Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News August 2017
South Alabama Electric Cooperative
Students get trip of a lifetime
Manager David Bailey Produced by the staff of South Alabama Electric Cooperative ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $6 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.
Broilers feed top ag industry
Thousands of Alabama farm families raise poultry, helping push the state to its number 2 ranking nationally in U.S. broiler production.
VOL. 70 NO. 8 n AUGUST 2017
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Several local teachers spent part of their summer getting an energy education..
Forget Vegas. We’ve got our own oddsmaker with his annual football predictions. Do you agree?
Summer’s veggies and fruit make the perfect ingredients for salads. Check out the best of our readers’ recipes.
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In this issue: Page 11 Page 28
11 Spotlight 40 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Brooklyn Norris and Dakarai Siler joined students from across the country for this year’s Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Mike Temple AUGUST 2017 3
Let’s be honest about energy Board of Trustees James Shaver President District 2
Delaney Kervin Vice President District 5
Douglas Green Secretary/Treasurer District 6
Bill Hixon District 1
James May At Large
David Bailey, General Manager In the summer months, it can be easy to forget the hard work teachers in our community put into serving their students. We might think educators get these months off, but as school years have extended and summer training schedules grow, so does the scope of a teacher’s job. I’m blessed to live with three educators who teach science and mathematics. To me, being a teacher is every bit as much a calling as being a police officer, a firefighter or one serving in the military. The daily struggles of teachers can be summed up in the lyrics to the song “My Home’s In Alabama” by the band named after our great state: “What keeps me going? I don’t really know. Can’t be the money. Lord knows I’m always broke.” Teachers don’t serve to get rich. They do it because they’re dedicated to the education of our students. But in recent years, the guidance for their curriculum has become more and more political, making it difficult to present the full picture for a topic like energy science. Young people are often taught that the future of electricity is renewable energy without being taught where electricity comes from today. Right now, about 80 percent of the electricity in the United States comes from fossil fuels and about 9 percent from nuclear, and renewables make up the remainder. This summer, South Alabama Electric Cooperative partnered with PowerSouth Energy
Cooperative and the National Energy Education Development Project to start an energy education program for teachers in our service area. Called the Empower Energy Workshop, the program gives local teachers the tools they need to teach students the realities of energy production in our country. What’s important about this program is that it’s based on science, not politics. Anyone who knows me knows my passion for protecting the environment and the land we all enjoy. In Genesis 1:28, God instructs his people to subdue the earth and have control over it. It’s our job to take care of his creation. Later in this magazine, you can learn more about the first Empower Workshop and how NEED helped us teach approximately 410 educators from Alabama and Florida about the workings of the electric industry. So far, the response from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. They have been able to take new and engaging lessons on the different energy sources back to their classrooms. They even received a kit of materials to help them bring the subject to life. That’s really what the program is all about: empowering our teachers to show their students a real picture of energy today. We want to be open about energy sources instead of promoting a political agenda. I think that’s simply doing what’s right for our community. n
Ben Norman District 4
Glenn Reeder District 7
Raymond Trotter District 3
4 AUGUST 2017
More than a dozen teachers from across SAEC’s service area attended the ﬁrst Empower Energy Workshop.
Contact Information Mailing address P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 Phone 334-566-2060 800-556-2060 At South Alabama Electric Cooperative, we believe it’s important to provide future generations a full understanding of this country’s electric system and how it was built. This summer, we partnered with PowerSouth Energy Cooperative and the National Energy Education Development Project for a conference that did just that. The Empower Energy Education Workshop invited teachers and school officials from across PowerSouth’s service area to learn new ways of teaching the science of electricity generation in all its forms. “Access to reliable and affordable electricity is a key part of what makes this country a world power,” says David Bailey, SAEC’s general manager. “This workshop equips our teachers with the tools they need to help their students understand how that system works and why it is so important.” More than a dozen educators from schools in SAEC’s service area attended the conference. Each teacher was given a Science of Energy kit to help them create engaging lessons in the classroom. For Gary Driver, headmaster at Crenshaw
Christian Academy, the individual sessions that walked teachers through hands-on activities set the conference apart. “They really got teachers involved and kept us in the learning process,” he says. “A lot of workshops will tell you why a certain tool or approach is great. At this one, we had a chance to absorb that ourselves through the activities.” Driver is even considering using some of the lessons he learned for classes with this year’s seniors to better prepare them for making decisions in the real world. “These kids need to appreciate what they have to better understand how it came to be,” he says. “They need to know a little of the history so they can understand what’s going on in society today.” PowerSouth CEO Gary Smith agrees, and he hopes the Empower workshop can help inform students’ perspectives on energy as they begin making important decisions. “It isn’t about promoting one form of energy over another,” he says. “We just want our children to understand the use, production and cost of energy when they’re making the decisions that will guide our country’s future.” n
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Tf Payment Options BY MAIL P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 WEBSITE www.southaec.com PHONE PAYMENTS 877-566-0611, credit cards accepted NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at our Highway 231 office, day or night PAYMENT POINTS Regions Bank - Troy branch Troy Bank and Trust - all branch locations 1st National Bank of Brundidge and Troy First Citizens - Luverne branch Banks Buy Rite - Banks Country 1 Stop - Honoraville IN PERSON 13192 US-231, Troy, AL 36081 Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Conference attendees enjoyed a luncheon, participated in hands-on activities and heard from many guest speakers.
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AUGUST 2017 5
Dakarai Siler and Brooklyn Norris had the opportunity to visit many of the capital’s memorials and parks, like the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.
Monuments, museums and memories highlight Youth Tour 2017 Before she attended the NRECA Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., Goshen resident Brooklyn Norris was timid about spending a week away from home with students from across the country whom she’d never met. Along with Troy resident Dakarai Siler, she joined students from all over the U.S. for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. And Norris says she returned changed and more confident after making many new friends from other states during the weeklong event. “It’s definitely influenced me to be more outgoing,” she says. Over the years, 50,000 students have participated in the annual youth tours, which 6 AUGUST 2017
originated in the late 1950s as a way to inform high school juniors about the inner workings and history of both the electric cooperative system and our nation’s government. To be eligible, students must attend a school in Pike, Crenshaw or Coffee counties or have at least one parent who is a member of South Alabama Electric Cooperative. Each year, applications for the tour are sent to all area high schools, and they are also available online. Local students, like their prospective Youth Tour counterparts from around the United States, complete and submit applications, write essays and participate in interviews to be considered. An independent panel of judges makes the final selections.
Sponsored by SAEC, the three-day Alabama portion of the tour in Montgomery this spring educated students about the importance of state government and the civil rights movement. State Youth Tour destinations have included the Civil Rights Memorial, State Capitol, Alabama Judicial Building, State House and the Rosa Parks Museum, and students also have a chance to meet with state legislators. From those Alabama tour participants, students from each electric cooperative are selected to attend the national Youth Tour. Each year about 45 Alabama students attend the national tour, with all expenses paid. The national Youth Tour is made possible through the sponsorship of electric coop-
eratives statewide, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Alabama Rural Electric Association. Nearly 1,600 students and their 250 chaperones gather in Washington, D.C., annually for the event. This year’s 53rd annual Youth Tour was June 9-15.
Meet the students
Norris is the 17-year-old daughter of Patrick Norris and Julie Jackson. She will begin her senior year at Zion Chapel High School in Jack, Alabama, this fall. She says she first heard about the Youth Tour from two of her fellow classmates who attended in the past. She says it sounded like fun, so she applied to attend through South Alabama Electric Cooperative. www.alabamaliving.coop
Norris says she enjoys dancing and has been a captain the past three years for her high school’s dance team. She is a member of the school’s cross-country team and has served as its FFA chapter president. She says the trip helped her to just have fun and enjoy new people and experiences. She met other Youth Tour participants in a game room that was set up in the hotel’s conference room where students could congregate in their free time. “It was very interesting,” she says. “I played cards with a guy from Alaska, and it was great!” Siler, 17, begins his senior year at Goshen High School this fall. He also attended the state and national Youth Tours representing SAEC. The son of Sharone Scott
and James Siler, he is active in extracurricular activities as a member of his high school’s football, basketball and baseball teams. He also served as junior class treasurer and as a member of the school’s math team. He says he decided to apply for the Youth Tour after his history teacher told him about the opportunity. He says he enjoyed visiting the different monuments and other D.C.-area attractions and especially making new friends from around the country. “My personal favorite was visiting the new African-American history museum,” Siler says. “I found that pretty interesting.” The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in September 2016 with more than 36,000 artifacts and promotes the
Brooklyn Norris poses with a wax ﬁgure of FDR at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.
Students from across Alabama and the country spent time in Washington, D.C. learning how our government works and the importance of cooperatives.
AUGUST 2017 7
contributions of African-Americans to the nation’s culture. During the trip, students also had opportunities to meet members of Alabama’s congressional delegation and ask them questions. Norris says she enjoyed visiting the National Air and Space Museum and other Smithsonian Institution facilities, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and a variety of national monuments and memorials. But for her, the most memorable stop on the tour was a somber one, where 400,000 active-duty service members, their families and veterans have been laid to rest and where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located. “My favorite was probably Arlington when we went and walked around the cemetery,” she says. “It was very humbling.” Siler says he enjoyed meeting students from other states during periods of free time and at the All States Farewell Dance held on the last day of the tour. He feels the Youth Tour experience was a valuable one. “It means a lot because I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to go back, and I learned so much from it,” he says. “…A once-in-a-lifetime chance.” His advice to future participants is to have fun, take lots of photos and enjoy every moment.
One of the stops on the Youth Tour was to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Guards must meet very stringent requirements and are among the most elite of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment.
After high school, Siler plans to attend the University of Alabama and major in business, hoping to one day use what he’s learned to open his own business. Though she hasn’t yet met a decision about where she will attend college, after high school Norris says she plans to pursue a degree in animal sciences. She says she’d highly recommend the Youth Tour experience to others. “If I had to talk to someone who wasn’t sure about it, I’d encourage them strongly to just do it, to take that leap of faith and just do it,” she says. “You never know what will come out of it.” n
For more information about participating in the Youth Tour program, visit: www.southaec.com. 8 AUGUST 2017
Students visited Mount Vernon, George Washington’s historic homestead, and watched colonial re-enactments at many of the sites on the estate.
