, the ladder collapsed. The fall caused two aneurysms. Medical interventions included two cerebral angiograms, brain surgery to repair one of the aneurysms, and a complicated, uncertain future. One of the aneurysms is still lodged deep inside her brain. A rupture could cause severe permanent disability or death. Rather than dwell on the gravity of her injury and lose sleep over a situation she can’t control, Lisa compares her past to the present by saying, “Now I have a lot of titanium in my head.” On a more reflective note, when she examined her life and reassessed her goals, she realized it was time for a change. “Something told me I wasn’t doing what I needed to do,” she says. The path did not start getting clear until the electric company in Ithaca cut down some fruit trees on her property. Since she didn’t have the right tools to haul the leftovers away, she bought a lathe and started turning wood.

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“It was therapeutic, even magical,” Lisa recalls. “Those apple trees gave me a second life and helped pull me out of my workplace situation.” The more wood she turned, the more she learned. An eager student, she began spending more and more hours at the splendid Cornell Botanic Gardens. When there was rotten or fractured wood, she had permission to take it away and make use of it in her artwork. A turning point came when the arborist at the gardens contacted her about a seventy-five-year-old tree that had become rotten and had to be downed. The wood was at her disposal. The splendid Northern Catalpa tree, a much-loved landmark that stood outside the Visitor Center, had served as a backdrop for decades of wedding pictures, family portraits, shots of graduates, prom couples, and other random visitors. Lisa ended up hauling away about seventy per cent of the tree. “All I had to do was pick it up,” ºshe says with a laugh, still amazed at her good fortune. Eventually, a solo exhibition of Lisa’s creations, all from discarded wood from the Cornell Botanic Gardens, smoothed the rough corners of her creative strategy. The notion, “One good turn deserves another,” inspired her to donate ten percent of sales from that exhibit back to the Gardens. When her tech job ended, opportunities for work in New York State were limited, so Lisa began looking for a place with a lower cost of living and an environment that nurtured creativity. “I went Googling around and came across Paducah’s Cinema Systers Film Festival and the National Quilt Museum,” she said. She also learned of Paducah’s interest in historic restoration, as well as the

More information about Lisa Narloch is available online at woodowls.com.

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city’s designation as a UNESCO Creative City, making it the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art and part of a worldwide network. On a reconnoitering visit, she met enough people and did more intensive research to realize that the environment in Paducah was indeed open and receptive to artists. She moved in 2019, bringing with her all that wood from the Northern Catalpa. Currently restoring a Craftsman-style bungalow built in 1952, she finds Paducah a perfect fit in every way. “The house has a lot of wood. All the trim is oak,” she declares. “And there are tons of windows in the space where I carve and paint and work in stained glass.” A backyard workshop offers room for her lathes, bandsaw, and other equipment. Her approach to her creative work continues. “I don’t buy wood. People give me wood, and I give a gift back.” Customers send cypress from Florida, redwood from California, and koa from Hawaii, to mention a few. According to her website, “This perpetuates the life of the tree. Perhaps it was a childhood wonder, or had a swing, or you climbed that tree, or were married under that tree. And now it has to come down. Why burn it when you can extend those memories . . . and receive a gift back in return, knowing sales of future items from that gift will help others.” Still settling into her new life, Lisa Narloch continues to create art from wood that has been fractured, broken, battered, abandoned, tossed away. Using lathe turning and/or hand carving, she tries to leave the wood as natural as possible, inviting the wood to tell the story and allow-


We’ve missed you so much!

ing its natural characteristics to guide the transformation. From the start, “good vibes” in Paducah motivated her to get involved in local causes and organizations. She now serves on the board of “My Syster’s Art” and is doing some pro bono work for the Merryman House. She is committed to the “OUT Paducah” organization and is also interested in working with young people,

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Kathy and Larry Blazek from IL are happy buyers of Lot 23 (building new home) in Marina Village Sub March 2020! Proud Seller Triple I Properties. Chris Payne with River Valley & JoAnn King with Denton Law Firm handled the closing. Jennifer is making a donation in their honor to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (stjude.org) and Hope Unlimited (hopeunlimitedfcc.org). Lisa painted this mural on the outside of her workshop. It was based on artwork by Emily Sorber from Ithaca, New York. The cute pup is real!

perhaps even offering an apprenticeship to work with her. Always aware of the aneurysm in her brain, she will not let it slow her down. “I’m spreading myself out and seeing what I can do to help others,” she explains of her efforts to make connections in her new Kentucky home. “It’s exciting to inspire others, to help them get out of a rut. I love helping someone else feel that their art is good. I want to focus on those who haven’t been heard.”

