Page 1

Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News February 2018

Joe Wheeler Electric MEMBERSHIP CORP.

Hunting with hawks Career academies prepare students Reader memories: My favorite teacher

Manager George Kitchens Director of Communications Michael Cornelison ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

Career academies From sports medicine to automotive engineering and performing arts, Alabama’s career academies are motivating students with personalized learning.


VOL. 71 NO. 2 n FEBRUARY 2018

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

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Nalin Crocker



American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311


Look for this logo to see more content online!

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at Printed in America from American materials

Exciting potential


Worth the Drive


Gardening growth

A visionary Alabama program is seeking to identify genes that will help prevent cancer, heart disease and genetic problems.

A Clanton restaurant specializes in Italian comfort food with old-world family recipes.

Use the cold month of February to further your education of all things garden. Master Gardener classes could be for you!



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: For editorial inquries, email:



WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 11 Page 28

11 Spotlight 30 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 32 Outdoors 33 Fish & Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER: A red-tailed hawk

spreads its wings in flight. Hawks like this are used by hunters to go after squirrels in what is dubbed the “Sport of Kings.” Read more on Page 32. PHOTO: Kathleen Brown FEBRUARY 2018 3

A view from the top

The courage to disagree George Kitchens General Manager/CEO

Board of Trustees Charles Segars


District 6

Charles Teague

Vice President District 7

Linda Owens


District 5

Ricky Knouff District 1 Andrew McCay District 2 Joseph Dutton District 3 Jimmie Halbrooks District 4 Ray Long District 8 Shirley Livingston District 9 Milton Taylor District At-Large

Headquarters: P.O. Box 460 Trinity, AL 35673

256-552-2300 District Offices: Moulton:


641 Big Nance St. Moulton, AL 35650

700 Sparkman St. Hartselle, AL 35640

Anatole France said that if 50 million say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. Mr. France was a poet, journalist, and novelist who lived from 1844-1924. History is full of examples that bring this point home. Most of the learned scholars of the day when Columbus sailed in search of a shortcut to China believed that the earth was flat and that one would fall off the edge of the earth if you sailed too far to the west. Of course, Columbus and many explorers that followed him disproved the flat earth theory. It took tremendous courage to stand against conventional wisdom and sail off to the west. In February, we celebrate the births of two presidents of the United States, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. Both men are fine examples of courage in the face of adversity. George Washington could have very easily stood silently by as the stirring of emotion and grievances leading up to the American Revolution were taking place. Let’s face it; he was a wealthy planter/farmer and could have continued to fare well under the British Colonial system. Several of his neighbors moved from Colonial Virginia to Canada or back to England. Instead, as a delegate to the Continental Congress, he cast his lot with fellow patriots to rebel against the British Crown. He not only risked his life in making this decision, but he also risked his considerable fortune too. Had he been captured by the British it is very probable that he would have been hung as a traitor. He had some military experience from his service in the French and Indian War and was called upon to lead the Continental Army against the British. And of course, went on to become our very first president. No man is perfect, and certainly,

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

Washington had flaws. However, we cannot question this man’s courage to give his all for our young country. Abraham Lincoln, our second February born president, is another excellent example of courage. In this case, we might call it courage of conviction. Lincoln was dedicated to seeing the end of slavery in the United States. He has also held a strong belief that the young nation should be preserved as one nation instead of being split into two or more countries on the continent. It would have been easier to let the states split into two nations, but he led the country through a brutal civil war to preserve the nation. The Civil War came at a tremendous cost in loss of life. More than 620,000 Americans lost their lives in this conflict, higher than any other war. Lincoln endured in his desire to see the Union preserved and because of his courage and tenacity, the United States has become a great nation. Today, we face different challenges than those in the days of Christopher Columbus, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Today, the “settled science” would have us believe that we humans are the primary cause of “climate change.” Oddly enough, the people who disagree with the settled science are called “flat-earthers.” Looking back to the days of Columbus, the folks who were the original flat-earthers were also the vast majority of the best scientists of the day. The best minds in the middle ages got it wrong. So, maybe today, just like times in the past, the people with the courage to disagree with the settled science will one day be valued for having the courage that made men like Washington and Lincoln well regarded. True science is never really settled by popular opinion.

Consider insulating your hot water pipes. Doing so can reduce heat loss, allow you to lower the temperature setting and save an additional 3 to 4 percent per year on water heating. Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy


J.R. Knouff Scholarship Application

Ten $2000 scholarships are given at the Annual Meeting in April. Name ___________________________________________________

Deadline: March 31, 2018

Address _________________________________________________ City________________ State_______ Zip Code _________________ Day Phone_______________ Evening Phone ___________________


Social Security #_________________ Birth date ________________ JWEMC Account # (available on your bill) _____________________ Member’s Relationship to Applicant __________________________ *If last name is different, please indicate reason

Most Recent Grade Point Average (GPA) _______________________ This GPA is for (circle one):

High School


University or College you plan to attend ________________________ If in high school, which school do you attend? ___________________ Are you planning to be a full-time student (12+ hours)? Yes No (circle one) *In order to receive a scholarship, you must be a full-time student.

I have read and understand all of the requirements for the JWEMC J.R. Knouff Scholarship Program, and I agree to meet all of them. If I am selected as a recipient, I agree to allow JWEMC to use my name and/or photo in future promotion of this program. Applicant’s Signature_________________________________________


JWEMC Member’s Signature___________________________________


Application Requirements 1. You must be at least a senior in high school to enter. First-time freshmen, continuing college students or persons returning to college to finish an undergraduate degree are also eligible to enter. 2. All blanks must be filled out or your application will be voided. Your application must be signed on the space provided. 3. Your application must be postmarked on or before March 31, 2018 or it will be voided. Only one application allowed per applicant. Duplicates will be voided. 4. If you are living on your own, away from home, you cannot apply under your parents’ name. YOU must be a JWEMC member to apply. EXCEPTION: If you are living away from home specifically to attend college, but your PERMANENT address is still your parents’ home and your parents are JWEMC members, you may apply. 5. Graduate or doctoral students are ineligible. * If you are applying for a student loan, please check with your school’s financial aid office to see how this scholarship might affect you. Alabama Living

Electric Cooperative Foundation Scholarship Applications Available High school seniors, listen up! Electric Cooperative Foundation Scholarship Applications are now available. Two $500 scholarships will be given to high school seniors in the JWEMC service area. For an application, stop by any JWEMC office location or go by your school guidance counselor’s office or visit Deadline for the scholarship entry is February 16, 2018. NO POSTMARKS. FEBRUARY 2018 5

Electrical safety in the neighborhood When thinking about your home or neighborhood, chances are you don’t picture power lines. They’re easy to overlook, stringing high above your roof, along property lines and roadways, or near trees. But the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind,” may be dangerous— power lines pose serious electrical hazards if forgotten. Trees can be a power line’s worst enemy. Strong winds, storms, and heavy ice can topple trees or shatter branches that pull down power lines and cause outages. Sometimes, even if heavily damaged, lines remain energized with the potential to electrify trees and nearby objects. Arcing and flashovers between power lines and trees are also dangerous. In winter, extra weight from snow and ice can bend or break tree branches, bringing them close to power lines. During warm weather or when power lines are carrying heavy electrical loads, they can heat up and sag as much as 15 feet or 20 feet, dropping them toward nearby vegetation. Electric current caused by arcing or flashovers between power lines and 6  FEBRUARY 2018

trees in either situation can easily injure or even kill an individual nearby. Follow these safety tips and be sure to pay attention to power lines:

§§ Make sure to always look for nearby power lines before you cut down any tree or trim branches. If a tree falls into a power line, contact Joe Wheeler EMC immediately. §§ Treat all power lines as energized. Never climb or attempt to handle a tree that has a limb caught in a power line. You may not see any visible evidence that the tree is “electrified” or dangerous. §§ Make sure to maintain required clearances between equipment and power lines. §§ If a fire starts from a fallen power line, notify the fire department and your local electric co-op. Stay away from the site of the electrical hazard. Make sure others stay clear of the line and treat it as energized.

respond to an electrical emergency, you can help stop potential power line problems before they start by practicing these safety measures: §§ If you notice anything such as trees or branches that might interfere with power lines or pose a serious threat, notify JWEMC immediately. §§ If you are planning to plant trees on your property, make sure not to plant them directly under or within at least 25 feet of power lines for short trees, and at least 40 feet away for medium-sized trees. §§ Shrubs, hedges, and other plants should be kept clear of electric towers and poles. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

§§ Do not use water on or near a fallen power line. §§ Along with taking necessary steps to


We do our best to avoid power outages, but unfortunately, Mother Nature occasionally has different plans. Stay ahead of the storm by stocking your pantry with a variety of non-perishable items.

• • • • • • • • • • • •


Set these items aside for extended outages only, and your storm prep will be a breeze!


Don’t forget to stock up on disposable goods, like paper plates, napkins, plastic cutlery and cups.

Stay Back!

Know the difference between types of lines and wires. If you see a downed electric line, be aware that it could be live and dangerous!

Electric Wire

Electric wires are larger and can be easily identified by the three separate twisted wires, one being uniquely silver or uninsulated.

Alabama Living

Cable Wire

Cable lines are round and look similar to the coaxial cable that connects to the TV in your home.

Phone Wire

Telephone wires are typically smaller, flat wires.


JWEMC line locater Ronnie Bishop retires Joe Wheeler EMC congratulates and extends a heartfelt farewell to line locater Ronnie Bishop upon his retirement after more than 28 years of service. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the members of JWEMC for almost three decades. Enjoy your hard earned retirement.

From left; Director of Operations Buddy Beaver; Ronnie Ronnie was joined at the celebration by his family. Bishop; Lawrence Co. Foreman Patrick Turner.

Goss Electric honored for substation construction

From left, Shawn Henderson, Goss Electric, Inc.; Butch Chumley, Goss Electric, Inc.; JWEMC Director of Engineering Jeff Britnell; Brandon Motes, Goss Electric, Inc. who accepted the ABC Excellence in Construction Award.

Goss Electric, Inc. of Decatur was honored at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) North Alabama Chapter's 2017 awards banquet with an Excellence in Construction award for the construction of the new Mountain Home substation. The new substation, scheduled to be energized in the late spring, is located off Mountain Home Road. just across the Lawrence County line. According to the ABC website, the Excellence in Construction program has become the premier competition within the construction industry that recognizes 8  FEBRUARY 2018

Mountain Home substation during construction

outstanding construction projects across the nation. Consistently the number one construction competition in the nation, EIC uniquely acknowledges the entire project team - the contractor, the designer and owner. ABC North Alabama President Tiffany Brightwell says they are a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely,

ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC North Alabama is a committed group of nearly 200 construction-related firms who are professionals supporting our country, our community, and our industry. "We believe the Merit Shop Philosophy and the free enterprise system go hand in hand, and that construction contracts should be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. We are committed to quality construction - completed on time and within budget," Brightwell said.

| Alabama Snapshots |

Service Pets

ice Heather and serv Davis, Deatsville.

ITTED BY Heather dog, Mushu. SUBM

Elijah Gaige Mendez and his service dog, Emma. SUBMITTED BY Chris Mendez, Dothan.

MacKenzie, a se nior at Auburn High School, an Maddie. SUBM d service dog ITTED BY Kristy Morgan, Auburn .

Joann Heda with her mobility service dog, Rebecca. SUBMITTED BY Joann Heda, Homosassa, Florida.

Submit Your Images! April Theme: “Country Roads” Deadline for April: February 28

SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living



Reaching retirement age? Here’s what you need to know


very birthday deserves celebration, but some seem a little more special than others. Think of a baby’s first birthday. Sweet 16. The “Big 4-0.” Then, before you know it, along comes 65. This last milestone is especially important to retirees. For nearly half a century, American workers looked to 65 as the age at which they could stop working and finally reap their full retirement benefits under the Social Security Act of 1935. Today, however, the full retirement age is now 66 or 67, depending on when you were born. In 1983, Congress changed the law to increase the retirement age gradually over a 22-year period, citing improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy. To find out your full retirement age, visit ageincrease.html. If you’ve contributed enough to the SoKylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

cial Security system through payroll taxes, you still can claim your retirement benefits at 65 — or 62, 63, or 64, for that matter — but your monthly payments will be permanently reduced. For help deciding which age is right for you to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, read, “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” at We have also made applying for benefits easier than ever. You can do it online! To apply for benefits, please go to www. That said, age 65 should still factor in prominently as you prepare for retirement and a stable financial future, because that’s when most American workers first become eligible for Medicare health insurance coverage. To see if you’ve earned enough credits through work to qualify for Medicare at age 65, view your Social Security Statement online using your personal my Social Security account. Create or log on to your account at

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits before age 65, we’ll automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (supplemental medical insurance) effective the first day of the month you turn 65. Watch your mailbox a few months before your birthday for your Medicare card. Otherwise, three months before your 65th birthday, you can apply for Medicare Parts A and B online at socialsecurity. gov/applyforbenefits. Your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare starts three months before your 65th birthday month and continues for three months after. To learn more about Medicare enrollment and coverage, please visit To learn more about Medicare coverage, visit Social Security is with you through life’s journey, on your first birthday and the many more that follow. Learn how we help you and your family secure today and tomorrow through our financial benefits, information, and planning tools at


Genomic testing holds exciting potential for disease treatment


ulation from all 67 counties. Participants labama has implemented a visiontypes. A small percent identified with a must be 18 or older and will receive extenary and innovative investment in the medical condition believed to have a genetic cause that has not yet been identified future of its residents’ health status by sive education about the program. Test will be invited to participate in more extenawarding $2 million per year for a fivefindings will not be released without the participant’s approval. Testing involves the sive whole genome sequencing. year program. The Alabama Genomic collection of a blood sample. Given the poor health status of AlaHealth Initiative (AGHI) aims to unlock bama’s population, identifying possible A list of 59 genes identified by the the human genome by identifying specific risks for major health conditions in time American College of Medical Genetics and genes to allow for preventing and treating to prevent these conditions from emergGenomics (ACMG) is being used in this disease, including certain types of cancer, ing, or to decrease potential heart problems and genetic disorders. This is one of the first impact through early interMore testing participation is needed from African vention, holds much promise. statewide initiatives of its kind Alabamians and males and residents of rural counties. in the United States. Alabama residents have the second highest cardiovascular This initiative involves colinitiative. These genes are known to be diseases death rate among all 50 states, laboration between the UAB School of associated with an increased risk for canwith the death rate being more than 17 Medicine and the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville to conduct cers, cardiovascular diseases, and genetic percent higher in rural counties. They also genomic testing of approximately 2,000 disorders. The genes are being identified have the seventh highest cancer death rate because there are actions that you and your Alabamians each year. Participation is among all 50 states, with the death rate physician can take to help prevent or defree and is being sought to closely reflect being over nine percent higher in rural tect early onset of their associated diseases. the age, gender, race, ethnic and sociocounties. Genomic testing holds exciting economic composition of Alabama’s popOther genes could be included later. potential to identify individuals with increased risk where prevention can have The AGHI also will use data from testa very positive health status impact. For ing to better understand the role that genes Dale Quinney is executive director of additional information on the AGHI, visit play in health and disease. It is estimated the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081. that 1 to 3 percent of those tested will test the program’s website at positive for one or more of the 59 gene aghi or call 855-462-6850. 10  FEBRUARY 2018

February | Spotlight This Month In


ALABAMA HISTORY Honoring Our People

February 1, 1956

Autherine Lucy enrolled at the University of Alabama for the second time. Lucy became the first African American to enroll at the university in 1952, but was denied admittance when administrators discovered her race. After a three-year legal battle, she successfully attended class for the first time on February 3, 1956. On February 6, however, a large, hostile crowd of angry protestors forced her to flee from the university hidden in the backseat of a patrol car. That night, the university’s board of trustees voted to expel Lucy out of concern for her own safety and upheld the expulsion until 1988. Lucy later returned to the university and completed a master’s degree in education.

Nation’s first 911 call was answered in Haleyville Today, we take for granted that calling 911 will connect us with our local emergency responders. Fifty years ago, such a system didn’t exist, but Alabama has a prominent place in the system’s history. The first 911 call was placed by Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite from the Haleyville, Ala., City Hall, to U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill at the city’s police station on Feb. 16, 1968. The call was an attempt by the Alabama Telephone Company to be the first to implement the 911 system, which occurred only 35 days after AT&T announced plans to use 911 as a nationwide emergency number. Bevill reportedly answered with “hello,” and the red phone on which the call is made is now in the lobby of the Haleyville City Hall. The city holds a 9-1-1 Festival each year. This year’s event is June 1-2. (Information from Alabama 200, via Alabama NewsCenter.)

Whereville, AL

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries.

Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Feb. 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the March 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. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

JANUARY’S ANSWER Sitting high atop Sand Mountain, the Lodge at Gorham’s Bluff is a bed and breakfast with a lovely view of the Tennessee River. The Lodge, completed in 1995, features several guest rooms for rent as well as a dining room and comfy sitting areas. It’s part of the Gorham’s Bluff community in Pisgah, which also features cottages for rental. (Landmark suggested by Charlotte Graves of Sand Mountain EC) January’s winner is Susan Koleff of Sand Mountain EC.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018 11

Career academies motivate high school students with personalized learning By Minnie Lamberth


n May 2013, when Gary Minnick was serving as a principal within the Shelby County School System, he had an opportunity to travel with an eight-person team to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, to see a high school the U.S. Department of Education identified as a demonstration site for innovative and personalized student learning. High school students in Reynoldsburg can choose one of four college/career academies that align with clusters of careers important to the local economy. More importantly, they also reflect the student’s personal interest. A health sciences academy, for example, is geared around the overall theme of health sciences

careers yet offers multiple pathways for students to prepare to go to work right out of high school or pursue degrees at community colleges or universities with a head start in their field of interest. The trip to Reynoldsburg, Minnick says, “struck a chord in me and everything I believe about how education should work. We

All 12 high schools in the Mobile County Public School System have career academies that offer hands-on opportunities in a variety of career fields. Every high-schooler must be in an academy, but not all schools offer the same ones.

12  FEBRUARY 2018

needed something to motivate students.” As Minnick explained, if he can get students locked in to the idea that what they are studying is preparing them for what they want to do in life, they will stay in school. “The key for me is high school is all about motivation,” Minnick says. Shortly after his visit to Reynoldsburg, Minnick took a step to make this vision a reality when he was named principal of Boaz High School, a member of Marshall-Dekalb EC. From his perspective, he saw a city system with one high school as an easier model to work within to establish career academies than a larger, multiple high school system. After he came on board in July, Minnick began a deliberate process to determine “where the school needed to go to help students get the most out of their education.” He started with the school’s teachers. “My emphasis as a principal is, people support what they help create,” Minnick says. “We needed buy-in from everybody.” Over the next seven or eight months, the school began moving in the direction of creating career academies. Teachers studied the data provided by Regional Workforce Development Councils related to what jobs would be available in this part of the state, and they devised their pathways based on that data. “We had a strategy. We wanted ours to be research-based,” Minnick says. By spring of 2014, the school was ready to establish three career academies, and students would choose their preference from these three. The BELLA Academy is focused on students interested in business, education, law and liberal arts programs. Within that acad- Students in the health sciences academy at Boaz High School learn about infection control and emy, there are a number of pathways that how to use PPE (personal protective equipment). After graduation, they’ll have a head start students can pursue, ranging from business toward high-demand careers in health care. finance to performing arts. Students also have the option to take business or law pathways through dual of eighth grade, they and their parents will have decided which enrollment with nearby Snead Community College. pathway they want to choose.” In the ninth grade, they enter the Within the H3 Academy, students can begin to prepare for academy of their preference. high-demand careers in health sciences, human services, and the What if they change their mind later? “If they find out they hospitality and tourism fields. Specific pathways within the acaddon’t like a particular pathway in high school, I have done them emy range from culinary to sports medicine. The E-Stem Acada tremendous service,” Minnick says. Students and parents will emy reflects the high-demand disciplines such as environmenhave saved the thousands of dollars in tuition they would have tal science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Pathways paid in college to find out the same information. Regardless, they include computer information science as well as environmental receive their high school diploma, and the educational prepanatural resources. ration assists but doesn’t preclude the jobs or college plans they “We ended up with a dozen pathways on our campus,” Minnick pursue. says. However, if students don’t see what they want at Boaz High The academies are still new enough that a class of students School, they can choose from eight career technical pathways at hasn’t completed the full five-year program, yet Minnick is Marshall Technical School or explore dual enrollment with Snead pleased with the progress. “We’re asking our kids to take on highState. In addition, Enterprise State Community College has a er challenges, and they’re accepting the challenge,” he says. nearby satellite campus and offers programs. Farther south, the Mobile County Public School System Exposure to career academies begins in eighth grade through (MCPSS) is an example of how a county system with multiple a preparatory course. “It’s designed for students to examine the high schools has incorporated the academy concept to deliver edcareer clusters and see the pathways that are available,” Minnick ucation. “All 12 of our high schools are wall-to-wall academies. says. Students also tour the high school. “Our target is by the end Every student must be in an academy,” says Larry Mouton, assisAlabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  13

tant superintendent of workforce development for MCPSS. In Mobile, students begin the process in a ninth grade Freshman Academy, where they learn about the available academies. “For the next three years they take courses in their pathway,” Mouton says. Each high school has multiple academies, but because they are designed and implemented by the school, not all high schools offer the same ones. However, if students are zoned to a school that doesn’t have the pathways they want, they can transfer to a school that does. In addition, internships are offered during the summer between junior and senior year that correlate with the student’s academy. Among the aspects that make academies so successful, Mouton says, “It’s a way for business and industry to talk to students who have a shared interest.” In the past, if he told students an engineering firm was coming to school to talk to about engineering, hundreds who didn’t have an interest might come to hear the talk just to get out of class. At a school with an engineering academy, the firm can talk to students who have already expressed an interest. “It gives business and industry a conduit to get into the classrooms and talk to the students and directly impact the workforce in our area,” Mouton says. As business and industry meet students and develop relationships, he adds, “this will facilitate their success when they graduate.” Mobile County’s academies have been in place long enough to see improvement in student motivation. For example, at B.C. Rain High School, Mouton says, “When started five years ago, the graduation rate was somewhat over 50%. This year we anticipate they’ll hit a 90% graduation rate.” As students see that they’re in a pathway to success, Mouton said they better understand the value of what they do in the classroom. “Our goal is to make sure every child has a pathway to a quality graduation,” Mouton says. Top photo, Dillon Cahela, Mia Estrada and Sandy Lopez Mendez helped grow rainbow Swiss chard in the Boaz High School aquaponics class. The class’ Swiss chard has been served by the high school culinary program and a local restaurant. The class has also successfully grown tomatoes, herbs and several varieties of lettuce. Bottom photo, Students in the HVAC program at one of Mobile County’s career academies receive hands-on instruction in their career field, but also make connections with leaders in business and industry in their respective communities.

14  FEBRUARY 2018

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  15

My favorite teacher Readers share memories of those who inspired them

They’re more than just instructors and paper-graders. Most of us can recall at least one special school teacher who not only made learning fun, but opened our eyes to new worlds in science and math, piqued our interest in literature and music, and inspired us to reach farther and do better, in school as well as life. We asked readers to send us stories about their favorite teachers, and to share with us how these educators shaped their minds and attitudes. They’re role models as well as teachers, and their lessons go far beyond the classroom. Below are the responses we received; perhaps you’ll think back on your favorite teacher, and say “thank you” to the educators of today. – ­ Allison Law (some responses edited for length and clarity)

My mother, my teacher

Making English enjoyable

My favorite teacher was my mother, Gladys Brasher. My mother had finished high school and one year of college and was teaching school at age 16. She taught all five of her children and many of her grandchildren, and gave each child her time. She never learned to drive, so she rode the school bus to school each day. She finished college, raised five children and never complained about being tired. She took time with each child she taught. She loved all of her students. Even today, now that she has been gone for 23 years, people will come up to me and tell me how much she meant to them and how much she helped them in school. After she retired, she continued to help her grandchildren with homework.

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Creighon, a seventh-grade English teacher at Baton Rouge Jr. High, in 1959. We, as new students, had been warned of this woman’s strict and tough attitude. Let me assure you, it was all true. On the first day, Mrs. Creighon stated no one in her class would fail. We would all participate in her activities, turn in all homework, and not be late for class. The only excuses accepted for being absent was a note from a doctor or there was a death in the family. We had to make up our minds, right then and there, what our intentions were. If we had no intentions of following her rules, she said to get out now and don’t come back.  Who would dare to walk the halls without a pass? We knew from day one what was expected of us. Because of this woman, English was my favorite and best subject throughout the rest of my education. She didn’t mind helping and working with us, individually.  We would get that special attention, if we needed it. We realized, too, not all of us were on the same learning level and our teacher helped each of us. Mrs. Creighon made English easy and enjoyable.

– Barbara Smith, Vandiver

Life is a highway My favorite teacher was Ms. Dianne Milliose, who taught fifth grade at the elementary school I attended in Temple Hills, Md. She was strict and firm, but fun. She would jump rope with us at recess. She taught you to strive for more than 100 percent. When I moved to Alabama, my favorite would be my 11th-grade teacher, Mr. Byrd. He would always find ways to remind me that learning comes from interest and a burning desire and passion. Some of his other lessons: Life is a highway, with many turns, many obstacles, many distractions. Stay focused and alert. A reward is earned, and respect is earned. Not to give in, but learn when to bend. – Patricia Baggett, Uriah 16  FEBRUARY 2018

– Alice P. Dunbar, Robertsdale

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  17

Class was over when he said so During my school career, I had many special teachers. When I think of one who stands out, I think of Mr. Billy Oliver of Holly Pond, Ala. Mr. Oliver, or Coach Oliver as he is still known, touched the lives of many during his tenure with Cullman County Schools, serving in many positions as an educator, coach, principal, and eventually over the transportation for the county. While at Holly Pond School, Coach Oliver taught science classes and coached football, girls’ basketball, and track. Coach Oliver gave countless hours of his time and himself to make a difference in the lives of many young people. As a family man, his family was always there to support the functions he was involved in. They were not only there to support him. But they were there to support the students he cared so much for. Coach Oliver continues to take an interest in his students past their high school careers. As I began my teaching career 25 years ago, Coach Oliver was there to encourage me and often offered help many times. His encouragement from the past to this day has meant a lot to many. Coach Oliver had a specific rule in his classes. Class was not over when the bell rang; it was over when he told you it was time to leave. Coach Oliver delivered to me the only paddling that I ever received in my school career for getting out of my seat when the bell rang. One time and I did not do it again. Today, Coach Oliver serves as the mayor of our town. Though he is busy with his responsibilities as the mayor, he is never too busy to lend a hand or and encouraging word. The lessons that I learned in and out of the classroom from Coach Oliver made a difference in my life along with many others. – June Wood, Holly Pond

Salt and pepper shaker memories I felt the need to tell about my first-grade teacher in 1960, Mrs. Wilson. (I was born and raised in West Texas.) She also taught three of my siblings. She could use that paddle very well. I bought her a Christmas present that year. It was salt and pepper shakers shaped like a spoon and a fork. As the years went by I became a nurse and still lived in the same town. I got a call one day to see if I would consider cleaning and cooking for her and her husband. I took on the challenge twice a week. Loved them dearly. Did this for them until they both passed away. I lovingly became the proud owner of the salt and pepper shakers from her family. One of my most cherished possessions. Hopefully my granddaughters will consider it one of their prize possessions also. – Shirley Grimes, Marbury 18  FEBRUARY 2018

Creating a passion for learning Growing up in northeast Alabama on Sand Mountain, it did not occur to me that we were of the lower economic class. The four-room wooden schoolhouse with a pot-bellied stove for warmth and an outhouse down in the hollow should have given it away. But I had not one but three of the most amazing teachers ever to set foot in any classroom. Miss Emma Hales taught me in first and second grade where both classes were in one room. With few books, limited materials, and a vivid imagination, Miss Emma would take us to all parts of the world. The husband and wife team of Junior and Ina Carlyle continued that enthusiasm in third through sixth grades and made us feel we could conquer anything. Mrs. Carlyle convinced us that we were the greatest actors on the stage, confirmed when our little school placed in the top three at the annual 4-H County Talent contest every year. To Mr. Carlyle it mattered not whether your dad had a paying job or whether he was a sharecropper, everyone was the same. Many times he would pile us all on a flatbed truck to visit neighboring schools for a friendly softball match. Few days go by that I do not recall something one of these outstanding educators taught me. Their influence has carried on through their students and through the hundreds who have been in my own classroom. Their influence created the passion for learning I continue to embrace. – Nancie Ellis Nesbitt, Pelham

