Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News May 2018
Joe Wheeler Electric MEMBERSHIP CORP.
Greek church is community legacy Hope for rural hospitals Junior cooks In the spotlight
Manager George Kitchens Director of Communications Michael Cornelison 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.
Hope for rural hospitals While Alabama’s rural hospitals face numerous financial challenges, hope is not lost. Many areas in the state are finding partnerships and tax revenue to maintain their level of health care.
VOL. 71 NO. 5 n MAY 2018
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May is the traditional month for graduations - from preschool to college! Check out our reader snapshots.
Fishing legend at 23
Worth the Drive
Jordan Lee caught the fishing bug as a child growing up in Cullman, and it’s paid off with back-to-back Bassmaster Classic championship wins.
Fried chicken, home-style sides and three kinds of cornbread are just part of the menu at Stacy’s Cafe in Demopolis.
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In this issue: Page 9 Page 28
9 Spotlight 38 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 44 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Malbis Memorial Church is a striking landmark on Highway 181 in Daphne, and centerpiece of the Greek community in Baldwin County. Story, Page 12. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson MAY 2018 3
A view from the top
Mothers & Memorials George Kitchens General Manager/CEO
Board of Trustees Ricky Knouff
Vice President District 3
Andrew McCay District 2 Jimmie Halbrooks District 4 Charles Segars District 6 Charles Teague District 7 Ray Long District 8 Shirley Livingston District 9
What holidays do we celebrate this month? Well, there are two very notable holidays that stand out, Mothers Day and Memorial Day. So, where did Mother’s Day come from? Mother’s were celebrated all the way back in ancient times in the Greek culture and in the Roman Empire too. Christians are taught from God’s commandments to honor our fathers and mothers. Here in the United States a lady named Anna Jarvis from Grafton, West Virginia, is given credit for holding the first Mother’s Day to honor her mother and all mothers at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908. She later felt that Mother’s Day had become too commercial and lashed out at the floral and greeting card businesses that were profiting from the celebration. I hope that all of you will take the time to visit, call, or write your mother to celebrate and thank her for all that she has done for you. She gave you life and cared for you when you couldn’t care for yourself. Honor her. If your mother is no longer with us in this life, honor her memory. Take a little time to remember the love and care that she had for you. Doing this not only honors her but fulfills one of God’s commandments. The other May holiday that we celebrate in the United States is Memorial Day. Early versions of what would become Memorial Day started after the Civil War and was called Dec-
oration Day. In fact, many communities in our area still hold decoration days in May every year. I can remember going to many decoration days as I was growing up. The cemetery where many generations of my ancestors are buried in Fayette County holds a decoration on the 3rd Sunday in May each year. We didn’t really call it Decoration Day; it was just the 3rd Sunday in May. As a child it seemed like there were countless people there. The ladies all wore their new summer dresses. Families came with picnic baskets filled with fried chicken or cakes and pies. There was always all-day gospel singing too. There were many Decoration Days in both the north and the south. In the South, both Columbus, Georgia and Columbus, Mississippi, claim the be the first to have held Memorial Day events. In the North, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Carbondale, Illinois both lay claim to have been first. The real truth may be that as the Civil War years wore on and many lost their lives that communities across the country had memorial services to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the bloody conflict. Memorial Day became an oﬃcial federal holiday in 1971. So, as we enjoy the first big holiday of summer, remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom. Honor them with your thanks. We owe them everything.
Milton Taylor District At-Large
Headquarters: P.O. Box 460 Trinity, AL 35673
256-552-2300 District Offices: Moulton:
641 Big Nance St. Moulton, AL 35650
700 Sparkman St. Hartselle, AL 35640
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Joe Wheeler EMC offices will be closed Monday, May 28 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Should you experience a power outage, please call 256-552-2300. www.alabamaliving.coop
2018 Annual Meeting Despite torrential downpours and the threat of severe weather, the 81st Annual Meeting of Joe Wheeler EMC took place Saturday, April 14 with no delays. “I would like to thank everyone for braving the weather and coming out to make this another successful Annual Meeting,” said JWEMC General Manager, George Kitchens. The purpose of the JWEMC annual meeting is to update members on the business of their cooperative and to hold board member elections. The Board districts up for election this year were Districts 7, 8, 9, and At-Large. Members were allowed to vote in person at the Annual Meeting or had the opportunity to vote with mail ballots sent to each member in March. The results of this year’s elections are: •• In District 7, incumbent Charles Teague ran unopposed and received 3,006 votes. •• In District 8, incumbent Ray Long ran unopposed and received 2,954 votes. •• In District 9, incumbent Shirley Livingston ran against James Michael “Mike” Hill. Ms. Livingston received 2,124 votes versus Mr. Hill’s 1,406 votes. With 60.17 percent of the vote, Shirley Livingston was re-elected to another three-year term.
Like father like son. Joe Wheeler EMC’s littlest lineman, Cullen Pace was at the JWEMC annual meeting with his dad Jerome ready, to help keep the lights on.
•• In the District At-large, incumbent Milton Taylor ran unopposed and received 3,057 votes.
J.R. Knouff Scholarships Slick Jones was ready for whatever At the conclusion of the Mother Nature brought our way. meeting, ten J.R. Knouff Scholarships for $2,000 were awarded. The scholarships went to: Isleta Ponter attending River City Christian Academy; Michael Walker attending Auburn University; April Campbell attending the University of Alabama; Addison Zanda attending Hartselle High School; Joshua Phillips attending UAB; Aaliyah King attending R.A. Hubbard High School; Ethan Heron attending Priceville High School; Lauryn Robinson attending Lawrence Co. High School; Raegen Hurst attending East Lawrence High School; and Chole Jenkins attending East Lawrence High School. Scholarship winners will receive a package by mail with instructions.
Despite the rough weather, 396 members came out to take part in their cooperative.
Safety Director Mike Johnson demonstrated why he takes electric safety seriously. Alabama Living
MAY 2018 5
Electrical Safety Month
Safety above all else By Anne Prince
“Safety” is a universal word that is often mentioned and used loosely. Communities large and small as well as companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues at every level take safety seriously. Unfortunately, when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience. However, safety is a serious issue, especially when it comes to electrical safety. For Joe Wheeler EMC, it’s the number one priority. This is not empty talk. Over time, JWEMC has created a culture of safety by putting our employees’ safety and that of the community above all else. At its essence, our mission is to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity to our member-owners. At the end of the day, we strive to deliver affordable and reliable electricity to you, but equally important, we want to return our workers home safely to their loved ones. Doing this requires ongoing focus, dedication, and vigilance.
Following leading national safety standards
Working with electricity is an inherently dangerous job, especially for lineworkers. JWEMC has a safety team whose focus is keeping employees and the community safe around electricity. We established and follow safety protocols based on leading national safety practices for the utility industry. We require our lineworkers to wear specialized equipment when working next to or with power lines. There are specific protocols that our lineworkers follow when dealing with electricity. Our safety team has regular meetings where they discuss upcoming projects from a safety perspective. They monitor and track near-misses of accidents in order to understand them, share “lessons learned” and improve in the future. As importantly, we encourage
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all of our crews to speak up and hold each other accountable for safety. By cultivating a culture of openness and transparency, we promote problem-solving with regard to safety, rather than defaulting to a blame game. We examine the information and data gleaned from near-misses and accident reports to discern patterns and use safety metrics to improve in those areas where we have fallen short. As appropriate, we brief contractors on our safety protocols and set expectations for their engagement.
May is National Electrical Safety Month.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, each year thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents, and electrocution in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. There is much you can do to keep yourself and your community safe around electricity. Don’t attempt electrical DIY projects or overload your outlets. Report downed power lines, unlocked substations or padmount transformers that look amiss. Visit jwemc.coop for additional electrical safety tips. If you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Be mindful when it comes to electrical safety. Pause and take the extra time to plug into safety.
Anne Prince 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.
Maintain the safe zone around pad-mounted transformers By Derrill Holly Jordan Overbee was driving to work when he saw them. The elementary school-aged youngsters were just waiting for the school bus, but they were sitting on a big green metal box. Inside was vital electrical equipment, distributing electricity to several homes on the street. “It was a bad place for a school bus stop,” Overbee recalled. “There were five kids gathered there to wait for a bus, sitting, talking and playing for a few minutes because it was between driveways.” As manager of operations for Wake Electric Membership Corp., Overbee knows a lot about pad-mounted transformers. They make up about
half of the transformers used across the Youngsville, North Carolina-based co-op’s system. “Transformers change voltage from higher levels to voltages people use in their homes for their electronics, appliances and lighting,” said Overbee. “Each of our transformers can be vital to providing electricity to several homes.” After seeing the kids waiting at that same transformer several days in a row, Overbee pulled over and talked to some of the parents. He explained that high voltage electricity flowed through the transformer inside the casing, and encouraged them to move a safer distance away. “The parents hadn’t thought
much about it, so once I explained the risks, they were happy to move to another driveway,” Overbee said. While overhead power lines are mounted on utility poles and substations are protected by security fences, pad-mounted transformers, switch boxes and pedestals are at ground level. In many newer subdivisions and residential developments, overhead lines are no longer an option. Burying power lines also reduces potential system damage from high winds and severe storms. While consumers seldom see technicians working on the transformers unless there are power outages, they are regularly inspected by co-op crews riding through neighborhoods. Please stay away from pad-mounted transformers (the big green box). While safe, they are not meant for touching, climbing or playing. Pad-mounted transformers carry high “We can see fault voltages of electricity that serve many homes in our communities. indicators from the road,” said Van CrawKeep areas surrounding the padNever touch, climb or play on ford, vice president of mounted transformer clear so that pad-mounted transformers. workers can safely maintain transformers Never put fingers, sticks or other operations at Peace as needed. Keep shrubs and structures at objects through cracks in the River Electric Coopleast 10 feet away from the transformer transformer. doors and 4 feet away from the sides. erative in Wauchula, Florida. Adding that one of the biggest concerns is safe access when repairs or com10 feet ponent adjustments 4 feet must be made. “That’s why it’s important that landscaping and other barriers be kept clear of co-op equipment.” Co-op technicians Report problems. If you notice anything Never dig near a pad-mounted need at least 10-feet amiss, like an unlocked transformer or transformer. They are surrounded one that has been damaged, please clearance at the openby underground cables. Hitting the contact us immediately. cable could result in electrical ing side of a padshock or disruption of service. mounted transformer. Always dial 8-1-1 before you dig. Approximately four feet of open space is preferable at the rear and on the sides of the metal housing. That distance allows for tool use, including eight-foot hot sticks, used to work with energized equipment.
