As summer approaches, parents are often on the lookout for exciting and educational activities for their kids. This year, Spotlight Acting School’s production of “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” offers a fantastic opportunity for children aged 4-11 to learn valuable life skills while having a blast on stage.

Celebrating its 20th season, Spotlight Acting School has helped hundreds of young actors hone their craft, build self-confidence, and make lasting friendships. Under the guidance of Executive Director Chad Hembree, the school has developed a reputation for being a nurturing and welcoming environment where every child is treated like a star.

One of the key factors that set Spotlight Acting School apart is its commitment to affordable tuition. With a standard base tuition starting at just $85 per month, the school aims to make theater education accessible to all families. Recognizing that not everyone may find this amount affordable, Spotlight also offers financial assistance to those in need, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and shine.

In line with this inclusive ethos, the school guarantees that every child who auditions for “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” will be cast in the show. This approach not only helps to build each student’s self-esteem but also fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the young actors.

Joining Spotlight Acting School also means becoming part of a vibrant and supportive community. The “Spotlight family” is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, where lifelong friendships are often formed. This nurturing environment encourages personal growth, collaboration, and creativity.

The school is also committed to involving parents and community members in their productions. Volunteers are always welcome to lend a hand, whether it’s helping with costumes, sets, or promotions. This collaborative spirit brings the community together, making the theater experience even more rewarding for everyone involved.

In conclusion, “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” offers an incredible opportunity for kids to join Spotlight Acting School this summer. Not only will they have the chance to showcase their talents on stage, but they will also learn essential life skills, make new friends, and become part of a caring and supportive community. Don’t let your child miss out on this fantastic experience – sign them up for auditions on May 6th at 9:00 am and let their journey with Spotlight Acting School begin.

Event: “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR.” auditions
Date: May 6, 2023
Time: 9:00 am
Location: The Spotlight Playhouse, 214 Richmond Rd., Berea, KY
Age range: 4-11 years old (age waivers may be granted for older students)

The Bluegrass Players Community Acting Troupe is excited to present OZ! A Dazzling Musical, directed by Chad Hembree, at the Spotlight Playhouse in Berea, KY. In keeping with their mission to make performing arts accessible to all, the theater is offering “Pay What You Can” performances for each Friday show, allowing patrons to set their own ticket price and enjoy a magical night at the theater.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s classic story, OZ! A Dazzling Musical takes audiences on a captivating journey through the Land of Oz. Featuring a book by Tim Kelly and music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur, this delightful production promises to be a treat for the whole family.

“Pay What You Can” performances are scheduled for April 14 and 21 at 8:00 pm. Whether using spare change or contributing a few extra dollars, theatergoers can experience the enchanting world of Oz while supporting the Spotlight Playhouse’s mission.

Additional performances are on April 15, 22 at 8:00 pm, April 16 at 2:00 pm, and April 23 at 4:30 pm. Tickets for these shows are available at

Don’t miss this opportunity to share the magic of Oz with friends and family, regardless of your budget!

If you’re one of the many people who hate going to the gym, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, according to a study by Statista, only about 23 percent of Americans say they enjoy going to the gym.

So what can you do if you want to get in shape but don’t like working out at the gym? There are plenty of exercises that you can do at home without ever having to set foot in a weight room.

Here are some of the best exercises for people who hate the gym.

1. Jumping Jacks: A classic, jumping jacks can be done just about anywhere and they’re great for your heart and lungs.

Start with your feet together and hands at your side, then jump as you spread your legs apart and raise your arms to the sky. Bring them back down as you jump with your feet together once more.

2. Burpees: To do a burpee, start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and drop down into a squat position while reaching your hands to the floor. Jump back up to where you were originally standing and jump in the air while raising your hands over your head.

3. Mountain Climbers: This one is a bit more difficult because it’s hard to do without equipment.

To do a mountain climber, start in a push-up position and bring one knee toward your chest as you raise the opposite arm. Then alternate sides as quickly as possible. Keep going until you can’t go anymore.

4. Planks: A good core workout, planks can give you a nice six-pack when done regularly.

Lie down on the floor face down and prop yourself up with your elbows under your shoulders. Lift your entire body off of the ground so that all you’re resting on are your toes and elbows. Hold for 30 seconds or as long as possible to increase strength.

5. Push-Ups: Push-ups are great because you can do them just about anywhere to strengthen your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Position yourself facedown on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart. Have your legs out straight behind you with feet together or spread out a bit for stabilization purposes. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to the ground before pushing back up.

6. Jump Rope: Though jumping rope can be difficult for some, it’s a great way to get in shape if you don’t like going to the gym.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, then keep your center of gravity low as you push off the balls of your feet and jump. Maintain a soft knee throughout the movement.

7. Triceps Dips: These can be done on a chair, couch or bed to work out that pesky tricep muscle.

Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of whatever surface you’re using so that your butt is hanging off the side of it. Make sure you have something behind you for support if needed. Bend your elbows to lower yourself down before pushing back up.

8. Plank Jacks: A mix between a jump and a plank, these are great for increasing cardiovascular activity while also working the core muscles.

Start in a regular plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. At the same time, jump while bringing your feet back toward your hands while simultaneously jumping them out to the side again.

9. Squats: A classic workout for a reason, squats are great for strengthening your legs and butt muscles while also improving balance and coordination.

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Keep your back straight and extend your arms in front of you for balance. Lower yourself into a squat position before pushing up with enough force that your legs are straight but not locked out at the top of it.

10. Jump Lunges: These are similar to mountain climbers except you alternate legs with each jump.

Begin in a lunge position with your right leg forward so that your knee is above your ankle and left knee almost touching the ground. Jump to switch positions so that your other leg is now in front. That’s one rep.

