January 2021 Clarke-Washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News January 2021




Ministry builds hope, home by home



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Hunting waterfowl

If you’re looking for a good outdoor activity for you and your children, try paddling your canoe or kayak and go hunting for coots, also known as mud hens. During the winter, almost any freshwater or brackish coastal bay in Alabama with aquatic weeds offers great opportunities to bag these waterfowl. Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Hansen ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols

28 F E A T U R E S

VOL. 74 NO. 1  JANUARY 2021

mountains 9 Majestic Mountain views make beautiful

photographs, as our readers prove this month.

the drive 16 Worth The Wheelhouse in Opp is fast

becoming a favorite of locals and travelers.

Winter veggies 30 One benefit of the cold winter

months is something we might take for granted: an abundance of some of our favorite fresh vegetables.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquiries, email: contact@alabamaliving.coop NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311


D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 22 Gardens 26 Crossword 29 Fish & Game Forecast 38 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop

ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online!

Printed in America from American materials

Emma Farris, a volunteer with Auburn Community Church, works on an Alabama Rural Ministry workday project in the Lee County community of Beauregard. Story, Page 12. PHOTO: Julie Bennett



www.alabamaliving.coop letters@alabamaliving.coop Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop JANUARY 2021  3




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W Office Locations Jackson Office 9000 Highway 43 P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081 Chatom Office 19120 Jordan Street P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 (251) 847-2302 Toll Free Number (800) 323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

Payment Options Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone (855) 870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com

Let’s connect We developed a strategic plan in 2019 to help guide us with changes both internally and throughout the industry. One action item in our strategic plan was to establish a social media presence. In 2021, we will be introducing a new face to the cooperative - on social media that is. I am pleased to announce that the official Clarke-Washington EMC Facebook page will launch on Monday, January 4, 2021. The move into social media was part of our strategic plan for 2020-2024, but we wanted to establish a social media presence for the cooperative sooner rather than later. However, when Hurricane Zeta made landfall in October, we knew we needed to get the site up and running as quickly as possible to ensure that any member who needed up-to-date information, especially during a major weather event had it in hand. Communications Specialist, Sarah Hansen, has been busy creating a page to share helpful information, updates and matters of interest to all Clarke-Washington EMC members who use Facebook. Now members who use social media can get timely updates from their phones and computers if they follow and like us on Facebook. Sarah will actively monitor the site during office hours, but if you need us after hours, you can still find information about the cooperative on the site. If you need to report an outage, we encourage you to call (800)

323-9081. We welcome your input and encourage you to engage with our content by asking questions and sharing your comments. You can find the site online at www. facebook.com/ClarkeWashingtonEMC starting Monday, January 4, 2021, when the clock strikes midnight. We greatly value our connection to you, the members we serve. And we are excited to announce we are now officially on Facebook. When you follow Clarke-Washington EMC on social media, you can stay up to date on power restoration efforts, energy savings and more. You’ll also see photos of our line crews in action and our employees helping with community service projects–– and who doesn’t enjoy seeing good things happening in our community! Clarke-Washington EMC exists to serve our members, and when we’re better connected to you and our local community, we’re better prepared to answer the call. We look forward to connecting with you! Thank you.

Steve Sheffield General Manager

Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft CheckOut Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar and CVS Pharmacy. 4  JANUARY 2021

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◆ We welcome your input and encourage you to engage with our content by asking questions and sharing your comments.

constructive criticism. We will delete comments containing vulgar language or personal attacks of any kind.

◆ The intention behind our page is to share helpful information, updates, and matters of interest to all Clarke-Washington EMC’s members and the local community to our members who use Facebook.

◆ We reserve the right to remove unsolicited advertisements and comments that contain links to other websites, are clearly taboo, promote illegal activities, promote certain services, products or political organizations, or infringe copyrights or trademarks.

◆ Please note that any service issues that require immediate attention from members, such as power outages, should not be posted on Facebook or shared via Messenger, as Facebook administrators cannot guarantee a timely response.

◆ Facebook users who repeatedly post inappropriate content will be blocked from commenting on the page.

◆ To report power outages, please call 1-800-323-9081. Any specific questions about your Clarke-Washington EMC account or your power bill should be handled in person or by phone at (251) 246-9081.

◆ Please do not post any personal information about yourself or others because it creates data protection and privacy risks. Clarke-Washington EMC cannot guarantee that private information shared via Facebook will be protected.

◆ Clarke-Washington EMC reserves the right to remove posts that we consider inappropriate, rude, offensive or negative and that are presented without

◆ Please note that only the comments posted by Clarke-Washington EMC on this social network reflect the views and positions of the cooperative.

Alabama Living

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Energy Tip of the Month Replace standard power strips with advanced power strips to save energy. Advanced power strips look like ordinary power strips, but they have built-in features that are designed to reduce the amount of energy used by standby electronics that consume energy even when they’re not in use (also known as phantom load). The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that the average home loses $200 annually to energy wasted by phantom load.

CWEMC pays property taxes

In December, Clarke-Washington paid $390,011.08 in ad valorem taxes in Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. The taxes are based on the assessed value of property, plant and equipment the cooperative owns in each county. The largest tax amount was paid to Washington County Revenue Commissioner, Mary Ann Dees. The cooperative paid $180,174.90 in taxes based on the assessed value of the cooperative’s assets in that county. Taxes paid to other counties included: Clarke, $168,167.82; Monroe, $21,428.44; and Wilcox $20,239.92.

Washington County Revenue Commissioner

$ 180,174.90

one hundred eighty thousand one hundred seventy-four and 90/100

Monroe County Revenue Commissioner

twenty-one thousand four hundred twenty-eight and 44/100


$ 21,428.44 dollars

$ 168,167.82

Clarke County Revenue Commissioner

one hundred sixty-eight thousand one hundred sixty-seven and 82/100

Wilcox County Revenue Commissioner


$ 20,428.44

twenty thousand four hundred twenty-eight and 44/100


Source: www.nrel.gov

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

,167.82 dollars

428.44 dollars

From left, Steve Sheffield, general manager of Clarke-Washington EMC, Fred Braswell, president and CEO of AREA, Secretary of State John Merrill, Cleve Poole, Vice President Economic Development & Legal Affairs at Pioneer EC, and Sean Strickler, VP for Public Affairs for AREA.

CWEMC recognized for helping to power the polls When Hurricane Zeta made landfall Oct. 28 and caused widespread destruction in Clarke-Washington EMC’s service territory – all 20,000 meters were without power – the last thing on the minds of co-op employees was the upcoming general election. “It was probably one of the three most devastating storms to ever impact our system,” says CWEMC General Manager Steve Sheffield. “Honestly, we were so overwhelmed by the unexpected strength and damage of the storm that we didn’t initially consider the impact on the polling sites across our system.” As the co-op, with help from its sister cooperatives, started the difficult task of restoring power, officials began to express concerns about the election as Nov. 3 drew closer. In true cooperative fashion, a team effort was under way to ensure everyone had the opportunity to vote. Multiple agencies, including county probate judges, county commissioners, emergency management officials and others worked to provide generators to power polling sites that were unable to receive power. PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, CWEMC’s power provider, and the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) also helped to get system power restored Alabama Living

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and find temporary solutions. On Election Day, generators powered about half of the polling locations CWEMC serves. For all these efforts, CWEMC was honored along with other electric utilities by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion. At the awards presentation on Dec. 2 at the state Capitol, Merrill said, “Each of the power cooperatives awarded today, in addition to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, worked tirelessly around the clock to protect our democracy through identifying areas in need, restoring power, and providing generators.” Sheffield says the co-op was honored to be included. “We were very honored that Merrill would consider the electric power providers in Alabama for such a prestigious award,” he says. Also honored at the ceremony were PowerSouth, AREA, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama Office of Information Technology, Alabama Power and the Electric Cities of Alabama.

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Five ways to stay cozy this winter When you’re feeling chilly at home, there are several budget-friendly ways you can keep comfortable without turning up the thermostat.

Here are five easy ways to stay cozy this winter.

1. Whether you’re experiencing extremely cold winter temps or you simply “run cold,” an electric blanket can deliver quick warmth like a regular throw or blanket cannot. Electric blankets can include a variety of features, like timers and dual temperature settings (if your cuddle buddy prefers less heat). This winter, consider an electric blanket instead of turning up the heat, and your energy bill will thank you. 2. One of the easiest ways to stay cozy at home is to keep your feet warm. Our feet play a critical role in regulating body temperature, so when your feet are warm, your body automatically feels warmer. Try a pair of comfortable wool socks or house slippers to stay toasty.

air, so by adding humidity inside your home, you can feel a little warmer. A favorable level of humidity inside your home can also help clear sinuses, soften skin and improve sleep. 5. Beyond adding visual appeal to your home, area rugs can also provide extra insulation and a warm surface for your feet on cold winter days. Use large area rugs in rooms where you spend the most time. You’ll enjoy the new colors and textures of the rug, and the additional warmth will help keep your home comfortable. These are just a few ways you can stay cozy this winter without turning up the thermostat. Don’t forget the hot chocolate!

