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Arab Electric COOPERATIVE
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General Manager Stacey White
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
Right place, right time
The name of The Beli, a sandwich shop in Gulf Shores, is a mash-up of “beach deli,” and its firm foundation is owner Anna Beth Ryan’s food philosophy: Simpler is better and fresh is everything.
VOL. 75 NO. 6
F E A T U R E S
Being married 50 years is something our readers say is cause for celebration...and photos!
The animals at Snead’s Farmhouse in Cullman County are educating their community and beyond about what it takes to run a small farm. For hot summer days, sometimes a cool salad is all you feel like preparing or eating.
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D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 44 Cook of the Month 48 Outdoors 49 Fish & Game Forecast 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER
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The beauty of North Alabama. PHOTO: Donna Prickett of Grant
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Are you ready to serve? Stacey White, General Manager
Board of Trustees Charles W. Whisenant President District 8
Dianne Prestridge Vice President District 3
Bill Stricklend Treasurer District 4
Tyler Barnes Secretary District 5
Janet Bright District 1
Jordan Stewart District 2
Jeff Warren District 6
Nathan Clark District 7
Ty Smith District 9
In one of the most notable inaugural speeches given, John F. Kennedy spoke his famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” His inspiring words urged Americans to take actions that benefited the greater good. In essence, Kennedy was saying our country thrives when we all contribute our talents to the common good. On a smaller scale, I think the same can be said about our co-op, specifically with regard to our board members. Arab Electric Cooperative’s board members are community-minded individuals with a variety of skill sets. Our board is made up of nine individuals with nine different backgrounds. We rely on their many talents to help us make informed decisions on long-term priorities and investments. Our directors live right here in the co-op’s service area, and we consider them the eyes and ears of the community because they provide their perspective on important community issues. We recognize it takes many people with different skills to create a well-rounded board that can represent the full spectrum of our community. That’s why when we’re seeking new directors, we want folks with diverse perspectives, experience, expertise, and views. We’re seeking local members of our community who can apply their unique talents to benefit all our friends and neighbors. But above all else, we’re looking for folks who love our community and want to see it thrive now and in the future.
What does it mean to serve on AEC’s board?
Serving on Arab Electric Cooperative’s board means you’re making a difference locally, using your individual talents and perspective to guide big decisions about the co-op that in turn benefit the larger community. While day-to-day decisions are made by co-op staff, major decisions are made by the board, whose mission is to look out for the vitality of the co-op and the community it serves.
On a granular level, Arab Electric Cooperative board members typically provide input and guidance on: • Budgets • Co-op goals and direction • Co-op’s community/charitable contributions • Capital investments and upgrades in equipment and technology • Renewable investments and energy mix • Co-op’s role and involvement in economic development The energy industry is undergoing a major transition. Technology advancements and increased consumer preference for more renewable energy is driving change. Arab Electric Cooperative is facing big decisions, and board members have an opportunity to help chart a course for our future. To serve the community best, we need input from a wide range of people who represent the broad spectrum of views in our area.
Opportunity to serve
Arab Electric Cooperative’s board elections will be held in August. While you don’t need to be an expert in electricity or business to run, you do need to have a passion for the community and a willingness to actively serve and learn. We’re looking for individuals who can represent the full gamut of the members we serve. Our board meets on a regular basis, and we offer specialized training opportunities to help board members make informed decisions. Board members gain a deeper understanding of the electric utility industry, the cooperative business model and local economic development efforts. Ultimately, our board is the community pulse for the co-op and helps keep us on the right track. We love our community and want to help it thrive. If you share the same commitment and want to contribute to the greater good in a tangible way, I hope you’ll consider running for a board position. To learn more about Arab Electric’s director election process, please see the Notice of Nomination for Election of Trustee on page 5.
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| Arab EC |
NOTICE OF NOMINATION FOR ELECTION OF TRUSTEE ARAB ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. Pursuant to Article III, Section 3, “Nomination of Trustees” of the bylaws of Arab Electric Cooperative, Inc., as revised, notice is hereby given of the election of three (3) trustees at the annual meeting of the membership to be held on August 27, 2022. The districts for which these trustees are to be elected are as follows:
The following communities are located in this District: West Arab area from Highway 231 By-Pass West, Including the Pine Lake-Egypt areas. Route 10,11,12,15,16,17,28
The following communities are located in this District: Joppa, Hulaco, New Harmony, Hog Jaw, Union Hill areas. Route 29,31,32,34,35
The following communities are located in this District: Union Grove, Scant City, Snow Point, Georgia Mountain, Warrenton areas. Route 52,54,56,58,60,62
If you are a member of Arab Electric Cooperative, Inc. residing in the above geographic area as set forth by the bylaws and want to be considered as a candidate for election of trustee at the annual meeting to be held on Saturday, August 27, 2022, you are hereby notified to obtain a written petition containing the signatures of 15 or more cooperative members nominating you to be a candidate for trustee. Printed petitions shall be provided by the manager of the cooperative upon request. All petitions must be presented to the cooperative manager not less than 60 days prior to the annual meeting or by Wednesday, June 29, 2022, for posting in the headquarters building. If you have questions or desire further assistance, contact Arab Electric 256-586-3196.
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| Arab EC |
Safety tips for before, during and after the storm By Abby Berry
Storm season is in full swing. Many summer storms have the potential to produce tornadoes––they can happen anytime, anywhere, and can bring winds over 200 miles per hour. In April, a video of NBC Washington chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer went viral. During a live broadcast, Kammerer called his teenage son to warn him of a tornado that was headed straight for their home. Knowing the kids were likely playing video games and not paying attention to the weather, he told them to head straight to the basement. Kammerer debated if he should call his family on-air, but he knew it was the right thing to do. Luckily, the kids made it safely through the storm. As adults, we understand the importance of storm safety, but younger children and teens may not realize the dangers storms pose. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your family and have a storm plan in place. Here are a several tips you can share with your loved ones.
After the storm
If the power is out, conserve your phone battery as much as possible, limiting calls and texts to let others know you are safe or for emergencies only. Stay off the roads if trees, power lines or utility poles are down. Lines and equipment could still be energized, posing life-threatening risks to anyone who gets too close. Wear appropriate gear if you’re cleaning up storm debris on your property. Thick-soled shoes, long pants and work gloves will help protect you from sharp or dangerous debris left behind. Summer is a time for many fun-filled activities, but the season can also bring severe, dangerous weather. Talk to your loved ones about storm safety so that everyone is prepared and knows exactly what to do when a storm strikes.
Before the Storm
Talk to your family about what to do in the event of a severe storm or tornado. Point out the safest location to shelter, like a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of your home. Discuss the dangers of severe thunderstorms; lightning can strike 10 miles outside of a storm. Remember: when you hear thunder roar, head indoors. Make a storm kit. It doesn’t have to be elaborate––having a few items on hand is better than nothing at all. Try to include items like water, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, a First-Aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries, prescriptions, baby supplies and pet supplies. Keep all the items in one place for easy access if the power goes out.
During the storm
Pay attention to local weather alerts––either on the TV, your smartphone or weather radio––and understand the types of alerts. A thunderstorm or tornado watch means these events are possible and you should be prepared; a warning means a thunderstorm or tornado has been spotted in your area and it’s time to take action. If you find yourself in the path of a tornado, head to your safe place to shelter, and protect yourself by covering your head with your arms or materials like blankets and pillows. If you’re driving during a severe storm or tornado, do not try to outrun it. Pull over and cover your body with a coat or blanket
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Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56% of the nation’s landscape.
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| Arab EC |
Employee Spotlight Cole Hanson, Right of Way How long have you worked at Arab Electric Cooperative? Eight months.
How many different positions at AEC have you held? Just one, Right of Way.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being outside and doing a trade that I enjoy.
Where did you go to school? Albertville High School
Tell us about your family.
My beautiful wife is Madison Hanson. She really supports me & is the reason I get up and come to work each day.
What are your hobbies past & present? Gardening, chickens, hunting, & fishing.
What do you plan to do after you retire? My plans are to farm after retirement.
Of all the employees at AEC past & present Who has inspired you the most in doing your job? I am inspired by each of my co-workers.
We know everyone in our community enjoys the beauty and shade trees provide. But trees and power lines can be a dangerous mix without regular trimming during the growing season. If you see us out in the community trimming, remember the many benefits it brings: • Keeps power lines clear of tree limbs • Helps us restore power outages more quickly • Keeps crews and members of our community safe • Reduces unexpected costs for repairs Trimming improves service reliability for you, the members we serve. Alabama Living
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| Arab EC | SUMMER
STORM SAFETY WORD SEARCH
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Summer means fun in the sun! But the season can also bring strong thunderstorms. Read the storm safety tips below, then find and circle the bolded words in the puzzle below.
T K B Y J P V D H A Y L T O G
D H Q E L Q S B X R X I I N Q
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U K C Z D U P C M N I T C F H
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• If you hear thunder, that means lightning can strike nearby. Go indoors. • Wait at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder before going back outside. • During a thunderstorm, stay away from tall, isolated structures or trees, which are more susceptible to lightning strikes. 8 JUNE 2022
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X X Z E K V S L K T U G S T R
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• Avoid standing near windows during a thunderstorm. • Strong summer storms occasionally cause power outages. During an outage, it’s best to have an emergency kit on hand. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Alabama Snapshots |
Don and Jenny Westbrook’s 50th wedding anniversary, December 14, 2021. A surprise celebration given by their children and grandchildren. From left, Lige Wyatt, Donny, Paula, River, Boone, Jenny, Don, Luke, Bennett, Beverly and Carter Westbrook. SUBMITTED by Jenny Westbrook, Wetumpka.
Jimmy and Bobbie Pugh’s 66th wedding anniversary. SUBMITTED by Linda Casey, Montgomery.
John and Louise Bensinger. SUBMITTED BY Beth Mclarty, Arley.
Jack and Diane Harden celebrated their 50th Anniversary in December 2016. SUBMITTED by Allison Peacock, Ariton.
Jerry and Renee Redd celebrating their 50th anniver- Kenneth and Jimmie Pell celebrated 50 years of sary on October 18, 2020, with a gifted beach photo marriage in August 2021, pictured at their farm in shoot. SUBMITTED by April Redd, Coker. Sylvania. SUBMITTED by Leslie Harris, Rainsville.
