Thursday, July 19, 2018

7/19/2018 Life Guards Make Two Saves, Barracudas Close Season, Traveler Returns, Summer Stock

Congratulations to the Ashland Barracudas who concluded another successful swim season last night!  We'd also like to congratulate all of the seniors who stood on the blocks last night with a combined 86 years of participation.  Standing on those blocks of Carter Park Pool while Coach Trent reads off their accomplishments and college destination has become just as much as a rite of passage as the actual graduation ceremony. 

The Barracuda coaching staff is the reason that families keep returning and that kids stay on the team for so many years.  Kevin Trent, Alan Rosenberg, Jenny Younce, and Curran Henry have taught these kids how to swim, but also how to be good people.

Never, ever doubt the necessity or importance of a well-trained life guard.  This past week two of your Carter Park guards rescued drowning children from the pool.   Both instances occurred in the shallow end, and both children were younger than five.  There are life jackets available for use, and any parent who is not sure about their child's swimming ability can request one from any guard.  If you are near the pool this week, be sure to thank those guards for doing an excellent job.  You could also take them some food.  #feedtheguards

We'd like to welcome Susannah Gilmore back to the Center of the Universe!  Susannah was an intern at the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany, for eight weeks this winter, and then spent the spring semester studying politics and German at Freiburg University.  Susannah will begin her senior (4th) year at UVA in August. 

Origins Beer Lab is hosting a Thursday Run Club for anyone who would like to burn some calories before drinking beer.  Running starts at 7:00 PM and there are multiple route maps available.  You could even just walk around the block, if you want.

The Whistle Stop Theatre Company will present the second annual Ashland Summer Theater Festival on Saturday, August 11th, at the Arts and Activities Center. Bring the whole family to see productions of Thumbalina, Cattywampused, and Rumpelstiltskin!  Between the shows, kids can enjoy crafts, games, and deals sponsored by the Ashland Mainstreet Association.  Tickets are $10 for all shows and events.  Email to reserve your seats!

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320,  The summer is almost gone, Ashland- have you paused enough? 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

7/12/2018 The Gravitational Pull of the Center of the Universe

Last week I took a trip far on the other side of the world and I almost didn't come back.  

Now, don't be alarmed, I love Ashland more than I have ever loved another town, but I have always felt the desire to move and have a great love of the unknown destination.  I never liked the feeling of being settled, and I struggle with it as I attempt to have a normal life with kids, a husband, a dog, and good friends.  

I discussed stealing a sailboat and heading south towards Casablanca, but my traveling companions refused to crew the ship.  

Do you know what finally turned my wandering mind back to thoughts of home?  It was a bus; a mundane, ordinary bus.  We were standing on the sidewalk outside of the Newark airport after a bumpy ride across the sea, and a big, blue James River bus pulled up to drive us down 95.  It was like unexpectedly finding an old friend there to pick you up, saying, "Glad you're back; lets go home."  

So as many times as I travel, or pretend like I'm running away to the far ends of the earth, there is a part of me who will always be lulled by the soft voices of Virginia, by the cacophony of evening locusts, and by the sweet faces of my town.  It's good to be back.

In Ashland news, your Ashland Barracudas beat the Ashcreek Crocodiles last night by a score of 905.5 to 857.5.   Thomas Senfield broke the team record in 9/10 boys' 100 free for the third time this year. He keeps breaking his own record- make a note of that.  

Those taking home four blue ribbons were: Caleb Flanagan, Kaylee Morgan, and Annie Topich.  Triple winners were: Christine Datovech, Paul Datovech, Julia Dull, Grace Gordon, Kyle Henry, Davis Luck, Brette Nicely, Elizabeth Roberts, Emmeline Roberts, Thomas Senfield and Aiden Spence.  

And what about Miss Christine Datovech?   I spoke to both her mother and coach about this record-breaking streak that she is on, and asked them, is there any record that she HASN'T broken?  
Why yes, they said, she can't break the breaststroke record.  

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that claim is now false as Christine broke the GRAL record in the 11/12 girls' 100 freestyle and the team record in 11/12 girls' 50 breaststroke last night.  It is exciting to watch the trajectory of a young athlete.

Congratulations to the Richmond Kickers North girls teams coached by Tony Santos and Ed Fallen competed in the Torneio Internacional Futebol Feminino in Aviero, Portugal!  This group of Hanover high-school girls were true ambassadors of good-will and sportsmanship as they made friends on the pitch.  Soccer is a beautiful game that transcends languages and cultures, and  many of these girls started with the Ashland Youth Soccer League which will begin practices in the fall!

