A Fight Worth Walking For Alzheimer’s Association Walk to Be Held at Central Park

A Fight Worth Walking For

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to Be Held at Central Park

Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

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            Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Being a progressive disease, it begins with mild memory loss and can eventually lead to one’s loss of the ability to carry on a conversation. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. A common misconception about this brutal disease is that it is a normal part of aging. While it is true that the majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are in the age group of 65 or older, the reality is that Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone at any age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is estimated that more than six million Americans of all ages have some form of Alzheimer’s.


“Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death with no cure.  Currently, 75,000 Kentuckians are living with Alzheimer's and their 150,000 unpaid caregivers,” explained Jessica Munoz, Walk Manager for the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of ALZ.  “I help coordinate with our volunteer committee to plan the walk, coach our team captains, recruit new teams to join the fight against Alzheimer's, and work with our local community partners who support our mission,” noted Munoz.

Munoz continued, “The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's is the world's largest fundraiser for Alzheimer's care, support, and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease.  The Ashland Walk will be held on Sunday, October 22 at Central Park starting at 1:30 p.m. with the opening ceremony at 2:15 p.m. followed by the walk.  It's a great way to come out, support our mission, and see so many other families and companies in your area that are also affected by this disease and in this fight with you.”

If you are interested in getting involved with this walk, you can register and start a team at act.alz.org/ashlandky. “Share your story to invite others to donate, and join your team to help raise awareness and funds.  No fundraiser or effort is too small- post on social media or host a chili cookoff. It's also a great way to get employees involved!  The more action we can inspire, the more awareness we can bring.  Then of course, join us on Walk Day for a fun event! We welcome teams of family, friends, and corporate teams as well! There is no minimum number of people to a team and no fundraising minimums.  We encourage all who have a connection or simply want to support our vision of a world without Alzheimer's!” Munoz stated.

Events such as these are critical to help raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Munoz explained, “Every dollar you raise benefits those affected by Alzheimer's disease in your community. The Alzheimer's Association is a global organization working to advance care, support, and research across the world. From face-to-face support to online education programs and promising worldwide research initiatives, the money you raise makes a difference in the lives of those facing Alzheimer's.”

The Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter offers local support to those living with dementia and their families through educational programs, support groups, and our free 24/7 hotline to help with crisis and care consultations. The Alzheimer's Association is also the largest nonprofit funder for Alzheimer’s research and hopes to find a cure.

Quench Your Thirst at Firkin Fest

Quench Your Thirst at Firkin Fest

Kathy Clayton

The Ashland Beacon

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                The Eighth Annual Firkin Fest returns to downtown Ashland on October 14 with some fun additions this year. The 2023 event is billed as a Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival.

                Firkin Fest will still feature the favorite beers that everyone expects with several breweries offering samples of over 200 individual craft beer creations, including six from Kentucky – local favorite Eridanus Brewing, West Sixth, Country Boy, Sawstone, Lemons Mill and Sterling. Breweries from other surrounding states will also be represented.


                “Not all of the 200 beers will be available at the same time. These are small breweries with small kegs. When they run out of one, it might be replaced with something different,” explained Brandy Clark, director of VisitAKY. “One thing new this year is that at the end of the event the brewers will be able to sell 6-packs of their beers.”

                “This year, we’ve turned it into more of a food truck and beer experience,” Clark said. “It’s a family friendly event with entertainment and food. You don’t need a ticket to come and sample the food trucks and music.”

                Clark noted that there will be 15 food trucks, and they will offer smaller portions and lower prices. “That will let people sample more of the food available.”

                “We moved the date from Father’s Day weekend in June to October for more of an Oktoberfest feeling,” she explained. “It was just too hot in the summer, and we’ve moved the time from early afternoon to later in the day.”

                The event has also been moved from Winchester Avenue to the 14th Street parking lot next to the Paramount Arts Center. Clark said there will be more parking available this year since no streets will be closed for the event.

                Entertainment for the event includes the Ashland wind ensemble Oompah Outlaws performing traditional European Oktoberfest music followed by the Lincoln County Cloggers during the second hour. The headline act is Lincoln Mash and the Heather Alley Band, a bluegrass group.

                “The weather looks perfect – 68 degrees,” Clark remarked. The festival has drawn 400-500 people in the past, and we hope to have that many or more this year. We hope the new changes we’ve made will encourage more people to attend. We just want everyone to come out and have fun.”

                VIP ticket holders can access the event at 4 p.m. with general admission entry open at 5 p.m., and the event ends at 8 p.m. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still general admission tickets available for $40 and $50 the day of the event. The ticket price includes sampling of 15 craft beers.

Service and Dedication to His Community Leads to a Delicious New Business

Service and Dedication to His Community Leads to a Delicious New Business

Gwen Akers

The Ashland Beacon

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What started as a dream soon became reality for entrepreneur Andre Jackson, who just opened his Tropical Smoothie Bar Cafe in Ashland, Ky.