The exercises listed above are just a taste of what you can do to get in shape and stay healthy. Not only do they work out various parts of the body, but they’re also great for increasing cardiovascular activity and improving balance and coordination. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, try doing one or two of these exercises at home-they’re that easy!

Berea Under Snow

1. Keep the humidity in your home at a comfortable level

2. Adjust your thermostat to keep it cool and dry

3. Insulate your pipes with foam insulation or wrap them in heat tape

4. Put up storm windows, doors, or at least plastic coverings around drafty windows and doors

5. Install attic insulation for efficient heating during winter months

6. Seal any gaps or cracks that allow cold air to enter the house through vents, pipes, etc., with caulking or weather stripping

7. Clean or replace heating system’s air filters monthly

8. Keep your gutters clear of debris so that water can quickly be carried away before becoming ice

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed to prevent heat from going up the chimney and wasting energy

10. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat that can regulate temperature for you when you’re not around

Winterizing your home is essential for preserving a comfortable indoor environment during the winter months, but it can be difficult to know exactly what needs to be done. The important factors that need to be considered include humidity control, temperature control, and insulation. These are all crucial in preventing drafts, damaged furniture, dried-out sinuses, and other problems caused by an uncomfortable living space that isn’t protected against harsh winter weather conditions. There are 10 easy steps that will help ensure that your home is prepared for the cold weather ahead:

1. Keep the humidity in your home at a comfortable level by setting up a humidifier or dehumidifier depending on what is preferable for you and your family members’ needs.

2. Adjust your thermostat to keep it cool and dry (Usually between 68 and 72 degrees).

3. Insulate your pipes with foam insulation or wrap them in heat tape so that water doesn’t freeze up.

4. Put up storm windows and doors, as well as draft guards around windows and doors to prevent the cold outdoors from getting inside of your home.

5. Install attic insulation for efficient heating during winter months. Your attic is one area that can easily become very cold, which is why it’s important to make sure that you insulate it this winter before all of the heat escapes through the roof!

6. Seal any gaps or cracks that allow cold air to enter the house through vents, pipes, etc., with caulking or weather-stripping.

7. Clean or replace the heating system’s air filters monthly to make sure that the overall indoor environment is safe and comfortable for you and your family members’ respiratory systems.

8. Keep your gutters clear of debris so that ice won’t clog them up and cause flooding and damage by ice dams, which can occur when water backs up behind the gutter because it isn’t draining properly.

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed to prevent heat from going up the chimney and wasting energy. If you accidentally let heat escape through the chimney, then this added expense could really add up over time!

10. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat that can regulate temperature for you when you’re not around, like the Nest Learning Thermostat ( ). This is a great tool for those who work long days and aren’t able to return home at certain hours of the day to turn up their heaters before they finally arrive back home cold and tired from work!  

Don’t let cold weather prevent you from staying as comfortable as possible throughout the winter ahead. If your area is located in an area where it tends to get colder than usual during this time, then be prepared by following these easy tips so that you and your family members don’t have to worry about dealing with major problems! 

Grocery Shopping in Berea, KY 2021: Which store is the best for you?

If you are fortunate enough to have lived in Berea for the last 30 years you can remember a vastly different place with many grocery shopping options. At one point Berea had a Food Town, IGA, Piggly Wiggly (Pic Pac), Wal-Mart, Save-A-Lot, and even a couple of smaller stores with groceries all at the same time. It’s easy to get lost in the past, but there are still a few grocery shopping options in Berea, KY 2021.

They all have different prices, selections, and delivery options, so which one is the best for you?

Let’s find out!


Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and one of the biggest companies in the United States. Wal-Mart operates more than 4,700 retail units under 55 different names, including Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Club stores, and neighborhood markets.

Wal-Mart has been in Berea for a long time. The store has grown over the years but is still relatively small in comparison. However, Wal-Mart has many special food sections like bakery and produce that you can’t find in smaller grocery stores.

A trip to Wal-Mart is always an experience, good or bad, but the chances of finding the grocery item you are looking for are relatively high and the prices are typically fair. Wal-Mart also offers grocery pick-up services for no extra charge. This simple no-cost convenience allows shoppers to skip the line and wait in their vehicle in designated spots to have the groceries loaded for them.

Lastly, Wal-Mart has a very nice delivery service called Wal-Mart+ (Plus). This service will cost you $120 a year but offers unlimited free grocery deliveries to your home on orders totaling $35 or more. Delivery is usually the next day and many people have found this service convenience to far outweigh the cost.

Kroger Hometown Delivery

Similar to Wal-Marts pick-up service, Kroger has a pick-up location in Berea located off of Center Street. By using the Kroger app or website patrons can quickly order items and have them scheduled for pick-up in Berea.

Kroger uses a refrigerated truck to keep the groceries fresh and will load everything for you. This service is nice because Kroger sells some items that the Berea Wal-Mart does not carry. Fresh seafood is one particular area Kroger excels at over any other Berea option.

Happy Meadows Health Food Store

Happy Meadows Health Food Store is a small store on Glades Road that sells mostly natural and organic products. With so many people looking for healthier lifestyles and eating habits, this store offers a wide selection of healthy food options. The prices are sometimes a bit higher than other grocery stores but comparable to the large chain health food stores like Whole Foods. The staff at Happy Meadows are typically friendly and accommodating, and you are supporting a locally owned business.

Dollar General

If it’s canned goods, snacks, or very common items you are in search of, don’t forget about the extremely convenient and readily available assortment of Dollar General Stores located around the Berea area. For a quick hot dog, buns and chips grill out you probably can be to your closest Dollar General and back home before you could even get to the isle in Wal-Mart. the prices are good and they probably carry more than you know and the brand selections are usually well-known names.

