Pioneer Electric COOPERATIVE
You voted! Announcing the Best of Alabama
Take the chill oďŹ€ with homemade chili
EXECUTIVE VP/ GENERAL MANAGER
Terry Moseley CO-OP EDITOR
Casey Rogers ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Allison Griffin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson
VOL. 69 NO. 1 JANUARY 2016
6 Preserving the past with technology of the future Check out how Pioneer Electric members are using new energy efficiency technology to restore an important family landmark.
30 Hunting a preserve
Hunters can find a variety of birds and fastpaced action on Alabama’s hunting preserves.
ON THE COVER: Young Devon Pockrus enjoys checking out a space capsule at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, voted the “Best Learning Museum” in the state in our 2016 Best of Alabama Contest. Read about all the winners beginning on page 12.
34 Warm up with chili
Beans or no beans, ground beef or venison, topped with cheese, onions or sour cream ... Everyone has their favorite version of chili, and we’ve got our readers’ best recipes to prove it.
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 30 31 46
Spotlight Cook of the Month Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Snapshots
Printed in America from American materials
JANUARY 2016 3
A Year In Review Terry Moseley
Executive Vice President and General Manager
Contact Information: Business: 1-800-239-3092 (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
As we enter into a brand new year, I can’t help but reflect on the past and look hopefully toward 2016 with excitement. Let me first say that I hope you and your family had a blessed holiday season filled with fun, food and fellowship with loved ones. Last year at this time, I wrote to you about new horizons ahead for Pioneer Electric. And now, I can happily look back on the past year with pride because the cooperative successfully fulfilled everything I discussed in that very article. 2015 marked a year of reintroducing a few programs that Pioneer Electric had successfully done in the past, as well as introducing a few completely new things to benefit the cooperative. As you know, after meeting equity requirements, Pioneer Electric repaid Capital Credits for the first time in the 21st century in January 2015. After the Board of Directors authorized the distribution of this $539,030.72, the real work began. The employees of Pioneer Electric worked diligently to prepare and distribute capital credit checks to both current and former members. Once checks were sent out, we joined our membership in search of those with unclaimed capital credits. We communicated in Alabama Living magazine, in local papers, online and for the first time ever— using social media (more about this later). With the help of current members and those in the communities that we serve, we were able to locate many past and present members to not only make sure they received their capital credit checks, but to also update their contact information for future capital credit distribution. This search and updating process is increasingly important as we plan to distribute over $550,000 in Capital Credit checks again this March. Another 2015 program renewal for Pioneer Electric was the Montgomery and National Youth Tours. We sent four deserving students to the statewide Youth Tour in March and later sent two of those students to Washington, D.C. in June. After much success and positive feedback from community leaders, parents and students, we have decided to continue our participation in
the program. This year, we will be sending six students from throughout our coverage area to Montgomery and two of these students will be granted spots to the National Youth Tour. This program allows us to make a lasting impact on the future leaders of our co-op and communities. 2015 also marked a year of increased efforts in energy efficiency education and rebate programs. We successfully introduced the water heater rebate program for members and plan to continue this and other efficiency programs in 2016. We also began the process of transitioning to LED security lighting across our system, in an effort to cut future operational costs. These programs and improvements were not only beneficial for members, but also for the cooperative’s efficiency as a whole. The past year marked a new era for communicating with our membership. Pioneer Electric was able to successfully launch a mobile application for members to directly view and report outages, as well as stay up to date with the cooperative and pay their bills directly from mobile devices. We completely updated the Pioneer Electric website (www.pioneerelectric.com), making it more useful to members and garnering the 2015 AREA Communications Award for best website among cooperatives in the state. We also began communicating with members through social media outlets, such as Facebook and Instagram. These new methods of communication have proved incredibly beneficial in informing members about outages and important happenings of the cooperative. Most recently, we made the improvement of providing credit card technology in our lobbies as we consider adding payment kiosks at both office locations in the future. While we no longer take credit card payments at the drive up windows, this simplifies the transaction process and protects your personal information. I think it is safe to say that 2015 was a great success and I am excited to see what 2016 has in store. Thank you for supporting your local electric cooperative, where members matter.
4 JANUARY 2016
Pioneer Electric Cooperative
Inside Pioneer :
Youth Tour 2016 Students interested in applying to win a chance to attend the 2015 Montgomery Youth Tour and later represent Pioneer Electric Cooperative at the 2015 Washington Youth Tour should complete an application and submit it to Casey Rogers, the cooperative’s Youth Tour coordinator, by January 19, 2016. Information and applications can be found at both Pioneer Electric offices, on the Pioneer website and by requesting information from school guidance counselors. The contest is open to all high school juniors (11th grade) living in one of the counties served by Pioneer Electric Cooperative. All applications will be reviewed for eligibility and a panel of judges will determine which students will participate in the interview portion of the competition. Students selected to interview will be notified during the week of January 19 and will be given an assigned
interview time. Interviews will be held at the cooperative’s Greenville office located at 300 Herbert Street on Friday, January 29, 2016. Six students will be selected from the interview competition as winners of a trip to the Montgomery Youth Tour in March. Those six students will be notified of their selection by Wednesday, February 3, 2016. Following the Montgomery Youth Tour, two of the Montgomery Youth Tour participants will be selected to further represent Pioneer Electric in Washington, D.C. at the National Youth Tour in June. These two students will be selected based on their applications, their interviews and their participation and cooperation during the Montgomery Youth Tour. Note: All winners must attend both the Montgomery and Washington trips. Failure to attend the Montgomery trip will result in the runner-up being awarded the Washington trip.
Holiday Office Closings: Pioneer Electric Cooperative’s offices will be closed on Friday, January 1, 2016 in observance of New Year’s Day. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 4. Have a blessed holiday!
PEC Scholarship 2016 Applications for Pioneer Electric’s 2016 Cooperative Foundation Scholarship are now available. 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. The recipient is selected by an independent panel of judges. Applications will be available at both Pioneer Electric offices in Greenville and Selma, from area high school guidance counselors or online at our website.
If you have questions regarding PEC’s Youth Tour or Scholarship Programs, please contact Casey Rogers at 334-382-4904. ALABAMA LIVING
JANUARY 2016 5
Preserving the Past with T Nestled quaintly beneath broad oak trees along County Road 417 in Minter, Alabama, you will find a little piece of history that has recently been brought back to life. Perfectly garnished with a white picket fence across the front yard and a beloved family dog named Callie stretched out on the front porch, the Owens family home tells quite a story. Not only does the home hold over five generations of family history, it also plays an important part of Pioneer Electric Cooperative’s past and present. Current homeowners, Bruce Owens, Jr. and wife Pam are the son and daughter-in-law of longtime Pioneer Electric Trustee, Bruce Owens. Owens was elected to the Pioneer Electric Cooperative board of directors in 1968 and served faithfully until 1986. As a well-established farmer in the Carlowville community, he was married to the former Halsie Kyser and had two children, Peggy and Bruce, Jr.
Pam and Bruce Owens, Jr. along with contractor, Johnny Dunnam.
to restore the home and breathe life back into the remarkable family place. Bruce and wife Pam, along with local contractor and friend Johnny Dunnam, began by restoring construction aspects that typically go unnoticed— structural, electrical and plumbing. When the time came to determine the heating and cooling features of the home, Bruce and Pam made a decision that was a first for Pioneer Electric Cooperative and a landmark choice in energy efficiency. T he O we ns ma d e the decision to install ductless heat pumps. This next generation electric heating and cooling technology prove d to b e t he perfect solution in the restoration process. Indoor handling unit can be seen in the top left corner. It became apparent to Bruce and Pam The current house was constructed early along that because central in the early 1920s as the second family heating and cooling had never been home after they lost their first house installed in the home, a lack of crawl to fire. And after the recent death of his mother Halsie, Bruce, Jr. decided or duct space would pose a major 6 JANUARY 2016
hurdle in the restoration process. After much research and deliberation, Jones Heating and Air Conditioning in Camden, Alabama installed the Owens’ new ductless heat pump system. “This modern technology makes the impossible possible when restoring older homes,” said Bruce. “In our restoration process, it was the only solution that made sense.” Ductless heat pumps or DHPs are also known as mini-split heat pumps; “mini” because they are suitable for conditioning smaller areas and “split” because they consist of a separate outside compressor and one or more inside air-handling units. While DHPs were more costly for the Owens upfront and can cost as much as 30 percent more than standard ducted systems, they have also proven to be an excellent source of both economic and sensible benefits in the home. A complete DHP system includes four main components: an outside compressor unit, one or more indoor air handling units mounted on a wall or ceiling (containing an oscillating fan and evaporator), a refrigerant line running from compressor to www.alabamaliving.coop
Pioneer Electric Cooperative
Technology of the Future By Casey B. Rogers
air handling unit(s) and a handheld wireless remote or wall-mounted control unit with a programmable thermostat. Much time and creativity went into the placement of these components in the Owens’ home. Small closets were used to conceal the refrigerant line of insulted copper tubing inside the home and strategic placement of the indoor handling units maximize the visual aesthetics of the historic home.
maintain different temperatures in various areas of the home. With the click of a button, they can control temperatures separately in different living spaces, enhancing comfort. In addition, the DHPs eliminate hot and cold spots and distribute heat more evenly. The units run almost noiselessly, due in large part to the variable speed fans, allowing the sounds of rural Alabama life to be heard
Pam and Bruce Owens, Jr.
Pam and Bruce Owens, Jr. along with PEC’s Linda Horn and contractor, Johnny Dunnam inspecting the outside compressor units.
DHP systems such as the Owens’ Mitsubishi system are estimated to use 50 to 60 percent less energy than electric resistance heat and may exceed efficiency of a ducted heat pump by 25 percent. The efficiency of DHPs can be attributed to the elimination of auxiliary heat strips, which lower demand and energy usage and result in higher SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings. Elimination of duct-related losses (typically 15-20 percent) and elimination of losses associated with on/off cycling due to the invertor technology also add to the overall efficiency of the units. Another beneficial factor of DHPs to the Owens family is the flexibility to ALABAMA LIVING
to the family’s history such as original telegraph papers signaling a brother missing during World War II, old pictures that paint visuals of past and pieces of furniture that she has brought back to life. “I fell in love with the stories the house told,” said Pam. “This process has given me the opportunity to explore the family history, which I’ve grown to appreciate more than I ever imagined.”
throughout the Owens’ home. DHPs also offer additional safety benefits in the home due to units being mounted high on the wall or ceiling, putting them out of the reach of children. These factors are increasingly important to the Owens family as they continue making memories of their own in the renowned family home. In m a k i ng t h e s e major improvements to the home, Bruce’s wife, Pam, has also found a Indoor handling unit can be seen in the top right corner. few incredible additions JANUARY 2016 7
Economic Spotlight :
Sport, Pastime or... Industry? As you read this in the beginning of January, we are right in the middle of deer hunting season in Alabama. As this issue highlights “The Best of Alabama”, many folks will agree that Pioneer’s service area is right in the middle of some of the best deer hunting in the state, if not the nation. I remember going into a grocery store one evening several years ago and noticing the parking lot full of pick-up trucks with mud tires on them. Many of the trucks had out of state tags. Then it hit me— hunting season started the next day! All these folks were stocking up on supplies to get them through the first weekend of the season. Hunting was bringing money into our little town! As I looked a little further into it, I realized that hunting is a big business in Alabama. In 2011, the government did a study on the impact of hunting, fishing and
wildlife watching in Alabama. The numbers are astounding. According to the study there were 683,000 fishermen in Alabama that year (that would be folks who fished, either resident or non-resident, inside the state), 535,000 hunters and 1,114,000 wildlife watchers (that’s right…over a million!). Now, some of those numbers overlapped (a fisherman might be a hunter and a birdwatcher), but the total number of participants in the three categories for the year was 1.7 million folks! Along with participation, comes spending. According to the survey, $2.7 billion was spent by all three categories that year in the state. That money isn’t concentrated in big cities where many traditional industries locate, it’s spread around the rural areas across the state. The amount of time spent by all of these participants is quite staggering,
as well. In Alabama, if you take all the folks who hunt, and then figure up all the days they hunted, it totals to 10.5 million days! That’s the equivalent of 28,000 years! That’s a lot of folks doing a lot of hunting. Wildlife watching is a year round sport. According to the survey, 883,000 folks feed some type of wildlife and watch it from their homes. In every town and city folks are buying birdseed or some other feed, all year long, and they spent $734,204,000! Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are fun pastimes in Alabama…but all together, it’s a big industry.
VP Economic Development and Legal Aﬀairs
Source: 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation by US Census Bureau 8 JANUARY 2016
In January Start planning for Mardi Gras! This year, Mardi Gras celebrations will start early (Fat Tuesday is Feb. 9), so go ahead and make note of the parades that will start this month. Dauphin Island’s first parade, Krewe De La Dauphine, begins at 1 p.m. Jan. 9 (www.gulfshores.com).
Whereville, AL Guess where this is and win $25! In our newest feature, “Whereville, Alabama,” 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.
Jan. 23 is the Prattville Mardi Gras celebration, which begins at 11 a.m. with a parade at 2 p.m. (www.prattvilleal.gov). The Millbrook Revelers festival will kick off at 9 a.m. Jan. 30, with the parade at noon (www. millbrookrevelers.org). Also, check the Mobile Mardi Gras Parading Association site (www. mmgpa.com) for the latest on the Port City’s schedule; the Conde Cavalier Parade kicks off on Jan. 22, with more parades on Jan. 23.
(Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.)
If you know where this landmark is, send your answer by Jan. 5 with your name, address and the name of your electric cooperative. The winner and the answer will be announced in the February 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.
Online: www.areapower.coop By email: email@example.com By mail: Whereville P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014
Flu season in the U.S. generally runs from October through May, with peaks of activity in January and February. If someone in your household is diagnosed with influenza, here are the steps to take, courtesy of the American Red Cross: Designate one person as the caregiver; keep everyone’s personal items separate (don’t share pens, papers, clothes, towels, etc.); disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, toys and other surfaces; wash everyone’s dishes in the dishwasher, or by hand with very hot water and soap; wash your hands after handling dirty laundry; and wear disposable gloves when in contact with or cleaning up bodily fluids.
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.
JANUARY 2016 9
Access aﬀordable health care and the insurance marketplace The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides Americans with better health security by expanding coverage, lowering healthcare costs, guaranteeing more choice, and enhancing the quality of care for all Americans. Everyone is entitled to affordable healthcare. Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health. Some of the benefits of this coverage include: Ending Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children: Health plans can no longer limit or deny benefits to children under 19 due to a pre-existing condition. Keeping Young Adults Covered: If you are under 26, you may be eligible to
‘A Christmas Memory’ touched hearts We had several responses to Hardy Jackson’s column, “A Christmas Memory,” in the December magazine. Here are a few:
our story you wrote for Alabama Living touched my heart this morning. I am founder and manager of Have A Heart ministries in Moulton, Ala. Having served this community for over a decade, we, too, have many such stories. After having read yours, I couldn’t help but to want to reach out you and tell you there are many more young men who need to have these stories [told]. We are Have a Heart, 15324 Market St., in Moulton, 35650. Keep sharing your story. Others need to hear it. God bless you this most blessed holiday. Kathy Watson Moulton 10 JANUARY 2016
be covered under your parent’s health plan. Ending Arbitrary Withdrawals of Insurance Coverage: Insurers can no longer cancel your coverage just because you made an honest mistake. Guaranteeing Your Right to Appeal: You now have the right to ask that your plan reconsider its denial of payment. Open enrollment began in November and ends January 31. Compare healthcare plans so that you can find the best one for you, and sign up before the enrollment period ends. You can learn more about the insurance marketplace and how to apply for benefits at www.healthcare.gov. If you are 65 or older, you are entitled to Medicare. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, including those who have disabilities and those
eading about Taddy reminded me of my seventh birthday. My parents hosted a birthday party for me in my second grade classroom where we had chocolate milk and cupcakes. My classmates brought presents, none of which I remember, with the exception of two. Those two gifts, a chalk dog and a plastic bird that would whistle when filled with water, were given me by the poorest boys in the class. They undoubtedly did without something in order to buy the gifts, neither of which cost more than a dime. Sixty-five years later I treasure those toys and will keep them until I die. I think of those boys now and then and hope they’ve had good lives. Thank you for reminding me of their kindness. Joy Cole Moulton
who have permanent kidney failure. The program helps with the cost of healthcare, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. You can access everything you need for Medicare, including online applications and publications, at www.socialsecurity. gov/medicare. Social Security and affordable healthcare go hand-in-hand. The Affordable Care Act and Medicare help ensure that you and your family are covered.
ust a note to let you know I enjoyed your piece last night while reading my copy of Alabama Living. It brought back great memories of my younger days visiting in Grove Hill. Bill Brady was my great uncle; we just recently attended a celebration of life service for Irma Brady there at the Methodist Church in Grove Hill. My late father, H.B. Williamson, grew up in Gosport where I still have some land and he attended Grove Hill High. I have many relatives from the Larrimore side there still in the area and Clarke County. I re m e mb e r t h e o l d hardware store and loved to hang out there as a child while visiting my cousins, the Bradys. That story is very typical of Clarke County and how they have always taken care of each other and strangers alike. The recent service for Aunt Irma was a visit back in time and brought back wonderful memories of a time gone by. I
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Aﬀairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle. email@example.com.
Letters to the editor E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
spent many days and summers there in Grove Hill as a young child with my grandmother. I can still taste the pancakes and sausage at the old Deavers Restaurant and listening to all the old men tell their stories around the table drinking coffee. I’m probably one of those old men now! I hope we can recapture some of that same old Clarke County spirit for our children and grandchildren in the future. We sure need it. Thanks for sharing the story. Mike Williamson Spanish Fort
Art exhibit highlights fading rural landscape
Begin the weight loss journey for better health
A traveling art exhibition will tap into the memories and tug on the heartstrings of anyone who cherishes the small family farms that are rapidly deteriorating and dis app e ar ing from today’s rural landscape. Shirley Esco of Deatsville is known “Abandoned Rural for her paintings of peaceful rural landscapes. America” is a multiartist, mixed media exhibit that features paintings, photographs, pottery, models and a film that chronicle the changing face of rural America. The exhibit originates out of Madison, Ga., and is the brainchild of Peter Muzyka, a graphic designer who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania. Muzyka has noticed abandoned farms and barns all his life, and was moved to d o c u m e nt h i s memories through art. “Abandoned Rural America” will b e featured at the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery at 408 S. Main St. in Wetumpka from Jan. 19 through April 22, with an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12. The show is sponsored by Central Mack Gothard of Clanton raises, cures A l ab ama E le c t r ic and carves gourds to create works of art. Cooperative. In addition to the traveling exhibit, the gallery will host an invitational show, “The Land, God’s Gift,” featuring the works of central Alabama artists that depict the joy and vitality of life in rural Alabama. The ARA website, www.abandonedruralamerica.com, is continually updated and features more information about the exhibit. A companion coffee table book is for sale on the website as well. For more information about the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery, call Theresa Wayne of Wetumpka uses 334-567-5147.
