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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News June 2016



GulfQuest Museum

Celebrating the Gulf’s maritime heritage

Perfect picnic

Creativity, planning key to a great outdoor meal

Plan for the perfect picnic

No matter what you want out of a picnic – a simple meal for a family, a romantic lunch for two, or a feast to impress a group, the key word is planning..



Manager Stan Wilson Co-Op Editor Rick Norris 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. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.


VOL. 69 NO. 6 n JUNE 2016

POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Michael Cornelison Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Advertising Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Tori McClanahan



National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Printed in America from American materials Alabama Living

Hurricane season


Made in Alabama


Science center fun

In this month’s column, GM Stan Wilson talks about steps we take to be as prepared as possible for hurricane season.

Private homes and historic sites have been transformed with Hollywood magic for the big screen.

State’ s science centers spark learning and fuel curiosity in even the youngest children.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:



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9 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Gardens 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Snapshots ONLINE: ON THE COVER: Inside the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum in Mobile. Built to look like a ship docked on the Mobile River, the museum highlights the sea life, culture, maritime history and industry along the entire Gulf of Mexico. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson JUNE 2016 3

Hurricane season OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue 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) Pay your bill online at Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

Stan Wilson Manager of Clarke-Washington EMC

4 JUNE 2016

Hurricane season is officially upon us. In the electric utility business, we know this time of year is coming, and while we don’t look forward to the threat of bad weather, we do our best to prepare for it. Fortunately, there is something you can do to ensure that your electricity is restored as quickly and safely as possible. By keeping your contact information up to date, you can be sure that when you report an outage, it will be restored as soon as possible. You may have noticed prompts through articles and bill stuffers requesting your updated contact information. If we don’t have the correct phone number linked to your home address, it makes it much more difficult for you to report an outage. Also, you can assign several different phone numbers to your account. Not too long ago, you had to report an outage to the office on the phone. If it was a small outage, it was not that big of a deal. With a large outage, you may have had to stay on hold for a while just to report your power outage. Today, with the press of a button, you can easily report an outage. At Clarke-Washington EMC we use the phone number you provide to link your service address to our outage management system. For example, if you call us to report an outage, our automated system instantly recognizes your phone number and can determine the particular service address from which you are reporting an outage. Once you give our system a response, your outage is reported. But remember – this only works if your current phone number is linked to your service address. I would like to emphasize, however, that during normal business hours we answer the phone. It is when we have an after-hours outage, when we may get hundreds of calls at the same time, that the automated services really help.

Updating your contact information is helpful because it also speeds up the power restoration process. With correct information, we can determine very quickly if we are dealing with single or multiple outages and where those outages are. When you call an outage in from a number that is not associated with your account, it registers on the outage management system as an unknown record. Trying to figure out all the unknown records takes quite a bit of time - time that could be spent restoring the power much more quickly. Throughout the year, we work to keep our system in the best possible shape. We trim and spray our right-of-way (the area around our power lines), perform systemic pole inspections and keep our equipment in top shape so it is ready to go on a moment’s notice. We also use bigger class poles and heavier, steel-reinforced wire to give our system strength. Outages are going to occur, however, and I want you to know that we have a stand-by crew on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond as quickly as possible. When a hurricane or some other weather related threat is looming, every employee we have is on call and ready to come in. I have read the 2016 hurricane season is predicted to be average. The experts at Colorado State University say there will be 13 named storms, with six of those storms turning into a hurricane. We haven’t had a hurricane impact us here in several years, and I thank God for that. But at the same time, I urge you to be diligent in your preparations. I assure you that we are. Thank you.

“Updating your contact information is helpful because it also speeds up the power restoration process. ”

| Clarke Washington EMC |

Jackson is

The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to the birthday celebration for the City of Jackson

June 24 & 25 at Jackson City Hall Old Cemetery Tours

Kids Games

Trivia Contest

Water slide

Tall Tale Telling Event

Time Capsule Burial

Hot Dog Eating Contest

Food Vendors

For more information, call Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce 251.246.3251 Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 5

CWEMC recognizes AL Youth Tour winners at awards day

The Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tour program is a grassroots effort to educate high school juniors about electric cooperatives and their ideals. Youth Tour provides a unique opportunity for participating cooperatives to expose young people to the importance of cooperatives and their prominence in everyday American life. This year’s Montgomery winners were both from Clarke Prep School in Grove Hill. Margaret Bradford (left) and Hannah Prescott (right) did a great job in Montgomery and represented our cooperative very well. Good job, Margaret and Hannah, and good luck on your Senior year!

800.323.9081 • 6 JUNE 2016

| Clarke-Washington EMC |

Career Days in Clarke and Washington counties Around 50 businesses and colleges had the opportunity to talk to more than 800 high school students about their particular industry recently. Clarke Washington EMC participated in a career day in Chatom, and one in Thomasville over the course of two days last month. Thomasville High School hosted the Clarke County students, and the Washington County students went to the Community Center in Chatom to learn about some local opportunities they may have not known they had.

Above: David Moorer, a junior from Millry HS, tries on a pair of 20KV (20,000 volt) gloves. These gloves are part of the safety and protective equipment our linemen wear when working on energized power lines.

Left: In Thomasville, Jaylin Pate also tries on the gloves. In the background you can see the graphic of the lineman’s tools and gear. Each tool has an explanation of how it is used. The tools and proctective equipment the lineman uses weighs around 45 lbs! The students also learned that jobs at CWEMC are not just for linemen. We also employ engineers, accountants, billing experts, customer service experts, marketing/adver tising specialists, energy auditors, etc.

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 7

The benefits of choosing an electric water heater As expected, most people don’t think much about water heaters. They take for granted that they make it possible to have hot showers, clean dinner dishes and enjoy load upon load of freshly laundered linens. The lonely water heater, tucked away in the basement or a utility closet, is out of sight and out of mind. There are times, however, when your attention turns to that most essential of appliances: when an existing water heater breaks (“Brrr. That water is cold!”) or when building or renovating a home. At those times, a homeowner will make a decision that has consequences that persist for a decade or two, maybe longer. Your water-heating choice will have implications for energy efficiency, cost of use, the environment, safety and reliability. As a trusted energy advisor, CWEMC can help you make the right decision. As a member of the cooperative, you might already know about many of the advantages and benefits of electric water heaters. First, electric water heaters are safe. There is no threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, combustion or explosion. Electric water heaters are environmentally friendly and capable of using electricity generated from solar, wind, hydro and other renewable sources. Electric water heaters are also easy to install, requiring no expensive gas lines, exhaust flue or on-site fuel tanks. Compared to

other fuels, the cost of electricity is stable. In addition, electric water heaters are emerging as a building block of the future electric grid. These formerly mundane units are evolving into smart appliances and energy storage units that are helping the grid become more stable and more efficient. By heating water when demand for electricity is low and storing the thermal energy for later use, electric water heaters can save you money. Not everyone acknowledges the superiority of electric water heaters. In the coming months, you might see television commercials or other advertisements that will try to sell you on the merits of propane water heaters. A propane marketing group is behind the campaign, and there’s no telling what kind of claims they’ll make. The fact is that propane is a fossil fuel, and prices tend to fluctuate wildly. If you install a propane heater today, you’ll live with the consequences and risks for years to come. That’s the inconvenient truth. If you have questions about water heater options or other energy efficiency needs, give us a call at 251-246-9081. At CWEMC, we’re here to be your trusted energy source.

Use caution near co-op equipment As you find yourself spending more time outdoors this summer, CWEMC reminds you to exercise caution near electrical equipment maintained by the co-op. Substations and power lines carry extremely high voltages, and if contact is accidentally made, the results can be dangerous––or even deadly. Never climb trees near power lines. If you make contact with a tree that is touching a power line, your body could become the path of electricity from the line to the ground. If you encounter an animal trapped in a tree near power lines or inside a substation, do not attempt to remove it––no matter how furry and cute! Call CWEMC or 911 for assistance. These days, we are seeing more remote-controlled toys, like drones and airplanes, which can be a great way to have fun outdoors. But these gadgets also bring new safety concerns. Remotecontrolled toys should never be flown near power lines, substations or other electrical equipment. Remember these safety tips when flying a remote-controlled toy:

transformer inside a substation, many members of your community could be left without electricity. •

Keep the remote-controlled toy in sight at all times.

• Avoid flying if weather conditions are unfavorable. High winds could cause you to lose control of the remote-controlled toy. Here at CWEMC, your safety is important to us. We hope you will share the message of electrical safety so that you and others can enjoy plenty of summer days filled with fun!



• Keep a safe distance from electrical equipment when you fly. If contact is accidentally made with a power line or a 8 JUNE 2016

June | Spotlight Grants will help low-income residents cut energy costs Some low-income and elderly Alabama residents who need help reducing their utility bills will get assistance from $950,000 in grants awarded by Gov. Robert Bentley. The funds are made available by the U.S. Department of Energy. The grants are supporting Alabama’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides funds to improve the energy efficiency and safety of qualifying homes. Priority is given to those with disabilities, the elderly and low-income households with children. An energy audit is conducted of each home that qualifies for weatherization assistance to determine the most cost-efficient measures. Common improvements include installing extra insulation in the attic, walls and floor; sealing air leaks around doors and windows; repairs or tune-ups for air-conditioning and heating units; and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. The funds are made available to community action agencies around the state, which manage the program at the local level and receive applications from those who wish to be considered for assistance.

Whereville, AL

| JUNE 24 |

Peaches and family fun at Clanton jubilee The 12th Annual Peach Jam is set for 5-10 p.m. June 24 at Clanton City Park. This year’s event will be the biggest and best ever, organizers say, with live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, a children’s playground, great food and fun for the whole family. Admission is free! For information on this event, hosted by the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, call 205-755-2400. Event is held annually on the last Friday of June.

In this feature, readers are asked to identify and place an Alabama landmark or scene. The winner is chosen at random from all the correct entries and will receive $25. Multiple entries from the same

person will be disqualified.

If you know where this landmark is, send your answer by June 6 with your name, address and the name of your electric cooperative. The winner and the answer will be announced in the July issue. 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 and easy to identify. A reader whose photo is used in the magazine will also win $25

Guess where this is and you might win $25!

Submit: By email: By mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124


Anyone who travels to the beach down U.S. 231 has likely seen this 13-foot rooster, sculpted from chrome car bumpers by multi-faceted artist Larry Godwin. His gallery and shop is called Art Wurks, at 3153 U.S. 231 about three miles south of Brundidge. Congratulations to Janet Haralson of Pea River EC., the correct guess winner.

