Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12/23/10 Christmas


I have a challenge for you this week. I know, it's not like you need one more thing on your list, but this is important. I know that Christmas is different for adults; we have a ton of things to get done: food to buy & cook, presents to wrap, a house to clean and decorate. And on top of all that, we're working jobs and doing all those ordinary things that have to get done. But here is what you must do, you must stop for a few minutes in the chaos, and just look at this life around you. If you have a Christmas tree, you should lie down on your back underneath the tree and look up. Not only will you decrease your blood pressure by lying down, but as you look up you will see nothing but evergreen, twinkle lights, and sparkling ornaments. It instantly relaxes you and will make you smile, I promise.


Did you hear that our Ashland was voted the "Best Place to Raise Your Kids in 2011" in Virginia by Business Week? Of course we already knew that, but the magazine cites our wonderful Randolph-Macon College, our beautiful homes, and the Strawberry Faire. I would add our excellent public schools as well. Mechanicsville was the runner-up- yay for Hanover!


Happy Birthday to some more December babies: Susan Spence, Kevin Damien, Debbie Wilkinson, and Lauren Thompson!

If you'd like a little exercise before that Christmas feast, put on your tackiest Christmas sweater and meet at the Station Café on Christmas Eve morning at 9am for a 5K "Freezing Toes and Nose Run." You can warm yourself with a cup of Bart's coffee afterwards, and pick up your Christmas roast at Cross Brother's next door!

You look good, Ashland. The lights are beautiful and the garlands are shimmery. Doesn't it feel good to dress up?

As the year winds down, I always get a little wistful. I remember the Christmas Eves when I was little, when it was a whirlwind of wrapping paper, toys, cousins, and adults laughing in the kitchen. I remember grandmothers in their aprons and the wonderful food that they created. It seemed to take forever for it to get on the table, though, so my father and uncles would pack all the restless kids in the car to go look at Christmas lights. We would go see Motram Sanford's huge lighted tree at Hague (Westmoreland County) and the Santa out on the raft in Gardy's mill pond. After dinner, we would all go in the living room, my grandmother, Pauline Delano would play carols on the piano, and we'd open presents. Aunt Gertrude always gave socks. I can still hear their voices, and I think of the glow from the windows across those cold Northern Neck fields. Let's make sure that we are making good memories for the children of Ashland.


There's only one more column left for 2010. Send me your thoughts on the old year- are you glad to see it go? It has not been an easy year for many. All the better to look forward to 2011! Call or email me: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Merry Christmas you old town! You are one of the best presents I've ever gotten.





12/16/2010 Santa at the Firehouse, December Babies, Ashland Theater Open?


You’ve done a good job of decorating Ashland, and I’m really proud, but it’s not quite enough. We need a little bit more, especially now with this snow on the ground. The whiteness reflects everything and I think if we just put up a few more stands of lights, maybe one or two more candles, that it would be close to perfect. Why don’t we have an Ashland snow globe? I’d really like one of those, but more on my Christmas list later.


If you didn’t make it over to the Ashland firehouse for breakfast with Santa this past weekend, put it on your calendar for next year. There is hardly a better way to spend a cold morning than in a warm firehouse, with good food, & those wonderful, soft Hanover accents being spoken all around you. The firefighters had been out all night fighting a 3-alarm fire at the Super 8 motel, and the trucks still smelled of smoke inside.


We have a lot of wonderful public servants in this town. Bake some extra cookies for them this Christmas and go say “Thank you.”


I am falling down in the birthday department! There were three very important celebrations last week: Rebecca Cline, John Hodges, and most importantly, George Stiles who stepped over that threshold and became a teenager. Where has the time gone? I hope they all had lovely parties and got many wonderful gifts.

We were excited to hear that the Ashland Theater was opening, but apparently the news was incorrect because their doors have been shut and the lights dark. What's the latest, Anne Woodward?

There are too many church services to mention here, but a favorite of ours is the live Nativity at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church on Coatesville Rd. They’ll have it this weekend on Saturday and Sunday at 6 and 7pm. Call ahead in case the weather is bad- 883-5950.


And lastly… Dear Santa, For Christmas this year I would like some staff. Two would be ideal, but I can work with one. If you can’t swing that, please bring peace and love to Ashland, to Hanover, and to the world- in that order.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com . Let your hearts be light, sweet town!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12/09/10 A Christmas Carol, Small Treasures, Santa comes to Town



Wasn’t the snow beautiful? It was such a treat to wake up to the ground covered with those flakes. Out kids had to drag out their snow boots and pants for those flurries! I’d do anything for a white Christmas. I think the last time I saw one of those in Central Virginia I was eight years old.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is making its annual return to the Randolph-Macon Cobb Theater beginning this Friday, December 10th, and running through the 16th. Tickets are $2.50 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under. For show times and to make reservations, please call 752-7316. You’ll see lots of familiar faces in the cast!

The 606 Art Gallery on England Street would love to have you stop by and see their newest show, “Small Treasures” which opens tomorrow- December 10th from 7 to 9pm. The artists have been busy creating gifts that everyone will treasure; what a wonderful place to find some unique presents! Call 368-7588 for more information.

I know that Town Hall will miss Harold Mitchell who has been balancing the Town books for 36 years. We all wish him a wonderful and relaxing retirement!

Don’t miss your chance to have breakfast with Santa at the Ashland Fire Station this Saturday from 8 to 11am. All-you-can-eat pancakes are waiting for you, as well as that jolly old elf. Breakfast is $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Pictures with Santa are $3 each.

Your pets need a Christmas picture too, don’t you think? Dress them up and bring them out this Saturday from 9-1 pm at the Ashland Feed Store. Bailey Herbert will be taking pictures to raise money for the South Anna 4-H, and the suggested donation is $5. Enjoy a visit to the Feed Store as well for their Christmas Open House. There are so many possible gifts in that wonderful old store.

Come join your neighbors for an afternoon of sharing and recycling as the Arts and Activities Center hosts their annual Abundance Swap on Sunday, December 12th from 1 – 3pm. Bring something with you that you don’t need anymore: picture frames, ornaments, knick-knacks, toys, board games, etc., and then swap them out for something that someone else brought! Please no clothes, jewelry, or paperback books. Kids can also join in by making recycled Christmas decorations. Call 798-2728 for more information.

Lastly, we send our condolences to the Jones and Cook families who lost a favorite husband, father, and grandfather this week. It is such a tough time of year to lose someone, and we hope that they can find some peace in a life well lived.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com . Make sure your stockings are hung on the fireplace!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

12/2/2010 It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...


Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Visit with family? Eat lots of turkey? I’m glad that everyone made is home safe and sound. I think we all needed that little break. But remember, it is only the beginning! The holiday season has begun, and Ashland is already beginning to sparkle. Decorate, decorate, decorate. String twinkle lights everywhere, and pull out your prettiest ornaments. I want Santa to see us glowing as he pulls into town!

There must have been a lot of cake at Town Hall these past few days! Both our Town Manager Charles Hartgrove and Project Manager Chris Holloway celebrated birthdays recently.
Happy Birthday also to Andrew Wilkinson who had a wonderful birthday on the 24 th!
Kick-off the holiday season by spending the afternoon of December 5th making your Christmas decorations! The fundraiser, “Deck the Halls” is held at Pine Grove Farm in Ashland beginning at 12:30pm. All the trimmings will be there- you just put them together. Call 798-9131 for more information.