Alabama’s obesity rate has doubled in the past two decades, leaving our residents at risk for more than 30 medical conditions. During January, historically the month of the year when weight loss is a focus, I want to encourage you to reach and maintain a healthy weight. We lose weight by reducing the number of calories we consume and engaging in physical activity. To lose weight, a person must expend more calories than he or she takes in. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you will need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week. This is the recommended amount of weekly weight loss. It is an easy formula, but for me personally, calorie reduction has been more of a challenge than stepping up my physical activity. In addition to adopting a healthy eating plan, physical activity is the most effective way to keep off extra pounds because it increases the number of calories your body uses for energy. The burning of calories through physical activity, combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, creates a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss. As you may recall from an earlier column, a little more than two years ago I was working out at a downtown YMCA, just as I have done regularly for three decades. Suddenly and unexpectedly, my heart stopped and I underwent bypass surgery for six blockages. Because of my experience, I have become much more conscious of living a healthy lifestyle by reducing my calorie intake. I have purposefully lost 15 pounds and set a goal of losing another 10, mainly to put less pressure on my heart. In addition to cutting calories, I try to follow recommendations to eat less saturated fat and healthier fats such as those from olive oil, nuts, avocados, and fish. I have also made an effort to reduce my sodium intake and add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to my diet. More importantly, physical activity reduces risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes beyond those produced by weight reduction alone. It also lowers the incidence of several forms of cancer, osteoporosis and falls, arthritis pain and associated disability, and even symptoms of depression and anxiety. This month is a great time for Alabamians to begin a healthful weight-loss routine and increase physical activity. The tenth annual Scale Back Alabama competition kicks off on Jan. 8. Scale Back Alabama is a free statewide program designed to encourage Alabamians to get healthy through weight loss. Adult participants who lose weight are eligible for generous prizes at the end of the 10-week competition. Jim McVay, Dr.P.A., is Please visit http:// director of the Bureau of Health Promotion and scalebackalabama. Chronic Disease of the com/ for more Alabama Department of information. A Public Health.
photos and paintings to capture God’s grace.
JANUARY 2016 11
Best of Alabama 2016 By Allison Griﬃn
Did your favorites win?
Here at Alabama Living, we’re always interested in the people, places and sights that make Alabama great. With our annual Best of Alabama survey, you have a chance to cast your vote for your favorites. We published the ballot in the August, September and October issues, as well as online, and were pleased to have more than 1,500 responses to such questions as “the best uniquely Alabama experience on your bucket list” and “best Alabama-made snack.” Thanks to everyone who participated! An out-of-this-world attraction
U.S. Space and Rocket Center Education in Alabama is always in the news, and we’re fortunate to have several competitive learning environments that serve children and adults alike. In the category of “best learning museum,” you voted the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville as your favorite. Since it opened in 1970, nearly 16 million people have toured the center, from Alabama and all over the world. Many of the more than 600,000 annual visitors are students, who get a unique chance to experience space science – and even be an astronaut for a day. The USSRC, in addition to being home to the largest spaceflight museum in the world, also hosts Space Camp, Aviation Challenge Camp and Robotics Camp. It’s also the oﬃcial NASA Visitor Center for the Marshall Space Flight Center, and is an aﬃliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information about the USSRC and about Alabama’s unique place in American space flight history, visit http://rocketcenter.com
12 JANUARY 2016
Best NASCAR driver (past)
Bobby Allison Though he was born and raised in south Florida, NASCAR legend Bobby Allison is forever linked with our state, thanks to his status as a founding member of the “Alabama Gang,” a group of drivers who operated out of a garage in Hueytown in the late 1950s. Allison and his brother, Donnie, along with their friend Red Farmer, dominated in racing the 1960s and 1970s, the formative NASCAR years. That was a time, some will argue, when drivers were heroes and humans, before they became celebrities. Bobby’s son, Davey, started racing and joined the gang, as did another Hueytown driver, Neil Bonnett. Davey Allison died in July 1993 while trying to land his helicopter in the infield at Talladega; Bonnett died during practice for the 1994 Daytona 500. Today, fans can visit the Bobby Allison Racing Showroom and Collectible Store, open by appointment only, at 140 Church Ave. in Hueytown. The number there is 205-965-3102. Bobby Allison, who was inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, continues to make public appearances and autograph signings; find and “like” his oﬃcial Facebook page for information. www.alabamaliving.coop
Best Alabama-based BBQ franchise
Best non-barbecue Alabama-based food franchise
There’s lots of good barbecue to be had in this state, but readers seem to connect with Dreamland and the story of its humble beginnings. Tuscaloosa native John “Big Daddy” Bishop started serving his legendary ribs in 1958 at the original location off Highway 82. The store still retains its down-home feel and charm, but now multiple locations serve up a variety of meats and other goodies, including pulled pork, barbecue chicken, smoked sausage and its famous banana pudding. The saying, “Ain’t Nothing Like ‘Em Nowhere” is a well-known catchphrase in the South, and Dreamland’s unique flavors can be found in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery and Northport, along with two locations in Georgia. Learn more at www.dreamlandbbq.com
The votes in this category were the closest of the contest. Zoe’s Kitchen narrowly won with 30.69 percent, just edging Momma Goldberg’s (29.96 percent) and Chicken Salad Chick (28.87 percent). Zoe’s is a Mediterranean-inspired fast casual restaurant that was founded in 1995 in Homewood by Zoe Cassimus. Cassimus drew on her Greek heritage to create dishes that celebrated life, health and sharing. The restaurant offers healthy fare, such as shrimp, veggie or chicken kabobs, steak and chicken rollups, hummus, all whitemeat chicken salad and veggie pita pizza. Cassimus’ son, John, helped the restaurant expand into other areas in Birmingham, followed by Tuscaloosa, Nashville, Huntsville and Montgomery. It’s now in 17 states, with an appetite for further expansion. Learn more at www.zoeskitchen.com
Best boxer from Alabama (past or present)
One of the choices in this category was current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, the 6-foot 7-inch, 220-pound native of Tuscaloosa who has helped rejuvenate the sport of boxing. He reportedly took his nickname, “The Bronze Bomber,” as a tribute to fellow Alabamian Joe Louis, who was known as “The Brown Bomber.” But the knockout winner in this category was Louis, born in 1914 in rural LaFayette, Ala. When he was about 10, his family moved to Detroit, where he would take up the sport and record an amateur career record of 50-4. As a professional fighter, he had 72 wins, 3 losses and 57 knockouts, holding the world heavyweight boxing championship from 1937 to 1949. History records his impact beyond the ring, too. Due in part to his patriotism and the image of a gracious victor, he is widely regarded as the first AfricanAmerican to achieve the status of a national hero. Alabama Living
Best uniquely Alabama experience on your bucket list
Attending the Iron Bowl
Football reigns supreme in Alabama, so it was no surprise that the annual Alabama-Auburn game defeated the World’s Longest Yard Sale and hiking in the North Alabama mountains in this category. The first Iron Bowl was played in Birmingham’s Lakeview Park on Feb. 22, 1893, when Auburn won, 32-22. The inaugural game drew less than 5,000 people; the estimated attendance at the 2015 game at Jordan-Hare Stadium was 87,451. ESPN reported that more than 13.5 million watched the game in 2014. Its nickname is a reference to Birmingham, which hosted the game for decades. Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant suggested the contest be referred to as “the Brag Bowl,” because the winning team’s fans claim bragging rights for the next 364 days. JANUARY 2016 13
Best baseball player from Alabama (past)
Hank Aaron “The Hammer,” as he was known, had a 23-year Hall of Fame career, and he’s considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He broke Babe Ruth’s home-run record with his 715th homer in 1974, but his place in MLB history was cemented with his 755 career home runs. The record stood for more than two decades. His beginnings were humble. Raised during the Depression in Mobile, he excelled in sports as a youngster, and got his start in the Negro Leagues before quickly moving in to the majors. He confronted racism throughout his long career and was vocal in the call for African-Americans to have a role in baseball beyond the playing field (he later became one of the first minorities in MLB upper-level management). He became a successful businessman and philanthropist, creating his Chasing the Dream Foundation to help underprivileged children.
Best place to take the family for a weekend getaway
It’s no surprise that the beaches easily won this category, with opportunities for fishing, fresh seafood, water sports and bird and wildlife watching. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism oﬃcials point with pride to the 5.7 million people who visited Baldwin County in 2014, who spent an estimated $3.5 billion. The continuing upgrades and restoration work at Gulf State Park will only enhance the coastal area and improve vacation opportunities.
Best Olympic athlete (past)
Best Alabama sportscaster/ commentator
For Alabama fans and listeners on more than 50 radio stations around the South, Eli Gold is the familiar voice of the Crimson Tide football team, a nationally known sportscaster who has called the action of every Tide game since 1989, according to rolltide.com Though his name is synonymous with Alabama athletics, he’s actually a New York native with a background in a variety of sports: He’s been a part of coverage for the NFL, the Arena Football League and the NHL on both radio and TV. He also hosted “This Week in NASCAR,” a live call-in show, for seven years. He now calls Birmingham home. 14 JANUARY 2016
Jesse Owens, born to sharecroppers in Oakville, Ala., in 1913, overcame racial and socioeconomic barriers to win four gold medals in track and field at the Berlin Olympics. Now, 80 years after that record-breaking feat, a biographical sports-drama film titled “Race” will tell Owens’ story. The film, directed by Stephen Hopkins (“Under Suspicion,” “The Reaping”) stars Stephan James in the lead role, along with Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons and William Hurt. Though the Owens family moved to Ohio when Jesse was 10 years old, the Jesse Owens Memorial Park near Moulton honors his life and achievements, both on and off the track. A museum in the park (shown below) features interactive kiosks, a minitheatre and a resource center. The park itself provides athletic facilities, a statue of Owens, a replica home and broad-jump pit.
Best singer/songwriter (present)
Best public golf course
Capitol Hill, Prattville One of the most popular sites on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is Capitol Hill, which opened in 1999. The Prattville site features three 18-hole courses that have won accolades from golfers and writers alike. The Judge course plays along the Alabama River; the Senator is a traditional, Scottish-style layout; and the Legislator plays in and out of pine trees and along a bluff. Capitol Hill is the home of the Yokohama LPGA Classic, which will be May 2-8, 2016. For more information, visit www. rtjgolf.com/capitolhill
The multiplatinum-selling artist and music icon has sold more than 100 million albums and won four Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. But he’s from Tuskegee, Ala., and joined the legendary group the Commodores during his college years. He began his solo career in the early 1980s and has been writing and recording music ever since. He launched a global tour in 2013, with a two-hour set that spans his entire musical catalog. Now, the music icon has launched a home entertaining and dinnerwear collection, and has signed on for a Las Vegas headlining residency show at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino beginning in April. In recognition of his career and charitable work, he will be honored as the 2016 Musicares Person of the Year in February at a benefit gala and concert in Los Angeles.
