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

South Alabama Electric Cooperative


New opportunities Aaron Hendrick joins SAEC as electrical engineer



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Hunting waterfowl

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

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

28 F E A T U R E S

VOL. 74 NO. 1  JANUARY 2021

opportunity 5 Scholarship High school seniors can now apply for the Electric Cooperative Foundation scholarship.

sweet home 6 Home SAEC members are just months away from a new cooperative building.

veggies 30 Winter One benefit of the cold winter months

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



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

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


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

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

Printed in America from American materials


After six months of interning for SAEC on school breaks, Aaron Hendrick joins the cooperative full time and is excited to serve the members. Read the full story on Page 8.



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

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

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A new year of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness Board of Trustees James Shaver President District 2

Delaney Kervin Vice President District 5

Douglas Green Secretary/Treasurer District 6

District 1

James May At Large

Glenn Reeder District 7

Raymond Trotter District 3

David Bailey, General Manager After a year littered with storms, viruses, civil unrest and election messes, I could not help but start the new year by reflecting on our founding documents. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Abraham Lincoln called the declaration “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to tyranny and oppression.” Think about that quote, because those words are commanding. The Declaration of Independence continues to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and equality. In my opinion, only the Bible gives the world more hope. Later, the Constitution added, “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union …,” reflecting our goal to always improve this nation. Perfection will never be obtained in this world, but we must keep working toward it. When Gen. George Washington was nominated to serve as our first president, he was embarrassed. He felt he lacked the qualifications, and he apologized for any errors he might make. The father of our country knew he was not perfect and would make mistakes governing the new nation. Even so, the vote of the Electoral College was unanimous. So let me say this clearly: No president, senator, representative or any government official has been perfect in their thoughts, governing or life. We should not judge them, because we are not perfect. I have also been thinking about a field trip I took in the sixth grade to Karlsruhe, West Germany. The year was 1972, and Germany was divided. East Germany was controlled by communism, and West Germany was governed by democracy. Our trip took us by train through East Germany.

I remember arriving at the East German border in the middle of the night and being removed from the train by soldiers armed with submachine guns. While everyone waited outside the train, soldiers searched it from top to bottom, including all of our stuff. They did not repack our luggage either, which made all of us furious at having to do it again in the middle of the night. Later, when we arrived in West Berlin, we toured the famous Berlin Wall crossing point known as Checkpoint Charlie and learned about all the plans people came up with to cross over to freedom. As sixth graders, we did not fully understand why these people were risking their lives to get to the West. We had always been free to do whatever we wanted. Later, touring the west side of the wall with an armed West German soldier, we could see over the wall into East Berlin. I remember there were no cars or people walking around on the east side of this beautiful city. There were only guard towers, barbed wire barriers and the wall itself. As the years passed, that field trip proved to be a huge life lesson, showing me what liberty and freedom meant. I’m thankful my parents were brave enough to allow me to attend a trip through a communist country. While there, I even managed to get a loose rock from the wall that I still have today. In this month’s magazine, we are giving members an updated look at their new cooperative home. You can also learn more about Aaron Hendrick, our newest electrical engineer. I’m so thankful to have this local man’s talent and intellect to serve the members of South Alabama Electric Cooperative. Until next month, think about what President Lincoln said about our Declaration of Independence and how blessed we are to be U.S. citizens. Never take life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for granted. I pray for the year 2021 to be just a normal year. n

Ben Fox District 4

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SAEC SAECService Service Area Area LOWNDES



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PIKE Josie




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Contact Information Mailing address P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081

Website www.southaec.com

Phone 334-566-2060 800-556-2060


Find us here:

Payment Options SAEC App Available from the App Store and Google Play BY MAIL P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081

South Alabama Electric Cooperative is dedicated to supporting our community by presenting scholarships to deserving high school seniors. For over 20 years, we have awarded $1,000 Electric Cooperative Foundation scholarships to students planning to attend an accredited four-year college, junior college, technical school or vocational school. SAEC is now accepting applications for the 2021 Electric Cooperative Foundation Scholarship, which is open to any senior who is a dependent of an SAEC member at the time their application is submitted and through to their graduation. If you would like to apply or you know a student who should be considered, visit southaec.com/scholarship to download an application today. All applications and attachments must be signed, completed and submitted to: Electric Cooperative Foundation P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Applications must be signed by both the student applying for the scholarship and the parent or guardian of the applicant. Completed applications must be received at the ECF office no later than Feb. 12. The Electric Cooperative Foundation was established in 1997 as a way for Alabama electric cooperatives to give back to their communities. Since then, the foundation has awarded more than $1,048,000 in scholarships to students throughout the state. In 2021, the foundation will award scholarships to students in each of the 21 districts established by the ECF’s board of directors. While the board may ask SAEC to offer input on the applications it receives, the final decision for all scholarship recipients lies with the foundation’s board. n

Apply Now!

