Impact Ashland to be Held at Unity Baptist Church

Impact Ashland to be Held at Unity Baptist Church

By Pamela Hall

The Ashland Beacon

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Unity Baptist Church in South Ashland has been known for many years as a steadfast church with various outreaches in the community. The church has served the community for over 183 years, sharing the love of Christ. Last year, the church began yet another outreach called Impact Ashland, which is a continuation of their service to the community and is of great benefit to many.

Impact Ashland is a one-day event that allows residents to come to the church and receive health screenings, eye exams, haircuts, and many other services for the low cost of… FREE! Yes, FREE!


This year, the event will be held on Saturday, August 19 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The church is located at 2320 29th Street.

Pastor Heath Bauer and his wife, Amber, had been missionaries to China for 13 years before returning to the U.S. and eventually coming to serve at Unity Baptist Church in October 2021. One of the churches that gave the Bauer’s much support as missionaries was Lenexa Baptist Church in Kansas City. That church has held several successful events similar to Impact Ashland and was only too happy to assist Pastor Heath and Unity Baptist last year in the organization of the first event. The purpose of the event is to help supply the physical needs of those in the community while opening the door for their spiritual needs to be met as well.

“The church was never meant to simply be a building with a schedule of services,” Pastor Heath explained concerning why the event is important. “A church is a group of people blessed by God to be a blessing to others. Christ’s message of hope is best delivered while meeting the needs of others.”

Impact Ashland does just that, meets the needs of those in the community by offering free services that might otherwise be financially beyond the means of some. The church considers it to be their gift to the community.

Those attending can enjoy a community block party as they make use of free services such as an eye clinic with exams and glasses, health and wellness screenings for certain conditions such as blood pressure, haircuts, food pantry items, a clothing pantry, car wash, massage therapy, and much more, including oil changes for their vehicles. Those wanting oil changes must pre-register at or the Unity Baptist Facebook page. Pre-registration is required so that the proper materials may be obtained for the make and model of the vehicle.

Also offered at the event is a complimentary lunch, along with a goody bag of various items. Children in attendance can enjoy playing in the Kid Zone which has games, toys and more available to keep them occupied while parents partake the other services.

“This is another outreach event for the church,” stated Greg Jackson, a Unity Baptist Church member who is one of the organizers of the event. “We are trying to help meet the needs of the community just as the Bible instructs us.”

Unity Baptist Church is indeed fulfilling the instruction of the Bible with Impact Ashland, along with the other outreach ministries of the church. The event was named correctly as well, for the church is, in fact, having a positive impact on Ashland.

Don’t miss Impact Ashland from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 at Unity Baptist Church, 2320 29th Street. Visit the website or Facebook page, or call the church office at 606.324.7157 for more information.

Authentic Mexican Grocery Opens in Ashland

Authentic Mexican Grocery Opens in Ashland

Kathy Clayton

The Ashland Beacon

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                Authentic Mexican food is a favorite for many, and now it’s easier than ever to get that South-of-the-border flavor in your own kitchen.

                El Carbonero Tienda Mexicana is a new Mexican grocery store that opened about a month ago at 2843 Winchester Avenue. Owned by Genaro J. Alvarado, the store offers a wide selection of Mexican grocery items and packaged foods from Mexico.


                “I got the idea for opening this store from my mom and my brother in Mexico,” Alvarado explained. “They have a small business there, so this gave me the idea to sell the Mexican items here.” He noted that he has worked in several local Mexican and Italian restaurants, which has given him the experience he needed to select the items most people in the area want.

                “I have many products made in Mexico – dried peppers and herbs, cinnamon to make cinnamon tea, Mexican bread, tortillas, flavored drinks. We have a Mexican pop called Jarritos that is very popular,” he continued. “And here is Horchata, made with rice milk and cinnamon.” Various cheeses are stocked in the refrigerated section, including Oaxaca cheese, an ingredient in quesadillas.

                Alvarado noted that he is from the Veracruz state in Mexico. Besides his grocery items, he also stocks a few decorative items and products sporting the logos of Mexican soccer teams.

                The store features a section of herbs used both for cooking and medicinally. Many of the herbs can be made into teas to treat various ailments. For example, rue tea can help with headaches, and tea made from chamomile stems called Manzanilla en Rava can help alleviate stomach aches. He said he had a customer who asked for Cola de Caballo, which is used to make a tea. The customer said it helped the swelling in his legs.

                Customers will find plenty of Mexican snack foods to choose from – cookies, sweet and spicy candies and snack cakes. “We have palanqueta, candied peanuts, which is popular in Mexico,” he pointed out, “and cocada, which is coconut candy. And of course, we have chocolate and gum.”

                Alvarado said he has been trying to advertise his story on Facebook and Tik Tok, and while business has been good, he hopes to see more people stop by to check out his inventory. “I also hope to offer even more items in the future.”

                So, the next time Mexican food is on the menu at home, stop by El Carbonero Tienda Mexicana and add some authenticity to the menu.

Happy Dogust! AARF Benefits Homeless Animals Throughout the Community

Happy Dogust!

