Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News October 2017
Oh, what a park! OWA entertainment complex welcomes visitors Perfect pies for fall meals
Mike Simpson CO-OP EDITOR
Diane B. Hale ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $6 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.
Keeping the bees There are more than 600 registered beekeepers and 7,000 honey-producting colonies in Alabama, a number that’s expected to grow as more people become interested in beekeeping and in consuming honey and other bee products.
VOL. 70 NO. 10 n OCTOBER 2017
POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
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National Co-op Month is a great time to remember the past while focusing on the future.
Gone but not forgotten
Mind your Ps and Ks
Across the state, volunteers are helping preserve and maintain our rural cemeteries.
Fall’s fun fruits (hint: They begin with Ps and Ks, are in season and easy to grow).
D E PA R T M E N T S
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Our history, our future
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In this issue: Page 11 Page 28
9 Spotlight 32 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: The new 520-acre OWA entertainment complex in Foley takes its name from the Muscogee Creek word for “big water.” But it could easily also mean “oh-wow,” as visitors can attest. Story, page 12.
OCTOBER 2017 3
Board of Trustees David Henderson Larry Godwin Randy L. Bailey Luke Freeman Roland Hendon James H. Bowman III Raymond C. Long Leo Bomian Danny Lacey 402 Main Street West P.O. Box 277 Rainsville, AL 35986 (256) 638-4957 fax www.smec.coop In case of power outages, you may call us 24 hours a day: Rainsville-PowellFyffe-Sylvania 256-638-2153 Bryant-Higdon-Flat RockHenagar-Ider-Pisgah 256-657-5137 Fort Payne 256-845-1511 Valley Head-Mentone 256-635-6344 Collinsville-Geraldine 256-659-2153 Section-Langston-Marshall Co. 1-877-843-2512
4 OCTOBER 2017
Our history, our future Looking back provides the path forward.
Here is a quote that is often heard: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Yet sometimes remembering our history with the goal of repeating it can actually be a good thing. As is the case of Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative (SMEC) and its beginning. SMEC was founded by neighbors working together to bring aﬀordable electricity to rural communities. At the time, large investor-owned power companies thought they couldn’t generate enough profit so they bypassed rural areas. Back then, frequent meetings were held among neighbors to discuss the formation of the electric cooperative. Once established, annual meetings were the “must attend” event of the year. It was a well-known fact that the co-op, on behalf of its memberowners, was committed to deliver electricity to rural communities. Fast forward more than 77
years to today and you’ll find that SMEC serves more than 31,000 members and is one of more than 40,000 cooperative businesses in the United States with 350 million members. Together they celebrate National Co-op Month during October, which makes this a perfect time to take a look back and also forward. SMEC’s purpose is to deliver quality and aﬀordable electricity to members, but there is so much more to it. Through hard work, training, technology, scheduled maintenance, better equipment and system upgrades, the co-op’s service is more reliable than ever. And as old as this form of business may be, cooperatives have never been more modern in the way they operate. So, in response to keeping up with the ever-changing needs of members, our history speaks for itself. As for the future, SMEC will continue to work for you and the ability to serve you.
OCTOBER 2017â€ƒ 5
Fight Energy Vampires Reduce Electricity Waste and Cost Did you know that electric devices can continue to use energy even when not in use? When equipment is plugged in and left idle, power is drawn from the outlets. This leads to increasing energy waste and spiked utility bills. This energy waste is also referred to as “phantom” or “vampire” energy. Stand-by power is used when electronics are consuming energy aside from performing their main function. Common phantom power culprits include computers, battery chargers, DVD players, and treadmills. According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation, stand-by power accounts for between 3 and 10 percent of energy costs. Harvard University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report that about 1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions result from phantom energy loads. Safe Electricity provides the following tips for saving energy and reducing the cost of standby power.
6 OCTOBER 2017
When possible, unplug all electronics that are not in use, especially those that you do not use often. • Consider powering down devices rather than leaving them on standby mode for extended periods. • Power strips can aid efﬁciency as they can turn off all devices that are plugged in with the ﬂip of a switch. • Smart power strips use advanced technology to turn off the power from idle electronics automatically. • When shopping for new electronics, invest in Energy Star products, which have a lower standby rate of energy consumption. • By using an electronic timer, you will be able to reduce the standby load on items used only in select periods of the day, such as coffee pots. For more information on energy efﬁciency, visit EnergyEdCouncil.org or SafeElectricity.org.
| Sand Mountain Electric |
Give Safety a Shot when Preparing for Hunting
Hunters have their sights on wild game when preparing for hunting season; however, including thoughts of electrical safety can help prevent an accident with utility equipment. All hunters are urged to take precautions and be aware of potential electrical hazards while hunting. • Before leaving for a hunting trip, make sure that you have safety items to signal for help in case of an emergency. Always carry emergency supplies in the event of an accident. A cell phone, whistle and flashlight are necessary items to carry with you throughout a hunting trip. • Never shoot nearby power lines or other electrical equipment. A single shot can cause vast damage to the electrical system. Damage to electrical equipment can result in power interruptions and physical risks to those nearby. • Note the location of power lines and other electrical equipment before you begin a hunt. Be especially careful and observant in wooded areas where power lines are easy to overlook. Alabama Living
• Obey all signs or postings that advise electrical safety, especially when selecting the location for a tree stand. Tree stands are the leading cause for hunting injuries. If you are using a tree stand, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions and inspect the stand for wear before use. • Never use power poles to support a tree stand. Look for an ideal tree for your stand, one that is sturdy and alive. While going up to the stand, keep at least three points of contact while you climb. • When setting up and taking down the stand, make sure you do not make contact with any overhead electrical equipment. • If you are using a portable electrical generator on your hunting trip, make sure that you do not run it in a confined area. Do not use it inside a cabin or RV. Make sure that it is used outside. For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org. OCTOBER 2017 7
Solar Panel Safety Precautions for Emergency Responders Emergency responders are facing unexpected challenges as the use of solar energy systems increases. Solar panels can present significant hazards for emergency responders if a fire occurs.
Basic safety precautions should be taken into account by all ﬁreﬁghters and other emergency personnel when responding to a ﬁre with a solar energy system: • Note the time of day. Fires that occur during the daytime present greater danger because the solar system is generating electricity. • Inform the incident commander that a solar energy system is present. • Note that securing the main power source does not necessarily shut down solar modules. If a battery system is present, the home may still be energized even if the main electric service is disconnected. • Never break, remove or walk on solar panels. Treat all wiring components as energized. *These are basic solar panel safety tips for emergency responders. Emergency personnel should contact Sand Mountain Electric Co-op for more information.
Source: The Fire Protection Research Foundation 8 OCTOBER 2017
| Alabama Snapshots |
Cooper, dressed as a mummy, is a 2-year old British Labrador. SUBMITTED BY Alison Collins, Hollywood.
Mother and daughter having an “udderly” great time at their church’s fall festival. SUBMITTED BY Laura Tucker, Decatur.
Angelina Cowart dressed as Dorothy. SUBMITTED BY Mary Ann Stockman, Mt. Vernon.
Erin Alford and Celia Blanchard, best friends dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. SUBMITTED BY Leah Blanchard, Rockford.
Beau Barnes said he wanted to be a cheeseburger because it would be funny. SUBMITTED BY Ashley Barnes, Sulligent.
My grandson, 2-yearold Cooper Hayes, dressed as a sock monkey last year for Halloween. SUBMITTED BY Debby Boyd, Addison.
Ave Henley as Frankenstein and Wes Henley as Spiderman (bottom left). SUBMITTED BY Jackie Henley, Prattville.
Submit Your Images! December Theme: “Baby’s First Christmas” Deadline for December: October 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.
| Power Pack | SOCIAL SECURITY
Social Security Q&A
n this issue, I would like to continue sharing with you some common Social Security questions I receive on a variety of topics and my answers. Question: Is it illegal to laminate your Social Security card? Answer: No, it is not illegal, but we discourage it. It’s best not to laminate your card. Laminated cards make it difficult — sometimes even impossible — to detect important security features and an employer may refuse to accept them. The Social Security Act requires the Commissioner of Social Security to issue cards that cannot be counterfeited. We incorporate many features that protect the card’s integrity. They include highly specialized paper and printing techniques, some of which are invisible to the naked eye. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov. Question: My spouse died recently and my neighbor said my children and I might be eligible for survivors benefits. Don’t I
have to be retirement age to receive benefits? Answer: No. As a survivor, you can receive benefits at any age if you are caring for a child who is receiving Social Security benefits and who is under age 16. Your children are eligible for survivors benefits through Social Security up to age 19 if they are unmarried and attending elementary or secondary school full time. Keep in mind that you are still subject to the annual earnings limit if you are working. If you are not caring for minor children, you would need to wait until age 60 (age 50 if disabled) to collect survivors benefits. For more information about survivors benefits, read our publication Survivors Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Magazine wins three awards Alabama Living magazine recently received three Awards of Merit in the 2017 National Electric Cooperative Statewide Editors Association Willies Awards. The awards were given for Best Illustration for “Cotton Pickin’ Time” by Dennis Auth (October 2016); Best Cover for “Raising the Steaks” by Michael Cornelison (August 2016); and Best Entertaining Feature for “Alabama in the Movies” by Emmett Burnett (June 2016). The August cover, featuring an Alabama Wagyu beef cow, had previously won an award in the Cooperative Communicators Association contest. There were nearly 300 entries from 23 magazines in the contest, named for Willie Wiredhand, mascot of the rural electric cooperative program.
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Alabama: heart of the ‘Stroke Belt’
troke (or cerebrovascular diseases) is Alabama’s fourth leading cause of death, exceeded only by heart diseases, cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Alabama is a prominent member of “The Stroke Belt,” an 11-state region where the risk of experiencing a stroke is 34 percent higher than it is in other areas. Stroke is required to be reported in Alabama; however, analyzing stroke mortality data reveals many interesting facts about this disease. In 2000, Alabama lost nearly 3,200 residents to strokes and was tied for having the 7th highest age-adjusted stroke mortality (or death) rate among all 50 states, at 71.5 deaths per 100,000 standard population. In 2015, this rate had decreased by nearly 27 percent to 52.2. Alabama lost more than 2,900 residents to strokes in 2015. Significant progress in stroke survival has been seen nationally and in Alabama. Unfortunately, in spite of this progress, Al-
Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.
abama had the 2nd highest stroke mortality rate in 2015 and the highest rate among all states in 2013. Stroke mortality varies significantly by race and gender. African Alabamian males had the highest rate in 2015 at 72.2 followed by African Alabamian females at 58.0, white males at 49.0, and white females at 47.9. While all four of these components of Alabama’s population had healthy and significant decreases in stroke mortality since 2000, all four remained significantly higher when compared to the same population components nationally. Alabama’s rural counties had a higher stroke mortality rate than the urban counties. While these rates did not vary greatly, (53.6 in rural counties and 51.0 in urban counties) the 20 counties with the highest rates were all rural. Risk factor modifications, such as increased use of cholesterol reducing medications, improved and faster stroke diagnosis, and improved stroke treatment are credited with most of the healthy decrease that has been seen in stroke mortality. Alabama continues to rank among the leading states in stroke mortality because of the greater presence of major risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, and tobacco use.
