Meet Tyler Waller:  A Rising Local Talent Shares His Passions

Meet Tyler Waller:  A Rising Local Talent Shares His Passions

Pamela Hall

Ashland Beacon

image1

Tyler Waller is a popular local musician who opened for Clay Walker at the Paramount Arts Center a few weeks ago. Although many in the area are familiar with his music, there are a lot of things about him that people don’t know.

Waller is from Coal Grove but grew up in Deering, Ohio. He has been a teacher at Dawson Bryant High School for 16 years. However, he is not a teacher of regular subjects such as math, history, or science. He teaches Career Technical Education, which encompasses several things. His program includes subjects such as photography, computer repair, video and sound, graphic design, video game design, and guitar building.

Wait! What?! These are not subjects that you can find at most high schools. They are, however, skills that the students can use to earn a living, or to make extra money with, without going to college or even while attending.

“Everything I teach in my program is something the students can use whether they choose to do it as a career or not,” Waller earnestly remarked.

With Tyler being a musician, the guitar building class made sense. He began playing guitar when he was a freshman in high school on his cousin’s guitar which he had to repair before playing. That evolved into performing and song writing. He began building guitars about six or seven years ago through Sinclair Community College in Dayton.

“I’m constantly trying to learn new things and increase my skill set,” Waller said. “When I learned guitar building, it gave me new purpose as a teacher.”

Waller built his first electric guitar from a kit he purchased, but he was interested in starting one from scratch, which he eventually did. Several students expressed interest in learning the skill, but there was no funding for such a program. The school allowed him to begin teaching it as an after-school program with students paying for their own materials.

As you might imagine, building an electric guitar can be quite costly. Wood, of course, is the biggest expense. He began looking for vendors for parts and materials in order to keep the cost as low as possible for the students. In his search, he called a lumber mill in Morehead four years ago to inquire about the cost of wood. When the owner heard about what Waller was doing, he began donating the wood. That made it possible to add the class to his daily regular curriculum.

Waller has helped 94 students and one colleague build guitars. He has built ten guitars on his own, including one he built for the local Shriners to auction off to raise money for the Shriners Hospital. Another popular local musician, Shelby Lore, is the first professional to begin playing a Waller brand guitar. There are sure to be others to follow.

Although Waller is passionate about teaching, building guitars, and his music, that isn’t his biggest passion.

“Fishing is my biggest passion,” Waller commented with a smile.

During the summer months, he is almost constantly on the water and involved in fishing tournaments as a semi-professional. He also has developed a YouTube channel about fishing called On Another Line. His love for the sport actually blended with his love for music to increase his following as a musician.

Waller wrote a song about fishing called “My World,” which he recorded and put on iTunes.

“The lyrics are talking about bass fishing and a day out on the water,” Waller said.

The song has become very popular and has opened some doors for him as a performer. His goal, musically at least, is to keep writing songs and begin booking larger shows and venues.

As you can see, there is more to Tyler Waller than meets the eye. He is a teacher, musician, performer, song writer, guitar builder, fisherman, and more. He even finds time to coach a competing video game team at Dawson Bryant.

As for his musical goal, with his recent opening for Clay Walker, there is no doubt he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal.

Beloved Husband, Father  Community Mourning Loss of Josh Stewart

Beloved Husband, Father 

Community Mourning Loss of Josh Stewart

Kathy Clayton

Ashland Beacon

stewart 1

                As loved ones rally to support the family and friends of Josh Stewart, it is clear that he left lasting memories full of love for those who knew him.

                Josh lost his life in a tragic accident on January 8, and people who knew him are still reeling from the loss of this young family man. One thing that helps during times of extreme grief is sharing stories of a life well-lived, full of promise, love, friendship and faith.

 

 

                Neighbors who knew Josh growing up on Trace Road in Boyd County recalled a group of young boys they referred to as the Trace Road Boys,  who rode dirt bikes in the area that is now Rush Off Road. One neighbor recalled that the boys were like brothers, and the moms all treated them as if they were their own.

