August 2023 Clarke-Washington

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Youth Tour

Week in Washington D.C. provides a lifetime of memories for two CWEMC delegates

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.

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Clear, emerald-green water, easy access and abundant natural beauty have spawned a recent population boom at Lewis Smith Lake that spreads across 21,200 acres of Cullman, Walker and Winston counties.

There aren’t many things in nature as pretty as a sunset. Our readers share some of their favorites.

Miss Amber’s Cafe

Sweetness is on the menu and in the air at Miss Amber’s Cafe in Wedowee, where family is a key ingredient.

Quite the pear

Pears, which are available yearround, can be the basis for so many different dishes, from relish to cobbler, cake and yes, even meatloaf.

Nour Jabnouni and Sanaa Thomas represented Clarke-Washington EMC at Washington Youth Tour

26 VOL. 76 NO. 8 AUGUST 2023 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: 22 AUGUST 2023 3 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Al abama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117
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PHOTO: MARK STEPHENSON Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Turner

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Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081

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The ‘Week Hurricane’

I’ve been in the utility business for almost 29 years and I’ve been involved with outages from dozens of named storms and literally hundreds of weather-related outages but I’ve never dealt with an event quite like we faced June 15-20. I heard some of the guys call it the “Week Hurricane,” referencing the length of time it lasted.

As you are aware, our system, along with much of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, was struck with severe weather on consecutive days in June including Father’s Day Weekend. Although it was not a named storm, we experienced near hurricane-force winds several days in a row causing us to go into storm mode.

It was devastating to see the looks on the faces of our linemen after working a 16-hour shift, only to have another round of weather pass over the system and knock out power to thousands of meters, many of which had just been restored. On two occasions, we were down to less than 200 meters out of power, only to see the numbers quickly rise to more than 5,000 meters out of power.

I am proud of all of our employees. They kept their heads up and caught another gear, working tirelessly in difficult conditions until the last meter was back on. We also reached out for some additional help and we appreciate those that were able to respond. It was difficult to get help locally because our closest neighbors were dealing with their own outages. We were fortunate to get help from the following co-ops:

North Alabama Electric Cooperative

Arab Electric Cooperative

Okmulgee Electric Cooperative

Warren Rural Electric Cooperative

Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative

We were also able to get help from the following contractors:

Chain Electric

Harper Electric

I have had several people ask me how we were able to get help so quickly. The truth is, it is one of the Cooperative Principles: Cooperation Among Cooperatives. We have a good mutual aid process in place that is coordinated by the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), our statewide association. They do a really good job of helping us behind the scenes, whether it’s securing crews or working to get a FEMA declaration to help pay for an event.

I would also like to thank our local EMA contacts for their hard work in helping us to submit costs to FEMA and working toward a FEMA Declaration. FEMA has a formula for determining whether an event is eligible for reimbursement and we are still waiting to see if we will be eligible for financial assistance to help offset the costs of the event.

It will be an expensive storm for us. We replaced approximately 20 poles and numerous oil circuit reclosers and transformers in addition to the many tear downs that require a considerable amount of labor.

And, of course, I would like to thank our membership for the many acts of kindness and patience you extended to us during the event.

None of us can predict the future but I pray we are spared a major hurricane this year. In fact, I would be perfectly content if the “Week Hurricane” we just experienced is the only storm activity we get this season.

I hope you have a good month.

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At Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation, we believe in educating future generations to understand the electric system and how it operates. This year, 144 teachers across Alabama and northwest Florida became students at the Empower Energy Education Workshop in June. Five educators from the Clarke-Washington EMC area were able to attend the workshop and become empowered about energy education.

The Empower Energy Education Workshop started in 2017 as a way for PowerSouth and its members, such as Clarke-Washington EMC, to promote a balanced approach to energy education in the classroom. PowerSouth partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to empower teachers and provide them with the tools necessary to educate students about the electric industry. The workshop taught attendees about electric generation and distribution, with a focus on energy education.

“The Empower workshop had so many knowledgeable educators who were enthusiastic about teaching. To me, the educators were the most beneficial part. The hands-on activities and the energy kit were also very beneficial,” said Stacy Ferguson.

Attendees learned engaging ways to integrate energy and electrical education into their classrooms that is designed specifically for students in grades K-12. They also learned ways to present and teach electrical education by using fun and up-to-date resources and curriculum.

“I am taking back to my classroom a bag full of new tips and tricks to engage learners as well as some informational pieces and hands-on activities to go along with it. I teach English,

but after this workshop and speaking with other ELA teachers, I see so many ways this can be incorporated into my curriculum,” said Xiomara Douglas.

During the workshop, teachers participated in many hands-on activities as well as breakout sessions. Two popular breakout sessions were the Energy Escape Room and Energy Enigma. The workshop also provided an opportunity for attendees to network with other teachers, learning from one another and building lifelong connections.

“As a cooperative, one of Clarke-Washington EMC’s founding principles is educating our members,” said Sarah Turner, communications specialist for Clarke-Washington EMC. “The Empower Workshop provides an opportunity to reach youth in ways we never imagined before by providing educators with the tools they need to present energy education in fun and exciting ways to their students.”

Clarke-Washington EMC looks forward to continuing to make a difference in energy education. If you would like to learn more about Empower, please contact Sarah Turner at Clarke-Washington EMC at 251.246.9081 or via email:

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 5
(L-R) Suzanne Dew, Xiomara Douglas, Stacy Ferguson, Crystal Tarleton and Jodie Powell and CWEMC’s Sarah Turner


Two high school students from the Clarke-Washington EMC area traveled to Washington D.C. for the annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in June.

Nour Jabnouni of Washington County High School and Sanaa Thomas of McIntosh High School were selected to represent Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation for the 2023 Youth Tour Program.

This is the first time since 2019 that the Washington D.C. Youth Tour has been held. The Youth Tours in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were all canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is a group of more than 1,500 high school students who visit Washington D.C., every June from all over rural America. Each electric cooperative selects delegates from their area to at-

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tend the Youth Tour. Electric cooperatives believe in providing young leaders with a life-impacting opportunity to increase their understanding of the value of rural electrification.

“This opportunity has impacted my leadership skills by helping me be more open to comfortably working and communicating with others,” says delegate Sanaa Thomas.

Delegates visited the Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans, Korean War, MLK, Iwo Jima, and FDR memorials as well as the Museum of the Marine Corps during their first day in Washington D.C. They also visited the Washington Monument, Smithsonians and Holocaust Museum, and WWII Memorial where they saw the Alabama monument. They visited Mount Vernon, saw “The Lion King” at the Kennedy Center and enjoyed a night tour of the U.S. Capitol led by U.S. Rep. Barry Moore.

Delegates toured Arlington National Cemetery and participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Honoring and reflecting on the sacrifice of our nation’s greatest heroes by attending these ceremonies was an extraordinary and deeply moving privilege for the delegates.

When asked about her favorite place to visit, Nour Jabnouni said, “The Capital building was my favorite place we visited not only because of the history in the building itself, but because I was able to walk the very same halls that so many great historical figures did before me.”

Nour, Sanaa and the rest of the group were able to catch a Washington Nationals Baseball game in Nationals Park.

“This is a one of a kind experience for our students,” says Sarah Turner, Clarke-Washington EMC communications/youth tour coordinator. “This gives them a new outlook on their local cooperative, broadens their education and allows them to see things they learned about in school. This gives them a chance to get out of their comfort zone and meet other young leaders across the country.”

The Youth Tour has been a joint effort of Alabama Electric co-ops, the Alabama Rural Electric Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for over 50 years. This opportunity is available to high school juniors in the Clarke-Washington area.

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 7
8 AUGUST 2023
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 9 October theme: “Horses” | Deadline: August 31
from our new home in Chilton County. SUBMITTED by Shannon Dietz, Jemison. Online: | Mail: Attn: Snapshots, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124
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SUBMITTED by Martha Brown, Fort Payne. My husband Jordan and son Jace in the garden at the sunset. SUBMITTED by Destin Green, Ariton. Photo taken from our porch on Smith Lake SUBMITTED by Amanda Seamon, Arab.
| Alabama Snapshots |
Sunset at Guntersville Lake. SUBMITTED by Sherrie McCullough, Grant.

Take us along!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving. coop. Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month. Make sure your photo is clear, in focus and not in shadow.

Alabama Living contributors win national awards

Two contributors to Alabama Living were recognized for their outstanding work during the Cooperative Communicators Association’s (CCA) annual awards ceremony in June.

Dennis Auth won a first place award in illustrations for his artwork, “Alabama A to Z,” for the cover of the January 2023 issue. Auth is best known to readers for his illustrations for “Hardy Jackson’s Alabama.”

Writer Emmett Burnett took two awards, a second place in technical writing for “James Webb telescope: the Alabama connection” which appeared in the April 2022 magazine; and a third place for his personality feature, “Eyes on the sky,” on weatherman James Spann in September 2022.

CCA, an organization of 300 professionals who communicate for cooperatives, is the only communications organization dedicated to serving those associated with member-owned businesses.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program continues to grow

Learning outdoors skills – such as rock climbing, camp cooking, shooting sports (including gun safety), fishing, hunting, canoeing, archery and many more – can seem intimidating, especially for women who didn’t grow up exposed to such activities.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, or BOW, is a three-day workshop designed to acquaint women 18 and older with the outdoors in a fun, non-threatening environment.

This year’s event will be Oct. 6-8, but registration opens on Aug. 1 for first-time participants and Aug. 7 for returning participants. Slots always fill fairly quickly.

For more information, including cost and registration, visit and click on “activities,” then scroll down to Becoming an Outdoors-Woman or call 800-245-2740.

Support Alabama eateries during Restaurant Week

Alabama Restaurant Week, Aug. 18-27, is a way for locals and visitors to show their appreciation for the state’s restaurants and their staffs. This culinary event unites Alabama’s diverse range of cuisine during the two-week celebration.