The expansion of stroke diagnosis and treatment through the use of telemedicine provides considerable promise for improvement in stroke mortality and quality of life. The Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) in Dothan was an Alabama pioneer in providing this service through its Stroke Care Network. Through this network, neurologists affiliated with the SAMC conduct real-time video examinations of patients presenting in emergency departments at the Medical Center Barbour in Eufaula, Mizell Memorial Hospital in Opp, Dale Medical Center in Ozark, and Troy Regional Medical Center who may have experienced a stroke. Through this timely evaluation, drugs may be prescribed quickly, resulting in less permanent damage or even the saving of life. Remembering the stroke acronym “FAST” is another way that we can all possibly prevent death and decrease permanent damage.
F Does one side of the face tend to droop? A Ask the victim to raise both arms. Does one arm tend to drift downward?
S Is speech being slurred? T Time! If any of these symptoms are present, seek emergency attention.
10 OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop
October | Spotlight Artists to take easels outside for Plein Air Paint Out Artists looking for an escape to the great outdoors will converge on the town of Pike Road on Oct. 27-28 to take part in the annual Plein Air Paint Out. The idea of painting in “plein air” is for the artist to leave the conﬁnes of his or her studio and paint on site, in the landscape, to better capture the subtleties of nature and enjoy a more immersive artistic experience. On Friday, Oct. 27, artists will begin painting scenery around the town. From 10 a.m. to noon they will participate in a “quick draw” contest at Sweet Creek Farm Market, and from 5 to 9 p.m., they will hold live painting demonstrations at local restaurants. On Saturday, Oct. 28, the artists will paint all around town, ﬁnishing with an art show and sale at the Historic Pike Road School from 4-6 p.m. For more information on these events, which are all open to the public, send an email to Patty Payne at Patty@ pikeroad.us.
This month in
October 6, 1998
The band Alabama was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Originally from Fort Payne, the group launched onto the national country music scene in 1980 with their hit single “My Home’s in Alabama.” In terms of length of career, record sales, and awards, Alabama went on to become the most successful band in country music history. Over their career, they recorded 42 Billboard Country Music number one singles, sold more than 73 million albums, and won more than 150 industry awards. Alabama was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all
correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualiﬁed. Send your answer by Oct. 9 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the November 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.
This peanut sculpture is in front of the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in the Pike County town of Brundidge, which takes pride in its connection to the peanut, and speciﬁcally peanut butter. The Johnston Peanut Butter Mill, one of the ﬁrst commercial peanut butter mills in the Southeast, helped sustain the town during the Great Depression, though such small mills began to decline in the 1940s due to competition from larger processors. Today, the town celebrates its role in the peanut butter industry with the annual Peanut Butter Festival, a free event on Main Street, which this year begins at 8 a.m. Oct. 28. Many readers thought the peanut was in Dothan, which is understandable: Giant peanut sculptures are in many spots around the Houston County city, part of a public art project that has become a popular tourist attraction. Around 50 peanut statues are found around town; maps are available at the Visit Dothan headquarters. Still other readers thought the peanut was in front of the National Peanut Festival in Dothan (see picture). The festival is the nation’s largest peanut festival held each fall, and this year’s event is Nov. 3-12; learn more about the concerts, pageants and events associated with it at www.nationalpeanutfestival.com The number of memorials to the mighty peanut is a testament to its importance to the Wiregrass area. Approximately half the peanuts grown in the U.S. are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, according to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, which has an ofﬁce in Dothan. The September random drawing winner is Deborah Walters, Baldwin EMC. Alabama Living
OWA is open for
business By Emmett Burnett
OWA entertainment complex offers another option for Baldwin County visitors
The Twister, one of 21 park rides
the 520-acre entertainment complex in Foley, minutes from Gulf Shores, is appropriately named. Pronounced “oh-wah,” the word inspired from the Muscogee Creek language means “big water.” But OWA also means oh-wow, as today’s visitors are about to find out. It is a late summer’s day in the 14-acre amusement ride midway, known as The Park of OWA. Giddy thrill seekers scurry for seating in a roller coaster with more twists and turns than a water moccasin on a pancake griddle. Riders are about to discover the winding-weaving tracks of what OWA employees call “The Big One.” Like the park, Rollin’ Thunder is also well named. Alabama’s newest tourist mecca is coming in phases. Phase 1 premiered with much fanfare and a packed park on July 21. Early features include the amusement park, 150-room Marriott TownePlace Suites, a 14-acre man-made lake complete with a 1.5-acre man-made island, and a 44,000-square-foot shopping 12 OCTOBER 2017
district set to start a few weeks later. Nine months earlier, OWA was little more than a good idea on paper. But the park’s history dates back many years before a spade of dirt was turned and ice cream scooped. Originally, OWA was “Oh No.” The 10113 Foley Beach Express address was to have been the Blue Collar Country Entertainment Complex, which never took off. After numerous setbacks – including the pullout of investor Jeff Foxworthy – Blue Collar met Blue Monday. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians acquired total control of the property in April 2015. OWA’s construction began in November 2016, at the speed of Rollin’ Thunder. “It was something to see,” says Kristin Hellmich, OWA’s director of marketing and public relations, describing the early days. During the fast-track construction, up to 1,000 workers were www.alabamaliving.coop
on site, daily, almost around the clock. And Baldwin EMC, the electrical utility serving the site, started its planning as well (see related story on Page 14). Six contractors and dozens of subcontractors turned fields into a tourist attraction, building everything from the ground up. The Foley site received 21 amusement park rides – some assembly required. “Prior to purchasing decisions, we got to try the rides out in different parks across the U.S.,” Hellmich says, acknowledging just how cool product research can be. “Specialists and designers built the rides onsite.” Larsen Lien knows the midway’s features well. “I’ve ridden every one of them,” OWA’s digital marketing specialist says while giving an impromptu tour. “I think it is cool how we can stand under Rollin’ Thunder as it zips over us,” she says, pointing at the roller coaster racing through gravity defying loops. It sounds like rolling thunder, hence the name. Larsen critiques other attractions: “My favorite – and I love them all – is the Wave Runner,” the ocean-like ride simulating wave motion. “It is so dynamic, personal. There is nothing like it.” Park rides are not just for thrill seekers. Family-friendly features abound. Employees say a favorite for youngsters is the Southern Express, a roller coaster but smaller, for little people. It’s also a saving grace for fraidy-cat parents, who may be too chicken to ride Rollin’ Thunder. Other adventures include the Flying Carousel, like a typical carousel, except not necessarily confined to earth. There is AeroZoom, a simulated hang gliding experience; Rockin’ Raft, a whitewater gauntlet without getting wet; and Sky Balloons, adrift over the park for a pelican’s-eye view.
‘Think of OWA as many parks’
More rides await and more are planned. By design, the amusement park is surrounded by additional land for expansion. It has space to double in size. OWA is already researching new ride possibilities. “Think of OWA as many parks,” Hellmich says. “It has components, the park has rides from kiddie to thriller. But in addition, there are the Downtown and Warehouse Districts, with shopping, restaurants and other venues.” At press time, most Downtown District restaurants and shops were set to open in late September. Additional phases will follow, in a 5-year plan budgeted at $500 million. Future phases call for a luxury RV resort, four hotels, a resort level condominium and outdoor waterpark. OWA is in active negotiations for leasing agreements and estimates 50 businesses will populate the Downtown and Warehouse Districts of the complex. About 60 percent will be restaurants. Announced tenants include Wahlburgers (a restaurant featuring customized crafted hamburgers), Sunglass World, Fairhope Soap Company, Hershey’s Ice Cream Shop, and the Groovy Goat, a sports bar with 80 TV monitors set to open Sept. 30. Eatery cuisine will range from fine dining to “did I hear that right?” There are rumors of fried chicken donuts. “We strive to appeal to all ages and interests,” Hellmich says. Older guests may not want to ride a white-knuckle thriller with their children or grandchildren. But they can opt for a good meal and time with family and friends in the Downtown District. Only the amusement park ride section requires an admission fee. You can shop till you drop in Downtown OWA or eat in its restaurant row with no ticket required. The amusement park has same day re-entry too. Go and come back as you please. And
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parking is free for everything. Try that at Disney World. OWA works in conjunction with the City of Foley’s $45 million Sports Tourism Complex, which offers 16 state-of-the-art sports ﬁelds and an indoor event center. “We coordinate to extend hospitality here at OWA,” Hellmich says. “We want Foley - OWA to be a complete destination experience. Visiting sports teams can conduct their games, stay in our hotel, and play in OWA in the evenings and nights.” The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has holdings across the U.S., including hotels, gaming, and entertainment venues. OWA does not have gambling or gaming facilities. Park officials say they have no plans for gaming at OWA.
‘No destination like it in the U.S.’
The Baldwin County entertainment complex is one of the latest of the Poarch Creek tribal holdings. “There is no destination quite like it in the U.S.,” Hellmich says. “We have all of the amenities in one property – sports fields, hotels, shopping, dining, and amusement park, all in one place.” And OWA just won a big accolade – it was named the Alabama Attraction of the Year at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism in August. As of press time, ticket prices are $34.99 for adults and $27.99 for juniors (under 42 inches tall), seniors over age 60, and military members. Children under age of 3 are free. An annual pass may be purchased for $89.99. The park also works with groups for special packages and group discounts. OWA is open year-round but hours may vary. Check its web-
site, http://visitowa.com/, for current information. Before OWA, visiting Gulf Shores meant driving to the beach, driving for something to eat, driving to shopping, and driving back to the hotel. Not now. Though OWA doesn’t have Gulf beaches, it is 30 minutes away. A saltwater plunge is within a half-hour. Then use your re-entry pass for that OWA ride you missed. Rollin’ Thunder is waiting.
Meeting OWA’s power needs started early for co-op Although the OWA amusement park officially opened to the public in July 2017, planning for the attraction’s electricity needs began as far back as 2013. Four years ago, Baldwin EMC knew an entertainment venue of some type was possibly coming to Foley, Ala., and it would likely be larger than any other attraction the cooperative had ever served. In order to meet the needs of the up-andcoming site, which covers 500 acres on the Foley Beach Express, Baldwin EMC began evaluating the existing demand for electricity in the south Foley area and how it might increase with the new development. After an initial analysis, Baldwin EMC deter-
mined that adding a new substation to the area was the best plan. The co-op developed a presentation for PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Baldwin EMC’s power supplier, explaining the need. “Our justification for the new substation was based on reliability in south Foley along with the needs of the potential amusement park and any other future developments in the area,” says Brian Seals, Baldwin EMC’s manager of engineering. PowerSouth’s board of trustees approved the new substation in the fall of 2014. As PowerSouth finished its construction toward the end of 2016, Baldwin EMC began the process of raising poles and running lines to tie the new substation into the co-op’s existing infrastructure. In the meantime, the city of Foley and the state
Baldwin EMC added a new substation to meet OWA’s power needs.