| Alabama Snapshots |
Jean Young sharing a laugh with her horse, Tylenol. SUBMITTED BY Mary Ann Gove, Cottonwood, AZ, Formerly of Daleville, AL
SUBMITTED BY e with Frisky. Steven Bledso soe, Evergreen and Becky Bled
a Our granddaughter Sar loves the horses that live ld near our home in Emera Mountain, Wetumpka, and will stop by to greet them whenever she comes for a visit. I think they like her too! SUBMITTED BY James Bonner, Wetumpka
Addison Kate Frasier and friend, SUBMITTED BY Amy Mackey, Rainsville
Richard & Mis ter Twister ou t for an afternoo n stroll on the gravel road s at Double M Farm. SUBMIT TED BY Teresa Moore, Beaver ton
sin John Wil Spruiel shows his cou horse. Lila Ownby his very own first oit SUBMITTED BY Amy Spruiel, Detr
riah, Lauren -friendly horse. Blair, Ma Domino, our grandchild itty, Cullman Tw ol Car BY TED MIT . SUB and Iesha led by PawPaw
Grey Wells competes in Alabama Junior Rodeo with his par tner Lefty. Lefty is a calf rop ing horse and the two earned the title of Alabama Junior Rodeo Cal f Roping Champions for 2017! SUB MITTED BY Christy Wells, Ashford
Submit Your Images! October Theme: “Halloween Costumes” Deadline for October: August 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living
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| Power Pack | SOCIAL SECURITY
It pays to keep a careful eye on your earnings record
hether you’re ready to retire, just joining the workforce, or somewhere in between, regularly reviewing your Social Security earnings record could make a big difference when it’s time to collect your retirement benefits. Just think, in some situations, if an employer did not properly report just one year of your work earnings to us, your future benefit payments from Social Security could be close to $100 per month less than they should be. Over the course of a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled. Social Security prevents many mistakes from ever appearing on your earnings record. On average, we process about 236 million W-2 wage reports from employers, representing more than $5 trillion in earnings. More than 98 percent of these wages are successfully posted with little problem. But it’s ultimately the responsibility of your employers to provide accurate earnings information to Social Security so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. We rely on you to inform us of any errors or omissions. You’re
the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and verify that it’s complete and correct. So, what’s the easiest and most efficient way to validate your earnings record? • Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to set up or sign in to your own my Social Security account; • Under the “My Home” tab, click on “Earnings Record” to view your online Social Security Statement and taxed Social Security earnings; • Carefully review each year of listed earnings and use your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns, to confirm them; and • Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet. If you notice that you need to correct your earnings record, check out our onepage fact sheet at www.socialsecurity.gov/ pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf. Sooner is definitely better when it comes to identifying and reporting problems with your earnings record. As time passes, you may no longer have past tax documents and some employers may no longer be in
business or able to provide past payroll information. If it turns out everything in your earnings record is correct, you can use the information and our online calculators at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.html to plan for your retirement and prepare for the unexpected, such as becoming disabled or leaving behind survivors. We use your top 35 years of earnings when we calculate your benefit amounts. You can learn more about how your benefit amount is calculated at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/10070.pdf. We’re with you throughout life’s journey, from starting your first job to receiving your well-earned first retirement payment. Learn more about the services we provide online at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expand scope of practice for nurse practitioners
he lack of primary care physician serthat we are experiencing the “Aging of Alvice in rural Alabama is well documentabama.” The Alabama Rural Health Assoed. Fifty-two of Alabama’s 54 rural counties ciation conducted a study in 2009 through are currently classified by the which it was conservatively Health Resources and Serestimated that there could be vices Administration as havthe demand for an additional ing a shortage of such physi1,785,000 office visits to prician service. mary care physicians each When a county or year by 2025. This increase sub-county area is classified is mainly due to the aging as a shortage area for the of our residents and the fact provision of primary care, that the presence of chronic this means that there are not diseases increases with age. enough primary care physiOne solution to reduce the cians providing service for shortage involves the use of the area’s population to meet nurse practitioners (and other advanced practice providthe minimal needs, much ers) so they can practice to less optimal needs. It is esthe full extent of their educatimated that Alabama needs tion and training. I have visan additional approximately Misty Ralyea, CRNP, sees a 150 primary care physicians, patient in the Brookwood ited every medical clinic in placed where they are need- Baptist Health Primary Care 51 of our 54 rural counties to learn more about local health ed the most, to satisfy our Network Clinic in Lincoln in care issues. I have seen phyminimal needs or approxi- Talladega County. mately 450 to meet our optimal needs. sicians and nurse practitioners working Add to this current shortage the fact together, giving each other needed time 10 AUGUST 2017
off from a demanding schedule, expanding clinical hours for patients who need to be seen outside of the traditional workday, and expanding days of clinical operation to include weekends in many rural locations. Alabama is still considered to be one of the more restrictive states for the practice of nurse practitioners. Additionally, reimbursement for nurse practitioners remains at some of the lowest levels – as low as 70 percent of the reimbursement that a physician receives for the same service. Alabama has many rural areas that lack the population to attract full-time physician services. The need for local health care is great in these areas and could be provided by nurse practitioners (and other advanced Continued on Page 41
Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.
AUGUST | Spotlight
Make your voice heard; vote on Aug. 15 in Co-ops Vote, a non-partisan get-out-the-vote campaign that you read about last year in advance of the November presidential election. “Our vote counts in every election,” says Sean Strickler, vice president of public affairs at AREA. “However, during a special election like the one being held Aug. 15, our vote matters so much more. “These special elections historically have had extremely low voter turnout which means every person who takes time to go to the polling place vote has a much bigger impact. This election will seat one of 100 senators who are widely seen as some of the most powerful people in the world, so take time and research who you feel will be best to represent you. Then go vote.”
The primary election to ﬁll the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Republican Jeff Sessions, who was conﬁrmed as U.S. attorney general earlier this year, is coming up on Aug. 15. The primary runoff will be Sept. 26, and the general election is Dec. 12, 2017. Eight Democratic candidates have ﬁled to run: Will Boyd, Vann Caldwell, Jason E. Fisher, Michael Hansen, former U.S. attorney Doug Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr. (no relation to the famous political family), Brian McGee and Charles Nana. Ten Republican candidates have ﬁled to run: Luther Strange (the incumbent, who was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley to the seat in February), James Paul Beretta, Joseph F. Breault, Alabama Christian Coalition president Randy Brinson, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, Dom Gentile, Mary Maxwell, suspended Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, Bryan Peeples and state Sen. Trip Pittman. The Alabama Rural Electric Association, which publishes Alabama Living, encourages voters to make their voices heard and help tackle the decline in rural voting. AREA participates
This month in
August 27, 1950 The New York Yankees honored sportscaster Mel Allen with “Mel Allen Day” at Yankee Stadium. Born in Johns, Alabama, Allen became one of the most recognizable voices in sportscasting during his 25-year tenure as the “Voice of the New York Yankees.” He is best remembered for creating several notable catchphrases, including “how about that!” and “going, going, gone!” Allen later hosted the hit television show “This Week in Baseball” from 1977 to 1996. He was one of the ﬁrst two winners of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/ article/h-1244
Guess where this is and you might win $25! Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualiﬁed. Send your answer by Aug. 9 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the August issue. Contribute your own photo from 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 used will also win $25. Submit by email to email@example.com, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.
Many historians regard Mobile’s Government Street Presbyterian Church, a ﬁne example of Greek Revival architecture, as one of the most beautiful and historic in the U.S. It was founded in 1831 by the Rev. John B. Warren with 21 members. The present church building was completed in 1839, according to a history on the church’s website. (Photo submitted by Elaine Hild of North Alabama EC). The random drawing winner is Alma Knowles, Covington EC.
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Commercial poultry farmers in Alabama raise birds on a contract basis with a broiler company. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION
Broiler farms feed Alabamaâ€™s top agriculture industry 12 AUGUST 2017
By Ellie Isbell
hether grilled or fried, wings or strips, there’s no doubt that Alabamians cherish America’s most popular entrée —
Poultry companies supply chicks to the farmer, who feeds and cares for the birds for about six or seven weeks. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION
chicken. Meeting that demand is no small feat, and thousands of Alabama farm families raise poultry. Some farmers grow pullets, or young hens, to produce eggs for broiler, or meat-type, operations. There are also a small number of table egg producers in the state who produce eggs for grocery stores and restaurants. However, most Alabama farm families grow broilers, pushing the state to its number 2 ranking in U.S. broiler production. One of these families, Chris and Monica Carroll of Ozark, has been raising broilers for 17 years. While Chris is a sixth-generation cattle farmer, poultry was a new endeavor for his family, who are members of Pea River Electric Cooperative. “We built four broiler houses when our daughter Brittany was born in 2000,” Chris says. “I wanted Monica to come home to the farm and spend time with our kids.” Monica was no stranger to agriculture. Her interest began when her sister brought home an animal science book in college. “The more I learned about agriculture the more I became interested,” she says. “I asked myself why wouldn’t I want to be involved in ag? It’s an industry that affects us every single day. That moment marked a new beginning for me.” Monica graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Auburn University in 1996. At Auburn, she met and married Chris, a ’95 animal science graduate. While Chris was on the farm, Monica worked for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. “One day Chris started giving me hay-raking lessons, and next thing I knew he was asking me to come home and farm,” Monica says. “He joked that I was a harder worker than anyone he ever hired!” The addition of poultry houses proved successful for the Carrolls’ farm.