How much do you love the Ashland PD? Here’s your chance to let other people know. A team representing the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will be taking public comments on the Ashland Police Department at an information session on Monday, December 13th beginning at 7:30 pm in the Council Chambers of Town Hall. If you can’t make it to that session, you can call them on Sunday, December 12th at 804-412-0609 between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.

Remember in all your holiday shopping that we have some wonderful shops in town: book stores, coffee shops, toy stores, and gift shops. I think you could fill every stocking without ever leaving the town limits.

For all the happiness this Christmas, we are so sorry to lose Lynda Bullock-Brown at Cross Brothers. She passed away on Thanksgiving, and we send condolences to her two families: her relatives, and those at Cross Brothers and in Ashland who loved her so much. We liked to see her smile and hear her laugh.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. I’ll also accept any party invitations that you’d like to send! Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/24/10 Over the river and through the woods...




So here we are at Thanksgiving, and what a wonderful holiday it is. There are no presents involved, no parties- just a meal together. That’s it, and the simplicity of it allows us to appreciate the people in our lives- not the things. I am handing out wishes as you read this today, and here are my wishes for this sweet town.







I wish for you laughter and smiles around a table somewhere- a home, a church, a backyard- the place really doesn’t matter.

















I wish for you a clear highway and a safe route if you must leave our Ashland.











I wish for you warmth: from a fireplace, an arm around your shoulder, or from memories of Thanksgivings past.
















I wish for you a quiet moment when you can forget about your worries of work, school, kids, life, and be happy, be at peace.










We all need to give a huge “Thank You” to everyone who helped with the Ashland Holiday Parade this past Sunday! The organizers, the police officers (Ashland and Hanover), the people who marched in the parade, and those who cheered from the sidewalks made it a beautiful thing to witness. I know that it was a lot of hard work, but it is such a fun part of life here.




Kick-off the holiday season by spending the afternoon of December 5th making your Christmas decorations! The fundraiser, “Deck the Halls” is held at Pine Grove Farm in Ashland beginning at 12:30pm. All the trimmings will be there- you just put them together. Call 798-9131 for more information.




I have always wanted to have a big COTU Thanksgiving- just a huge dinner somewhere for the whole town, because there is so much here to be thankful for. But of course, things are too busy. Maybe one day. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com . Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/18/2010 Holiday Parade, Richmond Running, Art & Playhouse Auction


I didn’t expect the colors of the leaves to be as bright as they are this fall. I thought the dry summer would have dulled them, but they’re bright and gorgeous and they seem to be holding their color for a long time. We will miss all this when it’s cold and grey in another month.


The social season is certainly here because this Sunday is the Ashland Old Time Holiday Parade. The parade begins at 2:30 from the St. Ann’s parking lot, travels east on Thompson Street, waits for trains, then turns left onto Henry Street, and travels all the way down to John M. Gandy. Find a spot on the sidewalk and come cheer for the beauty queens, the scout troops, and the fire engines. There are few things as thrilling as seeing a marching band come down the street.

Look for the special float with the beautiful green playhouse built by AC Bruce (so you know it’s built really well!) in the parade. Do you know any child that’s been really good this year? This playhouse is being auctioned off to the highest bidder and all proceeds will go to ACES, Ashland Christian Emergency Services. Please call AC at 240-9865 to make a bid.

There is another wonderful auction underway right not to benefit a very important organization in our sweet town: the Arts and Activities Center on Center Street. The Funky and Fabulous Online Auction is open for bidding until Saturday, Nov. 20th, and it’s full of one-of-a-kind items made by some of the most creative Ashlanders around! Visit http://www.centerartauction.blogspot.com/ to join the fun.

Congratulations to everyone who ran in Richmond this past weekend! There were lots of marathoners: Chief of Police Doug Goodman, Tracy Brown, Tammy Proffitt, Tamra and Rodney Bardwell, Craig and Tom Hatz, Jill and Tom Voekler, JoAnn Hunter, Susan Spence, and Tom Grant. They ran 26.2 miles, can you believe it? They did have some great cheerleaders who deserve mention: Corinne Luck ran 15.2 miles of the race, and there were friends and family all along the course.

Congratulations also to those who ran the 8K race: Kevin Proffitt and Bob Brown. This was Coach Proffitt’s first race, and he had a spectacular finishing time!

Thank you to everyone who called or sent cards last week after reading about Jack-the-dog (we used to call him that sometimes). It was really sweet of you. We are forever indebted to the wonderful staff at Ashland Veterinary Hospital, especially Dr. Mason. They could not have been nicer, or more accommodating.

Though this time of year is usually a happy one, it is also one of the most difficult times as families struggle to find money for food and presents. Please consider giving more than you get this year. There are many people who need help- many in our town.

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

11/4/10 Chill in the Air, Train Day Approaches, Jack the Dog

Now November is here and we're folding our arms, turning the heat on, and saying, "It's chilly out here!" The leaves have turned and fallen, and you can smell the wood smoke outside. It's a beautiful time of year.

The PTA's of Henry Clay and John M. Gandy would like to thank everyone who volunteered or participated in the Tiger Trot 5K race! It was a wonderful day, the weather was perfect, and the runner finished in record time. Everything you do to support our schools makes our town a better place.

The 7th Annual Ashland Train Day is quickly approaching. Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 13th, from 10 to 4pm. There will be train activities all over town: model train displays at the Arts and Activities Center, music at the library, and real trains going up and down the tracks all day long! It's a wonderful day to celebrate the history of trains, and the beginnings of our sweet town. You can find out more information at http://www.ashlandtrainday.com/.

The Ashland Firehouse Theater has opening it's doors for the 2010-2011 season, and this Saturday night they'll be showing "The Godfather." What a wonderful classic to see on the big screen! Admission is still $6 and they are going to offer Starbuck's coffee to warm the patrons. On Saturday evenings doors open at 6:45 and the movie starts at 7:30. You can visit http://www.ashlandfirehousetheater.org/ or call 798-9721 for more information.

Lastly, goodnight to my old dog Jack. A long time ago it was just me and Jack, before a husband and kids came along. He was such a good dog. I'll tell you about him when my heart isn't broken.

Snuggle with someone you love this week. Bundle up and walk around town. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a good week.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/28/10 Birthdays, Marathons, Birthdays, Trick-or-treating, Birthdays




We’ll call this column the “Birthday Edition” this week, because it seems that almost everyone is celebrating these days. October is such a popular month for birthdays that some people (cough, Jim Foley) had a birthday party even though they were born in a completely different month!


A word of caution to my father if he’s reading this column: I’m sorry about all the exclamation points, Daddy! I just couldn’t figure out a way around them!!


Let’s start with the babies, shall we? Congratulations to Leigh Finch, Principal of John M. Gandy Elementary, and her husband David who welcomed their twins in October 20 th! Robert Truman was born first weighing 7.7 pounds, and his sister, Ella Margaret followed weighing 6.4 pounds. What wonderful, big babies!! Their big sister Laurel is going to have her hands full.


Happy birthday to Megan Mudd and Paige Christy who both opened presents on October 25th!


A big “felix sit natalis dies” to Dan McGraw, Latin teacher and soccer coach extraordinaire who will blow out his candles on October 30th !


And a happy, happy birthday to our Halloween boys, Parker Marchetti and Bob Brown who will celebrate on the 31st! We wish them lots of treats, a few fun tricks, and many laughs in this new year.