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of Alabama began a project that would improve County Road 20, now called Pride Drive, in order to accommodate traffic flow to the new attraction site. “That project affected our system as well,” says Seals. “We worked with the city of Foley to enhance the area by shifting our power lines to accommodate the widening of the road.” In February 2016, Baldwin EMC’s engineering department had its first meeting with project managers for OWA. “As they gave us the layouts of their roads, buildings and amusement park rides, we started putting together a design for an electrical infrastructure that would best serve their needs,” Seals says. Baldwin EMC’s crews worked simultaneously with OWA’s construction crews, installing lines and electrical equipment as the site’s development moved forward. OWA officially opened its doors on July 21, 2017. However, additions to the attraction are still in progress, and meeting their electricity needs is an ongoing process for Baldwin EMC. “It’s a new type of load for us,” Seals says. “We’ve never served an amusement park of this size. So as OWA was testing rides, we put equipment in place to monitor the electrical load and we changed out equipment when necessary.” Seals says Baldwin EMC will continue to maintain contact with OWA’s developers and monitor their power use. “We all know the impact of this project on our area and we all want it to be successful.” – Michelle Geans www.alabamaliving.coop
The rewards of protecting Alabama’s pollinators By Katie Jackson
Geoff Williams is working with several beekeeping groups in Alabama to study pollinator issues that are important to Alabama’s bee industry. AUBURN UNIVERSITY PHOTO
16 OCTOBER 2017
hat do Aristotle, Sylvia Plath, Jon Bon Jovi, Morgan Freeman, “Sherlock Holmes” and Thomas Jefferson have in common with one another? They are just a few of the many people (and a few fictional characters) from across the world and centuries who have nurtured and harnessed the sweet, essential power of one of nature’s busiest and most useful creatures, the honey bee. They are apiculturists — more commonly known as beekeepers. Humankind has been harvesting honey and other honey bee byproducts, such as royal jelly, beeswax and propolis (bee glue), for possibly tens of thousands of years, first from the wild, then later from bees “kept” in hollowed-out trees, baskets and mud and pottery containers. Through the millennia, humans found better ways to keep bees (the current style of hives used in beekeeping has been around since the mid 1800s) and also discovered that bees offer us much more than the riches of their hives. They are critical to our lives. That’s because honeybees are members of a vital group of insects (and other animals such as hummingbirds and bats) that pollinate the plants that we and other animal species rely on for survival. Pollinators are the primary reasons that we humans have many fruits and vegetables on our plates, clothing on our backs and clovers and other forages in our pastures and fields. They also ensure that other animals have seeds, berries and other plant-derived sources of food in the wild. www.alabamaliving.coop
According to 2010 statistics, these ers Association and other local diverse pollinators are responsible beekeeping groups throughout the for the production of $19 billion or state, the Alabama Farmers Federmore worth of agricultural crops ation’s Bee and Honey Producers in the United States, or about oneDivision, the Alabama Department third of our nation’s food supply. of Agriculture and Industry’s ApiHoneybees alone are essential in the ary Health Unit and the Alabama production of at least eight comCooperative Extension System. mercial crops in the U.S. and they While the number of people inalso help boost yields for a variety of Geoff Williams’ research aims to look into the threats to terested in beekeeping is large and honeybees and to the bee industry in Alabama. other crops. growing, the number of bees in the AUBURN UNIVERSITY PHOTO In Alabama, we rely on honeystate is unknowable — honeybees bees to pollinate melons, cotton and kiwifruit and to contribute are not domesticated, so beekeepers don’t directly control them or to the pollination of many other agronomically important plants. their populations. Instead, apiculturists try to provide bees with In fact, they are so important to our state’s agricultural well-being clean, safe artificial shelters where the bees can set up colonies and that the Alabama Legislature passed a bill in 2015 designating the then go about their business. queen honey bee as Alabama’s official agricultural insect (the MonGoing about their business, however, has become harder for arch butterfly is the state’s official insect). honeybees in the last decade because of a variety of threats, which Though beekeeping has been around for millennia, it has enWilliams is addressing through his research. joyed a resurgence in recent years thanks in part to an increased Probably the single greatest threat to honeybees, Williams says, interest among consumers in eating healthy, local foods. Perhaps a is the Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that feeds off the body growing appreciation for the many flavors that derive from various fluids of honeybees, weakening them and also transmitting viruses pollen sources and the opportunity to help protect this vital little to them. This mite is found virtually worldwide (except in Australia pollinator have driven that, too. For whatever reason, more and and a few other isolated islands across the globe), and while control more part-time “hobbyist” beekeepers, as well as a growing nummeasures have been developed to lessen its impact, much work still ber of commercial beekeepers, are taking up their smokers (those needs to be done to protect honeybees from the Varroa mite and cans that produce bee-calming vapors) and are tending to the bees. other possibly emerging pests. Another significant threat to honeybees (and other pollinators), Help from an expert and an important facet of Williams’ research, is how human activiIt is that trend that helped bring Geoff Williams to Alabama. ty, including land and chemical use and loss of habitat, affects honWilliams is an assistant professor in Auburn University’s Departey bees and other pollinators. Through his research program, Wilment Entomology and Plant Pathology who studies honeybee and liams will examine a range of issues while also taking into account pollinator health issues. Though Auburn has had faculty in the the delicate balancing act needed to support both bees and society. past whose work focused part-time on honeybees, Williams is More interest in beekeeping the first-ever faculty member to give honeybees this kind of Though human activity contributes to honey bee threats, it is full-time attention, and he has been as busy as, yes, a bee, also a source of exceptional support for honeybees, something Wilsince he arrived here in November 2016. liams is seeing over and over again as he gets to know Alabama’s A native of Canada who came to Alabama by way beekeeping community. of a position in Switzerland, Williams has been There are currently more than 600 registered beekeepers and an setting up his research and teaching proestimated 7,000 honey-producing colonies in Alabama, a number gram on the Auburn campus, including that has increased in the last ten years and is expected to continue a bee yard at his laboratory, with a foto grow as more and more people become interested in beekeeping cus on a variety of pollinator issues and in consuming honey and other bee products. important to Alabama, but also to “There is a huge interest in bees here in Alabama,” said Williams, help Alabama’s bees and beekeeping noting that last year’s Alabama Beekeeping Symposium, held anindustry. nually each February for more than 20 years, drew more than 700 To accomplish this, Williams is workparticipants, the single largest such event ever. A similar turnout ing closely with the Alabama Beekeep-
Bee Facts Honeybees are amazing social creatures who produce a variety of products and provide a number of services. Here are a few bee facts. Alabama Honey: this comes in a variety of ﬂavors and colors depending on the plants that bees have visited. Alabama cotton honey is lightly colored and delicately ﬂavored. Beeswax: this bee byproduct has many well-known uses, candles and cosmetics to name a couple, and has also been used to create art and help clean up oil spills. Alabama Living
Propolis: bees produce this resinous substance, sometimes called “bee glue,” from the plant saps and resins they pick up in their foraging and use it to seal small gaps in the hive structure; it is used by humans as a nutritional and medical supplement. Royal Jelly: this bee byproduct is the gelatinous, opaque substance that worker bees secrete and feed to the queen and her larvae and is also used as a nutritional and health supplement by humans. Pollen: pollen residues that collect in hives as bees come and go can be collect-
ed and used to research the foraging activities of bees or can be stored and fed to “kept” bees when other sources of pollen are depleted. Colonies: a bee colony contains a queen, hundreds of male drones, 20,000 to 80,000 female worker bees and the eggs, larvae and pupae of the queen’s offspring. Establishing a hive: though fall is a good time to plan, the best time to establish a new colony (hive) is in the spring, preferably late March and early April when fruit trees and other plants begin to bloom. OCTOBER 2017 17
ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION PHOTO
ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION PHOTO
Clockwise: Eddie Strickland was in high school when he and his father started Eddie BeeS Honey from their farm in south Montgomery County; Research associates collect data from a hive in Auburn University’s new bee yard. The results will help Alabama’s beekeepers and other agriculturalists in the state who rely on honeybees and other pollinators to produce their crops. The bees may also soon be the source of some Auburn-branded honey; Among the products that honey bees make is bee bread, a fermented mixture of pollen, nectar and bee saliva that is created in the comb. Worker bees use it to feed larvae and young bees use to produce royal jelly. Humans have also learned to use bee bread, which is high in nutritional value, as a dietary supplement; a beekeeper uses a smoker to help calm bees before checking their hives for honey.
is expected for the 2018 symposium, to be held Feb. 9-10 at the Clanton, Ala., Performing Arts Center. “And the people interested in bees are so diverse. They come from all walks of life,” he continued, noting that one of his lab volunteers at Auburn, an accomplished beekeeper, is also a 911 call center operator. Another example is Melissa Heigl of Salem, Ala., a member of the east-central Alabama area Saugahatchee Beekeepers Association, a stay-at-home mother of five (a sixth one is on the way) who owns a home-based soap making business. “This is my first year keeping bees and I do it for lots of reasons,” she says. “Sure, I love honey. I love helping save the bees. I love raising my own food. In addition to those reasons, I have to have an outlet for learning or I get really grumpy. I love to be challenged and bees certainly provide that!” Yet another member of the Saugahatchee Beekeepers Association, Mary Ann Taylor-Simms, started keeping bees seven years ago for health reasons. “I became a beekeeper primarily because I wanted to ‘grow’ my own honey for medicinal purposes,” says Taylor-Simms, a student support professional at Auburn University. “I suffered from seasonal allergies and would get a severe sinus infection about twice a year. I read that eating local honey may help with the allergy problem.”
Since she began consuming her “homegrown” honey, Taylor-Simms said her allergy problem has “virtually disappeared,” and she has also gained a greater appreciation for bees. “As I got more involved in beekeeping, I began to learn about the importance of bees as pollinators and how vital they are to our food supply,” she says. “After a brief hiatus from beekeeping, I’m back to learning from the bees — they teach me something each time I open their hives for inspection. I still take my daily dose of ‘nectar from the gods,’ but now I also have a great respect for them, knowing how important they are to my own survival.” Regardless of their reasons for keeping bees, apiculturists seem to have one thing in common — a deep commitment to working together to keep bees safe — and Williams is looking forward to connecting with more and more of those beekeepers as his program matures. He also hopes to help new beekeepers get involved. “We are working with Extension and other groups in the state to set up an extensive network for bee information so that there will be a base of knowledge about beekeeping in each part of the state,” he says. Until that network is fully functional, however, anyone interested in learning more about bees and beekeeping — and possibly joining the ranks of famous apiculturists — can contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, state and local beekeeper associations and other bee and honey organizations (see list in below).