A $15.1 billion impact on the economy
“Diversification in agriculture is important,” Chris says. “One year crop or cattle prices may drop or weather conditions may cause losses. While the overhead costs were high, the steady income poultry provides has been great for our family and our business.” Not only has poultry been positive for farmers, it has become Alabama’s No. 1 agricultural industry. Poultry has a $15.1 billion impact on the state’s economy and employs more than 86,000 people, according to the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association (AP&EA). The Carrolls and other chicken farmers who grow broilers partner with one of 11 broiler companies in Alabama. The commercial poultry industry is vertically integrated – farmers grow birds on a contract basis with a poultry company. The company supplies the chicks to the farm, and the farmer is responsible for the feed and care of the birds for approximately six or seven weeks. Farmers are paid for the weight gained by the flock, which serves as an incentive to provide maximum care, according to the National Chicken Council. “Alabamians should feel confident in purchasing poultry products because of the ideal conditions in which we raise chickens,” said Ray Hilburn, AP&EA associate director. Alabama Living
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Chris said farmers keep the birds’ climate regulated while proI want to produce the safest food possible. This is the food I feed viding feed and clean water. my family. We would not grow a product that we wouldn’t eat ourselves.” “When the chickens first come to us, the florescent lights in the By the year 2050, farmers will need to produce enough food to houses are extremely bright and the temperature is around 90 defeed 9 billion people, according to world food experts. Hilburn grees,” Chris says. said poultry could play a large role in solving this challenge. As the chickens get older, the lights are dimmed and the temperature is reduced to provide ideal growing conditions for the “There are some people around the world who live on nothing birds. but beans and rice,” Hilburn says. “The demand for poultry will Keeping up with thousands of chickens at once is demanding, continue to increase as the middle class around the world grows but technology has made the growing process smoother. and the population rises. People need a safe, inexpensive protein Even with automated fans, to consume.” heaters, water and feed lines, the Chris echoed these sentiments. farmers’ care and observation “Poultry is a less expensive skills play an important role. protein source than beef or New technologies and some pork,” Chris says. “Poultry is a old-fashioned tricks have allowed the Carrolls to reduce their good fit for Alabama’s climate, environmental impact across the and I believe we will play a significant role in feeding the world entire farm. through this industry.” Peanut hulls are readily availAlthough feeding the world able in the booming peanut-proseems overwhelming, the future ducing Wiregrass area, and the for the poultry industry in AlaCarrolls recycle this material as bedding for their poultry housbama is bright. At the beginning es. After each flock, the Carrolls Chris and Monica Carroll and their son, Blake, on their Dale County farm. of the year, a 50,000-square-foot PHOTO BY ELLIE ISBELL feed mill was opened near the place clean, dry peanut hulls on the floors, and apply the used hulls and manure as a natural fertilOzark area. This $55 million investment created 80 new jobs at izer for their row crops. the plant and 165 new poultry houses will be built as a result. The Carrolls’ son, Blake, is a rising ninth-grader at Ariton High A safe, affordable food product is top priority School. He plans to become a full-time farmer after attending college. The Carrolls focus on reducing their environmental footprint by using recycled motor oil to heat the houses. “I know kids in Blake’s generation are unsure if they can make “We collect used motor oil from a local trucking company, the a living in farming,” Monica says. “I truly believe they can if they Dale County school bus barn and an oil-change shop in town. We use creative ways to cut input costs like we have. The population burn the used oil through a clean-burn heater so the fumes never is multiplying, and we need young folks to consider production go into the chicken houses,” Chris says. “Overall, we are leaving an agriculture to help meet the demand for safe, affordable food.” extremely small footprint on the environment with our houses.” In addition to full-time farming, the Carrolls are involved with Using these methods to create a safe, affordable food product is the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Auburn University College the Carrolls’ No. 1 priority. of Agriculture’s Alumni Association and advocating for agriculture at local schools. Chris also serves as the Dale County District “Everyone who works in our chicken house has to take a test 1 Commissioner and the Dale County Farmers Federation Presfrom the poultry company regarding proper chicken care and ident. production,” Monica says. “I don’t mind taking these tests because
Chris Carroll is a sixthgeneration cattle farmer who got into poultry to diversify his family farming business. PHOTO BY ELLIE ISBELL
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AUGUST 2017â€ƒ 15
Richard Dean of Gold Branch Farm harvests lettuce at the farm in Deatsville. PHOTO BY ALBERT CESARE
Organic farming Farmers see increased interest in natural growing methods
16 AUGUST 2017
Charles Walters of River Oaks Farm, now a certified organic operation, with his traveling farmer’s market. Both farmers focus on natural growing methods. PHOTO COURTESY OF RIVER OAKS FARM
By M.J. Ellington
n Elmore County farmer said he wanted a theological reabe filtered out of the soil. “Compost is our number No. 1 thing to son to explain his career choice, so he got a master’s degree help build healthy soil that retains nutrients and moisture that offrom Duke Divinity School so he could explain his decision. ten washes away from soil that is unhealthy,” he says. In North Alabama, soil scientist Karen Wynne agrees. She puts “I felt called to farm and I needed to have a theological basis organic farming methods she teaches to practice in the food her for my decision,” Charles Walters said. The son of cattle farmers family grows on 25-acre Rosita’s Farm near Hartin Linden, Walters grew up hearing his parents a member of Joe Wheeler EMC. Wynne talk about the challenges of his career choice. “The key things to make selle, also owns Crotovina, a company that provides Walters bought a former brick manufacturer’s worn-out clay field near the Alabama River. our soil healthy are technical assistance, planning and development Years of clay and soil removal by the brick com- organic matter and good support to small farms across the Southeast. At all three operations, the farmers emphapany had left the property lacking in nutrients farming practices.” size building the soil naturally, practicing minto support healthy plant and animal life. Four years ago, Walters began rebuilding – Kirk Iverson, soil scientist imal tilling and planting fill crops that nourish the land with truckloads of ground pecan shell the soil and retard weed growth in months between growing seasons. Their methods are tools that even people compost, humus and manure to make the soil healthy. Now Walwith tiny backyard gardens can use to have ters grows produce and raises cattle and chickens to sell on the 28healthy soil without artificial chemicals. acre organic River Oaks Farm, now a certified organic operation. Richard Dean observed small farmers’ ancient growing practicKirk Iverson, an Auburn-based soil scienes while he and his wife, Jodi, were teachers in China. Now Dean tist who works with Auburn University and and his business partner, Tyson Rogers, own five-acre Gold Branch the U.S. Department of Agriculture on susFarm near Deatsville, a member of Central Alabama EC. They tainable farming projects, said Alabama’s hot grow lettuce and other leafy produce, vegetables and fruit trees weather makes farming a challenge. “The state’s intense heat can break down with natural growing methods and no artificial chemicals. the organic matter that is the key to healthy Dean said Alabama farmland is often thin as a result of intense soil,” Iverson says. “The key things to make Kirk Iverson heat and many years of farming. It normally takes about seven our soil healthy are organic matter and good years with natural growing methods for the artificial chemicals to Alabama Living
AUGUST 2017 17
farming practices. It’s also important to test the soil to know any nutrients you may need to add.” Both Iverson and Wynne said it’s better to do minimal tilling instead of stripping away all spent crops or weeds from previous growing seasons, and to mulch or plant cover crops. Minimal tilling helps vegetation decompose naturally between growing seasons while fill crops hold moisture and nutrients and reduce erosion, they said. Wynne says soil is “the earth’s natural carbon dioxide filtration system, it feeds us and it can help mitigate climate change. We need to look at long-term soil sustainability.” In town, Wynne says property owners can have healthier soil by setting the lawn mower to cut the grass a little higher, and planting low-growing plants that will help keep nutrients in the soil. The farmers from Gold Branch and River Oaks sell what they grow at local farmers markets, helping to meet a growing consumer demand for food grown locally. U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that the number of farmers markets nationally increased 93.3 percent between 2006 and 2014. Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan said in Alabama, farmers markets increased from 17 statewide in 1999 to 164 today. As interest in farmers market shopping has increased, so have the number of small, natural growing farms. In a state where large commercial farms became the norm in the past 20 years, small family-owned operations seemed at risk of dying out. But the consumer push to eat locally grown and organic foods has helped increased interest in the industry in Alabama. Iverson, Wynne and Walters are on the governing board of the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network. Founded in 2001, ASAN is a resource for more than 2,000 farms, ranches, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and households interested in sustainable agriculture. Learn more about ASAN at www.asanonline.org or call 256743-0742.
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Above, River Oaks Farm with carrots for sale; such farms are helping to meet a growing consumer demand for food grown locally. Below, pigs at River Oaks Farm are fed non-GMO feed and fresh vegetables.
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A hero for horse owners
Northwest Alabama’s Life Data Labs helps horses around the world By Jennifer Crossley Howard
n first stepping into the manufacturing plant at Life Data Spencer said determining how to store energy to use on such days Labs, the clean, earthy aroma of teatree oil and alfalfa reis on the list of things to do. mind you of a natural foods store. But this place is actu“On sunny days, we make more energy than we can use,” he said. ally one of the most sought-after animal nutrition and healthcare The Northeast and California are the business’ biggest U.S. marproduct businesses in the world. kets. Clients include breeders, rodeo trainers in Texas and quarter The majority of its clients are concentrated in the United States horse owners in the Shoals who ride the trails. and the United Kingdom, and the bestselling The brand’s logo that adorns most of its slick products are made in Cherokee, Ala., populapackaging — an engraved drawing of a stepping tion: 1,050. horse — fits the business’ nod to old-school valAlong this three-mile stretch on U.S. 72 in ues and dedication to the future. It would look western Colbert County sit the manufacturing at home in the yellowed pages of an animal and office headquarters of Life Data Labs, the anatomy book. efforts of a local veterinarian who took a chance But for all its global reach, some of the most on an idea. loyal customers of Life Data live down the road In the 1980s, Dr. Frank Gravlee decided to in and around northwest Alabama. The Robgive up animal medicine to study a supplement bins family that operates the Bluewater Creek that nourishes and strengthens horse hooves. Polo Club in Killen uses it on their horses, as Called Farrier’s Formula, it is the business’ top does Bob Baffert, a thoroughbred trainer in selling product and is sold in more than 40 California, whose horses have won Kentucky countries. Its name is an ode to specialists who Derbies and Triple Crowns. care for horse hooves. As a story of risk typically goes, critics first The heart of Gravlee’s business philosophy Farrier’s Formula is Life Data Labs’ topunderestimated Gravlee when he debuted Farharkens back to the one he started his journey selling product. rier’s Formula. for: the horse. “When he first developed this formula, he “Dr. Gravlee has always said if you help a horse, he’ll help you called it Skin and Coat,” Spencer says. “Tack stores wouldn’t sell it, back,” says Darryl Spencer, chief financial officer of Life Data Labs. so he went it to the state farrier organization.” Gravlee’s business acumen follows a similar notion. Its marriage Changing the name to Farrier’s Formula helped by appealing to of local business and forward-thinking practices, such as solar ena hardworking trade, Spencer says. Farriers shoe horses every six ergy that drives production and vacuum-sealed products to preweeks, and found Gravlee’s formula worked and liked that it was serve shelf life, are what distinguish Life Data Labs. made in state. A yard full of solar panels sit out back, but today it is cloudy. A horse’s livelihood depends on its hooves. Properly tending to
Life Data Labs ships internationally from its headquarters in Colbert County, Ala.
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Solar panels provide energy to Life Data Labs’ manufacturing facility.
six-inch hooves that support a thousand-pound animal makes the difference between a healthy horse and one prone to illness. “If you don’t have strong, healthy hooves, your horse is going to get down very quickly,” Spencer says.
Successful formula expands
The success of the original Farrier’s Formula led to the debut of Farrier’s Formula Double Strength Plus Joint in November. Much of Gravlee’s research was done on site and at nearby Rosetrail Stables, a 12-acre horse farm where he studied and cared for animals from birth to maturity. His son, Scott, also a veterinarian, does most of the research now. In Alabama, and the rest of the country, Life Data Labs sells through farriers, veterinary offices and tack and feed stores such as the Colbert Farmers Cooperative in Tuscumbia. The Shoals boasts a thriving equine community, including a rescue home in rural Florence, says Brandi Robbins, an employee at the co-op. Horse care makes up 90 percent of business. Her brother is a farrier who’s a fan of Life Data.
Dr. Frank Gravlee’s company conducts research, manufactures products and provides product support from its headquarters in Cherokee, Ala.
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“It’s one of the few foot supplements we carry because it’s local,” Robbins says. “Everybody likes local stuff, and this is a good product.” Life Data Labs follows a streamlined business plan and employs 15 workers. Though machinery in such factories has replaced millions of jobs in recent decades, Dr. Gravlee’s philosophy finds a balance between maintaining jobs while looking to the future. “If we get to the point we need to hire more people, we think, is there anything we can do to make our equipment more efficient, because you can pay people more to run a machine than supervise other people,” Spencer says. This local business is one that intends to stay stateside, specifically in Alabama. Warehouses in Canada and the United Kingdom could grow, but production will remain in the Yellowhammer State. “I anticipate all manufacturing to continue here, forever,” Spencer says. “You can’t outsource quality. If we have any plans to expand, we will do it here.”
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Nick relies on five sta By Brad Bradford
meril Lagasse is one of the best chefs in the Southeast. He has access to the best kitchens, the best meat, the best equipment and the best staff. Emeril worked hard to get where he is today, but my Aunt Berta may be just as good, given the same resources. The SEC and the entire college football nation can relate to this analogy. Nick Saban has run away and retired the recruiting championship with seven straight No. 1 classes with his latest haul. This year, there were 11 five-star recruits in the SEC. Bama signed six of them; Auburn, LSU and Tennessee signed one each and Georgia signed two. Alabama continues to stockpile, with 65 percent of its players coming from outside Alabama. Top recruits continue the yearly trek to Tuscaloosa knowing that they must wait their turn behind other five-stars. This adds to daily competition for playing time. When Vegas puts the odds of winning the national championship for Alabama at 3 to 1, you know that the talent and coaching is there. Hard to bet against them. Auburn faces the dilemma that it has faced in Gus Malzahn’s soon-to-be fifth year: relying on one “star” to lead the Tigers to the promised land of the playoffs. In the past, it was Jeremy Johnson as quarterback. He ended up third string and never reached his potential. Next, it was Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator who was going to be the answer. His defense finished 71st in the nation, giving up 405 yards per game. After one year, he was off to South Carolina. This year, the Tiger hype is former Baylor quarterback transfer Jarrett Stidham. He showed in the spring that he has all the tools needed to get Auburn over the hump. Two important questions: 1. Will Gus stay out of the way and let new coordinator Chip Lindsey run the offense? 2. Stidham has not played since 2015 when he played in the Big 12. The Big 12 defenses are nothing like the real bullets he is going to face against Clemson and the athleticism of the defenses in the SEC. How will he react?