AARF Benefits Homeless Animals Throughout the Community

Pamela Hall

The Ashland Beacon

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The Ashland Animal Rescue Fund, known as AARF, is a shelter for homeless and owner-surrendered animals. The shelter is a no-kill facility that is dedicated to finding loving and caring homes for the animals that come there.

Recently, AARF held an adoption and birthday event for the animals at the facility located at 12365 Kevin Drive in the Paul Coffee Industrial Park. August 1st is considered the birthday for all shelter animals. As part of the “Dogust Birthday Bash and Adoption” event, AARF offered free photo shoot sessions for the animals that were adopted on that day, and also for those alumni animals that had been previously adopted. The event was sponsored through North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world, based in New York.


Ashland Animal Rescue Fund helps dogs and cats in the community that are strays or have been abandoned, as well as neglected or owner-surrendered animals. According to Cathy Queen, Director of the Ashland Animal Rescue Fund, the state of the economy has been a hindrance for some pet owners, causing some to surrender their pets. With rising costs, some simply cannot afford to keep their pets, a sad but true fact. The organization also tries to take in animals from local shelters but is often too full to be able to assist in that manner.

“Between here and our foster homes, we currently have over 100 animals,” said Queen. “There are puppies and adult dogs, and kittens and adult cats.”

For those interested in adopting from AARF, the first step in the process consists of filling out an application. One of the criteria for adoption is that currently owned animals in the household must be up to date with vaccines and veterinary visits, and they must be spayed and/or neutered. AARF also requires personal references and a reference from their veterinarian. These criteria are in place to make sure the animals are going to good forever homes.

When adopting from AARF, the animal that is adopted is always current on vaccines and is always spayed or neutered, or scheduled in the future for the procedure. Upon intake to AARF, all of the animals receive worming medications as well.

As you can imagine, the needs of the organization are great and there are many ways to help. AARF has foster positions available for those who might be interested. Volunteers are also needed at the facility for duties such as helping to feed or bathe the animals or even walking the animals. Donations are also accepted for various supplies that are needed. The list may be found on their website,

Ashland Animal Rescue Fund is a nonprofit organization that gets no funding from any other organization. As a result, monetary donations are also needed and accepted.

“We depend on our community a lot,” Queen explained. “Any money that we receive is simply from the goodness of the hearts of our supporters and the community, and from fundraisers that we do. It takes everyone’s support to keep us going.”

Future fundraising events include the Topless for Paws Jeep Ride, Saturday, September 30, starting at the facility and ending at the Greenup War Memorial. The Zombie Prom will be held on Friday, October 13 at the McConnell House in Wurtland. For more information about these events and to view the animals currently available visit the website or the Ashland Animal Rescue Fund Facebook page.

Getting Ducky Down in Catlettsburg Kentucky The KenDucky Derby Is Underway

Getting Ducky Down in Catlettsburg Kentucky

The KenDucky Derby Is Underway

Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

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Get ready Catlettsburg Kentucky… because on September 2, 2023, the Catlettsburg Boat Dock is about to have its water turn into a sea of yellow. Yellow rubber duckies that is! That’s right… rubber ducks! We are familiar with The Kentucky Derby and their illustrious racehorses. Executive Director of The Neighborhood and Boyd County Commissioner, Jeremy Holbrook, is no stranger to the community and is always producing new and unique ways to help local nonprofits in our area create, meet, and crush fundraising goals.


Holbrook’s latest stroke of genius brought with it an idea to bring a little bit of the derby to the county. The “KenDucky Derby,” is underway, and it brings not only a fun and unique experience but the opportunity to help over twenty local nonprofits. So, you may be asking yourself just what is the KenDucky Derby and where did the idea come from? Holbrook shared, “The KenDucky Derby will be a Rubber Duck Race on the Ohio River (at the Catlettsburg Boat Ramp) on Saturday, September 2nd at 4 p.m. during Catlettsburg Labor Day festivities. I have researched other rubber duck races that have been hosted as raffles for individuals to “win money” as a 50/50 operation with the hosting organization, which is always a fun opportunity.  But, I wanted to try something different that could help multiple local organizations. Due to the economy, inflation, and other circumstances so many of our local nonprofits have struggled with charitable giving and receiving donations. I know our community has extremely generous and supportive people, but over the past year or two, we have all been struggling to make ends meet.”

You can visit to “adopt” a single rubber duck or an entire wacky waddle of rubber ducks. A wacky waddle consists of twelve rubber ducks. Once you have all your ducks in a row, you are then ready to head on out to the Catlettsburg Boat Dock on September 2 to see your new rubbery friends released into the wild and onto the Ohio River. “Based upon the total number of ducks adopted (released in the race), the first-place winner (individual) will receive 10% of the total and 15% will go to their chosen nonprofit. We will give prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place individuals and their chosen nonprofit organization. The Bluegrass state is well known for its horse racing, and I’m very excited for how Boyd County will be a part of that in the upcoming years with Sandy’s Racing Quarter Horse track; I felt it would be a great opportunity to combine the competitive “racing” mindset with a community serving sponsorship,” shared Holbrook.