August theme: “My boat” Deadline to submit: June 30 Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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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. JUNE 2022 9
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Spotlight | June North Alabama highlighted in new Agriculture Adventures Trail Explore the rich and diverse world of farmers, growers and makers in north Alabama with the Agriculture Adventures Trail, a new initiative to bring visitors to the area while providing family-friendly activities and supporting local businesses. The trail was unveiled in May at a ceremony at Sullivan Creek Ranch in Vinemont, a 300-acre cattle ranch that is also open to RVs and campers. The new trail includes orchards and farms, wineries, a farmers’ market and agriplex, agritourism-related festivals and craft breweries and distilleries. For a free travel planner, visit northalabama.org or call 800-648-5381. 1818 Farms in Mooresville is one of the members of the North Alabama Agriculture Adventures Trail. PHOTO COURTESY 1818 FARMS
Letters to the editor
E-mail us at: email@example.com or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
I just read your excellent story (“Hardy Jackson’s Alabama”) in the April 2022 Alabama Living and wanted you to know that it put a smile on my face as well as conjuring up my old memories of my own barbershop experiences throughout my 72 years. I have been otherwise enabled (I prefer that to disabled) for more than a decade and it was uplifting very nice to read your storytelling article this afternoon. So THANK YOU for that meaningful story, perhaps we’ll meet in a barbershop some day. Steven Schwartz, Decatur Your column brought back memories from a simpler yet wonderful time. My best memory from the old barbershop was the day I no longer had to sit on the board across the arms of the barber chair. I had “grown up.” The second and less pleasant memory was the day I decided to change my “hair style” from a GI cut to a flattop cut without consulting my Daddy. Judging from his reaction, you would have thought I was a “back from the future” refugee from Woodstock. It was a tense couple of days for me, but a source of great amusement in later years. Thanks for bringing back great memories. Merrill Shell, Brewton
Disappointed in circus column
‘The Miracle Worker’ is performed on the grounds of Ivy Green in Tuscumbia. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLBERT COUNTY TOURISM
‘The Miracle Worker’ play begins this month The drama “The Miracle Worker,” the award-winning play that recalls the childhood of Helen Keller, will be performed at the outdoor theater on the grounds of Ivy Green, Keller’s historic birthplace, on several days in June and July. Keller, who was left deaf and blind after a childhood illness, learned, with the help of gifted teacher Anne Sullivan, to read several languages in Braille. She went on to attend college, wrote 11 books and numerous articles and lectured in 39 countries on five continents. She became known as “America’s First Lady of Courage” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Ivy Green is now a museum dedicated to her memory, and thousands gather for the annual performances of the play at the home. The play will run June 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, and July 8-9 and 15-16 at 300 North Commons W., Tuscumbia. For tickets and more information, visit helenkellerbirthplace.org. 10 JUNE 2022
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It is standard practice in circuses to hit, beat, shock, chain, and whip elephants, lions, tigers, and other wild animals behind the scenes in order to scare them into performing pointless and dangerous tricks. Animals used by circuses spend most of their lives in cages or chains. They are often forced to perform while injured or ill. Being a journalist, you can discover all these claims true and learn why Ringling Brothers circus was finally put out of business due to dwindling profits because people do not want to support the cruelty. I enjoy reading your articles, but your pro-circus article (March 2022) is very disappointing. Kathryn Dalenberg, Valley Head
Hardy Jackson replies: Thank you for writing. Your point is well taken. The column was written through the eyes of a child who did not know what was going on behind the scenes. Happily, today the care of animals is more carefully controlled and from what I found out, circuses today (what few are left) are better regulated.
A great role model
Hardy, I so enjoyed your article about Coach Prim (May 2022) and his nickname for you. It brought back fond memories of HUP as the football players called him when I was in high school. I can still picture him standing in the hallway of CCHS wearing his white, short sleeve (even if it was 20 degrees) starched shirt, tie, khaki pants and his trademark saddle oxfords. Most of the time he had a toothpick in his mouth. It was rumored that he liked to watch “As The World Turns” during lunchtime as many of our mamas did! Coach Prim was a kind, wonderful man who cared about all of his students and was a great role model for his football players. Thanks for sharing this story about his influence on you. I always enjoy your stories and especially the ones about Grove Hill. Jackie Gibson Summers, Huntsville www.alabamaliving.coop
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June | Spotlight
Take us along! We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@ alabamaliving.coop. Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month. Rebecca McCarter of McKenzie took her Alabama Living along on a recent trip to Vermont where she visited the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT (“The Sound of Music” tells the story of the Von Trapp Family Singers). She’s a member of Pioneer Electric Cooperative. Terese Goodson of Montgomery, a member of Dixie Electric Cooperative, enjoyed a trip to Opatija, Croatia, and had this photo taken in front of the Operetta across from the botanical gardens.
Dr. Tib Parnell shares his Alabama Living with his great-grands Mason, Heidi, Pierce, and Banks, while vacationing in Seaside, Fl. Dr. Parnell lives in Orange Beach and Laton Hill. He is a member of Baldwin EMC and ClarkeWashington EMC. Bob Cooper of Cullman EC served with a volunteer team from Alabama Southern Baptist Disaster Relief in Romania in April helping feed and shelter Ukrainian refugees. This photo was taken on the border near Siret, Romania. Ron and Olivia Smith, members of North Alabama Electric Cooperative, traveled with their magazine last September to Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.
Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue. Submit by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25. May’s answer: According to the historical marker near the bridge: This reinforced concrete river bridge, thought to be the first in Alabama, was erected over Pea River in 1920-21 at a cost of $92,108.97. It was dedicated on Aug. 3, 1921 as a memorial to the 57 men from Dale County who lost their lives in World War I. The bridge is on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. (Photo by Mark Stephenson of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Karen Milton of Pea River EC.
Find the hidden dingbat! Our motorcycle-loving readers had no trouble finding the cycle we’d hidden on Page 26 in the May magazine. Look between the curtains and you’ll see it in the photo, just like Roxanne Riddle of Opelika, a member of Tallapoosa River EC. Roxanne was one of several readers who enjoyed the scene, “since my husband and I enjoy our Harley. We even rode it to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Park!” Our randomly drawn winner, Dale E. Arbush of Montgomery, a member of Dixie EC, is another cycle rider who spotted the bike: “I got my first scooter in 1960 and have had many cycles over the years,” he wrote. “I still ride and have a Harley Davidson Heritage shorttail. So, I am really glad I found the motorcycle on page 26 out in the yard through the curtains.” We also enjoyed hearing from Arina Ellard, 14, of Foley: “Now that I’ve taken time to find the dingbat,” she told us, “I should probably start on my homework.” This month, we’ve hidden an airplane, so take your copy on your next plane trip and use that time between stops to find the dingbat! You might be our next winner of a prize package from Alabama One Credit Union! Sponsored by
By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 By email: email@example.com
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Don’t be fooled by the name –
Dismals Canyon is an ancient beauty 12 JUNE 2022
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By Emmett Burnett
classic movie line comes to mind when massive Franklin County gates swing open, revealing 85 acres of prehistoric beauty: “Welcome to Jurassic Park.” But it is not Jurassic Park. It is real and like nothing else in Alabama. Welcome to Dismals Canyon. With the exception of designated areas, the sandstone sunken world is untouched by man. Trails weave through fern forests. Waterfalls cascade through house-size boulders. Grottos, caves, and bluffs are negotiated at every turn. “It is truly a different world,” says wildlife biologist and tour guide Britney McCaffrey, about the land that time forgot. “It never ceases to amaze me.” She is not alone. The state wonder off Highway 8 in Phil Campbell, Alabama impressed the Discovery Channel crews so much, they filmed an episode of “When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth” in this very domain. “They added raptors,” McCaffrey recalls. “It looked very real.” Dismals Canyon does not need movie effects to look real. It is real but at times hard to believe it is not an enchanted forest. “Visitors often comment, ‘I can’t believe this is here,’” McCaffrey says. “And it’s often followed by, ‘I can’t believe this is in Alabama.’” First time explorer Greg Downs, from Tupelo, Mississippi, sums up the experience. “It is just beautiful, the canyon walls, the plants, everything. I can’t describe it.” At times it feels like fantasy. Explorers gaze skyward at “rocks” wider than your house and three stories taller. Trees with attitude grow 10 feet tall before turning sideways to continue sprouting at 90-degree angles. Canyon visitors meander through labyrinths, negotiating sandstone fissures, wooden bridges, and gurgling streams. And the insects? They glow. Dismalites – not to be confused with fireflies – is the local name for North American orfelia fultoni – i.e., very rare glow bugs. They congregate on rock cavern walls emitting bright bluegreen light. At night, it’s like looking up at the stars, at times so thick they form constellations. Others claim it is as if the caves are adorned with crawling jewels.
Awaiting your exploration
During the day, visitors explore at their own pace. For most people, the 1.5-mile walking trail can be accomplished in two hours. No experience is necessary. There is no rock climbing, but paths are on uneven terrain, so watch your step. Side trails and maneuvering among sandstone fissures are downright fun. First timer Joseph Glasgow of nearby Red Bay says, “One of my favorite parts of the walk was squeezing through two giant boulders. It was impressive now that I’m through.” From the Canyon House, one descends the stairway outdoors into the Paleozoic Era. Light diffuses and dimly filters through lush treetop canopies shrouded in mystery. Even the name, “Dismals,” evokes mystery. Two theories prevail: One: The name derives from Scotch-Irish settlers, after a spot in Scotland with the same title – Dismals. Two: Visitors named it after some of the paths, dark, foreboding, and dismal.
Deep in the canyon, on the canyon floor, you’ll find the geological and biological splendor that makes Dismals Canyon worthy of its National Natural Landmark designation. At right, this 138-foot tall Eastern Canadian Hemlock is one of the largest in the world. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT
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Rainbow Falls contradicts the latter. When sunlight hits just right, the falls become a liquid prism, throwing rainbows on everything around it. The Dismals are dismal no more. In the 1800s, area churches baptized members in a pool at the falls’ bottom. By contrast, 1800s outlaws also hid just down the path to evade capture. Other bluffs, caves, and boulders are experienced throughout the journey. Grottos formed 10,000 years ago by earthquakes await exploration. Temple Cave is one such beacon of investigation. Paleo Indians found shelter here centuries earlier. They used a large rock to grind corn. It is still here. Dismals Canyon also houses sadness. Weeping Bluff has a nature-carved likeness of an Indian maiden’s face. Rain or shine, water streams from the bluff which legend says is canyon tears shed for Chickasaw Indians. In 1838 U.S. troops rounded up the Chickasaw and held them captive in the canyon before herding them to Muscle Shoals, where they began the Trail of Tears. Over 90 percent perished during the journey. The bluff cries in their memory. Over 350 types of flora and 27 species of trees including hemlock, tulip poplar, sweetgum, big leaf magnolia and beech are on the path. Ferns and moss carpet everything adding a green coating to towering stones. A Champion Tree is here. At 130 feet tall and about 400 years old, it is one of largest known eastern hemlocks in the world. The almost unblemished canyon owes its untouched existence to the massive stones that are more than majestic. They are guardians. Through decades, loggers tried to harvest the canyon’s old growth trees but reluctantly gave up. The terrain was too rugged and inaccessible for wood cutting machinery. Thank you, boulders. You rock. Above: Water roars into the canyon at Rainbow Falls. Below: The entrance gate welcomes visitors to the Dismals Canyon on Highway 8 in Phil Campbell, Alabama. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT
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In addition to walking trails, site offerings include cabins/ camping, a country store and night tours (to see glowing dismalites). However, like everything else in the world, before visiting, check the site’s website – dismalscanyon.com – for the latest COVID-19 compliance status. The canyon is not a national or state park, but privately owned. In 1975 it was designated a National Natural Landmark, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Allow at least a half day to visit and take your time. There is no need to hurry. Dismals Canyon will wait, just as it has for 300 million years.
