June 2020 Clarke-Washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News June 2020




Alabama’s sunflower field Celebrating Hank Williams

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Embracing the Gulf

Alabama is joining with other Gulf states to celebrate the resilience and resources of the Gulf of Mexico in 2020.

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

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Graphic Designer Chyna Miller ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

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

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop

16 F E A T U R E S


My tattoo

Our Snapshots theme for this issue got a variety of responses, from names to favorite football teams.

legacy of Hank 14 The Seventy-one years ago this month,

Hank Williams made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. Several Alabama towns lay claim to the country music legend.

Millions of masks 22 Cullman-based HomTex has

transformed its manufacturing line from bed linens to high-demand face masks.


11 Spotlight 26 Alabama People 30 Outdoors 31 Fish & Game Forecast 42 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop

ON THE COVER Kim and Todd Sheridan’s 18 acres of sunflowers near Autaugaville are a popular spot for visitors to photograph every summer. Read more, Page 12. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson



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

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

Printed in America from American materials

June 2020  3

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USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Look for this logo to see more content online!

VOL. 73 NO. 6  June 2020


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

Payment Options Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone (855) 870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft CheckOut Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar and CVS Pharmacy. 4  JUNE 2020

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Preparations Pay Off In this column last month, we discussed the early impacts of the COVID 19-Pandemic. The virus is still spreading across the US and around the world as I write this column. At Clarke-Washington EMC, we try to prepare for all scenarios and have a plan to address whatever may come up. We have Emergency Action Plans, Emergency Restoration Plans, Cyber Security Plans, Facility Contingency Plans and many more. I can’t help but remember one of my assignments many years ago was to develop and implement Clarke-Washington’s Y2K – Preparedness Plan. I also can’t help but remember how much time and money we spent on it and how ridiculous I thought it was at the time. We called our employees in to work that night and staffed the office to monitor our phones and computer systems and placed crews at each substation to monitor our equipment in case something happened. In the end, the things that were feared could happen did not happen and the whole Y2K thing turned out to be the most prepared-for non-event in history. I also remember several years ago we developed a plan for the Avian Bird Flu which in the end did not have the impact on our organization that was originally feared. We also spent a lot of time and money preparing for it. We purchased cases of N95 masks, many boxes of medical gloves and gallons of hand sanitizer. Although the date passed on many of the original bird flu supplies, we were fortunate that it got us in the habit of maintaining an inventory of masks, gloves and hand sanitizer just in case we faced a similar threat in the future. We are facing the threat now and we have supplies on hand. Although we didn’t specifically have a COVID-19 plan on the books, preparations we made for other potential issues such as the Avian Bird Flu and the H1N1 have prepared us for the current pandemic. We closed our lobbies and altered our work schedules in an effort to protect our membership and employees. And, we provided our employees with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer from our existing inventory. Like many of you, my family has also

been affected personally by changes as a result of the virus. I never could have imagined how it would turn out four years later. My son, Tanner, graduated from Jackson High School in 2016 and decided he was going to the University of Alabama to major in Mechanical Engineering. I could only wonder what the future would hold. I’m sure I had more questions that he did. Growing up a kid in rural southwest Alabama, I wondered if he could make it at a big school with approximately 38,000 students from around the world. I also wondered if he would be disciplined enough and study hard enough and put forth the effort to make it. Although not declaring for graduation yet (he decided to get a double major), he finished up his mechanical engineering major under much different circumstances than we could have ever imagined. He finished up his classes this spring back home online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although we don’t know the future of the virus or its long-term impacts on the world, we have every reason to believe the future is bright for our young people. Clarke-Washington EMC, through the Electric Cooperative Foundation, received scholarship applications from 41 students from across the four-county ClarkeWashington EMC service area. The six students who were selected to receive $1,000 scholarships are pictured on the following page. Congratulations to our scholarship winners and to all our graduates this year. Despite the difficult and disappointing conditions under which you finished your school year, we are proud of you and wish you all the success in the world in your future endeavors. And remember, always prepare for the unexpected.

Steve Sheffield General Manager


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CLARKE-WASHINGTON EMC Clarke-Washington EMC is proud of the six scholarship winners! Congratulations and best wishes for a bright future!

Anna Claire Bush Clarke Preparatory School

Halle Breanna Dantzler Washington Co. High School

Brandon David Holston Millry High School

Joshua Bill Sims Clarke Co. High School

Joseph McDonald Vick Wilcox Academy

Reaghan Nicole Wiley Millry High School

Alabama Living

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |


For your convenience, another payment option is now available.

PAY YOUR POWER BILL WHERE YOU SHOP Participating retailers include


Get Your Barcode

From there, enter your CWEMC account number and click “Find Your Account” (You will be asked to verify the street number associated with the account)

https://cwemc.sedccheckout.com on browser of choice.

Beginning soon, your account barcode will be printed on the back of your bill.

Account Number example: 123456001 (enter without a dash)


Visit CWEMC online



Find Nearest Location

Scan Barcode at Register

Participating locations are listed on the back of this page.

Have the cashier scan the barcode and tell them how much you would like to pay to the account. It’s that easy!

For more information, call Clarke-Washington EMC at (800) 323-9081 or visit cwemc.com. The store will add a $1.50 convenience fee. The payment is posted immediately to your account.

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Are You Prepared for a Hurricane? Clarke-Washington EMC wants you to be prepared in the event of a hurricane. The most effective way to stay safe is to be prepared. Below are tips you and your family should practice to stay safe before, during and after the storm.

For Babies •





BEFORE THE STORM Be prepared. Put together an emergency plan and communicate it with all family members. Learn your community hurricane evacuation routes. Below is a list of items that are essential during an emergency situation.




Water – at least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days. Stored in sealed, unbreakable containers

Listen to the radio or TV for information, if possible. Avoid using the phone unless there is an emergency.

Food – at least enough for each person for three to seven days

Make sure to get inside a building and stay away from windows.

Don’t leave candles unattended and keep them away from furniture, draperies and other flammable materials. Make sure to keep children away from open flames.

Don’t open freezers and refrigerators any more than absolutely necessary.

Remove objects from walls such as pictures and move furniture away from doors and windows.

Bring in furniture from outside. Turnover and tie down outdoor objects too large to move.

Non-perishable foods

Food for infants, elderly, and persons with dietary restrictions

Manual can opener

Peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, and cookies

Disposable plates, cups, utensils and paper towels.

First Aid Kit •

Scissors, tweezers, safety pins

Gloves, band-aids, nonprescription drugs, soap



Personal and Safety Items •

Blankets/Pillows, etc.

Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes •

Radio – battery-powered weather radio

• Cash • Toiletries • Important Documents



STAY AWAY from downed power lines. Always treat them as if they are energized and dangerous. Make sure to call 911 and Clarke-Washington EMC at 1-800-323-9081.

Debris from the storm can hide power lines that have fallen. Fallen trees that contain energized power lines can electrocute any item it comes in contact with. Even the ground can be energized near fallen power lines.

If your electricity is out, make sure to check your neighbors to see if they have power. If they have power, you may have blown a fuse or tripped a breaker.




• Full Tank of Gas •

Pet food and supplies

If you see a downed line, always remember to stay at least 35 ft. away from the line. 35 ft.

Alabama Living

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

It’s Hurricane Season; Update Your Phone Number You play an important role in helping Clarke-Washington EMC restore your power. We need your help. CWEMC’s outage system uses caller ID to quickly identify your account and service location, but it only works if we have your correct phone numbers. Lack of a phone number means slower response and repair times. For example, if you call us to report an outage, our automated system recognizes your phone number and can determine the particular service address from which you are reporting an outage. Once you give our system a response, your outage is reported. But, this only works if your current phone number is linked to your service address. Make sure your information is up to date so we can better serve you.


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• Program your thermostat to maximize energy savings. Setting your thermostat one degree lower when heating or one degree higher when cooling can reduce energy use by up to 5 percent. • Do full loads of laundry and wash with cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half, and using cold water will save even more. • Air dry dishes. This step can cut your dishwasher’s energy use by up to 50 percent. • Substitute LEDs for conventional light bulbs. Lighting can amount to up to 12% of monthly energy use. LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by 75%. • Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Small appliances and electronics use energy even when not in use. When powered on, game consoles, televisions and similar electronics are responsible for up to 12 percent of energy use.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Home cooling makes up a large portion of your energy bills. Try to keep the difference between the temperature of your thermostat setting and the outside temperature to a minimum. The smaller the difference, the more energy you will save. Source: energy.gov


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| Alabama Snapshots |

My tattoos Blue ribbon for my husband and Huntington’s Disease awareness and the cross for my faith. SUBMITTED BY Robin Griffin, Arley.

My grandson’s name is Colin Fisher McNeil. He loves to fish, so he had his name tattooed. SUBMITTED BY Bonnie McNeil, Silverhill.

When my kids were little, I would sign them “I love you.” My son is the artist of this tat on my left wrist. SUBMITTED BY Lisa Parker, Moulton. This was from my birthday get together at the beautiful Gulf Coast in Orange Beach, AL. SUBMITTED BY Jennifer Newby, Pelham.

Roll Tide forever. SUBMITTED BY Randall Williams, Bay Minette.

Sunflower fields are a favorite spot for family photos. Send us yours! Submit “Sunflower Fields” photos by June 30. Winning photos will run in the August issue. Alabama Living

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SUBMIT and WIN $10! Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots 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 alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

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Spotlight | June Alabama co-ops work together in storm recovery Crews work to repair storm damage in Central Alabama EC’s service territory after the storms of April 19.