                Josh left behind his beloved wife Amanda, and two young children, Jakob and McKinlee, six and ten, as well as his parents, Chip and Donna Stewart. A sad twist to an already tragic story, Amanda and her father were involved in a serious car accident returning home from the hospital.

                A cousin, Jared Hutchinson, set up a Go Fund Me account for the family, with an original goal of raising $5,000. With that amount quickly met, the goal was raised to $10,000. The page now says that $25,750 has been raised so far.

                “We ache for his wife and children,” the Go Fund Me page reads, “who are left searching for the pages torn from a book that they believed had already been written.” Most of the touching tribute on the Go Fund Me page was written by Lasheya Hutchinson, wife of cousin Brandon Hutchinson, Jared’s brother.

                “When the Trace Road Boys were young, there were eight or so boys … who would take off out Rush for the day (before cell phones), and us mommas would worry and call each other to see if they had seen the boys,” one neighbor said. “I remember last fall a neighbor had a dirt bike trail behind his house and all the kids were riding their dirt bikes, and then the dads got on and rode. It was the best time – we laughed at these grown men on their kids’ bikes. There was always mud-slinging somewhere when they were all together.”

                Another story shared about Josh tells how he showed up at his pastor’s house one evening, around 2018. “Josh just showed up at his door late one evening and told him he was under conviction and just couldn’t let it go. Josh was saved as an adult that night and was baptized shortly after.”

                The Go Fund Me page described a young couple who were making a good life for themselves and their children. “They were one boot-scootin’ dynamic duo with a parallel love of the outdoors, animals, adventure, and country music. Together, they built a strong relationship, a family, a new home, and a life that they once only dreamt of.”

                Hutchinson said, “The main thing everyone should know about Josh is what a good dad he was. He worked out of town five days a week, and he wanted his kids home on weekends so he could spend time with them.” He said Josh was a “big outdoorsman,” and would take his children out in the woods on weekends.

                “His son Jake is just ten years old, and he’s so mature for his age,” Hutchinson said. “Here’s how good a dad he was – they have a stove outside that’s used to heat their home, and Jake has been keeping an eye on it, making sure the temperature stays at the right level to heat the house, and adding wood to the fire. He said he needed to crawl under the house to check the air filter. Josh taught him those things.”

                Besides spending time with his family and friends, Josh enjoyed hunting and fishing. He is described as a hard worker who also was quick to lend a hand to help fix things for friends and family. He was a volunteer fireman with the East Fork Fire Department.

Women, Wine and Jewels: The Trifecta That Has the Power to Change Lives

Women, Wine and Jewels: The Trifecta That Has the Power to Change Lives

By: Sasha Bush

The Greater Ashland Beacon

IMG 9610 copy

Every so often in life, we experience moments of sheer genius. A legacy can be born in the split second of an epiphany.  For a local actively involved community member, that epiphany occurred four years ago.  Little did she know that she would go on to touch the lives of hundreds and the idea become a time-honored tradition that many look forward to each year. A few years back, Norma Meek went to visit her daughter in Louisville, Kentucky. During her visit, Meek attended an event with her daughter that was held at a local restaurant, where there were about 20 or so women in attendance. During this event, everyone in attendance was there for one purpose and that was to help to raise funds for a local fundraiser. Meek witnessed the women in attendance laughing, conversing, and just having a generally good time all while enjoying one another’s company and sipping on wine. That’s when it hit Meek, “This would be a great thing to bring to the city of Ashland only on a much larger scale.”

Once Meek arrived back in her hometown of Ashland, Kentucky, that’s when the wheels really started turning. Meek wanted to create an event that would not only bring people together but bring them together with a cause. That’s when “Women, Wine and Jewels” came into existence. Women, Wine, and Jewels is an annual event held locally in Ashland with the sole purpose to raise funds, which go directly into a scholarship/endowment fund providing women of all age’s scholarships at Ashland Community College. Every year, women of all ages gather at a local venue to enjoy one another’s company, eat good food, sip on wine, and help raise funds for this program.

