Pioneer Electric COOPERATIVE
River races Whitewater enthusiasts to converge on state
Paying for college Loans, scholarships come in all sizes
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
VOL. 69 NO. 2 FEBRUARY 2016
6 Meet Your Legislators
Get to know your leaders that represent our service area in Montgomery and Washington.
30 Feeding hungry children
One electric cooperative couple’s dedication to feeding hungry children in their county has inspired others to help thousands more. ON THE COVER Pioneer Electric Operations Manager Hunter Barrow retreats after a long day of storm recovery following the December flooding. PHOTO BY Casey B. Rogers
46 Quick and easy
Sometimes you just don’t want to cook or don’t have time. This month’s recipes are designed to be made in 30 minutes - or less!
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR/GRAPHIC DESIGNER Brooke Echols COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Laura Stewart ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:
340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.areapower.coop 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
9 42 43 54
Spotlight Cook of the Month Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Snapshots
Printed in America from American materials
FEBRUARY 2016 3
Contact Information: Business: 1-800-239-3092
The Power of Policy 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 FEBRUARY 2016
It seems you can’t turn on a TV, listen to the radio or pick up a newspaper without hearing about ineffectiveness in government. It often seems that no matter what we do or who we vote for, we don’t feel truly represented in either our state or national governments. At Pioneer Electric Cooperative, we understand how that feels, and we have been there ourselves. That feeling, along with a strong desire to take action, is the reason why we have dedicated staff and Board of Trustees that work to ensure our members’ interests are represented, and heard, by elected officials. Members of the cooperative government relations and policy teams work tirelessly to tackle complicated regulatory and policy issues. They apply these issues to the everchanging energy market and then evaluate how those issues impact our communities. They have a deep understanding of the needs of the communities we serve, and they use that knowledge to ensure that your needs are represented in major legislative decision-making. The ability to impact change is a huge part of being a member of Pioneer Electric Co-op. Since we are member-owned, we do not lobby elected officials on behalf of investors with the aim to increase profit margins. We work with elected officials to make sure that your interests are being considered to ensure that you will always be provided with safe, reliable and affordable electric service. That is the cooperative difference.
But it isn’t just our statewide cooperative government relations team that helps us affect policy and legislative change. Your voice makes a huge difference in how quickly and effectively we can drive change. Through our grassroots advocacy programs we encourage you to bring your ideas to the table and to make your voice heard. This is how we show state and national officials that we are acting in your best interest. Your collective voice shows that we represent communities and families, not corporate interests. For example, at our last annual meeting, hundreds of contact cards were submitted by Pioneer members— proving the concern for beneficial energy policy and decision-making. County commissioners in Butler, Dallas, Lowndes and Wilcox counties, along with city councilmen, and other local officials work closely with Pioneer Electric to understand the issues we face in our industry, and to voice the needs and concerns of their constituents and neighbors as we all work to improve the quality of life in south central Alabama. We encourage you to take note of your local and statewide elected officials and be an active voice to demonstrate positive change in the communities that we serve and that you call home. Also, please feel free to voice community concerns with your local cooperative. Help us represent your interests. Together, we can help make a positive impact in our communities.
Energy Tip of the Month Save energy and money by lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will also slow mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. Source: energy.gov
Pioneer Electric Cooperative
Inside Pioneer :
2016 Foundation Scholarship The deadline to apply for Pioneer Electric’s 2016 Cooperative Foundation Scholarship is quickly approaching! Applications are available at both the Greenville and Sardis Pioneer Electric office locations and can be directly downloaded from the Pioneer Electric website: www.pioneerelectric.com. High school guidance counselors have also been given applications to disperse to students. Applications are due to the Electric Cooperative Foundation by February 26, 2016. The annual scholarship program is designed to encourage and recognize the achievements of a student living on Pioneer Electric’s lines. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded as part of the Electric Cooperative Foundation, Inc., which was created by the cooperatives of Alabama in 1997 to provide scholarships for qualifying high school seniors. The scholarships are for study at post-secondary or vocational and technical institutions. To qualify, the senior must reside in a residence served by Pioneer Electric.
Economic Spotlight : The Legislature is Tied to Economic Development This February issue of Alabama Living always features the Alabama state legislature, with pictures and articles about local representatives and the importance of their jobs in Montgomery. Certainly, the State House and Senate have a huge impact on all of us each time they vote on a bill either spending money, collecting money, or passing laws that limit some type of liberty. The Legislature is very important to Economic Development, as well. Like it or not, in order for Alabama to compete with other states in landing new industry and retaining existing industry, the legislature has to create incentive programs that are attractive. The Legislature overhauled the incentive packages for Alabama a couple of years ago and, partly, as a result, the state was able to bring in two major projects last year: Polaris and Google, resulting in the state recently being named “State ALABAMA LIVING
of the Year” by Business Facilities magazine. The other aspect of economic development that needs the help of the legislature, and perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle when trying to attract new industry, is workforce development. Studies show that the number one item on the “checklist” for new or relocating industries is the availability of skilled labor. The Legislature was proactive during last year’s session in creating a separate board for the community college system. The Alabama Community College System is a vital part of the training process for skilled labor in the state, with at least a third of its focus on Career Technical Training. The new board is taking their role seriously, already making strides in consolidation, streamlining and cost cutting measures.
The Alabama Workforce Council will be calling on the legislature for assistance in efforts to combine all of the state’s workforce assets into a single group that can be easily accessed to fit the needs of both industries needing training or trained applicants and potential employees that need additional training to improve their job opportunities. If you get a chance to talk to your local state representative, mention to them that anything that they can do to help economic development efforts in the state will end up helping everybody – more jobs, more opportunities…and even more tax dollars to help with the state budgets!
VP Economic Development and Legal Affairs
FEBRUARY 2016 5
2016 Legislative Guide Pioneer Electric Cooperative’s 2016 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.
...in your service area.
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 Newton.” 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.
Sen. Henry 'Hank' Sanders (D)
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 FEBRUARY 2016
...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/
FEBRUARY 2016 7
Saving starts here.
Avoid electric usage during peak times — 5 to 9 a.m. in the winter — to help keep your electric rates low. We value your membership. We value you. www.pioneerelectric.com 800.239.3092
8 FEBRUARY 2016
Jesse Owens movie may boost Alabama park One of the greatest track and field athletes in history is an Alabama native. But many folks don’t know that a park and museum dedicated to his memory exists in Lawrence County, near Jesse Owens’ birthplace in Oakville. The Jesse Owens Memorial Park, 7019 County Road 203 in Danville, houses a museum, interactive kiosks, a mini-theatre and resource center dedicated to Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
Guess where this is and win $25!
In this new feature, readers are asked to identify AND place an Alabama landmark or scene. The winner will be chosen at random from all the correct guesses and will receive $25. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.
If you know where this landmark is, send your answer by Feb. 5 with your name, address and the name of your electric cooperative. The winner and the answer will be announced in the March issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! If you know of an interesting or unusual spot in Alabama, send us a high-resolution photo of the location, which must be accessible to the public and easy to identify. A reader whose photo is used in the magazine will also win $25.
And now, the park may get a little exposure thanks to a new movie. The major motion picture “Race,” starring Stephan James in the lead role (along with Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons and William Hurt), will premiere nationwide Feb. 19. Plans are in the works to hold a special advance screening of the movie at the Princess Theater in nearby Decatur, says Nancy Pinion Brown, who with her husband, James, volunteers as a manager of the park. Owens’ legacy hasn’t died, Brown says, but she understands that the new generations need to be re-educated about Owens’ life and accomplishments. The museum highlights not only his athletic endeavors, but also documents his humanitarian efforts, Brown says, especially his interest in motivating children. Learn more at www.jesseowensmemorialpark.com.
By email: email@example.com By mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124-4014 (no phone calls please)
Bamahenge, a full-scale reproduction of England’s Stonehenge cast in fiberglass rather than stone, is located on the property of Barber Marina just southeast of Elberta in Baldwin County, near Josephine. The scale of the reproduction is impressive: The outer “stones” are 13 ½ feet tall, the inner ones are more than 18 feet tall, and the diameter of the entire collection is 104 feet. The display was created by Virginia sculptor Mark Cline and erected in 2013. (Information from an April 2014 article in Lagniappe.) We received more than 400 correct answers, and Wayne Mund, a member of Baldwin EMC, was drawn as the winner.
Warm up this winter with a home tour
The Gulf Shores Woman’s Club has been busy this winter planning its upcoming Tour of Homes. This charitable fundraising event will be the 38th consecutive home tour and will feature five of the area’s finest homes. The Tour of Homes will be from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 20, and tickets are $20. For more information, contact Wilma Trent at 251-980-5722.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEBRUARY 2016 9
Your Social Security Benefit Statement
It’s that time of year again: time to start preparing to file your taxes. If you receive Social Security benefits, one of the documents you will need when filing your federal income tax return is your Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099). Your Social Security benefits may be taxable. This includes monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. About one-third of people receiving Social Security benefits must pay taxes on some of these benefits, depending on the amount of their taxable income. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income — such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends, and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return — in addi-
tion to your Social Security benefits. You will never have to pay taxes on more than 85 percent of your Social Security benefits, based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. To find out if you must pay taxes on your benefits, you will need your Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099). You should automatically receive your 1099 form each January. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to the IRS on your tax return. The 1099 form is not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as SSI payments are not taxable. Whether you file your taxes early or wait until the deadline, Social Security makes it easy to obtain a replacement 1099 form if you didn’t receive one or misplaced yours. You can get an instant replacement quickly and easily by using your secure online my Social Security account. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one in minutes. Follow the link to the my Social Security page, and go to “Sign In” or “Create an
Account.” Once you are logged in, select the “Replacement Documents” tab to obtain your replacement 1099 form. If you create a my Social Security account, you can also use it to keep track of your earnings each year, manage your benefits, and more. You can also obtain a replacement 1099 form by calling us at 1-800-7721213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or by contacting your local Social Security office. If you live outside of the United States, please contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. With a my Social Security account, gathering your Social Security information for tax season has never been easier. Open your own personal my Social Security account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. A
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle. email@example.com.
Grants will enhance Alabama’s parks and trails Buck’s Pocket State Park may soon become a destination for enthusiasts of all-terrain vehicles, thanks to a $526,996 grant awarded by Gov. Robert Bentley. Funds will be used to construct a 15- to 25-mile-long trail for off-highway vehicles at the park located along a section of Sand Mountain that straddles the borders of Jackson, DeKalb and Marshall counties. The grant was part of $1.6 million in Recreation Trail grants awarded by Bentley for 15 projects in Alabama. Of the total appropriation provided to the state by the Federal Highway Administration, $856,996 will benefit the state’s parks, which suffered budget cuts this year. Another $100,000 was awarded for recreational improvement of public trust land and the remaining funds went to seven municipalities to improve their parks. 10 FEBRUARY 2016
Below is a description of the other grants geographically from north to south: Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville was awarded $80,000 to build a trail shelter and do major trail restoration. The Land Trust of North Alabama will use a $100,000 grant to acquire 80 additional acres at the Wade Mountain Preserve in north Huntsville. Fort Payne was awarded $80,000 to build Citadel Rock Mountain Trail, a multi-use trail. Scottsboro was awarded $100,000 to build a 5,000-foot-long extension along Lake Guntersville of its Goose Pond Colony Resort trail. Gadsden was awarded $100,000 to build a 6 to 7-mile trail for hikers and bicyclists from Noccalula Falls Park to Black Creek Road and Tuscaloosa Avenue.
