South Alabama ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
Cool treats A guide to the state’s
yummiest ice cream, popsicles, sundaes and more
Youth Tour 50 years of shaping young people’s lives
Max Davis CO-OP EDITOR
Chellie Phillips 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 Melissa Henninger CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis
VOL. 67 NO. 6 JUNE 2014
11 Marryin’ in Dixie
Southern weddings, at least to humor columnist Hardy Jackson, come in three types.
24 Journey through time Two museums in Anniston are home to collections and exhibits bringing everything from dinosaurs and African wildlife to Asian treasures and espionage to life.
30 50 Years of Youth Tour
On the Cover: What’s not to like about a cool treat on a hot summer’s day? Anne Emery Smith is enjoying her ice cream cone at Toomer’s in Auburn, just one of many places to find frozen specialties in Alabama. PHOTO: Jennifer Kornegay
Looking back on 50 years of the Rural Electric Youth Tour, and how it has shaped the lives of young people ever since.
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DEPARTMENTS 9 12 40 41 44
Spotlight Worth the Drive Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month
Printed in America from American materials
JUNE 2014 3
Committed to Our Youth South Alabama Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees
Bill Hixon District 1
James Shaver District 2
Leo Williams District 3
Ben Norman District 4
DeLaney Kervin District 5
MAX DAVIS GENERAL MANAGER
Part of our cooperative mission is concern for community. South Alabama Electric Cooperative fulfills that directive in several ways through our efforts in economic development, charitable participation and educational activities, but this month I want to focus on one activity in particular. It’s the Youth Tour. Each year, we’re able to take local high school juniors to Montgomery for three days of leadership training, visits with local legislators, and of course some fun as well. From that group, each year since 2004, we’ve selected local students to represent South Alabama Electric Cooperative at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s National Youth Tour held in Washington DC. This year, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Galloway (Goshen High School) and Zach Calhoun (Charles Henderson High School) area headed to DC this month to participate in the 50th anniversary of this national program. Our past Washington winners included:
2004- Cody Ash (Charles Henderson High School) 2005- Meggan Graham (Charles Henderson High School) 2006 - Alan Sasser (Crenshaw Christian Academy) 2007- D’Erica Whatley (Highland Home High School) 2008 Candice Harvey (Pike County High School) and Keith Paulk (Highland Home High School) 2009 - Chelsea Kelly (Charles Henderson High School) and Genevieve Teel (Pike Liberal Arts School) 2010 - Brandon Barnhill (Zion Chapel High School) and Erin Dismukes (Zion Chapel High School) 2011 - Amy Fleming (Pike Liberal Arts School) and Paige Boswell (Crenshaw Christian Academy) 2012 - Eric Lowe (Crenshaw Christian Academy) and Brianna Taylor (Luverne High School) 2013 - Callie McMahan (Zion Chapel
Norman D. Green District 6
Glenn Reeder District 7
James May At Large
Headquarters: 13192 Hwy 231 P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 800-556-2060 southaec.com 4 JUNE 2014
South Alabama Electric Cooperative
High School) and Amanda Fang (Luverne High School) Next year, our Alabama Rural Electric Association, will be celebrating 50 years of youth tour in Alabama: We’d love to hear from all our former Montgomery and Washington winners. There’s a form on our website - www.southaec.com - we’d like for you to fill it out and let us know where
you are now and what you remember from that trip. If you have any questions, you can contact our youth tour coordinator, Chellie Phillips, at 800-556-2060 or email@example.com. There’s more on pages 30 -32 about the 50th Anniversary of Youth Tour.
South Alabama Electric Monthly Operating Report KWH Sold 23,633,076 Avg. Utility Bill $186.60 Average Use 1459
Alan Sasser getting ready to enjoy the boat cruise in 2006.
Callie McMahan and Amanda Fang at our nation’s Capitol in 2013.
Total Accounts Billed 16,190 Total Miles of Line 2,667 Consumers per mile of line 6.07 Information from MARCH 2014
Chelsea Kelly and Genevieve Teel at the FDR Memorial in 2009.
JUNE 2014 5
tracking map 2014 South Alabama Electric Cooperative
6 JUNE 2014
South Alabama Electric Cooperative
2014 Storm Names Arthur Bertha Cristobal Dolly Edouard Fay Gonzalo
Hanna Isaias Josephine Kyle Laura Marco Nana
Omar Paulette Rene Sally Teddy Vicky Wilfred
JUNE 2014 7
Are you ready for hurricane season? Even though the 2013 hurricane season proved to be mild, forecasters are predicting an about-face for 2014. June 1 marks the official start of the hurricane season, with the peak storm threat occurring from mid-August to late October. When the Global Weather Oscillations (GWO), a leading hurricane and climate cycle prediction company, released its 2014 hurricane predictions, the upcoming season was described as stronger and more dangerous than a year ago, with 17 named storms, eight hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. While many weather organizations predicted that 2013 would be a strong season, GWO was the only one that did not. Your cooperative wants you to be prepared in the event of one of these dangerous storms. Keep your family safe with these handy tips. Before the Storm: Put together an emergency kit and plan. Communicate the plan with your family.
Know the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you prepare for the storm surge and any tidal flooding. Secure your home: cover all windows with either storm shutters or boards, clear loose and clogged rain gutters, and bring all outdoor furniture indoors. Learn your community hurricane evacuation routes. During the Storm: Listen to the radio or TV for information, if possible. Avoid using the phone, unless there is an emergency. Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, keep the refrigerator thermostat on the coldest setting and keep the doors closed.
TOP TEN HURRICANE EMERGENCY KIT ITEMS Emergency food, drinking water Flashlights and batteries Cash and credit cards Medicine/prescriptions First aid kit Personal identification Matches and lighters Gas for generator or vehicle Radio (battery-operated) Cooler (with ice)
After the Storm: Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to your cooperative. Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads. Watch out for fallen objects, downed power lines, and weakened walls, bridges, or sidewalks.
NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas. For more tips on planning before, during, and after the storm, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
ARTHUR BERTHA CRISTOBAL DOLLY EDOUARD FAY GONZALO HANNA ISAIAS JOSEPHINE
HURRICANE SEASON NAMES
VISIT www.ready.gov FOR MORE KIT IDEAS and SAFETY TIPS.
KYLE LAURA MARCO NANA OMAR PAULETTE RENE SALLY TEDDY VICKY WILFRED
Tip of the
When replacing incandescent bulbs from recessed light fixtures, use energyefficient bulbs that are rated for that purpose. For example, the heat buildup in downlights will significantly shorten the life of spiral CFLs.
Source: Department of Energy
8 JUNE 2014
JUNE 7 & 8
Gem and Mineral show returns to Tannehill The annual Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show will be June 7 and 8 at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park in McCalla. The outdoor show is sponsored by the Alabama Mineral & Lapidary Society and will feature demos, exhibits and children’s activities. Various geology-and jewelryThe Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show related groups will have draws many vendors from across the United States. booths at the show. Admission to the park is $3 for adults and $1 for children; there is no additional entrance fee for the show. For more information, call 205-678-6564, or visit www.tannehill.org. JUNE 8
Dothan celebrates summertime with ice cream social The OldFashioned Ice Cream Social will be Sunday, June 8, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. in Dothan. Celebrate National Dairy Month with Young visitors can enjoy the treats and visit free ice cream at with calves at the Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Landmark Park. Social at Landmark Park in Dothan. Activities include butter churning, ice cream making, cake walks and a mobile dairy lab. Admission charged. Call 334-794-3452 or visit landmarkpark.com for more information. Alabama Living
Brewton’s 34th annual Alabama Blueberry Festival features arts and crafts and entertainment for children, such as the ride pictured above.
Brewton plans another ‘berry’ good festival The 34th Annual Alabama Blueberry Festival will be Saturday, June 21 in historic downtown Brewton at Burnt Corn Creek Park from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The festival features homemade blueberry foods and a variety of sandwiches. There will be original arts and crafts, cookbooks, blueberry bushes and crates of fresh blueberries, blueberry t-shirts, free children’s games and activities, live entertainment all day and an antique car show. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the fun. There is no admission charge. For more information, call 251- 867-3224 or visit www.alabamablueberryfestival.com.
Letters to the Editor
You wouldn’t believe how much traffic we get because of Alabama Living... and people save them (magazines) all year. Xan Morrow Red Door Theatre, Union Springs
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your lovely article about Big Daddy’s! (“Worth the Drive”, March 2014) I truly appreciate your kind words. Long live the Hog Wing! Thank you. Jason Newsom Big Daddy’s Grill, Fairhope
JUNE 2014 9
Co-op leaders take message to Washington
Central Alabama Electric Cooperative President and CEO Tom Stackhouse briefs Rep. Terri Sewell.
Leaders of Alabama’s electric cooperatives joined more than 2,500 others from across the country on Capitol Hill in May to deliver a message to Congress: The time to act is now. Co-op leaders rallied at the 2014 NRECA Legislative Conference on behalf of co-op priorities that stretch beyond
the partisan political divide that has enveloped much of Washington, D.C. A total of 125 managers, directors and co-op staff members from nearly all 22 of Alabama’s electric cooperatives made the trip to the nation’s capital on behalf of the nearly one million Alabamians who are served by electric cooperatives. The delegation heard updates from Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby and made personal visits to meet with representatives from the state’s seven congressional districts. “It is important that our representatives in Washington know our electric cooperatives need their support on several issues that are important to us,” says Fred Braswell, president and CEO of the
Alabama Rural Electric Association. Of specific concern are proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency that would seriously impact the cost of electricity for consumers. Make your voice heard by visiting action.coop.
AREA President and CEO Fred Braswell explains issues to Rep. Martha Roby.
Different benefits for your family’s different situations By Kylle’ McKinney
National Family Month takes place each year from Mother’s Day in May to Father’s Day in June, and coincides with the end of the school year when families are able to spend even more time together. It is the perfect time to spend more time focusing on each member of your family. Social Security has your entire family in mind when it comes to coverage and benefits. We’re here to help everyone in the family— during every stage of life. Most people think of retirement benefits when they think about Social Security, and that certainly is a big part of what we do. In fact, most of the benefits we pay go to retirees and their families—about 41 million people. But Social Security is more than retirement. Just read on. If you work and pay Social Security taxes during your lifetime, you can look forward to a strong foundation of income in retirement from Social Security. Of course, Social Security was never intended to be your sole source of retirement income. It is a foundation upon which you build with pensions, savings 10 JUNE 2014
and other income. But what if you become disabled before you retire and you are unable to continue working to support your family? Social Security has you covered with disability benefits. If you have a disability that is expected to last a year or longer, or result in death, you should apply for disability benefits. Your work and taxes cover not only you, but your entire family, too. Family benefits can include retirement, disability and, in the event of your death, survivors benefits. This coverage includes everyone in your family who depends on you for support, such as your minor children who are under age 18, or age 19 if still in secondary school, as well as your spouse. It also can include older children who have severe disabilities that began before age 22. In some cases, parents and grandchildren can qualify for family benefits if they depend on your income and you are their only means of support If you want to learn more about how Social Security benefits the younger members of your family, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/youngpeople. This page has information for you even if you don’t have
children and are a young worker yourself. So whether through survivors, disability, or retirement benefits, Social Security is here to help you and your entire family when the need arises. And the best way to apply for benefits is online at www.socialsecurity.gov. Perhaps another popular family member—the family pet—can best explain why applying online is the best option for you. Check out our creative videos on our YouTube channel for sound advice from the four-legged members of the family. Just visit www.socialsecurity.gov and select the YouTube button at the bottom of the page. Want to learn more? Read or listen to the publication, “Understanding the Benefits,” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle. firstname.lastname@example.org.