ALABAMA 2016: Listening to Nick Saban and Jalen Hurts talk about last year, you would think that Alabama finished 6-7, lost to Chattanooga and got beat in the Birmingham Bowl instead of going 14-1. Winning four of the last eight national championships and going for a three-peat causes anyone wearing crimson or houndstooth to have one simple goal: Hoist the crystal trophy in early January or it is a disappointing season. Last year’s defense will go down as one of the most dominating in Tide history. However, it will also be known for playing 99 snaps on defense against Clemson and giving up a last-second touchdown on a pick pass and losing the national championship 35-31. On that night in Tampa Bay, the better team made the fourth-quarter plays and won it all. No excuses. Bama won its third straight SEC title and is the only team to be included all three years in the Final Four playoff. Freshman quarterback Hurts was the offensive player of the year. The defense finished first in scoring defense, first in rushing defense and second in total defense nationally. Except for an early season scare by Ole Miss and a 10-0 win against LSU, no one came closer than 18 points – until Clemson. 24 AUGUST 2017
tars; Gus relies on one AUBURN 2016: Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele kept the Tigers in every game by finishing seventh in scoring defense nationally, giving up 17 points per game and playing with the intensity that Auburn is known for. (For comparison, Alabama finished first in the nation at 13 points allowed, a difference of only 4 points). Injuries to quarterback Sean White and running back Kam Pettway led to a record of 8-5. Losing by 6 points to Clemson and 6 points to Georgia shows just how close Auburn came to a 10-win season. Beating LSU at home on a last-second heart-stopper kept the Tigers from starting 1-3. Instead, that win (well-earned) led to a six-game winning streak and a 7-2 record headed into the road game at Georgia. They were ranked ninth in the playoff rankings and controlled their own destiny. Unfortunately, the wheels came off. No second half first downs against Georgia led to a loss. Two weeks later, they scored four field goals but no touchdowns against Alabama. Finishing number 112 in passing offense (out of 128 teams) allowed defenses to load the box and disregard deep passing threats. BIG FOUR ROUND ROBIN: The top two teams in the SEC (Alabama and Auburn) and the ACC (Clemson and FSU) play each other, which will basically eliminate two of these four from the playoffs. Bama opens in Atlanta against Florida State. This can very well be No. 1 vs. No. 2. Obviously, one will be 1-0 and the other 0-1. The loser will not drop lower than 6th but has very little margin of error for the rest of 2017.
The next week, Auburn travels to Clemson for a battle of the Tigers. Since it is the second week, one will then be 2-0 and the other will be 1-1. On Nov. 11, Clemson plays at Florida State. If either loses against the Tigers or Tide in September, this will be a second loss. The Iron Bowl is two weeks later. Unless Bama and Auburn both win earlier against FSU and Clemson, this also will be a second loss and take that team out of the playoff scenario. Auburn and Alabama both play in the SEC West. Florida State and Clemson both play in the ACC Atlantic division. Only one from each division can make the SEC and ACC championship games. ALABAMA OUTLOOK: This is the first year since 2013 that the Tide will return a starter at quarterback. The backfield is loaded with a healthy Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris. Top recruit Najee Harris can make a difference real quick. The offensive line is experienced. Saban replaced Lane Kiffin as offensive coordinator with BriAlabama Living
AUGUST 2017 25
SEC West prediction: 1. Alabama: too much talent and hunger from Clemson loss. 2. LSU: Guice at running back and play Auburn at home 3. Auburn: Must beat Georgia and Alabama. Otherwise, the record moves to 0-8 in these games. The natives get restless. 4. Mississippi State: Fitzgerald is one of the top SEC QBs. 5. Texas A&M: Too thin on both sides of the line. Sumlin’s hot seat gets scalding. 6. Arkansas: When is Bielema going to win a big game? 7. Ole Miss: NCAA probe has sent the Rebels from the penthouse to the outhouse. National picture: Ten teams have a good shot at making the 2017 playoff. They are: SEC: Alabama and Auburn. ACC: Florida State and Clemson. Big 10: Ohio State and Penn State. Big 12: Oklahoma State. Pac 12: Southern Cal and Washington. AAC: South Florida. Semifinals: Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Penn State (Bama 31, Nittany Lions 14). Rose Bowl: Florida State vs USC (FSU 38, Trojans 35). National championship game in Atlanta: Alabama and Florida State open the new dome in Atlanta on Sept. 2 ranked No. 1 and No. 2. On Jan. 8, 2018, these two teams will meet again for all the marbles. Great game again. Same results again: Alabama 42, FSU 28.
Brad Bradford served on the coaching staffs at Alabama and the University of Louisville. He and his wife Susan (former Auburn cheerleader) own Bradford Consulting Group. Brad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Crimson Tide Photos/UA Athletics
an “RUN” Daboll. His marching orders are to get the ball in the hands of playmakers (like Calvin Ridley) and don’t try to “out-cute” the defense. Defensively, the Tide lost seven starters to the NFL. The good news is that nine of the 11 projected starters on defense will be either juniors or seniors. Concerns: finding a kicker and depth at quarterback. Prediction: SEC West champions with a regular season record of 11-1. Possible losses: Florida State or Auburn. AUBURN OUTLOOK: Everything depends on the development of quarterback Jarrett Stidham and keeping the running backs healthy. The duo of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson at running back behind an experienced offensive line is going to give defenses headaches. Malzahn has recruited well on the defensive front and coordinator Steele will keep the Tigers in close games. Daniel Carlson is the best kicker in the country. This means that the offense only needs to get one first down past the 50 and it should turn into at least three points. Scheduling Georgia Southern in the opener is off the chart on the “dumb meter.” They play a triple option offense, which requires more discipline and special assignments for the defense. (Ask the 2011 Alabama defense that gave up 21 points to them the week before the Iron Bowl). Next time, schedule someone who runs an offense similar to Clemson, the second week opponent. Concerns: finding pass rushers and a true deep threat at wide receiver. Prediction: Third in the SEC West with a regular season record of 9-3. Possible losses: Clemson, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama.
Auburn photos by Wade Rackley/AU Athletics
SEC East prediction: 1. Georgia: Experience at quarterback and return of Nick Chubb. 2. Florida: Defense is good. Must develop a QB. 3. Kentucky: good run game. 4. Vandy: Derek Mason is one of the best coaches in the conference. 5. Tennessee: Farewell season for Butch Jones. 6. South Carolina: Still too young. 7. Missouri: signed 24 three-star recruits. Ouch! 26 AUGUST 2017
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August | Around Alabama
Photo courtesy of Jennifer CLaire Moore Foundation.
The 20th Annual Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation Professional Rodeo will be August 3-5 at the City of Foley Horse Arena.
Foley, Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation 20th Annual Professional Rodeo. Bull riding by professional cowboys, bouncy houses for kids and more. The rodeo is the primary fundraiser for the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, a nonproﬁt organization providing training, funding and support of Peer Helper Programs in Baldwin County. Peer Helper Programs empower students to serve as tutors, mentors, mediators and friends to their fellow students. Rodeo begins at 8 p.m. at the City of Foley Horse Arena, 113 East Rosetta Ave., with kids’ activities starting at 6 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under. Tickets are sold in advance at 819 North McKenzie St., Foley, Summerdale Western Store on Highway 59 in Summerdale and Frances Holk-Jones State Farm Insurance, 315 E. Laurel Ave., Foley. General admission tickets will be available each night at the gate of the Rodeo. peerhelpers. org
Dauphin Island, 153rd Commemoration of Battle of Mobile Bay. The ramparts of Fort Gaines have guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay for more than 150 years, standing at the tip of Dauphin Island. Event highlights Fort Gaines’ integral
role in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Experience living history with live demonstrations. dauphinisland.org
Fairhope, The Weeks Bay Foundation’s 5th Annual Pelican Paddle Canoe and Kayak Race. For all ages and skill levels and a non-competitive, guided eco-tour of Weeks Bay, between Fairhope and Foley. There is also a 7-mile pro option for serious paddlers. Entry includes lunch, drinks, a Pelican Paddle t-shirt, and a chance to win a kayak and other prizes. Food from local food trucks will be available. A limited number of loaner kayaks available, but must be reserved in advance. To register, visit www. weeksbay.org, or call 251-9905004. Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center, 11525 US Highway 98.
Orrville, True Crime Walking Tour of Old Cahawba, 9518 Cahaba Rd. Cahawba grew from a frontier capital into a center of wealth and culture. Despite its short-lived grasp on prosperty and reﬁnement, Cahawba never lost its frontier mentality. From feuding families delivering street justice to ones threatening to assassinate the President, Cahawba’s corruption will be revealed on a one-hour guided walking tour. $8. 334-872-8058, cahawba.com
Dothan, Dothan Artifact Show. Displays featuring pipes, bowls, spears, arrowheads, clothing, jewelry, books, and educational displays. Pre-Columbian, Civil War relics, fossils, and related artifacts are allowed. $2; 12 and under free. Westgate Gym, 501 Recreation Road. www.dothanshow.com
Montgomery, Former coaches Pat Dye and Gene Stallings speak at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center. Ticket prices vary. For information and tickets, visit mpaconline.org or call 334481-5100.
Winfield, Music Revue at Pastime Theater, 1052 US 43. Featuring Patrick Reed, Splunge Creek Bluegrass, Zann Townley and Josh Warren. 7 p.m. $10 for adults, $5 ages 12 and under. 205-487-3002.
Talladega, The Afternoon of Praise at the Ritz Theatre will feature singers and musicians along with Dove Award nominee Richard Kingsmore, who will perform Christian classics and Southern Gospel favorites to raise funds for The Red Door Kitchen and Samaritan House. Performance times are 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Admission is $20. Tickets may be purchased at the Ritz Theatre, 115 Court Square North, 256315-0000. For updates and more information, visit www.facebook.com/afternoonofpraise.
Russellville, Franklin County Watermelon Festival features two days of music, contests, entertainment, pageant, arts & crafts, 5K, antique car & truck show, food, tractor show and free watermelon. Watermelon contests include largest melon, seed spitting, best tasting, best dressed and most unusual. franklincountychamber.org
Gadsden, Gadsden-Etowah Habitat for Humanity Dragon Boat Festival. Free admission. Proceeds beneﬁt Habitat for Humanity. For team information, call 256-543-1898. habitatdragonboat.com
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.
Priceville, Annual Cruise In Car Show, 5-9 p.m. Car participants cruise into Veterans Park, 520 Highway 67, Decatur. Entertainment from local band Natchez Trace. Food vendors, kids inﬂatables and door prizes. Cost for car participants is $20 at the gate. 256-355-5476 ext. 0
North America, A total eclipse of the sun will be visible across all North America, weather permitting. The entire continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. Anyone within a 70-mile wide path stretching through 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total eclipse. In Alabama, the eclipse will be partial. The best resource for viewing information, including how to view the eclipse safely, is eclipse2017.nasa.gov.
