August 2019 Clarke Washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News AUGUST 2019



Youth Tour

Week in Washington, D.C. provides a lifetime of memories for two CWEMC students



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.

Simple and smart weekday meals


Armed with some easy recipes and a weekly meal plan, you can make every evening’s dinner a breeze. We start you off with August’s winning recipe for Parmesan Chicken, thanks to our Cook of the Month, Misty Allbright Roberson of Cullman EC.

VOL. 72 NO. 8 n AUGUST 2019


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 Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Kaitlyn Allen



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


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Riding motorcycles all year long is a popular pastime with our readers.


Sharks among us


Winning menu

Many shark species swim Alabama waters, including some genuine maneaters. But attacks rarely happen.

Coach’s Steakhouse in Tuscumbia is dedicated to grilling one steak at a time, and greeting every customer personally.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: For editorial inquiries, email:

Motorcycle snapshots


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 11 Page 28

11 Spotlight 26 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER: Addis Griffin and Mary Alex McNider represented Clarke-Washington EMC at Washington Youth Tour in June. See story pages 6-7. PHOTO: Michael Cornelison

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You can pay at the bank 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 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081.

New drop-off location in Jackson Clarke-Washington EMC is happy to announce that beginning August 1, BancorpSouth (formerly Merchants Bank) in Jackson will become a payment drop location for Clarke-Washington EMC electric bills. The branch, located at 1901 College Avenue in Jackson, is open Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (drive thru). Clarke-Washington EMC members can simply drop off their electric bill stub with payment at the branch by the 10th of each month. We are excited to offer this new location

Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

for the convenience of our members. Clarke-Washington EMC members can continue to drop off electric bill payments at other BancorpSouth locations in Grove Hill and Thomasville as well as First US Bank locations in Grove Hill and Thomasville. We offer many other convenient ways to pay your electric bill each month including the Clarke-Washington EMC App, bank draft, online at, by phone at 855-870-0403 or in person at our Chatom and Jackson offices.


PAYMENT OPTIONS Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone 855-870-0403 Online Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft




HAPPY LABOR DAY Clarke-Washington EMC offices will be closed Monday, September 2, 2019 for Labor Day.

Steve Sheffield General Manager

August is Back to School Month!

Best wishes for a safe and successful year to all students, parents, faculty and administrators!

| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Nearly 260 educators from across Alabama and northwest Florida became the students for a week at the Empower Energy Education Workshop in June. Twelve educators in the Clarke-Washington EMC area were able to attend Empower and become empowered about energy education. “I had no idea that this workshop would be as ‘empowering’ as it was,” says Dr. Edna Billingsley, school administrator at McIntosh Elementary. “This workshop empowered me to learn many aspects about energy that I had not really thought of before. I was in awe over so many things that I think, we, as educators and the general public are not aware of.” The workshop started in 2017 as a way for PowerSouth and its member systems, such as Clarke-Washington EMC, to promote a balanced approach to energy education in the classroom. PowerSouth partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to empower teachers and provide them with the tools to educate students about the electric industry. The resources meet students’ diverse needs and learning styles and are based on Alabama and Florida standards. Taylor Matheson, 8th grade science teacher at Thomasville, says that walking through each of the activities as a student was the most beneficial thing about the workshop. “I feel that this helped me to troubleshoot while doing the activities, and also see how I would apply and modify them to my classroom,” says Matheson. Matheson expressed how she teaches energy and electricity as two different units and these activities would squeeze in between the two. She feels these activities will reinforce energy and energy conservation, but would be a great springboard into her unit about electricity. During the workshop, teachers participated in many hands-on activities

and breakout sessions. Two of the most popular breakout sessions among the teachers were the Energy Escape Room and Energy House. Teachers were shown ways they could easily transform their classroom to an escape room with any unit. They were split into groups and had to solve clues and puzzles about energy to get to the next step. Jackson Middle School 7th grade science teacher Will Powell thought this activity would be something high on the fun scale for students and very adaptable to any content. “A close second favorite was building the energy house - because it is a multi-day, cross curriculum activity,” says Powell. Matheson agreed; it included content standards, as well as engineering standards, that she incorporates into her classroom. She liked how it would also encourage creativity and communication between students. Attendees received the tools and curriculum necessary to integrate the activities into their classroom. These materials, aimed at K-12 students, include hands-on activities designed to teach tomorrow’s leaders about all energy sources - from fossil fuels to renewables. After the workshop, teachers are able to enter the classroom ready to empower their students. “After attending the Empower workshop, I have a better understanding about energy and how it works in so many different ways. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from the hands on activities and resources that were taught and given in the workshop,” says Thomasville Elementary teacher Colleen Daniels. The conference also provided attendees an opportunity to network with other teachers, sharing ideas and building lifelong connections. “The networking was great - I met so many great educators! However, I learned so much about energy and energy conservation that I did not know before and I feel so

much more knowledgeable now,” says Betsy Turner, 2nd grade teacher at Fruitdale. “We were taught in the same manner that we will teach our students - hands on - and that was great!” Clarke-Washington EMC believes it is important to provide future generations with a full understanding of the electric system and how it was built. Clarke-Washington EMC looks forward to continuing to make a difference in energy education. If you would like to learn more about Empower 2020, please contact Sarah Hansen at Clarke-Washington EMC at 251.246.9081 or via email:

Thomasville High School’s Taylor Matheson used her creative skills to make her group poster about how we use solar energy stand out.

Will Powell, Latoria McCall and Regina Robinson of Jackson Middle School participate in hands-on activities to help them learn more about the electric industry. Alabama Living

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Washington Youth Tour Delegates also visited the Iwo Jima Memorial; the WWII, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials; and the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR Memorials. They toured Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian, the National Holocaust Museum, and had a final goodbye at the Newseum. The Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) was able to secure the students a private night-tour of the Capitol. This experience was a favorite among all of the students. “We were given a special night tour that many people did not get to do,” says McNider. “We got to meet many members of Congress and even watch them vote on bills.” Two local high school students embarked on a weeklong trip to the nation’s capital to represent the state of Alabama for the annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Addis Griffin of Jackson High School and Mary Alex McNider of Clarke Prep were selected to represent Clarke-Washington EMC at the 2019 Washington Youth Tour. The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is a group of more than 1,700 high school students who visit Washington D.C., every June, year after year from all over rural America. They are selected by their electric cooperative because cooperatives

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believe education is important. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) provides young leaders a life-impacting opportunity to increase their understanding of the value of rural electrification. With so many places to visit, highlights of the trip included the following attractions in the Washington D.C., area: Arlington Cemetery, the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, “Hello Dolly” at the Kennedy Center and one evening aboard a dinner cruise on the Potomac River.

In addition to taking in the sights of the nation’s capital, all state groups came together for National Youth Day, sponsored by NRECA, to hear from public figures and other inspirational speakers about the impact cooperatives have on our country. Griffin explains how this experience taught her so much about how cooperatives and the government work. “Overall, this trip filled me with an overwhelming sense of patriotism that can only be felt when immersed in the rich culture and history of Washington D.C.,” says Griffin. “This experience

presented me with opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have and I am so grateful that I was selected to represent Clarke-Washington EMC.” Griffin says she was able to get out of her comfort zone and grow as an individual, making lifelong friends that will benefit her in the future. One way that Griffin and McNider were able to meet new people was by exchanging state pins with students from around the country. McNider loved being able to meet new people from all over. She explained how even within the group from Alabama, there were some that she had met before at school functions and they were able to reconnect.

Alabama Living

“This is a one of a kind experience for our students,” says tour coordinator Sarah Hansen. “This gives them a new outlook on their local cooperative, broadens their education and allows them to see things they learned about in school. This gives them a chance to get out of their comfort zone and meet other young leaders across the country.” The Youth Tour has been a joint effort of Alabama’s electric cooperatives, the Alabama Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for more than 50 years.

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Buzz about internet

HB400 provides opportunity for rural Alabama There is a lot of buzz across the state about House Bill 400 which passed in the most recent session of the Alabama Legislature. The bill titled “Broadband Using Electric Easement Accessibility Act” allows electric utilities to use or allow the use of existing or future easements to offer broadband internet service. Broadband is high speed internet that is offered in 4 different forms: DSL, Cable, Fiber-Optic and Satellite. Broadband is best delivered across fiber optic cables to provide faster internet. Fiber optic technology consists of a bundle of tubes, each is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves allowing communication to be sent at a much higher speed. “The law sets a bright line as to what co-ops can and cannot do,” said Sean Strickler, vice president of public affairs at Alabama Rural Electric Association. The law addresses legal issues that have slowed broadband deployment. An electric provider is not required to install and operate a broadband system or to provide broadband services by this act. It simply allows electric utilities that have gotten into or are considering entering the broadband business to install the necessary equipment within its existing or new electric system easements. Clarke-Washington EMC has provided reliable electricity for 83 years across its 4,000-mile distribution system but does not presently have fiber optic cables or other communication facilities to offer broadband services to its members. Although there are existing fiber lines in parts of the Clarke-Washington EMC service area, the cooperative does not 8  AUGUST 2019

have access or use of those facilities. Clarke-Washington EMC has not explored the feasibility of offering broadband across its system but early indications are that building a fiber system would be a long-term investment that is very expensive. In an article published by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) about broadband, Brian O’Hara, NRECA’s senior regulatory issues director said, “The FCC estimated a few years ago that it would cost $40 billion to expand internet access to cover 98% of Americans and another $40 billion to deliver broadband to the remaining 2% of the U.S. population.” However, there are a number of communication companies that own fiber across the Clarke-Washington EMC service area including Millry Communications, AT&T, Mediacom and Unity Fiber and Clarke-Washington EMC may be able to partner with other companies through joint use attachments on poles or other use of existing facilities to help make broadband internet service available. Any activity into broadband would be carefully studied and

communicated to the membership. Clarke-Washington EMC would only consider a venture that improves the quality of life, is beneficial to the members and is cost effective. When it comes to broadband internet service, what is available in part of the four-county system may not apply to other parts of the system. For example, Millry Communications provides phone service to approximately ¾ of Washington County and is working to build a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network to improve internet offerings in its service territory. This scenario applies to cooperatives across the state and country. Much like electricity did in the 1930’s, broadband internet service has the potential to improve the quality of life and help sustain the economic viability of communities across America. Alabama, like many other states across the nation, has taken a step forward in improving the quality of life of its citizens by passing HB 400. It will be interesting to see how broadband plays out across rural America.