My Buyers and Sellers are for a . . . LIFETIME . . . not just for . . . ONE SALE. Jennifer has made donations to over 94 different Charities, Churches and Schools so far! A Business Built on Honesty and Trust!

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JUNE 2020 • 69


★ by

J.T. C R AWFO R D

This Artist has Great Patience for

Felting P

ATIENCE RENZULLI LIVES IN A WORLD OF MAGICAL CREATURES—

from friendly squirrels bearing bouquets of flowers to cottontail bunnies with tiny carrots to miniature foxes who can stand perfectly poised and on guard indefinitely. It is a world overflowing with cuteness, and Patience created it all.

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It began with her husband Bill’s daughter, Sara Renzulli, who started needle felting and creating whimsical animal sculptures. Seven years ago, Sara founded Sarafina Fiber Art, selling her sculptures, wools, supplies, kits, and tools that she invented. “I was watching what she was doing,” says Patience who was fascinated by the process and the growth of the art form. “She sent me a supply pack to make a hedgehog, and I thought I can’t do that. I pulled up her instructional video on Youtube and made the hedgehog. I couldn’t believe how it turned out. It was completely addictive. So I got another pack, watched another one of her videos, and I haven’t stopped since.” Patience explains that felting is one of the oldest textiles. “Hunter/gatherers realized that matted animal coats provided warmth and waterproofing,” she says. “But needle felting, as an art form, didn’t come around until the 80s. It’s relatively new. And Sara has taken it to a whole new level. And it has just taken off.” In spite of the intricacy of the final product, Patience says creating felt sculptures are easier than one might think. “It’s user friendly,” she says. “Anyone can make something they are tickled with. Anyone. Most people see a finished product and think they can’t make something like that from a chunk of wool. But you really can.” Each piece begins with a framework—a skeleton, if you will. Patience studies an animal, looking at the places where it articulates. She also looks at all the individual shapes that make up each animal. At the core is a wire frame. Patience then uses wool to create the felt. “Wool has microscopic barbs. In needle felting, along the shaft of very sharp needles, are teeny tiny barbs. By using the needles, it creates a tangle in the wool. The more it tangles, the more of a solid piece it becomes.” Different types of wool offer different results, which gives each creator flexibility for varying sculptures and parts within each sculpture. Each sculpture is also posable. Patience has even created stop-motion animation with some of them. And there is no limit. She continues to create sculptures for a variety of animals and has most recently dived into creating fish. “This is a Pajama Cardinalfish,” she says as she peruses photos online. The variety and colors in the aquatic world are nearly inexhaustible. “And I use reference photos like this. Don’t ever trust your brain to remember what something looks like.” Since that first hedgehog, Patience became a prolific creator of felt animals, selling many of them at the Art Guild of Paducah. “It’s kind of funding my retirement,” she laughs. “I didn’t start out intending to sell them. But I did some for a couple of fundraisers.” For just two fundraisers, Patience raised over $30,000. Through that, she discovered how popular her creatures were. Beyond a newfound business venture and continued charitable work, she also touts the therapeutic value. “You start out with just blah, and you end up with something somebody wants. It’s really satisfying. It’s tactile. Because of the wool, it smells like I’m on a farm somewhere. And there’s a point in every single sculpture where you think Oh, this isn’t working. It’s a waste of time. I need to start over. But if you keep on going, it comes around.”

For more information, visit sarafinafiberart.com. Also keep an eye on Ephemera Paducah’s future schedule for needle felt classes by Patience.

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JUNE 2020 • 73


Continuing the Journey Barbara Veazey Weaves Her Tapestry of Talents Toward a New Chapter in a Creative Career ★

R

by A MY S ULLIVAN

ETIREMENT—THE WORD MEANS different things to different people. For some, it’s a time for rest and relaxation, sleeping soundly and enjoying espresso on the porch. For others, it’s finally a chance to slow down and not have a set schedule. For many, it’s a time to travel. For Dr. Barbara Veazey, president emeritus of West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC), retirement is an opportunity to do something that she loves passionately, a time for continued learning, and “a chance to get better at your craft.”

