A professor’s take on laws, theories and cats

By Steve Humphrey
Illustration by Andrea Hutchinson

In my previous column, we explored the matter of logic versus rhetoric and how we can distinguish the two. Now, let me begin this month by distinguishing metaphysics from epistemology. Metaphysics is the study of what there is in the world – the furniture of reality, as it were. Epistemology is the investigation of what we can know about that world, and how we can gain that knowledge.

Science begins with the metaphysical assumption that a mind-independent, external, objective physical world exists and that we can gain knowledge about that world. This might seem obvious, but it has been challenged. There are those who believe that our experience of the external world is illusory – a shared hallucination like Neo in “The Matrix.”

So, if we grant the assumption that our experiences are of an external, objective reality, what constitutes “truth?” For starters, what sorts of things can be said to be true or false? Generally, it is believed that propositions, or declarative statements, have objective truth value. For example, questions and commands are neither true nor false. Now, what makes a proposition true? That is, what features of the physical world determine the truth value of some statement? Scientists believe the correspondence theory of truth, which holds that true propositions describe, or correspond to, facts in the world. According to this view, the proposition “the cat is on the mat” is true just in case the cat is on the mat. An alternative view might be that “the cat is on the mat” is true just in case everyone believes that the cat is on the mat. But for science, truth is not a function of opinion, intuition or consensus but of facts in the world.

There are general as well as singular propositions. A general proposition is one that makes a claim about multiple entities. “The cat is on the mat” is singular, “all cats love to sit on mats” is general. Science is primarily concerned with general statements. A collection of individual truths doesn’t tell us very much, but a true generalization tells us a great deal. It is shorthand for a huge conjunction of singular statements. The object of science is to find and characterize patterns and regularities in the physical world, and these are described using general propositions. These are called “hypotheses” or “theories.” In the physical sciences, such general claims are expressed in the language of mathematics in the form of equations. Such expressions are often called “laws,” as in “the laws of physics.” Laws simply describe patterns and regularities in the physical world, and they can be used to make predictions about future observations. The “truthmakers” of general propositions are general facts or collections of particular facts. General claims may be universal (“All cats like mats”) or statistical (“75 percent of cats like mats.”)

Some philosophers are of the opinion that laws exert some sort of force on the world – that they cause things or prevent things. I picture “cosmic cops” on cosmic Segways zooming around keeping things in order. For me, laws are simply descriptive, not prescriptive or proscriptive. That is, they tell us how things are, not how they should be or can’t be.

Next time, I will talk about what makes us think that some hypothesis is true and what justifies our belief in that proposition. V

Steve Humphrey has a Ph.D in the history and philosophy of science, with a specialty in philosophy of physics. He teaches courses in these subjects at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has taught them at the University of Louisville.

Carter Holiday House Party

Artist John Michael Carter and his wife Barbara invited family, friends and fellow artists to their home on Cherokee Road for a celebration of the holiday season. The open house was made festive by delicious food, wine and decorations inspired by Barbara’s girlhood in Germany. Carter’s beautiful portraits and landscapes adorned the walls in each room.
Photos by John H. Harralson Jr.

Family Fit

By Jeff Howard
Photos by
Jillian Clark
Noelle Adams, Ashley Robertson, Alison Cardoza and Alexa Cardoza

This month’s topic is family fitness, and while I could talk endlessly about the benefits of training together as a family, it’s impossible not to address a less-fun topic: childhood obesity.

How many of you remember coming home from school and having to do your homework before you could go outside to play? How many of you stayed at school after classes to play a sport or do an after-school activity? Well, today’s world is a little different. Times have changed, and after-school activities suffer from budget cuts. Even playing outside is a different story. The effects on children and adolescents are truly frightening: a lack of physical activity and an increase in a sedentary lifestyle has given rise to an upward trend in obesity. Obesity-associated illnesses that previously were found only in adults (high blood pressure and type-two diabetes, for example) are now commonly found in children.

Of course, we lead by example, and our example tends to include poor nutrition, extended screen time, and a lack of physical activity and sleep. I feel, however, that we can change this. We can turn this epidemic around and make a change towards a healthier example by following just a few guidelines:

Screen time suggestions:

• Under age two, avoid digital media use.

• For ages two to five, limit screen time to one hour a day.

• Do not allow screen use within one hour of bedtime.

• Try to keep bedrooms, mealtimes and playtimes screen-free.

