Wednesday, April 18, 2018

4/19/2018 Race the Rail and Save the Earth, Backyard Plant Sale, Mr. Mudd Returns

The forecast is calling for a partly-cloudy Saturday, with high's in the low 60s, so bundle up if you are coming out to run the Ashland Railroad Run this weekend.  If you are a last-minute person, registrations will be taken that morning, although you may not get a t-shirt.  This is a certified 10K race, and very flat, so come record your best time!

The 5K Race and Fun Walk starts at 8:00 AM,  the Kid's 1 Mile Fun Run starts at 8:15 AM, and the 40th annual 10K Railroad Run starts at 9:00 AM.  

The Green Fair returns to the front lawn of the Center with all kinds of ecological vendors and practical demonstrations.  


We have been waiting on spring for a long time now, but those flower beds are calling our names.

The Howard Street Backyard Plant Sale will take place Friday and Saturday, May 4th and 5th, at 203 Howard Street.  

Plant donations will be accepted beginning April 27th, and you can leave those on the front porch with your name on them.  Those who donate (non-invasive, native plants) are eligible to shop the preview sale on the 4th, and to take home the free leftovers after the sale.

New this year, after the sale at 1:00 PM on Saturday, there will be a  short talk by Kristen Saacke Blunk, who serves on the administrative council for Northeast SARE - https://www.nesare.org/, and on the Ag Workgroup for the Chesapeake Bay Program, https://www. chesapeakebay.net/who/group/ agriculture_workgroup

You can contact Julie Erickson for more information. 


It seems that we all want to get outside and do some spring cleaning!

The 2nd Annual PHacelift Community Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, May 5th from 9:00 AM to Noon around the outside campus of Patrick Henry High School. Participants only need to bring themselves. However if you have yard supplies such as gloves, rakes, blowers, hedge trimmers, wheel barrows, etc., we welcome these additions.


Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: Largest group represented, Most Spirited PHacelift Crew, & First to PHinish section goals. For more information call 365-8000.

Your Ashland Library continues to offer wonderful programs for the community!  On Wednesday, May 9th, plan to come over after dark (7:00 to 8:00) and look at the stars in the night sky with Trevor McGuire, a member of the Richmond Astronomy Society. Trevor will show us,young and old, how to view the night stars just using our own eyes. This will be a fun night for the whole family to share.  One of my favorite memories as a child was looking at the stars with my dad.


In education news this week, we'd like to send congratulations to Michael Mudd who will return to Hanover County Public Schools this summer as the Director of Elementary Education!  It's great to have him back home, and I know the elementary educators will be excited to have his leadership.  

Also, this fall, the incredible Fred Horn will become the new music teacher at Henry Clay Elementary.  I am so envious of the little people that will get to hear his booming laugh echo those hallways!

Enjoy the spring Ashland; that beautiful green color is just atarting to sweep over the town.  Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Have a wonderful weekend.




Thursday, April 12, 2018

04/12/2018 Remember When the Music: Bluemont Concerts End, Elections Approaching, Running and Swimming


Perhaps we will remember 2018 as a year of transitions. 

It was announced last week that the Bluemont Concerts are no more.  Those outdoor summer concerts were one of our soundtracks when our kids were little.  August evenings would find us on the front lawn of the Arts and Activities Center, or at Randolph-Macon, sometimes working a bake sale table to raise money for a PTA, sometimes chasing children who had comfortably scattered through the crowd.  

We will miss the music and the gathering, and we wish the best to the Bluemont staff who worked for years to bring live music to us.  

There are two Ashland Town Council seats open this year and there are three candidates for the vacancies: Les Cook, John Hodges, and Dan McGraw.  All of these would be wonderful citizen representatives, but do your part to learn more about them before Tuesday, May 1st, when the poll will be open at Town Hall.




 Have you registered to race the rails on Saturday, April 21st, at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center?  This will be the 40th year that this race will be held- so lets all come out and show our support for things that last.  If you're not running, come cheer on the runners as they fly past.  There will also be a Green Fair on the front lawn of the Activities Center, with lots of wonderful ecological companies and ways to help keep our planet beautiful.  

There are so many interesting events happening at your Ashland Library that they are hard to list!  Click on the link above to view their events.

Summer passes are on sale now for Carter Park Pool which will have a lovely new snack bar by opening day.  Those who purchase their pool passes on or before April 30th will receive a small discount.  Click here to access the application or apply for a pool pass scholarship.  

