Midway News - Personals and Comments
It seems that Midway the town and or Midway people are in the news somewhere two or three times a month and this month is no exception. For example, Chef Ouita Michel of Midway’s Holly Hill Inn fame, made a trip to Washington D.C., to orchestrate the feeding of about 1,000 Kentuckians who gathered for the Bluegrass Ball of the Kentucky Society of Washington. The ball was just one of several events after the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump. It was reported that Michel took cues from Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, making the Wednesdaynight dinner entree the president’s favorite dish, chicken fricassee, and one of the three desserts the first lady’s almond white cake. Another dessert was chocolate bourbon pecan squares from her Midway Bakery. The menu included several other Kentucky ingredients, including her Wallace Station bourbon mustard (for the Kentucky beef hemp dawgs?) and Weisenberger Mill flours. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a news release about the menu, “We’re deeply grateful to Ouita Michel, one of Kentucky Proud’s earliest and most dedicated champions, for incorporating so many Kentucky foods into her menu.” I’m sure the event was a big success. Congratulations to Ouita and her crew as they continue to make Midway proud. ••• I mentioned Weisenberger Mill in the first column and I’ll mention that the mill was the focus of an article all on its own. The article pointed out that David Brown Kinloch, president of Shaker Landing Hydro Associates, Weisenberger Mill and the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) formed a partnership that has received a U.S. Department of Energy grant to install a variable speed generator at the mill. The technology that will be used in this project was developed by the wind industry, a design that is used by most wind turbines. The Department of Energy provided the grant because they wanted to try the technology on a small demonstration scale. The project was put together by Kinloch because he thought the mill would be a good place to test the technology based on his experience while working on the turbines at the mill during the 1980s. He stated that wind turbines use variable speed generators to maximize efficiency. Though the technology works remarkably well for wind energy, no one has adapted variable speed generation at a hydroelectric plant. According to a news report by the University of Kentucky, Kinloch noted that he hoped that the new generator would increase efficiency by 10 to 15 percent. Suffice to say, he and Neathery with the UK Center for Applied Energy Research were blown away by the results. “The experiment actually worked much better than we were expecting,” Kinloch said. “We were expecting to get 10 to 15 percent more power out of this new generation, and we’re actually getting 96 percent more power out of it. “One of the reasons that we found out was that the old generator was operating at the wrong speed. It was running too fast. By slowing the generator down, we’re able to get the turbine into a much more optimal efficiency range. And by doing that we’re able to get the power output up significantly. Close to doubling the power output.” The results have been so positive that Kinloch said that his company is in the process of installing the new technology on four new larger hydroelectric plants they are building at existing dams on the Kentucky River. He said the project would not have been possible without the assistance from UK Center for Applied Energy Research. “The Department of Energy didn›t have any question about what the results were because we had UK CAER crunching the numbers,” Kinloch said. “Their trustworthiness is ironclad, and that credibility is what the Center for Applied Energy Research really gave this project." ••• I almost forgot. I’ve been talking about Midway people and Midway places that there were a couple of Midway horses that made the spotlight. The 2016 Eclipse awards were handed out last Saturday at the Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale, Fla. Fawn Leap Farm owner John C. Oxley’s Classic Empire was the Two-Year-Old Male Eclipse award winner. Midway’s Blackburn Farm owner Michael Barnette was one of the breeders of Drefong, the winner of the Male Sprinter Eclipse award. Congratulations on your awards and keeping Midway proud ••• Just a reminder: Midway Renaissance’s annual membership meeting this Monday, Jan. 30, around 7 p.m., right after the annual chili cook-off that will begin around 6 p.m. at the Midway Christian Church.