April is often a month of volatile weather, and this year was no exception. Fortunately, Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives were ready to answer the call. Two rounds of severe weather on April 19 impacted an area mostly south of Interstate 20, with significant straight-line wind events alongside large hail and flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service. Extensive wind damage began in Chilton County, where maximum winds were estimated in the range of 80 to 90 mph. The wind damage continued eastward through Coosa and Tallapoosa counties and caused significant damage. A line of severe thunderstorms also moved through south Alabama, with wind damage in Crenshaw, Pike and Barbour counties. Several cooperatives reported widespread outages, with more than 30,000 statewide reported on April 20. In true cooperative fashion, co-ops that were not impacted immediately offered to help their sister co-ops to restore power. The Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), which publishes Alabama Living, helps to coordinate mutual aid after a disaster or weather event. Four cooperatives received help from 18 cooperatives in Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

Take us along! Thanks to all our readers who’ve sent us photos of their travels. We realize due to the pandemic, no one’s doing much traveling these days, but we enjoy seeing your pictures from past travels. We’re including several on this page. If you have any past photos send them to mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. We also want to see where you’re reading Alabama Living at home! Send us photos of you or a family member reading the magazine in your favorite home location. Send to athome@ alabamaliving.coop. We’ll draw a winner for a $25 prize each month, so let us hear from you!


At home!

Dr. Linda Raughton of Valley Head, another Sand Mountain EC member, sent us this scenic shot of the Sydney Opera House in Australia taken during her February trip down under.

Lynn Boyd is a member service representative and lead cashier at Wiregrass EC. She’s reading the May edition the Wiregrass version of Alabama Living, and she was featured on the cover!

On a recent visit to see her cousins in Houston, Texas, Deborah Peterson of Robertsdale took us along. She’s a member of Baldwin EMC.

John Chambers, 3, the son of Zach and Stephanie Chambers of Central Alabama EC, is one of the next generation of readers!

Baldwin EMC member Michael Colman of Gulf Shores took his copy along on a trip to Cozumel, Mexico.

Central Alabama EC member Jennifer Cox had some fun taking photos of daughter Eleanor and Tilli, the family dog.

Find the hidden dingbat! Was our May dingbat too hot to handle? Apparently not, as nearly 800 of you correctly guessed the location of the red hot chili pepper on Page 28 as part of the May crossword title. Some of our readers considered finding the pepper an early birthday present, including Jean Sorrell of Dozier, a member of Covington Electric Cooperative. “It was the first one I’ve found,” she writes. “I’ve been looking for so long! Happy birthday to me!” Our readers continue to send us poems about locating the hidden object, like Black Warrior EMC member Elizabeth Strickland of Akron, and Shirley Blevins of Hollywood, a member of North Alabama EC, who wrote: I looked and looked, and to my dismay I didn’t see it that first day. But on my second look-around I found that pepper, whole, not ground. At the crossword, there it lay As part of the “Y” of the word “May.” Congratulations to our winner of $25, Cullman EC member Gail Hooper of Falkville. This month we’ve hidden, in recognition of Father’s Day June 21, that perennial gift for dads, a tie. But not just any tie. In this issue, we’ve tucked away a snappy bow tie. The deadline for entries is June 5. By mail: Find the Dingbat By email: Alabama Living dingbat@alabamaliving.coop PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 10  JUNE 2020

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June | Spotlight

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by June 5 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.

May’s answer

The so-called “Lady in the Lake,” at Barber Marina in Elberta, is a fiberglass sculpture created by artist Mark Cline. Cline also created Bamahenge, a sculptural installation also on the Barber property (and also the very first Whereville photo in January 2016). The lady is not always in the water, so if you’re making a visit, call the marina (251-9872628; 26986 Fish Trap Road) to confirm she’s not out for repairs. (Similar photos submitted by Starla Moore of Wiregrass EC and Amy Miller, who each win the prize.) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Brandon Cason, Cullman EC.

Explore Alabama’s natural wonders Although the tourism economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama Tourism Department is continuing to implement cost-conscious initiatives to maintain awareness and encourage tourists to visit the state. The year 2020 has been dedicated as “The Alabama Year of Natural Wonders” by the tourism department, which released a list of 20 of the state’s most impressive, yet still accessible, natural wonders. A website, AlabamaNaturalWonders.com, will help travelers find inspiration to enjoy the state’s naturally wonderful outdoors. The features on the list: Gulf Coast beaches, Mount Cheaha, Cathedral Caverns, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Dismals Canyon, Natural Bridge, the Coastal Birding Trail, Cahaba lilies, DeSoto Caverns, Rickwood Caverns, Wetumpka Crater, Pinhoti Trail, Little River Canyon, Sipsey Wilderness, Red Mountain and Park, Noccalula Falls, Walls of Jericho Trail, Bankhead National Forest, Cahaba lilies. Cahaba River and the White Cliffs of Epes. PHOTO BY DAVID HAYNES

Alabama Living

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Letters to the editor E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Humor in stressful times I was delighted to read Hardy Jackson’s “Laughing through tough times” article in the May 2020 Alabama Living Magazine. I always find his articles entertaining, but the last two sentences just made me giggle. Thank goodness we can find humor during these stressful times. Thank you, Mr. Jackson, for your humor, and to Alabama Living for publishing it. L. Wahl Coosa Valley EC

How would you control feral hogs? I read the letter in the May issue which condemned feral hog hunting as “cruel.” It leads me to a question. How would you control these highly destructive parasites that “cruelly” rob farmers of their hard-earned wage? Too often I have heard people complain that rain on Saturday ruined their entire weekend when it came following a 30-day drought. I fear that too few Americans, used to finding everything they desire in a local supermarket, have much of an idea of what makes that happen. Alfred B. Coombe Foley In response to the writer, who claimed hog hunting is cruel (May 2020), are you aware that one feral hog can produce 12- 24 piglets a year and that they cause billions of dollars a year in crop damage, not to mention destruction of habitats that would otherwise support turkey, deer, quail and other wild creatures? Are you also aware that after 2 months of age, they have no natural predators? How much are you willing to pay for your food when the prices spike due to the devastation by feral hogs? I won’t even get into the diseases they carry to livestock, pets and humans – there are at least 45. One study, done by MSU, showed that in 2012, feral hogs caused $81 billion in damage in 41 counties in southwest Georgia. Feral hogs are destructive and aggressive and they do not belong in the wild, period. They need to be removed by any means possible. Using dogs and bait stations may seem cruel, but they are more effective methods than doing nothing and it certainly beats the alternative of letting them breed and destroy the environment, including crops, water and soil. I am confident that if you had some ideas that were equally effective that met your standards, you could make a ton of money, so speak up…we’re all ears! Briana S Powchak Boaz JUNE 2020  11

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Sunflower farm owners hope to see new blo By Allison Law


Photos by Mark Stephenson

t’s impossible to not be drawn to – and give a Sharon Samples, who is originally from Mobile, told Alabama Living on a July visit to the little smile to – a big field of summer sunflowers. As tall as a man, standing at attention, their farm that she wanted to experience nature. bright faces put on a show for all who stop by. She’s a photographer but was taking just perAnd at Kim and Todd Sheridan’s farm west of sonal photos on this trip. Autaugaville, the hope is that this summer’s crop “I’m like, did I take enough pictures? Can I will be as beautiful as last year’s. They started actually capture the beauty?” she says. Even if prepping about 18 acres of fields in late April, her photos couldn’t – we’re pretty sure they did with planting in early May. Depending on the – she was taking some stems home to her family, just in case. weather, the plants should begin blooming in late The farm draws many from central Alabama, June and continue into the first couple of weeks but the Sheridans are surprised by the number of July. of travelers who come by, often taking detours The Sheridans keep their farm’s fans up to date to or from the beach. It’s not uncommon to on the blooms on their Facebook page, titled see travelers from all across the simply “The Sunflower Field.” It Southeast; one woman came has more than 20,000 “likes” and from Tampa, Florida, just to see is the best way to plan a trip to the blooms. the farm. The flowers are undeniably It’s a popular spot with fampretty, but Todd thinks a major ilies and garden clubs as well draw is that fields such as his as photographers; the farm has are rare in Alabama. “Ninety even had its share of engagement percent of the people who come proposals. here have never seen a field of “We haven’t had anyone say no sunflowers like this,” he says. yet to one of the proposals,” Todd “I’d never seen a field of sunsays during an interview at the flowers like this until I planted farm in July 2019, as the blooms them.” were at their peak. “We’re 100 Admission to the field is free; percent on that,” Kim adds with a long wander through the a smile. fields can eat up a good part of As they have for the past few Todd and Kim Sheridan look a morning or afternoon. For $1 years, they plan to open to the forward to welcoming visitors to per stem, you can cut your own public once the blooms open. “I their Autauga County farm again flowers to take home, or get a think we all need this more than this year. bucket for $10 and put up to ever,” Kim said in the late spring, 14 flowers in it. The fee for professional phowhen Alabamians were still under a stay-attographers is $20 per session, no appointment home order to combat the COVID-19 virus. necessary. The Sheridans plan to have produce This is a happy place, the couple says. “Everyavailable for sale at the entrance to the farm, body who comes here has a good attitude,” Todd as well as kitchen tea towels and T-shirts (cash says. “They’re coming because they want to be and check only). here. Except for the few husbands who get drug The farm will have two plantings, to allow for along,” he laughs. But even curmudgeons are a longer viewing season. But each planting only usually pretty cheerful by the time they leave. blooms for about 10 days, so be sure to follow Asked to explain its allure, Kim says, “It’s kind their Facebook page for frequent updates on of simple, but spectacular, if you can use those the blooms. The farm’s address is 3301 Highway two words in the same sentence. It’s something 14 West, Autaugaville, AL 36003. to see.”

