Constance Alexander: Art of outreach is a give-and-take process, highlighted by Side by Side project

Lily Higgins stacked boxes in a pyramid and iced the surface with scads of glue glitter and pompoms to create “Racetrack Birthday Cake.” Garrison Kelly turned a piece of wood into a graceful mallet and used colored pencils to trim the ridges with a rainbow of blue, purple, yellow and orange. Jayson Walker’s inventive inclinations were sparked by storytelling, and he created a book called “Spiritual...

Constance Alexander: By meeting challenges day by day, Hannah Babcock proves ‘yes she can’

Not having kids of my own, I have taken vicarious pride over the years in watching other people’s children blossom into members of a caring community. So many of our young people in Murray, Ky., do amazing things at home and away, and one who has impressed me from the time she was a very tiny girl is Hannah Babcock. In a scant twenty years, Hannah has brought distinction to our town with many outstanding...

Constance Alexander: Inspirational ‘Ride with Larry’ film about a journey of hope lands in Murray April 20

Larry Smith is a tough guy. Sort of. He spent twenty-six years in law enforcement as a captain in Connecticut, with the Hamden Police Department. He’s been married long enough to raise three children and move to South Dakota when his wife, Betty, accepted a professorship in Political Science at the university there. Some might suspect that the tough guy went soft when he opened the Bakery Café in...

Constance Alexander: Compared to dealing with cancer, triathalon doesn’t seem so tough

On a frigid Sunday morning when turning off the alarm and going back to sleep made the most sense in the world, Lisa Reisman got out of bed to swim a half-mile loop in the Long Island Sound, cycle fourteen miles, and then run four more through slicing winds and driving rain. Not exactly a fun time, but compared to the challenge she’d faced ten years earlier – when a grade-four glioblastoma threatened...

Constance Alexander: Looking back on 28 years of Main Street columns and community journalism

The premiere installment of Main Street was published in the Murray Ledger & Times the first week of February, 1989. At first there were two columns a week, but after a few years, I cut back to one. In the 28 years that have elapsed between then and now, there have been about 1,552 columns, totaling somewhere in the vicinity of 1.2 million words. I chose the name of the column because I used...

Constance Alexander: Generosity of spirit makes Crystal Estes a memorable person

Crystal Estes eyed my reporter’s notebook and confessed she might not have enough to say for an interview that would be published in the newspaper. Once she dutifully began answering my questions, however, I wasn’t worried. And after a few minutes of conversation, neither was she. Originally from Paducah, Crystal graduated from Reidland High School. After that, she went to Easter Seals, which offers...

Constance Alexander: With broad appeal, Murray celebrates positive resources for all age groups

In 1988, Murray was still celebrating its designation by Rand-McNally as the #1 retirement community in America, and I was getting married and moving here. As a native northeasterner far from retirement age, I had reservations about my new Kentucky home. Soon after settling in, however, I realized that Murray and Calloway County offered benefits that were not confined to any one age group. Over the...

Constance Alexander: Murray not resting on its laurels; focus group examines needs of disabled

Make no mistake. Murray, Ky., has rightfully earned every kudo it has received. No token distinctions on our community resume. From Kentucky’s Friendliest Hometown; to Playful City, USA; to #1 retirement community in the nation; to the home of MSU, highest ranked comprehensive university in Kentucky, Murray-Calloway County sets high standards for itself and has a variety of awards and recognition...