Fiber optic cable consisting of optical fibers bundled together is protected by tubing to allow communication to be sent at high speeds.

| Alabama Snapshots |

Taking a friend for a ride in a 1948 Goulding sidecar on my 1995 Harley Davidson FLHTP. SUBMITTED BY Nancy Mcloda, Henagar.

My Motorcycle

My dad Elmer Brant, Korean War veteran, on his 2004 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail headed to Rolling Thunder Memorial Day Ride. SUBMITTED BY Jaret Brant, Jemison.

Esker Jay Johnson, my brother who has retired and gotten a motorcycle to run and enjoy himself. SUBMITTED BY Rammie Johnson, Sulligent.

John Skinner and his 1974 Bultaco Astro. Still hot off the race track from the weekend. SUBMITTED BY John Skinner, Auburn. Jimmy Pullen. SUBMITTED BY Susie Pullen, Wetumpka.

Heath Dunn. SUBMITTED BY Nicole Dunn, Clayton.

Submit Your Images! October Theme: “Scary Photos!” Deadline for October: August 31

SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 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 and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living

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Spotlight | August SOCIAL SECURITY

Social Security provides multiple ways to change your direct deposit information With our busy lives, it’s easy to fall into that cycle of postponing some tasks because of other priorities. This may be true for you when it comes to changing your payment method for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, forgetting to change your payment method can lead to delayed payments. The most convenient way to change your direct deposit information with Social Security is by creating a my Social Security account online at Once you create your account, you can update your bank information without leaving the comfort of your home. Another way to change your direct deposit is by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make the change over the phone. If you prefer to speak to someone in-person, you can visit your local Social Security office with the necessary information. Because we are committed to protecting your personal information, we need some form of identification to verify who you are. If you are online, we verified your identity when you initially created your my Social Security account. All you need to do Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

is log in at with your secure username and password to gain access to your information. If you call Social Security, we will ask identifying questions to ensure we are speaking to the right person. If you visit the office, you will need to bring a driver’s license or some form of ID with you. Once we have identified that you are the correct person and are authorized to make changes on the Social Security record, all we need is the routing number, account number, and type of account established. We don’t ask for a voided check, nor do we obtain verification from the bank. Therefore, you should be sure you are providing accurate information to us. Because you may be unsure if your direct deposit change will affect your next payment, we highly recommend that you do not close the old bank account until you have seen your first Social Security deposit in the new bank account. That way, you can feel secure you will receive your benefits on time, regardless of when the change was reported to Social Security. When you have to report changes to your direct deposit, be sure to visit us online at Social Security always strives to put you in control by providing the best experience and service no matter where, when, or how you decide to do business with us.

This Month In


ALABAMA HISTORY Honoring Our People

August 15, 1841 E d u c at i o n and prison reformer Julia Tutwiler was born in Tuscaloosa. Known as the “Angel of the Stockade,” Tutwiler worked tirelessly to improve AlaJulia Tutwiler bama’s prison system. Her efforts convinced the state to appoint a state prison inspector, fund teachers for Sunday and night schools in prison, create separate prisons for women, and establish the South’s first juvenile reform school for white boys. She also worked closely with the state to innovate women’s education and helped found the University of West Alabama and the University of Montevallo. Tutwiler was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame and the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, and her poem “Alabama” is immortalized as the official state song.

Massive yellow jacket nests appearing in Alabama; don't disturb!

Imagine a colony of yellow jackets the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, filled with 15,000 of the stinging insects. Now, imagine more than 90 of these super nests in Alabama. It happened in 2006, and Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said that 2019 may be shaping up to mirror that year. It’s called a perennial yellow jacket 10 AUGUST 2019

nest. Entomologists believe that milder winters combined with an abundant food supply allow some colonies to survive and enter spring with much larger numbers. Additionally, the normal cues that would cause queens to disperse may not happen. Researchers have documented that these massive colonies often have multiple queens. A normal yellow jacket nest is usually located in the ground or a cavity. It may peak at 4,000 to 5,000 workers that do not survive cold weather, leaving queens to disperse and form new colonies in the spring. The perennial yellow jacket nests that concern Ray bear little resemblance to normal colonies. “These perennial nests may be several feet wide and have many thousands of

workers, far more than an average nest,” Ray says. “We have found them attached to home exteriors and other places you might not expect to find yellow jackets.” Ray offers important tips for people who think they may have a giant yellow jacket colony on their property. “First and foremost, do not disturb the nest,” Ray says. “While these giant nests often appear less aggressive than smaller colonies, it is important that people do not disturb the nests.” Next, Ray wants people to contact him so he can document the nest and collect insect specimens. People should contact him by email at Finally, if people need to have nests removed, Ray says it is a task only for licensed commercial pest control operators. He warns that even some commercial operators will not tackle these giant perennial yellow jacket nests.

August | Spotlight Letters to the editor

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

If it’s not true, it should be

I read your column this month (“Not my ‘ultimate southern food,’ Hardy Jackson’s Alabama, July 2019). Your attempt to get your cousin to name his newborn daughter “Okra” reminded me of Delta State University’s mascot, the Fighting Okra. My brother, his wife Betty (now deceased) and I all attended Delta. This came about long after we left, however. Betty said the story was that a group of students or maybe some campus organizations were trying to come up with a mascot that was a little more intimidating (?) than “Statesmen.” School colors were green and white, so someone said they needed something that was green and tough. Another replied that okra was green and tough, and so the “Fighting Okra” were born. May or may not be a true story, but if not, it should be the one for legend. John S. Priddy, Sulligent I certainly enjoy reading all of your articles, but ‘Not my ‘ultimate southern food’ takes the cake! (Pun intended). I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the food pairings and the fact a recount should be forthcoming. I also admire your ability to inject a healthy dose of humor into the commentary. Kudos to you and keep up the good work. Bill Hines, Cullman

Find the hidden dingbat! So, how many pairs of sunglasses did you find in our July magazine? We ask, because the “real” dingbat sunglasses were so well hidden that no one could see them. Our page designer got carried away and put them on the moon! Don’t worry if you can’t see them. You have to use a lot of imagination and hold the bottom of Page 17 just right, and even then it’s difficult. So congratulations to all of our readers who found the sunglasses on Page 9 in the bottom right snapshot; Pages 13 and 14, around the peanut farmers’ necks; on Page 40 in the photo of the lady holding a snapper, also worn by our outdoors writer, John Felsher. Some of you guessed they were on Page 34 behind the counter at Bahama Bob’s restaurant, and on Page 36 on the roof of the restaurant. Thanks to the hundreds of readers who entered the July contest, even though it was more difficult than we intended. Congratulations to our winner, drawn from all the entries: Janice Yarbrough of Decatur, AL, a member of Joe Wheeler EMC. This month, we’ve hidden a yellow school bus, just in time for your children and grandchildren to go back to school! We promise it won’t be so hard to find this time! Deadline is Aug. 9. By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Whereville, AL JULY'S ANSWER

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 Aug. 9 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the September 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

This 14-foot tall men’s white dress shirt, set on a pedestal, towers above the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce office on River Falls Street. The site was originally the home of the AlaTex plant, founded in Andalusia in the 1920s, which produced millions of Arrow men’s dress shirts and other apparel. The last successor to AlaTex closed in the mid-1990s and the complex was shuttered. In 2009, the city began a restoration project of the area and acquired the building; the shirt sculpture was commissioned and dedicated to the thousands of textile workers who worked at the plant. (photo suggested by Helen Buckhaulter of Columbia, Ala.) The correct guess winner is Tim Johnson of Covington EC.

By email:

Columnist wins national award Hardy Jackson, columnist for Alabama Living, won a national award in the Cooperative Communicators Association’s (CCA) Excellence in Communications awards Hardy Jackson program, held during the annual CCA Educational Institute June 2-5 in Savannah, Georgia. Professional communicators representing cooperatives from across the United States and Canada submitted nearly 600 entries. The awards recognize the best in writing, photography, programs and projects, and publications. Jackson, who has been writing his column, “Hardy Jackson’s Alabama,” since 2014, won second place in the Columns category. It is the third such award for the retired educator and author. His humor-nostalgia column is one of the most popular pages in the magazine and consistently generates letters from readers. Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) is an organization of 300 professionals who communicate for cooperatives. AUGUST 2019 11

Capturing Alabama’s p Alabama Living 2019 photo contest


eeing our state through the eyes – and camera lenses – of others offers a glimpse into the worlds of those around us. From picturesque landscapes to funny animals to Alabama landmarks, there’s no shortage of photo opportunities for anyone with a camera, a curious eye and a little patience. Alabama Living wanted to see some of these great photos taken by our readers, so again this year, we sponsored a photo contest. We accepted photos through our website from May 1-31 in four categories: This is Alabama, Capture the Seasons,

Cute Critters and Fun and Laughter. We had 228 submissions that met the eligibility requirements. Our judge was Phil Scarsbrook, a professional photographer with more than 40 years of experience who has judged our two previous photo contests. Scarsbrook did not know the identities of the photographers as he judged the entries. We had submissions from every part of the state, and we’re proud to present the judge’s choices for you to enjoy. And start thinking about what you’ll enter next year! — Allison Law

CAPTURE THE SEASONS First place: Anjana Henry, Joe Wheeler EMC “I took this at Green Mountain in Huntsville in fall 2015. The reflection off the fall foliage in the water was so beautiful.” Judge’s comment: With soft tonality and hues, reminiscent of a Renaissance painting. Excellent capture.

