A Day to “Paws” and Reflect Celebrating National Pet Day

A Day to “Paws” and Reflect

Celebrating National Pet Day

By: Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

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On April 11, 2024, pet lovers across the nation will come together to celebrate National Pet Day, which is a time to honor the furry, feathered, and finned companions that enrich our lives in countless ways. From loyal dogs to playful cats, from chirping birds to slithering reptiles, pets hold a special place in our hearts, offering companionship, comfort, and unconditional love.

The bond between humans and animals is profound and enduring, dating back thousands of years to the earliest days of civilization. From serving as hunting partners and protectors to providing warmth and companionship, animals have played a vital role in human history and culture.

 

Today, the importance and emotional need of owning a pet remains as relevant as ever. At the heart of the bond between humans and pets lies the enduring connection forged through companionship and mutual affection. Whether it's the enthusiastic greeting of a dog wagging its tail or the soothing purr of a cat curled up in your lap, the presence of a pet has a remarkable ability to brighten even the darkest of days.

The benefits of having a furry-faced companion extend far beyond mere companionship. Research has shown that having a pet can have a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and even boosting immunity. Pets encourage us to be more active, to spend time outdoors, and to form meaningful connections with others in our community. Pets simply make life more enjoyable.

Whether your choice of companion barks, meows, or moos, one thing is for sure and that is pets teach us valuable lessons about responsibility, empathy, and compassion. Caring for a pet requires commitment, patience, and a willingness to put its needs above our own. Whether it's feeding, grooming, or training, the care and attention we give to our pets fosters a sense of responsibility and empathy that extends to other areas of our lives.

As National Pet Day is just right around the corner, let us take a moment to reflect on the impact that pets have on our lives and the world around us. Whether they're providing comfort to the sick, companionship to the lonely, or simply a source of joy and laughter to those around them, pets are truly deserving of our love and gratitude.

So, if you're a proud pet owner or simply a lover of all creatures great and small, take some time on April 11th to celebrate the furry, feathered, and finned friends that bring so much joy to our lives. Whether it's a walk in the park with your dog, a cozy cuddle session with your cat, or simply a moment of quiet reflection, let us honor the bond between humans and animals and the profound significance of pets in our lives.

          Another great way to celebrate National Pet Day would be to visit your local animal shelter and spend some time with the beautiful fur babies that would love to share their love with you. Who knows you might even find your new best friend staring back at you.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul

remains unawakened.”- Anatole France

Twice As Nice Local Literary Phenom Releases Two Books in One Year

Twice As Nice

Local Literary Phenom Releases Two Books in One Year

By: Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

Books

 In a world where storytelling knows no bounds, one young author is carving out a niche all her own, blending the intoxicating allure of romance with the heart-pounding excitement of thrills and suspense. With a pen in hand and a passion for storytelling in her heart, Rhiannon McGuire is captivating readers with tales that transport them to worlds of love, danger, and intrigue.

McGuire, a native of Flatwoods Kentucky and a graduate of Russell High School, is a literary trailblazer whose unique voice and boundless imagination have catapulted her into the spotlight as one of the most exciting young authors of her generation. With each stroke of the pen and push of the keyboard, McGuire weaves a tapestry of emotions, drawing readers into a world where love blossoms amid danger, and every twist and turn leaves them breathless for more.

 

At just 25 years of age, McGuire has already done what many set out to do but very few accomplish- publishing not one but two books in under a year. McGuire’s love of literature began at a very early age. At twelve, McGuire and a close friend often wrote short fan fiction-type stories to read back and forth with one another. That’s when McGuire’s love of writing took flight.

After the birth of her son, McGuire expressed an interest to her husband about the possibility of writing a book. She was quickly met with nothing short of encouragement, so she embarked on her journey to becoming an author and sharing her talent with the literary world.

McGuire’s first book, entitled Wrenches, is a stand-alone spicy romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat with each page you turn. Wrenches came out on Jan. 10, 2024, and is available for purchase on Amazon as well as Amazon’s Kindle service.

Following the success of her debut novel, Rhiannon is poised to captivate readers once again with her latest literary offering, entitled No Funny Business, which became available for purchase on Feb. 14, 2024, on Amazon and the Amazon Kindle platform. No Funny Business is the perfect blend of romance and suspense that is sure to be a real page turner.

McGuire’s literary journey doesn't end with the publication of her second book — that’s just the beginning. To celebrate the launch of No Funny Business, McGuire will be hosting a book signing event on April 13, 2024, from noon to 2 p.m. at Broadway Books, which is located at 1537 Winchester Ave, Ashland Ky, 41101. The book signing is the perfect opportunity for everyone to meet the author, get their books signed, and share in the excitement of the occasion.