When Meek first pitched the idea to ACTC’s President Larry Ferguson and Economic Development Director Brooke Seasor, they were both very enthusiastic about the potential of this program. Meek described Seasor’s involvement with the program as being “paramount to the success of Women, Wine, and Jewels.” After the first year was successful, Meek realized the potential for growth and came up with new and creative ideas to get others involved.  Two new support programs came into the picture, “Jewel of a Guy” and “Gem of a Business.” Jewel of a Guy provided men the opportunity to help support the efforts of Meek’s scholarship/endowment fund program. Those who choose to partake in the program would donate $100 toward the Women, Wine, and Jewels program in exchange for satisfaction of knowing they have helped to make a difference and to have their name included on the events programs.

Gem of a Business was a similar program to Jewel of a Guy.  They provided any local businesses the opportunity to do the same by donating $250 toward the main program in exchange for having their business name included on all programs and posters, as well as two free tickets to the event to give to the women of their choosing who would like to attend. Meek shared, “We really wanted this program to be all about women supporting women. I never dreamed it would have grown to the level that it has today. The support from our community has been nothing short of amazing. It really meant so much to these women that all these people cared so much and stepped up to support their dreams.”

It has now been four years since Meek first launched this program, and the success has been astronomical. “We currently have around $38,000 in our scholarship/endowment fund right now, and we hope to be close to $50,000 after our next event,” stated Meek. When COVID hit, Meek had to put the program on pause, but more than made up for it in the years to come. One thing that everyone seems to look forward to when attending this event is the silent auction. Items for the silent auction are donated by those in attendance, local artist and local businesses. These items include gently used jewelry, new jewelry, artwork, wood carvings, and even gift baskets from Ageless Aesthetics. Meek described the items at auction as a “smorgasbord.” The success of this program would be nothing or near where it is today without the continued support and tireless efforts from all of the events hostesses, donors, and attendees.  Meek is honored to be in the presence of such outstanding people.

The Women, Wine, and Jewels event had been held previously at the Jockey Club, but Meek had to find a new venue to hold the event with its recent closure. This year’s Women, Wine and Jewels event will be held Jan. 23, 2023, at the Mill Café located at 1537 Winchester Ave. The event will take place from 5:30 p.m.to 7:30 p.m. and will feature special guest Holly Forbes, who will be providing entertainment. The cost of attendance is $50, which can be paid at the door and all proceeds go directly to the Women, Wine, and Jewels Scholarship/Endowment Fund. Come on out and support a cause while having fun, and rest easy knowing that you helped to play a small part in making the difference in someone else’s life.

Boyd County Native Renee Collins Cobb Takes Entertainment Industry to the Next Level

Boyd County Native Renee Collins Cobb

Takes Entertainment Industry to the Next Level

 

By Pamela Hall

Ashland Beacon

image0 3

Ashland and the Tri-state area are well represented in nominations for the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards this year. A familiar name to many in Boyd County that is repeated on the ballot in several categories is Ashland native Renee Collins Cobb. She and her husband, Warren, have an impressive eight nominations in six different categories!

Renee is a 1980 graduate of Boyd County High School where she was very active in the choral music department. She is an accomplished pianist who earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Kentucky in 1984. She went on to get a master’s degree in Business from Xavier University in 1994.

Renee and Warren reside in the Lexington area and to say that they have an impact on the local music scene there would be a gross understatement. Their passion for local musicians and artists is the foundation of their company, Listen Locally. That passion, in turn, led to the development and presentation of Overtones LIVE, a radio show in Lexington that is recorded live at various venues featuring local artists.

“The definition of the word ‘overtones’,” Renee explains, “is a musical tone which is a part of the harmonic series above a fundamental note, and may be heard with it. So, we try to accomplish just that - a show that not only features an artist but also lends a platform to the stories that relate to the actual songs and songwriters themselves - that may also be heard with the song.”