Best singer/songwriter (past)
Born in rural Butler County in 1923, Williams went on to become a country music legend, creating music that has continued to influence countless recording artists. His mother gave him his first guitar as a boy, but his musical influence came from a Montgomery street singer, Rufus “Tee Tot” Payne. After his mother moved the family to Montgomery in the mid-1930s, Williams formed the Drifting Cowboys and recorded songs that would become standards throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. He died in 1953 at the age of 29. If you’re in central Alabama for New Year’s, join the annual wreath-laying at the graves of Hank and Audrey Williams at Montgomery’s Oakwood Cemetery Annex at 10 a.m. Jan. 1. After the service, join other fans at the Hank Williams Museum for a celebration. Alabama Living
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Best actor/actress from Alabama (present)
Tatum started out as a fashion model and in TV commercials, but branched into acting as a young man, and today has also become a producer and production company owner with his wife, Jenna. He was born in Cullman, Ala., in 1980 and later moved to Wetumpka. Though the family moved to Mississippi when he was 6, he continues to visit Alabama, where his mother’s family lives, according to his web site. He is perhaps best known for the 2012 film “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” based on his eight-month experience as a male stripper in Florida. But he’s also had more serious roles, as a soldier in “Dear John” and in 2014’s “Foxcatcher,” which was nominated for five Oscars. (Ed. note: Also receiving several write-in votes was Decatur native Lucas Black, who’s appeared in “Sling Blade,” “Friday Night Lights,” and currently is seen in “NCIS: New Orleans.”
Most inﬂuential Alabamian (present)
Birmingham native Rice is the first black woman to serve as the U.S. national security adviser (2001-2005), as well as the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State (2005-2009). She has said that she has no desire to be a politician, and that she intends to continue as an educator. She has been on the Stanford University faculty since 1981 and served as provost from 1993-1999. She is currently a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; a senior fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of political science at Stanford. In October 2013, Rice was selected to be one of the 13 inaugural members of the College Football Playoff, Playoff Postseason Selection Committee. Rice is also an accomplished pianist, and in a New York Times article said that playing chamber music was relaxing and “transporting.”
Best craft brewery
Back Forty Best historical museum
USS Battleship Alabama The Battleship Memorial Park, located on Mobile Bay just off Interstate 10, opened to the public on Jan. 9, 1965, and in that time more than 14 million paid visitors have graced the decks of the USS Alabama. The battleship, the sixth vessel to bear the name Alabama, was launched in 1942 and saw 37 months of active duty in World War II, earning nine Battle Stars. After the war, she was mothballed in Bremerton, Wash., in 1947. A campaign began in 1964 to bring her home to Alabama, for which the state’s school children raised almost $100,000 in mostly nickels, dimes and quarters. A corporate campaign raised the rest. The World War II USS Drum submarine joined the Alabama in 1969. The park features a recreational area, an aircraft collection, memorials to America’s heroes and an array of military equipment. For more information, visit www.ussalabama.com 16 JANUARY 2016
For years the craft beer market in Alabama was largely nonexistent, and laws kept small, independent brewmasters away. But the Back Forty Beer Co. of Gadsden, along with the other breweries in this category (Good People and Avondale, both of Birmingham) have made an impact on the craft beer market nationally, earning awards and national distributor deals. Back Forty began brewing and bottling in a former Sears Roebuck appliance repair center in 2009 and has grown steadily, eventually moving to a larger headquarters. The brewery makes several different beers, including the award-winning Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale. Learn more at www.backfortybeer.com
Baldwin EMC member wins top prize Sometimes just a phone call will make someone’s Christmas. That’s what happened when we called Chester Carr to let him know his name was drawn as the winner from more than 1,500 entrants in the “Best of Alabama” contest. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “How about that!” He said the $500 prize would certainly make his Christmas. Carr lives in Montgomery, but owns beach property on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and has been a member of Baldwin EMC since 1982. He is a retired longtime insurance agent. His son, Robert Carr Jr., who now runs the insurance business in Montgomery, said his father, who is 88, was so excited about winning the contest he was like “Ralphie getting his Red Ryder BB gun in ‘A Christmas Story.’” Thanks to all who entered the contest. We plan to have a similar reader opinion survey for 2016, so let us know any categories you’d like to see. Contact us at email@example.com.
Best Alabama-made automobile
Mercedes GLE SUV, GL SUV, C-Class and GLE Coupe SUV Alabama now boasts three automakers, but the first to call us home was Mercedes, which completed its $300 million Tuscaloosa County plant, its first passenger vehicle manufacturing facility in the U.S., in 1996. Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. (MBUSI) began production in January 1997 of its M-Class SUV for the worldwide market. As of today, Daimler AG has invested more than $4.5 billion and continues to invest in MBUSI in Tuscaloosa County. MBUSI is responsible for more than 22,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region, and has an annual economic impact of more than $1.5 billion. Learn more at www.mbusi.com
Best Alabama-made snack
Golden Flake chips
Golden Flake was founded in 1923 in the basement of a Hill’s grocery store in Birmingham, making “Golden Flake the South’s Original Potato Chip!” In the early days, potatoes were sliced, fried and packaged in wax paper bags, stapled shut and sold to various retailers throughout Birmingham. Some 92 years later, Golden Flake Snack Food products are manufactured in Birmingham and Ocala, Fla., plants and provide consumers with over 150 sizes and assortments of snacks. Golden Flake has a family of more than 650 employees living and working in Alabama. Learn more at www.goldenflake.com
Best Alabamamade nonalcoholic beverage
Mi lo’s has its roots in the hamburger shop of the same name, which opened in 1946 on 31st Street and 12th Avenue North in Birmingham. Milo Carlton and his wife, Bea, set out to give customers a unique experience – and in the process Milo came up with his presweetened tea, which customers loved. Milo’s continues to brew its Famous Sweet Tea, along with a host of others, including unsweet, no-calorie sweet and lemonade. It’s sold at retailers across the Southeast. Learn more at www. miloshamburgers.com A JANUARY 2016 17
Worth the Drive
Tombigbee River fish camp serves up catfish, with a side of history Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay
t the end of a winding, red dirt road in Bladon Springs, Ala., past silver Airstream trailers and a little white cottage nestled among the pines, you’ll find a thin stretch of the Tombigbee River. And just over to the right, on a small bluff overlooking the water, sits a modest cinderblock building with a small deck out front. Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She may be reached at j_kornegay@ charter.net.
It’s Bobby Dahlberg’s Fish Camp, and it’s been in this spot for almost 60 years. It is so tucked away that folks just a county or two over don’t know it’s there, while others as far away as Canada never miss a chance to stop in and fill up on fried catfish. It’s the river that brings the people from out of state and out of the country; much of the fish camp’s business arrives by boat. Owner Lora Jane McIlwain, Bobby’s daughter, explains. “Among people who travel the river, my dad’s place is known over the world,” she says. “We’ve had visitors from Germany, Spain, Sweden, Hawaii, Canada, Chicago and more.” McIlwain keeps a book for guests to sign, and
it’s full of names from places many, many miles away from rural Alabama. Most are cruising all or some portion of the “great loop,” a water journey that takes boats from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via parts of the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers and the Tennesee-Tombigee manmade waterway, then through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Florida and back up the Atlantic Coast and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway to the Hudson River in New York. They often stop at Bobby’s for a break. It has fuel, cabins to rent, water and electricity hookups on the dock and wi-fi. The Fish Camp also gets emergency calls at least once a month. “Our part of
Bobby’s Fish Camp has been in this spot on the Tombigbee River for almost 60 years.
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Bobby’s serves its famous fried catfish filets with the traditional side items.
the river can be tough to navigate, and sometimes folks get stuck out there. We help or get them help. We’re the rescue squad around here,” McIlwain says. While Bobby’s plays several important roles for the current river traﬃc, the offering that’s really made the place famous is the food, specifically the catfish. If you choose fried filets (you can opt for a whole fish), they’ll arrive still warm from the blazing oil. The meat is mild with no muddy taste, and the barely-there crust is salted just right. “We still use my dad’s recipe, and after 60 years, it ought to be good!” McIlwain says. “And we always get good fish. We do some pond-raised and some river fish, and our customers are particular about which they want, so we make them all happy.” They’re both served with a choice in sides like sweet, ice-cold coleslaw and hushpuppies, whose amber exteriors crack open to reveal pale yellow insides punctuated with air pockets that make each bite light with just a hint of chew. “We use the same old recipe for those too and make them fresh daily and fry them in peanut oil,” McIlwain says. Burgers, shrimp, chicken and other items round out the menu, but catfish is by far the most popular dish. “It’s definitely our claim to fame.” But Bobby’s serves more than traditional Southern fish camp meals. It dishes out a bit of Alabama history too, sharing the long story behind its particular bankside spot. “We’ve tried to be a kind of mini museum and informational place 20 JANUARY 2016
The interior of the fish camp features framed newspaper clippings and vintage photos that tell the story of the restaurant.
about our area for the travelers,” McIlwain says. “We may be only place in Alabama they ever visit, and I want them to get a good impression.” The interior of the low-slung structure is dominated by folding plastic tables with framed newspaper clippings, yellowed by age, and vintage photos covering the walls. They tell the site’s tale. The Fish Camp sits on a former docking point and warehouse for the steamboat traﬃc that chugged up and down the river in the mid-1800s. It was called Bladon Landing and was a major hub of activity since before the railroads, steamboats were a key part of transportation and communication in the area. “In 1880, my great grandfather bought Bladon Landing and the lands around it, and our family ran the warehouse and would ferry boat passengers to two area resorts by buggy when they docked,” McIlwain said. These relatives had come to America from Sweden only a few decades earlier, and there’s a tribute to that heritage lining one wall of one of the dining rooms. When the trains did come in the early 1900s, things changed at Bladon Landing. With fewer and fewer steamboats, there was no longer a need for the warehouse, which had been used to store goods being shipped on the boats. The family closed it down, but opened a general store across the street. In 1956, when he returned stateside after serving in the Air Force in Japan, McIlwain’s dad Bobby decided to open a
restaurant at Bladon Landing. “They were beginning to build the nearby lock and dam on the Tombigbee Waterway as well as the paved highway and the big bridge across the river, so there was in influx of men and engineers coming to do the work,” McIlwain says. “He knew they’d need a place to eat.” He was right. They came in droves then, and Bobby’s has done a steady business ever since. Bobby passed away in 2010, and his daughter took over. “I’d been helping him full time since 2000, and the place has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. We even lived in the back room at the restaurant when I was just a baby,” she said. She’s made some improvements over the years, but none that affect the fish camp’s unique character. “I want it to always have the feel of the old place,” McIlwain says. And she doesn’t have any plans to close the doors. “The boat folks love us, and this has been a business of some sort or other in my family for over 100 years and was my dad’s life’s work. I can’t let that stop. We’ve been here a long time, and we’ll stay here.” A Bobby Dahlberg’s Fish Camp 686 Bobby’s Camp Road Silas, AL, 36919 251-754-9225 Hours: 3-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; Silas 12-9 p.m. Sat. and Sun. Call to confirm hours before going.