History came alive My favorite teacher was Mrs. Kate B. Hendley. She was a loving, caring and inspiring teacher. Mrs. Hendley taught me in grades 4, 5 and part of 6 at Cowarts Elementary, a three-room school in Cowarts, Ala., 1959-1961. She was soft-spoken, kind and friendly, yet she was firm. A student knew to listen to her, but when we did something wrong, she not only scolded us, she told us why it was wrong. When we did a good job or deed, she praised us. In the mornings, Mrs. Hendley would let us take turns leading the pledge to the American flag, reciting a Bible verse, praying and leading the class in a song. Too, we got to ring the bell by pulling a large rope to begin and end school, recess and lunch. Mrs. Hendley was a caring person. On my last day in her class, she pulled me aside and told me to always be honest, to be kind to others, to brush my teeth after meals, to keep myself and my belongings clean and to eat an apple every day! She was an inspiring teacher. Most mornings she would read a chapter of a storybook to us. There was a double-door bookcase filled with biographies of our forefathers and other historical figures. I read them all. Mrs. Hendley made Alabama history come alive. We learned the state song, bird, flower and all 67 counties. When it was rest time, our heads on our desks, Mrs. Hendley would be hand-sewing while listening to records of Perry Como singing or a Yankees baseball game on the radio. To this day, I’m thankful for Mrs. Hendley and the good influence she made on my life. I love to read, sew and listen to ball games on the radio. – Kathy Granger, Enterprise

Without discipline, there is no learning Ms. Jesse Draper of Raleigh, N.C., was my first grade and favorite teacher, counting all education levels through a master’s degree. Why? She was a very strict disciplinarian and I was a “handful” if there ever was one. Folks today would not approve of her disciplinary actions, including holding my chin with a very long thumbnail and taking my chin to the floor while telling me “Don’t do that again.” No surprise that I didn’t do “that” again and the class continued without further interruption from me. I learned from her that without discipline, there is no learning. Ms. Draper devoted just about her entire adult life to teaching young children and lived to be 100 years old. In her later years, we became friends and I am so thankful that I was able to say “thank you” to her personally before she passed. Our entire education system, including parents and lawyers, could learn a lot from Ms. Draper. I certainly did. – Linwood H. (Woody) Snell, Jr., Colonel (USAF Retired), Lake Jordan

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  19

Book program brings great stories to Alabama children By Lori M. Quiller

Dr. Marsha Raulerson


r. Seuss said it best in his book I Can Read with My Eyes ter foundation for a lifetime of learning. Dothan pediatrician Dr. Shut!  “The more that you read, the more things you will Michelle Freeman realized early on in her career the value of the know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” And, Reach Out and Read-Alabama program. that’s a primary mission for about 300 Alabama pediatricians and “It creates a library of books for the child, many whom otherwise Reach Out and Read-Alabama. would not have access to books,” Freeman says. “It also gives me an Reach Out and Read-Alabama has helped put more than 1.6 opportunity as a pediatrician to emphasize to parents the impormillion books in the hands of Alabama’s children. Most of these tance of reading to their child. Not only does this help from an edchildren are in lower income households and books are a luxury the ucational level, but it also encourages parents to spend quality time family often cannot afford. But, the gift of a book is more than the with their children. But seeing the joy on the face of a 3-year-old gift of adventure – it’s an opportunity for bonding between parent child when they receive their book at their check-up is priceless!” and child. Dr. Bruce Petitt of West Alabama Pediatrics in Tuscaloosa agreed Eleven years ago, Brewton pediatrician Dr. Marsha Raulerson the Reach Out and Read-Alabama partnership helps not only reinhelped launch Reach Out and Read-Alabama, incorporating books force the bond between family members but also strengthens the into pediatric care and enphysician-patient relationcouraging families to read ship. aloud together. “Our patients and their “We’ve given out truckfamilies have loved getting loads of books to our paa book at their check-up tients,” Raulerson says. “I and look forward to seeing give a book to every child which book they’ll get at for every visit, no matter their next visit. It’s a great what the age of the child. opportunity to praise the My community probably child’s emerging reading contributes about $10,000 skills and to discuss how a year so we can buy new reading plays a role in opbooks because every patimal development,” Petitt tient can have a new book.” says. In fact, no child who visReach Out and Read-Alits Raulerson’s clinic leaves abama provides new and empty-handed. The books gently used books to the she chooses for her patients more than 67 medical pracare not only age-approtices and clinics across the priate, but also story-ap- Dr. Marsha Raulerson reads to a couple of young patients in her Brewton practice. state that participate in the propriate to each patient’s program. The program, PHOTO BY LORI QUILLER particular situation. The which is an arm of the majority of her patients have special needs, and each book is inAlabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, holds tended to give her patients hope. fundraisers and creates partnerships with volunteer organizations “In Alabama, about 91 percent of our children receive their such as the Montgomery Chapter of Public Relations Council of medical care from either their pediatrician or family physician,” Alabama (PRCA).  explained Reach Out and Read-Alabama’s Statewide Coordinator “We created Change for a Child earlier this year as a way for our Polly McClure. “The way Reach Out and Read works is to use those members to donate money during our monthly meetings and felphysicians and medical professionals to introduce the importance lowship activities,” says Megan German Hughes, president of PRCA of reading to their children and their parents.” Montgomery. “We have these wonderful memories of our favorite According to the  2017 Alabama Kids Count Data Book, pubbooks from our childhood and wanted to be part of the program lished by VOICES for Alabama’s Children, about 34 percent of chilproviding these lifelong memories for children in Alabama. It’s an dren under the age of 5 live in single-parent households and about honor to be part of the Reach Out and Read-Alabama program and 27 percent live in poverty. Reach Out and Read-Alabama works to bring adventure and continuous learning opportunities to our famfill some of the gaps a struggling, single parent may face in the early ilies here in the River Region.” To learn more about Reach Out and Read-Alabama, make a development of their child. donation, or to partner with the organization, visit http://www. By “prescribing” books to children and encouraging families to read together, children acquire early language skills and build a bet20 FEBRUARY 2018

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  21

| Alabama People |

Deborah Barnhart

Space center leader wants students to shoot for the stars One of the world’s most exceptional educational resources in the realm of science and space exploration has its home right here in Alabama, and its CEO is a woman who is herself an Alabamian. Deborah Barnhart, Ed.D., has had a distinguished career spanning three decades in commercial industry, government, aerospace and defense. For the last seven years she’s been the CEO and executive director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, home to the renowned U.S. Space Camp, U.S. Space Academy, Aviation Challenge and Robotics Camp. She’s been at the helm of the Space and Rocket Center for seven years, but it’s not her first job there. As a college senior in 1973, she helped with media, advertising and writing. She returned in 1977 to help with media when the space shuttle was flying into Huntsville on the back of a 747. She joined the Navy and returned to Huntsville in 1986 and served as director of Space Camp until 1990. She took over leadership of the center on the last day of 2010. The center contains one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world. It is the state’s No. 1 tourist attraction, and expected to have 700,000 visitors by the end of 2017. We asked her to talk about the center’s educational mission and how it serves the people of Alabama, both the current generations and the ones yet to come. – Allison Law You get participants from around the world, but do you actively market and recruit participants from Alabama? Oh, yes. We have two really important special programs. Every legislator in the state is allowed to send a boy and a girl in middle school through our Space Academy, which is a Space Camp program. We found that plenty of students were coming from the (metro) areas, but we (weren’t getting) children in the Black Belt and Wiregrass. So this program allows us to bring two students from every legislative district every year. We also have a program that allows us to send a teacher from every school district on scholarship every year to the teacher’s program. Space Camp is probably the bestknown of the camps, but talk about the other camps you offer for students. Space Camp opened in 1982, and 800,000 alumni later it continues to grow. A few years after we opened, there was an extraordinary interest in people becoming pilots so they could perhaps become 22 FEBRUARY 2018

astronauts. So we started a second program called Aviation Challenge, which is still operating today. It’s like Space Camp, but like “Top Gun.” They have jet cockpit simulators, and they go down the slide wire as if they’re splashing into the ocean. It’s sort of a military experience to introduce students to the world of aviation. Then a few years ago, we started Space Camp Robotics, which is very different than the other types you see. Our program allows the student to build and (maneuver) an airborne robot, like an unmanned aerial vehicle, a (more traditional) terrestrial robot, and an underwater robot. We’re trying to demonstrate the crosscutting nature of robotics. We’ve done two pilot programs for the establishment of U.S. Cyber Camp, because cyber cuts across every industry in every aspect of our lives these days. We brought Alabama students in for our beta tests, and we will be opening that full-scale cyber camp in the summer of 2018. Let me say a little bit about who comes to our programs, if that’s OK. Yes, please do. We’ve talked about Alabama, and that’s appropriate because I’m a commission of the state of Alabama, and my first responsibility is to serve the people of Alabama. But of course everybody’s interested in space, and our students typically come from at least 70 countries a year and all 50 states. It’s a reflection on the prowess of Alabama, on the accomplishment that has come out of Alabama and the world’s respect for Alabama, for our technology. They’re sending their young people here to look at our programs and learn from us. You inherited some financial challenges when you took over at the center, but it’s now on much more solid footing. We are one of only 0.5 percent of museums in the world that are self-sustaining on our own revenue. The money we spend on operations, we earn on operations. We do, of course, have gifts, and we do have a foundation whose purpose is to provide money for educational programs at the Space and Rocket Center, but all that is below the line. We do receive funds from the Alabama Education Trust Fund. Every dollar of the money that we receive from the state goes to a scholarship amortization for either a field trip for children coming from Alabama schools, an Alabama child or school group going through Space Camp, or for an educator who goes through our Space Academy. So every bit of that money that comes from the state goes back into scholarships for an Alabamian.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  23

| Worth the drive |


Go with us as we visit Bertolone’s at!