• Simply turn electronics off when not in use.

The key age for promoting healthy behaviors is before age six. Physical activity starts declining at age seven. We know that children can be picky eaters; I remember having to sit at the table until I was finished with my own dinner, and yes, I too hated vegetables! In my childhood, fast-food was a treat, as were carbonated beverages. In today’s world, however, it’s less expensive to feed a child from the dollar menu at your favorite fast-food restaurant than to buy fresh produce. We need to change this. Let’s try to limit the knee-jerk response of opting for the drive-thru, and make an effort to eat non-processed food at home instead. If we do go to fast-food restaurants, let’s limit the caloric intake. Have the fries, but hold the soda. Make smarter choices.

Concentrating on food and movement will take your family a long way towards living healthier. But sleep is another key component of our lifestyle that’s responsible for both growth and combating obesity.

Recommended sleep time guidelines:

• 3-5 years: 10-13 hours

• 6-12 years: 9-12 hours

• 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

The bottom line is, you can make little changes to improve the health of you and your family.  Movement is essential for musculoskeletal issues, brain development and motor skill development, and even a simple game of tag or hide-and-seek will assist with this. There are video games that promote movement, and even dancing to your children’s favorite songs is exercise. Family walks provide an opportunity to bond and a safe way to get some cardio training.

I designed a workout that your children can do after school, either with you or by themselves. Start off completing it twice a week.

1. Curtsy Squats (20)

Start with your feet hip-width apart, take your right leg and step behind the left and bend the knees. Bring it back to a squat and repeat on the other leg.

2. Lateral Lunges (20)

Start with your feet hip-width apart, step outside with the right leg, keep the left leg straight as you bend the knee of the right leg. Bring back to your squat and repeat on the other side. 

3. Squats Alternating
Toes (20)

Start with your feet hip-width apart, bend at the knee and hold. Lift the heel of the left foot then place it back to the floor and lift the right heel. Alternate from right to left.

4. Breakdancer Burpees (15)

Start with your feet hip-width apart, then lower to the floor, jumping back into plank. Rotate over to the right. Push up with your hips rotating to the left. Lift up to your hips and go back to plank position, lifting back up into standing position.

5. Tricep Dips (15)

Start in a seated position with feet hip-width apart. Lift your buttocks off the floor. Bend your elbow towards the ground then lift back upwards.

6. Push-Ups (15)

Start on all fours, walk your hands forward and bend at the elbows. Lower yourself to the floor, then lift back upwards.

7. Butterfly Abs (20)

Start in a seated position with feet hip-width apart. Lower knees to the floor with your feet still connected. Reach hands forward, lower to the floor then bring back up to seated position. For a progression, keep your hands in front of your chest and repeat the sit-up. For another progression, put your hands behind your head and repeat the sit-up.

8. Knee Knee Crunch (20)

Start in a seated position with feet hip-width apart. Lower to the floor, then crunch upwards, reaching for the left knee then the right. Lower back to the floor. On the next set, reach for the right knee then the left.

Beautiful Chaos

Reporter and advocate Christina Mora Dettman on her journey to motherhood

By Mariah Kline

Christina Mora Dettman has gone off-script, and then back on. In recent years, the WLKY reporter took a step away from television while bringing together her family of six. She just recently returned as a freelancer to the station, where she is bringing awareness to Kentucky’s child welfare system.

When her career began, Christina didn’t set out to be an adoption advocate. She and her husband Brian began trying to have a baby shortly after getting married in 2012, and they moved to Louisville in 2013. After trying for over a year, they sought fertility help and pursued in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intravaginal insemination (IVI).

“Nothing was working,” she says. “After a couple of years, my husband said, ‘I can’t watch you like this anymore. We’re going to have to change our route.’

“He’s agreed to do any crazy thing I’ve wanted to do from day one,” she adds. “I’ve talked to other women who say, ‘My husband isn’t on board yet. How do I get him on board to adopt?’ And that just breaks my heart. I was so lucky to end up with him because he was ready to jump into this full force.”

In October 2017, Christina and Brian became foster parents to two boys, and eight months later, they received the news that they could adopt twin girls, Francisca and Prisca, from Malawi, Africa. The boys, who she refers to as J and K, have not yet been formally adopted and are still technically in the foster care system. Though the girls were two years old when they were matched with the couple, Christina and Brian were not able to bring them home until they were four. 

