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!