Bertolone’s brings Italian comfort food to Clanton I By Allison Law, photos by Mark Stephenson

t was family that brought Sonia Bertolone into the restaurant business. Even as a child she was in the kitchen, cooking and learning old-world recipes from her Italian parents, Joe and Elvira. The Bertolone family moved from Italy to Gilroy, Calif., in 1977, when Sonia was six. They opened a restaurant called Joe’s Italian, which would become a landmark in the small California city that prides itself on being the “garlic capital of the world.” Many years later, after Sonia’s sister left California and moved to Alabama, the Bertolone family followed in 2008. They opened a new Joe’s Italian restaurant in the Birmingham suburb of Alabaster, which they operated for several years. But Joe’s death in 2013 had a dramatic effect on the family. “Dad was the glue that held the siblings together,” Sonia says. “Without him, and Mom just grieving so terribly, we just kind of fell 24  FEBRUARY 2018

Top: Bertolone’s specializes in Italian comfort food, with such familiar specialties as spaghetti and meatballs, cannelloni and artisan pizzas. Above: Sonia Bertolone, right, continues the tradition of family business with her mom, Elvira, seated, and her daughter, Francesca.

apart a little bit.” Joe’s Italian was doing well at the time, but with such a loss in the family dynamic, they decided to sell the restaurant, including the intellectual property. Sonia took a much-needed break from the long hours required to run a successful restaurant. “I just really needed to kind of grieve,” she says. But the business is in the blood. Cooking and running a restaurant is all she’s ever done. So a little more than a year later, she decided to open a new place. Bertolone’s Italian Cafe in Clanton specializes in Italian comfort food, but with tweaks and alterations from the recipes she created at Joe’s Italian. Business was slow at first, but it gave her time and opportunity to experiment. “The first six or seven months we were open, we were so slow we were just like, ‘OK, well, what if I do this?’ Let’s just see if we can make it better.”

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  25

Above: The interior of Bertolone’s features a picture on the wall to the right of Joe Bertolone, who was the heart of the Bertolone family; he died in 2013. Below left: The exterior of the restaurant, which is in downtown Clanton. Below right: A red velvet cheesecake is made in-house by one of the three full-time bakers.

A big part of making that better food at Bertolone’s is quality ingredients. As an example, she points to the mozzarella cheese they use, which is all natural from Wisconsin and more expensive than other commercial cheeses. “We’ve always built the business on a higher-caliber ingredient to start with.” The menu features the Italian specialties you’d expect – chicken parmigiana, fettucine alfredo and lasagna, all with house-made sauces. But there are also custom, handmade pizzas (“Papa Joe’s Special” is a best seller, with pepperoni, salami, ham, sausage, onions, olives and mushrooms) and hand-crafted calzones (their dough is “legendary,” Sonia says). And three full-time bakers produce an array of cakes, pastries and sweet treats. She pulls from her memories as well. The cafe serves cannelloni – ground beef mixed with carrots, onions, celery and 26 FEBRUARY 2018

mozzarella cheese, rolled in a pasta sheet and topped with meat sauce and Alfredo sauce. “That is my memory growing up – being 8 or 9 years old, coming home from school, my mom would pull cannelloni out of the oven, and that is just my warm and fuzzy right there, so I love it.” Her mom, known to staff and customers as “Nonna” (Italian for “grandmother,”) is still a fixture at the restaurant. She uses a cane but is still baking cakes and making cookies. And there may be another Bertolone in the business. Sonia’s 12-year-old daughter, Francesca, is “a natural at it,” her mom says. “She likes to be the boss, so I tell everyone I’ve got a little mini-manager.” The restaurant is doing well, so Sonia is looking ahead to the next step, which includes growing her catering business.

“It’s a challenge to me right now. So we have 700 people to serve, how are we going to do it off-site?” And she’s in talks with a food vendor about the possibilities of making cakes that can be sold to other restaurants. She’s also working with an Atlanta-based company to manufacture and mass-produce her sauces. Such steps are right in line with what her dad, Joe, always wanted – “bigger things,” Sonia says. Bertolone Italian Café 605 Second Ave. North Clanton, AL 35045 205-755-5533 Hours: 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday; 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. FridaySaturday (closed Monday)

 Clanton

For Rent or Sale

Sale Only

Sale or Rental

Sale or Rental

8’ x 20’ x 8’6”

8’ x 40’ x 8’6” or 9’6”

Used Open Top Container

8’ x 20’ x 8’6”

Used Shipping Storage Containers

Mobile Offices

• 20’-40’ lengths • Custom built to your specification • Electrical insulation • HVAC • Custom painting

Call Tommy St. John or Neal Sellers Office (256) 751-3800 • Email:

Grand Sierra


2,777 sq. ft. under roof •




Quality custom STARTING @ 140+ homes built $52 PLANS on your land! SQ. FT. UNDER ROOF

2,213 sq. ft. under roo

f • $146,300

Country Cape

For more than 15 years, We have been providing smart buyers across the south east with $ 1,554 sq. ft. under roof • $120,600 2,100 exceptional quality and value! Amazing standard 4,515 sq. ft. under roof • 27 features, guaranteed build times and 10 year structural warranties are just some of the benefits “Your company has very high that come with building a Trinity Custom Home.“We love our home and thank your standards and you delivered to us a Choose from over 140 stock plans or company as a whole for everything that customize one of our plans to fit superior home of the utmost quality” you guys have done to make this a success” your family’s needs and Budget! –Chase, Clanton, AL –Ashley, Greenville, AL Let’s get started designing OFFICES SERVING ALABAMA: your dream home Call for a Cullman, AL • (256)737-5055 today!

FREE Design Consultation Price does not include land improvements. Prices subject to change. Some of the homes shown have options not in the base price.

Alabama Living

Montgomery, AL • (334)290-4397 Bremen, GA • (770)537-5337

... And Much More

FEBRUARY 2018 27

ZIP System • 2/10 Warranty • Crawl or Slab • 6” Gutters • Granite Countertops

R19 Ext. Wall Insulation • R38 Ceiling Insulation • Double-Hung Windows

Guaranteed Build Times • 2x6 Ext. Walls • 9’ Ceilings • Delta Fixtures • Custom Cabinets • 30 Yr. Shingles

28  FEBRUARY 2018

February | Around Alabama


Orange Beach, 26th Annual Orange Beach Seafood Festival. Crafters, seafood, kids activities, live entertainment and car show. Festival is the primary fundraiser for the Orange Beach Sports Association raising funds for youth sports. The Wharf, 23101 Canal Road.


Montgomery, Annnual Jewish Food Festival at Temple Beth Or, 2246 Narrow Lane Road. Featuring traditional Jewish meals and treats avaliable for purchase and a gift shop. For more information, visit or call 334-262-3314.

March 1-3

Andalusia, “Our Story, Our Song: A Conference on Congregational Song,” a three-day

conference of lectures, classes, workshops and singing. Lectures will be held in various locations in Andalusia, and will cover a range of topics. Preregistration is requested, so adequate music can be ordered for the adult choral workshops. The conference seeks to renew interest in church choral music, especially congregational singing, by promoting a scholarly study of this and related subjects. For more information, visit or search the name of the conference on Facebook.

March 1-5

Selma, Bridge Crossing Jubilee. Annual event to commemorate “Bloody Sunday” as part of the march from Selma to Montgomery. For full schdule of events and ticket prices, visit

Crossroads Theater in Pike Road presents “In Her Own Fashion” by Dolores Hydock, above, Feb. 10.


Orange Beach, 26th Annual Alabama Lifestyles Expo at the Caribe Resort, 28103 Perdido Beach Boulevard. Lifestyle Expo features exhibitors with information about Alabama and the Gulf Coast-community living, food samples from local restaurants, things to do and see and other aspects of visiting the Gulf. Free admission and parking.




Decatur, Carnegie Carnival. Mardi Gras-style celebration promoting art and creativity, family fun and downtown revitalization in downtown Decatur for the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, CASA of North Alabama and Animal Friends Humane Society. Features Carnival Frolic half marathon, children’s parade and kid’s carnival activities, dog parade and Main Parade at 6 p.m.


Gulf Shores, GCAA Art Market. Features original art by local and regional artists. Paintings, wood crafts, jewelry, photography, pottery and metal art. 309 East 21st Ave. 251-9482627


Montgomery, Winter Animal Enrichment Day at the Montgomery Zoo. Join the Montgomery Zoo as they provide new, creative and behavior-stimulating enrichment items for the animals. More than 20 species will particpate in the event which provides the animals with both mental and physical exercise. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For zoo admission and more information, visit

Pike Road, Crossroads Theater presents “In Her Own Fashion,” a story play by Dolores Hydock. The funny, irreverent story of Ninette Griffith, a fashion coordinator for Loveman’s Department Store in Birmingham in the 1950s and 60s. Pike Road Town Hall, 9575 Vaughn Road. Tickets $20. 7:30 p.m. 334-272-9883, patty@ Enterprise, The King of Pop- A Michael Jackson Tribute Concert. Direct from Las Vegas, Jalles Franca portrays Michael Jackson for the tribute concert. From glitzy jackets to white t-shirts, Franca presents many of Michael Jackson’s favorites., 334-4062787.


Dothan, Astronomy Night at Landmark Park. View stars and planets through telescopes and binoculars. Enjoy a starry hayride, nightwalks, planetarium programs and snacks. Reservations required. $4 for members, $5 for scouts and leaders in uniform, $7 for nonmembers. Free ages 5 and under. 334-794-3452,


Centre, Crappie USA returns to Weiss Lake for an opportunity for anglers to compete for cash, prizes and a chance to advance to the 2018 Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic. Pre-tournament seminar will be Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. at Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, 801 Cedar Bluff Road. For prices and registration, visit crappieusa. com.

