Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News March 2019
ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.
CWEMC has moved into the new office www.cwemc.com
Rallying around the Flagg (Mountain) Legislative preview Special pullout section
2â€ƒ MARCH 2019
Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Hansen ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.
County roads need help
Roads across the state will get much needed attention if the Alabama legislature acts on proposals in the new session beginning March 5. Gov. Kay Ivey has called for more investment in the state’s infrastructure, including the state’s roads and bridges through an increase in the gasoline tax. Our special legislative section continues on Pages 27-30.
VOL. 72 NO. 3 n MARCH 2019
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Visiting animal safari parks is a popular activity for our readers, who like to get close and personal with the critters.
Fast food at home
Nobody likes to fish in a howling gale, but a good breeze can actually help anglers put more fish in the boat.
A “must-have” appliance a few years ago, the Instant Pot has proved to be a multifaceted meal maker for families.
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In this issue: Page 11 Page 48
11 Spotlight 22 Worth the Drive 27 Legislative Special 34 Gardens 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: The new office
of Clarke-Washington EMC new office located north of Jackson on Highway 43. PHOTO: Sarah Hansen
MARCH 2019 3
The future is bright OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Ofﬁce 9000 Hwy 43 P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Ofﬁce P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081. Ofﬁce Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)
PAYMENT OPTIONS Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 Ofﬁce During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone 855-870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play
1.800.323.9081 TO REPORT A POWER OUTAGE 4 MARCH 2019
If you’ve ever wondered if our future is bright, you should be part of our Youth Tour Selection Committee. We interviewed 10 high school juniors as part of our Youth Tour selection process recently and they are absolutely an amazing group of future leaders in our area. Many times, when high school students are asked to voluntarily write an essay and participate in an interview process, they tend to shy away from the challenge, but not this group. They stepped up to the plate and wrote very impressive essays about the need for broadband service in our area and if the co-op business model would be an effective way to accomplish what has not yet been done in the rural areas of Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. Don’t take my word for it. Please read the essay written by Addis Griffin which is printed below. Imagine sitting at home, watching your cable television, and – just as your favorite show begins – the television starts to buffer. Bringing broadband to rural areas would fix this problem and many more. Broadband internet is helpful and improves lives, efficient and forward thinking, and saves money. By using the model that the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) used in July of 1937 to bring Clarke County electricity, the Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation (CWEMC) can provide internet in an effective and affordable way that would convince and encourage nonmembers to sign up. Broadband is a helpful service that improves lives. According to Mike Keyser, CEO of BARC Electric Cooperative, broadband internet changes peoples’ lives because it is not only used in homes, but it is also used in schools and most workplaces. Having highspeed internet allows students to learn and grow in new and innovative ways. Mr. Keyser also stated that a cooperative program creates jobs in the community. Another broadband expert, Brian O’Hara, stated that the lack of broadband has harmed the economic growth and development of rural communities in the same way that not having electricity harmed rural communities in the early 1900s. This is how broadband internet is a helpful service that improves the lives of people in rural areas. Bringing broadband internet to rural areas would be efficient and forward thinking. Because electric cooperatives already own power poles and infrastructures, it is easy to add fiber optic broadband cables. Experts on broadband internet have commented on
the inevitability of broadband revenues outstripping electricity sales. A strategic plan to handle this inevitability is adding a broadband backbone to support electric operations and to improve efficiency. Studies have also shown that people try to buy houses within the broadband fiber line area. Adding fiber optic broadband cables to rural areas is forward-thinking because high-speed internet access prepares for the expansion of the town. The Rural Electrification Administration’s model of bringing electricity to rural towns is a strategic way to provide broadband while saving money. Studies have shown that this model is the lowest possible interest rate option for high-speed internet. According to broadband expert, Brian O’Hara, electric cooperatives can save between $1.7 and $2.4 million a year in operational savings by having a broadband backbone. Also, the Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation is a nonprofit organization, so members save money. Using the REA model to provide broadband is beneficial to the consumers and the internet providers because it saves money. By using the model that the Rural Electrification Administration used to bring Clarke County electricity, the Clarke-Washington Electric Membership Corporation can provide internet in an effective and affordable way. It is not only possible to use this model to provide broadband, but using it is also a strategic way to improve the lives of rural citizens. In conclusion, using the REA’s model to provide broadband in rural communities, including Clarke and Washington counties, is beneficial to everyone. Bringing broadband to rural areas would fix problems and prepare for the future. Broadband is helpful and improves lives, efficient and forward thinking, and saves money. Sharing the knowledge of these benefits with citizens who are nonmembers would definitely convince them that joining the CWEMC is the best option for high speed internet.
Steve Sheffield General Manager
CWEMC Youth Tour Contest 2019 Addis Griffin Jackson High School
Mary Alex McNider Clarke Prep
Dylan Kimbrough Jackson High School
Sophie Sanderson Millry High School
Kylie Grace Stagner Fruitdale High School
Washington County High School
Noah Whigham Millry High School
Lily Norris Clarke Prep
Ten students were chosen to interview for the honor of being a Clarke-Washington EMC Youth Tour representative. Juniors from each high school in the Clarke-Washington EMC area were asked to submit an essay and the top two students from each school were invited to interview with a panel of judges on Wednesday, January 23. Addis Griffin of Jackson High School; Mary Alex McNider of Clarke Preparatory School; Dylan Kimbrough of Jackson High School and Sophie Sanderson of Millry High School were chosen to represent Clarke-Washington EMC at Montgomery Youth Tour on March 12-14. Students selected to interview for Youth Tour were: Addis Griffin of Jackson High School; Mary Alex McNider of Clarke Prep; Dylan Kimbrough of Jackson High
School; Sophie Sanderson of Millry High School; Kylie Grace Stagner of Fruitdale High School; Sean Atchison of Washington County High School; Noah Whigham of Millry High School; Lily Norris of Clarke Preparatory School; Micah Roberts of Jackson Academy and Rebekah Hicks of Monroe County High School. All of the students who were selected to interview were outstanding and represent their schools very well. Addis Griffin and Mary Alex McNider were also selected to represent Clarke-Washington EMC during a week in Washington D.C. in June to experience the sites and history and learn more about the value of rural electrification. Congratulations to each student selected to participate in the 2019 Clarke-Washington EMC Youth Tour.
Micah Roberts Jackson Academy
Rebekah Hicks Monroe County High School
Alabama Living MARCH 2019â€ƒ 5
CWEMC NEW OFFICE
CHECK US OUT
MOVED SAME FACES SAME SERVICE NEW LOCATION
6 MARCH 2019
picture of first customer
Aerial Crump, left, accepting payment from first customer, Tammy Martin, at the new location located at 9000 Highway 43 north of Jackson on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:47 a.m.
NEW OFFICE FEATURES night deposit drive thru large parking lot handicap accessible centrally located large lobby Alabama Living
contact us 9000 HWY 43 P.O. BOX 398 JACKSON, AL 36545 251.246.9081
REPORT AN OUTAGE 1.800.323.9081 MARCH 2019 7
Not the end of Lowman Since the late 1960s, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative’s Lowman Power Plant in Leroy has been an integral part of the local community and economy. During this time, the coal-fired power plant has not only provided a reliable energy supply, it has also supported Washington County by providing jobs and tax dollars. PowerSouth has announced that the existing units at the Lowman Power Plant will close in late 2020, marking the end of a four-decade era of power supply for our area. PowerSouth is a generation and transmission cooperative that provides power to Clarke-Washington EMC, as well as 15 other electric distribution cooperatives and four municipal electric systems in Alabama and northwest Florida. As a cooperative, PowerSouth is owned and governed by its members, and its primary mission is to generate and deliver power to its members – safely and reliably and affordably. The difficult decision to retire the Lowman units came after PowerSouth’s Board of Trustees determined the plant’s coal-fired units could no longer operate under current environmental regulations.
But this isn’t the end of Lowman Power Plant’s story.
Like Clarke-Washington EMC, PowerSouth is rooted in its commitment to the communities it serves and understands the
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Lowman Power Plant’s impact on our members and neighbors. To replace the energy generated by the plant’s coal-fired units, PowerSouth will construct a new natural gas-fired plant on the existing Lowman site. As a natural gas facility, the new plant will be designed to incorporate advanced generating technology to produce electricity in the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner possible. Construction on the new plant is scheduled to begin in late 2021, which will benefit the local economy by employing more than 350 contractors during the construction process. Because of the differences between generating electricity using coal and natural gas, the new natural gas plant will require significantly fewer employees than currently employed at the Lowman Plant. PowerSouth is deeply concerned about all their employees who will lose their jobs due to the closure, their families and their futures, and will make every effort to assist them during the transition. Despite these changes, PowerSouth will continue to support our communities though competitive salaries, property tax dollars and charitable giving. Clarke-Washington EMC and PowerSouth will work together to improve quality of life through the provision of safe, reliable, affordable electricity.
| Alabama Snapshots |
Safari Park Adventures Bennett Ryals loved this “double trouble!” SUBMITTED BY Melanie Ryals, Monroeville.
One of the beautiful giraffes in Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris. SUBMITTED BY Tonya Daugherty, Holly Pond.
Gavin Arnold at the Alabama Safari Park in Hope Hull. SUBMITTED BY Amanda Arnold, Billingsley.
Jax Riley at Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, GA. SUBMITTED BY Tamyla Riley, Brewton. African Grey Parrot. SUBMITTED BY Jeanette Brown, Vernon.
Brianna Brunson in Australia at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. SUBMITTED BY Brianna Brunson, Jackson.
Ethan Paul at Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, GA. SUBMITTED BY Amy Paul, Glenwood.
Safari park van tour for adults, children and grandchildren. SUBMITTED BY Jeff Hosterman, Fairhope.
Submit Your Images! May Theme: “Flower garden” Deadline for May: March 31
SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living
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Spotlight | March SOCIAL SECURITY
Medicare: Rules for those with higher income If you have higher income, the law requires an upward adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums. But, if your income has gone down, you may use form SSA44 to request a reduction in your Medicare income-related monthly adjustment amount. Medicare Part B helps pay for your doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers other medical services, such as physical and occupational therapy, and some home health care. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a substantial portion — about 75 percent — of the Part B premium, and the beneficiary pays the remaining 25 percent. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, you’ll pay a larger percentage of the total cost of Medicare Part B, based on the income you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You’ll pay monthly Part B premiums equal to 35, 50, 65, 80, or 85 percent of the total cost, depending on the income you report to the IRS. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage helps pay for your prescription drugs. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a major portion of the total costs for this coverage, and the beneficiary pays the rest. Prescription drug plan costs vary depending on the plan, and whether you get Extra Help with your portion of the Medicare prescription drug coverage costs. If you’re a higher-income beneficiary with Medicare prescription drug coverage, you’ll pay monthly premiums plus an additional amount, which is also based on the income you report to the IRS. Because
individual plan premiums vary, the law specifies that the amount is determined using a base premium. Social Security ties the additional amount you pay to the base beneficiary premium, not your own premium amount. If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, we deduct this amount from your monthly Social Security payments regardless of how you usually pay your monthly prescription plan premiums. If the amount is greater than your monthly payment from Social Security, or you don’t get monthly payments, you’ll get a separate bill from another federal agency, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or the Railroad Retirement Board. You can find Form SSA-44 online at socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-44.pdf. You can also read more in the publication “Medicare Premiums: Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiaries” at: socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10536.pdf.
Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by March 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the April issue. Submit by email: email@example.com or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.
Letters to the editor E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Restaurant owner blessed
Just wanted you to know how blessed I am by your article (“Worth the Drive,” February 2019). I’ve had friends in Baldwin County call and/or post on Facebook. This morning I had a cousin from
10 MARCH 2019
Addison, Alabama call and I haven’t seen/ heard from them in 20 years. Tuesday I had a couple drive two hours to come here and eat, because of the article. I just wanted to say, THANK YOU for blessing me! Lynn Brewer, Vintage 1889 Café, Fort Payne
I was thrilled to see the picture of Lynn Locklar Brewer (“Worth the Drive,” February 2019). I lived in Fort Payne for 22 years
FEBRUARY'S ANSWER Febr uar y’s answer: This 37-bell carillon and bell tower on South Painter Avenue in Ozark serves as the county’s veterans memorial for those who have served at nearby Fort Rucker. The bell tower, constructed in 1975, is 50 feet tall. (Submitted by Angie Bain of Sand Mountain EC.) The correct guess random drawing winner is Andrew Sarlis, Pea River EC.
and I was friends with her entire family. I have eaten many times at her father’s restaurant, Jack’s, and the Bonanza Burger was the best! Proud to know Lynn has opened a restaurant. Thanks for the story. Rhonda Kirby, Valley
I look forward to my magazine. You do a wonderful job! Love it! History, current events, recipes, gardening, sports and of course, Mr. Harvey (Hardy) Jackson and his stories. Janet Reid, Hanceville www.alabamaliving.coop
March | Spotlight
Find the hidden dingbat! Wow! Our readers LOVE a good contest, and especially one that requires them to hunt through the pages of Alabama Living. Nearly 1,900 folks – more than double the number last month – entered the “Find the Dingbat” contest for February. The hidden cupid was on Page 30 in the Worth the Drive state map showing the location of Fort Payne, although a few folks thought cupid was hiding on Ray Scott’s hat on Page 24. No, that was just a feather, folks! We love reading comments from our readers. Many of you told us how long it took you to find the dingbat, ranging from 3 minutes to 30 minutes to looking through the magazine three and four times. Others included their own drawings of a cupid, while one reader reported that she had help from her granddaughter. Tommie Robertson from Guin wrote, “I’m 77, but it’s not hard to spot a dingbat. They’re everywhere.” Ruth Papenfus of Orange Beach noted that “dingbat” was what she used to call her sister. Dulcena Tessner of Daleville wrote that she and her mother-inlaw enjoyed spending quality time looking through the magazine together and even reading stories out loud to each other. Our winner for the February contest is Debra Causey of Marbury, a member of Central Alabama EC. This month we’ve hidden a four-leaf clover in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Remember: It won’t be in an ad and it won’t be on Pages 3-8. If you find it, send us a note with the page number where it’s located. Include your name, address, phone number, and the name of your electric cooperative. A winner will be chosen in a random drawing from the correct answers, and will receive $25. By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 By email: email@example.com Entries must be received by March 8. Good luck and happy hunting!
Rattlesnake Rodeo features more than just reptiles
The 59th annual Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo will feature snake handling and demonstrations, for sure. But if getting up-close and personal with the venomous vipers is a little scary, there are plenty of other activities that will entertain adults and kids alike. The event, which is March 23-24 at Channell Lee Stadium in the south Alabama town of Opp, will also have arts and crafts, concessions, a greasy pole climb, children’s rides, buck dancing contest and a 5K run/walk. Country music stars Tyler Farr will take the stage on Saturday evening, and Craig Morgan will entertain on Sunday. Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday, and tickets can be purchased for $10 per day in advance or $15 at the gate; children 6 and under are free. For more information, visit opprattlesnakerodeo.com or call 334-493-2122. Alabama Living
March 31, 1825 The Marquis de la Lafayette, the last surviving general of the Revolutionary War, arrived for his visit to Alabama at Fort Mitchell. On a grand tour of all 24 states in honor of the United States’ 50th anniversary, the French general attended lavish festivities in Montgomery, Cahaba and Mobile. Lafayette met with French settlers of the Vine and Olive Colony and enjoyed a variety of traditional The Marquis de la Lafayette events, including a Creek game of stickball, receptions and balls, and a public barbeque dinner. While Alabamians treated Lafayette with great fanfare, his visit put a financial strain on the state, costing more money than existed in the treasury. www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2152
Where were you when man ﬁrst walked on the moon? Do you remember where you were on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon’s surface? Did you get to stay up late to watch on TV? Did you or your parents have a special watch party? We want to hear about it! The 50th anniversary of that historic event is coming up this year, and we want to do our part to recognize the crowning achievement of the U.S. space program, which all began in Huntsville, Alabama. (The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is sponsoring a number of special events in July, in cooperation with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, to mark the event.) Send your memories, no more than 100 words, with your name, address, phone number and email address, and a photo of yourself from 1969, by April 26 to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Moon Landing Memories, Alabama Living, 340 Technacenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117. We will publish a selection of those submissions in the July 2019 magazine.
MARCH 2019 11
Rallying around the F
Working to bring Coosa’s Flagg Mountain t By Jim Plott
n April 1935, the Montgomery Advertiser proclaimed it would be one of Alabama’s most visited state parks once completed. Citing its proximity to Montgomery and Birmingham, the newspaper said, “The park will be a spot known far and wide throughout the South … for with its beauty and quietude it will be an ideal location for one to spend vacations.” But barely three years after opening, Weogufka State Park in Coosa County – unlike many other state parks built by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps – fell back into obscurity, although it remained in use by its owners, the Alabama Forestry Commission, until 1989. Now a new spotlight is being shone on the 1,152-foot-high Flagg Mountain, where the park was situated. The Alabama Hiking Trail Society, along with the recently formed volunteer group, Friends of Flagg, have, with the blessings of the Forestry Commission, reopened the 240-acre-site in the Weogufka State Forest. The surviving CCC-constructed rustic cabins have been refurbished and are available for overnight lodging while work is expected to be started soon on returning the 70-foot-high rock observation tower, which crowns the mountain, to its historic glory. Adding to Flagg Mountain’s appeal is that it is the start of the Pinhoti Trail, a 330-mile route that connects to the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia. Several shorter trails strung out like necklaces also adorn the mountain and the site is also part of the Alabama Birding Trails. Flagg caretaker and veteran hiker, Meredith “Sunny” Eberhart, who also goes by the trail name “Nimblewill Nomad,” says while a lot of work remains, the progress is already beginning to pay dividends. The site draws in visitors almost daily, including many who have started or ended their Appalachian Trail trek there. “Getting the mountain open to the public last summer for the first time in nearly two decades was a milestone,” says Eberhart, 80. “Folks have been coming to the mountain in increasing numbers. They’re interested in both the work done on the historic CCC structures and hiking.” And while he might not admit it, visitors are also eager to hear Eberhart’s personal tales of his hiking the Appalachian and every major scenic U.S. trail. It was Eberhart’s reputation that drew hiker Nathan Wright and his family of nearby Sylacauga to Flagg Mountain. “When I found out he was here, I decided to visit and see what was going on,” Wright says. “Despite living so close, I knew nothing about this place. Now we come up here one or two times a month to either camp or hike or help out. Sometimes we just sit and talk.” The Forestry Commission also likes what it is seeing. “With the beauty of the forest and the significance of the Pinhoti Trail starting here, restoring and maintaining the historical integrity of the fire tower at Flagg Mountain is very important to the Alabama Forestry Commission,” State Forester Rick Oates 12 MARCH 2019
n to new heights
Flagg caretaker Meredith “Sunny” Eberhart, here with a copy of his book that focuses on his hike, is every bit an attraction on Flagg Mountain as the trails and tower. PHOTO BY JIM PLOTT
says. “We’re looking forward to reopening the tower in the near future for everyone’s enjoyment, and we hope it will become a popular Alabama destination.”
New life on Flagg Mountain
The Flagg Mountain observation tower offers a 360-degree view of the area. In this drone photo, Cheaha Mountain can be seen beyond the peak of the tower roof. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA FORESTRY COMMISSION
Following renovation, Friends of Flagg slowly began breathing life back into the mountain. In 2018 the group began holding “First Friday on Flagg,” a monthly potluck supper designed to reacquaint locals and introduce newcomers to the mountain while also building support. In December, the group held its first Pinhoti Winterfest, an allday event that included a trail run, camping and hiking programs and vendors. And the group, which relies on donations and volunteer support, has begun selling Flagg-logoed souvenirs. Weogufka State Park was one of several built in Alabama under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policy, intended to provide employment to people during the Depression. More than 200 workers, mostly from New York and New Jersey, were employed at the Weogufka site in the early 1930s. Although many were unfamiliar with construction, the workers, living in an army-type environment, succeeded in building the tower, cabins and access road and damming a creek and installing lines to supply water uphill to the cabins. Yet the park was never completed, and when the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was formed, Weogufka State Park, unlike other CCC park projects, didn’t make the cut. Instead it remained in the hands of the Forestry Commission, which used the tower as a fire look-out post and the cabins to house rangers and provide an office. John Roberts, whose father was the ranger, recalled the time he spent on Flagg Mountain “some of the best years of my life.” His family moved into the caretaker’s house when he was 3 and lived there for 14 years until his father, L.D. Roberts, died in the line of duty.“I didn’t think so then, but looking back I had some of the best experiences of my life,” recalls Roberts, 78. “We would walk to the creek to swim. I had to walk to school, and our closest neighbor was three miles away.” MARCH 2019 13
Getting there Flagg Mountain can be accessed by a number of different routes. These are the easiest for most travelers: From Birmingham: Take Interstate 65 south to Exit 212 in Clanton. Turn left onto Alabama Highway 145. Within two miles veer right on Chilton County 55. Travel about 20 miles (crossing Lay Lake). Turn right at the Flagg Mountain sign (CCC Camp Road). Follow signs to the cabins and caretakers lodge or to the tower, which is higher on the mountain.
