Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News June 2018
Covington Electric Cooperative
Racing on the water
Hydroplane competition returns to Lake Guntersville
Warm welcome for stateâ€™s visitors
Manager Ed Short Co-op Editor Patty Singleton-Seay ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 415,000 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.
Heirloom recipes Gail Clark Sheppard’s grandmother’s recipe for Molasses Cake has been in her family for more than 100 years, but it is still a favorite. Check out her recipe and others from our readers’ family archives featured in the food pages this month.
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A recap of CEC’s 2018 Annual Meeting
Important information was shared with a large crowd at CEC’s annual meeting this year.
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
VOL. 71 NO. 6 n JUNE 2018
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117
In this issue: Page 9 Page 28
9 Spotlight 36 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 44 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Lake Guntersville
will be the site of what’s dubbed “NASCAR on the Water,” June 22-23, as H1 Unlimited hydroplanes race at speeds up to 220 miles per hour at the Guntersville Lake Hydrofest. PHOTO: Chris Denslow JUNE 2018 3
Covington Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees Gary Harris Assistant Sec./Treas. District I - Dozier
A recap of CEC’s 2018 Annual Meeting By Ed Short, CEC President, CEO and General Manager
Dr. Bill King District II - Andalusia
W.B. Smith Chairman District III - Brantley
C. Heflin Smith Vice Chairman District IV - Kinston
James F. Martin Jr. Sec./Treas. District V - Enterprise
Patricia Janasky District VI - Samson
Office Hours: 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM Monday - Friday Headquarters: 18836 US Hwy 84 Andalusia, AL 36421 334-222-4121 1-800-239-4121 Fax: 334-222-1546 District Offices Brantley Enterprise Samson Report Power Outages 1-800-239-1193 www.covington.coop
4 JUNE 2018
We’re not sure if it was the door prizes or entertainment, but I’m happy to report that we had a very large crowd this year at CEC’s 2018 Annual Meeting. Approximately 4,500 people attended the event on April 5 in Andalusia. This year, 1,677 CEC members registered at the meeting. They brought family and friends to learn about their co-op’s business and enjoy entertainment provided by the Kingsmen Quartet and the Kempters. CEC employees hosted a member services booth, as well as face painting for children. During the meeting, I discussed the ongoing need for a balanced approach to power production stating we agree with government efforts to keep our environment clean. We simply want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use a common sense approach to energy generation. I reported there was no rate increase projected for 2018, barring some unforeseen circumstances, and thanked PowerSouth Energy Cooperative for their help in keeping rates stable in recent years. I mentioned that current rate studies indicate the need to implement full cost-based rates which CEC began moving toward in 2009. With full cost-based rates, the facility charge will increase and the kwh charge will possibly decrease. CEC will continue to evaluate rates in the future to ensure the cooperative remains financially stable. I talked about capital credits stating the board has approved $1.7 million in capital credits to be paid this year based on member patronage to the cooperative. Capital credits are margins or profits
credited to cooperative members based on their purchases from the cooperative. These credits are used by the cooperative as working capital for a period of time, and then paid back to the membership as conditions permit. I updated members about the current lawsuit challenging the way capital credits are disbursed to members. The capital credit litigation is still in the courts, but it is encouraging that two other co-ops in the state have received favorable rulings in their suits. CEC has credited and paid capital credits to our members in amounts and on a schedule as permitted under Alabama law, the CEC by-laws, the requirement of our lenders, and as approved by the CEC board of trustees. During the meeting, I recognized two co-op employees who achieved special milestones in their careers. Those employees reaching 20 years of service were Patty Singleton-Seay and Greg Ramer. I also talked about scam attempts warning members to beware of this type of activity. If you get a phone call demanding payment for a power bill, be sure to ask questions and get a phone number if you can, anything that might help us identify the caller. Do not send money to such a caller. If someone comes to your house saying they are representing CEC, ask for identification. Call our office to verify if the person is actually with CEC. Our employees have identification with them so if you are in doubt, ask for their ID card and/or give us a call. Other business highlights included the election of two members to the www.alabamaliving.coop
CEC board of trustees. Gary Harris of Dozier and Dr. Bill King Jr. of Andalusia were re-elected to threeyear terms on the CEC board of trustees, representing Districts I and II respectively. Willie Smith, CEC’s board chairman, recognized the oldest female and male members present. Lucy Kilgore, age 100, of Red Level was the oldest female member present and she received $100. T.J. Booth of Opp and L.C. Brannon of Andalusia, both 97, tied for the oldest male member present. They received $100 each and Mr. Booth received an extra $50 for being a few months older than Mr. Brannon for the tie breaker. Ms. Kilgore received an extra $100 for being the oldest of all the winners. After the business session, Pictured from left, CEC members Jannie Bush, Dewanna Henderson attendance prizes were awarded. and Vanessa Jones were the top three grand prize winners with each Three $2,500 bill credits were receiving a $2,500 bill credit during the 2018 CEC Annual Meeting awarded as the top three major on April 5. Congratulations to these lucky CEC members. attendance prizes to Jannie Bush of Dozier, Dewanna Henderson of Andalusia and Vanessa Jones of Elba. Sherrie Sanders of Red Level was the winner of $600 cash, Daniel King of Andalusia was the winner of $500 cash and Lillie Mims of Red Level won $400 cash. On behalf of CEC, I want to thank the City of Andalusia parks and recreation department, police department, rescue squad, the Shriners and the Kiwanis Club for their assistance during this event. If you have not read the annual report provided to you at the membership meeting, I encourage you to do so. This report contains important information about CEC’s operations and the many quality services CEC provides as well as support for our community. Please feel free to give us a call if you have questions or comments about the materials in your annual meeting packet, or if we can be of any assistance to you. If you did not attend the annual meeting, but would like to receive an annual report, please call CEC at 222-4121 or 1-800-239-4121. Above, CEC employees reaching milestones in their careers Thank you for your continued support and are recognized each year at the annual meeting. Patty cooperation. Singleton-Seay, left, and Greg Ramer, right, were honored for completing 20 years of service with the co-op this year.
JUNE 2018 5
CEC Annual Meeting
Important co-op updates, lucky winners and toe tapping entertainment were enjoyed at the 74th CEC Annual Meeting First, we want to say thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 CEC Annual Membership Meeting on April 5. CEC members showed up in droves to hear from co-op leaders, to enjoy great entertainment and for an opportunity to win valuable door prizes including three chances for a $2,500 bill credit. Thirty-three cash door prizes were also given away at this yearâ€™s meeting. 6 JUNE 2018
Entertainment was provided by two well-known gospel groups, the Kinsgmen Quartet and the Kempters. CEC employees and helpers hosted a Kids Corner with free face painting, coloring books, crayons, candy and plastic lineman hard hats. All registered CEC members received a $15 bill credit and a chance to win prizes. CEC employees answered questions about services and other matters at the
member services booth. Members exercised their right to vote for two candidates to represent their interests on the board of trustees. This important meeting is a chance to connect with employees and people in our community to help direct the future of CEC. As a member, you are an owner of this cooperative and that sets this business apart from most other utilities. Members have a vested interest in www.alabamaliving.coop
| Covington Electric Cooperative |
Photo courtesy of Andalusia Star News
L.C. Brannon, 97, of Andalusia tied for oldest male member present at the annual meeting again this year. He received a $100 cash prize. It’s interesting to note that Mr. Brannon was the first person to pay his electric bill at the CEC main office when it opened in Sanford in 1966.
the path this cooperative takes and the annual meeting is a perfect opportunity to get involved. If you have any suggestions for making the CEC annual meeting even better, please let us know. You can email suggestions to psingleton@ covington.coop. In addition to the top three grand prizes, other grand prize winners included Sherrie Sanders of Red Level who won $600 cash, Daniel King of Andalusia won $500 cash, and Lillie Mims of Red Level won $400 cash. Other door prize winners were as follows: Five members won $300 cash—Pamela Kervin, Ada Knight, Brooks Baptist Church, Sue Maust and Kim Barber. Five members won $200 cash—Myra Ann Carter, Pine Level Senior Citizens, Willis Nelson, Betty Barefoot and Lois B. Jones. Ten members won $100 cash—Kenneth Northey, Glynn Alabama Living
Lucy Kilgore, 100, of Red Level, was recognized as the oldest female member present at the annual meeting. She is pictured above with her son, Ronnie Kilgore. She received a $100 cash prize, plus an extra $100 for being the oldest person in attendance at the meeting.
For the second year in a row, T.J. Booth, 97, of Opp shared recognition as the oldest male member present at the annual meeting. He received a $100 cash prize, plus an extra $50 for being a few months older than Mr. Brannon.
Broom, Grady Williamson, Clyde Northrop III, Betty Jean Daniels, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Michael S. Maddox, Frances Jackson, Bobbie B. Dozier and James Kelley. Ten members won $50 cash—Jewell Nowling, Barbara W. Johnson, Paul Finedore, Roxanne Powell, Georgia Stoudemire Germany, Bill McGinty, Harriet P. West, Bradley A. Bryan, Salena Miller and Charlene B. Holland.
Luke Driggers, age 4, assisted with the drawing of names of registered CEC members for prizes during this year’s annual meeting. Luke is the son of CEC employee Stephen Driggers and his wife Megan.
JUNE 2018 7
| Covington Electric Cooperative |
Highlights from 2018 CEC Annual Meeting
Sherrie Lynn Sanders of Red Level won $600 cash at annual meeting.
Daniel Lee King of Andalusia won $500 cash at the annual meeting.
ots from C h s p a EC n S A
Lillie F. Mims of Red Level won $400 cash at the annual meeting.
Meeting ual nn
Congratulations to survey winner Mittie Knowles
All CEC members who registered at the annual meeting were given a survey to complete and return to the co-op by April 23 at 4:30 p.m. A survey drawing was held on April 24 and CEC member Mittie Knowles of Red Level (shown above) won the drawing and she received a $250 Visa Gift Card. CEC appreciates all the members who completed this important survey. All CEC members who completed and submitted the survey by the stated deadline received a $5 bill credit on their electric account.
8â€ƒ JUNE 2018
June | Spotlight Electric cooperative members urged to vote A number of federal, state and county offices are on the ballot for the June 5 primary election, and it’s vitally important for our electric cooperative members to get out and vote. Your rural electric cooperative supports Co-ops Vote, a non-partisan political engagement effort to make sure that members’ voices are heard by local, state and federal elected officials. On the ballot in this primary: All seven U.S. House of Representatives seats State constitutional offices: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state, treasurer, commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Alabama State Senate seats Alabama House of Representatives seats Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and three associate justice seats Various seats on the Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeals One seat on the Public Service Commission Four seats on the state Board of Education Various circuit court judges and district court judges A number of county-level offices
The primary runoff election, if necessary, will be July 17. The general election is Nov. 6. Voters can verify their polling place at alabamavotes.gov. Alabama polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A voter must present a form of identification at the polls; visit AlabamaVoterID.com for more information on the types of ID that will be accepted. The crossover voting rule will be in effect. The rule prohibits people from casting a ballot for one party in a primary and then “crossing over” to vote in the other party’s runoff. Voters who don’t cast a ballot in the primary are free to vote in a runoff. The crossover law only applies to primary and primary runoff elections, not the general election. The elections and voter fraud hotline is 800-274-VOTE (8683).
Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at
random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by June 6 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue.
Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit by email: email@example.com, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.
MAY’S ANSWER This historic Methodist church was built in 1860 and is located on Highway 43 in McIntosh. Andrews Chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an Alabama Historic Site and is one of the few remaining log churches in the state. It has hand-hewn squared logs with mortar between. It was used as a Methodist Church until 1952 when a new Methodist Church was built. Newly renovated, it’s a step back in time. (Photo submitted by Bonnie Daugherty McGee, Clarke-Washington EMC) The random guess winner is Jesse Williams from Clarke-Washington EMC. Alabama Living
This Month In
ALABAMA HISTORY Honoring Our People
June 8, 1943
Olympic track star Willie Davenport was born in Troy, Alabama. Davenport competed in the 110-meter high hurdles at four consecutive Summer Olympics from 1964 to 1976, winning a gold medal in 1968 and a bronze in 1976. Davenport also competed in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, as a runner in the four-man bobsled competition. He became the first African American, with teammate Jeff Godley and Canadian Bob Wilson, to compete in the Winter Games and the fourth American track athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Davenport was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1982. encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3498
Top photo: Willie Davenport, 1964. Left: Willie Davenport at the 1999 Military World Games.
JUNE 2018 9
| News you can use | SOCIAL SECURITY
How the retirement rules work for you
etirement doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone. Some people plan to retire and never work again. Some people plan for second careers in occupations that wouldn’t have adequately supported their families, but they do the work for pure enjoyment. Some people, whether by design or desire, choose to work part-time or seasonally to supplement their retirement income. Retirees (or survivors) who choose to receive Social Security benefits before they reach full retirement age (FRA) and continue to work have an earnings limit. In 2017, the annual earnings limit was $16,920 for those under FRA the entire calendar year. In 2018, it is $17,040. If you earn over the limit, we deduct $1 from your Social Secu-
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
rity monthly benefit payment for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. In the calendar year you reach FRA, which you can check out at socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/ageincrease. html, you have a higher earnings limit. Additionally, we will only count earnings for the months prior to FRA. In 2017, the limit was $44,880. In 2018, it is $45,360. In the year of FRA attainment, Social Security deducts $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above the limit. There is a special rule that usually only applies in your first year of receiving retirement benefits. If you earn more than the annual earnings limit, you may still receive a full Social Security payment for each month you earn less than a monthly limit. In 2018, the monthly limit is $1,420 for those who are below FRA the entire calendar year. The 2018 monthly limit increases to $3,780 in the year of FRA attainment. Once you reach FRA, you no longer have an earnings limit, and we may recal-
culate your benefit to credit you for any months we withheld your benefits due to excess earnings. This is because your monthly benefit amount is calculated based on a reduction for each month you receive it before your FRA. So, if you originally filed for benefits 12 months before your FRA, but earned over the limit and had two months of Social Security benefits withheld, we will adjust your ongoing monthly benefit amount to reflect that you received 10 months of benefits before your FRA, and not 12. Most people understand that if they work while receiving benefits before FRA, their benefit may be reduced. What most people do not consider in their retirement planning is that we recalculate your Social Security monthly benefit at FRA to credit you for Social Security benefit payments withheld due to earnings over the limit. Explaining the earnings limit is another way that Social Security helps secure your today and tomorrow.
Drones offer exciting promise in rural Alabama
apidly emerging new technologies ofting faster, being able to carry heavier carfer a reason for excitement in caring gos, and travel greater distances without for the health of Alabama’s rural areas. Althe cost of gasoline. The futuristic city of abama faces a great chalDubai in the United Arab lenge to provide adequate Emirates is even considand quality health care ering the use of passenfor one of the country’s ger-carrying drones that most unhealthy populaare manufactured in Chitions. The use of drones na. (also called unmanned Zipline, a Silicon Valaircraft systems UAS) is ley-based company, has one such promising techbeen transporting medinology that we need to be cal supplies and life-savprepared to embrace and ing blood to and bringing develop plans for using. back specimens for laboMilitary and smart ratory testing from dozphone technologies have ens of remote hospitals A drone delivers medical supplies played major roles in the to the annual Remote Area in Rwanda since October rapid development of Medical (RAM) in Wise County, 2016. Lighter air traffic drone technology and ca- Virginia. allowed governmental repability. Having the abilPHOTO COURTESY OF TIM COX strictions to be much less ity to inspect from above restrictive in Rwanda than and move in straight lines offer many adin the U.S. Zipline has announced plans vantages that surface bound travel does to work with state governments across the not have. This technology continues to country to launch its medical drone delivadvance at a rapid pace with drones getery in the U.S. This will not be the first such use of drones in the U.S. Since July 2015, The Dale Quinney is executive director of Health Wagon and Remote Area Medithe Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081. cal have partnered to provide medication delivery in the Appalachian area of Wise
10 JUNE 2018
County in far southwest Virginia. Drones are already being used for purposes in addition to health care in the U.S. There is much promise for agricultural applications, including crop inspection and treatment. Package delivery, search and rescue activities, aerial photography, parking lot and other security monitoring, damage surveying, and firefighting are only a few other examples. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Birmingham office, two waivers allowing the use of drones in Alabama have been approved. These waivers allow for drones to be used for weddings, parties, other events, boating and water sports, video production, construction, construction inspection, roof inspection, agriculture, surveying, mapping, and other such applications. No health-related services are being provided. Safety and legal concerns appear to be the major obstacles. Safety issues involve birds and areas with heavy airplane traffic. There are a number of legal issues, including that of personal privacy. Alabama’s leadership and other stakeholders involved in the future use of drones in providing health-related activity are encouraged to start preparing for the use of this promising innovation. www.alabamaliving.coop
| Alabama Snapshots |
Jeff and Laiklind fishing in Cullman. SUBMITTED BY Janice Casey, Cullman.
Mason Hodges caught “the big one” in his PawPaw’s pond and now it’s mounted on his bedroom wall. SUBMITTED BY Tim Tuggle, Danville. Earl Reed “Gramps” and Karl Taylorson just shy of Gramps’ 96th birthday. SUBMITTED BY Emily Taylorson, Seale.
Rusty and (baby) Rhett fishing at a pond in Burnt Corn. SUBMITTED BY Rusty Salter, Daphne.
Iris’ first fish, caught at Little River in Dekalb County. SUBMITTED BY Mike Elkins, Gurley.
3-year-old John Curtis trout fishing with his daddy, David, below Smith Lake Dam. SUBMITTED BY Brenda Landers, Cullman.
SUBMITTED BY Michelle Burnham, Brewton.
Avery Menefee fishing at sunset. SUBMITTED BY Heather Menefee, Pine Level.
Submit Your Images! August Theme: “First day of school” Deadline for August: June 30
SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living
JUNE 2018 11
PHOTO BY ANDREW LAGERVALL
PHOTOS BY CHRIS DENSLOW
Restoring the roar onLake
20,000 expected for hydroplane racing June 22-24 12 JUNE 2018
By John N. Felsher
fter more than 30 years of absence, boat races will Drivers in smaller hydroplanes will also race against return to the largest lake in Alabama when the each other in front of the crowds gathered along Sunset Guntersville Lake Hydrofest comes to the northDrive on the lake shoreline in the town of Guntersville. eastern part of the state on June 22-24. These “Grand Prix World” hydroplanes measure about “Lake Guntersville has a long history of boat racing 24 feet long and 12 feet wide. With 1,300-horsepower with many world records set on these waters,” says Katy engines, they can hit speeds topping 170 miles per hour. When not watching the boats zoom across the waves, Norton, the president of the Marshall County Convenpeople can participate in many other activities on shore. tion and Visitors Bureau in the town of Guntersville. Wakeboarders will give demonstrations on the lake. Ven“Races have been held on the lake since the lake formed dors will offer food and refreshments. Children can enin 1939. We had annual boat racing events all the way joy visiting a special area and activities set aside just for through 1986. Because boat racing had such a history on them. Besides Miss Budweiser, people can also see static the lake, we felt it would be a great time to bring the races displays of various boats among other events and activiback during the state bicentennial celebration.” ties on tap for the three days of celebration. After the qualifying events on June 22, two types of “People don’t want to miss the opening ceremonies, craft will race across the waters for the next two days. scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 23,” Norton says. Sometimes called “NASCAR on the Water,” H1 Unlim“The National Guard will do a waited hydroplanes propelled by turbine ter jump, parachuting into the waengines producing more than 3,000 ter. We’ll also have some flyovers.” horsepower can hit speeds exceeding At 7 p.m. that Saturday evening, 220 miles per hour as they race around a country music concert will be a two-mile oval course. These powerheld at the Lurleen B. Wallace paful boats can throw “roostertails,” or vilion. Rising star Suzi Oravec will streams of water that can reach 60 feet open, followed by the headliner, A high and a football field long. Thousand Horses, a band known “This is the first year that we’ve for its hit song “Smoke.” brought the boat races back to Lake Norton said she expects to see Guntersville since 1986 and this will be more than 20,000 people come to the first time we’ve had the H1 Unlimithear the roaring engines and enjoy ed Hydroplanes here since 1969,” Northe other festivities in a town norton says. “We’re really glad to see this mally with a population less than type of event come back to Lake Gunthalf that size. Some people might ersville.” come a few days early to fish the The famed Miss Budweiser, the boat famed bass lake that spreads across that won the 1969 races, will be on stat- Andrew Tate pumps his fist after 69,100 acres and stretches 75 miles ic display. Normally, people who want winning the 2017 Detroit President’s along the old Tennessee River to see this historic craft must travel to a Cup. channel. Others may simply relax museum in Seattle, Wash., but for three before the big event or partake in some other recreational days, people can climb aboard it on the shores of Lake activities available in the area. For area information, see Guntersville and take photos of themselves at the conwww.marshallcountycvb.com. trols. “We expect people to come from all over Alabama, Guntersville Lake Hydrofest will kick off another seaacross the Southeast and from many other states,” Norson of H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing in the country. ton says. “We’ve had calls from people coming from as Drivers only race these craft in five cities. Besides Gunfar away as California and Washington. Some people will tersville, the smallest venue on the circuit this year, the come a few days early to enjoy the lake and the area beboats will race in Detroit, San Diego, Seattle, the Tri-Citfore the races begin and stay through the weekend. This ies area of Washington state and Madison, Ind. should be a major economic boon to the town of Gunt“We’re the smallest community by far that’s going to ersville and the surrounding area.” host the races this year, but that’s a testament to the qualFor schedules, event maps, ticket information and ity of the lake and the history we have here with boat other details, see www.guntersvillelakehydrofest.com racing,” Norton says. “It’s our goal to make this an annual or the event page on Facebook. People can also call the event and bring back boat racing to the lake as part of our Marshall County CVB at 256-582-7015. summer activities.” Alabama Living
JUNE 2018 13
Making visitors f ‘Sweet Home
By Lenore Vickrey
“Welcome to Alabama!”