The Buzz Want to learn more about bees and beekeeping in Alabama? Check out one or all of the following resources. The Alabama Beekeepers Association, an organization of beekeepers and bee enthusiasts from Alabama and surrounding states, offers information for advanced beekeepers and for those just starting out. Contact them 18 OCTOBER 2017
at www.alabamabeekeepers.com. There are also 27 known beekeeping organizations in the state to help local beekeepers. Find a list of them at http://bit. ly/2x4SjAc. Alabama Cooperative Extension System ofﬁces throughout the state can provide a wealth of information on beekeeping and
protecting pollinator populations in the state. They also offer a publication, Backyard Beekeeping (www.aces.edu/pubs/ docs/A/ANR-0135/ANR-0135.pdf) that will soon be turned into an interactive iBook. For more information on Extension resources contact your county Extension ofﬁce or www.aces.edu. www.alabamaliving.coop
Reclaiming neglected rural cemeteries Story and photos by Jim Plott
Ashleigh Staples of Birmingham looks over a grave at Auburn’s Pine Hill Cemetery.
ordan Mahaﬀey doesn’t see dead people.
Instead, her vision when visiting a cemetery has more to do with survivors than deceased. That’s because Mahaffey, a history graduate from the University of West Alabama, is more apt to pay attention to what is on top of the grave than what’s in it. “I see artifacts,” Mahaffey says, referring to headstones and grave 20 OCTOBER 2017
markers. “They provide you with a history of the community and how individuals felt about that person.” On this day, however, Mahaffey, along with a dozen or more volunteers and an archeological team from the University of Alabama, are helping reclaim an almost forgotten, overgrown and unmarked cemetery situated just outside the fenced-in Morning www.alabamaliving.coop
Star cemetery in rural Sumter County. also with publicity; if people understand that cemeteries can be The overgrown field and woodlands are being cleared and the things other than places to bury the dead, they’re more likely to UA team plans to scan the area with ground-penetrating radar to help with their preservation. locate graves. An earlier scan revealed up to 10 unmarked graves. Eric Sipes, senior archaeologist with AHC’s historic preserva“I want to find my baby brother. He died when he was one year tion division, says planning is essential before doing any preservaold. I remember coming here as a little girl with my mother to visit tion efforts in a cemetery. AHC offers sample plans. his grave,” says Ella Edwards. Her family moved to Michigan when “An overall plan should be developed that establishes goals, prishe was a child; others in the community did basically the same, oritizes activities, and develops an annual maintenance schedule,” leaving the cemetery unattended for decades. Sipes says. Across Alabama, numerous cemeteries – in many cases the When it comes to intensive work, call in professionals, Sipes only remainders of once thriving communities – are imperiled says. The Alliance tries to have representatives from each of Alby abandonment, isolation, occasional vandalism and sometimes abama’s 67 counties to assist, and the AHC is also a useful source even good intentions, says Ted Urquhart, president of the Alabama for preservation efforts. Cemetery Preservation Alliance. Stories to tell The alliance, a non-profit, volunteer group, was organized to loAlliance member Greg Jeane, a retired geography professor cate and register all cemeteries and encourage their preservation at Auburn and Samford universities, said cemeteries and graves and maintenance. Similarly, the Alabama Historical Commission have evolved over the years to remaintains a record of the state’s hisflect how societies view death and torical cemeteries. other cultural aspects. From simple The goal is twofold: Honor the stone-covered graves – a practice dead, and help maintain historic some believe was carried over from structures like headstones, tombIreland – to elaborate stone workstones and statuary, which, much manship, cemeteries and graves have like outdoor museums, tell the stostories to tell about individuals and ries of communities and the people communities. who inhabited them. In recent decades, graves have “People do not think twice about come to directly reflect the individthe value of preserving historic ual’s life, whether it be removable structures, and it is time we need symbols or airbrushed headstone. to begin to think about structures Cemetery preservationist Jordan Mahaffey and resident Ella “Whether it is marbles or a cowin historic cemeteries in the same Edwards try to size up overgrown acreage that may contain boy boot or a toy car, it is definitelight,” says Margo Stringfield, a Uni- graves adjacent to Morning Star Cemetery in Sumter County. ly linked to some passion of the versity of West Florida archaeologist deceased,” Jeane says. “That sentiment has evolved into modern and anthropologist. “Markers and monuments, in addition to grave marker art, so a tombstone might have an 18-wheeler carved names and dates, reflect individual choice, changing fashions, acinto the stone, or an air-brushed picture of the deceased holding cess to and choice of materials, trade patterns and changing comtheir cat.” munities.” Ashleigh Staples, like Mahaffey, is among several in the younger Despite good intentions, sometimes the efforts of well-meaning generations that are drawn to the older cemeteries because of their volunteers and descendants result in damage to headstones and historical value. The Birmingham resident attended an Alliance tombstones from machinery and chemicals and soaps intended to meeting in May to learn more about preservation. clean the stones, says Stringfield. “As a child I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and we Stringfield suggests that anyone considering extensive work at a often visited cemeteries where family members rested,” says Stacemetery enlist help from the community and groups that might ples, 23. “My job requires that I travel throughout Alabama, so I’ve seem far removed from preservation, like bird watchers or garden made a habit of stopping to appreciate the cemeteries and history clubs. Such groups can offer help with beautification efforts, but along the way. Visiting cemeteries has become one of my favorite Do’s and don’ts of grave marker cleaning hobbies because every grave tells a story.” Despite a degree in history and a background in archaeology, • Do examine the stone before any cleaning. If there are cracks Mahaffey’s work at UWA is unrelated to her efforts involving prior decay, leave it alone because pressure could damage the marily African-American cemeteries in Alabama’s Black Belt restone. gion, and specifically stamped lettered tombstones. • Do use soft brushes and tap water to clean stones. Some bio“Because of the work I did as a student, I have become a cemlogical products are available that will not harm the stone. etery person,” says Mahaffey, 26. “People will just call me because • Do not use any acids, bleaches, household detergents or presthey have heard that I work to preserve and document cemeteries.” sure washers to clean a stone. Edwards says Mahaffey has been a tremendous help in aiding • Do consult with a professional when considering any repairs to her efforts to at least locate and provide a marker of some type to stones or statuary. each grave, even though they may not know who is buried there. Sources: Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Her brother’s grave, however, may have already been found. Cemetery Preservation Alliance. There beneath the tall grasses is a clump of irises rising out of For additional information contact the AHC at http://www.prethe ground. serveala.org/cemeteryprogram.aspx and the “We couldn’t afford to buy flowers for his grave, so we dug up ACPA - http://www.alabama-cemetery-preservation.com/ fl owers from the yard and planted them up here in this very area,” register_why.php she says. 22 OCTOBER 2017
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| Alabama People |
Brewing up a crafty business When the “Free the Hops” bill passed the Alabama Legislature in 2009, it removed some of the major hurdles restricting beer production and ushered in a new era of Alabama brewing. Fast forward to 2017, and there are currently almost 30 craft breweries here, and they’ve all tapped into the energy and interest created by industry trailblazers like Back Forty Beer and its founder, Jason Wilson. Started in 2009 and based in Gadsden, Ala., Back Forty has been a major player in Alabama’s beer boom from the beginning and is now the state’s largest craft brewery in terms of production volume, turning out the equivalent of approximately 350,000 bottles of beer about every two weeks. Wilson shares his company’s story and stresses why even non-beer drinkers should be excited by the fact that for Alabama breweries, business is hopping. – Jennifer Kornegay What does “craft beer” mean? It means a commitment to quality and process over profits and efficiency. Craft beers – and the rise of their popularity – prove that there is so much more to experience in beer than just the classic American light lager. That beer has its time and place, but I really encourage people to branch out. When did you discover “craft beer”? I had just turned 21. (laughs) No, I promise. I’m not saying I’d never had a beer before that, but I was visiting my brother in Colorado in 2001, and we went to this small, local brewery and started sampling their stuff. I had this great beer and said, “Man, this is amazing!” A guy popped up from behind the bar and said, “Thanks.” He was the brewer. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning talking to him; we were sitting on kegs, and he was telling me all about the beer he made. How did Back Forty get started? When I left Colorado, I came back to Alabama, went back to college at Auburn, graduated and ended up working in logistics for Georgia Pacific, which meant I traveled a lot. Everywhere I went I sought out the local craft brewery. In 2005, I met Jamie Ray, the brewer behind The Montgomery Brew Pub, and we became friends. By 2008, I had developed a fullfledged passion
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for craft beer, and my boss at GP could tell. He actually encouraged me to pursue it. Breweries were uncharted territory in Alabama at that time, and I didn’t think a bank would loan me money for a facility, but I raised money from friends and family, and reached out to Lazy Magnolia brewery in Mississippi. The timing was right; they had just expanded and had room to brew and package my beer, so we did a contract brewing arrangement. With Jamie’s help, I got my recipe down, and in 2009, we put out our first beer and Back Forty was born. We operated that way for 18 months. In 2011, we started brewing in our own place in downtown Gadsden. Where does the name come from? Back Forty is an old agriculture term. The “back forty” acres on a farm are the furthest from the barn, the hardest to irrigate and work. They’re under appreciated. But if you ever take the time to clear that land and nurture it, you get a great yield. It’s virgin ground. That’s how I saw the brewing industry in Alabama. I felt like the phrase just fit what I hoped we were going to do. Why base Back Forty Beer in Gadsden instead of a larger city? I’m a fifth-generation Gadsden native. But, like most kids, when I left for college, I said I was never coming back. When the steel plant shut down in the city, it hit the area hard, and there just wasn’t much to come back to. But by 2007, I sensed a renewed energy in my hometown. I saw other young people coming back. Downtown was revitalizing, with new businesses opening up down there. I realized that from a logistics standpoint, with a major interstate (I-59) right beside it, it made plenty of sense. And I saw an opportunity to make a positive difference there, to be a part of the change that was needed. Why should people who don’t even drink beer care about the craft beer boom in our state? Jobs and tax revenue. Craft breweries generate both. We now have more than 350 people directly working in the industry in the state, and Alabama breweries have an annual economic impact in the billions of dollars. Plus, we bump up the state’s image to visitors, and tourism is crucial in the state.
Alabama Bicentennial Commission celebrates
St. Stephens Historical Park A legend. A destination. A piece of paradise. Alabamaâ€™s Territorial Capital between 1817 and 1819, Old St. Stephens is celebrating the bicentennial of Alabamaâ€™s first steps toward statehood. Old St. Stephens Day will be October 7, 2017. The Opening Ceremony will begin on the main stage at 10 a.m. Food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and historical demonstrators will be on site. Local school children will present historical vignettes researched from records of Old St. Stephens. St. Stephens Historical Park also provides visitors fishing, RV camping, primitive camping, biking, bird-watching, horseback riding, picnicking and hiking. St. Stephens Historical Park is located at 2056 Jim Long Road, St. Stephens, AL 36569 For more information, call Jennifer at 251-247-2622 or go to www.oldststephens.net
Where Alabama began.
