MARCH 2015 â€˘ POWERING YOUR COMMUNITY
Sweet Shoals Music Learning from the legends
Legislative Outlook Facing challenges, lawmakers seek lasting revenue solutions
EXECUTIVE VP/ GENERAL MANAGER
Terry Moseley CO-OP EDITOR
Casey Rogers ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Allison Griffin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey
VOL. 68 NO. 3 MARCH 2015
Photo by Dick Cooper
6 Legislative Update Get to know the leaders representing your service area in Montgomery and those representing you in Washington.
12 Roots and legends
Jason Isbell sings, “Thank God for the TVA,” but he’s just as thankful for the Swampers, the Muscle Shoals session players and songwriters who helped shape his musicianship.
Alabama singer/songwriter Jason Isbell is photographed in the Induction Hall at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. PHOTO: Michael Cornelison
28 Turn, Baby, Turn
Meat smoked on a rotisserie is the specialty of this popular combination package store and restaurant in Notasulga.
ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:
340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.areapower.coop
When you see this symbol, it means there’s more content online at www.alabamaliving.coop! Videos, expanded stories and more!
NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:
National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311
DEPARTMENTS 9 32 46 38 39
Spotlight Bookshelf Cook of the Month Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast
Printed in America from American materials
MARCH 2015 3
Contact Information: Business: 1-800-239-3092
Members First Terry Moseley
Executive Vice President and General Manager
(Monday-Friday 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Toll Free Outage “Hotline” 1-800-533-0323 (24 hours a day)
Board of Trustees Tommy Thompson • President John Henry • Vice President Melvia Carter • Secretary Carey Thompson • Glenn Branum Tom Duncan • Dave Lyon Melvin Dale • Linda Arnold
Payment Options: By Mail: Pioneer Electric Cooperative P.O. Box 370 Greenville, AL 36037 Bank Draft: Contact a customer service representative for details Credit Card: By phone or in person Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express Night Depository: Available at each office location Online: www.pioneerelectric.com In Person: 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Greenville: 300 Herbert Street Selma: 4075 Ala. Highway 41 Authorized Payment Center: First Citizens Bank 40 Lafayette St. Hayneville
4 MARCH 2015
Throughout the past year, we have worked to keep you informed and up-to-date on the many government-proposed rules and regulations affecting the utility industry, because as we know, changes that add cost to the delivery of electricity ultimately carry a negative impact on you as members. While we have previously discussed the Cooperative Action Network and how you can have an active voice in the political process as members, I wanted to take a moment to discuss how Pioneer Electric goes a step further. The Ac t ion C ommitte e for Rura l Electrification, more commonly known as ACRE, is the federal political action committee (PAC) of the nation’s electric cooperatives. ACRE supports candidates for state and federal office— those in office now and running for office—who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their consumer-owners. The employees and directors of Pioneer Electric join over 30,000 individuals in making an average annual contribution of $56, making it a true grassroots PAC. ACRE gives electric cooperatives a powerful, persuasive tool to counter political dysfunction in Washington and act as an honest broker for around 42 million consumer-owners throughout the country. Our participation in the nationwide ACRE program, along with other cooperatives, ensures that the voice of electric co-ops remains strong in our nation’s capital and in our state legislature. A majority of Pioneer Electric employees and directors voluntarily donate to ACRE to keep the cooperative industry strong in Alabama. As Pioneer members, you can join as well. Contributions to the NRECA Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) are voluntary, non-tax deductible and are used for political purposes. With the exception of a small federal tax payment of 1 percent, all contributions to ACRE go directly to the campaigns of candidates for political office. In addition, about half of the contributions made are refunded to statewide organizations to support candidates for state and
local office. Members and employees are free to contribute more or less than suggested amounts, or not at all. ACRE follows established procedures for making contributions to candidates running for political office. The bipartisan PAC supports candidates solely based on their support for electric cooperative issues. A candidate’s political affiliation is never taken into account and before any support is given, ACRE works closely with our state association to determine which candidates are aligned with electric co-op values. The statewide cooperative organization in Montgomery, known as the Alabama Rural Electric Association or AREA, administers the state funds under the direction of a legislative committee comprised of local co-op managers and directors. AREA communicates regularly with legislators to educate them on matters of importance to the cooperative industry and aids in the drafting of bills of vital interest to the utility industry. You might ask yourself, “Does this really make a difference?” The ability of electric cooperatives across the country to serve members and communities is heavily dependent on individuals who use ACRE to get the right people elected to political office. The personal dedication of employees, directors, managers and consumer-owners to stand together forms the backbone of a powerful grassroots network that promotes policies to secure the future of the electric cooperative and the families and communities we serve. This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. In 2014, more than 90 percent of ACREsupported candidates won election or re-election in the U.S. House and Senate. As we anticipate upcoming EPA regulations and congressional environmental efforts, we do so with the knowledge of support from you and tens of thousands of cooperative members across the country. Thank you for your involvement in voicing concerns to your elected officials— our grassroots presence in the political process is vital.
Pioneer Electric Cooperative
The EPA's Clean Power Plan The Clean Power Plan (CPP) issued by the Environmental Protection Agency requires each state to coordinate its own fuel mix by deciding how much coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy it will use. Because the reduction goals are state-specific, Alabama has to achieve a 26.7 percent reduction in C02 emissions from 2012 levels by 2030. Overall, the CPP's mission is to achieve a 30 percent cut from 2005 emissions by 2030, with an interim target of 25 percent on average between 2020 and 2029. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, analysis shows that electric co-op members can expect to see rates increase by more than 10 percent on average in 2020 and by more than 17 percent in 2025 as a result of these requirements. The chart below represents the EPA's proposed implementation timeline.
EPA's Proposed Implementation Timeline 2015
State submits Negative Declaration by June 30, 2016 State submits negative declaration
EPA publishes Federal Register notice
State submits complete implementation Plan by June 30, 2016 EPA reviews plan and publishes final decision within 12 months on approval/disapproval
by June 30, 2016 State submits plan Emission Guideline Promulgation June 1, 2015
Compliance period begins 2020
State submits initial Plan by June 30, 2016 and Request 1-year extension by June 30, 2016 State submits initial plan and Request for 1-year extension
EPA reviews initial plan and determines if extension is warranted
by June 30, 2017 State submits complete plan
EPA reviews plan and publishes final decision within 12 months on approval/disapproval
State submits initial multi-state Plan by June 30, 2016 and Request 2-year extension By June 30, 2016 State submits initial multistate plan and Request for 2-year extension
EPA reviews initial plan and determines if extension is warranted
by June 30, 2017 State submits progress report of plan
by June 30, 2018 State submits multistate plan
EPA reviews plan and publishes final decision within 12 months on approval/disapproval
Negative Declaration is a document that is prepared after a detailed study on the development or project and which states that the planned development or project will not have a significant adverse effect on the environment. Alabama Living
MARCH 2015â€ƒ 5
2015 Legislative Guide Pioneer Electric Cooperative’s 2015 Legislative Directory is designed to help you connect with the legislative process here in Alabama and in Washington, D.C. Use this directory to contact your representatives. Let them know what is important to you, what you want to happen in this year’s legislative and congressional sessions, and how their actions affect you, your business and your community.
2015 Regular Session Will convene Tuesday, March 3, 2015
...in your service area.
Sen. Henry 'Hank' Sanders (D)
How to reach your Legislators Writing an e-mail or letter to your legislator is the most effective way to communicate your support, concern or interest in an issue before the General Assembly. As you begin this process, consider the following tips: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Take a little extra time to educate yourself on the topic you wish to address. When you write, identify yourself and your status as a constituent. Be specific. Use bill numbers and state your position plainly. Use examples that illustrate how the issue affects your local area. Be respectful. Use appropriate greetings, such as “Dear Senator Sanders” or “Dear Representative Sells.” Provide a way for your legislator to respond by including your mailing address or e-mail address. Even if you disagree with a lawmaker’s position, end your correspondence by thanking them for their service.
District 23 | Year Elected: 1983 P.O. Box 1305 | Selma, AL 36702 (334) 242-7860 | (334) 875-9264
Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R)
District 30 | Year Elected: 2010 Alabama State House 11 South Union Street, Suite 733 Montgomery, AL 36130 (334) 242-7843
Who Represents Me? Pioneer’s service area covers parts of Butler, Lowndes, Dallas and Wilcox counties and the service area extends into five other counties which include parts of Autauga, Crenshaw, Covington, Conecuh and Monroe counties. To determine your district and who your legislators are visit the Alabama General Assembly Web site at www.legislature.state.al.us and click on the “Find Your Legislator” option or call the following numbers for information. Representatives: (334) 242-7600 Senate: (334) 242-7800
6 MARCH 2015
...in your service area.
Rep. Darrio Melton (D) |District 67 State House | Room 532-C 11 South Union Street Montgomery, AL 36130 (334) 242-7540 County: Dallas
Rep. Chris Sells (R) | District 90 1609 East Commerce St. | Greenville, Al. 36037 Counties: Butler, Conecuh, Coffee, Crenshaw, Montgomery and Pike.
Rep. Thomas Jackson (D) | District 68 P.O. Box 636 | Thomasville, AL 36784 (334) 242-7738 Counties: Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Marengo & Monroe
Rep. Mike Jones (R) | District 92 State House | Room 427-E 11 S. Union Street Montgomery, Al 36130 (334) 242-7739 Counties: Covington And Escambia
Rep. Kelvin Lawrence (D)| District 69 500 Miller Cir.| Hayneville, AL 36040 Counties: Autauga, Dallas, Lowndes & Wilcox
Representing You in Washington, D.C.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R) 326 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 -0104 Main: (202) 224-4124 http://www.sessions.senate.gov
Senator Richard C. Shelby (R) 304 Russell Senate Office Building Washington D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5744 http://shelby.senate.gov
Rep. Martha D. Roby R-District 2 428 Cannon HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2901 http://roby.house.gov/
Rep. Terri A. Sewell D-District 7 1133 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2665 http://sewell.house.gov/
MARCH 2015 7
A New Deal
In the last 20 years, Alabama has been very successful in attracting new industry to the state. Since Mercedes announced they were coming to Alabama in 1993, the state has landed Honda, a Toyota engine plant, Hyundai, Austal ship builders, Airbus and most recently Remington and Polaris, both in Huntsville. In all of these projects, Alabama competed with other states, most of the time other Southern states, for the projects. In each instance, the state offered incentive packages to the prospective industries that included tax abatements, low cost bond financing, infrastructure construction, job training and low cost or free land. Studies typically show that the payback on these investments comes over time through income taxes as well taxes collected from all of the ancillary companies built to support the major industries. The real payback, of course,
is jobs—and the millions of dollars of payroll that flow to Alabamians as a result. Based on 2005 numbers, the auto industry in Alabama accounted for 44,834 direct jobs and 79,356 indirect jobs with a total payroll of $4.8 Billion. But other states are catching on. Recent studies have shown that the incentive packages offered by other states are making Alabama less competitive in attracting new projects. The problem, though, is that Alabama is struggling from budgetary problems and the idea of coming up with huge, upfront incentives is not getting any traction in Montgomery. The Department of Commerce, working with Governor Bentley, has come up with a “pay as you go” incentive plan called the Accelerate Alabama Jobs Incentive Package. The new package, according to Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield “would allow a company
making a new investment in the state to collect a cash rebate of three percent of the previous year’s gross payroll. Rebates would end after 10 years.” This approach allows money to be paid into the state’s coffers before it is owed back to the industry. This is money that would not be coming in at all, were it not for the new industry. Other pieces of the proposal would give tax credits for qualified investments. It is too early to tell if the Alabama Legislature will pass the proposal, or, if passed, it will be viewed as making Alabama more competitive in recruiting industry. Time will tell if the new deal is good for Alabama and Alabama workers.