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Dr. Veazey has cherished antiques since she was young. She collected antiques, ran her own shop, and regularly attended antique shows for many years, part time on the weekends, while serving as chair of the nursing program at WKCTC. When she became dean of academic affairs at the College, she closed her shop but continued to do a few shows each year. In 2003, when she became the founding president of WKCTC, she temporarily shelved her antiques affiliation for the next 14 years. When she announced her retirement in July 2016, Dr. Veazey continued working for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, mentoring up-and-coming leaders, until most recently. It was during this time that she decided to take a fiber arts class from Lily Liu at the Paducah School of Art and Design (PSAD). The visionary for the art school during her time as president at WKCTC and a continued avid supporter, Dr. Veazey set her sights on pursuing a new pastime for herself. After that first class, a combination of felting, weaving, and an introduction to fiber arts, Dr. Veazey attended a workshop in Austin, Texas, where she learned how to make hats, vests, and other creations. Not long afterwards, she enrolled in another class offered by Lily Liu at the PSAD—introductory weaving. This craft immediately inspired her, and she bought her own loom to design dynamic garments and pieces that reflect her creativity and passion. Over the years since she took her first course, Dr. Veazey continued weaving with her three classmates, learning new techniques, taking classes in different parts of the country, and honing their skills together. These activities gave Dr. Veazey the interaction she needed to advance and improve. The women discussed different techniques they were using and how to introduce


different fibers, and became fast friends. “It was a process for all of us to get better,” Dr. Veazey explained. “We continue to communicate, meet, and share ideas and our passion for weaving and design.” This new endeavor also provides an opportunity for travel, which she thoroughly enjoys. “Most recently we all went to British Columbia to a little island off Vancouver called Salt Springs for a week-long class on garment construction.” Dr. Veazey plans to attend the Loom Dancer Odyssey Navajo Weaving at the ruins in Canyon de Chelly, where she will learn traditional weaving methods from the Navajo. While her weaving hobby was blossoming, Dr. Veazey couldn’t help but think back to her years working in the antiques business. She decided to try it again to see if it still held the same fondness as before. She and her husband Dick attended a couple of antique shows, and she found that there were still people in the business that she knew and would enjoy working with again. In 2019, the owner of American Harvest, an antique shop on North 6th Street, asked Dr. Veazey if she would be interested in opening a shop in the little shotgun next door. “At first I didn’t think I had enough inventory to do anything like that, but the more I thought about it, the more appealing the idea became. I could combine fiber arts and antiques. . . something I have enjoyed in my past life and something in my new life. Using the antique aspect to be able to connect with the downtown local fiber artists is a perfect fit.” Barbara Veazey Antiques & Fiber Art opened in January 2020. Specializing in 18th and 19th century furniture, the shop also exhibits and sells felted and handwoven works from local artists. Original creations from Debbie Morgan and Sharon Barton, Dr. Veazey’s fellow weavers who she met in Lilly Liu’s classroom, are displayed in her shop. Regarding antiquing, Dr. Veazey says, “You do it because you love it, and it’s the thrill of the hunt. It’s a challenge. What can I find that’s different and unusual that someone else might want? Others have been in the

business for years, and I love working with them. You like hearing them talk and finding out what they are interested in, and it’s usually something different, something in particular that’s interesting and fun. I find that same inner craving for working with fiber as well.” Dr. Veazey is amazed at the number of people traveling through Paducah who visit her shop. And she attends antique shows on an average of once a month. She looks forward to continuing this journey, weaving her tapestry of talents toward a new chapter—her creative career. “You have to plan for retirement, then work at building it to what you want it to be. You have to think about it, what you really want to do. It’s as varied as people are varied, but for me, it was picking something that I thought I could be passionate about and that gave me opportunities to be around people. I’ve always been around people and have always enjoyed that part of the job. Now I still interact with people and have a new challenge that allows me the opportunity to learn and to improve. For me, that is what I wanted.”