Volunteers Craig Thornton and Joe Jones smooth in the concrete walk to one of the cabins. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ALABAMA HIKING TRAIL SOCIETY
Before he died, L.D. Roberts hired Kate Prater, a local resident who became legendary during her 35 years as tower keeper and radio operator. Long-timers said “Miss Kate” had the ability not only to spot wildfires a county away, but to pinpoint their location. She also developed the ability to predict heavy rain days ahead of time by noticing when the tower’s interior stone walls developed condensation. After its discontinued use, the site began a rapid decline until another CCC group stepped in. The Coosa County Cooperators, a local group of volunteers, provided new metal roofs for the tower and adjoining structures and repaired broken windows and damaged wood throughout the complex. “They basically saved the whole place from falling down,” says local resident and AHTS member Callie Thornton, who helped initiate the Flagg renovation. “Had it not been for their work, we probably wouldn’t have had anything to work with.” While Eberhart admits that Flagg Mountain will likely never ever rejoin the inventory of other state parks, it has an opportunity to regain its glory status. “Flagg Mountain is a monumental mountain; it is a very special place both historically and geographically,” Eberhart says. “Of historic significance is the old Civilian Conservation Corps complex. Of geographic importance, it is the southernmost mountain in the Appalachian Mountain Range. Through continuing and ongoing efforts by AHTS and AFC, it is certainly destined to become a very important asset for Coosa County and the state of Alabama.”
From Montgomery: Travel north on Interstate 65 to Exit 212 in Clanton. Turn right on Alabama Highway 145. Then follow the remainder of the directions above. NOTE: Gates to cabin are open almost daily, but because the complex is staffed by volunteers, visitors should send a text to 417-543-3801 to ensure gates are open or to reserve a cabin for the night.
Twilight descends on the Flagg Mountain tower in this time-lapse photo. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS KENT
For more information on Flagg Mountain, search on Facebook for the public group “Friends of Flagg.”
The Pinhoti Trail which starts at Flagg Mountain extends more than 300 miles before connecting with the Appalachian Trail that begins in Georgia and ends in Maine. MAP COURTESY OF THE CONSERVATION FUND
14 MARCH 2019
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 15
Infrastructure improvements key issue in legislative session The Melvin Cutoff Road in Choctaw County. PHOTO COURTESY THE CHOCTAW SUN-ADVOCATE
By Minnie Lamberth
aryl Jones, general manager of Black Warrior EMC in west Alabama, is very familiar with the conditions of the roads in Alabama’s rural areas. Black Warrior has a service area that touches 12 counties. “We travel over about 7,000 miles of county roads,” Jones says. “On any day we will have about 35 to 40 company vehicles on those roads.” Over his 35 years at the co-op, he’s noticed that conditions have gotten worse. “Most of the county roads we see need a lot of work,” Jones says. “We don’t see a lot of widening of the existing roads. We don’t see county dirt roads being paved.” He also noted that culverts need replacement. Flooding after heavy rains can be too much for them to handle. “When those culverts blow out, we have members who are stranded.” Though some counties where the co-op serves have their own county gas tax, Jones can tell the difference in areas that don’t. “What you see is they’re struggling to continue maintenance on what they have,” he says. Roads across the state will get much needed attention if the Alabama legislature acts on proposals coming their way in the next session, which begins on March 5. In her inaugural address on Jan. 14, Gov. Kay Ivey called for 16 MARCH 2019
County Road 3 in the Aquilla community. PHOTO COURTESY THE CHOCTAW SUN-ADVOCATE
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 17
additional investment in the state’s infrastructure, including the state’s roads and bridges. This added funding would come through an increase in the gasoline tax. “Obviously we need more revenue,” says Tim Culpepper, general manager at Cullman Electric Cooperative in northwest Alabama. “Our rural farm to market roads are falling apart.” The roads and trails around Smith Lake in Cullman County in particular are always impacted by heavy rain and extreme weather conditions, he adds. “These are the roads that our lineman crews, our first responders and everyone else has to ride on.” Steve Sheffield, general manager at Clarke-Washington EMC, says his area has similar needs. “We serve some of the most rural and distressed areas in the state in Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. I believe the counties have done the best job they could with the available funding but there are still many rural roads that are in dire need of attention,” he says. In addition, Sheffield notes, “US Highway 43 desperately needs a turn lane between Jackson and Grove Hill and US Highway 84 is four lane to our west and east, but is a heavily traveled two lane through our service area.” As Ivey noted, it’s been nearly three decades since the legislature has provided any change in funding for road improvements. The most recent gas tax legislation passed in 1991, and those who understand the conditions of the state’s roadways are welcoming the prospect of additional resources. These groups include the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.
What is the cost of doing nothing? As Ivey said in her address, “Improving our infrastructure is more than an investment in our roads and bridges; it’s an investment in economic development, public safety and local communities.” The conditions of county roads impact economic development because industrial sites are often in the county. “Without proper infrastructure, it becomes difficult to attract industry,” Cobb says. Safety issues are also created. Revenue for roadways is used for striping, signage, herbicide treatment and other forms of routine maintenance, including mowing rights of way. “The maintenance budget takes up so much money we don’t have money left over for resurfacing,” Cobb says. As legislation is proposed and debated, one of the big discussion points will be in how the funds are split among localities. Recognizing that city governments and county governments will both be seeking funds from the same source, Jones hopes the division will be fair. “They need to come out with a plan that’s prorated fairly,” Jones says. Mount Nebo Road, Choctaw County. PHOTO COURTESY THE CHOCTAW SUN-ADVOCATE
“These are the roads that our lineman crews, our first responders and everyone else has to ride on.” “We’re falling behind. Not only can we not catch up, we’re actually losing ground,” says Chase Cobb, ACCA’s governmental affairs manager. Cobb specifically highlighted county roads – which are largely dependent on the state’s gas tax for maintenance and resurfacing. Cities have more flexibility to pass a revenue measure such as a sales tax. County governments, however, must have legislative approval even if a gas tax increase is proposed at the local level. In 2018, the ACCA released results from a road and bridge data collection survey that provided a picture of county infrastructure across the state. Of 44,790 paved county roads that currently exist, 48% have been resurfaced over the last 18 years, the survey showed. However, the national standard for road maintenance is to resurface every 15 years. “Counties aim for a 15-year road cycle,” Cobb says. “It’s cheaper to maintain a road than it is to have to rebuild it. In 18 years, we should definitely have resurfaced all of our roads. We’re only halfway there.” It’s not likely that the state is catching up anytime soon. Cobb adds, “In the next five years, we’re only projected to resurface 8%.” County bridges are facing a similar situation. Of the 8,663 bridges on county roads, 45% are 50 years old or older – and at a timeframe for replacement or rehabilitation. However, only 4% of bridges are projected to be replaced over the next five years. 18 MARCH 2019
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 19
| Alabama People |
On the Capitol beat With his Alabama Daily News website, aldailynews.com, Prattville native Todd Stacy has created a platform that not only aggregates the top stories from local, state and national media outlets, but also provides strong original reporting on statewide issues. Since its launch in January 2018, his morning email digests have become must-reads for legislators, elected officials, journalists and anyone interested in Alabama politics. He took time out after a week in Washington, D.C., interviewing Alabama’s congressional delegation to answer questions for Alabama Living. – Allison Law Can we start with your educational and political background, for the readers who may not know you? I’m from Prattville and went to Auburn, where I studied public relations and journalism. My first job in politics was working for State Sen. Wendell Mitchell back when I was still in high school. My big break was working for Gov. Bob Riley as his press secretary. After that I went to the Legislature, where I worked as the Speaker’s communications director, and then for Congressman Martha Roby leading her communications shop. There were several smaller campaign stints along the way, but that about covers the big jobs. Have you always wanted to be involved in politics? Growing up, all I wanted to do was play high school sports like my brothers did. But in ninth grade I suffered some concussions that ended my football playing days. That forced me to look for other outlets, and I got interested in student government and theater, both of which I was involved in throughout high school and college. I was fascinated by the idea that, under our political system, you can get almost anything you want with enough determination, organization and persuasion. I also began to understand early on that there are two types of people working in politics: those serving their own interests and those serving the interests of others. You could say I developed a sense of duty from thinking it was important for more people in the latter camp to be involved. You were in Washington for several years, the center of the political world. What made you want to c o m e back to Alabama? I loved living in
20 MARCH 2019
Washington. There’s nothing quite like it. But I never wanted to be there forever. And while the “center of the political world” is thrilling, I confess that I did eventually tire of the rat race. To me, whether you’re working in Congress or the State House or on the local school board, you’re there to make a positive difference on behalf of others. I was proud of the work I did in Congress, but I reached a point at which I believed I could make more of a difference elsewhere. How has it been for you to come back to Alabama? It has been great. I get to spend a lot more time with my family and go to as many Auburn games as I want. Talk about the genesis of Alabama Daily News. I’ve always been interested in the media business. Around January 2017, Mike Allen and Jim Vandahei left Politico and founded Axios, a brand new email and web-based media company in D.C. Mike’s morning news email quickly became must-read material for senators, congressmen, Capitol Hill and White House staff. And because those influential people are reading, it creates a very valuable ad space for organizations that want to reach them. It kind of just clicked that, “Hey, I can do the same thing in Alabama.” Also fundamental to the idea was my desire to improve the media landscape in Alabama. How has ADN been received by elected oﬃcials? Really well. They pretty much all read, which is great. I just spent a week in D.C. where I had meetings and interviews with the congressional delegation, and I was blown away by how many people said the Daily News was an essential part of their morning routine. Washington officials and staff really like having a way to keep up with what’s going on in Alabama, while their counterparts here in the state like knowing what’s happening in Washington with a little explanation from someone who has been there. That crosscurrent is my specialty. What’s next for ADN? We’re growing! I recently brought on Mary Sell, who is widely known as one of Alabama’s best political reporters. ADN is offering a Capitol News Service. So few newspapers can afford to have their own State House beat reporters, but their readers still want to know what their local delegation is up to. So we’ll provide quality, localized content for local papers for an affordable fee. Also, I’m starting a podcast called “In the Weeds.” It’s a weekly program where we pull back the curtain on Alabama politics so you can get to know how our top public officials go about their jobs. Anything else you want to mention or talk about? Thank you to everyone who subscribes and reads every day! Oh, and don’t forget to click on an ad every now and then.
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 21
| Worth the drive |
No better place to toast
St. Patty’s Day than
Callaghan’s owner, John Thompson. PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT
Callaghan’s By Emmett Burnett
ith oak lined streets embedded with happy folks on friendly front porches, Mobile’s Oakleigh Garden District is the essence of South Alabama charm. In the heart of such a storybook setting, one would expect a beloved eatery of Irish descent, right? Hold my Guinness. The hub of Oakleigh, Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, is more than a restaurant. It is a gathering place, entertainment center, and neighborhood jewel. But the common denominator is food. “Best tuna dip ever,” says a Mobile regular customer, Dawn Allen Manning. “They also have this burger that blends ground beef and ground Conecuh sausage. It’s amazing.” The above referenced sandwich and house favorite is the L.A. (Lower Alabama) Burger. Served typically on Wednesdays and Thursdays, many customers call in advance, assuring the bountiful burger is on the day’s menu. Other hand-crafted specialties sculpted upon order are cheese-
22 MARCH 2019
burgers (with or without bacon), shrimp po’boys, Philly cheese steak, and chicken clubs. Garden salads can be topped with grilled chicken or shrimp. Or live a little – go for smoked tuna. Sandwiches are served with choice of potato salad, slaw, pasta salad, chips or tomato cucumbers. And do not depart without dessert: Callaghan’s bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce. Faith and begorrah, it’s good.