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ew blooms by late June

Taking them home

If you want to cut some flowers to take home, Todd Sheridan offers some advice. “The most important thing to making them last is to re-cut the stem about every three days.” When you cut your flower in the field, be sure to leave enough of the stem to be cut several more times. Todd says to put four parts water, one part regular citrus soda and about a thimble full of bleach to kill any bacteria in the flower water.

Alabama Living

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Alabama towns claim a part of Hank Williams’ legacy Story and photos by Emmett Burnett


pproaching Georgiana on I-65 North is an overpass bridge “Hank received his first musical instrument, a harmonica, at sign with a message: “Lost Highway.” The words pay homabout age 6,” the Georgiana house tour guide notes. “He perage to a local boy who made good – Hiram Williams. He formed in church. Mom played organ and dad played the juice changed his name to Hank and became “The Shakespeare of harp.” Hank Williams also worked – a lot. Country Music.” As a boy, he shined shoes, sold peanuts on the streets, and at Many towns claim Hank Williams and have a story to tell. age 8, received his first guitar, a gift from his mom, purchased Ready to visit some of the places country music’s superstar called from Sears and Roebuck. home? Let’s ride. He befriended a Georgiana street performer, Rufus “Teetot” We start where Hank did, in tiny Mount Olive. The third child Payne, who taught young Hank how to play guitar. “They held of Jessie Lillybelle “Lillie” and Elonzo Huble Williams was born lessons under Hank’s house,” says Simmons, “because Payne, a on Sept. 17, 1923 in a log house no longer with us. He was born black man, felt he would be in trouble if seen with a young white with spina bifida, rendering constant back pain that in later life boy following him all over town.” triggered a drugs and alcohol dependence. Looking back as an adult, Williams recalled Rufus Payne as But at Mount Olive “my only teacher.” By West Baptist Church, age 10 the youngster a love for gospel muwas singing and persic was nurtured. Years forming in local parlater Hank wrote and ties and winning talent recorded gospel songs contests. “He never had inspired by his church, a little boy voice,” Simsuch as “I Saw the mons adds. “What you Light” – inscribed on hear on his records is his tombstone. how he sounded as a The family moved teenager.” to Greenville and latThe singer’s career er, a few miles south to advanced when the Garland. Mom Lillie family moved to Montopened boarding housgomery in 1937. “They es and took side jobs moved here for a better to support her family. life and opportunities in Hank’s father was mosta bigger city,” says Erica ly absent from the boy’s Hank Williams Sr. Boyhood Home and Museum, 127 Rose St., Georgiana, Ala. Parker, spokesperson life due to a brain aneufor the Hank Williams rysm and eight years of hospitalization in Alexandria, La. Museum on 118 Commerce St. “He performed on the street in In 1934 the mom relocated her family to Georgiana. Their first front of WSFA Radio.” house and everything they owned burned in a fire. Their second Station managers were so impressed, they brought the street residence was 127 Rose St., today the Hank Williams Sr. Boyhood singer in to perform and later to host his own radio program – for Home and Museum. pay. Hank was now a professional singer, making enough money “Hank’s mother ran boarding houses and this was one of her to form a backup band, the Drifting Cowboys. At the age of 16, he first,” says Leona Simmons, the home’s tour guide of 26 years, as dropped out of Sidney Lanier High School. we walk through halls chock-full of Williams’ memorabilia in“He was a genius in writing and recording music,” Simmons cluding a guitar he and Elvis Presley played. says. “Hank once told his band, ‘Boys I got a new song. Y’all ain’t The family, visitors, and boarders enjoyed the home’s four going to have a problem with it. Now give me something.” And fireplaces, running water, electricity, and an outdoor toilet. Rethey did, often recording on the first try. gardless of the home’s amenities or lack thereof, Georgiana was Williams was famous for saying, “If a song can’t be written in a turning point. 20 minutes, it ain’t worth writing.” 14  JUNE 2020

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An emerging country star

der-blue Cadillac. He was very sick. In predawn hours of Jan. 1, 1953, the driver stopped at Oak During World War II most of his band joined the military; Hill, W.Va., to refuel. Hank’s driver, college student Charles Carr, Hank could not, due to health issues. For his contribution to the assumed his passenger was asleep when he checked him at the gas war effort, the singing songwriter took a job as a shipyard worker station. But Williams was motionless in the back seat, unresponin Mobile. He also sang for U.S. soldiers. sive, and at the age of 29, dead. At age 21 in 1944, the emerging star merged in marriage with Autopsy results confirmed a combination of medications and Audrey Sheppard in an Andalusia ceremony at John G. Wright alcohol contributed to his demise. Sr.’s Automotive Garage. The couple’s relationship was best deToday the 1952 Cadillac is in Montgomery’s Hank Williams scribed as “turbulent.” Museum. “People can’t believe this is the car he died in,” says muBefore divorcing in 1952, they had one son, Randall Hank Wilseum director Beth Petty. “About 30,000 people a year visit to see liams Jr. Also in 1952, Hank Sr. married Billie Jean Jones. Between it.” his two marriages, in a relationship with Bobbie Jett, a daughHank Williams’ funeral ter was born, Jett Williams was held in Montgomery, (Antha Belle Jett). The dad with an estimated 25,000 never met his daughter as mourners viewing the she was born Jan. 6, 1953, casket. It is the largest fufive days after he died. neral in Alabama’s history. Concert tours expandHe is buried at Montgomed, including Greenville, ery’s Oakwood Cemetery Birmingham, and beyond. Annex. After being rejected once, “People visit his grave Hank successfully audidaily from all over the tioned for the Grand Ole world,” says Oakwood’s Opry. His first appearance sexton, Phillip Taunton. on Nashville’s iconic stage “Many leave mementos was June 11, 1949. He relike flowers, guitar pics, ceived 6 encores – a first and bottles of beer.” for the Opry. He was 26 Williams is remembered years old. The Ga - Ana Theater in downtown Georgiana. At age 16, Hank Williams and the as one of the greatest counBut back home he was Drifting Cowboys performed here. try music writers and singstill Hank. “We sensed his ers of all time. During a five-year career he recorded 225 songs, talent and abilities,” says a second cousin, Georgiana’s June S. of which 128 he wrote. Locally he is remembered annually in Whittle. “But when he visited us, he was family.” Georgiana’s Hank Williams Festival in June. This year’s festival During Christmas week of 1952 Hank Williams visited the famhas been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but organizily for the holidays one last time. “We all attended church Sunday ers plan to be back in 2021. night,” Whittle recalls. “After the service Hank sang gospel songs “His lyrics relate to the people in our area,” says festival board for friends and church members.” With Christmas drawing to a member Judy Black. “People relate to him, even after all these close, he said goodbye. years.” You never forget his voice, his words, and his music. You Dec. 31, 1952: Driving to Canton, Ohio for a New Year’s Day never forget Hank Williams. concert, Williams sat in the back seat of his chauffeured, pow-

Hank Williams’ 1952 Cadillac, displayed at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery. Williams died in this car

Alabama Living

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Williams’ gravesite at Oakwood Cemetery Annex, Montgomery.

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Alabama joins coastal states to Embrace the Gulf 2020 By Colette Boehm


ike many who live tional opportunities, thrivin coastal Alabama, ing tourism and healthy Phillip Hinesley has ecosystems. The campaign a personal connection to continues throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, 2020, with a 365-day onlike many, he loves to fish, line messaging campaign but his connection goes and events scheduled beyond the excitement of throughout the five coastal reeling in a catch from Alstates. abama’s gulf waters. “The whole idea of EmAfter living on the Gulf brace the Gulf was to focus Coast most of his life and on the positive,” Hinesley sustaining an 18-year casays. “With what we’ve just reer with the Alabama Debeen going through, it’s partment of Conservation more important than ever and Natural Resources to look for the positive.” (ADCNR), Hinesley has Indeed, just as the resila better appreciation than Fiddler crabs scurrying near the shoreline are a common sight on Gulf beaches. ience of the Gulf of Mexico PHOTO BY GINA BRAMBLE most for just how conand all it touched was benected Alabama’s ecology, ing tested 10 years ago foleconomy and culture are to these gulf waters. So this year, he is lowing the oil spill, today, Alabama’s communities and economy joining many throughout the Gulf Coast region to “Embrace the are being tested through the COVID-19 crisis. Gulf.” Some spring events have been canceled or rescheduled and Hinesley retired last year from ADCNR but these days, when Alabama and the other gulf states have seen tourism, retail, oil he’s not enjoying a quiet morning casting a line from his family’s and gas and other industries suffer. But times like these bring the pier near Fort Morgan, Hinesley is still working with organizaresilience of the region’s people and resources to the forefront. tions like the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). It’s a relationship Coordinators like Hinesley and others from each of the gulf states he continues, he said, because he believes in the work. continue to plan events, get the word out and, through their efThe alliance is a regional partnership focused on sustaining and forts, celebrate the gulf. promoting the resources of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a non-profit “The Gulf of Mexico is an astonishingly valuable natural reled by a network of federal agencies, academic groups, businesses source,” says Laura Bowie, executive director of GOMA. “It supand other non-profits from the five U.S. gulf states. ports 60 million people who live and work throughout the “GOMA started out as part of the U.S. Ocean Commission and gulf coastal region and an even greater number of people who we started gearing up in 2004,” he says. He is quick to point out visit. As an organization, the alliance wants to ensure positive the value of having GOMA relationships established across state messages are shared about its wealth of resources and its imlines and between agencies and industries when events like the portance to our economy and our culture. Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill happened in 2010. “To put it simply,” she concluded, “we are investing our Ten years later, he feels the effort is “more importtime and our resources to ‘do good things for the ant than ever” as the alliance celebrates a year-long Gulf.’ We know healthy ecosystems are the founcampaign to Embrace the Gulf. dation for healthy economies.” GOMA launched the Embrace the Gulf Gulf state governors, mayors, campaign in January as an effort to showagency directors and business case the importance of the Gulf of Mexileaders from all along the co and highlight five areas of influence: resilient coastal communities, prosperous industries, superior educa-