VP Economic Development and Legal Aﬀairs
Energy Tip of the Month Adding insulation to your home? An R-value indicates insulation’s resistance to heat ﬂow—a higher R-value means more eﬀective insulation. Every type of insulation has a unique R-value depending on material, thickness, and density. Your ideal R-value depends on whether your home is new or existing, your heating fuel, and where you live. Learn more at www.energysavers.gov. Source: U.S. Department of Energy
8 MARCH 2015
Reﬂections of the South Folk art fans know the name Jerry Brown, ninth-generation potter and resident of Hamilton. The Jerry Brown Arts Festival, hosted by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council Inc. (NAAC), is an indoor, juried arts festival named for Brown, who was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship in 1992. Admission is free, but you can buy a commemorative T-shirt to help the NAAC provide art-related community programs. This year’s event will be at the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative’s new facility on Interstate 22. For more information, go to www. jbaf.org or call 205-921-9483.
Bringing history to life MARCH SAFETY
Tip of the Month On average, seven people die every day from a home fire, according to information from the American Red Cross. The Red Cross estimates that just one out of every 10 households is prepared for the worst, including a fire escape plan. To gauge how prepared your household is for a fire-related emergency, log on to http://www.redcross. org/prepare/disaster/home-fire for safety checklists, tips and escape plan worksheets for single- and multifamily homes.
• • • • • • • • • • • MAR. 14-15
Arts on the beach Get ready to enjoy the warmer weather with a free family event down on the coast. The Orange Beach Festival of Art will feature a variety of fine, visual, performing and culinary arts. And there’s something for all the senses: Roman Street, Brent Burns, Lisa Christian and more will present waterfront concerts. The event takes place at 26389 Canal Road in Orange Beach; public parking available at The Wharf, with a $2 shuttle to and from the festival. Call 251-981-ARTS or log on to www.orangebeachfestival.com.
The Siege of Bridgeport Reenactment commemorates 153 years since the Civil War began and is the largest re-enactment in Alabama. About 1,500 re-enactors thrill thousands of visitors and history buffs with their authentic re-creation of this
fateful battle of the Civil War. Also included: Period music, period-correct encampment and vendors of historical objects and clothing. Admission is $5 per person and free for children. For more information, go to www.siegeatbridgeport.com.
Third Tuesdays at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Every third Tuesday during the year, AMHF will feature live musicians from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The events are free, so bring a brown bag lunch and stay for the two hour concert, mingle with the guest artists, ask questions or make a request for your favorite song. Stay after the concert and tour the museum which includes artifacts such as Elvis’ contract with Sam Phillips, personal items of Hank Williams Sr., and biographies on various Alabama artists: Jimmie Rodgers, Percy Sledge, Dinah Washington, Southern Rockers Wet Willie and Alabama Guest. Live artists for March will be Larry Crowell and David Dotson. April musicians include Wayne Bailey, Tony Lee and Larry Miles with more to be announced. For information about the AMHF and its events, visit www.alamhof.org or call 256-381-4417.
Want to see more events or submit your own? Alabama Living
Visit www.alabamaliving.coop to submit an event and view our calendar or email an event to email@example.com.
MARCH 2015 9
A new way to get your replacement SSA-1099 Soon you may be joining the millions of taxpayers who will be gathering the forms they need to file their federal, state, and local tax returns. If you receive Social Security benefits, one of the forms you may need is your Social Security Benefit Statement, SSA-1099/1042S. Social Security mails these forms to all beneficiaries on or before January 31. When February 2 arrives, if you have not received yours—or if you cannot find the one that was mailed to you—there’s a new way to get instant access to a printable SSA-1099/1042S to help you complete your tax return: with an online my Social Security account. You will need to pay federal taxes on some of your benefits if your total income, including Social Security and all of your other taxable income, is $25,000 or more, and you file federal taxes as an individual. Married couples filing joint returns need to pay federal taxes on income of $32,000 or more. If you didn’t receive the SSA-
1099/1042S for tax year 2014 by January 31, 2015, or if you misplaced yours, don’t fret. You can get an instant replacement SSA-1099/1042S by going online to my Social Security at www.socialsecurity. gov/myaccount and selecting “Replacement Documents.” You can view, print, and save the forms immediately! If you don’t already have a my Social Security account, opening one is quick, safe and easy. It only takes a few minutes. In addition to getting an instant replacement SSA-1099/1042S, you can get a benefit verification letter, change your ad-
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Aﬀairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle.mckinney@ ssa.gov.
dress, telephone number, start or change direct deposit information, and get your Social Security earnings record from the convenience of your home. Simply go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. A
Letters to the editor
I just got my latest Alabama Living magazine and read John Felsher’s story “Wives, don’t let your husbands grow up to own boats.” I love it. Part truth, part tongue-in-cheek humor. You should encourage John to write something else for the magazine. Thank you for a great publication. I lived in Daleville, Alabama, for a few years and enjoy your publication. It brings back fond memories. Mary Ann Gove, Cottonwood, AZ Thanks to all who’ve written us! If you’ve got an interesting Alabama fact to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Down memory lane with Pages from the past Thirty years ago, 50th anniversary REA stamp unveiled The March 1985 issue of Alabama Living featured news that a new 22-cent commemorative stamp had been designed honoring the Rural Electrification Administration. The stamp, which featured a farming landscape and an electric power pole, was unveiled at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in February of that year. The stamp was issued on May 11, 1985 in Madison, S.D., to honor the 50th anniversary of the REA. The stamp was designed by Howard Koslow of East Norwich, N.Y. President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the REA by executive order on May 11, 1935. It was permanently established by an act of Congress on May 20, 1936, au10 MARCH 2015
thorizing it to serve as a lending agency and to develop a program for rural electrification. It became a part of the Department of Agriculture, and today is known as the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). In 1935, only about one in 10 farms had electricity, but by 1985, there were
almost 1,000 user-owned rural electric systems in the United States delivering electricity to 25 million rural Americans. Today, some 900 rural electric cooperatives and public power districts provide electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 states. A
Heed the symptoms of arthritis, the leading cause of disability in adults As Americans live longer, arthritis is being identified more often. Pediatricians no longer dismiss children’s arthritis symptoms simply as “growing pains” and doctors advise adults not to “rest their joints” but rather to increase their physical activity to help reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among U.S. adults; 8.6 million people and one-third of adult Alabamians have it. Arthritis is common among those aged 65 years or older, but people of all ages can be affected. In fact, nearly two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than 65. Arthritis affects 26 percent of women and 19 percent of men, people in every age group, and members of all racial and ethnic groups. Arthritis is also more prevalent among adults who are obese than among those who are normal weight or underweight. Although the word arthritis actually me ans j oint inf lammat ion, t he term arthritis is used to describe more than 100 distinct rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue. The pattern, severity, and location of symptoms can vary depending on the specific form of the disease. Symptoms can develop Alabama Living
gradually or suddenly. Certain rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and some other forms can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms. Arthritis is a treatable disease, however, and early diagnosis and appropriate management are important to minimize pain and disability. Medication is available for many forms of arthritis, and it has helped a member of my own family. My daughter first complained about joint pain when she was age 13, but only when she was being treated for another condition two years later did her physician diagnose her with rheumatoid arthritis. Ever since her diagnosis, she has been on medication that has helped slow the development of the disease. I cannot overemphasize the importance of heeding the symptoms of arthritis such as joint pain and seeking care; treatment helps. For most adults with arthritis, physical activity can reduce pain and improve function, mobility, mood, and quality of life. Scientific studies have shown that participation in moderateintensity, low-impact physical activity does not worsen symptoms or disease severity. Being physically active can also
delay the onset of disability if someone has arthritis. Both aerobic and musclestrengthening activities are proven to work well. For some people, a selfdirected physical activity program or a community program such as the Chronic Disease Self-Management program, Living Well Alabama (www. adph.org/livingwellalabama), makes a big difference. Helpful information has been collected to give people with arthritis and those taking care of them the knowledge they need to take control of their condition. I recommend you visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website at adph.org/arthritis to learn more about the types of arthritis, ways to feel better, become more active, and enjoy life more. A
Jim McVay, Dr.P.A., is director of the Bureau of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
MARCH 2015 11
Most of the people who were working in Muscle Shoals were session players, and producers, and engineers and songwriters and those kinds of things. Nowadays, I think you see more of the independent recording artists.
People who are actually going out and making their own records under their own name.
Alabama Music Special
NATIVE SON RURAL ROOTS A Shoals
stays close to his
12 MARCH 2015
ritically acclaimed singer/songwriter Jason Isbell now lives in Nashville, but his lyrics and his heart are never far from the Shoals area of northwest Alabama, an area steeped in music history. Isbell grew up in tiny Green Hill, not far from the Tennessee line in Lauderdale County. He’s a huge fan of and knows personally some of the legendary musicians of the Shoals. It was those longtime session players and songwriters, like Spooner Oldham, Donnie Fritts and Mickey Buckins (see story, Page 14), who helped shape Isbell’s musicianship. With lyrics that are raw and reflective, Isbell has built a career and reputation as one of the country’s up-and-coming Americana acts; he cleaned up at the 2014 Americana Honors and Awards on the strength of his fourth album, 2013’s “Southeastern.” Despite his success, he remains close to his rural Shoals roots. A song he recorded with the Drive-By Truckers, his former band, pairs a tender family memory with a story that recalls the hardscrabble way of life that was once predominant in the South. The lyrics of “TVA,” in part: My granddaddy told me when he was just seven or so, His daddy lost work and they didn’t have a row to hoe ... He helped build the dam, gave power to most of the South So I thank God for the TVA ... When Roosevelt let us all work for an honest day’s pay, Thank God for the TVA. “That’s one of those stories where it’s a lot of different sides to that, but that’s the one that came from family experience,” Isbell said in a 2014 telephone interview with Alabama Living’s Michael Cornelison. Below is an edited transcript of that interview, in which Isbell reflects on his early years in and around Muscle Shoals and on the attention the area has received thanks to the recent documentary of the same name: Q: A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in Muscle Shoals, what has gone on and the history. A: You know, I think the movie helped and the documentary that came out (in 2013), but it’s been a lot of really great music made there over the years. I think part of the nature of what they were doing was that they weren’t the stars, you know, they were more Alabama Living
So I could go in, get dropped off by my parents and stay there for three to four hours to watch those folks play. You know, that was a great thing for me, and I had been playing, then, for a few years. Over time, they would start getting me up there to play with the band and they were always really helpful. They gave me good advice and kind of took me under their wing, even though that’s not something they were supposed to do. You know they don’t have to, they were still trying to get work themselves.
the people behind the scenes. So that made it a little more difficult to get the word out as to who was actually creating those hits. Q: There’s still a lot of good things coming out of that area now, and even into the future. A: Yeah, I see that for sure. John Paul White (formerly of the folk-rock duo The Civil Wars) has a lot of good things going. He’s not touring and he’s not doing the Civil Wars thing anymore, but he’s still making a whole lot of music. He’s got a studio with Ben Tanner, and that venue on Mobile Street. Ben, who’s also from Florence, plays with the Alabama Shakes from Athens. ... But you know, it’s the kind of thing where all those years ago it was the kind of studio focus. Most of the people who were working in Muscle Shoals were session players, and producers, and engineers and songwriters and those kinds of things. Nowadays, I think you see more of the independent recording artists. People who are actually going out and making their own records under their own name. Like myself, I grew up around (FAME Studios session bassist) David Hood and Spooner and folks like that, and Rick Hall (founder of FAME Studios). I started working for FAME when I was like 21. You know, so I grew up around those folks. Honestly, I knew people like David and Spooner before I knew Mickey and Donnie, and before I was really aware of the work they had done. When I was a teenager I would go out and see them play, and since you can’t really have bars in Muscle Shoals, everything was a restaurant. That was great for me at that age because you didn’t have to be 21 to get in.