“That process was excruciating,” she says. “The fact that they’re here is nothing short of a miracle.”

So, what is it like to go from being childless to the parents of four in a short period of time?

“We went from organized chaos to just pure chaos,” Christina says. “We’re still learning a lot. We have a village who helps us, and without them, I don’t know how we would do it. The boys have made incredible progress. When I look at how they were when they first got here to where they are now, they’ve done amazing. The girls didn’t speak English when they got here, and now they’re doing amazing. There have been really, really hard times and it hasn’t been easy, but it’s just so rewarding for us.”

While navigating parenthood, Christina began sharing her family’s experiences through her blog, Off Script Mom. She has shared the stories of how her family came together, her battles with infertility and her knowledge of foster care and adoption.

“It’s been a way to help other women going through the same things so they don’t feel like they’re alone,” she says. “People have reached out to me asking, ‘Should I do domestic or international adoption?’ or they’ll ask about IVF, and I’ll just say, ‘Here’s what I know and here’s what we’ve found.’ When you’re going through all of that, to feel like you have someone to talk to and other women are doing it, it really does make a difference.”

Her family has come a long way, but Christina doesn’t gloss over the challenges she and so many others have faced with infertility, fostering and adopting.

“Each of these processes is very hard,” she says. “You’re going to be heartbroken. With infertility, I became a shell of a human, but you just have to keep going because you have a dream to have a family. This journey is going to be hard and that’s OK because if that’s what you want, then it’s worth it. And it’s ultimately about what’s best for these kids.”

Christina recently returned to WLKY after working for the public affairs department of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. While splitting her time between Frankfort and Louisville was difficult, the job allowed her to advocate for the state’s children and learn even more about how she can help.

Now, she is furthering her work with Wednesday’s Child, a nonprofit organization that supports children who are waiting to be adopted and recruits adoptive families. Through WLKY, Christina shares the stories of older children who need families and hopes to engage with more potential parents.

As she shares the mission of Wednesday’s Child and manages her own family life, Christina knows that her experience has made her who she is today.

“This really has changed my life,” she says. “When we took the classes to become foster parents, we learned so much. I was very naive before. You learn about trauma and how it affects these children’s brains for life… I’m not the person I was before all of this. Once you see the kids who are in the system who need a family, you can’t go back.” V

A Great Balancing Act

Bobby and Hanna Benjamin on food, faith and family

By Mariah Kline

“Food, faith and family. It sounds so cheesy, but when I have to describe our life, those are the important things,” says Hanna Benjamin, mother of three daughters and wife of chef Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery and Butchertown Grocery Bakery.

Hanna and Bobby have created a unique environment for their family to thrive in – juggling business ownership, individualized schooling and of course, an appreciation for the culinary arts.

Their love story began in 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee, where Hanna grew up most of her life. The two met while Bobby was working for a country club, but before meeting Hanna, he caught the eye of her mother.

“My mom lived in the neighborhood that the country club was in, and she kept telling Bobby, ‘You have to meet my daughter,’” Hanna recalls. “He used to hear that a lot with women, so he just went along with it politely… Never in a million years would I have thought that my mom would be the one to find me my husband, but she was.”

After Hanna spotted Bobby in the country club’s dining room on Easter Sunday, she wholeheartedly agreed with her mother. The next day, Hanna “played hooky” from work so she could eat lunch at the club and have the chance to talk to Bobby, who was getting ready to leave Nashville for a job at the Seelbach Hilton. Sparks flew immediately, and the pair saw each other every night until he left for Louisville. Their relationship became long distance, but a few months in, Bobby proposed and one year later, he and Hanna became husband and wife.

“It was kind of crazy, but sometimes they say, ‘When you know, you know,’” says Hanna.

Today, they are the proud parents of three daughters: Copeland Pearl, 5, Phifer Grace, 3, and Wynter Olivia, 1. As Hanna brings up their children and Bobby runs two successful restaurants, both are working to create a vibrant life for their three little loves.

Wynter is Coming

Becoming a family of five didn’t happen in the most conventional manner for the Benjamins. After Copeland was born and delivered by C-section in 2014, doctors ordered a test for the baby’s heart as a precautionary measure. Hanna’s heart was tested by mistake, but the error revealed a congenital heart defect that should have been detected years ago when she was born.

“People who have this defect and it goes undetected often die by the age of 40,” Hanna says. “If I had delivered Copeland naturally, I most likely wouldn’t have made it. It was a crazy thing that they accidentally found this.”