Honorable mention: Grace Knetter, Cullman EC “This sweet girl has a huge heart, joyous personality and helps spread happiness all around her! She is a senior this year, getting ready to take on the world.”

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s people and places

CUTE CRITTERS First place: Jennifer Newby, Baldwin EMC “While in Orange Beach with friends for Labor Day in 2014, we took a dolphin cruise. They used two boats to create a wake that had the dolphins jumping and playing. We were amazed.” Judge’s comment: Fun photo! Beautifully rendered. Leaving space for the dolphin to jump into makes the composition of this image spot-on.

FUN AND LAUGHTER Honorable mention: Marla Monk, Coosa Valley EC “Children usually like the wrapping paper the best at Christmas. Here are my grandchildren opening presents at my house in Birmingham, Christmas 2018.”

Alabama Living

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Honorable mention: Audrey Barnett, Baldwin EMC “I’ve raised chickens my whole life. I took this picture after it had rained and my chickens were on my picnic table, preening themselves to try and dry off. When I went to snap a picture, they sorta gave me a dirty look.”


First place: Jenna Adaway, Wiregrass EC “Taken in Hartford, Ala., on May 1, 2019. It’s special because she was getting ready to spit water on her brother. Hahaha!” Judge’s comment: Fun image! Full of energy and emotion. Reminds me of days past of drinking water straight from the faucet.

THIS IS ALABAMA First place: Debra Jones, Baldwin EMC “This photo was taken east of Gulf State Park last September. I have started a new tradition every September to go to the pier to take sunrise photos. Each day is a new beginning, especially when it involves fishing.” Judge’s comment: Simply beautiful! Excellent, colorful silhouette. From the sinking sun to the lone bird in the foreground, there are plenty of visual elements to treat the eye.

Honorable mention: Sandy Kiplinger, Arab EC “Sipsey Wilderness, 2018. The Sipsey has many beautiful secrets.”

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Alabama Living

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Sharks live among us, but don’t be afraid to go in the water By John N. Felsher


any shark species swim Alabama waters, including some genuine maneaters. However, attacks rarely happen. “People would be surprised at how many species and the numbers of sharks off the Alabama coast,” says Dr. Sean P. Powers, a professor of marine sciences with the University of South Alabama and a scientist with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. “Most sharks in Alabama waters are small and non-threatening

to humans. Unprovoked shark attacks are very rare in Alabama, but in the past 20 years, we’ve seen an increase in attacks because more humans are going to the coast and we have more sharks now.” People most commonly encounter Atlantic sharpnose sharks, which average about 2½ to 3 feet long. Anglers might also tangle with spinner sharks that habitually make spinning leaps from the

Tiger sharks can grow to 20 feet long and weigh more than 1,700 pounds. PHOTO BY DAVID HAY JONES

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water, or blacktips. caught in Alabama, “In late spring a 988-pound tiand summer, we ger he caught near see so many blackGulf Shores in June tip and spinner 1990. sharks around the “Routinely, we Gulf State Park see 600-pound tiPier that people gers in the Gulf of can hardly reel in Mexico,” Powers a big fish without says. “Tiger sharks a shark biting it,” were overfished for says Ritchie Rusa long time but are sell, of Russell’s now recovering. Coastal Fishing Large tigers very in Orange Beach. rarely enter Mobile “People commonly Bay, but juvenile catch 6- to 7-foot tiger sharks go far blacktips while surf up into Mobile Bay fishing the beaches to use it as a nursat night.” ery area. Young tiAnglers could gers go into areas also catch scalwith low salinities loped hammer- Most sharks that live off Alabama’s coasts are small and non-threatening, but there are bull and where other sharks tiger sharks that are responsible for some attacks. heads. These fish cannot follow. PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. SEAN POWERS resemble larger They stay in the esgreat hammerheads and can grow to more than 10 feet long. tuary until they grow big enough to defend themselves.” Great hammerheads can grow more than 14 feet long and weigh Stocky and powerful, bull sharks can top 11 feet in length and more than 1,200 pounds. weigh more than 600 pounds. Unlike other sharks, adult bull “Hammerheads have huge dorsal fins, which make them very sharks readily enter freshwater systems. Very common in Alapopular with commercial fishermen,” Powers says. “Great hambama, bulls regularly hunt in the tidal rivers of the lower Momerheads are recovering from overfishing because of the value of bile-Tensaw Delta. They sometimes appear well up the Alabama their fins for shark fin soup. Great hammerheads look very fierce, and Tombigbee rivers. but because of the position of their mouths, they rarely bite any Low odds of attack one. They mostly feed upon stingrays and use their hammer to Bull sharks account for most attacks in Alabama waters. In fact, hold rays down.” a bull shark, not a great white, probably inspired the novel and Any toothy shark could give a human a nasty bite. According movie “Jaws.” From July 1-12, 1916, a shark or multiple sharks to, the last fatal attack in Alabama killed five people along the New Jersey coast. One attack occurred happened in 1894. Most attacks occur because a shark thinks a in a freshwater creek 15 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. foot or hand in the water looks like a fish or because humans do “Shark attacks do happen, but the odds of being attacked by a something to provoke the fish. shark are lower than getting hit by lightning,” Powers says. “Jel“Humans make horrible food for sharks,” Powers says. “Sharks lyfish pose a much more serious problem to people swimming want food with high fat content, like mackerel or tuna. They need on the beaches than sharks. People shouldn’t be afraid to go to that energy. Humans just don’t have that fatty acid content that the water. Sharks are not out to get people. They are looking for sharks need. Usually, a shark takes a bite out of someone because something to eat. Most sharks are not interested in eating people.” it thinks it sees prey. Usually, when a shark bites a person, it rePeople who engage in risky behavior would more likely suffer a treats.” shark bite. When anglers who wade along the beaches catch fish, Species in Alabama they often put them on a stringer attached to their belts. Bleeding Three large shark species – great whites, tigers and bull sharks fish can attract sharks. Sharks can detect minute blood particles – account for most attacks worldwide and all of them swim in from long distances. Generally, the shark goes for the fish, and Alabama waters at times. Great white sharks, the toothy predator not the human. If a large shark wants the fish, let him have it and that gave the movie “Jaws” its menacing moniker, do occur in the get out of the water. Gulf of Mexico. The largest predatory shark in the world, a great Sharks typically feed at dusk and dawn. Don’t swim or wade white can exceed 22 feet in length and weigh more than 4,000 during those hours, especially alone. Sharks generally avoid pounds. But people rarely encounter a great white off Alabama groups of noisy people. Also, never go in the water with a bleedcoasts. ing wound, no matter how small. Obey shark warnings and stay However, other monster maneaters do frequently visit state out of the water when big predators feed. If attacked, fight back. waters. Some prowl close to the beach or even venture north of it. Tear at the shark’s gills or poke its eyes. Punch it in the snout. The second largest predatory shark in the world and a proven maSharks respect power. Resistance could cause a shark to look for neater, tiger sharks can grow to 20 feet long and weigh more than easier prey. 1,700 pounds. Larry G. Eberly holds not only the state record for Sharks have been part of the natural environment for eons. the species, but bragging rights for landing the largest fish ever Leave them alone to go about their lives. Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019 17

Will it be Bama vs. Clemson? Chapter 5 By Brad Bradford


ome Vegas casinos have the most unusual and first-time betting option for the 2019 football season: You can take Alabama and Clemson together against the field (other 128 teams) to win the national championship. Where would you put your money? This goes to show how far these two teams have separated themselves from all the others. Football fans forget that last year, as the season progressed, these questions came up: Is this the best Alabama team ever? Can anyone come near them? Could they beat a poor NFL team? All ridiculous questions. Yes, Alabama breezed through the regular season but had to face Auburn, Georgia, Okla-

18 AUGUST 2019

homa and, of course, Clemson for the national championship. On these same weeks, Clemson played South Carolina, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. This is not an excuse. Bama got taken behind the woodshed and gave Nick Saban the worst beating in his tenure at Alabama. There was no excuse for this. On Jan. 7, Clemson was the better team, better coached, better prepared and dominated. Auburn’s 2018 season was riddled with uncertainty, injuries, inexplicable losses and incredible wins. The Tigers beat the PAC 12 champion Washington Huskies in Atlanta to open the season and total-

ly steamrolled a Purdue team that had dominated Ohio State by 29 points in the Music City Bowl. Their signature win was defeating Texas A&M at home. They beat the other SEC bottom feeders but lost head scratchers to Mississippi State and a bad Tennessee team. The LSU game was basically taken from them with a couple of questionable interference calls and some Bayou luck. This early loss seemed to start some finger pointing and blame. A win over LSU would have given them a 5-0 start and momentum. All schedules are not created equal. This year, Auburn faces the equivalent of the old Yankee’s Murderers Row in order: No. 10 Oregon; No. 13 Texas A&M; No. 6 Florida; No. 8 LSU;

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  19

No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama. The media has made a big deal about Clemson playing Texas A&M. Guess what? Auburn and Alabama play them every year. Here are Clemson’s six highest ranked opponents: No. 13 Texas A&M; No. 32 Syracuse; No. 40 South Carolina; No. 51 N.C. State; No. 65 Wake Forest; and No. 70 Boston College. Which team do you think gets to rest their starters earlier, which leads to more depth, fewer injuries, and a larger margin for error? Nothing can be done about the SEC crossover games, but Bama gets Tennessee and South Carolina while Auburn

drew Florida and Georgia. Replace “The Process” with “The Alabama Factor.” It is hard to believe that Nick Saban is entering his 13th year with the Tide. He has recently talked more about the Alabama Factor than the Process: “Last year, we got away from the Alabama Factor which includes effort, discipline, commitment, pride and toughness.” Bama plays best with a chip on its shoulder and when not ranked No. 1. Both boxes are checked this year. Can he indoctrinate seven new assistants into the Alabama Factor? His track record says yes. Is Gus Malzahn on the hot seat? As the