The week is marketed by the Alabama Tourism Department, which also produces the popular “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama” listings. The department encourages patrons to dine out and support their local restaurants and offers some other ideas to show their support: buying gift cards, purchasing merchandise, asking small, family-owned places how they can help, and leaving good reviews online and on social media.

Learn more at

Spotlight | August
An instructor shows how to clean a fish during a class at the 2022 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman event. Fred Owens of Flomaton and his grandson Hunter Wood took the magazine along on their trip to Kansas, including a visit to the Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade. Fred is a member of Southern Pine EC. Dianne Saloom and Harriet Hyde of Evergreen showed off their copy of Alabama Living while riding the Ring of Kerry near Moll’s Gap, Ireland. They are members of Southern Pine Electric Co-op. Wanda Waldrip and her son, Kory Boling, from Montgomery traveled to South Dakota and visited the Crazy Horse Memorial last fall. That landmark, along with Mount Rushmore, were on her bucket list, but no longer!  She is a member of Dixie EC. Guy Vanderman of Deatsville attended the American Tri-Five Association Nationals at Beech Bend Park and Raceway, Bowling Green, Kentucky, last summer, the site of 2,500 Chevys from 1955, 1956 and 1957.  He’s a member of Central Alabama EC. Brenda Saltz and Sharon and John Jones, all from Fairhope and members of Baldwin EMC,  enjoyed a trip to Alaska with their magazine. Tony Sellers of Alberta, a member of Pioneer Electric Cooperative, sent us this photo of himself at the airport in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he works as the quality manager. He flies back and forth on the weekends and takes his magazine along to read.
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Debra Haley Spiller of Haleyville, a member of Tombigbee EC, traveled all the way to Stonehenge, the famed prehistoric monument on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, with her magazine.

Find the hidden dingbat!

From the letters and emails we’ve received, it looks like our younger readers may have had the sharpest eyes when it came to searching for last month’s dingbat. Our sneaky page designer placed the baseball on the fingernail of Maddie Cutts on Page 22. So it was no surprise that some of correct guesses came from young ladies like Amelia Moon, age 11, of Wetumpka, who wrote us: “On her left hand, middle finger, if you look closely the baseball is right in front of your eyes.” You’re right, Amelia! Chad Stewart of Cullman EC wrote us that his daughter, Liana, who loves to paint her nails, found the hidden baseball. “The rest of the family never found it,” he wrote. Zoanna Elmer tells us that she got her whole family involved in the search, which went on for three days until they found it in the online version of the magazine. “My mom’s eyes hurt from looking so hard for that baseball!” she writes. Brenda Smothers of Marshall-DeKalb EC was especially excited to find the baseball with her grandchildren (Elijah, 7, Emery, 5, and Ellisyn, 2) since two of them play ball. “We were excited to see this month was a baseball, how convenient! We love this fun activity each month!”

Thanks also to Marjorie Wynn of Millry, a member of Clarke-Washington EMC for 50 years, who wrote us some poetry:

The baseball dingbat is right on the end of the bat

How about that!

What a hit it could be,

It might just be a home run for me.

Sorry you didn’t win this time, Mrs. Wynn, but congratulations to our randomly drawn winner Keith Toft of Midland City, who wins a gift card from Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union, a division of Alabama One. We love to hear from our readers, so let us know how your search goes this month. We’ve hidden a vinyl record, in honor of National Vinyl Record Day Aug. 12. Put an LP on the turntable (young folks, ask your parents or grandparents what that is) and start hunting!

Sponsored by

Letters to the editor

Crossword clue check

Montgomery, AL 36124

I always enjoy doing your crossword puzzle each month as well as reading the interesting articles. But one question on the July issue’s puzzle was: “Battleship which sailed into Tokyo for the formal surrender ceremonies at the end of WWll” (13 down).

I immediately tried to fit in “Missouri” but it was one space short. Of course the surrender was signed on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay in 1945, but after reading some of the USS Alabama war history, she was apparently in Tokyo Bay at the time of the surrender? Ok, Alabama for 13 down is technically correct I suppose, but it sent me to the encyclopedia. Yes, I still have a set!

Ed. note: Yes, indeed, the USS Alabama led the fleet of ships into Toyko Harbor for the formal surrender ceremonies, a proud moment for all Alabamians.

Liked Hardy Jackson's ice cream column

What a great story for the Fourth, Hardy. God sure blessed you to write. I believe your best penmanship so far! You took me straight back to the hot summer days in Foley, turning that handle. Thank you.

Tom Byrne, Evergreen P.S. Perfect for an electric co-op magazine, too.

I loved this month’s article. When I was a child my daddy would make me sit on the ice cream crank!  He’d pack it down and put old newspapers on top; then I’d have to sit on it to keep it from popping up out of the ice and water.  (Since you didn’t mention that I figured he was trying to avoid going back to the ice house.)

Keep up the reminiscences. I always enjoy your stories.

This month’s column brought back a lot of memories from my childhood and early teens. I’m old enough that we had to go to the ice house in Clanton and get a block of ice, then go home, and chip it into chunks for the hand-cranked ice cream machine. Fresh Chilton County peaches in vanilla ice cream. So many memories. Thanks again.

Whereville, AL

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the September issue.

Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual

landmarks? Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25!

July’s answer: This funny looking fellow is an advertising sign for Creekstand Catfish Farm in the Salem community, off U.S. Highway 80 in Lee County. (Photo by Jim Plott) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Jennifer Johnson Dudley of Tallapoosa River EC.

August | Spotlight
E-mail us at: or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 11
Dr. Jeremy Balin, University of Alabama associate professor of physics and astronomy, readies UA’s observatory telescope in preparation for night viewing.
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To infinity and beyond

Observatories share the universe with the rest of us

All eyes are on the crescent moon during this early summer Tuscaloosa night, weather permitting. Unfortunately, the weather did not permit, but not to worry.

The next evening proves just fine for stargazing from the roof of the University of Alabama’s Gallalee Hall. After all, most celestial objects have existed for billions of years, so what’s one more night?

Tuscaloosa’s observatory is one of several throughout Alabama, with mammoth telescopes focused on galactic phenomena. Each reach for the stars and you can, too. Here are 5 such observatories from across the state, sharing the universe with the rest of us, to infinity and beyond.

The University of Alabama, Gallalee Hall Observatory

“Some find it overwhelming,” says Dr. Jeremy Bailin, associate professor of physics and astronomy, at the University of Alabama. Recalling visitor reactions after seeing space through professional optics, he adds, “We have seen people become emotional and tear up.”

Sam Boos, a UA graduate student in physics and astronomy, who works with Bailin, adds, “Just seeing the moon up close renders so many details, mountain ranges, craters, and terrain. It’s just amazing.”

The university’s Astronomy Group holds monthly “public nights” with free admission and no experience necessary. After a brief discussion about what awaits, visitors ascend to the rooftop and enter the copper domed observatory atop Gallalee Hall. A telescope, about the size of a Civil War cannon, awaits.

“To me, the experience of seeing space up close is humbling, realizing how small we are in the vastness of space,” says Bailin. “I may be a tiny bit of the universe, but I am that tiny part that

gets to look at the other parts of it. Yes, I am humbled, but seeing it – nebulas, planets, the moon and more - in real time gives me a stronger connection to our universe.”

James Wylie Shepherd Observatory, The University of Montevallo

You literally cannot believe what you are seeing – not just through the telescope but the building that houses it. The facility features a state of the art 20-inch telescope, mounted on a hydraulic pier in a robotic 20.5-foot diameter observatory dome.

“But I don’t see anything,” a visitor says, squinting through the scope’s eyepiece. “Give it a few seconds for your eyes to adjust,” Jecca Shumate, Environmental Education Program director, says. A few seconds later, often followed by gasps, the magic happens.

“I love watching people’s reactions when first seeing a planet,” Shumate continues. “Viewed with the naked eye, people see Jupiter, Saturn, and the others as tiny points in a black sky. But then they see it through our telescope.” The ‘Oh, wow factor’ kicks in.

Visitors observe Jupiter’s distinct features with its red spot, a continuously churning hurricane larger than Earth. They count the rings of Saturn, each band made of debris from ice, rocks, asteroids, in place since recorded time. “Some can’t believe what they are looking at,” Shumate notes. “They express shock and disbelief.”

Montevallo’s site, which is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, welcomes the public through its educational programs. Observatory visits include day programs for sun gazing.

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 13
Photo of the moon, as taken at the University of Alabama’s Gallalee Hall Observatory. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Do not try this at home. Montevallo has a portable telescope specifically designed to view the sun. You do not.

Incidentally, for those interested, a 20-inch telescope, similar to Montevallo’s, can be yours for about $40,000. Computerized mounting platform, and specially designed astronomy building with robotic controlled roof, sold separately.

The UNA Planetarium and Observatory

In 1964, at what was then Florence State College, two-stage construction began for an observatory and planetarium. The goal was to serve the college and the public, with access to both facilities. Fifty-nine years later, the University of North Alabama’s Planetarium and Observatory still meets those needs with a sense of wonder.

“Everybody, of course, wants to see the planets and the moon,” says UNA’s Planetarium and Observatory Director Mel Blake. “But there are also star clusters. They look really nice.”

“The ring nebula is impressive,” he adds. “It looks like a smoke ring. Actually it’s an old star, about 10 billion years old, that ejected gas into space as it died. The same thing will happen to our sun, in about 4 ½ to 5 billion years.” At that point, life on earth will cease to exist.

But on a happier note, the UNA Planetarium and Observatory offers weekly public nights, incorporating discussions of what is currently up in the night sky with observing what was just discussed.

In addition to universities, clubs and astronomy-based groups share public viewings, such as these two:

The Von Braun Astronomical Society (VBAS)

Like Bailin, Michael Buford, president of VBAS near Huntsville, offers similar views about searching the cosmos. “This may sound silly, but I ground myself by looking at space,” he says, from VBAS’ earth base in Monte Sano State Park. “From the first time I looked through a telescope and saw that planets are more than dots in the sky, I was hooked. There is nothing like it.”