Avoid the Big Green Box
It also ensures that one or two technicians working on a transformer have space to maneuver should they have to back away if problems occur. “We once had a member use a transformer box as a work bench platform, and obviously we had to have him remove it,” said Crawford. “We always try to explain the risks, and most members are more than willing to cooperate once they understand.” Pad-mounted transformers are connected to primary high voltage lines, and secondary lines can extend in several directions to distribute power to homes and businesses. That’s why it’s important to call JWEMC before planting shrubs or trees, setting fence posts, installing sprinkler systems and digging where it might damage underground lines. As participants in the Alabama 1Call program, JWEMC members can also call 811 to have experts come and mark all underground utility lines. This is a free service. While pad-mounted transformers in developed, suburban or urban areas are regularly inspected for damage from vehicles, many utilities use marking sticks or pennants to alert tractor, snow plow or heavy equipment operators of their locations. Joe Wheeler EMC also encourages public works and transportation departments to keep their equipment, supplies and road debris at least 15 feet away from pad-mounted transformers. Derrill Holly writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forproﬁt electric cooperatives. MAY 2018 7
8â€ƒ MAY 2018
May | Spotlight This Month In
ALABAMA HISTORY Honoring Our People
May 12, 1916
Internationally acclaimed author Albert L. Murray was born in Nokomis, Alabama. A noted critic, novelist, and biographer, Murray graduated from Tuskegee University and often wrote about the intersections of African American and American culture. His writings include seminal works on jazz and the blues, the “Scooter” series of semi-autobiographical novels, and “The Omni-Americans,” a collection of essays that presents an authentic analysis of black life. Murray cofounded Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York City and received many honors throughout his life, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle and the DuBois Medal from Harvard University. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1867
‘Making Alabama’ exhibit begins tour of State’s counties “Making Alabama. A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit,” displaying 200 years of Alabama history and beyond and presented by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, is now crisscrossing the state on a 19-month tour to each of Alabama’s 67 counties. The display blends artistic collages, interactive computer tablets and an audio medley of song and spoken word to tell the story of Alabama – from becoming a territory to achieving statehood. It also conveys a message of hope in its presentation about the future. Four exhibits have been built, and they will travel the state concurrently so that all counties will be able to experience this historic event in that time period. Organizers say AHF was a natural choice for coordinating the traveling exhibit with decades of experience through its partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit. In addition, host communities are assembling their own historical exhibits and collateral programming and activities to showcase their own history and put their signature on this event.
The exhibit will be in Cullman County through May 25 at the Burrow Museum at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. Other sites in May are: Bullock County - Red Door Theatre, Union Springs Talladega County -Heritage Hall Museum, Talladega Marengo County -Marengo History and Archive Museum, Demopolis To learn more, go to: MakingAlabama.org.
Whereville, AL APRIL’S ANSWER This structure towers over the McFarland Park and Recreation Area in Florence, overlooking the O’Neal Bridge and Tennessee River. The park is home to numerous entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer festivals and special events all year long. The random by May 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural elecguess winner is Joan Allen of Franklin EC.
Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple
tric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the June 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.
CORRECTION In the story headlined “MMI’s 175 years of history” in the March 2018 issue, a quote in the final paragraph was misattributed due to an editing error. The quote, “Being here has meant everything to me,” should have been attributed to W.F. “Noopie” Cosby of Dallas County, a former MMI cadet who later served in the state Legislature.
MAY 2018 9
| News you can use | SOCIAL SECURITY
Facts you should know about enrolling in Medicare Parts A & B
nderstanding Medicare isn’t as difficult as you might think. It’s a benefit most working Americans can count on. Here are some facts you might not know about the program. Can I still get Medicare at 65? Yes, you’re still eligible for Medicare starting at 65, no matter what year you were born. If you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, you’re eligible for Part A (hospital insurance) at age 65 for free. Part A helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay. It also pays for some home health care and hospice care. You’re also eligible for Part B (medical insurance) if you choose to get it and pay a monthly premium. Part B helps pay for services from doctors and other health care
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventative services. If you are receiving Social Security benefits already, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65. Because you must pay a premium for Part B, you can choose to turn it down. However, if you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible for it, and choose to enroll later, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. If you’re not receiving Social Security benefits, you have a seven-month period (your Initial Enrollment Period) to sign up for Part B. Generally, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three months after your birth month. If you are covered under an employer group health plan, you may have a special enrollment period for Part B. If you are 65 or older and covered under a group health plan, either from your own or your spouse’s current employment, you may have a special enrollment period
during which you can sign up for Medicare Part B. This means that you may delay enrolling in Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and without paying the lifetime penalty for late enrollment. If you think a special enrollment period may apply to you, read our Medicare publication at www.socialsecurity.gov/ pubs/, and visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at Medicare.gov. To avoid a tax penalty, you should stop contributing to your Health Savings Account (HSA) at least six months before you apply for Medicare. You can withdraw money from your HSA after you enroll in Medicare to help pay for medical expenses like deductibles, premiums, coinsurance, or copayments. If you’d like to continue contributing to your HSA, you shouldn’t apply for Medicare or Social Security benefits. How much does Part B coverage cost? You are responsible for the Part B premium each month. Most people will pay the standard premium amount, which is $134 in 2018 if you sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible. This amount can change every year. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ benefits/medicare.
Vaccinations critically important for companion pets “Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective health investments in history.” — Seth Berkley, CEO of the Vaccine Alliance
any times when I go to work, there are one or two tiny puppies in the isolation room suffering from severe diarrhea and vomiting, looking miserable from the parvo virus. Some do not make it home. This does not need to happen! Timely vaccination could have prevented their sufferings. Your veterinarian is the best person to address your situation, but here are some guidelines. Proper protection should start with vaccinating the mother before she gets pregnant. A vaccinated mother will have an immunity that she transfers to her babies. In an ideal breeding situation, it is assumed that the puppies are protected for the first Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He works part time at Grant Animal Clinic and is a member of North Alabama Electric Cooperative.
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8 to 9 weeks of their life. However, we see an inordinate number of puppies whose mothers were not vaccinated and do not fall under the “ideal” category. That’s why many veterinarians will recommend starting the first distemper/parvo vaccine as early as 6 weeks of age. Vaccines should be given every 2-4 weeks until the puppies are 16 weeks old. For high-risk situations, the last vaccine can be given at 19 to 20 weeks of age. So, if you start at 7 weeks, the sequence will be 7, 10, 13 and 19 weeks. If you adopt an unvaccinated older dog, you will need to give the initial vaccine and one booster three weeks later. Now about rabies. Dog, cat and ferret owners are required by Alabama law to have their pet immunized for rabies when the animal reaches three months of age. The rabies vaccine must be given by a veterinarian, or a licensed vet tech in the presence of a veterinarian. Many communities hold annual low cost rabies vaccination clinics. I have seen rabies vaccines given in a town-sponsored event for as low as $5! Frequently I get asked if the vaccine from
the co-op is as good as ours. I don’t have an answer, as I have not come across a study comparing both. My recommendation is to go through your vet as they provide a lot more than just a “shot.” I feel the puppy/kitty visits are THE most important vet visits of all! This is the time where early health issues are discussed and lifelong health habits are established. However, if getting to a vet is impossible for you, I have to suggest that you get your vaccines from a place that stores and handles their vaccines properly. Last, but not least, here’s a little bit on cats. Cats also get a parvo-like disease called Feline Distemper or Panleukopenia. Vaccination should start as early as 6 weeks and be boosted every 3 weeks until they reach 16 weeks. Outdoor cats should also get Feline Leukemia vaccine. Now, for the folks who are little leery of “over vaccination.” The issue of what constitutes “over vaccination” and related health problems is a highly contentious issue and best kept aside for a consultation with your vet. www.alabamaliving.coop
| Alabama Snapshots |
Graduates Ian Adair, Tonya An derson and Kenray Anderson.SUBMITTED BY Ya’den Anderson, Mi llbrook.
Kynleigh Wood kindergarten graduation. SUBMITTED BY June Wood, Holly Pond.
2012. graduation High School y . le le Fo da k, er m oc Erin Br ock, Sum BY Brenda Br SUBMITTED
and Skyler Ieshia Miller First cousins ceville ting from Han Twitty, gradua Carol BY D TE IT SUBM High School. an. Twitty, Cullm
Ashley Hanks, Geneva County High School class of 2017. SUBMITTED BY Denise Hanks, Hartford.
Buddy’s pre-school graduation. SUBMITTED BY Kennith and Elaine McIntyre, Jackson.
Anna Nelson, mathematics education teacher. SUBMITTED BY Faye Nelson, Andalusia.
Submit Your Images! July Theme: “Family Reunions” Deadline for July: May 31
SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Alabama Living
MAY 2018 11
‘Like being insi Church is legacy of Greek community and its namesake By Emmett Burnett
albis Memorial Church is often discovered accidentally while driving somewhere else. Commanding Alabama Highway 181 in Daphne is a Greek cathedral-like fortress, flanked with brick stone towers, braced in Corinthian columns, centered under a domed roof. Somewhere else is now here. “Here,” is the centerpiece of the Malbis Plantation, cornerstone of Baldwin County’s small but industrious Greek community, and legacy of the community and church’s namesake, Jason Malbis. On a trip to Athens, shortly before his death, the Grecian forefather instructed followers to build his church in Malbis. And oh boy, did they. Formally the “Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of the Presentation of Theotoko,” the church has surprised and delighted visitors since day one with good reason. It is spiritual, reverent and eye popping. “First timers can’t believe what they are seeing,” notes Nafseka Malbis, caretaker, tour guide and descendant of founder Jason Malbis. “For me, there is no one favorite item. Everything is special.” The interior is detailed with hand-rendered frescos – paintings that adorn virtually every space. Art depicts the life of Christ chronicled from the Testaments. More than 150 paintings tell stories, including Christ before the High Priest, the Sermon on the Mount, Moses receiving the 10 Commandments, religious heroes and other Bible scenes.
Domed towers majestically flank the brick, limestone and marble cathedral-like Grecian worship center that is Daphne, Alabama’s Malbis Memorial Church. Located on Alabama Highway 181, the church was built on the request of area Grecian immigrant and leader Jason Malbis. It was dedicated Jan. 3, 1965.
Intricate cornice patterns adorn interior sanctuary columns. Detailed hand crafted architectural details in building design and art are displayed throughout the facility.
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ide a rainbow’ Photos by Mark Stephenson “It is like art comes to life and speaks to you,” adds George Kalasountas, frequent visitor and fan. “Many have told me upon leaving the sanctuary, they’ve never seen anything like it and they are correct.” Kalasountas, who came from Greece in 1956 and today is vice president of the Malbis Memorial Foundation, adds, “We have many Greek Orthodox Churches, but this is the cream of the crop. It is simply beautiful.” The fresco murals took three master artists flown in from Greece nine months to complete. The rotunda features a portrait of God, the Almighty surrounded by 12 murals of disciples and religious leaders. Artist Spyros Tzouvaras hand painted the portraits from scaffolding 75 feet above the floor. He lay on his back, applying paint and brush strokes to the ceiling, rendering the images. It took him three months. Hand carved figures were brought from Greece and assembled in the church. The bishop’s throne, pulpit and other features are carved in white marble extracted from the same Grecian mines that supplied the Parthenon millenniums earlier. On the outside above massive oak doors are mosaics created with thousands of tiles about one-inch square. Above the middle door is a portrait of Jesus. Above him are images of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; all are a composite of mosaic tiles. Each tiny piece was prepared in Italy, shipped to Malbis, and installed on site. Outside, the left tower contains a bell system: 49 bell tone generators that at full volume can be heard six miles away. It is a call to worship, a reminder of Grecian heritage, and the legacy of
Writer Emmett Burnett is given a tour of the Malbis Memorial Church by George Kalasountas, Vice President of the Malbis Memorial Foundation. The sanctuary features art work of tiled mosaics, hand painted murals, and sculpture covering all areas of the interior walls and ceiling. Alabama Living
MAY 2018 13
an immigrant who dreamed of a new world in Baldwin County. Jason Malbis was born Antonios Markopoulos in Doumena, Greece. But in his 40s, he moved to America for a new life. Joined by friend William Papageorge, the two searched Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi before buying 120 acres in Baldwin County for $5 an acre. Others followed and more land was added to become The Malbis Plantation, established in 1906. “We had a bakery, power plant, bank, timber company, hotel, and farms,” Kalasountas recalls. “It was a self-sufficient. We all had jobs to do. We all had a place in the community.” But they did not have a church – yet.