Thankfully, doctors were able to put a stent in Hanna’s heart, and she was told she could have more children without much risk. But a small amount of fear still lingered and the couple had previously discussed the idea of adoption.

“A lot of it is very faith-based,” says Hanna. “I just felt called to adopt – that it was something I was supposed to do.”

Following the birth of Phifer, she and Bobby decided that they were ready to explore adoption. Since they knew the process could take up to two years or more, the couple decided to act quickly. After researching their options, Hanna and Bobby hired an adoption consultant, but they didn’t have to wait the anticipated two years. Two weeks into the process, their consultant matched the couple with a birth mother. Their third girl was on the way.

“It was early on in her pregnancy so it wasn’t like we were getting a baby the next day,” Hanna says. “But the hardest part is the waiting and feeling like you have no control over what’s going on.”

They played the waiting game for several months until they received the call in January 2019 that Wynter was on her way. The family flew to the birth mother, and Hanna met her and her family members for the first time.

“They were all sweet and supportive and thankful that I was able to be (Wynter’s) mom,” Hanna says. “They let me be in the room for the birth, which was amazing. I had never seen a natural birth since I had two C-sections. I got to cut the cord, and all of it was really, really special.”

Hanna also got to nurse the baby, something adoptive mothers rarely get to do.

“Phifer was nursing when we got matched so I decided to continue breastfeeding,” she says. “I was able to immediately start nursing Wynny, so it was great that I could give her those nutrients and have that bond with her.”


In addition to parenting, Hanna is also taking on the role of part-time teacher. Copeland recently began a homeschool hybrid program in which she spends two days a week at New Song Christian Academy and the remaining days learning at home. The balance of traditional classroom learning with homeschooling gives kids a dynamic experience and allows parents more time with their kiddos.

“This was really important to me as I was seeing how quickly my children were growing,” Hanna says. “I knew I was going to be missing so much time away from them. That was just so sad to me because I want to cherish these moments and be with them as much as I can.”

Education is extremely important to the Benjamins, and this includes a proper culinary education. Though he doesn’t care if his girls ever pursue cooking professionally, Bobby will be teaching them to appreciate where food comes from and how it’s made.

“It’s about having a relationship with food, and that’s what I want them to understand,” he says. “We want them to learn about the work that’s put into it. It’s not just about going to the farmers market in the summertime – it’s about what we’re eating year-round, how we’re eating it and why we’re eating it.”

Hanna and Bobby are both extremely mindful of what they eat and have become too familiar with how food and household items can negatively affect our bodies.

“When Copeland was four months old, my dad passed away from colorectal cancer,” Hanna explains. “One of the last things he left me with was, ‘Please be careful with what you’re putting in and on your body.’ Through research that I’ve done, I’m seeing that so much disease is caused by what we’re eating and what we’re putting in our home.”

In the kitchen, organic foods abound, and Bobby has begun teaching the kids how to prepare simple dishes.

“I’ve already gotten Copeland a set of chef’s knives and showed her how to use them,” he laughs.

Balancing Act

Raising three future world-changers is no easy task. As a full-time mom and a full-time chef, Hanna and Bobby’s jobs allow for little rest. But each day, they rise to the occasion.

“They’re very patient with me,” Bobby says of his family members. “It’s a constant work in progress – trying to balance the restaurant lifestyle and being there for your kids. It’s a challenge, but I enjoy the challenge.”

“As a mom you are on 24 hours a day and as a business owner you are as well,” says Hanna. “We’re always exhausted and feeling like we need a break, but it’s hard to find at this stage. A big part of it is just pushing forward and doing the best we can day by day.” V

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You

Michael Lee marries Tori Freeman

Photos by Amy Campbell Photography

Texans Michael Lee and Tori Freeman were married at Hurstbourne Country Club on Oct. 26 of last year. The weekend included a welcome party at Captain’s Quarters and a rehearsal dinner river cruise on the CQ Princess. On the day after the wedding, friends Becca and Steve Savage hosted the group at Churchill Downs, where they placed bets and enjoyed each other’s company in the Turf Club.

Topping it off, Greg and Tanya Jones dedicated the day’s eighth race to the newlyweds – naming it “The Tori & Michael Lee Wedding Classic” and letting the couple present the trophy to winner Sharecropper.

