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Kentucky Life spotlights Hotel Metropolitan, investigates the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, and travels to Hazard


Kentucky Life spotlights Hotel Metropolitan, investigates the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, and travels to Hazard

For Release: 01/19/15 3:54 PM

The next episode of Kentucky Life explores the legacy of Paducah’s Hotel Metropolitan, examines damage to Kentucky’s forests from the Emerald Ash Borer and travels to Hazard for a look at the rich history of the “Queen City of the Mountains.” The program airs Saturday, Feb. 14 at 8/7 pm and Sunday, Feb. 15 at 4/3 pm on KET and Monday, Feb. 16 at 7/6 pm on KET2.

With a former guest list that includes the likes of Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, the Hotel Metropolitan boasts a storied and rich legacy within Kentucky’s African-American community. Opened in 1909, it was the first hotel in Paducah owned by and operated for African-Americans. For decades, Hotel Metropolitan enjoyed a reputation as one of the most highly regarded destinations for African-American guests in the region. The hotel closed in 1996 and was condemned for demolition in 1999 until local preservationists stepped in. Kentucky Life takes a look at the work being done now by local groups who hope to secure the future of the hotel as an African-American heritage museum.

The show’s historical marker segment highlights the Cabin Creek covered bridge in Lewis County. Host Dave Shuffett returns to the site, which he first visited during filming of the Kentucky Life special “Covered Bridges of Kentucky,” to check in on the progress that’s been made to restore the bridge to its former glory.

Then, Kentucky Life examines the widespread damage to Kentucky’s iconic ash trees – in both rural and urban areas – by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that has killed more than 25 million trees in the eastern United States. The show talks with members of the Kentucky Division of Forestry in Owen County and with arborists in Fayette County to learn about their efforts – including a statewide quarantine on lumber and firewood – to save the ash trees that remain in Kentucky’s rural forests and urban parks.

Finally, Kentucky Life’s Amy Hess heads to Hazard, county seat of Perry County, for an “Our Town” segment that spotlights the iconic town’s origins and its many offerings for residents and visitors alike. Hess visits with former mayor Nan Gorman, who reflects on the legacy of her late husband, Bill Gorman, mayor of Hazard for more than three decades. Hess also makes stops at the Treehouse Café, a popular downtown restaurant, and gets a hands-on science lesson at The Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky. At the city’s Bobby Davis Museum and Park, Hess learns about the history of the museum’s revered namesake, a local WWII veteran who was killed at the end of the war.

Kentucky Life is a KET production, produced by Brandon Wickey. Segment producers for this episode are Tom Bickel, Jim Piston and Matt Grimm.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and and at


Todd Piccirilli
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications