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

Electric

COOPERATIVES of ALABAMA

Peanut farmers stay hopeful 50 years ago: Alabamians remember 1969 moon landing Let’s grill out!


Electric

COOPERATIVES of ALABAMA

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.

Remembering Apollo 11, 50 years ago

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Alabamians who were alive on July 20, 1969 generally have no problem remembering where they were when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Many of our readers responded to our call to share a memory of that proud moment.

VOL. 72 NO. 7 n JULY 2019

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POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

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

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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

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If it’s summer in our state, it’s time to hit the beach, with your camera, of course!

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Networking our food

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Worth the drive

The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network represents the diverse and dedicated souls working from the ground up to create a robust and enduring farm and food system.

Bahama Bob’s isn’t easy to find. It looks like a beach house because it used to be one. But it’s worth the search.

D E PA R T M E N T S

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At the beach

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 11 Page 16 Page 28

11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Gardens 44 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Carl Sanders farms peanuts and other crops in Coffee County with his son, Jonathan. Sanders says the 2018 peanut crop was shaping up to be a good one until Hurricane Michael. Story, Page 12. PHOTO: Courtesy of Alabama Farmers Federation JULY 2019 3


Sensors, like the Aclara power sensor shown here, allow electric utilities to quickly and costeffectively gain better situational awareness of grid conditions. Unlike more traditional methods for monitoring grid conditions, which require utilities to do extensive planning and turn off power while work is done, power sensors are installed without disrupting operations. Photo Credit: Aclara

Sensors help create a greener grid Electric co-ops are using electronics and analytics to welcome renewable energy. By Paul Wesslund To actually see the green power revolution, look up at the power lines. If you spot a little box about the size of a tennis shoe clamped onto one of the wires, you’re looking at something that’s bringing in a whole new era in energy. It’s called a sensor, a container of electronics that collects and sends out information about the wire it’s on, from the voltage inside to the temperature on the outside. Sensors are starting to appear all over the nation’s electric grid—that’s the term for the nation’s network of power plants and substations connected with millions of miles of transmission and distribution power lines. These sensors are also being used with other electrical equipment, like electric meters and transformers—those cylindrical containers you see on top of utility poles. Sensors are one of many technologies that are enabling changes in the way the electric grid is planned and operated, like the rapid growth in renewable energy, says Venkat Banunarayanan, senior director of integrated grid technologies for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Managing wind and solar power

“The grid is going through a lot of changes,” says Banunarayanan. “It’s changing the way we create, transmit and use electricity.”

4 JULY 2019

The U.S. electric utility network is moving from one that used to ship out a mostly steady stream of electricity from large coal or nuclear power plants to a more dynamic, decentralized system where power moves back and forth, off and on. Rooftop solar owners can sell excess electricity back to the utility along the same wires that bring power into their home. A wind farm that powers a utility might suddenly quit generating when the wind dies down. How does the electric grid manage all that? Part of the secret is in the sensors, says Banunarayanan. “You install those sensors at different points on the grid and you can get an accurate picture of how the grid is performing,” he says. “The more sensors and real-time information you can get back to the grid operators, the better they can identify and address any problems.” Just a few years ago, electric utilities could plan their power plant production around one peak time of energy use a day—like 6 p.m., when people came home from work and school, and started to turn on lights, cook dinner and watch TV. Large power plants ran nonstop to keep the electricity flowing. Renewable energy changes how utilities need to plan around people’s schedules. Wind and solar power used to not matter so much—10 years ago, they only gener-

ated 3 percent of our electricity. Today, that’s up to 8 percent and growing fast. The on-again, off-again nature of wind and solar means your electric co-op needs to be ready to switch among power sources instantly. There are also safety issues—utility workers need to know when rooftop solar panels are feeding electricity back onto power lines. These changes mean that electric utilities need to look at grid performance and plan accordingly––throughout every hour of the day and night––instead of just looking at the peak time of energy use in a day.

Plugging in electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are also bringing changes. Banunarayanan notes that every major car company is planning to increase production of electric vehicles, including large and small commercial trucks. What happens at night when all those semi-trucks pull into a warehouse or a rest stop along the interstate and plug in? “There are infrastructure, business model and communications issues,” says Banunarayanan. “What are the ways in which the infrastructure needs to be strengthened for commercial trucks to be electrified … even for sedans and other electric passenger vehicles, what are the implications in a residential subdivision if everyone plugs in at the same time to charge their vehicles?” Alternatives to www.alabamaliving.coop


infrastructure strengthening could include providing incentives for charging during “off-peak” periods––during mid-day or the middle of the night, and educating consumer-members on the most economical electric vehicle charging periods. In addition to installing more sensors, creating a greener grid could call for upgraded power lines. Besides electric vehicle charging stations, solar and wind power will have to be transmitted from the plains and deserts where it’s generated, to the communities where it’s used. One industry estimate predicts the utility industry will need to spend 20 to 50 percent more through the year 2030 to upgrade the grid, and 50 to 170 percent more from 2030 to 2050. While more power lines and more sensors are keys to greening the grid, Banunarayanan says another essential ingredient is professionals who know how to use all the information sent in through the hardware and software. “Data scientists or data analysts, who

help create decision-quality insights from data––these are some of the hottest jobs right now,” he says. “Utilities are applying these techniques to the data that we get from the sensors to create quality insights and actionable decision making.” For all its cyber-age sophistication, Banunarayanan sees the greener grid as just another stage in the development of electric utilities. “The grid is changing; however, the basic function of the grid is not,” he says. “The grid exists to supply cost-effective, reliable and safe power. It’s just changing to give consumers more options.”  Paul Wesslund writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.

ELECTRICITY REMAINS A GOOD VALUE

The cost of powering your home rises slowly when compared to other common expenses. Looking at price increases over the last five years, it’s easy to see electricity remains a good value!

Average Annual Price Increase 2013-2018 Percent

4.0

3.6%

3.5

3%

3.0

2.8%

2.5 2.0

1.1%

1.5 1.0 0.5 0

Rent

Cable/ Satellite TV

Education

Electricity

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index

Alabama Living

JULY 2019 5


Defining degree days By Abby Berry

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eather can have a major impact on energy bills, and when the outdoor temperatures become extreme, your heating and cooling equipment works harder to keep your home comfortable. Did you know the energy experts at electric cooperatives use degree days to anticipate heating and cooling needs for you, our consumer-members? Never heard of a degree day? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at what degree days are and why they’re important for electric utilities. Degree days measure how cold or warm a location is by comparing the average of the high and low (mean) of the outdoor temperatures recorded in that location to the standard U.S. temperature, which is 65 F. The assumption is that we don’t need heating or cooling to be comfortable when this is the outdoor temperature. So, the more extreme the outdoor temperatures, the higher the number of degree days. And the higher the number of degree days, the higher the amount of energy used for space heating and cool-

ing. Summer is in full swing, so let’s look at cooling degree days. Cooling degree days are a measurement of how hot the temperature was on a given day or during a period of days. With summer temperatures rising, you’ll likely require more cooling for your home or business, which results in more cooling degree days. Variations in electric bills often follow closely with degree days, which is why electric utilities use this data to anticipate future energy demand. Degree days are tracked for a variety of reasons. Farmers can better plan the planting of crops and timing for pest control, and weather experts can better assess climate patterns. To view degree days for your area, visit energystar.gov and search “degree days calculator.” If charts and data aren’t your forte, no problem. Here are a few tips to help you save on energy bills this summer: • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the

• • •

lower your cooling costs will be. The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 F when you’re home and a higher setting for when you’re away. Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room. Close window coverings, like curtains and blinds, during the day to block sunlight. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows. 

Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.

U.S. COOLING DEGREE DAYS

Cooling degree days measure how hot the outdoor temperature was on a given day or during a period of days. The map below shows measurements of U.S. cooling degree days in 2018 by census region. Extreme outdoor temperatures bring a higher number of degree days, which results in higher energy use. West North Central: 1,132 CDD

WASH. MONT.

ORE.

MINN.

WIS.

CALIF.

NEB. UTAH

COLO.

KAN.

IOWA ILL.

IND.

Pacific: 1,004 CDD

N.M.

N.J.

MO.

WV.

*CDD represents cooling degree days Source: Energy Information Administration

TEXAS

S.C. GA.

L.A. FLA.

West South Central: 2,859 CDD

DEL. MD.

VA. N.C.

ARK. MISS. ALA.

Mountain: 1,584 CDD

New England: 651 CDD

PA.

OHIO

TENN. OKLA.

ME.

N.H. MASS. R.I. CONN.

N.Y.

KY. ARIZ.

VT.

MICH

WYO. NEV.

Middle Atlantic: 885 CDD

N.D.

S.D

IDAHO

East North Central: 974 CDD

East South Central: 1,932 CDD

South Atlantic: 2,411 CDD

The map includes data for cooling degree days (CDD), which are used to measure and compare outdoor temperatures over periods of time. For example, a day with a mean temperature of 80 degrees F has 15 CDD (because the U.S. standard temperature is 65 F). If the next day has a mean temperature of 83 F, it has 18 CDD. So, the total for those two days is 33 CDD.


Electric cooperatives are using a variety of technologies to pinpoint and resolve power outages, which benefits the members they serve. Power outages are inevitable, but as technology continues to improve, disruptions are becoming shorter and easier to resolve. Photo Source: Tobias Hammer

Outage detectives Ever wonder what goes into restoring your power after an outage? The ordeal of losing electricity can be frustrating, but electric cooperatives are always looking for ways to get the power back on as soon and safely as possible. Whether it’s severe weather like a hurricane or blizzard, or a fallen tree, as soon as an outage is detected, your electric co-op is working to correct the problem. And thanks to new and more advanced technologies, co-ops can restore power outages faster than ever. Powering up after an outage starts on a larger level and ends up in local areas. First, high-voltage transmission lines are examined, then distribution stations, then main distribution lines. If the outage can’t be pinpointed to these areas, tap lines and individual homes are inspected. This process allows your electric co-op to efficiently help the most members in the shortest amount of time, and co-ops are working to make this process move even faster. One of the biggest advancements in technology that electric co-ops are using is Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). These smart meters allow for two-way communications and work by sending information back to the co-op’s operations Alabama Living

center. This helps to distinguish between events that affect a single home or multiple outages, which is important because solving either issue is a very different process. The two-way communication also provides a way to verify that power has been restored after an outage. Another technology is the Outage Management System (OMS), which can predict the location of the issue and how many members are impacted. Especially when used with the AMI system, the OMS can be extremely useful for a co-op’s effectiveness in resolving an outage. As the AMI collects and sends data, the OMS then analyzes the data using mathematical functions and models the electrical network to assess the impact of the outage. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is another technology used to manage power outages. Members can easily and quickly report an outage by entering their phone number or location, which is recorded onto an electronic map used by dispatchers. After service has been restored, the system can also make follow-up calls to members to confirm that the power is back on. One technology is even capable of predicting outages before they happen. Distribution Fault Anticipation (DFA)

By Maria Kavensky

technology was developed by researchers at Texas A&M University and is used by Pedernales Electric Cooperative in Texas. This system can detect tree branches hanging on power lines, damaged equipment and unusual, unrecognized events. By identifying these issues, co-ops can more efficiently dispatch crews, avoid wildfires and prevent outages before they happen. One of the major benefits from improved technologies, especially for outages caused by extreme weather, is understanding where the outages are located, which helps to reduce risk for crews out on the road during the weather events. These technologies clearly benefit electric co-ops and the members they serve. Power outages are inevitable, but as technology continues to improve, disruptions are becoming shorter and easier to resolve.  Maria Kanevsky is a program manager for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. JULY 2019  7


ELECTRICAL SAFETY QUIZ Test your electrical safety knowledge by taking the quiz below! Use the answer key if you need help.