And if the pool is open, then it's time for swim team!  Having your child swim for Coach Kevin Trent may be one of the easiest and best parenting decisions that you will ever make.  Not only will they learn a life-long skill, but they will make friends and be a part of a team that includes kindergartners and seniors in high school.  It is one of the best parts about life in the Center of the Universe.  

Visit the Barracudas website for more information and to register.  

This Saturday, April 14th, the Barracuda swim team will be having a ridiculously fun fund-raiser: The Battle of the Brains.  Have you heard of trivia nights where you bring your iPad or smart phone, and answer trivia questions?  It's like you own Jeopardy game!  Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  Please email Megan Mudd preppedplate@comcast.net to make reservations.  

Have a beautiful weekend, Ashland.  I think the sun is gonna shine.  Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  



Thursday, April 5, 2018

We Will Not Go Quietly into that Good Night




"A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself." 
Author Miller
I had so many other plans for this column this week: the upcoming Railroad Run, Kiddie Kingdom, events at the Library, and signing up for swim team.  I was going to say that I hoped you had a good Easter, and that maybe hoping you were somewhere warm for spring break.  My 500 words, give or take, and my brief moment to spend with you this week.

And then it was all gone.  I had to find out from Style Weekly, none the less.  It was like a tall, pretty girl flipped her blonde hair and said, “Didn’t you know?”  No, I didn’t know, had no idea.  I am stunned.  I am standing on the sidewalk, tapping at a window but the lights are off and the door is locked, stunned.

I don’t understand why Jack Fishman, owner of Lakeway Publishing, wouldn’t have offered it for sale. I know we are in a digital age, but we haven’t erased our need for printed paper.  We still read books, we still need libraries, and we still write with pens on paper.  It makes my eyes ache to think that I will have to figure everything out from a glowing screen now. 

In April of 2007, I saw a classified in the Herald-Progress looking for someone to write the Ashland column and Greg Glassner hired me for $10 per column. I have made lots of typos, misspelled many names, and written wrong dates and times.  I have to work really hard to get the details right, and sometimes I would be in such a rush to meet the deadline.

But in almost 11 years, I only missed a handful of weeks.  You were my readers, and I was kind of protective of my time with you.  I wanted to show you the parts of Ashland that you might have missed.  I wanted to try and get you to stop, to look around at the wonder of this place.  And that was kind of hard for me sometimes. 

There have been many days when I was jealous of the people on the trains who passed by my stopped car.  I would wonder about where they were going, as I held a crumpled grocery list in my hand.  You always pulled me back, though.  There was always a Variety Show to rehearse for, or a PTA fundraiser, or an event at the Center.  Something as simple as an evening sitting at the Ironhorse could tame my wanderlust. 

There is still so much to be written about this town and the people here, and I am not done.

Which leads me to say that old habits die hard, and an eleven year-old habit is pretty old.  Please call or email me with your Ashland news because I would rather not stop writing about this little spot in the universe: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

3/13/2014 Hanover Idols, PH Show Choir, Summer Theater Camp at the Center


This town is so ready for warm weather.  I think every child who has a bike was out riding this weekend, and it took every ounce of parenting strength that I had to make them come in when it got dark.  I need to start making a list of all the things that I need to do in my yard, because every time I happen to glance out the window I see something that needs pruning or weeding or cleaning.  Three cheers for the projects of Spring!

There is so much going on these days at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center.  The Mardi Gras fundraiser was a blast this past weekend with many fabulous masks and lots of beads!

And just the weekend before, that old building was alive with the voices of the Hanover Idol Competition.  Congratulations to Sarah Hopkins, who won the title of Hanover Idol and to Carrie Cauthorne who won runner-up.  In the Jr. Idol competition, Audrey kate Taylor took the title and Jean Woodrum was runner-up. DVDs of the competition are available for $20 from the Center. You can find an order form on the website- hanoverarts.org.

The Center will host the Barter Players on Thursday, March 27th for their production of “Little House on the Prairie” at 6:00 pm.  Tickets are $2 and available at the door.

Congratulations to the show choirs of Patrick Henry High School who have spent the past two weekends deep in regional competitions!  They have won numerous awards, including Co-Grand Champion, Showmanship, People’s Choice Award, and a 2nd Place.  This past Saturday at the Central Virginia Show Choir Competition, Best Overall Daily went to Max Cook!  They will be performing next at the Lee-Davis/Hanover Festival of Choirs on March 21st and 22nd at Hanover High.