Church was dedicated on Jan. 3, 1965. If you were Greek you were there. And on that day everybody was Greek. “People came from everywhere,” Kalasountas says. “The line to get in went around the building and people were in tears upon leaving.” A New York Times October 1965 review noted, “The church is unique in the United States. A visitor’s first reaction upon entering the building is one of awe. It is like being inside a rainbow.” Amazingly, this grand cathedral is financed mainly by love and donations. The Malbis church has never held a formal congregation but conducts regularly scheduled worship services. The building is also open to the public from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon‘It is my desire that you day-Saturday. build a church’ Through the years, concerns were raised In the early 1940s Jason Malbis visited about next door Daphne – Baldwin CounAthens, Greece, but could not return due to ty’s largest city – continuing to expand, and World War II disruptions. He became sick Rising 75 feet above the church floor, the possibly encroaching on Malbis. “I think and died in Athens, July 22, 1942, but not dome interior of the church features the we are OK,” Kalasountas says. “Daphne is a before sending a letter to beloved Grecians Pantocrator – A fresco of the Almighty good place, but we are doing just fine here in of Baldwin County: “It is my desire that you and depictions of disciples, prophets and Malbis, too.” evangelists. The paintings were hand build a church.” Though Jason Malbis never saw the church rendered to the ceiling by Grecian artists By 1960, the Greek settlement of about 60 on scaffolding. that bears his name, his remains are interred – mostly farmers, tradesmen and working in a crypt inside. people – spearheaded a fundraising drive of $1 million. Adjusted But you can feel his spirit saying, “Build my church.” Outside, for inflation, that is more than $7 million today. adjacent to the church, 100 Grecian graves answer, “Mission acGroundbreaking was held in 1960, and Malbis Memorial complished.” The sanctuary, as seen from the balcony. The white marble of the Iconostasis at the front is made from hand-carved marble from the same Grecian quarries that supplied the ancient Parthenon.
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MAY 2018â€ƒ 15
Hospitals key to quality rural health care While rural hospitals face numerous financial challenges, hope is not lost. Many areas in Alabama are finding partnerships and tax revenue to maintain their level of health care By M.J. Ellington
hen people in rural Randolph County faced the prospect of life without a nearby hospital or else raising taxes, voters in Roanoke, Wedowee and surrounding areas approved a 1 percent sales tax increase in 2015. Two years later, people in the small East Alabama county celebrated the opening of shiny new Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama. Tanner Medical Services, a Georgia not-for-profit hospital management company, operates the facility. Randolph’s vote came following the 2011 closing of Randolph County Hospital in Roanoke and the pending loss of nearby Wedowee Hospital, both due to financial problems and aging structures. The county is hardly alone with its hospital financial challenges. Part of the reason rural Alabama hospitals face such challenges is because the state has not expanded Medicaid, said Dr. Marsha Raulerson, a semi-retired Brewton pediatrician and past president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “People think Medicaid is a welfare program; it is so much more,” she says. “If people just knew, it affects all of us.” Now 76, Raulerson said at age 39, she came “kicking and screaming” to Brewton with her nephrologist husband who was recruited out of the University of Florida to open the first dialysis
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Photos by Allison Law program between Mobile and Dothan. She had planned to spend the rest of her life teaching at the University of Florida’s medical school, but once she got used to life in a town of 5,400 people, she realized it provides a good quality of life and a great place for children to grow up. Having access to good health care nearby is an important factor, but Raulerson said this year, she is concerned. “For the first time, our hospital is in the red,” Raulerson says. “There are so many people who are uninsured, who cannot pay. Insurance and Medicare have lower payments to rural hospitals. Expanded Medicaid would help with this.”
A ‘trifecta of challenges’
Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama Hospital Association executive director and former state health officer, said rural hospitals face a “trifecta of challenges” as they seek to shore up financially ailing hospitals. Those challenges include: • Alabama’s decision not to expand Medicaid left a large number of people without health coverage to pay for needed care. • Federal Medicare and payments to health providers are lower for small hospitals than the biggest hospitals, based on a federal formula that mandates larger reimbursements for the www.alabamaliving.coop
The gleaming new Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama in Wedowee, 14 miles up the road from Roanoke, opened in November. Tanner Health System of Carrollton, Ga., was managing the old Wedowee Hospital and was willing to provide funds for equipping a new hospital, if county residents could provide construction funding. Eighty-six percent of the voters in Randolph County approved a tax to build a new hospital.
largest hospitals. The federal wage index that helps determine how much health providers get paid in every state lists Alabama at the bottom. • Alabama is the only state in the country that does not pay any of the state’s matching share required to bring in federal revenue for Medicaid programs. Of every dollar spent on the program, the federal government pays 70 cents while Alabama’s share to bring in the federal funds is 30 cents. But unlike other states, Alabama’s share comes from a voluntary tax hospitals pay to tap the federal revenue. Hospital Association figures show that 86 percent of rural hospitals are operating in the red as compared to 69 percent of all hospitals having a negative operating margin, says Rosemary Blackmon, vice president of communications. Hospitals with other sources of revenue, such as taxes or other services, may be able to shore up the bottom line. “Right now, when a rural hospital is in trouble, a county tries to rally by raising taxes,” Williamson says. “What if that money went to Medicaid? We could bring in 10 times as much federal revenue. It probably would have been cheaper.” But rural counties like Randolph have done a remarkable job working to save rural hospitals, Williamson says. In recent years, Alabama Living
several other small Alabama cities faced with losing their local hospital found partnerships and tax revenue to help pay for new facilities. The impact of hospitals on the life of rural communities helps cities and counties keep them viable. Blackmon said the annual payroll of rural hospitals is $552 million, and 44 percent of total employment in rural counties can be attributed to health care. Pell City in St. Clair County and Clanton in Chilton County established partnerships with St. Vincent’s Health Care to open new, smaller hospitals in their towns. Williamson said Haleyville in Winston County wants a local tax to help with operating costs at Lakeland Community Hospital. Three other rural hospitals – John Paul Jones Hospital in Camden, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis and J.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital in Greenville – became part of the UAB Health System in February. UAB’s financial and managerial expertise, hospital compliance training and clinical resources are part of the package. In March, the state Legislature approved a bill to create a resource center housed at UAB to provide support for nonprofit, rural, public hospitals in the state that are facing economic pressures. It would assist these hospitals in areas including purchasing MAY 2018 17
and supply chain, strategic planning, insurance and cost reporting, coding, recruitment and compliance. While the bill passed, it has not been funded. The UAB Health System will work to determine interim funding prior to the 2019 legislative session to start providing support to eligible hospitals. Hospitals that can backfill with taxes or other sources of revenue have more ways to supplement the income they get through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement.
the Alabama Rural Health Association. Quinney says when the healthcare delivery system begins to fail, particularly if the future of the local hospital is uncertain, it’s time to get creative with solutions. “Without a hospital, the economic base fails,” he says. He wants a greater role for allied health professionals, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, and telehealth that enables doctors at remote locations to visit patients in rural areas using computer and The emergency department at Wedowee Hospital closed in November with the electronic devices. He’d like opening of the new Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama. to see more hospitals have Rural areas need new ideas a small number of inpatient beds and the ability to have alternate In rural areas, the population tends to be older, poorer and less ways to generate operating revenue. likely to have insurance to pay for hospital and other health care Quinney is excited about the possibilities of “telehealth carts” costs. One wrinkle in the uninsured population is that Medicare, that help patients in rural areas consult with doctors in other cities Medicaid and private health insurance companies negotiate the using electronic and computer technology. rates they will pay for a patient’s care. People without insurance Michael Smith directs the telehealth cart program at the Alacoverage pay the highest rate because there is no company that is bama Department of Public Health. Smith said the department negotiating rates on their behalf. As a result, uninsured people in expects to have telehealth cart programs available at 60 county rural areas may not seek medical care until a problem is harder to health department offices around the state this year. deal with, and when they do, the cost for their care may be higher M.J. Ellington is a Montgomery freelance journalist whose longthan what people with insurance pay. time health and state government reporting and editing career inReady access to good health care becomes everyone’s problem cluded the Montgomery Advertiser, The Decatur Daily, Florence when the local hospital and healthcare delivery system are at risk, Times-Daily and The Anniston Star. Contact her at ellingtonmj15@ a point at which rural communities should approach the issue gmail.com. with new ideas, says Dale Quinney, longtime executive director of The Randolph County Hospital in Roanoke closed in 2011, due to financial problems and an aging facility.
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Medal of Honor winner saved by a tiger By Miriam Davis
he tiger saved us,” In 1965, then-Sergeant First says Command Sgt. Class Adkins was sent to the Maj. Bennie Adkins A Shau valley to advise South (U.S. Army, Retired) matVietnamese forces and to imter-of-factly. “The North Vietpede infiltration of the North namese soldiers were more Vietnamese into the south. afraid of it than they were of The valley, which runs along us.” Vietnam’s border with CamAdkins, 84, is speaking of bodia and Laos, became part the aftermath of the Battle of of the trail along which the A Shau when, in 1966, he and North Vietnamese brought other survivors evaded the enprovisions and troops down emy after a team of 17 Amerinto the south and as such was, ican Special Forces and about as Adkins describes it in his 400 of their South Vietnamese book, “a hotbed of activity.” “I can tell you that none of allies were attacked and overus were happy to be in that run by a North Vietnamese camp,” Adkins says in A Tiger division of 16,000 troops. In Among Us. Sitting in that val2014, President Barack Obama ley, “about thirty miles from awarded Adkins the Medal of another friendly camp …. [w]e Honor for his actions during were like fish in a barrel.” that battle. Adkins and co-author (and Alabama Living Risking his life gardening columnist) Katie Opelika native and retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins received the nation’s highest military award in 2014. PHOTO BY JOHN OLIVER Adkins’ team had been Jackson tell his story in their warned that an attack was imminent, and the Battle of A Shau forthcoming book, A Tiger Among Us. began about 4 a.m. on March 9, 1966, with a deafening North “I was just doing my job,” insists Adkins. “It was my training. Vietnamese artillery and mortar barrage. Adkins ran to take his … When you’re picked out to be one of the elite, you try to live position in a mortar pit from which he and his crew fired illumiup to that.” nation and high-explosive rounds. Adkins’ job was as a Special Forces intelligence sergeant. After Wounded 18 times, Adkins repeatedly risked his life during the being drafted into the Army in 1956, he found being a clerk-typist battle. He was blown out of his mortar pit three times by direct hits “not for me.” Special Forces was a challenge both physically and from enemy mortars and lost several entire mortar crews. But he mentally. But, says Adkins, “I had too much pride to quit.”
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COLLECTION OF VICTOR UNDERWOOD
Adkins is congratulated by Lt. Col. Kenneth Bradford Facey, the C Team commander during the Battle of A Shau. COLLECTION OF BENNIE ADKINS
After his first tour in Vietnam in 1963, Adkins returned to his home base in Fort Bragg, N.C., where he was awarded his first Purple Heart. COLLECTION OF BENNIE ADKINS
Adkins and Mary Arington were married April 7, 1956, in her family’s living room near Opelika.