Out-of-town guests loved experiencing Louisville, and the bride and groom loved having their big day in the Derby City. Michael and Tori recently shared with us the details of their romance and their magnificent wedding.

When and how did you two meet?

“We first met in high school in Dallas, Texas,” Tori said. “I am a year older than Michael, so we seriously started dating my senior year through my freshman year of college. When he decided to go to a different college than me, we broke ties but on a very good note.  We started dating again post-college when Michael was at the University of Virginia Law School, and the rest is history. We like to say we’re ‘two years going on 10.’”

When and how did you get engaged?

“Michael proposed to me on Nov. 23, 2018 in Corpus Christi,” she recalled. “I was in town with my family celebrating Thanksgiving while Michael stayed back in Dallas with his because he told me he had to work.The Friday after Thanksgiving, my cousin hosted a lunch at her house where Michael was hiding in the backyard. When he popped out behind a planter, I was immediately in tears and didn’t say many words. Michael actually dropped down to one knee twice just to make sure it happened! Out of the group of us in Corpus Christi, only my mom and sister knew it was going to happen, so it was a big surprise for all of us.”

Who assisted with planning the big day?

“It was definitely a team effort,” Tori explained. “My mom, Angela, helped along with Michael’s mom, DeeDee Lee, who is actually the one with the relationship to Kentucky and Hurstbourne Country Club. Michael and I were married on the same date and exact same spot as Jim and DeeDee Lee were 34 years ago. It is so special to share that with them.

“Michael was involved when he wanted to be involved (including cake, food and bar set-ups),” she laughed. “We also had the help of our wedding planner, Colleen Harkins, here in Dallas. Our florist, Wayne Esterle from In Bloom Again and Meredeth at Hurstbourne Country Club played a huge role in making things happen and bringing our dream wedding to life.”

What moment from the wedding stands out most in your mind when you look back on the day?

“Aesthetically, watching all of the hard work from a year come to life literally brought me to tears when I walked into the country club,” she said. “Emotionally, I remember that I couldn’t take my eyes off of Michael. Smiling ear to ear and dancing like I’ve never seen him dance before was truly amazing. At the end of the night while getting into our getaway car, he turned around to look at everyone sending us off and did a huge fist pump.”

“I have three favorite moments,” Michael said. “First, watching Tori walk down the aisle. My second favorite moment was being on the stage with all of my groomsmen and the band. The third moment was the getaway. I loved seeing everyone who had stayed all night to celebrate with us.”

What advice would you give to couples who are in the middle of planning their wedding?

“Think about yourself first,” Tori said. “This is your time and your wedding – plan it for you and your fiancé, no one else. The people who matter will be there and it will all work out. On the day of the wedding, get there early, walk around and soak it all in. The night goes by so quickly and it’s hard to remember all of the details you worked so hard on.” V


Wedding Dress: Gowns of Grace
– Dallas, Texas

Groom’s Tux: Knot Standard

Bridesmaid Dresses: LuLus

Groomsmen: Personal tuxes

Hair & Makeup: Ana Crane

Flowers: In Bloom Again, Wayne Esterle

Venue and Catering:
Hurstbourne Country Club

Band: I Love This Band

Officiant: Harry Weddington (“Harry got ordained specifically for our ceremony,”
Tori said. “It was amazing having
someone officiate our wedding who
was so close to us.”)

Rings: deBoulle – Dallas, Texas

Invitations: Cleggraphy Designs
– Dallas, Texas

Acrylic Invitation: Artifacture
– Dallas, Texas

Photographer: Amy Campbell Photography

Videographer: Bryan Starr

Celebration of Life: Al Young

Photo by Hunter Zieske.

1942 – 2019

Al Young, 77, of Lexington, Kentucky, passed away peacefully on Dec. 25, 2019 with his family by his side. Al was a husband, father, grandfather and friend to many who knew and loved him.

Al was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 20, 1942 to the late Albert W. Young Sr. and Arnie Maynard Young. Al is survived by his wife of 52 years, Gretchen; his children, Marc Young (Donna), Heather Raker (Neal) and Christine Fisher (Terry); and his grandchildren, Anna, Laura, Clayton and Oliver, all of whom he loved dearly.

He attended Waggener High School in Louisville and was part of the first graduating class in 1960. He then went on to obtain his undergraduate degree at Western Kentucky University in 1964.