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DRIVE Alabama and the future of Alabama’s roads Fatalities on rural roads 200 percent higher than in urban areas By Terri Sharpley Reynolds, Director of Public Aﬀairs, Association of County Commissions of Alabama
ransportation and infrastructure development was a top priority for previous generations, but, as the nation’s priorities have shifted in the last 50 years, many states – including Alabama – are frantically working to develop a 21st century vision for transportation infrastructure. And Alabama is on the move. Vehicle travel in our state has increased faster than in the nation as a whole – and faster than Alabama’s population growth – since 1990, according national analysis from TRIP. In Alabama, transportation infrastructure spurs economic development, sustains quality jobs, keeps us competitive in international markets, and enhances our citizens’ quality of life. But when children arrive to school late, or employees can’t clock in on time, or goods aren’t delivered eﬃciently — everyone suffers. Road and bridge infrastructure impacts almost every aspect of Alabama’s 4.85 million residents’ day-to-day lives. That’s why county engineers, elected oﬃcials, and citizens from across the state have come together to form DRIVE Alabama – a coalition designed to educate the public about
the critical role that local road and bridge infrastructure plays in citizens’ quality of life. “The decaying condition of Alabama’s local transportation systems is evident to even the most casual observer,” says Richie Beyer, Elmore County engineer and former president of the National Association of County Engineers. “County engineers get daily questions about how we prioritize the road and bridge projects in our counties. With the high volume of travel, we thought the holiday season was an ideal time to educate the public about how local transportation infrastructure projects are funded and how these projects connect with our daily activities.” Currently, Alabama’s 67 county governments maintain more than 59,000 miles of roads and 8,600 bridges. Crumbling pavement, sinking bridges and deteriorating shoulders are commonplace, and these transportation issues have a noticeable impact in both urban and rural areas alike. The number of fatalities on rural roads is 200 percent higher than in more urban parts of the state. Rural residents and landowners are also particularly aware of
weight-restricted bridges, which cause costly & time-consuming detours for school buses, emergency vehicles and trucks hauling heavy loads for a full range of agribusiness operations. The old “farm to market roads” are as important now as ever. Alabama’s county governments are facing a $133 million shortfall in annual revenues needed to provide adequate maintenance and improvements to the county road and bridge systems. While county engineers from across the state would welcome discussions about increasing resources for county roads and bridges, the primary objective of the DRIVE Alabama campaign is to educate the public about the silent crisis affecting Alabama’s road and bridge systems. “It’s true that we need to find a collaborative solution to address this problem, but more importantly, the public and elected oﬃcials alike need to understand what ignoring this issue will mean to Alabama’s future,” says Beyer. For more information on the DRIVE Alabama campaign, visit www.drivealabama.org. The campaign is also active on Facebook and Twitter. A
Before and after photos of roads running through Perry County farm/timber land show dramatic improvements.
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A new year’s resolution: plan!
his is the month for making and things you want to change. Perhaps you beginning to keep those new want to take out part of the lawn and turn year’s resolutions, and if your list it into a vegetable garden, or maybe you includes gardening projects, the wintery days of January are a perfect time to map out a plan that will help you keep those resolutions. Planning is important in any endeavor, but especially in gardening, which is so dependent on the seasons and the whims of nature and environment for success. Developing a garden plan can help you plan a year-long schedule for your gardening activities and it can save you money by helping winnow down the list of plants or other gardening supplies that are needed and are best-suited for your yard. While you can certainly hire a professional landscape designer to develop such a plan, it’s also something you can do on your own, beginning with mapping out your existing space. An You don’t have to be an artist to draw a garden plan. easy way to do this is to get a plat or survey map of your property, then want to replace some existing shrubbery sketch in existing buildings, driveways with something new. Write down everyand patio areas, garden beds, major trees thing you dream of doing in one long list, and shrubs, grassy areas and the like. You and let your imagination run a little wild don’t have to be an artist or an engineer to as you do it — it really should be a “wish” make this work, but do try to draw these list. Now go through the list and prioriareas as close to scale as possible. Using this map, make a note of areas tize the things that you want or need to that are shady or sunny, wet or dry, have do first, then decide if those are projects access to irrigation, etc., so you’ll know that would be better done in the spring or what kind of environment is available for summer versus the fall or winter and get any plants you have or want to introduce them on your calendar. You can also note the estimated expense of these projects, be into the landscape. Once you’ve got things mapped out as that the cost your own labor or of hiring they are right now, being a wish list of the someone with specialized equipment or skills to do the job. As you spend time thinking about what you want your garden area to be, don’t Katie Jackson is hesitate to find additional guidance — dea freelance writer and editor based in sign books and ideas can be found at your Opelika, Alabama. local library, booksellers and online as well Contact her at katielamarjackson@ as through the Alabama Cooperative Exgmail.com. tension System (ACES), which has a pleth-
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ora of publications to walk you through any project you may have in mind. In fact, in the last year or so ACES began publishing a new Gardening in the South series of e-books (available through iBooks) that includes editions on Getting Started, Pest Management and Landscaping (a Plant Selection edition will also be out soon). These books offer simple, straightforward guidelines on how to garden in Alabama, presented in fun, interactive and informative formats, and the Landscaping edition offers detailed step-by-step information on landscape design principles and techniques, including sample maps and diagrams and the basics of good landscape design. And while you’re at this planning stage, start a gardening notebook/diary for 2016. It will help you keep up with your plans and also help you log in any successes or failures for the year that you can use to plan in 2017. Regardless of how you proceed with your resolutions, here’s wishing you all a happy and productive 2016 in the garden!
JANUARY GARDEN TIPS Ad Order seeds and plants for spring
gardening. d Plant shrubs, trees, fruit trees and roses. d Prune fruit trees and summerblooming shrubs. d Shop for outdoor tools and furniture that may be on sale this time of year. d Keep newly planted trees and shrubs watered if winter rainfall is limited. d Keep those birdbaths and feeders full. d Plant spring-flowering bulbs. d Keep the leaves of houseplants clean from dust and look for signs of insect or disease problems. d Start a compost heap or turn existing ones.
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Central EC member wins fair contest All she needed to hear was “Sweet Home Alabama …” As soon she heard those three words, an exuberant Cathy Cartier gave a shout and ran down the aisle as she was announced as the winner of Alabama Living’s “Crockin’ It” crockpot cooking contest at the Alabama National Fair. She even gave magazine editor Lenore Vickrey a big hug on stage. Cartier, who lives near Pine Level in north Autauga County and is a member of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, was the first-place winner at the Creative Living Center for her “Sweet Home Alabama Stuffed Meatballs.” She’d found a recipe for mozzarella stuffed meatballs online, but wanted to add her own magic touches. The contest instructions call for at least one Alabama-made product in each recipe entered, so Cartier added Conecuh sausage, some Alaga Cathy Cartier hugs editor Hot Sauce and Sister Schubert’s dinner rolls to give Lenore Vickrey after winning first place. it some “Sweet Home Alabama” flavor.
Believe it or not, it was a recipe she hadn’t made before the day of the competition. “I tested them on a couple of people at work. They said, ‘these are good!’” And her friend Chris Dowing, who accompanied her to the contest, was the inspiration for adding the pork to the recipe. Each contestant is scored not only on the taste of the food, but also the decorations of the entry’s place setting. Cartier wanted to play off a Southern, hometown theme, so she included blue pom poms and a small megaphone to pay tribute to Marbury High School, where her children went to school. Cartier works at Maxwell AFB for the Air Force War Gaming Institute. After she won the $500 prize, Cartier said she planned to donate half her winnings to the Combined Federal Campaign, the workplace giving program of the federal government. – Allison Griﬃn
Sweet Home Alabama Stuﬀed Meatballs Cathy Cartier, Deatsville 1 pound ground beef 1 pound Conecuh Hickory Smoked Sausage Link, ground fine 6 slices cooked and crumbled Zeigler bacon 1 cup crumbled Sister Schubert’s day-old dinner rolls ½ teaspoon Alaga Hot Sauce 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt
PHOTO BY ALLISON GRIFFIN
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1 ¼ 2 ½ ½ 1
teaspoon black pepper cup Parmesan cheese eggs cup parsley flakes teaspoon onion powder package whole mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes ½ cup whole milk 1 40-ounce bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
Mix thoroughly all ingredients except mozzarella cheese and BBQ sauce. Take a spoonful of the meat mixture and form into a ball. Take a cube of mozzarella cheese and stuﬀ it into the meatball. In a skillet, lightly brown the meatballs. Cover the bottom of the crockpot with BBQ sauce. Place some of the meatballs in the sauce. Repeat two or three times till all meatballs are in the pot. Set crockpot to high and cook for 2 to 2½ hours. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Winners of the “Crockin’ It” contest show off their certificates and ribbons. From left are Glenda Yarbrough, director of the Creative Living Center at the Alabama National Fair; Cathy Cartier, first place winner; Melissa Palmer, second place winner; Kayra White, third place winner; and Lenore Vickrey, editor of Alabama Living magazine.
Melissa Palmer, Wetumpka
1 1 1 2
can whole corn can black beans can dark red kidney beans small cans roasted garlic tomato sauce 1 package mild taco seasoning
1 package Ranch Dip mix 1 jar mild restaurant-style salsa 1 pound ground beef 1 package Conecuh Sausage ¼ cup Alaga Hot Sauce
Pour corn and both cans of beans in crockpot with the juice. Add tomato sauce, taco seasoning, Ranch mix and salsa. Brown ground beef and drain the grease; add to crockpot. Cut sausage into small pieces and brown in skillet. Drain grease and add to crockpot. Add hot sauce and stir. Cook on high for 2 hours. Serve with corn chips, cheese and sour cream.