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continued manning his position until speaks all over the county trying to inthe mortar pit was finally destroyed spire in people a love of country and by RPGs (rocket propelled grenades). the desire to be a good citizen. Disregarding enemy mortar and snip“And an appreciation of the milier fire, Adkins also rescued American tary,” adds Adkins’ co-author Katie and Vietnamese wounded and transJackson. She points out that less than ported them to safety, and then – again 1% of the population has served in the under direct fire – loaded them onto military and that “the general populaevacuation helicopters. When a load tion doesn’t understand the military.” Adkins and Jackson, an adjunct inof desperately needed supplies was instructor in Auburn’s School of Comadvertently dropped into a mine field, munication and Journalism, worked Adkins rushed into the mine field to Though Adkins was nominated for the Medal of Honor on the book for three years. This inretrieve it. shortly after the battle, he didn’t receive it until nearly volved tracking down and interviewAfter 38 hours of intense fighting – 50 years later. COLLECTION OF BENNIE ADKINS ing the five other survivors of the bathungry, thirsty, and exhausted – the tle. “All of them have a deep admiration and respect for Bennie,” Americans were ordered to evacuate. In the chaos of the withsays Jackson. “Even years later, they all say he’s amazing. … He was drawal, Adkins went back to rescue a badly wounded comrade. the one who really did things that were superhuman.” When they returned to the evacuation point, the helicopters had Any money made from A Tiger Among Us will go to the Benalready gone. nie Adkins Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides Which is where the tiger came in. Adkins and a small group of survivors had no choice but to scholarships for Special Forces enlisted personnel transitioning evade the North Vietnamese in the dense jungle until they could from the service. “One of the reasons this is so important to be rescued. On their second Bennie,” says Jackson, “is night, Adkins and his men because he knows what it’s could hear enemy soldiers like to move from the milsearching for them. They itary to the civilian world, also heard another sound and it’s not easy.” – something big rustling Last year the foundation in the undergrowth nearby. awarded the first scholarThen Adkins heard a low ships; 25 will be awarded this year. growl and saw eyes glowing All of this was made posin the dark – a tiger, drawn sible by the 400-pound Inby the smell of blood coverdochinese tiger that saved ing the wounded survivors. Bennie Adkins all those The war had given tigers a years ago. taste for humans. The North Vietnamese “That tiger was my heard the tiger, too, for friend,” chuckles Adkins. they hastily pulled back, alLeft, the cover of “A Tiger lowing Adkins and the othAmong Us,” published by Da er survivors to slip away. Capo Press this month and They were picked up by heavailable at DaCapoPress. licopter the next day. com. Below, Katie Lamar Shortly after the battle, Jackson, who co-authored the book. Adkins was nominated PHOTO BY CRYSTAL JACKSON for the Medal of Honor. Nothing happened at the time. But in 2014, Adkins received a phone call from President Obama informing him that he was to be awarded the nation’s highest military honor. “Super humbling,” is how Adkins describes it. “I’m very humbled to be one of the few living soldiers to wear this medal.” He now 24 MAY 2018
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Ivey signs Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act
The act creates a grant program to be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Individual grants may be awarded for up to 20 percent of the project costs to telecommunications companies, cable companies and electric cooperatives. Alabama will be further helped by a pilot program, grants and loans from the federal government. Congress, through an effort led by Congressman Robert Aderholt, included in the omnibus spending bill a $600 million pilot program that will enable applicants to finance a project by combining loans and grants to provide broadband to eligible rural and tribal areas. Ivey’s office estimates that more than 842,000 Alabamians are without access to a wired connection capable of 25 megabits per second download speeds. One million have access to only a single wired provider, and another 276,000 don’t have any wired internet providers available where they live.
PHOTOS BY DANNY WESTON
igh-speed internet is no longer just a luxury for our rural areas. It is a necessity to help rural residents conduct business, to expand education opportunities, to create avenues for remote health care and to spur economic development. During this legislative session, the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), which publishes Alabama Living magazine, and its member cooperatives championed the bill known as SB149, or the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act. The legislation will encourage private investment in broadband infrastructure in unserved rural areas. In late March, Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law. “This common sense legislation will help us attract new broadband to areas that need it most, especially in rural Alabama,” Ivey said. The bill, which is just a first step in a long process to bring internet to rural areas, was sponsored by Sen. Clay Scofield and Rep. Donnie Chesteen.
Electric cooperatives hear updates at 2018 Annual Meeting Gov. Kay Ivey was the opening speaker for the 71st Annual Meeting of the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives in April. Ivey spoke to delegates from Alabama’s 22 electric cooperatives about the progress her administration has made since she was sworn into office a year ago, and laid out her platform for the next four years if she is elected. Allison Flowers, right, of Prattville, and Alabama’s representative to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Leadership Council, spoke to the delegates about her YLC experience and thanked them for their support. She is a member of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, and was given a $250 check from Regions Bank to further her education. Delegates heard updates from the heads of several state associations and agencies, including information on the court system, the 2020 Census, upcoming elections, tax reform and issues affecting farmers and agriculture. 26 MAY 2018
Letters to the editor
E-mail us at: email@example.com or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
My principal, my teacher
(Ed. note: In response to the “My favorite teacher” article in February’s magazine, we received this letter.) I was born in Marshall County in 1928 and grew up going to public school there. Things were a lot different then. During the 1930s, Horton Elementary School was a four-room school with two grades in two of the rooms. Us girls liked to play church during recess. When outside recess was over, the teachers would ring a bell. Since the last one in line was called a cow tail, everyone hurried to get line. Problem solved! My favorite teacher was Mr. Teal. He was the principal at Horton and my sixthgrade teacher. When I finished sixth grade, Mr. Teal also obtained permission to teach the seventh grade to several of us that summer. A few others and I were promoted to the eighth grade, completing 7 grades in 5 years all because of Mr. Teal. That fall we went to Douglas High School. Mr. Teal was an exceptional person. Not only was he intelligent, he was a father-figure who treated us as if we were his own children, teaching us about real life and how to behave. Whenever there was a funeral at a nearby church, if we wished to go, he would excuse us from class. Usually we all went to escape being under a teacher’s watchful eye. During the summer of my seventh-grade year, a few friends and I pulled off our shoes and hid them in the pot-bellied stove at school. When Mr. Teal saw us barefoot, he got a switch after us. We ran down to the outhouse where we knew he would not follow us. When he was out of sight, we slipped back into the school and grabbed our shoes. It was a fun game to us. Audrey Royer, Trinity
Another Alabama song
I was amazed Emmett Burnett failed to mention the Ft. Payne group “ALABAMA” in the article (“Songs About Alabama,” April 2018). One of their best songs was “My Home’s in Alabama.” Certainly up there with “Sweet Home Alabama” by that group from Florida. Thanks. Jim Appleton, Mentone Ed. note: We agree. However, our writer reached out several times to the group’s headquarters but was unable to make contact. You might want to revisit the article we did on lead singer Randy Owen in April 2016 (available at alabamaliving.coop). www.alabamaliving.coop
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May | Around Alabama
Andalusia, Indigo Snake and Wildlife Fest, a celebration of North America’s largest nonvenomous snake. Learn more about the threatened Eastern indigo snake, the local longleaf pine ecosystem, and gopher tortoises. 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. Traci Wood, Traci. Wood@dcnr.alabama.gov, 334-353-0503. Conecuh National Forest, Tower Road.
Photo courtesy of Michael Cornelison.
Foley, Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Foley Soccer Complex. Entertainment, arts and crafts displays and children’s activities, balloon flights, glows and tethered rides (weather permitting) at dawn and dusk. Festival grounds open to the public 2 to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. 10K and 5K runs at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Gulfcoastballoonfestival.com
Brewton, Gospel Singing at Brewton Municipal Stadium, 1835 Douglas Ave. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy an evening of Southern Gospel music. Featuring Chris Golden, The Talleys, The Alabama Spirituals, The Booth Brothers, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs. Gates open at 4 p.m. $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. 251-867-3224
Cullman, Strawberry Festival, 211 2nd Ave. NE. Live entertainment, over 100 arts and crafts vendors, kids activities and rides and vintage car show. Fresh strawberries and various strawberry treats avaliable. 256734-9157, cullmanrecreation.org
Union Springs, The Bullock County Historical Society presents the 39th Annual Chunnenuggee Fair. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., downtown Union Springs. Features a juried fine arts and crafts show, entertainment, food court, plants and games and rides for kids. Free. 334-738-4060
Valley, 42nd Annual Hike/Bike/Run. Registration begins at 7 a.m. EDT, event begins at 8 a.m. EDT. Events include 1 or 5-mile hike, 10 or 20-mile bike ride, and 1-mile fun run, 5K or 10K run. Prizes and t-shirts for participants. For more information, contact Craig Brown at Valley Haven School, 334-756-7801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montevallo, National Day of Prayer Breakfast at The American Village. 8 to 10 a.m. Doors open and buffet line starts at 8 a.m., program begins at 8:30. This year’s speaker will be James Spann, chief meteorologist for Birmingham’s ABC 33/40. Tickets are $20. To make a reservation, email email@example.com or call (205) 665-3535 x 1045.
Theodore, National Public Gardens Day at Bellingrath Gardens. Get
Featuring more than 60 hot air balloons from around the United States, the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Fest will be May 26-27 in Decatur.
to know the Gardens with a special behindthe-scenes tour conducted by the Horticultural Management Team. Tour begins at 10:30 a.m. and is included in Gardens admission. Free for members, $13 adults, $7.50 children ages 5-12. For more information about Bellingrath, visit bellingrath.org. For more information about National Public Gardens Day, visit nationalpublicgardensday.org.
Prattville, Prattville CityFest in the Daniel Pratt Historic District. 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Arts and crafts festival with food, entertainment and children’s activities. Free concert on Friday evening. Admission $2; $1 for military; children 5 and under free. 334-365-7392.
Frisco City, Annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale. 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. to Noon Saturday at the Gazebo in Jones Park, Highway 21. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the Jones House. 251-714-0513
Montgomery, 21st Annual Herb Day. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., ‘Living Block’ at Old Alabama Town, 301 Columbus Street. Free, public educational event for the family, including lectures/demonstrations featuring experts on identifying, growing, and using herbs. Music, children’s activities and shopping in the open-air market. A variety of vendors will sell garden-related wares, including a huge selection of herbs and other plants, crafts, herbal teas, goat cheeses and yard art. Oathsblog.com
Russellville, Pioneer Day. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Sloss Lake, Highway 24 East. Living history demonstrations on how people lived, worked and played 200 years ago. Features information on historical figures, Native Americans, War of 1812 soldiers, Civil War camps, and period dancers. Food and artisan products for sale. Free. 256-332-8827
Robertsdale, Baldwin County Boss Babes present the 2018 Spring Fling at the Baldwin County Coliseum, 19477 Fairground Road. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendor and craft show with more than 100 vendors displaying various products such as boutique clothing, handmade jewelry, art, home décor and more. For more information, search Baldwin County Boss Babes on Facebook.