For McGuire, the book signing event is more than just a celebration of her own success — it's a chance to give back to the community that has supported her throughout her journey as an author. By sharing her stories and connecting with readers, she hopes to inspire others to pursue their own creative passions and embrace the power of storytelling to enrich their lives.

McGuire explained, “What I would say to anyone that is looking to get started in writing is to just not rush it. Take your time and write things down as they come to you. Start out by writing things in a note pad or in your phone’s notes. It can be something as small as a paragraph. If you are looking for inspiration, you can find it all around. Pinterest is a really great place to get inspired.”

As she prepares to embark on this new chapter of her literary career, McGuire is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share her voice with the world. With her second book just recently launched and her first book signing event on the horizon, she is ready to take the literary world by storm and continue her journey as a rising star in the world of literature.

McGuire has plans of branching out to other genres with her writing and already has another book in the works. With each new book she releases, McGuire proves that age is no barrier to success and that the power of storytelling knows no bounds. Whether she's writing tales of romance or thrills, one thing is certain — Rhiannon McGuire is a rising star whose literary journey is only just beginning.

“The Road” A Unique Series Spotlighting the Stories and Journeys of Individuals Within Our Community

“The Road”

A Unique Series Spotlighting the Stories and Journeys of Individuals Within Our Community

By: Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

The Road NEW

Life is full of twists and turns and can easily be compared to that of a rural country road. Like the winding lanes that snake through the rural landscapes, our journey through life is characterized by a series of highs and lows, challenges, and triumphs, each contributing to the rich tapestry that makes us who we are and each of our paths unique.

Every decision before us is a crossroad, with each choice leading to a turning point that sets us on a particular path or perhaps directs us to a dead end, forcing us to turn back and consider a different path. No matter how trivial or monumental, our choices form the roadmap of our existence, guiding us toward our destinies. From the mundane decisions of what to eat for breakfast to the more life-altering choices like career paths or life partners, every fork in the road holds significance.

 

As we navigate the twists and turns of life's country road, we are reminded that the path is not always smooth or straightforward.  Country roads are notorious for being a rough ride. There may be detours and roadblocks, unexpected turns and unforeseen challenges that force us to reassess our direction and find new ways forward. Just as a country road is dotted with potholes and rough patches, so too is life punctuated by moments of adversity and struggle. Like travelers navigating a rugged terrain, we learn to navigate the obstacles that stand in our way.

From unexpected career shifts to unforeseen health challenges, these twists in the road can leave us feeling disoriented and unsure of our footing. Whether it's self-doubt, fear of failure, or external barriers that are beyond our control, these challenges can test our resolve and perseverance.  And yet, it is often during these moments of uncertainty that we discover our resilience and adaptability, forging ahead with newfound determination and courage, emerging stronger and more determined than ever before.

While we may not realize that amid the chaos and turmoil, our journey through tough times often can transform us into leaders, unknowingly inspiring and guiding those around us with our strength, courage, and determination. You never know who is watching you go through your struggles and finding the will to get through their own because of your perseverance.

 It may seem counterintuitive to associate leadership with moments of hardship and adversity because most of the time leaders are envisioned as individuals who exude confidence, charisma, and authority—qualities that may appear elusive when we find ourselves fighting through the storms of life. However, it is precisely during these trying times that true leadership emerges, not from any grand gestures or lofty speeches, but from the quiet courage and steadfast resolve displayed in the face of adversity.

Through grit, determination, and unwavering faith in the face of uncertainty, those fighting life’s storms have the uncanny ability to offer a guiding light to others who may be navigating similar challenges, reminding them that they too possess the strength to overcome whatever life may throw at them.

Throughout the surrounding community are countless narratives waiting to be shared… tales of ordinary individuals who have embarked on extraordinary journeys, leaving an everlasting mark on the fabric of those around them. The Greater Ashland Beacon wishes to showcase these individuals and their unique stories of the roads that they have traveled.

We are excited to announce a new series entitled, “The Road,” which will be dedicated to celebrating individuals within our community whose stories have in some way touched the lives around them at one point or another.

“The Road" is more than just a series—it's a journey of discovery, an exploration of the human experience, and a celebration of the rich diversity that enriches our community. Each installment will shine a spotlight on a different individual, offering readers an intimate glimpse into their lives, their passions, and the roads they have traveled.

As "The Road" unfolds, we invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and celebration. Whether you're a longtime resident or a newcomer to our community, there's something to be gained from every story shared. If you know of anyone with a unique story to share, we would love to hear about it. Please send story suggestions to our Associate Editor, Sasha Bush at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call/text 606.585.2507. By sharing the triumphs and challenges of our neighbors, we hope to inspire compassion, understanding, and a sense of unity within our community. Please join us next week for our first installment of this new series as we highlight the first of many travelers on this country road that we call life.