Accolades from all over
Dawn lives nearby but the fan base is also state and nationwide. Honors include those from USA Today and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, both proclaiming Callaghan’s with the best burger in Alabama. Locally, Mobile Bay Magazine and the Lagniappe newspaper voted the pub as having Mobile’s best music venue. As for good food, the restaurant’s secret recipes are easily ex-
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 23
Callaghan’s Irish Social Club
916 Charleston St. Mobile, AL 36604 251-433-9374 www.callaghansirishsocialclub.com 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday
Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, at the corner of Marine and Charleston streets in Mobile.
PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT
plained. “There are no secret recipes,” says owner John Thompson, Food and music, too In addition to food, patrons enjoy some of the region’s best bringing out superb Irish pub-like burgers that could make Dublin performers when Callaghan’s transforms into a family-friendly our state capital. “Nothing is cooked until you order. We do not nightclub featuring music of all genres. make cookie -cutter burgers under a heat lamp. Everything is fresh The corner lot pub turned diner on Marine and Charlescut, fresh served.” ton Streets opened in 1946 in what was then the family home John also credits his staff. “We have good people; many have of Woodrow Callaghan. The restaurant room additions built been here over 10 years. Our employees take pride in what they do.” around and attached to the family home. Many of the original Predicting crowd size is tricky. On a weekend, the Irish eatery restaurant tables still grace the dining room. sees upwards of a 100-plus a night. On St. Patrick’s Day it sees up“I grew up about a mile wards of – this is not a typo – from here,” says John, who 6,000. runs the operation with busi“As far as I know, we are the ness partner, Richie Sherer. It biggest St. Patrick’s Day celewas purchased from Woodrow bration in Alabama,” says John. Callaghan’s daughter in 2003. “On that day we sell more GuinJohn recalls, “I felt it would be ness and Harp than anywhere a neat little place for a restauin Alabama and Mississippi. In rant.” It is still neat but did not Mobile, our St. Patrick’s Day stay little for long. outdoor crowd size is second The music venue took off only to Mardi Gras.” after Hurricane Katrina when “Callaghan’s appeal is its New Orleans entertainers sense of community,” adds came east looking for venues Dawn, seated at the restaurant’s to play. Today music is a daily outdoor dining area, with chips staple, and so are about 200and tuna dip. “People walk from plus burger plates, salads and the neighborhood, bicycle from Last year’s St. Patrick’s Day crowd at Callaghan’s. PHOTO COURTESY OF CALLAGHAN’S more served daily. nearby, and drive in from everyDrinks are poured from where.” what Esquire Magazine says is best bar in America. Callaghan’s Bartender-manager Cheryl Shiﬄet laughs, “Some people refer prides itself on a great selection of beverages. Imports and doto us as Oakleigh’s town hall.” She continues, “Many come in evmestics flow like the River Shannon. ery day. There is a neighborhood vibe.” But she adds, with chalk in Summarizing Callaghan’s success can be gleaned in part from hand, scribing today’s special on a blackboard, “It doesn’t matter the name: “Irish Social Club.” “We are all things to all people,” where you live, after a first visit, you are part of our neighborhood.” says John. “Everyone is welcomed - families, business people, Callaghan’s neighborhood includes Led Zeppelin. John rememyoung and old. In fact, we recently held two separate birthday bers the night of the rock band’s unannounced arrival. “Robert parties the same week - for a one-year-old baby and a 100-yearPlant (lead singer) examined everything on the walls,” he recalled. old man.” That could take a while. Young or old, all are welcomed to a neighborhood restaurant, Walls are adorned with Mobile memorabilia, a digital St. Patcorner pub, nationally acclaimed bar, local entertainment venue rick’s Day countdown clock, and autographed photos of visiting and Ground Zero for Saint Patrick’s Day – all under one roof. celebrities, actors, and political leaders too many to mention. Let’s Irish eyes are smilin’. just say green beer was hoisted by the mighty and the meek. 24 MARCH 2019
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 25
ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to email@example.com Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive. Alabama: The History of a Deep South State State, Bicentennial Edition, by William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, Leah Rawls Atkins and Wayne Flynt, University of Alabama Press, $39.95 (state history) The book, at 808 pages, is a comprehensive narrative account of the state from its earliest days to the present. This edition, updated to celebrate the state’s bicentennial, offers a detailed survey of the colorful, dramatic and often controversial turns in Alabama’s evolution.
Covered Bridges of Alabama, by Wil Elrick and Kelly Kazek, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $23.99 (history) From their beginning as practical modes of transportation to their status as romantic, picturesque walkways, Alabama’s covered bridges have stood the test of time. They’ve become historic attractions both to those in their surrounding communities and the tourists who visit.
Rush, by Lisa Patton, St. Martin’s Press, $26.99 (novel) The book was inspired by the author’s real-life experiences as a sorority member at Alabama, and born after an encounter with one of the sorority’s beloved housekeepers. Bothered by the fact that the staff of these multimillion-dollar sorority houses usually have no health insurance or retirement benefits, Patton decided to write a book that while fictional, is a call to change in the traditions that allow race and pedigree to remain factors in the treatment of staff and potential new members.
Tuscaloosa: 200 Years in the Making, by G. Ward Hubbs, University of Alabama Press, $24.95 (city history) Full of illustrations and historical photos, the book focuses on six key turning points that dramatically altered the fabric of the city over the past two centuries. The narrative traces the city’s origins as a settlement on the banks of the Black Warrior River to its development as a hub of higher education and collegiate sports.
Baseball in Alabama: Tales of Hardball in the Heart of Dixie, by Doug Wedge, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $22.99 (sports) Though football reigns as the king of sports in Alabama, the state has made its mark with the country’s national pastime. Thirteen players with Alabama roots are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, including all-time greats like Hank Aaron, Ozzie Smith and Satchel Paige.
Deep in the Piney Woods, Southeastern Alabama from Statehood to Civil War, 1800-1865, by Tommy Craig Brown, $39.95 (regional history) The piney woods of south central and southeastern Alabama, commonly known as the wiregrass, is one of the most understudied areas in Alabama history. The book highlights the area’s formation and settlement, economy, politics, race relations and its role in both the secession of the state and the Civil War.
26 MARCH 2019
SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE PULLOUT SECTION
8 1 6
State of Alabama Senate 8
To contact Senators: (334) 261-0800
Emails via: legislature.state.al.us
4 4 21
Birmingham Metro Area
18 19 20 5
28 26 25 24 31
President Pro Tempore
Alabamaâ€™s 2019 State Senate and House of Representatives and their respective legislative district numbers are shown on the following three pages. A listing of all senators and representatives by electric cooperative is on Page 30.
Poster-sized reprints of the Senate and Representative Legislative Maps are available for purchase. Contact Danny Weston, firstname.lastname@example.org. MARCH 2019 27
State of Alabama House of Representatives
Speaker of the House
Birmingham Metro Area
Emails via legislature.state.al.us
78 77 76
Montgomery River Region
To contact Representatives: (334) 261-0500
STATE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES BY COOPERATIVE Arab Electric Cooperative Inc Senator Garlan Gudger
Covington EC District
Will Barfoot Donnie Chesteen
9 11 22
Tommy Hanes, Jr. Kerry Rich Wesley Kitchens
23 26 27
Representative Scott Stadthagen Randall Shedd Ritchie Whorton
Representative Harry Shiver Brett Easterbrook Alan Baker Thomas Jackson
64 65 66 68
Joe Faust Steve McMillan Matt Simpson Napoleon Bracy, Jr.
94 95 96 98
61 62 65 67
Thomas Jackson Kelvin J. Lawrence A J McCampbell Ralph Howard
68 69 71 72
Tom Whatley Clyde Chambliss
Kelvin J. Lawrence Ralph Howard Reed Ingram Ed Oliver Wil Dismukes
69 72 75 81 88
Representative Rodney Sullivan Rich Wingo Brett Easterbrook Prince Chestnut
Central Alabama EC Senator Cam Ward 14 Malika Sanders Fortier 23
Representative Mike Holmes Ron Johnson James Martin April Weaver Prince Chestnut
31 33 42 49 67
Rhett Marques Mike Jones
7 9 11
Corey Harbison Tim Wadsworth
Kerry Rich 26 Nathaniel Ledbetter 24
27 28 30 31
69 74 75 76 77 78
Joe Lovvorn Chris Blackshear Pebblin Warren Jeremy Gray Berry Forte Wes Allen
79 80 82 83 84 89
Becky Nordgren Ginny Shaver
3 7 8
Scott Stadthagen Randall Shedd
Joe Wheeler EMC
Thomas Jackson Kelvin J. Lawrence
Coosa Valley EC 11 12
Randall Shedd Kerry Rich Wesley Kitchens
11 26 27
Becky Nordgren David Standridge
Kerry Rich Wesley Kitchens
Representative 29 30 32 33 35
Randy Wood K. L. Brown Corley Ellis Jim Hill
36 40 41 50
Ritchie Whorton Tommy Hanes, Jr.
Prince Chestnut Thomas Jackson Kelvin J. Lawrence
Chris Sells Mike Jones
Wesley Kitchens Ginny Shaver
Chris Sells Rhett Marques
67 68 69
Representative Tommy Hanes, Jr. 23 Nathaniel Ledbetter 24 Kerry Rich 26
South Alabama EC Senator Tom Whatley Bill Beasley
Representative Berry Forte Wes Allen
Malika Sanders Fortier 23
64 66 68
Chris Sells Mike Jones
35 37 38 79 80
Ed Oliver Pebblin Warren Jeremy Gray Berry Forte
81 82 83 84
Larry Stutts Gerald Allen
85 86 87
Rhett Marques Mike Jones Steve Clouse
91 92 93
Representative Harry Shiver Alan Baker Thomas Jackson
Tallapoosa River EC Randy Price Tom Whatley
Representative Steve Hurst Bob Fincher Debbie Wood Joe Lovvorn Chris Blackshear
Tombigbee EC Senator Garlan Gudger Greg Reed
Senator Steve Livingston
Representative Becky Nordgren Craig Lipscomb Barbara Boyd Ron Johnson Steve Hurst
North Alabama EC
Senator Jim McClendon Del Marsh
Wes Allen Steve Clouse
Malika Sanders-Fortier 23
Greg Albritton Jamie Glenn Kiel
Senator Malika Sanders Fortier 23
Marshall DeKalb EC
Southern Pine EC
Andrew Sorrell Proncey Robertson Terri Collins
Berry Forte Dexter Grimsley
Steve Livingston Tom Whatley Billy Beasley Clyde Chambliss Jimmy Holley
Arthur Orr Garlan Gudger
Sand Mountain EC
13 23 25 26
Harry Shiver Brett Easterbrook
Franklin Electric Cooperative
Billy Beasley Donnie Chesteen
Randy Price Malika Sanders-Fortier Will Barfoot David Burkette Kelvin J. Lawrence Dimitri Polizos Reed Ingram Thad McClammy Tashina Morris Kirk Hatcher
Senator 3 4
Senator Clay Scofield Andrew Jones
Proncey Robertson Scott Stadthagen Randall Shedd
Senator Malika Sanders Fortier 23 Bobby Singleton 24
Arthur Orr Garlan Gudger
Black Warrior EMC Gerald Allen Greg Albritton
Jeff Sorrells Chris Sells
Baldwin EMC Greg Albritton
Pea River EC
TO CONTACT LEGISLATORS Email via www.legislature.state.al.us | House: (334) 261-0500 | Senate: (334) 261-0800
Representative Tim Wadsworth Kyle South
Wiregrass EC Senator Jimmy Holley
Representative Dexter Grimsley Paul Lee Jeff Sorrells
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 31
SPECIAL ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE PAGE
32â€ƒ MARCH 2019
SPECIAL ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE PAGE
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 33
| Gardens |
Turning sod into sustenance
onsider the lawn. It’s an integral part of most Alabama landscapes, providing classic beauty and function to yards, parks and other open spaces. However, it can be a hungry element of the landscape, one that needs a steady diet of attention, water and nutrients. Now consider this: What if that lawn area fed you instead? No, I’m not suggesting you take up grazing; I’m just suggesting you explore using the tenets of edible landscaping — the science (and art) of choosing plants that are as appetizing as they are attractive — to areas previously reserved only for turfgrass. The idea may seem odd, but it’s certainly not new. Out of necessity and for eons, humankind has grown food crops on any available patch of land. During World Wars I and II, turning lawns into Victory Gardens wasn’t unusual, it was patriotic — even Eleanor Roosevelt had a Victory Garden installed on the White House lawn in 1943. And I’m not bashing lawns, which have also served us well for eons. Throughout human history, grassy areas have been sources of protection (open vistas better allowed humans to spot enemies as they approached), food for livestock and sites for recreation. Grass also helps control soil erosion and it just plain looks nice, so it’s difficult to think about giving up the lawn, especially the front lawn. Back in 2005, however, an American Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at email@example.com.