If you’ve walked through the doors of one of Alabama’s eight State Welcome Centers, those words no doubt would have greeted you. “We don’t know if they’re from Alabama,” says Trisa Collier, center administrator, but every employee makes sure each visitor is welcomed warmly and enthusiastically. “Some will say, ‘I’m from Alabama,’ or ‘I was born in Alabama and I’m back to visit.’” Others will have come from as far away as Germany, Canada or Mexico. They may not speak English well, if it all. No matter. The welcome centers are there to help. Last year, a record 1.3 million people visited the centers, on their way to Alabama and points north, south, east and west. The centers are owned and maintained by the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the lobbies are staffed by the Department of Tourism. The number of tourism representatives at each center varies from five to seven, depending on the traffic. “Grand Bay has seven because their center is so big,” says Collier. “It was built to Visitors to the Ardmore Welcome Center enjoy having their photo made in this lobby display, as demonstrated by staffers Jessica Jackson, Bernice Hobson and Asheley Harris.
Grand Bay staffer Becky Clark hands a visitor a copy of Alabama Living. Copies of the magazine are sent to each center every month. Right, a ceramic oyster outside the center depicts state attractions.
be a staging area for storms so they could accommodate more people.” The center, on I-10 East at the southernmost tip of Mobile County, was rebuilt and expanded in 2016 and displays original art, including carvings of beach scenes in the brick exterior walls and a large fiberglass oyster painted by Mobile artist Lucy Gafford featuring sites around Alabama. “Our oyster is called ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’” says Grand Bay tourist promotion representative Emily White. The oyster is part of the Oyster Trail, an educational scavenger hunt through coastal Alabama to support the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program. Each center is stocked with brochures
about sites throughout the state, divided by geographic regions. And representatives, wearing their trademark “Sweet Home Alabama” shirts, are equipped to answer questions about destinations, both in their area and beyond. “We want them to feel that this is the best place they’ve been to, when they come to our centers,” says Collier. “You know the old adage, ‘people may not remember what you say but they’ll always remember how you made them feel’? That’s what I tell my staff.”
Alabama’s Welcome Centers celebrated Tourism Month in May. At the Lanett Center, Mayor Kyle McCoy poses with staff members Betty Jean Cotton and Melinda Edwards; vendors provide refreshments of Alabama-made products to visitors. PHOTOS BY KEVIN HAND
14 JUNE 2018
feel welcome in me Alabama’ Before employees are hired, they must first be certified through the state Personnel Department, Collier says, and she sits in on all interviews. “We’re looking for people with customer service experience, who have worked directly with the public,” she says. After hiring, it’s “mostly on the job training” she adds. “Then after they start, we do familiarization tours where we take them to different parts of the state, because if you’ve been there, it’s easier to tell others about it.” Each year the employees have a retreat at a tourist destination, such as the OWA Amusement Park in Foley in 2017. They’ve also been to Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Eufaula, Birmingham, Montgomery and other cities. “We get a lot of international visitors,” says Gerlena Hall, manager at the Sumter Welcome Center in Cuba, off I-59 in west Alabama. Many of them want to know about the civil rights movement and the sites associated with it. “We get a lot of traffic from Louisiana and Texas during summer breaks,” says White, with most heading for the beaches in Alabama, Florida or to Disney World. International visitors, meanwhile, usually aren’t beachgoers but are looking for historic sites. Some are visiting all the state capitals.
Visitors have questions, they have answers
Sometimes visitors ask unusual questions, depending on where they are from. “A lot of people from the north ask, ‘What is Mardi Gras?’” says White, who is only too happy to explain the annual celebration. Becky Clark, another employee at Grand Bay, was once asked, “Where is Greenbow, Alabama?” referring to the town where Forrest Gump lived in the movie of the same name. She explained it wasn’t a real town, but that Bayou La Batre is a real town not far from the welcome center, where they could see scenes and shrimp boats from the movie. “They were very excited to buy some fresh shrimp right off the boat!” White says. At the Cleburne Welcome Center off I-20 East in Heflin, manager Kathy Freeman says they are often asked for restaurant recommendations. “They don’t want chain restaurants, but something local,” she says. “If I’ve eaten there, I’ll tell them about it. We want them to stay in Alabama and leave their money here.” The Welcome Centers have had their share of famous visitors and even animals. Some years ago, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, likely on their way to an event in Birmingham, stopped at the Cleburne center for a break. Comedian Jerry Clow-
A welcome wave from Cleburne Welcome Center staff, from left, Lucy Bachus, Courtney Nelson, Kathy Freeman, Tabetha Akins and Lora Walker.
1 Ardmore Welcome Center, I-65, Elkmont 2 Dekalb Welcome Center, I-59, Valley Head 3 Cleburne Welcome Center, I-20 E, Heflin 4 Lanett Welcome Center, I-85 S, Lanett 5 Houston Welcome Center, US 231 S, Cottonwood 6 Baldwin Welcome Center, I-10, Seminole 7 Grand Bay Welcome Center, I-10 E, Grand Bay 8 Sumter Welcome Center, I-59, Cuba
er, musician Bret Michaels and Penny Marshall of “Laverne & Shirley” fame have visited the Sumter center. Every center has had its share of visitors with health emergencies. “Medical emergencies happen infrequently,” but staff have a plan in place, says Collier. They can call 911 and an oxygen machine is available if needed. Some of the most popular items the welcome centers provide to visitors are copies of Alabama Living. Two hundred copies are shipped to each center every month. “Travelers want recipes and we show them the recipes in the magazine and all the other good information,” says Freeman. “They love Alabama Living.” Sumter Welcome Center staff, from left: Sandy Jenkins, Belinda Nation, Gerlena Hale, Christine Boyd and Teresa Winn.
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Selling Alabama to international travelers By Minnie Lamberth
ndy Facer was born and raised in the United Kingdom and lives in Cambridgeshire, yet he works full-time to promote trips to Alabama. He’s the state’s tourism representative for the UK and Ireland travel market. Alabama has a lot of benefits to sell, Facer notes. “The Alabama people are some of the friendliest I have met and always keen to share their own unique stories and experiences,” he said. “During my tour of the state last year, I was wowed by how different each area is and the diversity. You can get a totally different experience in a few hours traveling by road.” Facer began representing Alabama in January 2017 as a contractor through Global Travel Marketing. “We work very closely with our partners in the UK travel trade,” Facer says. “We embark on multiple joint marketing activities throughout the year, highlighting the diversity that Alabama offers – from the amazing beaches on the Gulf Coast, our civil rights history, wonderful recording studios in the Shoals and our unique space experiences in Huntsville. This is all enhanced by training sessions with their selling teams.” Janin Nachtweh, based in Berlin, promotes Alabama in Austria and Switzerland as well as Germany. When she began as a contract representative in January 2016, Alabama hadn’t had a representative focused on this market for about 15 years. “The knowledge of Alabama was nearly zero,” Nachtweh says. Since then, she has been reaching out to tour operators, attending travel trade shows and working with the media to sell the state’s story. Currently 24 tour operators include Alabama in their offerings. “Alabama is always a big surprise,” Nachtweh says. Tour operators may have heard of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr., but they don’t realize that the civil rights movement started in Montgomery. They may be familiar with the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and his involvement in the American space program, but they don’t realize his relationship to Huntsville and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. They are familiar with famous musicians who have recorded at Muscle Shoals, but they don’t know about the renowned production studios there. Nachtweh’s marketing activities help tour operators learn about the state’s opportunities. The Alabama Tourism Department also has a contract with Ying “Springna” Zhao to promote Alabama to travelers in China. According to Deputy Director Grey Brennan, “China is one of the fastest growing international tourism markets – growth is exceedingAndy Facer, Alabama’s representative for the UK and Ireland travel market, checks out a NASA astronaut suit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
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ly high.” Though based in Montgomery, Zhao is a native of China and is able to talk with decision makers who aren’t comfortable speaking in English. “Springna bridges that gap,” Brennan says. Alabama shares a number of representatives to reach additional international markets. For example, Travel South USA, a coalition of 12 southern states, is one of the oldest regional organizations promoting tourism in America. “We band together to promote the South as an international destination to visitors,” Brennan says. “Through Travel South there are six countries that have representatives that promote Alabama and other states. These representatives as a whole will talk to tour companies to try to put Alabama destinations in their offerings.” As part of a southern trip, many travelers will key in on such destinations as Nashville or New Orleans or other areas that surround Alabama. By partnering with other states, Alabama attractions get included in the tour. “So when visitors come to do these southern vacations, they also come to Alabama,” Brennan says. Alabama’s growth as an international destination is important to the state’s tourism efforts. Tourism is, after all, an economic engine, and international visitors tend to spend more dollars in their travel in the U.S. than domestic visitors do. “It’s wise to attract those visitors,” Brennan says. “People from other countries go on vacation more often than Americans. America is a key place for them to go,” he adds. Often, a first trip to the United States may be to a major destination spot, such as New York City. “The South is that next experience, and Alabama is a key part of the South.” Alabama’s tourism opportunities cover a variety of categories – including history, golf, museums and the outdoors. Yet international travelers won’t realize that these opportunities exist without coordinated promotional strategies. “Very few people stumble on this information magically on their own,” Brennan says. “To be a tourist destination is a lot of work behind the scenes.” Berlin-based Janin Nachtweh, on a recent visit to Alabama, visits the Sumter Welcome Center. She Xxxx promotes travel to Alabama in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
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New U.S. Civil Rights Trail links 14 states, over 100 landmarks
isitors can literally walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, John Lewis and other African-American activists, thanks to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail that launched earlier this year on King’s birthday. Southern tourism departments have curated a list of more than 100 museums, churches, courthouses and other landmarks pivotal to the advancement of social equality during the volatile 1950s and 1960s. Famous sites such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma; Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s, where sit-ins began; the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.; and Dr. King’s birthplace in Atlanta are anchors. “Two years ago when National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis challenged historians to inventory surviving civil rights landmarks, Georgia State University found 60, which became the foundation of the trail,” says Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell. (Read an interview with Sentell on Page 26.) The 12 state tourism agencies known collectively as Travel South USA supplemented the list with other worthy sites. “We feel that the trail will encourage Americans to better understand their history,” says Travel South’s president, Liz Bittner. Several major international tour operators
Voting rights marchers clashed violently with law enforcement on March 7, 1965, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The day that became known as “Bloody Sunday” continues to be commemorated each year. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL
have added civil rights destinations since the concept was previewed in London several months ago, she adds. The website civilrightstrail.com profiles the landmarks and offers an interactive map, interviews with foot soldiers, past and present photographs, and 360-degree video as special features. The trail stretches from schools in Topeka, Kansas, known for the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation court decision in 1954, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where King delivered his “I have A Dream” speech in 1963.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the basement of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. King led the congregation from 1954 to 1960. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL
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Places where blacks died at the hands of opponents to desegregation are scattered across the Deep South. The courthouse in Sumner, Miss., where two white men accused of murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till walked free in 1955, has been restored, as has the home where voting-rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963 in Jackson, Miss., hours after President John Kennedy proposed major civil rights legislation. Also on the trail is the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, where four girls died in a Sunday morning bombing in 1963 after federal courts ordered local schools integrated. It remains an active church. Lesser known sites include the birthplace of Whitney Young in Simpsonville, Ky.; the Elizabeth Harden Gilmore House in Charleston, W.V.; and Moton High School in Farmville, Va. Sixteen-year-old Barbara Johns organized a school strike there in 1951 demanding facilities equal to those of whites, which generated a lawsuit that was consolidated into the Topeka case. Several sites predate the modern civil rights era, notably St. Louis’s Old Courthouse, where the Dred Scott case originated; the historic Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans; and museums for the Scottsboro Boys and the Tuskegee Airmen, both in Alabama. Heritage tourists can learn about King at numerous locations in Atlanta, including Ebenezer Baptist Church, his birthwww.alabamaliving.coop
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The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which is dedicated to telling the story of Birmingham’s place in civil rights history, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL
place, the site of his interment at the King Center founded by Coretta Scott King, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. King’s first church, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist, where the bus boycott was organized in 1955, and its parsonage in Montgomery are must-visit sites on any civil rights tour. King’s most famous quotes are linked to specific sites. When he was arrested during the 1963 Easter shopping boycott, he wrote in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” At the end of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, he famously said, “How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The night before his death in Memphis, he said at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis re-creates large-scale scenes of notable events of the movement and details the 1968 assassination of King. This museum is recommended, as are five others, including the International Civil Rights Museum in the former Greensboro Woolworth’s. U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia labored more than 16 years to fund and establish the National Museum of African Amer-
ican History and Culture, which opened to wide acclaim a year ago in Washington, D.C. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which houses the door to King’s former jail cell, faces the park where fire hoses and dogs were used to terrorize youthful protesters in 1963. Jackson hosts the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the only one sponsored by a state. Small theaters inside recount the stories of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers. Many of King’s papers are collected at Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The website civilrightstrail.com offers 360-degree video of landmarks in Memphis, Little Rock, Birmingham, Washing-
ton, Atlanta, Topeka, Selma and Montgomery. The website also allows visitors to compare historic photographs with current views of the same scenes in Memphis, Little Rock, Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery, Topeka and Greensboro. Veteran foot soldiers recount their experiences from a half-century ago on video. Bruce Boynton discusses his 1958 arrest in a Richmond, Virginia, bus station that led to the Freedom Rides in 1961, and Bernard LaFayette Jr., the roommate of rides organizer John Lewis, recalls being attacked and beaten at the bus station in Montgomery. The Rev. Arthur Price Jr. talks about the history of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, and tour guide Wanda Howard Battle sings inside Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery. (Battle’s talk to Montgomery Youth Tour participants is one of the most popular parts of MYT each year.) The people, locations and destinations included in the Civil Rights Trail provide a way for families, travelers and educators to experience history firsthand and tell the story of how “what happened here changed the world.” For more information, or to begin your journey on the trail, please visit civilrightstrail.com. Article courtesy of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
Montgomery Youth Tour students visit the Civil Rights Memorial, which records the names of those killed during the struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. PHOTO BY LAURA STEWART
New museum and memorial opens A new memorial dedicated to the victims of lynching and racial terror opened in April in Montgomery, to national acclaim and attention. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which confronts a disturbing period in American history, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people and those terrorized by lynching and racial segregation. The memorial was conceived and built by the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy organi22 JUNE 2018
zation in Montgomery, and grew out of the EJI’s exhaustive research into thousands of racial terror lynchings. A companion to the memorial is the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, which dramatizes the enslavement of African Americans and depicts the evolution of racial terror lynchings. The museum is located at 115 Coosa St.; the memorial is at 417 Caroline St. For more information on both, visit museumandmemorial.eji.org www.alabamaliving.coop
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You can earn airline miles with specific airlines, eMiles, travel websites and credit card rewards points. PHOTO COURTESY AMERICAN AIRLINES
Earn points for free or discounted travel By Marilyn Jones
ne of the best ways to earn free or reduced-price travel is by saving points. Hotels, airlines, credit cards, internet advertisement websites and other businesses offer memberships entitling you to earn points. But there are tricks to growing those points.
Stay loyal to one or two airlines and hotel brands if they are the best choice when making reservations Look for free programs where points don’t expire Look for participating merchants where you can add points to your travel accounts Featured here are six rewards or points programs that I use and can recommend.
Venture Miles Rewards Credit Card:
Best Western Rewards:
Points never expire Members are often offered exclusive member rates Worldwide free night redemption Matches the status of other hotel loyalty programs Instant rewards Partners with select car rental agencies, airlines and merchants One point per dollar spent. Special promotions will double and triple points as well as offer bonus points Redeemable for free night’s stay, gift cards and merchandise start at 2,500 points Best Western credit card available for additional point opportunities Sign up at www.bestwestern.com/en
American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Miles:
Earn miles when you fly on American Airlines, oneworld affiliated airlines and other participating airlines, as well as more than 1,000 other partners including car rentals, hotel stays and dining oneworld includes British Airways, Finnair and Japan Airlines as well as other non-oneworld airlines including Jet Airways, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airline Use miles for flights, upgrades, vacations, car rentals and hotel stays Flights begin at 7,500 points each way Sign up at www.aa.com
Unlimited Rewards Earn two miles for every dollar spent on purchases Use Venture card to make travel purchases including any airline, any hotel and rental cars. Once a travel purchase is made with Venture, miles are redeemed as a statement credit toward the cost Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account No transaction fee when making purchases outside of the United States The downside - $0 intro for the first year, $95 a year fee after the first year For more information and to apply: https://www.capitalone.com/creditcards/venture
Earn airline and hotel points Email notifications are sent with new offers Watch ads, sign up to free services, make a purchase or complete a survey to earn points Earning offers include charities, sweepstakes and other website visits Miles don’t expire Miles can be redeemed for United Airlines and Delta Airlines miles, Hilton Honors and other hotel points, and Starbucks and other gift cards Travel deals offered through the website Apply at www.emiles.com/app/earn
Marilyn Jones, a journalist and photographer for more than 30 years, specializes in travel. Her articles and photographs have appeared in major newspapers and magazines. 24 JUNE 2018
Points never expire Go through the website to make online purchases including retail stores, travel websites like Expedia, car rental companies and specific hotels, and purchase gift cards for a specific number of points per dollar Go through the website to search the internet and earn points Download grocery coupons for points Complete surveys and watch videos for points Exchange points for gift cards including gas stations, restaurants, airlines, hotels and retail stores Rewards start at 480 points Get started at www.mypoints.com
Points never expire Points can be redeemed for all services and reservations on Expedia including flights, hotels and car rentals When using Expedia+, you may still be able to earn your airline frequent flyer points and credit card reward points as well as Expedia+ points on bookings You can use Citi ThankYou and American Express Membership Rewards on Expedia by linking accounts to redeem points on hotels and flights plus earn Expedia+ points No blackout dates Book travel for yourself or anyone else with your Expedia+ points Book family and friends though Expedia+ account to earn points. Each individual still earns their airlines’ frequent flyer miles Service is free Sign up at www.expedia.com www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Alabama People |
Mr. Tourism Lee Sentell has served as director of the Alabama Tourism Department since January 2003, and is the longest serving director in its history. His tourism career has spanned more than 30 years. After serving as city editor of The Decatur Daily,, he became the first director of the Decatur Tourism Bureau. He was director of marketing at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville during the first decade of Space Camp and was director of tourism at the Huntsville Convention & Visitors Bureau. He serves on a number of tourism-related boards and authored a travel guide, “The Best of Alabama.” He took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Alabama Living. – Lenore Vickrey You worked in newspapers before you got into tourism marketing. How did your newspaper career prepare you for what you’re doing now? My first boss at The Decatur Daily taught me, “Tell me a story.” Southerners are instinctively born storytellers. That’s why Kathryn Tucker Windham, Harper Lee and Rick Bragg have been so successful. Whether you’re talking about our annual Vacation Guide or a magazine ad, we try to lure people in by making them part of the narrative. We want them to picture themselves relaxing at the beach or visiting a state park or going fishing.
chicken, okra, black eyed peas, potato salad and sliced tomatoes. I doubt anybody has eaten everything on our 100 Dishes list because we update it every year. I’m proud of our Barbecue Hall of Fame. It includes all of the cafes that have been open 50 years. What’s the one thing that sets Alabama apart from other parts of the U.S., as a unique place for visitors? When people visit Alabama for the first time they always comment on two things. They remark on the beauty of our state’s landscape and the friendliness of the people. They say they’ve heard of Southern hospitality and now know that it is real.
What’s your favorite place to visit in Alabama? (I know, they all are. But please try to narrow it down.) I grew up in Ashland with a population of 1,500 so I love towns with strong local shopping. I love Cullman because of the architectural antiques place. Mentone and Fort Payne have a relaxing mountain atmosphere. Baldwin County has a good collection of small towns. The building in Andalusia where Hank Williams married Audrey is still standing. We put up a historic marker there. Are you partial to any particular food that’s identified with, or made in, Alabama? Have you eaten all the foods on the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama list? Alabama grows better tomatoes than any other state. I love fried 26 JUNE 2018
PHOTO BY ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
You’ve come up with some great campaigns (Year of Alabama Food, Year of Alabama Makers, etc.) to promote our state. How do you get your ideas? When Gov. Bob Riley appointed me to this job I wanted to do campaigns that newspapers would want to cover. I picked themes that corresponded to sections in daily newspapers: food, sports, gardens, sports and outdoors and so forth. Our most successful ones were “Small Towns and Downtowns” in 2010 and “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” One of my personal favorites is the Alabama Bass Trail. I’m from a small town and I’m happy when somebody tells me how fishing tournaments have helped their town. We’ve won a lot of national awards, but the important thing is we create jobs.
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June | Around Alabama
Georgiana, 39th Annual Hank Williams Festival, Hank Williams Music Park. Country music, arts and crafts, and food. Hankwilliamsfestival.com.
Cullman, Rock the South, a music festival at Heritage Park featuring Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, Hank Williams Jr., Brett Young, Lauren Alaina, Riley Green, The Marshall Tucker Band and more. Rockthesouth.com.
S u m m e r d a l e ,1 0 t h Annual Plow Days sponsored by the South Alabama Antique Tractor and Engine Club. Antique farming demonstrations, plowing, threshing, corn grinding, tractors, food and music. Saatec. org.
Morgan City, Morgan City Founders Day. Pancake breakfast at the firehouse at 8 a.m. Saturday, followed by a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday on U.S. 231. Vendors and yard sales all weekend. 256-520-7178.
Troy, Come enjoy a wide variety of historic items on display and for sale. Authentic Native American Indian arrowheads, axes and other artifacts, antique bottles and jugs, American Civil War relics including swords, knives, guns and buttons. Authentication and appraisal services available. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Troy Shrine Club, 3700 US 231. For more information, call (334) 494-3203 or email email@example.com.
Marion, 23rd annual PCA Sanctioned Marion Rodeo. Gates open at 6 p.m. $10, ages 3 and under free. Proceeds benefit the Perry County Fire Association Crisis Fund. Ralph Eagle Arena. 334-683-4004.