Kayra White, Tallassee
Chicken Hashbrown Soup 4 cups shredded chicken 1 bag shredded hash browns 1 cup Borden milk
2 cans cream of chicken soup 2 cans chicken broth 2 blocks cream cheese Salt and pepper to taste
Pour hash browns into crockpot and add the chicken. Pour milk, broth and soup over the chicken and add the cream cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.
Alabama’s Best Cake
Alabama Living also sponsors the annual “best cake” category at the Alabama National Fair.
This year’s winner is Peggy Simmons, Prattville
Terriﬁc Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake ¼ cup melted and cooled butter 1⁄3 cup brown sugar 7-8 fresh pineapple slices (reserve juice) Fresh blueberries ¼ cup pecan halves, lightly toasted 3 eggs Rum or water ½ cup tasteless coconut oil or vegetable oil 1⁄3 cup Alaga Yellow Label corn syrup 1 box cake mix of your choice 28 JANUARY 2016
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt cake pan. Pour melted butter into cake pan; roll pan to allow butter to cover the sides for a couple of inches. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Line bottom and evenly around the edges with pineapple slices. Place one blueberry in each pineapple slice hole. Place pecan halves in open areas between pineapple slices.
Pour reserved pineapple juice into a measuring cup. Add enough water or rum to make one full cup. Add juice and eggs to bowl and beat together. Add cake mix and oil. Mix for about 2 minutes. Carefully pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Invert cake onto heatproof plate. Cool completely before serving. Can be served with whipped cream. www.alabamaliving.coop
Enterprise, Chicago’s legendary sketch and improv comedy theater performs at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center with The Second City: Fully Loaded. This show features some of Chicago’s best and brightest in a special one night engagement. Fresh, fast and always spectacularly funny, The Second City is celebrating 55 years of producing cutting-edge satirical revues and continues to launch the careers of comedy superstars. This show may contain mature content. Show starts at 7 p.m. coﬀeecountyartsalliance.com
30 Learn more about gardening at Bellingrath Gardens Winter Wednesdays.
Weekends in January
Lake Guntersville State Park-Eagle Awareness Weekends feature live bird demonstrations and programs provided by notable speakers, guided field trips for viewing eagles in their natural habitat, and the natural beauty of the mountains and Lake Guntersville. marshallcountycvb.com
Theodore, Winter Wednesdays at Bellingrath Gardens. This year’s topics will focus on gardening, history and the collections in the Bellingrath Museum Home. Garden admission for non-members: $12.50 for adults and $7 for children ages 5-12. For reservations, call 251-973-2217
“extra mile” to complete the race. The Extra Mile will be an event for runners and will also be a time of fun for the entire family with food from local restaurants, face painting, music, entertainment for the kids and more. 334-318-5864
12 & 26
Gulf Shores, Winter Civil War Tours- Fort Morgan and Secession. Focuses on the time when the fort was captured by confederate forces. Historical interpreters will discuss the life and duties of the soldiers, and the tour will conclude with a historic arms demonstration. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4 for children ages 6-12. fort-morgan.org
Huntsville, Whooping Crane Presentation, Huntsville Botanical Gardens. Program includes a lively presentation with time to explore the Whooping Crane Traveling Truck. Event is from 6:308:30 p.m. and cost is $5 for members and non-members. 256-837-4344 Montgomery, Hope Inspired Ministries Extra Mile. Kick oﬀ the New Year right by participating in Hope Inspired Ministries Extra Mile 10K +1 mile and 5K + 1 mile on Saturday, January 9, 2015. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and races begin at 8 a.m. HIM teaches their students to go the extra mile in all that they do and wants runners to go the extra mile as well. Runners will have the option to participate in the 5K or 10K, with each group going an
Millbrook, Come out and enjoy an evening under the stars at Lanark. Local astronomers will be out with their telescopes for guests to participate in stargazing. Event begins at 6 p.m., but arrive at 5:30 p.m. to enjoy a Bring Your Own Dinner, and stroll through Discovery Hall. Admission is $5 and no RSVP is required.
or horseback riding will be waived. The sites involved in the free fee day are publicized in advance. Each national forest and ranger district highlights one free fee recreation site. Annually the free fee day has been set aside in honor of our veterans, members of the U.S. armed forces and their family members to encourage veterans and active military personnel to spend their holiday enjoying the outdoors and recreational activities in one of Alabama’s national forests. www.fs.usda.gov/main/alabama/ home
Mobile, Mobile-Gulf States Horticultural Expo, Inc. Discover new ideas and trends, see the latest products and solutions and build your professional network at the Gulf States Horticultural Expo. For cost and registration information, visit gshe.org.
Birmingham, Birmingham Feline Fanciers CFA Cat Show. Held at Zamora Temple, the show will have four judging rings each day. The judging categories are Championship, Premier (neutered/ spayed), Kitten and Household Pets (HHP, not registered). There will be many breeds represented, along with cat rescue groups and vendors. Events starts at 10 a.m. birminghamfelinefanciers.com
Foley, Gold Coast Coin & Currency Show- Featuring coins, gold & silver appraisals, free parking, free admission. Located at the Foley Civic Center. foleycoinshows.com
Free Fee Day, The National Forests in Alabama oﬀer a “Free Fee” day. Any fees necessitated for either camping, fishing, trail riding, shooting,
The Second City: Fully Loaded is Jan. 21 at Enterprise Performing Arts Center.
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations. Alabama Living
Prattville, Come brave the cold at the 22nd annual Polar Bear Run. Choose to run the challenging 5K, winding through historic downtown Prattville, or a quick 1 mile jog around the block. After you finish, be sure to warm up with a huge spread of food, featuring chili from our first ever Chili Cookoﬀ. Join us on January 30 for a great race, all benefitting our students’ summer mission trips. Registration begins at 8 a.m., 5K at 9a.m., 1 Mile fun run at 10 a.m. , with awards following at 11 a.m. Contact Carter Reeves at email@example.com or 334-365-0606.
Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter@Alabama_Living JANUARY 2016 29
Hunting preserve offers varied sporting experiences Story and photos by John N. Felsher
Skyler Roberts shows off a mallard drake she bagged during a hunt in the Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve near Section, Ala.
30 JANUARY 2016
s if on afterburners, mallards materialized over the trees and rocketed past the blind. Carrying a shotgun almost as long as herself, Skyler Roberts picked out a drake with its radiant green head gleaming in the morning sun. The 11-year-old dropped the bird like a veteran waterfowler. She downed several more on this frosty morning while hunting on the 4,000-acre Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve near Section, about 13 miles from Scottsboro in Jackson County. “Hunting a preserve is a great way to introduce children to the sport because they are more likely to experience some action,” says Jimmy Jones, our duck hunting guide for the day. “We encourage people to bring their kids. It’s also a great experience for people with disabilities. We’ve had people with Down syndrome and wounded warriors hunt with us. On a lake, people might hunt all day and not see a duck or get a shot. Here, ducks come in close and we can see all their colors.” As someone practically born in a duck blind, I imagined something like shooting chickens in a barnyard when told we would hunt pen-raised mallards. Delightedly wrong, we experienced the closest thing to a wild duck hunt with challenging, fast-flying birds. “We pride ourselves on making our duck hunts the most realistic experiences we can without actually hunting wild birds,” Jones says. “Since I hunted most of my life, I know how a good duck hunt should go. It means a lot to me to take people on a good hunt where ducks fly strong and fast.” The preserve buys young ducklings and raises them. As the birds mature, staffers release the ducks at several “drop ponds” or sanctuaries. From that moment, birds must fend for themselves. Although most stay in the general area, they can go anywhere and move around to find food. Some reproduce. During the season, huntwww.alabamaliving.coop
Got an outdoor/hunting product or offer a service that people need to know about? If so, this space is where you should be advertising.