34 MARCH 2019
artist named Fritz Haeg began to challenge the need for, and prevalence of, lawns through an eco-art project he called “Edible Estates.” Linking his art and design prowess with a passion for sustainability and nod to the tradition of Victory Gardens, Haeg advocated for replacing lawns — especially front lawns — with kitchen gardens. His premise was that kitchen gardens would provide food while also being more sustainable than lawns because they require less water and fossil fuels. Over the next eight years, he turned 15 lawns, some on private and some on public land, into food-producing spaces that were as beautiful as they were tasty. Is it a good idea for your landscape? Possibly, especially if an open lawn area is the only suitable space in the yard to grow sun-loving food crops. Keep in mind, though, that while kitchen gardens do reduce the need for mowing and watering, they may actually require as much, if not more, labor to maintain an attractive yearround landscape. Still, if you like the idea of repurposing the time and energy spent mowing and caring for a lawn into something that produces food for the table, it may be the perfect option. Before you rip out the lawn, however, take time to research the concept. Start by asking local garden experts about the pros and cons of replacing lawns with kitchen gardens, and read up on the details. Lots of resources are available online and in libraries. The book Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy is considered a primary go-to source on the subject and you can also check out Haeg’s projects online at
www.fritzhaeg.com or in his 2008 book Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. The next step before you proceed is to run the idea past your local municipalities, utilities and neighborhood associations. There may be rules — even ordinances — limiting or prohibiting kitchen gardens, especially in front yards or more visible areas, and you don’t want to damage inground gas, power or communication lines when you dig. Intrigued but still not sure if you’re ready to rip out the lawn? Test the concept by using edible plants in existing flower beds or in containers. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, herbs, culinary flowers and the like can be as ornamental as they are tasty and may be a great first step, or the only step you decided to take, toward an edible landscape. And be open to sharing the process — and some produce — with your neighbors. It can be a teachable moment and who knows, you may soon have everyone eating off their lawns!
MARCH TIPS Begin weeding garden areas as soon as weeds emerge. Prepare garden tools and supplies for the coming season. Sow seed for lettuces, carrots, cauliﬂower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes, snow peas and radishes. Plant strawberries, blueberries, grapes and fruit trees. Clean out birdhouses and fill feeders and birdbaths. Be on the lookout for spring garden events and sales. Begin fertilizing lawns and houseplants.
MARCH 2019â€ƒ 35
Fighting lights on to keep the
Electric co-ops are winning the reliability battles against squirrels, storms and hackers By Paul Wesslund
id you know squirrels, lightning and trees have something in common? They can knock out your electricity. Electric cooperatives work hard to keep your lights on all the time, but “you’re going to have power outages, and that’s just the way it is,” says Tony Thomas, senior principal engineer with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). An electric utility’s basic job of keeping the power flowing 24/7 calls for maintaining a complex network of power plants, poles and wires. But it also means battling the unpredictable. Thomas cites the top three troublemakers to electric reliability as trees falling on power lines and other interferences from vegetation, lightning strikes, and animals going about their daily routines, especially squirrels chewing on electrical equipment. “Utilities do an awfully good job,” says Thomas. “But Mother Nature gets in the way sometimes.” 36 MARCH 2019
Humans contribute to power outages as well, with vandals deliberately damaging electrical equipment and drivers accidentally crashing into utility poles.
Statistics say the lights are almost always on.
Numbers collected from electric utilities show that power in the United States is incredibly reliable. According to these figures, the percentage of time that the average American has electricity at the flip of a switch is 99.97… oh forget it, you get the idea. Thomas says what’s most important to know about those numbers is that they don’t change much. “I don’t see big swings from year to year,” says Thomas. “If things are fairly consistent, that means the utility is operating about as efficiently as it can.” But utilities still try to improve on that reliability. Among the techniques being used to foil critter catastrophes are snake
barriers around substations, buzzard shields on transmission towers and mesh coverings on wood poles to protect them from woodpeckers. For some of the other causes of outages like trees and lightning, there’s now an app for that. Utilities operate extensive right-of-way programs to keep vegetation away from power lines, from clearing underbrush to publicity campaigns asking people not to plant trees where they can fall on power lines. Fighting storms and squirrels are two ways to keep the power on, but by far the biggest part of reliability comes from the decades of building, maintaining and updating the massive machinery of the nation’s electric grid. More than 8,500 power plants generate electricity that is shipped through 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Banks of substations and transformers step-down that voltage to www.alabamaliving.coop
send it to homes and businesses through 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines. Keeping that network up and running calls for a lot of planning among utilities to anticipate how electricity will be used in the future. Part of that reliability planning has focused on protecting the electricity system from computer-based digital attacks.
efforts to corrupt pieces of software used by electric cooperatives. NRECA’s cyber protection efforts include a national program of working closely with the nation’s electric co-ops to share the techniques for protecting utility systems from internet invaders. When it comes to electric reliability, the biggest challenge is maintaining NRECA is also part of a naand updating the massive machinery of the nation’s electric grid. tional program to create a cyber PHOTO BY PAUL WESSLUND mutual assistance agreement. infested with mischief makers. Bourge says Much like how groups of lineworkers from The never-ending job it’s routine for a company to receive tens of an electric co-op travel to help restore powof cyber security Bridgette Bourge is among those over- thousands of attempts each day to break er after a hurricane, these cyber agreements seeing how digital technology affects reli- into its computer network. Those “knocks” would be able to utilize teams of informaability for electric co-ops and their consum- at the cyber door can come from individ- tion technology experts in the case of a cyer-members. As director of government uals, countries and organizations, or from ber incident. affairs for NRECA, she sees both the pos- the army of automated “bots” roaming the “You can’t solve cybersecurity,” says itives and the negatives to the latest inter- internet worldwide, testing for weaknesses Bourge. “No matter what you do today, where a hacker could enter. net-based, or cyber, technology. the bad guys are going to figure out a way For a utility, a troublemaker inside the around it tomorrow. You have to keep “Cyber helps a lot on reliability because it gives us the ability to monitor and know computer network could affect electric ser- thinking about the next step.” everything right away,” she says. “But when- vice, and that’s why NRECA has organized a ever you increase reliability through a tech- variety of cyber reliability programs. Paul Wesslund writes on consumer and coopBourge says those cyber reliability pro- erative aﬀairs for the National Rural Electric nology, you do potentially open up vulneragrams aim to help protect against a range of Cooperative Association, the national trade bilities as well from the security angle.” For any organization, including electric threats, from broad attempts to shut down association representing more than 900 local utilities, the benefits of the internet come parts of the electric grid, to more focused electric cooperatives.
2,217 sq. ft. under roof • $158,700
1,554 sq. ft. under roof • $128,400
2,213 sq. ft. under roof • $158,200
Price does not include land improvements. Prices subject to change. Some of the homes shown have options not in the base price.
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SQ. FT. UNDER ROOF
2x4 Trusses - 24” on Center
30-Year Architectural Shingles
ZIP System Wall Sheathing 5/8” Drywall Ceilings with Knockdown Finish Vinyl Siding with Choice of Styles and Colors
R-19 Exterior Wall Insulation
6” Aluminum Gutters Front and Back Low E 450-Series Double Hung Windows
Smooth Top Electric Range, Microhood and Dishwasher. Standard in Black or White
Solid Wood Custom Cabinets Granite Countertops Painted Front Porch Railings
3/4” Advantec Subfloor Nailed, Glued & Screwed
1/2” ZIP System Roof Sheathing
Steel Garage Door(s) with Opener(s) 2x10 Floor Joists - 16” on Center with Triple 2x12 Girders
Garage Interior is Painted and Trimmed to match Interior of house
Crawl Space Foundation Standard at 3 Block Plus a Cap
4,515 sq. ft. under roof • $289,200
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| Consumer Wise |
Weighing your lawncare options By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
Unlike models from only a few years ago, many of today’s electric mowers have the power and battery life to keep up with gas mowers; while electric mowers have come a long way, equivalent gas mowers have a lower initial cost and are better-suited for larger lawns; a rotary push mower is an ecofriendly, low-maintenance and easy to store – and great exercise, too! PHOTOS SOURCE: PIXABAY.COM
I’m seeing a lot of ads lately for electric lawn mowers. I want to save money and help the environment, but from what I’ve heard, a lot of electric mowers can be underpowered, and the cordless ones lose their battery charge too quickly. Do you think it’s worth making the switch from a gas mower to an electric mower?