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AUGUST 2017 29
Cast your vote for the Best of Alabama for the chance to win
Vote online for a chance to win an extra
Deadline to vote is Oct. 31, 2017.
It’s back! Once again, Alabama Living readers have a chance to vote on the places and things that make our state great! We’ve got some new categories this year. So check out the questions, write in your answer for each one and tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama!”
FOOD 1 Best seafood restaurant
2 Best Alabama-made burger
Best recipe from “The Best of Alabama Living” cookbook
Best game to hunt/fish/trap in Alabama
Best hiking/biking trail
TRAVEL 6 Best historic hotel
Best “living history” experience
Best small town for unique shopping
Best day trip in Alabama
Best Alabama souvenir
Best article you’ve read in Alabama Living in the last year
Best thing about living in Alabama
Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________ Remember, if your name is drawn and you voted online
Address: ___________________________________ City: _________________ St: _______Zip: _________ at www.alabamaliving.com, Phone Number: __________________________ Co-op: _________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________________________________
Vote online at www.alabamaliving.com or mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.
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| Consumer Wise |
Charging ahead Why more Americans are driving electric vehicles By Pat Keegan and Christine Grant
My son and his wife just bought an electric vehicle. I was surprised to learn that the cost of their new electric vehicle was comparable to a gasoline-powered car. I need to replace my car in a few years and would like to learn more about electric vehicles. What are the pros and cons of going electric?
Your son is not alone. The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly. There are good reasons why EVs are becoming more popular, but there are also a few potential drawbacks. Let’s start with the basics: EVs are vehicles that plug into the electric grid for some or all of their power. There are two primary types of EVs. All-electric EVs—such as the Nissan LEAF—are powered entirely with electricity. Plug-in hybrid EVs—such as the Chevrolet Volt—are dual-fuel cars, meaning both the electric motor and the internal combustion engine can propel the car. A key benefit of EVs is that a driver’s trips to the gas station are either vastly reduced or eliminated altogether. However, in lieu of gas refueling, EVs need to be recharged. At the lowest charging level, called Level 1, an hour of charging typically provides two to five miles of range per hour. Because the average light-duty car is parked for 12 hours per day at a residence, many EV drivers can use Level 1 charging for most of their charging needs. The fastest charging level, called DC Fast-Charging, can provide 60-80 miles of range in a 20-minute period. Charging with electricity is nearly always cheaper than fueling with gasoline. An electric gallon—or “eGallon”—represents the cost of driving an EV the same distance a gasoline-powered vehicle could travel on one gallon of gasoline. On average, an eGallon is about one-third the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Another benefit of charging with electricity is that, throughout many parts of the country, it is a cleaner fuel source than gasoline. Although the exact environmental benefits of driving an EV will vary, one recent study found that two-thirds of Americans live in regions where driving an EV is cleaner than driving a 50 MPG gas-powered car. Another key reason for the rise in EV ownership is because of recent reductions in the upfront cost of the cars. The batteries used in EVs are the most expensive component of the cars, but thanks to improving production methods, the cost of the batteries has dropped by more than 35 percent since 2010, and costs are expect-
Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forproﬁt electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ collaborativeefﬁciency.com for more information.
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The Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling EV. PHOTO COURTESY NISSAN
ed to keep dropping. Because of these cost reductions and technology improvements, EVs are hitting some major performance and affordability milestones. For example, in late 2016, General Motors released the Chevrolet Bolt—an all-electric EV with an estimated range of 238 miles per charge, costing about $30,000 after rebates.
Range anxiety still a concern
Although even longer range and more affordable EVs are expected to hit the market soon, one of the key drawbacks of EVs is that most models currently have a range of less than 100 miles per charge. More and more public charging stations are available across the United States, but “range anxiety” is still a concern for many potential buyers. Fortunately, if you are considering an EV, keep in mind that the average American’s daily driving patterns are well-suited for EV use. More than half of all U.S. vehicle trips are between one and ten miles, and even in rural areas the average daily drive distances for typical errands and commutes are well within the range of most currently available EVs. EVs are also well-suited for many commercial applications. For example, EVs are now being used as part of ridesharing services like Uber, where average trip distances are between just 5 and 7 miles. Companies like Frito-Lay and FedEx are also introducing EVs into their delivery fleets, and a growing number of municipalities are buying electric buses. One of the primary draws of EVs for commercial use is their minimal maintenance requirements. If you are interested in learning more about EVs, contact a local car dealer to schedule a test drive. Many curious drivers are impressed by the performance of EVs, especially the instant torque provided by the electric motor. Your electric co-op can also be a great resource. More and more co-ops own EVs as part of their fleets and may offer “ride and drive” events. Dozens of co-ops also offer reduced electricity rates for “off peak” EV charging, which can help you save even more money on fueling. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Worth the drive |
Chicago ﬂavor for northeast Alabama Story and photos by Aaron Tanner
From left: Joe’s Pizza, on U.S. Highway 72 in Woodville. Manager Mary Thompson and her father, Alvaro Ramos, show off the muffuletta, a popular menu item. The building that houses the restaurant may be small, but the pizzas are big on flavor.
he little town of Woodville in Jackson County might be the last place you’d expect to find a restaurant that serves pizza made with love by a family from Chicago. Joe’s Pizza is a small building with only a few places for sitting, both inside and outside, but it is big on cranking out delicious food to nearby residents who crowd the place for a nice take-home meal, and tourists accessing nearby kayaking, fishing and caving spots in this scenic region of northeast Alabama. Manager Mary Thompson is hard at work, running the cash register, taking orders, making the food and talking with customers. In the back, Thompson’s parents, Alvaro and Diane Ramos, make the orders and operate the ovens. Due to the limited space, the majority of customers place their order to go either at the cash register or over the phone. Although Thompson and her siblings were born and raised in the Windy City, their family has roots in the Paint Rock Valley. Her mother was born and raised in New Hope in nearby Madison County and her uncle lives in Woodville.
A mother’s dream
After spending many years in Chicago, Thompson and her immediate family Joe’s Pizza
6582 US Highway 72 Woodville, Ala. 35776 (256) 776-6268 Hours: 3-8 p.m. TuesdayWednesday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3-8 p.m. Sunday Facebook page at www. facebook.com/Joes-PizzaWoodvilleAlabama
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moved to Woodville in 2000 to be closer to her mom’s family and hometown. Her mom had a dream to open her own restaurant. Her years in Chicago – one of the nation’s holy cities for pizza – exposed her to a variety of pizza restaurants. She also wanted to work with family. The restaurant business may be in the blood; her brother, Thompson’s uncle, owned a restaurant of his own at the time. In 2003, Thompson’s brother, Jose Vigenor, made mom’s dream come true by buying an old restaurant that served the community for many years. Today, Vigenor is the part owner of Joe’s Pizza. Many of Thompson’s family members, along with non-family members, have kept Joe’s Pizza going over the years. Although there are challenges to working closely with family, Thompson would not have it any other way. “I wouldn’t work with anyone else,” she says. “We get a flow going.” The pizza choices are simple at Joe’s – the only options are either adding toppings to a cheese pizza or ordering their legendary supreme pizza, which includes sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, green olives, black olives and anchovies. As the sign outside points out, the dough is made from scratch daily. The combination of fresh dough and ingredients makes Joe’s supreme pizza their best-selling item. Another best-seller is the muffuletta. This giant sandwich includes a blend of sliced pastrami, ham, salami, pepperoni, Swiss cheese and olives. The juices from the meats and the tanginess of the olives melt together in the oven, bringing a bit of the Gulf Coast to the Cumberland Plateau. Thompson’s mother decided to add the
New Orleans staple to the menu after taking a trip to the city. “She tried one and she loved it, so she wanted to put it on the menu,” says Thompson, who takes pride in her muffulettas going toe to toe with those in larger cities.
Wings and catﬁsh, too
Not in the mood for pizza or a sandwich? Joe’s also has homemade chicken wings, lasagna and spaghetti. Of course, no restaurant based in the South would be complete without southern fried catfish. Thompson says many are surprised when they see catfish on their menu, but it is a case of appealing to the local clientele. “It’s a Southern favorite, so we like to cater to our customers,” Thompson says. Joe’s Pizza has gained many regulars over the years, thanks to great customer service and the friendly atmosphere. “I love meeting new people and getting to know their stories,” Thompson says. “It’s not just about cooking.” Thompson points out that running a pizza restaurant in a small town like Woodville allows Joe’s to offer a quality product in an area served by few restaurants, and that the same process would be harder to replicate back in Chicago. “People (in Chicago) want what’s convenient,” Thompson says. Many who travel through this region often pass by Joe’s Pizza before giving the place a try. “They (the customers) keep saying ‘we want to stop’,” says Thompson. “It’s kind of a hole-in-the-wall.” But the number of cars that fill the gravel parking lot for lunch and dinner are proof enough that Joe’s Pizza is a place worth stopping by and eating like one of the “locals.” www.alabamaliving.coop
AUGUST 2017â€ƒ 35
| Alabama People |
Renee Simmons Raney
Teaching nature the imaginative way Renee Simmons Raney grew up on a farm near Choccolocco, Ala., where she learned about the wonders of nature. Ever since, she’s dedicated her life to educating people about nature in unique ways. Recently, she left a job with the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust to accept the position of park operations supervisor and director of events with Cheaha State Park near Talladega. When not leading a hike or telling stories to children, she writes books, including her most recent, Hairy Scary but Mostly Merry Fairies: Curing Nature Deficiency Through Folklore, Imagination and Creative Outdoor Activities. – John Felsher How did your upbringing influence your career? I was blessed to grow up on my grandfather’s dairy farm nestled in the valley just between the Choccolocco Mountains and the Cheaha Mountain range. My family encouraged me to be creative and to respect even the tiniest portions of the natural world. My imagination had no boundaries. I thought all children had this experience until I started school and realized that many children lacked the opportunity for outdoor play. As I grew up and began my career in environmental education, my passion for merging science with art and creative play became my mission. Most people lose touch with the enchantment of youth, but I never did! I still live on a corner of that farm with my husband, my son, four happy dogs, 10 content chickens and a few hives of joyful honeybees.
What is Nature Deficit Disorder? I am part of the “No Child Left Inside” movement. A few years ago, Dr. Richard Louv wrote a book called Last Child in the Woods in which he coined the phrase “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Louv believed that the lack of outdoor play in childhood is causing a great disconnect between a generation of young people and the natural world. We know that 30 minutes a day spent outside can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase mental productivity and bring pleasure. What are your goals for your new job at Cheaha State Park? It is my goal to provide unique environmental education, cultural heritage and nature art programs for diverse audiences of all backgrounds and ages. I want everyone to ascend the cloud-shrouded mountain and discover Cheaha State Park, which we often refer to as “the island in the sky!” Our team is developing several programs such as a permanent “Fairy Trail” where families can create small structures from all natural materials while using their Learn more about Renee creativity to connect Simmons Raney or order with nature. her books at www.reneeraney.com.