Rickwood Caverns State Park near Warrior was awarded $35,000 to improve lighting along the .9-mile cavern trail. Alabama State Parks was awarded $65,000 to purchase equipment to build and maintain trails for the northeast Alabama region. The Central Alabama Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America will use a $20,000 grant to construct a metal roof on a trail barn at Oak Mountain State Park. The Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham was awarded a $30,000 grant and in cooperation with the Alabama Trail Commission will conduct a pilot program at Oak Mountain State Park to determine trail accessibility for people with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. www.alabamaliving.coop
Music to cruise by, thanks to WLAC and Randy The other day I met this guy, and in the small talk that followed I asked him where he was from. “Gallatin, Tennessee. Near Nashville. You probably never heard of it.” Of course I had. As had just about everybody of my generation who grew up a teenager in the Lower South. “Gallatin, Tennessee,” I replied. “WLAC and Randy’s Record Shop.” The name recalled the era. Back in the 1950s, down deep in Dixie, teenagers riding around in cars at night, listening to the radio, had a prob-
The Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau will use a $100,000 grant to build three miles of new trail at Chewacla State Park. Troy will use a $100,000 grant to extend a multi-purpose trail at the Troy Sportsplex. Coffeeville in Clarke County will use Alabama Living
lem. Most small town stations shut down at sunset. And the few that stayed on the air played music for the grownups – big band, Dixieland, or “smooth” country. Spinning the dial to find something else, teenagers discovered WLAC. Rock n’ roll was abroad on the land, but small town, daytime stations didn’t play much of it. An occasional Elvis, maybe the Everly Brothers, more rockabilly than rock, and precious little of that. WLAC sent out music that set our parents’ teeth on edge. In the evenings, when my friends and I were out and about and listening, WLAC not only gave us R&R, it introduced us to R&B, rhythm-n-blues, and to black artists like “Fats” Domino, Little Willie John, LaVern Baker, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Richard. Better still, we could purchase those recordings by mail from Randy’s Record Shop, which was on its way to becoming the largest mail order record store in the nation. Parents and mainstream record producers tried to turn back the tide. They had Pat Boone “cover” Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” a misguided effort that produced one of the worst recordings in
its $100,000 grant to build a 3,500-footlong multi-use trail. The city of Geneva was awarded a $100,000 grant to improve Robert Fowler Memorial Park. Gulf Shores was awarded a $100,000 grant to widen the Fort Morgan Road Trail. A
recording history. Thanks to WLAC and Randy’s Record Shop, I would have none of it. Later Little Richard told a reporter from the Washington Post that “the white kids would have Pat Boone on the dresser and me in the drawer ‘cause they liked my version better.” Yes, we did. I can see my father standing in my bedroom door with an expression that said “you paid good money for that?” as “awop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lop-boom-boom” came blasting out of my record player. Well, yes I did. Paid it to Randy. Now it would be stretching things to claim that one radio station and one record store singlehandedly popularized music that bridged a racial gap and sent a lot of white teenagers into the world better able to appreciate the contribution African Americans made and were making to our national culture. There were other stations in other regions. But on Dixie’s dark dirt roads, where guys drove with their left hand on the steering wheel and their right arm around their steady girl, WLAC and Randy provided the background wherever they went and whatever they did. And during those times, all that mattered was each other, and the music. A
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.
FEBRUARY 2016 11
Low-interest and no-interest federal loans help finance college By Minnie Lamberth
f you are a college-bound student or the parent of a college-bound student, you’re likely looking for financing options for educational expenses — and at federal student loans, in particular. The direct loan program funded by the U.S. Department of Education generally offers borrowers lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than loans from banks or other sources. In addition, loans are in some cases “subsidized” based on financial need — meaning, qualified borrowers would repay the loan but would not have to pay interest on the loan until after graduation. Loans that are “unsubsidized” are also available from the federal government. Borrowers don’t have to demonstrate financial need to receive an unsubsidized loan, but they do have to pay interest on the loan while in college.
Combined aid sources Financial aid offices work with students to combine multiple sources of educational funding to create a financial aid package. It’s common to include both subsidized and unsubsidized loans within this package, as well as work-study eligibility, grants or scholarship assistance. Whether the loan is subsidized or unsubsidized, there are caps on the amount that can be borrowed. “The different
Completing the FAFSA
Four types of direct loans include: Direct Subsidized Loans – Made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school. Direct Unsubsidized Loans – Made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. It is not necessary to demonstrate financial need. Direct PLUS Loans – Made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Direct Consolidation Loans – A method for combining multiple federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer. 12 FEBRUARY 2016
man can get in unsubsidized loans is $2,000, for a total of $5,500. For sophomores, those combined amounts increase to $6,500, and for juniors and seniors, the combined amounts increase to $7,500. Prior to the passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, banks and private lenders made student loans that were guaranteed by the federal government. Now that the federal government is the lender, banks have shifted to private loans. “A lot of families look to these private loans to provide additional funds,” Dismukes says. Because interest rates and repayment terms aren’t as favorable as federal direct loans, private loans don’t have as much appeal but are still part of the equation.
grade classifications have different loan limits,” says Tommy Dismukes, a financial aid administrator with Huntingdon College in Montgomery. “They increase each year as you progress in college.” Dismukes explains that the most a freshman can get in federally subsidized loans is $3,500, while the most a fresh-
Completing the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” is the first step for determining eligibility for federal aid. The FAFSA can be completed and submitted after January 1 for high school seniors and after selecting the school of choice, applying and getting accepted. “Schools have a mechanism to notify students that they need to do the FAFSA,” Dismukes says. The document has to be completed each year of college attendance and is based on the previous year’s income and certain assets. This financial picture provides a guide for financial aid offices to work with students and families to determine eligibility and availability of federal loans and other funding to support their education. “It’s not a ‘one size fits all,’” Dismukes says. “It’s based on a review of the FAFSA.” For more information, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/ www.alabamaliving.coop
Electric Cooperative Foundation helps students with scholarships
our rural electric cooperatives want to support the career aspirations of their young people -- and they’re putting time and money behind that effort. Alabama’s rural electric co-ops offer scholarships each year to deserving high school seniors through the Electric Cooperative Foundation, which evaluates the applications and awards scholarships to vocational and trade schools and fouryear colleges/universities. The ECF awarded its first scholarships in 2001. Since that first year, ECF has awarded 484 scholarships for a total of $427,000. In those 15 years, ECF has received 11,679 applications, and each one is read and evaluated by a selection committee. To qualify, the student must be a graduating high school senior who is the dependent of a cooperative member in good standing. The money is award-
ed directly to the school of the student’s choosing. Scholarships will range from $500 to $2,500. The award is good for four years, and can be used for anything that can be purchased through the school -- tuition, books, room and board, etc. Over the years, the ECF has sent scholarship money to 68 diverse institutions -- from the Air Force Academy and New York University to the Nashville Auto Diesel College. For an application, students may ask their school guidance counselor, or contact their local rural electric cooperative. The deadline for the applications to be returned to the ECF office is Feb. 26, 2016 (that isn’t a postmark date). – Allison Griffin FEBRUARY 2016 13
Alabama Colleges and Universities Public four-year institutions: Alabama A&M University 4700 Meridian St. Normal, AL 35762 256-372-5230 www.aamu.edu Enrollment: 5,333 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,366 Receiving financial aid: 92%
University of Alabama Box 870100 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0100 205-348-5100 www.ua.edu Enrollment: 36,155 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $10,170 Receiving financial aid: 64%
Alabama State University 915 S. Jackson St. Montgomery, AL 36104 334-339-4100 www.alasu.edu Enrollment: 5,510 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $8,720 Receiving financial aid: 92%
University of Alabama at Birmingham 701 20th Street South, AB 420 Birmingham, AL 35294-1014 205-934-2384 www.uab.edu Enrollment: 18,723 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,596 Receiving financial aid: 61%
Athens State University 300 N. Beaty St. Athens, AL 35611 800-522-0272 www.athens.edu Enrollment: 3,129 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $6,270 Receiving financial aid: 62% Auburn University 107 Samford Hall Auburn University, AL 36849 334-844-4650 www.auburn.edu Enrollment: 25,912 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $10,424 Receiving financial aid: 57% Auburn University Montgomery 7500 East Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 334-244-3602 www.aum.edu Enrollment: 5,057 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,350 Receiving financial aid: 67% Jacksonville State University 700 Pelham Road North Jacksonville, AL 36265 256-782-5781 www.jsu.edu Enrollment: 8,659 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,300 Receiving financial aid: 79% Troy University University Avenue Troy, AL 36082-0001 334-670-3000 www.troy.edu Enrollment: 13,340 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,880 Receiving financial aid: 86% Regional campuses: Dothan, Montgomery
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University of Alabama in Huntsville 301 Sparkman Drive Huntsville, AL 35899 256-824-1000 www.uah.edu Enrollment: 7,348 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,128 Receiving financial aid: 61% University of Montevallo Station 6000, University of Montevallo Montevallo, AL 35115 www.montevallo.edu Enrollment: 3,073 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $11,410 Receiving financial aid: 77% University of North Alabama UNA Box 5004 Florence, AL 35632-0001 256-765-4100 www.una.edu Enrollment: 6,839 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $9,513 Receiving financial aid: 62% University of South Alabama 307 University Blvd. North, Room 130 Mobile, AL 36688 251-460-6111 www.usouthal.edu Enrollment: 15,805 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $8,790 Receiving financial aid: 69% University of West Alabama Livingston, AL 35470 205-652-3400 www.uwa.edu Enrollment: 3,989 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $8,734 Receiving financial aid: 84%
Information on public institutions comes from the Alabama Statewide Student Database, as reported by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE); information on private institutions comes from the schoolsâ€™ websites and the National Center for Education Statisticsâ€™ College Navigator. Public two-year institutions: Alabama Southern Community College 2800 S. Alabama Ave. Monroeville, AL 36461 251-575-3156 www.ascc.edu Enrollment: 1,398 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 82% Regional campuses: Thomasville, Gilbertown, Jackson Bevill State Community College 1411 Indiana Ave. Jasper, AL 35501 800-648-3271 www.bscc.edu Enrollment: 3,609 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 75% Regional campuses: Brewer, Walker College, Hamilton Bishop State Community College 351 N. Broad St. Mobile, AL 36603-5898 251-405-7000 www.bishop.edu Enrollment: 3,323 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 83% Regional campuses: BakerGaines Central, Carver, Southwest Calhoun Community College U.S. 31 North Decatur, AL 35601 256-306-2500 www.calhoun.edu Enrollment: 10,802 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 49% Regional campuses: Huntsville