WEBSITE www.southaec.com PHONE PAYMENTS 877-566-0611, credit cards accepted NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at our Highway 231 office, day or night PAYMENT POINTS Regions Bank - Troy branch Troy Bank and Trust - all branch locations 1st National Bank of Brundidge and Troy First Citizens - Luverne branch Banks Buy Rite - Banks Country 1 Stop - Honoraville IN PERSON 13192 U.S. 231, Troy, AL 36081 Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Questions? For questions concerning Capital Credits, contact: capital.credits@southaec.com For questions concerning Billing, contact: billing@southaec.com For questions concerning Construction, contact: construction@southaec.com

Alabama Living

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New year, new home SAEC nears completion on new building

SAEC’s new home will immediately provide more room for staff and storage and is also designed for future expansion.

South Alabama Electric Cooperative first announced its plan to build a new home in summer 2019. This summer, just two years later, members will see those plans come to fruition. Some members may have already noticed the walls and brickwork going up around the administrative portion of the new building. While the cooperative’s office staff are eagerly awaiting the building’s completion, some SAEC employees have already had the chance to take advantage of other new facilities. Construction of a warehouse and fleet area was completed last summer, so the cooperative’s linemen and construction crews have enjoyed the space since Labor Day. For General Manager David Bailey, the advantages of that new facility are already clear. “As much as we had outgrown our current building, when it comes to employees, we had also outgrown our storage,” he says. “We’ve got transformers, breakers, regulators, capacitors and so much more. Now, it’s all accessible so our crews can get to it without having to move everything around.” 6  JANUARY 2021

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With four construction crews and four service crews preparing each morning for work, that extra room is crucial to keeping operations running smoothly. It also helps protect members’ investment in the cooperative’s equipment. “Everything is under cover, where before it wasn’t, so things are able to stay cleaner and in better condition,” says Ronald Wade, manager of engineering and operations. “Those are expensive pieces of equipment, and keeping them out of the elements means they can last longer.”

A local touch

SAEC leaders want its new facility to feel like home when members enter its lobby and offices for the first time, right down to the building material. One way cooperative leaders decided to accomplish this was by using wood from the property. As plans for the new building took shape and construction began, it became clear that many trees would need to be cleared. “Many of these trees were there when our current building was constructed,” Bailey says. “They’re old-growth pines

that we’re thinking might be around 100 years old. So we didn’t want to just destroy them. Instead, we decided they could give the new building a unique look.” As the finishing touches are put on the new facility, that wood will be used to give the boardroom, offices and hallways a bit of local flavor. It will also be the foundation for a special “Member Wall” in the lobby which will recognize some of SAEC’s largest industrial accounts. “It’s a way for us to be good stewards of the environment,” says Andy Kimbro, manager of member services. “At the same time, we can mark how the cooperative has changed over time and give our new home a special touch of history.”

For the community

Once complete, SAEC’s goal is for the new facility to be a great place for employees to work and for members to handle cooperative business. The hope is that it will be an asset to the community at large. That starts with a new and improved community room open to local civic groups. Some members may recall that SAEC’s www.alabamaliving.coop

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current building had a similar community room available years ago. Its limited size, placement far from the kitchen and security issues that required it to be unavailable when the offices were closed, however, were problematic. Eventually, it became a space primarily used for cooperative business. “We hated that. There’s nothing like this our community can use, and it was important for us to use this opportunity to give back,” Kimbro says. “It’s one of our core principles to support the community, but it was also just the right thing to do.” The new community room is structured so that it can host community events for civic and economic development groups. It is expected to accommodate more than 250 people and seat more than 150 for dinners. While members can look forward to visiting their new cooperative building late this summer, the facility is also designed for the potential of future expansion and adjustments. That includes two sites prepared for electric charging stations as electric vehicles become more common along Highway 231. “We’re really trying to think ahead and incorporate everything we might reasonably need in the future,” Bailey says. And while the 2020 storm season was brutal for SAEC and surrounding cooperatives, those challenges helped clarify the need for a new place to call home. It even provided inspiration for some improvements along the way. “Through the storms we’ve experienced and seen other cooperatives go through, it’s been a reminder that you can’t wait until a crisis hits to build something you need,” Kimbro says. “It showed us what we’re doing right and some things we can still tweak in the process so we build something for our members that will last for a long time to come.” n

Alabama Living

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The new office will feature wood from trees that have been on the property since construction on the current building began.

SAEC’s new building will feature a community room for civic events available at all hours.

Construction on SAEC’s new building is expected to be complete later this summer.