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 9


| Power Pack |

Social Security supports National Cancer Survivors Day


n 2016, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere. On June 5, 2016, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease. Social Security stands strong in our support of the fight against cancer. We offer services to patients dealing with this disease through our disability program and our Compassionate Allowances program. Compassionate Allowances are cases with medical conditions so severe

they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information. Many cancers are on our Compassionate Allowance list. There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits using the standard Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application. Once we identify you as having a Compassionate Allowances condition, we’ll expedite your disability application. Social Security establishes new Compassionate Allowances conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services com-

Nominate your favorite restaurant for Catfish challenge


labama catfish lovers have the chance to brag about their favorite restaurant that serves this Southern specialty. Alabama Catfish Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, is sponsoring the Catfish Restaurant challenge to recognize delicious dishes. The contest will highlight and reward Alabama restaurants known for serving U.S. farm-raised catfish. From the nominations, four finalists will be selected for the challenge. A team of judges, including an Alabama catfish farmer, will visit the finalists and present each restaurant owner a plaque. The judges will sample the nominated dish as part of the final round of competition. The winner will be announced in August, which is National Catfish Month. The contest offers more than bragging rights about great-tasting food. The winning restaurant will receive a trophy, a cash prize and be featured in Neighbors magazine. The person who nominates the winning restaurant will also receive prizes from the Alabama Catfish Producers. Visit for a complete list of rules and the nomination form. The deadline for nominations is July 7.¢ 10 JUNE 2016

munities, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. For more information about Compassionate Allowances, including the list of eligible conditions, visit www. If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, please visit www. to apply for benefits.¢

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

State red snapper waters extended for season Alabama’s waters will open for the recreational harvest of red snapper from May 27 (Memorial Day weekend) through July 31, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division. For the 2016 season, state waters were extended in federal legislation that was passed in December 2015. This extension allows the state of Alabama to manage reef fish out to 9 miles from shore. The daily bag limit will be two red snapper per person. The minimum size for red snapper will be 16 inches total length. Federal waters outside 9 miles will also be open for red snapper harvest during the nine-day federal season June 1-9. Fishermen are reminded that they are still required to report their red snapper harvest through Snapper Check to the Marine Resources Division during this period as well as any other time red snapper are allowed to be landed in Alabama. Only one report is required per vessel trip, and anglers can provide details via a smartphone app available under “Outdoor Alabama” in the iTunes or Google Play app stores; online at; by phone at 1-844-REDSNAP (1-844-7337627); or by paper forms available at select coastal public boat launches.¢


A senior prom for seniors


enior prom season is in full swing. However, in addition to the senior prom that honors the senior class, my daughter’s high school holds another. The Student Government Association sponsors “Senior Citizens Prom,” for old folks – which to the kids is anyone over 50. The kids (with adult input and supervision) decorate the cafeteria, put together a “play list” of '50s and '60s songs, lay out heaps of food (made by mamas and/or donated by local businesses), and get door prizes – also donated. Then they get the word out to senior citizens that for $10 each they can hit the buffet and dance the night away, at least from 6:00 to 9:00, when the elderly need to be heading home. Although the “theme” was “The 50s,” the seniors did not dress in jeans, white socks and poodle skirts. They came dressed as they would have dressed for a prom – coats, ties, long dresses, one guy in a dinner jacket. They hit the dance floor, and you could see from the way they moved that age slowed them only slightly. Some of those couples had obviously been partners since the '50s and could still bop, shag, and shuffle with style and grace. And when the music slowed, they held on to each other as only old lovers can and do. Time turned back and they were young again. As everyone knows, an all-you-can-eat-buffet is a senior citizen’s natural habitat, and they went at the food like locusts. Then back to dancing. The kids joined in, leading them through

Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Alabama Living

"YMCA," and twisting and shouting to “Twist and Shout.” Senior citizens are into group participation. So are teenagers. It was a perfect match. Conga lines, circle dances, hand jive, one group of oldsters even broke into a modified version of the Electric Slide, and the kids struggled mightily to catch on.

Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@

I, myself, took a turn with my daughter and quickly “Twist and Shout” became “pause and pant.” I needed to get in better shape. At 9 p.m. the DJ called out “Last Dance,” and the strains of “Goodnight Sweetheart” floated across the room. The dancers, hardwired to go home when that song ended, took one more twirl around and headed for the door. The kids, worn out and happy, were also ready to call it a night. As the senior citizens collected their stuff, they thanked us for the good time they had. We thanked them for coming out to support our children. As they left, they vowed to return next year. So did my daughter and her friends. “This was,” one of them said, “more fun than our Senior Prom.” But next year my daughter’s group will be off at college. Will they come back to dance with the senior citizens? We’ll see. But one thing is for certain. That night the young folks discovered that the old folks know how to have a good time. And why shouldn’t they? They’ve been doyears. ing it for years.¢

Readers like memories and daffodils I LOVED this article in the April Alabama Living Magazine. Never really thought of some of the things you said. Paulette Bowdoin Wetumpka

I enjoyed your article about daffodils in Alabama Living! You always seem to include some “worthwhile” content, as well as your light humor! Guess that could be called “talent”! Mary Estes Centre JUNE 2016 11

Alabama in t Historic sites get starring

By Emmett Burnett


udy Perszyk was enjoying the front porch, absorbing a lovely Huntsville day in the summer of 2012, unaware her home was destined for stardom. “A man walked up, saying he was scouting film project locations,” recalls Judy, a resident of Madison County’s Five Points Historic District. A year later, 100 people are in the house and yard shooting the Hollywood production “Space Warriors,” which was released in 2013 and stars Danny Glover. Judy’s house was added to an exclusive list: About 146 film locations shot in the Heart of Dixie. “Often it begins with a knock on the door,” says movie production coordinator Jerilyn Bickford, based in Birmingham. “A movie scout may like a home’s exterior and ask the homeowner’s permission to look inside.” Regardless of the search methods, Tinsel Town loves us. “Alabama is great,” adds movie actor–producer Kevin Downes, from his Burbank, Calif., office. His film credits include “Mom’s Night Out” and “Woodlawn,” both filmed in Birmingham. “Your state welcomed us with open arms. I would definitely come back.” Most Alabamians who opened their homes to Hollywood would welcome them back too. But all agree that though movies may be a labor of love, the operative word is “labor.” “Actors are nice and polite,” Judy says, “but they are here to work. We didn’t bother them, just let them be, studying their lines, rehearsing. You learn fast. They’re here for a job.” Mobile’s Janine Stebbins agrees about long days of movie making. Her

home, Blacksher Hall, was used in “U.S.S. Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” which was set for release in late May and stars Nicolas Cage. Cage did not film scenes at Blacksher, but Janine recalls, “His driver told us, the actor is quiet (while) riding to the Mobile set. He studies the script. But on the trip back, he is all chatty.” She also notes that producers don’t just film in your home. They seize it. “They take over,” she laughs. Crews removed most of the furniture from her ground floor, replacing it with objects indicative of World War II, including portraits of President Harry Truman. Blacksher’s library became an Army general’s office. The scene called for a tobacco-hazy room. “Technicians set up a fog machine,” says Janine, “but smoke was supplemented by off-camera workers, smoking and puffing cigar smoke into the scene.” Unlike Blacksher Hall’s movie, Huntsville’s “Space Warriors” used mostly existing furnishings. “It is fun watching a film showing characters using my telephone,” Judy laughs. “Family pictures on the walls, chairs, even cups, plates in kitchen table scenes are my cups and plates, on my kitchen table.”

Blacksher Hall in Mobile is one of the settings for the movie ‘U.S.S. Indianapolis: Men of Courage.’

Transforming homes and city blocks

Transforming home sweet home into household Hollywood is daunting, but turning entire buildings, city blocks, and stadiums into make-believe is epic. In 1970s Mobile, a Brookley Field airplane hangar held the largest sound stage ever created for a movie, for 1977’s “Close Encounters of

Crews working on the movie ’42’ install movie prop advertisements and billboards to depict a 1940s baseball field at Rickwood Field in Birmingham. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF RICKWOOD FIELD

12 JUNE 2016

Travel Alabama Issue

the movies

g roles in Hollywood films


A crew filming ‘Space Warriors’ sets up for a shot at Judy Perszyk’s Huntsville home. PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDY PERSZYK

Alabama Living

the Third Kind,” written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The mothership’s return to earth scene was filmed in it. In Montgomery, technicians poured rocks over Cobb Street and parked dozens of 1954 automobiles for a gravel road scene in 1989’s “The Long Walk Home,” which starred Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg. And in the late 1970s, Twentieth Century Fox rented the Opelika Manufacturing Corporation and used the Golden Cherry Motel for “Norma Rae,” starring Sally Field, Beau Bridges and Auburn University students who were hired as extras. “Many cast members actually stayed at the hotel the movie was filmed in,” says Pam Powers-Smith, director of the community organization, Opelika Main Street. “They didn’t get out a lot, and had food delivered to the motel.” The Golden Cherry Motel – which will never be confused with the Waldorf Astoria – still operates. Room 130, used in the film, is no different than any of the other motel’s rooms, except it helped Sally Field win an Oscar. “She was a lovely lady,” says Warner Williams, who was active with the Opelika Chamber of Commerce during the filming of “Norma Rae.” “Days before filming, she wore old ragged clothes and hung around the mill, psyching up for her character.” Speaking of characters, Birmingham may hold an Alabama movie record for a cast of thousands – however, not all were human, or real. The Magic City’s Rickwood Field was chosen for “42,” the baseball story of Jackie Robinson. “The 2012 movie depicts a stadium of 6,000 fans,” says

Friends of Rickwood Field executive director David Brewer. “But the people in upper levels are inflatables.” About 2,000 recruited Birmingham extras, dressed in period clothing, were in the lower, close-up bleachers. But for the upper levels, balloons shaped like people were blown up, with facial hair, toupees, baseball caps and clothes added. From a distance, you can’t tell the fans in the high-rise stands are balloons. The Birmingham baseball center portrayed three stadiums of Robinson’s career: In addition to Rickwood, it was dressed as Ebbets Field in Brooklyn and Roosevelt Stadium in Droyer’s Point, N.J. “The sets were layered with fake walls,” recalls Brewer. “Each wall was filmed for one of the three stadium scenes it represented. When the shot was completed, the wall was removed, revealing the next ‘stadium wall’, and then the last one. Workers added billboards, scoreboards, colors, props and paint jobs to Rickwood, indicative of the stadium it represented.” One of the state’s first major movies, 1949’s war drama “Twelve O’Clock High” starring Gregory Peck, was filmed in Ft. Rucker. From then on, Hollywood has sought Alabama locations for film settings. Many sites are famous in their own right, like the Edmund Pettus Bridge, prominent in the 2014 Oscar-nominated movie, “Selma.” Others exist only in film, like Baldwin County’s stab-and-slash horror house in “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.” It burned to the ground in the movie’s final scene. That’s show biz.¢ JUNE 2016 13


Travel Alabama Issue

Spectre Mythical movie town of enjoys resurgence

Story and photos by David Haynes


ot far from the state capital, on a teardrop-shaped island just off the Alabama River’s main channel, a mythical town where no one ever actually lived and that never really existed is today enjoying a resurgence in popularity. The idyllic town of Spectre was constructed among live oaks draped in Spanish moss on Jackson Lake Island near Millbrook as a movie set for Tim Burton’s 2003 fantasy film “Big Fish.” The film’s theme of reconciliation between a father and his estranged son, and Burton’s unique storytelling style that included an enchanted forest, the surreal town of Spectre, giants and witches, has made it a beloved tale for thousands of fans. Today, 13 years after the film crews left the island, the remnants of Spectre’s buildings are slowly being reclaimed by nature and some have already had to be taken down due to safety concerns. But now more and more people are making pilgrimages from around the country and around the world to this 60-acre

island to see Spectre before it’s gone. Jackson Lake Island wasn’t even an island before the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam was built in the mid-1970s more than 80 miles downstream. The resulting Bob Woodruff Lake elevated the Alabama River’s level to allow passage through an inlet from the river to Jackson Lake, simultaneously creating the island. Lynn and Bobby Bright now own the island that Lynn’s parents originally purchased in the early 1970s. Her father, Leon Clardy, built the causeway that connects the island to the mainland and began offering memberships to those wanting to fish, boat or otherwise use the island for recreation shortly thereafter. In 2002 when Burton was looking for a location for the fictional town in his movie, it was already on an Alabama Film Commission’s list of sites, and they reached an agreement to lease his production company the island for the duration of the movie shoot.