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Tourism to Alabama’s beaches is a vital component of the Embrace the Gulf 2020 campaign. PHOTO BY COLETTE BOEHM

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Gulf Coast have signed proclamations pledging their support for the 2020 campaign. The public is encouraged to get involved by engaging with the alliance (@GOMAlliance) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where it is sharing daily gulf-related messages and images as well as promoting Embrace the Gulf happenings. Events and activities associated with the campaign include efforts in restoring coastlines, rehabilitating wildlife, improving water quality and strengthening communities. Additional campaign elements include state-specific education and cleanup events as well as a regional Paddle the Gulf ecotourism opportunity. Hinesley is the Alabama lead for Paddle the Gulf, a slate of paddling events taking place in every gulf state this summer and fall. “We want people to experience our waters,” he says, “and realize that our watersheds are directly connected to the gulf, and to how healthy it is. We want them to get out and enjoy, but also to learn more about things like invasive species and how litter becomes marine debris.” In addition to his Paddle the Gulf involvement, Hinesley is active on GOMA’s Education and Engagement Team as well as its Business Advisory Council. “It’s amazing what GOMA has been able to do,” Hinesley said. “It’s come a long way since its inception and this Embrace the Gulf Campaign is an example of how regional collaboration can increase awareness of the ecological and economic value of the Gulf of Mexico.” Today, GOMA represents more than a thousand people from across the region who work together on a daily basis to address what are considered priority regional issues. Those issues include conserving and restoring habitats, improving the health of wildlife and fisheries, enhancing coastal resilience, improving data access and baseline monitoring, increasing stewardship and improving water quality.

Oil and natural gas wells account for 17 percent of U.S. crude oil production and 45 percent of U.S. refining capacity is located along the Gulf coast. PHOTO BY BRANDON WILT Alabama Living

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Gulf of Mexico Facts One core initiative of Embrace the Gulf is to share facts about the Gulf of Mexico. The gulf states are linked through industries like oil and gas, tourism, marine transportation and commercial and recreational fishing. The gulf ’s influence, however, goes far beyond its local connections, impacting the region and the entire country. Here are just a few facts that illustrate the gulf ’s diversity, environmental and economic importance and wealth of recreational opportunities.  The Gulf of Mexico region includes Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and the Many GOMA partners are Gulf coast of Florida. These hosting marine education states combined share 1,631 programming for young citizen miles of coastline divided as scientists throughout the year. PHOTO BY LESLIE PEART follows: Alabama, 53 miles; Louisiana, 397 miles; Mississippi, 44 miles; Texas, 367 miles; and the Gulf Coast of Florida, 770 miles.  If the five Gulf states were a country, the economy would rank in the Top 10 worldwide with a GDP of over $2 trillion.  The Gulf of Mexico measures approximately 1,100 miles east to west and 800 miles north to south and it covers an overall area of 600,000 square miles.  The natural resources in the five Gulf States support the employment of more than eight million people.  The Gulf of Mexico generates 1.3 billion pounds of seafood per year, which is more annual production than the mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake and New England areas combined.  Each of the five gulf states has an artificial reef program to supplement natural underwater habitats. These reefs enhance fishery resources and fishing opportunities by creating habitat for fish and invertebrate species using man-made materials.  Industries in the Gulf of Mexico region have proudly built 70% of the U.S. Naval fleet of warships.  At its deepest point, the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is 2.7 miles underwater. Most of the Gulf, however, is much shallower. About 60 percent is less than 700 feet deep.  The Gulf of Mexico is the United States’ hottest vacation destination with an economic impact of $45 billion annually from tourism.  The gulf is home to six of the top 10 most productive shipping ports in the country.  The Gulf of Mexico provides 77 percent of the U.S. shrimp harvest.  There are 207 estuaries, 15.6 million acres of wetlands, eight national parks and 47 wildlife refuges within the Gulf ecosystem.  The Gulf of Mexico, with its warm waters and diverse habitats, is home to thousands of marine species. Scientists have documented 15,419 species living in the Gulf of Mexico. Source: Gulf of Mexico Alliance JUNE 2020  17

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| Gardens |

You can still shop fresh and local — and safely


ack in March, as the coronaviproducts. Many adapted by selling rus inspired record numbers directly to consumers from their of people to plant their own farms, through partnerships with fruits and vegetables, many Alarestaurants and local grocers, by bama produce farmers were wonproviding home delivery services dering if they could safely get their and other strategies. Though farmers and market fruits and vegetables to us. managers have already faced lots They could, but it wasn’t easy. of sleepless nights and unexpected Because farmers markets, U-pick challenges, they remain optimistic operations, roadside stands and other direct-to-consumer farm product and passionately committed to their sales outlets offer exceptional access work, and consumer response has to fresh, nutritious food — some of been exceptional. Many market vendors are experiencing the best sales which has been in short supply at of their careers, and more and more grocery stores — they are “essential” A vendor at the EastChase Farmers’ Market wears a mask and consumers are discovering the flaservices under COVID-19 proto- gloves to hand an arrangement of sunflowers to a patron. cols. But they must be run safely, vor, health and community-buildPHOTO BY CARTER PHOTOGRAPHY + DESIGN ing advantages of buying local. which is a priority for the organizamenting innovative strategies such as oftions involved in overseeing those protoIt’s hard to predict what this summer fering pre-orders for vendors’ products, cols, including the Alabama Farmers Marwill bring — except that all these folks will aggregating products from several vendors ket Authority, the division of the Alabama do their best to provide fresh local prodinto CSA-like “market boxes” and estabucts. But we can help by supporting local Department of Agriculture and Industries lishing drive-through pickup systems. farmers and markets. Learn more about that connects consumers to Alabama’s loThe process worked well early in the cally grown and made products. the sources of farm products near you season when only a few vendors were at a According to FMA director Don Wamand how each operates by contacting the market and product was limited, but Wambles, this year’s COVID-19 restrictions FMA (fma.alabama.gov), Sweet Grown bles said the situation became more comwent into place just as many early spring Alabama (sweetgrownalabama.org), the plicated in April as the amount of produce crops, including beloved fresh strawberries, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and farmers increased. That’s when everywere ready to harvest and just as market (aces.edu) and your local farmers and one in the local food chain, from growers season was cranking up. So Wambles and farmers markets. to eaters to market managers, adapted in his staff, working with other federal and Here are a few other tips to follow at a the moment, often tweaking their stratestate agencies and organizations, developed farmers market: gies from week to week. safety guidelines for farmers and markets. • Limit the number of people in your In addition to farmers market vendors, Those guidelines included such instrucshopping party and, for now, don’t those farmers and ranchers who typically tions as providing extra space between take dogs (except service animals) to sold directly to restaurants and schools, each vendor (6 to 10 feet or more), limitthe market. which were closed by the state order, ing the number of shoppers allowed in the • Get in and out as quickly as possible also had to find new ways to move their market area at a time and providing hand so others can also shop safely. sanitizers and hand-washing stations for • Use hand washing and sanitizing staJUNE TIPS tions as you enter and leave the marboth vendors and customers. The guidelines also required vendors to wear protecket. • Plant tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tive gear, such as gloves and masks, and en• Follow all rules posted on each marsweet potatoes. couraged vendors to staff each booth with ket’s grounds. • Sow seeds for field peas, beans, squash, corn, melons and pumpkins. two people — one to handle product, the • Prepay if possible or set up a mobile • Irrigate as needed with special attention other to handle money. In addition, sampayment app in advance of shopping. to new plantings and container plants. pling and handling of produce by customIf you’re paying in cash, bring small • Watch for insect and disease problems ers was restricted (customers could only bills. and treat as needed. point to items for vendors to bag). • Freshen water in birdbaths and Market managers quickly developed If you’re a senior or high-risk for ornamental ponds to reduce mosquito other ways to serve consumers by impleCOVID-19 exposure, get a friend or fampopulations. ily member to do your shopping. (If you • Celebrate National Garden Week (June have Farmers Market Nutrition Program Katie Jackson is a freelance 7-13) and National Pollinator Week (June writer and editor based in vouchers, Wambles said your designated 22-28). Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at shopper can use them to buy your order.) katielamarjackson@gmail.com. Be nice, patient, flexible and safe! 18  JUNE 2020

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Alabama Living

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Doing our part Alabamians continue to step up to help their neighbors and others as we all navigate this time of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. We hope you are inspired by the stories on these pages. Please let us hear your own stories of hope by emailing us at alaw@areapower.com. Arab church ‘Glory Train’ cheers members Members of a church in Arab have taken to the streets in their northeast Alabama town to bring joy and smiles to their members who are elderly or shut-in. Kristi Walker, a member of Union Hill FCM Church and Arab Electric Cooperative, organized a “Glory Train” of vehicles to drive through neighborhoods to boost morale. “The Lord put it on my heart to go around to the houses of the elderly, shut-ins and widows of our church and show them we love them,” she says. “We wanted them to know they are not forgotten during this lonely time, since they have not been able to leave their houses due to COVID-19.”