PHOTO BY MIKE McCRACKEN
How did your interest in fairies, folklore and storytelling transfer over into your career? Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.” I believe every moment in nature is a “Once Upon a Time” moment. I have spent many years working with inner city and underserved youth in Alabama. Most of these children don’t have opportunities to connect with the natural world. When we take them to national parks or forests, they are terrified. Once I have shared my natural history fairy tale stories, explained that they can pretend to be the size of their pinky finger and allow them to create their own nature home or fairy house, they become comfortably fearless. The insects and creepy things are no longer enemies. In my book, I share my fairy stories from childhood through present day. I include lists of activities for each chapter to make it easy for parents and grandparents to play outside with their young folks. I have developed an “enchanted curriculum” for teachers to use these techniques to teach science, math, literature, physics and other topics. After reading my first book, Calico Ghosts, Alabama’s own Kathryn Tucker Windham handed me her old black click pen and said, “Take my pen and continue to inspire imagination across the South.” It was an epic moment in my life! People say you have a unique way of presenting your environmental education programs. How is that? I merge my skills as a biologist and anthropologist with my passion for creative drama and storytelling to create exceptional experiential place-based education programs for vast audiences. I’ve watched the magical joy spread across a child’s face when she holds her first glob of frog eggs in her hands and witnessed an 80-year-old man transform into a mesmerized 8-year-old as he listens to stories about farms and wild places not forgotten. I use live animals, or “creature teachers,” in most of my programs.
36 AUGUST 2017
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Sweet Home Alabama in New York City Miniature Lookout Mountain at the Flatiron North Plaza in New York City invited visitors to climb up and get a 360 degree virtual look at the Little River Canyon.
labama’s Department of Travel and Tourism staged a week You would climb steps to the top and at the top put on 3D goggles of high profile promotions on the streets of New York City to view a 360-degree virtual Little River Canyon video. in June to attract visitors to the state. Similar to promotions I could not believe the sensation I had as I turned around 360 held in previous years, this year’s event focused on giving potential degrees looking at the canyon as if floating in the sky above, lookvisitors a vision of what Alabama offers, and provided a vivid look ing all around, up and down feeling like I was walking about the at its landscape via virtual reality glasses that allowed viewers to green lush forests below. Everyone loved it. There were lines all “see” Little River Canyon National Preserve on Lookout Mountain day to see it; in fact, we stayed an hour later than planned just to in Fort Payne. allow the line to go down. Tristan Dersham, 16, granddaughter of DeKalb County Tourism Once visitors viewed the video, they were invited to have their President and CEO John Dersham, accompicture taken in front of the mountain panied her grandfather to New York for the with the Empire State building in the backexperience and the two wrote about their exground. They were emailed their picture periences for Alabama Living: with “Sweet Home Alabama in New York” The director of tourism for the state, Lee embedded in the image. People from all Sentell, invited my grandpa to serve as an around the world came to see Little River ambassador for the Little River Canyon Canyon in New York City and they all were promotions, which included a 20-story tall impressed. They said they’d like to visit Alaphotograph adhered to the side of a buildbama and many who have never been to Aling near Madison Square Garden. It was abama were in disbelief, as we did not look breathtaking when we walked around the at all like they imagined. corner of 34th Street and 8th Avenue and Tristan and John Dersham helped welcome Another Alabama tourism “Sweet Home there it was…gigantic, colorful and all lit visitors in NYC. Alabama” event during the week includup. It made us feel so proud of our state and ed a media event in Brooklyn to show and our area. sample the Alabama craft breweries. The 360 video of Little River Just think, Little River Canyon in New York City! It was a spot Canyon was shown there, too. of bright green in a seemingly never-ending mile of shades of gray On another day, a large Mobile Mardi Gras float was in Times and black. Thousands of people were here on the streets walking Square, with a live jazz band and costumed dancers. around night and day and there was no way to miss this gigantic My grandpa and I took lots of pictures and shared them on soview of Little River Canyon. In addition to the skyscraper art, a cial media all during the week to help get the word out even more. miniature Lookout Mountain was built at the Flatiron North PlaThis was a very successful week with thousands more people getza. The mountain was about the size of an average living room. ting to witness our “real” Alabama. I think they will come see us. 38 AUGUST 2017
AREA publications win national awards
REA publications won two national awards at the Cooperative Communicators Association’s (CCA) Excellence in Communications awards ceremony, held during the annual CCA Educational Institute June 3-6 in Baton Rouge, La. “The Best of Alabama Living” cookbook won second place in the miscellaneous print category, ranking one point behind Cullman EC’s 80th anniversary book, “Along These Lines,” which took first place. Alabama Living won third place in the member magazine category of publications with a budget of more than $100,000. It was the only statewide electric cooperative magazine to place in the category, beating statewide electric cooperatives in Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma. “We were gratified to be the only statewide electric cooperative magazine honored in this category,” says Vice President of Communications Lenore Vickrey, who accepted both awards at the meeting. “It is a testimony to the hard work by the talented communicators at our statewide office and our local communicators who work
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every day to tell the stories of our rural electric cooperatives.” Regarding the cookbook award, Vickrey quips, “If we had to lose to someone, at least it was one of our own. Cullman did a beautiful job with its 80th anniversary book.” Professional communicators representing cooperatives from across the United States and Canada submitted nearly 600 entries in the competition. The awards recognize the best in writing, photography, programs and projects, and publications. The four-day educational program included a variety of professional development sessions ranging from effective social media tactics and video production, to photography tips and writing workshops. CCA is an organization of 300 professionals who communicate for cooperatives. The organization is unique in both its mission and membership. CCA works toward helping members excel in communications — from writing, photography, and editing to video, layout and design. Just as important, CCA emphasizes ideas and strategies aimed at making communications more successful for cooperatives.
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AUGUST 2017 39
| Gardens |
Salad Growing lettuces in the heat Days of summer and all year round
his is such an excellent time to make cool, refreshing salads with the many summer fruits and vegetables currently available from home gardens and produce stands, but don’t forget that we can also add crisp homegrown salad greens to our plates, too. Even though lettuces and other salad greens are considered cool-season crops, a number of heat-tolerant cultivars can be grown during the summer as long as we provide them with the proper growing conditions to weather the hot weather. Plus, it’s not too early to get ready for fall salad season and establish a growing system that provides fresh salad greens all year long. The term “salad greens” includes several different leafy greens, most of which hail from three primary botanical families. Lettuces belong to the aster or sunflower family (Asteraceae); kale, arugula and mustard greens are members of the cabbage (Brassica) family; and spinach and chard are kin to the beet and quinoa (Amaranthaceae) family. Each of these greens has their own distinctive flavor and texture qualities, from sweet and delicate to spicy and fibrous, but the easiest of them to grow this time of year are the lettuces. Lettuces are typically grouped into four major categories: crisphead (iceberg), loose leaf, romaine (cos) and butterhead (semi-heading). Loose leaf cultivars, which includes oakleaf lettuces, are usually the most heat tolerant followed by the butterheads. Crisphead and romaine lettuces are often the hardest to grow in the heat of summer; however, a number of heat-tolerant cultivars have been developed in all four of these lettuce categories, so the options are improving. Since lettuce seeds are relatively inexpensive and store well (in a cool, dry place), consider buying seed for lots of
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
40 AUGUST 2017
different cultivars. That way you can try some now and have the others ready for use into the fall and throughout the year. This time of year it may be difficult to find prepackaged lettuce seed at local nursery centers but you can order them yearround from your favorite seed supplier. Once you’ve got seeds in hand, the big-
gest challenge to growing a successful late summer lettuce crop is likely going to be soil temperature. Lettuce seeds will not germinate in soil or growing media that is warmer than 80 degrees so you may want to start the seeds in growing flats that can be kept indoors or in a cool, shaded outside area until the seedlings have emerged. They can then be transplanted into the garden, which this time of year should be in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. If you don’t have such a location or if it’s especially hot outside, cover them with a light layer of mulch or a shade cloth and keep them well watered. Another planting option that is perfect this time of year (and any time of year) is to plant lettuce in containers that can be kept outside the kitchen door or inside the house in a warm (but not directly in the sun) location. That way you can better control air and soil temperatures and you’ll have lettuce close at hand when you’re ready to harvest some for a summer meal. In addition, lettuces and other leafy greens are pretty so they make nice, edible ornamental plants for pots and in flowerbeds throughout the year.
If you want to have a crop of lettuce growing all the time, try succession planting. Just sow new batches of seed every two to three weeks throughout the year so as one crop tapers off, a new crop of fresh greens is coming on. As you’re exploring all the late summer/early fall lettuce options, remember that now is also the time to begin buying and starting seeds for other fall crops such as bush beans, beets, carrots, cole crops (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi), leeks, mustards, onions, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips. If you need guidance on what to plant when, check out the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s free Planting Guide for Home Gardening in Alabama publication, which can be found at www.aces.edu/ pubs/docs/A/ANR-0063/ANR0063.pdf or through your local Extension office.
Start prepping last year’s poinsettias, Christmas cactus and amaryllis for the upcoming holiday season by bringing them indoors and limiting their sunlight for the next few months. Begin improving soil for next year’s garden plots by taking a soil test and adding organic matter and other soil amendments. Watch for insect and disease problems and treat as needed. Sow seeds for fall cool-season ﬂowers and vegetables in ﬂats or in the garden. Begin drying herbs and preserving the last of the summer produce. Continue to mow and water lawns as needed. Divide irises and other overcrowded perennials. Keep birdbaths and birdfeeders full and clean. Order spring bulbs for fall planting and for forcing holiday bulbs. Begin saving seed and taking cuttings from ornamental and vegetable plants. www.alabamaliving.coop
Continued from Page 10
Alabama to see partial eclipse Aug. 21
practice providers), especially if some practice requirements were relaxed. One barrier to expanding this service is the current requirements for having collaborative practice agreements with physicians working with nurse practitioners. All nurse practitioners are required to work with a collaborating physician. The physician must be in the practice location with the nurse practitioner, including patient records review, for a minimum of 10 percent of the nurse practitioner’s practice time. This requirement is relaxed to include quarterly contact after the nurse practitioner has been practicing for two years. Most nurse practitioners and collaborating physicians report that they enjoy and their patients benefit from their affiliation. However, the 10 percent direct supervision time requirement prevents many rural physicians from collaborating with nurse practitioners because of this demand on their own practice time. Also, one physician can only work with four full-time nurse practitioners. This rule especially impacts on greater utilization of nurse practitioners in our rural areas because of the smaller number of physicians practicing in rural areas. With the expansion of telemedicine in Alabama, perhaps other ways can be found to increase the provision of primary care services by nurse practitioners (and other advanced practice providers) in rural areas, including in rural hospital emergency departments. Alabama’s health care needs are greater than those in most other states. Alabama needs to become a leader in more fully utilizing our limited health care provider resources.
total eclipse of the sun will be visible across all North America on Monday, Aug. 21, weather permitting. The entire continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. Anyone within a 70-milewide path stretching through 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total eclipse. In Alabama, the eclipse will be partial. If you travel to a state where the eclipse will be total (the closest are Tennessee, northeast Georgia and South Carolina), the moon will completely block the sun’s face for about two minutes -- day will turn into night, making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. Bright stars and planets will become visible. Birds will fly to their nighttime roosts, and nocturnal insects such as cicadas and crickets will buzz and chirp. The best resource for viewing information, including guidelines on how to view the eclipse safely and videos of what the eclipse will look like in your area, is https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov.