Enjoy this lovely town that always welcomes us home! Ride your bike to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and bring home fresh bread for breakfast.  Have a beer in the afternoon by the tracks and speak to the people who walk by you.  Pack a picnic and bring your Sunday paper to read by the Carter Park pool.  Pause awhile and look at this beautiful life.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, Tenha um bom fim de semana! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

6/28/2018 Swimming Records Breaking, 4th of July Preparation, Keep the Guards Well Fed

Do Not Attempt.  
It's a short column this week, chaps, because there is just too much to do to be spending time in front of a computer screen. 

Your Ashland Barracudas are on a winning streak after defeating Chestnut Oaks by a score of 1088.5 to 985.5!  Christine Datovech broke another GRAL record for the 11/12 girls 50 meter free style.  If you haven't noticed, this happens every time she gets in the water. Watching her swim reminds me of Ted Schubert, as they both seem to glide on top of the water, not in it.  Ted is currently swimming for UVA.

Thomas Senfield is following close behind her and broke a pool record for the 9/10 boys 100 meter free style.  Swimmers who took home four blue ribbons were Mark Dinger, Grace Gordon, and Thomas Senfield.  Those with three blue ribbons were Kate Balut, Deklan Cauthorne, Christine Datovech, Paul Datovech, Claire Grant, Hunter Lee, Elizabeth Roberts, Emmeline Roberts, Samantha Senfield, and Ethan Spencer.

Are you ready for the 4th?  I've given you lots of advance notice, so I think you need to have a list for the grocery store this weekend to get ready.  Be at the Arts and Activities Center early on the 4th!

And I must say that Carter Park Pool is looking great these days. The snack bar is great, although the lifeguards still seem hungry.  Bring them a snack if you stop by, and keep your eyes open for info about movie nights!  #feedthelifeguards

Stay busy, stay active Ashland!  The weather has been really nice this past week, and any evening is a nice time to walk down to the tracks.  I guarantee you will see people you know. 

Have a wonderful week, COTU!  No column next week for the 4th of July holiday.  Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

6/21/2018 Looking for Uncle Sam, Barracudas Breaking Records, Spoonfuls of Sugar, and Observing the Sunshine Law

Patriotism in the United States can be a tricky thing: too much and its scary nationalism, not enough and its apathetic socialism.  

To celebrate who and what we are as a country means taking a good look at our 242 years and saying, "How can we make it better?"  An easy way to do this is to turn to your neighbors, friends, and family.  Start with them.  

Your COTU, your Center of the Universe, your valentine town will be decked in red, white, and blue soon, and it is the perfect time to come together and celebrate what being an American means to us.  So, this weekend, look for that perfect apple pie recipe and go find that bunting for the front porch.  I think we all could use some John Philip Sousa marches.  Call the Center for more information on the events: 804-798-2728.

The Ashland Barracudas swim team season is in full swing right now.  Many thanks to Jessie Gordon for providing background music for the home meets; his music selections rival that of former announcer Jeff Reihl.  The Barracudas lost last week to The Colonies, but there were a lot of personal victories.  Christine Datovech (don't blink or you'll miss her) broke a league record for her 50 meter free-style, and Thomas Senfield broke a team record for the 100 meter free-style.  As I write this, the Barracudas are in the middle of a two-day meet (thunderstorms from the west on Wednesday) and hope to give the Welleseley team a run for their money.  

Do you have your tickets yet to see Mary Poppins?  Last summer,
the Center Players brought us Shrek which was just incredible, and now they are bringing us the wonderful sensibility and magic of that quintessential British nanny. Performances will be June 27th through July 1st at the Hanover Tavern.  Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased here, or bought for $15 at the door.  Please email for more information. 

The remodeled, restructured Cross Brothers is lovely inside!  They are open seven days a week, and have a lovely selection of vegetables, meat, sweets, and sandwiches.  And also lots of locally made gifts.  It really is like a farmer's market everyday.

The Ashland Town Council meetings are broadcast live on the Comcast Government Access channel, which I believe is channel 17 in our area.  So even if you can't make it out to a meeting, you can learn about what is going on- and there is a lot these days,   especially with a multi-million dollar Town Hall getting ready to be built.  You can also find a video archive of Town Council meetings here.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320,  There is so much going on in your town- don't waste a single evening!