Arab, 34th Annual Poke Salat Festival. Features 90 vendors, hand-crafted items, entertainment, play area, on-site artisan demonstrations, pet parade, food court, and corn hole tournament. The Bluegrass Band competition, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, is Saturday with cash prizes for the top bands. 50 North Main Street. PokeSalatFestival.com
Arley, 45th annual Arley Day Festival and Car show, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Features arts and crafts, food vendors, entertainment, games, rides, pancake breakfast, 5K run and car show. Free. Hamner Park, Helicon Road/Highway 77. Arleywomensclub.org
West Blocton, Cahaba Lily Festival, registration begins at 8 a.m. Program in the morning with indoor pre-
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.
sentations by nature/wildflower groups. Field trips to view the lilies begin after lunch, with storytelling and musical entertainment at 3 p.m. CahabaLily.com
Coffeeville, Coffeeville Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Town Hall, Highway 69. BBQ competition, volleyball, bingo, vendors, free games and activities for children and raffle for a Yeti cooler. Proceeds benefits Project Head Start. beyerlavergne@ gmail.com or 251-769-7633.
Decatur, Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival, Point Mallard Park. Hot air balloon races and tethered rides, vendors, entertainment, tractor show, car show, arts and crafts and fireworks on Saturday evening. Free admission and parking. Alabamajubilee.net
Lake Martin, Art on the Lake at Children’s Harbor. Original art, including canvas, jewelry, pottery and sculpture available for purchase. Portion of the sales benefits Children’s Harbor. childrensharbor.com
Millbrook, Hydrangea Fest. 8 a.m.-12 noon. Discover the unique and natural history of hydrangeas at Lanark’s Hydrangea Fest. Maria Pacheco-West, Lanark grounds specialist, will present a Hydrangea Talk at 10 a.m. followed by a tour of the heirloom garden and hydrangeas around the pond. There will also be a plant sale benefiting the gardens at the Alabama Wildlife Federation. alabamawildlife.org
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A healing place Storybook Farm provides healing for children with physical and emotional challenges
An aerial view of Storybook Farm near Opelika, which recently added 26 acres of pine timber forest. The new acreage will allow the farm to expand its programming to include more time with the horses and additional agricultural outlets. PHOTO COURTESY STORYBOOK FARM
By Lindsay Miles Penny
t all began while folding laundry. Storybook Farm Director Dena Little was completing household chores while thumbing through Practical Horseman when she came across a story about a horse therapy farm in Virginia. Little, who grew up caring for and competing on horses, had taken a hiatus from farm life as she ran a bakery in Atlanta and cared for her two small children. It was 2002, and she had just sold her bakery and moved her young family to a small farm in Auburn. She yearned to get back to her roots and share her love of horses with her children. That’s when the article struck a chord. Little immediately got in contact with the owner of the horse therapy farm in Virginia. Soon after, she gained certification for her farm to provide equine-assisted therapy for children needing support, and Storybook Farm was born. “I really had no idea the impact that Storybook would have, or its longevity, and I didn’t realize the need for programming like this,” Little says. “When Storybook opened, we quickly had a waitlist. I felt the Lord was leading me down this path to utilize my background with horses and to translate that to helping families that are facing crises and uncertain futures. Getting to walk alongside these families has become my distinct honor.” Children from age 2 to young adulthood who face obsta-
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cles such as autism, cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, sensory integration issues and bereavement situations come to Storybook Farm for horseback riding and weekly lesson plans, including games and activities. They learn how to care for animals and develop social skills by interacting with farm volunteers. Horseback riding also provides physical benefits such as improvements to balance, motor skills, muscle strength and coordination.
An English literature major in college, Little wanted to create a whimsical, real-life fairytale for every child. Willy Wonka, Mrs. Potts, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are just a few of the horses to come through the farm. Driving up to the farm and looking out over the lush, rolling acres immediately transports anyone into a storybook. “We started with three children, and will have about 1,500 this year alone,” Little says. “We don’t turn anyone away. We always make it work. One of the greatest compliments a family has ever given me is a parent saying, ‘I feel like our child is the only one who rides at Storybook.’ That’s what I want it to be. I wanted it to be so personal and special for everyone who comes to the farm. Many of the children we see and serve at Storybook have ambulatory issues, and they’ve never had that mobility and that freedom to just be one of the
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Top to bottom: 1 and 2, More than 250 Auburn University students a week volunteer at Storybook Farm — greeting children and families, securing riding helmets, leading and walking alongside riders, exploring and learning in the Secret Garden, helping with lesson plans, cleaning stables, repairing fences and other chores. 3: The Secret Garden allows children to learn about nutrition and caring for plants. 4: A young rider makes a new friend at Storybook Farm. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY STORYBOOK FARM
kids. To be one of the kids and not be set apart by the condition that brought you to Storybook is so important to me.” Not only are the children and families impacted by Storybook Farm, but the effect the farm has on volunteers is evident. With more than 300 volunteers each week from Auburn University and the community, the people at the farm are committed to carrying out the farm’s mission. “I started out as a volunteer not really knowing anything about children with disabilities or horses,” says Andrew Skinner, executive communications director. “I’d originally started coming out to the farm with a friend. At the time, I wasn’t doing much with my life. I remember painting a fence, and looking around seeing all the kids riding horses and smiling, and looking back at that now, I realize it was what I needed in my life at the time and that it was a little pat from God.” Skinner quickly became part of the Storybook Farm staff, and hopes to instill an attitude of service with current and future volunteers. “Our goal is to give these kids a chance to just be a kid,” said Skinner. Families are referred to the farm by counselors, pediatricians and therapists, and most commonly, by word of mouth from other families.
Gardens as therapy
A newer addition to Storybook Farm is the Secret Garden. Located in the middle of the farm, the garden provides a wealth of activities to help farm goers improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills and socialization. The horticultural programming the Secret Garden provides allows those with physical limitations an opportunity to strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance and endurance. The garden also teaches children about nutrition, caring for plants and the importance of a healthy diet. Partnerships with Auburn University and Mobile Studio, a company that specializes in creating outdoor spaces, allowed the garden to be created with maximum accessibility in mind. The bounty harvested from the garden is given back to the community and shared with food insecure families. The services provided at Storybook Farm, which is served by Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative, are free to families, thanks to funding through corporate sponsors, grants and fundraisers. “Our biggest fundraiser is our Kentucky Derby Dinner and Auction,” Little says. “It’s grown from less than 100 people to hopefully over 500 people this year. People come dressed in their Kentucky Derby best, eat and enjoy a really fun event.” The Kentucky Derby Dinner and Auction will be May 5. Tickets are available at hopeonhorseback.org/events/derby. For more information on Storybook Farm’s services or volunteer opportunities, call 334-444-5966 or info@HopeOnHorseback.org or visit hopeonhorseback.org.
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| Alabama People |
Already a fishing legend at 23 In 2015, 23-year-old Jordan Lee of Grant became the youngest competitor on the top-tier Bass Angler Sportsman Society Elite Series. So far, he’s only fished four Bassmaster Classics, the world championship of professional fishing, but has already won two of them. In 2017, he became one of the youngest champions at 25 when he won his first Classic. In March 2018, he became only the third man in history to win back-toback Classics in the 48-year history of the event with his victory at Lake Hartwell, S.C. – John Felsher How does it feel to join the ranks of legendary bass anglers like Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam to win back-to-back Bassmaster Classics at such a young age? In my wildest dreams, I never thought I was going to win the 2018 Classic. It really is overwhelming. I’ve never won a Bassmaster Open event. I’ve never won an Elite Series event. I guess there’s just something about this tournament for me. I didn’t have a game plan for Hartwell. I didn’t have one magical spot. I knew that with the warm weather, docks were going to be a player. I saw tons of big bass suspending under every dock. It was just amazing to see that. How did you first get interested in fishing? I got interested in fishing through friends at small lakes and ponds. At the age of 10 was the most memorable. That’s when I caught the fishing bug, when I started fishing my grandfather’s pond in my hometown of Cullman. I remember that day vividly as I was pulling out 4- and 5-pound bass with my first rod and reel. I knew at that moment that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. Years later, my parents saw a growing passion and bought me an aluminum boat to fish local tournaments on Lake Catoma. Fast forward 10 years and my dreams began unfolding one tournament at a time. Fishing on the Auburn University Team was a life-changing, growing experience that opened the doors to my future in fishing.
34 MAY 2018
As a young competitor fishing against some former champions and other legendary anglers, how do you prepare yourself to compete against all those other great, experienced anglers? It’s just me against the fish. I don’t worry about other anglers and their experience versus mine. How did winning your first Classic in 2017 at such a young age change your life in the months that followed? The amount of exposure has changed. With that the workload and travel has increased. I also feel like I am well known wherever I go now. Did you personally change in any way after winning a Classic? No. I stay levelheaded throughout the ups and downs. Stay humble, always. What was the strangest or most unexpected thing to happen to you as a result of your winning the Classic? I’m amazed by the amount of people who know who I am. I’ve had people from Germany who are big fans waiting for me at the boat ramp one day after I finished fishing. After winning two Classics back to back, what’s next on your life goals or bucket list? I want to win the Angler of the Year title. I also want to win an Elite Series tournament and enjoy spending time with my wifeto-be and our dogs. What advice would you give to young anglers now looking at you and your success who would like to become professional bass anglers and perhaps compete in a Bassmaster Classic in coming years? Just focus on fishing. The sponsors will come. Stay in school! College programs are a great way to work your way up and help your skill level increase.
Photo by Chris Brown
How did you get started in professional fishing and work your way up to competing in the biggest event in the sport? I started fishing local tournaments throughout high school. Then I began fishing for the Auburn University bass fishing team. I qualified for my first Bassmaster Classic through the Carhartt College Program. After college, I fished the Bassmaster Opens for one season and then qualified for the Elite Series.
You and your older brother, Matt Jordan, compete directly against each other on the tournament trail. What’s the competition like between yourself and your brother? I get this question a lot, There are 108 more anglers, so the competition is equal among all of us. It’s not just me against him.
Besides fishing, what other things do you like to do? I enjoy playing golf, traveling and watching professional basketball and college football. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Worth the drive |
Stacy’s is the place for fresh cooked fare Demopolis eatery draws locals as well as visitors
Stacy’s Café is in historic downtown Demopolis.
