2018 has been another great year for our weekly blog, iMeet. We have introduced a lot of people in the Purchase Area - some new to the region and some new to their jobs. As we look back in retrospect, we invite you, our readers, to let us know if you have someone that you’d like to see featured on iMeet. We are always looking for new and interesting folks to shine a spotlight on.
iMeet spoke with Justin Lewis in April. Justin is the host of his very own podcast “Something from Nothing” on WKMS.
Tell us about your podcast "Something from Nothing"...
The "tagline" for Something from Nothing is, "a podcast about the creative process and the individuals involved." The show focuses on artists, musicians, and people who start new things. The vast majority of the guests who have been featured on the show live in Paducah--or did at the time of the interview. One exception is Jerry Phillips who was in town due to an art exhibit at Yeiser Art Center. He was a part of the show due to his interesting story and because he is a Murray State Alum.
In the first season the style of the show was primarily interview with me interviewing the artists or musicians on their respective skills. In the second season, the show has taken on a narrative, storytelling style. There is more of a scripted portion of me talking directly to the audience.
In May, we spoke with Spanish teacher extraordinaire, Kim Phelps, from Marshall County High School.
You have been battling cancer for several years. Tell us about your journey to date...
I was first diagnosed in 2012, shortly after returning from my honeymoon. My husband had no idea what he was signing up for! Since then we have endured chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation, clinical trials, and everything in between. I have never been in remission and will likely have cancer for the rest of my life. It’s just a part of who I am, but I do not let it define me. I never like to give cancer any credit because it doesn’t deserve any positive messages, but it has changed my perspective for sure.
In June, we communicated with artist, musician, and Marshall County High School Senior Liz Stevenson.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Biggest influences?
Some of my favorite artists include Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Ray LaMontagne. My biggest influences would have to be David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. Both have left an incredible impact on rock music, and have paved the way for many other artists. David Bowie especially provided me with a sense of comfort and ease in being myself and creating the art I truly wish to, however out there or odd that may seem to others. Led Zeppelin has been a major influence on my guitar playing, and their music has been a favorite of mine since middle school.
In July, we met the man who brought Project Ponoma to our area, Bryant Hileman.
Why is this project close to your heart?
When I was a child the adults seemed like the ancient Gods. Some were merciful and some were cruel. I never understood why anyone with the awesome power of being an adult wouldn’t do everything they could to make things better. As a child you have no power, and these adults would walk around with what seemed like unlimited power, but they didn’t always use that power for good. How could adults allow kids to go hungry? How could adults allow kids to be homeless? How could adults allow violence against the vulnerable? I couldn’t understand, and to be honest I still don’t. We have lost our way when these things are no longer a priority. I’m the adult now. What would I say to my 5-year-old self if I didn’t do everything in my power to make things better? I wouldn’t be able to look that kid in the eye. He would be disappointed in me, and he would still be right.
In September, we chatted with PTHS teacher and Chess Coach Tom Knight.
How did you become so passionate about chess? Where did you learn?
My passion for chess is because of my late-grandfather Tom Knight, II. He taught me how to play when I was 8. He was extremely patient with me and I never beat him, but I enjoy playing chess and I really enjoy getting others to learn to enjoy the game. I ultimately want everybody to learn to play and more importantly enjoy playing.
Chess is challenging. There is no argument there, but why not try it out and see what it can do for you. When my grandfather taught me how to play, he also taught me how to be patient with a confused child that doesn’t understand the process, the rules, or the choices that are presented with such a complex game. I’ve been able to apply the strategy and patience that goes into learning and playing chess in my career as a special education teacher.
I know folks that play chess competitively or just for fun that work in aviation, are medical professionals, healthcare providers, chemists, educators, public service providers, restaurant dishwashers, and college students.
In October, we met up with Graves County High School Sophomore and Track & Field State Champion, Sophie Galloway.
Do you have a distance goal set for yourself? Where would you like to attend college? Plans to join the track team?
My goal is to be a track and field athlete in college one day. I have no idea where I even want to go. Because of my age, I can’t go for college visits right now or talk to anyone about it, but I hope to end up at a college with a good jumps coach so that I can continue to get better because I would really like to get to the US Olympic Trials one day. That is very hard to do, so of course it is just a dream and a goal for now, but I’m going to try my best. To get there I will have to jump like 21’ 6” in the long jump, 44” in the triple jump, and run a 13.5 in the 100 meter hurdles, so those are my actual number goals to reach, and I have several years left to do it, so we will see. For right now I’m just trying to learn better technique in each event and stay healthy.
And this month, we caught up with soapmaker, mother, and police detective Sarah Martin.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time? What’s that? I don’t have free time. I work 40 hours a week at my job then after work make products. My children love to help me make stuff or put labels on products. They are my biggest salesmen to their teachers.
When I do have free time, I spend it with my family. I also love to sew, paint, bake, and plant flowers. I just love to create stuff. I love to teach my children to be creative too. One thing my kids will never say about me is that I am lazy. I am always on the go. People ask me often how do I do it all…the answer is only with help from Jesus.