The Update | ‘Training for Freedom’ Premieres on PBS; Underground Railroad Lecture

KENT, Ohio — “Training for Freedom,” a new documentary that tells the story of how idealistic college students and Black activists came together in 1964 in Oxford, Ohio, on a civil rights mission, will premiere exclusively on PBS Western Reserve at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14. A free online panel discussion will follow on Sunday, Feb. 20.

Produced by Kathy Conkwright in partnership with Miami University, the half-hour documentary weaves intimate personal stories from participants and area residents with critical historical analysis from noted historians and scholars. It explores how people from dramatically different worlds broke down barriers of race, class and gender to organize the most comprehensive campaign of the civil rights movement.

The panel discussion will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at It will include a streamed presentation of “Training for Freedom” followed by a half-hour prerecorded panel discussion that addresses race-related voter registration issues that persist to this day. Ben Holbert, mayor of Woodmere Village, will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists will be Bruce Watson, author of Freedom Summer; Nishani Frazier, associate professor, University of Kansas; and James Brown, president of the Youngstown branch of NAACP.

Pathways to Freedom Lecture at Mall

WARREN – The fifth annual “Nurturing Pathways to Freedom” lecture series of the Sutliff Museum, will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, with a presentation titled, “Enslaved, Freedom and Beyond” by Allison L. Smith of Warren. It will take place in the Community Auditorium of Boscov’s Department Store at Eastwood Mall in Niles.

Smith will share stories about the lives of slaves before and after they found freedom along the Underground Railroad.

This is the first of three free programs in the series. For information, go to

Fresh to Deaf Opens at Mall Food Court

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Fresh to Deaf is the newest addition to the food court at Southern Park Mall, offering a healthy menu of uncooked foods that are close to their original form. Fresh, bright and exotic fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts are used in making smoothies, sea moss gel, burgers, salads and more.

Owner Tiffany Hamilton said her goal is to offer fresh dining options to Valley residents. She also explained the eatery’s name: “I am 50% deaf in both of my ears, so I want to bring awareness to the deaf and hard of hearing community,” she said.

Fresh to Deaf is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Antiques Stores Celebrates Anniversary

SALEM, Ohio – Recycled Treasures, 429 E. State St., downtown, will mark its seventh anniversary this Saturday, Feb. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Every item in the antiques, arts and crafts store will be marked down 10% for the event.

The store was opened in 2015 by antiques enthusiast Melissa Corfee, who said running the store is her calling.

“After devoting 25 years to Fresh Mark, I decided seven years ago that it was time to pursue my dream of owning my own antique store,” she said.

Recycled Treasurers sells antique furniture, handcrafted linens, sign art, primitive decor, farm country decor and more.

Downtown Salem’s monthly Small Business and Artisan Market will also take place Saturday. Located in the courtyard next to Coaches Burger Bar, the event will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m..

‘Hunchback’ Auditions at Playhouse

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Auditions for The Youngstown Playhouse’s production
of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” will take place March 7 and 8, from 7 to 10 p.m., in
the Adler Art Academy at the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

For those unable to attend in-person auditions, a video may be submitted via email to

The musical is based upon the Victor Hugo novel and the Academy Award-nominated Disney film. The director is seeking actors 18 and older. Actors should be prepared to learn and execute a group dance routine and bring comfortable clothing and footwear for movement. Actors should also prepare two contrasting traditional musical theater songs.

Auditionees will be asked to present a 16-bar cutting of their vocal selection, but also be prepared to sing the entire number. All slides for speaking parts will be provided.

The creative team is led by Trevail Maurice Smith as director, and includes Mazhorell Johnson (music director), Kiara Jones (choreographer). Performances will take place May 27-29, and June 3- 5.

The Youngstown Playhouse requires vaccinations for all eligible individuals as a condition of casting and participation. Vaccination cards will be required at auditions.

Kids First Theatre Sets ‘Annie’ Auditions

BOARDMAN, Ohio – The Oakland Center for the Arts Kids First Theatre will hold final auditions for the musical “Annie” at 6:30 p.m. at Trinity Fellowship Church, 4749 South Ave. Previous auditions were canceled because of inclement weather. 

Students 5 to 18 are eligible. Especially needed are males of high school age. Those auditioning for the role of “Annie” will be asked to sing the tune, “Tomorrow.”

The show will be performed in early spring. For information, contact Brendan Byers, director, at 412 512 4420.

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