Montgomery, “Over There/Over Here: Alabama in World War I,” a two-day symposium at the Alabama Department of Archives and History that explores how daily life changed for Alabamians both during and after the conflict. Experts from across the nation will speak on a variety of topics, in-
The Slocomb Tomato Festival will feature entertainment, a small-town parade, kids’ activities and – of course – plenty of tomatoes.
cluding military participation, African-American servicemen, war kitchens, post-war social change in Alabama, memorials and more. $25 for the public, $15 for students and Friends of the Archives members. 334-242-4364 or archives. alabama.gov.
Prattville, For the first time in more than 100 years, a rare opportunity will be offered to see an 1886 Daniel Pratt cotton gin ginning cotton on the banks of Autauga Creek in the shadows of the original Daniel Pratt Gin Company. This event will culminate in the City of Prattville’s CreekSide Concert. 101 West Main Street.
Alexander City, “Every Picture Tells a Story – The Storytelling of Norman Rockwell.” 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., Adelia M. Russell Public Library. Storyteller Dolores Hydock shares surprising stories from Rockwell’s life and career, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at how Rockwell created his one-image stories. Using slide images of his sketches, models, paintings-in-process, and finished work, this program follows the step-by-step creative process Rockwell used in becoming “America’s painter” and storyteller on canvas. Free. Storypower. org .
Theodore, Kids Gulf Discovery Day at Bellingrath Gardens. Learn all about the wildlife and ecology of the Gulf Coast. Activities and demonstrations from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Scientists from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will have creatures of Mobile Bay and the Environmental Studies Center will present the Raptor Road Show, featuring hawks, owls and other birds of prey. $13 for adults, $7.50 children ages 5-12. Bellingrath.org.
Slocomb, Tomato Festival, Centennial Park. Festival kicks off with a concert and karaoke at 6:30 p.m. Festival opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, with parade starting at 10 a.m. Vendors, kids’ activities and car show plus live music all day Free on Friday; on Saturday, admission is $7 adults, $5 kids ages 6-12, and free for 5 and under. 334-8862334.
Brewton, Alabama Blueberry Festival. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Arts and crafts, antique car show, live entertainment, children’s section, food court, blueberry ice cream, cobbler and crunch. Blueberry cookbooks and t-shirts as well as blueberries and blueberry bushes will be available. Jennings Park, at the intersection of highways 31 and 41. 251-8673224.
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
Brundidge, June Buggin’ event at the We Piddle Around Theater. Features nationally acclaimed storyteller Dolores Hydock. Tickets are $20 and include preshow music, luncheon and a performance by Dolores. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. and lunch is served at 12 p.m. 334344-9427.
Mobile, USS Alabama living history crew drill. 8 a.m.4 p.m., USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, 2703 Battleship Pkwy. Children 12 and up and adults $15, children 6-11 $6, and children up to age 5 free. Re-enactors demonstrate what life was like aboard the USS Alabama and USS Drum in World War II. ussalabama.com
Clanton, Peach Jam Jubilee. The Peach Jam will be 5 to 10 p.m. June 29 in Clanton City Park and feature a kids zone, music from Cotton Bird and The Sassy Brown Band and presentations of the Peach Queens. The peach parade begins at 9 a.m. June 30 in downtown Clanton. The peach auction begins after the parade at the Clanton Senior Connection Center; prizes are awarded for the top five baskets, which are then auctioned off. Info@chiltonchamberonline.com
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| Worth the drive |
The Copper Kettle is everyone’s cup of tea Story and photos by Emmett Burnett
aid back, framed in shady oaks, beside an easy-on-the-eyes emerald green park is not what one expects on a road named “Chicago Street.” The Copper Kettle Tea Bar is here, too, and also unexpected – an unexpected delight. At first glance, the little house appears to be a small working class home in downtown Foley, and indeed it was. In the 1930s, 106 N. Chicago served railroad workers, accommodating a nearby train station long since gone. Today “The Little Tea House with the Big Heart” serves sandwiches, soups, cakes, pies, and tea, lots of tea, over 130 versions. An anonymous quote on the menu reads, “If asked, ‘How do you take your tea?’ I reply ‘seriously, very seriously.’” I’ll say. Co-owners and sisters Robin Peters and Susan Adams are not new to the brew. Tea is their passion. Great tea, coupled with excellent food in a congenial setting, is their goal. Chicago Street is tea-topia. Admittedly, the tea room experience is novel for most southerners. “But tea is our niche,” says Robin, about her popular spot across the street from a downtown park. “Lots of people make great food down here, but we are the ones for tea. “First timers sometimes come in and often have no idea what they want,” she continues. “I will ask, ‘what do you like in fruit, flavor, or taste? Let me see what I can do.” And before you know it, it’s tea time. Small glass bottles of tea leaves adorn dinner tables. Inhale the aroma, sense the flavor, imagine the taste and let Copper Kettle pour the dream. Both Robin and Susan are emphatic: If you don’t like it, they will pour you a different one. No one leaves unhappy. There are black teas, originating far away from Foley. Blends like English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Russian Samovar, Yunnan/ China, Assam/India. Fruity favorites include Hibiscus Raspberry Currant, Queen of Berries, Cranberry Harvest, Pomegranate Ginger Pear, and Bora Bora. There are white teas: white peony, white monkey, indulgence tea, and fruit favorites such as the most excellent, strawberry ginger peppercorn that puts the feisty in Foley.
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Down home Southern flavors abound, such as strawberry sparkling wine to the more exotic Feng Shui/dragon fruit. Herbals, organics, every tea imaginable is available except grocery store stuff. This is no place for Milo’s on the rocks. Robin’s first encounter with Foley was from vacationing at nearby Gulf Shores. “After days on the beach we came to town looking for something different, and discovered 2 Sassy Cups Tea Room in Foley and loved it,” she recalls. The Michigan sisters moved here in 2003. They reopened 2 Sassy’s in 2005 but the run was short. In 2014 the duo opened The Copper Kettle Tea Bar, moving it to the current location in 2015. The little diner is off the main road, which is according to plan. “We are like a secret right in the middle of town,” Robin says. “That’s part of the charm. We are right here but you have to find us. It’s like a treasure hunt.” Off the beaten path is part of the experience. It fits their environment. “Having tea is a slowing down and stopping process rather than hurry up, quick cup of coffee to go thing,” she says. “In fact, Starbucks employees come here on coffee breaks.” “We don’t do a food menu,” adds Susan, who supervises all cooking. “I usually know what we are serving the night before. Everyone else finds out in the morning.” Homemade soup is available every day – tomato, potato, carrot, broccoli, and dozens more, depending on Susan’s daily decision. On today’s visit, a homemade apple-pear pie is out of the oven. It won’t be here long. Sandwiches, cookies, brownies, and more round out the list. Katy Herndon visits often, driving in from Mobile. “I go to Foley just for the Copper Kettle,” she says. “Robin and Sue are just good people and the tea is always great. I love the huge selection and usually tell Robin to just surprise me. It’s always good and their soups are spectacular.” The dining room seats 20 but plenty of space is available in the backyard, around tables under oaks. Regular customers including locals, snowbirds, and the beach bound are there any time, for a great time, at tea time.
The Copper Kettle Tea Bar is nestled in a shady spot in downtown Foley. Susan Adams and Robin Peters, sisters and co-owners of the Copper Kettle Tea Bar, at the front counter. Hummus and chips with vegetables.
The Copper Kettle Tea Bar
106 N. Chicago St., Foley, AL 36535 251-609-2832 Hours: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday. Foley See their Facebook page for updates on the menu and activities.
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Electric utility linemen to be honored on June 4 L
Tracy Riddle’s father, Ricky Sybert, is on the far right in the front row in this photo taken around 1970. Sybert and the others graduated from lineman school together.
ineman Appreciation Day has a special meaning for Tracy Riddle. Riddle’s father, Ricky Sybert, worked for Joe Wheeler EMC from about 1968 until 1992. “He loved his job and he loved his co-workers,” Riddle recalls. “I can remember him being on ‘trouble’ and getting a trouble call at night, or when it was storming. Even as a child, it worried me for him to go out, but it never seemed to bother him.” Riddle was moved to contact Alabama Living when she saw a notification about the national Lineman Appreciation Day, which was in mid-April. “He has gone to be with the Lord now, but every year (that) I see Lineman Appreciation Day, I wish he was here for me to tell him how much I appreciate how hard he worked,” Riddle says. In Alabama, the Legislature passed a formal resolution in 2014 designating the first Monday in June as Lineman Appreciation Day, ensuring that linemen are formally recognized in our state every year. Linemen are often first responders during storms and other catastrophic events, working in brutal weather conditions to ensure we all have safe and reliable power. They work with thousands of volts of electricity on power lines at any time of day or night, 365 days a year, sometimes far
from their families. This year’s statewide Lineman Appreciation Day commemoration will be June 4 in Montgomery, and will involve personnel from Alabama’s electric utility industry, including linemen from the state’s rural electric cooperatives. The event, which will include the presentation of an outstanding service award to a utility team member, will feature several speakers as well as a catered meal and gifts for the linemen. The event is being coordinated by the Energy Institute of Alabama, which works to build public support for Alabama’s energy industry. On social media, you may see the #ThankALineman hashtag. It’s an important part of increasing awareness of Lineman Appreciation Day. Even if you’re not on social media, you can do your part. If you see a line crew from your rural electric cooperative out working in your area, stop and say “thank you” to them for all they do to keep the lights on for all of us. Linemen serve on the frontlines of our nation’s energy needs. There are about 18,000 full-time linemen in the electric cooperative program, making up nearly one-third of all distribution cooperative employees. Together, they maintain more than 2.5 million miles of distribution line for 850 systems across the country. Alabama’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives employ some 600 linemen who help keep the lights on for more than 1 million Alabamians in 64 counties. – Allison Law
Seth Hammett, chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama, addresses those gathered to celebrate Lineman Appreciation Day in 2017.
34 JUNE 2018
JUNE 2018â€ƒ 35
| Gardens |
Ways to make gardening easy, economical and eco-friendly
ardening hacks — or creative ways to save time and money in the garden — can be fun and often effective shortcuts for many gardening chores. If used correctly, garden hacks can also help us create more eco-friendly gardens, especially if we concentrate on the three Rs of sustainability: recycling, reusing and repurposing.
Many items that we might throw in the trash or send to our local recycling center can be useful tools in the garden. Here are a few ways to turn trash into garden treasure. Yogurt cups and other small plastic cartons make great seed-starting containers. Emptied milk, water, soda and juice containers can be used as plant covers, plant collars and as mini greenhouses or terrariums. Those with handles are perfect for use as watering and dusting devices or as scoops for potting soil and birdseed. Old newspapers and cardboard can be laid in garden beds to control weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Empty wine bottles can be filled with water, then pushed upside down into a pot to slowly irrigate container plants. They are also a great source for garden art and ornamentation — think bottle trees or a garden bed bordered with upturned bottles.
Lots of things can be reused in the garden — old boots can become planters and old pallets can become tool racks — but there are few things as valuable to a garden as kitchen waste. Yes, it makes great compost, but here are a few other uses for Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at email@example.com.