Family Dollar

Family Dollar is another location that carries more groceries than you may realize, including a frozen foods selection. Our local Family Dollar is located on Richmond Road next to the Spotlight Playhouse with a huge parking. The staff are very helpful and are constantly restocking the shelves. Since Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are the same company you can often find a good selection of Holiday decorating items for every season while picking up your groceries.


For the bare basics of grocery shopping and being budget-minded, Save-A-Lot has you covered. Their brand selection is somewhat limited, but they carry thousands of products to stock your pantry. One particular great benefit to Berea’s Save-A-Lot is the meat department. The quality and prices of meats can’t be beaten in the Berea area and the staff is ready to help you with almost any request. The next time you have a big meal to prepare try this local franchise and you should find the items you need. Our Berea Save-A-Lot also happens to be connected to a Dollar General Store. If you don’t want Save-A-Lot’s ketchup brand on your fresh burgers from the Save-A-Lot meat department, pop in next door for a bottle of Heinz.


You may be surprised to know that Walgreens carries a decent selection of groceries and their sales are very competitive. This is a location where having the app or subscribing to email promotions can really pay off. You will not find much more than Ice Cream frozen and you certainly cannot find all the items to prepare a large meal, but for convenience shopping of chips, drinks, canned goods, cereal, and more it’s a worthwhile stop.

Grocery shopping can be a daunting task for many of us, but the options in Berea are still adequate. There is something to suit every budget and whether you’re looking for fresh seafood from Kroger or just want some quick groceries from Family Dollar. This article will help you find your perfect grocery store by highlighting which stores offer certain products as well as what sets them apart from others.

High School Musical Cast 2019Do you recall where you were when the long-awaited sequel to Disney Channel’s blockbuster hit High School Musical 2 premiered? If you are in that age group, you know about “What Time is It?” from the opening line (“summer… summer… summer…”), to the pool party finale of “High School Musical 2,” which defined summer for a generation. With High School Musical 2, another summer anthem was born, and it reminded us that even if school stress follows a student into the summer, having people to lean on and who care about them is critical to overcoming anything.

For 14 years, the classic sequel has kept its magic fresh as new. This timeless follow-up casts a spell over us just as effectively now as it did when we first burst from our classroom doors to answer the eternal question: What time is it?

The original High School Musical taught us that we don’t need to follow the crowd, and that our differences make us special. After they overcame the social pressures of high school to follow their ambitions and learn to understand each other better, we couldn’t help but become attached to Troy, Gabriella, Chad, Taylor, and all the rest of the East High Wildcats.

Adolescents often believe that no one understands them. Teens who are still trying to figure out their futures. It’s stressful to apply for college, and many young people feel as if they will not make it through, but we turn on High School Musical 2 to observe the East High Wildcats having similar issues. Many teens can identify with Troy, who is trying to get into the college of his dreams. It’s easy to imagine that the entire future is bearing down on these students’ shoulders. It’s a good thing that High School Musical 2 has an exact musical number to describe that state of mind.

Spotlight Acting School is proudly presenting this incredible ode to the teenage journey and holding open auditions on October 9th at Noon. You do not have to be currently enrolled in Spotlight Acting School to audition and all Students age 14-18 will be cast. Age waivers to younger students may be granted, but students in the designated age range will be cast first.

The audition process is simple, as students are be expected to sing a song of their choice and repeat a short dance routine. Any song will work. Optional monologues are welcome and will be considered in the casting process.

The rehearsals will be on Saturdays from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm each week until Dress Week and the performances are scheduled for February 25-27. Standard tuition to Spotlight Acting School is $85 per month before any discounts or financial aid. Spotlight maintains a goal to never turn a student away so speak with a director if you require financial assistance. For more information call the box office at 859-756-0011 or email

The Spotlight Playhouse located at 214 Richmond Road in Berea, KY is once again hosting its Fall Fair on October 29th and 30th. This outside event is free to the public and drew over 500 participants plus many more children trick or treaters in 2020. This year’s event is sure to be even larger and more spectacular.

This annual event offers many things to do, including live music concerts all day, a Monster Mash Cabaret, food trucks, costume contest, trunk or treat, and more, but the vendor and craft booths are truly perfectly timed at the very beginning of the Holiday season.

This event is a fundraiser for the Spotlight Acting School and the organizers are always interested in other ideas to make the event even better. If you are interested in being a vendor or have another idea for the Fall Fair contact Mr. Chad at 859-661-0600 or A vendor form with rules, fees and entry details is located here

In addition to this year’s Fall Fair on October 29th and 30th the Spotlight Playhouse will also host a Monster Mash Cabaret at 8 pm each evening. Presented by the Spotlight Acting School, this high-energy variety Halloween-themed show is perfect for all ages. This outdoor show is free to the public. Viewers are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket.

Whether you are a casual cycling enthusiast or a competitive racer, everyone should own a bike in Berea. Cycling is a great form of exercise, and it’s also enjoyable to get around town on two wheels. Berea offers many miles of smooth and level bike trails, off-road paths, and safe biking lanes.

However, not all bikes are made equal. There are many different types of bicycles out there, each with its own set of features that determines the price, style, and function.

Before you decide to purchase your next bike, answer these 10 questions first:

1. What type of terrain will I be biking on?

If you are planning to use your bike for recreational purposes, then almost any type of bicycle is appropriate. Mountain bikes work well on rough roads because their gears are suited for steep hills and they can handle uneven surfaces. Road bikes are lightweight to make them easier to pedal, but the skinny tires aren’t ideal for bumpy surfaces.