Early morning view of the Spectre’s Main Street looking toward the church with four of the remaining houses..

14 JUNE 2016


Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 15

A ‘magical experience’

town were never intended to be permanent. These are really just hollow shells that were decorated in realistic facades for the camConstruction of the town, “Jenny’s House” and an enchanted eras to record. For example, the “brick” used on the chimneys is forest used for the movie took about six months, according to Lynn actually just a vinyl brick-like veneer and much of the trim is fabBright, before shooting began. She said their family all marveled at ricated from styrofoam. the transformation of the sleepy little island into a busy movie set In the years following the film’s 2003 release, much of the town and at the attention to detail in every aspect of the project, from became overgrown as nature began to reclaim the buildings that the “motorized tree limbs” in the mystical forest to the selections of made up the town of Spectre. By 2011 two storefront facades had authentic period products to be displayed in the town’s storefront become a safety hazard and both have since been removed. windows. “We were invited to be there the evening they filmed the scene Trying to keep the town as intact as possible when everyone was dancing on the street, and it was truly a magiToday the town’s main street has a church at one end and two cal experience,” she says. styrofoam tree trunks at the other end. The view between the trees After the filming wrapped up, the original intent was for the frames the church, production crew to main street and rereturn the island to maining buildings its original state, but and is a favorite after more considspot for visitors to eration the family take photographs. decided to have the Between the church temporarily-built and the arching sets remain, as a cutrees are the eight riosity. remaining buildings For the first few in varying states of years there was little repair along either interest in the forside of the street. mer movie set, but The owners are doas social media ining what they can creased in popularito repair the inevity so did the number table deterioration of visitors coming to to keep the town as see the Big Fish set, intact as possible. Lynn Bright says. Visitors apToday’s visitors The church in Spectre isn’t as pristine and white as it was in “Big Fish,” but it still retains its charm. proaching the isare a mix of local land today will fishermen, kayakers encounter a gate and campers, phobefore the causetographers taking way, sometimes engagement, senior manned, sometimes or prom portraits not. Admission is $3 and curious outper person. At the of-towners who’ve ele c t r ic-p owere d heard about the gate, a sign instructs place on Facebook visitors to fill out a or other social media registration enveand want to visit the lope, insert payment town before it fades and call one of three back into the landnumbers listed for scape. The island a code to open the has also become an gate. event destination Lynn Bright, a and hosts several One of Spectre’s houses from the movie set shows signs of deterioration over the past 13 years. retired Alabama weddings and othjudge, and Bobby er events each year. Bright, a former mayor of Montgomery and Alabama congressThere are even a few semi-fulltime residents who live in RVs at one man, have had to do little to promote the island since taking over end of the island year-round. its operation a few years ago. There is currently a Facebook Page One of those full-time islanders, Kevin Carr, has been living on but no dedicated website, though Lynn says that’s likely an addithe island for three years. “It’s just so peaceful here,” he says. “I just tion in the near future. couldn’t imagine living anywhere else now.” Bobby said they hope to maintain the island as a safe and conWildlife abounds here as well, with more than 20 species of birds venient destination for families from the local area to picnic, fish documented, at least one resident fox and a pair of ospreys who and camp and enjoy for the foreseeable future. built a nest at the top of a dead tree near the causeway. A small herd For information, visit the Facebook Page ( goats also roams freely about the island. sonLakeIsland/) or call 334-430-7963 or 334-324-2000.¢ Being constructed as a movie set, the structures created for the 16 JUNE 2016

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 17

Travel Alabama Issue

Lights, camera, Alabama! Movie productions find a home here By Allison Griffin


labama is fortunate to have a diversity of environments – mountains, marshes and wetlands, beaches, quaint small towns and historically significant metro areas – that are appealing to producers and filmmakers. In whole or in part, Alabama has been the location for several big-screen and madefor-TV movies over the years:  Actress Kate Bosworth gave the town of Fairhope some love on social media when she was there in late 2013 shooting “Before I Wake,” a horror/thriller that hasn’t yet been released in the U.S. Among her tweets: “Truly there is nothing like Southern charm.”  Also filmed in Fairhope was “Coffee Shop,” the 2014 romantic comedy/drama by Birmingham filmmakers Jon and Andy Erwin. (Alabama Living featured the Erwin brothers in the October 2015 issue when their movie, “Woodlawn,” about the racial tensions in a 1970s Birmingham high school, was released.)  The Erwin brothers were also behind “Moms’ Night Out,” the 2014 comedy starring Patricia Heaton and Sean Astin, which was filmed in Birmingham.  Fairhope and Mobile were also the locations for the horror/mystery film “Oculus,” released in 2014.  Greenville served as the location for 2007’s “Honeydripper,” starring Danny Glover.  The 2006 adventure/fantasy film “Big Fish,” starring Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney, was filmed in Montgomery, Elmore and Autauga counties. (See story on the fictional town of Spectre on page 14.)

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Some moviemakers want an Alabama location for specific scenes and backdrops:  “Failure to Launch,” the 2006 film starring Matthew McConaughey, featured Cherokee Rock Village near Leesburg in northeast Alabama for many of the outdoor scenes.  Some scenes in the 2006 movie “Heavens Fall,” based on the story of the Scottsboro Boys, were filmed in Monroeville.  Rickwood Field, the historic ballpark in Birmingham, has served as a location for several movies, including the Jackie Robinson story “42,” the 1994 film “Cobb” with Tommy Lee Jones, and the 1996 TV movie “Soul of the Game,” about Negro League players Robinson, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson.  The USS Alabama and Fairhope were used for some scenes of 1992’s “Under Siege,” starring Steven Seagal.  Selma’s history has long attracted filmmakers. In addition to the Oscar-nominated “Selma,” released in 2014 and directed by Ava Duvernay, the 1994 movie “Blue Sky” with Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones had scenes shot in Selma and at its now-closed Craig Field. “Body Snatchers,” a 1993 film adaptation of “The Body Snatchers” directed by Abel Ferrara, was also filmed at Craig Field.  The Talladega Superspeedway was featured in 1983’s “Stroker Ace,” starring Burt Reynolds as a NASCAR driver, as well as 2006’s “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” starring Will Ferrell.  Burt Reynolds dazzled fans in 1978’s “Hooper,” part of which was filmed in Tuscaloosa on the grounds of the Northington General Hospital, a World War II military hospital near the University of Alabama. The hospital buildings and two smokestacks were exploded or demolished as part of the film and the University Mall occupies the space today.  A r n o l d Schwarzenegger won a Golden Globe for his role as a bodybuilder in the 1976 movie, “Stay Hungry,” filmed in Birmingham. Birmingham.¢


Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 19

Travel Alabama Issue

Something to

Museum highlights Gulf Coast nautical history and heritage

By John N. Felsher


eading north on the Mobile Ship Channel, one might spot what looks like a large ship docked at the old cruise terminal – only this “ship” sits on land and contains another “ship” inside of it. More than a museum, the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico opened at 155 South Water St. in Mobile in September 2015. Built to look like a ship docked on the Mobile River, the facility highlights the vibrant sea life, culture, maritime history and industry along the entire Gulf of Mexico. 20 JUNE 2016


‘sea’ in Mobile!


“The Board of Trustees determined that the museum would have a much larger draw if it was a regional museum rather than just focus on Mobile,” says Tony Zodrow, GulfQuest executive director. “That prompted the board to expand the mission to encompass the entire Gulf of Mexico, not just the United States part. Our mission is to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to understand and appreciate the Gulf Coast’s rich maritime heritage through exhibits, programs and activities. There’s nothing like this anywhere in the Gulf Region.” The city of Mobile put up $28 million of the $43 million needed just to build the unique 120,000-square-foot structure, with the rest coming from federal grants to the city. The architecture itself incorporates a maritime image. Hemmed in by the river and railroad, the designers flared the building outward as it rises, just like a ship, to create more space. Even the fire escapes resemble lifeboats. With the building complete, the museum staff packed it with $20 million worth of interactive exhibits in 90 themes that run the gamut of topics such as nature, exploration and settlement, shipping and shipbuilding and energy exploration, among others. Visitors can explore exhibits on five decks resembling a life-size container ship and three levels inside containers. Each exhibit, with more planned for the future, might contain several hundred parts, offering such varied “hands on” interactive experiences as navigating a ship with a sextant, exploring the depths or loading cargo containers with a crane. “We’re more than a museum,” says Diana Brewer, GulfQuest director of marketing and public relations. “We’re really an education center. Our exhibits are multi-sensory with a lot of technology. People often learn by doing. When people hear ‘interactive,’ they automatically think ‘children’s museum.’ We’re kid friendly, but we are not a children’s museum. It’s almost like a ‘land of make believe’ for adults.” Each interactive exhibit tries to re-create the real experience as completely as possible without actually doing it. For example, in the “bridge,” or pilothouse, of the building, mariners of all ages can drive a tugboat pushing barges, a speedy U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel or other ships on the Mobile River in the “Take the Helm” exhibit. Just like in a real channel pilot simulator, the helmsman must nav-

igate through traffic, day or night in all kinds of weather. People familiar with the actual river would spot many landmarks in the simulator screens, such as the building housing GulfQuest. Although children can “pilot” a vessel at the helm simulator, the museum also offers some interactive exhibits just for the little ones. Children can learn while they play. Anna Nameniuk, a school nurse from Mobile, brought her children, ages 11 and 12, to GulfQuest.

class project, senior Auburn University industrial design students divided into teams. Each team designed part of Treasures. The museum staff used the students’ designs, complete with a floor resembling an ocean bottom littered with pirate treasure and seashells. Large wooden “ship ribs” hold merchandise shelves. “We wanted to design a compelling store that people would want to go in and explore,” Zodrow says. “The students designed the store to look and feel like a sunken Spanish galleon. The contractors built it exactly as the students designed it.” People can enter the gift shop or dine in the Galley, the riverfront restaurant at museum, without paying the admission fee. With a spectacular view of the Mobile River, GulfQuest also hosts weddings, corporate functions and other special events. Maureen and Frank Bianchi of Detroit, Mich., enjoyed the view on the deck one day. Frank, a retired research engineer, and Maureen, a retired kindergarten teacher, spend their winters in Orange Beach.


It’s almost like a ‘land of make believe’ for adults.

