Friday, December 21, 2007

12/21/07 Christmas Caroling, Leroy Foster, Ms. Harris & Ms. Winkler

Christmas Caroling in Ashland was a cold event this past Monday, but that’s the way that it should be in December. Bundled in hats and scarves, we gathered near the quiet fountain in front of Town Hall and sang with Donna Whiteway, Lorie Foley, Patrick and Casey Warren, Hayes Handley, and Sue Watson. It’s funny, we hear those songs on the radio starting in November, but how often do we really belt them out? We caroled to the fire department where we sang “Silent Night” and watched the firefighters return from a call. I’m sure that we were all thinking the same thing: “Let them have a quiet night tonight”. From there we hurried to the warmth of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center where Faith Boyle and Doris Hassel waited for us with hot cider, coffee, and two tables full of sweets. Patrick Warren and Anna Edleman graced us with their voices while we warmed our toes under those old radiators and readied ourselves to go out and sing some more. Madison, Aiden, and Carter Spence were there, along with Madison and Caitlin Brown, Seth and Max Foster, Raelynn Maier, Annika and Corrina Cline, Meade Riehl, Susannah and Daphne Gilmore, and George and Ethan Stiles. It will be interesting to watch these kids of Ashland grow up together. I hope they remember these Christmases of their childhood as nearly perfect, and tell their friends what a great time they had growing up here.

My person-of-the-week is Mr. Leroy Foster, Sr. If you drive through town in the mornings of afternoons, then you’ve seen him standing by the railroad tracks to make sure that our school buses cross safely. He also helps relieve the traffic congestion caused by four roads intersecting with two railroad tracks. When the school buses aren’t running, Mr. Foster provides Ashland with our very own taxi cab! I think that’s extraordinary because usually a little town like ours wouldn’t have a service like that. Roll down your window and wish Mr. Foster a Merry Christmas when you see him, and call him when you need a ride – 798-7873

The Town needs volunteers and suggestions to help plan and prepare for the sesquicentennial celebration. Suggestions may be dropped in suggestion boxes placed around town or mailed to the Town of Ashland, P.O. Box 1600, Ashland, VA 23005. Those who wish to volunteer to be on a committee may get more information by calling Town Manager Charles Hartgrove at (804) 798-9219 or Rob Stiles, Team 150 president, at (804) 798-6611.

Three Cheers to two wonderful music teachers: Ms. Harris at Henry Clay Elementary, and Ms. Winkler at Gandy Elementary. They both worked for weeks to stage magnificent Christmas programs with the second and forth graders. How thrilling to listen to those children sing with such enthusiasm! It is clear that both of those teachers are greatly loved by the children they teach.

“May happiness pursue you,
Catch you often,
And, should it lose you,
Be waiting ahead,
Making a clearing for you.”
Salute by A.R. Ammons

Have a wonderful holiday! Call me if you need me: 310-5320, or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. You can also find a record of all these columns at http://www.ashlandnews.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12/14/07 Christmas Caroling, Brass Concert, Woodcarver Market

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...” Have you driven past the Ashland Police Dept. at night? Why drive all the way to the botanical garden when we have a fest of lights on our own streets? Henry Clay St. is looking especially festive this year. Pile everyone in the car and take a spin around town.

Three cheers to our local Garden Clubs who outdid themselves this past weekend decorating the homes for the bi-annual Christmas House Tour. They took such care to let the personality of the houses show through in the gorgeous flower arrangements. Many thanks also to the owners of those homes on the tour for opening their houses, which raised money for the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. “Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays…”

I hope to see everyone this Monday, December 17th, in front of Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. for Community Caroling! This is your chance to share the Christmas spirit with your neighbors as we carol to the Arts and Activities Center and then along the streets of the Ashland Historic District. Please bring a flashlight if you can. Refreshments and lyrics will be provided to all. Call 798-2728 for more information. “We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...”

The Richmond Brass and Percussion Consort with George Tuckwiller, Conductor along with special guest Lisa Edward Burrs will present a concert of traditional and popular Christmas music at St. Ann’s Catholic Church on Tuesday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m. This concert will benefit the Central Virginia Food Bank. There is no admission charge; a donation of non-perishable foods or money for the Central Virginia Food Bank is requested. “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen…when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.”

Woodcarver and Ashland resident Tom Lowe is hosting a Holiday Market this weekend featuring his carved wood bowls, platters and spoons. Tom has been a woodcarver for 24 years and has taken up making the bowls just in the last 2 years. You might have seen his work at the Heavenly Creations Art Show at St. James or seen his bowls at The Caboose. See Tom’s art along with other local artists on Saturday, December 15 from 11 am - 4 pm at 12341 Wildwood Blvd. (Oak Hill Estates). Other items that will be available are Tie Dye Clothing, Handmade Jewelry, Indonesian Coffee, Scented Soy Candles and more. The rain date is Sunday, 16th from 11 am - 4pm. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree…”

Teen Movie and Pizza Night is tonight- Friday December 14th- beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Ashland Library. “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree at the Christmas party hop...”
I hope that your decorations are up and many things are marked off your shopping list. May you each have the time to sit quietly with a child, a friend, or your true love, and be thankful for this lovely time of year. Tell me your holiday stories of life in Ashland: 310-5320, or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. You can also find a record of all these columns at www.ashlandnews.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12/7/07 Deck The Halls, Christmas Chorale, Crosswalks, Town Caroling

We had a wonderful time this past Sunday at Carolyn & Jerry Peart’s “Deck the Halls” fundraiser for Hilliard House. There were piles of fresh cut magnolia, boxwood, holly, and cedar; candles for centerpieces, gloves to protect your hands, clippers, scissors, and a dozens of bows- all ready for our creations. Helpful elves supervised the tables and gave advice on how to make that wreath symmetrical, or which way to lay the pine branches to form a festive swag. Lorie Foley and Wendy Doyle loaned their super-powered imaginations to the Children’s Corner. Our arms were full of fresh decorations be the time we were finished. There was a barn full of sweets, coffee, hot chocolate, and Susan Greenbaum singing Christmas tunes. My new favorite song is “You Are My Holiday”. There are a few custom-made fresh wreath’s left over priced at $45 with all sales going to benefit Hilliard House. Please call Carolyn at 798-9131 if you’re interested.

The Richmond Symphony comes to town this Sunday, December 9th at Duncan Memorial Church to perform Vivaldi’s Gloria and Other Seasonal Selections with the Central Virginia’s Masterworks Chorale. Performances will be at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Reserved tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and $5 for children, and are available at Cross Brothers or by calling 798-7123.

Randolph-Macon begins their annual performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens December 7th, continuing through December 13th. Reserve your seats by calling the box office at 752-7316. Tickets are $2.50 for adults and $1.00 for children.

This Sunday, December 9th the Hanover Arts and Activities Center will host the famous “Ye Olde Ashland Christmas House Tour” with six historic buildings open for tours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. First Baptist Church will be open to the public for refreshments and concerts throughout the day, and the entries from the Gingerbread House Contest will be on display at HAAC. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 on the day of the tour, and are available at the Activities Center- 500 South Center St. A different local gardening club decorates each house and they really are spectacular. Call Faith Boyle at the Center (798-2728) for more information or visit the website: www.hanoverarts.com.

Monday evening, December 17th, dress warmly, bring a flashlight, and meet us at the fountain by Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. for some Old Fashioned Christmas Caroling. We’ll have a group sing there and then walk to the Arts and Activities Center at 7:30 for refreshments and then we’ll serenade the streets of Ashland from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. This is the stuff that memories are made of: you will remember caroling at Christmas for years to come. Call 798-2728 for more information.

I must applaud the Town for the new crosswalk signs that help us all remember to give way to people crossing the streets. I know that sometimes I’ve been confused about when exactly to yield to a pedestrian. Chief of Police, Tom Clark, says that Virginia law requires vehicles to stop for a pedestrian once they are on the pavement and moving across the street. That said, if you do see someone waiting to cross, and you can safely slow down and stop, I think it’s a nice courtesy. Keep in mind that our small streets are busy with walkers, cars, school buses and trains- the best overall solution might be to take it slow through town.

Cold weather is arriving tonight and we almost have all of our decorations up. If I could make the month of December have 45 or 60 days, then I would. Christmas should be like summer, with lazy days lasting forever. It is over too quickly. I just hope we get some snow…

Have a great week! Call or email me with your stories of life in Ashland: 310-5320, or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. You can also find a record of all these columns at www.ashlandnews.blogspot.com.

Monday, November 26, 2007

11/30/07 Santa Visiting Ashland, Deck The Halls, Richmond Symphony, Lost Time Capsule







You might need to cut out this article and post it on your refrigerator. Not for my sake- but because there really is so much going on in the next few weeks that you won’t want to miss. Buy some extra coffee, dust off your walking shoes, and get ready for Christmas.

When I was little, we would go to Miller & Rhodes downtown to visit Santa. These days you can save gas and time by seeing him right here in Ashland! Join St. Nick for lunch at Henry Clay Elementary this Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It’s a magical event, even if it’s not the Tea Room, and Edie Weaver won’t be there. There will, however, be a bake sale, cakewalk, crafts, and a chance to get your picture taken with Santa. This event is sponsored by Market Ashland Partnership and the Henry Clay Elementary PTA. Call Chip Tompkins with your questions or to buy a ticket: 798-7885.