3. On winter days when the sun is shining, take advantage and harness natural warmth from sunlight. Open all curtains, drapes and blinds in your home to let the sunshine in––you’ll be able to feel the difference. 4. Another way to make your home cozier is to use a humidifier. Cold air doesn’t hold water vapor like warm 8  JANUARY 2021

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Mountain Views

Josiah, Maggie, Stella, Cora and Sage Kemp at the Monarch Pass Continental Divide in Colorado. SUBMITTED by Maggie Kemp, Brewton.

| Alabama Snapshots |

Grand Teton Mountain outside of Jackson, Wyoming, May 2020. SUBMITTED by Darrell Clark, Clanton. Danny McKinney at Beartooth Mountains in Wyoming. SUBMITTED BY Sandy McKinney, Russellville. View of the Teton Mountains in Teton National Park, Wyoming, with Jackson Lake reflecting the beautiful mountains. SUBMITTED by Mary Parsons, Union Springs.

Early morning mountain mist from Wears Valley, Tennessee. SUBMITTED by Sheila Johnston, Ozark.

Submit “My Tractor” photos by January 31. Winning photos will run in the March issue.

SUBMIT and WIN $10!

Alabama Living

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Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. SUBMITTED BY Gwen Windham, Robertsdale. RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

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Spotlight | January AREA, electric utilities honored by secretary of state The Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), which publishes Alabama Living, was honored by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill for the work of its rural electric cooperatives to restore power after Hurricane Zeta. The category two storm made landfall in Louisiana late on Oct. 28, just days before the Nov. 3 general election. Zeta brought substantial rain and wind damage to southwest and central Alabama, knocking out power to roughly 130,000 cooperative members. Polling places in more than 19 of Alabama’s 67 counties were left without power, Merrill says; electric utilities identified areas in need to restore power as quickly as possible and provide generators where needed. AREA’s president and CEO Fred Braswell accepted the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion, which recognizes individuals, groups and organizations for exceptional service and dedication to carrying out the mission of the NASS. Merrill also recognized the Alabama Emergency Management

Alabama Rural Electric Association president and CEO Fred Braswell, third from left, accepts an award from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, fourth from left.

Agency, the Alabama Office of Information Technology, Alabama Power, the Electric Cities of Alabama, and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative at the Dec. 2 ceremony at the Capitol.

Festival of the Cranes will go on this month The annual Festival of the Cranes, sponsored by the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association, will go on this month. The festival celebrates sandhill cranes and rare whooping cranes, which are seen in very few places in the world. The migratory birds pass through or winter in Alabama, specifically at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, which has a diverse habitat. The refuge visitor center and observation building are closed due to COVID, but the grounds and fields around the center are open daily for viewing and photographing of the cranes.

Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop

Favorite magazine We are fairly new to Baldwin EMC and love your magazine. I love the recipes featuring Alabama cooks and I love the articles about businesses in Alabama. I also love the crossword puzzles. They are the only puzzle I can actually fill out! I love looking for the dingbat. Your magazine is my favorite of all the magazines I subscribe to. Keep up the good work! Kay Fillingim, Daphne 10  JANUARY 2021

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The festival, set for Jan. 9, will have presentations from master falconer Lauren McGough (via video), a live performance from the Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center, a video presentation by Paul Bannick on the snowy owl, a live performance by instrumentalist Gareth Laffely and a live presentation by environmental journalist Ben Raines. These events will be at the Princess Theatre, 112 2nd Ave., Decatur. All events are free and first come, first served. Look for updates at FriendsOfWheelerRefuge.com, or find the group at Facebook.com/FOCatWheeler.

or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Done with magazine I was horrified and appalled to see the photo of a boy that hunted and killed a beautiful bear (November 2020). Killing such an amazing and majestic animal for sport is disgusting and sad. You posted it so you must condone it. Trophy hunting is disgusting as well as the people that participate. Done with your magazine. Jamie Goldsmith Brewer, Foley

A fan in Michigan Just want to let you know how much I enjoy your magazine. My boyfriend lives in Elberta, but we are in Michigan where I am from. Our electric company only gives us bills, nothing as nice as your magazine. I read it cover to cover and we go to a lot of the places I see in the magazine. We will be going to check out the barbecue place in Fairhope next time we head south. We were there a couple of weeks after Sally hit to clean up his property and I was so impressed by the way the area was cleaning up such a huge mess. You folks near the Gulf are an amazing bunch of people. Star Mead, Grass Lake, Michigan www.alabamaliving.coop

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January | Spotlight Take us along! We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo. We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Joyce Weiland of Decatur took her magazine to the North Dakota State Capitol grounds in Bismarck, North Dakota, while on a trip to visit her 92-yearold mother. The red flowers in the background spell out the state’s name. Joyce is a member of Joe Wheeler EMC.

Find the hidden dingbat!

Denise Marchman, a member of Cullman EC, enjoyed some reading while visiting Lake Michigan for a few days.

By mail:

December’s hidden candy cane proved tricky for some of our readers. That’s because one of our snapshots on Page 9 was of a cute dog dressed as Santa Claus and holding – what else – a candy cane. So we apologize for any confusion, as the “real” dingbat was part of the headline “Alabama Bookshelf ” on Page 22 (it’s entwined as part of the last “a” in Alabama). Joan Davis of Andalusia, a member of Covington Electric Cooperative, said it took her going through the magazine four times before she located it. Eleanor Madigan of Dothan, a member of Wiregrass EC, took out her frustrations with a poem: How many went insane Trying to find that candy cane. Yes, I must congratulate you, It was well hidden on Page 22.

Dallas Ramsey and Emily Tyler visited their daughter in Washington state and took their magazine to the Dungeness Spit, the longest natural sand spit in the U.S. They are members of Black Warrior EMC.

Mitch, Julie and Wyatt McKinney rented an RV and traveled to several national parks while doing virtual school, including Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in Grand Teton National Park. The McKinneys live in Russellville where they are members of Franklin Electric Cooperative.

Find the Dingbat By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 And Vivian Walker of Union Springs, a member of Dixie EC, did the same: We have seen a year like no other. I’m reading and searching for something further. What can we do to end it right? At the end of the tunnel there is always light, Can Alabama end it right? The end, you say it sounds insane, But there at the end is the candy cane! Congratulations to our randomly drawn winner Brenda Nichols of Pioneer EC. For January, we have hidden a winter scarf. Remember, it won’t be in an ad or on Pages 1-8. The deadline is January 5. Good luck and stay warm!

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Jan. 6 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the February issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25. Alabama Living

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December’s answer: The town of Albertville in Marshall County is also known as the “fire hydrant capital of the world,” thanks to the local Mueller Company. According to the plaque at its base, this is the four millionth hydrant produced by the company and was dedicated July 21, 2016. The hydrant is on display near the Albertville Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Allison Law of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Tiffany Cuevas of Southern Pine EC. JANUARY 2021  11

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Safe at home East Alabama ministry extends the love of Christ in rural areas By Allison Law