36 JUNE 2018
it, too. Eggshell halves make cute, biodegradable seed-starting containers and can be crushed and sprinkled around plants to keep away slugs and add calcium to the soil. Banana peels, which are high in potassium and other plant nutrients, can be added to compost or chopped or dried and added to garden soil as a slow-release fertilizer. They can also help ward off aphids. Used coffee grounds can be sprinkled around plants to tamp down fungal diseases, provide a slow-release source of nitrogen to plants and improve soil texture. (A word of caution: coffee is acidic, so used grounds are not recommended for plants that require more alkaline conditions.)
Many of the household products we use every day in the home are also useful in the garden to control pests, add nutrients to the soil and in other ways. Here are a few examples. Baking soda can help fight fungal problems on flowers and shrubs and can help sweeten the taste of tomatoes. Concoctions of vinegar, baking soda, dish soaps, vegetable oils and other products can be used in place of stronger chemicals to remove and thwart a variety of pests. Mixtures made of ingredients such as hot peppers, garlic and water can be misted
on to plants to deter aphids, and jar caps filled with beer can trap and kill slugs, snails and some flying insects. These are just a few of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of gardening hacks that make gardening easier, cheaper, sustainable and more fun. Additional details for these and other ideas are available in gardening publications, online and through local garden experts (one great book of ideas is 101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden by Shawna Coronado). Do a little poking around to find ones that suit your needs. A word of caution, though: not all hacks are effective or safe, so if you have questions or concerns, seek advice from your local Cooperative Extension or Master Gardener organizations or other professional gardening sources, especially before applying any potentially toxic or unsafe products to your garden.
JUNE TIPS Sow seeds for beans, field peas, melons, okra, pumpkins, squash and corn. Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and sweet potatoes. Stagger planting times for annual vegetables, herbs and flowers so something new is coming in all season long. Be vigilant about checking for insect, disease and weed problems and treat outbreaks immediately. Thin perennials and bulbs as needed. Now is the time to take cuttings from many shrubs and trees. Install automatic timers to water lawns and gardens while you’re on vacation. Pinch back flowering plants to promote future buds. Get the kids or grandkids involved in summer gardening projects.
JUNE 2018â€ƒ 37
Eugene Hendrick displays some of the catfish traps he’s built.
Set to trap a catﬁsh When this Brantley, Alabama native wants a ﬁsh fry, he grabs one of his ﬁsh traps and heads to the river.
Story and photo by Ben Norman
everal years ago, Eugene Hendrick decided he would try his hand at fishing with wire fish baskets. But he had very little luck. “One day I was checking my wire fish basket and when I pulled one up, someone had thrown a wooden slat box trap over my basket and they had become entangled,” says Hendrick. “His trap was full of fish and I had nothing in mine. I had my measuring tape on my belt and so I measured the dimensions and decided I would build one of my own. The first box I built was the same dimensions as the one tangled in mine. I soon realized that this box was too big and bulky and I could catch just as many fish in a smaller scaled down version.” After much experimenting, Hendrick settled on a box 14 inches square and 4 feet long with a built-in bait box with double throats or muzzles. “These are what the catfish go in to get into the box but the limber slats close up and prevent the fish from getting out,” he says. “I build all of my traps with either red oak or white oak strips. I actually like red oak better because it is tougher wood and retains the bait odor longer. I use galvanized staples, as I found they are better than nails or screws.” Hendrick is a well-known sign painter in Crenshaw, Covington and Coffee counties area. Those who know him well know that he is quite a perfectionist especially when it comes to painting signs or building fish traps. Hendrick says when he sells someone a fish trap he likes to give them a lesson on where to place them and how to use them before they leave. “I like to use an old head from a V8 motor for an anchor and about 50 feet of green nylon cord attached to the trap,” he says. “I construct a simple three-prong grab hook that I can throw out and draw across to snag the line so I can retrieve and pull the trap up to the boat. I like to fish my traps in water that is 10 to 12 feet deep.” Hendrick says it is a fallacy that you can’t put them on sandy bot38 JUNE 2018
toms, but you do have to check them more often to make sure they don’t sand in. “For bait, I recommend spoiled cheese that I purchase at Ron Smitherman’s Bait Shop in Clanton. Although I think cheese is by far the best, some people have good luck with cotton seed meal cake, rotten cabbage, lettuce, bananas and other produce.” Hendrick says after much experimentation, he builds a small bait box to put his cheese in that slowly oozes downstream and attracts the fish. He also says rather than having a small door, he builds his traps so that one complete side can be removed to facilitate baiting and fish removal. “I fish my traps year-round but the best time I have found for catching catfish in a trap is October to April. If you fish them in the summertime, you need to check them every day, but you can get by checking them once or twice a week in the winter.” Most Alabama counties permit the use of wire fish baskets after you purchase a tag for each basket. But state law requires you to have a commercial fishing license to use a slat basket in the public waters of the state. “I keep my muzzle tapered down to 4 inches and I have caught fish that would weigh seven pounds that were able to get through the muzzle,” says Hendrick. “I have caught close to 100 pounds in my traps on occasion. They are constructed in a way that game fish can escape through the required one and one eighth-inch gap between the slats. I recommend being a good conservationist and if you catch more fish than you can use, release them back into the river and catch them again another day. And everyone knows a needy family that can use catfish.” Hendrick invites anyone interested in purchasing his traps to contact him at 334-303-9389 or at Hendrick Signs, 673 Elba Highway, Brantley. He charges $60 for a single trap and $50 for two or more traps. Contact your local game warden if you have questions about fishing with fish traps. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Outdoors |
Army veteran teaches long-range, precision shooting
ou’re going to shoot this rifle at a before selling the dealership as he planned course lasts two days. People could stay all target a thousand yards away toto retire. He bought a 1,000-acre plot of week, taking the courses back to back or day and hit it,” proclaims James land on Lake Eufaula and started building take one course now and return at a later Eagleman, the director of training at the a long-range rifle shooting facility for perdate to take the second one. Barbour Creek Shooting Academy just outsonal reasons. “The course is partially based on what side Eufaula. “I started building this facility for my I taught in a U.S. Army advanced sniper More used to shooting shotguns at rangfriends and family,” Simpson recalls. “I had course,” Eagleman says. “Our focus is not es less than 40 yards, I looked out the winbeen shooting long distance for more than just on shooting, but on long-range huntdow of the shooting house incredulously. a decade, but I got my advanced training ing. In the civilian world, people don’t need I couldn’t even see the target to know how to be a sniper, but more than a half-mile away, but hunters need to know things like I would trust James with my life. shot placement, bullet selection, We served together in Korea in terminal performance and oththe 1990s. er things to make a quick, ethiI knew him as Corporal Eacal kill on a game animal. Level gleman, but he retired from the 2 is more of a wind reading and Army as a master sergeant after advanced hunting course. We go serving 26 years on active duty, into a lot of hunting-type shootmuch of it as a sniper or sniper ing positions and what to do if instructor. When I sat down in the equipment fails in the field.” the shooting house at the range, Clients can bring their own the “corporal” was most definitefirearms, but while under inly in charge of his former comstruction, they must use guns Barbour Creek Shooting Academy near Eufaula is one of the few mander. With a little instruction, and ammunition provided by the places where people can shoot rifles at targets a thousand yards away. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARBOUR CREEK SHOOTING ACADEMY I did hit the target a thousand academy. After completing the yards away, although James did courses, the clients can practice most of the calculations and setup. I just from James. One day, I talked James into with their own rifles. Simpson lets some pulled the trigger. coming down to see it. When he got here, graduates put what they learned into prac“Barbour Creek Shooting Academy is a he says, ‘We have to make this into a shoottice by hunting hogs on the property. In Allong-distance shooting facility,” says Mark ing academy.’” abama, people can shoot feral hogs all year Simpson, the owner. “We train clients how The academy opened in 2017. Most stulong without limit on private property. to hunt and shoot animals ethically at long dents stay at a lodge on the property that “When we started the academy, one of range. We are one of the few ranges where can comfortably sleep up to six people. the first things we discovered was that most people can shoot rifles out to a thousand Guests can also stay at an A-frame cottage people who come here with their own guns yards or more and certainly one of the few on the Chattahoochee River, which flows find out quickly that they probably have that offer all the amenities that we do.” into Lake Eufaula, or in the town of Eufauthe wrong equipment,” Eagleman explains. Simpson ran car dealerships for 38 years la. Some people stay at the nearby Lake“In Level 1, we stress proper equipment sepoint Resort State Park. People who stay on lection. All of our school guns are 6.5mm the property receive all meals included in Creedmoor hunting rifles, which are pheJohn N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. the price. nomenal guns for long-range shooting. In Contact him through Facebook. The academy offers two shooting coursaddition, all of our guns have suppressors es, a basic and an advanced course. Each on them so we can sit in our air-condi-
40 JUNE 2018
James Eagleman, (left) Director of Training for the Barbour Creek Shooting Academy, gives some instruction to Colton Simpson (right) before Colton fires the rifle at a target a thousand yards downrange. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
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.
tioned shooting house and talk without putting headphones on.” Mark and James also build their own high-end custom hunting rifles. They also developed and sell their own brand of 6.5mm and 7mm ammunition. “The guns we sell, BC-1400s, are designed for long-range hunting with minimal recoil so people can make ethical shots at long range,” Eagleman says. “These rifles weigh less than 10 pounds with a scope and are capable of killing game out to 1,400 yards. We test each one by shooting it for accuracy out to a thousand yards. If the rifle doesn’t meet our requirements, we don’t sell it.” All vets and first responders who enroll in the classes receive a 15 percent discount. Wounded warriors can take the instruction for free, but must pay for their food and lodging. For more information, see www. barbourcreek.com or call 334-845-0000.
James Eagleman, the director of training at the Barbour Creek Shooting Academy, and Mark Simpson, owner of the academy, congratulate Madeleine Hackett on the shot she made. The academy teaches long-range rifle shooting.
JUNE 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
02:07 02:52 03:52 05:22 06:52 08:07 09:07 02:37 03:07 03:37 04:07 --12:52 01:37 02:07
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09:52 10:37 11:37 12:22 -01:22 03:22 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:37 07:37 08:07 08:37 09:22 09:52
02:22 03:07 04:07 04:52 05:52 07:07 08:07 04:37 05:37 06:22 07:07 12:07 12:37 01:07 01:37 02:07
02:52 03:37 04:37 09:52 11:52 -01:22 02:07 02:52 03:52 04:37 -01:07 01:52 02:37 03:37 04:37 11:07 -12:52 01:37 02:22 03:07 03:52 04:22 --01:22 01:52 02:22 03:07
07:22 07:52 08:52 05:52 06:52 07:52 08:52 09:37 10:22 11:07 11:52 05:22 06:07 07:07 07:52 08:52 09:52 05:52 07:07 08:22 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 05:07 05:37 06:07 06:52 07:22 08:07
10:22 10:52 11:22 12:07 05:22 02:07 08:07 09:37 10:37 11:37 12:22 07:52 08:37 09:22 10:07 10:37 11:22 05:07 01:07 07:22 08:37 09:52 10:52 11:37 12:07 07:52 08:07 08:37 09:07 09:22 09:52
02:37 03:22 03:52 04:22 12:37 06:37 03:52 04:52 05:52 06:37 07:22 12:37 01:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:22 12:07 06:07 03:22 04:52 05:52 06:22 06:52 07:22 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:22 02:52
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
PM Minor Major
PHOTO COURTESY OF BARBOUR CREEK SHOOTING ACADEMY
JUNE 2018 41
| Consumer Wise |
Can solar work for my home? By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
I’m hearing a lot about solar power as an eﬃcient option for homes today. Can you tell me some of the basics about solar energy and whether it’s something I should pursue?