Q: What do you think is so special about Muscle Shoals? A: Well, it’s just a special group of people. You know, I think Rick Hall was really the catalyst behind all that, because he had so much drive and so much ambition. Because he had been through a lot of difficult things in life. ... I think a lot of that led him to be more ambitious than a lot of people were in those days. He was lucky enough to get the right people in the room, and to have people around that area who were interested in what everyone else called “black music” at the time. You know, they were interested enough to learn how to re-create it really, really well. It still kind of surprises me. I think it was just sort of luck of the draw, as with anything else. It comes down to the people who were there when it all got started. Q: The story we’re looking to write probably won’t be out until March. … It’s a little ahead of time, but that’s the way we kind of work here. A: Right, right. That’s me too, usually. I’m a few months ahead of time. I have to be to keep up with everything. I’m guessing that around the time this issue is out, we’ll be going back into the studio to make another album. We made an album right at a year ago. It was a year ago this week, and it’s been real successful compared to anything else I’ve done in the past. So, we’ve been touring really steadily behind that but I think it’s time. I’m going home in August, so I’ll spend the fall and winter trying to write, and I bet by springtime we’ll be back in the studio again. A Editor’s note: Isbell and his wife, musician Amanda Shires, released a two-song recording, “Sea Songs,” in early February, available on iTunes. Isbell will be busy touring from mid-April through May. MARCH 2015 13
Alabama Music Special
“I don’t know how we got that many talented people in this little bitty area. It ain’t like we’re in New York. This is a very small area, but we came up with a bunch of really talented people who are committed to doing it.... So that’s the way we were.” – Donnie Fritts, longtime Muscle Shoals musician 14 MARCH 2015
“I am music and all I thought about was music, starting when I was 15,” says bass guitarist Donnie Fritts. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
Alabama Living Art Director Michael Cornelison, center, made two trips to the Shoals area to interview legendary session musicians Mickey Buckins and Donnie Fritts.
he Shoals area of northwest Alabama, with the broad Tennessee River flowing through its rolling hills, has been a fertile ground for soulfilled rock ‘n’ roll since the early 1960s, producing an array of outstanding music that retains its magic, even today. Contemporary music legends -- Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding and Lynyrd Skynyrd, just to name a few -ventured to this remote part of the state to try to capture its Southern magic in sound, provided in part by the songwriters, session musicians and production technicians who worked not for fame or fortune, but for the love of the craft. While its golden era may have faded, the music studios of the Shoals continue to draw tourists and musicians alike today, buoyed by the success of the recent documentary “Muscle Shoals.” Today, Southern rock ‘n’ soul is alive and well, and the last 50-plus years of music history still echoes within the walls of the legendary FAME Studios, started by music industry powerhouse (and rural Franklin County native) Rick Hall. The competing Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, founded by the “Swampers” (FAME’s second house rhythm section) at 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, was immortalized by the 1969 Cher album of the same name. After the “Muscle Shoals” documentary was released in 2013, Beats Electronics offered a project in partnership with the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation to preserve the rich history and culture of the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound. (The Muscle Shoals Music Foundation purchased 3614 Jackson Highway last year.) Alabama Living art director Michael Cornelison drew upon his ties to the area (his father, Reuel Cornelison, is also a Shoals musician) to interview three of the many veterans of era; he sat down with Donnie Fritts, Mickey Buckins and Spooner Oldham, all natives of the area, to reflect on their life as Shoals musicians. What follows is an edited transcript of the interviews with Fritts, Buckins and Oldham, each conducted separately in the Muscle Shoals area in 2014. www.alabamaliving.coop
More photos and video at alabamaliving.coop
Sweet Shoals Music Legends look back on their place in music history Interviews by Michael Cornelison
AL: How did you get started playing music? Spooner Oldham: My dad had a band and they played around these parts. A lot of people still remember the old-timers, you know. I don’t know if they had a name to the band, I never have known that. I just remember being a toddler and all of them would get together. Dad played violin and sang tenor. The three sort of sang together, you know, harmonies.
AL: Was it country? Bluegrass? Oldham: Well, it was all that.
It’s hard to describe even today, because they did sort of Appalachian, a little Western Swing, a little of the Louvin Brothers, Delmore Brothers songs, so it was a little odd mix they had going on. But I remember, as a toddler, hearing them practice in the yard in the summer and in my grandmother’s living room when it wasn’t warm enough to go outside. So my ears got full of music pretty young and I didn’t realize, most of my life, that everybody didn’t have a band in their house. I think that kind of helped my consciousness to keep staying around music. I guess being around it so much, I felt I needed to continue doing that.
mean every movie that comes out -- and I talked to ol’ Tom and we got to be good friends. We kept talking about starting a publishing company, and I’m only 15 years old, but that was his dream, you know, to get a publishing company and a studio. What those talks that he and I had, that
Just trying to get my musical thing going, I stayed in the high school band through the ninth grade. I got a chance to get involved in the studio. … Man, you know, that was it for me as soon as I got in that studio and saw what was going on. I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I got the job with (Rick Hall at FAME Studios), just starting out as an assistant. Doing anything and everything that needed to be done. I just worked my way up the ladder to assistant engineer and then I became chief engineer. I managed a publishing company, I was the production coordinator, production manager years later, staff songwriter and session player. AL: Are there people you have worked with who really stand out?
Oldham: Not really. They were all wonderful. … You know, each recording had its special moment for me. … (Singer/ songwriter) J.J. Cale, I loved him. He’s dead now, but I got to work with him while on three or four albums. I went on tour with him. … I think my first tour I did, I didn’t really want to do a tour, but in the ‘70s, I think it was, things changed. ReSpooner Oldham, songwriter and keyboardist, after being cord labels were signing bands inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Watch Spooner’s acceptance speech at http://www.rockhall.com/ who wrote their own songs ... story-of-rock/video-series/video/4977/ and studio work as a session PHOTO COURTESY ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM player, like me, basically there was lesser work. So what do was kind of like the seeds of what would you do next? If you want to stay in it you Donnie Fritts: I was already starting to become the studio right down here on the keep going. I got offered a gig, and I tried play music when I was about 15. Differcorner above the city drug store. touring. I did a Linda Ronstadt tour, and ent little bands, playing drums back then; then the next one Richard Betts, the next and I met Tom Stafford (one of the founders of FAME Publishing) right there at Mickey Buckins: I was in the high school one was Joe Cocker, next was Bob Dylan, the Shoals Theater. He was the assistant band. I was a trumpet player, and was pid- next was Neil Young and I finally adapted manager -- I go to movies all the time, I dling around with some rock ‘n’ roll bands. to the scenario. Alabama Living
MARCH 2015 15
Alabama Music Special Fritts: I have been very lucky, very blessed to have songs cut by my very (favorite) artists: Ray Charles, Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Stones, (Bob) Dylan cut one of my songs. All these great artists. Dusty Springfield cut (“Breakfast in Bed”). Buckins: Well, that’s a long long list. Be-
ing in the studio with Otis Redding, and that was very short lived ... I was singing all these Otis Redding songs, and all these great R&B songs and here I am in the studio with Otis. Just to be in a room with Otis Redding was just more than I could hardly stand, it was just an unbelievable experience.
AL: What’s it like, having people you look up to recording your songs?
part of. What goes through your mind? Does it take you back?
AL: What’s your reaction when you hear those songs?
Oldham: I’m such a sound-oriented person, I think. The music, the sound, sort of can rejuvenate my spirit or bring it down, whatever the mood is. If I hear something on the car radio that I did 30 years (ago) and it sounds good to me still, I still enjoy it. I’m just all about sound. It’s not really ego or personality so much. I like what I’m hearing in its entirety. Fortunately, a lot of the stuff recorded on tape still sounds really good.
Buckins: Aw man, I remember so well.
When I hear a song that I’ve played on, I can pretty much just see the scene in my mind. I can see the studio, I can see the artist, I can see the players, circumstances and just kind of how it felt. You know, and most of it is real good, positive, great feelings. Just very few of them were not real pleasant experiences, I must say, and that says a lot. You really go through a lot as Continued on Page 34
Mickey Buckins displays the Sweet Soul Music Award he received in 2014. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
Fritts: I can’t even describe. I mean, ‘cause
Ray Charles was my idol; still is. He was the guy that always said – well, ‘cause there’s no way in hell I could be even a million miles close to this guy in talent, but I always said, “I want to do the same thing this guy is doing somehow, you know.” I mean even at an early age. Then in 1978, he cut a song that I had a part of. To this day, it was like the best thing that ever happened to me as a songwriter; and still is the best thing that’s ever happened to me as a songwriter.
AL: What song was it? Fritts: It was a song called “We Had It
All,” but that’s the one that Keith, with The Stones, when The Stones cut the song he sang it. It just came out about two years ago. He cut it back in ’78 ... ’79, I think, but for some reason they didn’t put it on the record they recorded. I don’t know Keith Richards, but we exchanged ideas with one another through friends and stuff, but he’s always said that’s his favorite song and it meant a lot to him at the time. When he cut it, he was going through divorce or separation or whatever, but a lot a lot of people cut that song. ... I wrote a lot of songs, got a lot of songs cut by really great people which is a great honor that I’ll never take for granted.
AL: I’m sure you come across things that come over the radio that you’ve played on, or been a 16 MARCH 2015
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Alabama Music Special
Outdoor festivals oﬀer music for every taste By Allison Griﬃn
cores of big-time music acts will enjoy the South’s heat and hospitality this spring and summer, so music-lovers should start saving money and making travel plans now for this year’s music festivals. No matter what your taste in music, there’s sure to be a day or two (or more) that you’ll be looking forward to. In fact, the tough part may be deciding which festival (or festivals) to attend. Below is a roundup of some of the festivals in driving distance of many Alabama locations. Some that are later in the year have yet to announce their lineups; and keep an eye on the websites in case lineups or times change. ➢ Sweetwater 420 Fest, Atlanta: April 17-19. This music and craft beer event will take over Centennial Olympic Park with a diverse lineup; headliners include Snoop Dogg, 311, Thievery Corporation, Primus, Cage the Elephant, moe., Gov’t Mule, Beats Antique and more. A threeday general admission pre-sale wristband is $55, and regular price for three-day GA is $75. www.sweetwater420fest.com ➢ Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans: April 24-May 3. This cultural feast, set over two weekends, brings together musicians, cooks and craftspeople, and draws about 400,000 visitors each year. The headliners feature established artists and today’s hitmakers: Elton John, The Who, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, No Doubt, Keith Urban, Pitbull, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, T.I. and Chicago, among them. Single-day tickets are $58 in advance, $70 at the gate. www.nojazzfest.com ➢ Toadlick,, Dothan: April 23-25. Country music legends Alabama and Hank Williams Jr. headline this festival at the National Peanut Festival 20 MARCH 2015
The Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores drew nearly 40,000 fans in 2014.