Story and photos by Emmett Burnett
n a park across the street from Stacy’s Café, a stone marker notes the 1919 chicken auction that funded construction of nearby Rooster Bridge. Coincidentally, today’s special at Stacy’s is fried chicken. It, too, is monumental. The entire menu is. Occupying the ground floor of 123 W. Washington St. in Demopolis, Stacy’s Cafe seats about 115 and does so often. “I loved this place from the first visit,” says frequent fan and Marengo County attorney Abisola A. Samuel, recalling her first encounter. “On a friend’s recommendation, I visited, ordered something with rice and gravy, and was amazed. It tasted just like home cooking. I remember saying ‘wow, who is this lady?’” This lady is Faunsdale, Alabama’s Stacy Averette Pearson, wife, mother, U.S. Air Force veteran, and owner of the namesake café with a Demopolis and ever-expanding statewide following. Many restaurateurs start out dreaming of being in the food service field. Stacy did not. Stacy Averette Pearson spent time in the U.S. Air Force, “My experience was basically work- but has found her calling as an Alabama restaurateur. ing in fast food places during college and later as a waitress at the Faunsdale In 1991, Stacy returned home. As a Bar and Grill,” she recalls, while checking waitress at the Faunsdale Bar and Grill, menus for today’s customers. “My intenshe learned a lesson in projecting the daitions were to attend college and study scily business of running a restaurant: “You ence.” can’t,” she says. “The only one thing in the After graduating from Demopolis High restaurant business you can predict every School in 1984, the future restaurateur day is every day is unpredictable.” enrolled in Livingston University. But she Recognizing her culinary talents, family left college in 1987 to join the Air Force members encouraged Stacy to take a bold and served a three-and-a-half year hitch, step, which sent life in a new direction. working as a computer programmer. In March 1999, the waitress bought the diner-bar that employed her, changing the Stacy’s Café name to Faunsdale Café. She still owns it, 123 W. Washington St. Demopolis, AL 36732 14 miles from Demopolis. But she sought 334-654-5120 more, wanting to venture into catering Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m from a larger restaurant. She wanted DeDemopolis Sunday–Friday mopolis. Menu updates are available on the restaurant’s Facebook page - or by On Sept. 26, 2017, she took a new culiasking anyone in Demopolis. nary plunge, opening Stacy’s Café. “I knew 36 MAY 2018
the town would support me because many from Demopolis visited our Faunsdale location,” she recalls. “But many were apprehensive about it being off Demopolis’s main highway. We are in downtown. If you want to eat here you have to find us.” Not a problem. “If I am in Demopolis I am at Stacy’s,” says attorney Samuel. “The food here is the best, bar none. Not sure I can pick a favorite dish, but one would be the grilled chicken Greek salad.” In addition to the previously referenced monumental chicken, entree options include steaks (ribeye and hamburger), catfish plates, oyster platters, po’ boys, seafood gumbo, and red beans and rice. Side dishes of greens, mashed potatoes, okra, fried green tomatoes, and vegetables accentuate the menu. And may we have a serious discussion about cornbread? Stacy’s cornbread comes in varieties – regular, Mexican, and a new entry chocked with crawfish. You heard me, crawfish. “Her crawfish cornbread and crawfish bisque are delicious,” smiles husband Eddie Pearson, offering a testimonial about his wife’s latest project, a crustacean creation. He adds, “Everybody loves it.” Which is good because there is much to love. Cornbread is served slab size. Such innovations are sparked by original thought. New dishes are the result of experimentation. “I come up with an idea, then do research, cook it at home, and serve to my family,” Stacy says. “After tweaking and re-testing, it may premiere at the restaurant.” She credits success to a simple concept: “Everything we serve is homemade, hand prepared, and cooked fresh.” It takes work. Though open for lunch at 11, staff arrives by 8:30. There is no time to dilly-dally. “Demopolis is a 12 o’clock eating town,” Stacy says. “We don’t have one particularly busy day.” But when church lets out on Sunday, as the old saying goes, Katie bar www.alabamaliving.coop
the door. But typically every day is brisk and preparation starts early. “Our salads are from hand cut leaf lettuce, not bagged,” Stacy says. “Burger patties are hand-patted and fries hand carved. Catfish is locally raised.” Gravy on mashed potatoes or rice has never seen a can nor spent the night in a package. The menu changes daily with specials. Customers frequently call inquiring about shrimp and wild rice casserole or when seafood gumbo will again grace the menu. Other items are everyday fixtures, including burgers, salads, chicken fingers and salad varieties such as ham, bacon, and popcorn shrimp.
Stacy Averette Pearson, seated, owner of Stacy’s Cafe, takes a break outside her restaurant. Standing behind her are servers, from left: Cailin Bamberb, Andrea Reynolds and Heather Ward.
Stacy’s steak plate is a customer favorite.
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| Gardens |
Spring garden tour opportunities
he merry, merry month of May is on inspiration, motivation, education and Another garden tour planned for that filled with opportunities to up our the versatility of what “gardening” can be. weekend is the Historic Decatur Associagardening game, including finding “Not all gardening is the same,” Allen tion Garden Tour, to be held 1-5 p.m. on inspiration from fellow gardeners through says, “and the tour not only gives you great May 20. This tour, which has been held public and private garden tours. ideas for your own garden, it also shows annually for 30 years, encompasses two The thing about gardens is that they that you can garden anywhere.” neighborhoods – the Old Decatur and are everywhere, from little garden oases It also offers rare glimpses of private, Albany Historic Districts. The neighborin many towns and cities to a plethora of personal gardens. “These are gardens that hoods are a couple of miles apart so visfine public gardens and arboretums itors can drive to each then park that offer year-round chances to see their cars for a lovely walk to see gardens in their glory and to learn home and church gardens and more about gardening. In addition, neighborhood parks. the Alabama Tourism Department Tour chairwoman Cindy Upton offers a map of Alabama’s Garden said that planning for the event is Trail (https://alabama.travel/garstill under way but she hopes to den-trail) that Alabamians and have up to eight sites on the tour, tourists alike can follow to their plus participants can amble past heart’s content. other historic homes in their prime But what about those private garspring garden finery. dens tucked back in hidden places? Of course these two tours are just Several organizations in the state— a taste of what’s likely to be availfrom Mobile to Dothan to Hunts- Among the many sights that visitors on the Lee County Master able in communities throughout ville and parts in between—offer Gardener 2018 Garden Tour will see is Joel’s Orchids by the the state. To learn more about othtours (usually in the spring and Lake, a lakeside property that features an orchid greenhouse, er garden tour opportunities, check early summer) of just those kinds gracious outdoor entertainment areas and a vineyard. with local public gardens and garof garden gems and at least two of dening organizations or with local them are coming up this month on the we would never be able to see without the and state chamber and tourism offices. weekend of May 19-20. tour,” notes Hardgrave. You’re sure to discover many opportuniOne of those is the Lee County MasThis tour requires a bit of driving and, ties to enjoy gardens and you may even ter Gardener’s Garden Tour, a two-day, because of the large number of gardens find the perfect Mother’s Day gift for the self-guided biennial event that this year on the tour, it typically takes visitors garden-loving moms in your life. features 10 private gardens and two teachboth days to see all of the gardens, but ing/demonstration gardens in the Auticketholders can set their own pace over For More Information burn/Opelika area. the two days. The price of admission also Information on the Lee County Master GarThe tour, which will run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. includes a picnic lunch provided on Saturdeners Garden Tour can be found at www. on May 19 and 1-5 p.m. on May 20, feaday by Chicken Salad Chick, a cosponsor leemg.org. Advanced tickets are $30 ($28 tures a wide array of gardens, including of the event. each for groups of 10 or more) and can be the grounds of an historic Opelika home purchased at several local businesses and (where part of the movie “Norma Rae” MAY TIPS at the Lee County Extension System or Auwas filmed), an orchid house, a smallburn Chamber of Commerce offices. Tickets Deadhead early spring flowers and space container garden and a 10-acre will also be available for $35 at the “gate” of spring-blooming bulbs. property populated with native plants as any of the gardens on the days of the tour. Fertilize ornamental and vegetable well as fruits and vegetables. plants according to soil test Information on the Historic Decatur AssociAccording to Sheila Allen and Ronrecommendations. ation Garden Tour is available at www.faceda Hardgrave, coordinators for the Lee Weed garden beds and remove book.com/Historicgardentour/. On the County event, the tour, which began in invasive plants from the landscape. day of the tour, information on the gardens 2006, is a fund-raiser that supports LC Plant or transplant trees and shrubs as and maps of the tour route will be available MG’s projects, programs and scholarships summer temperatures begin to rise. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Debut also an awareness-raiser that focuses Watch for pests and diseases on all Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at email@example.com.
38 MAY 2018
plants and treat as needed. Sow seed for melons, beans, okra, squash, southern peas and beans. Plant tomato, pepper, eggplant and other summer vegetable transplants.
catur, which will also offer refreshments.
If you know of other garden tours in the state, share them with us all on the Alabama Living Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AlabamaLivingMagazine/.
MAY 2018â€ƒ 39
| Consumer Wise |
Play it cool
Tips to help you stay comfortable this summer By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
My energy bill was pretty high last summer. Do you have any tips for how to keep comfortable this year without breaking the bank?
Fahrenheit. Also consider insulating your hot water pipes. Minimize use of your oven, and don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until they are full. Now that you’ve worked on keeping heat out of your home and Absolutely! There are several ways to make your home more minimizing the waste heat generated inside, let’s look at how to comfortable this summer. Some of the solutions are lowmake the inside air cooler. That starts by assessing your air condicost, while others require a bigger tioning (AC) system. investment. In the end, you can If you have central AC, make be more comfortable and have sure it’s working efficiently. Relower energy bills this summer. place the filters regularly, and The first step is to reduce your check to see if your supply regishome’s solar gains – the heat ters are open. AC systems need to energy it collects from the sun. push an adequate amount of air Since most solar gains originate into the supply ductwork to functhrough your home’s windows, tion properly. awnings are an effective soluIf you do not have central AC, tion. They can reduce solar heat window units can be an efficient gain by as much as 65 percent solution if they are ENERGY on south-facing windows and 77 STAR®-certified and only used to percent on west-facing windows. Since most solar gain enters through your home’s windows, awnings cool part of the home, part of the You can also try less expensive and shade trees are effective in making your home cooler during time. Make sure to seal any opensummer months. PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID SAWYER, FLICKR solutions on the outside or inings around the window unit. side of your windows, like reflective films and solar screens. Heavy The least expensive way to cool yourself is air movement. A ceilwindow coverings also work and have the added benefit of reducing fan or portable fan can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooling heat loss in winter. er, but keep in mind, fans cool people. Turn them off when you’re Two areas that can be major sources of heat gain are skylights not in the room. and attics. Reflective film or specially designed window coverings If you live in an area where the night air is cool and not too huare potential solutions for skylights. Attics can become extrememid, you can exchange your hot air for cool outdoor air by openly hot and radiate heat through the ceiling into your living space. ing the windows and turning on your kitchen and bath fans. Or Abundant venting through the roof, gable or eaves is one solution, you can place a fan in one window to exhaust the warm air and but you also need adequate attic insulation. open another window at the opposite end of the house to allow Another important step is to seal air leaks around windows, the cooler night air inside. The permanent (but more expensive) doors, plumbing and wiring penetrations to keep warm air out option is to install a whole-house fan. and cool air in. Remember, there are several ways to keep cool and increase Excess heat can also be generated inside your home – and at comfort. I hope these tips will make your summer more enjoyable your expense. Here’s a quick list of simple steps you can take: than the last! Make it a habit to turn off lights and TVs in rooms that aren’t This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collabin use. orative Efficiency. For more information on staying comfortable during Incandescent light bulbs generate a lot of heat. Replace them summer months, visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. with LEDs. Unplug devices you aren’t using, like chargers, computers, monitors and consumer electronics. Many of these use phantom powADDITIONAL RESOURCES er that keeps them on constantly (even when they’re not in use!), For ideas on how to save energy through radiant head that comes in which generates heat. through windows and skylights, see: Maintain appliances for peak efficiency. For example, clean your energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-treatments refrigerator coils. energy.gov/energysaver/windows-doors-and-skylights/skylights Lower your water heater temperature to no higher than 120 deTo look further into maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of your AC grees Fahrenheit and your refrigerator to no lower than 38 degrees system, check out these links:
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.