Lucy Lynne, July 4th, 2008

Thursday, June 14, 2018

6/14/2018 An Open Letter to WHAN, Feed the Life Guards, Local Kids Earn Their PHDs

We have been without a local newspaper now for two months and the void is still there.  It hasn't been without effort, though.  I have reached out to the Richmond-Times Dispatch and the Mechanicsville Local, and I have been in touch with the owner/editor of the Progress-Index in Petersburg who was interested in continuing the H-P, but nothing.  I know that no one has had any success with Lakeview Publishing who doesn't seem interested in selling the rights to the name.  What do they care anyway?  Makes me so mad.

There are wonderful online efforts to connect our community: this blog, the Ashland Hawk, the Hanover Ledger- all small, grass-roots, and led by passion and dedication.  But we cannot assemble and disseminate the news like a local newspaper.

Is it morose to say that we miss being able to read the local obituaries?  Those short stories of lives-well-lived made me feel grounded to this place, and we miss that.  We miss local church news and sports' teams scores.  We miss the pictures of people traveling and holding up their copy of the H-P outside of the British Parliament or Big Ben.  When is the next salt-fish breakfast?

We do have one local voice that is free to the public and readily available in any home, and that it WHAN radio, 102.9 "The Mater."

When I was growing up in the Northern Neck, my grandmother's kitchen radio was always tuned to WRAR in Warsaw, and we were treated to all the quirkiness of a small radio station.  They had a show called the "Swap Shop" where they would open the phone lines and people would call in to say that they had a refrigerator for sale, or that they were looking for a cheap garden tiller.  Sometimes they would call in to say that they had lost a hunting dog somewhere near Farmer's Fork.  And everyday the DJ would read the report from the local funeral home while heavy organ music played in the background.  It's the soundtrack from a hot summer day in my childhood, when my life was so boring that shelling beans on the front porch was a welcome chore.

So, WHAN, I'm talking to you- I think your role here could be bigger than you know.

If you have a kitchen radio, or one in your car, save the 102.9 spot.  It's a really great station with interesting and fun music.  The signal is pretty strong, too, I can listen all the way down in the West End.  Now is your time, 'Mater...

In other Ashland news, the brand new snack bar at the Carter Park pool is up and running although they are maintaining some tight security so none of my informants can tell me much about it.  Apparently all the life guards are not allowed in the snack bar, nor do they get a discount on the food items.  Poor lifeguards- they are always hungry and texting their parents to bring them food.  The next time someone is at the store, maybe you could pick them up some nabs. #carterpark4ever

Sweet Henry Clay Elementary School, has two wonderful inner courtyards that were created when the school was enlarged many years ago.  This summer, they will begin renovations to one of those spaces as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) outdoor classroom.  Funding of this project is underway, and you can purchase an engraved brick to be used in the walkway.  These bricks are $50 each and can be engraved with a message up to 60 characters.  What a great way to leave a piece of your family at Henry Clay after your kids have grown up!  Stop by the office at Henry Clay to get an order form this summer.

Congratulations to all the kids who will be graduating from Patrick Henry this weekend!  I remember when you were all at Henry Clay.  It was just last week, you know.  I am so excited to hear stories of where you land and the good things that you will do out there.  Please come home on holidays and maybe for a few more summers. Be glad you got to grow up here; you have so many wonderful stories to take with you.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320,  Have a wonderful weekend COTU!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

6/7/2018 Things of Summer: Bees, Pool Water, Books, Tomatoes

And just like that it is summer.  Randolph-Macon has sent its graduates out into the world and the streets around campus are empty and quiet.  Swim team practices have begun at the pool with the wonderful addition of Ari Brothers as a coach.  She is reportedly tough, but encouraging, and the allure of ribbons and a ticket to the championship meet surrounds her swimmers.  There are a few days left of school, but those days are all half-days next week; for the seniors, their last day is tomorrow.  

Mosquitoes, wasps, lightening bugs, may flies- all manner of Virginia summer buzzers have returned.  We avoid walking bare-footed in the grass so that we don't step on a bee, and every evening we try and destroy the wasp nests that have develop daily in the upper eaves of the porch.  Magnolias are in bloom, morning glories are just starting to appear and are looking for something to climb, and I spend too much time looking online at vacation cottages along salty rivers in the Northern Neck.