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October | Around Alabama
Mobile, “A Night Honoring Heroes,” hosted by the University of South Alabama Medical Center, highlights the courage and dedication of ﬁrst responders and medical professionals who help patients after traumatic injury. 5:30-9 p.m. Beneﬁts USA Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center. email@example.com
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PHOTO BY LAURA STEWART.
Gulf Shores, The University of South Alabama hosts a complimentary three-week series, “Becoming Alabama.” Historical journey will cover Alabama’s early inhabitants, Spanish exploration, and French settlements. Presented by John Jackson, director of Foley Public LIbrary. 1:30-3 p.m., USA-Gulf Coast Campus, 19470 Oak Road West. To register, call 251-460-7200.
Various types of arts and crafts will be on display at Spinner’s Pumpkin Patch Arts and Crafts Show Oct. 28 - 29 in Prattville.
October, Woodville, Haunted Hollow Cave Tour at Cathedral Caverns State Park. Oct. 14, 21, 28 and 31, 6:30-11 p.m. $10. Games and light concessions available. Portion of proceeds beneﬁt the DAR High School Marching Band. 637 Cave Road.
Chatom, The Wilcox Gallery presents a public performance of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at Washington County High School, 21 School St. 6:30 p.m. $5 adults, students free. wilcoxgallery.org
Sylacauga, Marble Valley Fire Department’s 4th Annual Open House/ Fundraiser Yard Sale will be held from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. 2373 Coosa County Road 5. 256-249-4996
Dothan, Alzheimer’s Resource Center’s 25th Anniversary of “A Walk to Remember.” Alzheimer victims and their families will be honored with walks, and there will be refreshments, barbecue plates, music, and prizes. Donate online or pre-register for the walk at wesharethecare. org. Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m. 334702-2273
Cullman, Oktoberfest Cornhole Tournament, Goat Island Brewing, 1646-A John H. Cooper Dr. SE. Double elimination tournament with prizes given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Proceeds beneﬁt St. Paul’s Lutheran School. Food and non-alcoholic drinks avaliable for purchase. Registration forms avaliable at stpaulscullman.com.
Orrville, Haunted History Tours at Old Cahawba. Alabama’s most famous ghost town opens at night for visitors to experience Old Cahawba after dark. Be transported to the most haunted locations where historical accounts of ghosts will be shared. The Alabama Paranormal Research group will have ghost hunting equipment for a mini investigation. Evening concludes with a bonﬁre. For times and tickets, call 334-872-8058
Sylacauga, Resources for Women welcomes Pam Tebow, Tim Tebow’s mother, as the guest speaker for the 14th Annual Fundraising Banquet at First Baptist Church, 10 S. Broadway. Reserved seating for the banquet is $25. Meet and greet tickets $25. 256-208-8888
Fort Payne, Finders Keepers Consignment Sale, VFW Fairgrounds, 151 18th St. NE. For times and more information, visit finderskeeperssale.com.
Dothan, Landmark Park Fall Farm Day. 10 a.m.4 p.m. Learn how peanuts were harvested in the Wiregrass more than 100 years ago. Cane grinding, syrup making, butter churning, soap making and other traditional farm activities. Music, antique tractors, wagon rides and the largest quilt display in the Wiregrass. 430 Landmark Drive. landmarkparkdothan.com
Cullman, Alabama Gourd Show. Unique gourd gifts, raw gourds, supplies, tools and gourd art demonstrations. $3 for adults, children 12 and under free. Cullman Civic Center, 510 Fifth St. SW. alabamagourdsociety.org
Mentone, Enjoy the fall colors and season at the Annual Mentone Colorfest. Arts, crafts, food, and live entertainment. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Mentone Brow Park, Lake Street at East River Rd. visitlookoutmountain.com
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.
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Brundidge, Peanut Butter Festival. Handmade arts and crafts, food, produce, plants, furniture, home decor, jewelry, kids activities and live performances and demonstrations. Free. Downtown Brundidge. piddle.org Cullman, 3rd Annual Fairview High School Band Car and Tractor Show. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fairview Town Park. Proceeds go toward band equipment and uniforms for the Fairview High School band. 256-531-2548
Opelika, Opelika Theatre Company’s Inagural Masquerade Ball at the Bottling Plant Event Center. Beneﬁts OTC, The Southside Center for the Arts and Expressions of a BraveHeart. Dress is Sunday attire to formal. Dinner, dancing, drinks and silent auction. 6 p.m. opelikatheatrecompany.com
Prattville, Spinner’s Pumpkin Patch Arts & Crafts Show. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Features arts and crafts, children’s activities, and food vendors. Spinner’s Park, 390 West Sixth St. Free. spinnersprattville.com
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Alabama co-ops help restore power in hurricane-ravaged Florida
rews from 19 of Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives were sent to help five Florida electric cooperatives with power restoration in the wake of Hurricane Irma in September. More than 210 men joined forces with their fellow cooperatives in areas affected by the hurricane, which left more than 75 percent of Floridians without electricity. Alabama’s crews are part of a nationwide effort by 5,000 electric cooperative workers mobilized to restore power to an estimated 1 million cooperative members left in the dark as Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction through the Southeast. Confronting the aftermath of high winds and heavy rain, mutual aid linemen from more than 25 states were at work
at co-ops in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Peak outage estimates indicated there were 760,000 co-op outages in Florida, 535,000 in Georgia and 100,000 in South Carolina. “Alabama’s cooperatives are always willing to help our fellow cooperatives when there is a need,” said Fred Braswell, president and CEO of the Alabama Rural Electric Association, which represents Alabama’s 22 electric cooperatives. AREA coordinated the statewide response to the massive power outage. Alabama’s cooperatives were mobilized to assist Clay, Suwanee Valley, Central Florida, Tri-County and Okefenokee electric cooperatives. Cooperatives helping in the effort were Covington, Baldwin EMC,
Marshall-DeKalb, Joe Wheeler EMC, Pioneer, South Alabama, Central Alabama, Cullman, Dixie, Cherokee, North Alabama, Black Warrior EMC, Coosa Valley, Sand Mountain, Wiregrass, Clarke-Washington EMC, Tombigbee, Pea River and Southern Pine. Alabama’s 22 rural electric cooperatives deliver power to more than 1 million people, or a quarter of the state’s population, and they maintain more than 71,000 miles of power line.
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 Readers remember life before a/c Really enjoyed the story about life before air conditioning (“Hardy Jackson’s Alabama,” August 2017). I still remember the evening we were sitting at our kitchen bar in Monroe County, eating with sweat dripping off our elbows. My dad looked at our mom and said, “We’re buying an a/c tomorrow.” We thought, “We must be rich.” Ricky Simpson, Loxley I wonder.... Was it A/C that annihilated the lightning ‘ bugs that I caught in my Bama grape jelly jar with air holes in the top? I miss them. Paula Bette Siniard Tally, Mentone
Clockwise, from top: Crews from Central Alabama EC work to restore power to members of Clay EC in Florida; Black Warrior EMC helps Central Florida EC; and Cullman EC assists Clay EC in Keystone Heights, Fla.
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Enjoyed your article, however, I must point out Dr. John Gorrie, Apalachicola, Florida, is credited with inventing air conditioning. One may visit the museum showing his original invention and work there. Richard Gilchrist, Troy Hardy Jackson replies: Point taken. I think Carrier is credited with making a practical unit that could be mass produced. But Gorrie should get his due. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any recognition of his anniversary outside Apalachicola. So it was Carrier’s anniversary that inspired me to consider what a/c has done for us all. www.alabamaliving.coop
| Gardens | Left to right: Paw paw, persimmon, kiwi, pomegranate and kumquat.
Fun fall fruits
A matter of minding your Ps and Ks
eed a local source of fun, fresh fruit this fall and winter? It’s as easy as minding your Ps and Ks — as in persimmons, pomegranates, pawpaws, kiwifruit and kumquats. These often lesser known, or a least lesser grown, fruits are now, or soon will be, in season, and they are all easy to grow additions to the home garden and landscape. Many of us grew up eating (or at least attempting to eat) the fruit of the American persimmon, a native tree that produces golden-orange, muscadine-size fruits which, when they fully ripen in the fall, are morsels of sweetness (some say they taste like dates) enjoyed by humans and wildlife alike. The problem with native persimmons is that unripe persimmons are high in the astringent, pucker-producing compound tannic acid. But ripe ones are soft, delicious and, according to folklore, predictors of winter weather. Slice their seeds in half and take a gander at the shape therein: a spoon shape indicates snow to shovel, a knife shape warns of cutting winter winds and a fork shape predicts a mild winter with good eating. Though ripe American persimmons make fine eating whether consumed outof-hand or in puddings, preserves and other dishes, their small size can make preparing them a bit of a bother. However, there are now a number of larger-fruited Asian (sometimes called oriental) persimmons available to us. These persimmons produce gorgeous orange to reddish, baseball-sized fruits that ripen more readily and reliably than their native cousins.
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
32 OCTOBER 2017
Another fruit that comes from our own native woods is the pawpaw, an understory tree that produces large greenish-black mango-like fruits with a custardy texture and sweet, sometimes nutty, tropical flavor. Pawpaws reportedly helped sustain the Lewis and Clark expeditioners in the early 1800s and these days they are used in puddings, ice creams and sorbets and to flavor breads, smoothies and even craft beer. Pomegranates, which are not native to the Alabama but have been here so long many of us consider them ours, provide a whole different taste experience. These gorgeous shrubs to small trees produce a handsome leathery fruit filled with sweettart arils (the flesh covering the seed) that are delicious to munch on, sprinkle on salads and desserts, press for juice or cook down into a syrup. Kumquats, another nonnative plant that’s been grown in the South for generations, are citrus shrubs that produce small (about the size of a shooter-type marble) orange-colored fruits. They are delicious simply peeled and popped into your mouth, but also are fabulous candied or used in jellies. While they are more common in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama, cold-hardy cultivars can be grown as far north as Huntsville if they are shielded from winter winds and cold by planting them in pots or on a protected southern wall. And then there is the kiwifruit, another import that grows well in much of Alabama, especially in the central part of the state. This woody vine, which has variegated foliage that starts out green and develops attractive mottled white spots and sometimes a pink tip as it matures, produces egg-sized fuzzy fruits with greenish-yellow flesh that tastes somewhere between berries and bananas. The thing about all of these plants is that, while you’re waiting for them to pro-
duce fruit (and for some that may take up to six years), they can be attractive flowering additions to the landscape in areas of full to partial sun. And this fall and on into early winter are great times to plant them. Make sure you choose a variety or cultivar that is best suited for your area of the state and keep in mind that for some, such as pawpaws and persimmons, you may need to purchase two plants to ensure cross pollination for proper fruit production. To learn more about these Ps and Ks, check with your local experts, including the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Master Gardener groups, plant nurseries and fellow gardeners. And keep your eyes peeled for educational events, such as an oriental persimmon tour that will be held Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. at Petals from the Past nursery in Jemison, that feature these and other fun fruit options.