AUGUST 2017 41
| Outdoors |
For the future
Helping preserve critical habitats to keep them wild
ith vast wild acreage of diverse habitats ranging from tidal marshes to mountain forests, Alabama offers sportsmen abundant places to enjoy the outdoors. A little help from one non-profit organization can keep some of that habitat permanently wild. Based in Piedmont, Ala., the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust helps preserve about 325,000 acres in multiple states, with the majority in Alabama and Georgia. “Our mission is to protect land for present and future generations,” says Katherine Eddins, executive director of Georgia-Alabama Land Trust. “We look to the future with a clear vision of our perpetual commitment to land conservation. We see a future where our rivers, coastlines and wild and working forests are preserved, cared for and cherished for the future use, enjoyment and education of generations to come.” The land trust uses a legal agreement called a “conservation easement” to protect property. Under such an agreement, a landowner can continue using the property for hunting, farming or similar uses, but agrees to keep the land as natural as possible and never develop it commercially. The owner can sell the land or pass it down to heirs, but the conservation easement remains, keeping the land perpetually protected. “A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between the land trust and the owner to protect the land,” Eddins says. “It changes the deed to the property so that the landowner keeps the land, but the owner’s intentions for that land are put into a legal document. “An easement along the Cahaba River now protects 64 rare and imperiled plant and animal species, 13 of which are found nowhere else in the world.” Landowners do not receive direct comJohn N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who writes from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com
42 AUGUST 2017
pensation for property put in easement. However, the land trust conducts a land appraisal. The landowner can then use that estimated value as a tax deduction. “If people give up value like development rights from the use of their land for a conservation easement, the owners get a tax deduction for the val- Ken Nichols next to a pine tree he planted when he ue given up,” Eddins says. “The conser- was 14 on his family’s property in Dallas County. The vation easement donation can reduce Georgia-Alabama Land Trust helps preserve such lands estate, income and property taxes for across Alabama, Georgia and other states. the landowner.” Most acreage preserved by ease“In Alabama, we need to focus on certain ments remains private, but sometimes a specific high-priority areas like parts of the government organization wants an easeTombigbee or Coosa rivers,” Eddins says. ment for such public usage as trails, parks “The Coosa River watershed, including the or wildlife management areas. Choccolocco Creek watershed, is believed For instance, the land trust has been to support the largest number of endanworking to obtain easements to create a gered and threatened species found in any massive trail system connecting the CloudAlabama waterway of comparable size. land Canyon State Park in Georgia, just “We also rely upon the Alabama Foracross the state line from Fort Payne, Ala., estry Commission’s guide on key working to Chattanooga, Tenn. forest areas. We also look closely at soils. “We’re also working on another property Food producing soils across Alabama and just over the Georgia line where we partGeorgia have been threatened by developnered with Southeastern Cave Conservanment over the past decade. Conservation cy to create a cave preserve,” Eddins says. easements can be used to preserve working “We usually concentrate on more rural farms and ranches.” areas, but might work with a community The non-profit organization receives to protect important property for parks or funding from various sources, but most places with scenic value, perhaps for a green of it comes as donations from individuals space plan. Even on private land, easements passionate about conservation. Some founstill help the people of Alabama because it’s dations make donations. Sometimes, the conserved as wildlife habitat or for other land trust partners with other likemindnatural uses. That benefits the quality of life ed non-profit organizations, government for people living in that area.” agencies or corporations to collaborate on The land trust not only preserves land, projects. but might also enhance or restore natural “We get a lot of phone calls from people habitats. The organization did extensive interested in conserving their lands,” Edwork on restoring wetlands and critical dins says. “The main way people find out native longleaf pine savannahs in Alabama about our work is through word of mouth. and Georgia. Our organization maintains a stewardship States prepare wildlife action plans that fund to ensure that we have the capacity to define habitat conservation priorities to permanently monitor each easement annuprotect flora and fauna within their boundally. These funds, mainly built from conaries. Sometimes, the organization seeks tributions related to donated conservation specific critical habitat it wants to enhance easements, are not used for operations.” or preserve based upon those plans, but To make a tax-deductible contribution, more often, individuals or groups ask for identify potential easement properties help with their lands. The organization also or obtain more information, contact the conducts periodic seminars on conservaGeorgia-Alabama Land Trust at 256-447tion easements. 1006. On line, see www.galandtrust.org. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.
a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
AUG 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 SEP. 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
-12:52 02:22 03:22 04:22 --01:07 01:52 02:22 09:07 09:52 11:22 ---01:22 02:37 03:37 04:37 --12:52 01:37 08:07 09:07 10:07 11:37 ---02:22 03:37 04:37 05:22 -12:52 07:37 08:07 08:52 09:52 10:52 ----02:22
07:37 08:52 09:52 10:52 11:37 05:22 06:07 06:52 07:37 08:22 03:07 03:52 04:37 05:52 07:22 08:37 09:37 10:22 10:52 11:22 05:22 05:52 06:37 07:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:22 05:37 07:07 08:37 09:37 10:37 11:22 11:52 06:07 06:52 01:22 01:52 02:22 03:07 03:37 04:37 05:52 07:22 08:37 09:37
07:37 09:22 10:37 11:22 11:52 07:07 07:37 08:07 08:37 08:52 09:22 03:37 04:07 01:37 04:22 09:07 10:22 10:52 11:22 11:52 06:52 07:07 07:37 07:52 02:07 02:52 03:22 04:07 01:37 12:37 09:52 10:37 11:07 11:52 12:22 06:52 07:07 07:37 02:07 02:37 02:52 03:22 12:52 09:22 12:07 10:22 10:37
03:37 04:37 05:22 06:07 06:37 12:22 12:52 01:37 02:07 02:37 03:07 09:52 10:07 10:52 11:37 04:52 05:22 05:37 06:07 06:22 12:07 12:37 01:07 01:37 08:22 08:52 09:07 09:52 10:37 03:37 04:22 05:07 05:37 06:07 06:22 12:37 01:07 01:37 07:52 08:22 08:37 08:52 09:07 03:37 04:07 04:37 04:52 AUGUST 2017 43
| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):
October 2017 – August 25 November 2017 – September 25 December 2017 – October 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@ areapower.com; or call (800)4102737 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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| Alabama Recipes |
Summer Salads Salads are sound choices for the season’s profusion of produce By Jennifer Kornegay
alads of all stripes are ideal meals for this time of year. For one, they are wonderful ways to make the most of the best foods that summers in the South offer us: sweet, crunchy corn; cool, juicy watermelon; crisp peppers; refreshing cucumber; the bright perfumes of fresh herbs like basil and mint; plus, plump, scarlet tomatoes and pop-in-yourmouth peas.
Cook of the Month
Donna James, Cullman EC Donna James’ Cornbread Salad combines several of summer’s darlings in one substantial dish. She got the recipe from her daughter, who got it from a friend, who got it from her mother, and she shares it every time she gets a request, which is often. “It has been passed around a lot,” she says. She loves its popularity at parties and potlucks, but she also loves how simple it truly is. “There are no fancy ingredients. You probably have most of this in your pantry or fridge,” she says. “And, you can really change it up any way you like to suit what you and your family enjoy.” Donna prefers red pepper to the green the recipe calls for, and if you don’t like pepper, period, she says, “leave it out.” You can also “lighten up” the recipe by subbing in low-fat cheese, low-cal dressing and less bacon. 46 AUGUST 2017
Salads are also pretty simple to throw together (and simple to eat), keeping the easy feel of a lazy summer day intact. Many involve little to no cooking, so you won’t add a lot of heat to your house and tax your AC even further. Even though those with additions like bacon, mayo and cheese are deﬁnitely not diet food, they’re still “lighter” – at least in feel – than a lot of other options. And salads should no longer be seen
as only a side dish; some can hold their own in the center of the plate and shine as a main meal, especially if you embellish them with some extra protein like grilled chicken or shrimp. Finally, they’re incredibly versatile. You can take any one of this month’s reader-submitted recipes for summer salads and put your own spin on it by omitting or adding ingredients without fear of failure. Anything goes!
Spinach Salad with Honey Dressing Spinach 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained 1⁄3 cup raisins 1⁄3 cup toasted cashews, pecans or sunflower seeds ½ cup mayonnaise Brown mustard, to taste Honey, to taste Milk, until creamy To make the Honey Dressing, start with ½ cup mayonnaise. Stir in 1 teaspoon of brown mustard and honey to your preference. Stir in milk until creamy. Toss with spinach, mandarin oranges, raisins and nuts or seeds just before serving. Rena’ Smith Tallapoosa River EC
Corn Salad 2 11-ounce cans shoe peg corn 2 10-ounce cans original Rotel tomatoes 1 onion, chopped 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped (cutting out the seeds makes the salad less watery) 4 tablespoons mayonnaise ½ cup sour cream 2 tablespoons white vinegar Squirt of mustard (yellow, Dijon, or spicy) Salt Pepper Mix together all ingredients in bowl with sealable lid. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Salad tastes better if made the day before serving. Teresa Smith Cullman EC
Build Your Own While we got some tasty recipes from our readers for this issue that we encourage you to try, you should also consider creating your own favorite summer salad by building on your speciﬁc tastes. By learning to combine different ﬂavors, textures and colors, you can quickly and easily come up with a wide variety of salads. Here are a few basic “categories” of things to include to get you started, but there really are no rules. • something crunchy, salty and/ or starchy (nuts, croutons, tortilla chips, pasta or grains like farro or quinoa) • a protein (grilled meats, shrimp, chopped boiled egg, cooked beans like black, kidney or chickpeas) • veggies (raw as well as cooked and pickled items) • fruit (fresh or dried) • cheese • dressing
Sometimes the size and shape of a salad ingredient can affect its taste. Play around with different ways to cut and slice items.
Cornbread Salad 1-2 1 1 1 1 1 2 4-5
Cornbread tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped large green bell pepper, chopped 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained 15-ounce can chili beans, drained bottle Hidden Valley Ranch dressing cups shredded cheese strips of crumbled bacon or one 4.5-ounce package of real bacon bits Dash of granulated garlic or garlic salt
Make a medium-sized pan of cornbread in your favorite cast iron skillet. Allow to cool for a few minutes. In a 13x9x2-inch rectangular casserole dish, layer one-half of the cornbread, tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper, corn, chili beans, cheese, ranch dressing, and a dash of granulated garlic or garlic salt. Repeat a second layer with remaining ingredients and top with crumbled bacon. This recipe is best chilled overnight, but may be served after chilling a couple of hours. Cornbread salad prepared by Amelia Stephenson. PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON
AUGUST 2017 47
Frozen Cranberry Banana Salad
Frozen Cranberry Banana Salad prepared and photographed by Allison Griffin.
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple 5 medium firm bananas, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 16-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce ½ cup sugar ½ cup chopped pecans 1 12-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed Drain and save pineapple juice in a medium bowl, set juice aside. Slice bananas and add to juice to coat. In a large bowl, combine cranberry sauce and sugar. Mix well. Remove bananas; discard juice and add bananas to cranberry mixture. Stir in pecans, pineapple and cool whip (do not beat). Pour into a 13x9-inch glass dish. Freeze until solid. Cut into squares and serve frozen. Yields 12-16 servings. Suzy Shepherd Pioneer EC
Bean Salad 1 can green beans, drained 1 can yellow wax beans, drained 1 pound carrots, thinly sliced and blanched 2 small purple onions, thinly sliced 1 bell pepper (any color), sliced
Dressing: 1 ½ 1 ¾
cup white vinegar cup canola oil teaspoon salt cup sugar Pepper, to taste
Layer vegetables in a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Pour dressing over vegetables and marinate overnight. Great with steaks, hamburgers or ribs. Elouise Teel Covington EC
Simple Summer Salad 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved 2 cups fresh blueberries ½ cup crushed pineapple
Dressing: 1 cup plain yogurt 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed Dash of nutmeg Chill until ready to serve. Combine and serve immediately. Peggy Lunsford Pea River EC
Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Oct. Nov. Dec.
