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The Holidays

No wonder they call it “The Holidays.” In the next 90 days, we have more celebrations than in any other like time on the calendar and half of the “major” holidays of the whole year. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Superbowl Sunday (the biggest party day of the year), and Valentine’s Day will come and go. Whew!

So, a few moments of quiet reading and reflection might be in order. As we pause to give thanks, we’re mindful of interim Mayor Danny Hudspeth. “Hizhonor” recently celebrated a re-election to the City Council with a vote margin that showed the city’s appreciation for his service. We appreciate the way in which he stepped in for his long-time friend, the late Tom Rushing. We’re thankful for the sacrifice of Danny’s family and his employer, Briggs & Stratton, all of whom cooperated in making his work possible. We have a new mayor in Bill Wells, and a new appreciation for an old friend, Danny Hudspeth.

As always, we have included a list of local and regional dining choices, a calendar of upcoming events for you and your family and a few suggestions for shopping. From Kim Cottingham’s review of turkey fryers (read carefully, men) to Rita Oldham’s hints on quick fixes for expensive gadgetry, we’ll help you do the right thing.

Naturalist Carrie Szwed from LBL’s Nature Station has picked the perfect time of year to discuss those ghosts of the night—barn owls. Most of us can’t remember our first Christmas, but if you opened a business in 2010, this first Christmas could be vital to your very survival. Angela Denk takes us on a tour of two new firms who are hoping for a very jolly holiday.

And speaking of tours: We’ll visit the Murray Women’s Club Kappa Tour of Homes, and take one of our “day trips” to places you might visit during the holidays as Logan Abbitt suggests shopping opportunities you might as well seize since you’re there. Logan also introduces us to another of his famous Murrayans as MSU grad Joe Staton takes the local celebrity spotlight. Don’t know Joe? Shazam! You will.

Laugh, plan, dine, enjoy. We hope this season of holidays brings you and your family warmth, love and comfort as you snuggle in front of a fireplace; that you find humility and gratitude as you share your holiday spirit with the unfortunate, and prosperity and favor as the New Year approaches. May the joy of all the seasons be yours, from your friends at Murray Life.

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Thousands of people will visit Murray this fall, but only a modest percentage of that number will be here for formal homecoming events. Darlisha Stanfield put it best when she wrote in 2008, “Homecoming season isn’t just about football games and parades; it’s about appreciating your home and family.” As cold rain and winds drive us from patios and playgrounds into the warmth and safety of the hearth, it’s nice to reflect on the wonderful homes we have.

In a way, this magazine is a sort of “home” for the people who work on it and contribute their knowledge and talents to it. That’s why we’re taking a few lines to let you know something about our “house:” It’s not for sale.

By this we mean to say that, in this age of infomercials and “advertorials,” we take exception to the practice of confusing the viewer or the reader about what is our honest opinion, and what is a paid advertisement. We’re proud of our advertisers, and we trust and respect them, but ads are one thing and editorials and articles are another. We often write about people, institutions and even businesses in Murray. We quote people who may own a business or practice a profession. We like to write about Murray and its people, and we turn to local authorities for guidance. But we don’t pick subjects because they paid us, and we don’t quote people just because they buy an ad. We never have, and we don’t intend to do so. If you read about it, our writers and editors thought it was worth your time and would be helpful, informative or entertaining. We do that with you in mind; not to make a profit at your expense. We thought you should know.

In this issue there are singers involved; Logan Abbitt and Bec Feldhaus tell us about two local girls who write and sing: Jackie DeShannon and Kaci Bolls. Guest writer Kenny Darnell remembers the late Dr. Hal Houston, and we’ll ask you who you think Murray picks for a favorite NFL team.

We’ve got a list of great eateries, now that grilling out is too much like chilling out, and our calendar will let you know what’s happening and when. From financial security to pet care, we’ve got plenty for you to think about until the holidays arrive.

So dig out the jackets, knock the rust off the rake and make sure you’ve got enough wood. Going inside doesn’t limit your life so much as it expands your imagination. Take us with you as you sit by the fireplace. Then, let the wind blow! Spring will be here soon enough, and so will Murray Life. Murray Life Magazine Cover Archive

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Yes, it is already time to turn our summer-spoiled brains back to the subject of school. In our part of the country, public schools and their private counterparts will swing into action before you know it. By mid-August the traffic patterns will change and the lines at checkout counters and restaurants will grow longer as thousands of Murray State students rejoin the local economy.

Moms and dads are wrestling with critical questions about new backpacks, lunchboxes, pencil sets and, for the older student, laptops, new clothes and membership fees. At Murray Life, we’re preparing to help everyone become a student again. This issue’s articles will help you learn about everything from the effect of the sun on your body to the favorite trees of some of our favorite animals. There is no statute of limitations on our ability – or the necessity – to learn and keep learning.

Logan Abbitt joins us again to expand your horizons in our “Day Trips” department. You’ll be amazed at the wonders that await within a few hours of Murray. Ben Taylor joins our writing staff for this issue with a look at the ins and outs of dumping that old car that you nursed through the recession. “To buy, or not to buy,” that is the question, and Ben gives us complete answers on every hand. Our own Rita Oldham gets out her “Woman’s Toolbelt” again, and takes us to the kitchen for something new.

When it comes to personalities, radio journalist Bec Feldhaus takes us on campus to meet young summer visitors to MSU’s Commonwealth Honors Academy. These outstanding Kentucky scholars may come back to Murray, but whether they return or not, they will never forget it. And Logan Abbitt makes sure you will not forget TRM Howard, Murray’s own flamboyant, pioneering civil rights advocate who changed the society in which we live.