Check out fall plant sales sponsored by local gardening and civic clubs and at area botanical gardens. Keep an eye out for sales of summer lawn and garden supplies and equipment. Clean old garden debris and dead plant material out of garden beds and the landscape. Test soil and add amendments as needed. Plant spring bulbs, shrubs and trees. Sow seed for wildﬂowers. Dry and save seed from end-of-season ﬂowers, vegetables and herbs. Clean and store empty pots, garden tools and equipment for the winter. Plant cool-season crops such as lettuces, spinach, turnips, radishes, onions and garlic. Fill bird feeders and birdbaths to attract migrating and local birds. www.alabamaliving.coop
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ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive. Game of My Life: Alabama Crimson Tide, by Tommy Hicks, Sports Publishing, $24.99 (sports). Longtime sportswriter Hicks has updated his memorable stories of Alabama football, from Harry Gilmer and his play in the 1946 Rose Bowl to Mark Ingram becoming the Tide’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 2009. Several former players share their memories of the Tide’s most memorable games.
Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman, by Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner, University of Alabama Press, $29.95 (memoir). Brown rose from the despair of racial segregation to become a noted military aviator and educator. Col. Brown fought as a combat pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II; after the war, he joined the Strategic Air Command before earning his Ph.D. and serving as an administrator at what is now Columbus State Community College.
North Alabama Beer: An Intoxicating History, by Sarah Belanger and Kamara Bowling Davis, Arcadia Publishing, $21.99 (local history). The authors trace the history of beer in north Alabama from the early saloon days before Prohibition to the craft beer explosion that’s occurred just in the last decade. The book features many historical and current photos that help tell the story.
Earline’s Pink Party: The Social Rituals and Domestic Relics of a Southern Woman, by Elizabeth Findley Shores, University of Alabama Press, $29.95 (Southern culture/memoir). The author sifts through her family’s scattered artifacts to understand her grandmother’s life in relation to the troubled racial history of Tuscaloosa. The book is an analysis of the life of a small-city matron in the Deep South that offers a new way of thinking about white racial attitudes.
The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide from the Country’s Most Irritable Green Thumb, by Steve Bender, Time Inc., $25.99 (gardening/humor). Gardeners everywhere have turned to Bender, Southern Living’s senior garden editor, for his keen knowledge and gardening know-how delivered with equal doses of sarcasm and humor for nearly 35 years. The book also features his rules for gardening, Q&As and his favorite reader responses.
The Best of Alabama Living: Favorite Recipes from Alabama’s Largest Lifestyle Magazine, published by the Alabama Rural Electric Association, $19.95. Alabama Living’s most popular feature is its recipes, and last year we collected some of the best ones from the last few years and published our own spiral-bound cookbook. The book includes a forward from Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes, profiles of some of the featured cooks and beautiful photography. Order your copy online at alabamaliving.coop, or send a check to Alabama Living Cookbook, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.
34 OCTOBER 2017
| Worth the drive |
The Bright Star continues to shine in Bessemer By Jennifer Crossley Howard
immy Koikos believes in downtown Bessemer so much that celebrities singing he insists his family heirloom of a restaurant, The Bright Star, The Bright stay in this town sandwiched between Tuscaloosa and BirStar’s praismingham, continuing to beckon the 3,500 patrons that visit each week. es. Sandra Bullock takes her father, Jimmy, here. There’s a special To walk through downtown Bessemer in 2017 is to take a walk Alabama football room dedicated to Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, through a faded Pleasantville, filled with the occasional bicyclist and in sincere sportsmanship, an Auburn table sits under a photo and city bus. Old neon block-letter signs for jewelers and furniof a grinning Cam Newton. ture stores anchor streets filled with empty storefronts, many of Koikos is a diehard Alabama football fan, from his crimson tie which left in a mass exodus in the 1980s. to his red plaid button-down shirt, embellished with a small eleBut build a star, and they will come — in droves — for lunch. phant. “There are a few empty spaces,” said longtime owner Koikos, The decor, mostly green and brass with dark wood booths “but we feel real good about the future of Bessemer. If you moved and marble tabletops, could pass for a dining car in an old train. it, it wouldn’t be Guests of honor, the same.” including BullThe Bright ock, are honored Star claims it is with nameplates. “America’s oldWall-size muest family owned rals from the e x p e r i e n c e ,” main dining dating back to room, former1907. Back then, ly layered with the chicken noosticky, brown dle soup cost muck from dea nickel at this cades of cigmeat-and-three, arette smoke and 110 years and grease, are later, regulars clearing to their drive 40 miles early 1900s gloto eat here every ry. A European day. Fresh fish artist traveling including snapthrough Alaper, delivered bama offered to twice a week paint the Medifrom Panama terranean scenes City, and aged in exchange for steaks made the food and board. menu famous. It’s taken three The Bright Star owner Jimmy Koikos and his second cousin, Andreas Anastassakis, who oversees daily The restaurant operations at the restaurant. Both men place a top priority on customer service, which has no doubt been a years for the renserves lunch and key to the restaurant’s longevity. ovation. PHOTO BY JENNIFER CROSSLEY HOWARD dinner and closIn further rees an hour in the afternoon to shift to heavier dinner fare. spect to The Bright Star’s storied past, its sign that has hung outThe establishment’s bestselling dishes are the snapper and the side on 19th Street North since 1947 is also being refurbished. Greek-style beef tenderloin, which won the honor of “best steak” “This is a museum with food,” one new guest observed to Koiin the state from the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association in 2012. kos. For lunch, diners’ top requests include the Fried Snapper AlHe has been prepping his family’s legacy with Andreas Anastasmondine and Fried Snapper Throats. sakis, who oversees daily operation and occasionally cooks. AnasLemon icebox pie, strawberry shortcake and bread pudding top tassakis came from Toronto seven years ago to run the place. They reviews and palettes for dessert. are second cousins and connected though their familial Greek Nick Saban has a sweet spot for the pies, as he wrote in a framed Orthodox faith. Years ago, Anastassakis baptized Koikos’ sister’s letter on one of the many walls of newspaper clips, photos and daughter’s son. 36 OCTOBER 2017
A marker traces the Bright Star’s history, which dates to 1907. PHOTO BY LENORE VICKREY
“We are blessed to have someone in the family take over The Bright Star,” Koikos says. “It’s really a dream come true at the end of the day,” Anastassakis says. As in any sustaining business, food is far from the only ingredient to longevity. Koikos and Anastassakis prize customer service in combining their Greek heritage with a bit of southern hospitality. “We try to touch each table,” Anastassakis says. “That’s not something you see at most restaurants.” Koikos also believes in investing in his restaurant. The Bright Star saw a $350,000 kitchen expansion in 2012 and remodeling and periodical restoration to original tiles and ceilings. This year, Anastassakis added catering to the menu. “I wanted to leave my footprint,” he says. “I also wanted to take the opportunity and expand on it as well.”
Fresh ﬁsh and aged steaks are trademarks at The Bright Star. PHOTO BY LENORE VICKREY
The Bright Star
304 19th St. North Bessemer, AL 35020 205-424-9444 www.thebrightstar.com Hours: 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m seven days a week; 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4:30 to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
| Consumer Wise |
Ductless heat pumps
Heat and cool your home without blowing your budget By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
A large or small blower can be installed depending on the size of the room. NW ENERGY EFFICIENCY ALLIANCE
This graphic displays a typical ductless heat pump setup.
The exterior compressor can be set on a foundation or mounted on the wall.
PHOTO BY SCOTT GIBSON
My husband and I are tired of paying such high electric bills during the winter. We think our winter bills are high because of our baseboard heaters, and our summer bills are high because of our window AC units. Our neighbor just installed a ductless heat pump system in their home. Do you think that would work for us?
Mini-split ductless heat pumps are becoming more popular for good reason. They can heat efficiently even when winter temperatures drop below the freezing point, and they are an economical and energy efficient replacement for window AC units. Ductless heat pumps are often installed as the primary heating source and paired with a backup system that kicks in when outside temperatures are extremely cold. Baseboard heaters are an electric resistance system, and use much more energy than a heat pump, which is just moving heat in or out of the home. If you make this change, you should reduce your heating costs considerably. Heat pumps work harder as the outside air temperature drops, but combining the heat pump with a backup heating system solves that problem. I recently spoke with Joe Hull, an Energy Services Advisor with Midstate Electric Cooperative in Oregon. Members there have found that ductless systems with a 38 OCTOBER 2017
backup heating system can work effectively to as low as -28 Fahrenheit. Ductless heat pump systems could be an ideal solution if your home doesn’t have a duct system. If your existing ductwork is in poor condition, installing a ductless heat pump may be more practical or less expensive than repairing, sealing and insulating ducts. A ductless heat pump has two main components: the outdoor compressor and the indoor air handler. Coolant and electrical lines run through a conduit from the compressor outside the home through the wall to the inside air handler(s). Ductless heat pumps can be configured in different ways. A common approach that could deliver the most value is to provide heating and cooling to one large zone in the home by using a single compressor and a single air handler. Or you could use one compressor to power as many as four inside air handlers, each with its own thermostat. A home could even have more than one outside compressor. Scott Mayfield, an expert from Kootenai Electric Cooperative in Idaho, said installing a ductless system in his home had benefits beyond cost savings. “With baseboard heaters, the heat used to rise along the walls, but with the new ductless system, it flows throughout the rooms evenly. It would have been worth switching to ductless for the comfort alone.”
In some parts of the country, ductless mini-splits are becoming more popular in new home construction as well. In fact, a friend of mine in Hood River, Oregon had a ductless system installed in her new home. Ductless heat pumps are often a great solution, but as you explore this option it would be wise to consider: • What are the other investments you could make to reduce your energy costs or improve comfort? Is the ductless heat pump the best option? A thorough energy audit of your home will help answer these questions. • Are rebates offered by your electric co-op? • What is the best size and efficiency level for a ductless heat pump in your situation? • Are there contractors in your area with experience installing ductless heat pumps?
Contact your local electric co-op for a list of recommended contractors, and visit www.energystar.gov for tips on hiring contractors. 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 consumerowned, not-for-proﬁt electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefﬁciency.com for more information.
COMPETITION First Place $250 | Second Place $100 | Third Place $50 Sponsored by Alabama Living
Make your best crockpot recipe and bring it to the Alabama National Fair, Creative Living Center, in Montgomery on Wednesday, Nov. 1 by 7 p.m. You must use at least one Alabama product! See instructions and enter online at www.alnationalfair.org under the competition link.
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â€˜Best of Alabama Livingâ€™ cookbook Order your copy for $19.95 at alabamaliving.coop, or send a check for $19.95 for each book ordered to: Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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James H. “Goat” Hollis and Tommy Russell after a successful hunt.