2. What kind of riding style do I have?

A mountain bike would be helpful if you frequently ride over hilly or rough terrain because it’s designed for that specific purpose. If you prefer a more casual biking experience, then a road bike might be more appropriate.

3. How much money am I willing to spend on a bike?

The price of a bicycle is usually indicative of the quality and durability of its components. More expensive bicycles typically have higher-performing parts that can withstand wear from frequent use over time with little maintenance. You should also consider the additional costs of accessories for your new bicycle.

4. Where will I be parking my bike?

If you plan to lock your bicycle outside, then it’s important to purchase one with detachable parts so that a thief cannot easily steal it. A U-lock or cable lock is recommended because they are extremely difficult to break.

5. Do I need any special equipment?

If you are planning to use your bike for commuting purposes, then you might want to invest in a water bottle, backpack, or panniers (bags on either side of the rear wheel) to carry your belongings securely. If your bike doesn’t come equipped with these features, then you can also purchase them as accessories.

6. Do I want to wear cycling clothes?

Tight clothing and padded shorts made specifically for biking can help absorb some of the road vibration and provide comfort, but they might not be necessary if your bike is equipped with a comfortable seat. Cycling shoes are also available that clip directly into the pedal, but these are typically only appropriate for road biking.

7. How far do I plan to ride?

Different types of bicycles can typically be used for different purposes. If you’re planning to use your bike for commuting purposes, then a simple one-speed will do the job well enough because it’s designed specifically for distance riding. However, if you want to ride for recreation on varying terrains, then consider purchasing a mountain bike or road bike. For long-distance riding on paved roads, make sure your bike is equipped with high-quality tires that are appropriate for the terrain and load capacity.

8. Who will be riding my bike?

If you plan to let someone else use your bike, then you might want to choose a model that is easy to adjust between multiple users. Single-speed bikes can be adjusted by simply moving the seat and handlebars, whereas other types of bikes require more sophisticated adjustments such as gears and hand brakes.

9. How often will I ride my bike?

Repairing your bike every so often is a normal part of owning one, but if you plan to ride frequently, then it’s important to purchase a bike that can withstand frequent use. More expensive bikes typically have durable parts that are less likely to break down or need repair.

10. Where can I take my bike?

If you plan to take your bike for a long-distance ride, it’s most important to purchase a bike that is appropriate for the terrain. Especially when riding on unpaved roads, make sure your tires are strong enough to handle bumpy surfaces and have enough treads to grip. When biking in extreme conditions such as high heat or humidity, make sure your brakes can maintain stopping power even when wet.

If you’re looking for a bike that’s appropriate for your specific needs, then the best place to start is by asking yourself these 10 questions. The answers will help guide you in finding either a more casual ride or one with higher performance features depending on what type of riding experience it is you are looking for. If all this information has been overwhelming and there’s still not enough clarity about which bicycle would be right for you, don’t hesitate to ask an expert like Mike Hale at Mike’s Hike and Bike in Richmond, KY for some personal assistance at any time!

*Note: Mike Hale is a friend of mine and he has not endorsed this article, nor did I warn him I was writing it or plugging him. Still, he is the best I know in the business.

We all know that fast food is bad for us. But do you ever find yourself craving a greasy burger or salty fries? Maybe it’s the taste, maybe it’s convenience, but most of the time if we are honest with ourselves it is because we are really hungry. If this sounds like you then check out these tips to help you stay on track when eating fast food!

1) Order water in place of soda

By ordering water with your meal you can save hundreds of calories while staying hydrated. You will also avoid the type of sugar rush followed by a crash that comes from drinking soda. If plain tap water is not for you, perhaps ask for an extra slice of lemon or lime.

Restaurant meals are notoriously loaded with fat, salt, and sugar. And drinking calorie-filled sodas exacerbates the problem. Thankfully, many restaurant chains now offer lower-calorie “light” beverages that may help reduce your daily intake of sugar and sodium if water isn’t your cup of… tea.

2) Opt for more frequent smaller meals

Smaller, more frequent meals have been shown to reduce overall food intake.  This is thought to be due to the fact that with small meals, the gut releases hormones at a slower rate.  This is what prevents the hunger pangs that normally occur when blood glucose and insulin levels are low. Thus, if you want to lose weight (or even maintain your current weight), one way to help is having 3-4 small meals per day.

3) Eat slower

Food typically leaves the stomach in about two hours. The more quickly it’s consumed, the less time your brain has to register that you’re full before you’ve eaten too much. Also, when you eat fast your stomach doesn’t get the chance to let your brain know that it’s producing more digestive juices. So if you gulp down an entire meal in ten minutes, your food isn’t broken down properly and this could cause indigestion or heartburn. It could also lead to constipation since undigested food passes through the intestines so quickly there isn’t time for sufficient water to be absorbed.

One thing that can help prevent this problem is chewing your food thoroughly. Chewing breaks down the food and increases saliva production in your mouth, which helps start digestion. When you chew well, the food is also mixed with digestive juices in your stomach.

4) Find healthy alternatives

Many fast-food restaurants now offer healthy alternatives, and from grill selections to salads, you can easily transform your meal into a nutritious option.

If you find yourself at a burger joint, try ordering a burger without cheese or mayonnaise and substitute chili for their house spread. If it’s chicken you’re hankering for, go for grilled rather than fried.

The next time you find yourself driving through a fast-food restaurant, remember you can still get in and out without ruining your diet.

Owsley Fork Lake – Berea’s Main Water Reservoir

Owsley Fork Lake is a picturesque lake in Berea, Kentucky. It’s surrounded by natural beauty and recreational opportunities for various kinds of outings. The water that fills the lake comes from springs and rain collected in the nearby 1300-acre drainage basin. It produces over 650 million gallons of water annually.