This Sunday, December 2nd, come by Pine Grove Farm from noon to 4:00 p.m. for “Deck the Halls”- an afternoon of Christmas wreath-making in the red barn at Carolyn & Jerry Peart’s home (12438 Elmont Road). Abundant fresh-cut cedar, pine, and boxwood await you to bring home and decorate your house for the holidays. Music provided by Susan Greenbaum. Reservations are requested ($25 per person, $35 per family) by calling 355-2825. All proceeds will be donated to Hilliard House- a program that helps homeless women and children in the Richmond area find ways to reach the lives they desire. Please park at St. Ann’s Catholic Church (S. Snead St.) and a shuttle bus will take you to the Peart’s.

The Richmond Symphony returns to town on Sunday, December 9th at Duncan Memorial Church to perform Vivaldi’s Gloria and Other Seasonal Selections with the Central Virginia’s Masterworks Chorale. Performances will be at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Reserved tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and $5 for children, and are available at Cross Brothers. I keep saying that you never have to leave town to have a good time, and here is a perfect example!

Randolph-Macon begins their annual performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens December 7th, continuing through December 13th. Reserve your seats by calling the box office at 752-7316. Tickets are $2.50 for adults and $1.00 for children.

Now is the time to plan out your gingerbread house for the Hanover Arts and Activities Gingerbread House Contest. In past years we’ve seen an out-house, an igloo, and a replica of the Ashland Police Station. Drop-off is Saturday, December 8th from 10:00 a.m. until noon, and the houses will be on display during Ye Olde Ashland Christmas House Tour, December 9th. The House Tour features some lovely Victorian homes decorated by local gardening clubs. Call Faith Boyle at the Center (798-2728) for more information or visit the website: http://www.hanoverarts.com/.

Did anyone see the article in last week’s Style Magazine about Ashland’s Lost Time Capsule? Maybe Charles Hartgrove should offer a prize to the first person who finds it. Call him at 798-9219 if you’ve got any ideas. http://www.styleweekly.com/article.asp?idarticle=15697

Put a big red circle a round December 17th for me please. Old Fashioned Christmas Caroling will take place in and around Center Street. If you’ve ever wanted to step inside a Norman Rockwell painting, this may be your opportunity. Please call Donna Whiteway at 366-5676 with questions, and look for more details coming soon.

Congratulations to Morgan Hunter who won the First Ever Ashland Turkey Trot ½ Mile Race, and to Peyton Luck & Scotty Redfern who tied for the Kid’s 1 Mile.

Did you get all of that? I know it’s a lot, but what do you expect from a town like Ashland? Could you imagine a quiet Christmas? We revel in these holidays because it gives us the chance (and the excuse) to throw a party, a parade, a play, or go caroling together. If I’ve missed something, please give me a call at 310-5320, or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. You can also find a record of all these columns at http://www.ashlandnews.blogspot.com/. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2007

11/24/07 Thanksgiving, Deck the Halls at The Peart's, Abundance Swap



I’m sending many thanks to everyone who made the 2007 Holiday Parade such a joy to watch. Thanks to the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, the Indian Princesses, the cheerleaders, the firefighters, the Patrick Henry Marching Band, the horses, the shiny cars, the speedy Shriners, the antique cars, and the beauty queens. Thank you to everyone who found the time in their busy weekend to walk in the parade or cheer from the sidewalk. Last, but not least, thank you to the Ashland street cleaner who cleaned the streets before and after the parade. We waved to him, too.

Come by Pine Grove Farm on Sunday, December 2nd, from noon to 4:00 p.m. for “Deck the Halls”- an afternoon of Christmas wreath-making in the red barn at Carolyn & Jerry Peart’s home (12438 Elmont Road). Abundant fresh-cut cedar, pine, and boxwood await you to bring home and decorate your house for the holidays. Music provided by Susan Greenbaum. Reservations are requested ($25 per person, $35 per family) by calling (804) 355-2825. All proceeds will be donated to Hilliard House- a program that helps homeless women and children in the Richmond area find ways to reach the lives they desire.

Do you need an alternative to the shopping frenzy the weekend after Thanksgiving? Come to the Abundance Swap at the Hanover Arts & Activities Center (500 S. Center St.) on Sunday, November 25th from 2 to 4:00 p.m. Bring an item or two that you don’t need or want anymore (no clothing or paperback books) and swap it with someone else. Last year, we found a set of attachments for my mixer that had never been used. Kids come early to help decorate the center for Christmas. Call 798-2728 for more information.

The “First Ever, Most Unofficial Ashland Turkey Trot” will be held Thanksgiving morning at 9:00 a.m. beginning at Carter Park. You’ll be guilt free for the rest of the day if you come out and run with Tom Grant. There’ll be a 10K, 5K, kid’s 1 mile, and kid’s ½ mile. The winner will have the race named after him or her next year. Email tom.grant@comcast.com for more information.

Stop by Town Hall and get your 2008 Ashland calendar on sale now for $10 each. Proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

All my best wishes are with you this weekend- no accidents, no stress, no arguments- only good food and time spent remembering all the things we have to be thankful for. Call me at (804) 310-5320 or email ashlandnews@gmail.com with you news about town. Happy Thanksgiving!

11/16/07 Hats Off to Town Police, St. James the Less Art Show, Holiday Parade





What a weekend we had here in town recently! The Ashland Police department could hold seminars on “Crowd Control in Small Town Festivals”. Between the Hampton-Sydney tour buses and the minivans full of Train Day kids, our men in blue did an excellent job keeping the traffic moving and the pedestrians safely crossing the streets. The Dedication of the Plaza was wonderful- please stop by and see it soon. It is a real credit to our town planners to create such a lovely space in our “downtown”. And oh, my heart broke for the Randolph-Macon boys. What an incredible season they have had, and a won over Hampton-Sydney would have been the cherry on top. But there is always next year, and basketball will begin soon!

Get all your Christmas shopping done this weekend at the Heavenly Creations Art/Craft/Gourmet Food Show this weekend at St. James the Less Episcopal Church on Beverly Road in Ashland. The show begins on Friday (today) from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4”00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Forty exceptional craftsmen, craftswomen, and artists will display their wares while donating a portion of their sales to St. James. Visit the website: http://www.stjamestheless.com/ for more information.

Many get well wishes to little Ethan Lynn. I hear that he is recovering and will soon be that bundle of energy that his family loves so much.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market only has a few weekends left before it disappears until spring. You know that you’ll miss it over the winter, so be sure and stop by one or two more times.

The place to be this Sunday will be along Thompson St. at 2:30 p.m. for the Ashland Old Time Holiday Parade. I have found that nothing relieves the stresses of modern life like a parade. Let me spend an afternoon cheering for the beauty queens, squealing as the Shriners zoom past in their little cars, and clapping for the Girl Scout troops. My eyes will well up as the Patrick Henry marching band goes past- restoring my faith in the human race and securing the spirit of Christmas in my heart.

That said, have you planned your Thanksgiving menu yet? It is less than a week away!
Send me your Ashland news if you have a minute. My email is ashlandnews@gmail.com, and my cell phone is 804-310-5320. Cheers!

11/09/07 Train Day, Plaza Dedication, The Game, Ashland Theater Stories


Scheduling will be tight this weekend. As I’ve been preparing to write this column, I see that it will be very hard to fit in all the events that are happening, but we can do it if we try. Having a good wristwatch and some comfortable shoes may help as well.

Beginning bright and early Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m., there is the Plaza Dedication Ceremony for our wonderful new green space in front of the Ashland Library. The statue of Nina is already in place and you can see the compassion and love that she must have felt for the children of Hanover in her quiet smile. I wish that I had known her.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market will be open this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and although the vendors are dwindling, there are still wonderful herbs, vegetables, and fruits to be found there. Buying local produce supports our farmers and shows that the value of our land is not measured in real estate figures alone.

The 5th Annual Train Day in Ashland is this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with exhibits on both sides of the track. Meander along the tracks and find displays of railroad artifacts, memorabilia, and models at the Henry Clay Inn, the Ashland Train Station/Visitors Center, the Ashland Library, and the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. There should be a trolley running through town to carry you over to the RF&P Train Club at the Ashland-Hanover Shopping Center where you’ll see some of the more detailed displays of model trains ever.

However, you really must get over to the football field at Randolph-Macon before 1:00 p.m. The Yellow Jacket football team is having an incredible season- the most exciting in many years, and this Saturday they’ll face Hampden-Sydney in the 113th annual match between these two schools. Put on your black and gold and come cheer for our hometown school. The campus is almost electrified with excitement, and they deserve a win more than anything. There is a general admission charge of $5.

Next week, come to the Ashland Library on Thursday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m. for a presentation on organic gardening by Cindy Conner. The Friends of the Ashland Library sponsor this event, as well as the Teen Movie & Pizza night Friday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m. What nice friends to have!

I wish that I had good news to report on the efforts of the Ashland Community Theater group, but I don’t. I do have a fun story to tell, though. When little Sandra Jones was growing up in Ashland, the movie theater was an essential part of life here. When the theater opened she was in second grade at Henry Clay, and the entire school closed early so that everyone could pack the aisles and watch Lucille Ball in “The Long, Long Trailer”. Later on, Sandra and her friends would find themselves there on Saturday afternoons where a quarter could not only buy a ticket, but also a Coke and some popcorn. She was watching a movie there when her little brother Scott was born, and the owner- Mr. Covington, came down from his office and found her among the seats to bring her to the phone to speak to her mother. Was she excited about the baby? Of course, but it wasn’t a surprise- she knew the baby was coming. As only a ten-year-old can think, she wondered: why did he have to come in the middle of my Saturday matinee? No one would build a theater like that today. All of us- the town, A.D. Whitaker, the Ashland Community Theater Foundation, you and I – need to find a solution to bring that place back to life.