Good luck to Tammy Proffitt, one of the sweetest girls in Ashland, who will be running the Marine Corp Marathon in D.C. this Sunday! Give her a salute if you see her; Sergeant Proffitt has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?


The Fall Festival at Scotchtown will be Saturday, November 6th from 10 to 5pm. Come out for seasonal crafts and artisan booths filled with homemade crafts. There is regular admission for a house tour, but no charge to visit the grounds and vendors. Scotchtown is located at 16120 Chiswell Lane in Beaverdam, and you can call 227-3500 for more information.


The Ashland Farmer’s Market is open these cool Saturdays from 9 to noon, with lots of wonderful seasonal produce, plants, and baked goods. It’s the perfect time of year to work in the garden, and you can find beautiful, native plants to decorate your yard.


Roger Reynolds survived the Chicago Marathon and is hardly giving himself a break before he runs the Richmond Marathon on November 13th. His goal is to raise $3000 for the CJSTUF organization, which was formed this year to help families struggling with medical emergencies. If you’d like to help this wonderful organization, you can visit their website: http://www.cjstuf.org/ to make a donation.


This Halloween, make your first stop the Arts and Activities Center! The costume contest will begin at 6pm with snacks and goodies for all, and the free concert by the Hanover Concert Band begins at 6:30. This really is a wonderful concert with all the musicians in costume, fun props, and all the scary music from movies and TV.


You’ve heard me say it before, but Halloween is a beautiful night to be in the Center of the Universe. Our streets look like a movie set, with laughing children, blowing leaves, and decorated door steps. There is nothing scary about it- it’s only sweet and timeless. Another day in Ashland that I wish I could put in a bottle.


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














Monday, October 18, 2010

10/21/10 October Skies, Long Races Run, Happy Birthdays, Tiger Trot


I hope you all got outside this past weekend and looked up at that beautiful October sky. The skies are never as blue as they are this month.


A huge congratulation to Rodney K. Bardwell who ran 50 miles in the North Face Challenge in Atlanta on October 16 th! Can you imagine? And these 50 miles were off-road, so he was jumping over tree roots, avoiding big rocks, and managing to not fall off a cliff. We are completely impressed, and hope that he got a very impressive medal that he’ll wear all week long.


I never realized how many people in this town were born in October! Happy birthday next week to Brittany McGraw who turns sweet 16 on October 26th, and who I’m sure will get lots of presents from her family. Happy birthday to Dave Gilmore who celebrates on the 21st, and Tammy Proffitt who blows out candles on the 22 nd! We also owe Jill Grant a belated happy birthday because she got all of her presents last week, on the 15th.


And if you think that’s a lot, just wait until next week!


The Tiger Trot 5K is this Saturday at Henry Clay Elementary! This wonderful event benefits that PTAs of Henry Clay and John M. Gandy. I always wished that we lived across the street from Henry Clay because the energy and love that comes from that school is contagious. If you live nearby, come out to cheer the kids and the runners. The half mile race starts at 8 am; the 1 mile race starts at 8:15; and the 5K at 9am.


Come experience haunted history at Scotchtown this Saturday from 6-9 pm! “Was it Murder” is a new play about a deadly occurrence in Colonial Virginia. Admission is $5 per person, and you can get more information by calling 227-3500 or visiting www.apva.org/scotchtown.


We are all so glad that Paige Christy got through her heart surgery this summer, but Paige would also like to thank all those people who helped her along the way. “I am so grateful to my Cardiologist for identifying my heart problem, my surgeon for repairing my Mitral Valve and literally saving my life and the incredible staff at the Bon Secours Cardiac Rehab for giving me the strength to regain my normal life. I am still overwhelmed with gratitude to all my wonderful friends in and around Ashland who comforted, supported and fed me through my recovery.”

A typical Ashlander, Paige would like to give as much as she has gotten. She is collecting donations for the American Heart Association and will be walking with the Cardiac Rehab staff at the Heart Walk in Richmond on Saturday, Oct. 23. If you would like to make a donation, please write the check to American Heart Association and send it to Paige Christy, 619 Chapman Street, Ashland, VA 23005.

Have a beautiful week! xoxo, Meriwether

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10/14/10 Roger Takes Chicago, New Tennis Courts, Deputy of the State



Congratulations to Roger Reynolds who finished the Chicago Marathon in five hours and fifteen minutes this past weekend! Roger and Rachel Reynolds continue to be an example of how to live your life with grace and hope. They have survived the worst tragedy imaginable, and yet they continue to go on in their ordinary, altruistic ways.

Roger didn’t just run this race for his benefit, he ran to raise money for the CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation which was started in memory of their daughter, Charlotte Jennie, who lost her fight with cancer last year when she was just four years old. The Foundation raises funds to help families struggling with this horrible disease. Roger’s next race will be the Richmond Marathon on November 13th. You can contribute to this wonderful cause by visiting http://www.cjstuf.org/.

The Central VA Masterworks Chorale welcomes new Artistic Director Larry Heath as it begins its fifth season. Rehearsals began October 11 at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ashland, but new members are always welcome! The winter concerts this December will feature Britten’s Ceremony of Carols as well as other holiday selections. For more information, please contact Larry at 804-212-9861 or rrpcmusic@gmail.com.

I am really impressed with the R-MC football team these days! They beat Catholic University 56-28 this past weekend, and will travel to Washington & Lee this Saturday. Stay undefeated, boys.

Have you seen the beautiful new R-MC tennis courts on Henry Clay Street? President Lindgren has said many times that he hopes the community will enjoy these courts as well as the students. We are lucky to live in a college town- I hope we give back to them as much as they give to us.

Our hats are off to Investigator Dave Klisz, who was recently recognized as the 2009 Virginia Deputy of the Year! That’s for the whole, entire state- not just Hanover County. Virginia. All of it. Isn’t that incredible? Dave, do you get to go on to national competition?
Remember the 7th Annual Harvest Run will be this Saturday, October 16th, beginning at 9:00am from Carter Park. If you’re not running in the race, come out and cheer! This very important event benefits the Hanover Safe Place, and WHEAT (Western Hanover Emergency Action Team).

Have you registered for the Tiger Trot yet? The days are counting down! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 23 and come out to support this is a wonderful 5K run that benefits the PTAs of our elementary schools. Our town is unique because we have two schools to serve the K-5th grade population. While this makes our schools small and cozy, there are also two PTAs to support. Visit http://www.townhound.com/ for a registration form.

Halloween is right around the corner- is your costume picked out? We have some wonderful holidays here in the Center of the Universe, and Halloween ranks up there with the best. Make plans to sit on your front steps and watch the Ashland kids run through leaves in their costumes. Walk down to the Hanover Arts and Activities Center and listen to the Hanover Concert Band play their annual concert of spooky music. It is a wonderful evening in our sweet town.

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



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

9/30/10 Community Survey, Davis Luck's Brithday, Fall Races


What would we do without the State Fair to bring up some rain in September? I know it’s awful for people who want to walk the midway, but we’d all love a few rainy days.

The Ashland Police Department would like our community’s assistance in providing feedback on their performance. "Constant review of performance measures, to include community feedback is key to the success in completing our mission," said Chief Doug Goodman. Please take a few moments to complete this survey online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5D73CCX.

Surveys will also be available at the Town Municipal Building and the Ashland Police Department for those who do not have internet access. Surveys will be accepted until October 15, 2010 and they’d like to thank the community in advance for their assistance!

Happy Birthday to Davis Luck who celebrated in regal style in Lower Ashland on September 22nd!