40 MAY 2018
energy.gov/energysaver/room-air-conditioners www.consumerreports.org/window-air-conditioners/energy-efficient-window-air-conditioners/ energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning And for general weatherization tips for all seasons, visit: www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_checklist_consumers
Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News JANUARY 2016
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Paying for college
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Loans, scholarships come in all sizes
Take the chill off with homemade chili
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Redeveloped Toomer’s Corner ready for Auburn fans
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Brewing up business State-made spirits making impact on economy
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Picture postcards tell our story Biscuit bounty
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Got an outdoor/hunting product or offer a service that people need to know about? THIS IS AN If so, this space is where OPPORTUNITY TO you should be REACH MORE THAN advertising. ONE MILLION readers every month. Still thinking about it? Consider this: 97% of Alabama Living’s readers say they trust the advertising in our publication over any other source 85% of our readers have read 4 out of the last 4 issues they’ve received 48% of our readers own a garden 85% of those garden owners purchased maintenance items last year 41% own more than 3 acres of land
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MAY 2018 41
| Outdoors |
Water wolverines provide outstanding sport
ften called jackfish, southern pike, duckbill, and other names – including a few unfit to print – chain pickerel hit extremely hard and fight with speed and ferocity, but most Alabama anglers consider them a major nuisance. Sometimes erroneously called pike, chain pickerel resemble northern pike, but seldom exceed 30 inches long or weigh more than three pounds. The Alabama state record weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces and came from the Perdido River system in Baldwin County. A similar species, redfin pickerel, range across southern Alabama, but rarely weigh more than a pound. The state record redfin only weighed 13 ounces. “Chain pickerel are native to Alabama, but not many people target them,” says Chris Greene, an Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division biologist. “Chain pickerel are found throughout the state. They look similar to northern pike, but a chain pickerel gets its name from the chain-like markings on its side.” Chain pickerel range from southern Canada to Florida and west across the Mississippi Valley to Texas. Abundant in most Alabama river and reservoir systems, pickerel thrive best in large sluggish streams and oxbows with minimal current and thick vegetation. The rivers, lakes, bayous, creeks, sloughs and backwaters of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta near Mobile probably offer the best pickerel fishing in Alabama. “Chain pickerel tend to go more in the backwaters, but anglers can find them in main channels and secondary creeks,” Greene says. “They generally prefer more clear water and tend to orient toward aquatic vegetation. Some better Alabama waters for catching chain pickerel include the Mobile-Tensaw River drainage, the Tennessee River, Warrior River and other places.” While small in stature, chain pickerel more than compensate with swiftness and viciousness. These voracious killers love aquatic weeds, the thicker the better. John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.
42 MAY 2018
Caught by accident
Cliff “J. R.” Mundinger shows off a chain pickerel he caught on a spinnerbait. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
In dense grass or lily pad patches, pickerel typically hover motionless, using their splendid splotchy green camouflage to hide as they wait to ambush enticing morsels that wander into range. When they spot something irresistible, pickerel viciously flash out with incredible speed to sink their needle-like teeth into prey – or lures! “I’ve always caught pickerel in the backwaters and up the creeks around weeds,” says Cliff Mundinger, an angler. “They love being around thick matted grass, lily pads, hydrilla and other vegetation. Pickerel are very exciting fish to catch. When they hit a bait, you know it. A 3-pound chain pickerel will put up a great fight, especially on light tackle.” Highly aggressive, pickerel feed primarily upon fish, including threadfin shad, sunfish, shiners, minnows and other succulent morsels, but may attack anything. These opportunistic predators occasionally eat crawfish, lizards, snakes, amphibians and even mice or small birds that venture too close to the water. Sometimes, they grab dragonflies perched on grass stems or even leap from the water to snatch low-flying insects from the air.
“A pickerel will hit just about anything a bass might hit,” Greene says. “A lot of anglers consider them trash, but they can be fun to catch. They are powerful fish and hard hitters.” In Alabama, anglers mostly catch chain pickerel by accident when fishing for bass. Crappie anglers also frequently catch pickerel when fishing weedy waters with minnows, threadfin shad, shiners or other live bait. Almost any lure or live bait that might tempt a largemouth bass or crappie could provoke a vicious strike from a chain pickerel, including spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, spoons, crankbaits and similar lures. They occasionally hit topwater baits and relentlessly pursue weedless frogs buzzed across matted grass. When hooked, they put up a spirited fight with lightning runs and powerful lunges. They frequently jump like largemouth bass. People intentionally fishing for these water wolves should use short steel leaders to prevent them from slicing through line with their razor teeth. “My two favorite baits to catch jackfish are spinnerbaits and jerkbaits,” Mundinger says. “Jacks absolutely love a jerkbait because they are primarily fish feeders. I also like to catch them on topwater frogs run through the lily pads. In the middle of summer, anyone throwing a frog over grass in the backwaters will most likely catch a jack.” Big pickerel make excellent eating, but smaller versions of these long, skinny fish don’t yield much meat. Most people release them because of their numerous small bones, but the white, flaky meat tastes delicious with a mild flavor and no oily taste. Handle pickerel with care. Sometimes called snakefish, these agile toothy beasts often bend their bodies and shake violently looking for something to bite when grabbed. If they don’t bite a person, they might drive a hook into a finger. Also pay attention to the very sharp gill plates that can slice flesh. Use pliers to remove the hooks in order to avoid those teeth. Although pickerel don’t receive much love or attention in Alabama, they can turn a humdrum day into an exciting excursion for any light-tackle enthusiast fishing in weedy waters. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. AM PM Minor Major Minor Major
MAY 15 12:52 16 01:22 17 02:07 18 03:07 19 04:07 20 05:37 21 11:07 22 08:52 23 09:37 24 03:37 25 04:07 26 04:37 27 - - 28 - - 29 - - 30 01:07 31 01:37
06:07 08:07 01:07 06:37 09:07 01:37 07:07 09:52 02:22 07:37 11:07 03:22 08:22 12:07 04:22 09:22 - - 05:22 01:22 - - 06:37 02:22 01:37 07:52 03:07 03:22 09:07 10:22 04:22 09:52 10:52 10:37 05:22 11:22 11:22 06:07 04:52 06:52 12:07 05:22 07:37 12:37 05:52 08:07 01:07 06:07 08:52 01:37 06:37 09:37 02:07
JUNE 1 02:22 2 03:07 3 04:07 4 05:37 5 09:37 6 08:37 7 09:07 8 02:37 9 03:07 10 03:37 11 04:22 12 - - 13 - - 14 01:22 15 02:07 16 02:52 17 03:52 18 05:22 19 06:52 20 08:07 21 09:07 22 02:37 23 03:07 24 03:37 25 04:07 26 - - 27 - - 28 12:52 29 01:37 30 02:07
06:52 10:22 02:37 07:22 11:07 03:07 07:52 12:07 03:52 08:22 - - 04:22 12:52 - - 05:22 01:37 12:22 06:22 02:07 02:37 07:52 09:37 03:52 08:52 10:07 10:07 04:52 10:52 10:52 05:52 11:22 11:52 06:37 04:52 07:22 12:07 05:37 08:07 12:52 06:22 08:52 01:37 06:52 09:52 02:22 07:37 10:37 03:07 08:37 11:37 04:07 09:37 12:22 04:52 11:22 - - 05:52 01:22 01:22 07:07 01:52 03:22 08:07 09:52 09:22 04:37 10:37 10:07 05:37 11:07 10:52 06:22 11:37 11:37 07:07 04:52 07:37 12:07 05:22 08:07 12:37 05:52 08:37 01:07 06:22 09:22 01:37 06:52 09:52 02:07
MAY 2018â€ƒ 43
| Alabama Recipes |
Kids can cook BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY | FOOD/PHOTOGRAPHY BY BROOKE ECHOLS
sk any chefs and avid home cooks you know when they first got interested in cooking, and there’s a good chance more than a few will tell you it was at a young age. Maybe it started as hanging around to sneak a spoonful of pie filling or hoping for permission to lick icing-coated beaters. Maybe they wanted to spend more time with their mom or nana or some other beloved relative. Whatever drew them to it, once they knew just a little, they wanted to learn more. Getting your kids in the kitchen is a great way to spend more quality time with them, time away from a screen of some sort. It offers the chance to pass along family recipes, share memories and make new ones. You can teach them about nutrition. You can augment the things they’re learning in school; your kitchen will become an interactive science and math lab, turning abstract concepts into applications they can eat. Once picky eaters see and understand what goes into a dish, they’re more likely to try (and like) new foods. And you’re teaching them a practical skill that will come in handy when they set off on their own. Plus, as they get more and more proficient, you gain a willing and helpful hand come dinnertime. When it comes to imparting kitchen wisdom, it’s best to start simple. Try a selection from this handy dandy roundup of kid-friendly, more “bite-size” recipes submitted by our younger readers. They’re just right for your budding junior cook’s beginner lessons.
Junior Cook of the Month:
Ella Grace Stapleton, Baldwin EMC Ella Grace Stapleton, age 12, learned to cook from her dad, who owns a catering company. While she loves to bake sweets like cookies and brownies, she also loves the Stuffed Shells recipe she submitted. “I like it because it is so cheesy and creamy and because you can add or delete different things in the filling,” she said "I’ve had some versions with bell peppers, and I don’t like them, so I leave that out.” She enjoys eating her creations, but she’s also proud to be a help to her mom. “Sometimes my mom works late, and so I cook dinner for us, and I like being able to take that off her plate,” she said. She encourages other kids to get in the kitchen for the same reasons. “You can do it, and then you can be a help for your parents. Plus, it’s fun.”
44 MAY 2018
Stuffed Shells 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 30 3 2
package of jumbo stuff-able pasta shells jar of marinara sauce teaspoon of pepper teaspoon of salt teaspoon of garlic powder teaspoon of onion powder ounces of ricotta cheese cups of mozzarella cheese, divided eggs
Before you start to do anything, make sure that you steam the shells completely. Turn your oven on 375 degrees so that it can heat up while you are mixing. Mix pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ricotta cheese, eggs and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese well before piping in the shells. Place your mixed ingredients in a Ziploc bag, and cut a hole in one of the bottom corners of your bag so your ingredients can enter the steamed shell easily. Seal the bag and then gently squeeze the filling out of the corner hole into the steamed shells. After stuffing the shells, you must get a pan that all your shells will fit in. Spray the bottom of the pan with canola oil spray so that the shells will not stick. After you apply the oil, cover the bottom of the pan with marinara sauce (usually about ½ of the jar), but make sure that you still have enough to apply to the top. Add your shells into your pan and cover the top with the other half of the sauce. Now add 1 cup of mozzarella on top of the sauce. Before you place in the oven, be sure to cover with aluminum foil. After you place in the oven set a timer for 50 minutes. When 50 minutes is over, remove foil and place back in the oven for 10 more minutes. When 10 minutes is over, take it out of the oven and be wowed.
Thereâ€™s a long list of reasons to teach your kids to cook, so take the time to get them in the kitchen with you and let them learn hands-on.
Junior cook tip: find a guide
The internet is packed with lists and charts of age-appropriate cooking tasks. But remember, they are rough guides. All kids have different temperaments, maturity levels and dexterity, so use your judgment on what cooking tasks the child in your life can tackle. Pictured here: Nicole Esco and daughter Addi, age 6, of Wetumpka, baking Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. (Recipe on page 46!) Alabama Living
MAY 2018â€ƒ 45
Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cupcakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes: 1 cup sugar 13/4 cups flour 3/4 cup dark cocoa 11/2 teaspoons baking powder 11/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water Marshmallow Frosting: 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 cups powdered sugar 1-3 teaspoons heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 (198 g) container of marshmallow fluff Salt, to taste Caramel Sauce: 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1 pinch salt 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 4 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup half-and-half Cupcakes: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. In a large mixer bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for three minutes. Stir in boiling water by hand (batter will be thin). (NOTE: I prefer using in between 3/4 cup and 1 cup of boiling water just until it is perfect to my eye.) Pour into cupcake pan. Because they have a tendency to overflow, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 min. Cool 10 min; remove from pan to wire racks. Frosting: Sift powdered sugar and set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until soft and fluffy. You'll have to scrape the sides of the bowl several times. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the vanilla and heavy cream and beat until smooth. Beat in the marshmallow fluff until smooth.