VBAS shares its facilities through scheduled viewings. The moon is a popular favorite, but other contenders include Jupiter, Saturn, star clusters, and more. First time viewers are often amazed and one young visitor was skeptical.

“Viewed up close, Saturn’s rings are clearly visible,” says Buford. “That often surprises people. We once had an 8-year-old boy look through our telescope. He jumped back and didn’t believe what he saw.” The youngster shouted, “That’s a sticker! You put a sticker with a picture of Saturn on your lenses!”

VBAS public events include planetarium lectures followed by telescope viewing.

In addition, the space place is a legacy of Alabama’s space program. One of the group’s charter members was legendary Dr. Wernher von Braun, missile technology expert who in the 1950s put the Rocket in Rocket City, also known as Huntsville.

The Auburn Astronomical Society

There is no party like a star party, and the Auburn Astronomical Society rocks it like a meteor.

The Auburn group gathers in scheduled, often remote locations, for unencumbered stargazing. It recently received permission to observe nighttime skies from Heaven Hill on Russell Lands at Lake Martin.

“A constant problem with viewing space is light pollution,” notes the Auburn group’s president, Allen Screws. The more lights around, from cityscapes, residential homes, and business areas, the less visibility one has for stargazing. “But Heaven Hill does not have those issues,” Screws notes, “It makes for great viewing.”

The Auburn astronomy hobbyists happily share the experience with others. Though core dues-paying members are about 20, star parties and other events have gathered 100 or more people.

From major universities to societies and clubs, statewide space enthusiasts scan the skies. We are invited to join them for a glimpse into infinity, billions of years in the making, and ready to behold, under Alabama skies.

For more information, contact:

• The University of Alabama Public Nights - astronomy.

• The James Wylie Shepard Observatory, University of Montevallo -

• The UNA Planetarium and Observatory -

• The Von Braun Astronomical Society -

• The Auburn Astronomical Society -

• ht tps://astronomy. Tuscaloosa

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The Horsehead Nebula, part of the constellation Orion and a portion of which resembles a horse’s head. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VON BRAUN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, MICHAEL BUFORD The University of North Alabama Planetarium and Observatory.

Small-town weekly newspapers a steady force in a digital world

February 26, 2023 was a turning point in Alabama journalism. Three of the states’ largest newspapers ceased to produce a printed version. Citing a plunging readership base, The Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News, and Huntsville Times are no longer in ink.

But while the mighty have fallen, Alabama’s weekly newspapers still gather stories, roll the presses, and carry on, page by page on real, non-electronic paper.

“Now it is important to remember those three big newspapers did not go out of business,” says Alabama Press Association Executive Director Felicia Mason. “They just moved over to the internet. We still have strong daily newspapers such as the Montgomery Advertiser, the Dothan Eagle, Tuscaloosa News, and more.”

But, she adds, “Alabama has 109 print newspapers. Of that number, 82 are weekly. Their strength is local news content.” Mason also noted in a recent editorial that according to research firm Coda Ventures, 81 percent of Alabama’s adults rely on newspapers for local news and advertising.

The Elba Clipper, Coffee County’s go-to news source since 1897, is one such example. Owner-publisher Ferrin Cox describes the resiliency of his 126-year-old publication in a phrase shared by many in the weekly news business: “We print what they don’t.”

He speaks from experience. At age 85, Cox has owned The Clipper for 52 years.

“We cover the local beauty pageants, high school football games, civic clubs, churches, and news of Elba, and Coffee County,” he says. “We are there, at every Elba City Council Meeting.”

You won’t see the big news outlets at small town / city hall meetings unless the building is on fire.

Cox recalls the early days, when cut and paste did not involve a computer. One literally cut news type with a scalpel and “pasted it” on a copy board, until it was “camera ready.”

“Of course there were no digital cameras back then,” he recalls. “We had a darkroom for developing film. The darkroom was basically a little chemical plant that left you smelling like one.”

New-hire journalists learn the weekly newspaper business on the fly. There are no specialists. Everybody - which can be over a dozen or less than 6specializes in everything.

“Our staff is crosstrained,” notes The Clay Times-Journal Editor-Publisher David Proctor. “Each person wears many hats. That’s how we survive.”

The roots of The Clay Times-Journal, based in Linville, date back to the 1800s. Charles Lester Proctor owned the paper until his death in 1992. His son David, who worked at his dad’s business for years, became editor -publisher.

“The key to success in this business is know your market,” he

explains. “Clay County is largely rural and farming communities. We cater to it.” But there is more.

David Proctor strongly advocates “boots on the ground” type journalism. “At the Times-Journal, we believe if you are interested in your county, you are interested in what is going on in it. We have a warm body at every meeting - city council, school board, county commission, water and sewer board - everything.”

He acknowledges, “With a small staff it is not always easy to be at every municipal / city meeting, but we must be. They are spending our money. We need to be there and report it.”

Proctor does not speculate in detail why larger papers or online sites do not cover small towns, but suspects it is because of staffing. “I think perhaps they do not have enough people to cover small areas like ours,” he says, “But we do.”

Willie Gray, owner and publisher of The Call News in Citronelle with his wife, Rhonda, holds a framed Sept. 14, 1939 edition of the newspaper, which was founded in 1897.
“We are a different animal. We do the back stories. We delve into the council meetings, the who, what, when, where, and why – not 5 minutes on TV and then it’s gone.”

With last February’s print closure of “The Big Three,” John Few, editor of The Madison Record and Madison County Record, found himself no longer in the shadow of The Huntsville Times. Actually, he never was.

“We are a different animal,” Few says, explaining that comparing big daily papers and online sites to weekly paper counterparts is like equating apples to oranges. “We do the back stories. We delve into the council meetings, the who, what, when, where, and why – not 5 minutes on TV and then it’s gone,” he says.

He adamantly believes small newspapers give local people a voice, a place to be, and a sense of community: “When somebody walks in our office, holding a prize giant turnip, we run a picture of it.”

Few also notes there is no better training for young journalists than a weekly newspaper, the smaller the better. “You not only learn every aspect of the news business, you do it.”

Just down the road from Madison, about 300 miles south, is The Call News, based in Citronelle since 1897. Its sister paper, The Washington County News, is 5 years older. Both are owned and published by Willie and Rhonda Gray.

With the Mobile Press-Register no longer a print product, The Call News is Mobile County’s only broadsheet (traditional newspaper page size) news publication. “We never considered the Press-Register as competitors,” says Gray. “They play their game and we do our thing.”

Whatever ‘thing’ The Call News does, it does it well. Dozens of Alabama Press Association awards, ranging from Best News Story, Best Sports Coverage, Best Human Interest Column, and other editorial and advertising awards, adorn the walls.

The Call News believes a personal approach is the key to success in weekly newspapers. “In small papers covering small towns,

there’s a good chance you know the people in the story,” adds Rhonda Gray. “Our readers know us, too. We attend church together, our children are on the same Little League teams; in many cases, we are neighbors.”

She continues, “We do not do sensational journalism, but instead, print the facts from the source. Politicians and government officials are held accountable but we are not out to sink them.”

The Grays believe print journalism will always have a place. “Print is more legitimate,” says Gray. “Anybody can produce something online and change the story in minutes. But once your byline is written in ink on paper, it is there forever.” Knowing your byline is eternally stamped on paper motivates writers to strive for accuracy.

The co-publishers also note that a printed news story is often a keepsake. “Nobody has clippings from an screen shot,” says Gray. “But Call News’ clippings are on businesses’ walls, and in wedding albums, and scrapbooks, all over the place.”

Though weekly papers are holding steady, there are challenges. All interviewed agreed that the internet is now and will continue to change print journalism. Most weekly papers have online companion sites supplementing print versions.

“Our newspapers are doing a great job expanding platforms to reach a wider slice of their communities,” Felicia Mason adds. “We have a solid base of older people who like print and ink. But on the other side, young people are raised on iPads.” But she notes that younger readers live in a digital world and for many, that’s how they want news delivered.

“All of our newspapers are developing different news platforms, websites, social media, and electronic editions, to reach younger people,” she notes. “However, print will be around for a while. It is still viable in our communities throughout the state.”

The Clay Times-Journal’s David Proctor perhaps spoke for all: “Regardless of the platform, there will always be a need for journalism. Someone has to attend the meetings, conduct interviews, and collect data, in a fair and truthful way.

“Print or digital, we work to uphold the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. If you don’t have that, you have nothing.”

18 AUGUST 2023
Rhonda and Willie Gray, owners and publishers of The Call News in Citronelle, in front of the newspaper’s offices where a decorative mural celebrates the city’s heritage. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT David Proctor, editorpublisher of the Clay Times-Journal
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 19

Rural newspaper network focus: Local folks

From Huntsville to Orange Beach, Alabama’s newspapers run statewide with room for more. But starting a newspaper requires significant funding, expertise, and training, not often available in rural areas. You need help and you need money.

The PACERS Rural Community Newspaper Network supplies both.

For years, the non-profit organization has advocated for small communities and schools. More recently, they discovered the benefit of small newspapers in tiny towns.

“Rural areas do not have a record or written history, “ says PACERS Founder and Executive Director Jack Shelton. “Such areas are seldom covered by big media. Small communities are the perfect spot for a local newspaper, because the people need a voice.” Thus, PACERS set the pace.

“We got the idea when helping  schools produce student newspapers,” Shelton recalls. “That is how community newspapers got in our DNA. There is a need for connecting and communication in small areas. We wanted to establish self-sustaining, quality newspapers, produced by people who live in the communities they report on.”

PACERS researched Alabama for good location candidates. Four were selected: Camp Hill in Tallapoosa County; Beatrice and Packers Bend in Monroe County; and Pintlala in Montgomery County. “I visited all four areas and asked residents would they like to publish papers as part of a network,” Shelton says. “The response was similar in every place – ‘This is the best thing we can do for our communities.’”

Gary Burton, publisher of the PACERS network’s Pintlala Ledger, agrees. “This is so gratifying for us, knowing our paper was well received, not just here in Pintlala, but other places too.”

He continues, “Our goal is to help the community to get to know each other. Even though we are a small area, many here live two or three acres off the road. It is hard to visit. We just know each other superficially. I hope our paper takes that to another level.”

The Ledger does not delve into politics but focuses on local people, businesses and events.

Gary’s wife, Jerrie, is the paper’s designer. Like the others, she learned the business by doing it. “My previous experience was producing church bulletins,” she recalls. Today Jerrie is the layout person, and as husband Gary says, “the brains behind this business.”

She laughs, describing small town newsprint production, “You never know what will happen until it goes to the printer.”

The network of four papers was chosen to see if and how long it would take for each to go from startup to self-sustaining. “We wanted to know the time it takes until we are no longer needed,” says Shelton. “All four are good, professional newspapers that started out being run by journalism rookies.”

The four initially received funding from PACERS’s accounts, and other money was donated by individuals, including two who gave a total of $30,000. A grant from The Daniel Foundation of Alabama covers costs not met by the papers.

In addition to the Pintlala Ledger, the network includes The Camp Hill Chronicle, The Packers Bend Times and The Beatrice Legacy

Based on key learnings from the four-paper network, PACERS hopes to launch two or three new papers in 2024.

20 AUGUST 2023
Jerrie and Gary Burton hold a copy of The Pintlala Ledger, one of four rural community newspapers supported by the PACERS Rural Community Newspaper Network.
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 21

Smith Lake

For many, a lakeside vacation home becomes a permanent residence

What many people consider “the most beautiful lake in Alabama,” Lewis Smith Lake spreads its tentacles through mountain valleys like a giant octopus.

The hydroelectric power lake dates to 1961 with a dam on Sipsey Fork and spreads across 21,200 acres of Cullman, Walker and Winston counties. The extremely clear emerald-green water averages 65 feet deep, but plunges to nearly 300 feet deep. Multiple river-like fingers create about 600 shoreline miles. Those long fingers create ideal places for fishing, wakeboarding, kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding because high banks block the wind from almost any direction.

“The major draw to Smith Lake is water cleanliness,” says Jeff Tolbert, the president of Trident Marinas in Crane Hill. “It’s common to see 15 feet down. To experience the lake, people need to see it by water so they can appreciate what a great lake it is. Some bluffs are quite beautiful.”

From Cullman, about 10 miles east of Smith Lake, motorists can reach Huntsville to the north or Birmingham to the south in about an hour. People can reach Memphis in about 3.5 hours, Atlanta in

three hours and Nashville in 2.5 hours. Interstate 65 runs north and south through Cullman. Interstate 22 connects Memphis to Birmingham.

“Smith Lake is a remarkable tourism opportunity for Cullman and Alabama,” says Dale Greer, the Cullman Economic Development Agency director who moved to the area from Birmingham. “I remember seeing small cottages and mobile houses on the lake when I was a child. Now, people live in multi-million-dollar homes.”

Easy access, an excellent quality of life, plus abundant natural beauty helped spawn a recent population boom. Some have moved to the lake area from as far away as California. Many who bought weekend lake homes eventually moved to the area permanently.

“It’s amazing how many great people joined our community in recent years,” says Peggy Smith with Cullman County Tourism Bureau. “Many people have been coming for years to spend recreation time on the lake. Now, they are retiring here looking for a place with fewer people and more relaxation.”

Boaters launch at Smith Lake Park, about seven miles off I-65 in Cullman. Launches near the dam, at Lick Creek, and several other places provide access to the sprawling lake. Smith Lake Park offers lodging in cabins as well as primitive and recreational vehicle camping.

“We expanded the boat ramps at Smith Lake Park so we’re now attracting major fishing tournaments,” Greer reports. “Smith Lake is a great spotted bass fishery. It also holds a lot of striped bass, crappie, bream and catfish.”

(Second in a series on Alabama’s lakes) 22 AUGUST 2023

At one time, the lake held the world record for spotted bass, also called Alabama bass. That 8-pound, 15-ounce fish remains the state record. Some striped bass exceed 40 pounds.

“Smith Lake is best known for its excellent Alabama bass and striped bass fisheries,” says Chris McKee, the Alabama Division Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries district fisheries supervisor. “Catches of smallmouth bass have been reported recently.”

People can participate in multiple boating events each year. During Wake the World Alabama, held June 9 this year, about 70 wakeboarders and others volunteered their boats, fuel and time to give abused or neglected children a day on the water that most would never otherwise experience.

Every August, approximately 250 to 300 boaters make a “poker run” as part of the Poor Man Poker Run, set for Aug. 5.  Boaters visit participating locations around the lake to pick up cards trying to get the winning hand. Afterward, participants hold a live auction that raises money for local first responders and provide them with vital equipment they need.

In October, many lakefront property owners decorate their docks for Spook the Lake. About 300 to 500 children Trick or Treat by boat. Afterwards, everyone gathers for a party at Trident Marina.

“Water recreational activity is huge at Smith Lake, whether it’s fishing, swimming, wakeboarding, skiing or just boating,” Tolbert says. “Every Saturday night, we bring in bands for live entertainment. We can deliver a pontoon boat to the lake house for people to use during their stay. At some events, we’ll have 750 to 1,000 people at the marina.”

Many restaurants, such as The Grille at Trident Marina or

For more info on locations and events:

Visitor info

Boating, water-based events/parks

Brothers on the Lake, offer onthe-water dining.

People dock their boats, walk into the restaurant in their swimsuits and order lunch or refreshments. Trident Marina also rents boats and personal watercraft and offers dry storage and servicing for boats.

In downtown Cullman, visit Taziki’s Mediterranean Café. Owned by Keith and Amy Richards, the café offers a taste of Greek cuisine with a southern flair.

“Amy and I visited Greece and fell in love with the food and culture,” Keith recalls. “I wanted to bring the culture and hospitality that we received in Greece to Cullman.”

Also in town, WildWater water park features a 22,000-squarefoot wave pool and many thrill rides, among other attractions.

“People come from five states away to enjoy a day at the water park,” Peggy Smith says. “Every May, the Strawberry Festival is a huge event. Alabama recognized it as the state Strawberry Festival. We also have a strong German community in the area, so we have a wonderful Oktoberfest each fall.”

People might also visit the Clarkson Covered Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places. Modern motor enthusiasts can enjoy Stony Lonesome off Highway Vehicle Park in Bremen. It offers more than 1,400 acres with trails for all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, horseback riding and other adventures.

Hurricane Creek Park in Vinemont offers hiking and rock climbing by scenic canyons. At Whitlock’s General Store and Café, visitors can buy gas, fishing tackle and food on the way to the lake.

Each year, more than 50,000 people attend Rock the South, one of the largest concerts in Alabama. Not just entertainment, Rock the South raises money for multiple causes and projects in the Cullman area.


Restaurants, events, other

Riding an inflatable is a popular activity on the waters of Smith Lake.
24 AUGUST 2023
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 25

At Wedowee café, it’s all about family

You’ll find some real sweet stuff at Miss Amber’s Cafe in downtown Wedowee: rich peanut butter cake, strawberrylemon cupcakes, cinnamon-laced monkey bites and tart key lime pie. There’s even a saccharine note in the chicken salad.

But the sweetness isn’t confined to the food. It’s also floating in the air as Amber Conger, the restaurant’s namesake and owner, sprinkles “Hi, Suga!” and drizzles “Sure, Honey!” into her interactions with every diner through the door. Plus, as Amber explains, the little eatery’s got a pretty sweet origin story too.

“This spot was a coffee shop for 13 years, and then, in December 2016, it kinda landed in my lap,” Amber says. She spent a decade working at another local restaurant and then a few years running a barbecue joint out of the town’s Exxon station when the owner said he was going to close. “I got that news just a few days before I got a call from the lady who had the coffee shop. Her husband had died, and she was ready to pursue something different, so she asked if I wanted to take over the space. I believe the Lord did that,” Amber says.

She said yes and reopened the space as Miss Amber’s Café in January 2017. From day one, family has combined with Amber’s sweet, friendly ways to form the foundation for the café’s success. Her son, daughter and her best friend of 20 years (who’s basically family) run Miss Amber’s with her. It’s just the four of them comprising a team that Amber calls “a blessing.”

A couple of years after opening, Amber’s daughter Brittany

15 Main Street South

Wedowee, AL


Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Olvey, nicknamed Toot, pushed her mom to expand the café’s original menu. Today, the café serves a wide range of American and specifically Southern classics. There are beefy burgers, like the Big Green Machine layered with provolone, bacon and a fried green tomato. There’s a long list of sandwiches, including a hot fried bologna and cheese and a fried chicken sandwich. The hot dogs, like the Hot Diggity bacon-wrapped weenie with pimento cheese and jalapenos, are always hits. And a weekly special on Thursdays, the Trio Sampler plate, includes Miss Amber’s chicken salad, with its finely shredded meat, a hint of mayo, some sweet pickle relish and another sweet, but secret, ingredient, alongside tangy pasta salad and a giggly square of the fruity-yet-salty strawberry-pretzel salad.

Then, Toot took things farther, with the addition of Toot’s Sweets at Miss Amber’s, her line of fresh-made desserts and treats, including all the aforementioned sweets, plus her most popular delight, red velvet cake, that are always available at the café.

Miss Amber’s also offers meals to-go, a move made during the pandemic and restaurant shutdowns. “When COVID hit, we came up with the idea to do hot meals for pick up at dinnertime,” Amber says. “We would not have survived without that, but it just took off, so we kept at it.”