Mardi Gras Around Alabama Feb. 3

Butler, Mardi Gras Parade and Block Party, butleralabama. org, 205-459-3795 Fairhope, Mystic Mutts of Revelry Parade, Millbrook, Mardi Gras Festival and Parade, 334-799-1801,

Feb. 10

Auburn, Mardi Gras Parade, 334-750-7340, krewdetigris. com Foley, Mardi Gras Parade, 251-943-1200, Huntsville, Mardi Gras Parade, 256-534-7014, Talladega, Mardi Gras Parade and Gala, 256-362-9075, Wetumpka, Order of Cimarrón Mardi Gras Festival, 334424-2867

Feb. 13

Gulf Shores, Lulu’s Mardi Gras Boat Parade, 251-9675858,

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

Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

FEBRUARY 2018 29


| Gardens |


The ‘love to learn’ month in the garden


f you long for some gardening love this February, use these cold, hard-to-garden-in days to further your education, and perhaps kick off a whole year—maybe even a lifetime—of garden learning. The options are many and varied. One exceptional opportunity is to become a Master Gardener, which affords the chance to be both a learner and a teacher. The nonprofit Alabama Master Gardener Association works through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to provide continuing education opportunities and offer horticultural help to others through volunteer and community service programs. Becoming a Master Gardener requires 50 hours of instruction focused on gardening practices and pest control, and 50 hours of approved volunteer service. It’s a commitment, but it’s a commitment that keeps on giving—to you and to others. There are some 35 local Master Gardener associations throughout the state and many are enrolling for upcoming classes. Go to or contact your county Extension office to find out more about the programs. If you want to help cultivate a new generation of garden lovers, consider volunteering with, or enrolling your youngsters in, the Alabama Junior Master Gardener program, which is also coordinated through Alabama’s Extension System. To learn more, go to I often cite the Extension System as a go-to resource for gardeners for good reason. This more than a century-old organization provides exceptional resources that can help answer virtually any gardening question, resources that are science-based and specifically targeted toward Alabama’s gardening needs. Go to to find contact information for your local Extension office and also access Extension’s plethora of online materials.

Public gardens, local nurseries are resources

Alabama’s public gardens are yet another great source of garden learning. Located throughout the state, these gardens and arKatie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at

30 FEBRUARY 2018

boretums offer chances to wander through some of the nation’s most beautiful plant collections and participate in workshops on a wide range of subjects. A list of most of these gardens can be found at https:// Local nursery and garden centers also often offer workshops on everything from plants to gardening projects to culinary or food preservation classes. If you’re not familiar with your local nursery and landscape businesses, check out the membership list of the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association’s website (https://alnla. org) for some options. Yet another resource for gardening events is the Alabama Tourism Department (, which provides an online calendar of events that include flower shows, garden tours and other garden and outdoor educational and recreational opportunities. It can also help you find garden-related travel experiences in the state. And still another option is to join a gardening club or plant society. These organizations range from plant-specific groups (ones that focus on wildflowers and native plants or on cultivated species like camellias, roses and orchids, to name a few) to those with a more general gardening focus. The Garden Club of Alabama’s website ( provides links to all the official garden clubs in the state or do an online or library search for Alabama garden clubs and plant societies to find ones that pique your interest.

Finally, never underestimate the knowledge of your gardening friends, relatives and neighbors. These seasoned gardeners have so much experience to offer and most of them will relish the chance to share it with you. Oh, and if you’re thinking of gardening as a career, a great resource is the Alabama Green Industry website at www. It has information on career options and on community and four-year colleges that offer horticultural degrees. You can also use this short, chilly, lovelaced month to tuck in and read books and magazines and explore the many resources that may help deepen your love of gardening—and learning. What a great Valentine gift to yourself and your garden!

February Tips  Start seed for warm-season vegetables and flowers.  Plant roses and other shrubs and hardy perennials.  Start preparing beds for spring and summer crops.  Plant dormant fruit, nut and ornamental trees.  Prune summer-flowering shrubs now, but delay pruning spring-flowering shrubs until after they bloom.  Order seed for the spring and summer garden.  Give plants, seeds and gardening supplies to your Valentine.  Do maintenance work on lawn and garden equipment.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  31

| Outdoors |

Hawk stalk

Ancient practice gives ‘bird hunting’ a different meaning John Ortino, falconer from Alabaster.


erched high in a tree, the predator missed little, but even a hawk’s eyes couldn’t see through wood. Cleverly, the squirrel maneuvered to keep the tree trunk between itself and its feathered stalker perched in an adjacent tree. When a person moved under the tree, the squirrel jumped into a leafy nest. This tactic might save a squirrel from a human hunter, but not a hawk. The sharp-eyed raptor immediately noticed the movement and pounced, tearing apart the nest to drag out its prey. Dubbed the “Sport of Kings,” hunting with birds of prey dates back at least 4,000 years. The sport came to North America with 16th century Spanish conquistadors

John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.

32  FEBRUARY 2018

and thrived all through the colonial period. Today, about 4,000 licensed falconers, including 60 or so in Alabama, still practice their hobby in the United States. “Originally, falconry was a way to put food on the table,” explains Michael Moore with the Alabama Hawking Association (alabamahawkingassociation. com). “Kings kept falconers who took care of their birds and flew them when the king wanted to hunt. We’re trying to keep the art of falconry alive and pass it on to the next generation.” Many people today use the term “falconry” to describe any type of hunting with raptors. The word comes from the use of peregrine falcons, the fastest animal on earth, to hunt birds. Fairly common in Alabama at times, peregrine falcons can exceed 200 miles per hour when swooping down on prey. Falcons typically hunt open ground where they can easily spot flushing birds. In densely wooded Alabama, however,


most people use red-tailed or red-shouldered hawks and go by the term “hawkers.” “Red-tail hawks naturally prey upon squirrels in the wild,” says Mark Wetzel of Daphne. “When hunting with any bird of prey species, it’s best to fly that bird after what it would normally catch for itself.”

Hawks must be captured first

Hawkers can’t just buy a bird from the local pet shop and start hunting. They must capture and train their own hunting companion. After catching a wild bird, hawkers must gain its trust through food. Once a raptor learns that taking food offered by a human is easier and more dependable than hunting for itself, it keeps returning to its handler, even when released to hunt. “A wild hawk could fly off at any time, but it’s about building trust in the bird through feeding it,” described Moore from Vineland. “When we release a bird, it follows us through the woods fairly closely. The person actually flushes the game so

the hawk can see it. When hunting squirrels, we’ll shake vines to make them jump.” After catching a squirrel too heavy to lift, a hawk flies to the ground with it. The person rushes to the bird to keep it from devouring the animal and prevent a stillalive squirrel from injuring the bird with its sharp teeth. If a bird eats too much, it won’t fly or hunt. The hawker rewards the bird for the kill with a piece of the animal, but lets it fill its belly after a good day afield. Some people use owls instead of hawks, but must capture and train them the same way. Naturally nocturnal, owls typically locate game with their incredible hearing. Rather than fly along behind humans, an owl usually remains perched on its handler’s thick leather glove until it hears something interesting. “Hunting with a great horned owl is a lot different than hunting with a hawk,” Wetzel clarified. “An owl is much more sensitive to noises while a hawk is much more visually oriented. An owl is a lot quieter when stalking its prey and can fly silently.” Before hunting with any bird of prey in Alabama, a prospective hawker must obtain a falconry permit and go through

a certification process. This includes becoming an apprentice to a general or master falconer for two years and passing a written exam. In Alabama, hawkers enjoy more days afield than traditional hunters. For most sportsmen, the 2017-18 squirrel and rabbit seasons end March 4, but hawkers can hunt through March 31. Some state parks even allow falconers to hunt small game where others cannot. All other bag limits and laws apply, except falconers also get an “oops” clause. A bird doesn’t know game laws or dates. Therefore, if a bird grabs something illegal or out of season, the hawker can let the bird eat it, but cannot take it. “After working with a bird, a handler learns to read a bird and predict what it might do next,” Wetzel explained. “We built a bond of trust, but the birds do not love us or have any affection for us, no matter how much we have for them. We bribe them to come back with food, but it’s a lot of fun for me.” For more information on Alabama falconry permits and laws, see Michael Moore of the Alabama Hawking Association. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

Alabama Living

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. Minor

AM Major

1 07:46 2 08:16 3 08:46 4 09:16 5 09:46 6 03:31 7 12:31 8 04:16 9 07:46 10 09:31 11 10:16 12 10:46 13 11:16 14 11:46 15 07:01 16 07:16 17 07:31 18 08:01 19 08:16 20 02:31 21 03:01 22 03:46 23 02:01 24 08:16 25 09:31 26 10:16 27 11:01 28 11:31

12:46 01:31 02:01 02:31 03:01 10:16 10:46 11:46 04:46 05:16 05:31 05:46 06:16 06:31 12:01 12:31 12:46 01:16 01:46 08:46 09:16 09:46 10:46 03:31 04:16 05:01 05:31 06:01

01:01 01:46 02:31 09:01 10:16 ---12:46 02:01 02:46 03:31 04:16 -12:16 12:46 01:31 07:46 08:31 09:46 11:31 --12:31 02:01 03:16 04:16 05:01

06:31 07:16 08:01 03:31 04:31 05:46 07:16 08:31 09:16 10:01 10:31 11:01 11:31 05:01 05:31 06:16 07:01 02:01 02:46 03:31 04:31 05:46 07:16 08:31 09:31 10:31 11:16 11:46

MAR. 1 -2 07:01 3 07:31 4 07:46 5 08:16 6 02:31 7 02:46 8 12:01 9 -10 11:01 11 09:46 12 10:16 13 10:31 14 11:01 15 11:31 16 -17 06:31 18 06:46 19 01:01

06:31 12:31 01:01 01:31 02:01 08:31 08:46 09:16 09:46 04:31 04:31 04:46 05:16 05:31 05:46 06:01 12:01 12:31 07:01

12:01 12:46 01:16 08:01 09:01 10:01 ----01:16 02:46 03:31 04:16 05:01 12:01 06:16 07:01 07:46

05:46 06:31 07:16 02:01 02:46 03:31 04:31 05:46 07:16 08:31 09:16 10:01 10:31 11:01 11:31 05:46 12:31 01:01 01:31


PM Minor Major

FEBRUARY 2018 33

| Alabama Recipes |

HOT STUFF Bringing the sizzle, just in time for Valentine’s Day BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY FOOD/PHOTOGRAPHY BY BROOKE ECHOLS

“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” While this phrase is rarely referring to an actual kitchen or a literal rise in temperature, it has its basis in fact. Cooking makes things hot (including the spaces surrounding its activity, and during winter, that’s not a bad thing). But with this month’s reader-submitted recipes, you don’t have to be anywhere near the kitchen to feel the burn. These dishes are packing heat in another sense. Thanks to fresh peppers, dried chilies and other seasonings, they’re full of flavor and spice. Some like it hot; they get a kick out of a little singe. Testing the limits of what our tongues can take has actually gotten pretty popular. Just look at the hot sauce market. With names like Wild Fire, Devil’s Tongue and Sudden Death (plus labels picturing flaming skulls), some brands make no attempt to hide the pain their ingestion will cause, and yet, people buy them. Other people find zero pleasure in the discomfort that can come with super spicy foods and choose to keep their plates and palates on the mild side. No matter what camp you fall into, remember, you can adjust any recipe to be less fiery by reducing (or leaving out) its blaze-bringing ingredients. Or, you can turn up the temp by adding even more. Whatever you do, don’t shy away from these dishes. Intense and intensely satisfying, they’ll warm you from the inside out, and their tastes are worth the risk of a little heartburn.