Central Alabama Community College 1675 Cherokee Road Alexander City, AL 35010 256-234-6346 www.cacc.edu Enrollment: 1,742 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 71% Regional campuses: Childersburg Chattahoochee Valley Community College 2602 College Drive Phenix City, AL 36869 334-291-4900 www.cv.edu Enrollment: 1,805 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,380 Receiving financial aid: 82% Drake State Community and Technical College 3421 Meridian St. North Huntsville, AL 35811 256-539-8161 www.drakestate.edu Enrollment: 1,062 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,290 Receiving financial aid: 81% Enterprise State Community College 600 Plaza Drive Enterprise, AL 36330 334-347-2623 www.escc.edu Enrollment: 2,011 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 78% Regional campuses: Mobile Aviation Center, Aviation Campus (Ozark)
Public two-year institutions: Faulkner State Community College 1900 U.S. 31 South Bay Minette, AL 36507 800-231-3752 www.faulknerstate.edu Enrollment: 4,487 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 73% Regional campuses: Gulf Shores, Fairhope Gadsden State Community College 1001 George Wallace Drive Gadsden, AL 35903 256-549-8222 www.gadsdenstate.edu Enrollment: 5,289 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,020 Receiving financial aid: 65% Regional campuses: East Broad Street, Ayers, Valley Street, Wallace Drive Ingram State Technical College 5375 Ingram Road Deatsville, AL 36022 334-285-5177 www.ingram.cc.al.us Enrollment: 473 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,020 Receiving financial aid: 99%
Jefferson Davis Community College 220 Alco Drive Brewton, AL 36427 251-867-4832 www.jdcc.edu Enrollment: 1,086 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,020 Receiving financial aid: 86% Regional campuses: Atmore Jefferson State Community College 2601 Carson Road Birmingham, AL 35215 800-239-5900 www.jeffstateonline.com Enrollment: 8,518 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,380 Receiving financial aid: 52% Regional campuses: Shelby Lawson State Community College 3060 Wilson Road, Southwest Birmingham, AL 35221 205-925-2515 www.lawsonstate.edu Enrollment: 3,092 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,340 Receiving financial aid: 86% Regional campuses: Bessemer
Lurleen B. Wallace Community College 1000 Dannelly Blvd. Andalusia, AL 36420 334-222-6591 www.lbwcc.edu Enrollment: 1,599 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 81% Regional campuses: MacArthur, Greenville Marion Military Institute 1101 Washington St. Marion, AL 36756 800-664-1842 www.marionmilitary.edu Enrollment: 439 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $8,550 Receiving financial aid: 95% Northeast Alabama Community College 138 Alabama Highway 35 West Rainsville, AL 35986 256-638-4418 www.nacc.edu Enrollment: 2,710 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 77% Northwest-Shoals Community College 800 George Wallace Blvd. Muscle Shoals, AL 35661 800-645-8967 www.nwscc.edu Enrollment: 3,923 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,300 Receiving financial aid: 62% Regional campuses: Phil Campbell Reid State Technical College P.O. Box 588 Evergreen, AL 36401 251-578-1313 www.rstc.edu Enrollment: 549 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,350 Receiving financial aid: 91% Shelton State Community College 9500 Old Greensboro Road Tuscaloosa, AL 35405 205-391-2211 www.sheltonstate.edu Enrollment: 4,989 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,058 Receiving financial aid: 57% Regional campuses: C.A. Fredd
Snead State Community College 220 N. Walnut St. Boaz, AL 35957 256-593-5120 www.snead.edu Enrollment: 2,258 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,380 Receiving financial aid: 76% Southern Union State Community College 750 Roberts St. Wadley, AL 36276 256-395-2211 www.suscc.edu Enrollment: 4,729 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,020 Receiving financial aid: 65% Regional campuses: Opelika, Valley Trenholm State Technical College 1225 Air Base Boulevard Montgomery, AL 36108 334-420-4200 www.trenholmstate.edu Enrollment: 1,338 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,230 Receiving financial aid: 78% Regional campuses: Patterson Wallace Community College (Dothan) 1141 Wallace Drive Dothan, AL 36303 334-983-3521 www.wallace.edu Enrollment: 4,855 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,260 Receiving financial aid: 74% Regional campuses: Sparks Wallace State Community College (Hanceville) 801 Main St., Northwest Hanceville, AL 35077-2000 256-352-8000 www.wallacestate.edu Enrollment: 5,343 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,320 Receiving financial aid: 68% Wallace State Community College (Selma) 3000 Earl Goodwin Parkway Selma, AL 36702-2530 334-876-9227 http://wccs.edu Enrollment: 1,668 (Fall 2014) In-state tuition: $4,020 Receiving financial aid: 74% Regional campuses: WCCS Clanton Extension Center
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Non-profit independent institutions: Amridge University 1200 Taylor Road Montgomery, AL 36117 800-351-4040 www.amridgeuniversity.edu Type of school: four-year, coeducational, no campus housing Enrollment: 625 Undergraduate tuition and fees: $4,770 (full time) Student/faculty ratio: 10:1 Religious affiliation: Churches of Christ Receiving financial aid: 84% Birmingham-Southern College 900 Arkadelphia Road Birmingham, AL 35254 205-226-4620 www.bsc.edu Type of school: four-year, coeducational, liberal arts institution Enrollment: 1,346 (current) Undergraduate tuition per year: $31,954 Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 Religious affiliation: United Methodist Church Receiving financial aid: >95 percent
Concordia College 1712 Broad St. Selma, AL 36701 334-874-5700 www.ccal.edu Type of school: historically black, four-year, coeducational Enrollment: 546 Undergraduate tuition, offcampus, per semester: $5,060 Student/faculty ratio: 18:1 Religious affiliation: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Receiving financial aid: 100% Faulkner University 5345 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109 334-272-5820 www.faulkner.edu Type of school: four-year, coeducational Enrollment: 3,327 Tuition, room and board: $24,030 Student/faculty ratio: 15:1 Religious affiliation: Churches of Christ Receiving financial aid: 96%
Herzing University â€“ Birmingham campus 280 West Valley Ave. Birmingham, AL 35209 205-916-2800 www.herzing.edu/birmingham Type of school: four-year, coeducational, no campus housing Enrollment: 6,000 on 11 campuses in 8 states; 309 locally Tuition: $6,160 per semester (full time) Student/faculty ratio: 18:1 Religious affiliation: Not applicable Receiving financial aid: 82% Huntingdon College 1500 E. Fairview Ave. Montgomery, AL 36106 334-833-4222 www.huntingdon.edu Type of school: four-year, coeducational, liberal arts institution Enrollment: 1,160 (current) Tuition, room, board, fees for one academic year: $33,400 Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 Religious affiliation: United Methodist Church Receiving financial aid: 94 percent
Judson College 302 Bibb St. Marion, AL 36756 334-683-6161 www.judson.edu Type of school: four-year, women-only institution Enrollment: 378 In-state tuition: $7,787 per semester Student/faculty ratio: 9:1 Religious affiliation: Baptist Receiving financial aid: 99% Miles College 5500 Myron Massey Blvd. Fairfield, AL 35064 205-929-1000 www.miles.edu Type of school: four-year, historically black, liberal arts institution Enrollment: 1,782 (current) In-state tuition: $5,316 Student/faculty ratio: 17:1 Religious affiliation: Christian Methodist Episcopal Receiving financial aid: 92% Oakwood University 7000 Adventist Blvd. NW Huntsville, AL 35896 256-726-7000 www.oakwood.edu Type of school: four-year, historically black, Bible based institution Enrollment: 1,924 In-state tuition: $7,857 per semester Student/faculty ratio: 14:1 Religious affiliation: Seventhday Adventist Receiving financial aid: 83% Samford University 800 Lakeshore Drive Birmingham, AL 35229 205-726-2011 www.samford.edu Type of school: four-year, coeducational Enrollment: 5,206 Annual in-state tuition, room, board and fees: $37,770 Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 Religious affiliation: Baptist Receiving financial aid: > 90%
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Non-profit independent institutions: Selma University 1501 Lapsley St. Selma, AL 36701 334-872-2533 www.selmauniversity.edu Type of school: four-year, historically black, Bible college Enrollment: 558 In-state tuition: $3,240/ semester Student/faculty ratio: 15:1 Religious affiliation: Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention Receiving financial aid: 82% Southeastern Bible College 2545 Valleydale Road Birmingham, AL 35244 205-970-9200 www.sebc.edu Type of school: four-year, coeducational, Christian college Enrollment: 173 In-state tuition, room, fees, books: $16,395/year Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 Religious affiliation: Christian Receiving financial aid: 83%
Spring Hill College 4000 Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36608 251-380-4000 www.shc.edu Type of school: four-year, liberal arts, Jesuit institution Enrollment: 1,376 In-state tuition, room and board and fees: $46,318/year Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 Religious affiliation: Catholic Receiving financial aid: 99% Stillman College 3601 Stillman Blvd. Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 205-349-4240 www.stillman.edu Type of school: Fouryear, historically black, coeducational, liberal arts institution Enrollment: 1,056 In-state tuition, room and board: $17,500 per year Student/faculty ratio: 17:1 Religious affiliation: Presbyterian Church (USA) Receiving financial aid: 93%
Talladega College 627 W. Battle St. Talladega, AL 35160 256-362-0206 www.talladega.edu Type of school: Fouryear, historically black, coeducational, liberal arts institution Enrollment: 879 In-state tuition, room and board and fees: $9,607 per semester Student/faculty ratio: 12:1 Religious affiliation: United Church of Christ Receiving financial aid: 98% Tuskegee University 1200 W. Montgomery Road Tuskegee, AL 36088 334-727-8011 www.tuskegee.edu Type of school: Fouryear, historically black, coeducational, land grant institution Enrollment: 3,156 In-state tuition: $9,280 Student/faculty ratio: 13:1 Religious affiliation: None Receiving financial aid: 64%
United States Sports Academy One Academy Drive Daphne, AL 36526-7055 251-626-3303 www.ussa.edu Type of school: Four-year, coeducational; focus on education for sports careers Enrollment: 331 In-state tuition and fees: $12,960 per year Student/faculty ratio: 8:1 Religious affiliation: None Receiving financial aid: 60% University of Mobile 5735 College Parkway Mobile, AL 36613 251-675-5990 www.umobile.edu Type of school: Four-year, coeducational Enrollment: 1,600 In-state tuition, fees, room and board: $29,630 per year Student/faculty ratio: 14:1 Religious affiliation: Southern Baptist Receiving financial aid: 97%
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Budgeting battle for state agencies begins again By Minnie Lamberth
labama legislators will have serious work ahead as they iron out financial details for the General Fund, the budget that supports the state’s non-education agencies. Last year around this time, they were facing a projected $256 million deficit for these services, and their laborious efforts to pass the budget extended past the regular session and into two special sessions before receiving the governor’s signature on a funding bill for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. In the process, legislators came up with some additional funding and a number of reductions. “We ended up passing about $165 million in recurring revenues,” says Rep. Steve Clouse, ROzark, chair of the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee. These revenues included a 25-cent increase in the cigarette tax and an increase in pharmacy and nursing home provider fees. Legislators also moved about $80 million in use tax from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund. “We still ended up cutting $82 million from the previous year,” Clouse says. In the final budget that’s in place for the current fiscal year, some of the larger agencies, such as the Medicaid agency, prison system and mental health department, were level funded, though others saw a range of cuts. “Most agencies were cut in excess of 5%,” says Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, chair of the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee. Now, as legislators convene on Feb. 2 for the 2016 Regular Session, they’re back to the same task. “Preliminarily it looks like it’s going to be another difficult year for the General Fund,” Orr says. “The revenues are flat. The demands are greater.” The state’s Medicaid Agency and the Department of Corrections in particular both need additional funding. Orr says Medicaid alone needs more than a $100 million increase. The state’s transition to a risk-bearing model where regional care organizations deliver Medicaid services for a fixed amount is responsible for much of this need. “Then you’ve got the correctional system. They’ve got to receive an increase,” Orr says. “Facilities are outdated and in dire shape for the Department of Corrections.” According to Orr, the prisons are currently at 190% capacity, which is one of the highest levels in the nation. Medicaid and Corrections “are the two largest agencies as far as receiving discretionary dollars,” Orr says. Those discretionary dollars make up a fairly small part of the pie.