Alabama Prediction: After going 14-1 last year, you would think that the wheels have come off the Nick bus. Unfortunately, Bama is judged vs. perfection. Nothing less. Since quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made it look so easy last year, he was taken for granted. His passing efficiency rating of 199.4 barely beat out Kyler Murray of Oklahoma to lead the nation. Najee Harris takes over as the alpha running back after learning from now-NFL backs Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs. The depth at wide receiver is a version of “pick your poison”: All-American Jerry Jeudy along with Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle can go the distance, quickly. The defense will be led by the best linebacking group in the country: Dylan Moses, Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis. Alabama could have an All-American in every position unit on the team. Trap games: at Texas A&M, LSU at home (even though Bama has won eight in a row) and Auburn, since it is in Jordan-Hare this year. The over/under is 11. Take the over. Prediction: 12-0. SEC champion. College football playoff again. Auburn Prediction: One of the Tigers’ best recruiting jobs was having All-American Derrick Brown return at defensive tackle for his senior year instead of opting for the NFL. The Tigers’ defensive line is ranked No. 1 in the country. Senior Marlon Davidson, Nick Coe and Big Kat Brown should be able to shut down their opponents’ running game. As long as Kevin Steele is the defensive coordinator, Auburn will be in games. The biggest question on offense is the one that you don’t want to have in the killer SEC West: Who is going to be the starter at quarterback? Redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood has the talent, but my money is on true freshman Bo Nix. He comes from good Auburn stock. Every starter on the offensive line is a senior (almost never heard 20 AUGUST 2019

head football coach at a major university, the two people that you want on your side are the president of the university and the athletics director. President Steven Leath (who gave Malzahn the $49 million contract) was recently let go and Athletics Director Allen Greene did not hire Gus. Auburn fans are not satisfied with a 28-20 SEC record and losing at least five games in four of his six years. When the gap in confidence and talent chasm gets wider with the team on the other side of the state, it heats up. See Avery Johnson, former Alabama basketball coach, as an example of this.

of). The schedule does not give Auburn much room for error. Possible losses: Oregon, Texas A&M, Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama. The over/under is 8. Will be a push. Prediction: 8-4. SEC WEST: 1. Alabama 2. Texas A&M 3. LSU 4. Auburn 5. Mississippi State 6. Arkansas 7. Ole Miss SEC EAST: 1. Georgia 2. Florida 3. Missouri 4. Kentucky 5. South Carolina 6. Tennessee 7. Vandy POSSIBLE PLAYOFF TEAMS: Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon. PLAYOFF PAIRINGS: Peach: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Georgia. Fiesta: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Clemson vs. Alabama. This

year, there will be 15 days between the semifinals and the championship game. Bama will have an easier time with Oklahoma than Clemson will have with Georgia in Atlanta. No one utilizes this extra time better than Nick Saban and his band of analysts. It should be a slight lean toward Clemson, BUT for the last 3 years, the loser of the Clemson-Alabama game has come back to win the National Championship the next year. How can you go against this stat? Alabama 38-Clemson 35. Brad Bradford is a former football staff member at Alabama and Louisville. His daily blog about growing up in the South can be found at Email him at brad@

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  21

| Alabama People |

Don Noble

Talking about books Don Noble, longtime professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama, has been hosting the Emmy-nominated “Bookmark” show for 30 years on Alabama Public Television. His weekly book reviews have been broadcast on Alabama Public Radio since 2002. He is a widely published writer and editor who has served on many statewide boards, including the Alabama Humanities Foundation, Alabama Writers’ Forum and the Alabama School for the Fine Arts. He is the recipient of several prestigious literary and academic awards. We caught up with him between books to get more acquainted with this busy man. – Lenore Vickrey You’re not a native of Alabama, but you’ve lived here 50 years. Have any of your preconceptions about the South been changed or reinforced in the 50 years you’ve lived here? I had been a New Yorker (state) for my first 23 years and went to Chapel Hill on purpose to study Southern lit. As I was finishing there, I was offered a job here (UA) and thought, wrongly, that I had been living in the South and Alabama would be more or less like Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill was NOT the South. It was and is an oasis. I had all the preconceptions you might imagine. I watched Alabama on television in the ’60s just like everyone else in America. But more importantly, I wanted to be a part of something that was changing, getting better. In this respect, I was correct. Alabama, Tuscaloosa and the University are better than ever. There was always a rich literary tradition, which I admired, but race relations, the economy, restaurants, and culture in all its forms are better and keep improving (with some dramatic setbacks from time to time). You’ve been doing “Bookmark” for 30 years on APTV and interviewed more than 400 authors. How do you choose which authors to interview? As with my radio book reviews, I try to give a little attention to Alabama writers. On the more practical level, we rarely have the funds to go to where a writer is living. William Styron was the great exception. We interviewed him in his living room in Connecticut. The producers and I keep a sharp eye out for writers on tour or who are appearing at the Monroeville conference or the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery. We used to get lots of writers at the Birmingham-Southern Writing Today Conference, but it closed. Big catches such as Toni Morrison or Ray Bradbury were writers who had come to Alabama for one reason or another. Who were your most memorable interviews? Although I have interviewed many writers with the Pulitzer or the National Book Award, only Toni Morrison had the Nobel. So she is the most important and memorable. In many cases, the interview led to friendships. Eugene Walter and I met regularly for dinner and drinks until his 22 AUGUST 2019

death, and writers such as Rick Bragg, Daniel Wallace, Michelle Richmond, Sena Jeter Naslund and many others are friends I am happy to be connected to. Daniel and I did a little show in Tuscumbia at the library last Friday night. Who was the most difficult to interview? Some writers are difficult. Some may be having a bad day, or are just not very nice people, ever. As has been written many times, it is not always a good thing to meet your heroes. More than one writer has insisted on correcting any little error I might make. However, the old and savvy writers, Richard Wilbur and James Dickey, to name two, know how to steer the interview so that everybody looks good. In each case, when my question was weak or faulty, the poet said, “Yes, let me rephrase that a little” or “Good question. I understood you to mean…” and they rephrased my awkward question so it was more elegant and they looked kind and I looked bright. Who would you like to talk to again? I have interviewed many, many writers several times. If it were possible, I would like to talk to Toni Morrison again, and of course, the deceased, but that is not likely! And how do you find/make the time to read all the books you want to read? I do NOT read faster than other people. But one must be relentless. It is important to read every day. If you read 50 pages a day for six days, you have done a 300-page book. No magic there. Which medium do you prefer – print, Kindle, e-book, audio? I much prefer a book in hand, a hard copy. I read on a device only in an emergency. What books are on your nightstand right now? My nightstand is for books I am not reviewing. I just read a biography of Lawrence Durrell. I read a lot of biography for relaxation. I also just read David Sedaris’ Calypso, and I love the essays of Adam Gopnik.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  23

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Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  25

| Gardens |

Balancing the dark and light sides of outdoor lighting O n the bright side, outdoor lighting makes nighttime yards and gardens safer and more beautiful. On the dark side, outdoor lighting contributes to light pollution and can cause all kinds of problems for all kinds of creatures. Luckily, we can balance the dark and light sides of outdoor illumination by using conscientious, judicious lighting strategies. Light pollution is a modern-day problem caused by the overuse and misuse of artificial lights, particularly those that produce bright white or blue light. Yes, good outdoor lighting is often necessary for our safety and security, but if used excessively or inappropriately, it can eclipse the natural luminosity of the moon and stars, which in turn affects the circadian rhythms of the natural world. For example, light pollution not only limits our ability to really see a night sky, it can also disrupt plant growth and flowering, cause migrating birds to fly into buildings, lure newly hatched sea turtles away from the safety of the sea and disturb the sleep cycles of us humans. The good news is, we humans can mitigate the damage (and save energy) by following a few basic principles suggested by the International Dark-Sky Association, a nonprofit on a mission to “preserve and protect nighttime environments and the Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at

heritage dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting.” According to IDA, light pollution worldwide can be drastically reduced simply by using artificial lights judiciously — only when and where they are truly needed — and using light pollution-limiting bulbs that reduce brightness and disruptive blue light emissions. Sure, the greatest impact would be made if these steps are adopted in major metropolitan areas, but you can make a small dent in your own backyard, and it all starts with a garden stroll. Take a walk around your landscape in both daytime and nighttime conditions to determine the effects created by both the sun and moon on your home and yard. While you’re out there for the night stroll, cut on your current outdoor lights as well as any indoor lights that shine into the yard and see how they affect the nighttime landscape. Once you know your current lighting situation and future lighting needs, you can focus better on where lights are truly necessary and what changes are needed to maximize their use. During your stroll, take time to identify focal points or main elements in your landscape where lighting would be most beneficial. You may want to focus light on specific elements of the landscape, such as large trees, the main entrance, a front walk or a garden sculpture or fountain.

Also identify areas that need extra light for safety and security, such as dark corners and potential hazards such as steps and curbs. With this information in hand, you can design your own nature-friendly lighting plan or take your nature-friendly ideas to a professional landscape designer. And as you create and implement a plan, or simply make small changes to your current lighting, keep these IDA tips in mind: • Whenever possible, use only fully shielded, downward-pointing light fixtures. • Replace bulbs with “warm-white” or filtered LED (light-emitting diode) lights. • Install dimmers, timers and motion sensors to reduce light use. • Dim or turn off all lights overnight. To learn more about light pollution and strategies to dim that pollution, visit IDA’s website at And make sure you take time to enjoy your nighttime landscape. Whether you wander in the garden or simply sit on the porch or patio in the dark, you’ll see and hear a whole new world.

AUGUST TIPS  Dry herbs and preserve summer produce.

 Save seed from this year’s vegetables for use next year.

 Take cuttings from ornamental shrubs.  Watch for insect and disease problems and treat as needed.

 Sow seeds for fall cool-season flowers

and vegetables in flats or in the garden.

 Order spring bulbs for fall planting and for forcing holiday bulbs.