Do you have any stories to share about our Ashland Theater? I think I remember hearing that Beth and Ted Schubert had their first date there. My email address is ashlandnews@gmail.com, and my phone number is 804-310-5320. Have a wonderful week! Go Yellow Jackets!

11/02/07 Ashland Community Theater Foundation, RMC vs. HSC




A sizable crowd gathered this past Saturday night in a comfortable barn outside of town to watch a movie together. While everyone there was happy to view the classic film - “Arsenic and Old Lace”, the event was much more than a party. It was a chance for the emerging non-profit, The Ashland Community Theater Foundation, to bring its vision to the public. The ACT Board of Directors knows the void that we have endured since the screen went dark at our Ashland Theater. Being able to see a movie there, whether it was a second run or a classic film, gave us that sense of being in a special place. We all felt like children again in those seats- our laps full of popcorn and Hershey bars, our necks always turning around to see if any more of our friends had arrived yet, and the traditional round of applause at the end of the show. Sitting in that theater, it was easy for me to image that I was living in an Ashland of fifty years ago. Please cross your fingers and employ any good-luck charms that you have, and hope that the ACT is able to lease the theater and light up the marquee once again. Call 798-9721 for more information.

Happy Birthday to Renee Maier who turned four on October 31st.

Did you hear that the Elmont Fall Festival and Auction got rained out last weekend? It was postponed until this Saturday, November 3rd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Make your way to L.A. a wonderful day full of children’s activities, good food, and wonderful items featured in a silent auction. There will be Brunswick stew, hot dogs, barbeque, and a bake sale. See if you’ve got the winning bid for theater tickets, historic home tours, professional and college event tickets- 150 different items. The Elmont PTA has out-done themselves, and this should be a wonderful event. In fact, I think you should go straight there as soon as you’re done at the Farmer’s Market in town. Elmont Elementary School is located at 12007 Cedar Lane in Lower Ashland.

Elizabeth Tinsley Sloppy arrived October 22, 2007, much to the delight of her big sister, Samantha, and her parents, Carl and Cathy. I hope that Elizabeth will have many wonderful memories of growing up here.

Happy birthday also to Maxwell Thompson who turned 6 on October 26th!

Mark you calendars for the November 10th Randolph Macon- Hampton Sydney Football Game. This will be the 113th game played between these old rivals. The game begins at 1:00 p.m. at home. Hampton-Sydney has lost two games- to Johns Hopkins and to Emory and Henry; both teams that Randolph-Macon beat soundly!

If you haven’t had a chance to see the new Plaza at the Library, then you’re missing one of the loveliest spots in town. The statue of Nina Peace has just been installed and the official dedication ceremony will be Saturday, November 10th at 4 p.m., which is just when Train Day concludes. I think you should just plan on being in downtown Ashland for the entire day on the 10th.

One of the best compliments I ever got was when Rebecca Cline thought that I was an Ashland native. Growing up in the Northern Neck, anyone was a “come-here” who had arrived after the Civil War, but I don’t mind wearing that label now if it means that I get to live here. I had a dream the other night that we had to move to Wilson, NC, where I’ve never been before, and in the dream I missed Ashland so much that I couldn’t stop sobbing. I hope I never have to move. Sometimes I worry about where they’ll bury me; should I stay in Ashland or go back to some family graveyard in Westmoreland County? Maybe I’ll just come back as a ghost and haunt the Arts and Activities Center!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! Let me know any news, outstanding achievements, miraculous recoveries, or insight that you may have discovered about living here in the Center of the Universe. Call me at 310-5320, or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday!

10/26/07 Rain, Board of Supervisor's Debates, Elmont Fall Festival


I was walking out of Henry Clay Elementary this past Friday and was stopped short with surprise- it was raining. Here, in Hanover County, rain was falling from the sky! I was tempted to just stand there and get wet, given the rarity of such an event, but I ran to the car and drove home to close the windows. I don’t think I even own an umbrella anymore. I kept my fingers crossed for a daylong shower, but it stopped after giving our ground just a tantalizing taste of that sweet water. It will have to rain again sooner or later, don’t you think?

Remember, there is a mandatory ban on open burning until further notice in the Town of Ashland and Hanover County. Our girls are missing their back yard campfires and they have to settle for mini-marshmallows on toothpicks toasted over a candle indoors. We are also under a water restriction, which means no outdoor watering on Mondays; odd addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; even addresses may water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. When you do water, be smart about it and use a soaker hose or a watering can. Conserve as much as you can. Good riddance to Bermuda grass and chickweed! A brown lawn and a dusty car can be a sign of a considerate and thoughtful consumer.

There is a lot going on this weekend in L.A. – “Lower Ashland” that is. Elmont Elementary School is having their famous Fall Festival and Auction from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, October 27. Venture out for a wonderful day full of children’s activities, good food, and wonderful items featured in a silent auction. There will be Brunswick stew, hot dogs, barbeque, and a bake sale. See if you’ve got the winning bid for theater tickets, historic home tours, professional and college event tickets- 150 different items. The Elmont PTA has out-done them selves, and this should be a wonderful event. In fact, I think you should go straight there as soon as you’re done at the Farmer’s Market in town. Elmont Elementary School is located at 12007 Cedar Lane in Ashland.

Randolph Macon is having a Fall Festival for kids on Sunday, October 28th complete with a Halloween Carnival inside the Brock Center. This fun event is free and open to the public. Bring your little ghosts and goblins for apple bobbing, face painting, and pin the tail on the donkey. All the fun begins at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m., Duncan Memorial Church will host a public forum for the Hanover County Board of Supervisor’s election. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the men and women who want to run this county.

The best party in town on Halloween night can be found (where else?) at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. Come dressed in your favorite costume for an evening of spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band, enjoy some treats, and enjoy the parade of ghosts, goblins, fairies, and witches. We have such imaginative costumes here in Ashland: Maddie Grant came dressed as an iPod last year! The party begins at 6:00 p.m. on Halloween night- Wednesday, October 31st. Don’t miss it!

Happy Birthday to Parker Marchetti who turns two on Halloween.

Call or email me with your Ashland news. My cell phone is 804-310-5320, and my email address is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great week!

10/19/07 Route One, Baby Rett, RMC Sports, Marion Watkins Hergert's book

I’ve been driving Rt. 1 more often these days, and I’ve been really surprised at the number of people running across the four-lane highway. Some of them are pushing baby carriages, pulling children along with them, or occasionally on a skateboard. It’s really alarming to see so many people trying to cross such a busy road, but I can understand their need to get across it: Rt. 1 divides housing communities from schools and grocery stores. I keep trying to think of a way to fix it, but I don’t have the mind of a town planner. I hope someone else will think of something- and soon.

On to some happy news…
Congratulations to Ross and Kristen Booth on the birth of their son, Michael Durrett Booth “Rett”. Welcome to Ashland, Rett! I’m sure that Grandmother Phyllis is delighted to have you here. Does she hold you all the time? Close to it, I bet.

Randolph Macon is having a Fall Festival for kids on Sunday, October 28th complete with a Halloween Carnival inside the Brock Center. This fun event is free and open to the public. Bring your little ghosts and goblins for lots of fun with the co-eds beginning at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m., Duncan Memorial Church will host a public forum for the Hanover County Board of Supervisor’s election. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the men and women who want to run this county.

Tomorrow, October 20th, the Ashland Harvest Run 10K will begin at Carter Park at 9 a.m. The 5K walk begins at 9:10 and both events follow a flat route through town. If you’re not running, please cheer them on if you’re near-by. This race benefits Hanover Safe Place and Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES). Call Becky Pollard with questions: (804) 798-9341

The Randolph-Macon Women’s Field Hockey Team will play Roanoke College this Saturday, October 20th at 3:00pm. These games are played on the fields on the western side of the tracks, behind the tennis courts. I played field hockey in school- it’s a great sport to watch and play.

Happy 10th anniversary to Carl and Cathy Sloppy on October 25th! What better way to celebrate than to have a baby- is Elizabeth Tinsley Sloppy here yet? Rett Booth needs someone to play with.

We were treated to a wonderful lunch this past Friday at the Herald- Progress’ new office across from the Hanover Airport. There were lots of old friends there and it was great to see the new offices. Thank you, Greg Glassner, for the copy of Marion Watkins Hergert’s little book, “The Watkins Years”. She moved to town from Chicago in the early 1930’s when her father bought the Herald-Progress. Mrs. Hergert grew up around the paper and eventually became the editor. I have feverously read it every night and thanks to her wonderfully descriptive words, I now have a detailed picture in my mind of life here some sixty years ago. I’m happy to report that some things have stayed the same. It was a busy place then, with lots of events and parties, and everyone loved to be on stage- as they still do these days with the Ashland Variety Show. We are still a community of attention-loving hams!

Call or email me with your Ashland news. My cell phone is 804-310-5320, and my email address is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great week!

10/12/07 Corinna Cline, Library Events, Halloween Parties

Rebecca Cline was driving through Ashland the other day on her way to drop off her two daughters at school when she passed by the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. Her daughter, Corinna, looked at the blue-grey clapboards of the old building and said to her mother, “Everything that’s fun begins at HAAC.” I agree Corinna, and aren’t we lucky that Halloween is just a few weeks away? Come dressed in your favorite costume for an evening of spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band, enjoy some treats, and enjoy the parade of ghosts, goblins, fairies, and witches. Maddie Grant came dressed as an iPod last year! The party begins Halloween night- Wednesday, October 31st at 6:00 p.m. Don’t miss it!