Left: The exterior of one of the cabins on the property. It appears rustic on the outside, but inside boasts luxury and privacy. Above: the country store features a comfortable gathering area. Below, a 1.5-mile hiking trail on the canyon floor follows a stream through boulders, past waterfalls and into a secret world filled with ferns and giant trees. PHOTOS BY CHRIS GRANGER/ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT
Explore state’s natural beauty Alabama is home to a rich landscape of geologic treasures, of which the Dismals Canyon is but one. During 2022, the National Parks Service is celebrating the International Year of Caves and Karst, making it the perfect time to get out and explore the terrain of our state by visiting a cavern, canyon, cave or karst (land formation formed by the dissolving of limestone) location near you. And June 5-11 is National Cave Week, with some venues planning special events and discounts during that time. Among them is Majestic Caverns in Childersburg, formerly known as DeSoto Caverns which will kick off its name change celebration June 3-6 (see “Around Alabama,” page 29, for details). More information is available at northalabama.org or alabama.travel.
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Steve Hall’s legacy lives on
Two friends continue cooking up fun on “Shotgun Red” show At top, comedian Steve Hall with his stuffed sidekick, Shotgun Red. The wise-cracking puppet was Hall’s co-host on the TV talk show “Nashville Now” from the 1980s through 1993. Shotgun Red had a role in another show Hall created, called “The Shotgun Red Variety Show,” co-hosted by “Miss Sheila” (Sheila Keeton). Below, Keeton and friend Jennifer Bruce currently star in “Cooking with Shotgun Red” on the show’s YouTube channel. PHOTOS COURTESY SHEILA KEETON
By Jennifer Kornegay
rom 2014 to 2018, Sheila Keeton could often be seen joining her fiancé, musician and comedian Steve Hall, at the end of his cooking show, “Cooking with Shotgun Red.” He’d offer her a bite, and she’d happily taste whatever Hall had whipped up, be it a homemade chocolate malt, a frozen lemonade pie or a Tex-Mex tater tot casserole. Then, in 2018, Hall passed away. Keeton, who lives in Red Bay, Alabama, and is a
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member of Franklin Electric Cooperative, knew Hall, the consummate entertainer, would want the show to go on. So, she asked their friend Jennifer Bruce to join her, and the duo decided to keep the oven on. “I just knew he’d want the show to keep going; he was so proud of it,” Keeton says. In 2018, the “Cooking with Shotgun Red” had 116,000 YouTube subscribers. Today, it has close to 400,000, and both Bruce and Keeton credit this success to
their adherence to Hall’s no-fail recipe for a successful show: Mix equal parts food and fun. The two ladies are always laughing, and every episode has a friendly, almost festive feel. Fun was an integral ingredient in everything Hall did, including the creation of his stuffed sidekick, Shotgun Red. Starting in the early 1980s, Hall’s wise-cracking, joke-telling puppet was a fixture in the country music world. Hall happened upon www.alabamaliving.coop
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Comedian Steve Hall loved cooking for others. After making a few videos for Alabama-based Buckmasters, Hall created “Cooking With Shotgun Red” that featured his country cooking.
the puppet that he turned into Red in a hobby store. He bought him, put a cowboy hat atop his head, and created (and voiced) the Red character to help his band at the time stand out. “He wanted to have something to get them some attention, to be different,” Keeton says, “so he’d do these little comedy bits with Red. People loved it.” Red was funny enough to get himself and Hall noticed in a “battle of the bands” competition, which earned Red the co-host spot on The Nashville Network’s television talk show “Nashville Now” from 1983 to 1993. Hall and Red also made regular appearances on “Hee Haw.” On a country music video show that Hall hosted called “Country Clips,” Red often conducted the interviews, chatting with crooning legends like Garth Brooks and Randy Travis. Hall then created another program to showcase Red as well as other talent, “The Shotgun Red Variety Show,” which Keeton, called “Miss Sheila,” co-hosted. It aired for four seasons, until 2014. For 15 years, amid all the TV shows and appearances, Hall and Red also did their musical comedy act aboard the “General Jackson Showboat” in Nashville. Bruce was a vocalist in the Shotgun Red Band and managed “The Shotgun Red Variety Show.”
From the small screen to the computer screen
While Hall loved making folks smile with both his music and Red’s humor, he also loved to cook for others. “Sharing his food with people was truly one of his favorite things to do,” Keeton says. Plus, he was an avid hunter and fisherman. So, when Jackie Bushman, founder of the huge Montgomery, Alabama-based hunting brand Buckmasters, asked Hall and Red to make a 18 JUNE 2022
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few cooking videos for his television show, Hall was excited to oblige. That experience sparked the idea for a new venture, and “Cooking with Shotgun Red” was born. In 2014, Hall created the show’s YouTube channel, and for four years, he walked viewers through his favorite “country cooking” dishes, filming and airing more than 300 episodes. Keeton felt the work and devotion Hall had put into the show deserved to be honored. “We started it all from scratch, and I helped, so I didn’t want to let it go,” Keeton says. “I wanted to carry on his legacy.” “And people were asking for it,” Bruce adds. “They were fans of the cooking and of Sheila too.” Bruce brought her years of friendship, her background in music and video production and her own cooking skills to the table to help. “I just felt like it was a great way to honor Steve,” she says. Together, they are continuing to share Hall’s food, using some of his recipes, some of their own and some from family and friends. They’re also paying attention to what their audience wants and giving them more of what really resonates. “We recently did a slow-cooker lemon chicken and got more than 100,000 views in the first week,” Bruce says. Another popular show featured chicken-fried chicken with homemade gravy. The first 307 episodes, all featuring Hall, are still available on the channel, and show him making his greatest hits, like rabbit stew, seared flat iron steak with butter, beer-battered onion rings and his take on how to make copycat McDonald’s French fries, which now has more than 3.5 million views. No matter where each recipe originated, Keeton and Bruce ensure Hall remains a focal point. “We’ve heard from viewers how much they love still feeling like he is a part of it, so we make an effort to do that,” Keeton says. “He always told stories and jokes while he cooked, so we do that too, tell his tales and his jokes.” But Red is now retired. “Shotgun Red is our mascot, but we didn’t feel it was right to have him back on the show,” Bruce says. “Steve was Red,” Keeton adds. Today, fans can find more than 430 episodes, and the number keeps growing. “We put a new episode up pretty much every week,” Bruce says. And they feel that they’re continuing to grow too. “It’s rewarding to try and make every show better than the last for our viewers. That keeps us going, and the comments we get from them, telling us how much they love the recipes and just the show itself, that’s very rewarding,” Keeton said.
Chicken fried chicken with homemade gravy, one of Hall’s creations for the show.
Hall actually makes an appearance at the end of each episode, signing off with his signature line: “Is this the best? If it ain’t, it ought to be!” According to Keeton, keeping Hall’s memory alive, and sharing his zest for life with the world, is the best part of her work. “He loved this show so much, and we feel his presence every time we film,” Keeton says.
You can watch “Cooking With Shotgun Red” any time by visiting the YouTube channel at youtube. com/c/CookingwithShotgunRed/featured. And, if you want more, visit shotgunred.com to check out the two “Cooking With Shotgun Red” cookbooks. Both are filled with recipes featured on the show, including appetizers, burgers, entrees, desserts and even some wild game recipes.
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From left, Lakyn Weems, Hogan Williamson, Judy Snead and Eli Snead have fun feeding some of the chickens at Snead’s farm. PHOTOS BY TONIA R. WILLIAMSON/LIFE IN THE SHUTTER PHOTOGRAPHY
City girl turned full-time farmer shares passion for animals and education By Jennifer Crossley Howard
n a recent cold spring day, goldenrod glowed against dull, gray skies and porch swings floated idle on the county roads that lead to Snead’s Farmhouse. Judy Snead – farmer, educator, animal wrangler – walked to the side of her house and greeted her flock. “Mama’s here!” she called with glee as she opened the gate. On command, a menagerie of chickens, pigs, ducks, peacocks, roosters and white turkeys came running with the enthusiasm of puppies. Every creature is welcome at Snead’s Farmhouse, amongst the crowing, oinking, cackling and mooing, and whatever sounds an alpaca makes. These farm animals educate their Cullman County community and beyond about how they grow, and what it takes to run a small farm. So many of these species thrive together rather than being segregated, a typical farm practice. The notion of inclusivity, along with teaching and sharing the pleasures of how such a farm works, is what led to Snead reaching out to the public and schools.
of a pandemic. Her husband, a welder and carpenter, was transferred from Stapleton to north Alabama. Snead’s stepdad was sick and moved with the family in April 2019. When they arrived at their new homestead deep in the woods of Cullman County, Snead was out of her element. “I am not a farmer,” she said, dressed in a barn coat and thick-soled boots. “I grew up in the city. I was in sales and wore heels.” There was a simple wooden chicken coop behind their house that hadn’t been touched in a minute. “I didn’t know anyone, and I couldn’t leave the house because of care taking,” Snead says. “I was depressed, and my husband said, ‘Why don’t you get some chickens?’” She asked him why she’d want to do that, and he told her fresh eggs. “I said, ‘I’m not eating any eggs that come out of a chicken’s butt — mine are clean and come from (the grocery store),’” Snead says, laughing. She has since eaten her own words, in a sense.
“I think I’m going through a midlife crisis. Most people get a Corvette. I got a farm.”
It was the pale pastel blue-, gray- and clay-colored eggs that drew her to invest in more chickens, to expand her palette of eggs. Discovering fuzzy-footed chicks with huge hair didn’t hurt. “I thought, ‘Oh dear Jesus I’ve got to have that,’” Snead says, laughing. That led to collecting more species of chickens including Silkies, Tolbunt Polish and Cuckoo. “The more froufrou the chicken is, the harder it is to raise,” Snead says. Then she decided she had to have a rooster. Then her husband’s
Snead’s Farmhouse, a member of Cullman Electric Cooperative, is a 501C3 nonprofit educational farm that sits down many a winding road between Old Highway 31 and Alabama 157. It sprang unintentionally, and in Judy Snead’s case, in the middle 20 JUNE 2022
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Farm animals find homes at Snead’s
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cousin gave her Dexter, a Hereford British beef cow, and he had to have a mate, named Dei Dei. Then Penny Lane the duck came along, followed by exotic white turkeys and peacocks. Her husband built a fence at some point, she said, indirectly egging on her collection. Later came Leroy Brown, a mischievous donkey that trots around the pasture not unlike a dog, and a couple of alpacas and goats. Snead visits schools and gives tours to schools all over the state, including ones from Hartselle, Cullman and Tuscaloosa, Pleasant Grove and Adamsville. She educates her young students about egg incubation — sponsored by Chambers Farm and Garden Supply — and hosts home school classes and field trips for mentally ill and terminally ill adults. “It’s just fun, and they’re all so excited,” Snead says. A script for a traveling puppet show written by Troy University theater students is in the works. In the beginning, Snead grasped to find what she wanted the farm’s mission to be. “What do I teach kids?” Snead says. “I can’t be a petting zoo. I’ve got to teach them something.” The multitude of farm animal personalities live in harmony, not despite of but perhaps because of their differences. Penny Lane, a disabled duck, hobbles about, and Susie Q the chicken flies to Snead and in return Snead sings her lullabies when it’s time for sleep. The animals even help raise each other. A duck sits on a chicken’s eggs, and a baby goat stays with a mother alpaca during the day and goes home to nurse with mom. “She encourages her independence,” Snead says. “Our job is to love.”