This cooler weather is perfect for getting outside and the 7th Annual Harvest Run will be held on Saturday, October 16th. The 10K will begin at 9:00am and the 5K Run/Walk will start at 9:10 from Carter Park. This very important event benefits the Hanover Safe Place, and WHEAT (Western Hanover Emergency Action Team). You can register online at www.ashlandharvestrun.com

The fourth annual Tiger Trot for John M. Gandy and Henry Clay Elementary Schools is open for registrations! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 23, and save money by registering early. This is a wonderful 5K run through our fair streets to support the PTAs of our elementary schools. Our town is unique because we have two schools to serve the K-5th grade population. While this makes our schools small and cozy, there are also two PTAs to support. Visit http://www.townhound.com/ for a registration form.

Happy Birthday also to Tom Wilkinson who celebrated his birthday on the other side of the world last week! We hope he’s home safe and sound in the COTU soon.

The fall weather is here, and it can only get cooler from now on. I’m looking forward to jeans and sweaters, and things pumpkin-flavored. Sleep with the windows open if your allergies will let you! Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com . Have a wonderful week!





9/23/10 Hollywood comes to COTU, World Class Athletes


Beautiful weather these days, citizens of Ashland! It is the perfect time of year to be outside and enjoy anything: a game, a concert, a cook-out, anything! I would add a sleeping porch to my house if it was in my budget, for it is delightful sleeping weather.

There were lots of birthdays recently, most notably Lorie Foley and Jen Burch who share September 20th ! Cake was also consumed at the Proffitt household for Kip’s 13th birthday on the 14th. I hope all of you have a wonderful year.

This Saturday, September 25th, bring your unused, unneeded, and expired prescription medications to the Ashland Police Department from 10am to 2pm. The APD is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Agency in this first, nationwide prescription drug take-back. This is a great way to get rid of those old medicines without throwing them in a landfill or contaminating our ground water.

Congratulations to Shelly Adair who recently returned from competing in the Duathlon World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland! Shelly had a wonderful biking the very hilly Scottish countryside which included an extinct volcano.

Did you all see all the fuss in town this past Monday? I love it when Hollywood finds our picturesque little town. We’ll have to stay tuned to see when this Lifetime Movie will be available for viewing!

This cooler weather is perfect for getting outside and the 7th Annual Harvest Run will be held on Saturday, October 16th. The 10K will begin at 9:00am and the 5K Run/Walk will start at 9:10 from Carter Park. This very important event benefits the Hanover Safe Place, and WHEAT (Western Hanover Emergency Action Team). You can register online at www.ashlandharvestrun.com


The fourth annual Tiger Trot for John M. Gandy and Henry Clay Elementary Schools is open for registrations! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 23, and save money by registering early. This is a wonderful 5K run through our fair streets to support the PTAs of our elementary schools. Our town is unique because we have two schools to serve the K-5th grade population. While this makes our schools small and cozy, there are also two PTAs to support. Visit http://www.townhound.com/ for a registration form.



The last Street Party of the year was a great party- but does that surprise anyone? Hank Lowery and his team of volunteers have created an indispensible event that we look forward to every summer. Not only do we get to have fun and laugh with our friends, but the money that’s made goes directly back to our community. The Street Party Organization has been very generous, and we thank them so much. Look forward next May for the first sign of summer.


Good Luck to Corinne Luck who will compete in the Naylor’s Beach Olympic Triathlon this weekend at Naylor’s Beach in the Northern Neck. This race consists of a one mile swim in the Rappahannock River, then a 26 mile bike ride, then a 6.2 run through the back roads and gullies of Richmond County. Ashland loves you, Corinne- have a great race!






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










10/7/10 Good Dogs, Harvest Run, Tiger Trot, APD Survey


I am writing this on a cold rainy Monday. It’s a day that I’d rather be sitting in front of a fire laughing with friends, than under the fluorescent lights of an office. I’d rather be sitting in a big chair reading a newspaper, or walking through the wet woods with an old dog. If you are lucky enough to have an old dog, then you’ve spent many years knowing the unending loyalty and love that they have. They have a perfect disposition: never moody, always grateful, always happy to see you. The only problem is that we know they’ll leave us one day, and we will miss them so much that our hearts will ache. We are sending condolences to the Kliszs who lost their sweet Basil this past weekend.


Happy birthday to Ross Luck who blew out a ton of candles on October 4th. We’ve heard that the glow from Lower Ashland could be seen for miles!
Remember the 7th Annual Harvest Run will be held on Saturday, October 16th. The 10K will begin at 9:00am and the 5K Run/Walk will start at 9:10 from Carter Park. This very important event benefits the Hanover Safe Place, and WHEAT (Western Hanover Emergency Action Team). You can register online at www.ashlandharvestrun.com
The fourth annual Tiger Trot for John M. Gandy and Henry Clay Elementary Schools is fast approaching! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 23 and come out to support this is a wonderful 5K run that benefits the PTAs of our elementary schools. Our town is unique because we have two schools to serve the K-5th grade population. While this makes our schools small and cozy, there are also two PTAs to support. Visit http://www.townhound.com/ for a registration form.

The Ashland Police Department would like our community’s assistance in providing feedback on their performance. "Constant review of performance measures, to include community feedback is key to the success in completing our mission," said Chief Doug Goodman. Please take a few moments to complete this survey online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5D73CCX.

Surveys will also be available at the Town Municipal Building and the Ashland Police Department for those who do not have internet access. Surveys will be accepted until October 15, 2010 and they’d like to thank the community in advance for their assistance!

I have spent the past two weekends out of Ashland, and I am tired of it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, though, and we always find ourselves talking about the COTU when we are away. “We’re from Ashland- just north of Richmond- Randolph-Macon College is there, and the train tracks go right through the middle of town.” Once we say that, it’s inevitable that we ramble on and monopolize the conversation.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com . It’s the kind of week where you should call a friend and go have a cup of coffee. Cheers!

Monday, October 4, 2010

9/16/10 RMC Football, Harvest Run, Tiger Trot, Street Party


As you all know, there is always something fun going on here in the Center of the Universe. On any given day you can find music, laughter, and entertainment- if only on your neighbor’s front porch. This past Saturday afternoon was a perfect day for watching football, and when you can stand close enough to the field so that you can hear the thud of a tackle, that’s the best possible venue. The Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets scored with 33 seconds left on the clock to beat Johns Hopkins 41 to 37. Congrats to Coach Aruzza and his hard working team!

You’ll have another chance to cheer on the home team this Saturday at 1pm as the Yellow Jackets take on Shenandoah.



Happy Birthday this week to Daphne Read Gilmore who turned 10 on Tuesday, Sept. 14th. Miss Gilmore will celebrate with a birthday apple pie, which has become a tradition because she does not like cake.



This cooler weather is perfect for getting outside and the 7th Annual Harvest Run will be held on Saturday, October 16th. The 10K will begin at 9:00am and the 5K Run/Walk will start at 9:10 from Carter Park. This very important event benefits the Hanover Safe Place, and WHEAT (Western Hanover Emergency Action Team). You can register online at www.ashlandharvestrun.com

The fourth annual Tiger Trot for John M. Gandy and Henry Clay Elementary Schools is open for registrations! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 23, and save money by registering early. This is a wonderful 5K run through our fair streets to support the PTAs of our elementary schools. Our town is unique because we have two schools to serve the K-5th grade population. While this makes our schools small and cozy, there are also two PTAs to support. Visit http://www.townhound.com/ for a registration form.