To live and wed in Dixie Now let me say at the outset, I am woefully unqualified to write about Southern weddings. True, I have been to a few, been in a few, seen ‘em done fancy and done plain, seen ‘em outdoors, seen ‘em in church, seen ‘em at home. I have been a groom, a best man, an usher and the father of the bride. But I have never been a bride. So what do I know? For down here in Dixie, weddings are a woman thing. When I was a lad the only woman in my immediate family was my Mama, so I was spared all that wedding stuff. Then I left home and started learning. I’ve been learning ever since. What I have learned is that weddings come in three types. There are the small, private affairs that take place in the probate judge’s office, often just ahead of the obstetrician. There are the “after-preaching” weddings. A couple would arrange with the minister to simply appear at the back of the church just as the last hymn was being sung. As those notes faded the organist would strike up the “Wedding March” and the two would simply walk down the aisle and tie the knot. Alabama Living
No need to send out invitations or worry if anyone would show up – the audience was there and captive. The preacher and organist were in place. And there were flowers on the altar. The only drawback was that it extended the service and delayed Sunday dinner. I can still recall my father’s sigh of resignation when he opened the church bulletin to find the notice that “members of the congregation are invited to stay after the service for the marriage of . . . .” As if we had a choice. Finally there are the big, big and bigger weddings that are planned and carried out with an awe-inspiring attention to detail. Questions I never thought to ask were asked and debated and resolved: Should the bridesmaids’ dresses be the same length from the floor or the same length on the bridesmaid? Hair up or down? And just how ugly should the bridesmaids’ dresses be? Ugly enough, but not so ugly as to detract attention from the bride. I remember watching one of these weddings unfold and observing, to no
one in particular, that “D-Day was not planned so well,” to which a friend of the bride retorted “D-Day was not this important.” What I also learned from all of this is that William Faulkner was on to something when he wrote that to women “any wedding is better than no wedding and a big wedding with a villain [is] preferable to a small one with a saint.” Why? Because it is the bride and the wedding that matter. Until they are pronounced man and wife, the groom is little more than an incidental accessory. Only then does his role become clear. As one newly minted mother-in-law told her newly minted son-in-law, “now get me some grandchildren.” And like any well-raised southern boy, he did what he was told. Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is retired professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University whose most recent book is The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera, featured in the January 2013 Alabama Living. His work appears in the Anniston Star and Northeast Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.
JUNE 2014 11
2014 TRAVEL ISSUE
Worth the Drive
By Jennifer Kornegay
Alabama has a tempting array of soda fountains, popsicle shops and ice cream parlors to keep you coming back for more yummy slurps
ummer is almost here, and soon it will be so hot we’ll all be loudly and frequently complaining, despite promises made during last winter’s deep freeze to appreciate this season’s warmth. So when the temps climb up to 95 degrees (in the shade), I suggest a sweeter way to handle the heat. Instead of grumbling about it, try gobbling up the cool and tasty treats that some of our state’s oldest and newest establishments are scooping out. Here are some of our favorites:
Lunch followed by a dreamy dessert at Trowbridge’s is a tradition for many in the Shoals area. This ice-cream parlor has been dishing out its deliciousness since 1918 from the same spot in downtown Florence, making it the city’s oldest business still operating in its original location. And, it’s still owned by the third generation of its founding family, the Trowbridges. The egg and olive sandwiches and hot dogs are favorite savory bites, but do your best to not fill up on either. Classic sodas, sundaes and other ice cream concoctions worth screaming for are the main reasons to visit this special spot.
Jenn’s Pick: Orange Pineapple ice cream, made using Trowbridge’s signature recipe 316 N. Court St. 256-764-1503 12 JUNE 2014
Steel City Pops, Birmingham & Tuscaloosa
Thanks to Steel City Pops, which opened its first Birmingham location in 2012, you can have your pop and eat it too since these treats turn a cold shoulder
to high-fructose corn syrup, dyes and artificial flavorings and are instead, all natural, made from whole fruit and other ingredients (many from nearby farms and producers). The result is a simple menu, featuring simple products in simple stores. And the pops are simply wonderful. You can stick to the basics and order a bursting-with-berries strawberry or blueberry pop. Or branch out and try more “sophisticated” varieties like avocado, buttermilk or orange mint green tea.
Jenn’s Pick: Blood Orange pop
www.steelcitypops.com 2821 Central Ave; Suite 109, Homewood 205-969-8770 329 Summit Blvd., Birmingham 205-213-8805 2128 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa 205-213-8805 www.alabamaliving.coop
The Pop Factory
You’ll discover a multitude of refreshing popsicle options at Frios in downtown Gadsden. Its name is a play on the Spanish word “frio” that means cold or frozen because Frios gourmet pops were inspired by fruit popsicles found in Mexico and other Latin-American countries. This family-owned and operated business opened in 2013 and hand-makes its pops using the best fruits and dairy products from local farms. That means the menu changes often, reflecting what produce is currently at its peak. And Frios captures it at the height of ripeness; the locally grown fruit used is usually picked and turned into pops within 24 hours. The Tiramisu pop (Spoiler alert: There is a cinnamon lady finger in the middle!), is made with coffee brewed at Gadsden’s popular coffee shop, The Coffee Well, from beans roasted in Birmingham. You can definitely taste the difference, and soon, folks several hundred miles away will have the chance to experience a Frios pop too. The shop just announced its partnership with LuLu’s restaurant in Gulf Shores, which will be serving its pops starting this summer.
Jenn’s Pick: Lemon Ice Box pop www.friospops.com 414 Broad St. 256-459-4946
(inside The Overall Company), Opelika Frozen goodness on a stick is made fresh daily at The Pop Factory in downtown Opelika. Tucked into The Overall Company, which is occupying a corner building that was once home to an actual overall-producing business, The Pop Factory is one facet of what the Overall Company’s owners are calling a “community that highlights and celebrates Southern music, food and culture.” Filled with funky found-object art; vintage posters; a massive American flag; and comfy and random couches, stools and chairs, The Overall Company also serves homemade baked goods, artisanal coffees and sells Alabama-made beers and other items as well. There’s an art gallery on the second floor, and live music is often floating in the air. But during summer’s swelter, the pops are tops here, and the creative ingredient combos yield mouth-watering results: the basil lemonade pop is tart with only a hint of the herb’s clean, green bite. The sweet cream pop is lightly sugared velvet. You can get creative, too. Dip any of the pops in white, dark or milk chocolate and then roll them in sprinkles or candybar crumbles. And while your add-ons can make any of the Pop Factory’s popsicles pretty indulgent, you can still enjoy them relatively guilt-free because they are made with natural, Alabama-farm-fresh products.
Jenn’s Pick: Chocolate-Hazelnut pop dipped in white chocolate www.overallco.com 1001 Ave. B 334-742-0100
Byrd Drug Company, Troy
The soda fountain at Byrd Drug Company on Troy’s Court Square has been dispensing frosty fun in the form of ice cream for decades. Lunch counter fare like grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs keep locals and visitors coming back, and the old-fashioned ice cream treats, including creamy milkshakes and malts, are the preferred way to chill out in Pike County. Warning: The milkshakes are so yum, yet so thick, you’re likely to burst a blood vessel trying to rush the luscious liquid into your mouth.
Carlisle Drug & Gifts, Alexander City
Next time you’re near Lake Martin, set aside a little time to take a taste of Alabama history. Anchoring a corner leading into downtown, Carlisle Drug & Gifts boasts the oldest continually operating full-service soda fountain in our state; it first opened in 1914 and has been delighting its many repeat customers and visitors with milkshakes, malts, floats and ice-cream sundaes ever since. You can enjoy Southern staples like chicken salad, pimento cheese and sandwiches as well. Or go for the ooeygooey mac ‘n cheese, a local favorite. Wash it all down with a tangy limeade.
Jenn’s Pick: Hot Fudge Brownie sundae 12 Main St. 256-234-4211
Jenn’s Pick: Strawberry milkshake 81 N. Court Square 334-566-0100 Alabama Living
JUNE 2014 13
So Nice, We’re Mentioning Them Twice If you’re a regular “Worth the Drive” reader, you’ll remember that I’ve visited and written about these two places before. I just wanted to remind you about their cool treat offerings.
Huggin’ Molly’s, Abbeville
Stacey’s Drugs & Old Tyme Soda Fountain, Foley
Miss the good ole days, when friends met up at the neighborhood drugstore for conversation and comfort foods, and piping hot coffee was only 10 cents? Well, stop in Stacey’s Drugs & Old Tyme Soda Fountain and relive your yesterdays. A self-serve cup of joe will still only cost you a dime, and the friendly folks working the soda fountain will whip up an ice cream float, a banana split or an old-school phosphate in a jiffy and with a smile. In business since 1927, Stacey’s also makes some mean chicken salad.
Jenn’s Pick: a Key Lime Shake, one of the
Alabama Department of Tourism’s “100 Alabama Dishes to Eat Before You Die” www.staceydrugsandoldetymesodafountain.com 121 W. Laurel Ave. 251-943-7191
Toomer’s Drugs, Auburn
The area around Toomer’s Drugs is hallowed ground for Auburn fans; directly across from its doors sits the beloved Toomer’s Corner. The drugstore was started in 1896 by Sheldon Toomer, known as “Shel” by most, a halfback on the school’s very first football team. Pop in and grab a roast-beef melt, a sugar-cone-full of Blue Bell ice cream and a few War Eagle souvenirs before walking across the street to bask in the glow of Tiger tradition.
Jenn’s Pick: Toomer’s famous fresh-squeezed lemonade www.toomersdrugs.com 100 N. College St. 334-887-3488
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This restaurant, named after a legendary and very friendly ghost, is fronted with a perfectly preserved soda fountain taken from an early20th century drug store in Pennsylvania. Hop up on a swivel stool and order a retro Brown or Black Cow (root beer or Coke float), milkshake, malt, sundae or a flavored Coke. Pretty much anything you get here is scary good.