Why is Owsley Fork Lake picturesque?
Owsley Fork Lake is picturesque because it has a naturally beautiful green hue. It’s surrounded by natural beauty and recreation opportunities for various kinds of outings, such as walking trails and picnic areas. Not to mention that it’s a man-made lake, so you can enjoy seeing all the unique features like the dam.

The lake sits on three sides within a wall of mountains, and it is stunning in nearly every season. In the summer, deep greens are beautiful, as are wildflowers in the spring, and the mountains are magnificent during the fall with brilliant hues or when covered with a blanket of snow.

What are some recreational opportunities for various kinds of outings?
Exploring the trails around the lake is a great recreational opportunity for all kinds of outings. It’s surrounded by nature, so hikers can enjoy walking in the woods and seeing all the wildlife they find. There are also picnic areas available for people who want to bring their own food. If you prefer to just sit back and relax by the water. The lake is also ideal for kayaking and canoeing with easy access for loading.

Fishing is easily accessible at Owsley

What about fishing?
The weeds on the lake get thick around the banks, so it’s best to fish from the dam or a boat of some sort during the height of summer. Other times in the year the lake is accessible from many areas, especially when the water is low.

There is access to a gravel boat ramp and The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife states the lake is accessible by any light trailerable recreational boat. Only a trolling motor may be used on the lake, and there are generally fewer than a half-dozen boats on it at any one time.

The lake is full of bluegill, red ear, and green sunfish. Crappie and Large Mouth Bass are also common catches at Owsley. Catfish are mostly caught near the dam in the deeper water.

How old is Owsley Fork Lake?
The Owsley Fork 1300 acre basin was purchased after 1970. The Owsley Fork lake is now 151 acres with a surface area of approximately 2700ft and it’s an average depth of about 10ft. Over 30,000 customers depend on the reservoir as their primary water source.

How does the water find its way to the lake?
The 1300-acre basin is linked to the greater 4900-acre watershed controlled mostly by Berea College Forestry. There are several natural springs in the area that also contribute to the water supply.

Who manages the water in this area?
The lake is situated on land owned by Berea College and is virtually surrounded by the college forest. The lake water itself was controlled by Berea College Utilities up until the 2000s when The City of Berea acquired the rights by way of the Berea Municipal Utilities.

How can you help protect our environment by volunteering or donating to organizations like Friends of Berea College Forest, Inc.?
Friends of Berea College Forest Inc. is a non-profit conservation group whose members are dedicated to the restoration, preservation and conservation of the Forests of Berea College. It was established in 1984 for educational purposes in support of activities on the forest properties owned by Berea College. You can help with these efforts by donating or volunteering your time.

You can learn more about this organization on their website



Owsley Fork Lake is waiting with an incredible natural beauty that will make any outing unforgettable and while you are in Berea be sure to check out our many shops, restaurants, bike paths, hiking trails, and theater.

Darrell Harrison plays Elwood P. Dowd in Mary Chase’s family comedy HARVEY. Performing here with John Harter who plays Dr. Chumley.

For the past month, Harvey has been rehearsing at the Spotlight Playhouse and it is amazing how a play that was written in the 1940s still has relevant wisdom.

The play is based on a humorous and far-fetched concept, but Mary Chase does not let the absurdity of the comedy diminish the show’s core values of kindness, family, and truthfulness. All qualities desperately needing attention in today’s chaotic atmosphere.

Harvey tells the story of a man whose best friend is an invisible 6 foot 3 rabbit that only he can see. The titular character is Elwood P. Dowd, and when we meet him he is taking care of his sister with the help of Harvey.

Elwood’s sister, Veta, is constantly worrying about what other people will think of her and tries to hide the family’s imperfections from visitors. The play highlights how damaging keeping up appearances can be for a person.

Sibling affection wins the day,

Elwood, in his signature suit and hat, is a renowned socialite in his town. However, when Elwood’s family discovers that he has been talking to what they think is an imaginary rabbit they send him off to Chumley’s Rest home for the mentally ill.

The kind and inviting Dr. Sanderson wants Dowd to feel comfortable at Chumley’s so he agrees to speak with him and try to get Elwood to realize that his friend isn’t real. This comically backfires when Elwood presents himself so well that Dr. Sanderson suspects the sister, Veta, must be the ill one and has her committed.

The comedic part of this play lies in the fact that Elwood’s family is so invested in getting rid of Harvey they lose track of what’s important, while all Elwood wants to do is take care of his friends and family.

The entire cast is phenomenal, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing these characters now. Come see this heartwarming and humorous play Sept 3-18.

Austin VanWinkle plays the kind-hearted Cab Driver as he explains that being crazy may not be so bad.


Myrtle Mae Simmons – Lydia Escobar

Veta Louise Simmons – Jennifer Escobar

Elwood P. Dowd – Darrell Harrison

Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet – Sydney Garrett

Ruth Kelly, R.N. – Angel King 

Duane Wilson – Caleb Kingston 

Lyman Sanderson M. D. – Edwin Tait 

William R. Chumley M.D. – John Harter

Betty Chumley – Letha Hembree 

Judge Gaffney – Isabel Escobar

E. J. Lofgren – Austin Van Winkle


Hiking in Berea during the fall provides an opportunity for a new experience and great scenery. Here are three reasons why you should pack up your gear this fall and head out on a trail: 1) Fall colors provide incredible views, 2) The weather is perfect- not too hot or cold so you can enjoy all day outside, 3) There are several things to do at night to round off your day of enjoyment.

1) Fall colors provide incredible views

Beauty can be found even in the roughest terrain.