rom helping those whose homes were damaged or destroyed March 3, 2019 by tornadoes, to combating chronic, situational or generaSix tornadoes carved swaths across southern and central Alational poverty, the need for Alabama Rural Ministry’s serbama the afternoon of March 3, 2019, but the most devastating vices seems to have no end. was in the community of Beauregard, where an EF-4 tornado But this east Alabama faith-based group is up to the task. caused 23 fatalities and 90 injuries. “We can get so overwhelmed by the volume, if we look at it in The area is right in ARM’s backyard. Just south of Lee County sheer numbers, but we can make a difference, one family at a time, roads 38 and 39 – among the hardest hit areas – are several famand (we’re) faithful to that,” says Lisa Pierce, director and founder ilies helped by ARM, including Johnny Washington, who lost his of the Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM). family’s mobile home. ARM is a hands-on, volunteer-oriented organization, with a On a workday this past November, a team from Auburn Commumission of helping those in rural and under-resourced community Church worked to get a donated mobile home ready for Washnities. The group’s primary focus is showing the love of Christ ington’s family. (Though ARM grew out of the United Methodist through home repair Church and maintains for those who can’t that formal affiliation, afford it or who are it considers its work to elderly or disabled; the be interdenominationnon-profit also operal and welcomes volunates a children’s ministeers of all faiths.) try for little ones who This work team – have few opportunimostly young people, ties for summer enmostly Auburn sturichment and growth. dents – were putting in According to data insulation, installing from the non-profit skirting around the Housing Assistance mobile home, cleaning Council, 18.4 percent the interior and buildof Alabamians live in ing a porch and steps. poverty, and 26.1 perJoseph Farris, the cent live in sub-stansite leader for this dard housing. And project, works with while poverty is all ARM through the over the state – both United Methodist in urban and rural arCommittee on Relief eas – poverty in rural (UMCOR). He did areas looks different, Tommy Coutu, left and James Huang were part of a group of volunteer workers from Auburn internships with ARM Pierce says. when he was a student Community Church helping at an Alabama Rural Ministry workday in November. Rural areas and PHOTOS BY JULIE BENNETT at Auburn, and relates small towns don’t have well to the young peothe same kinds of resources, Pierce says, nor the infrastructure ple working on this project. to support services like broadband internet. Also, gasoline often “For me, it’s a time of worship for God, and this is a skill He’s costs more in rural areas, making it more difficult for people who given me, to teach people construction skills,” Farris says. “I really want to work to commute to more populous cities with better job enjoy showing people that you don’t have to go overseas to be inopportunities. And the number of food deserts – areas that lack volved with missions – there’s need in their own backyard.” convenient access to fresh, healthy food – is higher in rural areas. “What’s been lost over time, it used to be that the rural commu‘No More Shacks’ nity had this stereotype of being more resourceful,” Pierce says, The ARM staff recruits volunteer teams – college students, reand some of that sense of community has been lost. tirees, corporate teams, and out-of-state church groups – to do Fortunately, the resilience of rural folk is still strong. home repair projects, and connects the teams with families that 12  JANUARY 2021

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Tyler Young, left and Caleb Lim cut skirting material for a mobile home in the Beauregard area of Lee County. They were part of a team volunteering with the Alabama Rural Ministry, which took a lead role in helping repair homes that were damaged in the March 3, 2019 tornadoes.

need help. The families sometimes reach out to ARM directly or are referred by social service agencies or home health personnel. Much of the work is repairing or replacing roofs, ceilings, floors and walls, or building steps and wheelchair ramps. The staff matches the project to the skill level of the volunteers. Some groups can handle electrical or plumbing work, but that’s often referred to sub-contractors. To help pay for that part of the work, ARM relies on its fundraising. Its biggest fundraiser is the “No More Shacks” event each fall (2020 was the 13th year for the event), usually on an Auburn University home football game weekend. The ARM staff places its “shack” on a busy Auburn thoroughfare, where Pierce stays for the better part of a week, night and day. Game-day fans make donations and learn about the ministry from Pierce, but it’s also a highly visible PR campaign. “This is (a way to show) what sub-standard housing can look and feel like,” Pierce says. The shack is really just that – four plywood walls, a roof covered with a tarp, no heating or air conditioning, and no running water. Pierce has access to a nearby building, but for the most part stays right at the shack, talking to passers-by about the chronic poverty in rural areas, and how they can play a part in alleviating the effects of that poverty.

The effects of COVID

For this year’s “No More Shacks” event, ARM adopted the theme, “safer at home starts with a safe home,” a play on words from the governor’s “safer at home” order of 2020. COVID added another layer of complexity for the families who need ARM’s help; often such homeowners have chronic health conditions or are in a vulneraAlabama Living

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ble age population, so they’re not supposed to leave their homes. But when their homes are in desperate need of repair, what are they to do? “That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to raise awareness about,” Pierce says. COVID has impacted every organization, and ARM is no exception. The group lost a bulk of its volunteer teams and donations are down about 20 percent. The loss of revenue has meant a decrease in staffing. ARM also had to cancel its children’s day camps last summer. Despite COVID setbacks, the ministry continues to look forward. Currently, ARM serves a loose 45-mile radius from the Auburn/Opelika area, primarily in Lee and Macon counties. But the staff is evaluating about five other communities to expand into, with help from a USDA grant. Pierce and her staff would train organizers in those communities in the ARM model: Train managers to help families put together application documents, organize volunteers and supervise construction. ARM would help them apply for grants; with enough funding to repair even one or two houses, they would be off to the races, working in their own communities. In the meantime, ARM is planning a workday project for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, traditionally a day of service for many church and school groups. If you’d like to learn more about that or any of ARM’s projects, including the youth mission teams for 2021, visit arm-al.org or call 334-5014276. Sarah Bryan helps clean the interior of a mobile home for Johnny Washington’s family, who lost their mobile home in the 2019 tornado. JANUARY 2021  13

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This year, I resolve to….

Alabamians share their New Year’s resolutions By Emmett Burnett

And just like that, 2020, the coronavirus year when you could actually wear a mask inside a bank, is over. Enter 2021, a time for resolutions. We asked some Alabamians for their aspirations and wishes for 2021. Here is what they told us:

James Spann

Birmingham-based meteorologist James Spann believes in resolutions but not necessarily New Year’s ones. “Some people think they must improve in January,” he says about 2021 initiatives. “I like to improve in June, October, March and any other month.” In the new year he strives for time management improvement. “We only have 24 hours in a day,” says Spann. “The richest man in the universe cannot buy one microsecond. How you spend those 24 hours determines how valuable you are.” He also vows to obtain more sleep. “I’m getting about four hours a night,” noted Alabama’s go-to meteorologist, who starts the day at 4 a.m. with social media reports, television broadcasts, and weather bulletins delivered on 24 radio stations. Acknowledging the lack of shut-eye, he notes, “I want more sleep in 2021.” His new year forecast is concerning. “I’m worried the same patterns that set Alabama’s active hurricane season are in play for tornado season. We must stay alert and I must be on top of my game for forecasting.” 14  JANUARY 2021

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Taylor Hicks

Dr. Charlotte P. Morris

“My resolution hasn’t changed much over the past few years,” says Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, interim president of Tuskegee Institute. “In 2021 I will continue being proactive in my activities and eating habits to develop a healthier lifestyle.” Though interim president from November 2020 to May 2021, Dr. Morris’ history is long with Tuskegee. During past decades, she served as interim twice before. Her New Year’s goal for the school she loves is to elevate Tuskegee academically. “Our three pillars of excellence are teaching, research, and service,” she says about the college founded by Booker T. Washington. “We will continue those goals.” Her 2021 wish: “If I had one word for what I would like to see occur in the new year it would be unity - across the board. I wish for all people working and living in unity.”

American Idol star Taylor Hicks turned coronavirus-fueled adversity into positives. “I have been an impatient man in my past,” he admits, referencing entertainment industry rigors. “But this year, COVID took a heavy toll on the entertainment and restaurant business, which I am in both.” In addition to singing, he is an owner of Birmingham’s SAW’s Juke Joint and appears in the movie, “Stars Fell on Alabama,” set to release in early 2021. None have been easy. “I learned more about applying patience this year than any other,” Hicks says. “Having more patience in 2021 is my main goal for 2021. COVID caused us all to be on edge and less patient, especially me.” His new year wish: “The people of Alabama have been strong, prideful, and resilient. If we apply those attributes, 2021 will hopefully be like the Roaring ‘20s all in one year. I am proud to say I am from Alabama. “ We agree. Happy New Year. www.alabamaliving.coop

12/9/20 4:53 PM

Jessica Meuse

Allen Sanders

“I want to be a better person,” notes Allen Sanders, general manager of the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre. “I want to listen and hear what others say.” And in these days of pandemic hardships and life’s unpredictability, he promises another resolution - “I will live every day as if it is my last.” Sanders’ new year wish: “Bring live music back. Our industry has been decimated by COVID. But I believe music is a common denominator that brings us together no matter the walk of life, political belief, or rung you are on the ladder. Music allows us to hug each other, laugh, and hold hands again. We need live music entertainment and we need it now.”

Sean Dietrich

American Idol finalist and Slapout, Alabama, native, Jessica Meuse has seen her career skyrocket. Her New Year’s resolution is to bring it back to earth. “In 2021 I will return to my roots of why I started in music and pursued it as a career,” says the singer-songwriter, whose music video for “Love Her Better” won 7 international film festival awards. “My goal is to put out new music that is literally who I am – not what some others want me to be. In this business, it is easy to get lost in what others want you to do, or tell you how to sing, or who you should be.” She is getting away from that. Her New Year prediction: “Music and the arts keep us safe in times like these. Virtual concerts and streaming music will continue to grow and develop. I think to succeed in the entertainment business, artists must figure out quickly how to stream for fan interaction and connecting as humans, remotely and virtually.”