His wife said he soldiered through after a hernia surgery and tolerating new furry family members. “It usually takes about three days before I realize and ask, ‘where did that come from?’” Shane Snead says. Some elderly visitors come to settle into rocking lawn chairs that overlook the animals and just watch. The pigs are so used to playing chase with children that they skip over to visitors teasing them to run. Perhaps the most apparent personality on this farm is Judy Snead herself. Flame-haired and enthusiastic, she dreamed of being a Broadway dancer growing up. These days her stage is a vast green field in Cullman County, and her audience is loud, furry and quite adoring. “My kids are in shock,” Snead says. “I think I’m going through a midlife crisis. Most people get a Corvette. I got a farm.” She said showing her young adult children the result of hard work is worth it all. “They know I’ve finally found my purpose.”
The farm’s first visitors came in March 2021, and outside interest seemed to follow an organic growth. At first, short tours of the small farm helped pay for upkeep. Later, other sponsors, including two feed companies, covered $600 a month feed bills and $160 a month for hay. Chris Chambers, co-owner of Chambers Farm & Garden Supply in Cullman, decided to sponsor Snead for a few reasons. She is a customer, and the sponsorship allowed him to encourage use of a northern seed company not as commonly used in Alabama. She organized Chambers’ Fall Festival last year, and he admires her mission to educate. “You can learn anything at any age,” he says. Yet not everyone was a fan. Some local farmers and others from online farm message boards Snead looked to for advice often gave her one response — don’t. “I’m breaking the rules about having chickens and people on my property,” Snead says. But because she isn’t farming for food, she invites people to tour and learn. Criticism led to tears, but her husband told her, chin up. “I didn’t plan this, God did,” Snead says. “So I stood up, brushed myself off and kept going.” It’s her husband, Shane, who Judy attributes to making Snead’s Farmhouse possible. “My husband is my biggest supporter,” she says. “This is what I cherish the most,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. “When I’d bring home a new animal, I’d say, ‘just trust me.’ He allowed me to be me. This is me.” Shane Snead, with his firm handshake and John Deere hoodie and cap, seems equally at home on the farm. “We have to tag team,” he says. The days of vacations away are over for now. Getting animals ready for bed takes a small village. “It’s worse than a full-time job,” Shane Snead said, grinning. Judy Snead with one of her “froufrou” chickens on her farm in Cullman County.
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| Worth the drive |
Hefty sandwiches hallmark of thriving beach deli
Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay
he pandemic caused massive suffering and countless hardships all over the globe. But, as is the case with so many dark clouds, there have been silver linings. One of them glints brightly in Gulf Shores: The Beli. The outside of the The Beli, with its rainbow-lettered sign and cute cottage-like style, will make your mouth turn up in a smile. The action inside The Beli will make you glad too; this time the happiness happens to your taste buds, with the small kitchen turning out hefty sandwiches stuffed with creative combos of super-fresh ingredients that are big on taste, like the Big Momma, a behemoth of provolone, feta, turkey and jalapenos smothered in raspberry jam and hot sauce. But if not for COVID-19, The Beli likely wouldn’t exist. It opened in April 2021 and is the result of a series of “right place, right time” moments. Owner Anna Beth Ryan grew up in Gadsden, Alabama, and after college, went to culinary school in New York City. After graduation, she went to work for famed chef Tom Colicchio at his restaurant Riverpark in Manhattan. All was well,
with her cooking career moving along. “And then 2020 happened,” Ryan says. Everyone at the restaurant got laid off, but everyone involved believed it was temporary. The 28-year-old came home to Gadsden, and then with her grandmother and other family members, decided to quarantine at the family’s beach house in Gulf Shores. “I thought I’d be down there for about two weeks,” she says. Four months later, she was still in Gulf Shores and getting restless. A small turquoise building was being constructed down the street from her family’s house, and she stopped in to ask what it was going to be. “It was near us, and I was just curious,” she says. “The owners told me they wanted it to be a restaurant, and then they asked me what I thought it should be.” Ryan quickly walked them through what she would do with the space and explained exactly how she’d do it. “I said it needed to be a sandwich shop; there aren’t many down here, and while seafood is great at the beach, sometimes, you do want something else.” They ate up everything Ryan said, and not much later, called
Anna Beth Ryan, owner of The Beli, is serving big, savory sandwiches in Gulf Shores.
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Ryan and said her concept The Nut-Ella (also on the won. “I didn’t know that was breakfast menu) is a cook what was happening when she worked with in New York I was talking to them; I was City. “She always made us just sharing my thoughts,” melted Nutella sandwiches she says. “They’d already when we got home really late heard from a few national after work,” Ryan says. The chains but thought my ideas Miss V is a combo. “It’s my were better, and here we are.” grandmother’s feisty dog and The Beli’s name is a mashan old friend Victoria who up of “beach deli,” and its The Beli is a casual, open-air “beach deli” that also offers outdoor seating. loves pimento cheese,” Ryan firm foundation is Ryan’s says. It and the Big Momma basic food philosophy: Simpler is better and fresh is everything. are usually the best sellers. “Fresh ingredients are so key to good food. You just have to care The food is the main draw, but the location is prime too. “I enough to build your food around that,” she says. absolutely love this spot,” Ryan says. “The only thing that would And build is an appropriate verb to use. The Beli’s huge sandmake it better is if my deli was right on the beach.” A little over a wiches are not made, they are constructed. The Miss V, with thick year since it opened, The Beli is already expanding, adding more smears of spicy pimento cheese, mounds of sliced turkey and seating and room for live music. And Ryan is determined to get rounds of salami topped with lettuce, tomato and her food “right on the beach,” too, with plans to do some bike chive mayo on toasted sourdough, weighs in at aldeliveries to the area’s West beach. most a pound. While Ryan hopes The Beli diners taste the fresh difference and The afore-mentioned Big Momma is large and feel satisfied enough when they leave to plan a return visit, she in charge too. According to Ryan, it’s her in sandalso wants them to engage with her enthusiasm for serving her wich form. “All of my sandwiches are named after guests well. “I want you to love the food, but I want you to know friends and family. It’s either kinda who I think how much I want you to love it,” she says. “I want you to taste that they are or made up of their favorite things,” she passion and want to come back for more.” She’s formed a hospitality company, Mouth of the South, and says. The Dave-O (a breakfast sammy with spicy has plans to open additional restaurants in the future. “I want to pimento cheese, a fried egg and bacon on toast) get this running right, then be able to do some other ventures, is Ryan’s cousin. but that is a few years off,” she says. For now, she’s happy in Gulf Shores. The next time you’re visiting Alabama’s beaches, make The Beli your way to The Beli. Your belly will be happy, too. 408 West Beach Blvd. Gulf Shores, AL 251-224-1053 thebeligs.com Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-3pm
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Faster processing of disability claims for people with Alzheimer’s disease
urrently, more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Since the onset of Alzheimer’s can occur in people before they retire, it may strike during an individual’s working years, preventing gainful employment as the disease progresses. As a result, people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers must figure out how they’ll pay for care. Our benefits and services are vital to people with early-onset Alzheimer’s who are unable to Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
work and have no other source of income. For more than a decade, Social Security has included early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in our list of Compassionate Allowances program. The program identifies debilitating diseases and medical conditions so severe they meet our disability standards. Compassionate Allowances allow for faster processing of disability claims for individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and several other neurodegenerative disorders. You can read more about our Compassionate Allowances program at ssa.gov/compassionateallowances. To learn more about how Social Security disability insurance works and to apply for benefits, visit our disability page at ssa.gov/disability. Please share these resources with friends and family.
by Myles Mellor
Across 1 One of father’s roles for the wife and family 6 Give a title to 8 Sharing pronoun 9 Hole in one 10 We make them for trips to the grocery 11 Shirt part 12 “___ alive!” 13 Dad in slang 15 Drink that could be a Father’s Day gift 16 Surprised expression 18 “Bald” bird often seen in Pickwick, Wheeler and Guntersville lakes 20 Paths for family outings 21 “Father of the National Parks” John ____ 22 Forthright and truthful: great attribute for a father 24 Gulf Shores beach features 27 Where dad often cooks the BBQ 28 Den is often one for Dad 29 Short form of Dad 30 Cancels, with “out” 32 Delicious 33 A child might make this type of drawing of the family for Dad Down 1 Bread-winner 2 Gumbo vegetables 3 A good father sets a good one for his kids 4 Classic Father’s Day gift 5 Good dads are great ___ models 6 Tough love from Dad 7 Shrubs for father’s garden 14 Indian dress 17 Diligence, 2 words 19 Caves 20 Educates one-on-one 21 Alabama neighbor, abbr. 23 High strength adhesive used in many of dad’s DIY projects 25 Hidden money 26 See 31 Measurement of distance, abbr. 28 JUNE 2022
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June | Around Alabama
Clanton 2022 Chilton County Peach Jam Jubilee, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Clanton City Park. Free event with live music from Drake White and Kasey Tyndall. Arts, crafts and food vendors, with kids’ activities and inflatables. 205755-2400 or email email@example.com
Guntersville Guntersville Lake Hydrofest. Watch today’s fastest boats race four and five wide on an oval course at speeds of 200 mph. Two days of competitive racing as drivers vie to take home the Southern Cup title. For ticket information, visit ExploreLakeGuntersville.Com
Guntersville Lake HydroFest brings the tradition of powerboat racing to Marshall County. PHOTO BY CHRIS DENSLOW
Haleyville 9-1-1 Festival. Country music star Sara Evans will play at 9 p.m. Friday; Saturday events begin at 8 a.m. Arts, crafts, merchandise and food vendors, free kids zone, cornhole tournament, 9-1-1 and First Responder Awards, open mic Saturday featuring local artists and groups, car show and parade. Event commemorates the first 9-1-1 system, which was launched in Haleyville in 1968. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.
Bessemer QuiltFest 2022, presented by the Birmingham Quilters Guild. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bessemer Civic Center. Judged quilt show, 300+ quilts, vendors, guild boutique and more. Silent auction benefits Lakeshore Foundation. Bhamquilters.com or 985-788-3015.
Georgiana 2022 Hank Williams Festival, Hank Williams Music Park. A full schedule of musical artists, including headliners Gene Watson on Friday and Neal McCoy on Saturday. Arts, crafts and food all weekend. HankWilliamsFestival.com
Childersburg DeSoto Caverns will change its name to Majestic Caverns with a celebration featuring live entertainment. The three-day event will kick off National Cave Week and National Cave Day on June 6. Online tickets are half off when using the promo code Majestic. Parking is free; ages 3 and under are also free. MajesticCaverns.com
Alabaster Alabaster CityFest, Thompson High School, 1921 Warrior Parkway. Event is celebrating its 20th year with musical entertainment, classic car show, hands-on arts and crafts, inflatables, children’s activities and more. Free. Gates open at 9 a.m. and close after the last act. AlabasterCityfest.com
Orrville BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) tour of Old Cahawba, 10 a.m., $8. Old Cahawba is Alabama’s most famous ghost town, and in 1819 was the state’s first capital. 9518 Cahaba Road, Orrville. Bring water and snacks. For more information, visit ahc.alabama.gov or call 334872-8058.