Since April 22, Walker says 25 to 30 cars have participated in the weekly parades with 100 people participating, honking horns and driving by the homes of more than 70 church members and hundreds more in between. “As we approached the houses, we would call them and ask them to step onto their porches where we would surprise them with cars decorated with balloons and signs of encouragement, with families cheering and waving. “We have been able to uplift and inspire hundreds of people in the community,” she says. “We have gotten the biggest blessings from each and every neighborhood we have been able to parade through.”

Members of the Union Hill FCM Church participate in a weekly “Glory Train” parade to surprise fellow members.

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Doing our part

Workers at HomTex in Cullman have been making millions of cotton face masks. The company will add production of surgical face masks this month.

Alabama company pivots to making high-demand face masks By Lenore Vickrey A Cullman manufacturer of bed sheets has converted its plant to make one of the most in-demand products in the United States: cotton face masks. HomTex has been churning out face masks for national companies and individuals for the past several weeks. “By June 1, we will have received orders for and/or shipped a couple million face masks,” says President and CFO Jeremy Wootten. “The customers range from national companies to individuals. We have sold a significant amount of product to businesses in Cullman and the surrounding area as well as to companies all around the Southeast. We have sold to companies and hospitals in New York. Many of the Alabama state agencies have purchased masks.” The success of the cotton masks led HomTex to expand its operations to produce hospital-approved surgical masks. With the Alabama Living

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help of a $1.5 million loan from the City of Cullman Economic Development Agency, the company expects to begin making the surgical masks this month. “Our goal is to begin production of the three-ply pleated surgical face mask in June and reach full production by the end of July,” Wootten says. “We have compiled an experienced sales force to offer the product to the health care industry, the federal and state governments and to retail.” The $5 million venture expects to add 120 jobs with the capacity to make 350 million masks a year. The company moved its corporate office and sewing plant to the city of Cullman in 2018 but continues to operate a plant/ warehouse in Vinemont served by Cullman EC. The Wootten family are longtime members of the cooperative. The cotton masks are sold under the DreamFit brand and may be found at dreamfitfacemask.com/. JUNE 2020  21

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Hillary Cole pets the zoo’s giraffe. Guests will be invited to feed the giraffe when it reopens.


New zoo opens – and you can virtually visit By Marilyn Jones It’s 11 a.m. and I’m at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Well, actually I’m virtually at the zoo. Like many attractions closed because of COVID-19, the zoo is bringing the animals to the public by way of live presentations and prerecorded videos of zookeepers interacting with animals. This day two chinchillas — Dusty and Moonlite — are playfully moving around a table as zookeeper Hannah Friess talks about the little fur balls. She describes their diet and habits, and says the rodents are endangered in the wild because of excessive trapping. Every day at 11 a.m. on the zoo’s Facebook page, more animals are presented. Bruce Quillis (porcupine), Kevin Bacon (wild hog) and Benjamin (miniature donkey) tour the zoo and meet other animals. One video shows Benjamin meeting giraffes. Another video shows Bruce Quillis exploring the zoo. At 11 a.m. on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, the zoo presents “Live with Surprise.” On Tuesday’s prerecorded “Walks with Bruce Quillis,” a baby African crested porcupine explores the zoo grounds and visits other exhibits. Thursday belongs to Kevin Bacon as a zookeeper demonstrates training zoo animals in a prerecorded video. On Saturday at 10:30 a.m., it’s “Guess that Diet.” In the live presentation, the zookeeper puts together a meal for an unnamed animal. Viewers are encouraged to submit their guesses and then watch the animal enjoy its meal after the reveal. The live and prerecorded videos offer guests a look at the new zoo that officially opened March 11. The zoo has been in the works since Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005. Zoo Director Joel Hamilton says what makes the facility so special is the zoo offers guests the opportunity to learn about conservation and the world through a variety of different programs. “In addition to the usual keeper presentations, we provide guests 22  JUNE 2020

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with opportunities to get up close to select species through our animal encounters,” he says. “Whether the encounter is with a sloth, tamandua, kangaroo or lemur, the goal is to create connections and provide informative, conservation education opportunities. We have a feeding station at the giraffe exhibit too.” The zoo is impressive, given that Gulf Shores’ population is about 10,000 and neighboring Orange Beach is only about 6,000. There are 300 animals in the zoo including carnivores, ungulates (large animals with hooves), primates, small mammals, birds and reptiles. The zoo is the first American zoo to be built from the ground up in more than 20 years, according to Hamilton. The 25-acre facility (compared to the previous seven-acre zoo) is located at 20499 Oak Road East and far enough inland to be safe from hurricanes. Hamilton says the hub of the zoo is a carousel with paths leading away from it. He adds that you can cross a boardwalk to Bayer Butterfly House and then onward to see Africa. “Other pathways lead to the Americas or between our two ponds where islands house lemurs and spider monkeys.” Above all else, the new zoo provides a much more spacious, protected and enriching environment for the animals, which is evident when watching Bruce Quillis walking along pathways and visiting animals. The zoo also offers a Soaring Eagle Zipline and a fine dining restaurant — the Safari Club. The restaurant reopened on May 11.

For more information:

To watch videos and live presentations starring zoo animals: facebook.com/alabamagulfcoastzoo. Safari Club restaurant: safariclubgulfshores.com The zoo website: alabamagulfcoastzoo.com. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Doing our part Auburn nursing grad’s stint on Navy ship puts her on front lines By Jack West “We’ve seen people from all walks of life,” she says. “Everybody While millions of Alabamians were riding out the Coronavirus speaks a different language which is cool because we have so many storm in their homes with their loved ones, one Auburn gradupeople on this ship that are from all over the place and translate ate was fighting the virus while onboard a floating hospital nearly for us.” 1,000 miles away from the Plains. Kaley said that while she worried about her sister’s safety, she Ensign Megan Arnett was sent to New York City, the American also knows that these experiences were what drove her to become epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, less than a year after becoming a nurse. a Navy nurse in the first place. Arnett, who is from Madison, graduated “I was scared for her because obviously from Auburn in August 2019 and specialthis COVID-19 situation is really intense izes in pediatric nursing. However, after and she was going to be dealing with all of graduation, Arnett joined the U.S. Navy these patients,” Kaley says. “But she joined and was assigned to the USNS Comfort, the the Navy to explore the world and push hospital ship that was recently stationed in herself outside of her comfort zone, so I New York Harbor to help the city’s beleawas mainly just excited for her.” guered healthcare infrastructure. The Comfort left New York Harbor in Arnett said she had been in Norfolk, Virlate April, and Arnett was in self-quaranginia, the Comfort’s homeport, for a few Megan Arnett was sent to New York City less tine because of her direct exposure to the months before being deployed to New York. than a year after becoming a nurse. virus. Her family was expected to visit her “As soon as there was talk in the media when it was safe to do so. Kaley said that about the governor calling for us, needing us to be up here, I knew while there’s a lot of emotion around getting to see her sister again, to go ahead and start getting my bags packed,” she says. that might manifest itself in surprising ways. Kaley Arnett, Megan’s younger sister, said that packing is not her “I’ll definitely hug her,” she says. “I would cry, but now I know older sibling’s strong suit. she’s safe.” “She called us kind of freaking out because she doesn’t know Megan said that she hopes once all of this is over, people will how to pack a bag well,” Kaley says. “My dad’s our expert packer.” become more aware of their own vulnerabilities. So, roughly a week before Megan was set to be deployed aboard “I think what people should really take into account is that the Comfort, Kaley and her parents went to see Megan in Norfolk. you’re not invincible,” she says. “You’re not. Nobody is. Nobody is “We went to Norfolk to help her pack up and visit with her bejust straight up protected from any of this. So, it’s better to follow cause we didn’t know how long she was going to be gone,” Kaley the guidelines because they are there for a reason: to help you.” says. The uncertainty and emotional instability that can accompany Jack West is a senior at Auburn University and editor-in-chief of the a military deployment is not something new for the Arnett family. Auburn Plainsman. Megan and Kaley’s dad, Adam Arnett, is a retired Marine Corps officer. Megan said that connection was really helpful for her while she was in New York. “My dad understands what it’s like to be in a deployed status away from home,” she says. “I call my parents every night and vent about my day which I think is what really helps me the most.” Given the situation in New York and the conditions that Arnett has worked under, venting to friends and family seemed understandable. While Arnett lived aboard the Comfort, she actually worked on the pier that connected the ship to the city. Her job was to help transfer patients from ambulances to the ship while simultaneously acquiring their medical history. “Once we find out an ambulance is here, we have to put on all PPE — gown, mask, gloves, face shield, everything — pretty quickly,” she says. “The nurses down here — there’s five of us — we’re in charge of going through the paperwork, finding the patient’s COVID status and any of their past medical history. We then bring those patients up to the ship.” Like most nurses, Arnett works 12-hour shifts. Unlike most nurses, Arnett’s patients come from one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. Alabama Living