Of course, we will, as usual, give you a quick reference for events in our calendar, and for dining, eating or snacking with our Dining Guide. Both are always available on the Web site at, but you can carry them around in the magazine, too.

From humor to little-known tidbits of knowledge, we’re helping you stay abreast of the times. Enjoy the final days of summer and get excited about fall! We hope your life in Murray is just a bit friendlier with your Murray Life.

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Relax and Enjoy

The days are getting longer, and the nights are filled with a chorus of crickets and frogs. School children are increasingly impatient for the days of sitting in classrooms to be over. All these are sure signs that summer is rapidly approaching. The Murray Life Staff is also ready for summer to come, and has prepared a cornucopia of articles to add to your summer as you get ready for hot days, fireworks, festivals and lazy days at the lake.

With the help of Rita Oldham and Caitlin Spencer, we have included a list of local and regional dining, a calendar of upcoming events for you and your family and a few new recipes to add to your collection of summer fun. Our thanks, as well, to the Murray Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce for their help in collecting dates, times and not-to-be-missed events. The staff has collected a few news events you may have missed: that scribbling ol’ professor, Ken Tucker, has been a-writin’ them books again, for instance.

Brian Truskey returns to our stable of writers to share humor from the Kentucky Derby. Logan Abbitt gives us insight into the history of our beloved Freedom Fest, and how the celebration of our nation’s independence came to be what it is today.

LBL Naturalist John Pollpeter sends special greeting from LBL’s Nature Station and introduces us to a nocturnal friend we may not be as aware of—the flying squirrel. Kathy Hodge of the Humane Society also gives us a cautionary look into the world of animals and how to keep our furry friends safe.

In his finance column, Ron Arant gives advice and tips on long-range planning for your future. Rita Oldham also gives us instructions on how to make beautiful hanging baskets, sure to bring color and beauty to your home for the summer days ahead. As a special treat, we get to revisit the life of a Murrayan who made a big difference in the world: Jumpin’ Joe Fulks. Never heard of him? Logan Abbitt will fix that in his article on the first NBA star – ever.

This issue’s day trip takes us to the Kentucky/Tennessee Line to experience the events that remind us of what being in Kentucky is all about. We also give special credit to our annual farmer’s markets, with an article on how to shop for locally grown fruits and vegetables. Curtis Niedermier also introduces us to the Clarks River National Wildlife Reserve in this issue’s community interest section.

We’re going to say “farewell” to a young lady who as helped us dig for facts, research stories, and who, in the process, has become a very engaging writer in her own right. Caitlin Spencer is off to pursue a graduate degree in business, and we’ll miss her quiet demeanor, her charming smile, and her calm – and calming – efficiency. Good luck Caitlin; remember, you can always fall back on being a wonderful writer and a great friend.

We hope Murray Life is able to add to your growing list of fun things to do this summer. Remember, the laziest of summers is the best kind of summer there is. Lay back and relax with your family and friends, and make special the time you have with them. You can be sure we’ll be doing the same.

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Murray Life MagazineReady for Spring

It was a hard winter in our part of the country.

Forgetting for a moment (as if we could) the poor state of the national economy, this winter brought the most snow we’ve seen in quite some time. While it was a mere dusting compared to the snow folks in Michigan and Minnesota see each winter, it was enough to call off school, shut down business and even alter Sunday church schedules on several occasions. Some people enjoyed the days off; others were troubled by them, and no one made any money.

Of course, tow truck drivers and school kids didn’t mind too much. Cars slid into ditches and kids slid down hills on everything from borrowed cafeteria trays (at Murray State) to cardboard boxes to the inverted hood of a 1972 Volkswagen. Some even used sleds, if you can believe it.

So, as the weather warms and the days grow longer and sunnier, we’re going to shake off the winter blues with a look at the people and the events that make our hometown a great place to be in the springtime. Murray and Calloway County enjoy one of the highest employment rates in Kentucky, and despite belt-tightening cautions we hear from governors, CEOs, presidents and superintendents, things could be worse. This spring, they are going to get much better.

We’ll start with the usual round of neighborhood notes and humor, calendar entries, recipes and updates from staffer Caitlin Spencer who is about to leave us as she celebrates this spring with graduation from MSU. We’ll miss her quiet charm, her thorough research, and her excellent writing style, and you will, too.

Logan Abbitt joins us for a look at area events that will enliven your spring season in “Day Trips.”

Our resident finance guru Ron Arant is back with us with advice to help make the most of your money. Tom Rottinghaus, volunteer at the Humane Society, reminds us once again how important one person can be in the lives of abandoned animals. Guest writer Terry Little shares with us the transformation of our friend and yours, Pete Lancaster, into the beloved Teddy Roosevelt.

Jump into spring while we take a spin on some lawnmowers in “Savvy Shopper,” and get your house in order when Rita Oldham shares some organizing tips in “Woman’s Toolbelt.” Help us congratulate Dr. Jim Booth on his retirement as guest writer Royce Williams tells us of his illustrious career at Murray State.

If you’re looking for places to eat (we picked up three new restaurants this winter) or things to do, take a look at the “Dining Guide” and the “Calendar.”

We hope you’ll find Murray Life to be as welcome as the first daffodil and as handy as an umbrella in an April shower. Thanks for starting the next great year with us.




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