Until recently, corded and cordless electric mowers tended to be underpowered. For cordless mowers, this fact was made worse by their sub-par battery life. But today, with those problems largely solved, the best electric mowers have the power and battery life to keep pace with a gas mower, depending on the size of your lawn. A cordless, electric mower with a large 56-volt battery can run for about one hour. Plug-in electric mowers don’t have this limitation, but using a long electrical cord can be challenging. Quality electric mowers, especially the cordless, rechargeable ones, tend to cost twice as much as a new equivalent gas model. But you can recoup some of the expense with cheaper operating costs, since electricity is a less expensive fuel than gas, and electric engines generally require less maintenance than gas engines. Another important cost consideration is that rechargeable batteries typically need to be replaced after three to five years. The cost savings also depend on the size of your lot. A small lot uses less gas, so fuel cost savings are less significant. You can save a significant amount of money on purchase price with a corded mower, if you don’t mind the hassle of navigating around the cord. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
38 MARCH 2019
There are additional benefits of electric mowers besides lower fuel and maintenance costs. Electric mowers are much quieter than gas mowers, and they start instantly. Electric mowers produce less tailpipe emissions, but the overall environmental impact depends on how the electricity you’re using (to charge the mower) is generated. The environmental benefits will be greater if the electricity is generated from renewable energy sources. Given all these considerations, my advice is to weigh your priorities. If you are looking to buy new, have a small- to mid-size lot, prioritize environmental concerns and don’t mind navigating a cord or recharging batteries, an electric mower could be the right choice for you. If you don’t mind the noise, maintenance and other hassles of a gas mower, have a large lot and prefer not to invest in the upfront purchase price, a gas mower may be a better option. There’s also a third choice. If your goals are to save money and hassle while protecting the environment, you can minimize your need for a mower, or get rid of the need completely. If you’re willing to keep your lawn mowed regularly and don’t mind breaking a sweat, consider a manual reel mower. Some models are more effective than you might think, and they’re far less expensive and require little maintenance or storage space. The most dramatic step you could take is replacing your lawn completely, perhaps with water-efficient landscaping, a rock garden, a vegetable garden or even an artificial lawn. This could dramatically cut your water bill and the environmental impact of a lawn. Any change you make, whether in mowing or landscaping, will require a little research. But it’s great to know the option of an electric mower is more viable than ever! This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on mower options, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop
Loving yet aloof, companion cats rule the household
he winter is still with us. Pets still need to stay warm. After the January article about outdoor pet housing, an Alabama Living reader reminded us about straw (not hay) as an excellent bedding material. Another client asked about a Great Pyrenees puppy. When can they start to stay outdoors? Although the guardian breeds are a lot more cold tolerant, no puppy can regulate their body temperature well. They should stay in a protected warm place till they become an adult. In this month’s article, we will talk about cats, the little lions in our bedrooms. Any cat owner knows that cats are far from being little dogs – they play differently, they love differently, they have a different role in the hierarchy of the household. They are the boss! Scientists believe cats originated in Egypt about 10,000 years ago. Then they spread all over the world via sea routes and migrating farmers. Now, they are on every continent except Antarctica. Cats have special needs. One of the most important is probably Goutam Mukherjee (Dr. G), DVM, MS, PhD., has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Clinic in Crossville. Email questions of general interest to email@example.com.
their need for water. We believe that cats should stick to wet food entirely for many reasons. The two most important ones are that wet food has a lot more water, and dry food tends to be much higher in carbohydrates, which may not be appropriate for cats. No matter whether you feed dry or wet, your cat could still enjoy a continuous-flow water fountain. There are even stainless steel water fountains for cats that may be allergic to plastic. A cat’s tongue has little barbs that face backwards. Any string or thread-like material can get caught and forced down the throat, causing serious damage to the intestinal tract. Be sure to keep yarn, ribbons and tinsel out of kitty’s reach. Cats are rather quiet about sharing their pain. As kitties age, watch for lower back sensitivity. They may also be slightly hesitant to jump up on their perch. Some studies show that 60 percent of cats over 10 years of age may have arthritis. In an older cat, accidents outside the litter box can indicate that kitty is in too much pain to climb into the box. A relationship with a cat is an amazing experience! If you don’t have one, talk to a friend who is a seasoned cat owner and then head to the shelter to save a life. Here is one last, but highly pertinent and potentially controversial subject. As an avid environmentalist, I firmly believe that domesticated cats should remain strictly indoors with adequate environmental enrichment. Let me know your thoughts.
| Outdoors |
Winds sometimes whip up good ﬁshing conditions
arch winds can whip up the waters in a large lake like Guntersville, making boating dangerous. Many anglers try to avoid the wind by seeking refuge in coves. Nobody likes to fish in a howling gale, but a good breeze can actually help anglers put more fish in the boat. “I love fishing in the wind,” says Kevin VanDam, a four-time Bassmaster Classic champion. “I love rough conditions because often those conditions activate the fish, but I’m smart enough to know that when the wind blows a spot out or muddies the water, I’m just wasting my time.” As the champ explained, strong winds can temporarily ruin a fishing hole and make conditions physically unpleasant or even dangerous for an angler, particularly on a cold spring day. Brutal breezes blow lures in crazy directions, greatly reducing casting accuracy. Strong winds also make holding a boat in position tough. “Wind affects fishermen much more than it affects fish,” says Peter Thliveros, a professional bass angler. “Extreme wind makes traveling difficult and limits where people can fish. It also limits the time that people can fish because it’s more difficult to get to places. Wind also makes boat control critical. If anglers can position their boats into the wind and fish against the wind, they can make more precise casts and cover structure properly.” On the plus side, winds can create or change currents, positioning fish. Along the Alabama coast, stiff winds might even overcome tides. In windy conditions, pay particular attention to points, fallen trees, rocks or other objects that create small eddies where bass can ambush baitfish. Bass frequently hide in such slack water behind obstructions, but face into the flow looking for the currents to deliver breakfast to them. Since fish look into the wind to find food, always run any bait downwind. “Frequently, the wind shows how fish position themselves on a point,” says James Niggemeyer, a professional bass angler. “Sometimes, the wind runs up against the riprap or a stretch of bank with baitfish on it. The wind stirs things up and moves the water column.” While bass regularly face upstream looking for food, they do not necessarily face into the wind blowing across the surface. Water crashing against a shoreline “mushrooms” like a bullet. Along a windy shoreline, the current may actually move in the opposite direction for a short distance. Bass hang just over drop-off edges facing toward the shoreline, waiting to ambush whatever ventures too close. “I always want to cast into the wind unless the wind is blowing so hard that I can’t cast,” says Alton Jones, a former Bassmaster Classic champion. “When fishing riprap banks, I put the boat about a foot from the rocks and make long casts parallel to the bank.” Breezes also push plankton against shorelines. Small fish eat plankton. Bass eat smaller fish. In addition, waves help oxygenate the water, giving fish an energy boost. Where bass find abundant food and oxygen, anglers can find bass. “Often, fish bite better with a little wind blowing, especially when the water temperature gets up there,” says Mark Davis, a former Bassmaster Classic champion. “Wind can move bait around and create activity. Wind can stir up crawfish and get them moving. I like to fish along rocky shorelines on a windy day when fish are not as spooky.” On a calm, sunny day, almost any noise might spook a bass, but waves can help hide anglers from fish. The natural roar of waves crashing against a shoreline masks people sounds. Bass act more aggressively when they don’t sense danger. Also, fish can easily see shadows or outlines in calm conditions, but with a good breeze churning the surface, fish only see distorted images, if anything. When wind makes a lake surface too rough to fish, head for shelter, but a good breeze could mean a great day on the water. 40 MARCH 2019
Phillip Criss admires a largemouth bass he caught while fishing at Lake Guntersville near Scottsboro, Ala. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.
DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST 2019 MARCH
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
EXCELLENT TIMES A.M. 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 A.M. 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30
PM AM 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:27 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 5:42 - 7:42 NA 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 PM AM 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:27 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 5:42 - 7:42 NA 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:27 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 5:42 - 7:42 NA 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27
PM 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 PM 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51
The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living
MARCH 2019 41
Practice prevents panic in case of a home fire By Richard Bauman
f the piercing squeal of a smoke alarm and the smell of smoke awakened you, what would you do? Call 9-1-1, report the fire and get out of the building following your escape plan. You don’t have an escape plan? Well, you’re not alone. Most of us probably haven’t defined escape routes from our homes, held family fire drills or practiced how we would get out of our burning home — but we need to. Home fires are killers. According to the National Safety Council, “Eighty-five percent of all fire deaths occur in the ‘safety’ of home.” The NSC says: • A home fire occurs every 55 seconds in America • There are more than 1,500 home fires every day • For every person who dies in a fire, about 100 more sustain serious injuries • Two-thirds of fire victims are trapped on upper floors of their homes The high percentage of deaths upstairs is understandable. Fire feeds on combustibles such as paper, draperies and furniture. They ignite quickly and produce flames, super-heated air and toxic gases that race through halls, stairways and open doors with explosive fury. Nonetheless, you stand a good chance of escaping with pre-planned escape routes. Working smoke detectors are the first line of defense in home fire safety. The National Fire Protection Association says there should be at least one on each level of your home, including the basement.
Planning your escape routes
• A fire escape plan should include: • Two separate escape routes from each room of your home. • Escape plans for each level of your home, including the basement • A designated place to meet, away from the burning building • Home fire drills at least a couple of times a year.
First, draw a floor plan for each level of your home. (Visit NFPA.org/escapeplan for a free downloadable escape floor plan template.) Sketches will do, but be sure to include: • All windows, doorways and staircases. • In each room, determine a primary escape route and an alternate route that will get persons out of the house or building. • Give bedrooms special attention since nighttime fires are usually the most deadly. Older persons, young children and those with disabilities or physical limitations may need special assistance to escape a fire, 42 MARCH 2019
and should receive careful consideration as you plan fire escape routes. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, smoke and fumes cause nine out of ten house fire deaths. A couple of breaths of hot, poisonous, suffocating air can burn out your lungs. For this reason alone, experts say you should sleep with bedroom doors closed. It is a barrier to smoke, fumes and fire. With the doors closed, you have several more minutes to escape the fire. If you are awakened by the smell of smoke or the squeal of a smoke alarm, don’t immediately open your bedroom door. First, feel the door. If it is hot, don’t open it — there isn’t anything good waiting for you on the other side. If it isn’t hot, experts say you should place your weight against the door and with your face turned away, slowly open the door about an inch. If the air that seeps through the opening is hot or smoky, or there is pressure against the door, slam it shut. Use one of your escape routes to get out of the building.
Home ﬁre drills
Home fire drills help family members practice escaping the home if there should be a fire. They can also make you aware of obstacles that could hinder someone’s escape. Ideally, you’ll use a doorway to escape, but if fire blocks that route you can use a window instead. Fire drills are an opportunity to assure windows, screens, or storm windows open easily, and that everyone knows how to open them. If there are burglar bars on windows, make sure the opening mechanism for them operates
smoothly and easily. Escaping through lower floor windows usually isn’t too difficult, but upper story windows are a different matter. For those who live in multi-story houses or buildings there are rope ladder type fire escapes. Such ladders are secured to either the floor or wall studs. They can be tossed out the window and you, and others, can climb down to safety. There are also permanently installed fire escape ladders for home use. If the room is smoke-filled, crawl, with your head about eighteen inches above the floor, to get to the escape route door or window. If you can’t escape the building, and have to stay in a room, get close to a window, and open it a crack. Use towels, bedding or even clothes to block the space below the door and in door cracks to keep out gases and smoke. No matter your escape route from the house, once you are out safely, stay out. Forget about saving valuables, pictures or documents. Talking with family members about fire and escaping it is important. It might be uncomfortable to do so, but that’s better than ignoring it and being injured or dying in fumes, smoke and flames you and they could have escaped. www.alabamaliving.coop
MARCH 2019 43
| Alabama Recipes |
Learn how to make the best use of one the hottest cooking tools to hit the market in years, the rapid-cooking, multi-tasking Instant Pot.