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Oneonta 20th annual June Fling, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 100 booths, a cruise-in for all kinds of vehicles, a Kidz Fun Zone, live music and entertainment on two stages all day. Free. OneontaBusinessAssociation.com
Fort Payne 9th annual Bluegrass on the Rim, Little River Canyon Center. Several performers, including Three on a String and Foggy Hollow. Bring folding chairs and blankets; pets and coolers welcome. Barbecue and other vendors on site. Adult tickets $25 in advance, $30 day of show; student tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. See the event’s page on Facebook.
Bessemer Central Alabama Caribbean American Association (CACAO) annual carnival, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Debardelaben Park. Parade, music, food and fun. 205-683-5324 or cacaoonline.org
Marion 27th annual Marion Rodeo, Perry County Cattlemen’s Ralph Eagle Memorial Arena, highways 5 and 14 in Perry County. Gates open at 6 p.m.; mutton bustin’ at 6:30 p.m.; little wranglers at 7:15 p.m.; main event at 7:30 p.m. Produced by 3R Rodeo Company of Jemison with announcer Jerry Byrd and rodeo clown TJ Williams. 334-410-0748.
Henagar 40th Annual Sand Mountain Potato Festival, Henagar City Park. Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Limon’s Restaurant in Henagar. Festival includes live entertainment, craft vendors, food vendors, and game vendors for the kids. Free entry and entertainment. Fireworks display at 9 p.m. 256-657-6282.
Cullman Smith Lake Park Fireworks and Music Festival, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 403 County Road 386. Arts and crafts, food, live music, golf cart parade and fireworks. The park will have putt-putt, beach area, pool and kayaks, canoes and paddle boards for rental. $5 per person. Search for the event on Facebook or call 256739-2916.
Brewton Blueberry Festival at Jennings Park, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Arts and crafts and food vendors, blueberry ice cream, cobbler and crunch, blueberries and blueberry bushes for sale, antique/classic car show, free children’s fun section, live entertainment and more. 251-8673224.
Grand Bay 48th annual Grand Bay Watermelon Festival, Grand Bay Odd Fellows Festival Park. 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. On Sunday, there will be vendors, rides and entertainment and a non-denominational worship service about 6 p.m. On the Fourth, there will be free all-youcan-eat watermelon, children’s entertainment, a car show and “pretty baby” contest. GrandBayWatermelonFestival.org
Foley 6th annual Corn Festival Car Show, hosted by the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermans Market. Charity event benefits Camp Seale Harris Southeastern Juvenile Diabetes Education Services. Free for spectators. 251-284-1223 or visit gulfshores.com
Gulf Shores Independence Day Celebration, Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier, 20800 E. Beach Blvd. Pier will close at 7 a.m. for fireworks setup; fireworks show begins at 9 p.m. Free. 251-967-3474.
Union Springs “Honky Tonk Laundry” at the Red Door Theatre. Featuring the songs of country music’s most famous ladies, the musical tells the story of Lana Mae and Katie, who turn their good ol’ laundromat into a bootscootin’ honky tonk. 334738-8687 or visit RedDoorTheatre.org for ticket information. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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| Alabama People |
Maj. Gen. Sheryl E. Gordon
Leading the Guard Major General Sheryl E. Gordon is the first female to become adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, having been named to the position in 2017. She advises the governor on military affairs and commands the Alabama Army and Air National Guard and its more than 12,000 citizen soldiers and airmen. Gordon, who holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College, Auburn University Montgomery and the Army War College, was commissioned in 1981 through the Alabama Military Academy. She became the Alabama National Guard’s first female general officer in 2009. She previously served as Assistant Adjutant General and Commander of 62nd Troop Command in Montgomery, and has been awarded numerous medals and badges. Gordon was kind enough to answer a few questions for Alabama Living. – Lenore Vickrey Tell us about your growing-up years, where you went to school, and a little about your family. I was born and raised in Selma and graduated from Selma High School. I come from a family deeply rooted in the military and later married into a family with deep military roots. My father and brother were both officers in the Alabama National Guard— my father, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard and my brother, a brigadier general in the Army National Guard. So, of course, I had to become an officer too. My husband is a retired lieutenant colonel. How did your years as a high school chemistry teacher and vice principal prepare you for your career in the Guard? The most rewarding part of my journey has been witnessing the military, civilian, and personal successes of young soldiers and airmen. It is very similar to my experiences as a high school teacher and administrator. You are always pleased to see that your students have become confident and productive members of society. I view my job now, just as I did in education, to provide the soldiers and airmen the proper training and opportunities for them to excel in their lives. I believe it is important that everyone have a mentor and be a mentor. I had several mentors guiding me along the way. As a current Guardsman, retired high school teacher and administrator, I’ve always considered myself a mentor for our younger generation. What is a typical day like for you? I start early. This is the best time to exercise, catch up on reading, and plan the day. Many of
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my days consist of meetings and calls. The best days are when I visit our Guardsmen training in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia or overseas performing a mission. In an interview in 2017, you said the biggest challenge for the Alabama National Guard was readiness. Is that still the case? Readiness is central to the Alabama National Guard vision, mission, and priorities. This means people first. I said it in 2017 and it is true today, if you don’t have the personnel, your training plan can be great, but if you don’t have anyone to train, it doesn’t make a difference. Because readiness is about our people, it is important to care for the things that matter most to them. For example, we remain committed to taking care of our soldiers, airmen, families, and civilian employees. We do this by listening to their needs and when possible, providing new opportunities and benefits. When soldiers and airmen know the family is taken care of, we can focus on living the Army and Air values, training for state and federal missions, and strengthening our alliances and partnerships to sustain long-term success in wartime and peace. What’s the most important thing about the Guard that you want the people of Alabama to know? I want the community to understand that the guard is there to support them on a state and national level. Guardsmen volunteer their services; yes, they get paid, but first they must be willing to raise their right hand and take an oath to preserve and protect. When Covid-19 hit, soldiers and airmen worked together in rural communities giving vaccines to those in need. Guardsmen assisted in nursing homes, at the same time they responded to Hurricane Ida and held a presence against civil unrest. The most important thing for the people of Alabama to know about the Guard is we are always ready and always there. How do you decompress after a week at work? What are your hobbies? I enjoy decompressing at the lake, Orange Beach, most anywhere there is sun and water. Although I don’t get to do it as often as I would like, quail and deer hunting are hobbies I learned while growing up in Selma. I also enjoy reading, cooking and flower gardening.
PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA NATIONAL GUARD
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| Gardens |
Ask for help with vacation-proof gardening
t’s gardening season. Yay! Here are a few tips: And it’s vacation season. • Water outdoor plants Also, yay! But as much as deeply and slowly and we look forward to both seamulch them to retain water sons, their overlap can pose and suppress weeds. a dilemma for us gardeners. • Put houseplants in Left unsupervised, garcooler indoor rooms and/or dens, landscapes and houseplace them on damp towels plants are at risk of witherin a tub or sink. ing away or running amok, • Move outside containand no one wants to come erized plants to cooler, shadhome from a relaxing holier locations such as under iday to find dead or dying an awning or covered porch. plants or a vegetable garden • Use timers on hosfilled with overripe, rotten es and irrigation systems, produce. Thankfully there though it’s a good idea to let are ways to have our vacaa friend or neighbor know tions and our gardens, too. you’re going to be out of The most foolproof option town in case an obvious leak is to engage a garden sitter. occurs. Much like house or pet sit• Pick all ripe and nearters, garden sitters are part of ly ripe produce right before a lucrative and growing seryou leave. vice industry that’s especial• If you know well ahead ly popular among folks who of time when you’re travtake long-term seasonal trips eling, consider staggering (snowbirds who fly south for planting dates for annual the winter and north for the vegetables to time their masummer, for example). turity around your return. But even short-term trav• Thoroughly weed and elers can benefit from hav- An irrigation system with a timer is one way to ensure proper watering when mow just before you go. ing boots and gloves on the you're away. ground in their absence, Lots of additional tips few extra chores for a little extra pay. Or whether it’s an experienced landscape and details about vacation-proofing your consider bartering a deal with friends and manager, a reliable high school or college plants and landscape are available online family willing to be paid with all the prostudent in need of summer work or simor check with your local Cooperative Exduce, herbs or cut flowers they can gather ply a fellow gardener who’s willing to help tension office, Master Gardener associin your absence. Another idea is to arout. (Some sitters may also be willing to ation or garden center experts. Then do range a sitter swap with your gardening pick up mail, newspapers and packages, your best to relax and rest up for the rest pals — they’ll help you while you’re away keep an eye on the house and even pet sit of the gardening season and year. if you’ll do the same for them. as well.) To streamline the process for your sitFiguring out how much to pay a sitter JUNE TIPS ter, develop a list of chores you want comdepends on the level of expertise and fre• Plant sweet potatoes as well as beans, pleted and walk through the list and your quency of visits needed and will add to corn, melons, peas, okra and other landscape a few days before you depart the cost of a vacation. But you can make summer vegetables. to show them the lay of the landscape init more affordable if you tap into local re• Fertilize most shrubs, newly planted trees, annuals and perennials. cluding where tools are kept and any spesources. For example, if you already have • Keep bird feeders and baths cleaned and cial techniques you want them to use. You a landscape maintenance company on filled. can also improve efficiency for them by your payroll, they may be willing to do a • Repot houseplants. doing things like grouping potted plants • Stake tall flowers and vegetables. close together to make watering easier. Katie Jackson is a freelance • Keep an eye out for disease and pest If engaging a sitter isn’t possible, there writer and editor based in issues. Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at are ways to leave your plants on their own email@example.com. • Keep weeding! recognizance. 32 JUNE 2022
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An occasional feature focusing on healthy habits, gadgets and recipes. Send comments or ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven simple steps to a healthier lifestyle • Get active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, spread out over several days. • Eat better. Make sure your diet is colorful and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. • Maintain a healthy weight. • Cholesterol control. Adding color to your diet, exercising more and eating smart can help lower cholesterol levels. • Control blood pressure. • Blood glucose (sugar) control. Cut added sugar by checking nutrition labels and reducing sugary drinks and sweets. • Stop smoking. Smoking puts you at risk of multiple diseases. Courtesy of heart.org, via the Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
Aloha Chicken 6 2 2 ¾ 2 2 2
Cooking spray skinless chicken thighs teaspoons chili powder teaspoons garlic powder cup sweet barbecue sauce teaspoons salt teaspoons pepper 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained cups sliced red pepper
The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is growing at an alarming rate, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Ten percent of people over the age of 65 have the disease, and two-thirds of them are women. Someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s every minute. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Learn more about the “go purple” movement and how you can raise awareness at alz.org
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and set it to the side. In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken on both sides with the mixture and place the chicken on the sheet. Top the chicken with barbecue sauce and spread the peppers and pineapple around the chicken. Bake for 40 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Try serving over cooked whole-grain rice. Recipe courtesy of Live Well Alabama, a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAPEd) initiative developed by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University. Learn more at LiveWellAlabama.com
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| Consumer Wise |
What you need to know before going solar Q:
I am considering a solar array on the roof of my home. What steps should I take with efficiency and energy savings in mind?
