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Big Plans, Big Costs on Campus: a special report

Big Plans, Big Costs on Campus
A series on Alabama's system of higher education, analysis aided by PARCA

Sunday, October 24
Part 1:

Alabama's public universities are recruiting students from out of state and raising tuition in a quest for cash and quality.

Colleges' course: Unchecked growth
If you build it, will they come?
Troy sheds state boundaries, pursues global mission

Monday, October 25
Part 2:

Alabama devotes a large share of its state budget to higher education but divides it among a multitude of universities, many with costly and duplicative programs.
State schools duplicate services, stretch funds

Tuesday, October 26
Part 3:

State leaders push for smarter use of state education dollars.

State colleges being made to justify budgets
Retooled community colleges offer flexibility, lower cost

Alabama public universities chasing out-of-state students

An education piece informed by the work of PARCA

al.com: Special Report: The upgrades and expansions on the campus in Tuscaloosa are part of a building boom at campuses across Alabama. Within five years, the state's 16 public universities plan to spend $2 billion building and renovating, updating and expanding, much of it aimed at pulling in more students - and more tuition - to make up for slow growth in state tax support.

While Alabama's college-age population is projected to be essentially the same a decade from now, state universities are hoping to add at least 15,000 students over current enrollment. That means most of the growth will come from out of state, particularly from booming Southern neighbors
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Nocturnal symphony: Insects' hypnotic song rises to annual crescendo | al.com

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Nocturnal symphony: Insects' hypnotic song rises to annual crescendo | al.com: It happens every year about this time: a change in the quality of light, a premonitory shiver of wind that flutters the trees' green leaves. It seems to prompt, on these late summer evenings, the nightly symphony of insect song to rise to its crescendo.
They know their days are numbered.

Their enchanting songs create a sonic landscape as reassuring, as natural and necessary as rain or wind. As familiar as kudzu and pine trees.

You rarely see them, except for the cicadas, which seem to go mad this time of year, coming out in daylight, crashing around unbalanced, as if their own singing has finally driven them mad.

Every year in late spring as they start again, I resolve to spend as many evenings as possible just sitting and listening as the evening song swells around me. But summer is never as lazy as it promises, and most nights I'm still doing dishes in the denatured sonic envelope of air-condi…

Forever Wild buys north Alabama landmark Walls of Jericho

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IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK . . . LONG-CLOSED SCENIC AREA MAY SOON OPEN TO PUBLIC
THOMAS SPENCER News staff writer
Publication Date: February 1, 2004  Page: 17-A 

ESTILLFORK As you travel up the Paint Rock Valley toward the Walls of Jericho, the mountains close around you. The pavement ends. And for miles the dirt road is alternately rugged and rocky, mud-rutted and wheel-well deep in water. The final mile on foot, crisscrossing the stream in the narrowing canyon, can be downright treacherous.
But for as long as folks in this isolated valley on the northern edge of Alabama can remember, people have made the journey. The reward is the destination: a natural rock amphitheater cupped by steep limestone cliffs.
Here, the Paint Rock River's headwaters tumble out of the Cumberland Mountains. A crystal-clear stream plunges 50 feet off a ledge, disappears into a cave, erupts again from a cave in the limestone and cascades down a succession of stair-step waterfalls.
Davy Crockett lived just over …