She examined sales figures, found the best-selling selections and turned them into freezer meals that anyone can grab to take home. “We’ve got breakfast casserole, meatloaf, buffalo chicken over fire-roasted potatoes and more,” Amber says. In all, there are about 20 different dishes that rotate throughout the week. Last year, Amber estimates she sold more than 2,500 meals in her tiny town.

In every bite, family again plays a key role, with multiple family recipes appearing in the freezer cases and on the menu, including Maw Maw’s dressing and a macaroni casserole Amber vividly remembers her mother making and taking to every family function.

A family function is a good description of lunchtime at Miss

26 AUGUST 2023 | Worth the drive |
and photos The Miss Amber’s Cafe team (from left): Rae Orgeron, owner Amber Conger, her daughter Brittany Olvey and her son Levi Allums. Miss Amber’s Café & Toot’s Sweets
Wedowee l
Amber Conger holds a plate of the Trio Sampler as she welcomes guests to the dining area.

Amber’s, where regulars, including residents and weekend visitors to Lake Wedowee, are rewarded for their loyalty by being treated like aunts, cousins and brothers. “I know them by name, know what they want to drink,” Amber says. “I love seeing them and chatting and babying the kids that come in.”

And while diners choose from what’s offered, family gets what it wants, so when folks begged Amber to continue a breakfast bar that she’d tried out on a few Saturdays, she obliged. “They loved it,” she says. The bar is built around Maw Maw’s cathead biscuits, and the line begins forming well before 9 a.m. when Miss Amber’s opens for the morning meal.

The big biscuits are another of the café’s signature items, and many a morning, Amber turns up her kitchen radio and rolls out eight or nine dozen, each of which gets a little love pat before going in the oven. “Sometimes, you can still see indentions of my fingers on the top,” she says. “I get in a groove and really enjoy making them.”

Amber does not enjoy paperwork, so Toot steps in to handle the business side of the business. “I’m the drill sergeant in the back,” Toot says with a laugh.

The sweet spirit at Miss Amber’s is also evident in her cheery, colorful décor dominated by messages proclaiming peace and kindness and art created by locals that enliven the 130-year-old building. Three wooden planks emblazoned with college football teams hang high and point to Amber’s allegiance, but also, her desire to satisfy her customers.

“I’m originally from Georgia, and I’m a huge Georgia fan, but I put Auburn and Alabama on the wall, too, for my regulars,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s all about them. That’s why I’m here. I just want to feed my community and work alongside my kids.”

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 27
The trio sampler is a big hit at Miss Amber’s featuring her chicken salad, the strawberrypretzel salad and tri-color pasta salad.

Fraudsters never go on vacation

Fraudsters will never take a break. While you are out enjoying fun and sun this summer, they are working hard to find new ways to scam you. Seniors and younger people are particularly vulnerable to scammers who claim to represent Social Security.

To protect you and your loved ones, you can:

Visit our Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams webpage at for information on what tactics scammers use and how to report them.

Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s page at consumer. for additional scam-related information.

Here are some tips to follow when you identify a potential scammer:

• Hang up right away or ignore the message.

• Never give personal information or money.

• Report the scam immediately to our Office of the Inspector General at

If you owe money to Social Security, we’ll mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. We only accept payments electronically through or Online Bill Pay, or physically by check or money order through our offices.

We will never do the following:

• Threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay us money immediately.

• Promise a benefit increase in exchange for money.

• Ask you to send us gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, internet currency, cryptocurrency, or cash through the U.S. mail.

There are no vacations for fraudsters, so you need to stay informed of the latest Social Security-related scams. For more information, please visit our blog at Please share these useful resources with your loved ones.

28 AUGUST 2023 SOCIAL SECURITY Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at Answers on Page 39 August
Across 1 Alabama National Forest with over 90 miles of hiking trails 6 Boat docking area 9 Bruce Springfield’s “Born in the ____” 11 Trail in the Cheaha State Park, 2 words 12 Small bird 13 Pond blossom 15 Develops 16 Falls in the Talladega National Forest 20 The Longleaf Pine is Alabama’s state ___ 22 Nimble 24 Alabama State Park on Lookout Mountain 25 Dam-building animal 27 Top executive, abbr. 29 Electric vehicle, abbr. 30 Abundant fish in Alabama 31 Used crayons on some drawings 33 Have a snack, e.g. 34 Negative response 35 Watered the garden 36 Plant seeds 37 Dined Down 1 Pastoral 2 _ rule (usually) 3 Part of U.S.N.A., abbr. 4 Equine ankles
Often tree-lined street
Impressive falls near Fort Payne, 2 words 8 Critical golf shots 10 Flat-bottom open boat 14 Holds dear
“A long time
in a galaxy
18 Joined a trailer to an SUV 19 Handy plant for sunburns 21 Listening organ 23 Sunflower color 24 Fathoms measure this 26 Festival or fair, e.g. 28 Fall times, abbr. 32 Female deer


3-6 Northeast Alabama the World’s Longest Yard Sale. More than 650 miles of yard sales and unique treasure finds await travelers along the Lookout Mountain Parkway from Gadsden to Chattanooga, Tenn.



Around Alabama



Athens 31st annual Piney Chapel American Farm Heritage Days, Limestone County Sheriff’s Arena. This celebration of rural American farming heritage combines antique farm equipment and concessions with live music, family-friendly fun and games that take guests back to “the good ol’ days.” Flea market, handmade craft vendors, threshing exhibits, tractor slow races, a skillet throw contest for ladies and pedal pull for kids. Tractor ride and fish fry on Friday. Search the Piney Chapel Antique Engine Tractor Association’s page on Facebook or go to

2023 Buckmasters Expo, Montgomery Convention Center, 201 Tallapoosa St. 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Shop more than 300 vendor booths; watch professional bull riding events on Friday and Saturday nights. See the high-flying Dock Dogs, enjoy free riverboat rides, and watch the 4H and collegiate top bow archery competition. Several guest appearances over the weekend. Admission is one can of food per person per day or $1. resources/expo



Titus Bluegrass Festival, Titus Community Center at 5859 Titus Road. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Performances by McMeans Brothers + She’s My Sister, Fire Town and Allen Tolbert and Friends. Admission $10, children 12 and under free. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy music, concessions, arts and crafts.



Russellville Franklin County Watermelon Festival. 5:45 to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Watermelon cutting and contests and fun for the whole family. Music acts on the main stage are Tremayne and Velcro Pygmies on Friday and REWIND, Austin Bohannon and Colt Ford on Saturday.

Tensaw annual Fort Mims re-enactment and living history event, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Re-enactors from across the Southeast will portray early settlers and Redstick Creek Indians in 1813 period correct attire. Vendors will have early 1800s items for sale and demonstrations, including knife making, flint napping and more. Sunday begins with a pioneer church and hymn singing at 10 a.m., followed by the Burnt Corn re-enactment at 11 a.m. Book a boat tour through Blakeley Historic Park to see historic sites. Search Fort Mims on Facebook or call 251-533-9024.

Decatur North Alabama Trails and Recreation’s second NATR festival at Point Mallard Park, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regional outdoor recreation outfitters and vendors as well as organizations that can offer education on enjoying the area’s resources. $5 adults, with children under 12 free. Biking, canoeing, climbing and hiking around the park will be offered by sponsors; food trucks will have concessions.

30 Eva Frontier Days Tractor Show, organized by the North Alabama Antique Tractor Club, 4152 Eva Road. More than 100 tractors on display, 50/50 raffle, pedal car race, slow tractor race, parade and more. Vintage car show directly across the street. Search for the North Alabama Antique Tractor Club on Facebook.

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

Co-ops respond to June’s severe storms

Multiple rounds of severe storms hammered the southern portion of Alabama in mid-June, part of a larger system that produced tornadoes, wind damage and flooding across the southern part of the U.S. and lasted for more than a week.

This series of weather events caused damage across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Approximately 33,000 co-op members in Alabama were without power at the peak of the first wave of storms.

The damage to several Alabama co-ops was extensive, with six requesting mutual aid to help with power restoration. Ten cooperatives and one municipality from Alabama sent mutual aid crews, totaling 75 linemen: Marshall-DeKalb EC, Central Alabama EC, Joe Wheeler EMC, Troy Utilities, Tallapoosa River EC, Baldwin EMC, Tombigbee EC, Arab EC, North Alabama EC, Coosa Valley EC and Sand Mountain EC.

In addition, cooperatives in Georgia and Kentucky offered to send mutual aid. Alabama was able to return the favor by sending 25 linemen from five cooperatives to assist Kentucky after another system of storms moved through that state the last week of June.

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 29
A crew from Pioneer EC works to restore power after numerous storms moved through south Alabama in June.

Can Georgia win the trifecta?

College football fans are about to get what they have been dreaming about: a 12-team playoff. However, it doesn’t start until next fall, 2024.

Is it part of the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality or the fact that the SEC Invitational, better known as the four-team CFP playoff, leaves out some northern and western teams that get their feelings hurt? Starting next year, be careful what you ask for. On average, there will be at least three or four SEC teams in the playoffs. Also, next year Texas and Oklahoma will get a rude awakening when they join the SEC. They will quickly understand what weekly “football cannibalism” means.

We are just now seeing the overall effect that NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) and the Transfer Portal has had on college football. It has become the “Wild, Wild, West.” Recruits want to know about financial opportunities more than the graduation rate of the business school. Current players basically have no restrictions on moving from team to team by transferring or as a graduate transfer. Coaches still have to play by the numbers of 85 overall scholarships. It is impossible to plan for next year. What do you do if all your running backs up and leave for better opportunities? It becomes “let us match that offer,” just like in business. Don’t ask a coach if he would rather invest $3 million in better facilities or put that money in the NIL pool. We all know

Some marriages seem to be made in heaven. Others are bound to fail from the beginning. When Nick Saban took over at Alabama in 2007, he was given the keys to the program without interference, much like Paul Bryant when “Mama called” in 1958.