Fairgrounds; also on the bill are Lee Brice, Bret Michaels, Styx and Ronnie Milsap. As for lodging, some RV sites are available, but in the spirit of the true festival experience, there is unlimited primitive camping. General admission tickets are $109 through March 1 and increase to $119 thereafter. www.toadlick.com ➢ Shaky Knees, Atlanta: May 8-10. This indie- and alt-rock festival has grown in popularity in its first two years, and the third promises more big acts: The Strokes, the Avett Brothers, Wilco, Pixies, Social Distortion, Ryan Adams and Tame Impala play this event at Central Park, in the Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta. Three-day advance tickets are on sale now for $199; single-day tickets at $99 are coming soon. www.shakykneesfestival.com ➢ The Hangout Music Fest, Gulf Shores: May 15-17. The beachfront festival, now in its sixth year, has grown exponentially; the 2014 festival sold out, even after the attendance cap was raised to 40,000 people. Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, Beck, Skrillex, My Morning Jacket, Foster the People and Paramore headline this year’s beachfront party. General admission tickets are $249 for three-day access. www. hangoutmusicfest.com ➢ Shaky Boots, Kennesaw, Ga.: May 16-17. This sister festival to Shaky Knees brings an impressive roster of country stars for its inaugural event: Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, the Band
Perry and Alabama’s own Jason Isbell will take the stage at the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park in Kennesaw, just north of Atlanta. General admission tickets are $95 per day, and $169 for two-day advance tickets. www.shakyboots.com ➢ Counterpoint, Rome, Ga.: May 2224. The music and arts festival features a variety of electronic dance music and jam band acts, with a few R&B and hiphop acts as well. Headliners this year are Widespread Panic, Zedd, The Roots, Kygo, Knife Party, Dillon Francis and Zeds Dead. New this year is a midway featuring carnival rides, a game center, arts village and more. Advance three-day passes are $175. www.counterpointfestival.com ➢ Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn.: June 11-14. This year’s lineup features a mix of old and new, with headliners Billy Joel, Mumford and Sons, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes and Florence + the Machine. Fourday general admission tickets are on sale now for $324.50 plus fees. www.bonnaroo. com ➢ Rock the South, Cullman: June 1920. Brantley Gilbert, Travis Tritt, Dee Jay Silver, Corey Smith and Tyler Farr lead the lineup at this country music festival held at Heritage Park in Cullman. Organizers estimate last year’s event brought more than 30,000 people to the city over two days. Ticket prices aren’t yet listed on the event’s website. www.rockthesouth.com ➢ Gulf Coast Jam Jam, Panama City Beach, Fla.: Sept. 4-6. Nicknamed “Country on the Coast,” this year’s lineup hasn’t been announced. www.gulfcoastjam.com ➢ BayFest, BayFest Mobile: Oct. 2-4. Lineup is yet to be announced for this downtown event; www.bayfest. com A Country rapper Colt Ford headlined the 2014 Rock the South festival.
MARCH 2015â€ƒ 21
Alabama Music Special
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame: A stroll down music’s memory lane By Marilyn Jones
The late Dr. Frank “Doc” Adams, center, was a fixture at the Jazz Hall of Fame where he loved to show visitors the exhibits on those who’d been inducted, including John T. “Fess” Whatley, right, a mentor for many young musicians in the 1920s and 1930s who went on to perform with such greats as Count Basie and Lionel Hampton.
t won’t be the same. Oh sure, the displays and exhibits will still tell of determined young men and women making their way in the music world, but without Dr. Frank “Doc” Adams, Sr. to show guests around the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham, some of the museum’s heart and soul will be missing. Adams passed away Oct. 29, 2014. I first met Adams in 1998. I traveled to Birmingham to visit the Civil Rights Institute because I wanted to show my children what it was like for black men and women living in the South during the days of Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. I wanted them to understand the struggle and how through peaceful demonstrations — and physical and emotional suffering — men, women and children stood up for what was right. As almost an afterthought, we decided to visit the Jazz Hall of Fame. Adams took us on a private tour, explaining the journey he and other talented Alabamians made to get to the honor of being named as members of the hall of fame and into musical history. Last year, just before Adams passed away, I again visited and once again, Adams was there to greet me, to give me a personal tour, to introduce me to his passion, his life. “Jazz is made in America; spontaneous, made-up stuff,” he told me. Then he said he was going to make up a song entitled Marilyn and began to play this melodious, slow, gentle tune on his clarinet. I was so honored. Adams, a charter member of the Hall of Fame, was inducted in 1978. He began the tour at a life-size likeness of John ‘Fess’ Whatley conducting a band from the past. “After World War I, during segregation, there was only one black school, Industrial High School,” says Adams. “Fess Whatley was hired to teach printmaking, but one year for the variety show he put together a band with enthusiastic students and borrowed instruments. “Well,” he laughed. “The parents demanded that their child be able to learn how to play an instrument, too.” Because of his demand for excellence, Whatley made Birmingham a notable tour stop for groups seeking well-trained and professional musicians. Many of Whatley’s students went on to form their own bands as well as perform with legendary big bands including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Fletcher
22 MARCH 2015
Henderson, Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith. Adams told me about first seeing Duke Ellington perform at the Masonic Lodge when he was a little boy. “In all my life I had never heard anything like it,” he said. “Twenty-two years later, I was playing with Duke Ellington.” Exhibits honor other hall of fame inductees including Nat King Cole, Ellington and Hampton, the beginnings of boogie woogie and Clarence ‘Pinetop’ Smith, the jazz space journeys of Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Space Arkestra, and W.C. Handy. Adams also recalled his own experiences, his professional and personal life, and anecdotes about meeting and performing with legends. He said he learned to play the clarinet from his older brother, Oscar Adams, Jr., Alabama’s first black Supreme Court justice. Their father, Oscar Adams, Sr., played trombone with W. C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, at Alabama A&M. On the second floor we continued to walk past display cases. The Hall of Fame pays tribute to performers, promoters, music publishers, broadcasters and others who made an impact on jazz. Honorees are from Alabama or have significant ties to the state. The last display pays homage to Ella Fitzgerald. Adams told me and two other visitors who had joined the tour about a chance meeting with Fitzgerald when he was a student and playing at the Chicago Regal Theater; how he told his friends he took her to lunch. “And they believed me,” he laughed. Years later he would again meet the great Fitzgerald as she was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The museum is beautiful with its art deco style and bright neon lights. It won’t be the same without Adams, but his spirit lives on here. In fact, if you’re real quiet, you may hear the melodic strains of his clarinet as you pass by the display featuring his portrait. He will forever be missed. A When you go: Founded in 1978, the museum opened in 1993 with a mission “to foster, encourage, educate and cultivate a general appreciation of the medium of jazz music as a legitimate, original and distinctive art form indigenous to America.” The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is located at 1631 Fourth Avenue in Birmingham; jazzhall.com; (205) 327-9424. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Long-term solutions needed for state’s General Fund
24 MARCH 2015
By Lenore Vickrey
labama’s lawmakers return to the state Capitol to begin their regular legislative session on March 3, and if news reports about the issues they will face sound somewhat familiar, you’re not imagining it. Legislators were told in their orientation session in January that the state’s General Fund, which pays for prisons, Medicaid and public safety, faces a deficit of more than $256 million. Without a long-term answer, officials say that number will likely more than double in the coming years, up to $700 million. In past sessions, lawmakers have not been willing to approve permanent solutions, instead preferring to borrow from the state’s Rainy Day Fund or cutting back on services. In recent weeks, Gov. Robert Bentley and various legislators have floated their own proposals to deal with the budget shortfall. Without giving specifics, Bentley told a gathering in Mobile that he’s looking at possible tax increases, which caught many off-guard. He’s also said gambling is not on the table, although during his campaign he’d mentioned a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians or a lottery as possible measures. “The idea is to fix it (the General Fund deficit) once and for all,” says Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, chairman of the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee, “but it will be difficult to do. People like to talk about education and good roads and bridges. When you talk about Medicaid, and prisons and mental health, it’s not something they want to deal with.” Clouse says legislators are waiting to hear what Bentley proposes in his budget the day after they convene. He speculated the governor could propose some broad-based revenue measures that would eliminate certain corporate or individual tax deductions such as FICA, increase the tax on tobacco products by 20 to 30 cents per pack, and erase the state tax exemption on defined retirement benefit plans. One of the biggest issues lawmakers must deal with, Clouse says, is funding for the state’s prison system. The Alabama Prison Task Force released a list of proposals in January that would reduce the state’s inmate population by 4,500 prisoners and controls costs by reducing or stopping recidivism (repeating criminal behavior), having shorter sentences and hiring more parole and probation officers. Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, has said the task force’s proposals will be packaged as one bill for introduction in the session. “These are designed to keep the feds off our back,” says Clouse. “They are hard decisions, but you can’t just throw away the key.” The legislative session runs March 3-June 15. For information concerning legislation specific to your cooperative, contact Sean Strickler at email@example.com A www.alabamaliving.coop
MARCH 2015 25
Two views of Common Core Standards Ed. note: Common Core will likely continue to be a divisive issue in the 2015 legislative session. Below are two viewpoints.
PLAN 2020 builds college-ready students
Federal overreach concerns still plague Common Core
By Tommy Bice
By John Hill, Ph.D. and Katherine G. Robertson
labama’s success in the future is dependent on how well students are prepared for life after high school. PLAN 2020 is the strategic plan for education in Alabama for preparing our students’ readiness for college, career and adulthood in the 21st century. Among the goals of PLAN 2020 are increasing the graduation rate, closing achievement gaps, moving all students to redefined levels of proficiency, and making sure Alabama graduates are ready for college without the need for remediation and/or a career with industry-recognized credentials. To put in place clear, consistent expectations for students and teachers, and to build students’ knowledge and skills that they can take with them long after graduation, the Alabama College- and Career-Ready Standards were adopted by the Alabama State Board of Education in 2010. The Alabama College- and Career-Ready Standards require more of our students than memorizing answers and repeating them on a test. The standards emphasize real-life critical thinking and applied knowledge skills that today’s students will need to succeed in the real world. With more rigorous academic standards, greater accountability, and higher expectations of our teachers and students, Alabama educators and the students they serve are demonstrating what steadfast resolve and hard work garners. This is further validated by the fact that four years ahead of the predicted schedule, the high school graduation rate in Alabama has risen to a new record high–86 percent. In accordance with PLAN 2020, the state ambitiously expected to reach a graduation rate of 86 percent by 2018. One of the plan’s primary goals is to reach a graduation rate of 90 percent by the year 2020. For every one percent increase in the graduation rate, approximately 600 additional students graduate from high school. The graduation rate has increased from 72 percent in 2011, to 75 percent in 2012, to 80 percent in 2013, and rounding out at 86 percent in 2014. A recent report commissioned by the Business Education Alliance, an independent organization, showed that reaching a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 would have an economic impact on the state of $430 million greater that year than if the graduation rate remained at its current level. It is important to remember this is not a time to rest on laurels. We must stay the course in the direction we have set, making sure that every single child not only finishes high school, but does so with a quality education that will allow him or her to transition seamlessly into college or into the workforce. Dr. Thomas R. Bice was appointed State Superintendent of Education by the Alabama State Board of Education and assumed the position on Jan. 1, 2012.
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ommon Core, introduced nationwide in 2010, was designed to create consistency among state standards and improve college and workforce readiness. Alabama’s State Board of Education voted in November 2010 to adopt the standards and reaffirmed their vote in November 2011. To date, 46 states have adopted the standards, 12 have considered repeal and three—Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina— have dropped out of Common Core. From a purist conservative standpoint, Common Core has been a hard pill to swallow. Namely, any education standard that comes from Washington, D.C., with ties to funding is perceived as a directive to states and a threat to their sovereignty. On the other hand, in states like Alabama, plagued by consistently low rankings in education and skilled labor shortages, the adoption of the standards provides the hope of an equal playing field. With nearly every state adopting Common Core in its first year of existence, it is easy to understand why elected officials in those states have been committed to keeping the standards to ensure their state is not left behind. Still, as many states progress in their implementation of the standards, the depth of federal entanglement has caused many political leaders to change course. In our neighboring states of Mississippi and Tennessee, efforts are under way to repeal the standards this year. In Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal, who previously supported Common Core, filed suit against the federal government to get Louisiana out of their agreement to implement the standards. In addition to 10th Amendment concerns, this action seems to be supported by a growing divide amongst teachers and parents in their support for Common Core. For instance, a recent poll by Vanderbilt University showed that only 39% of teachers in Tennessee support Common Core. Nationally, teacher surveys seem to follow a similar trend. Currently, the political momentum in Alabama favors keeping Common Core. The new curriculum has only been partially implemented and it is too early to assess whether the standards are producing improved academic outcomes. Yet, even as we wait expectantly for positive results, our leaders’ vigilance in respect to local authority over education must be ongoing. It should be of some concern that states farther along in their implementation than Alabama are considering repeal not based on questions of effectiveness, but on a growing awareness of the concessions made to federal authority that weren’t supposed to be part of the deal. Dr. John R. Hill is senior policy analyst and Katherine Robertson is vice president for the Alabama Policy Institute (API), an independent non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families. If you would like to speak with the authors, please call (205) 870-9900 or email at john@ alabamapolicy.org or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.alabamaliving.coop
MARCH 2015â€ƒ 27
Worth the Drive
Take a ‘turn’ for the better in Notasulga By Jennifer Kornegay
eep beep!” A pickup truck’s horn and Bill Strong’s, “Hey hey!” in reply broke the country quiet. I was sitting at one of two tables under the overhang in front of Bill’s barbecue restaurant/package store, Turn Baby Turn, in Notasulga. I was trying to concentrate on Bill’s explanation of what makes his ‘cue “the best in Alabama,” but the intoxicating scent of smoked pork kept coaxing my attention back to the ribs cozied up to two slices of white bread in the styrofoam box in front of me. “Uh huh.” “Ok,” were the only answers I could get out in between bites of meat so succulent and soft, I didn’t even need to use my teeth to free them from the bone. When Bill first brought me my ribs, I was puzzled by what looked like nacho-cheese swirled on top of them. He noticed the question on my face. “No, it’s not cheese,” he said. “It’s my mustard sauce.” He wouldn’t share much more than that, but the bright yelloworange addition didn’t need any justification. It delivered the bite needed to temper the sweetness of the thick, ruby-red sauce clinging to the ribs. “You can taste the smoke, right?” he said. “Yes,” I said, with my mouth full. Any attempt at table manners had already vanished when I realized I had a dot of mustard sauce on my nose and a smear of Jennifer Kornegay travels to an out-ofthe way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at j_kornegay@charter. net. Check out more of Jennifer’s food writing, recipes and recommendations on her blog, Chew on This at www. jenniferkornegay.com.