When I tell people I work in energy efficiency, one of the first responses I hear is, “Oh, I’m thinking about getting solar installed on my house.” I hear it around campfires, meeting other parents at the park and on the ride to the airport. Most people don’t realize solar is not energy efficiency. Solar is generating energy. Energy efficiency is finding ways to use less energy. I can see the association because both are thought of as beneficial to the environment and a way to save money. My follow-up question is, “What are your motivations for installing solar?” In my experience, people are motivated by saving money, concern for the environment or both. Focusing first on energy efficiency addresses both motivations. Here are considerations if you are interested in installing solar.
Before adding a solar array to your roof, make sure you take into account energy efficiency and cost-savings.
Solar systems are sized based on a home’s energy needs. The larger the system, the higher the cost. Before installing solar, make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. That means it will use less energy and allow you to install a smaller solar system—which will save money and reduce your home’s environmental impact. Verify the efficiency of your lighting, HVAC systems and insulation. A fully insulated and air-sealed home uses less energy, and those measures are less expensive than solar panels. Finish these energy efficiency projects before installing solar.
PHOTO COURTESY MIKE TEEGARDEN, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES
A solar system doesn’t last forever. Lifespans range from 25 to 30 years. As systems degrade over time, they produce less energy. Maintenance and repairs may be needed.
Electric bills and storage
Consider your overall out-of-pocket expenses. The expected lifespan of a heating and cooling system is 15 to 25 years. Check the age and condition of your HVAC equipment and consider the expenses of replacement. If something happens, will you be able to afford to fix or replace it?
Solar is not “off the grid.” Unless you plan to disconnect from your electric co-op, you will still receive a monthly bill. Solar panels only produce power when the sun is shining. If you want power to your home at other times, like after dark, you need to be connected to your electric co-op or invest in battery storage system — that comes at an additional cost. During power outages, don’t assume solar panels will supply you with power. Typical solar interconnection to the grid requires the panels to shut down during a power outage. This protects lineworkers from injury while making repairs.
Contact your electric co-op
Consider the age, orientation and shade of your roof. It is more difficult — and expensive — to reroof a home with solar panels. Will the roof need to be replaced before the solar panels need to be replaced? The best orientation for solar panels is south facing to receive direct light throughout the day. A shaded roof helps keep your home cool in the summertime but reduces solar energy production. Miranda Boutelle is the director of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group, which partners with electric utilities to provide energy efficiency services to members. She writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.
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Solar contractors often work in several utility service territories and may not be familiar with your co-op’s offerings, rate structures and interconnection agreements. Before signing an agreement, check with your electric co-op for local information rather than relying on what the contractor says. As with any other system for your home, I recommend getting bids from three contractors to compare equipment and pricing. Another option may be community-owned solar. Many electric co-ops offer community solar programs. You may have an option to enjoy the benefits of solar without the responsibilities of ownership and maintenance. Understanding these considerations before installing solar will ensure you meet your money-saving and environmental goals. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Pet Health |
Enclose your yard to keep dogs safe A well-built, permanent enclosure can protect your four-legged friend.
few months ago, I got a call from a concerned woman near Atlanta. She said that her elderly uncle lives near us and his two dogs escaped. We posted pictures on our FB page immediately. In about 3 hours, she texted us saying that they found them; someone had shot and killed both dogs. I have had farmer clients who said when they see dogs in their cow pasture, these dogs tend to get a “heart attack.” The casual nature of these statements shocked me. About four years ago when we were just starting out here, a group of young folks drove up. They said they were thinking about getting a new dog as theirs had recently been hit by a car. I tried to bring up the concept of a fence. They said they do not believe in keeping dogs enclosed as dogs are supposed to be free. I was dumbfounded as they had just told me that their last dog had been killed because he wasn’t contained. Just last week our employee’s second dog was attacked and killed on her property by the neighbor’s dogs. I can go on and on. Almost every week I hear a direct or indirect horrid experience with dogs that are not restricted to their properties. When we moved here from Oregon, we used to stop when we saw a dead dog on the roads to look for any identifying tags to notify the owners. After nearly seven years, we got jaded and realized that there will not be a microchip or owner’s telephone number on these poor dogs. We do not stop anymore. As you have guessed, I am trying to encourage everyone to keep their dogs restricted to their property. I think the best way to do this is to have a physical fence. Chain link fences are expensive. A Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Care near Geraldine, Alabama. To suggest topics for future discussions, email him at email@example.com
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much cheaper alternative is a combination wood and T-post fourto six-foot sheep and goat fence with barbed wires on top to make it higher. A very rough estimate to enclose a ¼ acre property (the boundaries being about 400 feet) can be somewhere around $800 if you are willing to do the work yourself. I priced things at Lowe’s. I am sure that you can shop around and bring the cost down. I think radio collar fences like Invisible Fence are also a viable alternative in many cases. The idea is to bury a wire along the perimeter of the area you want your dog to stay in. Although it isn’t as secure as a proper fence, it’s a great option, especially for little dogs. There are many other brands in the market. Now going down to less desirable but still better than being hit by car category: Think about an overhead-trolley exerciser or aerial-tie-out cable. The next thing to consider is just a tie out with proper shed and shelter and access to water. This is not the best choice, but a far better option than being run over or getting shot by a farmer for bothering his cows. Now let me get back to my “broken record” plea. Imagine a scenario where the county has kind and wise animal care officers who are paid handsomely from the annual licensing fees the county collects from the numerous dogs in our communities. Anyone who has an intact dog over a certain age will be paying a slightly higher licensing fee. The breeders will obtain a breeding license and the premises will be inspected to keep up to date to USDA standards. I realize this is all a dream, but these measures are not draconian infringement on personal rights – they’re an encouragement to people to be socially responsible. I heard one of the local mayors say that they are not particularly moved by animal welfare issues but tired of getting phone calls about loose dogs. The primary elections are over, but runoffs in many counties and municipalities are possible. Please choose a candidate who will support pet-related legislation, and proper enforcement. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Annual Wiregrass Freedom Festival Saturday, July 2 9 AM - 4 PM
1392 Whiddon Mill Rd • Tifton, Georgia • 229-391-5205 • gma.abac.edu Alabama Living
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Electric co-ops are building toward an EV mobile future By Derrill Holly
ith dozens of new electric vehicle models, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans, being released over the next few years, public charging availability will be more of an issue for consumers, especially in rural communities where stations are scarce. Utilities, including electric cooperatives, will be serving new electric vehicle (EV) load and extending the reach of public charging networks now under development or proposed for major transportation corridors. “Electric vehicles are evolving rapidly and, as they do, use and charging patterns are shifting and consumers are getting a better understanding of how they can use the vehicles,” says Brett Smith, director of technology for the Center for Automotive Research. The non-profit organization conducts independent research on behalf of the global mobility industry. Still, one of the major challenges facing market acceptance remains a lack of charging infrastructure in many parts of the country. As of December 2021, there were about 113,000 charging ports available at 46,090 public charging stations nationwide. “You’re going to see the need to really invest in infrastructure over the next five to 10 years,” says Smith, adding that some buyers who have the option of home charging have not reached the comfort level essential to use EVs for longer trips. “They don’t see the infrastructure out there. You’re probably at some point going to need to make it seem
With dozens of new electric vehicle models being released over the next few years, public charging availability will be more of an issue for consumers, especially in rural communities where stations are scarce. PHOTO COURTESY TODAY’S POWER, INC.
like overinvestment, because you have to make the consumer comfortable.” The federal government estimates that 500,000 public chargers will be needed by 2030, and it is currently investing $7.5 billion to help build a network of public chargers along major highways and in rural areas. The funding comes from the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress and signed into law last November. According to the Department of Energy, the majority of ports now being deployed for public use are DC fast chargers that provide 60 to 80 miles of range for 20 minutes of charging time, compared to four minutes at the pump for most gasoline-powered vehicles. Smith said it may be feasible to charge EVs up to 80% of capacity in about 15 minutes. “Whether that’s perfect for everybody or not, if it becomes a standard or an accepted practice, I think people could become comfortable with that,” he says. The Joint Office for Electric Vehicle Charging and Infrastructure operated by the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation is developing a grant program to help states and local partners, including electric co-ops, develop public charging facilities. “NRECA and electric cooperatives formed the Community Approach to Vehicle Electrification funding interest group. This group of co-ops is focused on using their detailed knowledge of local needs to address vehicle electrification and charging
infrastructure,” says Brian Sloboda, NRECA’s director of consumer solutions. Across the U.S., many electric cooperatives are already in regular contact with their state departments of transportation (DOTs) to discuss current and proposed Alternative Fuel Corridors. These corridors will be the areas eligible for federal funding. State DOTs must submit an EV infrastructure plan to the federal government by August 1, 2022. “Electric co-ops can help their (state) DOTs by identifying areas of the service territory where EV charging infrastructure could be placed in an economic manner that overlap with current or proposed Alternative Fuel Corridors,” says Sloboda. Under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, public EV charging infrastructure should be located every 50 miles along major travel corridors, and no more than 1 mile from the highway. “The focus on local needs will ensure that the college tailgate parties, national parks, highway interchanges, local businesses and county fairs are adequately represented,” says Sloboda. “They will place the infrastructure where the people and local businesses are.” The DOE’s Alternate Fuels Data Center has developed a Station Locator Tool (SLT) mobile app. During the government’s 2021 fiscal year, the SLT site attracted 6 million page views and topped 3,900 downloads. According to the DOE, the site provided more than 1.3 million searches for EV charging stations for the fiscal year.