When Bryan Harsin was hired at Auburn before the 2021 season, the marriage appeared to be doomed from the start. His tenure lasted less than 2 years. Harsin never did mesh with the Auburn family and his recruiting efforts left much to be de-

ALABAMA: the Tide finished the 2022 season with an 11-2 record which is subpar for Nick Saban. Losses

on the last snap on the road against Tennessee and LSU are still stinging in Tuscaloosa. Is the “Dynasty” coming to a close? Is Saban, at 71 years of age, getting too old? Nick refuses to sit still after a 2-loss season. He has always leaned on his defensive coordinator for advice. He “gave” D.C. Pete Golding to Ole Miss and brought in his confidante, Kevin Steele, for the third time. Look for the defense to be more physical and aggressive.

Many Tide fans felt as though Heisman quarterback and overall first pick in the draft, Bryce Young, was handcuffed somewhat by offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. So, Saban “gave” him back to his NFL friend, Bill Belichick. Enter Tommy Rees, the young coordinator from Notre Dame. He has his work cut out for him since there is a quarterback battle for the first time in years.

AUBURN: It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, the Tigers were playing Florida State for the national championship. They are coming off of back-to-back 7-loss seasons. Auburn fans are some of the most loyal in the land. The best example is the recent news that EVERY season ticket has been sold for the 2023 campaign. New coach Hugh Freeze understands the cut-throat grind in the SEC. Freeze also knows the importance of recruiting. Auburn signed the 18th ranked class and the #8 ranked transfer class. That’s a good start.

Coach Freeze recently took Auburn transfer Malik Willis at Liberty and developed him into a top quarterback who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. His other claim to fame was that he beat Alabama in back-to-back seasons when he was head coach at Ole Miss. The problem at Auburn right now is that the cupboard is pretty bare.

SEC West Prediction: 1. Alabama 2. LSU 3. Ole Miss 4. Texas A&M 5. Arkansas 6. Auburn 7. Mississippi State. It comes down to a coin flip between the Tide and LSU. The edge goes to Bama since the November 4 showdown is in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers have the best returning quarterback. Alabama has Saban who rarely loses at home.

SEC East Prediction: 1. Georgia 2. South Carolina 3. Tennessee 4. Kentucky 5. Florida 6. Missouri 7. Vandy. Picking Georgia was easy. Choosing South Carolina as the runner-up was because Tennessee has to play at Bama in a crossover game. South Carolina has Spencer Rattler coming back at quarterback.

Can Georgia make it 3 in a row?

In 1966, Alabama had one of its best teams ever. The Tide won the Natty in 1964 and 1965. Back then, the champion was determined by a (political) poll. Notre Dame played for a tie and was voted the champion, in spite of the Tide being undefeated. In 2023, it is settled on the field and the Dogs are clicking on all cylinders. Because of their schedule and Kirby Smart’s recruiting skills, it’s going to be hard to knock them off the pedestal. The National Champions: GEORGIA beats Michigan, 34-17. That’s a trifecta.

30 AUGUST 2023
Brad Bradford is a former football staff member at Alabama and Louisville. His wife, Susan Moseley Bradford, is a former Auburn cheerleader. His blogs can be found at Brad is also an author and motivational speaker. Contact him at
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 31

Cover crops: Sowing winter blankets for our gardens

It’s still mighty hot here in Alabama but that doesn’t mean you can’t start picking out a nice winter layer for your garden.

I know, it’s hard to think about adding layers when you’re still shedding as many as you can, but fall will be here in no time with winter fast on its heels, which is why it’s smart to start searching now for your garden’s best winter “garb.” And an exceptional choice is a lush green blanket of soil-building cover crops.

Cover crops are annual living mulches typically planted in the offseason when garden beds are fallow, though they can also be planted between rows or in fallow beds during the growing season. Either way, these “green manure” crops offer an array of benefits to garden soils.

As they grow, cover crops can help hold bare soil in place, reduce nutrient runoff, add nutrients to the soil, crowd or shade out weeds, conserve soil moisture, break up compacted soils and improve water filtration. They also make garden areas look more attractive and, depending on the cover crop used, can provide food and habitat for pollinators and other beneficial animals and soil organisms. After their demise, cover crops continue to benefit the soil by forming a natural winter/early spring mulch and, as they decompose and are incorporated into the soil, they help increase soil organic matter and return some of their own nutrients to the Earth.

All this happens with very little work on your part — once established, most cover crops require no additional fertilizer and little irrigation. You do, however, need to be discriminating in your choice of cover crop species and there are many to choose among (see a partial list in the sidebar). To make the choice easier, start with a soil test, which will help determine what additional nutrients are needed for next year’s crops, then find a single species or a mixture of two cover crop species that will meet those needs while boosting soil quality.

One caveat: Some cover crop species can be incompatible with future cropping

Cover crop options for the home garden

Cover crop species are usually divided into three categories, each of which provides different benefits or can be mixed and matched to combine benefits. Below are a few examples of species that work well in the Southeast.

• Grains and Grasses – annual grasses (rye and Sudan), winter rye, oats and wheat

• Legumes – clovers, vetch, cowpea, winter pea, lupin and soybeans

• Broadleaves and Brassicas –mustard, turnip, radish, kale, canola and buckwheat

plans! For example, planting a legume cover crop in an area where you plan to grow a legume vegetable crop can increase certain diseases and reduce beneficial soil bacteria that help fix nitrogen in the soil.

When it comes to choosing a cover crop species, keep in mind that each species has its own distinctive planting, maintenance and termination needs and cycle. For instance, cool-season species, which are used as winter cover crops, are typically planted in the fall or early winter while warm-season species, which are used as spring and summer cover crops, are usually planted in late winter and early spring. Some species die off naturally, others may need to be manually cut down at the end of the season.

In other words, it pays to research the options before settling on your cover crop choices. So, take some time this month — somewhere cool so you can think about winter more easily — and peruse the options before buying seed. When you’re ready to buy, seed is available through most mail order catalogues and through neighborhood garden and farm centers, the staff of which are likely to be well-versed in which crops work best in your area.

And now is also a great time to learn more about cover crops in general, including how to prepare garden beds for cover crop seeding, incorporate cover crop resi-

due into garden soil and rotate cover crop choices each year. Help is available through county or regional Alabama Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener experts, local seed and garden outlets and online. Here are a few websites that may be useful, too:

•, then click on “building soils for better crops” and scroll to chapter 10

•, then click on either row crops, vegetable or grazing and click on Alabama

•, then type “cover crops” in the search field

•, then type “cover crops” in the search field


 Begin planting fall vegetables such as beets, broccoli, onions and carrots.

 Sow seed for fall leafy greens and lettuces.

 Start thinking about frost protection options for the fall garden, such as row and plant covers or additional mulches.

 Propagate many shrubs through layering.

 Harvest fruit and vegetable crops frequently.

 Prune most evergreen hedges one last time.

 Order fall-planted blubs and seeds.

32 AUGUST 2023
| Gardens |
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at A legume, such as clover, makes for a good cover crop in the Southeast.
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 33
| Alabama Recipes |
Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols
not so prickly
34 AUGUST 2023
Quinoa Stuffed Pears

Cook of the Month: Peggy Key,

North Alabama EC

One of our long-time contributors to the recipe pages, Peggy Key of Grant, Alabama, says she’s been making her winning recipe for Fresh Pear Cobbler for more than 20 years. The original recipe came from a newspaper, but it’s so old that by now it’s yellowed with age. Picking her own pears was easy years ago when her family had pear trees, but now she, like many of us, is able to get Bosc pears year-round in the grocery store. The cobbler makes its own crust as it spreads out while baking, and is especially tasty with ice cream on top. Peggy says the recipe can also be easily adapted for diabetics or anyone who needs to watch their sugar intake, by simply substituting a sugar substitute for the brown sugar in the pear mixture and in the batter.

Fresh Pear Cobbler

6 cups (about 2 pounds) Bosc pears, peeled and sliced

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¾ cup apple juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon butter or margarine


½ cup plain flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon bak ing powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 egg, slightly beaten

In a medium bowl, combine pears, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, apple juice, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Toss lightly; pour into an 8x8-inch baking dish. Dot top with 2 tablespoons butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all batter ingredients; beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Drop, in nine portions, over filling, spacing evenly. Batter will spread during baking. Bake 35 minutes or until fruit is tender and crust is golden. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 9 servings.

Ilove to cook. I love to cook with seasonal fruits and vegetables and turn them into glorious creations. This recipe is one like I like to specialize in. It’s a recipe that shows you how you can take simple things and create a scratch-made masterpiece. For this one, I like to use my pie crust recipe, which can be found at However, you can also simply use a store-bought crust. And to really kick things up, try making it with pre-packaged puff pastry. The method is the same for all three. Using pears is perfect for a tart, as the fruit can really stand up to the cooking process and time, and keeps more of its composition than do apples or other similar fruit. We hope you try this fancy pants recipe and love it as much as we do! Find more recipes at

Homemade Pear Tart

2 peeled and sliced Bosc pears (or any other variety; Bosc is most commonly found in any region, all year long)

1-3 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

2 tablespoons honey

Wash and peel pears. Slice ¼-inch thick and set aside. Prepare pie crust and place on base of spring form pan. Drop base in the sides and secure. Use fingers to form a pretty edge that stands up about ½-inch.

Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and flour and sprinkle over crust. Place pears on tart in whatever pattern your heart desires. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

In a small boiler, heat marmalade, honey and last 2 tablespoons of sugar just until combined and loose. After 40 minutes of bake time, drizzle the marmalade honey mix on top and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the tart is brown and pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan.

Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes. Remove springform sides, cut and enjoy!

Brooke Burks
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 35
Photo by The Buttered Home

Holiday Cookie Contest

Share your cookie recipes for a chance to win a cash prize in our 3rd Annual Holiday Cookie Contest! Send us everything from your new and creative recipes to old-fashioned favorites and everything in between. Submit online at or email Each entry must include your name, address and phone number as well as the name of your electric cooperative. Entries may also be mailed to Alabama Living Cookie Contest, PO Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Entry deadline is September 1, 2023.