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama People |

Dr. Scott Harris

Alabama’s top doctor Dr. Scott Harris has become a household name to many Alabamians as he leads, along with the governor, the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harris has served as the 12th state health officer since February 2018, having previously served as area health officer for seven north Alabama counties. A graduate of Harding University in Arkansas, he attended medical school at UAB, where he completed a fellowship in infectious diseases. He earned a master’s degree in public health from the UAB School of Public Health in 2017, with a concentration in health policy. He practiced infectious disease medicine at Decatur General Hospital and Parkway Medical Center and was medical director at the Decatur-Morgan Community Free Clinic, a non-profit clinic offering health and dental care to low-income uninsured residents. He has also been part of many international medical missions to Central America, South America and Africa. Dr. Harris was kind enough to answer a few questions from Alabama Living. – Lenore Vickrey Tell us a little about your growing up years. I was born and raised in Talladega and graduated from Talladega High School. My parents still live in Talladega, where my father was a pharmacist and operated his own drug store for over 50 years before finally retiring. My mother is also retired now but was a registered nurse who worked for a time, among other jobs, at our county health department. Is being a doctor always what you wanted to do, and why? I had an uncle in Talladega who was a family physician and even as a young person, I wanted to go into medicine. I really enjoy being able to help others who are in need, and medicine allows an opportunity to connect with people in a way that is different from many other professions. Issues of health and safety are among the most important that people can face, and it is a privilege to be able to help those who are seeking it. What led you to pursue a fellowship in infectious diseases? The specialty of infectious diseases (ID) is fascinating to me. ID appeals to me because of the variety of illnesses and disease processes that are involved, and because infections can occur in anyone at any time. ID is not a specialty that is focused on a single organ system or a single type of patient, and there are many other non-infectious illnesses that can masquerade as infections, so there are always interesting puzzles to solve while you are trying to help those who are sick.

What caused you to pursue a career in public health service, rather than private practice? My career in ID had a lot of overlap with the work of public health. Much of my practice involved caring for patients with HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as vaccine preventable illnesses and disease outbreaks. Over my years in private practice, I had many opportunities to work closely with public health officials and always appreciated the work done on behalf of underserved groups and those without other access to medical care. While living in Decatur, I was part of a group that helped to establish a free medical clinic for low-income people, and I served as the volunteer medical director there for about 13 years. Public health is simply a good fit with my training but also with the issues that I care about. Did you receive training in handling a pandemic? Did you ever expect to be on the front lines of dealing with a pandemic? Public health has spent a great deal of time creating pandemic plans that include a number of other state agencies, health care facilities and community partners. These plans were put together initially after the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and have been updated regularly. We have frequent tabletop practice events and occasionally have real world practice exercises that involve hospitals, nursing homes, first responders and others.

Still, this type of practice does not fully prepare us for the event we are experiencing now. None of us could have ever predicted the current outbreak, which has infected over 1 million people in our country alone and killed more Americans in the past two months than who died over the entire course of the Vietnam War. I certainly did not expect to be here in this position for this event, but fortunately have been able to work with true professionals in the Department of Public Health, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama National Guard, and many others who have been trained and prepared for this response. Your job must be extremely stressful. How do you unwind at night? My wife and I like to cook together and we are always looking for an interesting recipe to try. We grow vegetables and herbs on our property and try to use fresh ingredients whenever we can. We also enjoy spending time reading books or working together on jigsaw puzzles, and we make time on most days for walks around the neighborhood or to our nearby park, just for exercise and to spend time together. PHOTO BY SIDNEY A. FOSTER, GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

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| Consumer Wise |

The kind of audit you actually want By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


I need to reduce my energy costs and don’t know where to start. You often recommend a home energy audit. What will an audit tell me?


A home energy audit is the perfect place to start if you want to reduce your energy bills or make your home more comfortable. An audit can also help you decide whether to invest in a new energy source like a solar array, or a new heating and cooling system like a heat pump, or whether it’s time to upgrade your current system. It’s possible to conduct your own energy audit using a website or app. Online and app audits are great tools you can use to learn about energy use and potential efficiency upgrades. A comprehensive, in-person energy audit provides much more information, but because most of us are staying at home and practicing social distancing, an online audit is currently the safest option. Your electric cooperative might have some information about energy audits on their website. They might even have a tool to help you do your own energy audit. If not, there are other websites that will help you do your own energy audit. Just plug in “online energy audits” into a search engine. Here are three sources of online information and online tools from sources that we trust: · The U.S. Department of Energy has a nice tutorial about DIY energy audits at energy.gov/energysaver/ home-energy-audits/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits · The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has an online audit at homeenergysaver.lbl.gov/consumer/ · ENERGY STAR provides a helpful tool, the Home Energy Yardstick. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency. com for more information.

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Energy Auditor D. Michael Ingram from Green Collar Crew inspects insulation in the attic of a single family home. PHOTO COURTESY ANDY HARPER, 60IMEDIA PRODUCTIONS

This tool helps you compare your energy use to similar homes, and provides guidance on how to reduce your energy use. energystar.gov/ index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_yardstick.showgetstarted When things are back to normal and it’s safe to have visitors in your home, there are typically two options for an in-home energy audit. The least expensive is a home energy survey, sometimes referred to as a “walkthrough” audit that is essentially a visual inspection. If you have modest goals about what you want to learn from an energy audit, and if you are fortunate enough to find an experienced and knowledgeable professional, this type of audit might meet your needs. The second, more comprehensive energy audit requires more time and utilizes several diagnostic tools. The average cost for this type of audit is about $400. Check with your local electric cooperative to see if they offer energy audits or provide a discount or rebate. A comprehensive energy audit will look at four main areas. The first is the envelope of your home, which includes

all the places where the exterior and interior meet––roof, walls, doors, windows and foundation. A critical tool for testing the envelope is a blower door test, which has a powerful fan that is mounted in an exterior door frame and used to de-pressurize the home. The auditor can then identify how well-sealed your home is and locate any air leaks. Some auditors will work with you to seal leaks and continue to take blower door readings as the home is tightened up. One advantage of this approach is avoiding excessive air sealing. It’s possible, in some homes, to tighten the home too much, so the energy auditor can determine when to stop sealing leaks so that a healthy supply of air infiltration is maintained. Another tool auditors will use to look at your building envelope is a thermal imaging camera, which shows hot and cold spots that pinpoint exactly where insulation is needed on walls and ceilings. The camera works best when the exterior temperature is much colder or much warmer than the interior temperature. The second focus of the audit is your home’s HVAC (furnace/AC unit) system and water heater to see how energy efficient they are and whether they should be www.alabamaliving.coop

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replaced. If your home has air ducts, the auditor can conduct a duct blaster test to see if your ducts are properly sealed. Ducts located in unheated areas are often a major source of energy loss. The third area the auditor will review includes other energy end use, such as lighting, appliances and other “pluggedin” devices. The auditor may also suggest steps like energy efficient lighting or a smart thermostat. The fourth area included in a comprehensive energy audit is health and safety. Does your home have the correct number and placement of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors? Should your basement be tested for radon emissions? Make sure you get answers to these questions. Some audits include a sophisticated energy analysis of your home using energy modeling software. These analyses can rank the different energy efficiency opportunities in your home from most- to least cost-effective. This will tell you how much you can save if you invest in all the cost-effective upgrades. After the energy audit is complete, the auditor should sit down with you and explain the findings in detail. This conversation should include a discussion of ways to operate your home to achieve more energy savings and more comfort. A home energy audit may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it truly can save you money in the long run because it helps to ensure every dollar you put into energy efficiency pays for itself. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on choosing windows, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips.