Fall is in the air. The leaves will be slowly turning orange, red, yellow, and brown. Some will fall to the ground while others will fight to stay on their branches for just a little bit longer. Nature’s fall show is always stunning!

The colors in the Berea area are often incredible when they change. Depending on the weather, the colors may be vibrant or subtle, but this year we have hit our rainfall goals fairly well, so the chances are leaning to vibrant. Fall is a great time of year to hike because many native trees put on their show during this time. And even if the trees aren’t changing color yet, there are still some pretty views to look at. After all, hiking is still fun even if there aren’t any colorful leaves on the trees.

2) The weather is perfect- not too hot or cold so you can enjoy all day outside.

Fall hiking conditions are their absolute best! The temperature is just right, not too hot and not too cold. This makes it the perfect weather for a hike in the great outdoors. Plus, you won’t have to worry about constantly wiping sweat off of your brow or constantly bundling up when it’s freezing. The climate is just right so you can enjoy your hike all day. On top of all that, with the fall foliage at its peak, you will never see a more gorgeous sight.

3) There are several things to do at night to round off your day of enjoyment.

The Spoonbread stage is always loaded with entertainment. (Left – JT Gilbert, Joe Anglin, Right – Doug Thomas. Behind instruments are Mr. Seals and Mr. Wagers.

Forget about the drive home after a day of hiking. Not only will you have plenty to look at during your hike, but there are things to do when you get back to town too. Live Music performances, shopping, and food are available this fall at the Spoonbread Festival. The Spotlight Playhouse has performances every weekend this fall including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Descendants: The Musical, Bayou, and Harvey. From the upscale Boone Tavern to the casual Dinner Bell, great food is always in supply in Berea.

Enjoy the great outdoors this autumn! No matter where you live, there are some pretty views just waiting to be seen, but I encourage you to take the trip to Berea for its ample supply of trails and fun. So grab some friends or family members, pack up your gear, and get outside before winter starts to creep in. You won’t regret it. And remember, don’t forget the camera!

Hembree Haus Fall 2020

Who decorates for fall, and do you do it before Halloween or in November? This is a real question that I have pondered for years. Eventually, I landed on a routine at Hembree Haus and we have quite a bit of fun with it. I know there is a range of opinions on this subject, but at times like this, I remember what a crass old man told me once. “Opinions are like butt holes, everybody’s got one.”

Our fall decorations will go up this week or next and like many busy families, I am not always the quickest at taking things down. Case and point, I’ll be removing the American flag-themed bunting I hung in July to hang my fall decorations.

I start with our front yard and set up my happy and friendly scarecrows, straw bales, assorted fall gourds, and flowers. In October I add the Halloween decorations with bats in the trees, spiders, ghosts, and other happy haunts. Nothing overtly gross or gory and that’s it. The first week of November Bing Crosby, Kelly Clarkson, and the Jackson Five climb back to the top of my playlists and we decorate for Christmas. We are among those people that completely skip Thanksgiving decorations and treat it more like Christmas Dinner #1.

What are your fall decorating tips and traditions? Let me know and I’ll share them on Save your Christmas decorations for another day, but anything Halloween is fair game. I look forward to your sharing.

Berea, Kentucky is known for its arts and crafts, but it also has plenty of good food to offer visitors. While the Berea food offerings are plentiful sometimes the portions are not, so the next time a big craving hits you, here are the top places to pig out in Berea.

1. The Smokehouse Grill – Love them or hate them, buffets are the ultimate way to pig out and the Smokehouse Grill has been satisfying even the hardiest eater for nearly two decades. Owner’s Patty and Terry Cheeks are not shy with a buffet offering of over 20 items, including all you care to eat soft-serve ice cream and other yummy desserts. For under $15 you won’t break the budget for your indulgence, but I wouldn’t place the same confidence in your belt.

Brad Agee is ready for some great fish at the Dinner Bell.

2. Dinner Bell (Fish Fridays) – In addition to the Smokehouse Grill, which also has all-you-can-eat fish on Fridays, The Dinner Bell joins the list. Dinner Bell serves up wholesome southern favorites with home-style cooking. It also features a nice store as you enter the door for convenient shopping. The locally owned and operated Dinner Bell is a favorite among the Sunday after church crowd and an off-the-Interstate traveler’s favorite that will fill you to the gill with fish on Fridays.


Letha Hembree and Steve Moss celebrate a cousin’s reunion at Papaleno’s Pizza in Berea.

3. The Wagon Wheel and The Mountaineer – Although this might sound like the title of a Western it is in fact two of the most wholesome pizzas available in Berea. Apollo’s Pizza in the Artisan Village lives in the tourism heart of Berea and features the gargantuan 20″ Wagon Wheel pizza available with a range of toppings and will provide pizza overload for even the greatest pizza fan. If Apollo’s Pizza lives in the tourism heart then Papaleno’s Pizza lives in the tourism head of Berea and shares a block with the Boone Tavern Hotel. Papaleno’s largest pizza comes in at 16″, but what it lacks in size it makes up in substance. A 16″ Mountaineer with pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef, black and green olives, mushrooms, onions, green and banana peppers is enough to satisfy a wide range of pizza connoisseurs.

Pigging out in Berea is possible and these top places will satisfy even the hungriest of eaters. After a day at work, a day at play on Berea’s plentiful trails, or an evening out catching a show at the Spotlight Playhouse you can be assured that from all-you-can-eat buffets to big, delicious pizzas, there’s something for everyone here.