1. Smoke alarms in your home should be tested ________. A. once a week B. twice a year C. once a month 2. Overloading electrical outlets and power strips can create an electrical fire hazard. A. True B. False 3. What’s the most dangerous place to use electricity? A. Outdoors B. Near other electrical equipment C. Near water 4. It’s safe to run an electrical cord under a rug or carpet as long as the cord is not damaged. A. True B. False 5. Which is safest to play near? A. Power lines B. Pad-mounted transformers C. Neither A or B – both are dangerous

Answer Key: 1. C 2. A 3. C 4. B 5. C 8  JULY 2019

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At the beach Jonah catching some rays on his first beach trip. SUBMITTED BY Candace Merritt, Clayton.

Graham, our golden doodle, at Rosemary Beach. SUBMITTED BY Melinda Cole, Wetumpka.

| Alabama Snapshots |

Vera M. Haney, Ann Butler, Nell Smith, Ha Shaw enjoy girls day at the beach. SUBMITTED BY Vera Haney, Dothan.

Jessa Jones watches a Panama City Beach sunset. SUBMITTED BY Beverly Jones, Lawley.

Surf’s up for granddaughter Kady (age 8) at Gulf Shores. SUBMITTED BY Sandy Kiplinger, Union Grove.

Dolphins playing just after sunrise at Orange Beach. SUBMITTED BY Brittney Plemons, Hartselle.

Josh Jenkins and new fiancée, Kylie Wright. SUBMITTED BY Tammy Jenkins, Danville.

Submit Your Images! September Theme: “Team Spirit” Deadline for September: July 31

SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living

JULY 2019 9


Spotlight | July SOCIAL SECURITY

Sign up for Medicare and estimate Medicare costs Affordable medical coverage is something everyone wants, especially as people age. Luckily, our nation has safeguards for workers as they get older. Millions of people rely on Medicare, and it can be part of your health insurance plan when you retire. Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, as well as younger people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and people with certain specific diseases. Two parts of Medicare are Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. Part B usually requires a monthly premium payment. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

You can apply online for Medicare even if you are not ready to retire. Use our online application to sign up. It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if we need more information. Otherwise, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail. You can sign up for Medicare at socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare. If you don’t sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment window that begins three months before the birthday that you reach age 65 and ends three months after that birthday, you’ll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums for every year-long period you’re eligible for coverage but don’t enroll. You may not have to pay the penalty if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). If you are 65 or older and covered under a group

Find the hidden dingbat! We thought the hidden dingbat for June, a diamond ring, wasn’t very hard to find, but some of our readers still found it in some unusual places. One reader said it was on top of the chicken breast at the Florence restaurant, Odette, on page 38. Another claimed to see it on the ceiling fan on page 30, while another said it was on the man’s hand in the photo at the beach on Page 17. Well, yes, he’s wearing a wedding band but not the diamond engagement ring we hid. We had more than 1,000 guesses and most of them correctly found the ring on Page 34 at the bottom of the “Alabama Bookshelf ” page, positioned on the spine of a book. Or, as Eleonore Madigan of Dothan wrote in a short poem: On page 34 is where the dingbat’s at. Plastered on a book that’s striped and fat. Vivian S. Walker of Union Springs was happy to find the ring on her 59th birthday May 31 “on the third search By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 10 JULY 2019

through.” Phyllis Fenn of Montgomery said the ring reminded her of her original engagement ring given to her 47 years ago. Judy King of Brewton wrote that she and her husband play jokes on each other, and she remembers getting her engagement ring hidden in a large box stuffed with newspaper, shredded paper and two bricks. “The ring was in a small ring box at the bottom,” she wrote. “We still talk about the expression on my face.” Linda Keener of Maplesville says she enjoys looking for the dingbat every month: “I am 76 and I find them before my 52-year-old daughter does. We laugh about it. “ Congratulations to our winner, Georgia Barnard of Boaz, a member of Marshall-Dekalb Electric Cooperative. For August, put on your glasses and start looking for another type of eyewear we’re all using more of in the summer – this time, it’s sunglasses! Good luck! Entries must be received by July 12.

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

health plan, either from your own or your spouse’s current employment, you may have a special enrollment period during which you can sign up for Medicare Part B. This means that you may delay enrolling in Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and without paying the lifetime penalty for late enrollment. Additional rules and limits apply, so if you think a special enrollment period may apply to you, read our Medicare publication at socialsecurity.gov/pubs/, and visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at Medicare.gov for more information. Health and drug costs not covered by Medicare can have a big impact on how much you spend each year. You can also estimate Medicare costs using an online tool at medicare.gov/oopc/. Keeping your healthcare costs down allows you to use your retirement income on other things that you can enjoy. Social Security is here to help you plan a long and happy retirement at socialsecurity.gov.

This Month In

®

ALABAMA HISTORY Honoring Our People

July 4, 1861 Representatives of Winston County met at Looney’s Tavern and drafted a declaration demanding that the “Free State of Winston” be left out of the Civil War. Located in an area unsuitable to plantation agriculture, most of the county’s population supported the Union and desired to remain neutral. While the The Dual Destiny county never attempted seces- Monument, in front sion, it served as a gathering point of the Winston for Unionists avoiding the draft County Courthouse in Double Springs, and Confederate deserters, and many of its residents joined the commemorates the county’s divided Union army. Today, a statue of a loyalties during the Civil War soldier, half Union and Civil War. half Confederate, stands in front of the county courthouse in Double Springs. Ed. note: In the June “This Month in Alabama History,” it should have stated that Dr. Eugene Sledge began teaching at the University of Montevallo in 1962. Thanks to one of his students, Susanne H. Wright, UM class of ’67, for sending us this information: “Dr. Sledge was my biology professor in 1968. He was employed as an assistant professor in 1962 and attained full professorship in 1970 and held this position to retirement in 1990.” www.alabamaliving.coop


July | Spotlight

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 July 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the NEXT MONTH 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.

JUNE'S ANSWER

The train depot in Tuscumbia was built by Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company in 1888. Today, the depot is also a museum with rail and train memorabilia and information about Tuscumbia’s history. For tours or more information, call 256-389-1357. The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Kelly Jordan, Tallapoosa River EC.

New laws to help electric cooperatives offer broadband service Alabama’s electric cooperatives are closer to being able to prooperating the electrical system. Broadband may be a way to help vide broadband access to their underserved members, following finance the fiber deployment and at the same time provide highpassage of two major pieces of legislation by the Legislature. speed internet services to our members.” HB400, now the Broadband Using Electric Easements AccessiAt Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, president and CEO bility Act by Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, will allow cooperaTom Stackhouse says the legislation provides “clarity and assurtives to use their existing easements and infrastructure to deploy ance” as the co-op moves forward to offer broadband services to fiber to homes and puts limits members, allowing it to itations on any class action “utilize facilities already in lawsuits. place and not be burdened SB90, the Broadband Acwith unknown cost.” “CAEC has communicessibility Act by Sen. Clay cation needs no different Scofield, R-Guntersville, from the members we serve clarifies previous legislaand only fiber can deliver tion by increasing the minithe connectivity we need,” mum service threshold and he adds. “As we deploy a fiamends the amount of grants ber optic ring connecting all for specific projects. our own facilities, we will Currently more than include the additional fiber 840,000 persons in Alabama, that will eventually serve as almost 20 percent of the the backbone to reach the state’s population, have either entire area with fast broadno access or limits to broadband services.” band internet. The Alabama For now, two Alabama coRural Electric Association, operatives, North Alabama which represents the 22 rural Representatives of the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition, including AREA's EC and Tombigbee EC, offer electric cooperatives in our Sean Strickler, far left, joined Gov. Kay Ivey and legislators for bill signing. PHOTO BY DANNY WESTON broadband, but that number state, worked diligently with is expected to increase as more cooperatives get on board. 24 other organizations as part of the Alabama Rural Broadband “Most everyone agrees there is a need for fast, reliable service Coalition to assure passage of the bills. across the whole state and country, but not everyone is in a posiNot all Alabama cooperatives are planning to offer internet tion to do what it takes to make it happen, especially in the rural services at this time, but managers of at least two welcomed the areas,” says Stackhouse. “As it must have been 80 years ago with legislation. “The great thing about the passage of HB400 and electricity not being deployed into the same areas, the investment SB90 is that it gives us options,” says Tim Culpepper, CEO of just doesn’t seem worth it. We beg to differ.  Cullman Electric Cooperative, who says his cooperative is study “The more we researched what it would take to deliver high ing the economics of fiber deployment to see if it makes sense for quality, fast internet service into our rural areas, we realized, its members. for the most part, it will not get done if CAEC is not very in“To fully take advantage of improvements in technology, we volved.  We also realized that in our case there is no one else able need to deploy fiber to our substations and to some of the breakor interested in getting to all the residents and businesses in the ers and switches on the system. This type of fiber-enabled new 3,600 square miles we serve.” technology really helps with outage restoration and in efficiently Alabama Living

JULY 2019 11


WORKING FOR Faith, optimism carry peanut farmers through hard times By Peggy Ussery Hatcher

12 JULY 2019

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F

armers are an optimistic bunch. They have to be, because natural disasters, depressed peanut prices and the threat of trade wars are not for the faint of heart. “Farmers, you know, we’re very optimistic and that’s what keeps us rolling,” said Joel Sirmon, who farms with his brother and nephew in Baldwin County near Mobile. “You put it in the good Lord’s hands and hope for the best. He humbles you sometimes.” Alabama is one of the top peanut-producing states in the country with peanut farmers planting around 180,000 acres of peanuts each year, according to the Alabama Peanut Producers website. The popular legume is grown in 37 of the state’s 67 counties, mostly in the southern part of the state (though farmers in some northern counties are also growing peanuts). In addition to peanuts, Sirmon grows cotton, corn and potatoes. Sirmon’s farm will have 1,400 acres planted for the 2019. He’s hopeful for a good harvest, but he was hopeful last year as well; at 62, Sirmon knows hope will only get you so far because some things are just beyond your control. “Last year was the weather,” he says. “I had a good crop made but just couldn’t get it harvested. That was very frustrating to have something and you can’t reap the benefits of it.” When Hurricane Michael came ashore in October last year, it tore

through fields in southeast Alabama, northwest Florida and Georgia. The storm’s rain bands saturated fields. In the southeast Alabama counties in the storm’s path, direct agricultural losses were reported at $204 million, according to a damage assessment report from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Cotton losses were projected at nearly $108 million while peanut losses were projected at more than $11 million. Above-average rainfall in the weeks and months after the hurricane hurt the 2018 peanut harvest even more throughout Alabama. Rain is a tricky thing for farmers. Too little and crops dry up. Too much rain, or rain at the wrong times, can be just as damaging. Rain every five to seven days is good while peanuts are growing, but peanuts grow in the soil and have to be dug up. Once farmers finish digging, the peanuts have to dry for a few days before they can be picked. Digging and picking peanuts typically runs from September to November, and too much rain during that time can delay the harvest and ruin the peanuts. Jonathan Sanders farms with his father, Carl Sanders, the president of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. Altogether, they farm about 1,000 acres split between corn, cotton and peanuts. With their farm in the very northeastern corner of Coffee County, the Sanderses have fields in Coffee, Dale and Pike counties and are members of South Alabama Electric Cooperative.

Joel Sirmon farms peanuts in Baldwin County, along with cotton, corn and potatoes. He’s hopeful for a good harvest this year but knows well that Mother Nature can make or break a crop. PHOTOS BY COLETTE BOEHM

Alabama Living

JULY 2019  13


Jonathan Sanders isn’t yet 30 years old but has a wealth of experience in farming. He and his father farm peanuts and other crops in south Alabama. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION

“Even if you work diligently all year and make a good crop, you could potentially lose it all like we saw last year with the hurricane,” 27-year-old Jonathan Sanders says. “Many people had a lot of loss and that was just an uncontrollable loss for them.” They were fortunate, he said, as their losses in 2018 were not as great as some of their fellow farmers farther south and into Georgia. Some of their fields had zero loss while others lost about 20 percent of the harvest. Some farmers lost 100 percent of their crops due to the weather. “The only thing you can do is worry about the things you can control,” Jonathan Sanders says. “The rest you’ve got to leave up to God.”