5-Alarm Spicy Wings

34 FEBRUARY 2018

Hot Corn

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Dark chocolate spiced up with chili peppers may sound odd, but the duo is a taste-match made in heaven. (And the combo might just spark some extra romance this Valentine's Day!)

1 package egg roll wrappers 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts Sweet Baby Rays Buffalo Sauce 1 cup mozzarella (more if you like it cheesy) 1 package dry ranch dressing mix Peanut oil for frying Buttermilk ranch dressing (for dipping) Boil chicken until tender and easily shredded. Shred chicken and add to a medium bowl, add mozzarella cheese and half of the dry ranch packet, then add enough buffalo sauce to coat well. Add about a tablespoon of chicken mixture to middle of an egg roll wrapper. Dip the edge of a paper towel in water and go around all edges of the wrapper, then fold it like an envelope. Either deep fry at 350 degrees for a couple minutes until they are nicely browned and crisp, or fry in a couple of inches of oil in a cast iron skillet, turning to brown all sides. Serve with buttermilk ranch dressing for dipping.

Cook of the Month: Sandra Rhodes, Central Alabama EC

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Alabama Living

Sandra Rhodes first made her Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls a few years ago when she had some leftover buffalo chicken in the fridge, a common occurrence because she and her family love the dish. “We eat a lot of buffalo chicken and use it all kinds of ways,” she said. “We had some buffalo chicken sandwiches for dinner, and I figured I’d use the leftover chicken to make myself lunch the next day.” She realized she was out of buns. But she did have some egg roll wrappers. And some cheese and a packet to make Ranch dressing. “So I really just threw it all together,” she said. She loved it, so she made it again for her husband and son. “It was a hit. The combo of the crunch, the spice and the gooey cheese is great,” she said. She stressed that you can make it less spicy if you want, using a milder buffalo sauce. But in her house, they usually make things hotter. “My husband likes super-spicy food, so we even kick it up some. You can add chopped jalapeños, substitute pepper jack for the mozzarella and use a really fiery sauce,” she said. FEBRUARY 2018 35

Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Slow Cooker Beef-Chorizo Taco Chili

1 package hot Italian sausage, casings removed 1/2 sweet onion, minced 1 green bell pepper, minced 2 cans Rotel, undrained 8 fajita size flour tortillas, torn into pieces 2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese or cheddar 6 eggs, beaten 11/2 cups milk 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoonful garlic powder 1/4-1/2 teaspoonful cayenne pepper, optional Black pepper, to taste

1 pound ground beef 1 pound fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with peppers 2 14-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped 1 6-ounce can tomato paste 2 cups bell peppers, sliced 1¼ cups yellow onion, diced 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels 1 packet taco seasoning 1 tablespoon chili powder 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 teaspoon cumin Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 3-4 cups beef stock Optional toppings: sour cream, sliced jalapeno, lime, avocado, shredded cheese and corn chips

Cook sausage, pepper and onion in a skillet, breaking sausage into small crumbles and cook until vegetables are soft and sausage is cooked through. Drain fat if needed. Return sausage mixture to pan and add Rotel. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid has been reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk together the eggs, milk and seasonings until combined. In a 9x13-inch dish layer half the tortilla pieces to cover the bottom. Top with half the sausage mixture then half the cheese, and repeat layers one more time. Pour egg mixture over the entire casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees and remove casserole from the refrigerator. Bake covered for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until cooked through and bubbling around edges. Emily Nebrig Joe Wheeler EMC

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add ground beef and chorizo sausage (casing removed). While breaking up the meat, cook until no longer pink. Remove meat from pan and drain on paper towels to remove grease. Add cooked meat to a large slow cooker along with diced tomatoes, black beans, jalapenos, tomato paste, bell peppers, yellow onion, corn, taco seasoning, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, kosher salt and pepper. Stir together. Start off by adding in 3 cups beef stock, and cook on high heat for at least 6 hours. The chili should not get dry but if it does, simply add more stock a little at a time. Serve with various toppings: sour cream, sliced jalapenos, lime, avocado, shredded cheese or corn chips. Nancy Repking Baldwin EMC

Jen's Salsa 2 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes, drained 1 16-ounce jar sliced jalapeños, drained 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 large onion, quartered Salt and pepper, to taste

36  FEBRUARY 2018

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend to desired consistency. Serve with chips and enjoy. Cook’s note: If you want a thicker salsa you can add a can of tomato paste. Jennifer Turner Wiregrass EC

5-Alarm Spicy Wings 1 package chicken wings, sections or whole 1/2 cup Sriracha hot sauce 1/2 cup Louisiana hot sauce 1/2 cup Tabasco sauce 1/2 cup Zatarains Cajun sauce 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 stick of butter 24-ounces cooking oil Wash chicken and split into sections if whole. Heat oil to 300 degrees in a deep fryer. Drop chicken pieces into oil, cooking for 12 minutes. While chicken is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan, then add all sauces and cayenne pepper. Once chicken is done, drain grease off chicken. Toss the chicken in the sauce mix. Preheat oven on 400 degrees. Once all wings have been tossed, place in oven for 15 minutes. Halfway through, toss with remaining sauce. Once they are done, enjoy with some ranch dressing and celery sticks. Sharlene Parker Baldwin EMC

Hot Corn 3 7-ounce cans white shoepeg corn, drained 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1 stick butter, melted Salt and pepper, to taste Jalapeno peppers, sliced (to taste) Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until heated through. The more jalapenos you add, the hotter the dish is. Peggy Key North Alabama EC

Calling all home cooks! It's time to spice up our recipe selection and you could be a winner! We are looking for fresh, creative recipes from readers just like you. In addition to our monthly Cook of the Month prize, beginning in January, all cooks who submit a recipe will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket full of Alabama Living merchandise. Take a look at our upcoming themes and send in your favorite recipes today! (see rules below) Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Congratulations to Sharlene Parker of Baldwin EMC! Your Alabama Living gift bag is on its way. Keep those recipe submissions coming!

Themes and Deadlines April: Bread | Feb. 8 May: Junior Cooks | March 8 June: Heirloom Recipes | April 8

Coming up in March... Honey!

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. One gift basket winner will be drawn monthly at random and each name will be entered only once. Items in basket may vary each month. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018 37

| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):

April 2018 – February 25 May 2018 – March 25 June 2018 – April 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower. com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

Miscellaneous WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA - SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE – Outdoor Rockers, Gliders & Swings, HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS $1,599 - ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct (256)490-4025,, DIVORCE MADE EASY – Uncontested, Lost, in Prison - $150.00 (417)443-6511 KEPLINGER ALUMINUM BURIAL VAULT CO. in Gardendale, Alabama sells water tested burial vaults to the public saving up to $3000 or more per vault versus funeral home prices. Our vaults protect the contents against water and last indefinitely.  Cardboard wrapped, standing up requires 6 1/2 sq. ft. to store and take to cemetery when needed.  Alabama made with American materials.  $1400 cash, includes local sales tax.  Call 205-285-9732 or 205-540-0781 or visit  G.W. (BILLY) THAGARD: AUCTIONEER – REAL ESTATE BROKER - Land, Commercial, Residential – AL Lic # 675 – (205)410-6751, bill@gtauctions. com, Visit our Website Let’s get together to talk AUCTION! 18X21 CARPORT $995 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706) 226-2739 METAL ROOFING $1.59/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT!  1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 FREE MATERIALS: SOON CHURCH / GOVERNMENT Uniting, suppressing “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY”, enforcing NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW. Be Informed! Need mailing address only. TBSM, Box 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 – thebiblesaystruth@, (888)211-1715

Vacation Rentals GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www. GULF FRONT CONDO, Orange Beach or Gulf Shores – 1BR / 1BA, hall bunks, accommodates 4 – Book now for low Spring, Summer rates –, (256)352-5721 PIGEON FORGE TOWNHOUSE 2-4 BEDROOM – VRBO RENTAL 556992 – (256)717-9112 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226

38 FEBRUARY 2018

GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 –, (256)599-5552 PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, Homeaway#241942 ORANGE BEACH – CUTE BEACH COTTAGES – Owner managed- four to choose from. Pet friendly, boat docks, pools. Near Gulf of Mexico on calm canal. No parking passes required. Away from the condo crowds and chaos – (251)9757003, email: PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, BILLS AT PIGEON FORGE, TN – Fond memories start here, 3BR / 2BA, large kitchen, living room, sleeps 8 – (423)605-2113, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house - walking distance to parkway, light #1 - $95 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758

Real Estate Sales BEAUTIFUL 3BR / 3BA GULF FRONT HOME – 1 mile from Hangout, very well maintained, great for 2nd home or rental - $399,000 NO AGENTS, please – (251)377-6480 By appointment only. Prequalified letter, please. WATERFRONT 2 Bedroom 1 Bath HOME – Completely remodeled inside & out in Dallas Co. – New A/C & Heat with basement & large deck on water – (850)939-2054, (859)582-7633 LOWNDES COUNTY, AL – Tawassee Point Waterfront Lot, NO Mobile Homes – Call (251)363-1356, English Realty Company, Agent Owned


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

Pets CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893

Fruits / Nuts / Berries

Get your 12 ISSUE gift subscription to

for only



an issue. Recipients Name:_____________________ Street: ____________________ City: ______________________ Zip: _______________________ Phone: ____________________ E-mail: ____________________ RETURN WITH $12 CHECK PAYABLE TO ALABAMA LIVING MAIL TO: Alabama Living

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Spend your 2018 advertising dollars with the state’s most circulated magazine! Put your products and services in front of 415,000 subscribers every month. Email: or

GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800-733-0324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934

| Market Place |

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  39

| Consumer Wise |

Do radiant barriers really make a difference? By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


I’ve heard that installing a radiant barrier in my attic could save me a lot of money on my energy bill. What exactly is a radiant barrier, and does it really make a difference?