26 AUGUST 2019

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  27

28  AUGUST 2019

August | Around Alabama vendors and free watermelon.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Moore Foundation.


The Jennifer Moore Foundation Annual Professional Rodeo will be August 1-3 in Foley.


Foley, Jennifer Moore Foundation 22nd Annual Professional Rodeo. Scheduled competition events include bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping, breakaway roping and more. Rodeo begins at 8 each night at the City of Foley Horse Arena, 113 East Rosetta Ave. Children’s activities begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under. Ticket price includes Kid Zone activities and rodeo.


Lookout Mountain Parkway, World’s Longest Yard Sale. The World’s Longest Yard Sale takes place from Gadsden to Noccalula Falls Park and continues up the Lookout Mountain Parkway towards Chattanooga. The sale is free, takes place in all weather and vendors set up in yards, churches and anywhere there is open space along the route.


Athens, Piney Chapel American Farm Heritage Day. Various makes, models and years of tractors and farm equipment on display. 20-mile tractor ride on Friday at 10 a.m. Fish fry Friday at 5 p.m. Concessions and vendors available. Admission $5. Children 10 and under free. 20147 Elkton Road. Gates open at 7 a.m.


Albertville, Main Street Music Festival. Food and vendors, a children’s inflatable water

park and live music both days. Free.


Ashland, 2nd Annual Clay County Yellow-Meated Watermelon Festival at Ashland City Park. Pancake breakfast, barbecue cookoff, antique car cruise-in, sidewalk sales and more. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.


Opelika, 2nd Annual Futral Artifact Show. Multiple vendors with Indian artifacts including display cases, pipes, bowls, spears, arrowheads, clothing, jewelry and more. Pre-Columbian, Civil War relics, fossils and related artifacts are allowed. Refreshments available. $2 donation, children 12 and under free. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Village Event Center.


Montgomery, Family and Local History Workshop. This hands-on workshop will have a two-part focus bringing together historians and genealogists. The first day will give local heritagebased associations an organizational tune-up with speakers focusing on building membership, enhancing your online presence, good governance, and other topics. The second day will offer sessions about how to research and present local and family history. Topics may include oral history, storing research, analyzing maps, finding resources, and preserving and disseminating your work. Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave. Registration begins at 8 a.m., seminars begin at 9



Killen, 23rd annual Founder’s Day Celebration. Car show, 5K run and 1-mile fun run, arts and crafts and food vendors, parade and more. This year’s theme is “Alabama Bicentennial – Killen Founded on Family.” For more information, search Killen Founder’s Day on Facebook.


Millbrook, 16th Annual AWF Youth Fishing Rodeo, 7-11 a.m., Lanark. Rodeo open to ages 15 and under. Admission is free, but participants are asked to pre-register as space is limited. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Each young angler will receive a t-shirt and snacks and drinks will be available. Each participant may take home five catfish each but may catch and release as many as they would like. A limited number of loaner rods and reels will be available, but participants may bring their own. Register at


Mobile, Eggs with a Side of Jazz. Benefit for Family Promise of Coastal Alabama, Mobile’s first family shelter. Enjoy breakfast along with the sounds of The Jazz Studio. Tickets are $35. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 1260 Dauphin St.


Rogersville, Rockin’ The River at Joe Wheeler State Park. Live entertainment, car show and children’s fun area. Concessions and bar available. Bring lawn chairs. Free. Call 256-247-5461 for reservations.


Tuscaloosa, Druid City Music Festival. Two days of live music, with headliners Big Boi and Blackberry Smoke. Friday night venues are at various venues around town; Saturday concerts are in Government Plaza. Tickets start at $78.


Eutaw, 44th annual Black Belt Roots Festival. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday at the Old Courthouse Square. Music, dance, crafts, food and other activities. 205-372-0525.


Montgomery, Alabamaborn artists Mac McAnally and John Paul White will perform at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) as part of an Alabama Natives Concert Series celebrating Alabama’s and Montgomery’s Bicentennial. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 6:30 p.m. $25. The series is sponsored by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; proceeds from this concert will benefit ASF and its programs. 334271-5353,

Sept. 1

Cullman, Sweet Tater Festival. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday. Food vendors, arts and crafts, a car show and sweet potatoes. Smith Lake Park.


Russellv ille, Franklin County Watermelon Festival. Entertainment, arts & crafts, antique car & truck show, tractor show, food

To place an event, e-mail or visit You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.

Alabama Living

Ozark, South Alabama Pro Rodeo Classic at the Dale County AgPlex Arena. Tickets available at the Ozark Chamber of Commerce and other locations around town. 334-774-9321.

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AUGUST 2019 29


| Worth the drive |

Coach’s Steakhouse

scoring touchdowns with a winning menu By Todd Thompson


hen patrons first step inside Coach’s Steakhouse in hisThe idea to name the restaurant came from students in Barry toric downtown Tuscumbia, they are immediately taken Rinks’ class at Muscle Shoals High School. But it took Johnson a back to days past – classic exposed brick walls, beautiful few weeks to grow comfortable with the name. wood staircases and a historic feel. “I always felt like it took me about 20 years of being a coach But they won’t find walls filled with tributes to athletes and before I felt I earned the right to be addressed as ‘Coach,’” Johnteams from the area. son says. “I like history and I don’t want the restaurant cluttered,” says Johnson didn’t just step into the food service industry after owner Rickey Johnson, who spent 36 years in coaching with retirement without any experience. He operated a convenience stops at Mount Hope, Hazlewood, store in Hatton for 25 years while Hatton and Muscle Shoals. “I wanted teaching and coaching. He made the it to look good. I don’t want anything move to the restaurant business sevto take away from the history of this eral years ago and never looked back. building.” “My goal is to meet every customThe only sports memorabilia in er one on one,” Johnson says. “We do the restaurant currently is a large it one steak at a time and one cusphoto of Detroit Tigers’ legend Heitomer at a time. I’ll come to the table nie Manush, a native of Tuscumbia and introduce myself. They come who became the first Alabamian to for eating, though. They appreciate be inducted in the Baseball Hall of a personal handshake. If I stay too Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. long, it’s just a part of being young “This is a very historic building. and dumb in the business.” The architect that did the remodel Johnson brings the same type of Rickey Johnson with two of his restaurant’s popular dishes, said it was built around 1805,” Johnfocus, dedication and preparation ribeye and BBQ nachos. Johnson coached teams in the Shoals son says. “There aren’t many restauthat he taught his football teams to area for 36 years before opening his restaurant in 2016. rants in the state of Alabama that can the restaurant business. And the say their building is that old. Helen Keller’s parents had a place longtime football coach stresses teamwork every day when the here at one time, so she walked through those doors – doors that doors open. are original to the building. It has a lot of big-time plusses for “Every night, I talked to the staff about doing our best, giving people that like history. It has a little bit of everything.” our best effort,” Johnson says. “It was kind of like a pep talk. I Johnson, who opened his first Coach’s restaurant in the Hatton got energy off of them and I think they got energy off me. The community in Lawrence County, saw an opportunity when a restaurant business is real fast and I was used to the fast pace in previous restaurant at the location closed. He wanted to be a part coaching. It was kind of tailor made for me.” of the town’s downtown thriving historic district. And when it’s game time, Coach Johnson is ready to serve up Coach’s is dedicated to grilling “one steak at a time” and offers one delicious steak at a time. a wide selection of hand-cut meats, including filet mignon, top “When you have a crowd in here, sirloin and ribeyes. Diners can also take Johnson’s recommenyou’ve got to be pumped up,” Johndations for the Championship (New York) Strip or a Coach’s son said. “It’s just like it is a football Choice sirloin. game. It’s time to step up and show Steak may be the top choice, but the full menu offers chicken, out. When it’s time to go, you have seafood, burgers and appetizers, including barbecue nachos and to be ready to go. That’s our job, bacon cheese fries. It is one of the few restaurants in the area to to make sure people can trust us offer a full salad bar stocked daily with fresh items. to give them a great meal in a great atmosphere.”

A coach’s tradition

For Johnson, the menu is all about giving guests the best dining experience possible. And he knows plenty about being the best. A member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Johnson won state football championships in 1990, 1991, 1992 and in 2000. He wrapped up his coaching career as a middle school coach in Muscle Shoals, where he coached the children of several of his former Hazlewood players.

30 AUGUST 2019

Coach’s Steakhouse

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Helping youth coaches prevent sports injuries By Kevin Scarbinsky


oe Ackerson wasn’t your typical Pop Warner defensive coordinator. Sure, like so many youth coaches, he was a dad with a son on the team, but he also was a pediatric neuropsychologist and member of the Alabama Statewide Head Injury Task Force. Long before the movie “Concussion,” he was acutely aware of the potential dangers of head injuries. He asked some of his fellow coaches about the team’s concussion protocol. “They said young kids don’t get concussions,” Ackerson says. “At that point, I knew we had a problem on our hands.” Ackerson’s concern and his position helped spur the state of Alabama to deal with that problem. The state formed a Sports Concussion Task Force, which consulted with the Alabama High School Athletic Association as it adopted the strict guidelines for the recognition and management of sports-related concussions. That effort was followed by 2011 legislation that requires coaches at all levels in Alabama to receive concussion training. Ackerson, who chairs that Sports Concussion Task Force, saw a larger issue beyond concussions. “We had well-intentioned dads out there like you and me not really knowing what we were doing,” he says. “We needed to get in prevention mode with youth coaches.” What about recognizing other medical concerns for athletes age 14 and under, such as overuse injuries and heat-related illnesses? What about preventing injuries as much as possible by implementing best practices in terms of training? Who was educating the approximately 60,000 youth coaches in Alabama so they could make sports as safe and healthy as possible for the state’s youth? The answer was no one, until 2018 when the Alabama Legislature passed the Coach Safely Act, which was developed and championed by the non-profit CoachSafely Foundation. The first bill of its kind in the nation, whose advocates include such thought leaders as renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews and Alabama 32  AUGUST 2019

football coach Nick Saban, the Coach Safely Act was designed to provide youth coaches the fundamental knowledge to prevent injuries if possible and recognize them when necessary. The law requires all government or sub-government agencies in Alabama with property used for high-risk sports to train their coaches in an online or classroom course focusing on the prevention and recognition of injuries for athletes age 14 and under. High-risk sports include, but are not limited to, football, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and lacrosse. “We’re the first state in the country to pass such a law,” says Drew Ferguson, a CoachSafely Foundation Board Member and the Director of Sports Medicine at Children’s of Alabama. “This training course will help us educate coaches to improve safety and reduce risk for all children in terms of their sports participation.”