Jenn’s Pick: Vanilla Coke
www.hugginmollys.com 129 Kirkland St. 334-585-7000
Ugwee’s Ice Cream Shop, Georgiana
You won’t be sad you went out of your way to satisfy an ice-cream craving after a few bites of the soft-serve varieties at this tiny, neon-green ice-cream counter located in a convenience store.
Jenn’s Pick: Banana Split
10801 McKenzie Grade Road 334-376-2934
Shirey’s Ice Cream, based in Florence, has been wowing crowds and winning fans at festivals and happenings across the state in recent months with its scratch-made, all-natural ice cream made with all-local ingredients. The first brick-and-mortar store is opening this summer in downtown Florence. Check www.facebook.com/shireyicecream to find out more. A
I want to hear from you! Due to space constraints, I know I’ve left out some great places serving equally great cool treats. Let me know your favorites, and I’ll try to work them into the Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a children’s book, “Worth “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: the Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama Drive” every month. She may be reached for comment at email@example.com. schedule. www.alabamaliving.coop
Two years of ‘Worth the Drive’ 2013 2014
Since June 2012, Alabama Living has been spotlighting either an Alabama food festival or a out-of-the-way restaurant we consider “Worth the Drive.” Here’s a roundup of those we’ve featured. Which one will you visit this month? Complete reviews are in our past issue archives at alabamaliving.coop.
June Blueberry Festival
Brewton (June 21, 2014) www.alabamablueberryfestival.com
July Chuck’s Marina Chuckwalla’s Pizzeria Dadeville 237 Marina Road 256-825-6871
August Okra Festival
Burkville okrafestival.org (Aug. 30, 2014)
September Honey’s Hot Dogs Dothan 4554 Fortner St honeyshotdogs.com 334-673-7642
October Peanut Butter Festival Brundidge (Oct. 25, 2014) Piddle.org 334-670-6302
November Wildflower Café
Mentone Mentonewildflower.com 256-634-0066
December Red Barn
Demopolis 901 US Highway 80 E Demopolis, AL 36732
January Jimmy’s, Opelika
104 S. 8th St. jimmysopelika.com
January Sweet P’s
Pike Road 11775 Troy Highway www.sweetpseatsandreats.com 334-288-4900
February Garfrerick’s Café, Oxford 655 Creekside Drive 256-831-0044
March Cosmos, Orange Beach
February Crepe Myrtle Café
Auburn 1192 Donohue Drive 334-887-0857 crepemyrtlecafe.com
257532 Canal Road cosmosrestaurantandbar.com
April Ca John’s, Faunsdale 33558 Alabama 25 334-628-3240
March Big Daddy’s Grill
Fairhope 16542 Ferry Road 251-990-8555 bigdaddysgrill.com
May Mud Creek Barbecue Hollywood 804 County Road 213 256-259-2493
June Ugwee’s, Georgiana
Alexander City 12 Benson Mill Road 256-215-7080 springhouseatcrossroads.com
10801 McKenzie Grade Road 334-376-2934
July The Docks at Goosepond Colony Lake Guntersville Goosepond.org 256-574-3071
May Bravo Tacos
Orange Beach 251-981-8226 bravotacos.net
August Huggin Molly’s, Abbeville 129 Kirkland St. 334-585-7000 hugginmollys.com
❖ Mentone Lake Guntersville ❖
September Effina’s, Jacksonville 501 Pelham Road No. 256-782-0008 effinas.com
October Mossy Grove School House Restaurant, Troy 1841 Elba Highway 334-566-4921
November Josephine Art Center Union Springs 126 Prairie St. No. 334-703-0098 artatjosephine.com
Alexander City ❖
❖ Faunsdale Burkville ❖
December Zack’s Family Restaurant Dothan , Slocumb and Enterprise 334-673-9225 zacksfamilyrestaurant.com
❖ Pike Road ❖ Union Springs Troy ❖
Opelika ❖ ❖ Auburn
❖ Brundidge ❖ Abbeville
❖ Fairhope ❖ Orange Beach
JUNE 2014 15
2014 TRAVEL ISSUE
Treasure Hunts Along the Road Family-friendly sleuthing makes traveling more exciting By Amy Higgins
Finding hidden geocaches makes a great family vacation activity for all ages.
oad trip activities are often tedious and predictable: the license plate game, 10 minute pit stops, mounds of munchies and the occasional snooze. But there are ways to break up the monotony, get a little exercise and have fun. Try geocaching and letterboxing. These scavenger hunts aren’t new, but they aren’t as familiar as your traditional traveling games. They have gained worldwide attention and can be played within feet of your home, in the middle of nowhere and abroad. No matter where or how far you travel, it’s practically guaranteed a geocaching or letterboxing treasure is nearby. On your next road trip, take a little detour and include a few stops to search for hidden treasure.
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Geocaching was first reported by The New York Times in October 2000. It has since become a worldwide sensation, says Eric Schudiske, public relations and special media manager for geocaching.com. Geocachers can be found all over the world, several of which are deeply ingrained in the geocaching community. Several groups go so far as to schedule geocaching events and outings. Geocaching uses GPS devices to locate the coordinates to a specific treasure, or geocache. Simply register for a free basic membership on geocaching.com, locate the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page, enter the postal code, state or approximate address www.alabamaliving.coop
of your desired location and click on any geocache in the list provided. Lists are sizable and range in difficulty and terrain, so you’ll have many options to choose from. Once you decide which geocache is the most enticing, enter the coordinates in your GPS device and follow the clues. Find out if the geocache’s description offers additional hints, such as a decryption, as these hints can be critical to finding the cache. And remember to pack a pencil and notebook for the road. Smartphone users can install the free “Geocaching Intro” app, which accomplishes the same goals as the website but its portability comes in handy, especially on road trips when you need to look up a tip or resolve to abort a particular mission and move to a different cache. Geocaches have hidden compartments and come in many forms: plastic containers, boxes, bags, fake rocks and logs, tools, nuts and bolts, and magnetic containers such as the geocache titled “Cherry Knolls 8: Elvis” in Centennial, Colorado. With a difficulty rating of one star, this particular find is easy enough for an amateur geocacher, but fun to hunt down nonetheless. When you find the geocache, open it, check out the contents,
Some geocaches are hidden along coastlines.
sign the logbook and take a picture as a reminder of your journey. Some caches contain treasures. If you choose to take one, it is expected that you replace the treasure with another of equal value. When your mission is complete, it’s important to return
State parks, Scouts make geocaching popular in Alabama The geocaching community is growing in Alabama as the state parks and other entities get involved in the familyfriendly activity. The Boy Scouts of America even offer a geocaching merit badge. Alabama’s state parks have set up geocaching sites at all 22 parks. In celebration of their 75th anniversary, a cache has been hidden in eight parks. Searchers must visit each and combine the clues from their finds to determine where the final geocache is located. A special 75th anniversary commemorative coin will be awarded to the first 75 contestants to complete the challenge. Currently, more than 50 anniversary coins have been distributed. Roger Reetz, a schoolteacher at Gulf Shores Middle School and part-time ranger at Gulf State Park, learned about geocaching while leading his son’s Cub Scout troop. “I was the only one to truly get addicted to the game in my family, but I’ve stuck with it ever since, adding about 150 caches to Gulf State Park and finding over 1,200.” says Reetz. “Through this effort, Gulf State Park has become a very
popular geocaching destination and we have caches to go along with whatever your level of adventure is.” According to Reetz, the park has close to 10 kayak/canoe-based caches in Gulf State Park, one of which requires searchers to go to the middle of Lake Shelby and swim to locate the geocache. Reetz says he and another geocacher are “discussing working with our local dive charters to add SCUBA-based caches on many of our local dive sites. We hope to start getting those online in early summer.” O’dell Banks, a park manager at Chewacla State Park, says the most difficult to find geocache is located at Chewacla. Banks says you will see all age groups taking part in the outdoors activity. Ed Manley of Irondale, who publishes “The Online Geocacher” and runs a web forum dedicated to geocaching in Alabama (dixiecachers.com), has been finding geocaches since 2003. Manley has located more than 2,675 caches in 28 states, and even credits the activity with saving his life in the book, The Joy of
Geocaching, after dealing with multiple surgeries and severe chronic pain. “After a decade in the Navy I had been a successful businessman for 28 years, raised a fine family and accomplished many things,” Manley says. He called his first cache find, which required hiking uphill, “one of my greatest accomplishments. There were many days when I didn’t think I could ever walk up that hill. Finding that cache proved that I could take my life back.”
• Set up a free account on www.geocaching.com • Choose a cache to find and enter the latitude and longitude coordinates into your GPS receiver • Find the cache • Sign the logbook • Then, report your find online.
For more information on geocaching at Alabama State Parks, visit alapark.com/ geocaching. For a list of geocaching trails in the state, visit the Trail Link website at www.traillink.com/stateactivity/al-geocaching-trails.aspx.
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Smartphone users can install a geocaching app that makes hunting on the road easier.
the cache to its original spot so others can enjoy the treasure hunt in the future. As you become more familiar with the game, challenge yourself to the more difficult hunts. Or, relocate or create a geocaching trackable, a traveling game piece. Common types of trackables include Travel Bug® Trackables and Geocoins. These games pieces are etched with a code so users can find details of the trackable on the Geocaching.com website. The game piece travels from one cache to another, sometimes all over the world and, recently, one traveled to space. To learn about space travel, the 5th grade class at Chase Elementary School in Waterbury, Connecticut, gave astronaut Rick Mastracchio a special Travel Bug® that traveled with him to the International Space Station in November 2013.