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
JAN. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 FEB. 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
10:31 04:31 05:46 07:31 09:01 10:01 10:46 11:31 -07:16 07:46 08:16 08:31 09:01 09:31 03:01 03:31 03:01 07:01 09:01 09:46 10:31 11:16 11:46 06:46 07:16 07:46 08:31 09:01 03:16 04:01 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
03:31 11:16 01:16 03:16 04:31 05:16 05:46 06:31 07:01 12:16 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:16 02:31 09:46 10:31 11:16 04:01 04:31 05:01 05:31 06:01 06:16 12:01 12:31 01:16 02:01 02:31 09:31 10:16 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
11:01 -12:16 01:16 02:16 03:01 03:46 04:31 12:01 12:31 01:16 01:46 02:31 08:31 09:31 11:31 --12:16 01:31 02:31 03:31 04:16 -12:16 01:01 01:46 08:16 09:31 11:01 --12:31 02:01 03:01 03:46 04:31 -12:16 12:46 01:16 07:46 08:31 09:16 10:46 --
05:16 06:31 07:46 09:01 09:46 10:31 11:16 11:46 05:16 05:46 06:31 07:01 07:46 03:16 04:01 05:16 06:31 07:46 08:46 09:31 10:01 10:46 11:16 05:01 05:46 06:46 07:31 02:31 03:31 04:31 06:01 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
Alabama's largest consumer publication is offering premium advertising space next to our Outdoors section But hurry because space is limited! THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REACH MORE THAN one MILLION readers every month. Advertise with us and see WHY ALABAMA LIVING IS THE BEST READ & MOST WIDELY CIRCULATED MAGAZINE IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA. Still thinking about it? Consider this:
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48% of our readers own a garden 85% of those garden owners purchased maintenance items last year 41% own more than 3 acres of land Contact Jacob Johnson 800.410.2737 firstname.lastname@example.org JANUARY 2016 31
ers use four blinds established at other ponds on the preserve. “The birds are not trained to go to the hunting ponds, but ducks are social animals,” Jones says. “Some ducks leave our property and go other places. During the wild duck season, people may kill birds miles away and never know they were raised in pens. These ponds also attract wild birds in the winter including bluebills, gadwalls, wigeons, wood ducks, canvasbacks, redheads and even a few snow geese.” Sportsmen may shoot pen-raised birds on the preserve from Oct. 1 through March 31, but properly licensed waterfowlers can shoot wild ducks in addition to pen-raised birds during the much shorter regular state duck season. The preserve also releases pheasants, chukar and bobwhite quail for hunting on its many fields. Native to the Middle East and southern Asia, chukars look similar to oversize bobwhites. Also native to Asia, ring-necked pheasants were introduced to parts of United States in 1881. “We release about 6,000 ducks a year,” says Jeff Ferguson, owner of Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve. “If clients want to shoot just quail or just pheasant or some combination, we can do whatever they want. Alabama doesn’t have wild pheasants. To hunt wild pheasants, peo-
ple could drive 24 hours to Nebraska to shoot three if they can find any and spend $2,000 to do it, or they can come here to shoot a bunch for a lot less and enjoy a really great time.” Some people hunt ducks in the morning and upland birds in the afternoon. For upland hunts, sportsmen follow trained dogs across fields prepared as quail habitat. However, some people prefer to bring their own dogs. Like the ducks, upland birds also fly fast and zoom for cover. The preserve also offers tower pheasant hunts. On such a hunt, people take up stations around a field about 100 yards away from a tower. In the middle of the field, a preserve staffer releases pheasants from the tower. The birds could fly anywhere. Periodically, the shooters rotate through all stations so everyone gets a turn at the “hot” spot. “A tower shoot is one of the most challenging hunts we offer,” Ferguson says. “Birds are really moving fast and go wherever they want to go. A bird might fly in any direction after we release it, so we never know who will get the shot.” Many visitors stay at the preserve lodges. Formerly the Ferguson home, the main lodge can sleep 10 people with all the conveniences of home. An apartment behind the main lodge can sleep five people. An older, more rustic lodge can hold 20 peo-
ple. Weddings, churches, corporate groups and other large gatherings can book the conference room, which seats about 150 to 200 people. All structures face a private lake stocked with Florida bass, bluegill and other fish. People can also buy family or corporate memberships. “We don’t cook at the lodges, but we can cater food for groups of five or more people,” Ferguson says. “We also have some restaurants really close in town. Some people bring their own groceries and cook their own food. Besides hunting, we have boating, hiking and golf available in the area. People can fish our lake, but we’re also about 10 minutes from Lake Guntersville, one of the premier fishing lakes in the nation.” For more information on the Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve, call Ferguson at 256-638-7014. On line, see northeastalhuntingpreserve.com or the preserve page on Facebook. 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
National championship event coming to Alabama By John N. Felsher
ormally populated by fewer than 800 people, the town of Section will more than double in size as several hundred dog and human teams will compete in the United Field Trialer’s Association National Field Trials. Set for Feb. 13-20 on the Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve, the competition will determine the best bird dogs and their handlers in various categories. “It’s a great honor for our preserve to be picked for this national event for the second year in a row,” says Jeff Ferguson, owner of the Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve. “The event organizers narrowed down the selection to a place in Kansas, one in New York and our place before they made their final decision. People from every state will come here. People need to qualify their dogs by running them in four to six other trials before they can compete 32 JANUARY 2016
in the nationals.” During the 2015 event, the first held at the Northeast Alabama Hunting Preserve, about 500 to 700 dogs with their handlers competed despite horrible, freezing weather. Many spectators came out to watch as different dog breeds competed in several events. Dogs and their human partners must find three birds in a 7- to 10-acre field in less than 15 minutes. The
dogs must point out birds, differentiating between fresh scent and remnants lingering from birds previously in the fields. When a bird flushes, the competitor shoots it. A competitor may carry no more than six shotgun shells per event. Each time a competitor misses, he or she loses points. After the person shoots the bird, the dog retrieves it. The competitor cannot go to the dog, but can only pivot on one foot. The judges score the human-dog teams on various criteria. “A field trial is not just what the dog can do,” Ferguson explained. “It’s a team effort between the dog and the person. A good run would take three to four minutes. Competitors with dogs really good at finding birds can still lose if they can’t shoot.” For more information on the United Field Trialer’s Association and the National Field Trials, see ufta-online.com. A www.alabamaliving.coop
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Fight oﬀ the chill
Cozy up to a bowl of this favorite wintertime comfort food. ALL PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
here’s nothing more comforting on a cold day than a warm bowl of chili. It may be thick; it may be thin. It may be mild, with just a hint of spice, or it may burn the taste buds right off your tongue. There are countless ways to make chili, and everyone thinks theirs is best. The quest to find the perfect recipe has spawned myriad chili cook off contests held around the country every year. There’s a National Chili Day (on Feb. 26) and even an International Chili Society, and according to the folks who organize it, chili has a long history in America, with the first batch being made in the early 1700s by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands. It became popular in our country as an easy but filling dish that cowboys could whip up over a campfire out on the range. Today, regional specialties have popped up, leading to an oftenheated argument over the addition or deletion of beans. Many in
34 JANUARY 2016
the Deep South include legumes, but in Texas, if it’s got beans, it ain’t chili. Folks in the heartland actually serve it over spaghetti noodles. No matter how you make it, when you do, go ahead and make a lot. It’s simple to create this hearty one-pot-wonder, leftovers freeze great, and it can be enjoyed as is or as a topping for hot dogs or burgers, even baked potatoes. So when the weather is chilly, follow suit and cook up a big batch. Here are a few of our favorite recipes from folks in Alabama.
- Jennifer Kornegay P.S. My favorite way to eat chili is in the form of Chili Pie. (Photo on the right.) It’s nothing fancy. Just put a layer of Frito corn chips on the bottom of a wide shallow bowl, top with chili, add some shredded cheddar and a few slices of pickled jalapeno. Plop a dollop of sour cream on top and, if you like, a sprinkle of chopped scallions, too.
Cook of the Month Barbara Frasier, Sand Mountain EC Chili Supreme (opposite page) 1 12-ounce package bacon 1 green bell pepper, diced 1 yellow onion, diced 1 pound lean ground beef 1 15-ounce can tomatoes with garlic seasoning 1 8-ounce can tomato paste 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, plus 1 can water 1 15-ounce can pinto beans 1½ tablespoons chili powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 bay leaf Dash cayenne pepper Fry bacon until crisp in a 2-quart heavy pot, then remove. Stir in pepper, onion and beef and cook on medium high until beef is brown. Drain grease. Add crumbled cooked bacon and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf and serve.
B Jennifer’s Chili Pie
arbara came up with her “Chili Supreme” by taking the best of several other recipes she had tried. “I do that a lot,” she said. “I love to cook, so I’ll take the things I like from a few recipes and leave out the things I don’t like to create my own.” The addition of bacon adds a smoky note to the background of this dish that enhances but doesn’t overpower the other flavors, and Barbara gave her new twist on traditional chili its name because she thinks it describes the taste. “It really is good!” she said.
“It’s the only chili I make now, and I’ll only eat homemade chili. The stuff in the can shouldn’t even be called chili.” JANUARY 2016 35
(Try Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack for an added kick.)
Chunky Beef Chili 4 pounds boneless chuck roast cut into ½ inch pieces 2 tablespoon chili powder 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste 32 ounces beef broth 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce 2 teaspoons granulated garlic 1 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoons oregano 1 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoons onion powder ½ teaspoon black pepper ¼ teaspoon red pepper Brown meat in Dutch oven over mediumhigh heat. Remove meat but leave drippings in the pot. Add chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for two minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook five minutes. Return beef to the pot. Stir in broth and next nine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally 1.5 hours or until beef is tender. Serve with desired garnishes like crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped onion. Harold Batchelor Covington EC
Firehouse Chili 1 package of lean ground sirloin or lean ground pork loin 1 tablespoon Southern Flavor garlic seasoning 1 cup chopped bell peppers (green, yellow and red) 1 bunch chopped green onions 1 package chili seasoning mix 1 large can diced tomatoes 1 small can tomatoes with green chili peppers (Rotel or equivalent) 1 can whole kernel corn, drained 1 can black beans, drained 1 can dark or light red kidney beans ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro Juice squeezed from 1 fresh lime Brown the ground meat with the seasoning, add fresh peppers and onions to sauté into the meat mixture. Add tomatoes and canned ingredients. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve with shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions for toppings. Really good with tortilla chips or cornbread! Linda Daniel Baldwin EMC 36 JANUARY 2016
Pile it on
You can top your bowl of chili with whatever you like (it is your bowl!), but here are a few tried-and-true suggestions. Sour Cream
Red or white onion
Chives Jalapeno Peppers (Red or green. Fresh or pickled.)
Easy “2” Make Chili
Kay’s Famous Tex-Mex Chili
2 2 2 2 2 2 2
3 tablespoons paprika 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper 3 tablespoons cumin 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 tablespoon chili powder ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper 1 small minced onion 1 chopped green bell pepper 2 cans tomato sauce 1 can petite-diced tomatoes 1 can black beans 1 can dark kidney beans 1 can light kidney beans 2 cans chili beans 1 can corn 1 pound hamburger meat or beef tips
pounds ground chuck small onions, chopped cans chili or red beans (un-drained) 8-ounce cans tomato sauce Hot water ounces chili powder tablespoons seasoned salt ounces hot sauce (or to taste)
Brown the meat until about halfway done, then add the chopped onions. Cook until the meat is brown, then drain. Put the meat and the remaining ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours or more. Mike Veazey Joe Wheeler EMC
White Chili 3-4 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped into bite-size pieces 2 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans 1 pound Velveeta cheese, sliced thin 2 cups chicken broth 1 onion, sautéed 2 cans cream of chicken soup 2 11-ounce cans white shoepeg corn 1 10-ounce can diced Rotel tomatoes Mix all ingredients and simmer approximately 20 minutes after cheese melts. Jean Thompson Pioneer EC
In a pot, brown your choice of hamburger or beef tips with the minced onion, then drain excess fat. Rinse kidney and black beans, drain corn, and add all the ingredients including spices to the pot, stirring occasionally on medium high heat until beans are tender. Takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to simmer until done. Kayla Davis North Alabama EC
Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.