Story times have begun again at the Ashland Library! For your 6 to 24 month-olds with an adult, Mother Goose story time is on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. For your two-year olds, Toddler story time is on Monday at 10:45 a.m. and then on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. For your 3 to 5 years olds, Preschool story time is on Monday at 11:15, and then on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. For the teenagers in your house, the Random Acts Comedy Troupe, called "Richmond's fastest and funniest comedy show", will be at the Ashland Library on Thursday October 18 at 6:30 p.m. Celebrate Teen Read Week with your friends and see the library transformed into a cool comedy club. Call the library at 798-4072 for more information.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market is staying open later in the season this year. Make it a part of your Saturday routine to stop by and see what lovely flowers and produce are still available since our growing season has now been extended by another two months.

10/05/07 Front Porch Music, Foot Races, New Town Police Website

Are you sleeping with your windows open these nights? It really is the best weather- although I could enjoy it a lot more if it would just go ahead and rain. I love falling asleep with a soft breeze, the sound of crickets, and occasionally, the music from Andrea Ferment’s front porch. It’s good music- slow and jazzy- the kind to make you feel like dancing with your sweetheart under a big, orange, harvest moon. Even with such incentives, we are all late getting to bed these days. The days are so nice that no one wants to fall asleep, and the kids will stay out until it’s so dark, that they are only shadows playing on the swing set. It’s a beautiful time of year to be living in Ashland. Aren’t we lucky?

There really aren’t many excuses for being out of shape and living in this town. Almost every weekend you can find a foot race, a bike ride, or a walking tour to join. Two upcoming races will begin and end at Carter Park and wind their way through our lovely, flat town.

The annual Ashland CROP walk is tomorrow, Saturday, October 6 beginning at 9am. This is a great 3.5-mile walk through town, which raises money to fight hunger and poverty around the world, including the United States. Come out and join them if you can, or stand on your lawn and cheer them on. Slash Christian Church sponsors this race which stands for “Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty”, and is working to make sure that fewer and fewer people know the hunger pains of poverty.

Then on Saturday, October 20, the Ashcake Women’s Club will hold their 4th Annual Harvest Run to benefit Hanover Safe Place and Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES). You can register for this 10 or 5K by going to www.ashlandharvestrun.com or by calling Becky Pollard at 798-9341.

In your free time, take a look at the new Ashland Police Department website- www.ashlandpolice.us. It’s a really useful resource- filled with facts on crime in the area, prevention tips, and forms frequently used by the public. You can tell that a lot of hard work went into this web site.

Randolph-Macon must have had a happy Parent’s Weekend as the Yellow Jacket football team beat Washington and Lee 42 to 17. Do you think- could we dare imagine- that they might beat Hampton Sydney? This is an exciting season, and their next home game will be this Saturday, October 6 at 1pm against Carnegie Mellon. This is also Homecoming weekend, so arrive early to find a parking spot.

Tickets are on sale now for a wonderful evening on Friday, October 12 at the Ashland Coffee and Tea, compliments of St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Come and listen to George Turman, and Jackie Frost & the Company Store. Not only could you win a door prize or a silent auction item, but you’ll also get to spend a little quality time with some of the best Catholics around. Tickets are $20 and benefit St. Ann’s twin parish of Dubisson, Haiti, where the money is used to support the education of local children. Call Judy McKinney for more information at 798-5035 or email jmckinney@hcps.us.

Speaking of Catholics, maybe Father Chris has a saint that we can talk to about getting some rain….

Call me with your news, momentous occasions, or simple about-town rumors. My cell phone if 804-310-5320, and my email is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

9/28/07 Nature Preserve, Things to do outdoors

I am thinking of putting up a sign that says “Nature Preserve” in front of my garden, and maybe then I won’t feel so guilty about neglecting it these days. It is nothing but weeds now, with maybe a few peppers somewhere underneath. The beautiful weather we’ve been having has let everyone enjoy being outside again after evading the late-summer humidity by hiding inside our air-conditioned homes. If only it would rain a little, then I’d be completely satisfied and content.

If you see Ross Luck this week, you must stop him and give your condolences- he turns 40 on October 4th. Bob Hope said, “You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.”

On Wednesday, October 17th, come out for the Free Clinic Challenge at Hunting Hawk Golf Course to benefit the St. James the Less Free Clinic in Ashland. Entry fees are $80 per player, which covers all green fees, carts, and use of driving range. This event is limited to 20 players, so sign up as soon as possible. Call Lee Chambers (798-6647) or Ragan Philips (798-9721) to register. Hawk Hill Associates of Ashland will match all money collected. If I played golf, I would think that there is hardly a better time of year to be on the fairway than in October under those spectacular autumn skies.

Do you already know what you’re going to be for Halloween? Come join the party at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center on Wednesday, October 31st, for their annual Halloween Party featuring the spooky sounds of the Hanover Concert Band. There will be tricks, treats, and prizes for the best costumes. Watch this column for more details, as we get closer to the date.

Tickets are on sale now for the December 6th Kiwanis Annual Fundraiser on the beautiful farm of A.D. Whitaker just outside of town. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids under 11, and free for kids 6 and under. There will be some delectable BBQ, plus music and drinks. The Kiwanis are famous for their generous spirit and their commitment to the children of this town. Most of our children play on a playground everyday that was built by the Kiwanis. You can contact John Longmire at 798-4348 for tickets or any other Kiwanis member.

The guided walking tours of Ashland are back, and begin every Saturday in October at 11 am at the Visitor’s Center. If you’re new to town, this is a great lesson on some of the wonderful historic homes that we have here. Call the Visitor’s Center at 752-6766 for more information.
The Randolph-Macon football team is off to a great season! Come cheer on the Yellow Jackets as they play Washington and Lee this Saturday at 1 pm here at home. There are always some fun activities to keep the little kids busy so the parents can enjoy the game.

Happy birthday to gardener extraordinaire Marie Meccia on October 5th! Her caring and generous spirit is reflected in her many family and friends.

Make it a Saturday routine to visit your local Ashland Farmer’s Market. Opening at 9am, there are lots of wonderful fall crops available, and some really exceptional cut flowers. At only $7 a bundle, these flowers will last more than a week and add some charm to your kitchen table. I am sure it’s because they are so fresh and don’t have to travel very far. We’ve been fortunate to find some fresh butter beans, peppers, squash, and pumpkins.

If you have any Ashland news that you want to see here in this column, please give me a call or email. I would have nothing to write about if it wasn’t for the people of this town. Stories about gardens and October skies will only go so far. Tel: 310-5320, email: ashlandnews@gmail.com

9/21/07 Perfect Hometown Saturday Night

Every once in a while you stop, look around, and just know that you’re in the right place; you are where you were meant to be. And while some of you may grow tired of my “Ashland is the best town ever” soapbox, I can’t help but say it again. I had one of those great days this past Saturday. The Henry Clay and Gandy Tiger Trot 5K Run was a perfect example of hard work paying off. The autumn weather (over-cast and cool) combined with smiling and laughing volunteers gave the whole event an air of joyful childhood. Those fortunate enough to have participated got to see the kind of grass roots organizing that happens almost daily around here. The PTAs were in need of funds and everyone was tired of buying wrapping paper and cookie dough. Two working moms stepped forward and decided to do things differently. If you see Susan or Tracy around town, please thank them for working so hard for our schools.

Saturday night was fantastic in downtown Ashland. Music was everywhere-from the Coffee & Tea to the last Street Party- it was hard to find a quiet spot. It’s hard not to love a town when you see everyone dancing and socializing together. I heard that Bill Bevins had been urging his listeners to come to Ashland that evening and they certainly must have listened, because the dance floor was packed. Ron Moody was great, as usual, and gave us one familiar song after another. The Plaza outside the Ashland Library is stunning and I am impressed with all the work that has been done in the last month. Our own Kugel, with the Center of the Universe so clearly marked, spun and splashed with children who couldn’t help running their wet fingers over the smooth marble. Jay & Nina’s statues will be such a touching addition.

What a great time of year to celebrate a birthday! Davis Luck will be four tomorrow, September 22nd. I’m sure that Ross and Connie are supplying lots of fun presents and a beautiful cake.

There’s a great opportunity to help raise money for a good cause tomorrow: the Slay The Dragon 5K will begin at 9am at Carter Park and will follow a beautiful course through town. All money raised will go to the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation, which supports research to find a cure for a rare, but vicious cancer. Go to www.slaythedragon5k.com for more information.

Sunday, Sept. 23rd, VA Senator Frank Wagner (R, Virginia Beach) will give a lecture in Duncan Memorial Church Social Hall at 7 pm on “Development and Use of Renewable Energy”. Representatives from the Wilton Corp. will be in attendance to show plans for the eco-friendly development of East Ashland- oops that was a typo!

Mark October 6th on your calendar for the Lt. George Hansen Pumpkin Run to honor the memory of Lt. George Hansen and to raise money for Hanover Safe Place, which provides a safe haven to victims of domestic abuse. The 5K begins at 9am at the Ashland Berry Farm. Register at www.hanoversafeplace.com, and click on “events”. The day will conclude with a concert at Pufferbelly Park at 4pm with fun for families and games for kids.

