By: Ernie Wren
First off, CONGRATULATIONS to the Southern Boone High School seniors that graduated this past Sunday! Your future is what YOU make of it, and no one else. You may fail five times during your career path, and if you do, simply get up six times and keep at it. Southern Boone will forever be your home, regardless of “the places you’ll go”!

Congratulations also to the boys’ baseball team and girls’ soccer team for representing the school with honor and dignity through challenging times, and reaching the district championships.

In my role as a writer for this paper, it’s always interesting as I pop into businesses around town. I’m often greeted by folks who have concerns about street repairs, too much population growth quickly exceeding our capacity, and much more. At one local restaurant I was engaged in conversation by the owner. They were frustrated by the lack of sales taxes paid by food trucks when doing business in Ashland and how the city and school district appear to support them more than local “brick-and-mortar” establishments. The owner was frustrated at the difference in requirements, along with the lack of investment these food trucks have in the community and schools (donating to local organizations and fundraisers), etc. Does the city collect taxes and fees from these trucks, like they do for local restaurants?

In response to this question, I asked Mayor Dorise Slinker for his comments, and was told that the city does charge 10% of sales, electricity is available (although no vendor has requested it as they find it easier to bring their own generators).
This past week the Chamber of Commerce awarded the Eagle Award to Natalie Winscott, who oversees Woody’s Pub & Grub. Natalie has worked hard at establishing fundraisers for those in need, as well as providing enjoyable business showcase events. Her commitment to the community and local businesses is greatly admired.

Izzy Smith with RE/MAX Boone Realty was also awarded the “Business of the Year” award from the Chamber and is also highly deserving of this achievement. Izzy has long been a positive presence in the community, starting from being a great kid in our school district, to leading business endeavors with the Chamber and Ashland Betterment Coalition. Congratulation to both Natalie and Izzy!

As a final note, while I’ll likely have an “Around Town” next week, I might take the following two weeks off. Or perhaps I’ll send the Journal some different types of articles, while my wife Danna and I load up the camper for adventures through the Badlands of South Dakota, Yellowstone in Montana, west coast in Oregon, down to the Redwood National Forest in California, Salt Lake of Utah, Colorado, and back home. I have a great house/dog sitter that I’ve used over the years, just email me at for information if you’re needing one this summer.

“When I figured out how to work my grill, it was quite a moment. I discovered that summer is a completely different experience when you know how to grill.” -Taylor Swift