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So-called “White Nationalists” demonstrating in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend told reporters they felt emboldened by the election of Donald Trump last fall, and his calls to “take America back.”

Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler has been thinking about the America to which some would like to return:

There is much talk these days about what old timers call the “good old days.” Now all that has been coopted by some fellow in Washington D.C. as “Make America Great Again.”

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Lake Effect essayist Mark Siegrist is thinking about the ideal summer road trip. In fact, it's one he just took.

Sometimes hitting the open road is just good for the soul.

That might sound rather strange from a guy who hates driving in the city.

All that weaving, and speeding, and tailgating just wears me down.

But the open road is different.

Drivers seem less uptight.

More willing to give a little.

Except for the guy who cut me off at the Illinois tollbooth.

The White House / Wikimedia

While much of the U.S. coverage of the recent G-20 summit focused on America's place at the table, Lake Effect contributor, Art Cyr, is still thinking about the role played by the summit's host country: Germany.

Germany has just hosted the latest summit of the G20, the global group of leading industrialized nations, held in Hamburg over July 7 and 8. Chancellor Merkel can count this is another notable success in her now lengthy tenure leading not only a unified Germany, but much of Europe as well – within and beyond the European Union.

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A sharp political divide shaped France's recent national and regional elections, but in both cases, moderate candidates made significant gains. Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr has some Bastille Day thoughts about the French Republic.

In parliamentary elections held June 18, French voters continued the moderate trend which was apparent in the presidential election last month. In that earlier election, Emmanuel Macron was elected chief executive of the nation by a substantial margin. He decisively defeated radical nationalist Marine Le Pen.

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There are some people who are always on the move - never staying in one place or one city for very long.  But for many others, a single place - often a single house - holds tremendous significance:

In Ecclesiastes 3 we are told there is a time for everything; a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to speak and a time to be silent, and among others, a time to be born and a time to die. What the good book didn’t mention is a time to move, which has been happening in our neighborhood lately with some frequency.

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Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz has loss on her mind:

I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage lately. And death.

Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Writer Marnie Mamminga is a Chicago-area native but many of her most touching words are written about her family’s cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin.

Mamminga’s latest book, On a Clear Night: Essays From the Heartland, is a collection of essays that reminiscences her time in the northwoods as well as other parts of her life.

Lauren Groh

Contributor Lauren Groh has been through-hiking the Appalachian Trail this spring and summer.  So far, she and her hiking companions have hit several major milestones - including reaching 400 miles on the journey.

Groh checked in from the trail just recently and reflected on the day-to-day challenges of surviving such a major undertaking:

It's day 42 in the Appalachian Trail. We left Erwin, Tennessee three days ago, and our next stop is Hampton. We will hit the 400-mile mark tomorrow, if we push it!

Republic of Korea / Flickr

In South Korea former president and conservative politician, Park Geun-hye, was impeached this year for abuse of power. The process to find Park's replacement culminated in the election of current president, Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea. He won in a landslide. Lake Effect essayist, Art Cyr, has been reflecting on the recent election and what it means for the state of democracy. 

Ioan Sameli / Flickr

Our view of our parents evolves as we get older - from believing they’re omnipotent to understanding they aren’t, and that they are fallible. Lake Effect essayist, Cari Taylor-Carlson, was an adolescent when a pack of cigarettes taught her a vital lesson about her mother.

Courtesy of Pam Parker

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the many gifts our parents give us, and sometimes the gifts we’ve given them. Lake Effect essayist, Pam Parker, fondly remembers the gifts she and her mom shared one bygone Mother’s Day.

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Mother’s Day is just a few days off. Many of us will take the day to consider the lessons our moms imparted on us, or are still imparting. Lake Effect essayist Cari Carlson is certainly in that group.

Like most people over 60, I grew up with daily, sometimes hourly, nuggets of wisdom from my mom. I pretended to listen then dismissed her words as I carried on in my kid-centered orbit. Really, how many 10-year-olds listen to their mothers when they say, "Don't cross that bridge until you come to it." Later, I realized mom knew what she was talking about. 

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Many of our social media feeds are lighting up with news of where this year’s high school seniors have decided to go to college next year.  It’s an exciting time for them, but - as Lake Effect essayist Jessie Garcia can attest - a stressful time for their parents:

Wikimedia

There are many interesting biographies you can find in the neighborhood library or bookstore. They often share a side of famous people we didn’t know or appreciate. Lake Effect essayist Mark Siegrist says there are two that should be on your radar screen.

I love reading biographies.

Sometimes they can be dry. But often they contain golden nuggets about favorite personalities that make you stop and think… Really?

It happened to me recently while paging through separate stories about a couple of big names.

Essay: The Idea

Apr 18, 2017
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Milwaukee native Lauren Groh is in the process of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail. In this essay, she explains what prompted her to attempt the journey:

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