Still chasing the bobwhite
“Goat” Hollis began hunting the bobwhite 77 years ago, and hasn’t stopped since Story and photo by Ben Norman
eventy-seven years ago, 9-year-old James H. Hollis held his 20-gauge Sears and Roebuck single-barrel shotgun close to his chest as he inched past the English pointer locked up on point, just behind a covey of wild bobwhites. As the young hunter passed the dog, an eruption of bobwhites filled the sky in front of him. Briefly startled, but recovering quickly, young Hollis swung the barrel toward his target and pulled the trigger. A direct hit tumbled the bird as feathers floated down on a gentle breeze. “Goat” Hollis, as he is known locally, had just bagged his first bobwhite and sealed his fate as a quail hunter for life. Today, at 86, he is still chasing the bobwhite across the hills and hollows of Crenshaw County. Hollis enjoys telling new acquaintances how he got his nickname, “Goat.” “When I was 6 years old, my uncle bought me a billy goat and a little red wagon with a harness so I could hitch my goat to the wagon. I would ride my wagon, pulled by my goat, all over Brantley. People would meet me on the sidewalk and say ‘Hello, Goat.’ This continued for some time until I got rid of my goat and people kept saying ‘Hello, Goat.’ All that time I thought they were telling the goat hello, but it was really me they were talking to,” Hollis laughs. After killing that first bobwhite, Hollis says he got his first bird dog at age 10. “My first dog was an English pointer, but over the years I have had many different breeds. I’ve hunted with English pointers, English and Irish setters, and Brittany spaniels. The best birddog I ever had was a ‘drop,’ which is a cross between a pointer and setter. You don’t see many drops today, but they were fairly common when we had a lot of wild quail.” Bobwhite quail were abundant through the 1950s and ’60s, but began a decline in the ’70s. By the 1980s, it was hardly worth a hunter’s trouble to hunt wild birds exclusively. “My hunting buddy and birddog trainer, Tommy Russell of Luverne, Ala., and I stock our hunting land with flight-conditioned, pen-raised bobwhite today, but we both remember the good old days of wild quail hunting. Back when Tommy and I could hold 40 OCTOBER 2017
out to walk all day, we found plenty of wild birds up until the early ’80s. Tommy is still just a youngster at 84 and can still outwalk me,” says Hollis with a grin. Both Hollis and Russell agree that the major decline in wild quail populations was due to habitat change. “Back when I started hunting quail there were a lot of small farms with corn and peanuts and a large family garden,” Hollis says. “This situation was ideal for quail. Also, people allowed their fence rows to grow up and they burned the woods off every year or two. Again, this created ideal habitat for quail. Also, predators were controlled better back then. The disappearance of these things worked to the detriment of the wild bobwhite. By the early ’80s we began to put out pen-raised birds. Today, that’s all we hunt because wild quail are just not there in huntable numbers.” Hollis has spent most of his life in Brantley, except for the time he spent in the army during the latter months of the Korean War. He began working at Brantley Bank and Trust in 1956 and became president in 1975. He still puts in a full day’s work most days, unless Tommy Russell calls and suggests a quail hunting trip. When this happens, he often slips out the back door, loads the dogs and heads to the field. Hollis and Russell like to tell first-time hunting guests about the five-star tailgate meal they have planned for them. They are quite surprised when their hosts break out the bologna, sardines, potted meat and Vienna sausage with vintage Pepsi Cola to wash it down. Today, Hollis and his guests hunt from modified golf carts or utility vehicles. Rather than “walking the birds up,” they now use a flushing English cocker spaniel, Winnie, named after Hollis’ beloved mother and owned by Hollis’ grandson, Stuart Mash Jr. While the years have slowed their pace a bit, “Goat” Hollis and Tommy Russell won’t let a few aches and pains associated with the senior years get in the way of a good quail hunt. When Winnie flushes a bobwhite, Hollis leads the bird with his old briar-scratched double barrel and fires. When the bobwhite falls, he once again becomes that excited 9-year-old boy of 77 years ago. Ben Norman writes from Highland Home, Alabama. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Outdoors |
Game wardens have long been a part of Alabama’s law enforcement
ith hunting seasons in progress or starting soon, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen will take to the fields, forests and wetlands all across Alabama to pursue everything from doves to deer. Most of them will obey all the laws and participate in a tradition as old as mankind. But not everyone judiciously obeys every game law. Some make honest mistakes, while others just don’t care or think the laws don’t apply to them. For those people, heed this warning: Someone highly trained and armed may be watching. By the late 19th century, many conservationists became alarmed by disappearing wildlife populations. For instance, fewer than 500,000 whitetail deer roamed the entire United States around 1900. Few game laws existed in the nation. Where laws existed, states did little enforcement. About 110 years ago, in November 1907, Rep. Henry Steagall of Dale County introduced legislation to create a professional conservation department named the Alabama Department of Game and Fisheries. In 1971, it was renamed the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Steagall authored legislation to create a
government agency with authority to protect the dwindling wildlife and fisheries resources of Alabama,” says Kevin Dodd, the executive director of the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association. “The timing of his actions might seem radical to us, as they occurred when much of the Alabama population lived in rural settings near poverty standards where any game, bird or fish was pursued mainly to supplement the table or family income.” According to Dodd, who spent 32 years as a conservation enforcement officer and retired earlier this year as the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries chief of law enforcement, Steagall didn’t invent the idea of passing laws to protect wildlife. But he believed many previous laws failed because individual legislators could exempt their districts from the laws – or the local sheriff simply refused to enforce them. “The legislation introduced by Steagall and supported by many others had been encouraged by outgoing Gov. William Jelks,” Dodd says. “By forming a new government agency to oversee the wise use of wildlife resources, the entire state would be affected rather than selected regions. The bill was a comprehensive package that
addressed landowner rights and the use of public waters, established seasons and limits, defined game birds and animals, restricted several activities and mandated penalties for violations.” The new governor, Braxton Comer, signed the bill into law and appointed Rep. John Wallace of Madison County to serve as the first Department of Game and Fisheries commissioner. Wallace promoted the concept of “conservation through education” to teach people about the laws and why they existed. He also appointed H.M. Henderson and W.F. Sirmon as the first conservation law enforcement officers, or game wardens. More appointments soon followed. Wallace charged the wardens with enforcing all state game and fish laws. As incentive, the officers could keep a small portion of any fines collected from violators they caught. “The logic of a state law enforcement officer, who answered to the commissioner rather than local voters, would prove to be the cornerstone that made the legislation successful,” Dodd says. “Turnover in warden ranks was frequent for the first few decades as the law and its enforcers were slow to gain public acceptance. Some of the
Officer Vance Wood demonstrates the ease of the game check app on his smart phone to a group of hunters.. PHOTO BY BILLY POPE
42 OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop
Who would have known that guy in camo wasn’t just another hunter?
1908 convictions for violations of the new game law included a state senator, a sheriff and a county solicitor. Such prosecution would likely never have occurred when local sheriffs were solely responsible for enforcement.” The new laws and the enforcement of them gradually became accepted as animal populations began to recover. During the Great Depression, the governor at the time decided to cut the game warden program to save money. Sportsmen across the state vociferously objected to that idea. The governor backed down and the game wardens stayed on the job. “These citizens recognized that any progress gained over decades would be quickly lost if the enforcement arm of the game and fish program were diminished or removed, a fact that remains especially relevant today,” Dodd says. “The idea of a state law enforcement officer pledged to enforce laws protecting public wildlife resources was an idea born in North America and since copied around the world.” Today, sportsmen contribute more than $2 billion annually to the Alabama economy and the populations of many game and fish species flourish. Twice as many whitetail deer live in Alabama now than existed in the entire nation a century ago. Sportsmen enjoy long seasons and liberal limits that allow everyone to participate in the great outdoors all year long if they wish. However, new generations of highly trained professional “Wallace’s Wardens” are still watching. They continue to make sure everyone obeys the rules or suffers the consequences. John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s a professional freelance writer and photographer with more than 2,500 articles published in more than 150 different magazines. Contact him through Facebook.
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.
a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
OCT. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 NOV. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
03:52 04:52 05:37 --07:37 08:07 08:52 09:37 10:37 ----01:52 03:22 04:22 04:16 10:46 11:31 -07:31 08:31 09:31 10:46 ---01:46 03:01 04:01 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 07:16 08:01 08:46 09:31 10:31 11:31 --12:16 02:16 03:31 09:31
10:07 10:52 11:37 06:22 06:52 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:22 03:07 03:37 04:37 05:52 07:22 08:37 09:22 10:22 10:01 05:01 06:01 06:46 12:31 01:16 02:01 02:46 04:01 05:16 06:31 07:46 08:46 09:31 04:46 05:31 06:01 06:46 12:16 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:16 03:01 03:46 05:01 06:16 07:31 08:46 04:16
10:52 05:22 05:37 12:07 12:37 01:07 01:37 02:07 02:37 03:07 12:07 --09:52 10:07 10:37 04:37 04:16 04:31 05:01 12:16 12:46 01:31 02:31 03:46 09:16 11:46 08:46 09:16 03:16 03:31 04:01 04:31 04:46 -12:16 01:01 01:31 02:16 03:16 05:31 09:01 08:16 08:31 02:16 02:46 03:16
04:52 11:22 11:52 12:22 06:22 06:37 07:07 07:22 07:37 07:52 08:07 01:52 02:52 03:22 03:52 04:07 11:07 10:46 11:16 11:46 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:16 08:01 12:01 01:16 02:01 02:46 09:46 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 05:16 05:31 06:01 06:16 06:31 07:01 07:31 12:31 01:16 01:46 09:16 09:46 10:16 OCTOBER 2017
| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):
December 2017 – October 25 January 2018 – November 25 February 2018 – December 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower. com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classiﬁeds.
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| Alabama Recipes |
Grab your piece of the pie Enjoying any of our reader-submitted pie recipes is as easy as, well, you know. By Jennifer Kornegay | Food prepared and photographed by Brooke Echols
ie occupies a prominent place in Southern food culture. Almost any occasion that brings people together probably has pie on the menu: family reunions, Sunday dinners and Fourth of July celebrations. What’s a Southern Thanksgiving without some kind of hearty pie? No matter what else you eat (or how much you eat), you know you’ve got to save room for at least a sliver of your grandma’s, mother’s, aunt’s (or uncle’s!) “insert family specialty here” pie. And while apple pie is one of the quintessential symbols of
America, perhaps pecan or peach should take that role for our region. Paying homage to and highlighting distinctly Southern ingredients, they both offer a slice of our area’s authentic, homey charm in every bite. But that’s just an opinion. Perhaps you’d pick blueberry or buttermilk. Or maybe you prefer savory pies, stuffed with veggies, cheeses and even meat. Whatever slice selection sounds the most satisfying to you, you’ll probably ﬁnd something similar among the bevy of reader-submitted recipes we got for this issue.
Fig-Pecan Pie 3 cups peeled ﬁgs
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
Deep-dish pie crust
1/4 cup ﬂour
1 ready-to-bake pie crust (for top)
Combine ﬁgs, pecans, lemon juice, brown sugar and ﬂour, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake deep-dish pie shell for 12 minutes or until just starting to brown. Pour ﬁg mixture in pie shell and cover with pats of cold butter. Place ready-to-bake pie crust on top and crimp edges with fork. Trim excess pie dough around edges and place dough designs on top. Cut four diagonal slits in top crust. Beat egg, and using pastry brush, cover top of pie. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. (If top is not golden brown, turn oven to broil for two minutes.)