Across the state, some farmers saw losses of about 1,000 pounds of peanuts per acre, Carl Sanders says. Alabama’s average yield is 3,500 pounds per acre. In good years, it’s not just farmers who benefit. Farmers cope with the down years by operating more efficiently when it comes to labor and equipment. When times are good, farmers buy equipment and invest their money back into their operations and, in turn, their communities. Peanuts, according to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association website, contribute about $211 million to state’s economy. “Some of these years with low prices, it’s just really hard to survive out here,” JonaCoping with down years than Sanders says. “If you don’t have an esFarmers were already dealing with detablished operation to fall back on you could pressed peanut prices due to a supply surplus lose it.” Outside of prices and weather, peanut farmon the market that goes back to a bumper ers also face shrinking acreage available for crop in 2017, Carl Sanders says. Talks of trade farming. Even in more rural areas, like where tariffs on foreign imports and the possibility the Sanderses’ fields are located, large tracts of of those countries retaliating with their own land with the terrain and the sandy soil peatariffs on U.S. products created more uneasiness. But, the 2018 peanut harvest promised nuts love are being lost to development. to be great for Alabama farmers – until the Carl Sanders farms peanuts and other crops In Baldwin County, Sirmon is practically in Coffee County with his son, Jonathan. farming in the city, as much of his acreage is weather turned against them. Sanders says the 2018 peanut crop was near where he lives in Daphne. Along with Hurricane Michael’s impact on shaping up to be a good one – until “That’s where we live and that’s where we’re southeastern counties, farmers faced exces- Hurricane Michael. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION going to try to make a living,” Sirmon says. sive rains throughout the state. Farmers like Sirmon and Carl and Jona“We made a good crop, a really good crop than Sanders are optimistic that 2019 will be a good year. If it’s not, – everything looked really good,” Carl Sanders says. “When Hurthey’ll try again next year. ricane Michael came through, it dumped all that rain on us and “It’s rewarding to be able to plant something and watch it grow, then it just continued to rain about every three, four, five days and we just had an awful harvest. If the soil is really saturated, it makes and we know if we do our part and the good Lord blesses it, then harvest really challenging. Instead of harvesting a bumper crop, we it will all be good,” Carl Sanders says. “You have to have a lot of harvested just a sort of average crop or less.” faith.” 14  JULY 2019

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Alabama Living

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APOLLO 11

50

TH

ANNIVERSARY Where were you when man walked on the moon? Alabamians who were alive on July 20, 1969 generally have no problem remembering where they were when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Many of our readers, who are in their 60s, 70s or older today, responded to our call to share a memory of that proud moment, and we’ve printed a selection of them here. Some were involved in the Apollo mission itself; others were in the military serving on ships or the jungles of Vietnam. Younger readers were celebrating birthdays, getting married or were at summer camp or on vacation. Many of you were like me, a teenager watching the event on a grainy, black-and-white TV at home. After a few minutes, I had to walk outside to our front yard in suburban Birmingham and look up at the moon, marveling that a man from earth was really up there. It was a proud moment for our state, which played such an important role in the space race as the home of U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and for all Americans. Enjoy these memories of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary. – Lenore Vickrey 16 JULY 2019

Part of the mission

I was in the U.S. Navy stationed aboard the USS Arlington AGMR2 in the Tonkin Gulf. I had arrived aboard from Da Nang, Vietnam about 1 month earlier. We were the communications ship assigned to help recover the capsule of Apollo 11. We off-loaded boats on Johnson Island to make room for President Nixon who spent the night on our ship on the eve of the splashdown (lots of personal time with President Nixon that night). The next morning was AMAZING.  We were the closest ship to the capsule.  I still remember standing on the flight deck watching the capsule with the three parachutes descend.    Mike McDonald, Orange Beach www.alabamaliving.coop


Huntsville, U.S. Space & Rocket Center Celebrate Apollo’s 50th Anniversary A number of events are planned to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. For details, visit www. huntsville.org/apollo-50th-anniversary/ and www. rocketcenter.com/apollo50. July 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Celebration Car Show

See the vehicles of the time owned by Redstone Arsenal/Marshall Space Flight Center rocket families. Limited to cars built from the end of World War II through the Moon missions, 19451975. Includes the only functionally operational replica of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (Moon Buggy) provided by Polaris. Also featured are two Kellers manufactured by the Huntsville based Keller Motors and the Chrysler Aerospace - Huntsville designed Dodge Daytona Charger #71. July 16

Break a World Record! The US Space & Rocket Center will attempt to break the world record by launching 5000 model rockets simultaneously at the exact time of the Apollo 11 launch on July

From 1960 to 1963 I was an electrical engineering co-op student from Auburn University working for NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center. I was able to participate in the development and construction of the Saturn V booster system that ultimately put astronauts on the moon. When the first moon landing did take place, I was an engineer for the Naval Electronic Systems Command in Charleston, SC and stayed up that night to see the landing videos. It was thrilling to know I had played a minor role in that success. Carl Gagliano, P.E., Auburn Alabama Living

I was working for NASA as a propulsion engineer at the time and had been selected as a launch honoree for the Apollo 11 mission. My wife and I, and our two children at the time, went to Ocala, Fla., and were transported by bus with other launch honorees to the beach where we were able to watch the launch. On the way back to Huntsville, we stopped at my parents’ home in Pine Apple, Ala., and watched the landing on television. This was the golden age of space exploration and I was very fortunate and proud to be a part of it. Erskine G. Donald III, Camden

I was a 33-year-old engineer working for the Boeing Company in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission took place. I was working on the S-1C test stand at the NASA test site in Mississippi. My job was to assist in the testing and verification of the big F-1 rocket engines on the S-1C booster that lifted the Saturn 5 off the Kennedy Space Center launch stand. I retired in 1996 from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command with 30 years of government service. George E. Pollock, Arab

16, 1969. In addition, model rockets will be launched around the world at 8:32 a.m. CST in each time zone during a 24-hour period. You can join in the fun by launching your own rocket! Sign up at rocketcenter.com/ apollo50/GlobalLaunch/ Info. July 19, 6 to 10 p.m.

100 Northside Square Dancing in the Streets On July 19, 1969, Huntsvillians gathered downtown to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing. Relive that glory day by joining space enthusiasts as they dance in the streets once again. Musical performances themed to the last five decades will take place on each side of the Historic Downtown Square. A projection experience will end the evening and inspire the latest endeavor of space exploration.

From a hotel room in St. Louis, my husband Dan and I watched in awe as Neil Armstrong took those first steps on the moon. Dan was on leave from basic training. I was working at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in a summer program for college students which included educational seminars about space exploration and NASA. Our interest in the space program has been lifelong and passed on to our grandson, Samuel Albert. An aeronautical engineering graduate of Purdue, his dream is to be an astronaut and part of a mission to Mars. Cathy Pallardy, Town Creek

JULY 2019 17


Serving our country Doug Sinquefield

I was in the heart of the jungles of Vietnam. Not much communication from the outside world except mail, when we could receive it. Memories there were not very pleasant, but the memories I made with so many of my comrades in the Army were great. We later did receive word from the states and the Stars and Stripes Magazine about the “moon landing.” Doug Sinquefield, Dothan I was a 23-year-old Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force. I was stationed at Tan San Nhut Air Force Base in Saigon, Vietnam. I watched on a small black-and-white TV as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the surface of the moon. Arthur F. Elliott Jr., Opelika Fifty years ago, I was in the U.S. Navy stationed on Midway Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There was no live telecast of the moon landing on Midway, so my fellow sailors and I could only hear Neil Armstrong’s famous words on the radio. We finally got to see a videotape of the landing that arrived from Hawaii several days later. It was still exciting. Dave Johannes, Montgomery I was at Lackland, AFB doing my basic training. On that night in particular, I was on guard duty and had to stay by the door to prevent intruders from doing, I was never sure what, if they managed to get past me. There was a TV in the com18 JULY 2019

mon room of our barracks, and we were allowed to stay up and watch the presentation, but still had to be ready for our morning exercises at 0600. F.K. Wiseman, Hanceville The picture of me was made June 9, 1969 in Newport, R.I., while serving in the U.S. Navy. Four of my buddies and I camped in the Catskill Mountains in New York the weekend of July 19 and 20, 1969 and we also got  Monday (Moonday Holiday) off.  We went into the local town to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon Sunday night.  I guess you could call it a watch party since it was in a pub with a TV. James (Jimmy) Walker, Jackson

Pride overseas

I was on a Swissair flight back to my home in the U.S. following a year studying at a university in Switzerland. The pilot announced that “the Americans have just successfully landed on the moon.” Everyone began to cheer and clap. Then they announced that everyone would get free champagne … more cheers. I was met at JFK Airport by my family and the girl who became my wife of 49 years and counting. Jim DiSebastian, Gulf Shores I was with a group of students observing the significant architectural styles in Rome. We were drawn to a gathering around the display window of a home furnishings store. The crowd was mesmerized by the television broadcasting of the space landing. A hush fell over the crowd as Neil Armstrong descended the ladder. The Romans erupted, chanting, “Earth has placed a man on the moon!” Their vicarious credit for this epic achievement was met by the American students

chanting, “USA, USA USA!” I have a real treasure, the Rome newspaper of July 21, 1969. The front page has a huge picture of Armstrong’s descent from the lunar craft. Stan Neuenschwander, Pike Road Mom and Dad were yelling, “Hurry up it’s about to happen, you have to see this!” I ran as fast as I could into the living room, wondering what was coming from the blue-glowing light. My dad was stationed in Landstuhl, Germany when I was 9. At that age, I vividly remember the blue-glowing light of the television illuminating the entire room. I stared wide-eyed as the first man walked on the moon! Debbie Godwin, Evergreen

Special birthdays, anniversaries

July 20, 1969, was my 10th birthday. My brother and I usually fought over which TV channel to watch: ABC, NBC, or CBS. But on our birthdays, for a whole blessed day, the birthday child was honored with being in charge of that decision. Imagine my disappointment when I switched on our black-and-white model to find that all three channels were showing only moon coverage. No cartoons! No children’s shows! Just images of a funny-looking landing module, and a man in a stiff white suit planting a flag. Failing to grasp the significance of the occasion, I couldn’t believe my misfortune at wasting a whole birthday’s worth of TV privileges. In retrospect, it was special to share my birthday with our country’s historic landing on the moon that revolves around planet Earth.  Nanette Chadwick, Auburn

I was celebrating my 16th birthday glued to the televiEvery year on sion marveling this my birthday, I achievement! No big think of this speparty for me; I refused cial time. 1969 had any distractions interso many bad things rupting a single secto remember. The ond of history in the Vietnam War, ramaking. I saw Sputcial unrest, Chapnik; this was better! Kathy Buckner paquiddick and so My hero father passed on. It was my 18th birthday. I away on July 30, 1967, but Neil was like a kid wishing I could Armstrong became my new be there on Apollo 11. I was in hero that day. I prayed for a Rainsville staying with my parsafe mission and return and ents and baby while my hushave been an avid follower of band was stationed overseas. NASA. After watching the news on Joyce Weiland, Decatur this historic day for Alabama and the world, I Weiland family had to go look at that big, beautiful moon. On that special day, as the Earth stood still and a man walked on the moon, I was part of it. Kathy Buckner Rainsville It was the first anniversary of our marriage. We watched Neil Armstrong step


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onto the moon, but we did not watch that historical moment on the same TV or even in the same country. I was in Ohio. He was at Wheelus AB, Libya. However, since we were an American military family, I had a great deal of pride in our country and the astronauts. Outdoors, I gazed up at the moon knowing we were seeing the same one. Connie Tanner, Wetumpka Although I do remember when Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon, my fondest memory of July 20, 1969 was wedding my high school sweetheart, Sandra. I was on leave between Ft. Wolters, Texas and Ft. Rucker, Ala., while attending Army helicopter training. We said our vows at Myrtle Beach AFB, Myrtle Beach, S.C. We were headed to Atlanta for our honeymoon, but stopped in Columbia, S.C. It was here that we watched the famous “small step for man.” Sandra passed away on January 14, 2018 after 48 years of marriage. I miss her very much. Dr. Larry W. Key, Fort Rucker

Larry and Sandra Key

My future husband and I were having dinner at the Steak Barn in Huntsville, and while there he proposed marriage to me. We later returned to my brother’s home where I was visiting. My future husband and I wanted to watch Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon, so yes, definitely we 20 JULY 2019

Ken & Janice Smith

wanted to have two memorable occasions start our new lives with. Later that year we were married in Missouri. We will also be celebrating a 50th anniversary in 2019. Janice and Ken Smith Houston, Ala.

