Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2012

Town Talk: BBQ supply store opens in West Lawrence; city looking for ways to increase helmet usage at skate parks; governor and Leadership Kansas members to have Lawrence gala on Friday

April 19, 2012


News and notes from around town:

• Maybe I can finally abandon my plan to grow mesquite trees in my yard. (At least that is why I tell everybody that my lawn looks a lot like West Texas scrub brush territory.)

For those of you who don’t have barbecue sauce running through your veins, mesquite wood when used in a smoker will add a distinctive flavor to your meats. (And no, it is not a good idea to try to grow a mesquite tree in your yard. They’re thorny, suck up groundwater, and generally are harder to get rid of than a live-in mother-in-law.)

All this talk of mesquite is an excuse to tell you a new barbecue supply store has opened in West Lawrence. Grills and Grinders has opened in the former Walker’s Jewelry location at the southwest corner of Sixth and Wakarusa. Conveniently, that is in the same shopping center as Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant.

Michael Fezer, a retired Army flight medic, owns the store. He recently became involved in competition barbecue and joined the Lawrence team of Piglets and Peeps. He said several competition barbecue participants said they were frustrated at often having to drive to Kansas City for many barbecue supplies.

“We just want to supply everybody’s grilling and barbecue needs, and save them some gas money,” Fezer said.

The store carries a variety of smokers, pellet grills, the Big Green Egg and other brands. But the store also has a wall of fresh spices where you can custom blend your own rub mix. They also sell a host of pre-mixed rubs. The wall currently has 62 different spices, and Fezer is open to ordering more if folks request them.

The store has the same type of concept going in its wood room. There you can buy pre-packaged wood chips or chunks of different species. But you can also mix and match different wood types, such as hickory, oak, cherry, mesquite, apple, pecan, peach, and others. Importantly, though, the store goes beyond selling just chips and chunks and also sells logs. That’s important for folks who do the long smokes. (Fourteen hours and a case of beer on a brisket, fellas. The beer of course, isn’t for marinating, but rather for staying hydrated while tending the fire. Don’t tempt dehydration.)

Fezer landed in Lawrence after being stationed at Fort Riley for several years, and he often visited Lawrence and decided it would be a nice place to retire.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to five on Sundays.

• If you do go through a case of beer smoking a brisket, I’ve found a helmet is a good barbecue accessory. I’ve always thought helmets were cool, but apparently young kids who are in the skate scene do not.

Lawrence city commissioners had a brief discussion about that problem at their Tuesday meeting. Commissioners told staff to move ahead with two new skate park projects — a complete rebuilding of the small skate park at Deerfield Park and major renovations to the larger skate park at Centennial Park.

But commissioners also told staff members they want some signs at the new facilities notifying users that there is a city law regarding helmets and biking and skating. The city ordinance makes it illegal for anyone 15 and under to bike or skate without a helmet. But the ordinance does not allow for any fine for those who disobey the helmet law. City Manager David Corliss said that was done intentionally because city leaders at the time (it has been more than 10 years ago) didn’t want a young person’s first interaction with a police officer to be a negative one. Instead, police officers can stop youths, inform them of the law and give them a voucher to go to a Lawrence fire station to receive a free helmet.

Commissioners didn’t have any discussion Tuesday of adding a fine to the law, but they did indicate the city needs to do more than it does currently.

“It is inevitable that there will be more head injuries if we have more people using these facilities without helmets,” said City Commissioner Hugh Carter. “We have to do something to make helmets cool.”

What that is hasn’t been determined yet. But the city certainly is doing its part to make helmets free for youth. The city once again will host a free helmet fair. The Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department will be giving out free helmets from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, prior to the KU Spring Football game. The helmet fair will be in the parking lot just southeast of KU’s Memorial Stadium.

In addition to the free helmets, which are available to any child 15 or younger, there will be a Kid Zone with inflatable and other play items from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a youth football clinic for kids first through sixth grades from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information on the clinic click here.

UPDATE: This just in from a Eudora Town Talk reader. Eudora will be hosting its own helmet fair and bike rodeo from 10 a.m. to noon on May 5 at the Eudora Elementary School.

• By the way, expect work to begin on the Centennial skate park renovations very soon. The project also will have a significantly different design than first envisioned. The park actually will become about 30 percent smaller. Parks and Recreation leaders decided to go that route after learning that rehabilitating all the concrete pavement at the park would eat up most of their $125,000 budget. The new plan will allow for new pavement in a smaller area, but also will allow for several new tricks, jumps and other features to be installed at the park.

• Hopefully helmets won’t be needed for a major event that will be in Lawrence on Friday. A whole host of Kansas leaders will be in town as part of a two-day event for the Leadership Kansas class.

The Lawrence Arts Center will host the program’s leadership summit at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The summit is not only for the current Leadership Kansas class but also brings back lots of alumni of the program.