It is believed that letterboxing began in 1854 in England. In a hard to reach area of the park, James Perrott, a Dartmoor National Park guide, left his contact information in a bottle, inviting those who found the bottle to contact him and to leave their own information for others to find. That was letterboxing in its infancy. The game never went away, but it didn’t gain a lot of popularity in North America until it was resurrected in 1998 when Smithsonian magazine wrote an article about the pastime. Today, letterboxing is different. Letterboxing players start by establishing a trail name and stamp design as their identifica18 JUNE 2014
tion. Many diehard letterboxing enthusiasts create their own one-of-a-kind signature stamp using wine bottle corks, foam, erasers, rubber or any other ink-absorbent material. Then, with a writing implement, notebook, inkpad, compass and clues in hand, they set out to find letterboxes. Letterbox clues can be found online at letterboxing.org or atlasquest.com. By doing a simple location-based search, players can obtain a list of letterboxes in that area. Choose your desired letterbox, read the clues, print a map of the area, gather your letterboxing supplies and you’re ready for the hunt. Letterboxes range in size and type. One letterbox could be a Tupperware container while another might be a fake rock, so be observant. Many letterboxes require you to hike for miles and others can be found feet from your home. When you locate a letterbox, you’ll find a logbook and stamp inside. Imprint the enclosed stamp impression in your personal logbook and write about your experience. Next, stamp the letterbox’s logbook with your personal stamp and record your letterboxing name, hometown and date. Lastly, return the letterbox and its contents to its original location. The LetterBoxer’s Companion – Exploring Mysteries Hidden in the Great Outdoors by Randy Hall is a popular guide for letterboxing newbies and could come in handy during your letterboxing road trip. In the book, Hall offers tips on following clues, creating your personal stamp and letterboxing etiquette. A PHOTO CREDITS FOR ALL GEOCACHING PHOTOS: GEOCACHING.COM
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2014 TRAVEL ISSUE
You Found WHAT? Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro attracts customers from around the world
By Lori Quiller
“You found WHAT?” is not an uncommon phrase to hear if you’re walking around the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro. In fact, you’ll probably hear it over and over again as you meander through the 40,000-square-foot facility, browsing from menswear to jewelry to shoes to formalwear to electronics to ladies wear to sports equipment to you-name-it…because they probably have it. Nestled in the heart of Jackson County, the Unclaimed Baggage Center isn’t your average department store. To most shoppers who travel worldwide to visit the store, however, that’s exactly what it appears to be – a high-end department store. But, when you check out the price tags of the goods sold inside, you know instantly that something is a little different about this store. The idea for the store began when Doyle Owens borrowed $300, a pick-up truck and hit the road to Washington, DC, where
he purchased his first batch of unclaimed bags from Trailways bus lines. He quickly sold the packages and their contents, and within a month, Owens was well on his way to a new business venture. Today a little business venture that began with a small loan and a borrowed truck has grown into a thriving business that’s the only facility like it in the country. With contracts to purchase lost luggage from all the major airlines, Unclaimed Baggage Center is not likely to run short of stock anytime soon. But don’t feel sorry for the owners of those lost items. According to Brenda Cantrell, brand ambassador for Unclaimed Baggage Center, because the airlines are so meticulous in attempting to reunite passengers with their lost luggage, about one half of 1 percent of all luggage fails to make it to the assigned destinations. Then, about five days later, about 95 percent of that half percent find their way home. Another three months is spent trying to reunite passengers with their belongings before claims are paid. The rest of the luggage makes its way to Scottsboro. “By the time that luggage gets to us, you can’t imagine the state we find them. Damaged bags, always dirty, and we have to take great protection ourselves when unpacking them. We never know
The jewelry department looks like it could belong in a traditional department store.
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Some bags contain musical instruments.
All ready for a ski trip.
what’s inside those bags,” she laughed. That’s when the fun begins. The center operates the largest dry cleaning facility in the state, which comes in handy considering more than 50,000 pieces are sorted and cleaned every month. Many “found treasures,” as Cantrell and the staff at Unclaimed Baggage Center have discovered while picking through parcels, have included a stuffed armadillo, a ruby and diamond belt buckle valued at $10,000, an antique “flirting” fan, bronze plaques from ancient Nigeria, 50 vacuum-packed frogs, an 8-foot remote-controlled airplane, and a 40 carat natural emerald. The list continues to grow as new shipments arrive, but the staff can’t say they’ve seen it all…yet. “We’ve always said if these bags could talk what a story they could tell,” Cantrell said.
‘We never know what’s inside those bags’
Giving back to the community
Vintage Polaroid camera and case.
Bargains await shoppers.
An assortment of men’s cologne.
The Luv LuggageTM event allows students to paint old luggage which is then donated to foster children.
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Scottsboro and became enchanted with the idea of how easy it was to turn old luggage into gifts for children on the move. “We looked at it as ‘art from the heart,’ and we fell in love with the concept. We take the luggage to art programs or other children’s afterschool programs, along with supplies to paint the luggage. The goal is to try to make things a little better for someone else. The surprising part is how quickly the students take to the program. They really seem to understand what these foster children are going through and want to help make things just a little bit better for them. Of course we had to continue it as a community campaign!” In the spirit of sharing the “Luv,” Cantrell posted a community started guide and email address for more information to the Unclaimed Baggage Center website at www.unclaimedbaggage.com. “Everyone has an old suitcase lying around in a closet or under a bed somewhere,” Cantrell said. “Why not give it a new life? That’s a lot of what we do here every day.” A
As much fun as the staff and shoppers have with the goods unearthed and set out for sale on the showroom floor, Cantrell makes sure that the store continues to be a community leader in Jackson County through the many service projects she and the staff participate in each year. The success of the store has allowed the owners and staff to give back to their community by partnering with local organizations such as the Lions Club, Salvation Army, Tornado Disaster Relief, Joni & Friends, Habitat for Humanity, Operation Christmas Child and Couture for a Cure. But there’s one partnership with the Department of Human Resources that has a special place in Cantrell’s heart. “Children moving to new foster homes have a difficult time,” Cantrell explained. “These children go from one home to another carrying their belongings with them in plastic bags because they really don’t have much else. It’s already a tragic situation, so we wanted to help make their situation a little better.” Cantrell first participated in a Luv LuggageTM event with an after school program in Unclaimed Baggage Center 509 West Willow Street Scottsboro, Alabama 35768 256-259-1525 Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. CT Friday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. CT Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. CT Closed Sundays http://unclaimedbaggage.com
This tribal mask is among the more unusual finds inside luggage. www.alabamaliving.coop
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2014 TRAVEL ISSUE
Take a journey through time on a visit to Anniston museums By Marilyn Jones
nniston, a city of 23,000, is home to two outstanding museums: the Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum of World History. Standing side by side on Museum Drive, visitors will find incredible collections and exhibits bringing everything from dinosaurs and African wildlife to Asian treasures and espionage to life. Interestingly, both museums began as private collections and grew to become showpiece destinations for the city and Calhoun County.
From Atlantic City to Alabama
On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, William H. Werner established Wonderland Museum in 1882 to showcase his collection of more than 1,800 bird specimens, including mounted birds, eggs and nests; many species now extinct or endangered. When the museum closed, the collection became the property of H. Severn Regar who began exhibiting it with his own collection of historic objects and biological specimens in Norristown, Pennsylvania. In 1929, when Regar moved his textile business and family to Anniston, he offered his collection to the city. The city accepted and displayed it at the local library from 1930 to 1965 and then the Calhoun County War Memorial Building until 1976. When John B. Lagarde offered to donate his collection of mounted African animals to the museum, a much larger facility was needed to house the growing natural history museum. Local citizens got behind the idea and the building now housing the museum was built. Master plans called for seven exhibit areas, and although its beginnings consisted of the bird and African displays, today the museum is complete, changing only as exhibits are retooled and artifacts added. In 1991, the museum was accredited by the American Asso-
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ciation of Museums. In 2002, the Museum was awarded status as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the first in Alabama to receive this designation.
Touring the museum
An extensive Asian collection fills the Berman Museum of World Historyâ€™s second floor.
Entering the first exhibition area, Dynamic Earth, a life-sized stegosaurus skeleton model,Â a diorama featuring life-size PterPHOTOS BY anodon and AlbertoMARILYN JONES saurus models, an d d i s p l ay s of fossils and minerals envelop guests in a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. From pre-historic times, the meandering walkway guides guests through a cave and into the Alabama: Sand to Cedars area of the museum. From the mountains to the seashore, exhibits showcase the natural wonders of the state which is the fourth most biologically diverse in the nation. Walking into the Attack and Defense area, make sure to look up as well as all around at the animals playing out the life and death relationship of predator and prey. At the center of the museum are the original Birds of the Americas with case after case of ornately staged birds followed
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Dynamic Earth is the first stop while touring the Anniston Museum of Natural History.
Several items from Napoleon Bonaparte’s personal collection are displayed at the Berman Museum of World History.
by Environments of Africa with its elephant, lion and other animals. All the birds and animals in the museum, with the exception of the dinosaur models and hippo are real, mounted specimens. The last exhibit is Ancient Egypt, featuring two 2,300-year-old Ptolemaic Period mummies. In 2010, a CT scan of the museum’s smaller mummy, Tasherytpamenekh, was performed. A short documentary follows the process and includes some of the 3-D imagery from beneath the wrappings. Many natural history museums are dedicated only to dinosaurs, fossils and minerals. Here, natural history is followed from prehistory to present day. The museum is expertly designed and will captivate the smallest child as well as inquisitive adults.
A coronation crown is part of the Berman collection.
The first collection is the Deadly Beauty Gallery. Perhaps pointing back to the Berman’s time in military intelligence, one display is of cleverly disguised guns: a flute, pipe, tire gauge, ink pen and screw driver. The collection also houses personal items belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte, medieval suits of armor and British cavalry and presentation swords. Of special interest is the Persian sword — called a scimitar — encrusted with 1,295 diamonds, 50 carats of rubies, a 10 carat emerald in the hilt and 3 pounds of gold. Another beautiful display is of the coronation set of Czech Kings. The bejeweled crown was made in 1346, and the scepter and golden orb were made during the 16th century. The Berman Legacy The American West Gallery not only offers a visual Next door is the Berman Museum history of western expansion, but is a repository for of World History. Farley Berman was beautiful artwork including several Remington born in Anniston in 1910. After atbronzes. tending the University of Alabama, he Firearms and weapons from the Revgraduated with a law degree from Emolutionary War through the Spanish ory University in 1934. Berman also American War are also on display. joined the Army Reserve in 1937 and The Arts of Asia Gallery is on enlisted in 1941 after Pearl Harbor. the second floor and features many He spent much of his time in the examples of Chinese ceramics and service in military intelligence. He One of the most popular attractions at the Anniston furniture, household gods and intriMuseum of Natural History is a pair of Egyptian mummies. met his wife Germaine, a member of cately carved jade sculptures includPHOTOS BY MARILYN JONES the French Intelligence, while he was ing those from the Qing Dynasty and stationed in North Africa. Sung Dynasty. They were married in 1945 and returned to Anniston to make Also on display are artifacts from India, Nepal, Southeast and their home and live for the remainder of their lives. Southwest Asia, Japan and Korea. Museum exhibits are from the Berman’s personal collections. The WWI and WWII Gallery is the last permanent exhibit in Berman is quoted as saying that at the age of six, “I started with the museum and includes weapons, uniforms and such interesta little .22 caliber rifle, one thing led to another and I ended up ing items as Adolf Hitler’s personal silver tea service, parachute with the collection I have today.” As visitors will find, weapons dummies and a recreation of a WWI trench with a dugout. were a fascination for Berman, although he collected anything A West Gun, a unique trench weapon used in WWI, is in the that interested him. collection. There are only two in existence today. This hall also His wife also shared his passion for collecting. They spent four includes a collection of machine guns from the Spanish Ameridecades traveling the world; he collected rare weapons and she can War through WWII, as well as Axis and Ally mortars, mines collected works of fine art. Included in the collection are hun- and rocket launchers. dreds of bronzes, paintings by European and American artists The Berman Museum is a reflection of the Bermans passion and Asian art. for collecting and a mirror into the art, military conflicts and In 1992 Farley and Germaine bequeathed their collection to An- lives of those who have gone on before us. Take your time; the niston, with the wish that others could learn the significance of the galleries are filled with priceless treasures, many you won’t see objects from a historic perspective. The museum opened in 1996. anywhere else in the world. A For more information: Anniston Museum of Natural History, 800 Museum Drive; (256) 237-6766; www.annistonmuseum.org. Berman Museum of World History, 840 Museum Drive; (256) 237-6261; bermanmuseum.org. Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, 1330 Quintard Avenue; (256) 237-3536; calhounchamber.com. 26 JUNE 2014
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Around Alabama June 23-29 Helen Keller Festival Tuscumbia invites you to celebrate the life and legacy of Helen Keller during this city-wide event featuring daily musical entertainment, a fun run, family bike ride, golf tournament, parade, an educational day for children and much more. On the anniversary of Keller’s birthday, the 27th, watch a performance of “The Miracle Worker”. Follow Keller through her journey with Ann Sullivan just as it happened over 100 years ago on the grounds of Keller’s childhood home, Ivy Green. Ticket prices vary for each event and many are free. For a complete schedule of events and ticket information, visit www.helenkellerfestival.com.