Pies Aug. 8 Sweet potatoes Sept. 8 Edible gifts Oct. 8
Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.
Coming up in September...Cheese, please! 48 AUGUST 2017
Watermelon Mint Salad 4 cups watermelon, seeded and cubed into bite-sized chunks 3 cups seedless cucumber, cubed smaller than the watermelon 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped Salt and pepper Extra virgin olive oil Balsamic vinegar In a large bowl, gently mix watermelon and cucumber. Carefully add feta and mint to the mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Toss gently together and serve cold. Double the recipe for a crowd. Delaney Neuwirth Baldwin EMC
Send us y ur recipeso !
Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions! Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Fresh Basil Vinaigrette ½ 1⁄3 1 ¾ ½ ¼ 2
cup chopped fresh basil cup fresh lemon juice teaspoon lemon zest teaspoon salt teaspoon black pepper cup olive oil medium zucchini, sliced ¼-inch thick 2 medium yellow squash, sliced ¼-inch thick 1 Vidalia onion, sliced ¼-inch thick 1 large eggplant cut lengthwise ¼-inch thick
Fried Okra Salad 1½ pounds breaded frozen (or fresh) okra 2 large tomatoes, chopped ½ green bell pepper, diced 1 bunch green onions, diced 6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled 1 can shoe peg corn, drained 1 cucumber, chopped
Dressing: ½ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
Watermelon and Blueberry Salad 1 ¾ ½ 2
tablespoon honey teaspoon lemon juice teaspoon minced fresh mint cups watermelon, seeded and chopped 1 cup fresh blueberries
Combine honey, lemon juice and mint. Toss with watermelon and blueberries. Ellis Reed, age 8 Tallapoosa River EC
In a blender, combine basil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. With blender running, slowly add oil. Set vinaigrette aside. Lightly grease a grill pan over medium heat. Grill vegetables in batches 4-5 minutes per side or until tender. Serve vegetables warm with basil vinaigrette.
Fry okra in oil according to package directions and drain on paper towels. In a medium bowl, combine okra, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions, bacon, shoe peg corn and cucumber. In a small saucepan combine oil, sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until sugar dissolves. Pour over okra mixture and toss gently. Serve.
Angela Bradley Clarke-Washington EMC
Ann Brooks Wiregrass EC
Watermelon and blueberry salad prepared by Amelia Stephenson. PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON
Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.
Our new AWARD WINNING cookbook is a must-have addition to your kitchen! In a recent nationwide competition, judges awarded The Best of Alabama Living Cookbook SECOND PLACE against entries from cooperatives in dozens of industries. Order your copy for $19.95 at alabamaliving.coop, or send a check for $19.95 for each book ordered to: Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please provide the information below and mail with your payment. Name: __________________________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________________________ City:________________________________ State: ________ Zip: _____________ Phone: Alabama Living
Email ___________________________________________________________________ AUGUST 2017 49
new smart phone app At South Alabama Electric Cooperative, serving our members is about more than just providing reliable and affordable power. It’s about making ourselves available when you need us. One way we’re doing that is with the new South Alabama Electric Cooperative app. Now you can access your SAEC account anywhere you have a smartphone or mobile device. “It’s about convenience,” says Mark Hill, SAEC’s office manager. “In today’s world, everybody has a smartphone with them all the time. With the app, almost everything our members could do on our site they’ll be able to do on the go.” With the SAEC app, you can feel confident knowing you are in control of your electric account anytime, anywhere. “We want to put ourselves in our members’ hands as much as possible,” says Andy Kimbro, SAEC’s commercial and industrial account representative. “Whether it’s paying their bill, reporting an outage or sending us information, we want to be at their fingertips if they need us.”
Interacting with your cooperative has never been easier With the SAEC app you can: » » » » » » »
pay your bill track your daily energy usage report an outage view a map of any ongoing outages see when repair crews have been dispatched get notifications from SAEC find contact information and directions to the SAEC office » access the SAEC Facebook page » monitor your prepay account (coming soon!) The South Alabama Electric Cooperative app is available for Apple devices in the App Store and for Android in the Google Play store. 50 AUGUST 2017
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AUGUST 2017 51
| Our Sources Say |
Theory and Practice
n theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” This quote is attributed to Yogi Berra. I don’t know if Yogi said it or not, but there is a lot of wisdom in it. Really big plans or theories rarely turn out as planned. Practice is almost always different from theory. This is especially true when it comes to big government or political plans. They are designed to do one thing, which they may or may not do, but actually do many other things, usually bad things that were not at all anticipated. The effect occurs often enough that it has been given a name: the Law of Unintended Consequences. Usually, the grander the plan the worse the unintended consequences. The Kyoto Protocol and its dictated regulations are prime examples of the difference between theory and practice. In 1997, a number of developed countries (not the U.S.) agreed to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an average of 8% over 15 years to limit the effects of global warming. The ultimate impact on the earth’s warming resulting from the European Union’s (EU) automotive emission reductions plan was estimated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the expert on all things relating to climate change – to be less than 4/1000’s of a degree Celsius over the next century (try to measure that). To comply with Kyoto, the EU developed stringent limits on CO2 emissions for passenger vehicles. The standards, driven by the Kyoto standards, were much more heavily weighted toward greenhouse emissions than other emissions. For example, the EU’s CO2 emission levels are 15% lower than the U.S, but Nitrogen Oxides (NO2) levels are four times higher than the U.S., and Particulate Matter (PM) levels are 22 times higher than the U.S. Following the dictates of the EU’s political plan, automakers developed a compliance strategy. Daimler and Volkswagen introduced a new design of Turbocharged Diesel Injection (TDI) automobiles that had much quicker acceleration and efficiency. The design was focused on CO2 emissions but not so much on NO2 and PM emissions. To promote the plan to move passenger vehicles from gasoline to diesel, EU politicians increased taxes on gasoline and lowered taxes on diesel. The plan has worked very well – at least to that measure. The percentage of diesel vehicles in Europe has increased from less than 20% in 1997 to more than 50% today. More than 70% of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen vehicles produced for the EU market last year were diesel. Since diesel vehicles are slightly
more efficient than gasoline vehicles, they emit slightly less CO2. The plan is working. However, increased NO2 and PM emissions from the obviously dirtier diesel vehicles have significantly polluted Europe’s air. Smog is now a major problem in European cities, much like it was in U.S. cities before we lowered NO2 and PM emission limits on vehicles. Some days Paris looks like Beijing with its smog and haze. Scientists (you cannot deny science) now estimate that thousands of urban dwelling Europeans die annually from lung disease directly resulting from the increased NO2 and PM emissions. The results have become so disturbing that EU politicians have switched strategies in favor of reducing diesel usage. They have raised taxes on diesel fuels and, in areas, banned diesel vehicles from populated urban areas. Great Britain is currently considering a “Cash for Polluters” plan to pay people to scrap their diesels in favor of gasoline vehicles. I can hardly wait to see how that theory works out. The plan worked well for diesel car manufacturers for a while. The EU emission regulations effectively functioned as an import tariff favoring the diesel fuel efficiency of the European TDI vehicles. EU automobile manufacturers dominate the European market. However, it is not working so well in other ways. One finding of the Volkswagen emission-cheating scandal is that the TDI vehicles miss the emission limitations on NO2 and PM by about 400%. It is now obvious to anyone paying attention that the EU’s quest for diesel was beautiful in theory but a disaster in practice. The politicians now find it popular to vilify and punish the automobile manufacturers who were just following the politicians’ plans. The politicians’ new plan is to impose large fines on the automobile manufacturers (the unintended consequence of which will be that retail purchasers of automobiles will bear the bulk of the financial burden) and to bribe and pressure consumers to buy electric vehicles. The real irony is that neither devotion to a green agenda nor political competence have been questioned. Why are so many actions being taken in the name of climate change at such a tremendous cost with so little prospect of benefit and the large risks of unintended consequences? The political answer is that the theory was perfect -- the problem is with the idiots running the practice. Apparently the wisdom of Yogi-isms don’t apply to climate change. I hope you have a good month.
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
52 AUGUST 2017
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AUGUST 2017 53
| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Illustration by Dennis Auth
Who remembers life before A/C?
he other day was the anniversary of the birth or death or something-or-other of Willis Carrier. And who, pray tell, was Willis Carrier? Why the inventor of air conditioning, that’s who. Down here in Dixie we should celebrate. Our states should declare a holiday. We should have a big cookout – and eat inside. Why inside? Because we have air conditioning. Think about it. Without Willis Carrier and his invention, our cities would be villages, our villages would be hovels, our people would be lazy, lethargic, languid much of the year. Factories would be sweat-shops (literally) and the rate of heat-induced assaults and murders would skyrocket. We owe a lot to Willis Carrier. For my part, I thank Willis Carrier for a good night’s sleep. Those of us of a certain age can recall summers down south. As children, we spent days in the sun and shade, barefoot and (for the boys) shirtless, getting that brownish-red pre-cancerous glow that sends us to the dermatologist today. There were creeks and ponds for swimming, hoses for water fights, and all those things we look back on with rose-tinted tenacity, convincing ourselves that the good
54 AUGUST 2017
old days were really good. In this nostalgia, we often forget that when night fell, we were inside where the air was hot and heavy, where hardly a breeze stirred, where even a fan (if you had one) brought little relief. Nights so hot that at bedtime you would take ice cubes, wrap them in a wash rag, and hold them to your cheek or chest in the mistaken belief that if you could get one part of your body cold the rest of you would cool down enough to let you sleep. What you got instead was a wet pillow or wet sheets. My first air conditioning experience was at the movies, which became our summer retreat from the heat. Then stores took it up. Then churches. Some congregations had to overcome the belief that heat was part of God’s Plan and should be endured, not overcome. Sitting hot through a sermon was a test of faith. But in time, congregations apparently concluded that air conditioning was also part of that same Plan and went along with it. Houses were the last to join the movement, but when they did, the window unit became a status symbol not unlike the TV antenna. If you had both, you had arrived. The change air conditioning wrought was most evident in Southern cities, where
instead of windows to raise and draw in a breeze, new buildings included immovable glass that reflected light and heat away from what went on in the cool inside. It is hard to imagine what Birmingham would look like today, much less Mobile, if there was no air conditioning. But air conditioning has altered more than architecture. It has changed the rhythm of what has been called the “Southern way of life.” Folks stay sealed in their climate controlled cocoons, rather than sit on the porch or in the back yard in sweaty splendor talking with neighbors and family. It has been suggested that air conditioning has helped bring about the Americanization of Dixie. Surely it has. Yet one wonders if air conditioning has made modern Southerners more like other Americans, or made them less like Southerners who came before? On the other hand, we sleep better on hot summer nights. There is that.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.