The “overtone” of presenting these shows snowballed into partnering with the UK Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History for the making of film documentaries. As a result, they have three nominations in the Original Movie/Short Film/Documentary category for “The Greg Austin Story”, “The Tribute to Greg Austin Concert”, and “The Austin City Saloon Story.” It also evolved into their first vinyl recording, “Overtones LIVE Working in Concert With the Goodwin Brothers,” which is nominated for Album of the Year.

“We have engaged local artists as guest hosts,” Renee said, “and this has been a great way to 'work in concert’ as we say with a variety of people, venues, broadcasters, photographers and videographers to make this show the success that it has become.”

The Appy Awards nominations alone are proof of that success. Renee is also nominated for Radio Personality, and she and Warren together are nominated in the categories of Best Podcast, Author/Writer, and Social Media Influencer.

But wait, there’s more! They also won the Lexington Music Awards Critics Choice Award last January and Media Company of the Year – Audio Visual at the Josie Music Awards in Nashville in October.

“We are honored to be nominated for The APPY Awards for a second year,” Renee stated with excitement. “In addition, we have identified 60 nominees on the list that have also ‘worked in concert’ with Overtones LIVE in the past five years.”

A success? No doubt! And that success has also had an impact on the local music scene in Ashland. Renee and Warren have worked with local artists Holly Forbes, Shelby Lore, Cole Chaney, Rick Potter, and others.

"I know first-hand how much work goes into what Renee and Warren do each week,” Rick Potter said. “Renee and Warren truly love local live music and promoting these incredible musicians. Overtones LIVE provides a truly professional outlet to help current and upcoming artists have their music heard. Thank you so much for all you do."

It would be safe to say that Renee and Warren are not only having an impact on the Lexington and Ashland music scenes, but are making an impact on a national level as well. And, it all began from a little Boyd County girl who played the piano!

Voting for the Appy Awards has begun online. To cast your vote go to https://appalachianartsandentertainmentawards.com

The Awards show will be held on March 18 at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. Tickets are available at www.macarts.com.

Congratulations and best of luck to Renee and Warren! Their efforts just go to show that when someone works toward something they are passionate about, it can open many doors and touch and make a difference to so many others as well.

The Greater Ashland Beacon Reflects on 2022

 

The Greater Ashland Beacon Reflects on 2022

By: Sasha Bush

The Greater Ashland Beacon

            2022 has been nothing short of amazing! This past year has brought with it so many great milestones for our local businesses, our youth and our community in general. The Greater Ashland Beacon takes great pride in having the pleasure of being there for it all. Let’s take a brief look at some of the Greater Ashland Beacon’s most popular featured articles of 2022. Here is your Ashland Beacon year in review…

            Jan.  2022 was a very exciting month, it kicked off with “Not All Superheroes Wear Capes: Onans Fight for Superheroes to Help Families.” This was an amazing story about how one boy’s strength and fight against cancer sparked a legacy that will be around for years to come. Onan’s Fight for Superheroes is a nonprofit organization that helps to raise money for the families of children that are battling cancer. The month of Jan.  also included the announcement of Thomas A. Dearing’s book, Dillon Carmichael’s visit to Boyd County, and the grand opening of Franklin + Doodles Boutique.

            The month of Feb.  started off with the announcement of a new playground for Ashland’s Central Park. Of course, the month of Feb.  also brought with it the highly anticipated Dancing with our Stars event. Greenup County Cheerleaders made history when they took home the Cheer World Championship Title, earning them the coveted white jacket. Students at Ashland Paul Blazer also made headlines during the month of Feb.  for their “Dodge, Duck, Donate” fundraising that they held to help raise money for Hopes Place. ACTC’s Al Baker was named to KHSAA’s Hall of Fame during the month of March. We also celebrated the 100th birthday of James Chapman. Fairview High School also announced their new football coach, Brent Wilcoxon while Ashland Blazer bid farewell to coaching legend Bill Bradley. Bradley served the Ashland Kittens as head coach for 21 seasons and had over 42 years coaching experience under his belt. 