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HERE TO STAY Aaron Hendrick joins SAEC full time as electrical engineer

Aaron Hendrick joined South Alabama Electric Cooperative as a full-time employee in December 2019. He is a 2015 graduate of Crenshaw Christian Academy, and he attended Troy University before finishing his bachelor’s of engineering degree last year at Auburn University. He previously worked part time for SAEC as a groundsman and engineering assistant during his summer and Christmas breaks while in college. He is now working to earn his professional engineering license. Q: What are your responsibilities as an electrical engineer? A: I maintain the metering technology to ensure we get dependable and accurate readings. I inspect the substations and the three-phase breakers monthly. I record data for system improvements. In the case of a major storm, l report the damages to the dispatchers so they can get the material and manpower needed to restore the outages. Q: What made you want to join the SAEC team? A: I worked part time while attending college. I liked the environment of the cooperative and their attitude toward the members. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I like working with new technology and electricity. My job takes new technology and uses it to make SAEC as efficient as possible. I like that my time is spent equally in the office and in the field. I like that I am familiar with the area and some of the members. Q: What do you think is the most important impact SAEC has on its community?

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Hendrick joins SAEC after months of part-time work while studying at Auburn University.

A: When I was a junior in high school, I went on the co-op Youth Tour with SAEC. I enjoyed the experience, and I would recommend it to others. I also think the scholarship opportunity is a great way to help the community. The service area depends on us to keep the power on. Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working? A: I spend my free time hunting, fishing and hanging out with my girlfriend, Madyson; my family; and Remi, my chocolate Labrador retriever. I enjoy staying outside and staying busy. Q: Who is the most inspiring person in your life? A: My grandfather Jimmy Baggett. His dad, Andrew, helped install the first electricity in the Glenwood area. He is a plumber and electrician, and he also taught me about electricity. He is a hard worker and very detail oriented in his work. My dad, Michael, also taught me how to work hard and always have goals to work toward in your life.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? A: “I believe in work, hard work. I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and hands to work skillfully.” — The Auburn Creed. n


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Mountain Views

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

| Alabama Snapshots |

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

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

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

SUBMIT and WIN $10!

Alabama Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find the hidden dingbat!

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

By mail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The effects of COVID

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

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

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This year, I resolve to….

Alabamians share their New Year’s resolutions By Emmett Burnett

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

James Spann

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

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Taylor Hicks

Dr. Charlotte P. Morris

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

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

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Jessica Meuse

Allen Sanders  

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

Sean Dietrich

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

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

Eric Peoples

Josh Caray

Sally Ericson

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

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

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

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| Worth the drive |

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

The concept

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

By Stephanie Snodgrass


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

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

Two coats, one vision

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

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

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ine arm at the

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

A feast for the senses

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

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

The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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You, too, can

‘cheese the day’

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

First Place

Second Place

Margaret Goins, Montgomery

Jamie Davis, Tallassee

Savory Tomato Pie

Three Cheese Mediterranean Galette

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

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

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

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Third place

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

Melissa Welch, Wetumpka

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

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

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


Variety of medications can help treat arthritis in pets


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

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

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| Gardens |

A fresh start in the garden:

Growing trends for 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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| Consumer Wise |

This year, organize your energy

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

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


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

Start by gathering information.

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

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

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Get your new standardized benefit verification letter online


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

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

New Year

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

AL STATE JAN21.indd 26

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


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

Answers on Page 37

by Myles Mellor

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

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

12/9/20 4:53 PM

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AL STATE JAN21.indd 27

JANUARY 2021  27

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| Outdoors |

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

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

28  JANUARY 2021

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



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AL STATE JAN21.indd 29

JANUARY 2021  29

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| Alabama Recipes |

Winter veggies Plentiful in taste and nutrition


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

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12/9/20 4:53 PM

The Buttered Home

C Brooke Burks

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

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

Photo by The Buttered Home

Alabama Living

AL STATE JAN21.indd 31

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

Fried Cabbage Casserole

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

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

Collard Greens Soup 1 1 2 4 4 2 2

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

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

Sam's Sweet Potato Chili PHOTOS BY BROOKE ECHOLS

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

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



awarded to the chosen

Cook of the Month!

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

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

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

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

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

Alabama Living

AL STATE JAN21.indd 33


Name: Address: City:



Phone Number:

JANUARY 2021  33

12/9/20 4:53 PM

from the city of

From our families to yours, everyone at City Hall wishes you a safe and prosperous new year! Thank you for making our community a great place to live and a wonderful place to call home. The last year was challenging, but we came through it with a greater appreciation for the things that matter most. We welcome 2021 with blessings, goodwill and the hope that your new year is the best one yet! Happy New Year from Mayor Isabell Boyd and the Brundidge City Council!

www.brundidgealabama.com 34  JANUARY 2021

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this winter Many people think the key to keeping their electric bill consistent is leaving their thermostat at the same temperature all year. The truth is that even if the temperature in your home remains unchanged, your heating system has to work harder to maintain it during colder months. Fortunately, keeping your electric bill under control during the winter months doesn’t have to be complicated. Try a few of these simple steps around your home to see how much of a difference it can make on your monthly electric bill.

