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"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."
– Mark Twain  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 4 April 2019  

None Black Forest News   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos  
None Did You Know?   None FFPD Column   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher  
None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49  
None People on the Plains   None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life  
None Rumors  
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Michelle Barrette

  By Michelle Barrette

   It’s summer (officially starting June 21) and John and I have been planting, from flowers to tomatoes. Although it’s a tedious job, I love being outside under a warm sun, with my hands (garden gloves on, of course) coated in dirt. I’ll take planting, preening and weeding any day over shoveling snow!
   This month, the NFH has tackled another problematic intersection — this time it’s McLaughlin Road and Old Meridian Road. Interesting thing about all of these intersections (we are on No. 4 in the series), inattentive driving is the common factor, whether it’s failing to yield or stop, almost riding the bumper of the car directly ahead or making illegal turns. The county is trying to fix these issues, but I am thinking the drivers are the ones who need “fixed.”
   And then there are those who can’t put down their “devices” like cell phones, and the consequences of making sure that one text gets sent could be deadly. Addressing those “devices” brings me to Mark Stoller’s column, Mark’s Meanderings, this month — a must read for parents and kids. Mark discusses our obsession with “devices” and social media and the potential consequences of inattentive interactions with family and friends. I read today about a second-grader who said she wished cellphones didn't exist because her parents are on them all the time. 
   I just took a quick trip to Nebraska to attend my grandma’s 99th birthday party. She is amazingly sharp, and many family members were there to celebrate this milestone. I hope her keen mind is hereditary. If her body was as in tune as her mind, she would still be baking pies and cinnamon rolls (I definitely did not inherit her baking skills).
   The NFH would like to congratulate the D 49 class of 2018. I hope this generation will use their voices to help make our schools safe. They have lots of opportunities going forward — and many challenges.
   One challenge that we must all face is the terror that runs through our schools in this country because shootings have become commonplace. And we cannot afford to become complacent. In the latest school shooting May 18 at Santa Fe High School in Texas, eight students will never graduate because they were killed, along with two teachers; and more than a dozen people were injured. I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics — news reports showing that 22 school shootings have taken place in the U.S. since the start of 2018. The number includes shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to more than one shooting a week. I was especially struck by a few students who said they weren’t “surprised” that the shooting took place at their school. One student said she was not surprised because “it’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here, too.”
   So, are these kids sitting in their classrooms constantly looking over their shoulders? I have a daughter who is a teacher, and I have granddaughters who will eventually be in some school building at some time. It’s mind boggling we have to worry that schools are not safe for our children.
   I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think we are looking deep enough at the issue of kids killing kids, and just how these kids are getting the guns. And are parents really paying attention?
   If we get used to these school shootings, we will not only be complacent, we will be “complicit” partners in crime.
   We also address teacher salaries this month, plus the five-year anniversary of the Black Forest fire, housing developments and a duck and his love for chickens — and more. We also welcome a new writer, Leslie Sheley. She is our new stringer, and will be covering much of Black Forest, along with Falcon. Leslie has gotten her feet wet with the discovery of a winery-to-be and photos from the Black Forest Arts and Crafts Guild spring show.
   It’s also Father’s Day on June 17; Flag Day is June 14; and Juneteenth is June 19. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Have a great start to your summer.
   See you in July.
   - Michelle
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