The last Street Party is this Saturday, September 18th. Come dance under the stars to Ron Moody and the Centaurs beginning at 6pm behind the Ashland Library. Tickets are $10 per person in advance, and $15 at the door. Buy your tickets early at Cross Brothers Grocery, The Caboose Wine & Cheese, and Ashland Ace Hardware. There’s more information available at http://www.ashlandstreetparties.com/

September 12th through 18 th is Virginia Bicyclists and Pedestrian Awareness Week. Our beautiful roads are a haven for bikers and runners who enjoy the patience and courtesy of our drivers. Remember, a bike is considered a vehicle and has the same rights and responsibilities of a vehicle. Be alert to others on these country roads, and visit http://www.drivesmartva.org/.

I hope everyone had a good first week of school and is settling comfortably into fall. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my corduroy and tweed, and one of these mornings I may even have to put on a jacket! We have so much to look forward to- do you know that there’s a Variety Show coming in February? Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have an easy week!

9/2/10 End of Another Ashland Summer, Tiger Trot, Street Party



Here is the end of summer in Central Virginia- the dry grass, cicadas in the trees, and hurricanes off the coast. I cannot ignore the first day of school anymore, and I am forced by my children to go back-to-school shopping. The last Bluemont Concert was bitter-sweet this past weekend. We’re always sorry to see those evenings end. Many thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible, especially Jen Chambers and Elizabeth Melson!
The fourth annual Tiger Trot for John M. Gandy and Henry Clay Elementary Schools is open for registrations! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 23, and save money by registering early. This is a wonderful 5K run through our fair streets to support the PTAs of our elementary schools. Our town is unique because we have two schools to serve the K-5th grade population. While this makes our schools small and cozy, there are also two PTAs to support. Visit http://www.townhound.com/ for a registration form.

The Randolph-Macon students are returning and classes start Labor Day. I love having that campus full and alive with activity. It’s a great asset to this town.


The Ashland Farmer’s Market is still going strong these Saturdays and is packed with delicious late season fruits and vegetables. We’ll see pumpkins before you know it. Visit the Market every Saturday morning from 9am to noon.

Also marking the end of the summer is the last Street Party on Saturday, September 18th. Come dance under the stars to Ron Moody and the Centaurs beginning at 6pm behind the Ashland Library. Tickets are $10 per person in advance, and $15 at the door. Buy your tickets early at Cross Brothers Grocery, The Caboose Wine & Cheese, and Ashland Ace Hardware. There’s more information available at http://www.ashlandstreetparties.com/.

There was lots of birthday cake on Howard Street last week: Happy belated birthday to Sharon Stiles and Kevin Proffitt!

I hope you all have a fun weekend an Labor Day! I would advise spending as much time at the Ashland Pool as possible. It will all be gone on Tuesday. Was it a fun summer? Will the memories warm your toes when the first frost comes? I hope so. This is life in Ashland, this is home.

Call or email me your Ashland news: 804-310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a wonderful week!































Tuesday, August 17, 2010

8/19/10 Rains of August, Two Bluemonts Left, Charlotte's Legacy

I don’t know what to do with these rainy days that we’ve been having lately. The umbrellas are covered in cobwebs in the garage, and the plants in my yard seem surprised by the sudden abundance of water. I thought that my grandmother’s roses had finished blooming for the summer, but after a good soaking, they opened new blooms for me.

The Bluemont Concerts have avoided the rain and have enjoyed nice evenings on the front lawn of the Arts and Activities Center. We’re lucky to have five Sundays in August this summer, so that means we’ve got two more concerts to go before it’s all over! This Sunday evening we’ll welcome Mandalele who will entertain us with music from the mandolin, the ukulele, the violin, the viola, and some beautiful voices. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for Bluemont Friends and $2 for kids under 12.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market is larger than ever, and there are more customers that ever- so get there early this Saturday to stock up on wonderful late-summer vegetables, flowers for your kitchen table, home-baked breads, free-range eggs, and anything else to make your kitchen resemble a Southern Living photo-shoot.

The Patrick Henry Half Marathon is about to run it’s fourth year through the streets of Ashland on Saturday, August 28th at 7am. Come rain or come shine the runners will loop from Poor Farm Park, up and down Blunt’s Bridge Road, and through the town to reach 13.2 miles. Come out to cheer them on! You can learn more at the Richmond Road Runners website: http://www.rrrc.org/.

Many of you probably already know about this organization, but it bears repeating. After losing their young daughter, Charlotte, to cancer early this year, Roger and Rachel Reynolds have channeled their grief and energy into helping other families who are living through situations like theirs. They formed CJSTUF, which is a non-profit organization that raises funds for families to help pay the piles of bills that accumulate when a child is hospitalized for days on end. “CJSTUF” is a wonderful way to honor the memory of Charlotte Jennie who fought so bravely, and it should stand as a reminder to all of us that we should never stop reaching out to help.

There will be a Rompy’s Summer Concert to Benefit CJSTUF on Thursday, August 19th from 5:30-7:30 at Stonewall Square in Mechanicsville, VA. Vocalist/Percussionist VINX will be performing and the concert is free and family friendly. There will be lots of organizations represented, many of whom have supported CJSTUF. You can learn more about the organization at http://www.cjstuf.org/.
There are a few weeks of summer left, kids. Do you know that most schools around the country have already opened? If I was you, I’d spend every last day at the Ashland pool. Stay up late, sleep in, and eat popsicles for breakfast. That’s what I’d do if I didn’t have to be an adult. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a lazy, lazy week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8/12/10 Wonderful WIlly Wonka, Third Bluemont Concert, 1950 August Wedding, New YMCA


One of the biggest joys is showing this town to someone who’s never experienced it before. My father, step-mother, and sister came to the matinee performance of “Willy Wonka” at the Arts & Activities Center this past Sunday and were thoroughly impressed. They couldn’t believe the level of volunteer participation (the number of COTU volunteers is an anomaly). They were awed at the number of kids in the production; my father said, “It’s a cast of thousands!” And, very astutely, my step-mother noted that “all the kids in Ashland are so good-looking!”

So thank you Lorie Foley and Mary Kay Thompson for giving me something to brag about! Thank you Lynne for the choreography that made those kids “oompa-loompa” across the stage, and to Chris McKelvy for all the costumes! There are so many people who worked on the set, who helped corral kids backstage, who put on make-up, who helped sell tickets and DVDs. Thank you to Kathy Abbot for filming and editing those DVDs! And thank you to the Hanover Arts and Activity Center- all good things begin there in Ashland.

It’s a busy August! This Sunday is the third Bluemont Concert on the front lawn of the Arts & Activities Center (see what I mean?) beginning at 7pm. Bring your lawn chair or picnic blanket and listen to the Guy Mendilow Band who’ll bring their own style of Middle Eastern and South American street blues. What a wonderful way to listen to music from across the world without crossing the tracks! Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids under 12.

Sixty years ago this Sunday, in 1950, Glenn & Jean Williams of Slash Cottage were married in the August heat. Glenn is a retired Methodist minister and an R-MC alumna. He and Jean are members of Duncan Memorial where there will be a special reception on Sunday. We need to send out get well wishes to Glenn as he is having surgery this week, but we’re hopeful that he’ll be feeling good for the reception. Congratulations to both of them for making a long and happy life together!

