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Stories by Fran Alexander

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FRAN ALEXANDER: The heart of a hill

Commercial creep leaves neighbors unsettled

Subscriber onlyAs children, at least in my generation, we learned that if you made a promise, you kept it, or a degree of peer scorn was in store. And, if you gave something away and then took it back, you were called an "Indian giver." Considering that the white man was always breaking the treaties he made with the Indians, the phrase parallels a bait-and-switch more than anything to do with gifts or trades. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: The inconvenience of plants, animals

Administration, Congress attacks vital environmental protections

Subscriber onlyWe grow up discovering there are rules governing how, where and when we should act in certain circumstances. And, when the teen years hit, we question and sometimes challenge or break the rules just to test their strength or to make them justifiable in our lives. Finally as adults, hopefully, we begin to understand the "why" behind most of the social and legal structures put in place to keep mayhem at a minimum. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Barricading the "golden door"

Family separations test what Americans really stand for

Subscriber onlyKeeping the faith with our fellow humans requires we assume certain fundamental values to be universal. Surely, for example, the greatest tragedy one could experience in life would be the loss of a child. Across the globe, millions are risking their lives and leaving everything they own or have ever known to save their children. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: A watershed moment

Illinois River organization works to change behaviors

Subscriber only"We look beyond the river banks and see the future and how the Illinois River will support our lives into the next centuries." Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Trusting the land

Organization devoted to preservation in midst of growth

Subscriber onlyHave you ever had a special place, a little spot where you maybe have gone to put your feet in the creek, to smell the pine trees, to listen to the birds or the frogs and crickets, or to just be alone? Or, do particular experiences depend on particular places? For example, the short county road to our home is a tunnel of trees, but driving it can change a rough day into a more peaceful one, similar to a shower that washes away stress. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Parks and the future

‘Imagine Tomorrow’s Parks’ designed to influence Fayetteville’s course

Subscriber onlyIf I had my way, Fayetteville would stop promoting itself, stop winning national awards and hide from the rest of the world. But, I don't have much of a success record in getting my way. So all I, or any of us, can do is tell local elected officials and their staff how we think things should be in our town and region and hope for the best. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Making climate progress

Organizations harness energy of people who care

Subscriber onlySometimes you just have to do what you have to do, try to change what needs changing and say to hell with the roadblocks. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Should we avoid chemical soup?

Forest Service ponders ways to deal with invasive plants

Subscriber onlySometimes things just get out of hand. The U.S. Forest Service has some housekeeping, or rather forest-keeping, to do, and recently made an effort "to gauge public interest and input" about their tidying-up plans. There have been meetings in Deer, Hector and Cass to take questions and discuss the "Roadside Vegetation Management and Non-Native Invasive Plant Species Control Project," among other things. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: The youth speak loudly

Parkland students passionate in response to shooting

Subscriber only"These adults, these politicians, these lawmakers, these legislators, they were supposed to protect us. And they didn't." Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Salamanders, pterodactyls and earmuffs

Process of electing U.S. leaders has gotten out of whack

Subscriber onlySuccessfully raising five sons to adulthood qualifies a mother for sainthood, and my husband's mom certainly earned her heavenly stars. She wisely knew how to keep her boys playing fairly, thereby limiting injuries, I assume, especially when navigating the constant feeding of her growing herd. When it came to pies, for example, one got to cut and another got to choose. And, when the remainder of the food was passed around the table, if there was enough for one more serving, the last person holding the dish had to ask if anyone wanted any more. It taught them long-term civility over momentary gluttony. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: The land speaks

Ex-agency deputy fights on to preserve forest lands

Subscriber only"There is no right way to do the wrong thing." Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: The perilous lives of girls

Men do damage with sexually incorrect actions against women

Subscriber onlyIt starts in childhood. Not wanting to frighten, but still trying to explain, parents begin gently, if they are smart, to let a child know there is a limit to trust. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Smoke gets in their eyes

House passes Westerman’s forest bill; Senate should say no

Subscriber onlyThis upside-down world we're living in leaves us questioning not only what we are told, but distrustful that our facts might actually be fallacies. Up is down, right is left, black is white and right is wrong. Under these conditions, scrutinizing all laws for their true intent, in spite of their titles, is vital. Continue reading...

FRAN ALEXANDER: Lost down the river

Organization calls on Tyson to do more

Subscriber onlyIf we follow the Mississippi River's watershed to its terminus, we reach the Gulf of Mexico. Cradled by five states, this water has long suffered body blows from humankind. Oil spills, pipeline breaks, chemical leaks, wetland depletion, wildlife habitat destruction, shipping waste and traffic, and runoff from sewers, parking lots, golf courses, industries, lawns, farms and the crunched remains of hurricane-demolished cities have all happened to the Gulf. Continue reading...

At War with Ourselves

Subscriber only"We all have a responsibility to figure a better path forward. This is not a liberal or conservative issue; this is about the fabric of our humanity. It is not a time to argue or politicize, but a time to act."-- Singer/songwriter Brian Kalinec Continue reading...

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