28 MARCH 2015
Homemade mustard sauce delivers the bite to temper the ribs’ sweet sauce at Turn Baby Turn. PHOTOS BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY
the red sauce on my cheek, and there was no reason to clean up yet since I still had two ribs left. Bill kept chatting about his special method, nodding to a massive drum grill and smoker that he’s outfitted with a rotisserie rod. “That’s what the name’s for, Turn Baby Turn, ‘cause I rotisserie all the meat,” he said. “It cooks it all evenly.” That includes ribs, pork butt and whole chickens. I’d made it through the ribs and was starting on the rib tips, little pieces of deliciousness whose thin dark bark concealed a pink center, when he instructed me to follow him to his woodpile in the back. “This is pecan, this is pecan, that’s pecan,” he said, pointing to six-foot-tall pyramids of log stacks. “That over there is oak, and sometimes I mix some of that in.” The pecan is best, though. “I like its taste a lot,” he said. So does everyone else lucky enough to have heard about Turn Baby Turn or just stumbled upon it while driving. When I sat back down, Bill had customers to tend to. He kept running back into the kitchen to get their plates made while fielding phone calls for pick-up orders. “You want the pineapple cole slaw with that?” I heard him ask. “Tell them they do!” I yelled. I’d just had my first taste of this fruity take on a traditional side and felt sure whoever was
on the other end of the phone would like it as much as I did. “Folks seem to enjoy what I’m doing here,” he said as he walked back out with a handful of desperately needed napkins. “I think they can tell that I do it for the passion, not the paycheck.” Those folks include football players and coaches from nearby Auburn University. “Yeah, they come in,” he said. “And they can eat!” I looked at my now-empty box and wondered if I’d done as much damage as a giant 20-something athlete. I thought I probably had when Bill added, “So can you!” I finished my can of Coke and made good use of the pile of napkins Bill had brought out as he led me to one more point of pride. “This here is how people can know for sure I’m open,” he said. An over-sized traffic signal is mounted to the wall of the store. “When that light is green, you come on in, and I’ll get you fixed up,” he said. Green means go, and you should go to Turn Baby Turn where green also means good food. Here’s hoping there’s a green glow on Highway 81 for many years to come. A Bill Strong says when the light is green, he’s open for business.
Turn Baby Turn 8960 Tuskegee Road (Hwy. 81) Notasulga, Alabama 334-415-0171 Hours: 11am – 8 pm, daily
Around Alabama MARCH Every Saturday, Clanton, March “Gourd” Madness. An award winning artist of the Chilton County Arts Council and Alabama Gourd Society will display and demonstrate gourd art at the Rose Gallery at the CCAC from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Open every Saturday in March. Open house Sunday, March 1, from 2-4 p.m. For more information, contact Mack Gothard at 706-299-4596. Elberta, 3rd Annual Heritage Arts and Camellia Festival will be held on the grounds of the Baldwin County Heritage Museum, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Information: the Museum, 251-986-8375.
Vienna Boys Choir at the Claudia 10 Troy, Crosby Theatre. The choir’s repertoire includes
everything from medieval to contemporary and experimental music. Participate as a patron or buy tickets online: $20 general admission, $5 for students, or at the door. www.troyartscouncil.com. Mobile, Mobile Historic Homes Tour. Our doors open for Mobile’s 46th annual spring pilgrimage. Tour architecturally significant properties in the Spring Hill neighborhood. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of and are available for purchase online at www.historicmobiletour. com. For more information, contact 251432-6161 or email email@example.com. Fairhope, March Fantasy Doll and Toy Show and Sale sponsored by the Eastern Shore Doll Study Club of Alabama. Fairhope Civic Center Auditorium, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: adults $3, children ages 6-12 $1. Contact: Elizabeth Moore, 205-789-0342. Enterprise, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” performance at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m. This stage performance is all boisterous fun and romance that harkens back to the glory days of the movie musical. For information on individual or season tickets, call 334-406-2787 or visit www.CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com. Huntsville, Spring Craft Show at the Van Braun Civic Center.
Friday and Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. Approximately 250 craftsmen will be selling teddy bears, dolls and doll furniture, unusual pottery, wooden toys, bird feeders and more. Contacts: Annie Hannah, show chairman, 256-880-7967; Shirley Petitti, 256-883-2199; Elizabeth Crum, 256-423-4312. Fairhope, Beekeeping Workshop and Field Day at the Auburn University Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center. There will be an open hive demonstration (weather permitting) so bring your protective gear if you want to participate in this activity. Cost: $25 per person or $35 per family at the door. Lunch will be provided. For information, call Roger Bemis at 251-213-0168 or email BemisRoger@hotmail.com. Andalusia, 8K Run for Hunger. First Presbyterian Church of Andalusia is hosting this 8K and 1 mile fun run to support the Love Thy Neighbor Meal Program. The program provides a breakfast and lunch at no cost for all who choose to come. Pre-race registration fees are $25 for children and adults. Fun run is $10 for children and adults. Free t-shirt included. Contact the church office at 334-222-5352 for more information. Dothan, Spring Farm Day at Landmark Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Living history demonstrations: sheep shearing, blacksmithing, plowing, basket weaving, quilting and other traditional farm activities. Music and food available. www.landmarkparkdothan.com. Andalusia, 20th Annual Senior Appreciation Day at the Kiwanis Building. The day includes music, contests, door prizes and lots of surprises. The featured entertainment is Ron Taylor and The Country Brand. Admission is free. For more information, call 334-2226891. No one under 21 unless Military. Atmore, Southeastern Indian Festival, Poarch Creek Indian Powwow Grounds. Thursday and Friday will be school days from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and open to the public Friday 6-8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Learn about Southeastern Indian culture through song and dance, storytelling, living history, arts and crafts demonstrations, authentic Indian foods, and much more. Admission is free. If your school would like to attend, please contact the Calvin McGhee Cultural Authority at 251-368-9136 ext 2656.
City, 5th Annual Flaming Spring 28 Frisco Bash. Annual fundraiser for the Frisco
City VFD at Jones Park. Arts and crafts, live music, car show, inflatables, Chinese raffle, hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, funnel cakes and beverages. For information or booth and car show registration, please contact Ronda Norwood at Lasting Creations in Frisco City or call 251-267-2118 or 251-593-8386. Cullman, Cullman MS Walk at Heritage Park. Registration and check-in at 8 a.m. followed by the walk at 10 a.m. No cost to walk with at least $100 donation. Register at: www. WalkMS.org or sign up by calling Debra Bower at 256-457-5618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Midway, Natural Resource Stewardship for Private Landowners: A Family Event at the Wehle Land Conservation Center, 9-11:30 a.m. Topics include: hunter safety and regulations, prescribed burning with on-site demonstration, pond management and gopher tortoise species profile. Children’s activities will also be available. Admission is free. To pre-register or for information, call the Bullock County Extension Office in Union Springs at 334-738-2580.
APRIL Lake Jordan, Millbrook Area Chamber 2nd Annual Bass Classic at Bonners Landing on Lake Jordan. This will be a “Big Fish” tournament, beginning at 6 a.m. with weigh-ins each hour starting at 7 a.m. and ending around 2 p.m. There will be cash prizes for the top 3 big fish each hour as well as the over all big fish winner at the end of the day. Entry fee is $50 and must be collected before 6 a.m. Pre-registration is preferred. For information and registration, contact Hal Hodge at 334-657-1771 or Larry Liveoak at 334-546-4691.
to Natural Bridge, Highway #13 4 Delmar Yard Sale in Winston County. Yard sale spaces available at the Natural Bridge Community Center. For information, call 205-269-9208.
To place an event, e-mail email@example.com. 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. Alabama Living
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MARCH 2015 29
Moon phase planting guides generations of gardeners
here was a full moon the other night, one so big and bright that I could almost read by it and it reminded me that my father had given me a copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac for Christmas that I had not yet read. So I pulled it out and under lamplight (I’ve reached an age when moonlight requires a little extra help if I really want to see the pages) I began to thumb through it. I love farmer’s almanacs of all kinds because they are chock full of interesting information that ties back to days of yore. But the information that I find especially intriguing is the advice they offer on planting by the moon and signs, age-old practices of using the phases of the moon and the Zodiac to determine the best time to plant crops and perform other agrarian activities—even mowing the lawn. While there is much debate about how scientific and effective it is to use the moon and astrological signs as guides to planting and planning our gardens, there actually is some science behind the practices. After all, many of these practices were developed generations ago through close observation of seasonal changes in light, temperature and other forces of nature. Plus, the gravita-
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
30 MARCH 2015
tional pull of the moon does affect tides so it stands to reason that, as the moon waxes and wanes, so does the availability of water in the soil and in the plants themselves. While planting by the signs is different and somewhat more complicated to figure out than planting solely by the moon, both use the basic guideline that aboveground flowers and vegetables should be planted as the moon is waxing—from the day the moon is new to the day it is full. Underground crops such as bulbs and root vegetables should be planted as the moon is waning—from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again. Want even more precision in the planting schedule? Each quarter phase of the moon cycle is also said to be better suited for certain crops or chores: leafy crops are best planted during the first quarter moon cycle, seed-containing crops such as tomatoes and beans should be planted during the second quarter, root crops and perennials should be planted during the third cycle and nothing should be planted during the fourth cycle, though this is an ideal time to weed, mow and treat for pests. These guidelines only scratch the surface of the many nuanced practices that can be applied to our gardening calendars, including the tradition of planting summer vegetables on Good Friday (April 3 this year), so as you’re planning your 2015 garden, it may be fun (and possibly productive) to study up on these time-honored traditions. Get a copy of the Old Farmers or a similar annual almanac or do a little library or Web research (I found a particularly easy to follow guide at www.garden-
ingbythemoon.com) and try it for yourself. If you’re truly wanting to be scientific about it, create your own experiment by planting part of your garden by the correct phases of the moon and another part by the incorrect moon phases and see what happens. And send me your results or any specific garden lore you’ve followed or heard through the years. It could plant the seed for a future column! A
March Gardening Tips Remove winter mulch from garden
beds as the plants show signs of new growth. Divide and transplant summerblooming perennials and fertilize established ones as soon as new growth appears. Transplant shrubs and trees early in March. Add any amendments (composted or processed manure, peat moss, compost, etc.) into your garden soil. Plant green peas, snow peas, asparagus, horseradish and artichokes early in the month. Plant eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cauliﬂower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes and radish seeds. Plant strawberries, blueberries, grapes and fruit trees. Sow seeds for tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and other spring vegetables. Prune or pinch back leggy house plants and begin fertilizing them with a diluted solution of plant food. Begin weeding garden or ﬂowerbeds as soon as weeds emerge. Clean out birdhouses and feeders.