Have you been to our new YMCA lately? What was once divided is now united, and there is no more Wet Y vs. Dry Y! We have everything in one location! I’ve heard lots of good things about our new facility, so stop by and take a look.

Before your kids go back to school, take them to Scotchtown this Saturday to see what school was like in the 18th century! This second Hands on History Saturday will feature costumed interpreters who will show kids what school was like for Patrick Henry. Also this Saturday, the Backyard Players of Scothtown and the South Anna 4H will present a period play for their debut performance at noon and 2pm on the lawn. Scotchtown is located just 11 miles west of Ashland. Call 227-3500 for more information.

Have you done your back-to-school shopping? Me neither. I’m not doing it until September. It is still August; it is still summer, and Labor Day will be here too soon. Wear white everyday. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 804-310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a scrumdidlyumptious week!

8/4/10 Theater Camp Spectacular Showcase, Willy Wonka Performances, Farmer's Market, Patrick Henry Half Marathon




Here is one of the reasons that I love this town. Just when I am becoming complacent- when I no longer notice the trains, or when the business of life dulls my vision- along comes an event to remind me of what a special place we have here.

This past Friday night we got to see a showcase of everything that the kids had been working on at the Arts & Activities Center’s Theater Camp. Standing outside, waiting for the doors to open, all I could think about were chores & work: the things done and the things left undone. Inside the lights dimmed and Roy Horn started playing the piano as our children, dressed as orphans, sang the song “Maybe” from “Annie.” It made me sit up in my seat, and smile through tears in my eyes. They were so dear, so precious that I wanted to freeze the moment and keep them all like this forever. It was bitter-sweet to think that they would all grow up one day and lose that spontaneous joy that children have.



So, in order to strengthen your faith in the future, in children, in small towns, and in volunteers, come to the show. This weekend is the only weekend that the Arts & Activities Center’s Theater Camp will perform “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” You do not need to have children in the play. You do not need to live in Ashland. You could be a stranger, passing through town, and watching this play will lift your spirits in a way that few things can.




Downtown Ashland is a hub of activity on Saturday mornings! From live music at the Coffee and Tea, to the ever-growing Farmer’s Market, it is THE place to be. The Farmer’s Market brings local produce, meats, eggs, and plants to Town Hall every Saturday from 9 am to noon. Get there early to pick up blackberries, late tomatoes, corn and butter beans.




Have you seen all the runners around town on the weekends? They’re training for the Patrick-Henry Half Marathon that will be held on Saturday, August 28th. This 13.1 mile race starts and ends at Poor Farm Park, and winds its way through our sweet town. Sign up to run in this race which benefits our YMCA, or come out to cheer on the runners. You can find more information at www.raceit.com/register/?event=836.




It was almost chilly last weekend for our first Bluemont Concert, but didn’t we love the change in the weather? This Sunday brings The Taters to the front lawn of the Arts and Activities Center. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs and come listen to music under the stars. Tickets are $5 per person, and kids 12 and under are $2 each. It is the perfect way to end a weekend.




Stay young and beautiful, Sweet Town. I want to remember you like this always- in your summer clothes, dancing, singing, and laughing with your friends. Hold it close in your hands, and enjoy the only August of the year. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, Ashlandnews@gmail.com . Have a lovely week! Xo, Meriwether

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

6/8/10 Successful Fourth, Summer Vacations, No One Can Catch the Barracudas


From all accounts, Ashland had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. Despite the heat, the parade was full of decorated bikes, scooters, and dogs. The lawn chair brigade returned, along with the kazoo brigade, and the basset hounds made a strong showing. Our Grand Marshal, Lorie Foley, looked regal in her horse-drawn carriage, and the lawn of the Arts and Activities Center was alive with picnic blankets, good friends, and cold ice cream. The Hanover Concert Band provided patriotic music, and that, combined with the shrieks from the three-legged race & water-balloon toss, gave us the quintessential summer soundtrack.


There were almost two dozen pies submitted for the apple pie contest, and I was lucky to have been asked to be a judge. Honestly I thought they all tasted really good, and a scoop of ice cream would have made them close to perfect. But, being judges, we scrutinized the crust, the texture of the apples, the flavor, and the attention to detail. The award of Best Overall went to Chrystal Tandberg; Most Patriotic to Jamie Doyle; Most Creative to Gilbert Green; and Best Kids Pie to Kate Melson. Congratulations!


There were lots of dogs entered in the Patriotic Pet contest, and even two chickens this year! First prize went to Olivia, the Springer Spaniel escorted by Alex Collard, second place went to Carly the Chihuahua escorted by Brenda Madani, and third place went to Cody the Mastif escorted by Stacey King. Congratulations to the winning pooches!


The new Red, White, Blue, and Green Sculpture Contest was a great addition to the day! Participants were asked to create a red, white, and blue sculpture out of used or recycled materials- hence the “green.” Congratulations to Nancy Cozart and Betsy Taylor who took first place for their Horse sculpture “Ode to Dali”, and second place for their “Pork of July” kitchen stool sculpture. Congratulations also to Susannah Gilmore and Annika Cline who took third place for their Cow creation!


The Ashland Barracudas are on a roll these days, or maybe we should say that they’ve caught a good wave. Last week they defeated Ashcreek by a score of 1386.5 to 1236.5. Will Mallory set team records in senior boys’ 100 free, 50 fly, and 50 free, and joined with Curran Henry, Chris Rothlisberger, and Elisa Worrell to break the team record in the senior 200 free relay.Quadruple winners for Ashland were: Jake Harris, Carson Ryan, Olivia Sewell, and Elisa Worrell. Triple winners were: Jillian Allen, Will Burch, Claire Bear Grant, Curran Henry, Libby Klinger, Will Mallory, Bennett Pienkowski, Lucas Pienkowski, Chris Rothlisberger, Kristen Trexler, and Natalie Willett.


There seems to be a family of raccoons living near the Ashland Pool these days, so be on the lookout if you’re at the pool or on the paths of Carter Park.


We were happy to welcome Rodney and Tamra Bardwell home from their annual trip out west to Arkansas! Other Ashland travelers were Jim & Lorie Foley who just got home from seeing Ireland with Jimmy and Nora. The summer is a great time to travel, but isn’t it comforting to cross the tracks and know that you’re home?


The Ashland Farmer’s Market continues to be a hub of activity on Saturday mornings, and now that the summer heat is here, the tomatoes are spectacular. Come fill your basket with blackberries, squash, tomatoes, onions, fresh-baked breads, and flowers for your garden.I’ve heard cicadas chirping in the heat of the mid-day sun, and there are crickets in the evenings.


I know the heat is oppressive and the lawns are turning brown, but summers in Virginia have never been that easy. We’ve learned to take the bad with the good. We eat our tomatoes, find a cool place to swim, and develop a deeper appreciation of central air. Have a wonderful week, Ashland- find a piece of shade and read a book. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.

7/1/10 Hotness, 4th of July, Speedy Swimmers, Dirty Dogs


Shh. Don’t talk too loud, or move too quickly. In this heat, you must move slowly. Speak slowly. Turn the pages of your book slowly. If possible, I would avoid any kind of engine that puts off heat: cars, lawn mowers, power tools, etc. The only thing to beat this heat may be laziness.