JUNE 6 • Prattville, Swinging Fore
Seniors Golf Classic at the RTJ Capitol Hill-Legislator Course. Presented by the Montgomery Area Council On Aging. Registration at 7 a.m. and shotgun start at 8 a.m. Four-man team scramble. Prizes and sponsorships available. To participate, call 334-2630532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 6 & 7 • Georgiana, Hank Williams Fe s t i va l o n t h e grounds of Williams’ boyhood home turned museum. Gates open Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m. Arts and crafts and food vendors available. For a list of entertainers and ticket prices visit www. hankwilliamsfestival.com. 6 & 7 • Boaz, Arts and Crafts at The Village at Elizabeth Street from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Food trucks will be available, horse and buggy rides, as well as vendors with homemade arts and crafts. Admission is free and open to the public. 7 • Monroeville, 2nd Annual Monroe Activity Center Club Ride for the Mentally and Physically Handicapped. Hosted by the Sons of Armageddon Motorcycle Club, Backwoods Chapter. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. at the Monroe Activity Center with the ride starting at 11 a.m. Tickets are $25 for single riders; includes one meal, grand prize and
raffle tickets. Additional t-shirts and tickets may also be purchased. 8 • Dothan, Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social at Landmark Park. Come for the free ice cream and stay for the exhibits, music, butter churning and ice cream making demos. Call the Park at 334-794-3452 or visit www.landmarkpark.com. 9-13 • Orange Beach, Summer Art Camp ‘Find Your Flair’ at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. The camp, 8:30-3 p.m. daily, will have classes on visual arts, poetry, pottery, drama, as well as dance and glass-blowing demonstrations. Rising first thru seventh graders welcome. Register online at CoastalArtsCenter. com or call 251-981-2787. 13 & 14 • Foley, Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Foley Sports Complex. Free entertainment all day and food concessions available. Friday evening and Saturday morning over 50 balloonists from across the country will fly over the area. For more information, visit www.gulfcoastballoonfestival.com. 13 & 14 • Marion, 19th Annual Marion Rodeo at the Marion Arena. Gates open at 6 p.m., Mutton Bustin’ at 6:30 and Little Wranglers at 7:15 before the rodeo begins at 7:30. 13-15 • Birmingham, Inaugural Rick and Bubba Outdoor Expo. In addition to offering the best in hunting, fishing and all things outdoors, the expo
features celebrity guests: Ted Nugent, Michael Waddell, Jimmy Houston, the entire Rick and Bubba cast and more. Fri 4-9 p.m, Sat 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for ages 13 and up. For information, visit www.rickandbubbaoutdoorexpo.com. 14 • Autaugaville, 13th Annual Classic Auto Show at the Autaugaville Town Park. Admission is free. Contact F.B. Ward for more information, 334-365-2975. 19 • Andalusia, Comedian Keith Alberstadt will perform at the Dixon Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LBW Community College. Silent art auction at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission, $50 VIP (includes reception and reserved seating). Information: 334-881-2306. 20-22 • Birmingham, Alabama State Games. Opening Ceremony is Friday night. Many athletic events ranging from baseball and wrestling to gymnastics and diving. For information, call 800-467-0422. 20-22 • Ashland, 2014 Annual Spirit of The Wolf Pow Wow and Kiowa Gourd Dance. Enitachopco Ceremonial Grounds, gates open Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m. $5 admission, boy/girl scouts $3 and children under 6 are free. 21 • Arley, 2014 Arley Day at Hamner Park. Hosted by the Arley Women’s Club. Parade begins the day at 9 a.m. followed by food, games, contests,
To place an event, e-mail email@example.com. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
and entertainment in the park. For vendor information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 21 • Ashland, Clay County Christian Academy Blueberry Festival. Blueberries, arts and crafts, music, wood working, sewing, jewerly, candles, 5K run, and more. Contact information for registration: 256-354-7778.
21 • Brewton, Alabama Blueberry Festival at Burnt Corn Creek Park. One day only from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Original arts and crafts, antique and classic car show, free children’s activities, all day entertainment, blueberry icecream, food vendors, fresh blueberries and blueberry bushes for sale. Visit www. alabamablueberryfestival. com for information. 27-29 • Andalusia, Covington Sportsman’s Expo at the Kiwanis Complex on South Bypass Hwy 55. Come meet Jeromy and David from the television show “Swamp People” as well as Tim Bradley and Byron Ferguson. Fresh Anointing is performing on Sunday and Gator Country will have alligator, crocodile and snake shows all three days. Call 334-222-1498 or visit www. covingtonsportsmansexpo.com.
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Rural Electric Youth Tour: Shaping our youth for 50 Years
President Lyndon Johnson greets the 1968 youth tour delegation on the White House lawn; past Washington Youth Tours included visits with Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
he Rural Electric Youth Tour is turning 50! And oh, what a tour it’s been. “I’ve loved this trip. Every year is a new adventure,” says Mary Tyler Spivey, who directs the Youth Tours for Alabama’s electric cooperatives. Anyone who’s looked after a group of 16- and 17-year-olds in Washington, D.C., for Youth Tour knows how challenging and physically exhausting it is, not to mention how hot and humid the nation’s capital can be in the middle of June. But there’s a reason the program has not just endured but thrived for half a century—and why people like Spivey stick with it year after year: the students. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to work with new groups of students each year,” she says. “It’s so rewarding to see each student grow and discover how they can significantly impact their community through this program. This program truly is changing lives.” Youth Tour brings together some 1,600 teens from 43 states for a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity culminating in Washington, D.C. Students dance on a boat cruise down the Potomac and see the roots of American history. They learn about electric co-ops and grassroots political advocacy. They live in awfully close
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quarters for up to a week and are given a small taste of freedom and independence. They sleep a little and talk a lot. These students become college roommates, professional colleagues, lifelong friends and sometimes even spouses. For some, it’s a fun trip that later brings fond memories. To others, Youth Tour inspires kids to discover the adults they’re going to be. “I’ve had parents come up to me after the program and say, ‘I don’t know what you did, but you brought back a different kid than you took.’ And for parents to say that is gratifying and humbling,” Spivey says. Rooted in politics Youth Tour was born from a speech at the 1957 NRECA Annual Meeting by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. He was a longtime advocate of electric co-ops, having lobbied for the creation of Pedernales Electric Cooperative in 1937 as a young politician in Texas. “If one thing comes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents,” the future president said. With that encouragement, Texas electric co-ops began sending summer in-
terns to work in the senator’s Washington, D.C., office. In 1958, an electric co-op in Iowa sponsored the first group of 34 young people on a weeklong study tour of the nation’s capital. Later that same year, another busload came to Washington from Illinois. The idea grew, and other states sent busloads of students throughout the summer. By 1959, the Youth Tour had grown to 130 participants. In 1964, NRECA began to coordinate joint activities among the state delegations and suggested that co-op representatives from each state arrange to be in Washington, D.C., during Youth Tour week. The first year of the coordinated tour included about 400 teens from 12 states. As word spread, the program grew— and grew and grew. Since 1999, the number of participating states rose from 32 to 43 and the number of students from around a thousand to surpassing 1,600 last year. “We’re excited to see what our future leaders accomplish,” says Spivey. “And knowing that we played a small part of that is truly something special.” To find out more about the Rural Electric Youth Tour, visit www.nreca. coop/what-we-do/youthprograms or visit AREA Youth Tours on Facebook and Twitter. www.alabamaliving.coop
labama Living recently talked with three Youth Tour alumni about how the experience influenced their lives and careers: Alan Thrash, vice president of operations at Covington Electric Cooperative in Andalusia, who participated in 1969; Skip Wilson, vice president of sales for Pioneer Bridges in Fort Payne, who participated in 1986; and Cole Manders, a student at Texas A&M Maritime Academy, who attended in 2011. How did the Youth Tour experience help your career direction? Alan: Through the Youth Tour I was introduced to the Rural Electric Cooperative program and Mr. Chad Martin who worked for Covington Electric Cooperative. Later Chad and I reconnected when I taught Vocational Agribusiness at Kinston High School and Chad taught a basic
Cole: I truly believe that the value of the Youth Tour can be found in those who participate. That ranges from the actual students themselves, to those who plan and coordinate (and for the courageous ones who chaperone) it. There’s an unbeknownst reason why each unique group ends up together and I feel that what I took away from my peers, chaperones, and the tours, has directly affected my career direction as well as my work ethic and expectations I have for those I surround myself with. What advice would you give someone on Youth Tour today? Alan: Have fun, soak in every moment of the historical and governmental tours, and pay attention to the people you meet…you never know how they may change your life. Skip: My advice would be to learn all you can about the places you will visit before-
In what ways has your Youth Tour experience helped you as a person? Alan: It forced me out of my comfort zone of living on a small farm and interacting with only a few people to visiting Montgomery and Washington, D.C. for the first time and having to interact with students from all across the country and dignitaries in the rural electric program and government. It gave me a large amount of confidence at an early age in life that I would never have gotten if it had not been for the Youth Tour. Skip: The Youth Tour helped broaden me as a person by introducing me to places I had only read about or seen on television (I had never been on a plane or even been that far from home before). But, most importantly, the Youth Tour helped me get out of my comfort zone and meet new people my age from all over the state and
Alan Thrash, second from left, prepares to board his flight for the 1969 Washington Youth Tour.