Drive Electric Alabama promotes EV usage In Alabama, a program called Drive Electric Alabama is the official statewide initiative coordinated by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) designed to educate consumers, utility regulators, and government officials about electric vehicles. ADECA has developed a statewide Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan (EVIP) to guide the deployment of state resources for an EV charging infrastructure. In June 2021, the state combined funds appropriated by the legislature with 40 JUNE 2022
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Volkswagen settlement funds, and ADECA awarded 18 grants totaling more than $4.1 million to finance the installation of several charging stations to be installed in 2022. The EVIP notes that this will more than double the number of publicly accessible fast charger locations statewide. Locations are predominantly along the I-20/I-59/I-459 corridor between Tuscaloosa and the Georgia state line. For more information, see driveelectric. alabama.gov. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Electric co-ops face challenges, opportunities as power generation evolves By Michael Leitman
s the economy continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the energy sector is still experiencing lingering impacts to fuel markets and sources for power generation. In the coming years, however, it is expected that the industry will normalize back to recent trends and the pre-pandemic trajectory. At the height of the pandemic, in 2020, national retail electricity sales declined by 2.5%, accompanied by a shift in demand patterns and in generation mix. As people spent more time at home due to social distancing measures, U.S. residential sales rose by 1.7% while commercial and industrial sales fell by 5.4% and 4.3%, respectively. With demand for natural gas declining, generators took advantage of low fuel prices and the share of power coming from gas-fired resources increased for the third straight year, while the share from coal continued to decline. In 2021, the economy started to reopen, and demand recovered, but natural gas production was slow to ramp up, leading to increased fuel prices. As a result, the share of U.S. electricity powered by natural gas fell in 2021, for the first time since 2017. This drop was offset by an increase in coal-fired generation, bucking a multiyear trend that saw the use of coal for electricity declining every year since 2014. Though natural gas remains the dominant fuel source in the U.S., the share from non-hydro renewables, primarily wind and solar, has steadily increased for the last several years. Going forward, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the share of coal and natural gas in the electric generation mix will decline as the rapid growth of non-hydro renewables, especially solar, continues. According to EIA’s projections, renewable energy sources will surpass natural gas as the largest source for generation by 2030. Nevertheless, natural gas is expected to remain an important fuel source for electric power, due to its abundant supply. Perhaps more importantly, gas-fired units can respond more easily to changes 42 JUNE 2022
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in system conditions, which is crucial for maintaining reliability of the electric grid, as the fuel mix transitions to higher penetrations of wind and solar resources that do not run all the time. Batteries, which have become cheaper and more powerful in recent years, will also play an important role in supporting renewable resources.
Modernizing the national grid with new technologies can offer a variety of solutions during the energy transition. In recent years, severe weather events have highlighted the need for fuel diversity in maintaining system resiliency. That is, if one source of power is constrained during a storm, having others available to fill the gap can provide stability and keep the lights on. But as the generation mix shifts away from conventional fuels, additional changes will be necessary to accommodate the upcoming changes and ensure both resiliency and reliability. Modernizing the
national grid with new technologies can offer a variety of solutions during the energy transition. The use of advanced data, two-way communications and digital software enable better and more efficient management of the electric system. Although traditional, hands-on roles are still crucial for electric operations, there will be a need for new expertise to integrate and utilize these new technologies across the entire energy industry. Through the evolution of the power generation mix and the electric sector in general over the next several years, there will be a number of challenges and opportunities for electric cooperatives as they continue to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to the local communities they serve. Michael Leitman writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56% of the nation’s landscape.
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Grace Mountain Cottages Pigeon Forge, TN
• The Ivey • The Ellie • The Hayden • The Eli
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| Alabama Recipes |
Salad days Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols
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or hot summer days, sometimes a cool salad is all you feel like preparing or eating. Tossing any kind of greens – lettuce, kale, spinach – with whatever type of ingredient you have in your kitchen, including fruits, veggies, meats or pasta, can make a meal that’s nutritious and colorful. Of course, in the South, we’re also fond of our “congealed salads,” a fancy name for gelatin mixes with fruit, whipped topping, nuts and any number of other ingredients that are a mainstay of holiday gatherings or potluck suppers. But don’t stop there. Think beyond lettuce and Jell-O. “I want to encourage your readers to be adventurous when it comes to making their salads,” says Tera Glenn, regional extension agent II for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “Sometimes we can get in a rut and use the same old ingredients every time we make our salads. Take a chance on an ingredient that you are not quite sure about!” To save time (as it can be very time-consuming to chop up your veggies and prepare all of the ingredients at once) Glenn suggests doing a little prep work at the beginning of the week. “Go ahead and have all of your ingredients chopped up and ready to go, so it’s easy to throw together when it is time to prepare the salad,” she says. “Salads are a great way to pack a variety of nutrients and minerals, all into one meal.” – Lenore Vickrey
Mixing it up • • • • • • • •
Change up your greens. Don’t be afraid to mix different types of greens together. To bulk up your salad, add in your favorite grain (quinoa, brown rice, wild rice) or even pasta. Pack your salad full of veggies. To save money, be sure to buy veggies in season. For extra flavor, toss in your favorite fruit… strawberries, blueberries and oranges. To make your salad more filling, add protein (chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, shrimp, eggs). Beans or peas can also be a great addition. I will often add chickpeas to my salad, and it’s very common to add snow peas or sugar snap peas. Add a little crunch to your salad with your favorite nuts and seeds. If you have the extra time, make your own salad dressings from ingredients you have in your pantry or refrigerator. (Not that store-bought dressing can’t be used for salads; just pay attention to how much salad dressing you are using, because they can be very high in sugar, fat and salt). If you make your own dressing at home, you can control your ingredients. Use fresh herbs and spices for some extra flavor.
alads don’t have to be boring! A good salad is like a great pair of pants: You can add anything to them to make them more stylish! This Italian Tortellini Salad is proof of that. If you love the flavors of cured Brooke Burks Italian meats paired with creamy pasta, this salad is for you! And we show you how easy it is to make a delicious homemade dressing to complete the meal!
Italian Tortellini Salad 3 1 ½ ½ ¼ 1
cups green leaf lettuce cup of cherry tomatoes, halved cup chopped pepperoni cup chopped hard salami cup chopped red onion(of course!) pound package frozen cheese tortellini, cooked to package directions ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded or shaved 2 tablespoons chopped basil For the Dressing: 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon chopped garlic Salt and pepper, to taste ½ cup olive oil Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. Chop lettuce, tomatoes, pepperoni, salami and onion. Combine vegetables, salami, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella and shaved or grated parmesan in a large bowl with pasta and toss. Mix vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice and garlic. Drizzle in olive oil and whisk or shake in a jar to combine. Pour over salad and toss until all is covered. Garnish with more shaved parmesan and chopped basil and enjoy!
Photo by The Buttered Home
Source: Tera Glenn, regional extension agent II, Pickens County, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
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3 ½ 1 2 ½
1 1 1 1
cups chicken, cubed red onion, chopped package green grapes, sliced in half avocados, peeled and cubed cup walnuts
Salad Dressing: ¼ cup rice vinegar 2½ tablespoons orange marmalade ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon honey 1 tablespoon parsley 1-2 dashes pepper 1 dash salt Combine the chicken, red onion, grapes, avocado and walnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing on the mixture to your liking and toss gently. Cook’s note: the dressing is also good brushed on steaks or ribs and chicken while cooking. Karen Turnquist Cullman EC
Roasted Cauliflower Summer Salad 1 12-ounce bag cauliflower, chopped (or chop your own into small pieces) 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced 2 tablespoons capers 1/4 cup fresh parmesan, grated Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped Olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Red pepper flakes, optional Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast cauliflower approximately 20-30 minutes, or until cauliflower is slightly golden. Add cooked cauliflower to a large serving dish and add the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Kathy Phillips Wiregrass EC
large box cherry Jell-O 8-ounce package cream cheese 20-ounce Coca-Cola large can crushed pineapple, drained but reserve juice 1 large jar maraschino cherries, sliced, drained and reserve juice 1 cup pecans, chopped Pour reserved cherry juice and reserved pineapple juice in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour over Jell-O. Allow to cool. With an electric mixer, combine Coke and cream cheese. Mix Jell-O with cream cheese and Coke. Stir in pineapple, cherries and pecans. Refrigerate until set. Mary Grace Miller North Alabama EC
Fresh Apple Salad 2 large red apples, unpeeled 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, reserve juice for dressing 2 cups seedless green grapes 1½ cups toasted pecans 1-2 teaspoons poppy seeds Make dressing first. Chop apples and grapes (green apples and red grapes also work.) Toast the pecans and cool. Mix apples, pineapple chunks, green grapes and poppy seeds. Pour in prepared dressing and mix well. Top with pecans. Dressing: Pineapple juice reserved from salad ¼ cup margarine ¼ cup sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water 1 cup mayonnaise or ½ cup mayonnaise and ½ cup plain yogurt Combine pineapple juice, margarine, sugar and lemon juice in a small sauce pan, heating to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water to make a paste and add to hot mixture. Cook until thick and smooth. Chill completely, then stir in mayonnaise or mayonnaise and yogurt.
Strawberry Delight 1 21-ounce can strawberry pie filling 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained 1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk 1 large Cool Whip 1 cup pecans, chopped Mix all ingredients together and chill. Mary Grace Miller North Alabama EC
Italian Tortellini Salad ¼ 3 1 1 5 1 1 1 ½ 1 ¼
cup vegetable oil tablespoons apple cider vinegar packet dry Italian salad dressing mix teaspoon basil cups cheese filled tortellini, cooked 15-ounce can kidney beans, well drained 8-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained cup celery, thinly sliced cup green bell pepper, diced can sliced black olives, drained cup green onion, chopped
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, basil and Italian dressing mix. Add remaining ingredients and toss until all ingredients are well coated. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Makes up to 7 cups salad. Judy Kennett Sand Mountain EC
Italian Tortellini Salad
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Cook of the Month: Angela Bradley, North Alabama EC
Angela Bradley’s grandmother, Jimmie Lou Horton Carpenter, never wanted to waste any food, so using up all the meat in a watermelon was important to her. “We cut the meat out of the rind and put in bowls, but it would start to dry out so she started making it this salad,” says Angela. “She was fearless that way, even if she had never heard of something, never seen it or ate it, she would try it. The recipe would fluctuate now and then to include what was in season, or on sale at the IGA.” The salad, made zesty with the addition of lemon juice and cayenne adding a kick, is still something Angela makes, “especially when melons are in season. There always seems to be more than you can eat, so it’s a great way to keep it from going to waste. I like to serve it best after a big meal like Sunday dinner or a barbecue. It’s better than a pie or cake on a hot day.”
Watermelon Salad 1/2 3 1 1 1 3 1
cup lemon juice tablespoon honey (or substitute blue agave syrup) teaspoon salt teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional pound strawberries, stemmed and quartered cups seedless watermelon, cubed pineapple, peeled, cored and cut in chunks
Whisk together lemon juice, honey, salt and cayenne. Toss with fruit and chill at least one hour.
Submit to win $50! Keeping it fresh -Use a paper towel when storing your salad to help collect the extra moisture (put a paper towel on the bottom and top when storing salad in a container). -Use a glass container rather than a plastic container (it’s more airtight). Some people like to store their lettuce in Mason jars to keep it fresher longer. -Store your salad ingredients in separate containers. -Unmixed salads can keep in the fridge usually for 3-5 days; if you keep them mixed , they may not last as long. Mix only as needed, according to what you are going to eat or how many people you are serving. -Dressing should always be kept separate from salad ingredients, until you’re ready to serve. Source: Tera Glenn, regional extension agent II, Pickens County, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
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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.