Answers to puzzle on Page 32

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| Outdoors |

For a change of pace, try these methods to catch crappie


rom muddy tidal rivers to deep, clear mountain lakes, anglers “We single-pole jig around thick cover because we can get a bait can find great crappie action in just about any freshwater sysall the way down better,” explains Gerald Overstreet Jr., a profestem in Alabama. sional crappie angler and guide from Gainestown. “We can work a Many crappie enthusiasts suspend live minnows under floats to single bait through really thick stuff and also pull hooked fish out fish around visible structure. Others troll or use spider rigs to work easier. The weight I use depends upon the current.” small jigs, sometimes tipped with a live bait. Spider rigging involves Let the bait sink naturally without adding action. Many anglers hanging several poles from holders in a formation that resembles a fish this method with brightly-colored line to watch for any subtle spider web. Anglers can vertically movements that might indicate fish multiple baits in different cola strike. Crappie usually bite imors or bait combinations at varimediately as the bait sinks or not ous depths simultaneously. at all. If the bait hits bottom, jig For decades, these proven techit back up toward the surface and niques produced outstanding move it just a few inches to repeat crappie catches, but anglers can the procedure. also try many other ways to catch Whenever possible, fish completely around an object or hit the fish. Crappie frequently hit small cover from multiple directions. lures, but such light temptations Fish might hold on one side or make casting difficult. Suspend a another. Perhaps some unseen untiny fly or hair jig below a small derwater object creates the perfect clear plastic float. The float adds ambush spot. On a cool morning, weight for better casting, but fish might prefer the sunny side. doesn’t spook the fish. Set the As the sun climbs higher, fish depth so the bait suspends just might move to the shady side. above the bottom or other cover. Whatever the reason, fish as many Let the float sit for several seconds and then pull it just hard angles as possible around each object to determine patterns. enough to make some surface During summer heat, crappie commotion. The bait should rise often plunge into deep waters to in the water and then sink again. find more comfortable temperaWhen fish want more subtle action, let the float sit longer so the tures. With electronics, look for hairs on the fly or jig twitch with deep brush piles, rocks, sunken the slightest water movements. A logs or other cover that might hold scented pellet adds more enticefish. With good electronics, anment. glers can sometimes almost drop Most people fish this temptaa spoon on a fish’s head or dangle tion with an ultralight spinning it in front of the fish and watch it rod. However, anglers can also fish Pat Trammell, a guide with Pat Trammell Fishing, shows off a strike the lure. bobber-fly rigs with poles as long crappie he caught while fishing Weiss Lake near Centre, Ala. Vertically drop a 1/8- to as they can comfortably handle. 1/4-ounce chrome jigging spoon PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER With the long pole, use very short next to humps, drop-off edges or line, usually only two to five feet. Softly place the rig into tight sweet other bottom cover. Small, heavy and compact, a spoon quickly spots, like a shady pocket between two limbs on a fallen tree or an sinks to the bottom even in the deepest waters. As it flutters down opening in a grass mat. reflecting light, the spoon mimics a dying shad. Let a spoon flutter Anglers can also use long single poles and tiny flies to deploy all the way to the bottom, but crappie don’t always hang near the baits without floats. Approach cover as quietly as possible. At exbottom. They commonly suspend over deep cover. If nothing hits treme range, drop a tiny fly, hair jig or jig tipped with a soft-plastic as it falls, jig the spoon up and down a few times off the bottom. If trailer as close as possible to any vertical structure such as a dock nothing bites there, turn the reel handle two or three cranks to fish piling, standing timber or stump. Use no additional weight. a different depth. Keep testing depths to find the best level where fish want to suspend. Don’t give up on the proven methods that put so many fish into John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. boats over the years, but occasionally all anglers need to try someContact him through Facebook. thing different. Who knows? They might just find a new favorite technique! 30  JUNE 2020

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

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

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


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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

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



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

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


3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 5:48 - 7:18 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 AM

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


4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:11 - 7:41 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 PM

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

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

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Social Security protects your investment


e provide benefits to about one-fifth of the American population and help protect workers, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. In 2020, we will pay about one trillion dollars in Social Security benefits to roughly 65 million people. One of our most important responsibilities is to protect the hard-earned money you pay into Social Security, which is why we have zero tolerance for fraud. We take fraud claims seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We respond quickly and decisively to prevent and detect fraud. For example, we monitor transactions to detect actions that demonstrate an intent to defraud the American people. We will continue to innovate and develop anti-fraud initiatives because any level of fraud is unacceptable. Recently, we launched a public service announcement as our latest effort to caution you about the ongoing nationwide telephone scam. The video features a message from our commission-

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


er, Andrew Saul. Along with our Office of the Inspector General, we continue to receive reports about fraudulent phone calls, text messages, and emails from people who falsely claim that they are government employees. The scammers play on emotions like fear to convince people to provide personal information or money in cash, wire transfers, or gift cards. Fraudsters also email fake documents in attempts to get people to comply with their demands. “I want every American to know that if a suspicious caller states there is a problem with their Social Security number or account, they should hang up and never give the caller money or personal information. People should then go online to report the scam call to Social Security,” said Commissioner Saul. You can report these scams at oig.ssa.gov. Learn how to protect yourself and report any suspicious calls or emails right away. If you have already been a victim of one of these scams, please do not be embarrassed. Instead, report the scam at oig.ssa.gov so we can stop these scammers and protect others. Please share our new Public Service Announcement video with your friends and family at youtube.com/socialsecurity. You can also share our publication, Social Security Protects Your Investment, at ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10004.pdf.


Across 1 Popular Alabama drink, 2 words 5 Auburn head coach, first name 7 Guntersville, for one 9 ___ Springs, the county seat of Bullock County which displays a life size bird dog monument 10 Statue in Birmingham which is the largest cast iron statue in the world 12 ____ Ground Battlefield Park, in Lowndesboro 13 Celebrated African American airmen who fought in WW II 16 Najee Harris and JaTarvious Whitlow, for example- abbr. 17 Seasonal album by the Alabama band 21 Sweet flower 22 Name of NASA’s Space Flight Center in Huntsville 26 Act that protects the rights of people with disabilities 28 Famous NFL wide receiver who was born in Alabama 30 Last word in the name of the band that sang “Born on the Bayou” 32 Canadian Province, initials 33 Large snake 34 Alabama city where you can visit the “world’s largest office chair”

24 25 26 27 29 31

by Myles Mellor

Baseball great born in Mobile Adores Off-roader’s purchase, for short Type of salad It laps on the shore at Orange Beach African American fashion designer born in Clayton, ___ Lowe

Down 1 Alabama is famous for its ____ hospitality 2 They’re fit to consume 3 Former Crimson Tide great, ____ Nathan 4 “__ tu, Brute” from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” 5 Yukon is one of these SUV’s 6 Perceive 7 Alabama bird, the Mottled ___ 8 Mr. Pacino 11 Cat sound 14 Health club facility 15 High cards 18 “That’s a laugh!” 19 Needing a doc 20 Alabama has over 200 species of these slow moving garden pests 21 Promotional piece 23 Garrett Coliseum, for one Answers on Page 29 32  JUNE 2020

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |

Potluck goodness at home STYLING/PHOTOS BY BROOKE ECHOLS

Ham, Cheese and Hash Brown Casserole

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Photo by The Buttered Home

Tomato Pie


hen we planned this month’s recipe theme of “Potluck” back in 2019, we never anticipated that our readers wouldn’t actually be able to attend a potluck event at their church, neighborhood meeting or family reunion. But here we are in 2020, with many of us confined to our homes, still cooking but unable to sit down and share our delicious favorites with others the way we’d like. But we still love to eat, and for many of us, that means “comfort” food like the homemade casseroles you’d find at many a potluck dinner in Alabama and across the South. So enjoy these reader-submitted casseroles we’re featuring on these pages, and just imagine yourself with your friends and family sharing a forkful together, a day we pray returns safely very soon. – the Alabama Living staff

Ham, Cheese and Hash Brown Casserole (opposite page)

1 1 2 2 ½ ½ 1

can cream of chicken soup bag shredded hashbrowns cups ham, diced cups sharp cheddar cheese cup onion, diced cup melted butter cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients completely. Place mixture in a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake 35-45 minutes until hot and bubbly. Glenda Weigel Baldwin EMC

Alabama Living

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Tomato Pie is the ultimate potluck dish. For many of us in the South, tomatoes are in ample supply this month. With beautiful sliced tomatoes coupled with sliced red onions, all baked in a flaky pie shell, this tomato pie will turn a potluck meal into a party. Follow us at thebutteredhome. com for more recipes that celebrate good old Southern cooking.

Brooke Burks

Tomato Pie 1 homemade pie shell (thebutteredhome.com for recipe) 4-6 ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4 cup sliced red onions 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons dried basil 1 teaspoon pepper 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 cup sour cream Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pie shell for 10 minutes. While cooking, marinate the tomatoes and onions in balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Drain. Reserve a few slices of tomatoes for garnish. Allow the crust to cool. In another bowl, mix salt, pepper, basil, cheeses, mayo and sour cream. In prepared pie crust, layer tomatoes and onion into a single layer. Top with cheese mixture. Spread evenly. Top with reserved slices of tomato for garnish. Bake the pie for 45 minutes until it becomes melted, bubbly and the crust is brown. Allow the pie to sit and cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy! JUNE 2020  35

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Potluck Chicken and Dumplings 1 2 3 2 1 1 2 Skillet Chicken and Green Bean Potluck

Cook of the Month Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC Skillet Chicken and Green Bean Potluck 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed 1 pound fresh green beans 1 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup 1 cup milk 11/2 cups fried onions 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon thyme 1 stick butter Pinch cayenne pepper Salt and pepper, to taste In a large skillet add olive oil and chicken; cook on medium heat. As you cook the chicken, season with salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper and cook for 30 minutes. Add green beans and stick of butter. Cook for another 30 minutes. Stir in a can of cream of mushroom soup, milk and 1/2 cup of fried onions, blending everything together. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and top with the remainder of the fried onions.