Alabama Living

“We loved the first-floor exhibits because it has lots of hands-on experiments for the kids to try,” Nameniuk says. “They really enjoyed it. I had them try some of the things having to do with navigating by the stars. We lay in the yard at home and look at the stars at night. We also loved the movie. It was very informational.” Even “Treasures,” the museum gift shop, reminds people of the sea. For a

JUNE 2016 21

Kendon Hughes, Exhibit Educator, introduces a young visitor to ship maneuvering.


“The museum was awesome,” Frank says. “I came because I’m interested in submarines and they have an excellent display on the Hunley, the Confederate submarine that was the first in history to sink a warship. I didn’t realize that Mobile had such a boat-building industry.” “I think it’s great,” Maureen adds. “The museum exceeded my expectations. I especially liked the interactive displays.” Don’t leave without watching the multi-media presentation in the GulfQuest Theater. The video documents the nature, maritime history and culture of the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay from its earliest days to the present. The museum opens seven days a week. People can buy various levels of memberships so they can visit frequently. ¢ Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for ages 13-17, $14 for ages 5-12 and $16 for seniors and active military. Children under 5 are free. Groups qualify for discounted prices. For more information, call 251-436-8901 or see

Emma McDonald, Exhibit Educator, explains one of the hands-on displays to Jeremy Bonds, PR/Marketing Assistant and Diana Brewer, PR/Marketing Director. PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON

22 JUNE 2016

Frank and Maureen Bianchi of Detroit, Mich., enjoy the view of the Mobile River and watching the shipping from the deck of the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 23

Travel Alabama Issue

Science centers combine education with fun By Marilyn Jones


nyone who thinks science is only for grad students and university professors has never been to a science center and watched children — toddlers to teens — completely immerse themselves in the fun of scientific exploration. Just ask John Hall. Well, he can only say “moo” to the pretend cow in Itty Bitty Magic City at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, but if the 17-month-old could say more, I’m sure he’d talk all about the firetruck, water features and library area. “He loves the cow and firetruck,” says his grandmother, Bonnie Higgins, as she and John’s grandfather Tom Higgins watch the toddler dart from one area to another. That’s what a science center does; It sparks learning, and fuels

curiosity and achievement even in children as young as John. According to McWane Science Center President and CEO Amy Templeton, STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math disciplines) education helps children explore and understand the world around them. “(They) ask questions leading to new and innovative answers to issues we face today and will face in the future,” Templeton explains. “Asking ‘why’ and ‘how and ‘what if ’ teaches them to use their imagination and creativity, and encourages curiosity and exploration. “When these traits are nurtured in our children, there is no end to the things they can learn and accomplish,” she says.

At the Giant Lever, a tug of war ensues. PHOTO COURTESY MCWANE SCIENCE CENTER

McWane Science Center

Every exhibit is child-friendly and guides are available to answer questions. Throughout the day at Demonstration Station, educational programs and shows are presented, a different one every hour. McWane’s Sea Monsters and Alabama Dinosaurs allow visitors to come face to face with the creatures that once lived in Alabama, including a 15-foot sea turtle, the Alabama tyrannosaur and dromaeosaur. Shark & Ray Touch Tank is one of the center’s most popular exhibits. Visitors are invited to get up close and personal with white spotted bamboo sharks, bonnethead sharks, cownose 24 JUNE 2016

stingray and southern stingrays; the tank is a great opportunity to learn more about sharks and rays. The World of Water Aquariums offers a look at several different underwater environmental areas. At the Giant Lever a tug of war ensues. Children learn the advantage to good leverage, realizing that leverage influences who wins the tug-of-war. Dynamometers on each side of the lever allow visitors to see the force exerted, while a victory signal reveals the mechanical advantage of this simple machine. Next to it is the Pulley Chair Lift where children scramble to be next to pull themselves up into the air using a pulley.


Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 25

The Exploreum offers more than 150 interactive exhibits and handson exploration for its guests. The Mobile science center’s original exhibit gallery Hand on Hall allows children the opportunity to push, pull and tinker with exhibits dedicated to unraveling the basics of electricity, simple mechanics and magnetism. My BodyWorks helps children — and adults — learn about nutrition, healthy living and how the body works. The fun interactive exhibit hall features more than 50 custom-designed exhibits as well as a 12-foot-tall beating heart and other amazing displays designed to inspire curiosity and fun. iHealthy Life Science Lab allows visitors to learn what body tissues look like under the microscope, how the skeletal system works, how nutrients in food actually affect the body and what germs look like.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center

Children get up close and personal with natural science at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. PHOTO COURTESY GULF COAST EXPLOREUM SCIENCE CENTER

US Space and Rocket Center

Future astronauts and rocket scientists dream of their future at the US Space and Rocket Center. PHOTO COURTESY US SPACE AND ROCKET CENTER

If you go:   

McWane Science Center: 200 19th Street North, Birmingham. 205-714-8300; Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center: 65 Government Street, Mobile; 251-208-6893; US Space and Rocket Center: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville; 800-637-7223;

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Huntsville is where America’s space program was born, where rockets were developed that put the first U.S. satellite into orbit and sent men to the moon, where the power for the space shuttle was developed, where the modules for the International Space Station were designed and built and where the next generation of spacecraft are currently being designed. That’s a lot, plus it’s home to the US Space and Rocket Center, the world’s largest space attraction that features dozens of interactive exhibits surrounding Apollo, Mercury and Space Shuttle spacecraft. A highlight is the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. Lined with exhibitions along each wall, the centerpiece, suspended 10 feet above the floor, is a national historic treasure, the mighty Saturn V, restored to its Apollo era readiness. For any aspiring rocket scientists or just curious child, the space center is a great place to visit. Whether you or your child is interested in natural science, rocket science or anything in between, Alabama has a lot to offer!¢

Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur will be closing this month and reopening in mid-2017 after a $17 million renovation. “The museum will be an interactive immersion into North American biomes, from deserts to oceans to arctic tundra to hardwood forests. Instead of isolated exhibits, each exhibit will be part of a narrative explaining how the natural world works,” museum director Schelly Corry says. The 57,000-square-foot museum will feature interactive exhibits, live animals and aquariums; mounted wildlife from across North America; and collections of rocks, minerals, fossils, shells and coral.

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 27

The last of its kind

Travel Alabama Issue

Rural Monroe County ferry is a reminder of travel of days gone by Story and photos by David Haynes

The ‘new’ ferry boat at Davis Ferry, taken from the north side of the river.


he U.S. Highway 84 bridge is the only bridge that spans the Alabama River in rural Monroe County, where residents of the Packers Bend community north of the river are faced with a 50-plus-mile drive each way to reach the county seat in Monroeville. For a half century, Davis Ferry on County Road 40, a dirt road, at Haines Island Park offered an alternate route, which cut that distance by half until the diminutive, two-vehicle ferry ceased operation in 2012 when the aging vessel was deemed unsafe. This presented a major inconvenience for regular users of Davis Ferry, particularly teachers and employees at Monroe Intermediate School, a kindergarten through 8th-grade school located a few miles from the ferry, as well as others who use the ferry for commuting. But in July 2015, after other logistical complications, the ferry resumed operations with a newer and larger ferry boat that can safely cross the 300-yard-wide river in less time. Davis Ferry, which operates free of charge year-round on weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed 11-1 for lunch), is the last of 28 JUNE 2016

its kind in the entire state. Only two other ferries – one connecting Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay and the other in Wilcox County on the Alabama, connecting Gee’s Bend with Camden – are each much larger and require a toll to ride. The new Davis Ferry actually looks like a scaled down version of the Mobile Bay or Gee’s Bend ferry boats. It can transport up to three cars instead of two, and the crossing time is cut by about half thanks to the more powerful twin diesels that push it from one side of the river to the other. The old ferry boat, powered by a six-cylinder pickup truck engine that turned a paddle wheel on one side of the craft, was tethered to a cable for its crossings and had no provision or ability to steer on its own. The new boat, which was given to Monroe County by Etowah County in northeast Alabama, is powered by two diesel engines forward and aft and can be steered by either of two wheels in an elevated wheelhouse that towers high above the plate steel flooring. This ferry had been at Hokes Bluff on the Coosa River just

June | Around Alabama


Jennings Park at the intersection of Highway 31 and 4. Brewton Chamber of Commerce, 251-867-3224


Photo courtesy of the Montgomery Lions Club.

Clanton, Chilton County Peach Festival will feature the Peach Run, art exhibitions, cook-off, live music and more. Peach Jam will be Friday from 5-11 p.m. at the Clanton City Park. For more information, visit the Clanton Lions Club on Facebook.

Montgomery Lions Club will host the 3rd Annual Cycling for Sight ride June 25. Distance options range from 22 to 102 miles.

Theodore, Bellingrath Gardens and Home celebrates its 80th Anniversary. The home is filled with the Bellingrath family’s original furniture and collections and maintained to look as it did when the Bellingraths lived there. $13 for adults, $7.50 for children; free for members and children 4 and younger.


Montgomery, The Montgomery Film Festival features short films and feature length films from around the world. 6 p.m. at the Capri Theatre, 1045 East Fairview Ave. $8 for Capri Members, $10 general admission.


Roanoke, Summer on Main Festival and Street Market features a variety of arts, crafts, vendors, antiques, collectibles, and flea market vendors with unique and specialty items. Food, and games available. Downtown Roanoke at 827 Main Street from 6:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.


Free Fee Day, Alabama’s National Forests will offer a “Free Fee” day. Any fees for camping, fishing, trail riding, shooting and horseback riding will be waived. For participating forests, visit


Montgomery, Author Maria Gitin will present “This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight in Wilcox County, Alabama” at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave. After watching the events of “Bloody Sunday” from her Califonia home, Gitin was one of

hundreds to answer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to action. Her life changing experiences that summer working alongside local black leaders provided an avenue to give a voice to grassroots freedom fighters more than four decades later. Free. Book talk begins at 12 p.m. Bring a lunch, drinks provided. Copies of Gitin’s book will be available for purchase. 334-242-4364,


Auburn, Summer Night Downtown Art Walk in Downtown Auburn from 6-10 p.m. Features the work of local and regional artists, live musicians, street performers, food, children’s activities and a parade. Downtown merchants and restaurants remain open after business hours and all ages are encouraged to shop, dine and relax while enjoying the arts., 334-501-2963.


Cullman, The Reverse the Cycle Sprint Triathlon begins at 8 a.m. at Smith Lake Park, 416 County Road 385. Proceeds go towards The Link of Cullman County’s efforts to reverse the cycle of poverty through encouragement, education and employability training. For more information and to register online go to or call 256-775-0028.


Brewton, Alabama Blueberry Festival features arts & crafts, live entertainment, an antique car show, blueberries, a children’s section and more. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.,


Montgomery, Montgomery Lions Club and Montgomery Bicycle Club host the 3rd annual Cycling for Sight Ride. Ride will begin at 7 a.m. at Wind Creek Montgomery. Distance options range from 22-102 miles with routes through Clio, Fitzpatrick, Union Springs and eastern Montgomery County. Mechanical and SAG support available throughout the course. Registered riders will enjoy stocked rest stops, giveaways and post-ride luau at Wind Creek Montgomery pool. Ride benefits Huntington College’s Ability Sports Network. For more information, visit


Birmingham, Critter Camp. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society will host Critter Camp for ages 7-10. Camp aims to teach respect for living beings through activities, educational curriculum and hands-on experiences. $185 per camper. For more sessions and registration, visit


Slocomb, The 28th Annual Tomato Festival will feature various musical acts, a parade and arts and craft festival. For admission prices and other information, visit the Slocomb Tomato Festival on Facebook.