You couldn’t make a movie that would tell people what life is like here in our little town. They wouldn’t believe you and would say that it sounded like a cliché. I am always torn between wanting to tell everyone about this place that we now call home, and wanting to keep it all a secret. I want to hold Ashland in my heart like a child’s treasure- a dream that someone may wake me from before I am done with the story. Life is not perfect here, and there is pain and heartache, but I can’t think of any good reason to ever leave. What a town. Please have a wonderful weekend and enjoy this beautiful weather! Get in touch and let me know your Ashland news- my email is ashlandnews@gmail.com and my phone is 804-310-5320.

9/14/07 Things to Keep You Busy on a Saturday...

I used to try and sleep late on Saturdays, but lately there is so much going on, that I have to get up and get out the door early. I have to get to the Farmer’s Market by 9am before the crowds come to pick up some farm eggs or fresh cut flowers. I then have to head straight over to the Caboose because Ian will sell out of that wonderful bread within 15 minutes of opening his door at 10 am. Once I’m there on Center Street, then I’ve got everything else that I could possibly need within a block: the Library, Cross Brothers, Williams Bakery, Coffee and Tea, Southern States, Bell, Book, and Candle, and the Feed Store. By the time I get home, I’m worn out and it’s time for lunch.

Get to bed early tonight (Friday) because tomorrow is a big day in town!

Volunteers are needed to help out at the Henry Clay & Gandy 5K Tiger Trot. If you don’t plan on running or walking in the race, head over to Henry Clay around 7:30 am and lend a hand. Find Rosemargaret Maier, Susan Spence, or Tracey Brown and tell them that you’re there to help. Just cheering on the runners would be a great thing to do. When the runners have a good time at a race, they’ll spread the word and return next year. All the proceeds from this event are going to the Henry Clay and Gandy PTA’s who work to support the children and teachers in our fine public schools.

When you get home from the Tiger Trot, you’ll need to spend some time picking out your clothes for the last Street Party of the summer. Iron that party dress and shine those dancing shoes, and get ready to cut a rug to Ron Moody and the Centaurs behind the Ashland Library beginning at 6pm. Come and see how our Plaza is coming along- it will be such a wonderful spot next summer. Food will be provided by the Smokey Pig and Sullivan’s Irish Pub. Tickets are $5 in advance and can be purchased at Cross Brothers Market, Ace Hardware, Hometown Realty. Tickets are $10 at the door, and kids under 12 are free with a paying adult. For more information call 798-8130.

The Ashland Town Council has deferred a decision on the Wilton Company’s development of the Mt. Hermon Road area until their meeting on Tuesday, September 18th at 7 pm. If you have any concerns about this development and what the impact would be on our sweet town, then I strongly urge you to get in touch with our town council members. You can find the town council’s telephone numbers and email addresses on the Town of Ashland website: www.town.ashland.va.us.

Now that Randolph-Macon is back in session, we’re the lucky benefactors of their great cultural programs and performances. The Flippo Gallery in Pace-Armistead Hall will be having a public opening reception on Sunday, September 16th from 3 to 5 pm to debut their newest exhibit called “Everything but the Kitchen Sink”. This will be a display of works of women artists from Virginia, New York, New Mexico, and California. Pace-Armistead Hall is by the railroad track, on the north end of the Historic Campus. Call 752-7200 for more details and better directions.

On Tuesday, September 18th at 6pm, there will be a musical performance by “Solazo” in the Randolph Macon Campus Center Lobby. This is an interesting group from South America who combine Latin folk, contemporary dance music, and soulful ballads. Call 752-3712 for more information.

Story times are back at the Ashland Library! Mother Goose Story Time (6 to 24 months with an adult)is on Mondays at 10 am. Toddler Story Time (2 years old with an adult) are Mondays at 10:45 am and Tuesdays at 10 am. Preschool Story Time (3 to 5 years old) is Mondays at 11:15 am, and Tuesdays at 10:30. Call 798-4072 for more information.
And last, but certainly never least, many happy birthday wishes to our super-star, Daphne Read Gilmore, who turned 7 on September 14th.

Have a wonderful weekend and keep your fingers crossed for some rain- but after the Street Party Saturday night! I hope we don’t have to wait for the State Fair to finally get some precipitation. Call or email me with you Ashland news: 310-5320 or ashlandnews@gmail.com.

9/7/07 Back to School, Library Activities, Tiger Trot, Last Street Party

This being the first week of school, I’d like to talk a little bit about what we can do to help our public schools. I firmly believe that a community is only as good as it’s schools. I’d like to encourage all of you to do something this school year for our local Ashland schools. Even if you don’t have children, or if your children are all grown, these schools should still be important to you. They are educating the future doctors and nurses who will take care of you in your old age. They are influencing the kids who will become the mayors, supervisors, delegates, and senators who will decide what Ashland looks like in twenty or thirty years. There is always a need for your help. Consider becoming a “Book Buddy” and helping a child who is struggling with reading. Call the front offices and ask them how you can help. I guarantee that they’ll be glad to hear from you.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market has become a crowded place these days. I’d advise getting there bright and early when they open at 9am. We got there late, around 11:30 this past Saturday, and most vendors had sold almost everything they brought. We did find some late season tomatoes, squash, cut flowers, hot peppers, and lots of great dogs.

This is a really busy week if you’re a librarian at the Ashland Library…..

On Tuesday, September 11, come hear a presentation on Conservation Easements at the Ashland Library from 7 to 9pm. This lecture is sponsored by Hanover Naturally: a citizen group which believes that ecologically significant and diverse natural areas are essential to healthy communities; that without protection these areas will disappear as Hanover's population grows; that public lands made available for quiet contemplation, nondestructive activities and education can become powerful community resources. For more information on this important group, contact: Nancy Pecsok, 804-798-1197, or e-mail hanover_naturally@earthlink.net.
Come back to the Ashland Library on Thursday, September 13 and hear Jennifer Smith talk about the benefits of yoga and demonstrate a few exercises. This lecture, “The Basics of Yoga”, will be followed by a brief video presentation and refreshments from the Friends of the Ashland Library.
Then on Friday, September 14, send your teenager over at 6pm for Movie and Pizza Night at the Ashland Library. Don’t forget to tell those librarian’s how much you appreciate them.

The Ashland Town Council unanimously deferred any action on East Ashland until its Sept. 18 meeting. This is a perfect time to communicate your thoughts on this development to the council members. You can find out how to contact them on the town’s web site: www.town.ashland.va.us

There are two big events happening on Saturday, September 15th here in Ashland. The Henry Clay and John Gandy Elementary Schools' PTA's 1st Annual Tiger Trot 5K race will begin at 9:00 am at Henry Clay. The entry fee is $20 with the first 100 registrants receiving t-shirts. There are two races for the kids to choose from: The Half-Mile Run will begin at 8:00 am, and the One Mile Run will begin at 8:15am. The entry fee for the kids is $10. I’ve heard that there will be lots of fun door prizes and fun things to do. Pick up your entry forms at Fin & Feather, Henry Clay, John M. Gandy Elementary, or the Ashland Library. All proceeds will go to the two PTA’s: Henry Clay and John M. Gandy. For more information please contact Susan Spence at804-537-5257, or Tracy Brown at 804-752-7762.

Come dance to the music of Ron Moody and the Centaurs, Saturday Sept. 15th from 6 to 11pm behind the Ashland Library at the last Street Party of the season. Food will be provided by The Smokey Pig and Sullivan’s Pub (winner of the 2007 Best BBQ in the Universe Contest). There will be lots of children’s activities, as if giggling and dancing around weren’t fun enough. Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the gate. Children under 12 are free with a paying adult. Funds raised will benefit the Plaza Project, which is close to completion.
While I like the kids returning to school, the last day of summer vacation is always bittersweet. We try and pack in several trips and some time at the pool to end it on a good note. One year our middle child broke her arm that evening before school started, so perhaps we were trying to do too much, but how can you blame us? Summer is so special, and so elusive- we’re always trying to find that perfect summer that we remember from our childhood. As adults, it’s never quite the same. The responsibilities of life wear on us and in the evenings, we’re washing dishes instead of catching lightening bugs. I hope you all had a good summer, and that you made many good memories to laugh about. I hope that your biggest calamity was either getting bitten by a mosquito or stung by a jelly fish.

Drive safely this week and give the school buses plenty of room. Call or email me with your Ashland news. My phone is 310-5320, and my email is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great week!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

8/31/07 Happy Birthday Carl, Last Bluemont, Tiger Trot

The last Bluemont concert was the best of the season, with a beautiful night, great music, and a sizeable crowd. The Carolina Chocolate Drops were wonderful, and I’ve heard that they might be coming back to town at the Ashland Coffee and Tea, so keep an eye out for their next appearance. Each Bluemont performer who has come to town this summer has spent time before the show playing for a local nursing home or convalescent center as part of their outreach program. The Carolina Chocolate Drops played for an hour at the Omni Park Place Senior Apartments. Through our involvement in Bluemont, Henry Clay and Gandy Elementary will get to enjoy some talented musicians this school year. So, not only are we entertained, but we’re giving back to the community- something that Ashlanders know how to do so well.

This is the last weekend that the Ashland Pool will be open! Monday, September 3rd will be the final day.

If you see Carl Sloppy this weekend, wish him Happy Birthday! Carl will be 39 on September 1st. He stays pretty busy, though, so you might have to just wave at him as he drives down the street. His thirty-ninth year should be a good one as he and Cathy are expecting their second child in just a few more weeks.