“I will spend less time in screen time,” says “Sean of the South” blogger-podcaster Sean Dietrich. But the author of more than a dozen books (and counting) acknowledges it won’t be easy. “I started cutting back on social media (and) online activities about two months ago and did not realize how hard it is not reaching for the phone to check in,” he says. For the future, Dietrich’s wishes include: “Hoping things open up more, especially community activities. I miss my Alabama friends.” The Florida Panhandle resident adds, “Now when we hang out, it’s like an endless state of awkwardness - 7 feet distancing, waiters in ninja masks. I hope this year we at least have creative ways for more community togetherness.”

Eric Peoples

Josh Caray

Sally Ericson

“My first resolution is to spend more time outside, enjoying the beautiful natural resources of the Gulf Coast,” says Bellingrath Gardens Marketing Director Sally Ericson, who at the end of the work day jogs two miles through the garden’s scenic paths. Another resolution is work-related. She adds, “I want to find new ways to get the word out about this wonderful, historic, 65-acre jewel on the Gulf Coast – Bellingrath Gardens. After all of these months of precautions, I believe we will see a big increase in attendance, as many more residents and visitors will want to get out and explore Bellingrath and other wide-open spaces where we can all practice social distancing in beautiful surroundings! To that end, we’re planning some exciting events and enhancements at Bellingrath in 2021.” Alabama Living

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“I want my family to remain healthy,” says Mt. Vernon Mayor Eric Peoples. “Actually, I want everyone healthy and that this COVID virus is gone, forever. In 2021 I want us all returning to a normal way of living as soon as possible.” As for Mobile County’s Mt. Vernon – the town that once held Apache Chief Geronimo prisoner – Peoples notes, “We need new businesses during the new year and I will work hard towards that.” He notes that small towns struggled in 2020 with the coronavirus, and in Mobile County’s case, back-to-back hurricanes. But of utmost importance is making the coronavirus last year’s news – not this year’s. Peoples adds, “Testing continues to find a cure. I pray we have a vaccine soon.”

“2020 was hard on us,” notes Josh Caray, play-by-play announcer for Huntsville’s Rocket City Trash Pandas minor league baseball team. Like many others, Caray’s 2021 resolutions are hewn from 2020 experiences. “I lost my mother in 2020,” the sports broadcaster notes. “My resolution, and I hope everyone’s, is to cherish the people you love. Hold your family close. Be grateful to have people around you who love you.” He looks to the new year with optimism: “COVID stopped us last year but we anticipate an exciting season for Huntsville minor league baseball. There is a lot of excitement about our brand new stadium and brand new team putting excitement on the field.” JANUARY 2021  15

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| Worth the drive |

Upscale coastal cuisine meets small-town charm at th what’s on your plate; it’s what you feel, see, and smell when you’re here.” And as an award-winning chef featured on the Food Network and Cooking Channel who has worked with names like Guy Fieri and Katie Lee, he would know.

The concept

Two Coats; One Vision – Merrill Culverhouse, an Auburn educated pharmacist, and Executive Chef Jon Gibson – childhood friends – joined together to open the Wheelhouse in Opp.

By Stephanie Snodgrass


ike your favorite steak and baked potato, the friendship of Merrill Culverhouse and executive chef Jon Gibson that led to the Wheelhouse restaurant is a perfect pairing. Located in Opp – a city known for hosting of the world-famous Rattlesnake Rodeo each spring – the restaurant is quickly becoming a favorite with locals and travelers alike. Menu favorites change in the fall and spring and include everything found at an upscale seated restaurant, from steaks to burgers and all points in between. “This is not your typical small-town restaurant,” Gibson says, standing in front of a glass-sparkling, fully-stocked bar. “We wanted to create a dining experience that fills the senses. When you sit and eat, it’s not only about

Culverhouse looks like the businessman he is – a 1993 Auburn University graduate and pharmacist, he also serves on the city board of education. He jokingly tells of detailing his dream to open a restaurant to his fellow college classmates. “I knew 25 years ago I wanted to open a restaurant,” Culverhouse says. “There’s something about a place where food and fellowship combine. That’s what I wanted to create. I’m a few years late, but I love to see people enjoy the food.” Supported by his wife, Susan, and daughter, Merrill Ann, Culverhouse said he reached out Gibson to pitch his dream in 2017 after local officials hosted a town hall meeting on creating a prosperous future for Opp. It took two years for the friends to finalize things, and the Wheelhouse opened in December 2019. The restaurant’s name is a nod to the city’s railroad history and the men’s desire to be a cog in the city’s wheel of success. “Plus, I got tired of driving for nicer food,” Culverhouse says. “It didn’t matter where we went to eat – Andalusia, Birmingham, the beach – we would see people from Opp and other parts of Covington County. Then, I asked myself ‘Why can’t these people come to Opp?’”

Two coats, one vision

Like most from a small town, Culverhouse and Gibson “grew up down the road from each other.” “Same neighborhood, went to the same church and school, the whole nine yards,” Gibson says. But, as Culverhouse made his way to Auburn to earn his white coat, Gibson took another path to his.

Left, Fried Grouper on a bed of goat cheese grits and bacon balsamic turnip greens; Above, Red Grouper with ancho maple glaze, sugar snap peas and yellow rice.

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ine arm at the

“I grew up learning to cook from mother and grandmother,” he says. “After I began traveling around the U.S. and overseas, I guess you could say my passion for cooking and food ignited.” Receiving his formal training at Le Cordon Bleu, Gibson soon found himself as the executive chef of The Beachcomber Café in Crystal Cove, Calif., where he earned the title “King of Coastal Cuisine.” The blend of southern charm, classic French culinary training, and access to the best local ingredients added a new twist on comfort food and coastal cuisine. “I prefer to call it coastal comfort cuisine,” he says. “I take comfort food that you or I grew up with and put a different spin on them while staying true to the ingredients inside the dish itself.” It serves not only as the basis of the Wheelhouse menu now, it also helped to catapult Gibson to other stellar positions in kitchens across the U.S. His recipes have been published in the L.A. Times, Coastal Magazine, Southern Living, and more. Even with all that, when his childhood friend called with the idea that would give him a chance to create his own hometown kitchen, Gibson knew what he needed to do. “I knew I had to go home.”

A feast for the senses

Located in the section of town known as the “Donaldson Block,” the site has been a hotel, a bakery, a post office and a peanut butter plant. Brick from the original outer walls is featured inside the building today and serves as the backdrop for the art from local artists, which is for sale to highlight talent throughout the county.

“We really wanted to create a destination for people, whether they live here in Opp or are driving through to the beach,” Culverhouse says. To do that, Gibson said he knew the menu had to be outstanding and the presentation second to none. “I wanted to create a change in the dining world; something that would draw a crowd,” Gibson says. “It’s not French fries and fried catfish – the typical Southern fare. I think when people sit down and see our menu, they’re surprised. And that’s what I like.” As for the menu, “I leave all that to Chef,” Culverhouse says. “For me, it’s about the people. Most days, you’ll find me roaming among the tables, chatting and catching up. I want people to have a full experience. I want you to feel like a friend when you leave.” While the menu changes every six months, typical fare is big plates of Gulf fish and shrimp, pork chops, and Omaha Hereford beef ribeye. Lighter selections include burgers, fish/shrimp tacos, a selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Sides speak to the restaurant concept – herb roasted potatoes, goat cheese grits, coconut rice, sugar snap peas, and more. The Wheelhouse has a full cocktail, wine, and beer menu selection and a “blue collar plate” lunch available throughout the week until 4 p.m. As it has for so many, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted business. But Gibson and Culverhouse says there’s no better time than now to visit the Wheelhouse. “We’re doing all the things we’re supposed to be doing to keep our guests and staff safe,” Culverhouse says. “We want our guests to have an experience they won’t forget and can’t wait to repeat.”

The Wheelhouse

105 E. Hart Avenue, Opp, AL 36467; 334-764-6482 Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday wheelhouseopp.com Takeout and curbside is also available, and reservations and parties accepted.

Left, a platter of Gulf oysters; Above, Hereford ribeye with Florida Keys spiny lobster

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Left, grilled golden tile pork chop, dirty rice, asparagus; Above, blackened Gulf yellowfin tuna with sauteed sugar snap peas, jasmine coconut rice with Tamari glaze. JANUARY 2021  17

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You, too, can

‘cheese the day’

with these winning recipes We at Alabama Living always look forward to the fall, which means it’s time for the Alabama National Fair and its tasty cooking contests. We sponsor one of the contests each year to give our talented home cooks a chance to show off their culinary skills. But we have a selfish motive too – we get some great recipes to share with our readers! Because of COVID-19 concerns, the contest had to look a little different this year, but the home cooks still provided some tasty and creative recipes on our theme, which for 2020 was “Say Cheese, Please!” We hope you’ll be able to use these winning recipes to bring smiles to your own crowd!