Former astronaut turned KU professor Steven Hawley will be the keynote speaker, and Gov. Sam Brownback also will address the group.

The program also will include a grand reception at the Carnegie Building downtown, featuring drinks and “heavy hors d’oeuvres. (That phrase always makes me nervous. Is there lead in the crab rangoon?)

The 2012 Leadership Kansas class then will stay in town and have several sessions on Saturday morning, including an address from Andy Tompkins, the CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents.

In total, the event should attract more than 100 Kansas leaders to the community, which is an opportunity for the city to put its best foot forward for a large group of decision-makers.


DillonBarnes 6 years, 2 months ago

Nothing like a bunch of old white guys to find out what's cool.

CardHawkFan 6 years, 2 months ago

Fighting the urge not to leave work in the middle of the day to go check out the BBQ supply store. This is awesome. It is about time. Does the place have a website up and running?

anonyname 6 years, 2 months ago

Easy helmet solution: first offense is not a negative run-in with an officer, as it's a warning and a free helmet just like now. Second offense is when you look into a fine or community service or something.

otto 6 years, 2 months ago

^^^ You've never known a skater I see.

KSRCJH 6 years, 2 months ago

There will be a website up and running soon. Meanwhile, feel free to "like" Grills and Grinders on facebook.

LadyJ 6 years, 2 months ago

Chad, mesquite is for amateurs. Grow a hedge tree instead. The flavor is often mistaken for mesquite. Do love my Traeger pellet grill though.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

"The Lawrence Arts Center will host the program’s leadership summit at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The summit is not only for the current Leadership Kansas class but also brings back lots of alumni of the program."

Koch and Wal-Mart money at work = ALEC ALEC ALEC ALEC and more ALEC.

ALEC currently claims more than 250 corporations and special interest groups as private sector members. While the organization refuses to make a complete list of these private members available to the public, some known members include:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Exxon Mobil
  • the Corrections Corporation of America
  • AT&T
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Comcast
  • Verizon
  • Phillip Morris International
  • Koch Industries
  • along with a host of right-wing think tanks and foundations.

More and more:

We speak with Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which runs "ALEC Exposed," a website that published more than 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians. "We’ve seen ALEC, which is really a corporate bill mill, push legislation on all sorts of issues to make it harder for Americans to get justice, to make it harder for Americans to vote, to make it harder for Americans to have their day in court if they or their loved one is killed or injured by a corporation, by corporate greed, by a bad drug, by a product," Graves says.

She notes many of the draft bills outline the privatization of Social Security, schools and prisons:

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

Bring out your dead (horses)! Bring out your dead (horses)!

Terry Sexton 6 years, 2 months ago

Texas BBQers are always touting their mesquite smoked this & their mesquite smoked that. Hell, that all they gots down there in that scraggy lone star badland. Pecan & apple wood, will smoke up a brisket nicer than that mesquite stuff. Hooray for Mr. Fezer. Looking forward to stopping in at Grills & Grinders.

Chad Lawhorn 6 years, 2 months ago

It does take a certain manly palate to appreciate Texas BBQ. (Just giving you a hard time. I'd eat a brisket smoked many different ways.) Thanks, Chad

countrygirl 6 years, 2 months ago

Last brisket we did had a blend of hickory and cherry wood and turned out wonderfully. The fruit wood mellows the hickory so its not overpowering. Pull apart the slices with your fingers tender. Dang, now I'm getting hungry!

doc1 6 years, 2 months ago

Love the idea of a BBQ store. Too bad it won't stay in business long. And on another note, too bad we don't have an Oklahoma Joe's.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

Why do voters elect the wealthiest to gov't to make decisions for the middle class? Voting can work

The voting process can work. Do as Ralph Nader has been suggesting for years. Replace 90% of incumbents each voting cycle. Perhaps Occupy can get this off the ground.

I say replace all republicans with green party thinkers and 90% of democrats with new democrats each voting cycle.

Think this way..... maybe? Why do we americans vote in the right wing rich which are supported by too many of the rich to make decisions for the entire middle class and low income?

Too many of the rich want to destroy the middle class so they have sent tens of millions of middle class jobs abroad with no job replacement in sight. Isn't their something wrong with this picture?

Ask yourself why do we voters tend to vote for the largest spending candidates? What good has this choice been for the USA, our state and our local government?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Nader, the 1970s called. Your relevance misses you and wants you back.

Shane Garrett 6 years, 2 months ago

Chad nice transitional sentences between topics. Merrill, yes only the rich and powerful truly know and understand what is best for the rest. Just check out how they denied the lowest paid state workers a raise, and were told to get a private sector job if they wanted to survive in America. See only the rich and powerful have any sense of civic duty. And now I want some BBQ for lunch.

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