I’m hopeful that the heat will leave before the 4th of July. I remember one 4th several years ago when the humidity was astounding. This Sunday, plan on being at the Arts and Activities Center for the afternoon. Dress in your patriotic finest and bring a chair or a blanket to spread on the lawn. There will be so much to see and do and hear. There will be games and crafts for the kids, the famous apple pie contest, food for sale, the Library’s book sale inside the Center, music from the Concert Band and the Community Chorus- the list just goes on and on.

Plan to gather along the parade route (which begins at Henry Clay Elementary), and cheer for all the brigades. There is a wealth of information on the Center’s website: www.hanoverarts.org. There you’ll find information on joining the parade, entering a pie in the Apple Pie contest, and about creating a recycled sculpture. This contest is new: create a Red, White, Blue, and “green” sculpture by using recycled or found objects! Call 798-9131 for more information.

Those Ashland Barracudas are pretty amazing! Last week you may have heard the cheers echoing from Carter Park as the home team beat Milestone by a score of 1260 ½ to 786 ½. Will Mallory broke team records in senior boys’ 50 free and 100 fly, and Elisa Worrell broke a team record in senior girls’ 100 fly. Elisa also broke pool records in senior girls’ 100 back and 100 IM. Quadruple winners were: Curran Henry, Will Mallory, and Elisa Worrell. Triple winners were: Nick Gulas, Seth Gulas, Calyssa Kremer, Campbell Mills, Meadey Reihl, Chris Rothlisberger, Rebecca Sherrod, and Ben Williams. New championship meet qualifiers this week were: Joseph Boyle, Julia Chambers, Mirand Menk, Matthew Pienkowski, and Kristen Trexler.

Happy Birthday to Vern Inge who blew out the candles this past week!

Does your dog need a bath? Bring him to the Ashland Feed Store this Saturday, July 3rd, from 9 to noon for the South Anna 4-H Club’s Dog Wash! Your pet can get cleaned while you shop the Farmer’s Market across the street.

Congratulations to the new Executive Board of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center who officially took office today, July 1st. Sharon Stiles is the new president, Patrick Warren is First Vice President, Tammy Proffitt is Second Vice President, Mary Kay Thompson is Secretary, and Paul Franklin is Treasurer. These dedicated volunteers will put in many hours during the 2010- 2011 year, and I am excited to see the growth and energy that is generated from the Center these days. The 4th of July is one of their traditional events, and plans are already underway for the Musical Variety Show in the winter of 2011. Everything comes from The Center! Become a member and support your community. Visit the website: www.hanoverarts.org, for more information.

OK, Ashland, be young and beautiful this week! Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. xoxo, Meriwether

6/24/10 Graduations, Goodbyes, and the Fourth of July


Last week was a tough week; it was a week of ups and downs. Any kind of graduation is a bitter-sweet experience, isn’t it? You’re so proud of the work that’s been accomplished, whether it’s pre-school or college, but the moving on means those children are growing up. Where did our babies go? It was only a few years ago when we were that young, and trying to figure out what to do with our lives. I wish I knew how to slow it all down.


Our condolences to the family of Coty Gowen from Montpelier who was killed in a car accident on Elmont Road the day before his high school graduation. Our hearts ache for his family and friends.


Our Ashland Fourth of July celebration is right around the corner, and plans are well underway for parade brigades, the apple pie contest, and the new sculpture competition. Plan to gather along the parade route, and then on the front lawn of the Arts and Activities Center that Sunday. There is a wealth of information on the Center’s website: www.hanoverarts.org. There you’ll find information on joining the parade, entering a pie in the Apple Pie contest, and about creating a recycled sculpture. This contest is new: create a Red, White, Blue, and “green” sculpture by using recycled or found objects! Call 798-9131 for more information.


The Ashland Library will have a presentation on the dangers of littering for kids called, “Critters Don’t Need Litter” on Thursday, July 8th at 1pm. Meet animals who teach us about the dangers of littering and find out how you can help everyone live in a healthy, litter-free world. This is presented by the Wildlife Center of Virginia, and is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Library.


Now, Scotchtown is technically in Beaverdam, but I think it’s close enough to Ashland to warrant a mention here. During the summer, they celebrate several Scotchtown’s Second Saturdays with a summer picnic and colonial children's games on the lawn. Put July 10th on your calendar and plan to visit Patrick Henry’s home from 10am to 5pm. The general admission price is $8 for adults and $4 for students. Visit their websitehttp://www.apva.org/scotchtown/ for more information.


Congratulations to Ward Wilkinson who won the Elwood Kelley award at John M. Gandy Elementary School. Ward is the son of Debbie and Tom Wilkinson, and will start 6th grade at Oak Knoll Middle School in the Fall. The Elwood Kelley award is named after the beloved Hanover teacher and principal who passed away last year. It is annually given to a graduating 5th grader at Gandy who exhibits the principals and ideals that made Mr. Kelley a friend to every child he met, and it the highest honor that a student can receive at Gandy.


Congratulations to the Ashland Barracudas who won their first swim meet of the season last week against the Mechanicsville Marlins with a score of 1378-936! Will Mallory broke team records in the senior boys’ 100 free and 50 fly events. Quadruple winners were: Will Burch, Nick Gulas, Seth Gulas, Curran Henry, Libby Klinger, Calyssa Kremer, Will Mallory, Lucas Pienkowski, Ben Williams, and Elisa Worrell. Stay cool this week.


Find an ice cream truck, and catch some lightening bugs. Make the summer last as long as you can. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6/17/10 Start of Summer, Children's Market, Miz Edith Retires


These last two weeks of school are always a whirlwind of activities: graduations, parties, assemblies, concerts- I think all parents must feel like it never ends. My grandmother would say that I would "meet myself coming and going." I hope you all have some plans to slip away for a bit this summer. Stick your feet in the sand, lie on a couch somewhere and read a book. It's healthy, and it is always nice to come back home.

Kiddie Kingdom had a party this past week to say goodbye to Mrs. Edith Durrette, who retired from teaching after 38 years! Everyone ejoyed looking at pictures from the past, and listening to stories of her soft voice and quiet authority that resonated with hundreds of Ashland pre-schoolers. We wish her all the best!

I haven't heard much news from LA recently. Anything going on down there in Lower Ashland?

The Farmer's Market this Saturday will be a busy place. The first Children's Market of the summer will showcase our young entrepreneurs and their homegrown produce & homemade crafts. The local 4-H group will also be selling manure as a fundraiser- so bring a container to take some home! There will be two more Children's Markets: on July 17th and August 21st, so please contact Jen at farmersmarket@town.ashland.va.us if you'd like more information about how to participate!The Farmer's Market Bumper Sticker Contest is still accepting entries until July 10th. Wouldn't it be neat to see your artwork on cars all over town? You'll be famous! Look for more information at the manager's table at the Market this Saturday.
Here's a fun opportunity for your child this summer. The vendors at the market are looking for farm volunteers. You will be connected with a grower who needs your help, and leave with produce in exchange. Each of the vendors has a world of knowledge to share, and can always use an extra set of hands. Look for a sign up sheet at the market table, if you are interested in receiving more info!

And the last bit of Farmer's Market news is that Robert Torrence will be performing as you stroll the stands and fill your basket with blueberries, squash, tomotoes (!!), cabbage, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, pork, and goat cheese. You better get there early!Good luck to the Ashland Barracudas Swim Team who compete in their first meet tonight against the Mechanicsville Marlins! Swim fast Ashlanders!

If you remember, it was this time last year that the bear wandered into town. I think he liked Virginia Street in particular. Please call or email me if you see him again: 804-310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a wonderful week, COTU!