Al quickly became interested in performing, which comes as no surprise to those who have had the true pleasure of meeting him. Following college, he obtained a master’s degree in fine arts from Southern Illinois University and then worked as the publicity director for Actors Theatre of Louisville.

In 1967, following the suggestion of his then-fiancée, Gretchen, who believed that distilling would be more stable than acting, Al accepted a position with Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Al began his bourbon career on June 5, 1967, and two weeks later he and Gretchen were married.

Al dutifully served Four Roses in a variety of roles over five decades. In 1990, he became distillery manager, and in 2007 was named brand ambassador, a role where he crossed the country and the globe, sharing the story of Four Roses and sharing his smile with the world. He was also the historian for the 130-year old bourbon brand, having researched archives, distillery records, news accounts, photos and artifacts before authoring the book “Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend.”

Al was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2011. More than that, Al embodied the spirit of bourbon. He was a friend to all, always there with a story and ready for a good laugh together.

Outside of his notable career, Al most enjoyed building model sail ships, collecting miniature figurines, drawing and painting, traveling and spending time with his family.

A stalwart in the bourbon industry and a loving and dedicated family man, Al’s legacy will be celebrated forever.

Visitation and funeral services were held Jan. 3 and 4 at Trinity Hill United Methodist Church in Lexington.

In lieu, of flowers donations can be made to the UK Markey Cancer Center, 800 Rose St., Pavilion CC, Lexington, KY, 40536; Bluegrass Care Navigators, 2312 Alexandria Dr., Lexington, KY, 40504; or Trinity Hill United Methodist Church, 3600 Tates Creek Rd., Lexington, KY, 40517.

Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, located on Harrodsburg Road in Lexington, handled arrangements.

Bookmark This Location

Family fun abounds at the Northeast Regional Library

By Laura Ross
Photos courtesy of
Louisville Free Public Library

Rachel Smith, the branch manager of the new Northeast Regional Library, is not your traditional, buttoned-up librarian of yore. “I love working with children and asking, ‘Do you know who owns the library?’” she said, laughing. “They’ll say, oh, the president, the mayor, or such. And I say, no, YOU own the library.”

The new Northeast Regional Library located at 15 Bellevoir Cir. off of Ormsby Station Road in Lyndon officially opened June 24, 2019. The nearly 40,000-square-foot facility replaced the much-smaller Westport branch. Similar in size and scope to the Southwest and South Central Regional libraries, the Northeast Library houses more than 120,000 books and materials. It includes comfortable, quiet spaces for reading and studying, several meeting rooms, an auditorium, a coffee shop, a large children’s area and a separate teen space.

According to Paul Burns, communications director for the Louisville Free Public Library, visitors to the new Northeast Library checked out 81,177 items in its first month of operation in July. To put it in perspective, that number is equivalent to more than two-thirds of the branch’s total collection (120,000 items) and is the highest single-month total for items checked out from one LFPL location ever.

Since opening, the Northeast Library has averaged 64,000 items checked out each month, served more than 23,000 visitors per month, and seen more than 10,000 children attend library programs and events in the first five months. In November, Quills Coffee opened a coffee shop in the library, which has proved enormously popular.

Beyond the books, videos, music and periodicals expected, the Northeast Library offers a full calendar of programming each month for children, teens and adults. Unique to the library is its creative Maker Pavilion, which offers a creativity hub for hands-on learning.

The Maker Room features the latest in maker technology including a Makerbot 3D printer, Glowforge laser cutter, programmable drones, sewing machines and more. The Media Studio offers a sound booth for patrons to record podcasts and music and an area to create videos using green screen technology. It is also used to host a regular “Tween Improv” group. In the kitchen, chefs and other local experts host scheduled cooking classes and demos for the public. The entire Maker Pavilion hosts open hours, regular events and specialized classes, all of which can be found on the library’s website.

“What I love about the space is there are real high-end gadgets like the 3-D laser printer, but there’s also old-school button makers, sewing machines, a knitting machine and, of course, paper, pens, scissors and glue for all kinds of artwork,” said Smith.

“We ask people to go through a 30-minute presentation called Maker Pavilion 101,” she added, noting that safety is key when using the equipment. The space proved popular throughout the holiday season with families making handmade gifts. Library staff regularly teach sessions on software programs, photography and using the recording studios.

“The offerings are endless for the community,” explained Smith. “We even have a certified Bob Ross instructor who teaches painting each month, and we often turn people away from those classes because they are so popular.”