From our Alabama Living Staff: “We LOVE our Instant Pot. We typically end up doing chicken the most in it. Here’s something super easy — cook chicken breasts, water and a jar of salsa. When done, shred it and put it on tacos. I’ve also done Ranch Chicken (chicken, water or chicken broth) and a Ranch dressing packet for an easy start to a casserole. I love that I can have the chicken cooking, and it’s ready once I have everything else mixed up. It’s so nice that it’s not on the stove in the way. We’ve also done sweet potatoes in ours. And they get done much quicker than in the oven.” - Laura Stewart, Communications Coordinator and Youth Tour Director, Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives
44 MARCH 2019
BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY STYLING/PHOTOS BY BROOKE ECHOLS
few years ago, a new “must-have” kitchen appliance burst on the scene and gained fame at a rate that matched the product’s name. The Instant Pot ﬂew off shelves and was THE gift to give the busy cook in your life. And while its fast-track to popularity followed the trajectory of any fad, this trend has enjoyed true staying power. The Instant Pot has held onto most of its initial admirers and keeps gaining new ones. And that’s because it’s not just one thing: It’s a multi-faceted meal maker that reduces the time and effort required to feed yourself or your family. Now, don’t be deceived by its moniker: It does not deliver actual instant results, but it can do many things faster than other cooking methods, and this speed is its main appeal. It can cook large cuts of tough meat fast with fork-tender results. In only about five minutes, it cooks rice to perfection. While it can also function like your trusty “set-it and forget it” slow cooker, on its most-used setting, it gives traditional “low and slow” dishes that “all-day” ﬂavor much faster, sometimes cutting the cook time for these comfort faves in half. You can use it simply to warm foods too. And it even has a yogurt-making button (although online reviews for the results of
pushing this button are mixed). It evokes the excitement of advanced technology with new recipes, new cookbooks and food bloggers and reviewers using words like “life-changing” to describe it. But it’s really just a versatile, revised take on the not-new-at-all pressure cooker. When it’s working like a pressure cooker, it uses a high-pressure atmosphere to increase water’s boiling point from the standard 212 degrees to almost 250 degrees. This cooks foods quicker but also pushes liquid into them, keeping them juicy and tender. This is the same method employed by yesterday’s pressure cookers, the ones that sometimes garnered headlines by exploding. But thanks to built-in features that make it impossible to open its sealed lid until the pressure has been released (an issue with past pressure cookers), the Instant Pot adds increased safety to its list of pros, a list that keeps attracting Instant Pot buyers. We’ve got some Instant Pot devotees among our readers, and they’ve shared their favorite recipes this month. Whether you’re already in the fan club or you just joined, give them a try.
Cook of the Month
Cajun Sausage, Potatoes and Green Beans
Paige Gaines, Central Alabama EC Paige Gaines got her Instant Pot two years ago, but admitted that she was initially hesitant to use it. “I was actually scared of it for months, but I finally decided to give it try. After one or two uses, I was hooked,” she said. Now, it’s a fixture on her kitchen counter, and she cooks in it three to five times each week, even if she’s only using it to cook rice or boil a big batch of eggs. “I mostly use it in the pressure cooker mode to make one-pot meals, like the recipe I submitted,” she said. “The Cajun Sausage Potatoes and Green Beans is truly a full meal, and it’s just so easy, and so tasty.” She suggested adding some rolls or Texas toast to go with it, and while she likes the Cajun sausage her recipe calls for, she encouraged others to substitute their favorite kind. “A lot of people love Conecuh sausage, and I’m sure it would work well too,” she said.
3/4 1 2 2 ½ 3 3/4 ½ 4
cup chicken broth 12-ounce package Cajun-style andouille sausage pounds red potatoes 16-ounce packages frozen green beans pound fresh mushrooms teaspoons Cajun seasoning teaspoon salt teaspoon pepper tablespoons salted butter
Pour chicken broth into Instant Pot. Cut sausage into thin ¼-inch slices. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cut off the ends of the frozen green beans. Chop and add mushrooms. Add the sausage, potatoes, green beans and mushrooms to the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper into the pot. Toss with a spoon. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and toss them into the pot. Cover the pot and secure the lid. Be SURE the valve is set to "sealing.” Set the manual/ pressure cook button to 3 minutes. (It might take 15-20 minutes for the pot to come to pressure). When the timer is up, perform a quick release by moving the valve to venting. Remove the lid when you can. Gently stir the contents of the pot. Scoop onto serving plates or bowls and enjoy. May be served with or over rice.
MARCH 2019 45
Turkey In-A-Pot 1 frozen bone-in turkey breast, thawed 1 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon garlic power ¼ teaspoon chili power ½ teaspoon celery salt ½ teaspoon paprika ¼ teaspoon rosemary, crushed ½ large onion 1 apple (any variety), washed and halved 3 tablespoons butter 2 cups chicken broth or water *Seasonings can be increased or decreased depending on personal preference Marinate thawed turkey in salt water brine or apple cider at least 12 hours; drain. Combine all seasonings and spices. Loosen turkey skin and rub seasoning under skin (depending on size, additional seasoning may be required); reserve some seasoning for cavity. In pot, turn turkey breast skin side down. In cavity sprinkle remaining seasoning and place half of a large onion, halved apple and 3 tablespoons butter. Pour 2 cups of chicken broth or 2 cups of water. Seal Instant Pot and set on pressure cook for 1½ hours. When timer runs down, pot will stay on low for 10 hours. Remove from pot and debone, strain liquid for gravy or for dressing. Deborah Spain Marshall-DeKalb EC
Instant Pot Orange Chicken 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs cut into 1-2-inch pieces 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Sauce: 1 cup orange juice, no sugar added 1 tablespoon ginger, grated 6 cloves garlic,* minced 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry white wine 1/2 cup tomato sauce, optional ¼ cup granulated sugar ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ cup lite soy sauce 1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional Zest from 1 orange 46 MARCH 2019
Cornstarch Slurry: 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 tablespoons orange juice Garnish: 4 green onions, sliced Extra orange zest It is important for the chicken not to have any extra moisture, so dry it with a few paper towels and cut the chicken into 1-2-inch chunks. Heat up your pressure cooker: press Sauté; click on the Adjust button; select More to get the Sauté More function, which means that the food will be sautéed over medium-high heat. Wait for the Instant Pot indicator to read HOT. Add the oil to the hot Instant Pot, add the chicken and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. When sautéing it, stir constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Also, after you sauté the chicken, check if bits are stuck to the bottom. In that case, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup orange juice and scrape them with a wooden spoon. If you leave the bits stuck to the bottom, they may burn or cause the pot not to come to pressure. (If you want a truly golden-brown chicken, brown it on the stove top, as the Instant Pot isn't really good for that.) Add the sauce ingredients to the pot (remaining 3/4 cup of orange juice, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, rice wine, orange zest and Sriracha sauce). You can skip the
Sriracha sauce, or add more if you prefer your food on the spicier side. Add the tomato sauce if you are using it. (The tomato sauce adds a tanginess to the overall sweet recipe, and it makes it taste more savory. It is based on your own preference.) Stir gently until all the ingredients are combined and coated in sauce. Close lid, select Manual, and select 5 minutes on High Pressure. Make sure the vent is closed. Use a 10-minute Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure by opening the vent. Open the lid. Select again the Sauté function, on LOW. In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with the orange juice, whisk until all combined with no lumps. Add the mixture to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook on Sauté function for a few more minutes, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. If you want the sauce even thicker, mix one more tablespoon of cornstarch with orange juice and add it to the pot. Let the Orange Chicken stand for 5-7 minutes; the sauce will thicken more. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and extra orange zest. Cook's note: *I love the extra garlic in this dish, but for some people it may be too much, so can use 3-4 cloves if you are not a huge garlic fan. Marsha S. Gardner Baldwin EMC
Instant Pot Sweet Potato Apple Crisp 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1 pound sweet red cooking apple (Pink Lady, Rome or Fuji), peeled and diced ¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon, to taste ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup water Topping: 4 tablespoons melted butter 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
Themes and Deadlines:
June: Bacon | March 8 July: Grilling | April 5 Aug.: Weeknight Suppers | May 10 Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.
prize and title of
Cook the Month
Farmer’s Pie | HEATHER LETSON | Joe Wheeler EMC 1 pound ground pork sausage, crumbled ½ cup onion, chopped 2 cups shredded Colby cheese 1 cup broccoli, chopped and blanched 1 cup cooked brown wild rice 1 tomato, cored and chopped 1 2-ounce can sliced black olives 1 10-inch unbaked piecrust 4 large eggs ½ cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage about 5 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook until onion is fragrant and translucent, 3-5 minutes; drain thoroughly. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, broccoli, rice, tomato and olives. Transfer into piecrust. Combine together eggs, whipping cream, garlic and pepper; pour over sausage mixture to cover. Bake 10 minutes; reduce heat to 400 degrees, bake additional 35 minutes or until brown.
Find more delicious recipes like this in our
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Just Order your copy for $19.95 at alabamaliving.coop, or send a check for $19.95 for each book ordered to: Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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¼ cup flour ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ teaspoon salt Put sweet potatoes and apples into Instant Pot and mix. Top with cinnamon, salt and water. Stir. In separate bowl, mix melted butter, oats, flour, sugar and salt. Drop by spoonful onto the top of sweet potato and apple mixture. Cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Use a natural release. Pam McGehee Baldwin EMC
3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to
reprint recipes in our other publications.
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MARCH 2019 47
Al Around Alabama | March Wilson and Williamson Galleries. Be sure to arrive early to explore the temporary exhibitions. 2-4 p.m. mmfa.org.
Photo courtesy of the Festival of Flowers.
The Orange Beach Festival of Art returns March 9-10 to the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach campus and adjacent Waterfront Park.
Month of March, Theodore, Azalea Bloom Out at Bellingrath Gardens. More than 250,000 azaleas throughout the 65 acres at Bellingrath Gardens. Visit the Azalea Watch page at bellingrath.org for updates on peak bloom times. March & April, Dauphin Island, Spring Bird Migration. The Audubon Bird Sanctuary is the first landfall for neo-tropical migrant birds after their flight across the Gulf from Central and South America each spring. 420 species have been reported on the island. Grab your trail guide, checklist and binoculars and see how many different species you can find. dauphinisland.org
Dothan, JonJam. Bike ride at 9 a.m., chili cook-off, children’s activities and entertainment, featuring Grammy nominee Cedric Burnside. Gates open at 12 p.m. at the Plant in downtown. jonjam.com
Montgomery, Zoo Weekend at the Montgomery Zoo. Live entertainment, games, rides, bouncy houses, pony and camel rides, petting zoo, live animal presentations and more. For more information, visit montgomeryzoo.com.