            The month of April brought with it the grand opening of several new businesses. Both Grandview Marketplace and Local Mercantile opened their doors for business and have been thriving ever since. Sal’s Italian Eatery and Speak Easy was also announced and brought with it a unique dining experience that seems to take to you back in time to the prohibition era. If you haven’t checked out these businesses yet, I highly recommend that you do.

             The month of May brought a bit of sadness with the passing of country music legend Naomi Judd. The Primitive Quartet celebrated its 50-year anniversary in the world of Gospel Music. The Greater Ashland Beacon celebrated area graduates in the month of June with inspiring stories of local graduating seniors’ journey to the tassel. Rush off Road held its annual Rush and Rowdy weekend and the YMCA celebrated the life of Dave Williams with a fun factory dedication to honor Williams’s legacy of always putting the youth of the Ashland Area YMCA first. The community also bid farewell to beloved leader of the Patriot Guard, Charles “Frenchy” French.

            The month of July was all about celebrations. The Ashland Area YMCA celebrated its 125th year celebration. The Ashland Area YMCA has served the community for 125 years… now that is something to celebrate. The Boyd County Senior Center also celebrated its 25th year anniversary while Hager Elementary celebrated the unveiling of its secret garden. The celebrations didn’t stop there. Ray McCann, a valued staple in our community, celebrated his 100th birthday. Local softball prodigy Lacyn Black also had great reason to celebrate during the month of July. Black took home the 2022 T-Mobile Little League Home Derby East Regionals championship title.

            During the month of Aug. , Lacyn Black was the talk of the town once again. Black competed in the T-Mobile Little League Home Run Derby 2022 Championship and won the entire thing! What an accomplishment from such an immensely talented young lady. The long-awaited grand opening of the Mill Café and Broadway Books was also celebrated during the month of Aug. Everyone looks always looks forward to Sept.  because that means it’s time for some good family fun filled events.  Poage Landing Days and Greenup’s Old Fashion Days are both events that the entire community looks forward too. The Greater Ashland Beacon showcased highlights from both highly anticipated events during the month of Sept. . 

            Hyland Heights Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary during the month of Oct. . The Greater Ashland Beacon also celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of Oct.  with its Annual Pink paper, as well as inspiring stories of triumph from local breast cancer survivors. Boyd County High School also had its own reason to celebrate with the announcement of its new rodeo team which is a fist of its kind in this area.  During the month of Nov. , The Greater Ashland Beacon honored veterans with its annual Veterans Day paper which was filled with compelling stories from local area veterans that have served our country. The Paramount Arts Center’s historic marquee got a facelift. The old marquee was the hallmark of downtown Ashland and received a much-needed restoration and now continues to shine bright. Armco Park also held an unveiling of the new Armco Park sign.  But perhaps the most uplifting story for the month of Nov.  was that of young Corissa Conley’s battle with cancer and how she got her true Christmas miracle when she found out that she had indeed kicked cancers butt.

            Christmas was truly in the air during the month of Dec. . The Greater Ashland Beacon showcased all the amazing experiences to be had during the month of Dec.  These experiences included Ashland’s favorite Winter Wonderland of Lights, the Bethlehem Experience, various annual vendor fairs, and many more Christmas themed activities. The Camp Landing Entertainment District celebrated the official grand opening of four new businesses. With Christmas brings wonderful Christmas memories and one local family got to celebrate the homecoming of beloved father Sergeant First Class Brian Church. Church got to spend Christmas with is family for the first time in four years.

            WOW! What a year it has been and that was just our featured stories! The Greater Ashland Beacon is proud to be serving the community and being able to take part in all the positive things this area has to offer. The Greater Ashland Beacon takes great pride in bringing you the very best news that this area has to offer. It is because of YOU that the Greater Ashland Beacon is where it is today. Thanks to your amazing stories of positivity, encouragement, inspiration, and triumph, the Greater Ashland Beacon took home second place in the 2021 Kentucky Press Association awards as the Best Weekly 1 Paper in the State of Kentucky. On behalf of The Greater Ashland Beacon… Thank you for another great year and we look forward to what 2023 has in store for everyone. Happy New Years!