First Place

Second Place

Margaret Goins, Montgomery

Jamie Davis, Tallassee

Savory Tomato Pie

Three Cheese Mediterranean Galette

One deep dish pie shell, baked until almost done 4 tomatoes 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese 1 cup Parmesan cheese 1½ cups mayonnaise 1 cup sour cream ¼ cup Alaga hot sauce Green onions, chopped Cooked bacon, chopped Salt and pepper Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes and salt well. Put in colander and let drain. Get as much juice out as possible. In a mixing bowl, add cheddar cheese, mayo, sour cream, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and mix well. Layer tomatoes, then green onions and bacon. Spread with the cheese mixture. Add Parmesan cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let sit a few minutes before slicing. Margaret Goins

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(Note: A galette is a flat, crusty cake filled with a main ingredient)

One pie crust (homemade or store-bought) 4 ounces herbed goat cheese 2 ounces mascarpone cheese 1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut ½ cup Mediterranean olives 6 marinated artichoke hearts, patted dry and halved 6-8 slices prosciutto ham ¼ cup Alaga hot sauce Salt and pepper to taste Olive oil for drizzling 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1 teaspoon dried oregano 3-4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1 egg (for egg wash) Jamie Davis One bunch baby arugula Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the pie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. First, add the Roma tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. Leave about two inches of pie crust for folding in the edges. Then layer the sun-dried tomatoes over the Roma tomatoes. Next, place the artichokes and prosciutto ham. Mix together the goat cheese, mascarpone cheese and white cheddar cheese together (a food processor works great). Add Alaga hot sauce. Dollop spoonfuls of cheese over the other ingredients. Grab the dough border and fold it toward the center, overlapping the dough the entire circumference of the galette. Lightly brush the egg wash around the border. (I like to sprinkle parmesan cheese as well.) Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for five minutes before removing the galette. Arrange baby arugula around the galette. Add olives. Drizzle with olive oil. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Third place

remaining ¼ pepper jack cheese. Bake at 375 degrees, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes and top additional chopped scallions. Serve from the skillet with blue cheese sticks and cheddar cheese straws (recipes follow).

Melissa Welch, Wetumpka

Blue Cheese Sticks 4 ounces blue cheese crumbles ¼ cup butter, softened ¾ cup all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon red pepper 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds

Skillet Cheese Dip with Cheddar Cheese Straws and Blue Cheese Sticks Butter 3 cups cauliflower (about 1 small head) ½ cup onion, chopped 1 teaspoon garlic, minced 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup sour cream Melissa Welch 2 cups chopped fresh spinach 1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 4 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded and divided 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 2 tablespoons Alaga hot sauce ½ teaspoon salt 4 scallions, finely chopped Additional scallions, chopped for garnish Melt butter in 10-inch cast iron skillet and saute on medium high the cauliflower and chopped onion until cooked and beginning to brown (5 to 8 minutes). Add garlic, stir. Turn heat to low and add cream cheese, sour cream, chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, ¾ of pepper jack cheese (save ¼ to add to the top). Add remaining cheese (white cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella) and hot sauce and stir well. Sprinkle with salt and stir. Simmer on low 2 to 3 minutes to blend. Add four chopped scallions and mix in. Top with

Beat blue cheese and butter at medium speed until fluffy. Add flour, poppy seeds and red pepper, beating until just combined. Roll into sticks and refrigerate 1 hour. Arrange on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Store in airtight container. Cheddar Cheese Straws ¾ cup butter, softened ½ pound (8 ounces) extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated ¾ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon red pepper 3-4 dashes Alaga hot sauce 2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon paprika Beat first five ingredients together until blended. Gradually add flour until just combined. Use a cookie press to pipe out mixture into ribbons. Cut before baking into desired lengths. Bake at 350 degrees 12 minutes. Cool on rack. Top with paprika. Store in airtight container.


Variety of medications can help treat arthritis in pets


ast month, we talked about arthritis (the disease itself) but did not get into the treatment choices. I think it is important for pet-guardians to understand the basic workings of several pain medications we routinely use. This is not a scientific look at the topic but gives a broader and easily digestible view. Blocking local source of pain: Here we address the inflammation in the joints. Some forms of anti-inflammatory medications like Rimadyl, Deramxx, Metacam are helpful. All anti-inflammatory meds are potentially harmful to the liver and the kidneys. It is advised to monitor the liver and the kidney values before the meds are started and follow up every 6 months to a year. I found that generic Rimadyl works fine for our practice, and it is cost-effective. The choices for cats are limited. We have used Meloxicam in our practice. It is not approved for long-term use in cats in the U.S. However, there are published studies from Australia and Europe that show when Meloxicam is used cautiously in renal failure cats, it did not significantly alter the kidney damage markers. There is a new class of drugs like Galliprant, which reduces the Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He works at his home as a holistic veterinarian and is a member of North Alabama Electric Cooperative. Send pet-related questions to drg.vet@gmail.com.

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generation of the pain signal by an independent non-inflammatory pathway. The manufacturer claims that it can be used even in liver and kidney failure cases. However, for now, it is rather expensive! Controlling signal conduction: Pain signals are carried by nerves to the brain. Drugs like Gabapentin reduce the nerve conduction of pain signals and can be a useful adjunctive therapy for pain control. Gabapentin is used extensively in humans for back pain. We found that for marked pain, anti-inflammatories don’t seem to be enough, and adding Gabapentin helps significantly. Controlling pain by blocking brain-perception: Many opioids (like morphine) are used to reduce the brain’s perception of pain. We do not use drugs as strong as morphine routinely, but a much weaker cousin, Tramadol, works well when used along with other classes of pain meds. In cats, we use oral Buprenorphine routinely along with Meloxicam, if needed. Reducing muscle spasms/tightness: Frequently, back pain results not only from nerve pain from pinched nerves but also pain from spasmed muscles. Muscle relaxants are used frequently in dogs for this purpose. Anti-depressant: Tricyclic antidepressants like Amitriptyline (Elavil) are showing significant promise as another pathway to control pain. Its use for pain control is not yet popular in vet medicine. Next time, we’ll discuss holistic treatments for pain. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Gardens |

A fresh start in the garden:

Growing trends for 2021


f there was ever a year for fresh starts, it’s 2021, and there’s no better place to start afresh than in a garden, the very place where millions, maybe billions, found refuge from 2020’s many challenges. Though numbers are still being crunched, early surveys and studies confirm that 2020 was an unprecedented year for gardening. According to a Garden Media Group report, the pandemic sprouted some 16 million new gardeners in the U.S. alone, most of whom intend to continue gardening this year. One U.K.-based survey found that gardening ranked second behind binge-watching television programming as a go-to pandemic activity, and garden industry reports show that 2020 broke — exploded, actually — previous sales records. These trends, which occurred across the globe, took root early in the COVID-19 pandemic spurred by stay-at-home orders and concerns about the availability of fresh, healthy food. However, many gardeners soon discovered (or rediscovered) gardening’s physical and emotional benefits such as much-needed exercise and relief from stress and anxiety. The pandemic also provided us all chances to connect with the environment, whether it was learning about the plants and animals in our own yards or spending time in outdoor public spaces such as public parks, gardens and trails. Just as 2020 will not soon be forgotten, these pandemic-inspired gardening lessons will remain with us for years, maybe even generations, to come. They will certainly influence gardening this year, so I did a little digging to find out what trends garden experts are predicting for 2021. Here are a few that may help as we plan the coming gardening year. Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

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Outdoor Livability. Whether we have a yard, patio or only a balcony, many of us will likely enhance and expand our personal outdoor spaces, including creating outside “rooms” for sitting, dining and working as well as areas for play. Small is Big. Just like tiny homes, small — even itty-bitty — gardens (and plants) are all the rage. This trend is expected to grow as we strive to garden in smaller, more confined spaces such as porches and balconies but also indoors in our homes and offices. Interest in vertical gardens is also expected to grow, especially for urbanites and others with limited land resources. Designing Gardeners. More and more people are expected to design, not just plant, their gardens, focusing on specific styles or color palettes. Among the leading style trends this year are cottage gardens and welcoming gateways but also a focus on specific colors such as calming whites and greys to vivid, lively yellows. Mindful of Mood. Setting the mood in our gardens, whether we need rambunctious and cheery or serene and calming, will also be big in 2021. Setting moods includes appropriate plant choices but also incorporating features like playful garden art to soothing water fountains. Food-forward. Food production will continue to be a primary focus for many, so expect to see more and more raised beds, vegetable plots, herbs and lots and lots of fruit and berry plantings. An Eco-friendly Ethos. As we’ve spent more and more time outside, we’ve developed a keener interest in, and commitment to, gardening with nature and the environment. This is expected to cause us all to reduce inputs, such as chemicals and water,

do more composting and plant more natives. More of us will also strive to co-exist with and protect wildlife and other natural resources. Kidding Around. Engaging children in the outdoors for play but also for learning will continue to be important in 2021, both at home and at schools. Kid-friendly spaces and garden projects will likely expand and may help develop the next generation of gardeners. Growing Outdoor Community. Last year highlighted local needs, from food security to the need for public spaces, which will lead to an expected growth in community gardens and farmers markets and in creating more open-air public spaces and entertainment and cultural events. These are just a few of the exciting gardening trends for 2021, but they can inspire us all to explore other trends and create our own. It’s also a chance to expand our gardening know-how through such resources as the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (aces.edu), Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (asanonline.org) and Plant Alabama (plantsomethingalabama.com). And don’t forget the wealth of knowledge available through public gardens, nurseries and garden centers, garden clubs and societies and gardening friends and neighbors.