Skip Wilson, far right, from Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative, poses with the 1986 youth tour group in front of George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.
Cole Manders, second from left, with friends during the 2011 Washington Youth Tour.
wiring and electrical safety course for my 9th grade class. In 1980, after teaching Vo Ag for six years, I made a career change and was employed by Covington Electric Cooperative as a power use and member services representative, working with Mr. Martin for 18 months until he retired. Skip: At the time of the Youth Tour, I really hadn’t made my career choice or even thought about it that much. It was helpful to meet other students my age and discuss our career goals. It was also a valuable experience to get to tour places like the Smithsonian Institution and see the impact that various people and inventions had on our world. I think some of the stuff I saw on that visit probably helped influence my decision to study engineering.
hand so you will be more familiar with everything you are seeing. Plus, you will be able to make sure you don’t miss out on something you really are interested in because you will be prepared ahead of time and looking for it. Some of the places are difficult to take in all at once and sometimes you miss some things if you are not careful and have a plan. Cole: It is what you make it. Lucky for the Youth Tour, nobody ever comes into it with a negative attitude. However, there are no limits as to what you can take away from the Youth Tour, and it’s all based on your attitude. That also aligns with life: Why limit your opportunities with something as petty as attitude? Oh, and commandeer the PA system on the bus from day one.
even other parts of the country. Cole: Although it was not the Youth Tour’s sole purpose, I took away a sense of appreciation for what I have more than anything else. I mean that in the sense of liberty, camaraderie, happiness, and the like. From the monuments depicting those brave men and women who allow us to live free, to the cupcakes at the foot of the Washington monument with the whole Youth Tour, to the simple notion that we have these very luxuries to enjoy. Something that is not the case in other parts of the world.
What did it mean to you to have the opportunity to meet with your congressional representative? Alan: Having breakfast in the Capitol JUNE 2014 31
Alan Thrash, today, with his wife Diane.
Skip Wilson, today, with his family.
Cole Manders after his pinning ceremony at Texas A&M Maritime Academy in April 2014.
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building with the Alabama congressional delegation was very impressive. I really soaked in the moment and was surprised that our youth group could carry on a conversation with our senators and representatives. Skip: It was an honor to meet our congressional representatives and it was great to see how they take time to greet their constituents and make them feel welcome. I really enjoyed meeting Senator Jeremiah Denton after having studied about how he had been a brave war hero who had sacrificed so much for his country. Cole: I’ll tell you it was one of the coolest parts of the tour; again that’s coming from someone who would rather watch C-SPAN than “Breaking Bad.” However, let me reiterate: We take for granted that opportunity. I felt it meant a lot for our representatives to take time out of their busy days to talk with us. How would your life be different today had you not gone on Youth Tour? Alan: Not sure. Possibly would not have worked for Covington Electric Cooperative. Skip: I’m thankful for the Youth Tour experience because without it I would not have gotten to visit a lot of places in Washington D.C. and meet all the wonderful people we encountered on the trip. Now, when I talk to my kids about places like Ford’s Theatre, Mount Vernon or the U.S. Capitol building, I can tell them about the time I got to actually visit those places. My 4th grade son still lights up when I tell him about the time I got to watch a play in the same theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot. I think I’ve finally convinced him that I’m not so old that I was there when it happened. Cole: I won’t be rhetorical and speak about how impactful the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial was on what I am doing today but I will say that it was the little experiences hidden in the subliminal themes of the tour that I am able to apply to my life in every way. I can’t fully answer this question either. I do not, nor will I ever, know what life would have been like had I not gone on Youth Tour; which leaves room for me to attribute so much of my success to those little experiences, to the dedicated (and brave) chaperones, and to my fellow peers who toured with me. It truly was an experience that holds a special place in my heart.
What would you change about Youth Tour if you could? Alan: Nothing that I know of. Skip: Youth Tour was a great experience for me and I wouldn’t change a thing. Cole: The only thing I would change about Youth Tour is more or less advice to today’s Youth Tour attendants, and that is: Don’t be afraid to get down when you have an opportunity to get down. As soon as you feel that music, just let it go. It really does add to the experience and results in many pictures. What is your favorite memory from Youth Tour and why? Alan: All the firsts (first time to Montgomery, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. and seeing all the historical sites and our government at work). Also, meeting people from all over America and being able to talk with them. Skip: I had so many favorite memories of Youth Tour that it is hard to pick one. However, I will share something that was kind of unusual and fun that our group did on our trip. When we got to our hotel we all discovered that the price of the soft drinks in the hotel vending machines was outrageous (around $2 per bottle which would be a lot now but was unreal back in 1986, and you sure weren’t going to fork out that kind of cash for one of those New Cokes). So, since our chaperones were all obviously involved with the electric co-op they decided to give us a little education about how a cooperative worked. They formed the Coca-Cola Co-op. I think we each pitched in five bucks to pay for a cooler, ice and various flavors of drinks. Well, our group ended up with all the drinks that we needed for the week and we could take them around with us on the bus wherever we went since we had the cooler. The best part was that, after I got home, I received a check in the mail from our Coca-Cola co-op for 71 cents. Cole: My favorite memory is easily the one that sticks out the most to me. And that was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You almost feel a sense of outof-body patriotism when you watch the guard pace back and forth before the tomb. Something so simple and theoretically boring becomes something that can effortlessly bring tears to your eyes. A www.alabamaliving.coop
JUNE 2014 33
Ready to work: Matt Walker, a lineman at Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative, models the safety gear that all linemen must wear when working on power lines. Each has a specific function, and must be worn when climbing poles.
Alabama to celebrate Lineman Appreciation Day June 2 Hard Hat
Flame-Resistant Shirt & Jeans
Class II Rubber Gloves & Covers Climbing Belt
Pole Strap Tool Holster Pole Climbers
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hose of us who live in areas of Alabama served by electric cooperatives know how vitally important our linemen are. Many of us have family members who have been linemen, or have husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers or cousins who are currently linemen. “When the lights go out, our linemen are the first responders,” says Michael Kelley, senior manager of safety and loss control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. “They work with thousands of volts of electricity on power lines, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, often under dangerous conditions far from their families.” Realizing the importance our linemen have in Alabama, AREA worked with state legislators to pass a formal resolution designating the first Monday in June as Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day. The joint resolution, HJR 244, was sponsored by Rep. April Weaver of Alabaster, who took a special interest in the legislation because her grandfather was a lineman. Rep. Weaver presented a framed copy of the resolution to AREA President and CEO Fred Braswell at the 2014 Annual Meeting. Previously, Congress had designated April 18 as National Lineman Appreciation Day, but no designation was formally made this year. “By having the Alabama Legislature set aside the first Monday in June as a special day to honor our linemen, we can be sure that they are formally recognized every year,” said Sean Strickler, AREA vice president for public affairs. A ceremony will be held to officially recognize the state’s linemen June 2 at the State Capitol. A www.alabamaliving.coop
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2014 TRAVEL ISSUE
The place for fishing, history and family fun By John N. Felsher
rom small local clubs to major pro- also provide excellent launching facilities. fessional tournaments, some event Anglers who forget something can usually launches out of Lakepoint State buy it in the marina store. Guests without Park Resort nearly every weekend to fish their own boats can rent a small fishing Lake Eufaula near the picturesque town boat or pontoon boat. Open during weekthat bears its name. ends, the marina restaurant serves lunch “We usually host more than 90 fishing to sportsmen who wish to take a break tournaments a year,” says Sone Kornegay, from fishing. Lakepoint State Park Resort sales director. “We have some of the best marina facilities in the state. That’s a major attraction for many tournaments to come here. It’s not uncommon for bass anglers to catch more than 20 pounds a day in a five-bass tournament.” One of the best fishing lakes in the nation, Lake Eufaula ranks Number 41 on the Bassmaster magazine list of the top bass waters in the United Lake Eufaula is the park’s best asset. States. The lake also provides excellent “The lake is our best asset and the park panfish, crappie and catfish action. In fact, Fishhound.com named it the top catfish is right on it,” explains Jack Tibbs, Eufaula mayor and owner of Strikezone Lures. lake in the country. With some of the best inland facilities “Lakepoint State Park Resort is a world in the state, Lakepoint Marina rents both class facility for hosting fishing tournacovered and uncovered boats slips and can ments. In the past, the park marina hosted
tournaments with more than 300 boats. If we didn’t have a facility like that, we couldn’t hold such big events. Without that park, it would be very difficult to get the number of visitors that we get every year to our city.” Even a small local tournament might impact the town economically, but a major event could inject thousands of dollars into the town overnight. Some professional events span several days, but anglers also arrive days earlier to practice. In addition, competitors planning to fish a big tournament might visit the lake periodically in the weeks leading up to the event to scout for the best spots. “When a big tournament comes to town, people spend a lot of money,” says Tibbs, who sometimes fishes tournaments himself. “They might stay a week or longer at the park. Some anglers bring their families. While staying at the park, they’ll buy food and fuel. They’ll eat in the park restaurant and in restaurants in town. While the anglers are fishing, their families might visit some of our
Lakepoint’s main building overlooks Lake Eufaula.