Quinoa Stuffed Pears

2/3 cups quinoa

½ teaspoon salt

1¼ cups water

¼ cup Spanish chorizo, chopped

½ cup goat cheese

¼ cup almonds, chopped

¼ cup scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

4 Anjou pears, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 cups baby Arugula lettuce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, add quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Heat a small skillet and add chorizo. Sauté 5 minutes while stirring. Mix together quinoa, chorizo, goat cheese, almonds, scallions and mint. Coat pears with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place on hot grill, flat side down, for 3 - 5 minutes until grill marks are achieved. Turn pears over and stuff with quinoa mixture. Grill them 12-15 minutes until pears are fork-tender. Serve on a bed of baby arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Kirk Vantrease

Cullman EC

Pear Relish

1 peck pears (15 pounds)

5 green sweet peppers

5 red sweet peppers

3 hot peppers

5 large onions

5 cups vinegar

5 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Peel and core pears, grind and drain off most of juice. Prepare peppers and onion, grind but do not drain. Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar and bring to a boil. Add other ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Pour into hot jars and seal.

Sue Robbins

Coosa Valley EC

Pear Honey

1 can crushed pineapple

5-6 cups sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼-½ teaspoon allspice, to your preference

6 cups cooked pears, mashed

Place pears and crushed pineapple in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Pour in heavy pan and add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Turn heat down and slowly boil until the mixture thickens and color changes to look a little like the color of honey. Stir often. After it thickens, pour into sterilized jars and seal. Enjoy on toast, bagel or biscuit. Even delicious over pancakes.

½ onion, chopped

1 pear, chopped

2 pounds ground venison or beef

½ cup real bacon bits or 4 slices cooked bacon

1 teaspoon Allspice

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

Chop onion and pear. In a large bowl, mix together venison, onion, pear, bacon bits and seasonings. It's best to mix with hands, but only until all ingredients are incorporated together. Form into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

36 AUGUST 2023
Venison and Pear Meatloaf Venison and Pear Meatloaf
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 37 Licensed and Insured New Right of Way clearing Reclaiming Existing Right of Way Forestry Mulching (334) 818-0595

Teach your children well

Q:I’m making an effort to reduce my energy use, and I want my kids to start energy-saving habits as well. How can I encourage them to use less electricity at home?

A:When I was a kid, I dreamed of one day having a home where I could pay my own electric bill. Said no one ever. While it’s not the most fun way to spend money, people typically want to live in a home with electricity. Educating kids on energy use and costs can help engage them in your family’s goal to use less electricity. They can be electric conservation champions if you ask them to help. Here are some ways you can teach kids to use less electricity.

Show them how to read the electric bill. Focus on what you can control: kilowatt-hour use. If they are old enough, teach them how to do the math. You can calculate kWh use by multiplying wattage by hours used and dividing by 1,000. Multiply this by the kWh rate found on your electric bill to estimate how much you spend on power for each household appliance.

For example, if you have a space heater that uses 1,500 watts and is on for four hours a day for a month, it uses 180 kWh. With an average kWh rate of 13.7 cents in the United States, the space heater costs about $25 a month to operate. That same space heater costs about $74 a month if it is on for 12 hours per day. Your kWh rate may be lower or higher depending on where you live. In Alabama, the average residential rate is 13 cents kWh.

For household appliance wattage, look for the amount stamped on the bottom, back or nameplate. If the nameplate does not in-

clude wattage, figure it out by multiplying the voltage by the amperage.

To teach children the impact of saving energy, have them help you conserve with the household’s biggest energy-consuming appliances: heating and cooling. Teach kids to dress appropriately for the seasons, even when they are indoors, which allows you to set the thermostat to balance comfort and savings.

You can also leave the house during the hottest times of the day to go for a swim or play outside. Before you go, nudge up the thermostat a few degrees to avoid wasted energy cooling an empty house. Turn off fans when you leave a room.

The second-highest use of electricity is typically the electric water heater. Use a shower timer so bigger kids can monitor how long they are in the shower. Teach them to wash their clothes with cold water. If you have a gas water heater, look at the gas bill to find opportunities to save.

Other ways to save include turning off the lights when you leave the room. The more we switch to LED lighting, the less savings associated. Yet even little changes can add up throughout the year. If your child needs a nightlight to sleep with, make sure it’s an LED bulb.

Powering down gaming stations and computers is another way to save. In the kitchen, keep the refrigerator door shut. Teach kids to take a quick peek and shut the door while they think about their snack options.

After teaching your kids about electric bills and showing them how to save electricity, make a game out of your family’s energy conservation efforts. Challenge the family to use less energy than last month or the same month last year. Use the savings to reward them with a treat or let the winner pick the game night activity or film for family movie night.

You can also teach children where the electricity for their home comes from. Check out your electric co-op’s website or give them a call to find out what energy sources power your home.

38 AUGUST 2023 | Consumer Wise |
Miranda Boutelle is the chief operating officer at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy efficiency company. She has more than 20 years of experience helping people save energy at home, and she writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. In the kitchen, keep the refrigerator door shut. Teach kids to take a quick peek and shut the door while they think about their snack options. PHOTO COURTESY MIKE TEEGARDEN, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES
Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 39
to puzzle on Page 28 Recipient’s Name:___________________________ Street: City: Zip: Phone: E-mail: RETURN WITH $12 CHECK PAYABLE TO ALABAMA LIVING MAIL TO: Alabama Living 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 ONLINE: Give a 12 ISSUE gift subscription to for only $1 an issue.

Jackson Lake provides setting for movie, fun and fishing

Cut off from the main flow long ago when the Alabama River changed course, Jackson Lake now flows around an island like a rubber tire surrounding a wheel hub. Boaters could circle the island and return to the original launching spot if not for a causeway that connects Jackson Island to the mainland near Wetumpka in Elmore County.

“I’ve fished Jackson Lake since I was a kid,” recalls Cary Cox, executive director for the Elmore County Economic Development Authority. “On the island, people can see an old Indian mound. What Jackson Island is mostly known for today is the place where they filmed the 2003 movie ‘Big Fish.’ The fictional town of Spectre, built as a movie set, is still there.” (One of the town’s houses burned after a lightning strike in July, but the rest of the structures were unharmed.)

Besides attracting the attention of Hollywood, crappie, catfish and bass anglers also love the lake. The old oxbow still connects to the Alabama River through two narrow channels, rising and falling with water levels. The river periodically replenishes the fish populations whenever it rises. Water fluctuations also fill the lake with plentiful shad, providing good forage for bass, crappie and other fish.

Jackson Lake averages 20 feet deep at normal river levels. Some holes drop to about 28 feet deep. Two small creeks flow into the lake. Abundant old cypress trees, mostly on one side of the lake, stand in water one to six feet deep, depending upon the river level.

More known for crappie numbers, the lake produces many fish in the 9- to 12-inch range all year long. Anglers might catch some in the 1- to 2.5-pound range, possibly a few bigger ones.

“In the summer, crappie usually stay right on the bottom,” says Steve Brown, a professional crappie angler from Millbrook. “The lake has a lot of structure and crappie love structure. They feel comfortable around it. On bright, sunny days, fish get on the shady side of that cover where it’s a little cooler. Since the oxbow still connects to the Alabama River, some current flows through the lake, so the water doesn’t get stagnated.”

Many crappie anglers dangle live minnows from bobbers

dropped next to standing tree trunks. Others troll live bait, jigs or crankbaits through deeper channels or work multiple baits simultaneously on spider rigs. Some people fish with a long single pole.

With the single-pole technique, anglers can accurately and subtly drop jigs, flies, live bait or other enticements next to flooded tree trunks and stumps. Let light lures sink naturally. If nothing hits, jig it up and down a few times. During hot summers, lethargic crappie like more subtle movements. Sometimes, just slight boat movements create enough action to provoke a strike.

Probe every possible hiding place in the trees, knees and other cover where lunkers lurk, particularly those in the shade. In the summer, fish usually prefer the cooler shady spots, but could lurk anywhere around cover. Work a bait completely around any cover whenever possible.

Crappie probably receive the most attention, but bass anglers also make good catches in the lake. Those old trees and stumps make great places to look for feeding crappie and bass. Bass hit a variety of natural and artificial temptations. Catfishermen can find great channel cat action in the lake and might catch some blues or flatheads. For whiskered giants, head to the nearby Alabama River channel.

Many anglers use high-tech sonar units to find fish. With such gear, sportsmen can see and track individual fish holding in structure and target that particular whopper. Anglers can even see the movement of their baits on the screen and how fish react to them.

Jackson Island remains in private hands. However, people can cross the causeway to visit the island for a small fee. Anglers can launch boats on the island or fish from the bank. The shorelines provide outstanding bank fishing opportunities for bass, crappie, bream and catfish.

Also, people can picnic or camp on the island if they wish. The protected waters of the lake provide an ideal place to paddle a canoe or kayak to fish or observe nature. After the movie production ended, the film crew abandoned Spectre, so movie fans can visit the island to see the old movie set.

While in the area, history buffs might want to tour Fort Toulouse-Jackson National Historic Park in Wetumpka. The French built the original fort in 1717. A replica fort now stands there.