MARCH 2015â€ƒ 31
ALABAMA BOOKSHELF Each month, we offer a summary of recent books that are either about Alabama people or people with Alabama ties and/or written by Alabama authors. Email submissions to bookshelf@ alabamaliving.coop. Driving the King, by Ravi Howard, Harper Books, January 2015; $25.99 hardcover This novel explores race and prejudice in 1950s America, as witnessed by famed singer Nat “King” Cole and his fictional driver and friend since childhood, Nat Weary. Told through Weary’s perspective and alternating between past and present, the book reimagines the civil rights era, using Cole (who was actually born in Montgomery) and his real-life fame to tell a story of loyalty and friendship. A Home for Wayward Boys, by Jerry Armor, NewSouth Books, January 2015; $24.95 Armor’s book recounts the creation of the Alabama Boys’ Industrial School, a residential facility that worked to rehabilitate troubled boys through compassion, common sense and Christian faith. The school was the vision of reformer Elizabeth Johnston, who rallied women around Alabama to persuade the Legislature to establish the school in 1900. Jeﬀrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts: Commemorative Edition, by Kathryn Tucker Windham, University of Alabama Press; $29.95 Noted storyteller, folklorist and radio personality Windham died in 2011; this new edition returns the Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts to its original format in jacketed cloth full of original, black-and-white illustrations. Jeffrey has entertained generations of Alabama children, and students everywhere have been thrilled by Windham’s legends. Anchors of Faith, by Martha Dickson, NewSouth Books, Fall 2014; $27.95 This pictorial overview of 145 mostly late-19th century wooden churches in southern Alabama, Mississippi and Florida will add to the understanding of religious faith in the rural South through architecture. These churches embody the spirit of their builders and help the modern reader understand their history, from their founding to their current state.
32 MARCH 2015
MARCH 2015â€ƒ 33
Alabama Music Special the players from around here were not limited to any one style.
Continued from Page 16
a session player; you play very long, especially if you play a long time for a lot of years, you’re going to go through all ups and downs, the goods and the bad. You just go in and do your job. You’re paid to like what you’re doing, you’re paid to play. For the most part it was all wonderful.
Fritts: I’ve been asked that all over the world. I’ve yet to come up with a good answer. I don’t know how we got that many talented people in this little bitty area. A young Bo Bice, center, got encouragement at a Songwriter’s Showcase from It ain’t like we’re in New Mickey Buckins, left, and showcase organizer and musician Jerry McGee. York, this is a very small Bice later went on to become runner-up on “American Idol,” finishing behind area; but you came up winner Carrie Underwood, in 2005. with a bunch of really AL: What do you think it is about to do something similar -- play. A few of talented people who are committed to this area that has produced so us wanted to write songs, but not many. doing it. … You’ve got to be totally commany talented musicians? Why You’d just get in bands, or play on record- mitted to it. So, that’s the way we were. ings if you had the opportunity, you know, I didn’t go out and play, I never did that not somewhere else? The studio and Rick Hall, he had a lot to s***. I was music and all I thought about Oldham: Well, it’s hard for me to evalu- do with it and forming a studio and place was music starting when I was 15. ate that. My experience is I know what to go, so that helped. If you hadn’t had that happened to me. I was just around a lot back in those days, it would’ve taken a lot AL: What advice would you give of great musicians, a lot of great recording longer. And a good facility too. Not only to kids who say, “I want to be engineers, a great recording studio and all a place, but it was a wonderful recording there someday”? motivated to do the same thing. Let’s get facility. It had top grade microphones and this thing off the ground, you know, let’s fly speakers, it was the best. Oldham: Come on down. It’s where your this sucker. There were a lot of musicians, heart is, it’s not where you live. If your heart I mean as a youngster. There was Terry Buckins: I think it’s a spiritual thing. It is in the right place, you can do well here. Thompson, he’s one of the most heroed goes way back to the Native Americans, If your heart’s not in the right place then guitar players ever here. Any guitarist that the singing river. It’s the land. It’s the mud. stay where you are, because you won’t be ever heard him will tell you the same. He It’s the river. It’s the people. It’s where we’re welcomed. Yeah, like I said, the elements are died at 27. So, you know, I’m saying people located. There’s great music all around us, here for anybody to do well. Good studios, you know, from the Mississippi Delta and good players and good songwriters. Or if you got started early and they played great. I was fortunate enough to be around all Memphis to Georgia up into Tennessee. want to write your own song, you can find a As far as the players go, we all were so place to do that around here with no probthose great players that I could find, if they could find me. So it was just a family situ- eclectic. I mean, we all loved every kind lem. Maybe even somebody will write with ation. We all knew each other, all wanting of music and the mixture of ability of all you if you have that missing in your life. A
WANT TO GO? The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, known as the 3614 Jackson Highway Studio in Sheffield, is open for tours
Donnie Fritts, left, hangs out with Kris Kristofferson after a recording session at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. PHOTO BY DICK COOPER
34 MARCH 2015
from 10 a.m.-2 p.m Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Call Bonnie at 256-394-3562 for more information, or log on to www.msmusicfoundation.org FAME Music Group, 603 E. Avalon Ave. in Muscle Shoals, is open for tours at 9 a.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. No reservations needed. Call 256-381-0801 or log on to www.fame2.com If you’re planning a music-themed trip to northwest Alabama, be sure and make another stop. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame, 617 Highway 72 in West Tuscumbia,
is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. TuesdaySaturday. For information, call 256-3814417 or log on to www.alamhof.org
Spooner Oldham, center, in the studio with Terry Young, left, and Bob Dylan, probably about 1980.
MARCH 2015â€ƒ 35
Send your questions to: James Dulley
Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244
You can also reach Dulley online at: www.dulley.com
Eﬃcient indoor lighting for your home
New efficient dimmable LED bulbs look similar to old incandescent bulbs. PHOTO CREDIT CREE LIGHTING
We are remodeling some rooms in our home and need new lighting options. I always used 60- and 100watt bulbs, but they are difficult to find now. What new types of lights are best to use? The standard high-wattage incandescent bulb technology is certainly not illegal, but it does not meet the current energy efficiency standards. Also, the bulb life is very short when compared to newer-technology standards, so the overall cost of using the older bulbs is high. The wattage of a light bulb refers to how much electricity it consumes, not how much light it produces. The amount of light is measured in units called lumens. A 60watt incandescent light bulb produces about 800 lumens of light and a 100-watt bulb about 1,600 lumens. Today, your primary choices of bulb are halogen, CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and LEDs (light emitting diodes), which I listed in the order of increasing efficiency. For many home applications, LEDs are the best choice even though they cost more initially. Halogen bulbs are basically incandescent bulbs with halogen gas around the filament to improve efficiency enough to meet efficiency standards. CFLs are much more efficient, using only about 25 percent as much electricity as incandescent bulbs to produce the same about of light – and they last 10 times longer. Today’s CFLs have improved when compared to the original versions. Instant start models are available, and some are dimmable using a standard dimmer wall switch. The types of phosphor layers on the inside surface of the bulb determine the light quality and color. CFLs can produce true full-spectrum (simulates natural sunlight) light quality and can be purchased with warm white, cool white and daylight color temperatures. Many people objected to the cool white (bluish) color temperature of the early CFLs – they wanted something that mimicked the color of incandescent lamps (warm white). Daylight lamps have an even higher color temperature, and they produce more accurate colors and are good for tasks such as reading and painting. LEDs are the newest and most efficient light source available and provide an excellent payback. A 12-watt LED produces as
is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati.
36 MARCH 2015
much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. The LED bulb should also last a minimum of 20,000 hours. Most of them are dimmable, work well at cold temperatures and reach full brightness immediately. LEDs gradually get dimmer over time. When a LED is rated for 20,000 hours, its output will stay above 70 percent of its original brightness for that time. If you have been using incandescent bulbs, you are probably accustomed to a yellowish light quality. This is called the “color temperature” of a bulb. Incandescent bulbs are in the 2700-degree K range. The whiter “daylight” LEDs and CFLs are in the 4,000- to 5,000-degree K range. Most people grow accustomed to the whiter light and prefer it. The color temperature is listed on the packaging. CRI (color rendering index) is another quality of the light bulb to consider. A higher CRI makes objects in a room look more like they would look under natural sunlight. A CRI above 80 is considered adequate for homes, but 90 or above makes everything look better and doesn’t cost much more. There are four general types of lighting uses - ambient, accent, decorative and task. Ambient lighting is for general illumination with comfortable brightness. Accent lighting can create a mood in the room or highlight areas or objects. Decorative lighting is when the light itself is the object, such as a chandelier. Task lighting is for reading or doing a specific activity. For effective lighting in your new rooms, install several grouped circuits with dimmers to control and vary the lighting schemes. For example, choose high-CRI bulbs over a dining table to enhance the appearance of food. An overhead high color-temperature bulb above a chair would be good for reading or other tasks. For existing rooms, where it may not be easy to rewire or add circuits, switch to LEDs in most fixtures, and install dimmer wall switches. There are many new types of LEDs available to replace almost any incandescent bulb. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs do not lose efficiency as they are dimmed. The goal for lighting efficiency is to use as little lighting as needed. Where you do not have a wall switch, such as with a table lamp, install a three-way socket and use a new three-way LED. Add a four-bulb lighting kit to a ceiling fan with a switch to allow you to switch on fewer than all four lights. Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room. A rule of thumb for CFLs is to switch them off if you plan to be out of the room for 15 minutes or more. Switching them on and off more often will shorten their life. Contrary to popular belief, with the new electronic ballasts, “switching” does not use a large amount of current each time they’re switched on. A www.alabamaliving.coop
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MARCH 2015 37
Fishing to fight hunger
Bass tournament series raises money for food program By John N. Felsher
