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Image 88 of The Independent March 30, 2012

Part of The Independent

PROGRESS THE INDEPENDENT | Ashland | Kentucky Friday, March 30, 2012 D7 KEVIN GOLDY / THE INDEPENDENT Because of its rapid growth, Ashland’s Community Hospice outgrew its offices in the former Corman’s Clothing Store on Central Avenue and recently moved into its new building on the site of a former car dealership on Carter Avenue. Hospice helping to revitalize Ashland Organization has 120 employees, new downtown offices By JOHN CANNON The Independent ASHLAND hen Susan Hunt became executive director of Community Hospice in 1989, the organization founded a decade earlier had 12 full-time employees and was seeing between 12 and 15 terminally ill patients at any given time. Today, 23 years later, Community Hospice has 120 employees and is seeing an average of 165 patients at any given time. In 2011, it provided endof-life care to more than 1,000 people. The local Hospice also has 160 active volunteers, all of whom have completed the training required for all Hospice volunteers, Hunt said. And the growth shows no signs of slowing down, Hunt said. Nationwide, Hospice care is growing at a rate of more than 5 percent a year, and it is even faster than that in this community, in part because of its older population, she said. One reason for the rapid growth under Hunt’s leadership is the expansion of its service area. In 1989, Community Hospice only served patients in Boyd and Greenup counties. It now serves patients in Boyd, Carter, Greenup, Lawrence, Elliott, Martin and Johnson counties in Kentucky and Lawrence and Scioto counties in Ohio. It has offices in Ironton and Paintsville as well as the Hospice Care Center on Blackburn Avenue. Because of its rapid growth, Community Hospice simply outgrew its offices in the former Corman’s Clothing Store on Central Avenue and recently moved into its new building on the site of a former car dealership on Carter Avenue. Not only does the new building enable Hospice to expand its services and offer more programs in the building, Hunt believes it will help spark other growth in downtown Ashland. Already Member’s Choice Credit Unit has announced plans to build its new headquarters near the Hospice building, and negotiations are under way for the sale of the old Hospice building that, if all goes as planned, will enable an existing business to expand. Hunt said when plans were first announced for the Hospice Care Center on Blackburn Avenue, it was initially met with some neighborhood opposition, who feared it would cause traffic problems and destroy the character of a primarily residential area. But instead of causing problems for neighbors, the care center, which has expanded since its opening, has helped transform the Pollard area into a thriving residential area with medium priced homes. The Hospice cen- Frosty Freeze has you covered By LEE WARD The Independent SANDY HOOK From burgers to shrimp to T-bone steaks, Frosty Freeze Restaurant’s menu covers a lot of territory, especially considering the small eatery has changed little since it began nearly 40 years ago. Percy Pennington, 72, opened the restaurant on March 15, 1973. The men decided it would be a good business investment; even though there were a few other restaurants in town. “We don’t have a speciality, and we don’t have specials,” he said, noting the menu consists of a hot bar, a choice of sandwiches and dinners and a variety of ice cream-based treats, which was the difference Frosty Freeze offered. The brothers, who had other fulltime jobs, expected Frosty Freeze to be something that wouldn’t require much time and would “run itself,” Pennington said. They soon found they had a thriving business that needed a fulltime owner, so Pennington quit his job at Grayson Marina and took over the restaurant. “It was more than we bargained for,” he said. The spot has been a hangout for many in town for years. One customer who visits every day but did not wish to be identified said a group of regulars shows up to play Rook when the place opens; another group plays cards at 5 p.m. See FREEZE / Page D8 Percy Pennington stands in front of his restaurant, Frosty Freeze, in Sandy Hook. LEE WARD / THE INDEPENDENT ter now is seen as a neighborhood asset, Hunt said. She thinks the new Hospice headquarters can do the same thing for downtown Ashland. “We have taken a vacant lot that had become something of an eyesore and turned it into a beautiful location with new buildings. That can only be a positive.” When Hospice purchased and renovated the closed Corman’s at the corner of 16th Street and Central Avenue, the agency had between 40 and 45 employees and was seeing an average of 50 patients a day, Hunt said. With the tripling of the size of its staff since then, Hospice had no choice but to seek more space, she said. Fortunately, because of the “excellent, conservative financial management of our superb and gifted board of directors,” Community Hospice was able to move into its new building debt free, Hunt said. While it has fundraisers and regularly receives generous donations from the family and friends of its patients, Hospice receives the bulk of its money from Medicare, Hunt said. The new building allows for Hospice to have a grief center where individuals and families can receive counseling, and it has space for group counseling and for educational programs, Hunt said. “A lot of the programs we have had to find other locations to offer we will be able to offer right here,” Hunt said. The new building — two floors plus a full basement — has 21,000 square feet, compared to the 7,500 square feet in its old headquarters. The new center also have space for Hospice’s many volunteers and it has a team meeting room where staff can meet with Dr. Lisa Barber, Hospices’ medical director, and with other health care professionals. The large basement also enables Hospice to move a lot of equipment stored in a number of different locations into one location, Hunt said. “Downtown Ashland is the ideal location for us because it is in the middle of our service area,” Hunt said. “It is close to both King’s Daughters Medical Center and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and close to most of the medical professionals we work with. This building is good for us, and I think it is good for downtown Ashland.” Sandy Hook hangout prides itself on extensive menu

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