1. Check your insulation — Just because

5. Dress for the weather — Reaching for

2. Get a programmable thermostat —

6. Let the sun in — Keep blinds and curtains

you don’t see your home’s insulation every day doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Ensuring your home is properly insulated is one of the best ways to keep your bill down, during both hot and cold months. Newer thermostats let you control the temperature of your home based on when you’re there and when you’re out. Save money during the day by setting a base temperature for when you’re out and about, and set another so that the thermostat will adjust the temperature to comfortable levels before you get home.

3. Check the seal on doors and windows — Most homes lose about 20% of their heat around windows and doors. Make sure those gaps are properly sealed so that your home’s heating system isn’t working harder than it needs to.

the thermostat doesn’t always have to be the first resort when you’re feeling a chill. Instead, pull on a sweatshirt and a pair of warm socks to stay comfortable while keeping your electric bill under control. open during the day to let the sun naturally heat your home. At night, keep them closed to help trap heat inside.

7. Use LED lighting — LED bulbs

use 75% less energy than standard bulbs. They also last longer.

8. Only heat the rooms you use — Don’t

waste electricity by warming rooms no one is using, particularly spaces that aren’t insulated, like a garage, attic or storage room. If you have areas not being used, such as a guest room, keep their vents closed to save on the cost of heating them.

4. Adjust your water heater temperature — By default, most water heaters are set to 140 degrees F when installed. Most people, however, don’t need that much heat. Lowering that setting to 120 degrees can save 6% to 10% on your electric bill each month.

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| Our Sources Say |

A return to Paris I

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

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

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

36  JANUARY 2021

SOURCES JAN21.indd 2


12/9/20 11:53 AM

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

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Business Opportunities EARN 60,000 / YR PART-TIME IN THE LIVESTOCK OR FARM EQUIPMENT APPRAISAL BUSINESS – Agricultural Background Required Home Study Course Available – (800)488-7570 or www.amagappraisers.com SOCIAL DISTANCE MARKETING! Stay Home – Stay Safe – Stay “Connected”… Get Paid! Several PROVEN Opportunities! www.socialdistancemarketing.biz

Vacation Rentals GULF SHORES / ORANGE BEACH / FORT MORGAN – Choose from hundreds of beach houses and condos! Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. ALAVHR.com DESTIN BEACHFRONT CONDOS – 1 Bedroom / 1.5 Baths. Sleeps up to 4 people.  View condos at www.sundestincondos.com.  For discounted rates, email sundestincondos@gmail.com.    

MENTONE, AL LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN COTTAGE RENTALS – Best brow views, River Front – cottagesofmentone.com, Call or text (504)481-8666 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny0703@ comcast.net, www.theroneycondo.com GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie552@gmail.com, (256)599-5552 MILITARY / SERVICE DISCOUNTS on dozens of rentals. No Booking Fees. (251)333-6500, ALAVHR.com OWNERS – Join the fastest growing regional site in Alabama. Low annual fee. Verified Owners, no booking fees or commissions. Alabama Vacation Home Rentals. Locally Owned and Operated. (251)333-6500, ALAVHR.com

Real Estate Sales

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, www.wallbedsofalabama.com, www.alabamamattressoutlet.com

ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226

WATERFRONT HOME in DALLAS CO. – 2BR / 1BA with basement and large deck, remodeled inside and out, new A/C and heat – Russ (850)582-7633

PET FRIENDLY – Save $$$ by booking directly from Verified Owners. ALAVHR.com


18X21 CARPORT $1,195 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706) 226-2739

COTTAGE FOR NIGHTLY RENTAL at “THE PATIO at SMITH LAKE” - has boat dock-fire pit, wood, picnic area, gorgeous views, evening outdoor lighting, Grill, Big Screen TV, outdoor covered area for sitting, incredible sunsets-30 min from Cullman or Jasper-1 hour from BHAM or Huntsville - $155.00 per night - The Patio at Smith Lake (FB) – (256)318-4555 Pam Dodd

FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673

FREE MATERIALS: SOON CHURCH / GOVERNMENT UNITING, suppressing “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY”, enforcing NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW, Be informed! Need mailing address only. POB 374, Ellijay, GA 30540 – thebiblesaystruth@yahoo. com, (888)211-1715

LAKE HOMES / CABINS – Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. ALAVHR.com

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 www.isons.com

Answers to puzzle on Page 26

Alabama Living

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Roll up your sleeves

Illustration by Dennis Auth


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

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

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

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Profile for Alabama Living

January 2021 South Alabama  

January 2021 South Alabama