Various arts & crafts will be available at the Alabama Blueberry Festival June 18 in Brewton.

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

Alabama Living

Chatom, Enjoy an evening of fashion and learn about human trafficking and how we can all play a part in ending it. Three fashion shows will be held: children’s summer styles, teen and adult styles and bridal fashions through the decades. Guest speakers from anti-human trafficking agencies will discuss the growing epidemic of human trafficking, and provide safety and prevention information. Free; donations will be accepted to benefit agencies working to combat human trafficking. Contact Alicia Atcheson at

Photo courtesy of the Alabama Blueberry Festival.



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JUNE 2016 29


Photo of the Gee’s Bend Ferry, taken in 2012. This ferry has been in operation since fall 2006.

stream of Gadsden and was refurbished a few years ago with the aid of a federal grant. But after being refurbished, officials decided the county could not afford the operating expenses and never put it into service on the Coosa, where it sat idle for years. After the old side-wheeler ferry in Monroe County aged to the point of being unusable, officials from that county and Etowah County made an agreement to give the newer ferry to Monroe County as a replacement. So in March 2013 the Hokes Bluff ferry boat was moved to the Davis Ferry location, but delays in adapting the landings and other complications delayed its resuming operations until July 2015. County Engineer Jeff Griffin said they originally planned to steer the new boat freely from one bank to the other, but later abandoned that option and decided to make use again of the cable used to guide the older side-wheeler. He noted that because the new ferry boat is longer and heavier, a larger diameter cable was installed to safely tether this vessel against the forces of the Alabama River’s sometimes swift currents. That cable stretches between two large towers on either bank and is connected to the ferry by pulleys and cables attached near its bow and stern. However, unlike the old ferry, if the new boat were to ever break free of its tether, it does have the ability to be steered safely to the landing ramps without the cables. This very situation played out in 2011 when a military helicopter on a training mission out of Fort Rucker accidentally struck and severed the long cable that spans the river, killing the Dutch pilot instructor and setting the old ferry adrift. Fortunately, the Dutch student pilot was able to land the chopper nearby and a nearby fisherman towed the ferry back to safety. Bobby Tuberville, who still operates Davis Ferry, was there the day the helicopter severed the cable. “I remember seeing him come in low and saying ‘he’s going to hit that cable’ and before I could say another word he did!” He said there were several tense minutes as the ferry was set adrift with no way to steer before the fisherman came to their aid and got them back to the safety of shore. 30 JUNE 2016

Tuberville, who has operated Davis Ferry for years along with now-retired Davis Ferry operator J.C. Stabler, noted that one thing he doesn’t miss about the old ferry is cranking the ramps up and down on each crossing manually, using what appeared to be a somewhat larger version of a boat trailer crank winch. The new boat boasts huge hydraulic cylinders that have eliminated that chore.

Old ferry boat is on display

The old ferry boat was removed from the river in late June 2012 and moved just up the bank to a grassy area on the Monroeville side, where it sat for several months before being moved again to the end of County Road 40 at its intersection with County Road 17. It was finally transported back to Wilcox County, which had given it to Monroe County back in the 1960s. That ferry boat had previously operated near the present-day Highway 10 bridge in Wilcox County. Today the retired red ferry is on display inside a chain-link fence at the Boykin Nutrition Site at Gee’s Bend, its bow and stern ramps boasting freshly-installed boards. From where it sits in retirement, it’s only a minute’s drive to the on-ramp for the new Gee’s Bend Ferry. Griffin said the ferry has averaged transporting 16-20 vehicles and around 25-30 people a day since resuming operations. He noted that funding for the free ferry is included in the county’s regular annual budget and there are no plans for a toll. This unique reminder of travel as it was for previous generations offers riders a chance to have the full experience of crossing a great river by actually being on the river and not just speeding across on a ribbon of concrete spans. And Davis Ferry is one of the last places in the South where the experience is available. Adventurous travelers might even choose to make a long loop drive crossing the Alabama on both ferries in the same day, provided it’s a weekday and not during lunchtime from 11-1 when they arrive at Davis Ferry. Also, if planning to take the Gee’s Bend Ferry, travelers are advised to check its website for any schedule changes or interruptions of service at¢

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 31

| Gardens |

Mosquitoes and ticks and chiggers, oh my!

Don’t let them bug you! S

ummertime not only provides tions, so they need to be reapplied lots of reasons to work and play frequently. And, regardless of which in the yard and garden, but it also repellent you use, make sure to follow provides lots of chances to be bitten by the label instructions! ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers and variety In addition to using repellents, wear of other biting and stinging pests, all long pants and long-sleeved shirts that of which are annoying, but some of fit snugly at the wrist whenever possiwhich pose a real threat. Think Lyme ble. To better protect from ticks, tuck disease, West Nile Virus and Zika, for your pants legs into your socks. Clothexamples. ing can also be treated with a permeConcerns about these insect-borne thrin-based repellent, but this kind illnesses are legitimate, especially of repellent should never be used on for those at high risk such as expectthe skin or on pets. If you’re relaxing ant women, young children and frail outside and don’t want to be dressed adults. Still, few of us want to be held in layers of hot clothing, using a fan What's your favorite method to keep mosquitoes away? hostage in our homes all summer, (especially an oscillating fan) can help Write us at so what can we do? Several things, it keep mosquitoes away. turns out, many of which do not reThese are just a few of the options, well as ticks and chiggers, which thrive quire the use of strong chemicals. so to learn more about protecting yourself in grassy and brushy landscapes) away is The first line of defense is to make our from mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs, to clean up landscape areas close to the yards less pest-friendly. With mosquicheck out the websites of the American house by trimming grass and shrubs regtoes, that means eliminating their favorMosquito Control Association (www. ularly and removing dead leaves or other ite breeding grounds — areas of stagnant, Alabama Department of organic debris that may provide refuge or water. Simple actions such as cleaning out Public Health ( and Albreeding areas for these pests. clogged rain gutters, discarding refuse abama Cooperative Extension System Other methods touted to help control such as old tires and cans and making sure ( Information on the best insect pests include inviting bug-eating outside toys, plant containers and trash repellents can be found at the Consumer wildlife into the yard and garden and uscans don’t sit filled with water for too long Reports website (www.consumerreports. ing mosquito-repellent plants, bug zapwill go a long way in reducing mosquito org).¢ pers, over-the-counter foggers and sprays breeding sites. and citronella products. While there’s But what about all those water-holding nothing wrong with recruiting birds, bats, garden features we love, such as birdbaths, lizards and toads to help out or planting small ponds and rain barrels? Birdbaths flowers, herbs and other pretty plants that  Thin the number of fruits on apple, should be emptied every few days and remay repel bugs, research has shown that pear, peach and other fruit trees. filled with fresh water. Larger reservoirs these methods aren’t highly effective. Cit Pinch back leggy annuals or tender (still ponds, rain barrels and the like) that ronella candles and torches, bug zappers perennials and deadhead flowers can be more difficult to clean or empty and homeowner-applied foggers/sprays, (gently pinch off spent flowers). can be treated with Bti-infused products. some of which can be expensive, are also  Check roses for signs of disease or These “dunks,” bits or briquettes contain nominally effective, so they may be a insect damage and immediately treat a natural bacterium that kills mosquitoes waste of money. any problems. (as well as fungus gnats and blackflies) but No matter how hard we try to keep pes Divide and thin daffodil bulbs and won’t harm other creatures. They do need ky bugs at bay, though, it’s impossible to irises. to be replaced or reapplied every 30 days completely eliminate them from our envi Sow seeds for beans, field peas, melons, pumpkins, squash and corn. or so, though. rons, so in addition to doing all we can to  Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants Another way to keep mosquitoes (as bug-proof the yard, we also need to bugand sweet potatoes. proof ourselves.  Keep an eye out for insect and DEET-based insect repellents that condisease problems on landscape, vegtain at least 15 percent (but no more than etable garden and house plants and Katie Jackson is a 50 percent) DEET are highly effective, treat outbreaks immediately. freelance writer and but so are plant-based repellents that use editor based in Opelika,  Visit farmers markets for the freshest a lemon-eucalyptus or soy blend. These Alabama. Contact her of summer produce. at katielamarjackson@ “natural” repellents, though, typically  Treat lawn weeds as they emerge. don’t last as long as the DEET-based op-

June Tips

32 JUNE 2016

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JUNE 2016 33


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| Consumer Wise |

Can you have a Zero Net Energy home? By Patrick Keegan and Amy Wheeless


I am considering installing rooftop solar for my home, and a neighbor asked if I was going to have a “Zero Net Energy” home. Can you explain what this means?


A Zero Net Energy (ZNE), or Net-Zero, Home is one where all of the energy that is used in the home is completely offset by the production of on-site power, such as through rooftop solar photovoltaic panels. Having a ZNE Home does not mean that you are “off-grid” —your home still uses electricity from your electric co-op for daily needs, especially when the sun isn’t shining. A ZNE Home also means you can supply power back to the electric grid from your solar panels. If you are considering rooftop solar panels for your home, you should talk to your electric co-op first. Usually, the term ZNE Home describes a newly built home, as it is easier to custom-build an energy efficient home and properly size solar panels that will match the expected energy use. How-

Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ for more information.

ever, existing homes can also be retrofitted to be ZNE. But before you go out and buy a solar panel system that will cover every inch of your roof, remember this mantra: “Reduce before you produce.” Efficiency options like heat pumps and increased insulation may not seem as exciting as solar panels, but they can produce a better return on your investment. Before you purchase and install solar panels, make all the cost-effective energy efficiency improvements you can. You will likely be able to reduce the number of solar panels you need, while also seeing sustained energy savings over time. First step: An energy audit An energy audit is the first step to learning how to make your home as efficient as possible. An energy auditor will walk through your home and perform tests to find out where air is leaking. An energy auditor can also perform energy modeling to tell you how much energy you would save by implementing certain improvements. If you are interested in an energy audit, talk with your electric co-op. They may offer an audit or have names of trusted energy auditors. Retrofitting a home to be ZNE will likely require investments— large and small. Upgrading your HVAC system to something more efficient is a large investment, but, as heating and cooling usually

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are the most common residential renewable energy installation, though a small wind energy system could be a good choice if your home is on one of the rare sites that is windy enough. There are also other ways to harness the power of the sun. For example, solar water heaters can be cost-effective. Or you can use passive solar techniques, like strategic window placement, landscaping and shading, and specific building materials to heat certain areas of your home in the winter or reduce sun and heat exposure in the summer. You may be able to reduce your energy impact without purchasing Other than solar panels, a Zero Net Energy Home may not look different from other homes. your own rooftop solar panels. Many PHOTO COURTESY NIST electric co-ops are beginning to offer community solar programs, or “solar gardens,” where co-op members invest makes up half of the average home’s energy use, the upgrade will in part of a larger solar installation that supplies the co-op’s elechave a substantial impact on your home, especially when comtric grid. Participating in a community solar program gives you bined with insulation improvements. Sealing up air leaks and rethe benefit of solar power without needing to install and maintain placing lightbulbs with LEDs are smaller investments but can also your own solar panels. help you reach ZNE. Behavioral changes, such as turning down the Remember to talk with your electric co-ops’ energy experts beheat when you leave for the day, using your solar clothes dryer (a fore making any major upgrades, like rooftop solar, to your home. clothes line!) and turning off electronics and lights when you leave For more information visit a room are also small and easy ways to reduce your energy use. energytips or email Pat Keegan at energytips@collaborativeeffiOnce you have reduced your energy use as much as you can,¢ you can now think about producing. Solar photovoltaic panels

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| Worth the drive |

Homemade foods fill historic train depot By Jennifer Crossley Howard


he walls of The Freight House in Hartselle are thick — 13 inches — creating an oven of sorts in July and August. But customers would rather fan themselves than alter their beloved historic restaurant, says owner Sandra Sowder. The 101-year-old former L & N loading depot once held cotton, a staple of Southern livelihood, and these days it produces another hallmark of southern culture: hearty food. The steel, brick and wood building downtown thrives as a meeting place for soon-to-be brides, Rotarians, families and reunions. Chicken poulet, steaks, seafood, four-layered nine-inch Italian cream cakes and house croutons lure a devoted clientele, as does lighter fare. Chicken salad of the walnut, grape and Granny apple variety is on the menu along with plenty of panini.