The demonstration kitchen features three ovens, gadgets such as air fryers and more. Smith spent months before the library’s opening talking with other libraries nationwide that have similar spaces. Area chefs and restaurants use the space to host cooking demonstrations and the library provides classes like a monthly “Vegan Table” cooking class and healthy eating programs.

The screened-in porch on the library’s south side allows for yoga classes, community meetings, storytelling and more. As spring approaches, said Smith, programming will ramp up for the porch area.

The family focus is one of the Northeast Library’s greatest strengths. “We have an outstanding children’s staff that brings a great deal of creativity and passion to what they do,” said Tonya Swan, children and teen program supervisor at the Northeast Library. “Our goal is to provide the very best programming using the latest in children’s educational pedagogy and technology. The Maker Space plays a role in that because of its resources, and staff use all of the great toys such as the Ozobots, drones and other things we have to teach coding.

“One of our most unique and popular teen programs is the Medieval Combat Society,” added Swan. “It was started by our teen library assistant, Chris Herde, who uses his history degree and background working at the Renaissance fair to teach teens combat strategies, swordplay and fighting skills. He also throws in some historical facts. All of the ‘weapons’ are specially padded and constructed to be safe.”

This is obviously not your grandmother’s library with dusty card catalogs and pure silence. “The library is full of conversation and laughter,” said Swan. “We are still a very popular study spot. There are lots of students who use the library – they just bring their noise-cancelling headphones and it works. I think that despite the less-than-quiet environment, people come because it is such a beautiful, inspiring space. The windows looking over the park make it feel like you are actually sitting in the park but with all the comforts of having a table and chair and charging station to support your work.”

The 13.5-acre park-like setting the library owns includes the Ormsby House, a landmark home that was once one of Lyndon’s historic farms. It will eventually offer space for additional programming, but the walking paths and heavily treed acres add a natural touch that can’t be found at any other Louisville library. The Northeast Library offers Nature Play on the third Saturday of each month for families to explore the park and engage in creative play and nature-based activities.

The library’s park will be center stage June 20 for an ambitious event called the “Longest Day of Play.”

“It will begin when the sun rises at 6:19 a.m. that day and will end when the sun sets at 9:09 p.m.,” said Swan. “Its purpose is to encourage children and their families to engage in the outdoors. We are partnering with many community groups to provide activities all day – everything from Eco-Graffiti, soccer, sunrise yoga, nature play, kickball and a mud pie kitchen.”

Before that, planning is already underway for a busy spring. In addition to regular storytimes, book groups, movie nights and more, the Northeast Library will host family weekends two Saturdays a month.

“We are planning a large Easter egg hunt with our neighbor, the Northeast YMCA,” said Swan. “We will also have regular programs such as Nature Play, TinkerLab, Teen Hang Time and the Page Turners Book Club for kids.”

Lee Burchfield, director of the Louisville Free Public Library, enjoys the Northeast Library’s success but advises that the community must embrace all libraries. “It’s essential that we recognize and celebrate the success we have had in building the regional libraries called for by the 2008 Library Master Plan,” Burchfield said. “But we still need to renovate the Portland Library and replace the Shively Library. The community has demonstrated that investment in libraries pays dividends. Now, we need to see that same kind of commitment to operations funding so that we can build on our success.”

After working 18 years in the library system, Rachel Smith sometimes wonders at her luck. “It strikes me now and again that I’ll come in and work inside, but I’ll go out at lunch and get out by the Ormsby House. I look back and think, ‘Oh my gosh, look at this amazing thing I’m a part of overseeing.’ It’s a privilege. I remember telling my mom years ago that I can’t believe they are paying me to do this work, and I still feel that way today. It’s so much fun.” V

For program and event listings, or to sign up for a free event newsletter, visit

Louisville Civic Orchestra Celebrates Black History in Music

Florence Price.

On Feb. 29, all ages are invited to join the Louisville Civic Orchestra (LCO), the city’s oldest continuously-performing orchestra, as the organization celebrates Black history in music by performing Florence Price’s “Symphony No.3,” as well as works by Julio Racine and Michael Abels. 

The music of Florence Price is experiencing a renaissance of new appreciation in concert halls across America, but as an African-American woman in the early 20th century, she was frequently overlooked by publishers and performers. 

Composing on the cusp of late American romanticism and the dawn of the modern era in music, Florence Price embraced distinctly American genres of music such as the African-American spiritual as her thematic foundations, much in the way Antonin Dvorak had exhorted American composers decades earlier. 