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JUNE 2014 37
Town’s historical heritage lures visitors
The park is a popular site for meetings.
historic sites and other area attractions. A big tournament could bring in more than $1 million in economic impact.” While visiting the area, people may choose several lodging options. Renovated and reopened in 2009, Lakepoint State Park Resort Lodge offers guests more than 100 hotel-style rooms or executive suites, a first-class restaurant, a convention center, meeting rooms and banquet halls that overlook the lake. Many large groups overflow to the Lakeside Terrace, which overlooks the water and offers excellent accommodations for weddings and receptions. Each room comes equipped with all necessary modern conveniences. Each suite comes with a king-size bed, bath, kitchenette, dining area and separate sitting area. “Fishermen want to maximize their time on the water so many of them stay on the park,” Kornegay says. “They eat a seafood buffet at the restaurant Friday night and get up ready to go Saturday morning. Many people dock their boat and come to eat in the restaurant or at the marina grill.” In addition, guests may stay in 29 cabins or 10 lakeside cottages near the marina. Cabins and cottages come equipped with everything people need to stay a few days including linens, dishes, utensils, satellite television, wireless connectivity, kitchen appliances, irons and ironing boards, charcoal grills, picnic tables and other amenities. For those who like to rough it, the park campground provides 192 improved campsites for recreational vehicles. These sites include water, electricity and sewage. People can also erect tents in primitive camping areas and utilize nearby bathhouses. “The park started with just the golf course and the campground in the 1960s,” says Sharon Matherne, Lakepoint State Park Resort general manager. “We’re now one of the biggest super 38 JUNE 2014
parks in Alabama. We’re also one of the busiest parks in the state. In 2013, we had more than 118,000 guests. That doesn’t include people just coming through the gate for the day to fish off the bank or do other activities.” The 18-hole public golf course stays open seven days a week. The Club House offers shower and bathroom facilities. The Pro Shop sells golfing supplies. Golfers may also practice on a nearby putting green. To hone their skills, golfers may sign up for lessons from the club pro. While staying at the lodge or any park facilities, many guests enjoy meals at the Water’s Edge Restaurant overlooking Lake Eufaula. The restaurant can seat up to 225 people and another 450 in the banquet facilities. Guests may also use the picnic areas, tennis courts or swimming pool. “We do a variety of meals, but it’s casual dining,” Matherne explains. “Fishermen can come here with their families, but it’s still a nice meal. We offer an excellent grilled tilapia dinner. We’re also known for our catfish and chicken meals.” Nature lovers may hike seven park trails or visit the adjacent Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1964, the 11,184-acre refuge spreads across parts of Barbour and Russell counties in Alabama plus Stewart and Quitman counties across the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. The refuge offers hunting for whitetail deer, waterfowl, doves, squirrels and rabbits in the fall. Many people enjoy watching and photographing wildlife and birds, such as bald eagles, herons and various shorebirds. Sportsmen also hunt the nearby 27,358-acre Barbour Wildlife Management Area. “For people into photography, the Eufaula NWR right next to Lakepoint is a great place to take photos,” Tibbs says. “It has a lot of wildlife and birds. They have some observation decks where people can go to observe wildlife and take photos.” A
The town of Eufaula, whose population numbers about 15,000, dates back to 1816. Even before that, Creek Indians lived and hunted along the Chattahoochee River for centuries. The word “Eufaula” comes from a Creek word meaning “high bluffs” because the river carved some impressive land formations as it flowed through the area. In fact, many people call Eufaula “the Bluff City.” In the early 19th century, the town became a booming shipping center. Wealthy people built large homes on the riverbanks. While many Southern towns burned during the Civil War, Eufaula survived intact. In April 1865, Union Gen. Benjamin H. Grierson approached the city with his army. Under a flag of truce, Dr. C.J. Pope, mayor of Eufaula at the time, led a delegation to the Union camp to tell them that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee had already surrendered his army in Virginia. They persuaded Grierson to spare the town. As a result, many antebellum homes in the historic district, some dating back to the 1830s, remain occupied to this day. “The Eufaula area has quite a historical heritage,” says Jack Pelfrey, executive director of the Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce. “The Eufaula Historic District has more than 700 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the annual Eufaula Pilgrimage, many historic homes that are currently occupied are open for public tours. People dress up in antebellum attire. It’s like a visit back in time.” The annual Eufaula Pilgrimage Tour of Homes (www.eufaulapilgrimage.com) takes place every spring. Highlighting the tour, the Shorter Mansion dates to 1884. Visitors may also tour museums honoring six former Alabama governors from Barbour County and Admiral Thomas Moorer who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970-74. For Independence Day, Lakepoint State Park will hold a festival July 5. “We’ll have live entertainment all afternoon, vendors selling homemade goods and kids’ activities,” says Sone Kornegay, park sales director. “We’ll grill hamburgers and hot dogs. In the evening, we’ll have a big fireworks display. We just want people to come see what we have to offer and let them know we are here.” In September, a motorcycle rally will visit the park. For more information on Lakepoint Resort State Park, call 800-544-5253 or 334-687-8011, or visit www.alapark.com/LakePointResort. For area information, call the Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce at 800-524-7529 or www.eufaulachamber.com.
Carnegie Library. www.alabamaliving.coop
JUNE 2014 39
Vicious monsters lurk in Alabama rivers By John N. Felsher
lthough the Gulf of Mexico holds many huge fish, Ala- the dam because it creates some current that stirs up the fish. I bama anglers don’t need to head miles offshore to battle fish on the upstream side of holes right where the bottom starts monsters. Throughout the state, anglers can challenge to drop off. Catfish like to get just over the drop-off edge out of tackle-busting river monsters almost anywhere in the Heart of the current, but they look upstream into the current for any bait Dixie, often with little competition. to wash over them.” “Flathead catfish are abundant in almost all rivers and lakes Ambush predators, big flatheads often hunker down in woody in Alabama, but they are just not targeted as much as other fish,” or rocky cover waiting to devour anything they can swallow. says Michael Holley, an Alabama Department of Conservation Their mottled, splotchy brownish coloration helps conceal them and Natural Resources fisheries biologist. “It’s not uncommon to from prey. Eating almost exclusively fish, these voracious predacatch 40- to 50-pound flatheads in Alabama. We see some in the tors relish shad, sunfish, small drum, other catfish and bullheads. 60- to 80-pound range.” Bass anglers occasionally catch flatheads on lures that resemble Rick Conner set the official state record for flathead catfish at baitfish, but live bait works best. 80 pounds in June 1986. He caught the leviathan while fishing “When targeting flatheads, fresh bait is the key,” says Joey in the Alabama River near Selma. However, Pounders, a professional catfish angler who flatheads can top 123 pounds. caught flatheads up to 77 pounds on the TennMost rivers in Alabama hold good flatTom. “We normally use live shad about six head populations. The Tennessee and Alato eight inches long. When catching bait, we bama rivers both produce catfish in the 30- to might catch a thousand shad, but only use 20. 50-pound range quite regularly and many bigA big flathead can eat a huge bait.” ger ones. The Mobile, Tensaw and Escatawpa When looking for places to drop bait, use rivers also hold good fish, but some of the best a depth finder to scan for holes or drops near flathead action in Alabama comes from the secondary cover such as logs, stumps and Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. rocks. Flatheads also enter holes in washed out More popularly known as the Tenn-Tom, banks or hide under submerged treetops along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway runs 234 eroded shorelines. Currents can scour holes on miles through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alathe outside of river bends, making excellent bama to link the Tennessee and Tombigbee places to look for mottled marauders. rivers for commercial traffic. Several water Although many people consider catfish Josh and Joey Pounders, summer fish, late winter and early spring can control structures created 10 lakes along the professional catfish anglers, show produce excellent flathead action at a time Tenn-Tom system with a total surface area of off a flathead and a blue catfish they 44,000 acres. When the waterway flooded, it caught while fishing the Tennessee- when most anglers find themselves alone on linked myriad creeks, oxbow lakes and sloughs Tombigbee Waterway system. the best honey holes. Cold water can make to the main channel. Rising water inundated fish lethargic, but as water warms, flatheads PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER swamps, flooded timber and created backwabecome much more active. ters filled with lily pads, cypress stumps, weeds and other struc“Catfish have to eat all year long,” Pounders says. “Not as ture that flathead catfish love. many people want to get on the water when it’s cold, so we get Anglers can catch big flatheads throughout the entire Tenn- our pick of the best spots. The colder the water gets, the more Tom system, but some of the best fishing in Alabama occurs in flatheads hunker down in structure and the less they move. If Aliceville Lake. The Tom Bevill Lock and Dam near Pickensville I’m not getting bites, I’ll move the bait a few feet to get a fish’s creates the 8,300-acre impoundment on the Alabama-Mississippi attention.” line. Farther downstream near Demopolis, Ala., the Heflin Lock While the Tenn-Tom offers great flathead fishing, it also holds and Dam creates the 6,400-acre Gainesville Lake. big blue and channel cats. Some blues exceed 60 pounds. Al“Aliceville Lake is a really good lake for flatheads,” says Nick though most channel cats weigh less than five pounds, a few hit Dimino, a professional catfish angler. “I like to fish closer toward double digits. Not nearly as finicky as flatheads, which prefer live bait, blues and channels eat almost anything. Big blues prefer oily fish and often prey upon shad, sunfish and skipjack. They also take night crawlers, crawfish, mussels, mullets, cheese, shrimp, John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer livers and almost anything else they can gulp down. and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s A big catfish can provide outstanding sport for anglers wantwritten more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 ing big game action close to home without spending a fortune. magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www. When a big flathead takes a bait, hang on for one of the toughest JohnNFelsher.com. fights in fresh water. A
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Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
JUN. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 JUL. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
03:37 04:37 10:52 -01:07 01:52 02:37 03:22 04:07 --12:52 01:22 02:07 02:37 03:22 04:07 10:07 11:52 -12:52 01:37 02:37 03:22 04:22 -12:52 01:37 02:22 03:22 09:37 10:52 --12:52 01:52 02:52 03:52 04:37 --01:07 01:37 02:07 02:52 09:07
08:22 09:22 06:07 07:22 08:22 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:22 04:37 05:22 05:52 06:22 07:07 07:37 08:22 09:07 05:22 06:22 07:37 08:37 09:22 10:22 11:07 11:37 05:07 05:52 06:52 07:37 08:37 04:07 05:22 06:37 07:52 08:52 09:52 10:37 11:07 11:52 05:07 05:52 06:22 07:07 07:37 08:22 03:22
10:52 11:37 05:07 12:52 03:07 08:52 10:07 10:52 11:37 07:22 07:52 08:22 08:52 09:22 09:52 10:22 10:52 04:22 05:07 02:07 07:37 09:07 10:22 11:07 12:07 07:37 08:22 08:52 09:37 10:07 10:37 04:37 12:52 06:37 08:37 09:52 10:52 11:37 12:07 07:22 07:52 08:07 08:37 08:52 09:22 09:52
03:37 04:22 12:22 06:07 07:37 04:37 05:37 06:22 06:52 12:07 12:37 01:07 01:37 02:07 02:37 03:07 03:37 11:22 12:07 06:07 03:52 04:52 05:52 06:22 07:07 12:22 01:07 01:52 02:37 03:07 03:52 11:22 12:07 03:22 04:52 05:37 06:07 06:37 07:07 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:07 02:37 03:07
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JUNE 2014 41
Worth the Drive
Celebrity chef dinners highlight Alabama seafood By Jennifer Kornegay
