Ken Hare In Depth: Former Montgomery first lady a force in her o - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Ken Hare In Depth: Former Montgomery first lady a force in her own right

  • THE GREAT OUTDOORSKen Hare's Natural AlabamaMore>>

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    Ken Hare's Natural Alabama: Birding road trips are also about freedom

    Ken Hare's Natural Alabama: Birding road trips are also about freedom

    Saturday, May 20 2017 2:30 PM EDT2017-05-20 18:30:36 GMT
    Purple Gallinule in Geneva County. (Source: Ken Hare)Purple Gallinule in Geneva County. (Source: Ken Hare)

    I love road trips. There is something soul-satisfying about jumping into a car and heading out with only a general idea of where you're going and what you're going to do.

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    I love road trips. There is something soul-satisfying about jumping into a car and heading out with only a general idea of where you're going and what you're going to do.

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    Ken Hare's Natural Alabama: Sometimes weather good for birds, but not birding

    Ken Hare's Natural Alabama: Sometimes weather good for birds, but not birding

    Saturday, May 6 2017 11:45 AM EDT2017-05-06 15:45:34 GMT
    AOS members, never without their binoculars, at the Goat Trees in Dauphin Island. (Photo Ken Hare)AOS members, never without their binoculars, at the Goat Trees in Dauphin Island. (Photo Ken Hare)

    Sometimes, what's good for the birds might not be good for the birders. Each year, the Alabama Ornithological Society holds two of its three meetings on Dauphin Island specifically to try to be there when migrating birds are making stopovers during their spring and fall flights to and from wintering grounds in the Caribbean, South America and Central America. But when about 100 AOS members gathered for three days of field trips in April, there were far fewer migrants than are usuall...

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    Sometimes, what's good for the birds might not be good for the birders. Each year, the Alabama Ornithological Society holds two of its three meetings on Dauphin Island specifically to try to be there when migrating birds are making stopovers during their spring and fall flights to and from wintering grounds in the Caribbean, South America and Central America. But when about 100 AOS members gathered for three days of field trips in April, there were far fewer migrants than are usuall...

    More >>
  • Ken Hare's Natural Alabama

    Ken Hare's Natural Alabama: New bird banding project builds on years of research

    Ken Hare's Natural Alabama: New bird banding project builds on years of research

    Saturday, April 29 2017 5:02 PM EDT2017-04-29 21:02:35 GMT
    Mist nets such as this one are used to harmlessly catch small birds such as this Common Yellowthroat Warbler. (Photo Ken Hare)Mist nets such as this one are used to harmlessly catch small birds such as this Common Yellowthroat Warbler. (Photo Ken Hare)

    For more than two decades starting in 1989, ornithologists captured and banded thousands of birds migrating through the Fort Morgan peninsula on Alabama's coastline. 

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    For more than two decades starting in 1989, ornithologists captured and banded thousands of birds migrating through the Fort Morgan peninsula on Alabama's coastline. 

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

For two decades it was as sure as spring follows winter; when the newspaper printed something that could be construed as critical of then-mayor Emory Folmar, Montgomery's first lady Anita Folmar would be on the telephone to set me straight.

It didn't matter that much of the time the offending article was on the news pages. As I explained to her innumerable times, as editorial page editor I dealt with opinion and did not supervise the news department. But she knew me, and she called and vented anyway.

That's because she was fiercely loyal to her husband, who was mayor for 22 years. I was either managing editor or editorial page editor of the newspaper for almost all of those years.

If that was the only reason she called, I wouldn't be writing this column. Women who are fiercely loyal to their political husbands are not exactly a rare commodity.

But she called many times when her husband was not the reason, and those calls almost always focused on making the community better for either children or the arts or both. (Interestingly, she seldom called about politics, even though she was deeply involved in state and local politics as well.)

I knew Anita Folmar in her informal role as the city's first lady, of course. But I later got to know her better by working alongside her on civic boards and committees, especially United Way. She wasn't just a figurehead member of those committees; she worked at them.

She wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I found her level-headed and to the point. While I often differed with her on political issues, I found myself more often than not agreeing with her viewpoint on the need to improve services for children and to expand and support the arts.

Mayor Todd Strange was on target when he said, "Her work with the United Way and love for the cultural aspects of our city, devoting herself to the zoo, museum of fine arts, the ballet, the Armory Learning Arts Center and countless other outlets, are among the many ways she served our citizens. Although she did not hold elected office, her dedication to Montgomery helped move our community forward."

It's not unusual for political wives to adopt a cause or two, and many of them make a difference. But Anita Folmar went far beyond the usual; she was a real force for good in this community in many areas and over a long span of years.

She will be missed.

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Ken Hare was a longtime Alabama newspaper editorial writer and editorial page editor who now writes a regular column for WSFA's web site. Email him at khare@wsfa.com.

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