The Ashland Town Council unanimously deferred any action on East Ashland until its Sept. 18 meeting. This is a perfect time to communicate your thoughts on this development to the council members. You can find out how to contact them on the town’s web site: www.town.ashland.va.us

There are two big events happening on Saturday, September 15th here in Ashland. The Henry Clay and John Gandy Elementary Schools' PTA's 1st Annual Tiger Trot 5K race will begin at 9:00 am at Henry Clay. The entry fee is $20 with the first 100 registrants receiving t-shirts. There are two races for the kids to choose from: The Half-Mile Run will begin at 8:00 am, and the One Mile Run will begin at 8:15am. The entry fee for the kids is $10. I’ve heard that there will be lots of fun door prizes and fun things to do. Pick up your entry forms at Fin & Feather, Henry Clay, John M. Gandy Elementary, or the Ashland Library. All proceeds will go to the two PTA’s: Henry Clay and John M. Gandy. For more information please contact Susan Spence at804-537-5257, or Tracy Brown at 804-752-7762.
So after you’ve run the 5K, treat yourself to a fun evening at the last Street Party of the summer. Come dance to the music of Ron Moody and the Centaurs, Saturday Sept. 15th from 6 to 11pm behind the Ashland Library. Food will be provided by The Smokey Pig and Sullivan’s Pub (winner of the 2007 Best BBQ in the Universe Contest). There will be lots of children’s activities, as if giggling and dancing around weren’t fun enough. Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the gate. Children under 12 are free with a paying adult. Funds raised will benefit the Plaza Project, which is close to completion.

Have fun this Labor Day weekend, and watch out for those school buses bright and early Tuesday morning! Let me know about your Ashland news. You can reach me at 804-310-5320 or ashlandnews@gmail.com

Monday, August 6, 2007

8/3/07 First Bluemont, East Ashland Development, YMCA's Bright Beginnings

The first Bluemont concert of the summer was held indoors for the first time this past Sunday at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. While we all appreciate a good rain storm in the middle of summer, it would have been nice if it held off until after 9 pm. The crowd was small, but enthusiastic for Mary Ann Redmond, her band, and her dog, who filled the Center with soulful rhythm and blues. Before the concert, Ms. Redmond took her music to the Ashland Convalescent Center, as part of the Outreach that makes these Bluemont events so much more than just a show. Come out for the second concert, this Sunday, Aug. 5th when we welcome renowned folk singer John McCutcheon to our town. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for Bluemont friends and seniors, and $2 for children under 12. Tickets are available for purchase at the concert only.

This Wednesday, August 7, the Ashland Town Council will be meeting at 7pm at Town Hall. This should be a pretty important meeting and if you’re at all concerned about The Wilton Company’s development of East Ashland/Ashbury, then you should attend if your schedule permits it.

The children of Hanover County are fortunate that the YMCA’s “Bright Beginnings” Program has such dedicated volunteers who help hundreds of kids get the school supplies and new clothes that they need to start school. Please help support this program that makes such a difference in the life of a child in your neighborhood. You can give a monetary donation on-line at www.ymcarichmond.org (go to “branches”, then “Patrick Henry”, then “Bright Beginnings”. You can also drop off donations of school supplies at any YMCA branch. Call 798-0057 to see how you can help.

The Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 9am to noon behind Town Hall. Be sure to stop by and see all the beautiful organic produce grown right in your back yard. Eating local foods is not only healthy, but also saves energy when the food isn’t shipped from across the country. Plus, you’re supporting small Hanover farms which are a vital part of our lovely county. I’ve heard that there are plans in the works to build a new, covered market for next summer.

Congratulations to Mattie Grant who secured her first medal at the Greater Richmond Aquatic League’s Championships this past weekend in Northern Virginia!

You can reach me by phone at (804) 310-5320 or email at ashlandnews@gmail.com. Let me know about what’s going on in Ashland for the month of August. Have a great week!

8/10/07 John McCutcheon, Mighty Barracudas, Library Concert, Farmer's Market Music

Our Bluemont concerts seem to be attracting thunder storms this summer. We are be caught between wanting the rain, and wanting a dry evening to listen to some music. John McCutcheon was particularly incredible this past Sunday. There was a whole stage set with several different instruments and I kept thinking that his band would be arriving any minute, but he played alone- entertaining the crowd with banjo, piano, guitar, hammer dulcimer, and the auto harp. We were lucky to hear half of his show and unfortunately the skies opened up just after intermission, making us all scurry home. Let’s try again this coming Sunday when the Mark Newton Band comes to town with some wonderful contemporary bluegrass. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for Bluemont friends and seniors, and $2 for children under 12. The show begins at 7 pm on the front lawn of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center, 500 South Center St. Call 798-5018 for more information.

Next Tuesday, August 21st, the Ashland Town Council will hold a public hearing at 7pm. An approval or denial of the East Ashland/Ashbury project could happen that night. Please come out and let your town council hear what you think.

The Ashland Barracudas won the Len Everett Award for Division II at the Greater Richmond Aquatic League’s Championship Swim Meet in Northern Virginia. This prestigious award recognizes exceptional sportsmanship during the regular season and is voted on by each team within the division. This is the third time that our team has won this award in six years. What a wonderful team we have: coaches, swimmers, and parent volunteers. Three cheers for the Baracudas!

Congratulations to all the winners and record breakers: Elisa Worrell, Seth Gulas, Matthew Pienkowski, Quinny Kinser, Curran Henry, and Lui Mallory.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings. Not only will you find enough organic and local veggies to last you the entire week, but now there is music to serenade you while you shop. We’ve heard bluegrass from C.B. Schools and Chris Hale, and Celtic and Irish music from Daniel Gonet. Shopping at the Farmer’s Market is a wonderful way to support small, local farmers which are such an important part of our community. The market is open from 9 am to noon every Saturday in the parking lot behind Town Hall.

Wednesday, August 15th is the deadline to register your child for fall soccer with the Ashland Youth Soccer League. Register on-line at www.aysl.org. Call Vern Inge at 798-7485 or Diane Kellogg at 798-5430 for more information.

Mark your calendar for Friday, August 24 for a free concert at the Ashland Library. Local folk artists “Coleman and Fuller” will perform at 7pm. Come listen and enjoy some ice cream on a hot summer’s evening.

There are only a few more weeks left of summer before the school buses start rolling again. I think we would all be better off if we resisted the pull of the retail stores who start marketing school supplies as soon as the 4th of July is over. I say relax, and pretend it’s the middle of June, and that the summer is spread out before you like a dusty dirt road. Spend some evenings catching lightning bugs, or go float in the Town Pool and pretend that you’re 12 years old again. Fall and winter will be here too soon and we’re bound to get some snow and ice this year.

Call or email me with your Ashland news. You all are the people that make this town such a fun place to live. Ring me at 804-310-5320 or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a wonderful weekend. See you at Bluemont!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

7/27/07 Losing George, Bluemont, Bright Beginnings, Pool Movie











Our hearts broke last week when we lost George Hansen. We ache for his family and for our town of Ashland who needed a good soul like George. It seems like not so long ago that Jay and Nina left us; all of them gone away too soon.

The first Bluemont Concert of the season is this Sunday, July 29th, at 7 pm on the front lawn of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center (500 S. Center St.). Bring a chair, or a blanket, and listen to award-winning Mary Ann Redmond’s unique rhythm and blues. Tickets are $5 per person, $4 for Bluemont members, and $2 for children under 12. Call the Center at 798-2728 for more information.

The children of Hanover County are fortunate that the YMCA’s “Bright Beginnings” Program has such dedicated volunteers who help hundreds of kids get the school supplies and new clothes that they need to start school. Please help support this program that makes such a difference in the life of a child in your neighborhood. You can give a monetary donation on-line at http://www.ymcarichmond.org/ (go to “branches”, then “Patrick Henry”, then “Bright Beginnings”. You can also drop off donations of school supplies at any YMCA branch. Call 798-0057 to see how you can help.

This Thursday, Aug. 2, the Ashland Library will host Mother Nature’s Travelin’ Road Show at 11:30 where kids can learn about life in the woods and meet some fascinating critters from the Virginia Living Museum.

Friday, Aug. 3rd is the last “Dive-In Movie” at the Ashland Pool. Bring your floats and join your friends to watch “Open Season” beginning at dark.

You can reach me by phone at (804) 310-5320 or email at ashlandnews@gmail.com. Let me know about what’s going on in Ashland for the month of August. Have a great week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

7/20/07 Kugels, Mighty Barracudas, and Irish Pub

Have you seen the Kugel in front of the Library yet? “Kugel” is German for “ball” and is a term given to a stone sphere that floats on a thin stream of water. It’s one of the first installations for the new Plaza, and will be a great gathering place when construction done. Our Kugel is a miniature when compared to the record-breaking 29-ton Tarn granite globe in front of the Science Museum downtown, but ours displays the Center of the Universe, which I find significantly more important. Even without the kugel, the Library is the place to be in the summer…

This Wednesday, July 25th, come to the Ashland Library for “Mahone’s Forge” at 10:30am where children can observe the past, capture the present, and preserve the future with hands-on historical demonstrations.

Then, the next day- Thursday July 26th, send the older kids over for a Bead Craft Workshop at 6:30pm where they’ll make their own beads to embellish jewelry, frames, art, lampshades, etc. Snacks will be served. Contact your friendly neighborhood library for more information at 798-4072.

This Saturday, July 21st, is the second Summer Street Party put on by Market Ashland Partnership (MAP) and begins at noon with sidewalk sales with the music by Premiere starting around 6pm. Come hungry and taste several different barbeques, all contestants in the Best Barbeque in the Universe Contest. Taste the entries in the Best Barbeque in the Universe Contest. Tickets are $5 for adults and children under 12 are free with an adult. Tickets are available throughout town, including Cross Brothers, Train Town Toy and Hobby, Ace Hardware, and Princess Cleaners.

