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>>

  • Natural Alabama

    Bird species abound in Northwest Alabama

    Bird species abound in Northwest Alabama

    Sunday, December 3 2017 10:13 AM EST2017-12-03 15:13:06 GMT
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    There are all sorts of ways to bird. Some birders travel thousands of miles to far off lands to see exotic birds. (Exotic to them, of course, but often common to the people who live there.) Others are content to bird a patch within walking distance of their home, and sometimes just in their backyard.

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    There are all sorts of ways to bird. Some birders travel thousands of miles to far off lands to see exotic birds. (Exotic to them, of course, but often common to the people who live there.) Others are content to bird a patch within walking distance of their home, and sometimes just in their backyard.

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  • Natural Alabama

    Boat trip into Mobile-Tensaw Delta is magical

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    A Bald Eagle soaring over the delta (Photo Ken Hare)A Bald Eagle soaring over the delta (Photo Ken Hare)

    To truly grasp the importance of protecting the Mobile-Tensaw Delta , I recommend a boat trip into the heart of "Alabama's Amazon."

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    To truly grasp the importance of protecting the Mobile-Tensaw Delta , I recommend a boat trip into the heart of "Alabama's Amazon."

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  • Natural Alabama

    Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert

    Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert

    Monday, October 30 2017 6:05 AM EDT2017-10-30 10:05:33 GMT
    Field trip leader Andrew Haffenden points out a warbler at the Fort Morgan stables area. (Photo Ken Hare).jpgField trip leader Andrew Haffenden points out a warbler at the Fort Morgan stables area. (Photo Ken Hare).jpg

    NA Andrew Natural Alabama 10-27-17 Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert By Ken Hare Advice to new birders from anywhere: Get to know good birders, and go with them on trips into the field to see birds whenever you can. It is one of the best ways I know to learn about birds and birding. Advice to new birders who bird (or want to bird) on the Alabama coast: Get to know Andrew Haffenden, and go with him into the field every chance you get.  It is one of the best ways ...

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    NA Andrew Natural Alabama 10-27-17 Australian native now Alabama shorebird expert By Ken Hare Advice to new birders from anywhere: Get to know good birders, and go with them on trips into the field to see birds whenever you can. It is one of the best ways I know to learn about birds and birding. Advice to new birders who bird (or want to bird) on the Alabama coast: Get to know Andrew Haffenden, and go with him into the field every chance you get.  It is one of the best ways ...

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

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

It didn't matterthat much of the time the offending article was on the news pages. As Iexplained to her innumerable times, as editorial page editor I dealt withopinion and did not supervise the news department. But she knew me, and shecalled and vented anyway.

That's becauseshe was fiercely loyal to her husband, who was mayor for 22 years. I was eithermanaging editor or editorial page editor of the newspaper for almost all ofthose years.

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

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

I knew AnitaFolmar in her informal role as the city's first lady, of course. But I latergot 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'tafraid to speak her mind. I found her level-headed and to the point. While Ioften differed with her on political issues, I found myself more often than notagreeing with her viewpoint on the need to improve services for children and toexpand and support the arts.

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

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

She will bemissed.

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

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