labama anglers will talk to the competitors. People can learn a lot of tips.” venture forth this year Anglers may fish any public to not only find big waters they can reach from the fish and win cash prizes, but landing, as long as they return also to help their neighbors in time to weigh and release during the inaugural Delta their fish alive. Second in size Rendezvous Bass Tournament only to the Mississippi River Series. Delta, the Mobile-Tensaw The series features seven Delta spreads across 250,000 bass tournaments conducted acres of bayous, creeks, lakes, from March 21 through Sept. swamps, marshes and estuaries 19. (For the complete schedule, see www.alabamahungernear Mobile. relief.com). Like most bass From Live Oak Landing, tournaments, each event will anglers can head north to the feature anglers competing to Daniel Felsher shows off a bass he caught while fishing a river backwater. Alabama or Tombigbee rivPHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER ers. The Alabama merges with catch the biggest fish. However, this series goes well bethe Tombigbee near Mount naments, archery shooting, seminars and Vernon, creating the Mobile River. The yond bragging rights and prizes. These other events. tournaments will help feed hungry people “The idea for the bass tournament se- Tensaw River breaks off from the Mobile through Alabama Hunger Relief. ries came to us when we held the Delta and flows through Baldwin County. Near “The tournament series is a fun way to Rendezvous,” White says. “During the Del- where the rivers enter Mobile Bay, several raise money for a good cause,” says Alan ta Rendezvous, we raised the most money shallow grassy lakes can offer good fishing. White with AHR, who is also publisher from the bass tournament. Therefore, we “A tremendous number of tributaries of Great Days Outdoors magazine. “All decided to concentrate on bass tourna- feed into the Alabama River,” Miller says. proceeds from the tournaments will go ments this year.” “Anglers catch quite a few spotted bass in toward AHR, which raises money to pay Teams pay $100 to enter each event. streams to the north. Some lakes off the to process deer meat donated by hunters. The top 20 percent of anglers entered in rivers can provide good fishing. From the We distribute that meat to food banks in each event will take home cash winnings. landing, anglers can also easily run to the our program.” In addition, teams accrue points based marshes down around the Mobile CauseIn 2014, AHR processed more than upon how they finished in each event. way.” Almost anywhere in the Mobile-Tensaw 2,500 pounds of donated venison, giving Teams with high point totals after the Authe meat to 10 different food banks in Ala- gust tournament will qualify for the series Delta could produce excellent fishing at bama. To pay for that, AHR organized sev- championship, slated for Sept. 19. times. The delta doesn’t usually produce eral fund-raising events including saltwaEach tournament will run out of Live monster bass, but people can often find ter tournaments and charity dove hunting Oak Landing on the Tensaw River near great numbers in very fertile habitat. For events. In May 2014, AHR organized the Stockton under the supervision of tourna- the biggest fish, anglers typically head Delta Rendezvous, an all-day event that ment director John Hall. Competitors may north to fish numerous cypress-lined featured four simultaneous fishing tour- only use artificial baits to catch largemouth lakes, backwater streams and major river or Kentucky spotted bass. Each team may channels. John N. Felsher is “The diversity of the delta is one of bring in up to five bass per event, each at a freelance writer and photographer least 12 inches long. Each public weigh-in the phenomenal things about this fishery, who now lives in but it’s not a trophy fishery,” Miller says. will begin at 3 p.m. Semmes, Ala. He co-hosts a weekly “All the weigh-ins will be free and “Based upon data from the tournament outdoors show that is open to the public,” says Wayne Miller trail that I ran for 16 years, it typically syndicated to stations with Mobile-Tensaw Delta Guide Service takes between a 3- and 4-pound average to in Alabama. For more on the show, log on to in Satsuma. “It’s a lot of fun to bring the win spring tournaments. Typically, it takes www.gdomag.com. family, especially children, down to the a 4.5- to 6.5-pound fish to win the big bass Contact him through his website at www. weigh-ins to see the fish. I encourage an- title. The biggest bass I’ve ever seen in any JohnNFelsher.com glers to come down to the weigh-ins and of my tournaments was an 8.5-pounder.” 38 MARCH 2015
People can also help by making tax-deductible donations to AHR anytime they wish. The organization especially needs product donations to give away as door prizes during the tournament. To donate or volunteer to help, call 251-423-1857 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. “We hope for great participation from our bass fishing community and greatly appreciate any help in raising money to feed the hungry right here in Alabama,” White says. “Alabama is No. 2 in the nation in food insecurity. That means we have some work to do. We appreciate any donations we receive.” For more information on this tournament or Alabama Hunger Relief, call White at 800-597-6828. Online, see www. alabamahungerrelief.com or the Delta Rendezvous page on Facebook. A Jeff Bruhl shows off a bass he caught on a jig and craw while fishing the delta marshes. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
MAR. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 APR. 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
09:46 10:31 11:01 05:46 06:16 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:31 03:01 12:46 10:01 09:31 09:46 10:16 10:31 11:01 05:01 05:31 12:01 12:31 01:01 01:31 02:01 02:46 03:46 09:46 07:46 08:46 09:31 10:01 04:31 05:01 -12:16 01:01 01:31 02:16 03:01 04:31 -09:01 09:16 09:46 03:31 03:46
04:16 04:46 05:16 11:46 12:01 06:46 07:16 07:46 08:01 08:31 09:01 03:01 03:31 04:01 04:16 04:31 04:46 11:16 11:46 05:46 06:01 06:31 06:46 07:16 07:46 08:31 12:46 02:01 02:46 03:31 04:01 10:46 11:31 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:01 07:16 07:46 08:01 01:16 02:01 02:46 03:01 10:01 10:31
03:01 04:01 05:01 -06:31 07:31 08:16 09:16 10:46 ---01:01 02:31 03:31 04:16 05:01 05:31 -06:46 07:16 08:01 08:46 09:46 11:01 --12:01 01:46 03:01 04:16 11:01 11:46 06:46 07:31 08:16 09:16 10:31 11:46 --12:31 02:31 03:31 04:16 10:31
10:01 10:46 11:31 05:46 12:31 01:01 01:46 02:31 03:31 04:31 05:46 07:16 08:16 09:16 09:46 10:31 11:01 11:31 06:16 12:16 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:31 03:16 04:31 06:01 07:31 08:31 09:31 10:16 05:01 06:01 12:01 12:46 01:31 02:01 02:46 03:46 04:46 06:01 07:16 08:16 09:01 09:46 05:01
MARCH 2015 39
Spring brings new water heater standards By Bret Curry
ith spring around the corner comes another major The infrared thermal images pictured here are from water change in energy efficiency standards that will even- heaters located in two different homes and reveal the heat loss tually affect all Americans. Beginning April 16, the being targeted by the DOE. Both units are 40-gallon models. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will require higher Energy Both units reside in an unheated location with an ambient air Factor (EF) ratings on most residential electric, natural gas, oil temperature of approximately 50 degrees. The unit in the top and tankless water heaters. photo is a 1983 natural gas model with an EF rating of .57, or EF ratings for water heaters are based upon how efficiently 57 percent efficiency, and its storage tank is insulated with fiheat is transferred into the water. berglass. The unit in the bottom Another consideration is standby photo is a 2006 electric model heat loss, or the amount of heat with an EF rating of .92, or 92 lost from the storage tank while percent efficiency, and its storage it’s sitting idle. Generally you can tank is insulated with foam. Both find the EF of your water heater units were set with a water temon the yellow energy guide tag perature output of 120 degrees. located on the side of the unit. A As you observe the images and rule of thumb when considering their corresponding temperaenergy-efficient water heaters is ture ranges, remember that heat that a higher EF rating equates moves to cool. While both are to a more efficient unit. experiencing heat loss, the older When we look at the dollars natural gas unit is losing more spent by residential consumers heat than the electric model. for energy in a pie-chart format, As EF rating requirements inNatural gas-fueled water heater in standby mode. Heat loss nearly two-thirds of the pie is crease, so will the physical and reaching 125 degrees is evident. composed of space conditioning technological characteristics of and water heating. Furthermore, most storage-type water heaters. the DOE has determined its Many will be wider and taller to new water heater standards will accommodate improved insulasave approximately 3.3 quads tion required for heat retention of energy and save Americans and to incorporate efficiency nearly $63 billion in water heattechnologies. Gas units larger ing expenses over the next 30 than 55 gallons will require an years. To put one energy quad electrical connection, differinto perspective, it’s equivalent ent venting and condensation to 8,007,000,000 gallons of gasodisposal. Electrical units larger line or 293,083,000,000 kilowattthan 55 gallons will also require hours. condensation disposal due to efConventional water heaters ficient heat pump technology. require a lot of energy to do their As existing retail inventory is job. Furthermore, a law of nature depleted, builders, plumbers and IR_0752: Electric water heater in standby mode. Heat loss of on earth comes into play during homeowners will have to adapt 66 degrees is revealed by infrared camera. and after the water is heated. to change — change that could Heat from the fuel source moves to the colder water, and the result in a small remodel job when it comes time to replace your water is heated to the desired temperature. But, when the unit existing unit. To learn more details about the new water heater shuts off, the heated water will begin to cool. The rate of cooling regulations visit: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliis affected by the location of the water heater and the material ance_standards/product.aspx/productid/27 A used to insulate the storage tank. Additional energy dollars are required during colder months when water heaters are installed Bret Curry is the residential energy manager for Arkansas Electric in garages, outside porches or any unconditioned environment. Cooperative Corporation.
40 MARCH 2015
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MARCH 2015 41
Safe @ Home
At the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in 2014 in Seattle, a bagpiper honors the memory of those who died in work zone accidents; each orange cone represents a life lost. AMERICAN TRAFFIC SAFETY SERVICES ASSOCIATION
Motorists urged to drive to survive near work zones
oadway construction zones have become such a familiar sight to Alabama drivers that most of us often pay little attention to pleas for caution. But these areas can be deadly: Alabama had 22 fatal crashes in work zones in 2013, and 23 fatal crashes in 2012, according to data from the Alabama Department of Transportation. In an effort to make drivers aware of work zones, several Alabama groups are participating in National Work Zone Awareness Week March 23-27. The annual spring campaign is traditionally held at the start of the construction season to encourage safe driving; this year’s theme is “Expect the Unexpected.” “This awareness is important for both the motorists passing through the work zone and the workers doing the work,” said John McCarthy, chairman of the Alabama Struck-By Alliance. The Struck-By Alliance is a voluntary group of businesses and governmental agencies, all of which have an interest in safe travel along the highways in the state. Participating in the Alliance, among others, are the Alabama Associated General Contractors of John McCarthy, America, the 3M company, the Alabama chairman of the Department of Transportation (ALDOT), Alabama StruckAlabama Power and the Alabama Rural By Alliance, talks to members about Electric Association of Cooperatives, which plans for the 2015 publishes Alabama Living. (Utility crews do National Work much of their work on road rights-of-way.) Zone Awareness The Alliance sponsors field activities, Week. such as stand-downs (where employers take PHOTO BY ALLISON GRIFFIN a break during the work day to discuss safety with employees), and office functions, such as training classes and poster presentations. Drivers might be surprised to learn that most work zone fatalities are motorists and their occupants; only about 10-15 percent of fatalities are workers and other non-motorized users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. To further heighten awareness, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which includes the state troopers, partners with ALDOT on work zone safety. ALDOT will often request trooper presence in construction zones -- either to sit with their lights on, or in a marked car to slow traffic down, said Sgt. Steve Jarrett, spokesman for ALEA. If speeding becomes a problem they’ll ask for enforcement.
“You should see signs saying that speeding fines are doubled when workers are present (in construction zones),” Jarrett said. Speed limits are reduced for a variety of reasons: the roadway may not be up to standard; there may be uneven lanes or lane closures; or there may be heavy equipment moving in and out of the area. “It’s not just for the safety of the workers; it’s for the safety of the motoring public as well,” Jarrett said. “I get asked a lot, if the workers are not there, is the speed limit still reduced?” Jarrett said. “The bottom line is, if the speed limit is posted in black and white, that is the speed limit.” The good news is that the numbers of work zone crashes and work zone fatalities has been decreasing for many of the past several years, McCarthy said. “We think that increased training of workers and increased awareness of the road users, through events such as National Work Zone Awareness Week, have been important in achieving this result,” he said. A GUIDELINES FOR SAFE DRIVING AROUND WORK ZONES Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traﬃc barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers. Be patient. Traﬃc delays are sometimes unavoidable, so try to allow time for unexpected occurrences in your schedule. Obey all signs and road crew ﬂag instructions. Merge early and be courteous to other drivers. Use your headlights at dusk and during inclement weather. Minimize distractions. Avoid activities such as operating a radio, using a handheld device or eating while driving. SOURCE: SAFE ELECTRICITY
Michael Kelley is senior manager of Safety & Loss Control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.
42 MARCH 2015
Alabama Gun Collectors Association MILITARY THEMED SALUTE TO OUR AMERICAN VETS
Birmingham-Jeﬀerson Convention Center 2100 Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd, Birmingham, AL Doors Open: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Saturday, 21 March 2015 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday, 22 March 2015 Admission: $8.00 Adults – Children under 12 FREE
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC—BUY—SELL—TRADE New and used Firearms, Accessories, Optics, Ammo Over 700 Tables: Largest Show in the Southeast
Featuring vehicles of the Dixie Division Military Vehicle Club and the Veterans Memorial Museum Huntsville, and Vietnam era Huey Helicopter
To learn more about the Alabama Gun Collectors Association or to download a membership application, Go to: www.ALGCA.org for more information on how to join more than 2200 current members.