Barbara Veazey Antiques & Fiber Art 630 N. 6th Street / Paducah, KY 42001 (Next to American Harvest Antiques) FACEBOOK: @bvantiquesandfiberart SHOP HOURS: 10-4 Wednesdays and Saturdays or by appointment 270.559.4694

JUNE 2020 • 75


Mom,

Cake Baker, Law Maker

Jennifer Lopez has Cooked Up Ideas, Business Plans, and Legislation All from the Aromatic Arena of Her Kitchen ★ by E LENA W RY E

HEN JENNIFER LOPEZ FIRST MADE HER daughter’s “Dora the Explorer” birthday cake in 2007, she never imagined that it would turn into a viable cake business, or that it would even take her down the path of legal activism. With simple store-bought icing, a shaped cake pan, and a willingness to learn, Jennifer had the mix to create not only a memorable cake, but a dream of mastering the art of cake-making as well. “I really enjoyed making her birthday cake. Then, I made a 16-inch round cake with fondant that just turned out horrible. But, I tried, and I just kind of kept going with that. For a few years I made them just for my kids’ birthdays and such and got really into it,” Jennifer said of her baking beginnings. And while now, people can pick up new hobbies with ease thanks to YouTube videos and online tutorials, Jennifer recalls those resources not being as readily available in her early cake-making days. “This was before there were things on YouTube and other information on the internet, where you could find out what you needed to. Now, you can get on and they have classes online where you can just watch things. Back then, you just sort of learned on your own,” Jennifer said of her learning process. “So, I just taught myself how to do different things and challenged myself here and there.” It wasn’t until 2009, when Jennifer and a couple of friends met for lunch (one of those

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friends being her now business partner, Emily Blattel) that the idea of selling Jennifer’s cakes came up. “They said, ‘we think you should sell these cakes.’ And I told them ‘No, I don’t think I can do that’,” Jennifer said as she recalled the conversation. “I was kind of scared of it. But they were like ‘Oh … well we’ve already got you the logo and the business name!’” They lovingly called Jennifer “The Cake Mom,” and from that, Jennifer began the exciting, yet daunting adventure of operating a small business and creating carefully crafted confections for family members and customers alike. “My first client was family. Then finally I got my first real client about six months later. It was a lady that just happened to find me. I delivered her cake and her topper actually fell over on the way to her house,” Jennifer said with a laugh. “I got there and I said ‘I’m so sorry!’ and put it back together and she just thought it was excellent customer service and going above and beyond.” But when Jennifer had to pick up and move from Missouri to Tennessee in 2011, she thought her business would simply “fizzle out.” “I thought that well now I’m not in Missouri anymore and I’m going to have to try and find business in

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Tennessee. But we just kept getting orders. At that point I think we got more inquiries than we ever had, because then it had been on the internet for a while and people were starting to find it,” Jennifer said. “That’s when my friend Emily came on board to help out and she started making cakes. Before that she was really more behind the scenes helping me make designs.” In light of unexpected familial hardships, Jennifer found herself back in Missouri in 2013 with a steady stream of cake orders. Later that year however, she made the move to Paducah in order to be closer to family and experienced not only the challenges of a new business market, but the challenges of legal restrictions as well. “Once I got here, I realized that Kentucky didn’t have a home baking law and I was really bummed out about it,” Jennifer said. Rather than giving up, Jennifer utilized her time wisely and continued to hone her craft and broaden her already expansive and successful knowledge of cake making. Little did she know, she would soon be expanding her legal knowledge as well. “Originally the law was for farmers. So anyone who was a farmer could bake and sell from their house. But if you didn’t have a farm, which was 10 acres of land, you couldn’t bake and sell from your house. In 2017, I came across a new Facebook page saying that they wanted to get the law changed. I decided to start a Facebook page to solely bring awareness to their page. And it ended up being where I was constantly promoting it and contacting people to help us out.”


Jennifer then founded the Kentucky Home Bakers Association and worked with the Institute for Justice to advance HB 263. “What really helped was Representative Heath from Graves County. Because we had the Institute for Justice, they had a lawyer that did most of the work with the bill writing and then Representative Heath filed it. Then from there, we had to go to Frankfort and promote it by walking around to talk to people and get their support. I carried a fake cake around to try and get attention, and then we had other bakers who showed up and brought cookies and cupcakes— just trying to show them that this is what we make. Nothing crazy here, we just want to bake from our houses,” Jennifer said as she retold the experience. HB 263 was successfully passed and signed into law in 2018, which then allowed not only Jennifer’s business to be able to operate, but hundreds of other Kentucky businesses to do so as well. “We had lots of supporters and that was really why I wanted to help. I just thought they weren’t making enough noise. I even went on the news. Briana Clark interviewed me to begin with and it got picked up by CNN News Wire, so people were seeing it all over the country. She then did a follow up interview after HB 263 passed and became active. The second interview was about a year later in July 2018, on her birthday. I made her a cake!” According to a Forbes article written by Nick Sibilla of the Institute for Justice, HB 263 would “expand Kentucky’s ‘home-based processor program, which lets anyone sell processed fruit and vegetables as well as homemade cakes, cookies, jams and jellies. Before HB 263 was enacted, the Bluegrass State only allowed farmers or people who grew their main ingredients to become home-based processors.” In 2019, the law was then updated as HB 468 and passed both the House and Senate, was