Creating a safe environment

The CoachSafely Foundation has created a standard with its training course, which all youth coaches in Alabama must complete online or in person. The course was introduced in Trussville to more than 500 coaches before becoming the model for the Coach Safely Act. Drew Peterson, superintendent of the Trussville Parks and Recreation Department, called that pilot program “instrumental in creating a safe but competitive environment for the children of Trussville. Parents will feel comfortable sending their child to practice or games when they know their coach has been through this program.” To help distribute the training course to coaches across the state, the CoachSafely Foundation has partnered in a joint venture with the Alabama Recreation and Parks Foundation. The Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, representing the Alabama Recreation and Parks Foundation, has 900 members in 92 of the state’s largest cities, representing the majority of the state’s population. Under the terms of the joint ven-

ture, the CoachSafely Foundation delivers its training course to state agencies at no direct cost exclusively through the network of the ARPA membership. Original funding for the program has been provided through major charitable gifts. “Sports safety for the youth in our communities is of the utmost importance, and the Coach Safely Act becoming law in 2018 is evidence of just how important coaches’ education really is,” said Natalie Norman, executive director of the Alabama Recreation and Parks Foundation. “Through the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, we are here to deliver that education to coaches of athletes age 14 and under as we strive to make the recreational sports environments, in which our youth are participating, as safe and injury-free as possible.” Gone should be the days when youth coaches use outdated training methods like the Oklahoma drill in football, where a running back, offensive lineman and defensive lineman compete in a confined space. Ackerson, in his quest more than a decade ago to do a good job for his son’s Pop Warner football team, tried to run that drill. The team’s head coach asked, “What are you doing?” Ackerson replied, “You’ve got to teach the kids to hit.” The head coach said, “That’s silly.” That head coach was Bobby Humphrey. It’s rare to find a youth coach who’s been a former NFL running back and also has coached a professional team as Humphrey did with the Birmingham Steeldogs of the AF2, an affiliate of the Arena Football League. “If you want to change the injury risk factor, you have to change how coaches are coaching,” Ackerson says. “We want kids to be physically active and out there playing. We just want them doing it in a smart way. Bobby showed me the smart way to do it.” The Coach Safely initiative will show youth coaches throughout Alabama the smart way to coach our kids. For more information, visit

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  33

| Alabama Recipes |


Armed with some easy recipes and a weekly meal plan, you can make every evening’s dinner a breeze.


etween school, work, soccer practice, piano lessons, house work, yard work and our never-ending lists of obligations and responsibilities, finding time to put a tasty meal on the table (and do it with a smile) each weeknight can prove a difficult task. It’s so much easier to swing through a drive-thru, or better yet, have a pizza delivered. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional foray into fast food, rely on it too often and your family’s waistlines — and your household budget’s bottom line — will reap some unpleasant consequences. An essential ingredient in the formula for fixing supper (and still getting the laundry done) is stocking your recipe repertoire with simple yet delicious dishes that you can whip up fast, and afterwards, clean up quick. This issue’s reader-submitted recipes will help with that. The next item on the menu is making a meal plan and working smarter, not harder, when it comes to meal preparation. A weekly meal plan helps you create a grocery list that results in fewer trips to the grocery store and more efficiency — with a lower chance of over-buying or forgetting things — when you’re there. If the meal plan is your appetizer, the meal prep is the entree. Before you start actually cooking, read through the entire recipe first so you can figure out things like “Can you use one measuring cup instead of many?” These little time-savers add up when it’s time to clean up. Then, get all of your needed ingredients chopped, measured, etc. and ready to go so you can move through the recipe instructions without stopping. Prepping each dinner is important, but don’t stop there. Look ahead at what you’ll need for other nights that week, and if you’ll be using any ingredients more than once, get those items prepped (chopped, shredded, etc.) at the same time. And when you’re making a meal you know your family likes, if it freezes well, double or even triple it. There is no dinner that will ever be easier to get done than one that only requires a reheat. Start making your meals more enjoyable by removing some of the stress that can accompany their creation and try it with these recipes from your fellow readers.

34 AUGUST 2019

Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Weekend Supper Beef Roast

Shortcut Chicken Cacciatore

1 cup quinoa 1½ cups chickpeas 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon each: salt, smoked paprika, chili powder, turmeric and oregano 1 red bell pepper, sliced (ribs and seeds removed) 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon each: pepper, salt and paprika ¼ cup cilantro 1 cup mixed greens 1 avocado, sliced 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

½ teaspoon salt and pepper ½ cup flour 6 tablespoons oil 4-5 pounds chuck roast 1 package brown gravy mix 1 package dry onion soup mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1½ soup cans water 2 cans small potatoes, pre-cooked 3-4 carrots, peeled, chopped and cooked

1 rotisserie chicken cut into 8 pieces: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings 2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes 1 6-ounce can tomato paste 1 cup mushrooms 1 zucchini, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon dried basil Salt, pepper and garlic, to taste

Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa. Simmer for 15 minutes (until water is absorbed). Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss chickpeas, oil, and spices in a bowl until chickpeas are coated. Bake chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil, cilantro, pepper, salt and paprika in a blender mix on high until smooth. In two bowls, arrange quinoa, greens, avocado, bell pepper and chickpeas. Drizzle red pepper sauce over everything. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Robin O'Sullivan Wiregrass EC

Mix salt, black pepper and flour together. Preheat skillet, add oil. Heat to very hot, then turn down to medium. Flour roast on both sides; put in skillet for 5 minutes each side or until golden brown. Mix brown gravy mix, cream of mushroom soup, onion soup mix and water. Put roast in crock pot and add gravy mixture. Cook roast on high for 4 hours. Add carrots and potatoes to roast; continue cooking for 30 minutes. Cook’s note: Roast can be prepared in the oven. Cook roast and gravy mixture, covered, in 250-degree preheated oven for 4 hours. Add vegetables and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Marilyn Jackson Clarke-Washington EMC

Put chicken pieces into a large cooktop pan with stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, zucchini and dried basil. Add salt, pepper and garlic, to taste. Cook on medium for about 15 minutes and serve over your favorite cooked pasta. You can use more or less basil, garlic, mushrooms or zucchini depending upon your taste. Glenda Weigel Baldwin EMC

Editor’s Note!

The Weekend Supper Beef Roast and Leopold’s Famous Honey Garlic Turkey Breast are both great recipes to make once and eat twice (or three times!). Use the largest roast or turkey breast you can, so you can freeze the leftovers and use for sandwiches or in soups.

Quinoa Buddha Bowl Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  35

Leopold’s Famous Honey Garlic Turkey Breast 1 turkey-size oven roasting bag (up to 14 pounds) 1 tablespoon self-rising flour 1 turkey-size roasting pan 1 large yellow onion 1 medium golden or red apple 1 medium orange 3 medium yams 4 large carrots 1 whole turkey breast, 5-8 pounds 3 tablespoons minced garlic (or 1 tablespoon garlic powder) 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning herbs ¼ cup honey 1/8 cup olive oil ½ cup dry white wine or dry sherry Put 1 tablespoon white flour in oven roasting bag and place bag in roasting pan. Peel onion, wash, thinly slice one half of the onion and put remainder aside. Wash apple, orange, carrots and yams. Peel carrots and yams. Slice apple in half and core; slice orange in half; slice carrots and yams in thirds and put aside. Remove gravy packet (if available) from turkey, skin and rinse the turkey breast and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic, Italian seasoning and salt substitute (or salt and pepper) seasoning on outside and inside of turkey. Stuff the turkey cavity with apple, orange and ½ onion. Put the thinly sliced onions on top of turkey breast and drizzle honey on all sides of turkey breast. Place turkey inside of oven bag. Put the wine or sherry inside of the bag. Place the yams and carrots inside of the bag and tie it. Place roasting bag with turkey in roasting pan. Slice six 1-inch holes in the top of the bag. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 2-2.5 hours (or per roasting bag instructions) until the turkey and vegetables are tender. Remove bag after cooking. Drain off any fat. Let turkey cool on serving platter for 10 minutes before slicing. Per gravy packet, reduce gravy in shallow saucepan (or add water and a pinch of flour to drippings and reduce liquid by simmering) and put in serving bowl. If desired, slice turkey and serve with cranberry sauce on platter.

Hamburger Potato Casserole

Hamburger Stroganoff

1/2 pounds ground beef 1 4 medium potatoes, sliced or 2 cans sliced potatoes 1/2 cup onion, sliced 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 cup shredded cheese or 6 American cheese singles

¼ cup butter ½ cup onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 pound ground beef 2 tablespoons flour 1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained 2 teaspoons salt Pepper, to taste 1 can cream of chicken soup 8 ounces sour cream 2 tablespoons parsley, optional for garnish

Brown ground beef with salt and pepper; drain. Par-boil potatoes. Add salt with onions or use canned potatoes to make it easier. Mix beef and potatoes with cream of mushroom soup. Add cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. Donna Gilliam Tombigbee EC

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry 1 package boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts 1 bag of frozen vegetable medley or stir fry veggies 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 teaspoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon sesame seeds Pepper to taste

Sauté onions and garlic in butter over medium heat. Add meat and brown; drain. Add flour, salt, pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes. Add soup and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over noodles. Trudy Nelson Central Alabama EC

Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks. Chop onion. Pour olive oil into a nonstick skillet, add chicken and onions. Saute chicken and onions for 12 minutes. Add vegetables, minced garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked. Top with sesame seeds. Sharlene Parker Baldwin EMC

Hamburger Stroganoff

Leopold Babin Central Alabama EC 36  AUGUST 2019


Parmesan Chicken

Cook of the Month

Misty Allbright, Cullman EC

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 4 boneless chicken breasts Salt and pepper, to taste ½ cup Parmesan cheese ¼ cup bread crumbs 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 lemon, juice and zest Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil on a large baking sheet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. On a large plate, combine Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice. Bake until golden, approximately 20 minutes.