Solar can provide energy for your home in three ways: Passive solar is a way to capture the sun’s heat directly, often through south-facing windows and dark-colored stone floors that can store heat. Solar water heating systems typically have panels on a roof that collect solar energy and a pump that circulates heated water for storage in a water tank. Photovoltaic (PV) systems also collect solar energy through a panel, but the PV panels actually convert the energy into electricity. I suspect you are referencing PV systems, which have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. PV technology has improved, costs have dropped and financing offers are abundant. PV panels are usually installed on a roof in an array. The panels generate direct current (DC) power, which is then channeled Solar installers work high off the ground, on steep roofs and must drive through an inverter that feeds electricity into the home, back to fasteners through the roofing. This is a job that requires specialized the electric grid or to a battery system where it is stored for future training. SOURCE: MARIAGODFRIDA, PIXABAY.COM use. available to offset the price of the equipment and installation. You Several factors go into calculating how cost-effective it would can find links to these resources on my website at www.collabobe to install a solar power system for your home. Once you’ve rativeefficiency.com. done your research, you can use the PVWatts Calculator (at If the estimate you receive includes all the factors we’ve menhttp://pvwatts.nrel.gov/) to estimate how much production and tioned in this article, it should give you a fairly accurate idea of value a PV system on your home could yield. your return on investment. It’s also a good idea to get multiple An easier path is to find a qualified solar contractor to provide estimates if you can, and to review the estimate with your elecan estimate for a PV system. Look for contractors that are certitric co-op to ensure the electric rate and metering arrangefied with the North American Board of Certified Energy ments are correct. Practitioners (NABCEP). Your local electric co-op may Before you make a final decision, consider the folalso have a list of recommended solar contractors. lowing questions: When you call contractors, they will typically • How does the investment in a PV system compare ask several questions to determine if your home is to upgrading the energy efficiency of your home? a good candidate for solar. If it is, they will likely be Efficiency upgrades can sometimes yield more able to provide an estimate. In order to complete an bang for your buck and make your home more estimate, the contractor will need to determine the comfortable. A home energy audit can help you size of the system, which will depend on several fac- Before hiring a solar contractor, make sure they answer this question. tors, including: are accredited through • Is there a better way to invest in solar energy? • Your current and anticipated electricity needs the North American Many co-ops offer community solar programs, • Roof area, orientation and pitch (15 to 40 de- Board of Certified Energy which can produce solar electricity at a lower cost grees is ideal) Practitioners (NABCEP). than residential systems. PHOTO CREDIT: NABCEP • The amount of sunlight your home receives per Investment in solar systems or energy efficiency year upgrades to your home can help increase the resale value. Recent • The amount of shade, dust, snow and/or other factors that reports show that the presence of a PV system can raise a home’s can block sunlight resale value to an average of $15,000. If your roof will need replacing in the next few years, you’ll I hope these tips help you determine if a PV system is right for want to do that before installing solar panels, so be sure to inyour home. Remember, your local electric co-op can be a great clude that expense when calculating the overall cost. resource, so reach out to them if you have any additional quesThere may be federal, state and utility tax credits and rebates tions. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
42 JUNE 2018
This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Eﬃciency. For more information on solar energy for your home, please visit: www.collaborativeeﬃciency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Alabama Recipes |
Heirloom recipes are valuable because they’ve been “kitchen tested and eater approved” hundreds of times over. Any recipe that gets made repeatedly and gets passed down is undoubtedly a method that works and that results in something delicious.
44 JUNE 2018
Recipes treasure to
Handing down favorite recipes is a worthwhile pursuit that’s about sharing something more than good food.
hen we talk about family heirlooms, we’re often referring to jewelry, fine china or maybe granddad’s coin collection. But an heirloom, as Merriam-Webster defines it, is anything that is “something of special value handed down from one generation to another.” And that “value” isn’t necessarily monetary. What are warm sentiments worth? How about a bite that brings back a flood of fond memories? Can you assign an accurate appraisal for the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from preparing and serving that dish everyone has always loved (and getting it just right)? These feelings and experiences are priceless and are yours for the taking when you save, use and share heirloom recipes. Holding onto recipe cards covered in your grandmother’s scrawling script or keeping your mom’s dog-eared cookbooks with notes in the margins and splatter stains on the edges is historic preservation at its purest. And you’re not just protecting remnants of the past, you’re reviving them. Our most basic needs often connect us in the deepest ways, and food builds bridges that transcend time and space. Every time you prep the ingredients and follow the steps outlined in an old recipe, you open an opportunity to remember and revisit family members who’ve done the same before. These are connections that surpass the tenuous relations many of us now have in the hundreds via social media “friends.” The next step is passing them along. It’s a way to reach out to current and even generations yet to come and hand them a heaping helping of yourself and of the heritage that has shaped who you are. If you don’t have an heirloom recipe collection, it’s never too late to start one. And you don’t have to dip only into your own gene pool. Borrow some of these oldies but goodies submitted by our readers and start your tradition today.
BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY | FOOD/PHOTOGRAPHY BY BROOKE ECHOLS
JUNE 2018 45
Grandma’s Molasses Cake 11/ cups molasses 1/ cup sugar ½ cup butter 1½ cups flour 1/4-½ teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch iron skillet. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cook of the Month: Gail Clark Sheppard, Arab EC Gail Clark Sheppard has been enjoying a simple yet super-sweet cake her grandmother used to make all of her life, and she believes her grandmother enjoyed it most of hers. “She may have come up with it herself, but I think she may have gotten it from her mother,” she said. “I know it has been in my family for more than 100 years.” The molasses cake was an easy yet satisfying treat that Sheppard’s grandmother often whipped up to feed her energetic grandkids. “She’d slice it up and put it in an eight-pound lard bucket and bring it out to us while we were playing,” she said. “And then she’d tell us not to bother her for a while!” That version was particularly special since its principal ingredient was also homemade. “My grandad and my dad farmed sugar cane, so they made their own molasses, and my grandma used that of course. Sometimes, she used it in place of sugar in other recipes too,” Sheppard said. The memories of fun family times now add their sweetness to the skillet anytime Sheppard bakes the humble cake. “I can remember how wonderful it tasted then, when she’d bring it out still warm to us as kids,” she said. “I love it to this day.”
Grandma Clark’s Dumplings 4 4 2 1/4
cups chicken broth cups flour cups buttermilk cup shortening
Mix milk and shortening with flour. Stir to make soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead dough a few times until stiﬀ. Divide dough in half. Roll one half at a time until it is about the thickness of piecrust. Cut into strips about an inch wide and two inches long. Drop pieces one at a time into boiling broth. Grandma dropped her dumplings into the broth at the side of the pot, while holding the ones already cooking back with a spoon. She did not stir the dumplings while they cooked. They cooked uncovered until she got all the dough in the pot. Then she covered them and cooked them about 15 minutes. This recipe makes a large pot of dumplings. Gail Clark Sheppard Arab EC
June's prize pack winner is Edna Earnest of Pioneer EC! Your prize is on the way.
Send us your recipes for a chance to win! Themes August: Corn | June 8 and September: BBQ | July 8 Deadlines October: Pumpkin | Aug 8 Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 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.
Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe. 46 JUNE 2018
Jam Cake 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda or baking powder 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter (no substitutes!) 3 eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup jam (any kind, but preferably homemade blackberry with the seeds in and nothing used but sugar and berries to make the jam) 1 cup dates, chopped 1 cup raisins 1 cup nuts, chopped (cook’s preference) 1 apple, grated Sift flour, salt, and baking soda or powder together, reserving 1/4 cup of the flour to mix with the nuts, dates and raisins. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Combine buttermilk and jam. Add alternately with combined dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Flour the fruit and nuts and stir them into the batter. Stir in the grated apple. Bake in 3 greased, 9-inch cake pans in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Turn out onto racks to cool before frosting. NOTE: If a spicier cake is desired, sift 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves with the flour, salt and baking powder. Brown Sugar Icing: ½ cup unsalted butter 1 cup brown sugar, packed ¼ cup milk 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla In a deep, large kettle melt the butter over high heat until it just starts to boil. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Don't boil longer than two minutes and stir constantly while it is boiling. Add the milk and splash of vanilla and return to a boil, stirring constantly. As soon as it begins to boil, remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Gradually add confectioners' sugar. Stir with a
wooden spoon until thick and spreadable. Mary Rich North Alabama EC
Mama's Nanner Pudding 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon flour 1 egg 11/2 cups milk 1/2 stick butter 1 teaspoon vanilla Bananas, sliced Vanilla wafers Mix sugar, flour and egg. Stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until thick. Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter, then stir. Pour over layered bananas and vanilla wafers in 8x8-inch casserole dish. Libby Bailey Cullman EC
Alabama’s Corn Chowder 5 medium potatoes, diced 1 pound Zeigler bacon 2 16-ounce cans cream or kernel corn (add juice if you use kernel) 1 large can evaporated milk 1 medium onion, chopped ¾ cup pre-cooked Zeigler ham, finely chopped 1 stick butter Salt and pepper, to taste Cook potatoes until almost done in a large boiler then set aside. Leave enough water to cover potatoes, about two cups. Fry bacon and remove to drain but reserve grease. Sauté ham and onion in bacon grease. Crumble and add bacon, ham and onions to potatoes. Add corn, milk and butter. Salt and pepper as desired. If chowder is too thin, add two heaping tablespoons flour to 1½ cups of water. This will help the chowder thicken. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Saltine crackers go great with the chowder. Wyenette Ware Renfroe Baldwin EMC
Mama's Nanner Pudding
Granny Pritchett’s Tea Cakes 1 cup sugar ½ cup butter, softened 1 egg 3 tablespoons milk 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla 3½ cups all purpose flour Mix ingredients in the order listed. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Can be rolled out and cut into shapes. Amelia Pritchett Pea River EC
Fattingand II (Lena Olson’s Fried Cookies) 5 egg yolks 1 egg 6 tablespoons sugar 6 teaspoons cream 1/8 teaspoon crushed whole cardamom 1¾ cups flour (enough to roll cookies out) Beat egg well, add sugar and remaining ingredients. Roll out the cookie dough, cut into diamond shapes and fry in deep fat at 370 degrees for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar. Gloria Pratt Baldwin EMC
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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):
Real Estate Sales
GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – Nice 2 / BR – Spring $900 / wk, Summer $1,095 / wk – (251)666-5476
TURN-KEY, WELL ESTABLISHED FULL SERVICE MEMORIAL COMPANY FOR SALE located in SE Alabama. Owner Retiring. Serious Inquiries Only, email firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2018 Issue by June 25 September 2018 Issue by July 25 October 2018 Issue by August 25
BEAUTIFUL PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Sleeps 6 comfortably, many amenities onsite – Joy (256)878-0211
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 email@example.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.