JANUARY TIPS • Keep planting trees and shrubs and keep them well watered.

• Plant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, beets, • • • • • •

carrots and other hardy vegetables and flowers. Order seed for the coming year. Feed the birds. Take online gardening classes. Start a 2021 gardening journal. Turn the compost. Get a soil test. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Consumer Wise |

This year, organize your energy

A programmable thermostat can help you cut down your energy use when you don’t need to be heating or cooling your home. PHOTO COURTESY MARCELA GARA, RESOURCE MEDIA

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


ast year brought financial hardships, and with a new year ahead, I’m looking for new ways to save money. I know there are things I can do to save energy at home and lower my monthly bills. Can you share a few ideas on how to start the year off right by saving energy? You bet! Here are a few simple tips to help you get organized and start an achievable path to saving energy. First, we’ll take a look at three important steps when considering energy efficiency projects: information gathering, planning and taking action.

Start by gathering information.

priority is cutting energy costs, you can select the measure that will deliver the most savings. Maybe you’re already planning to do work on your home, such as roofing or renovating, and you can incorporate energy efficiency strategies into that project. To complete your plan, you’ll likely need to check with local contractors or suppliers about costs.

Begin by reviewing your 2019 energy bills. Knowing how and Take action when you use energy can help you decide how ambitious your Now that your planning is done, it’s time to take action. If you’re plan should be. If you have questions about your past bills or entackling any major energy efficiency projects that require a conergy use, give your electric co-op a call––they’re available to help tractor, remember to do your research and hire a licensed, repuyou understand your energy bills. Your co-op may also offer a free table professional. app that can show you exact data about your home energy use. In addition to energy efficiency projects and upgrades, there are Next, visit your electric co-op’s website to see if they offer adother ways you can get organized to save energy: ditional assistance, like energy improvement rebates, free energy Replace filters regularly. A clean filter can improve the peraudits or other special rates and programs. formance of your heatFinally, the most iming and cooling system, portant step is to schedand reduce the electricule an energy audit, or ity needed to pump air conduct an online enthrough your ductwork. ergy audit. (Remember: Replace the filter now your electric co-op may if it’s been a while, then offer free audits.) If you set a reminder on your plan to live in your home phone, online calendar for many years to come, or paper calendar for the hiring an energy auditor A dirty filter can drive up your energy costs. Compare the new filter (left) to the ninetynext replacement. Filters may be the best invest- day old filter (right). PHOTO COURTESY ABBY BERRY, NRECA should be replaced every ment you can make. An month if you’re using an inexpensive filter, or every three months energy auditor can tell you which energy efficiency actions will if you’re using a higher-quality filter. A better filter will do a better save you the most money or provide the biggest improvement in job and last longer. comfort. If you’re looking for a faster, DIY (socially distanced) Program your thermostat. Heating and cooling your home method, try an online energy audit like energystar.gov’s Home account for the most energy use, so setting your thermostat to Energy Yardstick. match your lifestyle can make a major difference. If you don’t have a programmable or smart thermostat, get in the habit of manually Develop a plan adjusting your thermostat throughout the day or setting it to the Now that you’ve gathered the information you need, you can most energy efficient setting when you’re away. develop a plan. It can be simple or more comprehensive. If your Label the circuits in your breaker box. It may not reduce your Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs energy use, but it’s an easy way to get organized and will save a lot for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the of headaches down the line! Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to We hope by taking a little time to complete these steps, you’ll be energytips@collaborativeefficiency.com for more information. well on your way to a more energy efficient 2021! 24  JANUARY 2021

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Get your new standardized benefit verification letter online


f you receive a Benefit Verification letter, sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” a “proof of income letter,” or a “proof of award letter,” we have good news for you! A new standardized Benefit Verification letter is now available when you need proof of Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare. In addition to name, date of birth, and the benefits received, the new Benefit Verification letter includes other identifiers to prevent misuse and fraud. This is an added benefit to you as

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

New Year

Across 1 Alabama’s coldest day in history, at minus 27 degrees, was recorded in this month in 1966 5 A lot of this fell in Alabama during “The Storm of the Century” 8 On Jan. 9, 1965, this battleship became a museum and memorial park, 2 words 10 On Jan. 12, 1951, Annie Lola ___ became the first woman to serve on the Alabama Court of Appeals 12 Your and my 13 Initials of the legendary civil rights protester who declared on Jan. 30, 1956: “I want it to be known the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped, this movement will not stop” 14 Last name of the Birmingham native who was the first woman to become National Security Advisor 17 Weekend Edition station 18 ___ card (mobile phone device) 20 Broadway production 23 On Jan. 1, 1953, Alabama singing legend ____ Williams died while traveling to a show 25 Hearth 28 In Jan. 1, 1926, this sporting event was won by the Crimson Tide (their first appearance) 30 Road crew supply 31 ‘That’s a laugh!’ 32 New Year’s decisions for the future 35 Hospital show 36 The Camellia State, abbr. 39 On Jan. 31, 1902, the film star Tallulah ____ was born in Huntsville 40 Marked a ballot Down 1 Bread spread 2 Yuletide beverage 3 Alabamians Channing Tatum and Courteney Cox, for example 4 For sure! 5 Takes little drinks 6 Burger topper 26  JANUARY 2021

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proof of income for loans, housing assistance, mortgage, and other verification purposes. The same standardized letter is also available if you need proof that you do not receive benefits, or proof that benefits are pending. If you are an individual representative payee, you can use the my Social Security Representative Payee portal to access the same standardized Benefit Verification letter online for your beneficiaries. This new standardized Benefit Verification letter is another example of our commitment to improve our service to you. No matter how you request your letter, whether calling our National 800 Number, your local office, the Interactive Voice Response system, or online with your personal my Social Security account at ssa.gov/myaccount, the Benefit Verification letter now contains a seamless look.


7 Jan. 19, 1818, marked the first meeting of the legislature of the Alabama ____ 9 Indisposed 11 Breeders’ ___: horse racing events 13 Prepare potatoes 15 Third in line in the family 16 Small measurement (abbr.) 19 Jan. 16, 1839: Alabama’s first ___ was constructed 21 Equine state symbol designated in 1975: The Racking ____

Answers on Page 37

by Myles Mellor

22 Classified ad abbr. 24 Equipment 26 Alabama’s consists of a circle with a map of Alabama rivers and portions of neighboring states inside it 27 Beer container 29 Shaven as a sheep 33 Air, land and ___ 34 Jazz instrument 37 French the 38 Business promotion

Correction: In the December crossword puzzle, the answer to 30 across was misspelled on the answer key. The correct spelling is Hanukkah. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Outdoors |

Coots make good sport for novice waterfowl hunters “Shoot,”