Are you thinking ahead to summer?  Lorie Foley sure is!  The Summer Theater Program at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center has announced the dates of their annual theater camp and summer production.  The Camp, for kids in grades 1st through 5th, will run the week of July 14th from 8:30 to 4:30 pm.  Tuition for the program is $250 and a registration form is available on the website:  www.hanoverarts.org.  Discounts are available for siblings.

For those middle and high school thespians, the summer musical will be “Once Upon a Mattress.”  Auditions will be May 14th and 15th at the Center, rehearsals will run May 18th through June 26th, and the performances will be June 27th, 28th, and 29th at the Hanover Tavern!

There are lots of March babies out there who have been celebrating recently: Tamra Bardwell, Tracy Brown, Chris Dull, Patricia Reagan, and Alec and Meade Rheihl.  We hope they had lots of sunshine and presents on their special day!




Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  

2/27/2014 Fastest in the State, Hanover Idols, Mardi Gras Party, Tiger Trot 5K,



What a tease Mother Nature is to us these days.  Several nights ago we sat out on our side porch, warmed by the last rays of a setting sun, and let the peeping frogs from Mechum’s Creek serenade us as we drank a glass of wine.  Now today, I am looking at a low, grey sky that threatens to snow at any moment.  I am always ready for the next season, but now more than ever as we wait for this inexcusably cold winter to depart.  How many days until Spring?

Congratulations to our Ashland kids who competed in the Virginia High School League State Champs this past weekend!  Ted Schubert took home a first place medal in both the 100 meter back stroke and the 200 meter IM.  His times qualified him as an automatic NISCA All-American.  Thomas Perkins finished 8th in the 100 free style, and Mattie Grant finished 5th in the 200 free style and 2nd in the consolation heat of the 100 butterfly.  To compete at that level is really impressive, and we are very proud of these three.

Sign up now to run the 7th Annual Tiger Trot 5K benefitting the Henry Clay & John Gandy PTAs.  There are options for a ½ or 1 mile for kids 12 and under, and the 5K is open to runners and walkers.  You can register on line at http://www.onestoprace.com/search/event.aspx?id=22958 or on the morning of the race.  The event starts at 8am on Saturday March 8th.

To compensate for this cold, dreary weather, you must get out more.  Fight the freezing temps with fellowship. 

The Hanover Idols Competition is this Sunday at the Arts and Activities Center.  The $7 tickets are available at the Center now or by calling 798-2728.  The doors will open 30 minutes before curtain time and any available tickets will be sold then.  Seating is limited, people!  The Junior Idols competition starts at 3:30, and the Idols competition begins at 7:00 pm. 

While you’re securing your seat for this Sunday’s spectacular event, go ahead and reserve your ticket for the Hanover Arts and Activities Center’s Mardi Gras party on Saturday, March 8th, from 7:00 to 11:00 pm.  It’s $20 per person, or $35 per couple with tickets available at Cross Brothers Grocery or at the door.  Find some beads, put on a mask, and come shake the floor at the Center!

Ashland Youth Soccer is now accepting registrations for their Spring Soccer teams.  The fields at Poor Farm have been lonely all winter and they can’t wait for those little chaps to be out there on Sundays!  Visit www.aysl.org to sign up; practices will start mid-March.

A fundraiser for the American Cancer Society called “Finish the Fight” will be held on Saturday, March 8th at the Holiday Inn Express from 11:00 am to 3.  Lots of local vendors will be there!  Please call Diane Jennings for more information: 630-284-9961.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Stay warm this weekend!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2/20/14 Dreaming of Warm Days, Party with the Catholics, Register for Spring Sports



The time has come; I am done.  The beauty of a winter snowfall is now lost on me because all I can see is the muddy slop that is left behind. The excitement of a snow day is now getting old and boring, frankly, and I would gladly trade days spent bundled up for a warm evening on the back porch.  The other day I spent almost an hour reading an insightful essay about culture from the New Yorker magazine, and I can only remember two words from the whole thing: “summer candles.”  I read those words and I was completely distracted, like an old friend had suddenly come to mind.  I need some summer candles.

Ashland Youth Soccer is now accepting registrations for their Spring Soccer teams.  The fields at Poor Farm have been lonely all winter and they can’t wait for those little chaps to be out there on Sundays!  Visit www.aysl.org to sign up; practices will start mid-March.