Misty Allbright cooks a lot of chicken and is always on the lookout for a recipe that adds some pizzazz to her dinner lineup. This Parmesan Chicken dish fits that bill perfectly with zesty lemon, salty Parm and sharp but earthy garlic. “It’s my interpretation of a meal I had at a friend’s house, and it’s just something a little different,” she says. Plus, it’s easy. “It’s quick and simple to put together, so when you combine that with the great taste, it’s just one meal my family never gets tired of.”


the best of

prize and title of of

Cook the Month


Themes and Deadlines:

Nov.: Apples | August 9 Dec.: Nontraditional Holiday Food | Sept 13 Jan: Soups and Stews | Oct. 11

3 ways to submit: Online: Email: 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” only once per calendar year.

To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Alabama Living

Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014


TOTAL ENCLOSED: $ (Shipping included)

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Phone Number: AUGUST 2019 37

| Consumer Wise |

Power up!

A Level 2 charging unit can provide about 250 miles of charge in 10 hours, making it a suitable charging solution. PHOTO COURTESY TESLA

Four steps to charging your EV at home By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


I’m seeing more information about new models of electric vehicles with longer ranges and better prices. Is it worth making the switch from gasoline to electric? And how would I charge the battery at home?


You’re right! Electric vehicles (EVs) are getting more attention these days. Electricity as a vehicle fuel is typically onehalf to one-third the cost of gas or diesel, and EV batteries now enable longer ranges. The upfront price of an EV is still higher than its gas-powered cousin, but the cost is coming down. The Chevy Bolt, for example, has a range of up to 238 miles on a full charge and costs about $36,000 before incentives. The number of models is also increasing, and we could even have an electric pickup truck option in the near future. It’s important to note you may have to pay upfront costs to charge your EV at home, but it depends on which charging option you select. Let’s take a look at the important steps. Step one: Choose your EV. There are two basic types of EVs: the all-electric vehicle, which is commonly referred to as an AEV or EV, and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, also known as the PHEV, which can run using an electric motor or a gas engine. Unlike the gas/electric hybrid that started with the Toyota Prius in 2000, where the battery assists the gasoline engine, yet the car is fueled solely by gasoline, the PHEV features a larger battery that fuels an electric motor, which can power the car independently. A PHEV can run solely on electricity for about 15 to 50 miles depending on the model. This electric-only range may be sufficient for running errands or for those with a shorter daily commute. Step two: Select your charging level. There are two levels of charging to consider for your home. A Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to for more information.

38  AUGUST 2019

Level 1 charging unit is the most basic. It’s usually included with the vehicle and plugs into a typical 120-volt outlet, so it is the easiest and cheapest charging solution. A Level 2 charging unit is more powerful and needs to be purchased separately. It plugs into a 240-volt outlet, the type used for larger appliances (like a clothes dryer), which most of us don’t have in our garages or outside our homes, so there’s an additional cost to have the outlet installed. Step three: Know your needs. Most EVs travel 3 to 4 miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Level 1 charging units distribute charge to the battery at 1 to 2 kWh, giving the battery roughly 3 to 8 miles range per hour of charging. So, if you drive your car 40 miles or less during the day and can charge it for 10 hours a night, this will probably be adequate. Level 1 charging makes the most sense for PHEVs and early EVs with smaller batteries and shorter ranges. Level 2 units typically supply power levels from 6 to 12 kWh, depending on the amperage of the circuit and the power level the EV can accept. This means the Level 2 chargers will provide between 18 and 48 miles of range per hour of charging. Step four: Count the costs. A Level 1 charging unit comes with the car and will meet the needs of most PHEVs and early-model, short-range EVs. A Level 2 charging unit can cost $500 to $700, with installation between $500 and $2,700 depending on how far your electrical panel is from where you will be charging the EV. Now that you know the basic options, you should talk to your electric co-op before making your EV charging decision. Many electric co-ops offer special incentives for members installing Level 2 chargers or members willing to schedule EV charging during non-peak energy hours. Give them a call to learn more! This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on home charging your electric vehicle, please visit: collaborativeefficiency. com/energytips.

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Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019 39

| Outdoors |

Battling prehistoric predators, up close and in the dark

Left to right, Frank Petrillo, Mark Vickers and Denise Vickers show off an alligator she bagged.


ore than 250 hunters will venture into the swamps, marshes, rivers and lakes of southern Alabama to battle dinosaurs in close combat at night as the annual state alligator hunting season begins this month. For centuries, people considered alligators nothing more than vermin to be shot on sight. Early in the 20th century, alligator populations plunged across their range from east Texas to southern Virginia and north to eastern Oklahoma and Tennessee. In 1938, Alabama became the first state to ban alligator hunting to protect the remaining remnant. In 1967, the federal government placed alligators on the Endangered Species List, giving them national protection. Soon numbers began to rebound. Now, most Southern states conduct highly regulated hunts to keep gator populations at sustainable levels. Each Alabama hunter selected at random from among registered applicants receives a tag to bag one alligator in a specific zone. Hunters with tags patrol the wetlands at night looking for crimson dots. When light hits an alligator’s eyes, they shine bright red, making them easy to spot in the darkness. Once spotted, hunters must snag the toothy prehistoric predators with snatch hooks, hand-held snares, harpoons or archery gear with a line attached. Then, they must secure the beast to a boat before killing it. One recent season, Denise Vickers re-

John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.

40  AUGUST 2019

ceived a tag to hunt on the Alabama River. She hunted near where Mandy Stokes killed the biggest alligator seen in modern times, a 15-foot, 9-inch behemoth weighing 1,011 pounds, just a year earlier. Vickers serves as the general manager for an Augusta, Ga., television station, but previously worked at stations in Montgomery and Huntsville. “My husband Mark is a big outdoorsman and had previously gone on an alligator hunt,” Vickers recalls. “He had a great experience and got an alligator. I’m an outdoors woman who loves hunting and fishing. After his alligator hunt, I applied for a tag and was drawn.” Frank Petrillo, who had helped Mark bag his alligator, joined the Vickerses as they headed out from Roland Cooper State Park near Camden at sundown to look for alligators. Hunting alligators requires teamwork and muscle power. One person drives the boat while another person shines the light to spot the creatures. The hunter with the tag stays alert for action. After missing one alligator, the team spotted another just after 2 a.m. This time, Denise snatched the brute with a rod and reel holding a large hook. She fought the dinosaur-like reptile for nearly an hour before finally restraining the thrashing creature next to the boat. Then, Denise silenced the seven-foot-long toothy predator with a shotgun. “Catching an alligator by casting a rod and snatching it takes a long time,” Denise says. “It’s hard to judge distance on the water at night. An alligator’s eyes shine red, but it’s hard to tell which way the body is facing in the darkness. Finding and then snatching a gator in the darkness can take several hours. Once we snatch it, it takes a

long time to get the powerful animal to the boat and under control. It doesn’t come to the boat easily. I was exhausted after I got it to the boat!” With the leathery reptile secured in the boat, the team returned to the campsite at the park just before dawn, exhausted, but bursting with abundant new memories. After catching up on their sleep, they socialized with other hunters staying in the park and swapped stories of their adventures. The Vickerses brought home delicious meat destined to become gumbo and sausage or put into other recipes. Denice had the skull professionally preserved and the hide tanned. From the scutes – the hard part on the ridges of an alligator’s back – she made necklaces, earrings and other jewelry for herself, family and friends. Denise plans to make something with the hide, perhaps a purse or shoes, but hasn’t decided yet. “Whenever we harvest an animal, we always want to use as much of it as we can without wasting anything,” she says. “Besides the meat and hide, we also brought home a wealth of memories and made some new friends. The outing affirmed my appreciation for the natural beauty of the world around us and the bounty nature can provide. It’s not just about the hunt, but the entire experience camping out in the park with my husband and friends and interacting with other hunters. It was an incredible experience and I would love to do it again. I highly encourage anyone to apply for a tag. It’s the experience of a lifetime.” Every year, people can apply for tags in June and July. For information on how to apply, see

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The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 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. Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019 41

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

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

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



The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 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. Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019 41

42  AUGUST 2019

Clarke-Washington EMC members may have noticed a green insert in their statements in the month of July. The insert was a bank draft form that is one of the many options Clarke-Washington EMC offers for members to pay their bills. Bank draft is not mandatory. Clarke-Washington EMC wanted to inform members of the easy option that is available.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Routinely replace or clean your air conditioner’s filter. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. Source: Leroy Mitchell routinely checks and replaces air conditioner filters

Summary of Bylaws The board will appoint a committee on nominations. The committee shall be

nominations by petition will not be accepted and no nominations may be

selected from different sections of the co-op service area so as to ensure equitable

made from the floor at the meeting of the members. In order to qualify for

representation. This committee shall meet and prepare a list of nominations for

elections, no person shall be eligible to become or remain a board member of the

the three districts up for election. This list will be posted at the principal office

cooperative who: (a) is not a member and bona fide resident in the area served

of the cooperative, at least 30 days before the annual meeting. The secretary

by the cooperative; or (b) is in any way employed by or financially interested in a

shall be responsible for mailing, at least 10 days before annual meeting, a list

competing enterprise or a business selling energy, or supplies to the cooperative,

of nominations. The list may be mailed with the notice of the annual meeting.

