Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 12, 2014

Mark Maynard: Reasons to celebrate: 2/13/14

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — Now that the Great Water Crisis is behind us (hopefully), it’s time we start celebrating our area again.

We have lots of reasons to be thankful for where we live (running water is now one of those items).

Ashland City Manager Ben Bitter, on the job for only about a month, was thrown into a major catastrophe with the water problems.

Give him kudos for managing the situation as well as anyone could have, given the circumstances, and for keeping the media and public informed of the progress or, on some days, lack of progress.

He had two daily press briefings, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., to make sure everyone knew where the situation stood. Our newspaper never had problems reaching him if we had questions.

I understand there was some grumbling for those who went days without water or who had little to no water pressure. And, not being one of those people, I’m not going to sit here and judge that reaction.

But, in my estimation, for a crisis situation, our new city manager gets high marks.

If you were anywhere downtown on Saturday afternoon, you may have seen visitors milling around. They were here for the kickoff of the Ashland geocaching event initiated by Kentucky Healthy Choices.

While this was not a city-sponsored event, Mayor Chuck Charles was a cordial host for the event because of his connection with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and KHC.

There were more than 130 who registered for a geocaching event in which people sought out 15 destinations in a 10-block area of downtown.

It was a great way to introduce Ashland to many of them and Charles made sure he plugged Our Town during introductions to the group before the chase began.

He talked about how we are a town known for our festivals, including Summer Motion, Poage Landing Days and the Winter Wonderland of Lights.

Geocaching is something families can do together and many have embraced it since 2000.

Charles plans to put together geocaching in other areas of Boyd and Greenup counties.

On Saturday night, the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center hosted the inaugural “Dancing With Our Stars” to great reviews.

The fundraiser will help the museum bring in more exhibits and host more local displays, not to mention give us something else to do on a cold February night.

And finally, Tuesday was a bittersweet day in Ashland with the start of the demolition of Putnam Stadium, the 76-year-old home of the Tomcats.

What you are sure to like is the new Putnam Stadium set to be ready before the start of the 2014 football season.

Take heart, everybody. Spring is on the way and with it comes warmer (hopefully) weather and kids in school (hopefully not until July).

Also, take a sip of water from the faucet and thank a city worker for good work in horrible conditions.

And be thankful where you live.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.