White Shoepeg Corn Casserole 3 11-ounce cans shoepeg corn, drained 1 to ½ pints whipping cream 2 tablespoons flour 1 stick butter, melted Salt and pepper, to taste

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In a slow cooker, add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, oregano and thyme. Add chicken breasts. Pour cans of cream of chicken and broth over the breasts. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Uncover, stir. Salt and pepper, to taste. Top mixture with canned biscuits. Cover and cook one more hour. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Mama's Cajun Pinto Beans & Rice

Jean Fontaine Baldwin EMC

1 pound bag pinto beans, washed and soaked overnight 1 bell pepper 1 whole onion 1 pound ground beef Chili powder, to taste Black pepper, dash 1 cup onions, chopped Banana pepper, optional

Gertrude's Casserole 1/2 pounds hamburger meat 1 3 cups cooked macaroni 1 cup sour cream 1 cup whole kernel corn 1 small jar pimentos 1 small onion, chopped 1 can cream of mushroom soup Ritz crackers, for topping Butter, for topping Cook hamburger and onion together and drain well. Add all the other ingredients. Top with crushed Ritz crackers and dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Sandra Largen Central Alabama EC

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2 4

onion, chopped large carrots, peeled and chopped cloves garlic, minced stalks celery, chopped tablespoon oregano tablespoon thyme 10.5-ounce cans cream of chicken soup cups chicken broth large boneless, skinless chicken breasts 16.3-ounce can refrigerated biscuits Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pinto beans until almost done. Add bell pepper and whole onion last 30 minutes (then discard onion). Cook ground beef until brown, drain. Add chili powder, to taste, chopped onions, banana pepper (optional) and sauté. Add to beans. Cook rice in separate pan until done. Put rice on plate, pour beans over rice. Mrs. Clarence M. Catt South Alabama EC


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the best of

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


(Shipping included)

Name: Address: City:



Phone Number:



prize and title of


of the


Themes and Deadlines: Sept.: *Bar foods | June 5 Oct.: Traditional Southern Recipes | July 3 Nov.: Pies | August 7 (*Taco bar, baked potato bar, etc.)

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

Alabama Living

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JUNE 2020  37

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| Clarke-Washington EMC |

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

June Fruits and Nuts

• Layer grapes and continue spray programs. • Thin apples and peaches if too thick.


• Lace bugs may be a problem on azaleas, pyracanthas, dogwoods, cherry laurels, and other shrubs. • Water as needed. Fertilize now. • Keep long shoots from developing by pinching out tips. • Take cuttings from semi-mature wood for rooting.


• Follow a schedule of fertilization and watering.

• Continue weed spraying if necessary.

Annuals and Perennials

• Keep old flower heads removed to promote continued flowering. Plant garden mums if not already in. • For compact mums, keep tips pinched out. • Watch for insects and diseases.


• Foliage may be removed from spring bulbs if it has yellowed and is becoming dry.

in shade and pay close attention to the need for water. • If desired, air layer houseplants.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant beans, fieldpeas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes, and watermelons.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potato vine cuttings.

• Watch for aphids and thrips on summer bulbs.


• Lawns should be mowed weekly.

• If scale insects continue on shrubs, use materials other than oils.

• Planting may continue if soil is moist.

• Set houseplants on porch or outdoors

July Fruits and Nuts

• Protect figs and other ripening fruit from birds.


• Continue to root shrub cuttings until late in the month and mulch to keep soil moist. • Remove faded blooms promptly from crape myrtle and other summer-blooming plants.


• Watch for diseases. • Mow regularly • Water as needed.


• Keep roses healthy and actively

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growing. • Apply fertilizer. • Wash off foliage to prevent burning if any fertilizer falls on plant.

Annuals and Perennials

• Water as needed to keep plants active.


• Iris and spider lilies may be planted late this month.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant beans, fieldpeas, rutabagas, squash, New Zealand spinach, and Irish potatoes. • Plant cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and celery for the fall crop.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes in central and north Alabama.


• Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns healthy is a major task this month. • This demands close observation for insects and diseases. • Water JUNE 2020 39

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| Our Sources Say |

Is solar cheaper than natural gas? I

apologize for all the numbers. They are geeky, but important if you are interested in the true cost of electricity. If you aren’t, you can stop reading now or skip to the fourth from last paragraph and see the answer. Environmental protesters recently argued that the Alabama Public Service Commission should mandate that Alabama Power build solar generation instead of its proposed natural gas combined cycle plant because solar power is cheaper. The Rocky Mountain Institute reports that today clean renewable solar power is cheaper than natural gas-fired generation. Bloomberg Energy, USA Today and other media outlets also report that solar power is now cheaper than fossil fuel generation. The price of solar power, especially utility-scale solar power, has declined dramatically over the past few years. The International Renewable Energy Agency states the price of solar power has dropped 84% over the past eight years. PowerSouth has had recent experience with both natural gas and utility-scale solar power. I have discussed PowerSouth’s generation plans in these articles a number of times. We will close our coal-fired Lowman Plant in Leroy, Alabama, in October and build in its place a stateof-the-art 693 megawatt (MW) natural gas combined cycle plant. The new plant will cost more than $500 million to construct. We expect it to operate at a capacity factor of at least 85%, which means on average it will produce its stated 693 megawatt output 85% of the time. At that capacity factor, the fixed cost (or capacity cost) of owning the combined cycle plant will be approximately $8.90 per megawatt hour (MWH). The energy cost (or variable cost) to operate the plant will depend on the price of natural gas and its transportation cost to the plant. At $2.00/MMBTU (when I wrote this article, daily gas was $1.68/MMBTU), plus operations and maintenance costs, the variable cost of energy from the combined cycle plant will be approximately $20.63 per MWH. Therefore, the total generation cost of electricity from the combined cycle plant (with $2.00/MMBTU natural gas) will be approximately $29.53 per MWH. Additionally, we recently signed a contract to purchase solar power from an 80-MW solar generation facility starting in 2022. The solar facility will operate at a capacity factor of about 25%, which means it will provide its promised 80 MW about 25% of the time. We will buy the output of the solar facility on a dollarper-MWH fixed cost basis when energy is produced. The cost of

energy under our solar contract is very attractive at a generation cost of about $22.00 per MWH. The cost of this solar-generated electricity at $22.00 per MWH is cheaper than the cost of electricity from our natural gas combined cycle plant at $29.53 per MWH. However, that comparison doesn’t even start to tell the whole story. Electric consumers in developed countries demand power to be available whenever they need or want it, not just when the sun is shining. The combined cycle plant is fully dispatchable and will provide electricity when people need it, whether the sun shines or not. Solar power doesn’t generate at night and is limited on cloudy days. Solar power must be paired with something else before it is as reliable as natural gas. The solution most often offered is battery storage. Batteries can be deployed at utility scale, but additional solar generation must be installed to charge the batteries while the sun is shining so the batteries can provide power at nights and on cloudy days. Batteries are designed for specific discharge cycles. Most utility scale batteries have four-hour discharge cycles; therefore, at least three sets of batteries will be needed to cover the nighttime hours and provide a reserve for cloudy days. Battery costs are decreasing, but based upon recent proposals of $1,500,000 per MW, the total cost of battery storage is about $92.33 per MWH, in addition to the $22.00 per MWH cost of the solar power to charge the battery. Very conservatively, the total cost of the solar power with battery storage will be an average of $56.63 per MWH, assuming solar 15 hours a day and batteries 9 hours. With natural gas at $2.00/MMBTU, that cost is about 92% higher than the cost of electricity from our planned combined cycle plant. Why then do many statements that solar is cheaper than natural gas go unchallenged? The information is hard to find, and calculations are difficult. Too often the cost of pure solar when the sun is shining is offered as the comparison to natural gas. That is not a true comparison - electricity must be available on demand, not just when the sun is shining. And, finally, some people aren’t truthful, even to themselves. Given a choice, a huge majority of people will choose the lowest cost and most reliable source of electricity. Today, that is clearly natural gas. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Remembering ‘Cousin Kathryn’


as it really been that long ago? June 2011. Kathryn Tucker Windham died at home in her beloved Selma. I can imagine the scene, imagine family and friends going to the back shed and removing the Rose Point crystal (service for 12, complete with water pitcher and butter dish) from the custom-built pine coffin where she kept it. And I can imagine her being laid to rest in that very coffin, wrapped in a Gees Bend quilt, according to her wishes. We called ourselves “cousins,” Kathryn and I, though we were cousins only by marriage and even that was stretching it a bit. However, we shared a love of history and appreciation of a good story, which bound us closer than kin. I remembering visiting her one October day. I arrived early. We talked a bit, snacked on graham crackers spread with pimento Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

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cheese, clarified family connections, and decried the loss of so many Selma landmarks. Then we loaded up and headed into the Black Belt. “Into the Black Belt” – like we were going into some strange, exotic land from which we might never return. But with Cousin Kathryn we were safe. She knew where to go and who would be there. Along the way she did what she did best – told stories that linked us to times past and resurrected people long gone from the earth. When the day was done, I took her home. Other visits followed. More than once I took students down to see her. I let her set the agenda and it was always different. A trip to Old Cahaba where we picnicked on the site of Alabama’s first capital. A walking tour of Selma’s Live Oak Cemetery where she pointed out graves of little-known people who should be known better. After she finished one of her stories a student asked, “Did that really happen”? “Well,” she said, “If it did not happen that way, it should have.” Those were good times.

There were not enough of them. (For one student’s article on the outing go to wesharethesamesky.com/tag/selma/) Despite frequent invitations, I never made it to her New Year’s Day blackeyed peas and cornbread lunch, when her doors were thrown open to anyone who wanted to make sure good luck would follow for another year. Nor did I do with her so many other things I should have done. Like take my children more often. Our last communication was the graduation gift she sent my boy. A money clip. The sort a young gentleman should carry, for we all know that pulling out a billfold for minor transactions is, well, tacky. When it arrived, I recalled a bit of poetry she loved, based on a verse by Jan Struther. Cousin Kathryn said she wanted it on her tombstone. She was twice blessed. She was happy. She knew it. That was Cousin Kathryn. She left out one thing. We all were blessed by her being here. Now, I think I’ll have some graham crackers and pimento cheese. www.alabamaliving.coop

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