Thinking of another extra-large meal I missed, send me a message and I’ll be sure to try it. –

It’s a myth that only highly intelligent people are creative. In fact, research shows that once you get beyond an I.Q. of about 120, which is just a little above average, intelligence and creativity are not at all related. That means that even if you’re no smarter than most people, you still have the potential to wield amazing creative powers. So why are so few people highly creative? Because there are bad habits people learn as they grow up which crush the creative pathways in the brain. And like all bad habits, they can be broken if you are willing to work at it.

Here are 8 simple steps to help you achieve something new:

– Prioritize your time wisely – Find out what really matters to you by asking yourself what have been doing to make your’s or someone else’s life better. Then do at least one thing to move closer toward your goals, today.

– Use praise instead of criticism – If you criticize yourself or others for not being creative a natural defensive will kick in and you are less likely to try something new. Praise creativity even when it doesn’t end up as well as you hoped.

– Learn to focus – Everyone is creative but some people are more focused. If you want to be creative in a certain area, focus your energy on it and let the ideas flow.

– Question assumptions – Most of us never question why we do the things we do. Questioning assumptions is at the heart of creativity. If you can learn to ask questions, you’ll be healthier and more likely to find a solution.

– Stop trying to predict the future – There are no facts about tomorrow so it’s impossible to predict what will happen for certain. It will limit your creativity to try and do that.

– Don’t waste your time – If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, stop doing it. That doesn’t mean stop living but rather spend your time only on the things which make your life better.

– Keep a journal or a sketchbook with you at all times even if it’s a phone app – Everyone has the ability to be creative, but it doesn’t always come out when you need it so have something ready. I personally use a voice recorder on my phone that later converts the speech to text. (

– Go for a walk – Your subconscious mind is very powerful and sometimes all you have to do is clear out the mental clutter by taking a walk. Our bodies are wonderful machines that feel relaxed when we go for walks. Your mind will follow your body’s lead and open up to creativity.

Creativity is something that everyone possesses, but it gets crushed by bad habits. The good news? It can be broken if you’re willing to work at it and follow these 8 simple steps.

Once Upon a Mattress
Once Upon a Mattress – Spotlight Acting School

Parents should make sure their children act in school plays because a new study has found acting may have academic benefits. The research led by Professor Linda Espin from the Department of Psychology at the University of Sydney showed that students who acted in school plays had significantly higher marks than students who did not.

The study also found that the academic performance of the actors was likely to be higher across all subjects as opposed to just English or Drama. The results have been published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology.

420 Year 12 students at a single, unnamed, public high school in New South Wales volunteered to participate in the study, which looked at the impact of acting in a school play on academic performance. Each student was asked to complete an assessment before their final year English elective course began and one month after it finished.

The students were broken into three groups – those who acted in their high school play, those who did not act but had attended the play, and those who did not participate or attend.

Salem’s Daughters – Spotlight Acting School

The students were asked to answer questions on the English coursework they had completed in their final year of high school, including the essay question and major pieces of written work due for assessment. These results were compared against each other to determine if there was any change in academic performance.

Frog and Toad Kids – Spotlight Acting School

The analysis showed that the students who acted in a school play had significantly higher marks than those who did not act or even attend.

“This research provides evidence that acting, and being involved in theatre more broadly, has academic benefits,” said Professor Espin from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education & Social Work. “As we continue to build the evidence base, this research encourages us to remember that not only is theatre a relevant and engaging area of study in and of itself, it also has an important role to play in education across disciplines.”

Spotlight Acting School offers year-round opportunities for students to engage in theatre and add to their academic résumé. The Spotlight staff members have always expressed the belief that their programs help students and it’s great to see the clear connection between performing arts and academic achievement, particularly in a time where there has been so much focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subjects.

To get your student involved with Spotlight simply visit their website at or call 859-661-0600 to inquire about enrollment.  

Kristi Miller
Kristi Miller performs with Yogi Brown and Phil Malicote in 2010

The Spoonbread Festival is returning to Berea in 2021 and with it, the Stage is once again set for some good music. Musicians scheduled to appear included Kristi Miller, Blind Ricky, Elvis Cocktail, Paint Creek Band, Bourbon Branch, Branch Water Kin, New Developments, Silver Creek Band, Call to Post, and Little E.

Each year, The Spoonbread Festival attracts a wide range of artists and styles from gospel to bluegrass, rock, and more. This year the roster includes traditional bluegrass as well as performers who blend styles with other forms such as country or pop.

The 25th Annual Spoonbread Festival will take place September 17 through 19 in Berea at Memorial Park. The weekend’s performances are scheduled for the following dates and times.

FRIDAY – Sept. 17

Spoonbread Entertainment in the Early Years 2003
Spoonbread Entertainment in the Early Years 2003

4:00-5:30 PM Kristie Miller with Storytelling (POP)

6:00-7:00 PM Blind Ricky (Bluegrass)

4:00-5:30 PM Elvis Cocktail – Derek Isaacs (Rock)

7:00-10:00 PM Balloon Glow (Berea Community School) (Paint Creek Band Playing Live Music)

SATURDAY – Sept. 18

1:00-2:30 PM Branch Water Kin (Bluegrass)

3:00-4:30 PM New Developments (Jazz/Funk)

5:00-6:30 Silver Creek Band (50-60’s Rock)

7:00-9:00 Bourbon Branch (Country)

SUNDAY – Sept. 19

12:30-1:30 PM Call to Post (Gospel)

2:00-3:30 PM TBD

4:00-CLOSE Little E (Elvis Gospel)

Spotlight's production of Dracula: The New World 2019
Spotlight’s production of Dracula: The New World 2019
Monster Mash 2020
Monster Mash 2020

Halloween preparations are already underway at the Spotlight Playhouse where shows auditions begin Sunday. This year the Playhouse will be presenting three plays and a Monster Mash festival. The first play is Legend of Sleepy Hollow and follows the antics of the sheepish Icabod Crane as he tries to win the hand of Katrina Van Tassel. All is seemingly well until a ghostly apparition makes a rather timely appearance… coincidence?