Registrations are also being accepted for the spring season with the Ashland Little League, who is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year!  You can register online, or in person this Saturday at Randolph-Macon’s Brock Center from 8:30-noon.  Coaches will also be conducting evaluations on Saturday for baseball and softball, ages 7-16.  Visit their website, www.ashlandlittleleague.org for more information.

A fundraiser for the American Cancer Society called “Finish the Fight” will be held on Saturday, March 8th at the Holiday Inn Express from 11:00 am to 3.  Lots of local vendors will be there!  Please call Diane Jennings for more information: 630-284-9961.

Local gardening expert Cindy Connor will be signing copies of her new book, “Grow a Sustainable Diet,” at the Ashland Coffee and Tea on this Saturday, the 22nd from 10:00 to 2:00 pm.  It’s time to start thinking about your spring garden, isn’t it?

The place to be this Saturday, February 22nd, is at St. Ann’s Catholic Church for their Casino Night!  Doors open at 6:00 pm., and the $25 tickets include food, two drink tickets, prize table tickets and fun money.  The silent auction items are usually really great, so don’t miss this chance to party with the Catholics!

Buy your tickets now for the Hanover Arts and Activities Center’s Mardi Gras party on Saturday, March 8th, from 7:00 to 11:00 pm!  It’s $20 per person, or $35 per couple with tickets available at Cross Brothers Grocery or at the door.  Prizes will be given for the best Mardi Gras mask- sounds intriguing!

Lastly, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to my father, Frank Delano. I’ve included lots of exclamation points in this column just for you, Daddy!

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com!



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2/13/2014 How Much Snow?



If there was an Olympic event called “Train Crossing Planning and Calculations,” then Ashlanders would definitely take the gold.  I know for a fact that almost every citizen in this town can spot the first flashing red light of the crossing arm, and immediately change their route to find an open gate.  I know that they listen for the horn to know what kind of train is stopping, and with that information they can gauge how long the train is, which will tell them where they can cross.  I bet we have grown extra synapses in our brains from having to figure all of this out.  Another reason to love Ashland and the smart people who live here!

Buy your tickets now for the Hanover Arts and Activities Center’s Mardi Gras party on Saturday, March 8th, from 7:00 to 11:00 pm!  It’s $20 per person, or $35 per couple with tickets available at Cross Brothers Grocery or at the door.  Prizes will be given for the best Mardi Gras mask- sounds intriguing!

The season is over, but congratulations are due to all of the Patrick Henry swimmers who went to the Regional Conference at George Mason last week:  Meade Reihl, Madeline Montgomery, Josie Koren., Madison Brown, Marielle Robinson, Thomas Perkins, Ted Schubert, Dalton Nash, Kyle Koren, Austin Davis and Owen Wright.

On Sunday, February 16 from 4:00-5:30 pm, come and hear Ashland and Hanover residents tell their personal stories of growing up.  The topics of education and life as students in different schools will be the focus of this particular program.  This program, called Untold Stories:  Growing Up in Ashland/Hanover—Black and White Experiences, is free and open to the public and will be held at the Center.

The final fundraisers to help send "Cinderella: The Fairy Godmother's Tale" to the New York Children's Theatre Festival will be held February 15 & 16 at the Whistle Stop Theatre at the Ashland Firehouse (201 Duncan Street, Ashland).

Bring your favorite little valentine to an enchanted party! Come dressed in your favorite princess (or prince) costume, or try on some of ours!  Meet the real Cinderella – and enjoy cakes, dancing, stories, and other activities! Times are Saturday, 2/15 at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm; Sunday, 2/16 at 4:00 pm.  Tickets are $20 per adult-and-child (4 years and up); $7.50 each additional child (up to 3 children per adult).    Space is limited, so please reserve your places at whistlestoptheatre@gmail.com.  

By the time you read this, you may be buried in a foot of snow.  I hope it is still snowing and the current is still on.  I plan to run to the grocery store as soon as I submit this, and tonight I will find those sleds and snow boots, and put them on the back porch. Take lots of snow pictures!


Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. xoxo

4/19/2018 Race the Rail and Save the Earth, Backyard Plant Sale, Mr. Mudd Returns

The forecast is calling for a partly-cloudy Saturday, with high's in the low 60s, so bundle up if you are coming out to run the Ashl...