Caramel Sauce: Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla and turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into jar. Assemble: Pipe icing on top of cupcakes. Drizzle on caramel sauce and you can put a pretzel on top. Sarah Camp Coosa Valley EC
Southern Pralines 2 cups sucanat (sugar cane natural sweetener– a natural alternative to brown sugar) 2 cups pecans (chopped or whole) 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra to butter wax paper ¼ cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Roast the pecans by pouring them on a pan and placing the pan in the oven. Once the pecans are in the oven, turn the oven on to 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Combine sucanat, roasted pecans, butter and water in a pot and stir until sucanat has partially dissolved. Cook over medium heat until mixture reaches 240 degrees (soft ball) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Stir until mixture thickens and loses some of its gloss. Drop immediately onto buttered wax paper. After pralines have cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. Makes about 18 pralines. NOTE: Be sure to use buttered wax paper. The wax paper helps to lift the pralines after they are hardened, and the butter helps them not to stick to the wax paper. Optional: Brown sugar can be used in the place of sucanat. EDITOR’S NOTE: Working with cooking sugar can be tricky. It can bubble and pop and really burn, so we suggest this recipe for older and/or intermediate kid cooks.
Ethan’s Banana Cake 1 butter cake mix 1 cup pecans, toasted in butter and chopped 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed Mix the cake mix according to box instructions. Add the bananas and pecans. Pour batter into a well greased and floured 13x9-inch dish. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. While warm, pour on glaze. Glaze: ½ cup sugar ¼ cup butter 1/8 cup water (2 tablespoons) In a small saucepan, boil all ingredients for 3 minutes. Pour over warm cake in pan. EDITOR’S NOTE: Working with cooking sugar can be tricky. It can bubble and pop and really burn, so we suggest this recipe for older and/or intermediate kid cooks. Ethan George, age 12 Marshall-DeKalb EC
Tucker's Potato Soup -4 large potatoes, washed 3 1 32-ounce carton chicken broth 1 cup grated cheese ¼ cup of real bacon bits Pour broth into large pot and bring to a boil. Chop potatoes and add to broth. (Peeling potatoes is optional.) Cook until potatoes are soft. Add cheese to melt. Sprinkle bacon bits on top. Tucker Eason, age 8 Tallapoosa River EC
Coming up in June... Heirloom Recipes!
Kathryn Tipton South Alabama EC 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 MAY 2018
Peanut Butter Blender Muffin
2 ½ ¾ 1 1 ¼ 1 1 6 1
1 ¼ 1 1 4 ½ 5/8
cups quick-cooking oats cup sugar cup whole milk teaspoon vanilla extract teaspoon ground cinnamon teaspoon ground nutmeg teaspoon salt teaspoon baking powder tablespoons butter, melted egg
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Spread mixture in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until it is set. Cut into squares and serve warm topped with milk. The mixture will be crumbly. It makes a great breakfast. Sierra Joachim, age 15 South Alabama EC
the best of
medium banana teaspoon baking soda Pinch of salt tablespoon vanilla extract egg tablespoons honey cup peanut butter (almond butter may be substituted) cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put all ingredients in blender, except for chocolate chips, and blend well. Grease muffin pan or use cupcake liners. Fill muffin cups about 1/3 full of batter then sprinkle chocolate chips on the top of each muffin. Stir each muffin gently with a toothpick just enough to incorporate chocolate chips. Bake for 14 minutes. Makes 12 regular size muffins (or 24 mini muffins). Anna Catherine Douglas Arab EC
Congratulations to Jamie Petterson of Tallapoosa River EC, April's prize pack winner!
more than 250 delicious recipes, from appetizers to soups to breakfast, desserts and more!
Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014 Name: Address: City: State:
COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH: TOTAL ENCLOSED: Check
Junior Cook's prize pack winner is Sierra Joachim of South Alabama EC! Send us your Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com recipes for a Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 chance to win! Montgomery, AL 36124
Themes July: Frozen Treats | May 8 and August: Corn | June 8 Deadlines September: BBQ | July 8 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. MAY 2018 47
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50â€ƒ MAY 2018
Join us this Memorial Day to salute our military, especially our fallen heroes. May their bravery, courage and sacrifice inspire us all.
Proudly serving, Falkville, Priceville, Somerville, Trinity & surrounding areas.
MAY 2018 51
| Our Sources Say |
Wilson Dam, on the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama, was finished in 1924, is 137 feet high and stretches 4,541 feet across the river. It is the largest conventional hydroelectric facility in the TVA system. Wilson Reservoir provides 166 miles of shoreline and 15,500 acres of water surface for recreation.
TVA looking to future with IRP
labama is a great place to live and work, and TVA is proud to be a part of the lives of the people living in the Tennessee Valley by providing electricity, managing the river and recreational areas, and supporting economic development activities. Providing electricity to the Valley is a key element of the TVA mission to serve the Valley, and it’s important that TVA delivers power reliably now while also looking at the needs of the future. To help TVA understand the changing needs and prepare to best meet future electricity demand, we’ve begun updating our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP will inform the company’s next long-term financial plan and proactively address the changing utility marketplace. To ensure TVA best meets projected future needs, TVA will continue its tradition of innovation in the IRP. The 2011 IRP focused on diversifying and modernizing TVA’s generation portfolio, part of which included adding cost-effective renewables. The 2015 IRP identified distributed energy resources (DER) as a growing trend in the utility industry and designed a mechanism where energy efficiency could be chosen as a resource. The 2019 IRP will consider many views of the future, with
Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
52 MAY 2018
input from the public, customers, environmental groups and other stakeholders, to determine how TVA can continue to provide low-cost, reliable electricity; support environmental stewardship; and spur economic development in the Valley over the next 20 years. The 2019 IRP will: Explore various distributed energy scenarios, considering the speed and amount of DER penetration. Improve TVA’s understanding of the impact and benefit of system flexibility with increasing renewable and distributed resources. Determine the implications to TVA’s diverse portfolio mix for the next 20 years. A public comment period on the IRP was held mid-February through mid-April. Those comments have been collected and will be considered as TVA continues the process of gathering and analyzing information. TVA will hold quarterly webinars to update the public on the process and share insights as the final plan is being developed, with the second public webinar scheduled for May. For a recording of the first webinar and more information about the IRP, visit the TVA website at www.tva.com. Speaking of the website, spring is here and www.tva.com is full of information and recommendations for outdoor activities in the Valley. Visit the site to get more information about TVA-managed campgrounds, which opened March 15, and find great spots for fishing, biking and hiking. www.alabamaliving.coop
ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books that are either about Alabama people or events or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to email@example.com Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.
Alabama’s Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South, by Daniel Dupre, Indiana University Press, $35 (history) Alabama endured warfare, slave trading, squatting, and speculating on its path to becoming America’s 22nd state. Dupre captures the riveting saga of the forgotten struggles and savagery in Alabama’s — and America’s — frontier days.
Medusa’s Lair: A Chic Spark Novel, by Kenneth L. Funderburk, Archway Publishing, $11.99 (crime novel) Chic Sparks is a clinical psychologist and part-time investigator who begins a reckless search for his missing friend, who is a notorious crime boss. Sparks’ actions put him in the middle of a deep criminal conspiracy, and he sets out to unveil the truth – and locate his friend. The author lives in Phenix City.
Wilson’s Raid, by Russell W. Blount Jr., Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $21.99 (military history) In the closing months of the Civil War, Gen. James Wilson led a Union cavalry raid through Alabama and parts of Georgia. The author, an Alabama native, examines eyewitness accounts and diaries chronicling this defining moment in America’s bloodiest war.
The Tuskegee Airmen Chronology: A Detailed Timeline of the Red Tails and Other Black Pilots of World War II, by Daniel Haulman, NewSouth Books, $25.95 (military history) This chronology provides an overview of the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, embracing important events in the formation of the first military flying training for black pilots in U.S. history. Their performance proved that with opportunity and resources, black men could fly and fight every bit as well in combat as their white counterparts.
The Woman Left Behind, by Linda Howard, William Morrow, $26.99 (romantic suspense) Jina Modell is thrilled with an assignment to an elite paramilitary unit. Her team leader, Levi, doesn’t have much confidence in her, but her courage wins him over. When Jina’s position is attacked, Levi must bring back the woman he’s fallen for, dead or alive. The author lives in Gadsden.
At First Light, by Sandy Harris, Moonshine Cove Publishing, $13.99 (mystery, suspense) The sheriff ’s oﬃce thinks high school senior John Bateman viciously murdered three friends while on a deer hunt. On the verge of being indicted for murder, evidence begins to surface that something strange happened in the woods that day. Could his unbelievable story be true? The author lives in Wetumpka.
MAY 2018 53
Illustration by Dennis Auth
| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Hurricane season “Squalls out on the gulf stream Big storm’s comin’ soon” Jimmy Buffett “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season”
ome start as tropical waves off the coast of Africa. Others just spring up from a depression down in the Caribbean. They grow and grow and move until something makes them stop – usually land. This is their season. Here come the hurricanes. Though many of you are far from the coast, you need to keep in mind that those storms can have an enormous, tragic impact inland. Well, if you get one, I hope you can find someone to call, someone like “Doll Baby.” Let me explain. First, don’t let the name fool you. “Doll” (as friends call him) is much a man. Well over 6 feet tall, with bulk to go with it, he lives in South Alabama with his wife Wanda. Like so many folks down there, Doll has made his living in the woods, and as they say, “he ain’t afraid of work.” Back in 1990 Doll and Wanda were driving through South Carolina’s Francis Marion National Forest, a few months after Hurricane Hugo. Trees were still scattered every-which-a-way. Trucks couldn’t get in to clean up without tearing up what was left. Seeing the mess, the Alabama couple stopped at the Ranger Station and told the attendant, in so many words, “what you need is mules.” And since Doll had some, a deal was struck. So, he went back home, rounded up a crew, loaded up the mules Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University and a regular contributor to Alabama Living. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
54 MAY 2018
-- Linda and Lisa, Mutt and Jeff, Maude and Rock -- and headed to Carolina where they snaked logs until the weather got too hot for man and beast. In the process, Doll and his mules became celebrities -- newspapers wrote about them, students from a nearby college “studied” them, and a kindergarten class visited them. The local TV station sent out a cute young female reporter to interview Doll, who took time from his work to show her the ropes -- a little too much time, Wanda said. Personally, I figure he was just being nice. Of course, folks down Doll’s way know about hurricanes. Living some 80 miles above Mobile, they count on getting the backwash from storms through the summer and into the fall. September gales, old folks called them. But at times they were more than gales. Back in 1969, Category 5 Camille tore into the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its counterclockwise winds caused damage deep into Alabama. As the storm approached, coastal folks, the smart ones, began heading north. The roads were jammed and motels full. So upcountry churches began setting up shelters and sending out the word to their members that if they had an extra bedroom the refugees sure could use it. My folks had one, so for a few days they hosted a fine family from Baldwin County. Then it was over, and the guests headed home to survey the damage. For years after that, as hurricane season approached, my parents got a package from those folks. In it was a ham, and card asking them to reserve a room, just in case. They always did. www.alabamaliving.coop