signed by the Governor, and became law. The update to HB 263 changed the law in a few notable ways—some of those being a cap on gross income from the sale of the products, registry with the Cabinet as of January 1, 2020, and new foods allowed such as non-potentially hazardous foods including, but not limited to, dried herbs, spices, nuts, candy, and dried grains. A link to the bill can be found on The Cake Mom & Co. website at www.thecakemom.com. Jennifer’s hard work, along with the support of countless other Kentucky home bakers, most certainly payed off for her own company. The cake creator’s website hosts a beautiful array of photos that show off not only Jennifer’s creativity, but also her fine-tuned attention to intricate detail and carefully crafted confections. “I would love to make more wedding cakes, but I think my favorite kind of cakes to make are sculpted cakes. I would love to get into those more, too. To me, that’s the most fun because it’s so creative,” Jennifer said. Jennifer speaks fondly of the plethora of sculpted cakes that she has already had the opportunity to make. Cakes in the shape of a stack of books, ones to look like a steak and sweet potato, and even a cake sculpted into a giraffe are just a few of the many unique creations that dot the pages of The Cake Mom’s portfolio. With a wide range of birthday cakes and a wide array of wedding cakes under her belt, Jennifer is passionate about the opportunities that she is given to be a part of so many special celebrations. “When you order a custom cake, you’re not just running by the store and picking up a twenty-dollar cake. So, it may cost more for a custom cake, but we put our heart and soul into the cake and we spend hours and hours really working and making it perfect. I want it to be perfect for someone’s wedding or birthday. I want them to really have an awesome cake,” Jennifer said.

TO INQUIRE ABOUT A CUSTOM CAKE FROM JENNIFER AND THE TEAM AT THE CAKE MOM & CO., YOU CAN VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.THECAKEMOM.COM OR DIRECTLY EMAIL THEM AT THECAKEMOM@GMAIL.COM.

JUNE 2020 • 79


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www.caringpeopleservices.com • (270) 575-4529 • 800-383-7231 80 • PADUCAH LIFE


LIFE is changing. WE are changing. Readers Share Their Evolving Views of Life in the Time of an Epidemic ★

A

by J.T. C RAWFORD

S THE WEATHER PROVERB GOES, “MARCH COMES in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” This year, March began with its typical windy days. But as the month wore on, it became evident that we were in for more than just turbulent spring weather. Fear was in the air. March came in like a lion and went out like a dragon. With the onslaught of COVID-19, and in a short amount of time, LIFE has drastically changed. We’ve learned more than we’d ever imagined about epidemiology. The term “new normal” is a constant reminder of the unknown in the days ahead. And “afternoons with Andy” is must-see TV for Kentuckians. And while much has been upended, many have discovered new positives. We’ve been forced to slow down. We’ve had to take a break. We’ve refocused on what’s perhaps truly important. Here’s what you had to say about LIFE in this new age.

I

am enjoying this extra time with my kids, making memories despite the circumstances. While this is a fearful, anxious time I still marvel at the kindness of humanity and how our community has come together to help each other. I hope these things will not be forgotten, or how as we stay home our Earth seems to be healing herself. We need to take better care of each other and our Earth. —Lindsay Darnell

I’ve learned how fragile life really is. —Pamella Hoffmeyer I am in prayer more than ever. —Audrey Blaisdell

I think Paducah has been very positive and prepared. We pray and lift you all up. Lord, take this virus away soon. —Kathy Duncan

JUNE 2020 • 81


I

After closing my studio doors with the rest of nonessential businesses, I had to think outside of the box. Starting the free online art lessons seemed to be an essential for my customers. What I thought was just for others has become a center of my day. My whole family joins in to make these happen, and I receive encouraging words and watchers from all over the world. I was supposed to be traveling to Spain this week, but instead, I am home in Paducah, gathered with my children, reaching so much further than Spain! —Kijsa Housman, MAKE