4 CONDOS FOR RENT IN ORANGE BEACH – 2 on Beach, 1 on Bay, 1 on River – (678)908-0687, firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast Real Estate, THE PETE VAKAKES TEAM at Century 21 Meyer Real Estate in Gulf Shores are the ones you should turn to. Call a team member today at (251)948-8008. www.PeteOnTheBeach. com
PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, email@example.com, www.theroneycondo.com
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.
GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www.originalbeachhouseal.com
Miscellaneous G.W. (BILLY) THAGARD: AUCTIONEER – REAL ESTATE BROKER - Land, Commercial, Residential – AL Lic # 675 – (205)410-6751, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gtauctions.com Visit our Website - Let’s get together to talk AUCTION! GREG’S POULTRY HOUSE INSULATION – We specialize in Poultry house Insulation. Let us re-blow Fiberglass or Cellulose Insulation in your Poultry House Ceiling. We can also re-staple the bands in your ceiling. FREE QUOTE, (256)708-8547. Ask for John 18X21 CARPORT $995 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (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@ yahoo.com, (888)211-1715 METAL ROOFING $1.59/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 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, www.wallbedsofalabama.com, www.alabamamattressoutlet.com KEPLINGER ALUMINUM BURIAL VAULT CO. in Gardendale, Alabama sells water tested burial vaults to the public saving up to $3000 or more per vault verses 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 www.keplingeraluminumburialvaults.com LED FIXTURES & BULBS! Milwaukee, Klein Tools and Pumps, Electrical Supplies & Appliance Parts. In-house Service Tech. Available – CULPEPPER ELECTRIC “Our 92nd Year” – Downtown Demopolis (334)289-0211, lmculpepper3@ gmail.com, Facebook/Culpepper Electric Co. MARKETING MAGIC! EARN DIRECT/PASSIVE/ RESIDUAL INCOME! Leverage “Synergistic Marketing” Tools - PROVEN Lead Sources, Postcards, Flyers And More! Several Programs/Income Levels! Get Connected Today! Visit www. VirtualBillBoard.biz Or TEXT moreinfo To 41242
48 JUNE 2018
SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR / 2BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, WrapAround Porch, Wheelchair accessible first floor – (865)320-4216. For rental details and pictures, email email@example.com GULF SHORES or ORANGE BEACH CONDO – Some Summer weeks available - 1BR / 1BA Gulf Front - Low Owner rates - Accommodates 4 (256) 352-5721, firstname.lastname@example.org PCB 2 CONDOS WEEKLY RENTAL – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 200 feet to ocean w/ pool – Peachtree II, sleeps 4-6: – (850)573-2182, Jeff. PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $95.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 DESTIN, FL CONDO – 1BR, sleeps 4, Nice – (770)942-5530, (770)365-5205, email@example.com
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
GULF SHORES – GREAT CONDO: 3BR / 2BA, directly on beach, sleeps 8, unbelievable views, private parking, pool & kiddie pool, many extras. Walk to shops, restaurants, entertainment – Call (251)344-4483, (251)610-1611 GULF FRONT PANAMA CITY CONDO – Splash Condominiums – Owner Rental – 1BR / 2BA w/ hallway bunks, sleeps 6, 18th floor balcony view of Ocean – (706)566-6431, bjeffers3@hotmail. com 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 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – firstname.lastname@example.org, (256)599-5552 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners – Lowest Prices on the Beach! www.gulfshorescondos.com, (251)656-4935, (205)556-0368, (251)752-2366 PERDIDO KEY, FL CONDO – 2 / 2, Owner rental on Ole River, boat docks, gulf side amenities – email@example.com, (251)533-7484 DESTIN, FL OWNER RENTALS – patsdestincondo.com – Pat Green Bush, owner – firstname.lastname@example.org, (334)244-6581 or (334)3126630 PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, Homeaway#241942 www.alabamaliving.coop
JUNE 2018â€ƒ 49
50â€ƒ JUNE 2018
If If you you feel feel tingling tingling in in the the water, it might be electrified. Get water, it might be electrified. Get out out of of the water immediately but avoid metal the water immediately but avoid metal ladders. ladders. Shout Shout and and warn warn others others to to stay stay out of the water. out of the water. We We value value your your membership. membership. We value you. We value you. Covington Electric Cooperative, Inc. Covington Electric Cooperative, ® Cooperative Inc. A Touchstone Energy A Touchstone Energy® Cooperative
www.covington.coop www.covington.coop (800) 239-4121 (800) 239-4121
www.covington.coop www.covington.coop Alabama Living
JUNE 2018 51
| Our Sources Say |
Beggar Thy Neighbour
eggar Thy Neighbour” is a classic economic policy through which one country attempts to remedy its economic problems by means that tend to worsen the economic problems of other countries. In 1776, Adam Smith wrote about “Beggaring Thy Neighbour” in The Wealth of Nations, the foundation for modern economic theory. Smith’s theory was developed from an earlier economics concept termed, “Tragedy of The Commons,” which appears in the works of Plato and Aristotle. Helping oneself at the expense of one’s neighbors has been around a while. It doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Recently, Dennis Pillion at AL.com supported a classic Beggar Thy Neighbor policy in his article about the Southern Environmental Law Center’s (SELC) complaint against Alabama Power Company’s solar rates and policies. The SELC alleges Alabama Power’s Capacity Reservation Fee, a $5.00 charge per kilowatt of installed customer-owned generation, is unreasonable, unjust, discriminatory, contrary to the public interest and otherwise unlawful. Then Katie Ottenweller, senior attorney at the SELC, states, “This unwarranted fee is limiting Alabamians’ rights to create solar power on their own properties and reduce their electric bills.” To that extent, Ms. Ottenweller is correct. However, Ms. Ottenweller omits that lowering solar customers’ electric bills shifts the solar customers’ fixed cost of service to non-solar customers and beggars their neighbors. The SELC also cites Alabama law which provides, “utility rates cannot unjustly discriminate against particular customers or a class of customers” and “rates must be based upon the cost of providing service to each class.” The SELC is correct about Alabama law but they have the injured class of customers wrong. It is discriminatory for Alabama Power’s non-solar customers to be burdened with paying the fixed costs of solar customers. Mr. Pillion states, “Alabama Power pays less than most utilities for excess energy fed back onto the grid when solar panels produce more energy than the solar customer is using. Alabama Power only pays the avoided cost of it generating that power (3 to 4 cents per kilowatt hour) instead of the average retail rate (12 cents per kilowatt hour).” He also states, “Many states have enacted so-called net metering policies that require utilities to credit customers for extra energy returned to the grid at the same rate Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
52 JUNE 2018
those customers are charged to take power oﬀ the grid. Some utilities, looking to increase the amount of solar energy they produce [sic], pay more than the retail rate for solar energy on the grid.” He implies that Alabama Power doesn’t pay enough for solar power purchased from its customers and the neighbor needs to be beggared even more. Why does the SELC position beggar thy neighbor? A solar customer only produces power when the sun is shining. Without energy storage facilities – primarily batteries - the solar customers rely on their utility and the electric grid to provide their electricity the remainder of the time. To provide that service, the utility must build and maintain distribution electric lines, substations to convert the voltage of the electricity, transmission lines to move the electricity to the substations, electric generation plants to produce the power exactly at the time it is needed, and complex energy control centers to keep load and generation balanced. Alabama Power’s total system and its residential customers demand more instantaneous power very early on a cold winter’s morning than any other time. The sun is not shining at the peak hours; therefore, solar customers provide no assistance in helping serve the annual peak power demand. The distribution system, substations, transmission lines, and power plants must be sized to serve the total system load at the time of the peak. The solar customers individually contribute to the peak because they are using electricity when their solar generation is not producing electricity. Traditional electric rates are designed to recover a customer’s fixed cost primarily through a volumetric energy usage bill each month. If a solar customer reduces his monthly electric energy usage from the utility only when the sun shines and uses grid service on the utility’s peak, he doesn’t pay (or avoids) some of the fixed costs invested to provide him service. Alabama Power’s Capacity Reservation Charge merely recovers the solar customers’ fixed costs that are avoided with their reduced usage through the daylight hours. Utility costs and rates are a zero sum proposition. If solar customers don’t pay their share of the fixed costs invested to provide their electric service when the sun is not shining, their non-solar neighbors have to pay it for them. The neighbor is beggared. I close by pointing out that the more aﬄuent customers will install more solar facilities than poorer customers. The rich will shift their fixed costs to their poorer neighbors. The SELC thinks that is fine. Is it odd that an organization that claims to protect the common man supports policies that will hurt poorer electric customers? I hope you have a good month. www.alabamaliving.coop
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JUNE 2018 53
| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Food for thought
Illustration by Dennis Auth
e Southerners love our food. But now, according to recent studies, it seems that the cuisine for which the South is famous is leading Southerners to an early grave. Not long ago it was reported that anyone who wants diabetes should move South and start eating. According to a 2017 study, the highest adult obesity rates are in the South, with Alabama and Arkansas tied for third place (West Virginia and Mississippi were one and two, respectively). And in another study, Alabama ranked right up there with West Virginia with the highest percentage of folks with diabetes. Like so much that is Southern, our eating habits can be traced to our history. For about as long as there has been a South, culinarily speaking, a good part of the population has had to get by on the poorest cuts of meat and the most forlorn vegetables. So Southern cooks set out to make the bad at least taste better. What they accomplished has been nothing short of miraculous. For proof, I refer you to the late Ernest Matthew Mickler’s 1986 classic book, White Trash Cooking, a loving tribute to what southerners can do with traditional staples like fat pork, corn meal, molasses, garden greens, Ritz crackers, Cool Whip, Velveeta and whatever else happens to be handy. Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University and a regular contributor to Alabama Living. He can be reached at email@example.com.
54 JUNE 2018
This sort of cooking and this sort of eating has survived almost intact in the rural South or among rural Southerners who moved to cities like Birmingham and Montgomery. But rather than take our eating habits as an indication of how isolated and unsophisticated the deep South remains, I contend that what we cook and consume is just one more bit of evidence of just how cosmopolitan southerners actually are. Consider my buddy Jim, who taught Southern history at one of our fine Southern Universities. A scholar recognized both at home and abroad, Jim was invited to lecture at the University of Vienna. As a gift for his hosts, Jim carried cans of Vienna Sausage to pass around. The sausages were a big hit, as was Jim’s explanation of how Vienna was properly pronounced (“Vi – eeee – nah”). Now I don’t know, or really care, how Vienna would rank among healthy cities in Europe. And from what Jim tells me, the Viennese don’t know or care either. They enjoy food fixed the way they like it fixed. Same as down in Dixie. “Foodies” in places like New York City and San Francisco can go on about experimenting with ingredients and approaches, but we can match ‘em with dishes like “Uncle Willie’s Swamp Cabbage Stew,” “Freda’s Five-Can Casserole,” and a “Kiss Me Not Sandwich” (White Trash Cooking, pp. 11, 41, 73). As for discovering that most of the cities in the Southern heartland are not healthy places to live well, if you can’t have it all, I’d rather have mine with “Ham-Lama Salad” and some “Soda Cracker Pie,” thank you very much. www.alabamaliving.coop