or a business primarily engaged in selling electrical or plumbing appliances,

Any 15 or more members acting together may make other nominations

fixtures or supplies to the members of the cooperative; or (c) is an employee of

by petition and these nominations will be posted at the principal office of the

the cooperative or has been an employee of the cooperative within the preceding

cooperative if they are received, at least, 15 days before the meeting. Later

five years; or (d) does not reside within the district which he/she represents.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2019  43

| Our Sources Say |

The Solar Tax, Part 2 L

ast month I discussed Al Gore’s visit and talk in Hayneville in February and his criticism of Alabama Power Company’s Capacity Reservation Charge. I also discussed how electric utilities’ costs are incurred and how utilities recover their costs. This month I will close with a discussion on how Alabama Power Company’s Capacity Reservation Charge prevents subsidization of solar customers by non-solar customers and saves poor electric customers money on their electric bill. To make recovery of a solar customer’s fixed costs more difficult, solar panels do not produce electricity when it is most needed. Alabama Power customers and PowerSouth’s end-use members have their highest usage period between 6 and 7 a.m. on a cold winter morning. At that time, the sun is not shining, solar panels do not produce electricity and retail customers rely solely on their electric utility to warm their homes, etc. The generation, transmission and distribution systems and other equipment supporting the electric grid are built to serve the peak load of all customers whenever they need it. The utility’s fixed costs are incurred to provide service on a cold, dark winter morning – not a bright sunny day when solar panels are producing electricity. Solar panels provide no contribution to the utility’s fixed costs to serve its peak load. The fixed costs incurred to make sure customers will have service are charged to customers across their electric usage the entirety of the year. If a customer installs solar panels, they avoid paying the variable cost for some electricity but also avoid paying for some of the fixed costs committed by the utility to serve them when the sun is not shining. That is a very good deal for solar customers but not a good deal for the non-solar customers of the utility. Electric utilities charge and earn profits based upon an established rate of return, not how much electricity they sell. Therefore, revenue not paid by one class of customer, such as solar custom-

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

44 AUGUST 2019

ers, will be shifted to other customers so the utility will recover its rate of return across its entire retail customer base. Therefore, if one customer doesn’t pay his share of the fixed costs invested on his behalf, those unpaid costs are shifted to the overall rate pool and are paid by the other customers that haven’t installed solar panels. In that case, the non-solar customers are subsidizing the customers with solar panels. Alabama Power’s Capacity Reservation Charge merely is a charge that ensures customers with solar generation pay all the fixed costs incurred to provide them service. It is not a tax; it is not discrimination. Contrary to Mr. Gore’s statements and the allegations of environmental groups, it is in the public interest for all utility customers to pay the costs required to provide them service. Instead of the charge being punitive to the solar customer, the charge keeps non-solar customers from subsidizing the costs of the solar customers. Alabama Power collects the same revenue and makes the same amount of profit regardless of the Capacity Reservation Charge. The only difference is where the revenue comes from – the affluent solar customer or the poorer non-solar customer. With very few exceptions, people who install solar panels are affluent and have the money and resources to afford to install panels, as well as owning the homes and lands on which the panels can be installed. People living in mobile homes or apartments do not have those same resources or options. Poor people usually don’t have the resources to install solar panels. Mr. Gore and the environmental groups know California utilities shift more than $2 billion in electric costs from more affluent solar electric customers to poorer non-solar customers. They know the Arizona electric utility structure is under siege because so many affluent solar customers are being subsidized by poorer Arizona non-solar customers. It is sad that Mr. Gore and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) promote their agendas for expanding renewable energy on the backs of the poor electric customers. Alabama Power’s Capacity Reservation Charge does much more to protect the interests of the poor people in the Alabama Black Belt than Mr. Gore or the SELC ever will. I hope you have a good month.

| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): October 2019 Issue by August 25 November 2019 Issue by September 25 December 2019 Issue by October 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; 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.

Miscellaneous KEPLINGER ALUMINUM BURIAL VAULT CO. in Gardendale, Alabama sells water tested burial vaults to the public saving up to $3000 or more per vault versus funeral home prices. Our vaults protect the contents against water and last indefinitely. Cardboard wrapped, standing up requires 6 1/2 sq. ft. to store and take to cemetery when needed. Alabama made with American materials. $1400 cash, includes local sales tax. Call 205-285-9732 or 205-540-0781 or visit OUR 93RD YEAR! CULPEPPER ELECTRIC downtown DEMOPOLIS. LED Fixtures & Bulbs! Milwaukee, Kein Tools, Sewage Pumps, Electrical Supplies & Appliance Parts. In-house Service Tech. available. (334)289-0211, lmculpepper3@, Facebook/Culpepper Electric Co. CHURCH FURNITURE: New pews, pulpit furniture, cushions for hard pews. Big Sale (800)231-8360, 18X21 CARPORT $1,195 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706) 226-2739 FREE MATERIALS: SOON CHURCH / GOVERNMENT UNITING, suppressing “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY”, enforcing NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW, Be informed! Need mailing address only. TBSM, Box 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 –, (888)211-1715 METAL ROOFING $1.80/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA - SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE – Outdoor Rockers, Gliders & Swings, HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS $1,599 - ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct (256)490-4025,,

Alabama Living

Vacation Rentals LAKE HOMES / CABINS – Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. ORANGE BEACH – CUTE BEACH COTTAGES – OWNER MANAGED - three to choose from. Pet friendly, boat docks, pools. Near Gulf of Mexico on calm canal. No parking passes required. ...away from the condo crowds and chaos... (251)975-7003, email: www. 3 GULF SHORES BEACHFRONT CONDOS – 4 blocks from The Hangout, recently decorated, stunning views. All 5 Star Rated, BBB A+ Rated, AVROA Certified. or call Larry (573)864-0740. Two kings in all units, one condo has a bunk room with full over full bunks. PCB 2 CONDOS – PEACHTREE II – 2 miles West of Pier Park, 400 feet to beach – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool, internet - (850)573-2182, Jeff. MENTONE, AL LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN COTTAGE RENTALS – Best brow views, River Front –, Call or text (504)4818666 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)7900000,, www. PET FRIENDLY – Save $$$ by booking directly from Verified Owners. MILITARY / SERVICE DISCOUNTS on dozens of rentals. No Booking Fees. (251)333-6500, OWNERS – Claim your FREE trial listing with the fastest growing regional site in Alabama! Verified Owners, no booking fees or commissions. Alabama Vacation Home rentals. Locally Owned and Operated. (251)333-6500, GULF SHORES / ORANGE BEACH / FORT MORGAN – Choose from hundreds of beach houses and condos! Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. GULF FRONT PANAMA CITY CONDO – Splash Condominiums – Owner Rental – 1BR / 2BA w/ hallway bunks, sleeps 6, 18th floor balcony view of Ocean – (706)566-6431,

ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 –, (256)599-5552 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners – Lowest Prices on the Beach!, (251)656-4935, (205)556-0368, (251)752-2366

Real Estate Sales SELL YOUR VACANT LAND FAST! Cash offers. Call (843)564-8438, www.

Musical Notes PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982

Education FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673 WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.COM – Open year-round K-12 enrollment. Contract Dr. Cerny, (256)6532593

Pets CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893

Fruits / Nuts / Berries GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800-733-0324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934

GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – Nice 2BR – Fall $900 / wk – (251)666-5476

AUGUST 2019  45

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Eating ‘eatin’ dirt’


ome years ago The New York Times published a story on how the “Southern Practice of Eating Dirt Shows Signs of Waning.” Maybe so, among people who read The New York Times, but some of the folks at “The Bitter Southerner” thought otherwise. Instead, the online publication suggested that the practice wasn’t waning at all and that the time had come for “Making Peace with the Age-Old Practice of Eating White Dirt.” Growing up in Lower Alabama and bagging groceries in a small store that catered to a racially and socially mixed clientele, I recall the day a guy came in with news that a highway cut had exposed a seam of “eatin’ dirt.” He went on to tell anyone who would listen of how “dirt eaters” -- whom he clearly counted among the lowest of the low -- scooped it out by the buckets full until the bank was near collapse. Then the seam ran out and the road was saved. Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at

46  AUGUST 2019

Little did I know then, but thanks to “The Bitter Southerner” I know now, that I am a dirt eater myself. And so are you, probably. You see, “eatin’ dirt” is mostly kaolin, a white clay that you can find in everything from toothpaste to Kaopectate. You can also find chunks of it in a purer form for sale in plastic bags in the snack section of your local bait and beer shop. Not only that, consuming “eatin’ dirt” is nothing new. Folks have been doing it for over 2,000 years – long before there were Southerners to look down on for doing it. And now comes the kicker. Eating “eatin’ dirt” is not something practiced solely by poor whites and blacks. Nor can it be cited as one more piece of evidence of degeneracy in Dixie. Nossir, eating “eatin’ dirt” has gone uptown. Shortly after “The Bitter Southerner” article, another piece on the subject appeared in The New York Times. This one told readers that “Eating Clay is Touted by Celebrities.” The fact that I had never heard of the celebrities doing this touting should in no way diminish the importance of the tout-

ing they are doing. While pushing her new movie, one actress praised “the breath-freshening and body-detoxifying properties of clay.” Meanwhile, that very month a “juicing chain,” owned in part by another actress, was “introducing a one-ounce bentonite clay shot,” which some folks say will clean you out like a Roto-Rooter. Plans were in the works to turn it into a drink and bottle it. Still, there was a downside. Although clay is high in minerals such as calcium, iron and copper, physicians warn that it might also be full of bacteria, viruses and parasites. I don’t know if the bugs in clay are some of the same ones that plagued Southerners for years, but if that is the case, my buddy John’s efforts to organize a “save the hookworm” movement might finally take off. What has already taken off is “Earthpaste,” a clay-based toothpaste sold in health food stores. It is ugly – think of a slug on your toothbrush – but folks are buying it. If they swallow it, they are eating “eatin’ dirt.” Just like the rest of us.

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