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The Alabama Legislature convenes Feb. 2.
Earmarked taxes limit the Legislature’s ability to move funds from one need to another. Though the General Fund budget could total $10-$12 billion overall, Orr says, “We only have discretion over $1.8 billion, give or take.” For example, gasoline taxes are earmarked for the Department of Transportation; liquor taxes are earmarked for the Department of Mental Health. “There’s not legislative discretion over where that money goes,” Orr says. “It’s already been preassigned what agency will receive those funds.” Legislators take another factor into account. Orr points out that some agencies have a designated revenue stream, which makes them less dependent on appropriations from the General Fund. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is an example. “They can raise their fees,” Orr says. ADEM had previously received around $1 million of General Fund appropriation. “That was cut. Then they were getting regular permit fees. An additional $1 million of that money was transferred out,” Orr says. For ADEM’s director, Lance LeFleur, these actions have caused concern. “Our department has been under the scrutiny of the EPA for lack of funding for some time,” LeFleur says. His agency’s state appropriation is now approximately zero. “We’ve just gone up on fees to industries to compensate for 2016 cuts,” he adds. Given the department’s requirement to transfer out dedicated cleanup fees to the General Fund, he says, “We are a revenue source to the General Fund, which is a very sad state of affairs.” Agency efficiency is another area where legislators will give attention. “Legislators are going to want to deep dive into these agencies,” Clouse says. “They’re going to have to justify all their expenses.” He already sees progress on that front. “We’re down 5,000 state employees than we were six years ago.” Another issue will be to look at federal funding and what the state is required to provide to receive those funds. “We want to see how much federal money each agency gets and what state money is required to draw those dollars down,” Clouse says. New taxes are unlikely. “As many fights as we had over raising revenue (last year), I think it’s pretty evident that there’s not going to be new revenue,” he says. A www.alabamaliving.coop
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Education will get a fresh look in 2016 session By Allison Griffin
enate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, in looking ahead to the 2016 legislative session that begins Feb. 2, predicts at least one familiar issue will surface. State agencies will say they don’t have enough money, after last year’s budget that cut several agencies’ budgets by 5.5 percent. This year, he thinks they will be level-funded, and that “more streamlining will be the plan.” Marsh believes the downsizing of state government has made a big impact on personnel costs, but “I still think there’s some right-sizing to go.” Marsh, R-Anniston, said most of that downsizing has come through attrition. “We haven’t gone out and fired anybody,” he said in an interview at his State House office. And he thinks the cuts aren’t affecting state services: “After all the cuts we’ve made this past year, we have not heard an outcry of the public saying, ‘we’ve lost our services, we need more government.’” This session, Marsh is most interested in education – specifically, to find a way to raise teacher pay and hire more teachers in subjects that are hard to fill, like science and bilingual education. He says it’s important for Alabama to make a statement that we value education here. Of course, there will be a cost. “Based on polling we’ve done, taxpayers are fine with raising teacher pay, but they want accountability as part of that measure,” he says. “So I think you’re going to see an element of tenure reform in that legislation.” And attracting good teachers to rural areas is also on his radar. “We want to make sure money is available in the state to encourage those teachers to move into those areas.” Other issues Marsh sees ahead for the 2016 regular session: Gasoline tax. Gov. Robert Bentley supports an increase in the gas tax to improve roads and bridges, and with gas prices remaining low, such an increase may get traction in the legislature. A House committee voted in August to approve a hike in the state’s approximately 21-cents-a-gallon tax by 5 cents, according to al.com. But the measure stalled as legislators looked at other revenue sources, including a cigarette tax increase that lawmakers approved in September. And Alabama’s small towns and rural areas should be protected, Marsh says, with components in any gas tax measure put in place to ensure those areas get a share in the funds. Payday lending. Marsh expects a new look at the payday 20 FEBRUARY 2016
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh
lending industry, now that the state banking department has more data on how many loans are being made, the number of loans in dollars and the frequency of those loans. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the banking department could establish a payday loan database; payday lenders had sued the department in 2013 to block creation of the system. An Associated Press story in October reported that the database showed people took out 462,209 loans over a 10-week period. A total of $146 million was borrowed, or an average of about $14 million each week. Critics say payday loans trap low-income borrowers in a cycle of debt from which they can’t recover, due to interest rates that can be as high as 456 percent. Alabama has about 900 payday lenders, according to the AP. Marsh was careful to say that the legislators will want to hear from the banking department before jumping into any new push for regulation. “We’re going to hear their analysis of the industry. And if something needs (to be) fixed, and I’m not saying there is, we’re going to look at it.” Gambling legislation. One issue he won’t be pushing this session is gaming. Marsh proposed a constitutional amendment in the 2015 session that would have created a lottery and legalized casino-type gambling at four locations in the state, which would be taxed. He commissioned an AUM study that showed the benefits of gambling in the state in terms of revenue; last spring, legislators were scrambling to address a General Fund budget shortfall that was expected to be $260 million. “The discussion was to raise taxes on the people of the state,” he says now. “I said, before we raise taxes, I think we need to look at gaming legislation and consider it, especially since it goes to the people for a vote before that decision is made.” But the proposal didn’t find a lot of support. Marsh started talking to his colleagues this fall, and says he does not see the votes in the Senate to start a fresh push on gaming. Legislators are welcome to look at pieces of his proposal – either the lottery or the casino gambling – if they want to tackle either issue. But he thinks the package as a whole makes more sense, in terms of economic development and job creation. After finding little support for gaming, Marsh says he decided to focus on the education piece for this session. “I’ve got to focus on what I think I can get done.” A www.alabamaliving.coop
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Whitewater races offer non-stop action By David Haynes
hitewater canoe and kayak slalom enthusiasts from around the Southeast will converge on North Alabama’s Blount and Cullman counties in February and March for the three races of the Alabama Cup Series. The three-race series that started in 1992 not only gives participants the opportunity to measure their skills against others in the sport, but it has evolved into three annual must-go get-togethers for serious paddlers in the state. This year’s races – two on the Locust Fork of the Warrior River and the third on the Mulberry Fork of the Warrior River – are scheduled as follows: Locust Fork Invitational: Feb. 6-7, 2016 Mulberry Fork Canoe and Kayak Race: March 5-6, 2016 Locust Fork Whitewater Classic: March 19-20, 2016 Times vary for actual race start times at these all-weekend events, but typically racing is under way from about 9 a.m. until mid-afternoon. Both races on the Locust Fork will be held at King’s Bend just upstream of the U.S. Highway 231 bridge north of Cleveland. Spectators should take the first right turn going north after crossing the bridge. Signs will be posted on race weekends. Spectators for the Mulberry Fork should take Exit 291 off Interstate 65 and go east on Alabama Highway 91 for 4.1 miles to Cullman CR 509 and turn right. The race site is 2.3 miles on the right. A small parking/admission fee is charged for each event. Slalom whitewater racing is a sport in which the racer or racers, in either a solo or tandem canoe or kayak, maneuver through
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PHOTOS BY DAVID HAYNES
a numbered series of gates, in the correct order, all while negotiating the hazards of a Class II or III rapid, with one additional challenge. The gates, which consist of two PVC poles suspended from cables above the river, are painted either green-and-white or redand-white, designating whether it must be run with the river’s main flow or opposite the flow (green/white for downstream or red/white for upstream). By rule, each slalom course is 250 and 400 meters in length and has between 18 and 25 gates, including a minimum of six designated upstream gates. The addition of upstream gates means that during each racer’s run he or she must use a combination of river currents and paddling skills to move the boat opposite the river’s flow to pass through the upstream gates, which are typically placed in the eddies that occur in rapids where the actual current is reversed in the small area below a rock or other obstruction. Racers are timed for two runs, and the best of their two times is used to determine the winner in each class. If a racer touches a gate, a two-second penalty is added to his or her time. Missing a gate adds 50 seconds to the time for a run. To score each competitor’s run requires gate judges – usually volunteers – who carefully watch each racer’s run through their assigned section, then radio to scorekeepers whether the racer touched or missed any gates. Spectators are treated to non-stop action as each racer takes a turn on the course, negotiating the gates in brightly-colored boats, maneuvering in and out of white-capped waves, recirculating hydraulics and eddies as the river’s currents tug from all sides. www.alabamaliving.coop
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A kayak is no ordinary boat Whitewater kayaks aren’t like most boats. Rather than sitting in the boat you actually wear it like a pair of pants, with feet, knees and thighs locked into a position designed to allow the paddler to use hip tilt or a twist of the body to gain leverage when turning the kayak. The paddler must always be aware of the direction of the main flow and of what currents are beneath the boat at a given moment. Making a turn through a slalom gate involves a number of skills: timing the start of the turn to put the kayak in position so the river current doesn’t push it past the gate, tilting the boat on edge to enter the turn, executing the correct paddle stroke while in the turn and finally having the right boat lean and paddle stroke to exit the gate and set up for the next one, all while avoiding touching either gate pole with the boat or paddle. These skills translate directly to the techniques needed for safely running rivers and creeks in non-racing situations, so participation by paddlers from newcomers to the sport to seasoned aficionados is encouraged. There are classifications for almost any skill level available for each of the races in the series. Because races are held in somewhat remote locations and the number of staff needed, staging these events requires a year-round effort on the part of organizing body, which is the Alabama Cup Races Association. The event typically needs several dozen persons to handle everything from parking to gate judging to safety, and most are volunteers from the canoe clubs or groups around the state. In addition to the weekend of the event itself, organizers and staff typically put in one or more “work days” on the weekend preceding the event to get the cables from which gates are suspended set up, as well as other pre-race preparation. For additional information, to register to race or to volunteer, please visit the Alabama Cup Racing Association’s website at alabamacupraces.com or their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ ALCupRaces. A 24 FEBRUARY 2016
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Keeping your pets (and your energy bill!) comfortable
I recently adopted a dog, but I work during the day. I want to make sure he stays comfortable without making my electrical bill go haywire. Can you offer
