Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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January 26, 2014

Tim Preston: Secrets, steaks, radio and refrigeration: 1/26/14

ASHLAND — I’ve promised I won’t say too much about it until everything is ready to go, but I do have permission to say there is some “top secret” work going on in old downtown Ashland building I’m rather excited about.

The people behind the project have done their homework and are already doing demolition work at a big building between Ashland’s twin bridges to prepare for the new business. A somewhat exhaustive search has also landed the new company a couple of top-notch people to head up the most crucial aspects of the business.

The more I write about this, the more I realize I can’t say much more than I already have. I do anticipate a bit of hand-wringing and opposition from those who want to cover Ashland in plastic and pretend it is still the early ’70s or that we live in “the city of seven Sundays,” once everything is announced. This project is really an “open secret,” and practically everyone who’s been paying attention to local developments has already heard about it, so I will share this for those who’ve missed it on the city’s most popular social media site: Ashland is on the verge of being the home to eastern Kentucky’s first and only microbrewery. If all goes according to plan, the brewery with attached Tap Room and restaurant will soon become a tourism destination, as well as a point of pride for the city. I’ve seen a copy of the proposed menu for the restaurant and all I can say is “Wow.”

There are miles to go before the first draft is drawn, and I will do my best to keep readers up to date as this project progresses.

Kool radio

I heard from Mark Justice at WLGC-FM “KoolHits 105.7” last week after running a story about the new classic rock format at the former country music station, after he heard from the station’s owners who wondered what he meant when he mentioned the “new owners.”

I’ll take the lumps on this one, even though I did check my notes and found two direct references to “new” and owners. Regardless of my self-defense, however, there are no “new” owners at the locally owned and operated broadcast operation. I suspect it was a case of blending “new format” and “owners,” but the truth is the station has been owned by Greenup County Broadcasting, a local company guided by local attorney and company president Bruce Leslie since the station signed on in 1982.

I was on hold waiting for Justice to answer the call, and caught myself jamming to the guitar solo of an old Steely Dan song (“Do It Again”) and saying a little prayer he wouldn’t pick up until the vocals had resumed. Toward the end of the conversation, I asked him how the new format is being accepted, and he said, “Every day we look at each other and say we can’t believe how smoothly it’s going. The positive continues to grow and negative is nearly gone,” Justice said, adding Jim Crum at the nearby hot dog and spaghetti place told him their radio “hasn’t changed from that station” since the best of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s started playing.

Echoing my appreciation of that guitar-solo moment, Justice said he and others at the station often find themselves simply rocking out these days.

“It is almost a distraction at times. I will be trying to write or make a call and hear the greatest song I haven’t heard for 20 years and have to stop and listen to it,” Justice confessed.

Meat cutter deluxe

Larry Rice of Ashland will soon be traveling to Orlando, Fla., to put his professional skills to the test against nearly 90 other professional meat cutters from across the nation.

Rice, who works at Ashland’s Texas Roadhouse, hopes to be one of eight finalists chosen for the final round in April at Amelia Island, Fla., where the winner is crowned Meat Cutter of the Year and receives a grand prize of $20,000.

For the competition, Rice and the others will face off with 30 to 40 pounds of beef, consisting of two sirloins, a filet and a ribeye to cut. The cutters will be  judged on quality, yield and speed in the timed “cut-off.” The winner will be the contestant who yields the most steaks, with the highest quality cut in the least amount of time. Making it even more interesting, and to assure the best-quality meat, all cutting will be done at a chilly 38 degrees.

Here’s wishing Rice the best of luck at the competition. Based on the quality of steaks my wife and I have enjoyed at the restaurant, I’m confident you will do well.

Cold and coolers

Because of the extreme cold, we had to reschedule an interview and photos with a local company celebrating 50 years in business and three generations of family operation last week.

The odd part? The company is Slone Refrigeration at 2432 Greenup Ave., where employees, managers and owners were slammed near the end of the week while responding to customers’ calls. Apparently, extreme cold puts the slapdown on refrigeration, or at least refrigeration controls.

Mike Slone and myself agreed to get together for the story after we get a little thawing action in the area (which is not in the forecast as of this writing). I haven’t shared this with Slone or any of his people yet, but I was pleased to get a call about the company as I’ve heard numerous local business owners sing their praises during the past six or seven years.

If you need commercial equipment for a kitchen, restaurant or residence, give them a call at (606) 324-0232 or stop by their showroom on Greenup Avenue in Ashland between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After-hours appointments can also be made.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at (606) 326-2651.

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