Born and raised in Ashland, Jackson has always had strong roots to his hometown. Graduating from Paul G. Blazer in 2005, Jackson joined the military immediately after. Five years later, he worked as a police officer and homicide detective in Huntington, WV, and while he loved both—his heart truly lied in running a restaurant dedicated to the health and happiness of his community.


It was his work in Huntington as a homicide detective that truly lead him to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

“The group of guys from their local police department went to go eat at a Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which I had never heard of at the time. This was probably about two years ago. In my mind, I'm thinking, ‘I'm hungry. I don't want a smoothie, I want food.’ I was surprised when we got inside, and they have obviously a large menu for smoothies but also a pretty large menu as well for food,” explained Jackson.

After this, Jackson was hooked. He ate there daily when he was in Huntington that weekend—and even after moving back home to Ashland, he couldn’t get the image of a Tropical Smoothie Bar Cafe out of his head.

From here, Jackson began his two year project of researching the franchising process and getting certified to start his new business.

“Every night, I couldn't sleep. It wast on my mind— the possibilities if we did have one here.  How well it could do—how beneficial it could be for the community,” detailed Jackson.

Jackson worked hard to convince the franchise of both our community and himself.  Eventually, Jackson was able to fulfill his dream of opening a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Ashland.

“It's been a process, but it's also been very fun. I am really excited about the support from the customers and from the individuals here in Ashland and not just Ashland, there's been several people from Ironton and South Point and Huntington as well,” expressed Jackson.

Jackson could not have opened without the help and support of those around him, but specifically he wanted to thank his coaches from Paul G. Blazer High School, as they always encouraged him to be the best version of himself.

All these guys were always, always there. I would say Coach Dowdy, Coach Love, Coach Hart, Coach Wilcox,” expressed Jackson. “A lot of these guys are big reasons for why I have done so much this far in life, in my opinion.”

Whenever you get a chance, make sure to head down and check out the Tropical Smoothie Cafe—as it will be an experience you won’t forget. Jackson suggested that if it’s your first time, you should try the kiwi quencher! Tropical Smoothie Cafe is conviently located at 711 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Unit 150, Ashland Ky 41101.

Camp Landing “Taps” into the Hearts of Sports Enthusiast Everywhere

Camp Landing “Taps” into the Hearts of Sports Enthusiast Everywhere

Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

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        Sports enthusiasts young and old celebrated the grand opening of Camp Landing’s latest and greatest entertainment hotspot this past Thursday. Tap That Sports is the latest addition to Camp Landing’s entertainment lineup. Tap That Sports provides a unique one-of-a-kind experience to its patrons with it’s “Tap Pour My Beer Wall,” which features the best beers, cocktails, and wine you will find anywhere.


        But, what really sets this place apart from any other is the incredibly high-tech sports simulator system. Have you ever wanted to try your hand at a round of golf on Pebble Beach’s golf course, or see what it feels like to strike out a Major League Baseball player? Maybe you prefer to shoot you’re your way out of an alien invasion? Now you can do all of that and more! Tap That Sports has something for everyone and is guaranteed to bring out your inner athlete.

        “Tap That Sports is something that we have talked about honestly since Camp Landing came to fruition about three years ago. We have five HD suites that you can play a round of golf at courses from all around the world. We also have the Pour My Bear 30-Tap Wall, which is where you can come in and get an RFID card and then you can try any of our twenty craft beers, six cocktails, four wines, and even a Sangria. It’s pretty amazing because we are the first in the United States to actually put these two technologies together right here in Ashland, Kentucky,” shared Jason Camp of the 3J’s Group.

        Recently, my family and I got to experience all that Tap That Sports has to offer, and I have to say… It did not disappoint! From the moment you walk in, you automatically experience this laid-back and welcoming vibe. The décor is great, and seating is very comfortable. Prices are on point.  My entire family really enjoyed the entire setup, and we look forward to our next visit. Tap That Sports is undoubtedly going to become a local favorite among anyone who enters.

“If you haven’t seen it yet, we invite you to come in and check it out for yourselves. You can actually go to tapthatsports.com and book your suite. It’s as easy as booking a round of golf.  You can literally play anything here… baseball, football, soccer… you got archery…The fact is you have to see this place and experience it for yourself.” Camp explained.

What could possibly make Tap That Sports any better? How about having your food delivered right to your HD suite? Camp shared, “You can have your favorites from Smokin Js delivered right to your suite. So, all you have to do is use a QR code on your phone, place your order, and we will deliver it right to your suite.” Great food, great drinks, and a unique sports simulation experience… the 3J Group certainly understands how to bring show-stopping entertainment to our area. Camp summed it up perfectly when he said, “So, this is how we do it here at Camp Landing.”