Themes and Deadlines: September: Finger Foods | June 3 October: Sweet Potatoes | July 1 November: Turkey leftovers | August 5 3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Attn: Recipes P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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| Outdoors |
Some lures still catch fish after more than a century
ook in any Alabama tackle box and people would likely see on any floating lure. Many people said the lure made such a crazy angling treasures, some dating back more than a century. commotion that it reminded them of the gyrations of a popular As early as the late 17th century, Scandinavian fishermen dance of that time. The Jitterbug hit the market in 1939 and still hammered metal kitchen spoons into fishing lures. About 150 entices vicious strikes. years later, young J.T. Buel loved to fish. One day, he dropped In 1938, Arbogast obtained a patent for a fishing lure skirt. He his lunch spoon into the water. As it fluttered down, a big fish attached it to an arrow-shaped metal head with wire weed guards. smacked it. Probably when his mother wasn’t looking, the youngThe Hawaiian Wiggler came with a very large propeller that could ster swiped another spoon from the kitchen and fashioned it into churn the surface if reeled fast enough. We call that lure type a a fishing lure. buzzbait today. Buel made more spoon lures and sold them for years before Three years later, Arbogast put that same skirt on a wooden he obtained a patent for the Buel Spoon in 1852, the first patfloater. In late 1941, Hawaii became very prominent in the news. ent awarded for any fishing lure commercially sold in the UnitThe skirt reminded people of the grass skirts Hawaiian dancers ed States. Spoons remain wore. Arbogast called his popular for both fresh creation a Hula Popper. and saltwater fishing. Another lure carver, A plumber by vocation Jack Smithwick, noticed and a dedicated fisherthe propellers on World man by avocation, John War II aircraft. Inspired, J. Hildebrandt flattened Smithwick carved a and reshaped a dime in wooden plug and added 1893. He drilled an offpropellers to each end set hole through the coin of his lure. He called his and slipped his wife’s propbait a Devel’s Horse hairpin through the hole. because many people He then fashioned an eye wouldn’t buy anything so he could tie a line to it with “devil” in the name and attached a hook. back then. In 1960, the When retrieved name changed to Devil’s through the water, the Horse, still popular as dime spun enticingly one of the best topwater around the pin, giving off bass lures ever created. flash and vibrations. In One of the oldest lures still on the market, Arbogast Jitterbugs have been for sale since Another innovative 1899, he founded the Hil- 1939 and still entice bass. A type of topwater popper, the curved blades on the nose thinker, Lauri Rapadebrandt Lure Company, make surface disruptions that attract bass and other fish. la worked part-time as PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER which still exists today. lumberjack and full-time In-line spinnerbaits like as a commercial fisherthe venerable Hildebrandt Snagless Sally remain popular enticeman. In 1936, Rapala observed how predators slash into baitfish ments for fishing around logs, fallen trees and other woody cover schools then single out the struggling wounded fish. in places like the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Rapala carved, filed and sanded cork chunks into various The William J. Jamison Company started selling fishing lures shapes until he came up with a design he liked that looked like in 1904, but W. J. “Smilin’ Bill” Jamison put a new spin on lures a long, slender minnow. Rapala wrapped his creation in tinfoil in 1915. He attached two wire arms to a jighead. Jamison added and coated the body with melted photographic negatives to seal a rounded metal blade to each arm. The Jamison Shannon Twin it because he could not obtain lacquer. Except for replacing cork Spin evolved into the “safety pin” spinnerbaits commonly used by with balsawood, the lure remains essentially unchanged. bass fishermen today. Anglers can use downsized versions to entice By 1959, Normark began distributing the Rapala Original crappie, bluegills and other panfish. Anglers fishing in salty waters Floater in the United States, but sales really skyrocketed three also throw spinnerbaits for redfish and various other species. years later. In August 1962, Life magazine broke all-time single-isFred Arbogast began carving wooden lures in the 1920s. For sue magazine sales records with a cover shot featuring screen legone of his creations, he added a wide metal lip, a genuine oddity end Marilyn Monroe, who had recently died. However, another article in that same issue headlined “A Lure Fish Can’t Pass Up” spawned a new legend and catapulted sales for Rapala’s design. John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in These exact lures or similar designs remain on the market afSemmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM ter decades or even centuries. Largely unchanged, except perhaps Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ tweaked by modern technology and materials, these lures or varihotmail.com or through Facebook. ations of them still catch many species of fish.
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DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST 2022 JUNE
Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
EXCELLENT TIMES A.M.
2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 A.M.
2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06
3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 NEW MOON PM
2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 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 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30
9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15
9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39
8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03
8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27
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| Our Sources Say |
Public areas offer summer fun in the Valley region I
t’s time to get out and enjoy the beauty of our region. TVA operates about 80 public recreation areas throughout the Tennessee Valley where millions of people enjoy limitless opportunities for fun and appreciation of our natural heritage. Attractions include golf courses, parks, marinas, resorts, campgrounds and more. Many of these areas are just a short drive for North Alabamians, while some are worth a weekend or overnight stay.
Here’s a list of reservoirs to visit this summer: Cherokee Reservoir offers pristine shorelines that make for
excellent nature watching, and the fishing is great. Located on Holston River in East Tennessee, the reservoir includes municipal parks, commercial boat docks, resorts, as well as a state park and state wildlife management areas. There are many tent and trailer sites for campers.
Chickamauga Reservoir is the place to go if you love wildflow-
ers. You’ll love Chickamauga’s 1.3-mile Big Ridge Small Wild Area loop trail, which shows off bloodroot, toothwort, trillium, larkspur and mayapple. It is located on the Tennessee River just north of Chattanooga.
Douglas Reservoir is located on the French Board River in East
Tennessee, against a backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. It known for picnicking, camping, boating and fishing. It’s also home to many migrating water birds from late July to early October.
Fontana Reservoir is completely unique in TVA’s recreational portfolio, offering a resort with amenities including boating, horseback riding and crafts making. Fontana is on the Little Tennessee River in western North Carolina.
Guntersville Reservoir is a destination for sport fishermen from
around the country. It also offers great day hiking and is located in northeast Alabama. In addition to great fishing, the area below the dam offers unique opportunities for day hiking and caving.
Hiwassee Reservoir is one of the best reservoirs in the region to learn paddle sports, owing to its unique mix of calm waters and light whitewater. The Reservoir is surrounded by the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests in North Carolina.
Melton Hill Reservoir is located on the Clinch River in East Ten-
nessee. It features a one-of-a-kind zero-energy camping facility with solar power and wind energy and is built with recycled materials. A beautiful pavilion is the perfect backdrop for family reunions or wedding parties.
Kevin Chandler is the customer relations director, Regional Relations South, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
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Wheeler Reservoir is a major recreation and tourist center in northern Alabama. Wheeler offers camping, boating and fishing and is adjacent to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.
Nickajack Reservoir is a shore fisherman’s paradise: Fishing berms are located on both sides of the river below the dam, and a concrete fishing pier with footbridges and wheelchair access is available. The reservoir is located in southeastern Tennessee and offers wide expanses of water and spectacular scenery of the Tennessee River Gorge – which is known as the Grand Canyon of Tennessee. Normandy Reservoir is on one of the most ecologically diverse river systems in the nation—the Duck River in south central Tennessee—and it’s a great place to be one with nature, whether on foot or in a boat. Norris Reservoir features a beautiful picnic area adjacent to a playground, making for a perfect spot for a family reunion. Located on the Clinch River in Tennessee, it features hiking and biking trails, including the Songbird Trail, a popular area for birding. Pickwick Reservoir is a popular waterskiing and fishing destina-
tion. Located in southwest Tennessee, it extends 53 miles from the Pickwick Dam along the Mississippi-Alabama state line and then east into Alabama. The Pickwick also offers a large campground with 92 sites below the dam.
Tellico Reservoir offers plenty of day-use facilities, fishing areas and campgrounds around the reservoir, which cultivates a family-friendly vibe. It is located in northeast Tennessee.
Watts Bar Reservoir is on the Tennessee River in east Tennessee.
The reservoir is a major swimming destination, although boating, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities are also popular here. A scenic overlook provides a panoramic view of the reservoir and the surrounding countryside.
Watauga Reservoir draws hikers; the Appalachian Trail runs
through here. It’s also a great destination for bird and wildlife watchers. At more than 1,900 feet above sea level, Watauga holds the distinction of being the highest reservoir in the Tennessee River system.
Wheeler Reservoir is a major recreation and tourist center in northern Alabama. Wheeler offers camping, boating and fishing and is adjacent to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Wheeler – along with Wilson and Pickwick Reservoirs downstream – helps cover the rocky Muscle Shoals to create a navigable waterway. Wilson Reservoir is located in northwest Alabama and is known as the Smallmouth Capital of the World for the number of trophy smallmouth bass caught here. The reservoir also has a network of walking and hiking trails that lead you through Old First Quarters Small Wild Area, named for the complex that housed engineers who originally built the dam in the early 20th century. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): August 2022 Issue by June 25 September 2022 Issue by July 25 October 2022 Issue by August 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 email@example.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.
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Answers to puzzle on Page 28
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Tastes like chicken
here we were. Three men. Five boys. Fishing and crabbing at Eden. Eden is a Florida state park on that part of the Sunshine State that is closer to Mobile than Miami. Located on Choctawhatchee Bay, amid live oaks draped with Spanish moss, Eden has been the site for many “events,” but for us the attraction was a small pier from which to fish and crab. When we arrived, Eden was getting ready to party. A DJ was checking the sound system and rows of chairs had been set up, facing a wedding arch festooned with flowers. The bride, radiant in white, was about to walk down the aisle. The groom in a tux and flip flops, waited. Not wanting to intrude, we slipped along the woods and by the pavilion where the reception would be held. I decided I’d fish through the ceremony but drop by when the eating started. The caterer was already putting out the food. Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at email@example.com
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My little group eased on down to the dock and started fishing. And crabbing. Meanwhile, the wedding went on. Then, about the time the bride and groom were pledging their troth, something hit my bait. Hard. Broke the tip off the rod. I grabbed the line and pulled the monster to the edge of the pier, where my son netted it. It was a stingray. A big ‘un. Now I do not belong to the “catch and release” school of fishing. If what is caught can be used, I use it – which is what I intended to do with the stingray. Not many people know, but the wings of a ray cook up really good. So, I put it in the bucket. With the wedding done, members of the wedding party drifted by. One of our kids told them about the stingray. They came to see, and saw, and hollered to others and pretty soon the bucket was surrounded by folks whose comments revealed that they weren’t locals. “At the Tennessee Aquarium we pay money to touch those things.” “Is that what killed the Crocodile Hunter?”
Illustration by Dennis Auth
| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
“Naw, that was in Australia.” So, we showed them the barb and explained that they do not “shoot out” at you and that you pretty much had to step on one to get hurt but if it did get you, then you were in a world of pain. “What you gonna do with it?” someone asked. “Cook it,” I replied. And they all moved back and looked at me that way. “And eat it,” I added. And they moved back a little more. But I knew that my lovely wife had ordered steamed shrimp and I figured when we got home, I’d light the grill and play stingray chef. As the music got cranked up, we packed up, and to the strains of “Down in Mississippi and Up To No Good,” we drove off. At home, everyone gathered round while the barb was removed and set out to dry, and the wings were put on the grill. And that evening, fisher and non-fisher alike tried the new delicacy. “What’cha think?” I asked my daughter. “Tastes like chicken.” Which made me happy. She likes chicken. I wonder if the wedding-goers had as fine a feast. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Brought to you by your local electric cooperative
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