solution can also be good for those who keep their pets in the garage and worry about them staying warm enough. Instead of heating a large, uninsulated space, provide a nice warm bed! If any tips? you only plug in the heated beds when needed, they will use far less energy. Congratulations on your new furry family member! • Those with unique pets, like birds or lizards, may need to keep It’s a good idea to think about your energy bills. I rethem in warmer environments. Consider moving these pets to member working with a homeowner concerned about a room that can be easily kept warm, but note that this may his high energy bills and discovered an uninsulated double garage change over the course of a year. David Bopp, an energy advisor was being heated at Flathead Elecall winter to keep tric Cooperative in the dog warm! Montana, shared Keeping your pet that he performed comfortable and an energy audit entertained when for a member with you’re away doesn’t tropical birds kept have to take a bite in a sunroom at out of your energy more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. bill. While this temperPet owners often ature was easy to assume their indoor pets want the reach in the sumsame level of coolmer, winter weathing and heating er – combined as the rest of the with the sunroom’s family. However, windows – resulted most dogs and cats Keep a variety of toys handy for your pets for entertainment. in very high heatcan be comfortable ing bills. with a wider range of temperatures. An exception might be an • Pet doors are popular, but they can also be a major air leak that older pet or one with medical issues, which might require condrives up your energy use. When purchasing a pet door, make sultation with your veterinarian. sure it has energy-efficient features, like thick construction, Here are a few tips to keep your pet cozy without cranking weather sealing and the ability to be closed off when not in up the thermostat: use. Some newer models have magnet or battery locks: a small • A cozy, insulated doghouse might be all your outdoor dog magnet or sensor on your pet’s collar opens the door, and the needs, except on the very coldest days. rest of the time, the door is shut tight, keeping out other crit• Make sure that your indoor pet has a warm place to sleep, like ters – as well as blowing wind and snow! a pet bed with a blanket. Consider giving him a few sleeping • Some people also leave their televisions or radios on while options throughout your home in different temperature zones, they’re away, thinking that the voices will keep their pets from so your pet can adjust his comfort as needed. being bored (and destroying their shoes!). However, there are • If you have a very drafty home or an older pet who may appreways other than flipping a switch to keep your pooches and ciate more warmth, a heated pet bed or bed warmer will use far kitties entertained. Exercising your pet when you’re home and less energy than running your central heating high all day. This giving them a variety of toys or a nice perch to see out a window when you leave will be more entertaining and less energy intensive than a TV. If you must leave something on when Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and you’re away, try soothing, calm music instead of a blaring TV. cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumerowned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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We all love our furry family members, but remember, keeping them comfortable doesn’t mean you have to pay more on your monthly bill. A www.alabamaliving.coop
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Millbrook, Join Dr. William Josephson with Auburn’s Chemical Engineering Department for an introduction to the art of papermaking at Lanark. Guests will make their own paper while learning how pulp is extracted and made into paper. Admission is $5 and RSVPs are required. Event begins at 6 p.m. www.alabamawildlife.org
Auburn, The Great Backyard Bird Count at Chewacla State Park. Free event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to help create a snapshot of bird populations. Bring a camera and come enjoy a morning full of events. The event is free; parking is $4 per adult. 8-11 a.m. at the Upper Pavilion. www.aotourism.com
Huntsville, Downtown Huntsville Food Tour is a three-hour guided walking tour through historic downtown that includes visiting six food-tasting locations. Get a look inside restaurants, specialty shops and “mom and pop” establishments. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., $49. www. huntsvillefoodtours.com
Montgomery, The Hank Williams Museum will celebrate 17 years with an Open House from 1-4 p.m. Free admission, but donations will be accepted. www.thehankwilliamsmuseum.net
Theodore, Linda Guy, Rosarian of Bellingrath’s award winning Rose Garden, will demonstrate how to care for roses year round with a demonstration of rose pruning techniques. Books and
Animals like this lion at the Montgomery Zoo will get treated to new and challenging enrichment activities at Animal Enrichment Day Feb. 20.
supplies will be avaliable in the gift shop. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Free to members, $13 for non-members and reservations are requested. (251) 973-2217
Birmingham, O’Reilly Auto Parts presents World of Wheels at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. The show will feature custom automobiles and various attractions. For show times and ticket information, visit worldofwheels.net
Montgomery, Animal Enrichment Day, Montgomery Zoo. Join
zoo personnel from 10 a.m-2 p.m. as they help provide new and challenging enrichment activites for different species at the zoo. It will be a change for the animals to experience behaviors that resemble those in the wild. 334-240-4903, www.montgomeryzoo.com
Arley, The Winston County Chitlin’ Eaters Association and the Meek High School Band present Winston County’s 57th Annual Chitlin’ Supper. It will be from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Meek Elementary School Gym. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children 5-12, and children under 4 are free. There will be entertainment, door prizes, buck dancing and hog calling contests. All proceeds benefit the Meek High School Band of Champions.
Chatom, 23rd Annual Art Auction and Dinner at Chatom Community Center. Friends of the Library invite you to enjoy an evening of unlimited talent: food, woodworking, sewing, painting, masterpieces of cooking, sculpture and more. All proceeds raised by the auction will be used to support the library. Activities include dinner, silent and live auction, raffle and door prizes. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for viewing. Dinner and program will begin at 6 p.m. (251) 847-2097
Mobile, The 8th Annual Mobile Chocolate Festival will be at the Abba Shrine Center 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Vendors will be avaliable for all of your chocolate and gift giving needs. Arts and crafts will be available for children. All proceeds benefit the Penelope House. www.mobilechocolatefestival.com
Orange Beach, The 24th Annual Orange Beach Seafood Festival and Car Show will be at the Events Center Grounds at the Wharf from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy a full day of delicious food, 40-plus arts and crafts vendors, and music for the whole family. The festival includes a silent auction; car show featuring antique, classic, and hot rod vehicles; a kids zone with climbing wall, inflatables, games and a children’s performance pavilion. The festival is a fundraiser to support sportsrelated activities in the community. www.gulfshores.com
Montgomery, The Annual Jewish Food Festival and Treasure Market will feature culinary treats and other delicacies at the Temple Beth Or from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The gift shop also will be open. (334) 262-3314, www.templebethor.net
The 8th Annual Chocolate Festival is Feb. 27 at the Abba Shrine Center, Mobile.
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
Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter@Alabama_Living FEBRUARY 2016 29
The mission of Alabama Childhood Food Solutions is to feed hungry children in Alabama.
Communities inspired by couple’s desire to feed the hungry By Carolyn Tomlin
im and Linda Jones have always worked to make a differThe churches that support ACFS are active participants in the ence, both in the U.S. and abroad. But their effort now is procurement and distribution of food. Governed by a board of concentrated on their northeast Alabama community. nine people from the area, ACFS is an all-volunteer organization Serving on 23 short-term mission trips around the world — in with no paid staff. All funds are used to purchase, transport and the U.S., Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Kenya and Brazil store food for the hungry. Donations may come in time, work, — opened their eyes to hunger. But it was after a mission trip to or money. Initially, Jim and Linda were challenged to identify the families Africa that Jim saw hunger within one mile of his home — in and children who are his own neighborhood. “food insecure,” which After much prayer is defined by the USDA and research, Jim and as having a limited or Linda decided to focus uncertain availability of on the needs of Alanutritionally adequate bama’s children, making and safe foods, or a limsure that families receive ited or uncertain abilthe food they need. ity to acquire acceptable The members of foods in socially acceptCoosa Valley Electric able ways. Chronic food Cooperative began Alainsecurity can lead to bama Childhood Food hunger. Solutions (ACFS) in “Food insecurity is 2011, feeding 42 chilmore than an empty dren from the trunk of stomach,” Linda says. their car. Now, they feed “It’s not knowing if or almost 3,000 children, when there will be angiving them a backpack other meal.” of food 49 weeks a year. Jim and Linda startA n d n u m e r o u s Jim and Linda Jones lead a team of volunteers to feed nearly 3,000 children with a backpack of food 49 weeks a year. ed by reaching out to churches and organizations in central Alabama counties participate. Corporations educators and school support staff, who saw these food insecure across America support this 501c3 non-profit that has grown families every day. Adding more weekend bags each week, they are now sharing food with 38 schools and Boys and Girls Clubs. into a $350,000-plus per year organization. With each weekly backpack, a small note is included. Each Marble City Baptist in Sylacauga is just one of the churches committed to supporting ACFS. The church provides a note reflects a life situation and how kids should react. “Charac7,000-square-foot warehouse, volunteers and monetary support. ter building comes in many forms,” says Jim. The organization encourages families to get involved in “People more than ever want to see where their mission efforts are working and be able to be the hands and feet of God in our schools and become active in the community. Even one person can make a difference, Jim says. “But imagine the difference a own neighborhood,” says Steven Smith, youth pastor.
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FEBRUARY 2016 31
Fruit and nutritious snacks are included in the backpacks of food prepared by ACFS.
caring community can make in the lives of Alabama’s hungry children. Yes, it takes a village.” As a member of the ACFS board, Shirley Mitchell recalls a day when Jim talked to a group about volunteering. “I’ll take whatever you can give,” he told them. “One day a month — or one hour.” Mitchell has seen the long hours both Jim and Linda donate to ACFS. “When they started, they often put in 80 hours per week. Today, volunteers carry some of the load, but they continue to work 40-plus hours weekly. They never ask volunteers to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.” Senior citizens and the homeless are also part of this food distribution. Each month ACFS feeds nearly 1,500 people in 400 families who are food insecure. Using a market-style distribution, parents can choose fresh and nutritious food their families will eat, which reduces food waste. “Why give families something they will never eat?” Linda says. “Instead, have a center and encourage them to shop for nutritious items that will be used for meals.” The couple has identified 14,000 food insecure children in three counties and will work to feed as many as possible. “We would like to see this program replicated across Alabama — even across America,” Jim says. For more information about the group, visit www. alabamachildhoodfoodsolutions.com, or send an email to ChildhoodFood@ Shirley Mitchell of Wilsonville packs gmail.com. A bulk beans into one pound bags. 32 FEBRUARY 2016
Learning to find funds Part of the success of ACFS has come from grants and donations. For anyone who wants to start a feeding program in their community, Jim Jones offers some suggestions: • Use online grant sources to identify foundations and corporations in Alabama that supply grant monies. Learn how to make a proposal to such groups and how to form a grant-writing committee from volunteers. • Look around your community and identify local businesses that are part of a national chain or franchise. These businesses have foundations. Work with the CEO or manager to locate funding for hunger projects. Are there grants that provide for children, low-income families, or education that can be connected to food insecurity? Find creative ways to recognize these businesses through contact with social media, mail-outs, and appreciation dinners. • When Jim and Linda receive funding for a project, they continue to communicate with this organization for other needs. Recently, a $35,000 van was donated to ACFS to deliver weekend backpacks to schoolchildren. A recent project was “Sock-it-to-Hunger” where 11,040 large socks were distributed to schools and churches across the state. Groups and individuals participated by filling the socks with $5.