Catlettsburg Elementary Wrapped in Prayer and Supported by the Oakland Avenue Faithful

Catlettsburg Elementary Wrapped in Prayer and Supported by the Oakland Avenue Faithful

Gary Newman

The Ashland Beacon


In the 2006 movie, Facing the Giants there is a character, Mr. Bridges who is seen walking through the halls of the school, stopping at various lockers and praying for the students.  Some of the staff thought him to be eccentric, but he was unphased.  This character in this movie was so influential that his prayers are reaching students in Boyd County and so many other places 17 years later.  Oakland Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Mike Blankenship remembered, “That sparked a lot of churches' interest in doing something similar.  Before school would start each year, they would go to their local school and meet in the hallways or the welcome center, hold hands and just pray.  So, we started doing that.”


Oakland Avenue has met at and prayed for Ponderosa Elementary, Catlettsburg Elementary, and Kenova Elementary and has memberships that include employees of Catlettsburg, Boyd County Middle School, Boyd County High School, and Wayne County School System.  “It’s just something we feel is important.  We all understand that everything needs prayer, but certainly our schools, our administrators, the staff.” Blankenship explains, “It’s interesting that this year before we really even publicly set the date and time we’re going to do it, administrators at Boyd County said, ‘Hey, are you going to come and pray this year?’ I was quite honored by that; they see the importance of it as well.”

From a timing standpoint, there really is a great need for the work Oakland Avenue is doing.  People are hurting, frustrated, confused, and need something.  Blankenship candidly shared, “Whether you’re a believer or an unbeliever, most people understand they face things in their lives that are beyond their ability to handle.  I know many times, I speak with people who are not Christians and say, ‘Yeah, I pray if I need help with something; I’ll call on God.’ Given the climate that our schools are in today, the threats that are out there, everything from school shootings to other immoral things that we see as threats to our kids, that parents and administrators are beginning to understand – listen, we need to reclaim some ground that we’ve lost. We need to restore some values and some principles that we’ve abandoned.  Our kids, our communities, we need more of a Godly influence.”

Blankenship suggests a growing sentiment that the way things have been going isn’t making anything better but is in fact making them worse.  “I think even the community at large is beginning to understand we need to start addressing some things.” He concluded, “The way we’ve been addressing them is not necessarily addressing the problems, so we need to return to more Biblical principles and values.  The community sees that this is an integral part of our community life, of our school life.”

Oakland Avenue isn’t content with standing on the sideline and talking the talk; they actively work to walk the walk.  They see the schools as a mission field, and because of that, they support Family Resource Centers with monthly contributions, shoe drives, coat drives, and backpack ministries, where backpacks are filled with food for the weekend each week.  Blankenship shares weekly with athletes on sports teams, serves on the school board, and is the Public Address Announcer for ball games. 

The praying for the schools initiative began while Mr. Osborne was Superintendent of Boyd County Schools and has continued into the current administration with Bill Boblett.  Usually, church members leave evening worship on Sunday evening and head to the school, and pray prior to students coming in.  Blankenship detailed the experience, “This past August, we had about 35. I usually tell them to get into groups of four or five. I tell them, ‘You’re going to stand in the welcome center.  You’re going to go to the gym and pray for the students.  You’re going to go to this wing and pray for the staff.  You’re going to go to the lunchroom and pray. Sometimes, folks from the school just show up to be prayed for.  It’s very exciting.”  

Oakland Avenue has a number of educators and administrators who attend the church.  Blankenship shared, “They are in some respects handcuffed by how they can express their faith in the public school system. They understand the importance of having a Christian influence in the public schools, so that to the degree that they can and they will allow us, we try to have that type of influence.  Our folks are really excited about it.”

The overall picture of why one church would pour all those resources and time and energy into this is abundantly clear.  There is a greater desire in the heart of the pastor and the congregation.  Blankenship joyfully declared, “Without a doubt, the biggest win would be seeing people come to Christ, which we have seen.  I baptized one of the football players weeks ago. He graduated from Boyd County and is playing football at KCU, and he called me and said, ‘Hey, I need Christ in my life.’  We talked, and I had the pleasure of baptizing him.  We’ve had families who’ve come into our church and given their lives to Christ; their kids have.  It hasn’t been enormous numbers, but one here, two or three there, kids coming through our doors.  Also, souls coming to Christ is the main thing, and getting the gospel out there. That was one of the things I shared with Coach Ferguson, the high school football coach. These kids listen to so many other voices; I think it’s time they start listening to the Bible, the voice of the Gospel. He said ‘I agree,’ and that’s how I was able to get 10 minutes a week to tell them there’s another way, a better way than what they’re hearing from everything else in the world. In my opinion, that’s a win, and if they come to know Christ, that’s the ultimate win.”