All of this is to say that it is another summer in the COTU and we have a wonderful couple of months ahead of us!  A wise man from Arkansas once told me, "Ya'll are the most gettin-together people I've ever met."  Yes, we do like to get together; it is so much fun.

Saturday mornings have become market days in Ashland. Everything is alive and awake as the Farmer's Market draws record crowds, and the shops in town line their sidewalk space with flowers, plants, and toys.  Saturdays around here are really how every mornings should be: no long, hectic commutes, no scrambling to get kids out to the bus.  Just a nice walk or bike ride into town to see what the farmers have brought in today.  

The newly remodeled Cross Brothers continues to attract lots of customers and attention!  They are accomplishing a lot in the smaller space, and we are enjoying all the delicious pre-made goods.  I have heard wonders about a certain ice cream sandwich.  

This Saturday, come out to see the new concession stand at the Carter Park Pool and enjoy a day in the sun for free!  The Town is hosting "A Day in the Park" on June 9th.  Residents and visitors will have the chance to learn more about the parks in town and the recreational offerings.  The pool will be open for all, and visitors will be able to provide input on new playground equipment at the Kiwanis Pufferbelly Park.  There will also be volleyball, corn hole, and other games.    

Summer Reading sign-ups are happening now at your neighborhood library.  Just like waiting for a train forces us to take a breath and put the car into "park," a visit to the library instantly calms and settles you.  I think we should all be stopping by there at least once a week.  Look for their schedule of events on their website, and find a good book to read by the pool this Saturday.  

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, Enjoy the weekend, Ashland!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

5/31/2018 Season of Mud, First Street Party of Summer- CANCELLED, Will Kimbrough, Ashland Hawk

I think somehow we missed spring this year; winter lasted into April and May has been a soggy mess.  Now, we know that it's almost summer because a tropical system moving up from the south and hurricane season begins Friday. Regrettably, all signs point to a very humid summer. 
Sorry to report that this event has been cancelled due to the predicted weather for the evening.   The first Ashland Street Party of Summer is this Saturday, June 2nd, from 6:30 to 11:00 PM behind the Library on South Center Street.  Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased online here or  in town at The Caboose Wine and Cheese, Ace Hardware, SONA Bank, and Coldwell Banker to name a few spots.  Tickets purchased at the gate are $20 each, but kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult.  Bring a lawn chair if you'd like to sit between dances, but no coolers or pets please.  There is always an abundance of food and drinks available to purchase there. 

Also this Saturday night Will Kimbrough returns to the Ashland Coffee and Tea, indoors! Will is an amazing singer and songwriter that we have seen several times on his tours through the COTU- once with Rodney Crowell.  He has worked with Roseanne Cash, Todd Snider, Steve Earle, and John Prine.  The concert starts at 8:00 PM; tickets are $15 in advance, or $18 at the door.  There is no need to leave the town limits this weekend. 

This evening is the Senior Awards night at Patrick Henry High School.  I know that a certain amount of euphoria exists naturally with those seniors, and rightfully so, these kids are full of enthusiasm, hope, and optimism. But on the Senior Awards night, the stage will be full of people handing out scholarships to these kids so that they can continue their education.  Some of the presenters are alumnae of Patrick Henry, and some are parents who have lost a child but give the scholarships out in their name as a way of remembering.  It is the most touching evening that I have ever experienced as a parent of a Hanover County student.  If you get the chance to go, you certainly should.

Congratulations to the Randolph-Macon Baseball team who made it all the way to the final eight teams in the NCAA Division III College World Series this past week!  What a wonderful showing for the team's first trip to this tournament.  We are so very proud and look forward to their season next year.

And as we wade through the trough of information, now unaided by any sort of local newspapers, we find ourselves creating and putting together communication in any way that we can.  I even thought about printing several hundred one-page newsletters and delivering them to doorsteps, but the web seems to be our only resource for now.

Ragan Phillips has recently founded The Ashland Hawk to serve as our virtual opinion section, or letters-to-the-editor page.  The Hawk will focus on public issues: education, housing, jobs, economic stress, and will strive to be a forum where ideas can be exchanged respectfully.  Stay informed at

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5302,  Have a wonderful weekend; buy a newspaper!

7/19/2018 Life Guards Make Two Saves, Barracudas Close Season, Traveler Returns, Summer Stock

Congratulations to the Ashland Barracudas who concluded another successful swim season last night!  We'd also like to congratulate a...