FEBRUARY 2016 33
Worth the Drive
Amsterdam Café: A new type of college hangout By Lori Quiller
f dining in a college town brings to The walls of the quirky eatery are mind burgers, fries and hot wings, adorned with paintings in the style of then think again. Nestled among the Dutch post-Impressionist master Vinfast food joints and greasy spoons are cent van Gogh – variations of “Self the hidden gems of quaint cafés serving Portrait” and “Starry Night” – with disculinary delights. All you have to do is tinctive twists. “I love these!” restaurant manager know where to look. In Auburn, the place to look is The Nick Ciza says, laughing. “Our current Amsterdam Café on South Gay Street, owners traveled a lot in Europe, and just a stone’s throw from the Auburn they have a love of art. They commisUniversity campus. It opened in the early sioned art students from the university The lobster egg rolls are served with Sriracha and 1990s when the college scene consisted orange-horseradish sauce. and local artists to make these pieces of bars featuring great music, some table special, and we get a lot of great comWhen the Cleveland family bought the games and some light bar food. Back ments on them. The van Gogh ‘Self then, the Amsterdam Café featured hand- café in 1998, it was time to shake things Portrait’ as an Auburn football player made Shulbok game tables and was a cool up. But a few items from the previous is a favorite, but mine is ‘Starry Night’ owners simply had to stay. place to hang out for the college crowd. with Samford Hall. If you aren’t paying
The cozy interior of the restaurant features paintings in the style of Vincent van Gogh, commissioned from art students at Auburn. PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
34 FEBRUARY 2016
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A favorite: Apple-brined Pork Chop with baked tasso macaroni and cheese and collard greens.
attention, though, you’ll miss them.” Changing the décor was only the beginning. The Amsterdam Café is an eclectic mix of casual hangout by day, upscale dining by night. Once the new décor was in place, which included a renovation of additional space downstairs for special events and a revitalized outdoor patio, the decision was made to renovate the menu and include Sunday brunch. According to Ciza, loyal patrons had been asking for Sunday brunch for quite some time, and it has turned out to be very popular. With standard brunch offerings such as shrimp and grits, quiches and omelets, Chef Walter Brown makes sure “standard” doesn’t mean “boring.” One signature brunch item is the smoked brisket hash with diced potatoes,
36 FEBRUARY 2016
peppers and onions, served with a fried egg and sourdough toast. Brunch is only served on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the menu is a perfect complement to the eclectic atmosphere of the café. Ciza, who began his career with the café in May 2009 as a server and worked his way up to manager, said the familyfriendly atmosphere is perhaps one thing that has allowed the café to thrive all these years. “This is a great place to come, hang out for lunch and even to bring your special someone out for a date,” Ciza says. “And,
our food is great. We have a wonderful chef who truly loves what he does, and it shows on every plate that comes out of the kitchen.” Here’s a tip: Try the lobster egg rolls – chunk lobster with smoked Gouda, zucchini and carrots served with a Sriracha and orange-horseradish dipping sauce. Follow The Amsterdam Café on Facebook for the day’s specials. A Amsterdam Café 410 S. Gay St. Auburn, AL 36830 334-826-8181 Hours: Sunday brunch, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday dinner, 5-8 p.m.; Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
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In this feature, we highlight recent books either about Alabama people or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight bookrelated events. Email submissions and events to bookshelf@ alabamaliving.coop
A Slice of Life: Life Stories, by Thom Gossom Jr., Aquarius Press/ Willow Books, November 2015, $19.95 (fiction) Actor/producer and author Gossom was born in Birmingham and became the first black athlete to graduate from Auburn University in 1975. His first book, Walk On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, tells the story of his undergraduate days at Auburn and is now in its third printing. Gossom was recently featured in the HBO special Breaking the Huddle, about the integration of Southern college football, and in the documentary Quiet Courage: The James Owens Story, also about college football’s racial barriers in the Deep South. Thom Gossom, Jr. He’s appeared in several movies and TV shows and speaks to universities, corporations and civic organizations. This new book is a collection of short stories that depict a recently desegregated Alabama after the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A Slice of Life is the first in a trilogy that will tell the life stories of average people who face their own extraordinary circumstances. ‘Echoes’ of Robert E. Lee High School: The First Decade, 1955-65, by Clinton Carter, Kerry Palmer, Roger Stifflemire and Jim Vickrey, editors. NewSouth Books, July 2015, $20 paperback (education) An anthology about the first decade of Lee High School in Montgomery. The book is written and compiled by those who supplemented their unique personal experiences at the school – as students or educators – with research into the history of what was at one time the largest three-grade high school in the state. The Legacy of Whitley Place, by Deborah Sutton, Outskirts Press Publishing, February 2015, $13.95 paperback (fiction) What is the aura that surrounds Whitley Place? Old man Whitley purchases the property with the intention of providing a home for his family, but a cloak of unhappiness and darkness surrounds anyone who dares to live there. The author is a lifelong resident of Brundidge. Clemenceau’s Daughters, by Rocky Porch Moore, Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, December 2015, $14.95 paperback (fiction/Southern gothic) Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where an unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. The author grew up atop July Mountain, the North Alabama setting of her novel. 2nd Platoon: Journey of the Pack, by Billy Smith, August 2014, $12.50 plus shipping (military history) A first-person account of an infantry platoon’s actions in Vietnam. The author kept a journal from mid-1968 through the spring of 1970 to document the hardships, horrors, sacrifices and everyday life of the combat infantryman on the battlefields and jungles of Vietnam. Book available only through the author, 629 County Road 409, Elba, AL 36323; email firstname.lastname@example.org 38 FEBRUARY 2016
FEBRUARY 2016 39
The tall, elegant shape of crepe myrtles is reason enough to let them grow naturally rather than subject them to “crepe murder.”
Love your crepe myrtle – don’t murder it!
ove shouldn’t hurt, but sometimes we gardeners kill our plants with too much attention. Take “crepe murder,” for example. Crepe murder, a term reportedly coined a couple of decades ago by Southern Living magazine, refers to the practice of severely cutting back crepe myrtles during the late fall and winter, a perhaps unwitting but nonetheless senseless attack on the beauty of these lovely plants. Crepe myrtles (usually Lagerstroemia indica or Lagerstroemia x fauriei hybrids) are native to Asia, but they’ve been in this country for centuries, first introduced here in the 1700s. They are especially popular in the South because they thrive in our hot climate, require only minimal maintenance, produce prolific blooms from summer into fall, often exhibit dramatic color when their leaves turn in autumn and, on top of it all, usually have gorgeous mottled bark that is especially stunning when their leaves are off in the winter. Through the centuries, a huge selection of crepe myrtle options have been developed to offer a wide range of sizes, from shrubs to trees (18 inches to 25 feet or more in height, depending on the cultivar or variety) and bloom colors (white to many hues of red, pink and purple). The practice of cutting these plants back to the nub each year came about because it was originally believed that heavy pruning promoted more blooms, and because severe pruning was a way to control their size, which is understandable because many of these plants can rapidly outgrow their allotted space. Regardless of the motive, experts have determined that crepe murder is totally unnecessary and can actually be detrimental to the plants, Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
40 FEBRUARY 2016
perhaps not killing them outright, but certainly maiming their natural beauty. Heavy pruning removes strong, viable limbs and encourages the growth of weak and flimsy shoots that may not be strong enough to support blooms come summer. It can also cause them to sprout small, random shoots along their trunks and limbs that then have to be pruned to keep the plants from becoming too bushy and ruining their inherently graceful silhouettes. Certainly it’s fine and appropriate to do some judicious crepe myrtle pruning, but it should be done in late winter and early spring and it’s best to only cut random shoots or clip a few internal branches to open up the canopy. It’s also fine to cut back any crossed or dead branches and to trim side branches from the trunk to develop a more tree-like shape. If you simply must reduce their height, carefully snip off no more than 2 to 3 feet of the topmost branches. And if you want to promote a longer flowering season, snip off dead blooms as the season progresses. If your crepe myrtles are victims of past crepe murder attacks, they can be rescued and healed. Just stop cutting them back this year and let them regrow while selectively pruning weaker shoots as they emerge from the trunk and larger branches. If past pruning is truly severe, try cutting them back to within a couple of inches of the ground and let them regrow, snipping off all the shoots except for the straightest, strongest ones to establish a new structure for the plant. If those rescue attempts fail, it may be time to replace wounded crepe myrtles with new ones, which provide the perfect chance to pick ones that truly fit your landscape needs and tastes. However, make sure to check out all the options before you buy. A great resource for learning more about crepe myrtles is the U.S. National Arboretum website (www.usna. usda.gov/Research/Herbarium/Lagerstroemia/) where you can also find informawww.alabamaliving.coop
Cutting crepe myrtles back like this each year eliminates the natural beauty of their elegant shapes. PHOTOS BY KATIE JACKSON
tion on managing existing plants. Another Alabama-specific source of information is the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s publication,Common Crapemyrtle, at www.aces.edu/pubs/ docs/A/ANR-1083/ANR-1083.pdf. As luck would have it, February is a good time to plant new crepe myrtles — and since legend has it that the myrtle was a favored flower of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, this month may be a good time to buy your Valentine a crepe myrtle. It will be a long-lasting symbol of love that you and your sweetheart can protect and enjoy together for years to come. A
FEBRUARY GARDEN TIPS Plant roses and other shrubs and hardy perennials. Plant dormant fruit, nut and ornamental trees. Start seeds for warm-season vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers and summer bedding plants, in cold frames or in a protected area. Begin planting summer-blooming bulbs. Prune summer-flowering shrubs now, but delay pruning springflowering shrubs until after they bloom. Order seeds for the spring and summer garden. Clean out moldy or sprouting seeds before refilling bird feeders. Attend gardening workshops and classes or get involved with your local gardening groups. Shop for off-season garden supplies that may be on sale this time of year.