I yelled as birds exploded in all direcpaddles, positions the boat for the best shots and serves as spotter. tions, running across the water frantiWhen hunting alone, paddlers can stretch their shotguns across cally trying to get airborne. “There’s another one just starting to their laps or put them in another convenient place for easy access patter across the surface. Fire! Here comes a straggler. Get him!” when targets present themselves. When boarding or exiting from In seconds, my son pumped out three rounds from his shota boat, always unload the guns and don’t reload them until in a gun. Fortunately, surviving birds didn’t travel far. We watched as safe position. most of them landed about 200 yards away. We picked up our Slowly and quietly paddle through reedy backwaters, sloughs kills and took a brief break to let the birds calm down again while or broken marshes pockmarked by ponds and islands looking and we planned our next stalk. listening for birds. Fortunately, coots don’t startle easily and may “See those birds flocked up in that cove?” I asked, pointing remain in cover until sportsmen paddle within shotgun range. to where the birds we jumped landed to join several hundred of Coots cannot vault into the air to fly like mallards or other puddle their cousins. “Let’s paddle behind that island and come at them ducks. They must use their oversized lobed feet, not webbed like from the rear.” ducks, to patter across the surface For the next three hours, we kicking up water behind them to repeated this procedure multiple become airborne. times until my son bagged his Frequently, coots prefer to limit of 15 coots. Sportsmen can swim or run across the water to hunt coots, or mud hens, during escape danger rather than fly. the regular waterfowl season, but Even after they become airborne, most people ignore them. the birds with stubby wings don’t Not a duck, but a member of fly very fast and normally don’t the rail family, a coot looks like a fly far. They commonly land a black or slate gray chicken with a few hundred yards away, often in white pointed bill and lobed feet. sight of the people who flushed Although they enter brackish or them. After busting a flock, take salty systems occasionally, coots a short break to let the birds setthrive in freshwater marshes, estle down and then try to sneak up tuaries, sluggish river backwaters on them again. When hunting in and large lakes where they often a boat, people can carry refreshraft up in huge numbers. ments to take a break. Coots sometimes swim into During the winter, just about Coots need to run along the surface of the water to become duck decoys, but they don’t re- airborne, making them easy targets. PHOTOS BY JOHN N. FELSHER any freshwater or brackish coastally respond to calls. Therefore, al bay in Alabama with abundant sportsmen must go looking for them. Federal law prohibits aquatic weeds probably holds some coots. Many river backwaters sportsmen from shooting at migratory birds from boats moving offer great opportunities to bag coots. Even on major reservoirs, under motor or sail power, but people can use human power to sportsmen might find some creeks, reedy coves or other places hunt as long as the engine is stopped and the forward momentum to hunt. With nearly 100,000 acres of wetlands open for public from the engine is ceased on any motorized vessel. hunting, some of the best coot hunting opportunities in Alabama A canoe or kayak makes an excellent platform to introduce occur in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta near Mobile. children to hunting. Young waterfowlers easily grow bored on “All natural waterways in Alabama are open to waterfowl huntthose days spent looking at skies devoid of ducks. In a great spot, ing,” says Seth Maddox, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater youngsters can see a lot of action in a short time during a good Fisheries Division migratory bird biologist. “Even to retrieve a coot shoot. downed bird, a person can’t go on private property, but if it falls When paddling up coots, put the youngster in the bow of the in the natural waterway, the person can retrieve it.” boat ready to shoot while the adult takes the backseat. The adult Some waterway managers may impose different regulations, but unless otherwise prohibited or because of safety concerns, sportsmen can hunt practically any public waters they can reach John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. by boat. Check the local laws before hunting anywhere. Contact him through Facebook. A good coot shoot can turn a dull day into an exciting adventure.

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Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su

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1:54 - 3:54 2:42 - 4:42 3:30 - 5:30 4:18 - 6:18 5:06 - 7:06 5:54 - 7:54 6:42 - 8:42 7:30 - 9:30 8:18 - 10:18 9:06 - 11:06 10:42 - 12:42 11:30 - 1:30 NA 1:06 - 3:06 1:54 - 3:54 2:42 - 4:42 3:30 - 5:30 4:18 - 6:18 5:06 - 7:06 5:54 - 7:54 6:42 - 8:42 7:30 - 9:30 8:18 - 10:18 9:06 - 11:06 9:54 - 11:54 10:08 - 12:08 10:42 - 12:42 11:30 - 1:30



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8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 4:33 - 6:03 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27


7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 4:45 - 6 ;15 4:57 - 6:27 5:33 - 7:03 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 PM

8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 5:33 - 7:03 6:21 - 7:51 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 4:45 - 6 ;15 4:57 - 6:27 5:33 - 7:03 6:21 - 7:51

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2021 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com. Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |

Winter veggies Plentiful in taste and nutrition


ne of the benefits of the cold winter months is something we might take for granted: an abundance of some of our favorite fresh vegetables. Think leafy green offerings like collard and turnip greens; root vegetables like onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes; and cruciferous ones like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Not only do they taste delicious, but they are especially valuable, nutritionally speaking. According to our friends at the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, many of our top winter vegetables are excellent sources of Vitamin A, ascorbic acid and iron. Collards, for example, have more vitamin A than snap beans, sweet corn or green peppers. Try out some of our reader-submitted recipes and include them in your winter menus. Your tastebuds and your well-being will thank you!

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The Buttered Home

C Brooke Burks

abbage is in ample supply this time of year. But let’s be honest, there are only so many ways to get the folks you love to eat it and enjoy it. Growing up, one of my favorite ways to have cabbage was when my Grandmama fried it. The smoky bacon grease added a flavor that was unmatched. We take this truly Southern method of cooking cabbage a step further and make it even better. We make it a casserole! Warm up with this seasonal veggie and serve up a side of comfort with this Fried Cabbage Casserole! To find more great recipes like this one, head over to www.thebutteredhome.com and follow along.

Fried Cabbage Casserole 1 medium head of cabbage, chopped 4 tablespoons butter 1/2 pound bacon, cut up into small pieces 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 can cream of celery soup 1/4 cup milk 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup French fried onions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a dutch oven, fry bacon in butter until brown and crispy. Remove and drain. Place cabbage in bacon grease, cover and cook over low to medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir halfway through. Turn off heat. Add in bacon, mayo, milk and cream of celery soup. Mix well. Pour into a lightly greased casserole dish. Spread evenly and top with cheese and fried onions. Bake 45 - 60 minutes until onions are browned and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Photo by The Buttered Home

Alabama Living

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 1/2 cup red onion, chopped 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Trim and slice cleaned Brussels sprouts in half. Chop onion and nuts. Toss nuts, onion and sprouts in a large bowl. Save the cranberries for later. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil. Toss to coat. Place all on a sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10-15 minutes and remove from oven. Toss in cranberries and stir. Return to oven for another 1015 minutes until Brussels sprouts have a nice char and you can easily stick them with a fork.

Fried Cabbage Casserole

Instant Pot Collard Greens -2 large bunches of collard greens 1 1-2 smoked ham hocks 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 tablespoons garlic, minced Salt and Pepper, to taste 11/2 cups vegetable broth Red Pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar Wash your collards at least 2 times to make sure you get all the sand off. I typically wash mine once while still on the stem. Rinse them and tear them off the stem, and then soak the torn pieces again; rinse and drain. In a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot, place your onions, garlic, ham hock, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and broth. Place the torn and washed collard greens on top. I usually have to pack mine in pretty good. It’s important to note here that I can usually only get one bunch of collards in my 6-quart Instant Pot. If you have a larger (Ultra or 8-quart), you may need more. Seal the lid, close the vent and set the Instant Pot to manual or pressure cook for 30 minutes. When the cook time is up, allow to NPR (natural pressure release) for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the vent to release any remaining pressure and remove the lid. Remove the ham hock and discard. Add in the apple cider vinegar and stir well. JANUARY 2021  31

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Cook of the Month Sue Evans, Central Alabama EC Sue Evans says when people taste her Collard Greens Soup, they agree it’s “a soup that hits your bones.” Sue, who lives in Autaugaville and works in Montgomery as a payroll administrator, says her sister shared the recipe with her several years ago “and I probably added a few things to it.” The recipe calls for cubed ham steak, but you could also use pulled pork, she says. And fresh collard greens are listed, but you can also use the bagged frozen version if fresh collards aren’t available. Sue says she has frozen batches of her soup without the potatoes, but has not canned any, for a simple reason: “There’s never enough left.” – Lenore Vickrey

Collard Greens Soup 1 1 2 4 4 2 2

ham steak, cubed large yellow onion, diced 2-pound bags chopped and cleaned collard greens russet potatoes, cubed carrots, thinly sliced cans navy beans, rinsed 32-ounce cans chicken broth

Brown the cubed ham steak. Sauté the diced onions in the same pan. Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot and simmer for one hour. Serve with cornbread croutons.

Sam's Sweet Potato Chili PHOTOS BY BROOKE ECHOLS

Sam’s Sweet Potato Chili 1 onion 1 bell pepper 1-2 teaspoons garlic (amount can be adjusted according to taste - I use more) 2 pounds ground turkey Salt and pepper, to taste 1 teaspoon cumin 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (amount can be adjusted according to taste) 2 pounds sweet potatoes, cubed 2 cans of kidney beans (light red or dark red) 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce 1 28-ounce container beef broth Sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic until tender and move to 6-quart slow cooker. Brown ground turkey and add salt and pepper before moving to slow cooker. Add cumin, red pepper flake, cubed sweet potatoes, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth. Cook on low for 8 hours. Deborah M. Miller Joe Wheeler EMC Collard Greens Soup

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Crispy Roasted Old Bay Potatoes 6 – 8 medium red potatoes, boiled and cubed, skins on 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped red onion 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning Salt and pepper, to taste Shredded Parmesan cheese Parsley for garnish Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Boil potatoes whole in salted water until a toothpick can go all of the way through. Do not over boil! (For this, I use my Instant Pot. I place whole potatoes in with 1 cup of water and salt the water well. Close the lid, seal the vent and pressure cook for 10 minutes. They come out perfect every time!) After potatoes have cooled, cube them to bite-size pieces. Spread in an even layer on a greased sheet pan with chopped onions. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well to distribute oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Mix again lightly and spread back into a single layer. Bake in 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crispy and brown. Garnish with parsley and enjoy! The Buttered Home



awarded to the chosen

Cook of the Month!