Congratulations to the Ashland Barracudas who blew the Wellesley Whitecaps out of the water this past Wednesday with a final score of 1206 to 1070! Quadruple winners were Megan Fritz and Megan Rodman. Triple winners were: Erin Blair, Joseph Boyle, Eamon Brockenbrough, Amy Duncan, Seth Gulas, Curran Henry, Will Henry, Morgan Lynch, Lui Mallory, Marcus Maphis, Clark Serfass, Kristen Trexler, Kyle Tyson, and Elisa Worrell who also set a team record in intermediate girls’ 100 breast and tied her own team and pool record in intermediate girls’ 50 breast. Swim team is almost over with, and, oh, I will miss it. Not only is it great exercise for the kids but, our home meets in Ashland are the social high-light of my summer calendar.

There has been a lot of activity on Center Street next to Fin and Feather where the new Irish Pub has been getting ready for an imminent opening. I’ve peeked in the windows several times and it looks like they’ve done a superb job with renovation. Keep watching for that grand opening!

They already have school stuff in the stores, and summer will be over before we got used to the heat! Let me know the ways that you’ve found to relax and stay cool this summer. Ring me at 798-5018, or email at ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, July 9, 2007

7/13/07 Faster than a Speeding Train, Apple Pie Winners, Hypnotic Snow Cones


As I was walking up Center St. the other morning, an Amtrak train traveling north passed me, and as it did, one of those portable speed-detecting machines from the Ashland Police Department clocked the train at 34 miles per hour. While that’s under the train’s in-town speed limit of 35 mph, it made me wonder why the speed limit for cars on Center, traveling 10 feet away from the tracks, is 25 mph. Shouldn’t the trains go as slow as the cars?

Congratulations to all the contestants in the Hanover Arts and Activity Center’s Apple Pie Contest on the 4th of July! They deserve a lot of praise for all the effort and time they spent; our judges had a hard time making a decision. First place went to Judy Johnson; Second place to Marilyn Coleman; Third place to Sean and Maggie Hartigan; Most Imaginative to Jen Chambers; Most Decorative to Jim & Nancy Donlon; and Most Patriotic went to Hailey and Cassidy McGrain.

The second Ashland Street Party of the summer is Saturday, July 21 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Ashland Library. Music will be provided by Premiere, with a Best Barbeque in the Universe Contest and sidewalk sales beginning at noon. Visit http://www.ashlandstreetparties.com/ for more information.

The first Bluemont Concert of the summer will be Sunday, July 29 beginning at 7 p.m. on the front lawn of the Arts and Activities Center (500 S. Center St.). The Mary Ann Redmond Band, a rhythm and blues band that has won 15 Washington Area Music Association Awards, will be performing that evening. Tickets will be available on the evening of the performance and are $5. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic dinner (and maybe some bug spray). These concerts are wonderful and we’re really lucky to have them here in Ashland. Go to http://www.bluemont.org/ for more information.

Tonight is Teen Movie Night at the Ashland Library beginning at 6 p.m. Drink and pizza will be served. Bring your little kids on Friday, July 10th, to meet Mother Moose at the Library at 3 p.m. for her own special kind of story-telling.

On July 4th, I overheard a little girl talking to her sister who had just won a hula-hoop contest at the Arts and Activities Center. The younger sister said: “I helped you win- I hypnotized her with my snow cone!” Don’t you wish that was your summer? Let me know if you have any summer stories to share. Email me at ashlandnews@gmail.com, or ring me at 804-310-5320. Have a great week!

Friday, July 6, 2007

7/6/07 Missing the Ashland Theater, Second Street Party, Sidewalks of Town





The summer seems to be a fine one so far. The only thing missing is movies at our lovely old Ashland Theater. We had such a great time there- knowing almost everyone in the house, singing the National Anthem at the beginning of the Film Series shows, and the routine clapping at the end of the picture. Our girls saw the Wizard of Oz there, and I have a perfect picture in my mind of Jenny Donahue, sitting between Daphne Gilmore and Amanda Schloss, turning around in her seat to her father and saying: “I need three Hershey Bars, Daddy.” Steve Donahue didn’t miss a beat- he got up and went for that chocolate on command. I hope those girls remember that night, and I hope that someday we’ll be in that place again.

Mark your calendars for the second Ashland Street Party on Saturday, July 21 from 5:00 to 10:30 p.m. in its usual spot behind the Ashland Library. This is always a nice evening, and you’ll get to see all the progress being made on the Plaza in front of the library.

The Ashland Barracudas Swim Team suffered their first loss of the season by less than one hundred points to Chestnut Oaks Recreation Association this past week. It was a long meet, one made longer by a thunder delay, but an exciting one nonetheless. Lui Mallory, Elisa Worrell, Curran Henry, Will Mallory, and Marcus Maphis all broke team records.
The Barracudas will be losing a good friend when Kara LeFever completes her final season. Kara will be going off to Radford in the fall, and her father, Ron, has been an extraordinary volunteer from the beginning in 1994. Ron was a past recipient of the Ron DesRoches Award in appreciation of service to the team and has served in many positions on the board of the Greater Richmond Aquatic League. Many thanks to Ron & Julie LeFever for all the years that they’ve supported the Barracudas!

Friday, July 13th is Teen Movie night at the Ashland Library, beginning at 6pm with pizza and drinks provided. Call the library at 798-4072 for more information. If your kids are a bit young for that, stop by Tuesday, July 10 at 4 p.m. for the Rainbow Puppet performance of “From the Sea to the Sky”- the story of a nation that struggled to find freedom and opportunity for all people.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market is looking for musical groups to perform on Saturday mornings while the market is open. Call Josh at Town Hall if you’re interested- 798-9219.

I hope you all have a beautiful week and that you find the time to take a walk around town. With most of the Randolph-Macon students gone, it’s a great opportunity to stroll around the campus. The town has done a lot of work on the sidewalks, so there are lots of safe places to walk. It’s a lovely time of year to see our town and to say hello to your neighbors. Let me know if you hear of anyone who deserves to be recognized for their contribution to our community. There are so many special people around here who go unnoticed in their daily efforts to make the world a better place. My phone number is 310-5320, and my email is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a wonderful week!

6/29/07 Booth Homecoming, Henry Clay PTA, July 4th




It might seem like this column is all about the Hanover Arts and Activities Center, but there really is hardly a better way to spend your Fourth of July. The Center is a non-profit community group that occupies the original First Baptist Church building on S. Center St. in the heart of town. Used as a hospital during the Civil War, today the Center raises money by renting out its space for receptions and gatherings. Some of the monies raised are used to sponsor the many wonderful activities throughout the year. The Ashland Variety Show, The Victorian Christmas House Tour, The Ashland Railroad Run, The Bluemont Concert Series, and the Fourth of July Celebration are just a few of the community events that make Ashland such a grand place to live.

If you see lights on in the Booth house until the wee hours of the morning this coming week, don’t be alarmed. Mike and Phyllis will have a full house with daughter Jessica and her husband, Major Chris Bergstol, USAF, home after a year in Korea. Jessica has spent time there studying voice at the University of Seoul and taking care of Henry, 7, and Ella Grace, 3. The Bergstol’s will be in Ashland for a little while before moving to Idaho where Chris will be taking a command position at Mt. Home Air Force base. Many thanks to Maj. Bergstol for the fine job he has done serving his country.

Also home this week is Emily Booth who just completed her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the University of Delaware. Emily will also be here for just a short time before she leaves for a professorship at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Thank goodness Phyllis has her son Ross and his wife Kristen living next door! The news there is that a baby boy will be joining the Booth clan this fall.

Congratulations and thanks to the 2007-2008 newly elected PTA of Henry Clay Elementary: Rosemargaret Maier (Pres), Jen Layne (V.P. Membership), Susan Spence and Tracey Brown (V.P. Fundraising), Candace Mraz (Treas.), and Sarah Datovech (Sec.). An extra special cheer to Rosemargaret for being nominated as one of Hanover County’s 2007 Outstanding Volunteers.

The place to be on the Fourth of July is right in the middle of the Center of the Universe at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. The Non-motorized parade will begin at 11 am at Henry Clay and Railroad Ave, and make its way down the tracks to the front lawn of the Center. Listen to the amazing vocal talents of the Croquet Brigade, the fine synchronized movements of the Lawn Chair Brigade, and the graceful steps of the Basset Hound Brigade. Dress up in your finest red, white, and blue and join the parade if you feel inspired- line up by 10:30 am in the grassy area at Henry Clay and Railroad.

There’s still time to work on your apple pie recipe! Bring your home-made pie to the Arts and Activities Center between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. for judging at 9:30. Awards will be given to the most patriotic, most imaginative use of ingredients, best presentation, and overall 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Pies will be auctioned off at noon with the proceeds benefiting the Arts and Activities Center.

The Friends of the Ashland Library will be having their annual book sale beginning at 9:00 am inside the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. If you have some books to donate to the sale, bring them to the Library before July 3rd. You might want to bring a wagon with you to carry home all the books that you’ll find to replace the ones you’ve donated.

So I hope to see you at 500 South Center Street this Wednesday. I’ll be there bright and early to check in the apple pies. Bring lunch and plan to picnic the day away. There will be games for the kids, food, and sweet music from the Hanover Concert Band. Bring me your news for next week if you think of it, and have a wonderful (& safe) Fourth of July! Email ashlandnews@gmail.com or call (804) 310-5320.