At summer camp

Summertime at a Brownie camp, Aventura, in California. At the main lodge during dinner it was announced for everyone to get a jacket and a flashlight and go to the nurses’ station. When I arrived later, most of the girls were seated on the ground facing a television the maintenance man had set up outside during the day. It was a surprise to all. Even for such a young audience, everyone was enthralled by the fuzzy screen. Patricia R. Cobb, Woodville In 1969, I was a 12-year-old Boy Scout attending summer scout camp at Maubila in Jackson, Alabama. On the night of the moon landing, the troop leaders set up a few TVs in the dining hall (with rabbit ear antennas) so all the scouts could watch. We all cheered loudly when the lunar landing occurred. By the time Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar module, we were all fast asleep and had to be awaked by the leaders to watch the first step. Neil Armstrong was an Eagle Scout, and I became one as well. (Eleven of the 12 astronauts to walk on the moon were Scouts.) Joe Galloway, Mobile I was a camp counselor at a boy’s summer camp near Monterey, Tenn., 100 miles from

Knoxville, a very remote location on the Cumberland Plateau. We knew the astronauts walking on the moon would be late at night so we had the campers bring their pillows and sleeping bags to the open air recreation hall.  We had a small black-and-white TV with rabbit ears picking up a notvery-good grainy picture. Nevertheless, those who could stay awake, and there were a number of boys who did not, were able to witness history in the making that night. Kenneth Cushing, Arley

Sparking interest in space flight

We had taken our daughter Lisa to the Birmingham Zoo. About touchdown time, we had returned to the car for lunch and to listen to the event on the radio. Later that night we stayed up to watch Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon. It was memorable, even from a snowy, black and white, 19-inch TV. While in college Lisa started working for the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, and has remained there for 33 years. Dwight, Claudia and Lisa Pelfrey, Moulton

Watched the launch

My parents and I traveled to the Cape to witness the once-in-forever event of Apollo 11’s launch. We took the tours and rode right by the Saturn 5 on its pad.  Along with thousands, we spent the night before the launch on a beach across from the site. We stood in awe as we watched, heard, and yes, felt the lift-off. When it was out of sight, we jumped in our car and headed home to Ider. Then we watched, on our old black and white, as the men we had seen leave earth, completed their mission. Anita Day Robertson, Scottsboro

‘Forced’ to watch

I will never forget July 20, 1969 because I was very angry! There I was, 14 years old, on summer vacation in Panama

City Beach, and I was told to come inside and watch  something on television. I was  vacationing with my t h r e e teenage c o u s ins on summer break. It was a beautiful day on a white sand beach with emerald colored  water, when  suddenly we were “forced” to come inside and watch something famous happen on television. That famous event was to watch the Apollo 11 mission send the modular Eagle to the moon’s surface and watch Neil Armstrong step onto the moon and say those famous words,  “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Grudgingly, we went inside, but what a travesty it would have been to have missed watching it all firsthand on tv. Gay Cotton, Orange Beach

On a motel TV

I was 15 years old on my way back to Troy after a vacation to Seattle, Wash., with my parents. We spent that night in a motel in Dumas, Texas, and I was exhausted. My mother excitedly reminded me history was being made as we all watched on that small TV that hung from the ceiling corner. My dad, now age 95, recalls it well too! One small step! Susan Avirett Johnson Wayne H. Avirett, Troy

Susan Avirett Johnson and her father, Wayne Avirett

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THE Food Network Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network builds a stronger farm and food system By Katie Jackson

F

Small-group breakout sessions held during the annual Food and Farm Forum are among the many ways ASAN members work together to share sustainability-focused ideas and expertise. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASAN

or most folks, the term “food network” likely conjures up imMindy Santo says. ages of frenzied chefs, stylish culinary gurus or dive-loving “That’s what makes ASAN unique,” Evans adds. “It’s not just an tattooed foodies. Within the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture organization of solely farmers; it includes people in the many roles Network, however, “food network” represents the many diverse but that make up the food system.” dedicated souls who are working, literally and figuratively, from the Among those people are farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, chefs, ground up to create a robust bakers, brewers, scientists, and enduring farm and food environmentalists, conservasystem. tionists, farmers market and As ASAN’s executive direcfood bank managers, commutor Alice Evans says, “We are a nity organizers and many othgrassroots network of, we like ers from all walks of life. The to say, farmers (particularly network also includes people small-scale, sustainably oriwho simply want to live each ented farmers) and eaters and day more sustainably and everybody in between.” others who want to tap into As its name suggests, the sustainable entrepreneurial concept of sustainability — the opportunities. ability to meet today’s needs The diversity of people inwhile maintaining resourcvolved in ASAN is rivaled only es that will meet the needs of by the diversity of subjects that future generations — is fundainterest them — organic farmmental to ASAN, which was ASAN members not only share seeds, plants and ideas with one another, they ing to hydroponics, growing established in 2001. But its also cultivate sustaining and sustainable relationships. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASAN herbs to growing hemp, blackgoal is not to maintain the stasmithing to sheep shearing, tus quo; it’s to build a resilient, regenerative farm and food system, protecting water quality to making policy and much more. which ASAN’s leaders and members do by focusing on their misCreating connections sion: “to deepen relationships between all the people of Alabama, What connects this diverse array of people and subjects is an inthe food we eat and the place we live.” terest in creating and sustaining a healthy, vigorous, diverse and per“Our organization includes a vast cross-section of people who petual food system, and ASAN strives to do just that. Throughout are interested in food, as we all should be,” ASAN program assistant 22 JULY 2019

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Seed swapping among ASAN members such as Sand Mountain Seed Bank co-founder Charlotte Hagood was just one of many activities offered during ASAN’s 2018 Food and Farm Forum. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASAN

the year, the organization sponsors peer-topeer workshops and field days where ASAN members share knowledge and skills with one another. In addition, it maintains an online calendar of sustainability-focused events sponsored by other organizations around the state, region and country. Once a year, ASAN also holds a two-day Food & Farm Forum, an event described as “part conference, part fair and part reunion” where participants learn about such topics as crop and livestock production, woodland management, solar energy, carpentry, fermentation and traditional foodways, to name a few. According to Evans and Santo, the Forum, to be Dec. 6-7 in Fairhope, allows for a lot of “cross-pollinating” as participants share stories, ideas and wisdom. And it’s open to anyone — ASAN members and nonmembers alike — regardless of their levels of skill and experience. Last year, ASAN added a new facet of sustainability to the Forum, one focused on making sure that, as the current generation of farmers ages out, there will be another generation to follow them. “The agricultural system we’re building must be intergenerational,” Evans says. If it’s not, it won’t be sustainable, so ASAN estab-

Steps toward sustainability

What can you do to support sustainable agriculture? “Connect with your local agricultural system and understand the farmers making a living in your own backyard,” says ASAN Executive Director Alice Evans. More specifically: • Buy locally and buy sustainably. • Frequent local farmers markets and U-pick operations. • Ask farmers about the practices they use on their farms. • Start a garden! “Even if it’s just growing a tomato plant, there’s something about being connected to seasonality, weather patterns and the soil that helps bridge the divide between consumers, farmers and land stewardship, which most people in our climate-controlled world are separated from,” says Evans. “If you can get closer to the system that supplies your food, you are more fully part of the ecosystem.” • Join ASAN. Whether you’re a farmer, an eater or anything in between, you can find a network of help and community in the organization. “We are growing our base and we have a wide-ranging audience,” says Laura Nunez, ASAN’s administrative and program assistant in charge of membership. She added that various levels of membership are available, so no one is turned away because of financial constraints. 24  JULY 2019

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF ASAN

On-farm events, such as this no-till presentation and farm tour held at Bois D’Arc Farm in Uniontown, offer peer-to-peer training and the opportunity to see sustainable agriculture in action.

Graze on

ASAN’s Graze events, which serve as fundraisers and awareness raisers, offer people in urban communities a chance to connect with their farmers and their food. Here’s how they work. A dozen or so farmer-chef pairs collaborate, each on a single dish and using ingredients grown by the farmers, that they serve in sample sizes to picnickers of all ages who can graze from booth to booth tasting the

dishes while listening to music, sampling beverages and enjoying the company of others. Among the farmer-chef creations are dishes appropriate for every culinary and dietary preference or restriction — vegans, vegetarians, meat lovers, gluten-free, lowcarb and more. Everyone is welcome and the entry fee is based on a sliding scale so people from all economic backgrounds can attend.

lished a concurrent Youth Food & Farm Forum for 14- to 21-yearolds in an effort to cultivate interest in agriculture and food systems, give young people a voice in ASAN and train future leaders for sustainable agriculture. In addition to these programs, ASAN is connecting eaters to their food and farmers by way of Food Network-worthy collaborations. Five years ago, ASAN kicked off Graze-Birmingham, which is a farm-to-fork picnic of favorite local farmers, chefs and friends. It pairs local chefs with local farmers who create dishes of “food alchemy.” And the alchemy is spreading: the first annual Graze-Huntsville will be July 14. (See sidebar for more details.) All these events help carry out ASAN’s mission and vision, but what really makes a difference to many ASAN members is the organization’s network of connections and support.

Seed savers

Lawrence Rives and Charlotte Hagood of Albertville, Ala., have been deeply involved with ASAN since its early days when the two Sand Mountain natives were living in Birmingham and just beginning to garden organically and live more sustainably. ASAN proved to be a great resource for their gardening and lifestyle efforts, but also for another vital part of sustainability — seed saving, which Hagood became involved in when a neighbor from back home on Sand Mountain gave her a handful of heirloom flower seed to plant. She’s been “taking in stray seeds that were going extinct” ever since. After the couple moved back to Albertville — carrying with them a refrigerator full of precious seeds — Hagood and another seed saver she met through ASAN, Dove Stackhouse, established the Sand Mountain Seed Bank, a priceless collection of genetics and heritage that now takes up three refrigerators “and we’re working on a fourth,” Hagood says. “ASAN, and especially Alice Evans, continues to be a source of huge support and inspiration for the seed bank and for many, many 26  JULY 2019

ASAN is nurturing Alabama’s next generation of sustainability-minded farmers and foodies through its youth programs, including a Food and Farm Forum targeted specifically to young people.