’ve learned that I feel blessed living here in our small town. Everyone seems to be coping very well with the situation and abiding by the rules we’ve been given to stay safe. I’m thankful that we are having beautiful spring days to keep us from being stifled in our houses. We can still safely drive around and take in the beautiful yards with the dogwoods and shrubs blooming. So I’ve learned that there is no place I’d rather be than right here in Paducah during this time. —Rita Jo Younker Bain

I’ve learned how wonderful my relationship is with my social cohort/son, Max. I was worried that this much time alone might cause friction, and it’s been the opposite experience. We’ve absolutely enjoyed new activities together like learning what baits and strategies work for different types of fish. He is on the verge of 11 and I feel blessed to have this mandatory slow period with him before his life really takes a shape of its own. —Ashlea McMillan

I’m learning to focus on the things I can take care of. This is teaching me to instead of focusing on all the big things (also things outside of my control), I’m zeroing in on my emotional well being, talking and trying to listen better to my family and friends. Small projects that give me a sense of accomplishment (some days that may be super simple things). And appreciating what I have. —Dana Walls O’Key I’ve learned that most of the things, people think is important, is not! What’s important is your need for God in your life and family! Many families are not together in person but are together in spirit and prayers! —Celine Wurth Crane I told my wife one day as I had gotten home from Kroger that people seemed a little kinder, a little more patient at the store. I have learned to slow down, stop and notice a field full of golden rod and how beautiful they are. Life is too fast! Stop and notice the little things. —K. Anderson I’ve learned that it’s a huge blessing to be able to go into the grocery stores and actually get what you need/want rather than be annoyed at the task. —Misty Bélanger

82 • PADUCAH LIFE

I have learned there are a lot of wonderful people in this world, and a lot of them are right here in our beautiful town. I pray that we have all learned something from this epidemic and we all realize that life is precious, and we should appreciate every moment we have on this Earth. —Charlene Shelton

Most people really do have a good heart for each other. I've learned to appreciate my time at home watching baby birds hatch in the nest at the back door—instead of them being a "bother" like they were last year. For all my friends, when this is over, expect a LOT of hugs and a LOT of I love yous. —Gayron Ferguson Jr. I actually like this new normal, the calm and peace from only doing the essential. —Valerie Hendley


Who are we? ★

by

DARLENE M AZZONE We are a community of brethren

We are the single moms up early making pancakes and folding laundry We are the sanitation workers hanging on to a life that serves friends and neighbors We are the housekeepers cleaning rooms amongst the sick and injured We are the carpenters crafting a roof for our heads We are volunteers cooking over fires to feed the hungry We are policemen and policewomen standing strong for our safety We are nurses at bedsides holding vigil and holding our future We are the leaders of cities and states and places we cherish We are the truck drivers and train conductors and pilots delivering the world to our doorstep We are doctors wielding skillful swords against our common enemy We are farmers bringing bounty from the soil beneath our feet We are engineers and men and women of science and technology seeking answers We are the creatives giving voice and imagery to our innermost thoughts We are teachers and parents finding ways to love and to learn We are people together 

A SINCERE

THANK YOU! To so many who have given of themselves for the service of others at this difficult time. healthcare professionals, food service workers, first responders, mail carriers pastors & staff, teachers, delivery drivers and sO many mOre!

Roxie Jarvis realTOr

270.519.9763 roxie@century21servicerealty.com 3225 coleman road Office: 270.442.2100 Century 21 Salesperson of the Year, 2005-2012 Century 21 Multi-Million Dollar Club Centruion Producer, 2005-2016

People bound together as one . . . for the good of all.

We are community. service realTy, inc. Each office is Independently Owned & Operated

JUNE 2020 • 83


LastWord the

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” — HENRY MILLER

This photo was taken at the aQs Quilt show in 2019 by DR. PAUL GRUMLEY. Paul uses a technique called intentional camera movement. using a neutral density filter and a low isO, the camera is set to a slow shutter speed, focused on the central image, and twisted in a circle. since Paul’s retirement from the practice of internal medicine, he has pursued photography as a hobby and has taken numerous classes at Psad.  Paul enjoys abstract images but also finds satisfaction in capturing the spirit of people and places. “i love to travel in search of great images,” says Paul, “but as shown in this photograph, one need not go far from home to find satisfaction and pleasure in making meaningful photographs.” 84 PADUCAH LIFE


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Profile for PaducahLife

Paducah Life Magazine — June 2020  

Paducah Life Magazine — June 2020  

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