Themes and Deadlines: April: Eggs | January 1 May: Sugar-free/diabetic friendly | Feb. 5 June: Blueberries | March 5

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” once per calendar year.

Hunter's Stew 2-3 pounds venison roast (or beef chuck) 3 medium potatoes 3 medium onions 3 carrots 1 celery stalk 2 cups beef stock 1 envelope onion soup mix 1/2 teaspoon basil 1/2 teaspoon thyme 2 bay leaves Cornstarch or flour and water for thickening Salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014 COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH: (Shipping included)

Cut meat into 2-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Roughly chop potatoes, onions, carrots and celery into the desired size. Add meat, vegetables, beef stock, soup mix and basil, thyme and bay leaves to a slow cooker and cook on high heat for 1-hour and then low heat for 7-hours. The last 30 minutes of cooking thicken with flour/cornstarch and water. Taste for seasoning (salt and pepper), remove bay leaves and stir in parsley. Serve with French bread. Lyman Faith Clarke-Washington EMC

Alabama Living

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Name: Address: City:



Phone Number:

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34  JANUARY 2021

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12/16/20 8:19 PM

hip from the Electric rs la o h sc a r fo ly p ap to e has joined other If so, you are eligible iv at er p o co l ca lo r u ion. Yo the Electric te ea cr Cooperative Foundat to a m ba la A f o out the state ion w ill be awarding at cooperatives through d n u fo e th g n ri sp is ion. Th their education at e u n ti Cooperative Foundat n co to ts en d u labama for st scholarships across A nal schools. o ti ca vo d an y ar d n o post-sec

in a copy of an ta b o s, ip h rs la o h sc e t thes om your high For more details abou fr n o ti ca li p ap ip h rs schola ansen, ClarkeElectric Cooperative H ah ar S : ct ta n co r o selor school guidance coun @cwemc.com. n se an h s. at C M E n to Washing attachments ed ir u q re l al h it w s n o ti Don’t wait; applica 12, 2021 y ar ru eb F an th r te la o must be received n

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| Our Sources Say |

A return to Paris I

n September, The New York Times reported that President Xi Jinping sent a pointed message to the U.S. that China was tightening its climate targets to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Todd Stern, the chief U.S. negotiator of the 2015 Paris Agreement, called the statement, “big and important news.” However, the Times was less enthusiastic, noting “President Xi’s remarks were less than precise on actions China would take to ratchet up its climate policies.” While President Xi stated China would achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, the Paris Agreement was based upon the scientific consensus that the world must reach carbon neutrality no later than 2050 in order to have a reasonable chance of averting the worst climate disasters. The Paris Climate Agreement is a voluntary agreement among 197 countries to limit fossil fuel emissions that cause climate change. The Agreement’s goal is to hold the rise in temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement one year after assuming office. However, President-elect Joe Biden has committed to rejoining the Agreement on his first day as President and leading an effort for every country to ramp up their domestic climate targets, as well as spending $2 trillion to slash CO2 emissions. Under the Paris Agreement, each country voluntarily pledged to a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to address GHG emissions. President Obama’s administration pledged a 26%-28% reduction in GHG emissions by 2025. China made a less definitive commitment, pledging to stop increasing CO2 emissions by 2030 or sooner, if possible. The Chinese pledge is obviously more subjective and less measurable than the U.S. pledge. For example, China could increase its CO2 emissions very dramatically through 2029, level off, and still be compliant with its commitment. The U.S. is tied to a very specific level. China is the largest consumer of primary energy in the world and relies on coal generation for 58% of its primary energy needs. China also leads the world with 27% of the world’s GHG emissions. By comparison, the U.S. is responsible for 13% of global GHG emissions (6.7 billion tonnes of the 2018 world total of 51.8 billion tonnes). U.S. coal-fired generation is often blamed for most of the problems with GHG emissions and climate change. Environmental efforts under the Bush and Obama administrations have forced the closure of many of the U.S.’s coal-fired generation plants. Currently, the U.S. has about 224 GWs of coal-fired electric generation out of its total generating capacity of 1,100 GWs.

The U.S. coal fleet is the third largest sector in the U.S. with CO2 emissions at 19%. Transportation is first at 46% and natural gas is second at 33%. In comparison, China currently has over 1,000 GWs of coalfired electric generation and has 206 GWs under construction and pre-construction development - equivalent to about three new coal units per month, each month, through 2025. The China coal fleet is four times as large as the U.S. coal fleet and has almost as much coal-fired generation under construction or development as the U.S. It is apparent China has more interest in dramatically increasing its coal-fired generation fleet and supply of cheap electricity than truly contributing to any global reduction in GHG emissions. The world press has recognized (and criticized) China’s efforts to build coal-fired generation despite its climate commitments: “Surging Coal Use in China Threatens Global CO2 Goals” - E&E News, June 9, 2020 “China Is Still Building an Insane Number of Coal Plants – While The Rest of the World Turns Away From Fossil Fuels, China Is Investing Big in Coal-Powered Electricity” - Wired, November 27, 2019 “China Must Cancel New Coal Plants to Achieve Climate Goals: Study” - Reuters, January 6, 2020 “China’s Appetite for Coal Power Returns Despite Climate Change Pledge – Capacity Rose 42.9 GWs in 18 Months, Far Out-Pacing Global Efforts to Cut Use of fossil Fuels” - The Guardian, November 2019 “Years After Freezing New Projects, China Is Back to Building Coal Power Plants” - Washington Post, November 20, 2019 With the election now decided, Mr. Biden will certainly make good on his pledge to rejoin the Agreement. With the life of a normal coal plant usually extending at least 40 years, China will add so much coal-fired generation between now and 2025 that its pledge will be ineffective in achieving any GHG emission goals. It appears we will return to the Paris Agreement to have our pockets again picked like Mr. Stern’s were in 2015. We will watch as China continues to build cheap electric generation, erode our economy and emit even more CO2. Some things never change. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): March 2021 Issue by January 25 April 2021 Issue by February 25 May 2021 Issue by March 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

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Answers to puzzle on Page 26

Alabama Living

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Roll up your sleeves

Illustration by Dennis Auth


y childhood friends and I spend a good deal of time reminiscing about the “good old days.” It is great fun, until we realize that those days were more “old” than “good.” I thought of this recently, as news spread that a COVID-19 vaccine had been developed and that mass inoculations were being planned. Hearing this, I asked those friends if they recalled when our generation – post-WWII Baby Boomers – were “polio pioneers.” They did. They recalled that because polio was believed to be associated with warm weather, and as summer approached, kids who were out of school and ready to play outside were kept indoors and away from other children. Parents had reason to fear. In 1952 over 35,000 cases of polio were reported and almost every community Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

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seemed to have someone affected by the disease. What we did not know was that research was under way to find a way to end the scourge. And science prevailed. First Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine that could be delivered by injection and it was. The success was astounding. Between 1954, when the vaccine became available, and 1957, the number of reported polio cases in the U.S. had dropped 90 percent. How was this accomplished? My classmates and I were marched to the gym where a nice lady dressed in white stuck a needle in our arms, then gave us a cookie as a reward for being so brave. Not all of us got a treat. I recall a boy who had been something of a schoolyard bully being held screaming as the needle went in. A girl, one of our class beauties, simply fainted away. (A couple of boys rushed forward to revive her, mouth-to-mouth, but teachers blocked them before they could do their good deed for the day.)

Shots were followed by the ritual of “hitting your friends on their sore arms,” which allowed us to ease our pain by hurting someone else. The generation that followed mine was spared this, for in the 1960s, Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral vaccine and the needle was replaced by a sugar cube. Some of my friends went through the line twice to double up on the sweet treat. Will it happen again? Will mass inoculation bring down COVID-19? Already there are some among us who vow not to take the shot or cube or whatever is used to deliver the vaccine. In the nether-world where conspiracies flourish, there are folks who reject all the trials and safeguards that have been used to guarantee that the vaccine is safe. I wonder how many of today’s doubters and deniers would not be here now if their parents and grandparents had not taken the shot or eaten the cube. Seen from that perspective, it may be time for us to roll up our sleeves, not only for us but for generations to come. www.alabamaliving.coop

12/9/20 4:53 PM

AL STATE JAN21.indd 39

12/9/20 4:53 PM

AL STATE JAN21.indd 40

12/9/20 4:53 PM

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