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FEBRUARY 2016 41
Hot bass action in cold waters at Pickwick Lake By John N. Felsher
says Jimmy Mason, lthough ana bass pro and guide glers fishing from Rogersville. “At Pickwick Lake the upper part, from in northwest Alabama the Natchez Trace might catch more than Br idge to Wi ls on a dozen species on the Dam, it’s a river. From same day, many people the bridge toward Misbelieve the reservoir sissippi, it turns into could produce the next more of a typical reserworld record smallvoir. The lower lake has mouth bass. a phenomenal amount The current world of ledges, grassy flats record smallmouth and structure.” weighed 11 pounds, 15 ounces, a fish caught in Dale Hollow ReserBefore spring voir on the Kentucky/ spawn is Tennessee line in 1955. time to catch But Pickwick Lake produces smallmouth biggest bass exceeding 10 pounds. Anglers often catch In Wilson Lake, just the biggest bass all year on the other side of during the winter bethe Wilson Dam in fore the spring spawn. Florence, Owen Smith Although anglers freset the Alabama smallquently catch smallmouth record with a mouth and largemouth 10.5-pounder. Both bass in the same spots lakes also produce gion the same lures, ant largemouth bass. smallies generally pre“Pickwick has refer cooler water, more ally become one of current, deeper water the best bass lakes, not and rocky bottoms. only in Alabama, but Fishing on the resJimmy Mason, a bass pro from Rogersville, Ala., shows off a smallmouth bass he in the entire South for caught on a jerkbait while fishing at Pickwick Lake near Florence, Ala. ervoir generally imboth largemouth and proves when water PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER smallmouth,” says Tim flows through Wilson Horton, a professional bass angler from Near Wilson Dam, the lake still resem- Dam. The currents flush baitfish and othMuscle Shoals. bles the old river channel. The Tennessee er forage downstream, kicking off a feedPickwick Lake spreads through 47,500 Valley Authority maintains the channel ing frenzy. Even far downstream, current acres on the Tennessee River and touches for commercial traffic so it averages 10 still positions fish. Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Dat- to 12 feet deep, but some holes drop to “Typically, smallmouth go a little deeping back to 1938, the lake begins at the more than 50 feet deep. The lake spreads er and get in the eddies,” Mason says. “In Wilson Dam and ends 53 miles downriver out as it flows toward the Mississippi- the winter, I like to fish close to the flow, where the Pickwick Dam crosses the Ten- Tennessee line. but still outside of it. I look for anything “Pickwick is both a river and a lake,” that breaks the current, like a rock pile, nessee River at Counce, Tenn. 42 FEBRUARY 2016
sand and gravel bars or islands. I look for current seams where fish can get behind something and don’t have to fight that current.” From the Wilson Dam downstream to the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge near Barton, the river flows around several islands, rocky shoals, sandbars and other obstructions. Like trout in mountain streams, bass wait in calm water behind current breaks watching for prey to flow toward their lairs. When bass see something they like, they swoop out into the current, snatch it and then return to their eddy. “Those old rock rows are dynamite areas to catch smallmouth in the winter,” Mason says. “They create great areas where fish can get out of the main flow. When the river is flowing heavy, I like to fish those rock rows by drifting backwards with the current. I use the trolling motor to slow the boat drift and cast upstream. Then, I use the current to sweep my bait into the eddies.” Since smallmouth often key on abundant threadfin shad, lures that mimic baitfish typically work best. Lure colors depend upon water clarity and sunshine intensity. In stained water on a sunny day, throw natural colors like pearl, blue glimmer or other shad colors. On a cloudy day with dirty water, throw brighter baits, such as chartreuse, white or something with a little orange in it. Although anglers can catch smallmouth bass from dam to dam, the area from the Natchez Trace downstream towards Mississippi typically holds more largemouth. For largemouth, concentrate on weedy areas and woody shoreline cover. Some good places to fish include Yellow Creek, the birthplace of the Tenn.-Tom Waterway, Bear Creek and Coffee Slough. A John N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors show that is syndicated to stations in Alabama. For more on the show, see www.gdomag.com. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com
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
FEB. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 MAR. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
01:31 07:31 09:16 10:01 10:46 11:16 11:46 06:46 07:01 07:16 07:46 08:01 02:01 02:31 03:01 01:31 03:31 08:46 09:31 10:16 10:46 11:31 -06:46 07:16 01:31 02:16 02:46 03:31 01:31 08:01 09:31 10:01 10:31 11:01 11:31 -06:16 12:31 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:16 02:46 12:16 10:01
11:16 03:46 04:31 05:01 05:31 06:01 06:16 12:01 12:31 12:46 01:16 01:46 08:16 08:31 09:01 09:31 11:01 04:01 04:16 04:46 05:16 05:46 06:16 12:16 01:01 07:46 08:16 08:46 09:16 10:16 03:31 04:01 04:31 05:01 05:16 05:31 05:46 12:01 06:31 06:46 07:01 07:16 07:46 08:01 08:31 02:01
-12:31 02:01 03:01 03:46 04:31 -12:16 12:46 01:16 07:46 08:31 09:16 10:46 ---01:01 02:16 03:31 04:16 05:16 12:01 12:46 07:31 08:31 09:31 11:01 --12:01 01:46 03:01 04:01 04:31 05:16 06:01 06:31 07:01 07:46 08:31 09:16 10:31 ----
07:16 08:31 09:31 10:16 11:01 11:31 05:16 05:46 06:31 07:01 01:46 02:16 03:01 03:46 04:46 06:16 07:46 08:46 09:31 10:16 11:01 11:46 06:01 06:46 01:16 02:01 03:01 04:01 05:16 06:46 08:16 09:16 10:01 10:31 11:01 11:31 12:01 12:16 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:16 03:01 03:46 05:01 06:46
FEBRUARY 2016 43
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GULF SHORES GULF FRONT –SEACREST CONDO – 1BR / 1BA, King Bed, Hall Bunks, free WiFi. Spring week $850 - Pictures vrbo# 435534 – email@example.com, (256)352-5721
METAL ROOFING $1.59/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739
BEACH HOUSE – HOME AWAY FROM HOME – 3BR / 2BA, Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892, firstname.lastname@example.org
WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS $1,599 / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025, www. wallbedsofalabama.com, www. alabamamattressoutlet.com
MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – BILLIARD table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www. duskdowningheights.com, (850)766-5042, (850)661-0678. SPRING BREAK SPECIALS: 1-2 BEDROOM chalets, Pigeon Forge call (865) 712-7633
WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – OPEN YEAR Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593
HUGE SELECTION OF QUALITY FABRICS AND TRIMS AT DISCOUNT PRICES - Delivered right to your door. WarehouseFabricsInc.com - phone: (205)487-8040. Or visit our store, Betty’s Fabric Gallery in Winfield, AL - phone: (205)487-2239. Save 10% with coupon AL10
GULF SHORES PLANTATION - GULF VIEW, BEACH side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850
FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – WRITE to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673
AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – WINDMILL PARTS – DECORATIVE WINDMILLS – CUSTOM BUILT WINDMILL TOWERS - CALL Windpower (256)899-3850 or (256)638-2352 ANTIQUE SHOP AT CRENSHAW FARMS DAYLILY GARDEN will now be opened from 9 to 3 every Friday and Saturday. Lots of unique items. Welcome. Visit Facebook . Near Stockton. (251)577-1235 KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric, Solar Powered and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)899-3850
Business Opportunities PIANO TUNING PAYS – LEARN WITH AMERICAN Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793
PIGEON FORGE 4 BEDROOM HOUSE – VRBO RENTAL 556992 – (256)717-8694, (256)717-9112
ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@ centurytel.net, (256)599-5552 PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, HOT TUB, AIR hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, Homeaway #241942 GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE ON BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, email@example.com PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – OWNER RENTAL – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theroneycondo. com
CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 OR (800)726-0954
Musical Notes PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, REFINISHED. BOX 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503 PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 LESSONS $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982
Critters CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. REGISTERED, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893
Fruits / Nuts / Berries GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , HALF dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800-733-0324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934 www.isons. com CERTIFIED GMO FREE OLD TIMEY WHITE AND YELLOW self-pollinating SEED corn – (334)886-2925
NORTH ALABAMA WHOLESALE REPRESENTATIVE needed for Buttercup Jewelry – www. buttercupdirect.com, (251)509-3092
Vacation Rentals ONE BEDROOM CABIN – FULLY EQUIPPED WITH Hot Tub near PIGEON FORGE – Call Kathy at (865)548-7915 or email at email@example.com for information GATLINBURG, TN – FOND MEMORIES START HERE in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway
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FEBRUARY 2016 45
Easy Does It S
ome days, even if you like to cook, it’s hard to get motivated to get in the kitchen and make something. Sometimes, I truly enjoy shopping and measuring and stirring and sautéing. But there are other days that just take it out of me, and I don’t even want to think about cooking. But since I always think about eating (and eating out all the time isn’t a good idea for the aforementioned reasons), it’s kinda necessary.
That’s why we are devoting this month’s food pages to “quick and easy” recipes as well as some tips and shortcuts that will make many of them – and lots of others already in your repertoire – even quicker and easier. Thanks to these readersubmitted recipes, if you can find about 30 minutes (sometimes less!) and muster up just a bit of energy, you can put a delicious homemade dish on the table. - Jennifer Kornegay
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
Easy Chicken Pot Pie (Pictured above)
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken 1 16-ounce jar Alfredo sauce 1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained Salt and pepper to taste 6 frozen biscuits, thawed In a casserole dish, stir together all ingredients except biscuits. Place biscuits on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until biscuits are done. 46 FEBRUARY 2016
Recipe Tip Pat often adds additional veggies when she makes her pot pie. When we made the recipe, we included ½ cup steam-in-bag peas and 1/3 cup frozen chopped onions. We steamed the peas and defrosted the onions before we put them in. We also used Mary B’s Thin & Crispy biscuits on the top per Pat’s suggestion. She’s found that thinner biscuits work better.
Shopping Smarter & Cooking Quicker Cooking your meals and eating at home is almost always better for your health and your budget.
These tips will save you time at the grocery store and in the kitchen! • Plan your meals for the week. • Use your plan to make your grocery list so you only need to make one trip. • Keep your pantry stocked with basics like olive oil, rice, canned veggies (tomatoes, beans), onions, garlic powder and other spices. • Buy rotisserie chickens any time they’re on special and pull off and shred the meat. Freeze 2 to 3 cup portions in Ziploc bags for use in recipes that call for already cooked chicken. • Buying pre-chopped veggies from your produce section will cost you, but they can save a bundle of time. Hint: Frozen pre-chopped onions work great in recipes and are cheaper than the fresh pre-chopped version. • Once you’re ready to cook, read through the entire recipe first so you can figure out things like “Can you use one measuring cup instead of many?” These little time-savers add up. • Get out all ingredients and bowls or equipment needed before you start anything.
“This recipe is one of the simplest you’ll find that’s also extremely satisfying.”