Cook of the Month: Debbie Holder, Baldwin EMC Debbie Holder grew up loving ﬁgs, thanks to the heavy harvest she helped her daddy bring in from an aunt’s ﬁg trees each year. When she moved to Foley, Ala., in 2004, she ended up with a neighbor who has ﬁg trees and who happens to be generous with them. “I would make ﬁg preserves and mufﬁns
46 OCTOBER 2017
out of them,” Debbie said, “but I wanted to try something different, so I thought I’d put them in a pie.” The ﬁrst time she made the pie, she didn’t have quite enough fruit, so she augmented her ﬁlling with pecans. “It turned out great. The two really go together,” she said. And since her favorite part of any pie is the crust, she made her new creation a doublecrust pie.
Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
Butternut Squash Pie
Cranberry-Orange Pie 1 ½ 1 1 1
cup whole berry cranberry sauce cup brown sugar Zest of one orange 3-ounce package orange gelatin cup heavy cream 9-inch, ready-made crumb crust
In a small saucepan, bring cranberry sauce, brown sugar and orange zest to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until partially set. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream mixture into the gelatin mixture. Spread into pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Garnish with whipped topping. Serves 8. Mary Donaldson Covington EC
Coconut Pineapple Pie
2 pie shells, unbaked 2 cups sugar ½ cup cocoa ½ cup self-rising flour 2 sticks margarine, melted 4 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 3 1 1 1
Mix all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shells. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Opal Frost Joe Wheeler EMC
Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Dec. Edible gifts Jan. Crock Pot Feb. Spicy foods
Oct. 8 Nov. 8 Dec. 8
3 1 1 ½
cup sugar tablespoons all-purpose flour cup light corn syrup cup flaked coconut 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained eggs, beaten teaspoon vanilla extract 9-inch deep-dish pie crust stick butter, melted
In a bowl, combine sugar and flour. Add syrup, coconut, pineapple, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Pour into pastry shell. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted into middle of pie comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly. Cool on a wire rack and chill before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Trudy Nelson Central Alabama EC
Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.
Chicken Salad Pie 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell 2/3 cup shredded cheese, divided 1 cup sour cream ²⁄3 cup mayonnaise 1½ cups chopped, cooked chicken 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans, divided ½ cup celery Prick the bottom and sides of pie shell several times with fork. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-16 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, combine sour cream and mayonnaise in a bowl. Stir in the chicken, pineapple, 1 cup walnuts and celery. Pour into cooled crust. Top with remaining cheese and walnuts. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer before cutting. Yields 6 servings. Peggy Key North Alabama EC
Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions! Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.
48 OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop
Butternut Squash Pie 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons softened butter 1½ cups cooked and mashed squash 1 unbaked pie shell ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese Combine eggs, sugar, salt, spices and milk. Add butter to squash and blend with other ingredients. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Add shredded cheese to hot pie. Peggy Lunsford Pea River EC
Farmhouse Peanut Butter Pie 2 9-inch graham cracker pie crusts 1 stick salted butter, room temperature 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 1½ cups creamy peanut butter 3 cups whipped topping 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted Combine all ingredients with mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread into pie crusts. Add chocolate topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Chocolate topping: 1 cup milk chocolate chips 2/3 cup of half and half Combine chips and half and half in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, pausing to stir often. When chips are melted and mixture is slightly thickened, spread on pies. Dianne Herring Wiregrass EC
Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
Walnut Raisin Pie
Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
1 cup dark corn syrup 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons melted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon rum extract 1½ cups (6 ounces) walnuts ½ cup raisins 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie crust
3 cups fresh blueberries (may use frozen but thawed) 2 regular unbaked pie shells or 1 deep dish pie shell 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup all-purpose flour Pinch of salt 2 beaten eggs ½ cup sour cream
Stir first six ingredients together thoroughly using a spoon. Mix in walnuts and raisins. Pour into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven for 60-70 minutes. Cool for two hours. Store pie in the refrigerator. Top slices with whipped topping if desired.
Crumble: 1 cup sugar 1 cup self-rising flour ½ cup cold butter
Patricia Harrison Pioneer EC
Pecan Pie 1 1 ½ 1 2 3 1 1
cup white corn syrup cup light brown sugar teaspoon salt stick melted butter teaspoons vanilla whole eggs, slightly beaten heaping cup pecans unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse blueberries and remove all stems. (Hint: If blueberries are not sweet enough, sprinkle with sugar and set aside.) Place berries in bottom of pie shells. Combine sugar, flour and salt. Add eggs and sour cream to flour mixture. Spoon over berries. To make the crumble, combine sugar, flour and cold butter with fork or pastry cutter and sprinkle on top or over pie. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown for 50 minutes . Donna Gilliam Tombigbee EC
Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter and vanilla. Mix in eggs. Prick the pie shell with a fork, and pour mixture into pie shell. You can either sprinkle the pecans over the filling, or mix in with the other ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Check oven as it bakes. Sherry Tew Pea River 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. Alabama Living
OCTOBER 2017 49
Cast your vote for the Best of Alabama for the chance to win
Vote online for a chance to win an extra
Deadline to vote is Oct. 31, 2017.
It’s back! Once again, Alabama Living readers have a chance to vote on the places and things that make our state great! We’ve got some new categories this year. So check out the questions, write in your answer for each one and tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama!”
FOOD 1 Best seafood restaurant
2 Best Alabama-made burger
Best recipe from “The Best of Alabama Living” cookbook
Best game to hunt/fish/trap in Alabama
Best hiking/biking trail
TRAVEL 6 Best historic hotel
Best “living history” experience
Best small town for unique shopping
Best day trip in Alabama
Best Alabama souvenir
Best article you’ve read in Alabama Living in the last year
Best thing about living in Alabama
Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________ City: _________________ St: _______Zip: _________ Phone Number: __________________________ Co-op: _________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________________________________
Remember, if your name is drawn and you voted online at www.alabamaliving.com, you’ll win
Vote online at www.alabamaliving.com or mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.
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OCTOBER 2017 51
| Our Sources Say |
TVA and cooperatives:
focusing together on things that matter
very October since 1930, not-forprofit cooperatives have celebrated Cooperative Month. As a general manager in Customer Delivery for the Tennessee Valley Authority, I am given the opportunity to serve the electric cooperatives here in Alabama each day. Our work together gives me direct insight into the many qualities that make cooperatives different from other types of utilities and businesses. In Alabama, there are 23 electric cooperatives, including eight that purchase their electricity from TVA. As a member of a cooperative, you are much more than just a customer. Other types of electric utilities have customers. They’re in the business to make a profit or to provide a return on investment for distant shareholders. But as a member of an electric cooperative, you are a part-owner of the business. You and your fellow members govern how a cooperative operates through a locally elected board of directors. They’re the same people you see at the grocery store, at church and at Friday night’s football game. Your local cooperatives play a key role in your local economy. They provide good jobs to your neighbors and friends. They deliver goods and services that keep your community humming. And, they seek opportunities to lend a hand in the community and with your schools. And when you have questions about how to more efficiently use electricity, you can turn to your local cooperative for answers. They take great pride in being your trusted energy provider. Whether it’s recommendations for ways to trim your power costs or interest in renewable energy options, they are ready to serve you.
Using the latest technology
Today, boards of directors for the electric cooperatives in Alabama and across the Tennessee Valley are taking a long, hard look at ways to employ the latest technology to meet your appetite for energy while also keeping costs down. Investments in sophisticated equipment designed to monitor the electric system, note power interruptions and make corrections are paying huge dividends by reducing or helping eliminate power outages. Control centers, sometimes called the heartbeat of the electric system, monitor the complex grid of lines, poles and interconnections. When a problem arises, the system lets operators know immediately so that corrections can be made. Although electric cooperatives have rural roots that stretch back to the 1930s, the systems they (and TVA) use today to keep electricity safe and reliable are nothing short of modern marvels.
About 80 or so years ago, cooperatives took on the gigantic task of electrifying the rural countryside. It was a challenge that others would not undertake. Today, having conquered that amazing task, your electric cooperatives, along with TVA, are looking at ways we can help solve other difficult challenges for the communities we serve. For instance, we are in an ideal position to reinforce and expand existing infrastructure to offer life-enhancing services such as broadband. Together, we are focusing on the things that matter to you. It’s a part of the cooperative difference.
Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
52 OCTOBER 2017
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Why we will defeat breast cancer O
ctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I became particularly aware of this when I lost an old and dear friend to the disease. On a more positive note, several other friends who are breast cancer survivors continue to thrive. Losses are hard to take. But the survivors show us that the fight continues and there are victories to celebrate. And when I think of the victorious, I think of Aunt Roscoe. Aunt Roscoe was a breast cancer survivor. It was a long time ago – late 1940s or early 1950s, dates get fuzzy – before radiation or chemo and all that. Back then, when you had breast cancer you either died or got it cut off. Roscoe went the cut-off route. Radical mastectomy. Which left her breastless on one side. So she made herself a replacement, a “falsie,” padded in the shape of the real thing. You see, Aunt Roscoe was a seamstress. A good one. When she resumed sewing, Aunt Roscoe found that her “falsie” was an excellent place to stick pins when there were too many for her to hold in her mouth, which is where seamstresses hold extra pins, in case you didn’t know. Always with her, always within easy reach, her falsie was a novel and convenient pin cushion. However, the true value of this innovation did not come clear until a year or so later, well after its use became second nature to the user. One day Aunt Roscoe was hard at work pinning a pattern when there came a knock on the door. Pins in her mouth, she answered it and found a salesman, sample case in hand, ready to show her something that he knew she could not live without. He began making his pitch. She could not tell him “no” because of the pins in her mouth. So while he talked, she absentmindedly began taking the pins, one by one, from between her lips and sticking them in the pin cushion. Yep, that pin cushion. Which the salesman thought was real. (Work on it. Visuals are important here.) With each pin moving from mouth to cushion, mouth to cushion, the salesman’s concentration slipped and he kept losing
Illustration by Dennis Auth
his place in the spiel. He began stammering. And sweating. Meanwhile Aunt Roscoe, unaware of what she was doing and the effect it was having on the salesman, continued to take pins from her mouth and poke them firmly into “it.” Finally, after the fourth or fifth pin, the salesman gave up. “Please lady,” he said. “You can stop. I’m leaving. If you are tough enough to do that, there is no way I can sell you anything.” And he left. And apparently he told other folks in his profession. For according to family lore, that salesman was the last salesman ever to darken her door. Aunt Roscoe lived to a ripe old age and
died – not from the cancer, but from one of the other things that gets us all in the end. But were she alive today, I’m sure that she would have celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the survivors, wearing her pink T-shirt and doing her part so that one day in the not too distant future, innovations like her personal pin cushion would be a thing of the past. With women like her leading the way, breast cancer’s days are surely numbered.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.
54 OCTOBER 2017 www.alabamaliving.coop