The second play is of a lesser know origin and hails from the Voodoo regions of Louisiana and is aptly named Bayou. This story revolves around the mystical creature know as Le Serpent. A snake in its natural form, but posses the ability to mimic any creature it chooses. The plot follows some children who decide catching the famed monster would be heroic and set out on a hunt.

Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Bayou are performed together as two one-acts with an intermission between them. Together they are being called Two Legendary Haunted American Tales. One ticket grants access to both performances and the total show is set to run about 2 1/2 hours.

Monster Mash 2020 Live Music
Monster Mash 2020 Live Music

The third play is a children’s musical entitled We Are Monsters. The play follows a group of children as they stumble into the realm of monsters only to find the monster performing a musical cabaret. By the end of the show the Vampires, Werewolves, Goblins, and more welcome the children and they join in on the fun. Filled with catchy tunes and a host of adorable little monsters this is the cutest show of the season.

The Monster Mash is a full day of Halloween fun and will feature live music, vendors, food trucks, costumes, competitions, ghost stories and will be anchored by a Cabaret packed with songs and scenes from our favorite Halloween-appropriate shows.

Auditions for Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Bayou are this weekend on Sunday, Aug 29 at 5:00 pm. There are no costs to join this production and the entire rehearsal schedule is available online. All ages are welcome to audition and children will not be held past 9:00 pm regardless of what the schedule says. For more audition information visit

The Spotlight Playhouse Halloween Schedule:

Two Legendary Haunted American Tales – Oct 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23

We Are Monsters – Oct 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31

Monster Mash – Oct 30 (preview Cabaret on Oct 29.)

Tickets are not yet available, but you can watch the website as more information is released. 

Berea like many cities across the US is experiencing a change in living styles. One of these changes comes by the way of a detached ADU or an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Detached ADU’s are not a new concept entirely but are a modern adaptation of the “in-laws” quarters or the above garage apartment.

The idea has exploded across this country yet only a handful of cities have taken up on allowing them, and Berea is one of them. Berea is working on updated rules to govern these living spaces with clear guidelines. A quick call to the Berea Codes Office was greeted with kind reception and solid knowledge about the ADU developments.

Currently, there are a couple of detached ADU’s in Berea that are connected to the main structure by a breezeway. This is a convenient way to access both the main house and the extra room, whether it serves as a bedroom, extra sitting room, or a fully functional separate living space. One thing to keep in mind is that your local zoning laws do apply to ADU’s so the concept is more for letting that college-age child have their own space or keeping a parent close by for care without necessarily “moving” them out of their own space. If you are set on being a landlord then you best avoid R1 zoned areas.

There are prefabricated or modular ADU’s available to fit almost any situation and many resemble the tiny homes getting so much attention on TV. Regardless of how the ADU is constructed, it must meet Kentucky’s guidelines for a liveable space. Don’t go out and buy a storage building and think it is going to straight away pass for an extra bedroom.

Another place ADU’s have seen popularity is in the Airbnb market. This use is not quite the same as renting to someone for a permanent residence. It will require a conditional use permit, so it will take a little effort to achieve, but in a tourist-friendly town like Berea you are not blazing a new trail and there are plenty of good folks at City Hall to help you. I am working on another article about the ups and downs of being an Airbnb host, so look for it in the near future.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a great way to provide extra space without having to build an entirely new house. These units are regulated by the city so it’s important that you check the laws before purchasing one. Keep in mind how you intend to use it can impact what type of ADU you purchase and where it should go on your property. A modular unit may work well if there isn’t enough room in the backyard for something more permanent and prefabricated options could offer very quick living quarters. You’ll want to consult with experts when building or buying these units, but the trend is growing fast.


Mantises are usually green, brown, or grey in color. They have triangular heads with elbowed antennae, large compound eyes that pivot sideways (giving them nearly 360-degree vision), and a flat body. The praying mantis is named for the way its front limbs are held together in a prayer-like posture that gives them great camouflage. While they can move relatively fast, their speed is limited by the fact the back two legs act as arms and not as legs. Some species may have wings with which they fly if danger presents itself but most cannot fly.

They are an excellent garden friend because they eat harmful pests that might be damaging your plants, such as aphids and leafhoppers. But beyond being a helpful friend, the praying mantis is an animal with many unique and fascinating facts.

Known as mantises in North American or European countries and more than 2000 other regional names such as “praying mantis,” “preying mantis,” “mantid,” or just “mantis”—the common name for this insect around the world varies as much as its color variations. The name “praying mantis” comes from a unique stance that gives this insect the look of being in a prayerful position, though it is not known why they bend their front limbs into this posture and how they develop this behavior.

The female praying mantis lays her eggs first after choosing a mate. She can lay up to about 400 eggs which she carries around with her front legs until they hatch. The female mantises cannot eat while carrying the eggs. She spends a lot of time caring for her young, guarding the egg sac firmly until they are ready to be on their own. Mantises can live up to one year and sometimes longer.

In order to survive, praying mantises eat almost any kind of animal (not plant material). They consume flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, crickets, worms, and beetles. They use their front legs to catch and hold onto their prey while using the long spines along the inside of their legs to deliver a bite. The adult mantis may eat between 40 and 80 insects per week. That’s a lot of help from one insect!

Mantises are a garden friend, eating pests to help keep your plants safe. So if you want some great protection against harmful insects such as aphids, leafhoppers, flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers or crickets—don’t harm these friendly creatures.