• Graze: Huntsville will be from 5-8 p.m. July 14 at The Green at Campus 805. The event is hosted by ASAN in partnership with Greene Street Market at Nativity and sponsored by Huntsville Hospital. • Graze: Birmingham will be from 5-8 p.m. Sept. 8 at Avondale Brewing Company. The event is hosted by ASAN and sponsored by EBSCO. Tickets and details for each event are available at asanonline.org/graze/

other folks in Alabama who love the Earth and good food,” Rives adds. Katie Willis, a baker, farmer, book exchange founder and activist, connected with ASAN after returning to Birmingham a few years ago from an on-the-road career in farming. She first fell in love with farming at the age of 16 while working on Jones Valley Urban Farm in Birmingham, then pursued it as a career by working on farms in Minnesota and New York before returning home a few years ago to work on an Alabama farm. During that time, Willis encountered some issues that plague the farming profession, including discrimination especially against women and minorities. She left farming to work at Birmingham Breadworks, where she is able to connect her interests in food, farming and community building while also exploring ways to address social injustice. ASAN has been a big help in all those areas. “ASAN has been good for me professionally and personally,” Willis says. “I have been able to interact with other farmers, but also meet people who have had similar experiences to mine.” For her, ASAN is an exceptional resource. “It’s great knowing I can text someone with a question and also knowing I have a community of people who understand,” she says. These are just a few of the many stories ASAN members tell about the value of the organization’s services and its human network, which is such a big part of ASAN’s focus. As Evans says, “It’s not just about the information that can be shared or the money that can be exchanged, it’s about the community that undergirds our own food system.” In other words, it’s about creating the ultimate food network, one made up of people who want to ensure a supply of healthy, affordable food now and for future generations to come. Learn more about ASAN at asanoline.org, where you can also find a list of ASAN events as well as sustainability-focused programs hosted by other organizations and sign up for ASAN’s e-newsletter. www.alabamaliving.coop


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July | Around Alabama

The 9th Annual Chilton County Arts Festival on July 27 will feature various types of art for sale.

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Grand Bay, Watermelon Festival. Food, arts and crafts, live entertainment and locally grown watermelon. No smoking, alcohol or pets allowed. 10327 Taylor F. Harper Blvd. Grandbaywatermelonfestival.org

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Gulf Shores, Art Market at LuLu’s, 200 E. 25th Ave. Shop a variety of local Gulf Coast artists on LuLu’s beach, enter the $250 gift card raffle and celebrate LuLu’s 20th Anniversary with a birthday cake. For more information, visit lulubuffett.com.

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Theodore, Viewing the Summer Sky at Bellingrath Gardens. Astronomy program led by members of the University of South Alabama Department of Physics. After a brief lecture, guests will gather on the Great Lawn to view the night sky. Telescopes will be set up to view planets and constellations. Guests are encouraged to bring binoculars and flashlights. 7-9 p.m. Free for members. For pricing and to make reservations, contact Bellingrath Gardens at 251973-2217. Bellingrath.org

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Andalusia, World Championship Domino Tournament, Kiwanis Fair Complex, 20096 S. Bypass. For tournament rules, registration and cost, visit worldchampionshipdomino. com.

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Millbrook, Backyard Bass Casting Skills at Lanark Park. Learn the basics of casting. Learn

how to use a spin casting rod and reel and work on casting techniques. Recommended ages 5 and up. General admission applies and the program is included. Program begins at 10 a.m. and animal encounter begins at 1 p.m. For more information, visit alabamawildlife.org.

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Huntsville, The U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the city of Huntsville celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that sent the first man to the moon and Alabama’s role in the achievement. For a daily listing of events, including a homecoming celebration dinner and educational programs, visit rocketcenter.com.

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Opelika, Kids Drive-In Movie at the Opelika SportsPlex. Kids can create their own “cardboard cruiser” and watch the movie “Small Foot.” $5 per child, ages 4-7. For more information, visit aotourism.com

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Florence, W.C. Handy Music Festival. All kinds of music-related events will be going on around the Shoals area over the course of this 10-day series – jazz, gospel, blues, rock and more. The event honors Handy, an internationally recognized composer of sacred and secular music, and highlights the rich musical heritage of the area. wchandymusicfestival.com

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Union Springs, “Dixie Swim Club”

will be presented at the Red Door Theatre. Five Southern women, whose friendships began many years ago on their college swim team, set aside a long weekend every August to recharge those relationships. Over a span of 33 years, their lives unfold and each relies on the others for advice and validation in this hilarious and touching comedy. (334) 7388687 info@reddoortheatre.org

Hartselle, 10th Annual Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook-Off. National award-winning barbecue cookers will be cooking up barbecue ribs, chicken and pulled pork. 500 Nanceford Road SW. For more information, contact the Hartselle Chamber of Commerce, 256-773-4370.

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Clanton, 9th Annual Chilton County Arts Festival. Fine hand-crafted art, including wood, fabric, glass, and jewelry. Free. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 703 2nd Ave. North. Chiltoncountyartscouncil.com

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Montgomery, Made for Moms Expo at the Multiplex at the Cramton Bowl, 220 Hall St. Guest speakers, vendors, a fashion show, photo booth, giveaways, and kids corner. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. For more information, visit the Made for Moms Expo event on Facebook.

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Vina, Vina July Fest. Music, food, arts and crafts and fireworks display. For more information contact the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. Franklincountychamber.org.

Independence Day around Alabama July 3

Chatom, Independence Day Celebration. 5-11 p.m., Chatom Community Center, 233 Dixie Youth Drive. 251-680-3075. Fort Rucker, Freedom Fest. 4-10 p.m. Food, activities and fun highlight this party that draws 20,000 each year to this free event. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the fireworks show. No glass, coolers, backpacks or pets. Open to the public. 334-255-1749.

July 4

Alexander City, 43rd Annual Fourth of July Boat Parade. Begins at 10 a.m. Registration available on site until 9:30 a.m. For more information and categories, visit russellmarine.net. Henagar, Sand Mountain Potato Festival. Live music, arts and crafts, entertainment, games and fireworks. Henagar City Park, 18294 Alabama Highway 75. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free. visitlookoutmountain.com Pike Road, SummerFest Fourth of July Celebration at The Waters. Food, family-friendly activities, live entertainment and fireworks. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. and activities begin at 5 p.m. Admission is $10 per vehicle. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs. Pikeroad.us Prattville, Fourth of July Celebrations include a parade, cardboard boat races, barbecue and fireworks. Parade begins downtown at 9 a.m., fireworks concert begins at 6 p.m. at Stanley Jensen Stadium, followed by fireworks at dark. Free. Prattvilleal.gov.

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

Alabama Living

Photo courtesy of Chilton County Arts Festival.

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JULY 2019 29

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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

Plant something, Alabama!

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ardening may not be for everyone, but plants sure are. That’s the idea behind Plant Something Alabama, a new statewide educational and informational campaign designed to “inspire, educate and encourage” gardeners and nongardeners alike to get more plants in the ground — and in their lives.  Launched in April by the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association (ALNLA), Plant Something Alabama is part of a national program (plant-something.org) created to raise awareness of the many contributions plants make to our lives — from improving environmental quality, enhancing property values and reducing energy costs to enriching our minds, bodies and souls. (See sidebar for more.) “Commonly referred to as ‘plant blindness,’ society is slowly losing its fundamental understanding of the benefits plants provide,” said ALNLA Executive Director Russell Wood. “Through Plant Something Alabama, we hope to reverse that trend by connecting the public with their local green industry professionals to spread knowledge, enthusiasm and an appreciation of plants!” Here in Alabama, plants help grow our economy. The wholesale and retail plant growers and sellers, landscape contractors and designers, scientists, irrigation installers and others who work in and around

the horticultural industry help generate an estimated $2.9 billion and nearly 44,000 jobs for the state each year. Through Plant Something Alabama, those industry members want to also cultivate a deeper appreciation for plants. Take Mary Beth Shaddix, for example. She and her husband David grow everything from trees and shrubs to native and bog plants for the wholesale market at their Maple Valley Nursery in Sterrett, Ala. She’s been helping develop the Plant Something Alabama website, but as gardener and garden and food writer herself, Shaddix knows that different people have different interests in plants. “Some may want to grow healthy produce, others may want to enhance their property’s value and still others may simply want to grow something beautiful,” she says. “Whether you’re interested in beauty or real estate values or that tasty tomato, Plant Something Alabama can help.” How does it help? Through www.plantsomethingalabama.com, an online goldmine of information suitable for gardeners and nongardeners alike. The site provides links to experts across the state and nation and to information on topics ranging from gardening basics to choosing landscape plants to planting for pollinators. It also has a “finder” button that connects visitors to an unparalleled source of information, Alabama’s locally owned garden centers and nurseries. Just type in your zipcode to find one close to you.

JULY TIPS • Plant cover crops in bare areas of the garden to fortify soil.

•* Clean up garden beds and under fruit trees.

• Refresh mulch as needed. • Deadhead flowering plants to keep them blooming.

• Prune spring-flowering shrubs. • Harvest summer fruits and vegetables early in the day.

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

32  JULY 2019

• Make plans for the fall gardening season.

• Get the kids or grandkids to plant something.

These small, often family-run businesses offer a wide array of high-quality, healthy plants that are well adapted to local growing conditions. They also offer the chance to reinvest our plant dollars in our own communities. And best of all, these businesses provide access to local wisdom. “You can get one-to-one personal advice from people who know about local plants and growing conditions and are passionate about plants,” Shaddix says. “That’s who you want helping you!” You can also help in return by using the free printable and shareable graphics, posters and other material available on the Plant Something Alabama  website to start a plant conversation online or in your community. You can also become a Plant Something Alabama sponsor or help grow the website by emailing hello@plantsomethingalabama.com or calling 334-821-5148 with suggestions for future articles, content, links or businesses.  And, of course, the most important thing you can is this: Go plant something!

The power of planting Planting one tree — or one shrub, herb, vegetable, vine or flower for that matter — can be a powerful personal act, so imagine the superpower we’d create if we all joined forces and planted together. Here’s just a sample of how powerful plants can be. Strategically planting trees, shrubs and other plants around homes can reduce home energy consumption by 25 percent. A well-planted yard can increase a home’s resale value by 15 percent. A single mature tree can remove 40 pounds or more of carbon dioxide each year while also producing enough oxygen to supply up to four people each day. There’s enough available land across the globe to plant 1.2 trillion trees, the act of which could significantly reduce the effects of climate change. Many studies have shown that tending plants or simply being around them, whether outdoors or indoors, increases our health, happiness, concentration, memory, healing abilities and overall sense of well-being. www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

JULY 2019  33


| Worth the drive |

is bustling, no matter the season

Story and photos by Emmett Burnett

J

ust sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. No, not that tale and not that ship. This is the story of Bahama Bob’s Beach Side Cafe, the Gulf Shores restaurant, the man, and the ill-fated voyage that defined both. “While on a treasure hunt off Rum Cay, Bahamas, a hurricane nearly sank Bob Murphy’s 45-foot sailboat,” or so says the story printed on menus. The chronicle continues, “To celebrate his near miss with death, Bob partied for three straight days! That’s right, three days!” “The story is true,” claims Bahama Bob’s General Manager Tina

Wesner with a big smile. “Some of it may be embellished a little, but it’s true.” After the storm, Bob left the Bahamas, setting sail for Key West, Florida. He ran across two old Gulf Shores friends, Frank Merrell and Steve Spellman. During their reunion the three devised a plan to “Return to the other side of paradise and build a little slice of island living right here (Gulf Shores).” The end product was Bob’s namesake restaurant established 20 years ago this year, on the west side of Gulf Shores and sailing ever since. Bahama Bob’s does not advertise, nor does it have to. The ocean

Word of mouth and positive reviews have kept customers coming back since 1999.

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Alabama Living

JULY 2019  35


Bahama Bob’s looks like a beach house because it used to be one.

eatery seats 100 patrons and does so often. itor Cheny McElroy. “Everything is good, This is a rare tourist-town diner favored equalevery time I have been here.” ly by longtime residents and first-time visitors. The formerly swimming-in-saltwater enBob, Frank, and Steve – all retirement age trees she references includes whitefish – pan and beyond – no longer attend day to day opfried fillets in crusted pecans or char-grilled erations, turning many responsibilities over in house made seasonings. Gulf fresh trigto Tina and kitchen manager Whit Spellman. gerfish, flounder, and grouper are popular They and the crew are ever mindful of one: Bafavorites with the locals. “Our blackened hama Bob’s business only slows down during grouper is off the charts,” Tina explains about off season. And two: There is no off season. a personal favorite. “I float everywhere – in and out of the Shrimp, oysters, crabs are steamed, fried, kitchen door, anywhere there is a need, we grilled, blackened, or battered, in a crustaboth do,” says Whit about restaurant duties. cean sensation that knows no bounds. On a “We are working managers.” personal note, try the coconut shrimp. It just Hannah Yeager serves up coconut Tina oversees dining, the bar, front desk, shrimp, crab legs and gumbo. justified four years of journalism school. cash register, and waits tables if needed. BahaGumbo goes out about as fast as prepared. ma Bob’s staffers wear out shoes quickly. “We keep about 20 gallons on hand at all times,” Whit says. “It starts “We opened Memorial Day Weekend, 1999,” recalls Tina. “It was with a great roux and built from there. a hit from day one.” “The key is adding great ingredients and stay with it. Gumbo is Customer demographics change with the month and so does not some toss it in the pot kind of thing. You must continuously crowd personality. “During winter, lunch hours are busier than tend and monitor it.” evenings,” Whit says. “Spring break is just the opposite. People Cocktail and tartar sauces, and dressings such as blue cheese walk in from the beach (about 300 feet away) after a day in the with very thick crumbles are house-made and bottled. sun and surf.” The source of many dishes can be seen from your table. “It’s from way out there,” smiles Tina, pointing out the window at a coNon-stop summer days balt-blue Gulf of Mexico.   Which brings us to summer, an easy season to forecast busy Today’s tranquil waters were not always placid and Bob’s first times. The answer is all day and all evening. “From May to Labor hurricane was not his last. Hurricane Ivan (September 2004) clobDay we are nonstop from open to close,” says Tina. However, serbered it. “We found our walk-in freezer and cooler bobbing in a vice is fast and friendly. nearby lagoon,” Tina recalls, about the storm that closed the restauThe beach lures you. The cuisine makes you stay. Coconut shrimp rant 8 months. But it came back. ensures you return. You are hooked, but hooked at a seafood house Like every Gulf Shores eatery, the BP Oil Spill cost Bahama Bob’s is a good place to be. at least 50 percent of its business. But it came back. “Everything we serve is fresh,” Whit says. “Everything possible is Bahama Bob’s is not easy to find.  It looks like a beach house beprepared by hand. Our handcrafted Bahama Burger is patted Ancause it used to be one. But it is worth the search. gus beef, never frozen.” The signature burger is also mammoth. A The Gulf Shores restaurant confidently states on the menu, “The 10-ounce slab of burger is topped with grilled pineapple, bacon and very best of everything you come to the beach for.” You, too, will double Swiss cheese. come back. As for seafood, Bahama Bob’s – like the BeatKitchen manager Whit Spellman and les – gets by with a little help from their friends, General Manager Tina Wesner with some of friends like Southern Living, which lauds its food Bahama Bob’s popular drinks. as among the best of the South. Or friends like TripAdvisor, proclaiming Bob’s has the best bar Bahama Bob’s Beach Side Cafe 601 West Beach Blvd. on the beach. And friends like customers who Gulf Shores, AL 36542 deploy Bob’s secret weapon – word of mouth ac251-948-2100 colades. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday Gulf Shores “The fish is great here and so is the beach atBahamabobs.com mosphere,” says Michigan guest and return vis-

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Alabama Living

JULY 2019  37


| Alabama People |

Frazine Taylor

Studying history and making it Wetumpka native Frazine Taylor, librarian, archivist and longtime member of the Alabama Historical Association (AHA), became that organization’s first African-American president at its recent statewide meeting. The AHA is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes exploration and study of all aspects of Alabama’s history, and sponsors the state’s historical marker program. Taylor spent much of her career at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, where she helped professional historians as well as everyday people research their family histories. Today, she works part-time at Alabama State University, working to process and catalog collections related to the university’s history, including its part in the civil rights movement. We asked her to talk about her life’s work and about the role she’ll play in promoting Alabama’s history, and about the recent award she received from the AHA. – Allison Law Talk about the work you did at the Archives. When people came in to look for family information, (our staff ’s) job was to make sure that they were able to look at census records, at county records, to know how to use the microfilm, and to create policies to make it easier for them to use the archives and records within the reference room. Along the way, I became sort of an expert in African-American genealogy. In (researching) other ethnic groups, the records for them are more straightforward. You can go to the census, you can go to their inventories, their land records. But when you get to African-American research, you have to search those records differently, using different strategies. Over my 20-something years, I created workshops to help African-Americans research their family history, just starting with the basics – starting with yourself and working backwards. A lot of African-Americans thought there was nothing in the records where they could find their ancestors. But they didn’t realize there were a whole lot of ancestors between 1865 and the present! Just creating strategies to help people locate the slaveholder, if they didn’t have the oral history that was passed down from generation to generation. There are two slave censuses, 1850 and 1860, that list the names of the slaveholders and the amount of slaves that they had, and also the population census. So it’s just a matter of researching your ancestors. I’ve gone all over the U.S. doing different workshops.

Have you been involved with the Alabama Historical Association for a long time? Yes, I have. I can’t remember when I became a member, but I’ve always been a member. When I worked at the Archives, I used to go to the meetings and listen and enjoy every bit of it. I had no idea I would be given an award and be the president! I didn’t even think that far ahead. I just enjoyed going, and the camaraderie. And also the different research papers – that’s where I learned a lot about Alabama history, through the presentations that were given at these conferences. And also the pilgrimage, being able to go out into a community and looking at the houses, and talking to the people who lived in the houses, or at the churches, the buildings, the places we visited, and just get the history of the community. By the way, this year, the pilgrimage will be in my hometown of Wetumpka (Oct. 11-12). We’ll be able to explore Wetumpka’s history. You also received the Hamilton Award from the AHA. Talk a little about that. That was a surprise! It’s given “for significant contributions to Alabama history, which encourage joint endeavors and mutual understanding between non-professional and professional historians.” That’s basically what I was doing at the Archives. Professional people came in, writing books and doing dissertations, as well as the non-professionals who were doing family histories. My name is in a lot of those books, people giving recognition for helping them. Talk about what it means to be the first African-American president of the AHA. For one thing, it’s a great honor. I know that I won’t be the last. I hope I won’t be the last! Someone has to be the first! Also, people who didn’t know about this association, (hopefully) will now want to know more about it, and may want to join. So hopefully we will get some more membership. Is the AHA just for professional historians? No, it’s open to everybody. It’s a learning opportunity, if you’re curious about Alabama history. Being a member, you get the Alabama Review, which is a scholarly publication, and it comes out four times a year. And you get a chance to meet wonderful people! It is a great networking opportunity. Plus, you cannot learn everything in a textbook.

For more information on the AHA, visit alabamahistory.net 

PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON

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Alabama Living

JULY 2019  39


| Outdoors |

Program to stock Florida bass benefits Alabama anglers

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ecades ago, the Florida strain many systems as possible. That of largemouth bass gained strategy worked better in some a reputation for giving anlakes than others. Back in the glers better opportunities to catch 1990s, state officials tried a new monster bass. Since 1974, Alabama idea, a more focused approach. stocked more than 16 million FlorThey tested this theory at Lake idas in state waters, most about one Guntersville. to 1.5 inches long. Did the effort “We started concentrating on really produce larger bass? stocking one or two reservoirs for “In the past 45 years, we’ve had two to four years in a row,” Nichmixed results from our Florida bass ols says. “We also concentrate on stockings, but we’ve learned a lot stocking bass into a particular part about how to manage largemouth of a reservoir. We want to overbass,” says Nick Nichols, fisheries whelm the native fish with Florida chief for the Alabama Division of bass in a localized area to increase Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries. our chances of establishing a larger “Stockings vary by year. In recent Florida bass population spawning years, we’ve stocked about 300,000 with native fish.” to 400,000 bass annually.” Well known for producing giIs a Florida bass a separate speant bass, Lake Guntersville covers cies or a subspecies of largemouth 69,100 acres in northeastern Alabass? Even biologists can’t agree. bama north of where Floridas and In fact, most people can’t tell the native bass naturally hybridize. fish apart by looking at them. BiThe largest lake in Alabama runs ologists must analyze the genes to Rachel Denning Moore with a bass she caught on Lake Jordan about 75 miles along the Tennesdetermine the difference. see River. near Slapout in May. PHOTO BY HEATH MOORE Many lakes with large Florida “Guntersville is still the best bass populations do tend to consistently place in Alabama to catch a big bass,” hybrids range as far north as the Piedmont produce bigger bass, but not every lake. Nichols says. “The bigger bass coming region in Georgia and west through most Although many people believe Florida out of Guntersville are probably not pure of Alabama including the entire Mobile bass grow larger, numerous anglers also Floridas, but some intergrade of Florida River basin. Where the strains naturally believe that Floridas can become more and native genes. Probably 30 to 40 peroverlap, they frequently hybridize. challenging to catch. Escaping capture cent of the Guntersville bass have some “Probably about 75 percent of the bass could allow bass to live longer and thereFlorida genes. However, if someone did a that existed in Alabama long before we fore grow bigger. genetic analysis of big bass caught during stocked a single fish naturally had some “Florida genetics do play a role in the tournaments at Lake Guntersville, we Florida genes in them already,” Nichols large sizes of fish being caught in some would probably see a much higher proadvises. “Lake Eufaula naturally has Florreservoirs,” Nichols says. “Introduction of portion of Florida genes because those ida genes in about 50 percent of its bass.” Florida bass genes into a system does have anglers specifically target larger fish.” Biologists call a first-generation offsome influence, but it’s not the sole reaMore recently, state fisheries managers spring between a Florida and a northern son a trophy fishery becomes established. began working with Auburn University largemouth an “F1.” These crosses typiAdding Florida genes is just one piece in a researchers to identify genetic markers cally offer the best growth potential. much larger puzzle.” tied to performance traits such as growth “In biology, there’s something called Nature already contributed Florida or longevity. In other words, rather than ‘hybrid vigor’ in which the first generation genes to most state waters. Florida bass dump truckloads of fingerlings into a after an initial crossing tends to grow a can’t tolerate cold water as well as northlake, researchers want to select and breed little larger,” Nichols says. “When we hear ern largemouths. Naturally, Floridas or individual high-performance bass and remajor success stories of lakes producing lease their offspring. bigger fish after people stocked Florida “In the future, we hope to start probass into them, that’s because of hybrid ducing bass with higher proportions of vigor from that first hybridization. GenetJohn N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. specific performance markers and figure ically, that only really happens once.” Contact him through Facebook. out the best way to stock those fish in our In the early days, the state took a “shotwaters,” Nichols says. gun approach” to stocking Floridas in as 40 JULY 2019

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DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST 2019 JULY

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

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AUGUST

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

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EXCELLENT TIMES

GOOD TIMES

MOON STAGE

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PM

AM

PM

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

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

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

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

A.M.

PM

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

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

FULL MOON

NEW MOON

FULL MOON

NEW MOOM

AM

PM

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

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

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

JULY 2019 41


PET HEALTH

Bladder problems in cats common, but not well understood

I

n the May issue, we talked about bladder pain and blood in the urine for cats. In most cases, there is no infection and it’s called Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), or Feline Sterile Idiopathic Cystitis. The triggering causes for idiopathic cystitis are not fully understood. “Idiopathic” is a catch all word, meaning ... we do not know! However, stress definitely seems to be the biggest trigger. Allergy is most probably another one. A word of caution here, FIC is not the only thing that happens to a cat’s bladder. There are other issues like crystal formations, blockage (mainly in male cats), and on rare occasions, urinary tract infections (UTI). Work closely with your vet if your cat is having problems. Now back to my old cat Rabi! Once I learned the pattern for his bladder inflamGoutam Mukherjee (Dr. G), DVM, MS, PhD., has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Clinic in Crossville. Email questions of general interest to drg.vet@gmail.com.

mation – every time I was ready to pack for a trip – I would start him on an anti-anxiety medication, and it worked! I also used one or two doses of anti-inflammatory pain medication. These are my suggestions if your poor cat suffers from chronic FIC: Water, water, and more water! If you are having problems switching to wet food, check out Dr. Lisa Pierson’s website, www.catinfo.org. Goat milk is an excellent choice to encourage your cat to take in extra water and nutrients. Be attentive to their stool when adding new foods. Recognize the patterns so that you can avoid the triggers. It could be seasonal, or it could be a specific stressor, like going on a holiday or company coming for a holiday! Avoid urine acidifiers like methigel. A too low urine pH (acidic) may be irritating to an already unhappy bladder wall. Do an online search for “multimodal environmental modification” for cats. The basic idea is to enrich the environment for indoor cats and reduce stress. Providing

Continued from Page 20

We were students at Auburn University and working at Bonanza Sirloin. On July 20 David brought his little black and white TV to work so we wouldn’t miss the unbelievable event about to occur. After all the customers had left that evening, those of us working gathered around the TV to see history being made.  We were amazed that man was actually walking on the moon that we saw in the sky that night! David and Juli Spence Montgomery I remember sitting in the living room of my parents’ house on Kent Street in Montgomery watching those ghostly images on the TV with my Daddy (Mama was a registered nurse and working at Baptist Hospital that night).  I then looked out the window and up at the sky thinking that men were actually walking on the moon. Less than a month later, my parents stopped at Cape Kennedy on the way back from a trip to Miami and I was able to stand 42 JULY 2019

them with toys, a window perch, scratching posts, occasionally rotating through food to keep things interesting, engaging your cat in play, etc. Talk to your vet about having a bit of anti-anxiety meds and pain meds handy at home. Do not abruptly change cat litter and have enough in the house. The general rule is number of cats +1 litter boxes. Clean them every day. We enjoy clean toilets, don’t we? In stubborn cases, a low-allergy diet, novel protein diet or elimination diet is worth a try, but not an easy task to undertake. Consult with your veterinarian. For herbally inclined folks, this summer, save your organic yellow corn silks in the freezer. You can make tea with it for your kitty. Corn silk helps soothe the bladder wall. The bottom line is to take heart – most of these cases respond well to medical treatments and additional environmental management.

food and water for only a short time and would starve. We had a good laugh. John M. Alday, Leroy

David and Juli Spence

at the launch pad where Apollo 11 left for the Moon. I’m 61 years old now and those are memories I truly treasure. Clay Redden, Prattville

Humor on the night shift

I was at the paper mill in Jackson Ala., on the night shift. A timekeeper brought a TV. Someone went for updates regularly. A guy asked me about “the one that got bit.” I knew someone was pulling my leg. “I don’t know,” I said. “Tell me.” He said when the ship landed, “moon creatures” tied it down. One of the astronauts went down to undo the bindings, and one of the creatures bit his leg and he got back inside. They couldn’t blast off. They had

My husband and I were newlyweds in 1969, having married in September the year before. He was attending the University of Texas and we were living in university housing ($28/ month rent) and I was working as an RN at Brackenridge Hospital, 3 to 11 pm. We had a small black-and-white TV sitting on a metal milk crate on which we watched the landing after my work shift. We were in awe. He passed away October 2018 after 51 years of marriage. Nancy Whatley, Butler

Another small step

Anticipating the exciting moon walk, I had set up my camera in the middle of our living room floor to get a good picture of the first step on the moon. We had no air conditioning, so all our windows were raised. We were eating our supper. I was sitting on the floor and my wife

was in a chair behind me. Just as Armstrong stepped down on the moon, wind through the open windows slammed the bedroom door shut right beside her. She dumped her plate, jumped over me and the camera and stepped right in the middle of my plate. We still laugh about it. James and Polly Fuell, Grant The Whatleys

The week of July 20, 1969 was a memorable one for my family. I was pregnant with our first child and was due to deliver on July 25. My husband and I stayed up late the night of July 20 and watched Neil Armstrong make “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!” It was an exciting time. Our son was born right on time five days later. I will never forget these memorable events. Joyce Crook, Minter  www.alabamaliving.coop


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JULY 2019 43


| Alabama Recipes |

44  JULY 2019

www.alabamaliving.coop


Light It Up

It’s hot! And if you can’t take the heat, why not get out of the kitchen? Firing up your outdoor grill instead of your oven and stove will help you keep your cool this summer.

BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY

T

here are places in our country where people use the words “grilling” and “barbecuing” interchangeably, as if they were the same thing. In the South, we know better. Barbecue is a specific style of food cooked with a particular method; it’s predominantly meat smoked on low heat for a long time to yield a heavenly flavor and texture, and our region is renowned for its collective barbecue skills. A grill might be involved in barbecue, but the term “grilling” is much broader; it means the act of cooking anything at any temperature for any amount of time in or on any kind of grill — gas or charcoal, large or small. And in the South, we’re pretty good at this technique too. We even have a “grilling season.” We love to play with fire, and oddly enough, especially when the outside temps are rivaling those of our grill grates. Summer is definitely the time of year we head to our decks and patios to “grill out.” Perhaps it’s because while it may be toasty in the backyard, at least there’s fresh air (an actual breeze if we’re lucky), and that’s preferable to the swelter a hot oven or stovetop can cause in our kitchens. On a summer afternoon or evening, you can open plenty of Alabama grill lids and find the usual suspects like hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks and chicken breasts sizzling and searing to perfection. But the options for cooking over an open flame are limitless. If you can eat it, you can probably cook it on a grill. Gadgets like grill baskets and skewers mean you can confidently grill veggies, fish and shrimp. Some genius stuck an opened beer can in a whole chicken and stood it up, creating a wonderful way to roast a bird sans indoor oven. You can even grill up some dessert. How about some peaches, sliced in half, thrown interior-side down on a blazing hot grill to caramelize the natural sugars? Serve these warm, soft bites with a drizzle of honey and homemade vanilla ice cream, and you’ll definitely have requests for seconds. If your grilling menu is currently stuck in a burger rut, find inspiration in this issue’s reader-submitted grilling recipes.

Alabama Living

JULY 2019 45


Cook of the Month

Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Chops 4 boneless pork loin chops, 1¼ -inch thick 4 ounces prosciutto, diced 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed 3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ teaspoon black pepper Extra virgin olive oil

Kathy Stewart, Central Alabama EC

Photo by Brooke Echols

Cook prosciutto in a medium skillet for 5 to 10 minutes. Once crispy, add in 2 teaspoons rosemary, oregano and garlic. Cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Set aside. Trim fat from pork chops and create a pocket by cutting the side of each chop. Spoon in prosciutto mixture and press down lightly on chops to secure filling. Brush chops with olive oil and season with pepper and remaining rosemary. Preheat grill. Place chops on a lightly-oiled grill grate and cook over indirect medium-high heat for 35-40 minutes. Turn chops once. Remove from grill and serve.

Grilled Vegetables ½ cup olive oil 5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons garlic powder ½ teaspoon pepper 1½ teaspoons oregano ¼ teaspoon salt 1 pound asparagus ½ pound carrots, chopped 1 large red bell pepper, chopped or sliced 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped or sliced 2 medium squash 1 large red onion, cut into wedges In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Place 3 tablespoons of this marinade in a large zip lock bag. Add veggies; shake bag to coat. Marinate 2 hours at room temperature. Transfer veggies to a grilling grid; place grid on grill rack. Grill covered over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until crisp tender, turning occasionally. Place vegetables on a large serving plate and drizzle with remaining marinade.

$

Kathy Stewart loves to cook, bake and grill and finds that central Alabama’s climate is perfectly suited to grilling almost all year long. “With our region having little to no really cold weather, we even grill in some of our winter months,” she said. And with so much grilling, she’s always looking for new things to put on the flame, so she modified a stuffed pork chop recipe she’d had for years to create her Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Chops. “I love stuffed pork chops, so I modified an old recipe and used prosciutto with garlic, rosemary and oregano, and, then grilled the chops instead of baking them." She says the flavor is superb, but so is the aroma. “The smell of the prosciutto, garlic and rosemary is wonderful,” she says. “They are very easy to prepare and will definitely add variety to your grilling.”

50

Themes and Deadlines: October

prize and title of

Cast Iron Cooking | July 12

of

November

Cook the Month

Apples | August 9

December

Nontraditional Holiday Food | Sept 13 Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

3 ways to submit:

Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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

Misty Allbright Roberson Cullman EC

46 JULY 2019

www.alabamaliving.coop


Barbecue Ribs 2 1 ½ 2 ¼

slabs of ribs teaspoon mustard cup steak sauce tablespoons Worcestershire sauce cup light brown sugar

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until sugar is dissolved then spread all over ribs. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Cook on a grill until golden brown. Judith Lamar Central Alabama EC

Glazed Salmon 2 1 1 1 ½ ½ ½

salmon fillets teaspoon agave syrup teaspoon orange zest teaspoon orange juice teaspoon Dijon mustard teaspoon minced garlic teaspoon ground pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour over salmon. Let sit 15 minutes to 2 hours. Cook on cedar planks [available at many grocery stores] on grill for 15 minutes over medium heat. Sue Robbins Coosa Valley EC

Grilled Lemon Chicken 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves 2 teaspoons garlic salt 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel 2 teaspoons thyme In a small bowl, combine salt, lemon peel, thyme and a little pepper. Spray grill with cooking spray and heat coals. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over chicken breasts. Grill chicken for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Turn once during cooking. Heather Cline Tallapoosa River EC

Barbecue Ribs Photo by Brooke Echols Alabama Living

JULY 2019  47


| Consumer Wise |

Keeping pets (and energy bills!) comfortable We love our pets, and we love saving energy! This month, we’re taking a look at three common energy efficiency questions from pet owners By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Q: We’ve thought about installing a pet door. Will this impact A report by the Purdue Center for Animal Science says that my energy bill? Siberian huskies can tolerate temperatures below freezing, but A: Pet doors are convenient for pet owners and pets, but they can some short-haired dogs require temperatures of 59 F or higher. impact energy bills. A pet door that is poorly made or improperly Older animals may require warmer temperatures than younger installed will create unwanted drafts that increase energy bills and ones. reduce the overall comfort level of your home. The wrong type of During summer, cats and dogs handle the heat in different door may also be pushed open during high winds. ways. Cats clearly enjoy warmer temperatures than dogs, and Consider installing a pet door that is certified by the Alliance they do a good job of reducing their activity level as temperatures to Save Energy (ASE) or has a double or triple flap. These types climb. But both cats and dogs can get overheated. The USDA of pet doors can resays that room temduce energy loss and peratures in facilities make life easier for housing dogs or cats you and your furshould not exceed ry friends. The best 85 F for more than 4 solution may be a hours at a time. high-quality electronic door that is Q: Is it okay if my activated by a chip cat or my dog sleeps on your pet’s collar. in the garage overIt’s difficult to night? undo a pet door inA: USDA rules sugstallation, so before gest this should be taking the leap, we fine if your garage suggest doing your temperature stays homework. There between 50 F and 85 may be other stratF. Pets might be able egies that will give to handle a lower you and your pet temperature if they some of the convehave a warm, insunient benefits with- Pet houses can help keep your furry friends comfortable. lated bed. PHOTO COURTESY ANGEL GARCIA out the downsides. I do not recommend heating or Q: To save energy, we keep our home cool during winter nights cooling your garage for your pet. This could lead to extremely and warm during summer days. How much “hot and cold” can high energy bills, which makes sense because an uninsulated but our pup and tabby handle? heated garage could easily cost more to heat than a home. A betA: Cats and dogs can handle the cold better than humans. The ter solution is a heated pet house, which you can purchase from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates facilimultiple retailers. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can ties that house cats and dogs, requires these facilities to maintain even find climate-controlled pet houses that include heating and temperatures above 50 F. Some exceptions are allowed for breeds cooling options. accustomed to the cold or if some form of insulation for the anYou can also purchase heated beds for cats and dogs. Some imals is provided. Your pet’s tolerance really depends on their beds use as little as 4 watts of electricity, so they won’t drain your breed and the thickness of their coat. energy bill. We hope these tips will be helpful as you work at saving energy while caring for your favorite furry friend! Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.

48  JULY 2019

This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on house pets and energy, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop


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| Our Sources Say |

The Solar Tax, Part 1 T

his article is longer than usual, so I have broken it into two parts. I start this month with a discussion on a utility’s fixed costs incurred to provide service to all customers when they need it and how those costs are recovered. I will conclude the article next month with a discussion on how solar customers are subsidized by non-solar customers without a specific solar charge. Al Gore visited the Alabama Black Belt back in February. AL.com reported, “… he spent about half an hour in Hayneville railing against corporate greed, investor-owned utilities, environmental injustice and, of course, climate change.” Mr. Gore criticized Alabama Power for what he called a “solar tax” on residential customers who install solar panels on their houses that is higher than what other utilities charge. He said, “We ought to sharply reduce, if not eliminate, the solar tax here in Alabama. It’s really a disgrace that this southern state, with abundant sunshine, is deprived of the advantages of the solar revolution being enjoyed by people all over the world simply because the monopoly electric provider has dominance, and total political control over the policy makers and law makers in the State of Alabama. It’s sad.” Mr. Gore’s “solar tax” is a reference to Alabama Power Company’s Capacity Reservation Charge for customers who have solar generation at their home. He and environmental groups allege that the Capacity Reservation Charge inhibits the use of solar power by Alabama homeowners and businesses. The Capacity Reservation Charge is being challenged at the Alabama Public Service Commission by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) as “… unreasonable, unjustly discriminatory, contrary to the public policy, and otherwise unlawful because it makes it more difficult for solar customers to recover their investments in solar panels.” Mr. Gore and environmental groups know better, but are more interested in advancing their renewable energy agendas than in protecting the poor people in Alabama. Their arguments ignore the fact that there are real costs associated with making electricity available to all customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if a customer gets a majority of their electricity from rooftop solar panels. Without Alabama Power’s Capacity Reservation Charge, the people in Alabama who do not have solar panels or cannot install them on their houses would pay more for their electricity because someone has to pay for the on-demand electric service for Alabama Power’s solar customers.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

50 JULY 2019

To understand that fact, and understand that Alabama Power is not profiting from the Capacity Reservation Charge, you need to understand the electric utility cost structure and the electric utility rate structure. About one-third of an electric utility’s cost goes to repay the utility’s investment in its distribution system. That investment is in the distribution poles, transformers, wires and equipment you generally see along the roads and in your yard or neighborhood. That expense is a fixed cost. Those costs are incurred regardless of how much electricity any customer uses or how much electricity the utility sells. A second third of the utility’s cost goes to repay the investment in electric generating plants and high-voltage, cross-country transmission lines, substations, and other transmission facilities needed to move large amounts of electric power from the generation plants to population centers where people live and electricity is used. Those expenses are also fixed just like the distribution expenses and are not dependent upon how much electricity any customer uses or any amount the utility sells. The final third of the utility’s cost is spent to make or generate electricity. That cost is used to buy or convert a fuel, such as natural gas or coal, to electric energy that can be transmitted across transmission and distribution lines to keep the lights on and businesses running. Those generation costs are variable because they are dependent upon how much electricity is used or generated. Think of the fixed costs as your car payment that must be paid regardless of how many miles you drive. If the car sits in your driveway all month, you still have a car payment. The variable generation costs are like the cost of gasoline for your car. The more you drive, the more gasoline you pay for and use. Just like your car payment, the fixed costs of electric service must be paid regardless of how much electricity is used. Utility rates are not generally structured to collect fixed costs in a monthly fixed customer charge. They are based more on the amount of electricity consumed rather than the fixed costs required to serve the customer. Fixed costs are recovered over time through the usage charge so long as all customers participate and use electricity from the utility. However, when a customer reduces the amount of electricity they buy from the utility, for instance with installed solar panels, they do not pay their share of the fixed costs incurred to provide their service. Other non-solar customers have to pay more to make up the difference. It is like you paying part of your neighbor’s car payment because he uses Uber. I will continue the article next month by discussing why a utility’s Capacity Reservation Charge prevents the subsidization of solar customers and actually helps the poor people the utility serves. I hope you have a good month. www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

JULY 2019 51


| Our Sources Say |

TVA is committed to you S

ummer in Alabama brings hot weather and sometimes • Filter it out. Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean—a severe storms, which can wreck havoc on the electrical grid dirty filter means the air conditioner won’t get as cool and and power system. That’s why system restoration and storm uses more power than necessary. • Mom was right…shut those doors! Try to minimize the recovery is an important part of the service TVA provides to amount of times you open and shut your main doors leading our customers, as well as implementing preventive measures to outside to keep the cool air in. The same theory includes the ensure the power grid is resilient before a storm occurs. refrigerator door. In fact, TVA is investing $2.2 billion in Valley-wide transmission system improvements over the next five years to continue • Do a fan dance. Use ceiling and floor fans to keep air moving our mission of providing low cost, reliable power. This includes in your home—they use a lot less power than setting your air a variety of activities, from replacing wood poles with steel to conditioner lower. • Unplug to power down. Unplug any unused or unnecessary using robust shield wire to minimize ice storm impacts. electronic devices—even when turned off, they still are genAnd while that investment focuses on the physical aspects of erating heat if they’re the power grid, TVA is plugged in. committed to preparing • Cut your cord to the the Valley for storms in old appliances. Got an other ways, including old additional fridge out giving customers early in the garage or basewarnings; developing ment that you’re still usemergency plans that ing? Consider letting that include having critical dinosaur sentimental storm restoration mago…it’s still inefficient. terials available; and • Lighten up. Make that maintaining and mobiswitch to more enerlizing crews in advance gy-efficient light bulbs. of the storm. Another TVA stalwart You’ll save money, and— bonus—they put off less is its strong vegetation heat! maintenance program as • A slightly warmer a standard procedure to house equals less sizzle help ensure grid resiliency and customer reliabil- TVA crews repair transmission towers damaged in April storms. on your budget. Setting ity. Managing vegetation your thermostat between and maintaining the right of way for transmission lines helps 75-78 degrees during the day (even higher if no one is home) prevent system damage during a storm also aids in recovery in a can make a significant difference in your power bill. • Made in the shade. Create your own shade by keeping curstorm’s aftermath. tains closed during the day on the south, west, and east sides TVA crews put this recovery and restoration effort to the test of the house to block out sunlight. in mid-April when severe storms passed through Amory, Mississippi, damaging transmission towers and impacting the power • Kiss the hot cook goodbye. Plan menus ahead of time for lines that run from Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. More than 60 meals that require less range or oven heat. Consider using transmission construction personnel cleared damaged structures the microwave instead…it cooks faster and doesn’t create as and conductors and ultimately constructed the new towers. The much heat as stovetop cooking. • Or, get out of the house. Consider using your gas or charcoal lines were returned to service about eight days after the event. grill outside for cooking rather than kitchen appliances. What about the hot weather that often accompanies those These free, low-cost measures may not guarantee your energy storms? TVA has some tips for to keep your energy use and your bill will be lower, but they can offset the additional energy needed bill under control when the temperatures rise. to run your air conditioner throughout the summer. • Keep it clean when the sun goes down. Refrain from running your dishwasher, clothes washer or dryer during the For more energy-saving tips, visit EnergyRight® Solutions for heat of the day. Your Home at energyright.com.

Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

52  JULY 2019

www.alabamaliving.coop


| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): September 2019 Issue by July 25 October 2019 Issue by August 25 November 2019 Issue by September 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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PET FRIENDLY – Save $$$ by booking directly from Verified Owners. ALAVHR.com GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www.originalbeachhouseal.com MILITARY / SERVICE DISCOUNTS on dozens of rentals. No Booking Fees. (251)333-6500, ALAVHR.com OWNERS – Claim your FREE trial listing with the fastest growing regional site in Alabama! Verified Owners, no booking fees or commissions. Alabama Vacation Home rentals. Locally Owned and Operated. (251)333-6500, ALAVHR.com GULF SHORES / ORANGE BEACH / FORT MORGAN – Choose from hundreds of beach houses and condos! Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. ALAVHR.com GULF FRONT PANAMA CITY CONDO – Splash Condominiums – Owner Rental – 1BR / 2BA w/ hallway bunks, sleeps 6, 18th floor balcony view of Ocean – (706)566-6431, bjeffers3@ hotmail.com GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – Nice 2BR – Fall $900 / wk – (251)666-5476 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie552@gmail.com, (256)599-5552 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners – Lowest Prices on the Beach! www.gulfshorescondos. com, (251)656-4935, (205)556-0368, (251)7522366 LAKE HOMES / CABINS – Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. ALAVHR.com

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Vacation Rentals

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Musical Notes

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JULY 2019  53


| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Not my ‘ultimate southern food’

A

couple of years ago, during “March Madness” when folks into basketball were printing off the NCAA brackets to figure which teams were most likely to make it to the Final Four, some enterprising Southerners decided to bracket things that Southerners eat. Then participants would vote and the winners would move on, round after round, until one became the “Ultimate Southern Food.” Foods were to be selected based on a player’s own notion of “Southerness,” rather than their particular sense of taste. However, as with the NCAA, early pairings are important, and some of the matches I simply did not understand. For example, having voters pick between pulled pork barbecue and fried catfish in the first round strikes me as sorta like pitting Auburn against Alabama at the outset. By the same token, matching fried chicken against deviled eggs early on is sorta like giving the bird a bye. So fried catfish never made it to round two, while chicken pot pie nudged out country fried steak to move ahead. A travesty, but what can I say. On the other side, red beans and rice bested brunswick stew, which made me Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.

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wonder if the folks who voted for pulled pork would be happy if their barbecue made the finals but there was no stew to go with it. So the field narrowed and in Round Two there were some mild upsets. I was surprised that okra knocked off peach cobbler, but okra is grown about everywhere and eaten all sorts of ways, so I was comfortable with the voters’ choice. (I once convinced my cousin Benny that he should name his second daughter “Okra.” Anticipating some opposition from his wife, he decided to tell her when she was worn out from childbirth and unable to resist. It would have worked if he had not added “Gumbo” as a middle name. That revived her. She promised to hurt him if he did – so he didn’t.) By the third round, two sides seemed to emerge. On one were basic, heart-of-Dixie foods – barbecue, fried chicken and cornbread. On the other were coastal favorites, with a Carolina twist – roasted oysters, low country boil, and shrimp and grits. Voters in the fourth round narrowed the field even more. Fried chicken, which I am convinced would have done better if paired against cornbread or okra, was beaten by barbecue, while roasted oysters were also sent packing. That got us down to shrimp and grits versus low country boil on one side, and pulled pork barbecue versus cornbread on the other.

No contest. Shrimp and grits and pulled pork barbecue were matched for the championship. Now I don’t know about you, but it seemed to me that instead of being about the “Ultimate Southern Food,” this had become a vote on the “Ultimate South.” Or, to make this personal, my South or theirs. My South is the South of hickory smoke, work shirts, scuffed boots, light bread and sauce. Shrimp and grits, despite its humble origins as “breakfast shrimp” that once sent Carolina fishermen down to the sea in ships, is today about a South that ain’t my South, about a South that is a land of cuisine rather than cooking. Although I like shrimp and grits – singularly or together – it remains for me the quintessential pre-game brunch buffet dish, easily ladled onto Chinet plates. Pulled pork barbecue is sit down, elbows on the table, a roll of paper towels handy. Many’s the time folks have asked me where they can get good barbecue. No one has asked me where they could get shrimp and grits. So that’s what was being decided. And the winner was . . . . . shrimp and grits. I demand a recount. Or more Alabama voters. www.alabamaliving.coop


Profile for Alabama Living

Alabama Living July 2019  

Alabama Living July 2019