Orange Beach, Festival of Art. More than 100
artists displaying their artwork and other creations. Music, entertainment, food and more. Orange Beach Coastal Arts Center and Waterfront Park, 26389 Canal Road. Orangebeachal. gov
Montgomery, SLE Rodeo at Garrett Coliseum, 1555 Federal Drive. Barrel racing, children’s activities, Professional Roman Rider Dusti Crane Dickerson and more. For a full schedule of events and ticket information, visit slerodeo.com.
Bay Minette, Car Show, William F. Green Veterans Home, 300 Faulkner Drive. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Open judging on all cars, trucks, and street rods. Proceeds donated to the Veterans Home. Contact Gear Jammers Car Club, 302-561-5231, email@example.com. Rain Date: March 23.
Mobile, Festival of Flowers, Providence Hospital, 3801 Airport Blvd. Floral exhibits, seminars, life-size landscape garden, shopping, food and more. For hours and information, visit festivalofflowers.com.
Daviston, The 205th Anniversary of the Battle of the Horseshoe from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Horseshoe Bend National Military
Park. This annual event recreates traditional Creek Indian life, frontier life in the year 1814 and emphasizes the importance of the battle in U.S. history through a variety of special demonstrations and interpretive programs. All demonstrations will be presented multiple times throughout the day. Refreshments by the New Site Volunteer Fire Department. Free. www.nps.gov/hobe or call 256234-7111.
Clanton, 5th Annual March Gourd Madness & Traditional Arts, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Clanton Performing Arts Center, 1850 Lay Dam Road. Features gourd art, fiber arts, weaving, carving, classes, demonstrations, raw gourds, suppliers and more. For more information and class listings visit www.marchgourdmadness.com. Contact Mack Gothard at 205-2459441 or gothardgourdgarden@ gmail.com.
Opp, Rattlesnake Rodeo. Food vendors, children’s activities, entertainment and more. For more information, visit cityofopp.com. For tickets, contact the Opp City Hall.
Montgomery, Enjoy an afternoon of Jazz at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Free music by local bands in the
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
48 MARCH 2019
Fairhope, Baldwin County Child Advocacy Center celebrates 30 years with its annual “Under the Stars” event at Oak Hollow Farm, 14120 S. Greeno Road. Live music from the Blue Denim Band, dancing, food, drinks and silent and live auctions. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at baldwincountycac. org or contact Jessica Ware, 251989-2555.
Decatur, Vintage Market Days of North Alabama. Vintage-inspired market featuring original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade items, home décor and more. Celebration Arena, 67 Horse Center Road. For hours and admission information, visit vintagemarketdays.com.
Greenville, Camellia CityFest in Downtown Greenville. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Food, live entertainment, arts and crafts, custom-made knives, furniture, jewelry, pottery, apparel and more. Confederate Park will have a variety of concessions available for purchase. For more information, contact the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, 334-382-3251.
Tuscaloosa, Druid City Arts Festival, Government Plaza. More than 85 artists, live entertainment. Free. For hours and more information, visit druidcityartsfestival.com.
54th annual Eufaula Pilgrimage. Home and landmark tours, art show and sale, antique show and sale, live music, concessions and more. Daytime home tours are $7 per home, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and candlelight tour is $7 per home, 6-9 p.m. eufaulapilgrimage.com
Ozark, 13th Annual Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival. Crawfish, shrimp, entertainment and children’s activities. Free. 1 Court Square. Everythingozark.com
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Member Satisfaction Survey Co-op Performance Rating As discussed in the January issue of Alabama Living, the results from the recent member satisfaction survey will be broken down for you to understand. This month we discuss the overall co-op performance. ClarkeWashington EMC received a Cooperative Attitude and Performance Score (CAPS). CAPS was developed as an industry-specific benchmarking tool to help cooperatives gauge performance in service areas deemed most important by cooperative members. In future surveys, the CWEMCâ€™s CAPS can be trended and compared with other cooperatives nationwide. Variables such as: trustworthiness, being well managed, and caring about members were weighted
based on their respective importance to members. The co-opâ€™s performance in these three areas, determined by questions within the satisfaction survey, is then weighted and combined to determine its score, known as CAPS. CWEMC scored a CAPS of 91 and ranked highly on matters of performance, particularly trustworthiness, with a rating on a 10-point scale. CWEMC employees received excellent ratings for being friendly and courteous and knowledgeable and competent. At least 80% of members are somewhat or very satisfied in the performance areas measured.
MARCH 2019 51
| Our Sources Say |
Demonizing Dr. Christy U
niversity of Alabama Huntsville Professor Dr. John Christy was recently appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, which advises the federal agency on issues of science and the environment. The appointment was an opportunity for Alabama’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, John Archibald, to weigh in on Dr. Christy and his appointment. Mr. Archibald wrote on February 5, 2019, that Dr. Christy’s appointment was: “…a big win for those who favor a do-nothing approach for the changing planet.” “…a huge triumph to those who hold humankind guiltless and powerless to affect the climate.” “…a big political victory for those who believe all humanity need to do in the face of global scientific consensus and pressure to reduce greenhouse gases is to do what it has always done. Just say eff it and drive on.” “… a smashing success for those who believe our best hope comes with our heads in the sands, listening to the 3 percent of climate scientists who say man is not to blame, instead of the 97 percent, as NASA points out, agree that climate-warming trends of the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” “Most Alabamians will call it a big ol’ win, because worrying about preserving life on the ball costs money and keeps the super-rich from getting super richer.” Mr. Archibald rebuts Dr. Christy’s work by citing a single study performed by the Brookings Institute, which finds that Alabama will suffer the fifth highest economic cost in the country from climate change, and Birmingham is projected to suffer the 15th worst climate-related loss of metro areas. Mr. Archibald’s synopsis of the Brookings study is, “Alabama and much of the South is the red hot center of the resistance to action on climate change, and the molten core of the consequence in the U.S. The findings are just…Karmic.” He further writes, “I know what you are saying. I can hear you. You’re saying these pointy heads at Brookings are just more of those lefty conspirators who passed through Berkeley on their way to meet George Soros for a passionfruit daiquiri on his private yacht. The website MediaBiasfactcheck.com labels Brookings left center but its factual rating as very high.” So there you are.
I was surprised to find that I know one of the study authors, Dr. David Victor, who did pass through Stanford on his way to teach at UC - San Diego. David is a very bright, thoughtful professor who knows more about fossil fuels than I ever hope to. In discussions with David, we have agreed our opinions on climate change differ. He didn’t call me names nor accuse me of ruining the world. I can’t think of a single reason to call him names. But, Mr. Archibald indicts Dr. Christy as the leader of climate skeptics who believes that humanity should do nothing in the face of scientific consensus to reduce greenhouse gases, have their heads in the sand on climate issues, and just say eff it and drive on by. Mr. Archibald implies Dr. Christy doesn’t care about the human race or the environment and has sold his soul for sound bites. He is a demon. He is the devil. That is not the John Christy I know and respect. He is the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has been the Alabama State Climatologist since 2000. He was awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement in 1991 for his team’s global temperature data set. He was awarded a Special Award by The American Meteorological Society for developing a global precise record of the earth’s temperature from operating polar satellites and was appointed a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2002. He served as Lead Author for the U.N. reports by the IPCC Panel on Climate Change. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in Mathematics from Cal State – Fresno. He was a missionary in Kenya and has shared stories with me about the suffering in third world countries because of the lack of access to affordable energy sources. He has served as mission-pastor in South Dakota where he taught college math. He is a loving father and grandfather. Yes, Mr. Archibald, Dr. Christy knows a little about climate science, and he is a decent, caring and compassionate man. Do you know as much about climate science? Have you done as much for your fellow man? Yet, you feel empowered to demonize him solely because you hold a different opinion on climate change? Pulitzer Prize winners should be cut of better cloth. I hope Mr. Archibald and everyone else will have a good month.
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
52 MARCH 2019
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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Illustration by Dennis Auth
The go-to book for teachers of Alabama history
n 1954, fresh on the cusp of literacy and hungering for new and exciting stories, I entered the fourth grade at the Grove Hill Elementary School and was assigned to the class taught by Mrs. Willie Tucker. There, for the first time, I was “taught” Alabama History. Earlier I had absorbed bits and pieces of our state’s past from tales told in my family, but this was the first time I was exposed to Alabama’s history in all its grandeur. I was hooked. Looking back, I realize that what Mrs. Tucker taught was a reflection of her own interests, and if it did not interest her, she left it out. Face it. We all do that. Back to the point. Mrs. Tucker began with the Indians and for weeks we made model Indian villages in the big sandbox she had in a corner of the room. Then she brought in the white settlers and recounted the heroic struggles – the Canoe Fight, Horseshoe Bend, Fort Sinquefield and such – until the Native Americans were defeated and we became a state. Because so much of this happened in and around our county, history took on a particular reality. One of my classmates, a guy who lived close to where some of it ocHarvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at email@example.com.
54 MARCH 2019
curred, brought in a bone spear point that he claimed he found where an Indian camp had once been. If Mrs. Tucker knew he had fashioned it himself from the leg of a dearly departed cow, she never let on. Instead she put it among the arrowheads and other artifacts she had displayed. In the middle of all this we paused to celebrate Thanksgiving, which I assumed happened on the Alabama River, somewhere around Gosport, and then she took up the story again. Before I knew it, we had reached the “War Between The States,” but rather than fill our impressionable minds with state’s rights and slavery and all that, she told of how local men signed up and marched away to fight. Some, I learned later, did not return. Then the class lost its luster, and I cannot recall much of what we covered next. Helen Keller, maybe. Bibb Graves, possibly. World War I, the Rainbow Division and poppies, could be. But she had nothing to match the stories she told before. Where did she get them, I wondered? Years later I found out. She got the stories from Albert James Pickett. Those of you of my generation – and generations who came along before and after – were taught Alabama history in Alabama public schools by teachers who themselves were taught from Pickett’s History of
Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi from the Earliest Period. It was the go-to book for the stories that educated and enlightened teachers and students over the years since its publication in 1851. Now, thanks to NewSouth Books, Pickett is back, but not just a reprint of an earlier edition. Instead, this is a carefully annotated work in which the commentary, provided by historian James P. Pate, is as interesting and informative as the text itself. It would not be going too far to say that this is a monumental achievement. It is also fun to read, for though it is a hefty volume, both the text and the additions will entertain the interested layman as well as the history “buff.” More than that, it is familiar – especially if you were educated in our fair state. In it you will find the old and often-told tales recounted and explained, fleshed out and documented so that Pickett’s achievement can be appreciated all the more. In this book I rediscovered Mrs. Willie Tucker’s Alabama and was reminded of the richness of our heritage. Enjoy and learn. Ed. note: The Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama is available online, in bookstores or through NewSouth Books, newsouthbooks. com. www.alabamaliving.coop