LCO’s concert will feature Price’s “Symphony No. 3,” and celebrates the past and current contributions of other minority composers to the canon of great American symphonic music. Other works featured will include “Liquify” by composer Michael Abels, who is the film score composer for “Us” and “Get Out,” as well as works by Haitian-American composer Julio Racine. 

The concert will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Christ Temple Apostolic Church, 723 S. 45th St., Louisville, KY 40211.

No registration is required, but if people wish to make donations, they can support LCO online and at the concert. Visit

The Louisville Civic Orchestra (LCO),, founded in 1915, is Louisville’s oldest continuously-performing orchestra and has grown to include a diverse group of about 60 women and men from all backgrounds, ages, races and regions. 


Spectacle of Sisterhood

A Preview of ‘Lawbreakers! A Fast and Furious History of Women’s Suffrage’

By Chloe Games

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

“I come from a long line of intense women,” educator Ms. Dunbar (Ebony Jordan) declares, just minutes after a nearly all-female cast of characters has erupted onto the Bomhard Theatre at the Kentucky Center stage to Beyoncé’s girl-powered anthem, “Run the World (Girls).” Sit back and enjoy the show, but don’t relax just yet: the women of “Lawbreakers! A Fast and Furious History of Women’s Suffrage” just might spout a line from your own mouth onstage. Throughout the show, it’s disillusioned, strong-spoken Kiara (Ernaisja Curry) who echoes the youngest generation of voters – and their parents – with the refrain, “How is my vote going to make a difference?”  

Playwright Diana Grisanti’s “Lawbreakers!” makes a timely debut. 2020 doesn’t just mark the centennial anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, it also promises a year-end election that seems poised to widen rifts already fracturing our political and social networks. The history of suffrage that StageOne shows us, while unmistakably entertaining, is riddled with the same problems that plague contemporary politics.

“The play, while fast and fun, is at its core a meditation on sisterhood,” Grisanti explains. “How did the suffrage movement reckon with its own internal rifts?” Sisterhood motivates and propels the play, with step-sisters Kiara and Maya (Amber Avant) taking center-stage as dual protagonists whose differences stand in the way of their relationship. When tensions erupt over Maya’s role in an after-school club, the sisters embark on an accidental journey through the history of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Trey Antonio Wright provides a steady stream of comic relief as a hilarious interloper who conducts the sisters’ journey through time and place as they become an unintentional part of the moving, shaking and unavoidable suffering that incubated change within our country. 

“This fast and furious story reminds us that solidarity is not automatic; movement-building, even among your sisters, is not a given. Change takes trust, bravery, alliance and most of all dialogue,” StageOne Producing Artistic Director Idris Goodwin explains. Throughout their run-ins with more “intense women,” the two sisters learn all about the courage, disobedience and coming-together that propelled our politics forward throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. They also witness a good bit of betrayal and injustice along the way. Sojourner Truth’s powerful words are twisted in the aftermath of her impassioned speech, and during a stint behind bars, the sisters rally alongside factory worker Josephine. Personifying the multitude of unnamed women whose solidarity gave way to systemic change, Josephine endures a fate quite different from fellow prisoner Alice Paul, a woman whose privileged status wrote her name into our history books. 

After following the sisters’ journey backward and forwards through time, you might reflect that the work of thoughtful women is not over yet. Imperfect as they were, the sisterhoods that fractured across suffragist movements of the past nonetheless brought substantial change. Perhaps Kiara and Maya and you and I will find that sisterhood is an antidote to a new decade’s challenges. Bring your sisters and friends of all ages together for this family-friendly performance, and decide for yourself. 

You can catch StageOne’s production of “Lawbreakers! A Fast and Furious History of Women’s Suffrage” Feb. 1-8 at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit

Preview Party for ‘Lawbreakers!’

On Jan. 19, StageOne Family Theatre hosted a preview performance of “Lawbreakers! A Fast and Furious History of Women’s Suffrage” at the Kentucky Center. Following the production, guests gathered at Scene to toast the female-driven creative team and the community supporters and donors who helped bring the show to life. 

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

January Speed After Hours

The Speed Art Museum’s monthly After Hours Party took place on Jan. 17. The evening included roaming performers from CirqueLouis artists, dancing with Louisville Silent Disco, a performance by Small Time Napoleon and much more. 

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson