April 2022 Clarke-Washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News April 2022



Cool kids Brothers find big dreams in ice cream

The Webb Telescope’s Alabama connection

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Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Turner ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

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


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

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

Alabama reflects on the cosmos

The world’s most ambitious $10 billion space observatory, soon to map the deepest voids of space, has a home connection – Cullman, Alabama.

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Printed in America from American materials

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Easter bunnies and more

Easter Sunday is a favorite time for family photos. Just take a look.


Backstage magic


Get crackin’!

The pros at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival took us backstage to see the magic in the $21.6 million theater complex known as “The Crown Jewel of Alabama.” April is National Pecan Month, the perfect time to enjoy this flavorful snack in pies, cookies, salads and as a nutritious snack.


D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 28 Outdoors 29 Fish & Game Forecast 30 Cook of the Month 33 Around Alabama 38 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online!

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Tyler and Ethan Whatley are brothers as well as business partners. Not even out of their teens, they’re already becoming entrepreneurs with their ice cream truck, 2 Brothers Frozen Treats. Story, Page 12. PHOTO: Robert Crawford



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

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

Payment Options Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone (855) 870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft CheckOut Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. 4 APRIL 2022

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You’ve likely noticed Clarke-Washington EMC’s crews out and about, working on power lines and other electrical equipment in our community. It’s no secret that a lineworker’s job is tough––but it’s a job that’s essential and must be done, often in challenging conditions. This month, as we celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on April 11, I thought I’d share some interesting facts about Clarke-Washington EMC’s employees with you. The work can be heavy, in more ways than one. Did you know the equipment and tools that a lineworker carries while climbing a utility pole can weigh up to 50 pounds? That’s the same as carrying six gallons of water. Speaking of utility poles, lineworkers are required to climb poles ranging anywhere from 30 to 120 feet tall. Needless to say, if you have a fear of heights, this likely isn’t the career path for you. Lineworkers must be committed to their career––because it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. The long hours and ever-present danger can truly take a toll. In fact, being a lineworker is listed in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Lineworkers often work non-traditional hours, outdoors in difficult conditions. While the job does not require a college degree, it does require technical skills, lots of training and hands-on learning. Lineworkers often attend specialized schools that prepare them for the task. We’ve been fortunate over the past few years to hire several new employees who attended a lineman training program before coming to work for us. Regardless, we still provide additional training both on the job and through additional classroom and construction labs. That’s because working with high-voltage equipment requires specialized skills, experience and an ongoing mental toughness. Shortcuts are not an option, and there is no room for error in this line of work. Despite the many challenges, ClarkeWashington’s lineworkers are committed to powering our local community. During severe weather events that bring major power outages, lineworkers are among the first ones called. They must be ready to leave the comfort of their home and families unexpectedly, and they don’t return until the job is done, often days later. That’s why the lineworker’s family is also dedicated to

service. They understand the importance of the job to the community. Nationwide, there are approximately 120,000 electric lineworkers. Here in our four-county service area, ClarkeWashington EMC has approximately 30 lineworkers who are responsible for keeping power flowing 24/7, 365 days a year. To do this, they maintain more than 4,100 miles of power lines across Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. In addition to the highly visible tasks lineworkers perform, their job today goes far beyond climbing utility poles to repair a wire. Today’s lineworkers are information experts who GPS meter locations, maintain AMI systems and use specialized equipment to troubleshoot problems. Being a lineworker may not seem like a glamorous job, but it is absolutely essential to the life of our community. Without the exceptional dedication and commitment of these hardworking men and women, we simply would not have the reliable electricity that we need for everyday life. And, it’s not just lineworkers who keep your power flowing. We have approximately 15 other employees that play critical roles as well. They do everything from monitoring our AMI system for outages and dispatching crews to answering phone calls for billing information. And, they perform many important functions behind the scenes, like safety, engineering, purchasing, communications and financial functions. It takes a team of dedicated individuals working together to make it all happen and I’m really proud of our team at Clarke-Washington EMC. So, the next time you see a lineworker or other Clarke-Washington EMC employee, please thank them for the work they do to keep power flowing, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. After all, our employees are the power behind your power. Please join us as we recognize them in April.

Steve Sheffield General Manager www.alabamaliving.coop

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Protect lineworkers by moving over Clarke-Washington EMC line crews have one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. These dangers increase when they are working along the roadside. Do your part to protect them. If you’re driving and see crews working on the side of the road, slow down and move over, if possible. It’s the law. More importantly, you’ll help ensure those lineworkers return home safely to their families and continue to be there when you need them. According to DriveSafeAlabama.org, hundreds of utility workers, law enforcement officers, first responders and other public service workers are injured or killed each year in roadside accidents that could have been prevented.

flashing emergency lights along the roadside, the drivers must slow down and, if it is safe to do so, move out of the lane closest to the workers. Give them the space they need to stay safe while doing their jobs. Like you, they have families waiting for them off the clock. As you’re driving, stay alert. If you come upon roadside crews and cannot safely move over, slow down to at least 20 mph less than the posted speed limit. If you fail to do this, it can put workers at risk. Protect our lineworkers. They are on the job for you, ensuring reliable power. It’s another way your hometown electric cooperative is always here for you.

The Move Over law states that when motorists approach workers and stopped vehicles with


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This month, we’re recognizing lineworkers for the amazing job they do to make sure we have electricity! Think about all the ways you use electricity every day. Do you use a phone, watch TV, play video games or turn on lights? You’re able to do all of these things because of lineworkers. Below is space to write a short thank you note to your local lineworkers. Write your note, then ask an adult to help you send it back to us so we can share it with our crews.


WE OUR LINEWORKERS Send your note to the mailing address below, or you can drop it off at the office.

Clarke-Washington EMC P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 8 APRIL 2022

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| Alabama Snapshots |

Easter Family Photos

Our whole family at Smith Lake. Mitchell and Amy Mosley (children), Jeremy and Mary Watson (children), Rita Watson, Buddy and Cindy Howard, Robbie Joe and Sarai Howard (children), John and Tammy Norris (children), Chris and Ashley Carr (children), Johnathan and Nicole Clopton, Annalise Voss, Johnathan and Olivia Melvin, Shawn and Brooke Casey, Olivia Clopton and friends. SUBMITTED by Amy Mosley, Loxley.

Donna and Jimmy Knight with their kids and grandkids. SUBMITTED by Nicole Dunn, Clayton.

Cousins Tucker Byrd and Clarabel Richerson meeting the Easter Bunny at the home of their great-grandfather, John Lassitter. SUBMITTED by Gwen Windham, Robertsdale.

June theme: “Golden Anniversary” Deadline to submit: April 28. Include your social media handle with photo submissions to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram! Alabama Living

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

Charles Kiplinger (Poppy) and granddaughter Kady. SUBMITTED by Sandra Kiplinger, Union Grove.

Ila Kate, Jack, Harper, Stella and Ben sack racing at Grandmother and Big Daddy’s house, Easter 2021. SUBMITTED by Tammy Jenkins, Danville.

SUBMIT to WIN $10! RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned. APRIL 2022 9

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Spotlight | April BirminghamSouthern College, one of the venues for The World Games 2022, will host three of the martial arts events: ju-jitsu, karate and wushu.

Vulcan and Vesta are the official mascots of The World Games 2022 and will entertain crowds and make special appearances leading up to the games.


Birmingham in the spotlight for The World Games 2022 The World Games 2022, set for July 7-17 in various venues around Birmingham, will be a unique opportunity for the Iron City as well as Alabama to garner some worldwide attention. Thirty-four sports will be featured in the contest, drawing an estimated 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries. Some of the sports, such as gymnastics, powerlifting and softball, are familiar to Americans; others, such as squash, rollersports, korfball and finswimming may require a little education. The competition is held every four years with support from the International Olympic Committee. Its economic impact is estimated at $256 million. For more information about the featured sports, tickets, spectator policies, volunteering and more, visit twg2022.com or visit the event’s social media channels.

Take us along!

Cory Dakota Baker of Millry, a member of Clarke-Washington EMC, traveled to Audubon Riverview Park in New Orleans to see a display of Union Pacific 4014, aka “Big Boy,” the world’s largest operating steam locomotive.

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Driver license offices will close briefly for upgrade The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) will soon completely revitalize the current driver license system across the state, which has been in place for nearly two decades. The new system will provide significant improvements for residents as well as driver license personnel, according to ALEA. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Driver License System, known as LEADS, will give residents access to new options and enhanced services, such as allowing them to pre-apply for the Alabama driver license and enter all necessary information prior to an office visit, which should reduce wait times. To install the new system and hardware, driver license offices statewide must close, and online services will not be available, beginning Monday, April 18, with plans to reopen Tuesday, April 26. ALEA examiners will continue to administer Class D and CDL road skills tests, and county offices will remain open but strictly for revenue and probate services.

A unique gift idea for state park patrons Looking for a unique Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation or birthday gift? The Alabama State Parks have just the thing for state park lovers: A gift card accepted at all the parks. Gift cards are still offered at the larger parks and by calling 800-ALAPARK, but now there’s the added convenience of purchasing the gift cards online. Visit ReserveAlaPark.com and scroll down to “gift card” to learn more. Visitors can use their card to pay for recreational activities and other park amenities, including food, golf, lodging, camping, gift shops and gate fees. The cards have no expiration date and are available in any dollar amount.

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo and include your social media handle so we can tag you! We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Kevin and Karen Walker from Paint Rock, members of North Alabama Electric Cooperative, took their magazine to Dos Chorreras in El Cajas National Park area, outside Cuenca, Ecuador.

Shelby Ward of Opelika and her niece Leslie Gray took Alabama Living on a paddle boat cruise down the Mississippi River. The pair often travels together and loved their trip on the upper Mississippi.

Brothers Brian Nolan (left) of Gulf Shores and Kevin Nolan of Fairhope recently visited Leavenworth, Washington State, with family, friends and a copy of the magazine. Both are members of Baldwin EMC. www.alabamaliving.coop

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April | Spotlight

Whereville, AL

Find the hidden

dingbat! Nearly 700 of you caught the March Madness spirit and found the hidden basketball on Page 28 of the March magazine, catching a ride on the first aid backpack of the firefighter at the site of a controlled burn. Vivian Walker of Union Springs, a member of Dixie EC, wrote us that she is thankful for all our firefighters: “It’s much better to be able to control the fires being set. So hopefully the worker standing by will be able to dribble his basketball as he keeps watch.” Susan J. Nelson of Cullman said she’s found “a lot of things in first aid kits over the years, but this is the first time to find a basketball.” Congratulations to Elizabeth Pyron of Stevenson, our randomly drawn winner of a prize package from Alabama One Credit Union. This month, we’ve hidden a pretzel in honor of National Soft Pretzel Month in April. So grab the pretzel of your choice (we like them with mustard here at Alabama Living), and start looking! By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Sponsored by

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

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 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the next month’s issue. Submit by email: whereville@ alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25! March’s answer: The Wetumpka Alleyway, which links Company and Hill streets, is a public art space for people to gather and enjoy the revitalized downtown area. Created by Main Street Wetumpka, the space features landscaping, a large mural that tells the stories of the original people of Wetumpka, and an interpretive panel that gives a timeline of the town’s development. (Photo by Allison Law of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Beth Owen of Central Alabama EC.

Letters to the editor E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 I enjoyed the story of Stephanie Bryan (February 2022); however, I would like to see equal recognition to the other tribe that resides in Alabama. The MOWA Choctaw tribe has its tribal office in Mt. Vernon, Alabama, and I’m sure you can contact Chief Byrd for information about his tribe and the impact they have made on the great state of Alabama. Suzanne Ray, Guntersville

Sources to power EVs

If I were an automaker’s design engineer, I would have to use some of my own smarts or knowledge to put together the components that will be needed to power electric vehicles down the road without the need for having to charge up again. There would be only two sources of energy products producing this energy and the best part about it all, it’s free. These sources are nothing more/ less than that of the wind turbines and the sun (or at least daylight hours that would be needed for charging the solar panels). There is indeed a great potential in the EVs and maybe some of this will rub off on the aforementioned engineers. Jack D. Pollard, Luverne Alabama Living

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Another Alabama tribe

Annual photo contest coming up! Our readers impressed us last year with the quality of their entries in Alabama Living’s annual photo contest, which runs in the August issue. Start thinking now about the 2022 contest, because we want to see more of your awesome photos! First-place winners receive $100, and those photos plus other honorable mentions will be profiled in the magazine. Photos must be uploaded to our website, alabamaliving.coop (no hard copies accepted) beginning May 1. The categories this year are People, Animals, Alabama Travels and Seasons. Complete rules will be posted on the website. In the meantime, start planning which photos you want to enter! APRIL 2022 11

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Cool kids

Young brothers find big dreams in ice cream

Ethan, left, and Tyler Whatley in their 2 Brothers Frozen Treats truck. The brothers have made a name for themselves in Pike County and the surrounding areas as young entrepreneurs.


ith their ice cream truck, and some help from their parents and the community, a pair of Pike County siblings are on a clear path — not a rocky road — to success. Tyler Whatley, 14, and younger brother Ethan Whatley, 8, are the owners and operators of 2 Brothers Frozen Treats, an ice cream truck business. Since 2019, the boys have traveled all over Pike County and surrounding counties selling about 60 different flavors of frozen treats and bringing smiles to young and old alike.

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Upon request, they attend and host different parties, such as birthdays, family gatherings, baby showers, and even funerals. The idea of the two brothers operating an ice cream truck came from the boys’ entrepreneur father, Byron Whatley, owner of Byron’s Upholstery Paint and Body. According to Ethan’s mother and Tyler’s stepmother, Tanesha Whatley, “One day on a trip to Atlanta, we made a stop in Auburn, purchased ice cream from a truck, and it sparked the idea.” From www.alabamaliving.coop

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Story and photos by Robert Crawford Business Enterprise award, people recognize and appreciate the there, Byron acquired and fixed a truck, and Tanesha handled the brothers’ work ethic. business’s scheduling, marketing, and logistics; she’s also the secondary driver of the truck. Maurice Baldwin, the primary driver, On any day, you can see the boys taking care of a group of runs it when the boys are at school. youngsters hungry for a frozen treat. Ethan entertains the customers, and Tyler handles the money and keeps an eye on the stock It took about two months of continuous repair work on the running a seamless operation. The Original Bomb Pop is one of truck and drafting business plans to start the business officially. their top sellers, but the Cookies n’ Cream Bar – Ethan’s favorite – Ethan and Tyler were especially effective at designing the aesthetics of the ice cream truck. “We added their faces to the final comes in a close second. design of the truck as Ethan says, “I prefer a surprise to the boys, working at the window and they were so happy because I like talking about it,” says Tanesha. to people and getting The Whatleys made them to try new flavors.” Tyler says, “I sure that the boys voluntarily wanted to belove doing everything, come part of the busiand if I could drive, I ness. “We thought it would do that too.” Apart from selling can be great to help the ice cream and hosting boys understand the parties, the brothers benefits of hard work, attend school, church punctuality, cooperation, entrepreneurship, and actively participate in extracurricular and building connections,” says Tanesha. activities. Tyler plays But, more notably, it a variety of sports at created the space and Goshen High School; opportunity for the he is fond of baseball boys to spend time toand aspires to become gether and learn proa Major League Basefessional and business A youngster receives a prepackaged cool treat from 2 Brothers Frozen Treats. The brothers sell ball player and a welder skills. and continue to run 2 32 different ice creams and everything from flavored bomb pops to ice cream sandwiches. Tyler and Ethan, Brothers Frozen Treats. Ethan attends Troy Elementary and plans to expand his enthrilled by the idea of owning and operating an ice cream truck trepreneurial endeavors, and his dream is to become a computer business, started immediately learning, Tanesha says, by hands-on science engineer. After Ethan accomplishes his personal goals, he training and by trial and error. “At first, it was easy,” Ethan says. will continue to work on the ice cream truck along with Tyler. But Tyler says they didn’t realize the amount of work it would take A short-term goal of 2 Brothers Frozen treats is to become more to handle the money and customers. prominent in Pike County and expand its influence to other parts In the beginning, Byron and Tanesha or a family member would of Alabama. As far as long-term goals are concerned, Tanesha drive the truck for them, and Tyler and Ethan would alternate between different tasks. Initially, “I would handle the money, and foresees the boys operating the ice cream Ethan would help the customer, and we would switch,” Tyler says. truck entirely on But Tanesha says they eventually learned to handle other tasks, their own, buying including taking inventory of the products and pricing of events. a warehouse and a Tyler and Ethan wanted to make their business affordable for high-top van and kids. At the business’s start, the boys would experiment by buying ultimately expandcheaper alternatives to popular flavors. “The price would be lower, ing the business but the taste was bad, so we decided to get the better tasting ice into other states. cream to satisfy the customers,” Tyler says. To access 2 Even though the creation of the ice cream truck came from Byron, the boys cherish the business and are proud of the joy and opBrothers Frozen timism they bring to the community. Tyler and Ethan proudly say Treats’ menu, that their favorite part of operating an ice cream truck is “making neighborhood kids smile and meeting different people.” routes, contact The boys mainly run the truck after school, on weekends and at information, or special parties and events if they’re not already busy with homebook them for an work or after-school activities. Ethan says, “We are lucky to own event, find them a business that we can learn from and have fun at the same time.” on Facebook, It is not unusual to find the boys publicly speaking at a local Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter event in the Pike County area or accepting accolades from prominent figures in the community. From appearing on WSFA’s County @2brothersfrozentreats. Road 12 segment to receiving the 2021 Pike County Top Minority Alabama Living

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By Emmett Burnett


amed for a former NASA administrator, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is something to behold – but you can’t. It’s almost one million miles from earth. Though far away, the world’s most ambitious $10 billion space observatory, soon to map the deepest voids of space, has a home connection – Cullman, Alabama. In September 2003, after head-to-head competition with Kodak (the division is now known as ITT), Cullman’s General Dynamics was chosen by NASA for JWST’s mirror project. The company would work with other space-age entities, including Ball Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, and L3Harris Technologies in making science fiction, science reality. Thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians from 14 countries and 29 U.S. states – and Cullman – participated in the wonders of Webb. Indeed, a wonder it is. Like the telescope, its mirrors are something to behold as well. The space venture’s primary mirror, with an approximate 20 feet spread, is composed of 18 hexagon mirror segments. Each hexagon is about 4.3 feet in diameter. General Dynamics milled all 18 with three spares. “We are proud to be part of that program,” says Jeff Calvert, General Dynamics’ Manufacturing Engineering manager. “To deliver a product the way our team did was just amazing. I cannot speak enough on how well they performed and the hours these guys spent day after day, making sure they were hitting the numbers.” Hitting the numbers included precise milling to surgical specifications. Some sections of the hexagonal components required machine/ computer measurements of what Calvert describes in layman’s terms as “the thickness of eight human hairs laid on top of each other.” The mirrors are made of 99% pure beryllium, a steel-gray metal often found in emerald mines. As noted by Calvert, beryllium is commonly used in phones, wall plugs, computers, and electronics. Among its attractive properties, such as the ability to receive high polishing for mirror use, beryllium can withstand extreme temperatures of space, which is a good thing. The space telescope’s side facing the sun will be around 230 degrees F. The cold side will be about -370 degrees F. “We did all the machining,” adds Calvert. “We received the hexagons weighing 475 pounds. The finished product left weighing under 46 pounds.” Team Cullman also worked on other mirrors for the telescope – secondary, steering, and support structures. “We completed our product in a 2007 timeframe,” he says. “Other supporting structures and optics work shipped out in 2009. Once the mirrors were shipped, our contract was 14 APRIL 2022

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From Alabama to a million miles away

James Webb Space Telescope has a Cullman connection www.alabamaliving.coop

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complete.” From Cullman, the hexagons were delivered to Ball Avionics and then to Northrop Grumman for polishing, before final delivery to NASA. General Dynamics personnel told colleagues down the line, “Take care of our parts.” Calvert smiled, “They did.”

General Dynamics workers inspect hexagon mirrors before shipping out for final assembly on the James Webb Space Telescope. PHOTO COURTESY GENERAL DYNAMICS

Alabama Living

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tance. According to NASA, it could discover if we are alone in the universe.

‘We have a lift off’

Fast-forward to Dec. 25, 2021. Christmas morning is breaking in Cullman, Alabama. But at General Dynamics all eyes are on events 2,000 miles away. “Lift off! We have Truly rocket science a lift off!,” an exuberant NASA announcer After milling the beryllium, a thin coating proclaims at about 6:15 a.m. Cullman time. of pure gold was applied to each hexagon. His loudspeaker words blare at the Kourou, According to NASA, gold is very reflective, French Guiana launch pad. perfect for bouncing every available proton The Ariane 5 rocket ignites and flies into of light from distant worlds. space, with a neatly packed payload folded But as a byproduct, it is beautiful. The finlike a robot from a “Transformer” movie. ished product is a glistening 21-foot diameThe James Webb Space Telescope departs ter gold honeycomb of 18 pieces working as earth forever. one. Miniature replicas in jewelry form can The speaker continues, “From a tropical be purchased online. rain forest to the edge of time itself, James As for explaining how the James Webb Webb begins a voyage back to the birth of Space Telescope works, it is not rocket scithe universe!” And with those words, the ence – actually, yes, it is. Very much so. Do most expensive, most powerful, and most not try this at home. ambitious instrument ever made begins its “This thing had so many moving parts,” stellar mission, thanks in large part to workers in Cullman. recalls Calvert, about the largest project he Gazing at a starhas been involved ry night, General with during 30-plus Dynamics’ program years with General finance manager Dynamics. At 21.5 Robert Tidwell ponfeet diameter, the ders the project his primary is the largest team put into space. mirror ever sent into “Being part of the space. program gives us a He adds, “You only sense of pride for have one chance to this area and to see get it right. It is not this program come serviceable. There is A NASA artist’s rendition of the James West to pass,” he notes no coming back. It is Space Telescope with mirrors deployed. about the contria one-time shot.” PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA butions of an AlaLike the mirrors, bama-based workforce. the observatory is also folded, encapsulated in the rocket taking it into space. Once Calvert agrees. “I was a small part of this in position, the tightly packed observatory/ team,” he says, referencing General Dynamics’ Cullman group which also provides mirror assembly jettisons and unfolds gradually, taking weeks. When unfurled it is the milling work for nuclear reactors, strategic approximate mass of a full size school bus. missiles, satellite components and more. But the other “unfolding” explained in a “But to be part of this one (JWST), the little NASA press release is even more mind-bogpart I had with it, is a lot of pride.” gling: “It (JWST) will unfold the universe, Meanwhile back in space, on this late January morning, “the mirrors are all folded transforming how we think about the night out now,” Calvert says, monitoring the obsky and our place in the cosmos. The telescope lets us look back to see a period of servatory from Cullman. “Each of those 18 cosmic history never observed. Webb can mirrors are being articulated and phased in peer into the past because telescopes show to represent one reflective object.” us how things were – not how they are right The phase in process takes a few months now. It can also explore distant galaxies, farand then it happens: James Webb will transther away than any we’ve seen before.” mit images to earth during its five- to 10The light is collected in the primary lens, year mission. then bounced to the other mirrors and fiIn a few months, humankind may discovnally, transmitted to earth. The observaer new galaxies, track unknown planets, and tory’s telescope sees with infrared light at speculate on inhabitants of other worlds as much greater clarity and much greater disthey speculate on us. APRIL 2022 15

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The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is nestled in the Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park, a pastoral setting with several walking trails and ponds.

More than just a stage


A behind the scenes look at the magic as ASF brings plays to life By Emmett Burnett


ights dim, curtains rise, on with the show. “Macbeth” is underway at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The play, performed in February, is popular at Montgomery’s 250-acre campus. But another show is also in progress: the quest to bring “Macbeth” to stage, or as Shakespeare ponders, “to be or not to be.” Actually, “to be or not to be” is from “Hamlet,” not “Macbeth”, but you get the idea. What you may not get is the work involved before the event. Most outside the theater industry rarely see the preparation required for a Broadway-like experience, until now. ASF’s skilled professionals granted backstage permission to behold the magic in a $21.6 million theater complex referred to as “The Crown Jewel of Alabama.” “The facility opened in 1985 specifically for the theater,” says Layne Holley, director of marketing and communications, as we navigate corridors leading through workshops, costume departments, and prop rooms. “Our workers are from all over the country and very skilled in what they do.” The sounds of power tools underscore her comments. As we pace through interwoven rooms, electric saws scream. Wooden structures are hammered in place. Assembling, drilling, painting, and more punctuate every corner. A construction site rises from organized chaos. Throughout the building, artisans prac16 APRIL 2022

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tice their crafts, producing costumes, props, and scenery. Paul Haesemeyer is one such person, assembling Lady Macbeth and company’s wardrobes. Haesemeyer and others dress everyone in the show from royalty to witches. “An audience’s first impression of a character is the costume being worn,” Haesemeyer notes. “As soon as these garments go on the

Displaying Lady Macbeth’s gown, he adds, “She’s only going to wear this for a short banquet scene. But it’s a glorious scene!” Haesemeyer and company take input from both the clothing designers and actors wearing the garment. “That gown is stunning,” says actress Meghan Andrews, referring to the banquet dress. “It just lights up the stage.” Andrews, who portrays Lady Macbeth, credits the costumers and other ASF workers. “They are at the top of their game.”

Building sets from the ground up

Working in the costume department, Paul Haesemeyer inspects Lady Macbeth’s banquet dress. PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT

actors, they become the characters.” While inspecting Lady Macbeth’s banquet gown, Haesemeyer adds, “The designer tells us what the character is doing while wearing a certain costume. Is the character turning cartwheels? Running? Standing? Killing somebody? We make the costume accordingly.”

Taylor Broyles is the technical director. “I oversee everything in the scene and everything put on stage to make sure it works and does what the designers want,” he explains. “Our crews build everything for the stage – houses, cars, boats, trees, everything.” They are experts in carpentry, metal fabrication, construction, and more. “You name it; we build it,” Broyles says. When asked for an example of a difficult set his crews assembled, without hesitation, Broyles replies, “‘Sherlock Holmes.’ It had a turntable with five fully massive sets to hook on and spin to the audience. It was a nightmare to build, but a hit show, so worth it.” As construction pieces are assembled, experts add color. “We do the painting and sculpting,” says scenic charge Julie Barnhardt. “We mix and formulate paint for just www.alabamaliving.coop

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“Sure the axes are metal! Plastic’s no fun!” laughs “Macbeth” actor Cordell Cole, who plays the character, Banquo. He explained fight scenes as “a brutal dance. Each move is choreographed and practiced.”

Actors impressed

Tim Snider polishes axes and swords. PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT

the right color on stage.” Her crew gives the set detail, texture, and realism. She is a master of method and colors, blended to make surfaces appear aged, worn, pretty, or pretty sinister. Barnhardt starts by interpreting the scenic designer’s technical drawings and paints, and/or sculpts, accordingly. “I present ideas back to the designers and hope they love it,” she laughs. “And we go from there.” Some crafts hand their product off to the next department but most work simultaneously with other teams. One such team is overseen by Philip Hahn, master electrician. “I work with lighting designers and make sure it ‘gets in the air,’ ” he says, from a manlift high above the stage, adjusting “instruments” (each light is an instrument). “A show can have 350 instruments, each has to be coordinated,” he says. He also is responsible for “practicals” (any on-stage light source) and “atmospherics” – such as fog and haze. “People don’t realize when an actor turns on a lamp or rings a doorbell, the actor is not really doing it,” notes Holley. “Someone else is. Philip wires the lamp to turn on or off from a switch off stage.” Which brings us to another really cool part of Alabama’s theater – the prop shop. “We are the stuff people,” says prop master Shanley Aumiller, with a smile. “If it’s not a wall, floor, or costume, it is our stuff.” Their stuff requires much research. If your play setting is 1947, everything on stage must be 1947 – including telephones, toasters, vehicles, weapons, and all. Props are obtained or built. On this visit, prop assistant Tim Snider is polishing Macbeth’s axes and swords. Surprisingly the ancient weaponry – though make-believe – is metal and quite heavy, probably for the clanging effect in clashing sword fights. 18 APRIL 2022

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Typically, ASF role auditions are held in New York City, Los Angeles, or Atlanta. Actors’ contracts span 6 to 7 weeks and include lodging in Montgomery. “When they (actors) first see this beautiful facility, their jaws drop,” says actress, Birmingham native, and former New Yorker Greta Lambert. She plays a witch in “Macbeth.” The actress notes, “new actors often tell me, ‘I did not expect this in Alabama.’” Most of the actors, including Lambert, who now lives in the Montgomery area, have worked all over the country in film and theater. They speak favorably about ASF. “The artisans’ shop, sound, and lighting, and all the crews are just top notch here,” Lambert says. “We are so lucky to have such professional artisans.” On this January day, “Macbeth’s” sets, rehearsals, wiring, costuming, stage and more receive finishing touches. “Tech rehearsal” – when actors, orchestra, props, costumes, electrical, and other departments come together – is days away. Costumed actors rehearse lines and mark positions, as lighting, sound, and other effects are timed, marked, and practiced. ASF’s crews are always looking ahead; this year’s offerings include “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Freedom Rider,” “Until the Flood,” “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” and “American Mariachi.” Actors are auditioned, designs set to paper, and plans ready to proceed as the show must go on – some assembly required. To learn more about ASF, visit asf.net.

Megan Cudd applies “blood” to a shirt worn by a character in “Macbeth.” PHOTO COURTESY OF ASF


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Huntsville lights up when the sun goes down

Bars, restaurants, and retail shops liven up historic downtown

“I didn’t know what to expect, but it sure wasn’t what I anticipated when I arrived in Huntsville,” observes Ryan Murphy, President and General Manager of the city’s new ORION Amphitheater. “My wife and I had made a pact that we wouldn’t move south of the Tennessee border. Yet here we were, feeling more at home by the minute as we drove past rolling farmland into downtown Huntsville. It was more than the natural beauty though; it was a feeling I couldn’t put a finger on.” The Murphys were not alone in sensing this undefined quality. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, Huntsville moved up to the number one spot as Alabama’s largest city, having overtaken Birmingham, which held onto that claim for decades. Sure, some visitors still arrive with preconceived notions about state history, but once here, they discover a vibrant, prosperous city with so much to offer. At the crossroads of Alabama’s past and future, Huntsville is more focused on creating a “high quality of life” than looking back to yesterday. “Quality of life” for everyone isn’t just a slogan. City leaders have made it the city’s mantra and filter through which decisions have been made for years. I sat down with Mayor Tommy Battle to learn more about Huntsville’s popularity and explosive growth. Our conversation revealed a great deal about Huntsville’s long-term mayor as well as the city. Between shouts of “Hey Tommy” by passersby and occasional interruptions from well-wishing constituents, it became obvious that 20 APRIL 2022

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Lobby at 106 Jefferson, Huntsville’s newest luxury boutique hotel

Huntsville, The Rocket City, mural welcomes visitors in downtown


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he is quite popular and one of the guiding forces behind Huntsville’s growth. However, he is quick to give credit to others. “We have a large team of committed business and civic leaders who have been working together a long time to transform Huntsville into one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities,” he says. “Our leaders don’t always agree on what and how things should be done. But we all agree on finding solutions and moving forward rather than allowing problems to go unsolved,” Mayor Battle adds. While some cities may have chosen to demolish the old to make room for the new—not Huntsville. Old buildings have been repurposed to appeal to the area’s growing young adult population. An outof-date high school was converted into a library and recreation center. A former elementary school was transformed into Campus No. 805, an indoor-outdoor events center featuring restaurants, retail, and award-winning microbreweries. Dilapidated downtown buildings have been restored, and a vibrant retail, dining and entertainment scene has revitalized the historic city center. A boutique luxury hotel, 106 Jefferson, opened last year, replacing an old furniture store. Known as “The Rocket City” for its unique role in the nation’s Space Race, Huntsville is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, a Smithsonian Institute affiliate and the largest space museum in the world, attracting more than a million visitors a year. The Rocket City Trash Pandas tips a cap to that historic legacy as the Minor League Baseball team draws crowds to home games. Along with the Von Braun Center, a performing arts and cultural venue, and the Huntsville Museum of Art, featuring rotating exhibits and a permanent collection of art of the Southeast USA from the 19th and 20th centuries, Huntsville is a well-rounded intersection of science, sports, culture and the arts. The ORION Amphitheater, slated to open in mid-May, is the latest example of the city’s arts and cultural transformation. This 8,000seat, state-of-the-art outdoor music venue ushers in a new phase of Huntsville’s evolution. The theater and festival grounds will become a multi-use destination featuring acres of green space for picnicking, hiking trails, a food truck court and entertainment center designed to host local community events year-round. “Everything about the ORION is top-notch, even down to the acoustic-improving IPE wood benches used for seats,” Ryan Murphy notes. “The backstage area will be a paradise for performers. Displays will highlight north Alabama’s rich music history, and décor will feature real artifacts from Huntsville’s space history. Entertainers who may have once overlooked Alabama will want to play here now,” says Ryan. “There’s really nothing like this anywhere.” As Ryan explains, he has a better sense about that feeling he couldn’t identify. “High quality of life is not just talk; it’s real. You feel it everywhere you go. Everyone is proud of Huntsville and is eager to share our city with others,” Ryan says. He’s proud, too, that the ORION will be a perfect showcase for a city that is truly a star of Alabama.

The Apollo 16 capsule, the Casper, is a key exhibit in the Saturn V Hall at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Yellowhammer Brewery at Campus No. 805

Architectural rendering of the new ORION Amphitheater opening in May 2022

Toyota Field, home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, AA-affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels

www.northalabama.org Scott Baker is an internationally published photojournalist based in Alexander City, Alabama. He is a contributing photographer to The New York Times and his work has been published in The London Sunday Times Magazine, Drift Magazine and many other regional publications. You can follow his work on Instagram: @scottbakerphotos.

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| Alabama People |

John Gurner

Living in history John Gurner, the cultural resources specialist at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park, is originally from the Mississippi Delta, but has lived most of his life in Alabama. After graduating from Jacksonville State University with a master’s degree in early American colonial and cultural history, he taught history before moving on to postgraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh. After returning to Alabama, he taught at several community colleges, and in 2011 he became a living history interpreter at Fort Morgan State Historic Site. He later joined the staff at the U.S. Army Center of Military History at the Anniston Army Depot as a curator for the long-term collections storage facility. Now, he’s been on the job about eight months at Fort Toulouse, which is a significant archeological and historical site in Elmore County that was inhabited for thousands of years by prehistoric and American Indians, Spanish explorers, French marines, English and Scottish traders and American settlers. – Allison Law What are your primary responsibilities at Fort ToulouseFort Jackson? I am responsible for coordinating living history events, historical research, and developing outreach programs. Some of my time is devoted to using social media for posting short articles regarding the site’s history, which tie into larger research projects I am currently working on.

and ask questions of a woman while she is spinning yarn or of a soldier who his cleaning his musket. The other aspect I enjoy is researching the site’s history. The earlier French period, 1717-1763, has so many areas open for research. One of my tasks is to expand our understanding of how Fort Toulouse and similar outposts worked for the long-range French strategy for dominating the fur trade. For someone who’s never been to the Fort, what do you suggest as a good first-timer itinerary? A first-time visitor should come by our Visitor Center before walking the grounds. We have site maps that provide a timeline of the site that help orient the visitor to what we interpret. The park has archaeological areas from various periods, some older than thousand years, so it is helpful to know where to start before moving about the site. After visiting the interpretive areas, venture down the William Bartram Trail to see more of the flora and fauna we have tucked away. When the weather permits, a walk down to the edge of the western end of the property is good for seeing where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers meet. That junction is where untold numbers of people navigated the rivers to head down the Alabama River and towards Mobile, so there is a special significance in seeing this important confluence. Are you currently a re-enactor, either as part of your job or as a hobby at other historical sites? I am currently focused on doing living history at our site. I have done some re-enacting at other places, but I want to focus on the periods that cover the site’s history. The challenge is being able to accurately portray the French and Indian War period that is in accordance with our later French fort and for the War of 1812 period as well. Both aspects present challenges in acquiring the clothing for two vastly different periods. Part of the hobby is making as much of the clothing as possible myself to ensure the proper fit and using accurate fabrics for each historical period.

What attracted you to Fort Toulouse before you took the job? Were you familiar with its history and its activities? I became familiar with Fort Toulouse while working at another historical site. In 2014, I was part of a crew that volunteered to work the annual Frontier Days event and was taken with both the site’s history and its serene beauty. A few years later I read the definitive work on site, Fort Toulouse: The French Outpost at the Alabamas on the Coosa by Dr. Daniel Thomas, which gave me a deep desire to know more about this formative period in Alabama’s often forgotten colonial history. What parts of your job do you enjoy the most? The living history side of my job is the most enjoyable. Having living history interpreters in period attire and watching the interactions with visitors take place is a great experience. This is especially true when children stop for a moment

Learn more at fttoulousejackson.org. The next public event at the fort is the French and Indian War Encampment, which is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 23-24. Admission is $4 adults and $2 per child. There will be living history interpreters demonstrating the life of French Marines from the 1750s, fur traders, merchants, British soldiers, Native Americans, and ordinary settlers. Demos will be throughout the day. PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON

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Going online with Social Security saves you time


ur online tools and services save you time and make your life easier. Often, there’s no need to contact Social Security. Here are five of our webpages that can make your life easier: 1. Request a replacement Social Security card, verify your earnings, get future benefit estimates, instantly get benefit verification letters, and more with your own personal my Social Security account, at ssa.gov/myaccount.

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

2. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page at ssa.gov/faq to get answers on your Social Security-related questions. 3. Complete and submit your online application for retirement benefits in as little as 15 minutes at ssa.gov/retirement. 4. Access our publications library and get online booklets and pamphlets, including audio versions, on relevant subjects at ssa.gov/pubs. 5. Get news when it’s hot off the press. Check out our blog for Social Security news and updates at blog.ssa.gov. Please share these pages with your friends and family.

April Across 1 Alabama forest 5 Islet 7 Grand Bay is one 10 Gulf Shores first line of defense 11 Intersected 12 _____ Rock, a feature of the Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve in Madison 14 Mobile Harbor sights 17 Dove’s sound 18 Angler’s equipment 20 Brownish gray 21 Anger 22 Provide 23 The Eastern Wild Turkey is Alabama’s ___ ___, 2 words 26 Ferocious sea predators found in the north of the Gulf of Mexico 28 Blood type 30 Raise 31 Place for pampering 32 Rain a little 33 Playful water creature Down 1 Shaking like aspen leaves 2 ____ ____ Canyon: spectacular hike with waterfalls, canyon rims and sandstone cliffs, 2 words 3 Cry of discovery 4 Do some basic math 5 Great view in Oak Mountain State Park, 2 words 6 Sure! 8 The Caribbean, for one 9 Produce 13 Lymph _____. 14 Mountain where you can walk the Stone Cuts Trail, 2 words 15 In the direction of 16 Body of water extending along the coast from Dauphin Island to Waveland, known as the Mississippi _____ 24 APRIL 2022

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crossword 19 24 25 26

Raw mineral Sky color Satchmo’s music Flower to be

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Spring month, abbr. Copy Sand ____ (shipping danger) Street, for short

Answers on Page 37 www.alabamaliving.coop

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Business & ag equipment loans save you time & money Whether it’s laptops, a new tractor, or a fleet of commercial vehicles, every business or farm needs equipment to function. But what if you can’t pay for it all? Equipment loans are used for buying or leasing qualifying commercial and ag equipment and work similarly to auto loans. Here are the key benefits of business and ag equipment loans: • Make necessary purchases faster, so you can be more productive and profitable. • Flexible terms give you more freedom to settle on a payment plan that works for you. • Preserve capital and overcome budget limitations to get the equipment when you need it.

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in price negotiation, but then realize a few months later you really should have negotiated your loan terms. For example, if you finance $35,000 with a loan at 5% APR

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Rates as low as 1.99%*

Enjoy significant benefits when you obtain a business or ag equipment loan through Alabama ONE. With rates as low as 1.99% APR, you can get the same rates on equipment loans as you can on auto loans. Alabama ONE offers you an expert lending team. We’re here to help you build your future with local servicing and personal service. Contact our Business & Ag Team at (205) 562-2342, or email them at business@alabamaone.org or ag@alabamaone.org. *This rate is only available for loans under $200,000.

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker/dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Alabama One Credit Union (AOCU), Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union (ARECU), Alabama One Wealth Advisory and Alabama Rural Electric Wealth Advisory are not registered as a broker/dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using Alabama One Wealth Advisory and Alabama Rural Electric Wealth Advisory, and may also be employees of AOCU or ARECU. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from and not affiliates of AOCU or ARECU or Alabama One Wealth Advisory and Alabama Rural Electric Wealth Advisory. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are: Not Insured by NCUA or Any Other Government Agency

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Not Credit Union Guaranteed

Not Credit Union Deposits or Obligations

May Lose Value

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| Consumer Wise |

Five questions to ask your home inspector By Miranda Boutelle


I’m planning to buy a new home this year, and I want to know how efficient it is. What questions should I ask my home inspector?


Many factors go into buying a home. For most people, energy efficiency does not top the list, and unfortunately, houses don’t typically come with energy efficiency ratings. It can be difficult for a buyer to know how efficient a home is when viewing the listing online or taking a tour. But your home inspector can help you identify potential energy costs and energy-efficiency upgrades. Some homes may already be efficient, while other homes may need improvements. There’s nothing wrong with buying an inefficient home, but you will want to know what you’re getting into and that you can afford the energy costs once you get the keys.

Here are five questions to ask your home inspector:

What is the condition of the electrical panel and wiring throughout the home? A panel upgrade or rewiring can be a costly endeavor. An older panel and wiring aren’t inefficient, but it can delay or make some energy-efficiency projects more expensive. In several homes I have worked on, older wiring had to be replaced before insulation could be added. Make sure the panel can accommodate any new appliances you might want to add, such as air conditioning or an electric vehicle charger.

How old is the water heater? The lifespan of a storage water heater is about 10 years. The cost to replace a water heater ranges from $400 to $3,600, depending on the unit type and installation costs. If an older water heater is in a finished space or on a second floor, replace it before it fails and potentially causes water damage. What are the levels and conditions of insulation in the attic, walls and floor? Insulation is one of the easiest and most beneficial energy-efficiency upgrades you can make. It isn’t as pretty as new countertops, but it can make a home more comfortable, waste less energy and reduce outdoor noise. To cut down on drafts and make insulation more effective, air seal before insulating. Seal cracks, gaps or holes in the walls, floors, ceiling and framing between heated and unheated spaces. If your new home needs insulation and air sealing, make this your efficiency priority. The sooner you do it, the more energy you will save over time. Recommended insulation levels vary by location. You can find information about insulation and air sealing at energy.gov.

Are there any extras in this home that will increase my utility bills? Any motors in the home or on Ask your home inspector if the electrical panel can the property should be assessed, inaccommodate new appliances you might want to add, such as cluding pumps for wells and septic air conditioning or an electric vehicle charger. systems. When it comes to extras, PHOTO COURTESY MARK GILLILAND, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES remember life’s luxuries aren’t free. You will want to be able to afford the How old is the HVAC system, and how efficient is it? Has it cost of operating amenities, such as pools, hot tubs and saunas. been maintained? Additional considerations The typical lifespan of an HVAC system is 15 to 25 years. As You can request the home’s utility bills for the previous two the largest energy user and often the most expensive equipment years from the seller or realtor. Your bill will not be the same due in the home, you will want to know the energy, maintenance and to your personal energy habits, but this information will give you replacement costs. If the HVAC system is old, consider the cost an estimate of the home’s energy costs. for a replacement. Electric rates vary across the country. If you are moving to a new city, be sure to check the rates at the local electric utility. Miranda Boutelle is the director of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group, which partners with When buying a home that checks all your boxes, ask your electric utilities to provide energy efficiency services to members. home inspector the right efficiency questions. Understanding the She writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing condition of appliances, features and building materials can save more than 900 local electric cooperatives. For more information, you from hidden surprises in your home and on your first utility visit collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. bills.

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| Outdoors |

Catching monster catfish takes patience, skill and luck


blue can swallow a baitfish weighing several pounds. eople don’t need to spend a fortune heading offshore to battle giant fish. In fact, some of the biggest fish in Alabama First, anglers must find big cats to catch them. After finding big probably live very close to everyone’s home. catfish, tempt them with something they want to eat. That requires Catfish thrive in nearly every freshwater system in the state and large fishy baits and great patience waiting for that one big bite. some species grow to gigantic proportions. The Alabama record For whiskered whoppers, use fish chunks, strips or whole fish, either live or dead. blue catfish weighed 120.25 pounds and came from Holt Reservoir, an impoundment on the Black Warrior River north of Tus“Most people who don’t specifically fish for big catfish can’t caloosa. Flathead catfish can also weigh more than 100 pounds. believe the bait sizes we use,” says Phil King, a professional angler with multiple national championship titles and a 103-pound The state record flathead weighed 80 pounds and came from the blue catfish to his credit. “I also vary my baits to give fish options. Alabama River near Selma. Sometimes, finicky fish might only want live baits.” Although anyone can land a massive catfish anywhere in Alabama on any cast, people who consistently catch enormous whisMore picky than blues, flathead catfish occasionally hit fresh kerfish intentionally fish for them with heavy deep-sea tackle in fish chunks or strips, but typically want live fish. Blues might waters well known for wander in search of food, producing trophy catfish. but flatheads use their excellent camouflage to hunAll the major rivers in Alabama hold giant catfish. ker down in thick cover, Some better places to such as fallen trees, brush, catch these monsters inrocks or log piles, waiting clude the Tennessee, Chatto ambush unsuspecting tahoochee, Tombigbee and fish. Some good baits for Alabama river systems these voracious predators plus associated waters. include live shad, mullet, In 2020, Mike Mitchell, shiners and sunfish. They a professional angler and also eat other catfish, especially bullheads. guide for Southern Cats Widespread and abunGuide Service in Russellville, caught and released a dant, channel cats might 117.20-pound blue catfish hit almost any natural bait, on Wilson Lake, a Tennesbut don’t grow nearly as see River impoundment large as blues or flatheads. near Florence. Channel cats can weigh “The Tennessee River Mike Mitchell of Russellville, Ala. caught and released this 117.20-pound blue catfish more than 50 pounds, but is well known for produc- while fishing Wilson Lake on the Tennessee River near Rogersville, Ala. He just missed people generally catch fish ing big catfish,” says Brian breaking the state record of 120.25 pounds. ranging from one to five PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE MITCHELL Barton, who guides on the pounds. The state record river out of Muscle Shoals. “Anything above 80 pounds is a special weighed 40 pounds and came from Inland Lake in Blount County. trophy, but 70-pounders are becoming more common.” Some better channel cat baits include worms, nightcrawlers, cut To keep more huge catfish swimming in Alabama waters, the fish, crawfish, cheese, shrimp and livers. state changed the regulation a few years ago. Now, people can only “Channel cats are not shy about biting and usually school in keep one catfish of any kind 34 inches in length or greater per persmall numbers,” Barton says. “If someone catches one in an area, son per day, but unlimited numbers of smaller fish. That size limit there’s a good chance that person could catch more. When fishing does not apply to certain waters in the state. In addition, people for channel cats, I downsize my line, hooks and bait and only use cannot transport live catfish 34 inches in length or greater beyond enough weight to get the job done.” state lines. Even the most outstanding trophy catfish waters only hold so All catfish can follow a scent for a long distance. Blue catfish will many fish exceeding 50 pounds. If people want to catch river leviathans, they need to release big catfish. It takes years to grow a eat almost anything they can fit into their mouths and gulp down. 70-pound blue or flathead. Keep the small ones to eat if you wish. Even the biggest blue cats might take a small bait, but true behemoths habitually want one big meal and prefer fish. A 50-pound Some of the best fishing for channel cats in Alabama occurs in the 23 state public fishing lakes found in 20 counties totaling 1,912 surface acres. For more information on the state public John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in fishing lakes, seeoutdooralabama.com/where-fish-alabama/ Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM alabama-public-fishing-lakes-pfls. For catfishing regulations, Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ seeoutdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater-fishing-creel-andhotmail.com or through Facebook. size-limits.

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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 FULL MOON PM

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 11:42 - 1:42 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 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 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54



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

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



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 5:48 - 7:18 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

7:21 - 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 6:11 - 7:41 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

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2022 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com. Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |

Pecans Time to celebrate our official state nut Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols


ecans are likely the most popular nuts grown and eaten in Alabama. After all, it’s the official state nut (named so by the Alabama Legislature in 1982). And April is National Pecan Month, making it the perfect time to enjoy this flavorful snack in pies, tossed with some salt and roasted in the oven, added to cookies, salads and as a topping for meats and vegetables. Alabama is blessed with an abundance of pecan farms and retailers, so be sure to “buy local” and support our state’s pecan growers. Not only do pecans taste delicious, but they are an excellent source of protein and natural antioxidants, according to the Alabama Pecan Growers Association. Studies have shown that adding a handful of pecans to a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet can dramatically affect the impact of the diet. Some studies have even shown a pecan-enriched diet can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, according to the APGA. The recipes submitted by our readers offer several different ways to enjoy our official state nut, from salads to desserts and even a main dish. So get cracking and enjoy some pecans today!

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Best Ever Grape Salad


e love our southern pecans here at The Buttered Home. We love them any way you can have them, candied, roasted -- and we even mix them Brooke Burks with our veggies! One of my favorite ways to make them the unexpected star of the show is with this Grape Salad. Creamy and bright, grape salad just screams for a bit of texture. And the southern pecan is the icon that can deliver! Photo by The Buttered Home

4 1 2 3 2 2 2 2 1 ½

ounces softened cream cheese cup sour cream tablespoons lemon juice tablespoons sugar tablespoons vanilla cups green seedless grapes cups red seedless grapes cups whipped cream, recipe below tablespoon brown sugar cup roughly chopped pecans

Whipped Cream: 1 cup heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar In a chilled bowl, mix confectioner’s sugar with heavy whipping cream. Beat with a hand mixer for 3-5 minutes until soft peaks form. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, lemon juice, sour cream, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth. Fold in grapes and whipped cream. In a separate small bowl, mix brown sugar and pecans. Sprinkle over top for garnish. Refrigerate.

Cook of the Month: David Busby, Leeds


avid Busby likes pecan pie, but never wants to eat a whole piece. His winning recipe for “Busby’s World Famous Pecan Squares” takes care of that problem. “With this, you can eat as little as you want and the taste is still the same,” he says. Busby says he found the family recipe more than 25 years David Busby ago and he’s made some tweaks along the way. “I tried to follow her recipe from what I could read and the first couple batches didn’t turn out right,” he says. “You have to use that jelly roll pan. There’s something about that pan that is critical.” Now, he adds, “I don’t get invited to Christmas or Thanksgiving or anywhere unless I bring a whole batch of these things. I cut it into squares and you can eat it like a cookie. After it cools, I stack them on a plate.” Busby, owner and president of Substation Engineering and Design, works closely with several Alabama electric cooperatives to supply the steel and equipment to build their substations. “When I’m not working or cooking,” he adds, “I’m taking care of my horses and donkeys.”

Themes and Deadlines: July: Cobblers | April 8 August: Peppers | May 6 September: Finger Foods | June 3 Alabama Living

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Busby’s World-Famous Pecan Squares Filling: 4 eggs, slightly beaten 1½ cups light corn syrup 1½ cups sugar 3 tablespoons butter, melted 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 2½ cups pecan halves

Crust: 3 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup sugar 1 cup butter, melted ½ teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients for crust. Grease a jelly roll pan (this is a must). Mix ingredients for the crust and press into pan. Cover entire pan, making as uniform a thickness as possible. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake for 24 minutes. Mix ingredients for filling in separate bowl. After crust is baked, add the filling to the top of the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Use a pizza cutter to cut 2x2-inch squares.

Win ‘Cook of the Month’ and $50! Recipes can be developed by you or family members. You may even adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Chosen cooks may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Attn: Recipes P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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Toasted Pecans 1 quart pecan halves ¼ cup salt Place pecans in a large bowl, add salt and cover with water. Soak for 1 hour, stirring 3-4 times. Drain on paper towels for 1 hour. Pour onto large cookie sheet with at least 1-inch sides. Bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees until done. Check after 10 minutes and stir, continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Stir and cook until done, about 5-8 minutes more. Be careful not to burn. No grease is used at all for these nuts. Peggy Key North Alabama EC

Pecan Chess Pie 1 2 1 ½ 1 1 1 ¼ ¼ ½ ½

Diamond Pecan Pie crust whole eggs, slightly beaten cup white sugar cup brown sugar tablespoon corn meal tablespoon flour cup pecan pieces, chopped cup milk cup butter, melted teaspoon vinegar teaspoon vanilla

Mix lightly beaten eggs, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix well after each addition. Mix in corn meal, flour, pecan pieces, milk and melted butter. Mix well, then add vinegar and vanilla. Pour into pecan pie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Frozen pie shells do just fine; use either deep dish (may take a little longer to bake, or use a 9-inch frozen pie shell. Take out of freezer 30 minutes before baking. Karen Harrison Cullman EC

Pecan Gems 1 ½ 1 2/3 2

cup packed brown sugar cup all-purpose flour cup chopped pecans cup melted butter beaten eggs

Combine sugar, flour and pecans. Set aside. Combine butter and eggs, mix well and stir into flour mixture until just 32 APRIL 2022

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Pecan Crusted Chicken moistened. Fill greased/floured mini muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until they test done. Remove immediately and cool on a wire rack. Note: I prefer mini muffin paper liners. Makes 30-36. Nancy Sites Sizemore Baldwin EMC

Pecan Crusted Chicken 4 1 1/2 1/4 1

skinless boneless chicken breasts cup pecans, toasted cup Italian style breadcrumbs cup honey mustard teaspoon dried basil Pinch of cayenne Salt and pepper, to taste

Finely chop pecans and mix with breadcrumbs, basil and cayenne in a bowl. Salt and pepper the chicken breast, then slather with honey mustard. Coat the chicken with the pecan mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the chicken temperature is 165 degrees. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Superfood Cranberry Pecan Bars 10 1 ½ 1/2 1 1 ½

ounces Medjool dates, pits removed cup pecan halves cup rolled oats cup dried cranberries tablespoon chia seeds teaspoon orange extract teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Put the dates in a large food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add the remaining ingredients. Process for 1-2 minutes, until a crumbly dough forms. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the dough into the center of the sheet and press or roll it into a rectangle. Cut the dough into even bars or squares. Bake the bars for 30 minutes to firm them up. Cool, then store in refrigerator. Robin O'Sullivan Wiregrass EC

Aunt Eloise’s Pecan Coconut Haystacks 1 4-ounce package cream cheese, softened 21/2 tablespoons milk 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring 4 cups miniature marshmallows 1/4 cup shredded coconut 1 cup pecans, chopped Whip cream cheese, milk and flavoring until fluffy and gradually add in powdered sugar, marshmallows and pecans. Add in coconut last and when combined, drop them by spoonful onto a cookie sheet and allow to cool. Haystacks should be stored in the refrigerator. Teresa Bethune Marshall-DeKalb EC

To place an Calendar, P Deadline is


3/15/22 10:26 AM

April | Around Alabama


Scottsboro Salsa on the Square, downtown. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and competitions for best salsa, specialty sauce and festive booth, with business and amateur divisions. 256-912-0520 or search Scottsboro Trade Days on Facebook.

Cullman’s annual Strawberry Festival features locally grown strawberries as well as arts and crafts and a baking competition.



Gardendale Magnolia Festival, Gardendale Civic Center complex. More than 150 arts and crafts vendors, two stages with live entertainment, a pooch parade, midway-style carnival, car show, free kid zone, petting zoo, pony rides and cookie-eating contest. MagnoliaFestival.org


Orange Beach Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party, Flora-Bama. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday; finals each day at 4:30 p.m. $15 to toss a mullet, and all tossers receive a T-shirt. Proceeds benefit local charities. FloraBama.com


Florence Smoke on the Water Backyard BBQ Contest, 12 p.m. at St. Florian Park. Barbecue teams compete for cash prizes; this family-friendly event has other activities, including live entertainment. Ages 18 and older, $15; youth under 18 free with paid parent. SmokeOnTheWaterFestival.com


Guntersville 61st annual Art on the Lake, along Lake Guntersville. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Fine artists and craftsmen from throughout the Southeast and beyond are featured. Food vendors, outdoor games and rides and a bake shop. $2 for ages 13 and older; event is rain or shine. ArtOnTheLake-Guntersville.com


Troy TroyFest Art Festival, downtown Troy. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Held in honor of Troy artist Jean Lake, this weekend show draws upwards of 10,000 to downtown. Art, food, entertainment and activities for all ages. Free. TroyFestArts.com

29-May 1

Huntsville Panoply Arts Festival, Big Spring Park. This 40th celebration of art, music and more will welcome more than 100 visual artists from a variety of mediums to the Art Marketplace, plus two musical performance stages, artisan food trucks, kid-friendly interactives, community art projects and more. ArtsHuntsville.org

30-May 1

Enterprise Piney Woods Arts Festival, Enterprise State Community College. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday. One of the oldest juried arts and crafts shows in the area, the festival features original arts and crafts, children’s fun center, food and entertainment. Free. CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com



Fairhope Barnwell Community Crawfish Derby 2022, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Oak Hollow Farm, 14210 S. Greeno Road. All you can eat crawfish, live music, Kentucky Derby watch party, silent auction and more to benefit restoration of the Barnwell Community Center, a historic 1918 wooden schoolhouse. BarnwellCommunity.org


Cullman Cullman Strawberry Festival, 10 a.m., Depot Park. Free event with live music, craft vendors, fun and games, Doggy “Pawgeant,” baking competition, food and locally grown strawberries. CullmanStrawberryFest.com.


Troy Thunder on Three Notch, Pioneer Museum of Alabama, 248 U.S. Highway 231 North. Two days of living history, including re-enactments of the last two battles of the Creek War of 1836 that were fought near Hobdy’s Bridge on the Pea River. Battles between militia and Native Americans at 2 p.m. each day. Skilled artisans and craftsmen in period clothing come to life on the grounds of the museum. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. both days. 334-566-3597.


Henagar May on the Mountain Bluegrass Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Henagar City Park at the Cabin. Free; bring a lawn chair to enjoy a full day of local and professional bluegrass music and free food. 256-657-6282.


Dothan A Night at the Park, Landmark Park. This camping adventure for families features a night walk through the park, hay rides, s’mores, Nerf war, water balloon battleship and tent camping. 4 p.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Saturday. Fee is $20 per person for park members, $25 per person for nonmembers. Food included. Families are responsible for their own tents, sleeping bags and camping gear. LandmarkParkDothan.com

Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time.

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. Like Alabama Living on facebook

Alabama Living

AL STATE APR22.indd 33

Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

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34 APRIL 2022

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ALABAMA GARDENER’S CALENDAR Information provided by The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Find more at www.aces.edu/

April Fruits and Nuts • Season for strawberry planting continues. • Start spray program for all fruits • Plant raspberries and blackberries and continue budding apples and peaches.


• Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering. • Fertilize azaleas and camellias. • When new growth is half completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.


• Planting continues. • New lawns may need supplementary watering.

Roses • Watch for insects and diseases. • Keep old flower heads removed. • Plant container-grown plants for nurseries or garden centers.

Annuals and Perennials

• Plant early started annuals or bedding plants from nurseries or garden centers. • Divide mums or root cuttings. Dig and divide dahlias.


• Avoid cutting foliage of narcissus or other bulbs until it has turned brown naturally.

• Also, fertilize at 3- to 6-week intervals.

• Plant gladiolus, fancy-leaved caladiums, milk and wine lilies, and ginger and gloriosa lilies.

• Keep ryegrass cut low, particularly if overplanted on bermuda lawns.

• Feed bearded iris with superphosphate and spray for borers.


• Spray camellias, hollies, etc., for scale insects. • Carefully water new plantings of shrubs and trees. • Pinching out tips of new shoots promotes more compact shrubs.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant tender vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, melons and cucumbers. • Plant heat-loving vegetables in lower south Alabama.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, and parsley.

May Fruits and Nuts

• Continue spray program. • Keep grass from around trees and strawberries. • Peaches and apples can still be budded.


• Spray weeds in lawns with proper herbicide.


• Spray or dust for insects and diseases. • Fertilize monthly according to a soil test.

• Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks.

• Container-grown plants in flower may be planted.

• Don’t spray with oil emulsions when temperature is above 85 degrees F.

• Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.


• Now is the best time to start lawns from seed. • Water new lawns as needed to prevent drying. • Keep established lawns actively growing by watering, fertilizing, and mowing.

Alabama Living

009_CVR.indd 43

Annuals and Perennials

• Late plantings of bedding plants still have time to produce. • Watch for insects on day lilies.


• Summer bulbs started in containers may still be planted. • Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs.

• Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.


• Mulch new shrub plantings if not already done. • Avoid drying out new shrub, tree, and lawn plantings. • Delay pruning of fruiting shrubs such as cotoneasters, pyracanthas, and hollies until after flowering.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant heat-loving and tender vegetables. • Start cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and celery in cold frames for the fall garden.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potatoes. APRIL 2022 35

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| Our Sources Say |

Gravitas B

urdened by a Mississippi public school education, my vocabulary has never been particularly deep. As a high school senior, we had a six-week course study in literature named “Thirty Days to a Stronger Vocabulary.” We learned a new word every day. However, a short 50 years later I can’t remember a single one. I tell you that to explain how I learned “gravitas.” I heard gravitas the first time, I recall, from my friend Ted Jackson, who at that time was our general counsel. A couple of us looked at each other and asked Ted what the word meant. He explained in his calm way that gravitas meant deep seriousness, dignity and a weighty consideration. As I hear more from climate change activists on the Net-Zero by 2050 proposition, I think back to Ted’s explanation. I do so because the Net-Zero campaign and most of the climate change proposals are completely devoid of any gravitas. To start, thousands of leaders of the climate change movement gather at far-away places like Kyoto, Paris, Lima, Madrid, and this year in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, as well as other exotic destinations. They attend to propose how we – those who don’t attend – should have to live. Some of those proposals are drastic; for instance, all of us immediately changing our modes of transportation from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles (that supposedly have a smaller carbon footprint and will help alleviate climate change). According to these proposals, we must also immediately retire all coal-fired electric generation plants, change how we raise food, reduce how often we travel, and radically adjust the food we eat – all to supposedly reduce our carbon footprints and control our carbon emissions. In short, we will have to change our lives in almost every way as a sacrifice to the Net-Zero gods. The Net-Zero advocates completely ignore the huge costs of their ambitions. No cost or inconvenience is too high to meet Net-Zero by 2050. Last month I referenced a McKinsey and Company study that indicates a successful Net-Zero campaign would cost $275 trillion to implement. To put the cost into context, it is three times the entire world’s 2021 total gross domestic product of $94 trillion. Spending three years of the world’s GDP in hopes of making some difference has no gravitas. The Net-Zero advocates also have little advice on solving Net-Zero other than using nothing but renewable energy. They have no defined plan to manage the intermittency of renewables

or manage an electric grid that rotates at 60 cycles per second with solar and batteries that do not spin at all. They seem to be completely oblivious to the physics of the questions about energy production. The declarations of the leaders also lack credibility. How many times do we need to hear things like the North Pole will be icefree by the summer of 2013, glaciers will disappear by 2016, or the world as we know it will end in 12 years if the New Green Deal is not adopted? The Net-Zero advocates also place unserious people at the front of the arguments. For instance, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has become a leading spokesperson for Net-Zero. She has written a book in which she states, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.” I’m not sure in which high school class she learned about climate science, but I doubt she has sufficient expertise in the subject (or knowledge of the physics of obtaining Net-Zero) to write a serious book. Finally, just last week, former Secretary of State and current U.S. Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry warned of “massive emission consequences from a Russian war against Ukraine which will be a distraction from work on climate change.” He also stated, “I hope President Putin will help us stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate. I hope Mr. Putin realizes Northern Russia is thawing and his infrastructure is at risk, and the people of Russia are at risk.” All that was directed at a dictator who is killing civilians in their homes and threatening nuclear action. Mr. Kerry is talking utter nonsense. The entire Net-Zero movement lacks depth, seriousness, logic or gravitas. It is time the whole group either gets serious about what can practically be done and how we can live with whatever climate change occurs, or moves on to the next existential threat of our time. I am prepared for all the comments of “What does this have to do with my electric utility?” and “Why do you pick on teenagers?” It is about your electric utility because you will pay much of the increased costs of Net-Zero in your electric bills, and I will temper my feelings of teenagers’ opinions until they have learned enough about life to tell me how I am ruining theirs. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

36 APRIL 2022

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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): June 2022 Issue by April 25 July 2022 Issue by May 25 August 2022 Issue by June 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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AL STATE APR22.indd 37



MAIL TO: Alabama Living 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop

Answers to puzzle on Page 24 APRIL 2022 37

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Mr. Dave and the barber shop


f all Dixie’s cultural icons, the one I miss most is the old-fashioned barber shop. Once the barber shop was a male bastion, a place where manly men gathered to solve the problems that faced them all. Nowadays, the only offering in some of our towns is a “salon” for both men and women, into which men slip, get clipped and leave before they are recognized. It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, a boy’s first haircut was his induction into a world of men, and men only. Seldom if ever did women intrude into those dark, dank dens of manhood, and when they did it was usually on an errand, not for a trim. Waiting customers read men’s magazines. Field and Stream, Sports Illustrated, and others that contained jokes aimed at adolescent males of all ages. If you didn’t read, you could watch, for a barber with comb and scissors always put on a show. Or you could listen. In my youth, while waiting for my turn in the chair, I was often privy to opinions my elders exchanged on topics ranging from football to hunting and fishing to automotive repair to politics to whatever else happened to be on their minds. Listening to grown men gripe about the government or debate when to plant tomaHarvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is retired Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

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toes taught me a lot about the diversity of my community and the nature of the men who set its tone. What they seldom talked about were women – wives, girlfriends, either or both. Except once. The man getting his hair cut was loud and opinionated. No matter what the topic being discussed, he had something to say and he said it with the authority of the self-assured. What he lacked in knowledge and logic he made up for with volume. Among the increasingly irritated listeners was Mr. Dave, one of the town’s leading citizens and one of the wisest men I ever knew. Mr. Dave, gentleman that he was, ignored the man in the chair. When the barber finished clipping his customer he shaved the man’s neck, as was the custom back then and, I suspect, still is in older shops with older barbers. That done, the barber asked if the man in the chair would like some after-shave cologne which soothed the skin and left one smelling “like you’ve been to a barber shop.” “I don’t want any,” the man thundered. “If I came home smelling of that stuff my wife would think I had been in a house of ill-repute.” He paid the barber and as he walked to the door, Mr. Dave took his place in the chair. “Just a trim,” he told the barber. Then he added, “And you can put that cologne on me. My wife doesn’t know what a house of ill-repute smells like.” The opinionated man skulked out without a word. All the while I listened, and learned. www.alabamaliving.coop

3/15/22 10:26 AM

AL STATE APR22.indd 39

3/15/22 10:26 AM

AL STATE APR22.indd 40

3/15/22 10:26 AM

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