What better way to celebrate Labor Day than coming together for a fun day at the boat dock to support local non-profits in a fun and quacky manner? “I think this will be an incredibly fun event for everyone to bring their children to. I am hoping that we will have thousands of ducks going down the Ohio River. We have ordered 10,000 rubber ducks for the event (however we will only release the number of ducks that have been adopted/sponsored for the event). We are excited that the participating nonprofit agencies have the opportunity to set up a table at the event. This provides them a fantastic way to interact with the community and gives residents a chance to learn about the organizations within their community,” noted Holbrook.

Over twenty local nonprofit organizations, including volunteer fire departments, youth sports leagues, and agencies that serve those at risk or in need will benefit from this event. You will not want to miss out on the KenDucky Derby. It’s not about whose duck will be the fastest or who will come in first place. Holbrook pointed out, “Perhaps an agency doesn’t “win the Derby,” but they might gain a handful of new volunteers, which is immeasurably important toward our missions. Our community has so many valuable agencies that are supported by the incredible people who volunteer and serve. The KenDucky Derby was created to bring awareness and support for those who are loving local by their service.”

This event would not have been possible had it not been for caring and selfless individuals like the ones reading this article right now. YOU are what makes our community so great, and it is YOU that will keep our community in a constant stage of growth. A special thank you goes out to Marathon Marine for all the help they have provided with the setup and facilitation of this event and to our local Coast Guard. The Ashland Beacon hopes to see you all out at the Catlettsburg Boat Docks for Boyd County’s first ever KenDucky Derby.

Budding Musician is Ready to Shine

Budding Musician is Ready to Shine

Gwen Akers

The Ashland Beacon


Courtney Jo Harr began her musical journey at 14 and is now ready to debut as a singer and songwriter.

After a long break from the musical scene, Harr was persuaded and encouraged by her husband Micheal Harr to step back into the limelight. After a stroke when she was younger left half of her face paralyzed, Harr found her peace and escape in music. Music has always been her instrument of healing and understanding the world, and with the support of her husband, son Bradeyn, and family, she is now preparing to unveil her first EP this January.


Her husband, Michael Harr of 10 years, is one of Harr’s biggest supporters, and he could not be more excited and proud for his wife.

“We were friends for about two years, maybe a little less, and we [would] just take off and drive everywhere.  I heard her sing to the radio one day. I turn the radio down, and she just stared at me. I said, ‘Do you sing?’ She said, ‘Nope, I don’t sing.’  I aggravated her for a few weeks, only got her to sing a few things. She just had a good voice, and I just pushed her through,” explained Michael Harr.

Courtney Jo founded her band, the Courtney Jo Band, 2 years ago, and since then has toured all over the area. Born and raised in South Shore, she has toured and performed in a variety of cities–performing various genres but mostly country and classic rock. Harr started writing her own original music at the age of 25 and is now ready to step outside the safety net of singing covers.

“We throw in some originals here and there. We’re slowly getting out of the bar scene and starting to play festivals, fairs, and stadiums. We’re starting to get away from the covers, but it's hard to do whenever the crowd wants to hear stuff that they know. We play anywhere from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, down to Charleston,” commented Harr about her time on the road with the band, “I love it. I like getting to go out and meet all kinds of people.”

These connections are what really make the traveling music life perfect for Harr as she loves getting to go to new places and meet new people. One couple in particular really brought all of this into perspective.

“A couple came up to me, and they followed me all the way from Toledo, Ohio down here. That was just mind-blowing,” Harr explained as an example of her connections.

Harr is heavily inspired by her life experiences, her family and friends, as well as fellow musicians such as Kelly Clarkson, Martina McBride, Carly Pierce, and local talents Corey Neace and Emmy Davis. Rebecca Derrederry is just one of Harr’s musical best friends. After meeting at the North American Country Music Association International Competition, the two instantly hit it off and have been encouraging each other in their musical pursuits since.

“She’s very passionate about music. She didn’t think she was ever going to be a singer. I mean, she didn't start singing until she was like 19 or 20. She discovered her gift, and she's decided to share it with the world. She’s very outgoing and personable at the same time. You talk to her, [and] you feel like you've known her for quite some time right away,” remarked Derrederry.

In her career, Harr has auditioned for the Voice 11 times and American Idol 10 times, and currently works as a talent recruiter for American Idol, as well as in Hospice. Harr warned that in this industry you have to be resilient and never take no for an answer, especially in the pursuit of making music your full-time career. Harr has never given up on her dreams and encouraged all those other dreamers out there to keep chasing after their passions.

 “If you really want it, you gotta go do it. I do watch a lot of the local music scene–they try for a little while, and then it's like they lose the spark for it. You just keep picking yourself back up from your bootstraps and just keep doing it,” expressed Harr.

Those interested in keeping up with Harr’s musical career should be on the lookout for her EP set to come out in January. Until then, remember Harr’s words about being resilient, and keep chasing after your dreams just as she has hers.