Cook of the Month
Pat H. St. John, Cherokee EC
at has been making her Easy Chicken Pot Pie for years and came up with the idea when she realized while she liked eating chicken pot pie, she didn’t always want to make pie crust. “I really cook from scratch, but I sometimes use frozen biscuits, so I thought they might work in place of a homemade pie crust and make enjoying pot pie much easier,” she says. “I don’t know how I came up with using the Alfredo sauce though. I always
- Pat St. John make pasta sauces myself, so this recipe is actually the only time I use jarred sauce.” No matter how the idea arrived, you’ll be glad it did. This recipe is one of the simplest you’ll find that’s also extremely satisfying. You don’t even have to dirty more than one dish! “And it’s great the next day warmed over,” Pat says.
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C. 8-Can Soup 1 pound ground beef 1 small diced onion 1 can Rotel tomatoes 1 can whole kernel corn 1 can mixed vegetables 1 can chili with beans 1 can chili without beans 1 can petite diced tomatoes 1 can tomato soup 1 can vegetable soup 1 tablespoon sugar ½ cup ketchup Salt and pepper to taste
Easy Meat and Veggie Casserole 1 link Polish sausage 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained Onion and green pepper, optional, or to taste 1 can diced tomatoes 1 package Jiffy cornbread mix
Brown the beef with onion and drain. Put meat mixture into a large crockpot and add all other ingredients; do not drain the canned goods. May simmer all day if desired.
Slice and cook Polish sausage. Saute onion and green pepper, if desired. Add to sausage with peas and tomatoes. Pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Mix cornbread as directed and pour on top. Bake at 350 degrees till cornbread is done, about 20 minutes. Other options: Use ground beef instead of sausage (brown and drain); add shoepeg corn or Rotel. Pinto beans can be used instead of peas.
Mrs. Harold Batchelor Covington EC
Beverly Bentley Joe Wheeler EMC
48 FEBRUARY 2016
2 pounds tilapia fillets, thawed 1 packet Casa Mexicana Fish Taco Seasoning ¼ cup oil ¼ cup water Corn tortillas 1 avocado, sliced 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced Mayonnaise Cilantro (remove leaves, discard stems) Fresh limes, wedged A.) In a large Ziploc bag, place oil, water, and seasoning. Mix completely. Add tilapia and let marinate for 15 minutes. Place marinated tilapia on a hot, non-stick skillet and cook on medium for 5-10 minutes or until flaky. Slice into 1-inch slices. B.,C.) Warm corn tortillas and place 4 tilapia slices, 2 avocado slices, 2 tomato slices, squirt of mayo, a sprinkle of cilantro, and squeeze lime wedge over it all. Delicious! Esther Briddick Joe Wheeler EMC
Quick and Easy Orange Rolls 1 tube crescent rounds 1 /3 cup orange marmalade Glaze: ½ cup confectioner’s sugar 1 teaspoon corn syrup or honey 1 teaspoon water Unroll crescent rounds. Spread marmalade over all. Separate rolls and re-roll into individual rolls. Put into a greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Make glaze and drizzle over rolls. If glaze is too stiff, add a drop or two more water. The corn syrup or honey can be omitted, but it makes a glossy appearance. Fig or fruit jam also works. Linda Ryan Joe Wheeler EMC
Hesta’s Dream Dessert 2 cups graham cracker crumbs ¼ cup sugar ¾ cup melted butter or margarine 1 large carton of non dairy whipped topping 1 can sweetened condensed milk 8 ounces cream cheese ¼ cup lemon juice 1 12-ounce bag frozen raspberries 1 cup ﬂake coconut Make a crust from first 3 ingredients. Press in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch dish. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Mix whipped topping, condensed milk, cream cheese and lemon juice. Add raspberries and pour into crust. Lightly toast coconut in the warm oven where you baked the crust. Sprinkle over the top of dessert. Cover and chill or this can be frozen for later. Cut into squares to serve. Hesta A. Gurney Joe Wheeler EMC
Onion Casserole 1 tube of 10 biscuits (any brand works) 5-6 sliced, cooked onions, drained and cooled 1 small carton (8 ounces) sour cream 3 /4-1 stick butter (not margarine) Sprinkle of red pepper ﬂakes In a 9-inch by 13-inch Pyrex dish, press the biscuit dough on the bottom and slightly up the sides. Layer on the cooked onions. With a spoon, add the sour cream in small dollops; do not try to mix these in. Pour the melted butter over all and sprinkle with red pepper ﬂakes for taste and color. Cook at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Optional: Bisquick can be substituted for biscuits in the tube.
Crescent Bars 1 can refrigerated crescent rolls 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 can ready-to-use coconut/pecan frosting ½ stick butter, melted Spray a 9-inch by 11-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread crescent rolls out in pan, sealing perforations to form a “crust.” In a bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and frosting. Spread this mixture on top of the crust. Drizzle the melted butter on top. Bake at 350 degrees approximately 30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars. Dolores Childree Baldwin EMC
Super Easy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies 1 cup smooth peanut butter ¾ cup sugar 1 egg 1 bag Hershey’s kisses Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix peanut butter, sugar and egg together well, and chill for one hour. Roll small amounts of the mixture (about the size of a walnut) by hand and drop onto a cookie sheet. Press a chocolate kiss into each roll. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes; let cool on a wire rack. Makes a dozen. Melissa Cames Cullman EC
Send us your recipes! Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. Share a story about your recipe! Whether it’s your grandmother’s best cake or your uncle’s camp stew, every recipe has a story behind it. We’ll pay $50 for the best recipe-related story each month.
Submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Recipe themes and deadlines: April May June
Greens Chicken Salad Picnic Meals
February 8 March 8 April 8
THANK YOU We would like to extend our thanks to Janet Waldo and the Elms of Coosada for opening up their antebellum home and gourmet kitchen for our photo shoot this month. We look forward to working with you again in the future! For information on the Elms of Coosada, visit www.elmsevents.com.
See just how Quick and Easy these Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies really are in our step-by-step video up now on alabamaliving.coop/videos! alabamaliving.coop/videos Also see it here:
Tina Robertson Baldwin EMC
Super Easy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies 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.
FEBRUARY 2016 49
ATTENTION NO AD AD NO
HVAC, PLUMBING, ROOFING, LANDSCAPING, CONSTRUCTION, AUTOMOTIVE, HEALTHCARE, INSURANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES, IT & TELECOM, MANUFACTURING, ETC. As a local business, you may not need to advertise to the entire state. But what about the 10,700+ consumers in the Pioneer EC market? Alabama Living, the state’s largest publication, is oﬀering this page to the first local business that wants to stand out from the competition and put its product/service in front of Pioneer’s members.
This page will be gone fast. It’s eﬃcient and eﬀective marketing. Call 800.410.2737 or email: email@example.com
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FEBRUARY 2016 51
Our Sources Say
Why others don’t like solar
couple of months ago I wrote an article titled, “Why Don’t You Like Solar?” I received a few comments to the effect that I was backwards and against progress, I was against clean energy, I was only interested in my paycheck, and I must consider Alabamians idiots. Interestingly, on December 29, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled, “Time for Solar Energy to Grow Up.” The article doesn’t exactly track my logic or feelings about solar energy, but it confirms my position that solar is not necessarily the answer to all of our energy questions and problems. The WSJ article states that more than 40 states (Alabama is not one of those states) have net-metering programs for distributed generation, including solar power. (Net-metering programs allow electric consumers who own generation to sell energy to their electric provider at the retail rate.) The article states the retail price of electricity is generally about twice the cost of wholesale power because the retail price includes the cost of transmission service, distribution service, transformation costs, and maintenance of all the facilities required to provide basic electric service. Solar programs have evolved from people interested in owning their own generation to corporate marketing plays by national companies. The WSJ article states the primary beneficiaries of solar programs are not electric consumers but companies like SolarCity and SunRun, which install solar panels at no upfront cost to customers, receiving the government tax subsidies and benefits associated with solar generation. Then, they rent the panels to consumers at lower-than-retail rates at the onset but typically escalate these rates by about 3 percent per year. Electric consumers may reduce their power bill at the start of the program, but non-solar customers have to make up the difference. Customers that sell electricity back to their utilities obviously do not provide those services provided by utilities, yet they receive their utilities’ retail price. Because those customers receive payment for services they don’t provide, customers who don’t produce their own electricity have to make up the costs of the services that are paid to net-metering customers. Generally, that results in poorer electric consumers who can’t afford to install their own distributed generation to subsidize wealthier
electric customers who can. Those subsidies can be substantial. The California Public Utility Commission estimates that solar subsidies among California electric consumers approach $2 billion annually. The Nevada Utility Commission estimates that Nevada non-solar customers subsidize each Nevada solar owner by $623 per year. Almost all of that shift goes to the solar leasing companies – not the solar customers. Because of the subsidies among electric consumers, several states (including Hawaii, Arizona, California and Nevada) have recently proposed changing their net-metering programs to reduce cost-shifting among electric consumers. The Nevada Commission went even further by reducing the rate utilities pay to existing solar customers to the wholesale rate for electricity and increasing the fixed charge solar customers pay to access the electric grid. SolarCity has not reacted well to the changes in Nevada. It announced it would cease doing business in Nevada and complained, “… the Nevada government encouraged these people to go solar with financial incentives and pro-solar policies and now the same government is punishing them for their decision with the new costs they couldn’t have foreseen.” SolarCity doesn’t mention that its disclosure statements to solar customers acknowledge the risk of rate change. SolarCity also said, “Our ability to sell solar energy systems and the electricity they generate may be adversely impacted by changes in net-metering policies, including reductions in the amount or value of credit that customers receive though net-metering.” However, the change should have little effect on what solar customers receive from their solar installations. It will primarily affect SolarCity’s profits and the amount nonsolar customers have to pay to subsidize the solar customers. Non-solar customers should not have to pay for decisions made by solar customers. The federal government recently extended the 30 percent tax credit for solar installations through 2021 so our tax dollars can be used to subsidize solar choices. There is no reason states should continue to double down on subsidies that benefit SolarCity and other solar companies at the expense of retail consumers. Just another reason not to like solar. I hope you have a good month. A
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
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FEBRUARY 2016 53
Bad Hair Day
RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.
rker, Ad Chase Pa ITTED BY
UBM Parker. S Paisleigh Jenna Kaye Loveladdy says, “This is what an afternoon nap can do for you.” SUBMITTED BY Kathy Priddy, Sulligent.
Daniel Roebuck, som eti it’s okay to wear your mes side. SUBMITTED BY hat inRobbie Young, Robertsdale.
Matt and Craig Rowles on a blustery spring day. SUBMITTED BY Janice Mankey, Tuscaloosa.
oline hairstyle. SUBMITT
the tramp Adella Stone, age 5, with . son ven Ste ne, BY Leslie Sto
Submit Your Images! April Theme: “Dressed in our Easter Best” Deadline for April: February 29 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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