Unwanted solar heat gain is reflected out of the home during the summer.


A radiant barrier reflects radiant heat and can be used to keep heat in a home during the winter and to keep heat out in the summer. To understand the value of a radiant barrier we need to consider the three different ways heat travels. Convection is air movement from hot to cold. This happens through openings in your home, like doors, windows, vents and air leaks. Conduction is heat traveling through a solid material, such as the sheetrock and framing of your home. This can be minimized by insulation. Radiant heat loss is a transfer of heat from the sun, or when a warmer material transmits infrared radiation to a colder material. Radiant barriers are designed to reflect this type of heat loss. Radiant barriers often look like aluminum foil. Sometimes the foil is fastened to oriented strand board or foam board, but the foil will only reflect radiant heat towards an air space of at least one inch. If the foil is in contact with a solid material, it conducts excess heat into that material. A common location for application of radiant barriers is the attic; radiant energy from the sun is sent back out of the roof before it can heat the air and insulation in your home. It is commonly sold as a roll of shiny, aluminum material and is usually mounted on the underside of the framing that supports the roof. The radiant barrier is only effective in reflecting radiant heat, not as insulation or as a wrap to block air loss, but it can be very effective at its intended purpose. Even something as thin as a sheet of aluminum foil can reflect 95 percent of the radiated heat back through the roof if it’s installed properly, with an air gap between itself and the roof. While other solutions such as an attic fan try to remove the heat once it has accumulated, the radiant barrier stops the heat from building up in the first place. The net impact of a radiant barrier depends on whether you live in a hot or cold-weather climate. For example, homes that were retrofitted with attic radiant barrier systems in Florida were able to reduce air conditioning energy use by about 9 percent. In colder climates, the radiant barrier that reflects unwanted heat outside of the house in the summer will also be reflecting heat away from the Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to for more information.

40  FEBRUARY 2018

Radiant barriers can only be effective at reflecting radiant heat.

house in the winter. In other words, the cooling bill may decrease but the heating bill may increase. So, is a radiant barrier in your attic a good investment? Sometimes. You need to do a little research, as savings vary in each situation and there are many inaccurate claims made about the cost savings they bring. In a warmer climate, a home with a large cooling load and a roof that is fully exposed to the sun, an attic radiant barrier could be a cost-effective measure, and it could make your home more comfortable. Products are getting better all the time, but even then, your expectations need to be realistic. It’s a good idea to compare an investment in an attic radiant barrier to other energy efficiency investments, such as improving your attic insulation or sealing air leaks around doors and windows. Of course, the best way to compare your energy efficiency opportunities is to schedule an energy audit of your home. Start by talking to your friendly energy advisors at your local electric cooperative.

Foil is placed under the framing supporting the roof, reflecting unwanted radiant heat upward and out of the home. REFLECTIVE INSULATION MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL

This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on radiant barriers, please visit: www.


See Our Website for Monthly Specials

WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces Galvalume Metal


256-747-8178 • FAX: 256-747-8760

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018 41

42  FEBRUARY 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day We keep those Bubble Baths Hot all year long..


Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018 52

| Our Sources Say |

Considering solar?

We’ve got answers for your questions


t’s no secret that renewable energy – particularly solar – is growing in popularity among consumers in Alabama and the entire Tennessee Valley. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who provides your cooperative with wholesale electricity, reports that there are 192 solar installations that are providing more than 88 megawatts (MW) of generation capability (a megawatt is a unit of power equal to 1 million watts). Technological advances are making it possible for more consumers to consider investing in solar generation. But before making that decision, carefully evaluate the feasibility of solar at your particular location. There are many factors to consider, not the least of which is the anticipated payback for your investment. Also, you should understand the requirements for solar installation. To help you better understand solar generation, here are some basic questions and answers:

Do PV systems work well in the cold?

How is solar energy generated?

Solar panels vary in size, wattage, and technology. The typical solar panel produces 250 watts of electricity and is sized 3.25 ft. by 5.4 ft. (about 17.5 sq. ft.). Applying these typical specifications, a 5-kW solar system requires around 400 sq. ft. of usable south/ south-west facing roof space, which includes additional roof space clear from coverage (to comply with fire safety standards).

Solar is generated by photovoltaic (PV) systems. PV systems use semiconductor cells, or modules, that convert sunlight directly into electricity. These systems also contain additional equipment like inverters, which change direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC - the type that we use in our homes). The PV cells are connected in the form of flat panels that can be mounted on rooftops or canopies, on the ground, or integrated into roofing shingles and other building materials.

Does a PV system produce electricity all the time?

No. Depending on the season, a PV system typically generates power from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., reaching its maximum output between noon and 1 p.m. When PV systems are not producing power, your cooperative and TVA ensure other resources continue to supply and deliver reliable electricity to homes and businesses.

Can PV systems produce power on cloudy days?

While PV modules generate electricity even when the weather is cloudy, their output is diminished. On a dark, overcast day, a PV system might receive only 5 to 10 percent of the usual amount of sunlight, so the power output would decrease proportionately.

PV modules actually generate more power at lower temperatures. Like most other electronic devices, they operate more efficiently when it’s cooler. PV systems generate less energy in the winter than in the summer, but that’s due to the combination of fewer daylight hours and lower sun angles, not to cooler temperatures.

What factors can impact the performance of my solar system?

Many factors can affect the efficiency of your solar panels. These can include the following: shading of your house, the orientation and tilt of your solar panels, how many sunlight hours your house receives a day, the quality of your inverter, and the temperature. Any combination of these factors can significantly impact the amount of solar energy your panels can generate.

How much roof space will my solar system require?

How long does it take to recover my costs?

The time to recover the cost of installing your solar system can vary greatly based on the factors explained above. Based on current rate structures and incentives provided, an average residential solar system in the Valley takes about 13-16 years to pay off through TVA’s Green Power Providers program (with the existing Investment Tax Credit applied). After this time, you will start to receive a return on your investment.

How long does a typical solar system last?

A typical solar system has a useful lifespan of 25 to 30 years, depending on the local environment and the durability of the system. After this time period, your solar panels will continue to generate electricity but at a low efficiency. Solar inverters have a typical lifespan of around 10-12 years and are generally replaced at least once over the lifespan of a solar system.

Phillip Burgess is Communications, Government Relations and Conferences Director for the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association.

44 FEBRUARY 2018

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2018  45

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Bigfoot and King Hal


grew up in Clarke County, squeezed between the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers. In the southern end of the county, where the rivers converge, are swamps that would do the Amazon proud. Knowing how things are different there, I was not entirely surprised when news reached me that in the vicinity of Gainestown, a hairy “creature,” eight feet tall, was abroad on the land, terrorizing pets, ransacking garbage cans, and making a general nuisance of itself. Gainestown, for those unfamiliar with southwest Alabama geography, is just north of all those swamps. According to the person who claimed he saw it – he was visiting from Texas, which may or may not be significant – the giant weighed around 800 pounds, had 16-inch feet, five-foot long arms, and “smelled of cheese gone bad.” What else could it be but a Bigfoot? Bigfoots (or should that be Bigfeet?) are pretty popular these days. Where once they were confined to Canada and the Pacific Northwest, they have apparently migrated and are popping up all over. Even Florida has the “Skunk-Ape.” So why not Alabama?

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University and a regular contributor to Alabama Living. He can be reached at

46  FEBRUARY 2018

And I am here to tell you that if a Bigfoot sets up shop in our fair state, the swamps south of Gainestown would be the place it would go. Where the rivers join is a jungle broken only by an occasional lake left behind when the streams changed course. It is so impenetrable that back before the Civil War a runaway slave named Hal found his way into the middle of it. There he created a haven for other runaways and ruled it as their “king.” It took a small army to dislodge them. Today all that remains of Hal is the long, meandering body of water that bears his name – Hal’s Lake – and the stories that are still told of how Hal really didn’t die in the fight, that he took to the swamps, and that he lives there still. Or maybe his spirit lives in Bigfoot. Or maybe he became Bigfoot. Who knows? I only know that down in the forks, in a land where the earth moves under your feet, where there are still more deer and bear and hogs than humans, where you can catch fish that look Jurassic, and where once, as I sat in a boat waiting for a bite, a bush suddenly erupted with colorful birds that, to this day, I cannot identify. In a land like that, anything is possible. It is beautiful country, unchanged for centuries. It is country worth seeing. But if you go down there, and smell cheese gone bad, beware. You may be where you ought not to be and if you are, Bigfoot might get you.

February 2018 joe wheeler  
February 2018 joe wheeler