Monday, June 11, 2007

6/15/07 Fountains, Snakes, Book Sale, Black Belts


Summer is here, school is out, and the pool is open everyday! I’m sure that it will go as quickly by as other summers. Open days without schedules seem to devour the hours, and before we know it September will be here. Lightening bugs are out at night and it’s hard to get the children to bed before 9 o’clock.

Blue skies prevailed for another beautiful Strawberry Faire. All those wonderful trees at Randolph Macon help make it such a shady event. How about all those kiddies swimming in the fountain? They look like future Randolph-Macon professors to me!

Congratulations to Josh Sanders who received his black belt at Old Dominion Martial Arts here in town! Josh has been training with Master Oliver there since he was 4 years old, and has absolutely loved the program. His mom, Tish, says that Old Dominion teaches their students great self-discipline and confidence.

I’ve got an easy way to support your local Ashland Library. Clean out your bookshelves and take all those books that you haven’t read in ages over to the Library now before July 2 for the 4th of July Book Sale. This great sale takes place inside the Hanover Arts and Activities Center on July 4th while all the celebrations are taking place on the front lawn. It’s really a wonderful sale, but you’ll want to get there early. Add to your children’s bookshelf. Find some good books to read this summer! You never know what treasures you’ll find for fifty cents. The sale goes from 9am to 2pm.

There’s a great new shop right by the Ashland Library. Check out Lady Grey’s selection of new and antique home furnishings if you’re over that way.

Now that the hot weather is here, you don’t have to live in the country to have some snakes in your yard. Please watch where you put your hands and feet, especially in any of the parks or walking trails around town. I’ve heard reports of copperheads, black snakes, and garter snakes from neighbors and friends in Ashland.

Town Council will meet this Tuesday, June 19th at 7pm in Council chambers at Town Hall. On June 5th, Town Council voted to defer making a decision on the Lowes rezoning until their next meeting. Many people are opposed to a Lowes building on the property behind Slash Cottage for several reasons, but the main one seems to be that the building is large for a relatively small piece of land. Residents of Slash Cottage are also concerned about the noise from daily operations, and added traffic to the intersection of Rt. 1 and Ashcake Rd. If you’ve got concerns or questions, please contact your town council members. You can go to the town website: www.town.ashland.va.us, or call 804- 798-9219.

Come out to the Ashland Skate Park on Saturday, June 23rd at 10am, for a Skating Competition sponsored by the Ashland Police Department and Dominion Skateboard. Categories include Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Best Trick Competition. This event is limited to 20 participants per division, and you should arrive at the park by 9:30 am. Helmets are required. Call the Ashland Police Department, 804-798-1227, for more information.

As the haze rises in the morning, announcing another humid Virginia day, I hope that you all will appreciate having your own personal sauna and enjoy the summer! Call or email me with your news and special events. Do you know of a non-profit that needs some help or is having a fundraiser? Call me at 804-310-5320 or email ashlandnews@gmail.com Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 4, 2007

6/8/07 End of School, Summer Camp, Train Whistles


Does anyone in your home know how many days are left of school? In our house, there are some children who can tell you almost the exact number of hours of instructional time left before the end of the school year. I have mixed feelings about it. At the end of my oldest daughter’s first year at Henry Clay, we stood and watched as all the teachers came out to wave good bye to the buses. I found myself getting choked up thinking about the bitter-sweet end of the school year. Even with the expanse of summer laid out ahead, saying goodbye is tough, especially when it’s goodbye to teachers who care so much about our kids. I’d like to say thank you to the teachers and staff of Henry Clay, Gandy, Liberty, and Patrick Henry, for another year- well done.

Everyone must know by now that The Strawberry Faire is tomorrow-Saturday, June 9, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Randolph Macon College. I promise you that you will not be disappointed if you take the time to stroll down Henry Street. Not only will you see neighbors and friends, but you’ll certainly find something that you need. Strawberries are actually packed with vitamins, fiber, folic acid, and calcium…so, I think that means that strawberry shortcake is healthy don’t you?


Summer Story Time at the Ashland Library begins this week on June 11 and goes until August 14. Mondays have Mother Goose story time at 10a.m., and Family (all ages) at 10:45. On Tuesdays there’s Toddler story time at 10 a.m. and pre-school at 10:30. The cool library is a great place to spend some time in the summer. Don’t forget to sign up for the Summer Reading Program while you’re there.

Also at the Ashland Library on Thursday June 14 at 7:00 p.m., Ms. Wisteria Perry with the Pamplin Historic Center will talk about the connection between quilts and the Underground Railroad, and the impact they had on African-American history. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Library. Refreshments will be served.

Come out and have Lunch on the Lawn in front of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center every Wednesday around lunchtime. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs, enjoy the shade and watch the trains go by on those brand new rails.

As thoughts these days turn to summer activities, consider the Children’s Musical Theatre Camp at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. This camp is for rising 3rd though rising 9th graders and will take place Mon- Thurs from July 15th to August 16th from 3-5 p.m. The talented Lorie Foley is the camp director, and the young actors will stage a production of the “Pale Pink Dragon” at the end of camp. Incidentally, the “Pale Pink Dragon” was the first play that Lorie ever performed in, so this production must have the power to inspire talent and encourage the creative spirit. Registration forms and information are available at www.hanoverarts.com.

Delegate Frank Hargrove and Jon Hatfield, Executive Director of the VA War Memorial Foundation gave an excellent presentation at the Ashland Library on May 24. The video on the battles of Okinawa gave first person accounts from veterans, who spoke about how they felt going into the battle and their experiences. We can only continue to learn from those who have lived before us. The stories of veterans all around us are so important to hear.

The Ashland Planning Commission meets on Wed., June 13th, at 7pm in the Council Chambers at Town Hall.

Certainly Ashland is centered on the train tracks that run through town. Our town is frequently divided by the rumble of a freight train, or the slow swish of Amtrak. One of the sweetest sounds that I’ve ever heard is the whistles of two approaching trains. They can sound as if the trains are speaking, or singing to one another as they approach the town from different directions. Late at night it sounds like a lullaby to me, and reminds me of how fortunate I am to live here. Call or email me and share your stories of Ashland. Tell me about your wonderful neighbors, your fundraising events, or a new grandchild. 804-310-5320, or ashlandnews@gmail.com Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

6/1/07 Memorial Day Silent March, Town Hall Staff, Strawberry Faire, Ashland Library, Relay for Life


I submitted this column late this week because I had to write about one of the best, but hardly known, ways to celebrate Memorial Day in Ashland. For the past four years, our family has attended the Silent March that is sponsored by the American Legion Ashland Post # 206. The procession from the Ashland Library down Hanover Ave. to Woodlawn Cemetery is a small but reverent group. This year they were joined by a Jr. ROTC Color Guard, Boy Scout Troop # 789 from Beaverdam, and a handful of dedicated followers. Under the shade of a giant white oak, the 155 names of Ashland and Hanover war dead were read, and the clear notes of a bugle playing taps (by Michael Voss) echoed across the quiet field. One of the Boy Scouts, Joe Mallory, heard a long gone cousin’s name read with the list of war dead from the Civil War. If you think about it, try and make a note to remember it for next year.

Cathy and Charles Waldrop hosted their annual Memorial Day picnic to the delight of many friends and families. Their yard is always a welcoming place to be where the desserts almost out-number the side dishes!

Join your friends and co-workers for “Lunch on the Lawn” every Wednesday during the summer. This event started May 30, but will run through August 29th. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful front lawn of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center, located at 500 South Center Street in town.

We are lucky to have such helpful and accommodating staff at Town Hall here in Ashland. The Ashland Pool opened this weekend, and everyone rushed to get their passes before the Treasurers Office closed. When faced with a line out the door at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, the staff patiently snapped pictures for pool passes and gave lollypops to tired kids. They were still laughing when the last folks left at 5:30. I hope they all had a relaxing weekend! The pool looks great, by the way, with lots of beautiful flowering hibiscuses.

Don’t forget, the Strawberry Faire is next weekend, June 9, from 10am to 5pm. It’s an event not to be missed. You can park at either Henry Clay or Gandy Elementary and catch the shuttle bus over to the streets around Randolph-Macon.

The Ashland Library is a cool place to go on a hot summer day. Summer Story Time at the runs from June 11 to August 14. Mondays have Mother Goose (6-24 months with an adult) story time at 10am, and Family (all ages) at 10:45. On Tuesdays there’s Toddler (2yr. olds) story time at 10am, and Pre-School (3-5 yr. olds) at 10:30

If your kids are a bit old for those story times, then send them over for Teen Movie Night on Friday, June 8th from 6-8pm at the Ashland Library. Pizza will be served.

The Summer Reading Program begins Saturday, June 9th, and is a great way to keep your kids, and you, reading through the summer. Prizes are awarded when participants reach their reading goals. Call the library at 798-4072 for more information on any of these events.

Here’s a last minute event, but a worthwhile cause: the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life takes place today, Friday June 1 beginning at 6pm and goes through the night to Saturday morning at 6am. Come out and donate or just support the walkers who will walk to remember or honor the victims of cancer.

Please let me know if you’ve got some news to share. There’s so much that make Ashland such a great place to live: babies, baptisms, church events, school news, scouting awards, everyday heroes, and remarkable tales. What’s the most remarkable thing you’ve seen in Ashland? You can reach me by phone: 804-310-5320,or email: ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great weekend.