“We have a large panini following,” Sowder says. “Everything’s homemade. I can’t think of very many things that aren’t made with our hands.” A baked, savory smell, usually reserved in most kitchens for the holidays, greets customers. It’s enough to make mouths water that just ate. Besides a holding depot, the building has been a gift emporium and another restaurant. Sowder bought it seven years ago, undoing much of the changes from previous owners to allow the structure’s rugged origins to shine. Trains once pulled into arched, brick loading stations, now filled in with wood, and original floor scales sit in the dining room. Inset fireplaces burned on a cool, spring afternoon, and CSX trains passed by glass French doors in the dining room to the delight of a toddler. “It’s a great place for train buffs, especially kids,” says Marcia Sutton, an elementary school principal in Huntsville who helps at the restaurant. The Freight House honors free-spirited train passengers with its hobo plate. It includes pinto beans, sliced tomato and onion, turnip greens and cornbread. There’s no meat in the dish, and that’s the point, as Sowder sometimes must explain to diners. Hobos ate what they could find, usually simple vegetables and legumes. Because Hartselle is a dry city, The Freight House has thrived without serving alcohol. “That’s an advantage in a lot of ways,” Sowder says. Still, she added, running a The dining room has an inset fireplace and glass French doors restaurant — she also owns where guests may watch CSX trains pass by. The Shak in Somerville —

38 JUNE 2016

Freight House owner Sandra Sowder sells homemade, 4-layered cakes.

requires long hours. “It’s a tough business,” Sowder says. “It’s a lot of time dealing with the public and their appetite.” The tradeoff is being part of many customers’ milestones. “You make memories,” Sutton says. “We’re part of their lives.” Newly engaged women typically eat lunch on weekends with their mothers while shopping at the nearby bridal boutique Something Blue. Proposals in the dining room are common, which often lead to rehearsal dinners or receptions in a private event room. The Freight House tends to attract college kids who worked there in high school back to work during college breaks. Sowder’s own children earned money there. “Your children working is not a bad thing,” she adds. “It’s built a lot of character, and it wont hurt them.” Hartselle’s former passenger depot, built in 1914, sits perhaps 100 feet away from the restaurant, and it houses the chamber of commerce. Both buildings are included on the Hartselle Downtown Commercial Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. With history came uninvited guests. “Supposedly we have ghosts,” Sowder says. Employees have witnessed blue lights, and there’s been talk of a ghost train conductor, but Sowder says she has never seen a haint. But she welcomes their help. “They’ve never swept the floor or wiped down anything,” she says, laughing.¢ The Freight House Restaurant and Catering 200 Railroad St. Hartselle, AL 35640 256-773-4600


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JUNE 2016 39

Travel Alabama Issue

Alabama’s long trails: scenery, history, adventure By Skye Borden


very year in April, thousands of hikers cram onto Georgia’s Springer Mountain, hoping to through-hike the entire Appalachian Trail to Maine. Now, with film adaptations of “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods” inspiring viewers, a whole new generation of would-be hikers is starting to catch a serious case of wanderlust. Although the Appalachian Trail is lovely, you don’t need to travel that far away to get off the radar. Alabama’s five long trails connect many of the state’s best historical spots and rural scenery. Whether you’re out for a day or a month, they’re guaranteed to satisfy your need for adventure.

A section of the Pinhoti Trail in the Talladega National Forest. PHOTO FROM CREATIVE COMMONS

40 JUNE 2016


Alabama’s Chief Ladiga Trail. PHOTO BY REBECCA BURYLO

The author with her son, Roan, on the Pinhoti PHOTO BY JAMES WALTER Trail in 2015.

A section of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, which is part of the Alabama Scenic Rivers Trail. PHOTO FROM CREATIVE COMMONS

Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet Trails

At just 95 miles, these trails make up the shortest trip on the list, but they’re actually the longest paved rail trail in the United States. Alabama’s Chief Ladiga Trail follows an abandoned railroad bed through northeast Alabama towns from Anniston to the Georgia state line. There, the Silver Comet begins, and the trail continues all the way to Atlanta. These multi-use trails are great for biking, running or walking. They’re also the most family-friendly trails on the list. Start a day trip with parking access points at Warren Road in Weaver, Jacksonville State University, or the Piedmont Civic Center. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can stay at the Chief Ladiga Campground in Piedmont to create a multiday trip. Visit

Georgia’s Silver Comet. PHOTO BY REBECCA BURYLO

Pinhoti Trail

The Pinhoti is the granddaddy of all Alabama hiking trails. It follows the spine of the southernmost Appalachians for 335 miles from Flagg Mountain in Weogufka, Ala., to Blue Ridge, Ga. Along the way it passes through tight tunnels of rhododendrons, across scenic rocky outcroppings, and over clear mountain streams. When the Appalachian Trail was initially proposed in the 1920s, many thought it should extend into Alabama along the Pinhoti’s path. Although the final plan stopped in Georgia, advocates are still pushing to make Weogufka the official Alabama Living

southern end of the Appalachian Trail. If you aren’t up for a through-hike, Talladega National Forest offers a number of opportunities to get onto the trail for a weekend trip or day hike. My favorite loop connects the Pinhoti to Lake Chinnabee and a streamside shelter out of Adam’s Gap trailhead. Maps can be purchased online from the US Forest Service or in person at any of the forest service’s Alabama ranger districts.

Natchez Trace Parkway Scenic Trail

This national parkway travels an old American Indian trade route for 444 miles from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn. Along the way it crosses through 30 miles of rolling farmland and forests in the Tennessee River Valley of northwest Alabama. Although the entire parkway can be driven by car, the slow pace of a road bike is the best way to really take in the gorgeous scenery. For a good workout, start your day trip at the Bear Creek Indian Mound site on the Alabama state line and pedal uphill nine miles to panorama views at the Freedom Hills Overlook. For maps and route info, visit the National Park Service’s website at www.nps. gov/natr.

Underground Railroad Trail

The Underground Railroad Trail is a 2,006-mile road-bike trek through the heart of some of America’s most historic places. It begins in the 1800s slave port of Mobile, and then follows the North Star to weave through historic churches, state parks, and museums along the Tensaw, Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers in west Alabama. Only serious bikers should attempt to do the entire trip, but even novices can enjoy the trail’s Mobile Bay section. This day trip includes stops at two historic churches and a cruise through Africatown, where freed slaves once created their own settle-

ment, complete with native African tribal customs and language. Route information and maps can be found at the Adventure Cycling Association’s website,

Alabama Scenic River Trail

Although nearly 5,000 miles of Alabama’s waterways are now part of the scenic river system, the core trail flows 631 miles from the Coosa River into the Alabama River and the Mobile Bay. Along the way, it flows past some of the state’s best whitewater and a number of important historic points, including Fort Toulouse, Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge and Gee’s Bend. Weekend warriors in need of an adrenaline fix can tackle the trail’s Class III rapids on the Coosa River south of Lake Jordan Dam. Or, if you’re in the mood for a more relaxed trip, head to the Five Rivers Resource Center in Spanish Fort for canoe rentals or a guided tour of the Mobile-Tensaw delta. For more information, visit

Ready to hit the trail?

If you’re unsure of what to pack for your trip, reach out to your local outdoor outfitter for gear advice and travel tips. And as always, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles while you’re out – take only pictures, and leave only footprints.¢

Another section of Georgia’s Silver Comet. PHOTO BY REBECCA BURYLO

JUNE 2016 41

| Outdoors |

The joys of a boyhood lived outside


s schoolchildren break for the summer, I think back on how I spent my vacation as a boy. Before the Internet and smart phones, children made their own entertainment – and maybe even a little mischief – in that wonderful place called “the outside.” When my father couldn’t drive me to “real” fishing places, I often bicycled to several canals near home. While fishing a favorite hole, a drainage ditch running under a highway, I crossed the road to explore a patch of woods on the other side. I quickly found a rustic old home occupied by an elderly widow who loved to care for her flowers. On her property, a long narrow pond with the prettiest black water ran parallel to her boundary fence. Thick shrubs hid what seemed like a wilderness barely yards from the highway. The kindly lady said some boys could fish her pond as long as we didn’t touch her flowers. The pond contained monster bluegills and other species. On the last day of school one year long ago, a friend and I made a bet to see who could catch the most fish before school started in the fall. Throughout that summer, my friend and I kept track with each other’s piscatorial progress. Sad to admit, he gained a considerable lead over me with just a few days before school began. One blustery day right before school started, I headed to that long pond. With bragging rights at stake, I needed to try. Unfortunately, the fish didn’t cooperate. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get anything to bite with time running out quickly. Then, I noticed schools of minnows John N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who writes from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through his website at www.