Char’s Cinnamon Chili 2 cups water 1½ pounds ground beef 1 finely chopped sweet onion 2 teaspoons cider vinegar 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1½ tablespoons paprika 1½ teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1½ teaspoons ground allspice 1¼ teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon ground red pepper ½ ounce bittersweet chocolate, finelychopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce 1 15-ounce can kidney beans 1 cup cooked pasta ¼ cup water ½ teaspoon canola oil 3 ounces cheddar cheese, finely shredded (about ¾ cup) Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add beef and chopped onion. Stir in vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, red pepper, chocolate, garlic, and tomato sauce. Partially cover and cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in kidney beans; cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a separate pot, cook pasta. Drain and combine cooked pasta, ¼ cup water and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until water evaporates and pasta is lightly browned, stirring occasionally (about 12 minutes). Coarsely chop noodles. Serve chili with pasta and cheese. Charlotte Petre Covington 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.
Recipe themes and deadlines: March April May
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 reciperelated story each month.
Submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Garlic January 15 Greens February 8 Chicken Salad March 8
ve Clip and sa eference! r for quick
Quite the Pair Like beer with your chili? You might want to grab some Alabamamade brew to sip on the side next time you enjoy a big ole bowl. Learn more about our state’s booming craft beer industry, particularly the breweries currently hopping in the Magic City and those that paved the way for the industry’s recent growth, in the new book, Birmingham Beer, by Alabama author Carla Jean Whitley. Find it at bookstores around Alabama and on amazon.com.
‘Like’ us on Facebook to see your chosen recipe, tag yourself and share it with family and friends!
JANUARY 2016 37
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How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace
Closing Deadlines (in our office): March Issue – Jan. 25 • April Issue – Feb. 25 • May Issue – March 25
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Example of fan-forced convection space heater. PHOTO BY FREEIMAGES.COM/ CHRIS WITHAM
Exploring inner space
How to use space heaters eﬃciently
It’s cold this winter! Instead of turning up my central heat, I’m considering purchasing a space heater to help warm my living room. I saw one in the store that is 100 percent eﬃcient! What should I consider when choosing a space heater?
It can be more cost-effective to run a space heater than to turn up your central heating, but if you’re not careful you may increase your electric bill. Generally, it is best to run a space heater when you need to heat just one or two rooms, or if you need temporary heat in a normally unheated area like a garage or shed. If you have a particularly cold-sensitive person in the home, it can be more efficient to use a space heater in the room they most often occupy rather than overheating the whole house. However, be mindful of the costs that these little heaters can add to your electric bill. Nick Rusnell, an energy advisor with HomeWorks Tri-County Elect r ic C o op era- Example of radiator-style electric convection tive in Portland, space heater. PHOTO COURTESY NRECA Michigan, shared, “During an energy audit, I found three 1,500-watt heaters in the house of a co-op consumer with a high bill complaint. I did a cost analysis for him and he was shocked.” Do your own calculations for how much running one, two or three in your home would cost. And beware the eﬃciency hype around space heaters: electric space heaters are all 100 percent eﬃcient at turning electricity into heat, but an ENERGY STAR air-source heat pump can be 300 percent eﬃcient!
Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative aﬀairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumerowned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.
40 JANUARY 2016
If a space heater is right for you, remember a few things to save energy and money: • If you’re using a space heater to heat the one or two rooms you use most, turn down your central heating so you don’t heat up rooms you aren’t using. • Close doors to rooms that are being heated to avoid heat loss. • Turn oﬀ the heater when not in use or get a space heater with a timer feature. • Purchase a heater with thermostat settings and use the lowest setting that you are comfortable with. • Select a space heater that is the right size for the space you need to heat; most will have a sizing table on the box. Due to safety and air-quality concerns, portable propane and kerosene space heaters are not recommended for use in a home or other unventilated area. Even when installed properly, these types of heaters can emit low levels of carbon monoxide. Instead, look for an electric space heater. There are two main types: • Infrared heater: Radiates heat to the objects and people directly in front of it, rather than the air in the room. If you are often sitting in one place, such as at a desk, this can be a good option. Note that the surface of these heaters can get very hot. • Convection heater: Uses convection to warm and cycle the air in a room. These heaters are relatively quiet and can be warm to the touch, but not so hot as to burn you. Some models use fans to push the air over warm coils; these heaters can warm a room faster, but are usually noisier.
Example of Infrared Space Heater. PHOTO BY FREEIMAGES.COM/RYAN BOURNE
If you need a space heater to keep your home comfortable, this may be a sign that your home needs insulation or air sealing, both of which can be great investments and signiﬁcantly reduce your energy bills. You can consider simple short-term measures, such as: • Putting in weather stripping around drafty doors and windows. • Hanging thermal curtains or blankets or installing window film. • Using rugs to cover uncarpeted floors. In the longer-term, increasing your home’s insulation or switching to a more efficient heating system, such as a ductless heat pump, can be a more cost-effective solution. A good energy auditor can help you figure out the best measures to take to keep your home comfortable. If your co-op offers free or discounted home audits, take them up on it! A
Space Heater Safety Tips Regardless of the kind of space heater you purchase, practice safety: space heaters are involved in more than 80 percent of fatal home heating ﬁres. When you purchase your heater, check that it has the following: • Tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts the heater oﬀ if it tips over • Temperature sensor to detect when any internal components become too hot • Guard around heating element to protect curious hands or paws • UL-listing or other certification to show that it meets voluntary safety standards Practice safety, and teach your family what to do: • Use the heater only on a flat surface • Plug the heater directly into the wall instead of an extension cord and avoid plugging anything else into the same outlet. If you must use an extension cord, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord • Keep the heater away from pets, children and flammable items like bedding, furniture and curtains • Don’t use in the bathroom unless it is designed for bathroom use; moisture can damage the heater • Don’t leave a heater unattended – turn it oﬀ for safety and to save money!
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Our Sources Say
ebster’s Dictionary defines hypocrisy as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.” It further defines hypocrisy as “the false appearance of virtue or religious belief.” When unveiling his Clean Power Plan in August 2015, President Obama said, “No challenge presents a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate.” President Obama has stated numerous times – even within the last 60 days – that climate change is a greater threat than ISIS or terrorism. World leaders met recently in Paris at the United Nations 2015 Conference on Climate Change to discuss an agreement for the global reduction of carbon emissions to ensure a better future for the world. The tag line for the conference was, “Long Live the Planet. Long Live Humanity. Long Live Life Itself.” A bold theme for bold people. Of course, President Obama attended the conference as did China’s Chairman Xi and other global leaders. They were there to express deep concern for the planet’s future, the seriousness of reaching an agreement on carbon reductions and to resolve the world’s greatest threat. It is ironic that the conference was convened in Paris, where, just a month before, an orchestrated ISIS terrorist attack killed 158 people and injured dozens more. It is ironic that President Obama attended the meeting and expressed his belief that climate change is more of a threat than terrorism, despite the attack in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people and wounded numerous others. What is more important to you? The increasing number and intensity of terrorist attacks or the undefined, speculative and uncertain threats of climate change? My bet is that victims’ families would consider terrorist violence a far greater concern. Nevertheless, world leaders express more distress about climate change than terrorism. The climate change debate takes different shapes. Some leaders attended the Conference to make their claim for a portion of and to secure a binding commitment for the $100 billion per year in climate aid for developing countries promised by President Obama at the United Nations Climate Conference in
Copenhagen in 2009. China and India pressed their position that they are still developing countries and entitled to their portions of the climate aid to continue economic development. In the meantime, China expands its coal consumption 2.6 percent a year, and India expands its coal use 5 percent a year. Of course, China promises to reduce its carbon intensity in 2030, but that is a commitment of energy efficiency – not necessarily a commitment to reduce coal usage like President Obama is pledging. While world leaders gathered in Paris to posture about the threats of climate change, 1.4 billion children live in poverty and are malnourished, 2.6 billion people lack clean drinking water, billions of children are deprived of adequate medical care, and billions of people lack reliable electric service. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that the politically correct movement of climate aid actually diverts money from feeding the hungry and providing medical care in developing countries. Apparently our plan is to help people prepare for the future ravages of climate change but deny them the basic necessities of life in the current time frame. Author and humorist P.J. O’Rourke refers to issues like climate change as “fashionable worries.” Climate change is sexier than feeding starving children, providing medical care in poor countries or providing affordable energy for developing countries. Success in resolving climate change is not as objective, measurable or transparent as providing food and health care to the poor. For politicians, climate change is the perfect problem. The threat cannot be solved in the near term, the danger is difficult to predict and measure, and politicians are less accountable in resolving the problems. All they need is for us to trust them to do the right thing, not question their motives or actions, provide billions of tax revenues to fund their efforts, and they will solve the problem in about 80 years. To hold such a superficial, do-nothing meeting and declare climate change as the most important issue in today’s world in a city still recovering from terrorist attacks and to proclaim climate change more important than people killed by terrorists at times when children lack food, clean water and health care is just hypocrisy. But such is our world. I hope you have a good month. A
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
44 JANUARY 2016
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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.
11 year old twins, Lauren and Wyatt Busbey. SUBMITTED BY Judy Busbey, Union Grove.
Doris Peterson and Dorothy Lamberth, 80 years young, live in different states but still get together for fun and games. SUBMITTED BY Myrtle Waters, Repton.
Justin Lacy (left) says he’s the “biggest and oldest;” Zack Lacy (right) replies, “Only by 10 minutes.” SUBMITTED BY Eve Lacy, Pisgah.
Lillie and Izzie Turner. SUBMITTED BY Tammy Turner, Flomaton. Kaden and Kyson Hawkins. SUBMITTED BY Jennifer Hawkins, Hanceville.
Janice Charlesworth with her twin brother, Jimmy, and twin nieces Suzanne and Stephanie Smith. SUBMITTED BY Janice Charlesworth, Montgomery.
Submit Your Images! March Theme: “Unique Mailboxes” Deadline for March: January 31 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
46 JANUARY 2016
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