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Photographs by Steven Higgs

Occupy Bloomington protesters rallied at the IU Sample Gates and marched to the Courthouse Square on Nov. 17 as part of a national day of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement on its second-month anniversary.

Read about the rally and march at Occupy Bloomington rallies, marches in solidarity.


Text and photographs by Steven Higgs

The streets of Bloomington swelled on Oct. 15, 2011, with Occupy Bloomington protesters who demanded a cultural revolution that rewards humanity and justice over avarice and sociopathy. The march began at People's Park and proceeded to the Farmer's Market and back to the park, with stops at Chase bank, the Monroe County Jail and the Farmer's Market.

As motorists, downtown shoppers and market-goers honked, smiled and otherwise demonstrated support, the marchers chanted "We are the 99 percent; you are the 99 percent," "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out," and "This is what democracy looks like."


Text and photographs by Steven Higgs

NEWPORT, IND. -- More than two dozen environmental advocates got a rare, up-close view of a restored tallgrass prairie on the the west-central Indiana Newport Chemical Depot during a two-hour tour of the facility on Aug. 12. The 7,100-acre Army base offers the best chance to preserve a globally endangered ecosystem that once stretched from the Wabash River in Indiana to the Great Plains.

Citizens attending the tour had unsuccessfully urged the U.S. Army to include permanent protection for the base's restored, 336-acre prairie and a broader restoration area when the installation is closed and transferred to a local, quasi-governmental Reuse Authority, expected to occur on Sept. 15, 2011. The prairie's future is in the hands of the five-member Newport Chemical Depot Reuse Authority.

The following photographs were taken during the Aug. 12 tour.

For more on the prairie and the conflict over its fate, see the Alternative series "The Indiana prairie's last best chance."


I began 2011 with a quick-burst trip to Madison, Wis., to visit friends and have a conversation with journalists at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a cutting-edge, nonprofit journalistic organization housed at the University of Wisconsin.

Since I last drove through Northwest Indiana, a planned 600-turbine wind farm has sprouted along both sides of a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 65 just north of the Tippecanoe-White County line. A clerk at an unmarked BP station just off the highway said the turbines had been there about two years. An April 15, 2009, Associated Press article said the project is expected to take five years to complete.

While in Madison, I took a frigid photo stroll along State Street, a pedestrian-friendly, coffee-shop lined street that extends from the State Capitol through the heart of the UW campus, with a shore-side stop on a frozen Lake Mendota. We squeezed a trip to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens before I drove back through the windmills.

Photographs by Steven Higgs

Bloomingtonians gathered with other tree lovers at Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest near Paoli on Oct. 17 to celebrate Old-Growth Forests, where trees grow old enough to die. After talks, songs, and food, celebrants strolled through the forest, admiring the living and the dead. The celebration was organized by Bloomington's Katie Hicks (third from right in Singing in the Shade), who has interviewed people who helped establish Pioneer Mothers in the 1950s.

Photographs by Carol Polsgrove

Peabody Coal Company is digging  a sizable chunk out of Sullivan County in what will be the largest surface coal mine east of the Mississippi: the Bear Run Mine. To see the mine for yourself, take state road 159 a few miles south of Dugger (which is west of Linton).  The mine is across from the Greene-Sullivan State Forest.

Photographs by Carol Polsgrove

The following images were captured on Sept. 4, 2010, in Owensboro, Ky. and the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial, Patoka Lake and French Lick in Southern Indiana.

Photographs by Steven Higgs

South-central Indiana citizens turned out en masse once again on Aug. 26, 2010, to tell the Indiana Department of Transportation they oppose new-terrain I-69. At a packed gymnasium at Eastern Greene County Middle School, more than 9 of every 10 speakers pleaded with the state to change its decision.

Photographs by Steven Higgs

Bloomington Alternative editor Steven Higgs is on the road working on assignments in the Ohio River Valley this summer and always has his Nikon at his side. The photographs in this album were taken in July and August 2010 in Jasper, Ind., Huntingburg, Ind., Rockport, Ind. and Owensboro, Ky.

Photographs by Steven Higgs

Students, teachers, parents, politicians, and others worried about funding of Monroe County schools rallied April 10 at City Hall to enlist support and volunteers. The rally and parade that followed was sponsored by Support Our Schools. You can join the SOS discussion here.

Photographs by Carol Polsgrove

The farmers’ market in San Isidro, Costa Rica, features a wide assortment of fruits, vegetables, and vendors and customers of all ages. Organic farmers have their own section and wear green shirts. North Americans who live in the area (some of them as farmers) gather at one end of the market to sell produce and socialize. San Isidro is a town in the southern mountains where I spent a month studying Spanish at SEPA, a Spanish Language and Environmental Protection Center.

Photographs by Carol Polsgrove
Photographs by Steven Higgs

These images were shot at a Sept. 19 rally in Bloomington for single-payer health care. The event was held in conjunction with a group of Oregon doctors touring the country in favor of single-payer under the name "Mad as Hell Doctors."

Photographs by Steven Higgs

These photos are digitized versions of silver gelatin prints taken in Southeast Monroe County between 1974 and 1978. They are posted here as part of "Forty Years in Bloomington: A Memoir," by Alternative editor Steven Higgs. These images illustrate the chapter titled "Country living and flame of recognition."

Photographs by Steven Higgs

These photographs were taken in Barranquilla and Cartegena, Colombia, in 1974. They are posted here as part of "Forty Years in Bloomington: A Memoir," by Alternative editor Steven Higgs. These images were posted in conjunction with chapters titled Plan Colombia '74, Part 1 and Plan Colombia '74, Part 2.

Photographs by Steven Higgs