42 JUNE 2016

Adam Morris shows off a fishing rod he made out of a dowel rod, a spool, a bolt, a washer and a nut, a throwback to a simpler time. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

swimming near the surface. The rules of the bet simply stipulated that we could catch any fish species by any legal hook and line gear, but not in nets. Every fish we physically touched scored one point. I came up with a plan. I tied on the smallest hook I could find and baited it with a sliver of bread from my lunch. I dangled the bread in front of the minnows. When a minnow grabbed the bread, it couldn’t get its mouth over the hook, but it held onto that morsel. I quickly swung it over to the shoreline where I grabbed it, scoring a point, and released it to possibly catch again. In about an hour, I racked up just enough points to win the bet and annual bragging rights! That same friend got me out of a tight scrape another time. An underground drainpipe ran parallel to the highway and into our fishing hole. One day, we decided to explore the pipe, the closest thing to spelunking in our flat swampy, country. As we followed the tube, it gradually decreased in diameter. My skinny friend could easily navigate the ever-narrowing pipes. I couldn’t. Before getting stuck, we looked for an exit. Fortunately, we found a side pipe with sunlight shining at the other end of it. My friend suggested I go first. If I could get through, he could also. If not, he could go back the way we came and seek help. I crawled through this pipe, which also decreased in diameter. Finally, barely out of the sunlight and freedom, I could go no farther. Not wanting to do all that backtracking, my friend shoved me as hard as he could from behind. I popped out of the culvert about two miles from where we started. I bet that pipe never looked cleaner. Another canal connected to our favorite fishing hole and ran through pine forests before it crossed under an interstate. One day, I decided to follow that canal looking for new fishing spots. Before I left home on a sweltering summer day, my dad gave

me three very explicit instructions: One, be home at a certain time. Two, don’t cross the interstate. And three, NEVER SWIM ALONE! The trail along the canal led to a new borrow pit where workers extracted clay to build the interstate. Surrounded by woods, the pit sat far enough from the highway so people in passing vehicles could not see it. My dad was miles away and could not possibly know about this pond, which he could only reach by hiking through the forest. That seemed unlikely on such a hot day.

Worse than a growling bear

At the pond, refreshing water beckoned. If my clothes remained dry, no one would ever know, right? Fish weren’t biting, so I decided to go skinny-dipping. (Someone might more accurately describe my swimming efforts as “fat flopping.”) I piled my clothes on the beach and dove into the cooling waters. I enjoyed myself so much that I lost track of time. My dad didn’t lose track of time. Several hours after he expected me home, I made one last dive into the refreshing water. When I surfaced, I heard a rather angry growl behind me. Unfortunately, it was not a bear or lion waiting to eat me, but something much more frightening. There, on the beach, stood my dad holding my clothes, looking over the top of his glasses at me and not making a happy face! I couldn’t think of an excuse for swimming alone in the pond, across the interstate, several hours after my appointed return time. I couldn’t escape without my clothes or stay in the pond indefinitely. Technically, I didn’t “cross” the interstate. I went under it, but at this point, all I could do was take my lumps – and did I ever take them! I guess that was the price of freedom to a boy who loved the outdoors so long ago and still does.¢


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Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.

p.m. a.m. Minor Major Minor Major

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

03:37 04:07 --12:52 01:37 02:07 02:52 03:52 04:52 11:07 -01:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:22 --01:22 02:07 02:52 03:52 04:52 10:52 --01:07 01:52 02:37 03:22 04:07 --01:22 01:52 02:37 03:22 09:52 11:07 --01:22 02:22 03:22 04:22

Alabama Living

11:07 11:37 04:37 05:07 05:37 06:22 06:52 07:37 08:37 09:37 06:07 07:22 08:22 09:22 10:22 11:07 11:52 05:07 05:52 06:37 07:22 07:52 08:37 09:22 06:07 07:22 08:22 09:22 09:52 10:37 11:07 11:37 04:52 05:37 06:22 07:07 07:52 08:37 04:22 05:22 06:37 07:52 09:07 10:07 10:52 11:37

10:52 11:37 07:22 07:52 08:22 09:07 09:37 10:22 10:52 11:37 05:22 01:07 07:52 09:07 10:22 11:07 12:07 07:52 08:22 09:07 09:37 10:07 10:37 11:22 04:37 12:52 03:22 08:07 09:37 10:37 11:22 12:07 07:37 08:07 08:37 09:07 09:37 10:07 10:52 04:52 01:07 07:22 09:07 10:22 11:07 11:52

06:07 06:52 12:07 12:37 01:07 01:37 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:22 12:22 06:22 02:52 04:22 05:22 06:22 07:07 12:37 01:07 01:52 02:22 02:52 03:37 04:07 11:52 12:22 06:22 04:52 05:37 06:07 06:37 07:07 12:07 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:37 03:22 03:52 11:37 12:22 03:07 04:37 05:37 06:22 06:52 JUNE 2016 43

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44 JUNE 2016

Vacation Rentals

PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, www. GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1.5BA, sleeps 6, pool, beach access – (334)790-9545 FT. MORGAN 1 BEDROOM BEACH STUDIO APARTMENT – Fully equipped, sleeps 2 – lanelleclawson@gmail. com, (251)223-1288 for more information ONE BEDROOM CABIN – FULLY EQUIPPED with Hot Tub near PIGEON FORGE – Call Kathy at (865)548-7915 or email at for information

SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR / 2BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, Wrap-Around Porch, Charcoal Grill – (865)320-4216. For rental details and pictures, Email GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (423)605-2113, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway 2 CONDOS WEEKLY RENTAL – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 200 feet to ocean w/ pool – Peachtree II, sleeps 4-6: STUDIO BEACHSIDE, 17th Floor – Majestic, sleeps 2 adults and young child – (850)573-2182, Jeff. GULF SHORES GULF FRONT – Seacrest Condo – 1BR / 1BA, king bed, hall bunks, free Wi-Fi – Fall week $850. Pictures VRBO #435534, amariewisener@gmail. com – (256)352-5721 CABINS - PIGEON FORGE, TN: Peaceful, convenient location, owner rates – (251)6493344, (251)649-4049, www. AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL. Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners. Lowest Prices on the Beach –, (205)752-1231, (205)556-0368, (251)752-2366 HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, washer/ dryer – (251)948-2918, www., email DISNEY WORLD– 15 MILES: 5BR / 3BA, private pool – www., (251)504-5756 PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $85.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)5908758 DESTIN FL CONDO – Sleeps 4, Nice, GREAT RATES – egtuck@, (770)942-5530, (770)365-5205 BEACH HOUSE – HOME AWAY FROM HOME – 3BR / 2BA, Best buy at the Beach – (205)5660892, MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 –, (850)766-5042. GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – Nice 2 Bedroom, GREAT VIEW $1,095 / week – (251)666-5476 SPRING, SUMMER VACATION: 1 – 2 Bedroom Chalets, Pigeon Forge – Call (865)712-7633

GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@, (256)599-5552 PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, Homeaway#241942 SMITH LAKE, ALABAMA – CUTE COZY CABIN – Sleeps 4, Intimate getaways, fishing or hunting, dock with upper deck for sunning, boat slip and seadoo port for your use – Year round deep water – (251)7474176

Real Estate Sales NICE 3 BR, 2 BATH FISHING, HUNTING & RETIREMENT HOME on river in Dallas Co. Recently remodeled with hard wood floors & ceramic tile, metal roof and new A/C unit, large high lot - E-mail smerrill05@bellsouth. net, Cell (850)582-7633 Home (850)939-2054 PIGEON FORGE, TN – 2 MOUNTAIN CABINS, RESIDENTIAL OR RENTAL – 2BR / 1BA, $149,000 – 1BR / 1BA, $139,000 – www. for pictures, (251)649-3344 or (251)649-4049 BEACH AREA CONDOS UNDER 200K! More than 200 to choose from. Goto: beachareacondosunder200k. com, SteveWarren, RE/MAX Gulf Shores, (251)752-4000, steve@ LAKE EUFAULA – HISTORIC COMMERCIAL BUILDING 12,000 SQFT. First floor is leased to River City Grill, Eufaula’s #1 restaurant since 2005. Restaurant equipment and lease conveys with the building. The second and third floors may be converted to your dream. $450,000, John Gray (334)750-1414 BEAUTIFUL RESIDENCE / HUNTING CAMP - Doublewide located on 16 acres, wooded, surrounded by timberland, Feed patch w/shooting house - 3 miles East of Coffeeville, AL -$100,000 - (850)712-5130. Email HUNT, FISH, RELAX ON BEAUTIFUL DEEP WATER ALABAMA RIVER - Near 13,000 acres of Lowndes County Wildlife Management - Cozy 3BR/2/ Bath on almost 2 acres $144,900 – Call (904)504-2860,

BREWTON, AL – 237 ACRE FARM – Approx. 100 acres of rich farm land, rest woodland – (704)8479730 LAKE EUFAULA – PRICE REDUCED $179,000 - 3 BR/3BA, 2 dens, master suite downstairs, 1919 sq. ft. Cozy, quaint home, overlooking peaceful, wooded lot, creek and lake. Recently remodeled, tile/hardwood/carpet, inside laundry, private dock, 2 storage buildings with electricity. For more information and pictures, go to www.493sgalaxiedr., 334-618-7714,

THE L’RANCHO CAFÉ’ - A Profitable Landmark Business FOR SALE in the shopping district in downtown Arab, AL - Please call Tracy Miller with Pass Realty, llc (256)293-7573 or (256)586-2500

Travel CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954

Musical Notes PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982

Education WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Open Year Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593

Critters CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893 AKC BEAGLE PUPPIES FOR SALE – Northwest, FL area – Cell# (850)554-1062, Email

FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673




24285 State Hwy 59, Robertsdale, AL 36567 Contact Danny Dyer or Philip Mitchell @ 251-947-1944 •

Alabama Living

JUNE 2016 45

| Alabama Recipes |



ot long after my parents were married, my mom suggested to my dad that they have a picnic. He agreed that it was a great idea, and so they set out one pretty Saturday to a shady spot in a park, spread out a blanket and sat down to eat. When my mom pulled two PB&J sandwiches and a couple of apples out of a brown paper bag, my father’s face fell. Where was the woven basket? The red-and-white-checked cloth napkins? The daisies in a pitcher for decoration? The poor man was expecting to enjoy a little alfresco dining ambiance along with a feast of fried chicken, potato salad, fresh-baked cookies and a gallon of sweet tea – all the fixings we’ve come to associate with a “perfect” Southern picnic. That is not what he got. Defending herself any time this story gets retold, my mom makes sure to point out that the details and menu for the now infamous picnic were never discussed; she never promised him a

full spread that would be photo-album worthy. In her mind, the true pleasure of a picnic was just enjoying a meal outdoors with her sweetie, “perfection” not required. Whether my father’s expectations were too high or my mom seriously under-achieved that day (or a little bit of both), after this event, picnicking didn’t hold the same appeal for either of my parents. That might be why we didn’t do much of it when I was growing up. And that might be why I love picnicking now. Or maybe it’s because the tradition combines two of my favorite things – food and nature. No matter what you want out of a picnic – a simple meal for a family, a romantic lunch for two, or a fantastic feast that will impress a group – the way to make sure it works out well for all involved is to plan ahead (and then plan some more). Check out these tips for pulling off a perfect picnic, and then use some of this month’s reader-submitted recipes to create a delicious menu. - Jennifer Kornegay

46 JUNE 2016

Perfect Picnic

Cook of the Month Bill Stone Baldwin EMC


ill Stone may be a bit new to Alabama, but he’s not new to cooking. He and his wife retired to Foley, Ala., from Connecticut in 2011, but he’s been playing around in kitchens for far longer, and that’s how he came up with this month’s standout recipe, Bill’s Cold Lasagna. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and I like going to restaurants and coming home and trying to replicate the recipe for what I had,” he says. Looking for a good use for leftover lasagna noodles led him to create a flavor-packed pasta dish that is perfect for picnics since it’s served cold.

AREA employee David Colmans, wife Evgeniia and daughter Leah enjoy an afternoon picnic.