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MARCH 2015 43
How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace
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MARCH 2015 45
Peanut Butter Alabama Recipes
Cook of the month: Shari Lowery, Pioneer EC Peanut Butter Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze Pound Cake: 1½ cups butter 3 cups granulated sugar ½ cup creamy peanut butter 6 large eggs Frosting: ½ cup creamy peanut butter ⁄ cup corn syrup 2 cups powdered sugar
3 ½ ½ 1 1
cups all-purpose ﬂour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt cup buttermilk teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
We go through a lot of peanut butter in our household. From peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to cracking open a few roasted peanuts for a snack, we love eating peanuts!
Here are some fun peanut facts: SOURCES: NATIONAL PEANUT BOARD, KITCHENDAILY.COM, NATIONAL PEANUT FESTIVAL
Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food. Contact her at email@example.com.
46 MARCH 2015
Cake Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a bundt pan with nonstick spray or grease and ﬂour. Cream butter and sugar until light and ﬂuﬀy. Cream in peanut butter until smooth and well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time. In another bowl, combine ﬂour, baking powder and salt. Add ﬂour mixture alternately with buttermilk and vanilla to creamed mixture, beating after each addition until combined. Pour into bundt pan and bake 75-85 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes before removing and cool completely before frosting. Frosting Cream peanut butter, vanilla extract and corn syrup. Slowly add powdered sugar and add one tablespoon of heavy cream one at a time to mixer. Add more cream if necessary. Pour and spread over cooled cake. Frosting needs to be thick but spreadable.
• It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. • By law, any product labeled “peanut butter” in the United States must be at least 90 percent peanuts. • Peanuts account for two-thirds of all snack nuts consumed in the USA. • The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school. • Former President Bill Clinton confessed that one of his favorite sandwiches is peanut butter and banana; it’s also reported to have been the favorite of Elvis Presley. • Sixty percent of consumers prefer creamy peanut butter over crunchy. • In 1938, George Washington Carver spoke to the ﬁrst National Peanut Festival held annually in Dothan, Ala. Dr. Carver introduced peanuts to the Wiregrass and they saved the area after boll weevils destroyed cotton crops. • March 1 is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, so let’s celebrate by preparing one of the recipes in this issue.
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online at alabamaliving.coop email to firstname.lastname@example.org mail to: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Peanut Butter Cream Dreams Filling 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese ¼ cup peanut butter 2 eggs Crust 2 cups oatmeal 2 tablespoons brown sugar ⁄ cup almonds (thinly sliced)
2 teaspoons vanilla 2 tablespoons honey 6 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons milk 4 tablespoons butter (melted) 2 apples (blend to applesauce-like consistency)
Directions For crust: Put 19 muﬃn cup liners in two muﬃn pans. With a fork, combine oatmeal, butter, brown sugar and almonds. Add the applesauce; mix well. Press crust into 19 muﬃn cups. For ﬁlling: Beat cream cheese well, then beat in peanut butter. Add eggs, vanilla, honey, and brown sugar; combining well. Add the milk and mix until creamy. With a spoon, place ﬁlling into muﬃn cups on top of crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. When done, let cool before removing from the pans. Garnish with sliced almonds if desired. Makes 19 cupcakes.
Peanut Butter Bon Bons 2 cups chunky peanut butter ½ cup margarine 1 box powdered sugar
3 cups Rice Krispies 1 package butterscotch morsels 1 bar paraﬃn
Mix Rice Krispies and powdered sugar together in a large bowl and set aside. Melt peanut butter and margarine together and mix well (can do on top of stove on medium heat or in microwave). Pour over cereal mixture and mix with hand. Roll into balls, stick a toothpick into each ball and refrigerate about an hour. In a double boiler, melt package of butterscotch morsels and one bar paraﬃn in top of double boiler, stirring well. Dip balls one at a time into butterscotch mixture until well coated and place on wax paper. When ﬁnished dipping all balls, remove toothpicks. These have become a family tradition every Thanksgiving and Christmas! Nanette Stinson, Central Alabama EC
Peanut Butter Candy 1 cup butter 1 cup peanut butter 1 box (16-ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
Carissa Pittman, Joe Wheeler EMC
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs 1 package (12-ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Blend butter and peanut butter in a large bowl. Work in the powdered sugar and cracker crumbs with a wooden spoon until combined thoroughly. Press into a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside. Melt chocolate pieces in microwave or double boiler, watching carefully to make sure the chocolate does not get too hot. Quickly spread melted chocolate over the top of the peanut butter mixture. Chill until ﬁrm, but not too cold. Tastes like Reese’s candy! Elizabeth Davis, Tombigbee 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.
MARCH 2015 47
Peanut Butter Popcorn Popcorn ½ cup sugar ½ cup honey or corn syrup ½ cup chunky peanut
Peanut Butter Cake butter ½ teaspoon vanilla Kosher salt
Pop enough corn to make 2 quarts. Cook the sugar and honey (or corn syrup) to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Pour over the popcorn, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, stir and enjoy. Lorena Wilson, Black Warrior EMC
“Two” Easy 2-Minute Peanut Butter Fudge 1 container prepared cream cheese frosting mix
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
⁄ cup creamy peanut butter 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to blend until smooth. Serve with fruit (bananas, apples, raspberries or strawberries). Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Tracy Sutley, South Alabama EC
Peanut Butter Squares 6 cups plain cornﬂakes 2 cups peanut butter
Put sugar and syrup in pan. Heat until sugar is melted, then add peanut butter; stir until well mixed. Do not over heat. Pour mixture over cornﬂakes while mixing well and smooth out on wax paper. Note: Have corn ﬂakes in large bowl to mix up and a shallow baking pan 10x15-inches or larger covered in wax paper before starting. William Ring Sr., Tallapoosa River EC 48 MARCH 2015
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 2 cups Jif creamy peanut butter 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sift sugar. Add butter and cream cheese and mix well. Add peanut butter and vanilla and continue to mix. If too stiﬀ, add a couple of drops of milk. Place frosting between layers and on sides of top of cake.
Peanut Butter Fruit Dip
1 cup sugar 1 cup white Karo syrup
1 cup butter 4 very ripe bananas, mashed Baker’s Joy cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soften butter to room temperature. Spray four 9-inch cake pans with Baker’s Joy cooking spray. Blend dry cake mix, water, butter, eggs and mashed bananas in a large bowl at low speed until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour batter into cake pans and bake immediately. Check for doneness after baking for 25 minutes. You will want your layers to be golden brown. Do not over bake your layers. Allow layers to cool before frosting.
2 boxes of powdered sugar 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
Remove top and wrapping from frosting mix; microwave for 1 minute. Stir frosting mix with peanut butter. Spread in wax paper-lined dish; chill until ﬁrm. It only takes two ingredients and two minutes. Mary F. Haga, Arab Electric Coop
2 5.3-ounce containers vanilla Greek yogurt (or 1 slightly heaping cup)
2 boxes Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix 6 large eggs 1⁄ cups water
This recipe was originally created by my late mother-in-law, Mrs. Othel Herring. She created the recipe to enter in the National Peanut Festival. She never entered the recipe but it was a family favorite. It also was the cake that she would bake for me for my birthday. It is now the cake that I bake for my husband Phillip’s birthday. Dianne Herring, Wiregrass EC
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie 2 pints heavy whipping cream 1 large container Cool Whip 1 large box instant chocolate pudding
1 bag miniature Reese’s cups 2 graham cracker pie shells
Whip heavy whipping cream with chocolate pudding mix (dry). It will stiﬀen, then fold in Cool Whip and whip until creamy. Crush up desired amount of Reese’s cups and fold into mixture. Spread into pie shells and sprinkle a few chopped Reese’s cups on top. Refrigerate one hour before serving. Wanda Johns, Marshall-DeKalb 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.
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Our Sources Say
Where were you when the lights went out?
ou may remember the popular 1968 movie, “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?” It starred Doris Day and Patrick O’Neal and was set in New York City in 1965 during the first well-noted Northeast blackout. I remember watching it in high school. I was a big Doris Day fan. It is a story of a Broadway actress who goes home early when her evening play was cancelled because of the blackout. She arrives to find her husband, Patrick O’Neal, being too attentive to an attractive female reporter. The story follows Ms. Day through the blacked-out evening, ending with her husband finding her in bed with a stranger at their summer home. Of course, Ms. Day and Mr. O’Neal make up and (you assume) live happily ever after. The movie, however, ends with a sense of intrigue with Ms. Day having a baby nine months later. It was fairly risqué for 1968. Electric reliability was not as good in the 1960s as it is now. The movie gave the first real notoriety to the expense and inconvenience of electrical blackouts. With the exception of a very few major blackouts, we in the U.S. forget how fragile electric supply can be and what life would be like without aﬀordable, reliable electric power. That brings us to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (the Plan) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The discussion of the Plan thus far has primarily focused on increasing the retail price of electricity. The price will be higher. NERA Economic Consulting estimates the plan will increase the national average retail price of electricity by 12 to 17 percent over 15 years. The rising price of electricity is troubling enough for families still trying to recover from the Great Recession. However, the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC), a regulatory authority that coordinates the reliability of U.S. and Canadian electric utilities, released studies last November that conclude the long-term reliability of some areas of the U.S. power grid is already at risk. Shifts to renewable and natural gas-fired generation with closures of coal-fired plants due to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and low natural gas prices have reduced reserve margins in the Midwest, Texas and New York, which increase the likelihood of brown-outs and blackouts in the coldest and hottest periods.
NERC points out that the Plan’s compliance deadlines to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by closing coal-fired generation plants does not realistically consider the time it takes to build electric transmission lines or natural gas pipelines to serve retail customers currently served by coal-fired plants. The change in generation sources places additional stress on the reliability of the electric grid. It should be noted that 80 percent of coal-fired plants in the American Electric Power (AEP) service territory in the Midwest that are slated for retirement by 2020 because of EPA regulation were running to meet load during the polar vortex on Jan. 7, 2014. NERC’s warnings should not be taken lightly. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of electric industry experts in electric generation and transmission. NERC regulates and coordinates the nation’s electric grid to assure the reliability of the country’s electric service. EPA, on the other hand, is staﬀed with social engineers and environmental scientists without any specific knowledge of the operation of the power grid or power operations. However, it is apparent the EPA intends to change the nation’s electric generation mix to meet its goal of lower carbon emissions, regardless of the impact on the reliability and security of the electric grid or retail service. It is inconceivable that with the billions of dollars invested in electric generation and transmission systems that deliver aﬀordable and reliable electric power second to none in the world, the EPA would promote a Plan that completely changes the basic tenets of the nation’s retail electric service without consulting with or asking advice of the single organization that is charged with maintaining electric reliability and security day in and day out. It is equally inconceivable that the EPA would put an extremely reliable electric system at risk with expensive and uncertain measures that may reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. but don’t move the needle on global emissions. So, where will you be when the lights go out? I doubt if the coming problems will be as entertaining as a 1968 Doris Day movie. I also doubt if the damage to society will be as easy to diagnose as Doris Day’s paternity question. Undoubtedly, the EPA will blame utilities for not knowing how to manage a modern electric grid. The utilities will point to EPA’s unrealistic regulation of greenhouse gases as the father of the problem. I hope you have a good month. A
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. email@example.com
52 MARCH 2015
MARCH 2015 53
Alabama Snapshots 1
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“In the Band” 1. Joyner and Tucker with their cousin Sommer, a trombonist in the Auburn University Marching Band. SUBMITTED BY Amy Doss, Bay Minette. 2. Tyson loves playing jams on his new drum set. SUBMITTED BY Rene Wilkerson, Clio. 3. Liam is in the band! SUBMITTED BY Lisa Smith, Rainsville. 4. Benton Brothers and Company playing at “Save the Rock Building” fundraiser in Troy. SUBMITTED BY Loretta Daniels, Brundidge. 5. Leah-Marie, drummer in the F.H.S. Band. SUBMITTED BY Brenda Ashley, Cullman.
54 MARCH 2015