6/10/10 Hot Faire, Cool Library, Spicy BBQ, and Sweet Birthdays



We've had a slight break from the heat this week. I think the Strawberry Faire must always be on a hot day, just as it always rains when the State Fair comes to town. We are lucky to have the shade of the trees at Randolph-Macon to stroll under, and we are lucky to have such a fun event in our backyard.

Happy belated birthday to JoAnn Hunter, and happy early birthday to Lisa Checkosky, our favorite, come-here, pizza chef!

I have heard that there will be some tomatoes making an appearance at the Farmer's Market this weekend! If this is true, you better get there early because I am sure they will go quickly. There is nothing better than a fresh tomato. I think if they have a little dirt left one them from the field, it's even better. Also at the Market this weekend you'll find blueberries, blackberries, peas, peppers, cut flowers, native plants, and some crystal-clear bluegrass music. The Market is open Saturday morning from 9 to noon behind Town Hall.

There will also be some wonderful yard-sales around town on Saturday. If you drive down Virginia Street, you'll see some industrious kids who have spent many weeks cleaning out toy boxes and closets. If you have kids, it'll be a good place to find some bargains.

There's a lot going on at the Ashland Library these days! Come in and sign up for the Summer Reading Club anytime- there are lots of give-a-ways waiting for those who join. Storyitmes have begun for the summer, and there are speakers and events every week. Stop by to find out more or visit their website www.pamunkeylibrary.org/ashland.htm for more information.

There will be an Art Exhibit at the Ashland Coffee and Tea this Sunday, June 13th from 4-6pm. This is sponsored by the Ashland Arts Network, a group that seeks to connect all of the incredible talent that we have here. You can contact Petie Bogen-Garrett for more information: 840-9137.

Happy Birthday to Katelynn Brown who turned 9 on June 8th, and to Corinna Cline who turned 10 on May 27th. I know that these two golden blondes had nice birthday with lots of friends!


Congratulations to Helen Wells who figured out that I was talking about Virginia Barbeque in the last Ashland Column contest! Virginia Bargeque is located on England Street, almost directly across from the Police Station, and is one of the best places in town to have lunch or cater a party. Of course this is because Sarah (co-owner with husband John) is from Westmoreland County. That's in the Northern Neck, if you didn't know.

Everyone is counting the days until the end of school, and the pool at Carter Park is packed in the weekends. If I could wish to be anything, I think I would want to be an Ashland kid in the summer. Lightning bugs, ice cream trucks, sleep-overs, afternoons at the pool- what a wonderful world. Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

6/3/10 Strawberry Faire, Farmer's Market Contest, R-MC Graduation, Officer of the State




Did you have a nice Memorial Day weekend? I hope that you were lazy and took a nap on the back porch. I hope that you were thoughtful and remembered our veterans who fought to keep our country free. And I hope that you were social and spent time with friends and family. The Ashland pool was sparkling,full of happy children, and a good time was had by all.

The Ashland Strawberry Faire is this weekend! From 10 to 5pm, come stroll the shady streets of the Randolph-Macon campus and eat your fill of fresh strawberries. As always, there will be lots of music, food, and great vendors. Visit the website to learn more: http://www.ashlandstrawberryfaire.com/.

The Ashland Farmer's Market is having a bumper sticker design contest. There will be information available at the manager's table this Saturday, and entries will be accepted until July 10th. On July 17th, all of the entries will be displayed and votes will be taken for a winner! Your artwork could be on the back of every car in Ashland. All ages are eligible to apply.
Next week, the Ashland Library will welcome Tom Cervenak, marketing manager with the Virginia State Parts to tell us about all the summer fun that can be had right in Virginia. He'll have giveaways and prizes for everyone. Stop by on Wednesday, June 9th at 7:00 pm.

Teen Movie Night will be next Friday, June 11th from 6 to 8pm. Pizza will be served. Please call the Ashland Library if you'd like to attend: 798-4072.

I heard that Randolph-Macon's graduation was wonderful, and that the speaker, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Directory of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, was incredibly inspiring. Congratulations to all the graduates! We hope you thought of Ashland as your home while you were here.

Very big congratulations are in order for Dave Klisz, who you'll remember was chosen as the Hanover County Officer of the Year by the Sheriff's Department. Dave was recently awarded the honor of Officer of the Year for the entire state of Virginia. Can you believe that? It actually doesn't surprise me. Our sweet town contains a large proportion of exceptional people. Well done, Dave.

Congratulations to Paige Christy who welcomed her first grandchild this past weekend! Mark and Kelly Curtis are pretty thrilled, too, at the addition of their little boy. Will he make an apperance at our July 4th event? Paige is the coordinator this year, and it's gearing up to be a wonderful event.

Our COTU summer is here, I believe. School is almost over, the shade has returned, and there is a hum of lawn mowers all over town. Lightning bugs are out in the evenings, and children have a hard time laying their heads down to sleep. It is a wonderful time of year to live here. Fing a falling star and wish that you never have to leave.

Call or email me with your COTU news: 310-5320, ashland news@gmail.com. Have a beautiful week!

5/27/10 Summer Almost Here, Farmer's Market, Firehouse Theater, Contest

Do you realize that June starts next week? Have you cleaned off your porch? Do you have a good place to sit and listen to the cicadas when they arrive? There is no time to lose, Ashland. We need to hurry up and be lazy.

Congratulations to Lorie Foley who figured out that our local pet store, Fin and Feather, was the mystery business in our Ashland Column Contest! Lorie got a $10 gift certificate for understanding that the clues ("this store has food, but you can't eat it"), and that the secret word, "Doolittle", were a direct path to Mark Maphis and his wonderful store. See below for this week's contest.

Happy Birthday to Anthony Morris! Our sweet Buddha blew out the candles last Saturday, and we heard that he got lots of wonderful presents.

News of our Farmer's Market has spread and as the customers have increased, so have the vendors. Come out and sample all the local fruits and vegetables! Bring home gorgeous flowers for your kitchen table! Buy homebaked breads and farm-raised eggs! You will be eating healthier, and your life will be enriched by the conversations that you begin. The Market is open on Saturday from 9 to Noon behind Town Hall.

You must come to the Ashland Firehouse Theater this Saturday night! Do you know what they're playing? "Raiders of the Lost Ark!" Come see a studly Harrison Ford take down those Nazis. The movie starts at 7:30; tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for kids. The Firehouse Theater is located in the old firehouse across from Town Hall.

Randolph-Macon's Softball Camp is gearing up! Sign up your daughters, aged 5-14, for this great camp held on the RMC campus. Coach Kevin Proffitt will instruct and entertain for the week of July 12th from 9am to 3pm with daily swimming in the Brock Center Pool. The cost is $220 which includes a camp t-shirt and visor. You can contact Coach Proffitt for more information: kproffitt@rmc.edu or 752-3611.

We're really lucky to have some beautiful state parks in Virginia, and on Wednesday June 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Library, Tom Cervenak, Marketing Manager for VA State Parks, will share all about camping, hiking, swimming, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, and other fun things you can do this summer at our parks. Tom will have giveaways & prizes for everyone, and refreshments served. Sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Library.

OK, this is going to be an easy one. Although this business resides in a little cottage, they create big flavor inside. The secret word is (forgive me) "Wilbur". If you think you know what business I'm talking about, be the first person to walk in their door, say the secret word, and you'll get a $10 gift certificate. Good Luck!

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a beautiful week, and a relaxing Memorial Day!