Bill’s Cold Lasagna 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1

“It cuts clean and stays together, so it’s nice and easy to eat,” Bill said. “It looks nice too; all the layers of color make for a great presentation.” He encourages folks to change up ingredients and to use more or less of the things they like best, but he offered one piece of advice: “Don’t go too heavy on the dressing, or it will get soggy, and you don’t want that."

package lasagna noodles bottle Italian or Greek salad dressing purple onion, sliced thin cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half package baby spinach cups kalamata seedless olives, cut in half container of feta cheese container of Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles per package instructions, drain and let cool. Pour the dressing lightly in a 9-inch by 12inch pan and rub around the whole pan. Lay noodles on bottom until covered. Put tomatoes, olives, spinach and onions on top of noodles. Adjust amount to your liking. Sprinkle feta and Parmesan cheeses, as much as you like. Lightly pour dressing over all. Continue layering until the pan is full; the top layer should be tomatoes, onions, olives, spinach, feta and Parmesan. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (overnight is better). Cut and serve in squares just like lasagna. Alabama Living

Bill's Cold Lasagna JUNE 2016 47

Garden Salad

To ward off ants, sprinkle cornstarch on the ground to create a border around your table or blanket. Ants won’t cross the line. Wedges of lemon set around your spread will also help keep bugs at bay.

Thank you... To our friends at The Elms of Coosada for opening up their picturesque grounds for our perfect picnic!

Sweet Treats To-Go: Serving single portions of these

easy-to-make palate pleasers in Mason jars makes them also easy to transport and easy to eat. Plus, they look really pretty!

Strawberry Delight Fresh strawberries, washed and quartered 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened 1 15-ounce jar of marshmallow cream ž teaspoon ground nutmeg Blend the cream cheese, marshmallow cream and nutmeg with a hand mixer or with a whisk. starting with the cream mixture, layer it and strawberries in a Mason jar and seal tight. Keep in a cooler until ready to serve.

48 JUNE 2016

Crawfish Stuffed Picnic Eggs

Potato Salad

Binky’s Seasoning

1 dozen large or jumbo hard-boiled eggs, halved with yolks and whites separated 3 pounds cooked crawfish (store bought or cooked at home), peeled and chopped 24 whole, cooked and peeled crawfish to use as garnish (do not chop) ¾ -1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise (adjust to desired consistency) 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons sweet pickle relish (or to taste) ½ teaspoon prepared mustard 4 green onions, chopped (I add a little extra) 24 green onion stems to use as garnish (about 1/2-inch in length) on the eggs Cayenne pepper, to taste Salt and black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons instant mashed potato flakes 2 or 3 drops Tabasco or other hot sauce

6 medium potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed 3 hard-boiled eggs, cut up ½ teaspoon celery salt ¼ cup dill pickles, chopped ¼ cup white or yellow onions, chopped 1 tablespoon yellow mustard 1 ½ cups mayonnaise 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled Salt and pepper

Mix two parts salt, 1 part onion powder, 1 part garlic powder, 1 part black pepper, 1 part paprika, 1 part chili powder, ½ part cayenne pepper, ½ part crushed oregano and ½ part crushed rosemary. (Add more salt and mix in water until dissolved and you have a good brine.)

Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and cook on medium until potatoes are tender. Drain. In separate bowl, mix celery salt, pickles, onions, mustard and mayonnaise and pour over potatoes. Add eggs and mix well; add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon bits over the top.

Garden Salad

In a large bowl, mash the egg yolks until creamy and smooth. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, chopped green onions, pickle relish, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and potato flakes and combine until thoroughly mixed. Fold in the chopped crawfish meat and mix well. Spoon the crawfish-egg mixture into the egg whites, filling the centers generously. Garnish each egg with an entire crawfish tail and green onion stem. Carefully monitor the amount of salt used; if your cooked crawfish are highly seasoned, you may want to omit salt altogether or lessen the amount used. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Janice Bush Baldwin EMC

Gulf Shores Fried Chicken 1 chicken, cut into eight pieces 1 cup flour Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or Binky’s Seasoning (recipe following) Solid Crisco or oil for frying Place enough Crisco in an electric frying pan set at 350 to 375 degrees to come up the sides about ¼ of an inch. Since temperatures may vary on fry pans, be careful not to let the oil burn. Mix flour with seasonings. Coat chicken with seasoned flour and shake off excess. Brown chicken on each side, then cover and cook until juices run clear (about 20 minutes).

Clyde Helmer Baldwin EMC

1 cup chopped carrots 1 cup chopped radishes 1 cup chopped onion (red onions add color) 1 cup chopped cucumber ½ cup chopped bell pepper 1 ½ cups chopped broccoli 1 cup mayonnaise 1 pound hickory smoked bacon 4 cups elbow macaroni Salt and pepper Fry bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble into small pieces and set aside. Cook macaroni until tender. Don’t overcook or the noodles will fall apart when mixed with other ingredients. Drain macaroni and let cool. In a large bowl, combine all chopped raw vegetables and crumbled bacon. Mix well, gently add macaroni and mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Gently mix all ingredients until well coated with mayonnaise. Chill overnight. Mary Ann Johnson North Alabama EC

Kim Robertson, Baldwin EMC Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

Share a story about your recipe! Whether it’s your grandmother’s best cake or your uncle’s camp stew, every recipe has a story behind it. We’ll pay $50 for the best recipe-related story each month. Submit: Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Aug. Sept. Oct.

Alabama Living

Canning Muscadines Campfire Cooking

June 8 July 8 Aug. 8

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Please note the following ingredients correction for our May, Chicken Salad, recipe: Lawson's Chicken Salad 4 cups chicken, cooked and shredded 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup sour cream 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper JUNE 2016 49

ATTENTION HVAC, PLUMBING, ROOFING, LANDSCAPING, CONSTRUCTION, AUTOMOTIVE, HEALTHCARE, INSURANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES, IT & TELECOM, MANUFACTURING, ETC. As a local business, you may not need to advertise to the entire state. But what about the 15,000+ consumers in the Clarke-Washington EMC market? Alabama Living, the state’s largest publication, is offering this page to the first local business that wants to stand out from the competition and put its product/service in front of Clarke-Washington’s members.

This page will be gone fast. It’s efficient and effective marketing. Call 800.410.2737 or email:

50 JUNE 2016

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Use small electric pans, toaster ovens or convection ovens for small meals rather than your stove or oven. A toaster or convection oven uses onethird to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.

Alabama Living


JUNE 2016 51

| Our Sources Say |

I hope you’ll visit


lobal warming is an important concept to the electric utility industry. Reaction to this concept has set actions in motion that will all but eliminate coal-fired electric generation, an affordable, reliable and proven resource. These actions will also increase your cost of electric service. Some of you have disagreed with my articles on global warming and have let me know. A recent note said, “Isn’t the fact of global warming a reason to pause in endorsing the coal industry? Is the almighty dollar always the bottom line? I do not think it is right to use this publication (Alabama Living) to promote that, and I am willing to pay MORE for clean energy for future generations.” Unfortunately, not everyone is willing or able to pay more for electricity. While I differ with the recent note on multiple points, the implication that I should not deny global warming in this publication is the most troubling. It is a restriction on my right of free speech. And, many others are now attempting to restrict free speech if it questions the science and economics of chasing a low-carbon energy dream. Restricting speech or punishing opposing views is not new. Galileo Galilei was convicted by the Catholic Church in 1633 for stating that the earth orbited the sun. He was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life. After 350 years the Church finally admitted that its conviction was in error. As the scientific case for a global warming catastrophe becomes more doubtful, models created by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the world’s presumed climate change authority) project that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) will have minimal impact. Specifically, those models indicate that CPP will reduce global temperatures by only 0.03 degrees and will reduce the rise in sea levels by a depth equal to the thickness of only a couple sheets of notebook paper. This is hardly the type of return we should get for billions of dollars. The global warming movement is now focused on silencing and punishing people who disagree with the climate change “consensus view.” The leading advocate of the cause is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) who has called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to charge those who are behind a “coordinated strategy to spread heterodox views on global warming.” The senator encouraged the DOJ to utilize the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt

Organizations Act (RICO) to target climate skeptics as the scapegoats for an insufficient U.S. policy response to climate change. Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated in recent testimony that the matter has been referred to the FBI “to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for what we could take action on.” Additionally, Mrs. Lynch told the Committee that DOJ has discussed a civil action against the fossil fuel industry for expressing doubts about the dangers of climate change. Other U.S. senators and state attorneys general have threatened legal action and subpoenaed oil and gas companies to release information related to climate change science, as well as lists of organizations which they have funded. This coordinated effort is intended to suppress the First Amendment Right of Free Speech for anyone who denies that global warming is an impending danger of catastrophic proportions. These attacks, funded by our tax dollars, are perpetrated on industries that provide oil to move billions of vehicles daily to take people to work, to shop for the necessities of life, to go to the doctor for health care; to move transportation fleets to bring groceries and goods to markets; and to keep our military mobile to protect our shores. The attacks are on industries that provide electricity to improve our quality of life in countless ways: to provide heating, cooling, and hot water, to refrigerate and cook our food, to energize televisions and computers, to power our hospitals and emergency rooms, and to electrify commercial and industrial businesses. In short, these companies and their products and services provide the foundation of our entire modern life and economy. These companies and their people have done much to build and serve our advanced and successful society, yet they are being vilified, bullied, and threatened with civil lawsuits and criminal charges by the likes of Mr. Whitehouse and Mrs. Lynch. These companies and their people—contributors to our way of life--are hardly the gangsters, mobsters, and racketeers that RICO was designed to control. No damage has been done, but the global warming proponents demand that the voices of these companies and their people be silenced. I will continue to express my disagreement on expensive and fruitless efforts like the Clean Power Plan. If Mr. Whitehouse and Mrs. Lynch put me away, I hope you will visit. I also hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

52 JUNE 2016

| Market Place |


STOP THROWING GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD! There’s a reason so many of our advertisers are still on our pages, month after month, for more than 40 years.

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JUNE 2016 53

| Alabama Snapshots | 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 and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.


Take me out to the ballgame






7. Dawson Freeland, pitcher for Northview HS in Dothan. Jackie Alker, Prattville.


6 1. Domonique Jackson, WSN JV softball. SUBMITTED BY Wanda Waldrop, E. Brewton. 2. H a g e n L o y d c a t c h i n g a homerun ball. SUBMITTED BY Deloras Parker, Cullman. 3. Dalton Coleman, Evergreen Cal Ripkin All Star. SUBMITTED BY Susan Coleman, Evergreen. 4. Raylee Smith, 2015. SUBMITTED BY Teresa Smith, Arley. 5. Kayleigh, Joan and Will Smith at a Braves game. SUBMITTED BY Tomesa Smith, Vinemont. 6 . Ky n l e i g h Wo o d , a g e 5 . SUBMITTED BY June Wood, Holly Pond.

8. Cooper Cash all-star action, 2015. SUBMITTED BY Tina Covington, Bay Minette.

Submit Your Images! August Theme: “My garden” Deadline for August: June 30 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

54 JUNE 2016

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