A Seamstress of the Wacky and Wild

A Seamstress of the Wacky and Wild

Gwen Akers

The Ashland Beacon

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Everyone knows the feeling—when you are wearing something you are confident in, feeling as if you could be or do anything. Seamstress Samantha Young brings this feeling to life—crafting, designing and altering the costumes and dresses that serve to tell the stories of their wearer.

Graduating with degrees in operatic performance and music education, Samantha Young has always had a love for the theatrical and the stories that can be woven and told through fabric.

 

“I was taught by my grandmother who was a seamstress. She was a basic dressmaker, very casual alterations, and she taught me everything she could until she couldn’t anymore,”  explained Young. “Once I really discovered my love for musical theater and theater in general, I noticed a really big need for people [and these services] in the industry.”

After taking a break from sewing during her college years, Young fell back into the craft after seeing the need for her sewing skills in the industry. With the perfect blend of creativity and passion, Young embarked on creating her own business: Thumb and Thimble: a Seamstress of the Wacky and Wild.

With eight years of experience in the field, Young partners with the Paramount Arts Center, Aspire Art Conservatory and more to bring to life the costumes of their dreams. Young excels not only in alterations but in designing and creating costumes and dresses from scratch. To date, Young has designed over 200 projects. Her work includes crocheting, knitting, quilting, embroidery, beading and more.

Young wants to spread the word that this line of work is not a pastime. “ I think that there's so much new design and so much to gain from knowing how to do this and being able to provide it for other people,” expressed Young. “I think this is something that everybody can find a little bit of happiness in.”

Young loves getting to carry on her grandma’s legacy and help people bring to life the stories they can tell through fabric. Young has experience in creating wedding dresses, cosplay, puppetry, equestrian wear, theatrical costumes and ballet.

Perhaps the best part of her business is getting to be a part of the story of those around her and getting to meet and talk to so many interesting people. Young, a mother and wife, also loves the family aspect of the business and her ability to spread the glory of God through this. Young knows that she owes everything she has to the Lord, and she hopes to serve him in everything she does.

“It’s really important for people to understand that this is an art, and that art fuels our lives for everything. No matter what, we're constantly surrounded by art whether we realize it or not,” detailed Young.

Young’s business is based out of the Community Trust Building, and she can be contacted on her Facebook page. You can also see her costumes on display with the Paramount’s newest production of The Little Mermaid.

Total Eclipse of the Heart Ashland Citizens Given Chance of a Lifetime

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Ashland Citizens Given Chance of a Lifetime

 By: Charles Romans

The Ashland Beacon

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              Dig out your solar glasses for the eclipse viewing event at Broadway Square in Ashland Monday, April 8. The event will run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and will feature viewing of the upcoming eclipse, live discussions, and other entertainment. The event is free to the public, and if you don’t have a pair of solar glasses don’t worry because not only will glasses be provided at no charge, but there will be special filtered telescopes set up for the public to view the event in a more up close and personal manner.

 

              Ashland City Commissioner (and self-proclaimed Space Nerd), Josh Blanton will be sponsoring the event in conjunction with the Highlands Museum and the Boyd County Public Library. Blanton said he saw the eclipse while in Alabama in 2017 and felt that the experience was “awesome.” Blanton said that he wanted to have the event for the people who are in Ashland and won’t be able to travel to a prime viewing spot in the path of totality where the maximum viewing experience is possible. “We’re going to have 3,000 pairs of solar glasses, so we’re going to be ready for anything,” Blanton shared. “We’ll have at least three telescopes with solar filters set up for people to look through. It will be a good place for people to gather and have a good time.”

              The prime viewing areas, according to NASA’s Eclipse Explorer, will be as follows: “Total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The total solar eclipse will begin over the South Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting, the first location in continental North America that will experience totality is Mexico’s Pacific coast at around 11:07 a.m. PDT.” The path of best viewing is expected to be in a diagonal progression from Southwestern Mexico to Northeastern Maine.

              Blanton said that the Astronomy Club plans to bring Ashland as close as possible with the solar eclipse event on Broadway Square and as the event progresses, they will talk about the science behind solar eclipses, mixing a little bit of education with the fun. The last eclipse event was held by the Boyd County Public Library, and Blanton said he’d been informed that the turnout was around 700 people, and even with the event taking place on a Monday during the normal workday Blanton expects to exceed that number. “The Peak will happen right around 3 p.m. when kids are getting out of school,” Blanton stated. Even though the timing is somewhat challenging, he hoped for a good turnout.

              Like all events sponsored by the Astronomy Club, this event is totally free to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. Blanton remarked that he and several other like-minded individuals with a passion for astronomy started the Astronomy Club, and they hold several events like the solar eclipse viewing throughout the year. “We have a Facebook page, but there’s no membership or anything like that. You can go to the page and learn a few things and see some of the pictures that we take around town.”