For more information about visiting Elmore County, see

40 AUGUST 2023 | Outdoors |
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ or through Facebook. John Harrison, a professional crappie angler, shows off a crappie he caught while fishing Jackson Lake off the Alabama River near Wetumpka. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER


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The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2023 Moon Clock, go to

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 41
2023 EXCELLENT TIMES MOON STAGE GOOD TIMES AUGUST A.M. PM AM PM Th 17 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Fr 18 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Sa 19 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Su 20 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Mo 21 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Tu 22 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 We 23 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Th 24 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Fr 25 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Sa 26 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 Su 27 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Mo 28 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Tu 29 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 We 30 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Th 31 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 SEPTEMBER A.M. PM AM PM Fr 1 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Sa 2 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Su 3 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Mo 4 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Tu 5 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 We 6 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Th 7 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Fr 8 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Sa 9 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 Su 10 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Mo 11 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Tu 12 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 We 13 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Th 14 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Fr 15 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Sa 16 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Su 17 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Mo 18 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Tu 19 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 We 20 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Th 21 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Fr 22 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Sa 23 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Su 24 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 Mo 25 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Tu 26 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 We 27 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Th 28 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Fr 29 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Sa 30 12:30 - 2:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51
42 AUGUST 2023

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

Did you know ceiling fans can make a room feel 4 degrees cooler? To save energy through ceiling fan use, remember to raise your thermostat a few degrees while fans are turned on. Ceiling fans can help improve comfort year-round. In the summer, operate ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction. Reverse the direction to clockwise during winter months and set fans on a low speed so warm air can circulate from the ceiling to the lower levels of the room. Remember, ceiling fans cool people, not spaces. Be sure to turn them off when you leave the room.


Summary of Bylaws

The board will appoint a committee on nominations. The committee shall be selected from different sections of the co-op service area so as to ensure equitable representation. This committee shall meet and prepare a list of nominations for the three districts up for election. This list will be posted at the principal office of the cooperative, at least 30 days before the annual meeting. The secretary shall be responsible for mailing, at least 10 days before annual meeting, a list of nominations. The list may be mailed with the notice of the annual meeting.

Any 15 or more members acting together may make other nominations by petition and these nominations will be posted at the principal office of the cooperative if they are received, at least, 15 days before the meeting. Later nominations by petition will not be accepted and no nominations may be made from the floor at the meeting of the members. In order to qualify for elections, no person shall be eligible to become or remain a board member of the cooperative who: (a) is not a member and bona fide resident in the area served by the cooperative; or (b) is in any way employed by or financially interested in a competing enterprise or a business selling energy, or supplies to the cooperative, or a business primarily engaged in selling electrical or plumbing appliances, fixtures or supplies to the members of the cooperative; or (c) is an employee of the cooperative or has been an employee of the cooperative within the preceding five years; or (d) does not reside within the district which he/she represents.

Alabama Living AUGUST 2023 43

The China Syndrome

The China Syndrome” was a 1979 hit movie starring Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon and Wilford Brimley. The storyline follows two reporters who discover safety discrepancies in a fictitious California nuclear electric generation plant. A greedy and corrupt utility ignores and covers up safety issues. The operator who attempts to publicize the cover up is murdered, and the end of the movie leaves an audience wondering what happened to the reactor.

The term, “China Syndrome,” was an idea associated with a nuclear plant meltdown where the reactor core burns not only through the reactor containment vessel, but also all the way to China. I’m not sure what would happen once, or if, it got to China (would it turn and burn its way back?) but it made a cool name for a hit movie.

The world now faces a different “China Syndrome”: in more ways than one. Everyone -- except maybe the environmentalists who throw tomato soup on Van Gogh paintings and interrupt Wimbledon by scattering orange glitter and jigsaw puzzle pieces on the courts to protest fossil fuels, or the Biden Administration that keeps throwing billions of dollars of bribes to build renewable energy projects -- knows the movement to fight climate change by eliminating fossil fuel use faces a very long, difficult, and expensive path. (Apologies to William Faulkner for the sentence length).

Regardless of the hype, in totality, renewable energy is more expensive and much less reliable than fossil fuel-fired energy. Without a major breakthrough in technology, renewables will not take fossil fuels’ place as the reliable, affordable energy for decades and decades, if ever.

Exhibit 1: China and its breakneck construction of coal-fired electric generation. In 2021, China started 40,000 megawatts (MWs) of coal generation. In 2022, it started another 86,000 MWs and currently has another 60,000 MWs permitted and expected to begin in 2023, with the real potential that even more will be permitted and started this year. That comes to approximately two new coal plants added each week for the last two years. Of course, none of the plants have environmental controls. The plants emit not only carbon dioxide (CO2), but also sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides – the latter two are almost entirely scrubbed from U.S. coal plants.

In mid-2022, China reported operating 1,074,000 MWs of coalfired generation, with more coming each week. By comparison, the U.S. has 194,000 MWs of coal-fired generation, approximately 18% of a China fleet that continues to grow, quickly.

China is adding huge amounts of renewable generation with solar and wind, as well. That is what countries that are not fully

electrified and are looking at maintaining or building an economy do. However, the fact that China is adding so much coal-fired generation demonstrates it knows what the tomato soup and confetti throwers ignore – coal provides cheaper and more reliable electricity than renewables. If it didn’t, why would China build so much coal generation?

Exhibit 2: All the helicopter money the Biden Administration is giving away to close fossil-fuel generation and build renewables under the Inflation Reduction Act. If renewable generation were truly cheaper than fossil fuel generation, renewable subsidies would not be necessary. Renewables would be cost-competitive on their own. There is always the argument that the variable dispatch costs of subsidized renewables are cheaper than fossil fuel-generation, which is true at times, but where does the electricity come from at night or when the wind stops? Real problems.

And, subsidies do not mean cheaper, they only mean that the subsidies come from someone or somewhere else. For instance, tax dollars could be deployed to solve other problems facing the U.S. like affordable housing, healthcare, or food, but instead subsidize inefficient renewables.

Exhibit 3: The rolling blackouts in areas over the past three years and the projected summer capacity deficiencies in the twothirds of the country that have largely made aggressive moves to cease fossil fuel generation and transition to renewables. Increasing volumes of reliable fossil fuel generation are being forced to close each year, thanks to subsidized renewable generation. With those closures, the electric grid becomes more and more unstable.

Exhibit 4: The entire U.S. coal fleet emits only 1.5% of global CO2 emissions. China’s CO2 emissions will grow that much in about a two-year period. U.S. emissions are not exactly the boogeyman deserving of tennis tournament interruptions and certainly not billions of dollars of subsidies to resolve.

Dozens of studies on the internet show how China can reduce its fossil fuel emissions over the next seven years and meet its pledge of peak carbon emissions by 2030. However, coal plants are built to run for 40 to 50 years. Nothing in any of China’s actions indicates a plan to do anything but continue to build and run coal plants into the future, because they are cheaper and more reliable than renewables.

That is our current “China Syndrome.” We have taken the John Kerry fall and will sacrifice our cheap, reliable energy to chase an unachievable goal. China will benefit from cheap and reliable energy and take our jobs. Unlike the 1979 movie, we know how this one ends.

I hope you have a good month.

44 AUGUST 2023 | Our Sources Say |
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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August, a time for revivals and reunions

Editor’s note: After 10 years, Hardy Jackson is retiring his monthly column for Alabama Living. His first column appeared in the magazine in February 2014 and ran every other month. In 2017 his columns began appearing monthly, and were accompanied by custom illustrations by artist Dennis Auth. In the years following, Hardy amassed a loyal following of fans, many of whom were so touched by his columns that they wrote letters to us. Hardy has won several awards for his work, including a national first place award from the Statewide Editors Association for his November 2020 column, “Appreciating Veterans and anchovies.” We will miss Hardy’s humor and nostalgic take on life in Alabama and the South, but his columns are still available on our website at Next month, we will introduce a new columnist, so as they say, stay tuned!

Years ago, when agriculture dominated Alabama, August meant revivals.

Crops were laid by and the first cotton boll was yet to open, so it was a dandy time to get folks to church, entertain them with music and preaching, shake them out of their summer spiritual lethargy, and maybe even save a few souls.

A visiting evangelist would come town to bring the Word in a series of nightly messages. There would be “special music” and professions of faith that would soften the hardest heart. A week of this would culminate with a wing-ding of a sermon on Sunday, followed by dinner on the grounds. Bring a friend and a covered dish.

When I was a boy, rural churches loaded up members and drove to town for the festivities -- a trek that normally was only made on Saturday. But it was OK to take time to make the journey because, well, it was done in the name of the Lord.

Not to downplay the spiritual side of revivals, but there was also a reunion as-

pect to the gatherings – especially for the children. Friends they had not seen since school let out came with their parents. Often segregated from the adults who went to “Big Church,” kids were among their own, and as I recall there was more playing than praying where we gathered.

Most folks I knew were either Methodists or Baptists. They mingled freely.

Children were especially ecumenical. We attended each other’s Vacation Bible Schools, where we learned which denomination had the best cookies and Kool-Aid.

Theological differences eluded us – Baptist dunked, Methodists sprinkled – that was pretty much it.

And we attended each other’s revivals, because it was a great place to meet girls.

Rural families who came to town to be “revived” often brought a daughter you had not seen since school shut down three months earlier. Time had worked a miracle and the skinny, knob-kneed, girl that no one would give a second glance had blossomed into a sun-kissed beauty.

By the last night some lucky lad was holding her hand under the hymnal as they sang “Have Thine Own Way.”

There were also moments of high dra-

ma, which usually came at the end of the evening when the evangelist issued the “altar call.”

While the congregation sang “Softly and Tenderly,” sinners came forward, confessed their sins, and prayed for forgiveness.

Only sometimes they didn’t.

I remember well such a time.

Over and over the congregation sang “calling o’ sinner come home” but the sinners just sat there. The evangelist looked worried. If no one got saved, his reputation could suffer.

My fear was that we would be stuck there all night.

I was on the verge of going down myself and confessing that I was the one that put the dead snake in Mrs. Poole’s flower box –almost gave her a heart attack, she told her neighbors – when the spirit moved someone else and I was safe.

Then we sang a closing hymn, the relieved evangelist pronounced the benediction, and we went our separate ways. After all, September and football season was right around the corner.

This article was originally published in August 2014.

46 AUGUST 2023 | Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at Illustration by Dennis Auth

Best wishes to Alabama school students as they begin a new year!

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