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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 2 February 2020  

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Michelle Barrette

  By Michelle Barrette

   March is a busy month. On March 10, we change to daylight saving time. March Madness is to basketball fans what the February Super Bowl is to football fans. March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day — a day when anyone can be Irish. And then there is the first day of spring — somewhere around March 21. It doesn’t mean a lot in Colorado.
   Be sure to read Mark Stoller’s column, Mark’s Meanderings — he cites a quote from Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” that neatly sums up Colorado weather.
   March is also Women’s History Month, and this year the theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” So many women have paved the way for the rest of us. I Googled “prominent women of history,” and I wasn’t surprised at many of the names, but a few whom I wasn’t familiar with stood out to me. Read on.
   While Hedy Lamarr was often referred to as “the most beautiful woman in films” and had a commanding stage presence that made her a highly popular actress, she was one of the smartest women of her day as well (born in 1914 and died in 2000). At the beginning of World War II, along with composer George Anthiel, Lamarr “developed a new method of ‘frequency hopping,’ a technique for disguising radio transmissions by making the signal jump between different channels in a prearranged pattern.” The Secret Communication System, as it was called, was invented to combat Nazis during World War II; however, the U.S. Navy ignored the system. Years later (1960s), other inventors realized how groundbreaking their work was. We can thank Lamarr for smartphones and other technologies, as her communication system was a precursor to “wireless technologies, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.”
   The name Rosa Parks is well-known — she was the black woman who refused a bus driver’s demand that she give up her seat in the “colored” section of the bus for a white person. That took place Dec. 1, 1955, in Alabama. A lesser-known teenager had done the same thing nine months earlier on March 2, 1955. Too tired to give up her seat on the bus home from high school, Claudette Colvin refused to move for a white passenger. The 15-year-old Colvin was arrested for violating Montgomery, Alabama, segregation laws; she pled not guilty and was given probation. And later, Colvin became one of the four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, which ruled that the Montgomery segregated bus system was unconstitutional.
   Rosalind Franklin went to college, despite her father’s protests; and received a doctorate in chemistry in 1945 (during the era, women were not allowed to eat in the college cafeteria). Franklin became proficient in the study of X-ray systems and later led a research team in England to study the structure of DNA. Heading up another DNA research team was Maurice Wilkins; he showed Franklin’s ground-breaking X-ray image of DNA to scientists James Watson and Francis Crick — and took all the credit from Franklin. A few years after her death in 1958, Watson, Crick and Wilkins won the Nobel Prize, and Franklin’s work was barely mentioned.
   Today, as female CEOs or business owners or managers, we lament our salaries compared to men; and we often talk about the “good ole’ boy system that we have to deal with. I can only imagine what these women before us had to deal with.
   We can hope that our granddaughters someday have even more opportunities because of what women have accomplished in this decade.
   Speaking of accomplished women, Robin Widmar has reviewed a book that highlights the plight of wolves in this country; and Lindsey Harrison followed up with a profile of wolf-dogs — hybrids as pets. Both are great reads. Leslie Sheley gives us some insight into music and prayer in Black Forest.
   And be sure to check out Bill Radford’s Faces of Black Forest and People on the plains profiles, and don’t miss Prairie Life tales.
   And there is plenty more in this month’s issue.
   Finally, for a promotion this month we are giving away six-month subscriptions to the first 25 potential new subscribers that call me at 719-484-0384. We have a great little community newspaper, and I think you will enjoy the convenience of having The New Falcon Herald delivered right to your mailbox.
   Have a great March.
   See you in April,
   - Michelle
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