own here in the South, we love our food, and the chefs who prepare and serve it best are rewarded by being elevated to rock-star status. Some of the biggest names hail from New Orleans, as evidenced by the recent NOLA-heavy winners list at the recent James Beard Foundation awards (like the Oscars for food). If you’ve ever wanted to mix and mingle with one of these culinary kings and can’t make it to New Orleans any time soon (and even if you did, the chances are slim to none you’d make it back in the kitchen to thank the chef for your meal), you’re in luck. All you need do is get down to Orange Beach this summer and snag a ticket for one of the Southern Grace Celebrity Chef Dinners hosted by Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina. Two of the six events have already happened, but four more are left, and each features a noteworthy Big Easy chef. And they’re all incorporating fresh Alabama seafood and other locally sourced products into their menus. Fisher’s itself is a must-do when on the Alabama coast. Located adjacent to the Orange Beach Marina, the restaurant opened last summer and has two distinct personalities: a “flip-flops and coverups welcome” vibe invites you to relax and enjoy a meal in the open-air downstairs section that’s dockside. Upstairs, a gleaming wooden bar and contemporary décor washed in soft sea colors creates a more sophisticated atmosphere, but one that’s still laid back. Both menus are full of innovative and classic takes on coastal flavors and ingredients including selections like blackened fish tacos with citrus slaw; flounder stuffed with cornbread and shrimp, drizzled with a lemon beurre blanc; and perhaps the perfect starter, ham and green onion hushpuppies. Owner Johnny Fisher decided to bring some of his famous friends to his home to show off the area and the amazing seafood consistently pulled from its waters, but he also wanted to give guests the unique opportunity to discover and hang out with some true titans of taste. Each event begins with a cocktail reception attended by the evening’s chef. When dinner is served, it comes to the communal tables family style, fostering conversation among the guests. “With these dinners, we’re creating a very special and memorable experience, for the chefs, our team and our guests,” Fisher said. The April 17 dinner had Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery at the helm, and on May 7, Chef Donald Link joined Fisher’s Executive Chef Bill Briand in the kitchen. Link has several restau-
Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
42 JUNE 2014
rants: Herbsaint, a contemporary take on the French-American “bistro” was his first. Others include Cochon and Pêche Seafood Grill, which earned the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant” award this year. Fisher’s Chef Briand worked under Link for years and their collaboration produced a menu for Southern Grace that was everything you’d expect from such a lauded talent and his protégé. Airy blue crab beignets stuffed with sweetmeat and paired with white remoulade for dipping, ceviche with the bite of raw red onion and particular punch of cilantro, giant grilled royal reds and braised lamb in a briny olive sauce were a few highlights. The evening finished on a high note with an only-slightly sugary lemon tart studded with plump blackberries and dense, eggless chocolate chip cookies bursting at their brown-crisp edges with chocolate chunks. Link didn’t hesitate to give credit where credit is due, noting how fortunate Alabama diners are to have Chef Briand. “This guy is amazing. I hope you all know how lucky you are to have him here,” he said. The rest of the Southern Grace events promise to be just as delicious, with the remaining chefs boasting numerous accolades and awards between them: John Besh (Restaurant August, Borgne, La Provence, Luke, Luke San Antonio Riverwalk, American Sector, Soda Shop, BeshSteak, and Domenica), Tory McPhail (Commander’s Palace, SoBou) and Sue Zemanick (Gautreau’s, Ivy). JohnCurrence, who headlines the final Southern Grace dinner in August, is the only chef not actually in New Orleans, but he often credits his NOLA roots and the area’s unique food culture with inspiring his love of food and cooking. His multiple Oxford, Miss., eateries -- City Grocery, Bouré, Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast and Lamar Lounge -- put that tiny town on the region’s culinary map. But Southern Grace is not just about good fellowship and good food. It’s also doing a good deed; a portion of the proceeds from each dinner goes to support the SouthernFoodways Alliance (SFA), a non-profit organization based at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture that documents, studies and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. The SFA has commissioned a short film celebrating the Alabama Gulf Coast foodways with a focus on two coastal cuisine staples that originated in Alabama, West Indies Salad and fried crab claws. The finished film is being screened at each dinner. A
Eat the Big Easy in Alabama Southern Grace Schedule Tory McPhail – June 14 Sue Zemanick – July 17 John Besh – July 31 John Currence – August 14 Get your tickets and find more details at www.FishersOBM.com.
JUNE 2014 43
Cook of the month: Sandy Adams, Marshall-DeKalb EC Green tomato pizza 1 purchased pizza crust 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium green tomatoes, sliced very thinly (about 1/8”) dash of ground black pepper pinch of salt ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more, if desired)
Optional: Add a little bacon or ham for a heartier pizza. Or add a sprinkle of smoked paprika for bacon-y flavor without the meat.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (or temperature given on pizza crust package). In small saucepan over low heat, gently heat olive oil and garlic until the oil is hot and aromatic. The garlic should not brown, just flavor the oil. Set aside. Prepare the pizza crust according to package directions. Brush the prepared crust generously with the garlic/ oil mixture. Arrange the green tomato slices in a slightly overlapping pattern over the crust. Sprinkle lightly with the pepper and salt. If using bacon, ham or paprika, add now. Top with cheese. Bake for amount of time recommended on crust package, or until crust is golden brown, tomatoes are heated through, and cheese is melted.
Preparing a homemade pizza is infinitely flexible, inexpensive and fun to make, especially with little cooks. Making your own pizza dough is super easy as well and only adds a couple more minutes to your prep time. One of the recipes featured on the next page is from our online recipe archive. Did you know you can search for many of our old recipes at alabamaliving.coop? Use the drop down menu on the homepage and click “recipe archives” to find many dishes printed in the magazine in the past. Happy Father’s Day to all dads, especially my husband and my dad, who has been lovingly renamed “Pop” by his grandkids. Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
You could win $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are:
“From Scratch” Wild Game
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44 JUNE 2014
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.
Hilltop pan pizza 1 (1-pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed 1 pound Italian sausage 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons olive oil 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
1 small onion chopped 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 3 ⁄4 teaspoon oregano ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Pre-bake dough for 15 minutes. Brown crumbled sausage evenly over medium-high heat. Drain grease from sausage and sprinkle over dough crust. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly. Heat oil in skillet. Add mushrooms and onions, and cook until onions are tender. Stir in tomatoes, garlic powder, fennel seeds, salt and oregano. Spoon mozzarella over everything. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until crust is golden brown. Turia Myers, Pea River EC
Strawberry pizza 1 cup chopped pecans 1 stick butter, softened 1 cup flour 8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar frozen whipped topping 1 package strawberry glaze 1 pint sliced strawberries
Combine pecans, butter and flour until stiff. Press into a 5x9-inch baking pan (glass works best). Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool crust thoroughly. Combine cream cheese, sugar and 1 cup of whipped topping. Spread over crust. Mix strawberries and glaze and spread over cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Garnish with additional strawberries.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese 1 small jar picante sauce 1 8-ounce container sour cream (use half container) 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings of choice - olives, green onions, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeno slices, banana pepper slices
Let cream cheese come to room temperature or put in microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds to soften. Mix cream cheese and half the container of sour cream (4 ounces) together and blend well. Spread mixture on a large round flat platter or plate. Top with picante sauce and then cheese. It is delicious as is, but any other toppings can be added to suit your taste. Serve with round Tostitos chips. Cheryl Lassiter, Black Warrior EMC
Single-serve cauliflower crust pizza 1 cup cooked cauliflower, diced 1 egg 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon oregano 2 teaspoon parsley 1 tablespoon olive oil
Beat egg, add the cauliflower and shredded cheese. Mix well. Grease a small pizza pan with olive oil and press onto pan. Sprinkle with the spices. Bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes. Add desired pizza toppings such as red sauce, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, fresh oregano, basil or spinach, etc. Bake until crust is brown and cheese is bubbly. Robbie Sue Vantrease, Cullman EC
Rebecca Cochran, Marshall-DeKalb EC (from the AlabamaLiving.coop recipe archive)
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JUNE 2014 45
How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace
Market Place Miscellaneous AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352 KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)638-4399, (256)899-3850 FREE BOOKS / DVDS – SOON government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let Bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 – email@example.com, (888)211-1715 USED PORTABLE SAWMILLS – BUY / Sell. Call Sawmill Exchange (800)4592148 or 713-sawmill. USA & Canada – www.sawmillexchange.com LUMBER FOR SALE: CIRCULAR SAW Red & White Oak, Hickory, Ash - $1.20 BFT; Heart Pine - $5.00 BFT – 5” Treated Round: One Side Flat Fence Post 8 FT Long $9.50 each - Loring White (334)782-3636 (Tallapoosa) 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – OTHER SIZES AVAILABLE - (706)226-2739 DIVORCE MADE EASY – UNCONTESTED, LOST, IN PRISON OR Aliens. $149.95 - 26 years experience – (417)443-6511 FINANCIAL HELP LINES FOR AL FAMILIES BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FOR FREE (877)933-1139 MORTGAGE RELIEF HELP LINE (888) 216-4173 STUDENT LOAN RELIEF LINE (888)694-8235 DEBT RELIEF NON-PROFIT LINE (888) 779-4272 Numbers provided by www.careconnectusa.org A Public Benefit Organization METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1ST QUALITY, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025, www.andyswallbeds.com, www. alabamamattressoutlet.com
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46 JUNE 2014
Closing Deadlines (in our office: August 2014 – June 25 September 2014 – July 25 October 2014 – August 25
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CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, BROW view, hottub – For rent $100 / Night or Sale $199,000 – (706)767-0177
PIGEON FORGE - COZY CABINS FOR Rent by Owner (865) 712-7633, vrbo. com/483181
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GATLINBURG: BEAUTIFUL Mountain Condos. Weekend rates starting at 195.00. Large pool, game room,two hot tubs, grills and wireless internet. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at (256)599-4438.
SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR / 2BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, Wrap-Around Porch, Charcoal Grill. (865)320-4216, email@example.com
APPALACHIAN TRAIL – CABINS BY the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates – (800)284-6866, www.bloodmountain. com
PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – OWNER RENTAL – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, firstname.lastname@example.org, www. theroneycondo.com GATLINBURG, TN – FOND memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway WWW.GULFSHORES4RENT.COM Beautiful and great priced condos on West Beach in Gulf Shores. Call (404)219-3189 or (404)702-9824
GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – NICE 2 BEDROOM, GREAT VIEW – SUMMER $995 / WK – (251)666-5476 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent directly from Christian Family Owners. Lowest prices on the Beach – www. gulfshorescondos.com, (205)5560368, (205)752-1231, (251)752-2366
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GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE ON BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, email@example.com
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Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to email@example.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds. WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – OPEN YEAR Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593 BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7558 West Thunderbird Road, Ste. 1 - #114, Peoria, Arizona 85381. http://www.ordination.org
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JUNE 2014 47
June: No better time to celebrate gardening
ummer officially arrives on June 21, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the day that myriad cultures have, for thousands of years, celebrated as the Summer Solstice. However, that’s only one of many days in June that are cause for celebration, especially for those who love to garden or love the bounty of summer gardening. Actually, the whole month of June is chock full of garden-related celebrations. June is not only designated as National Rose Month, it’s also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. In addition, there are numerous June days set aside for special celebrations such as National Gardening Exercise Day (June 6), Red Rose Day (June 12), Fresh Veggies Day (June 16), Eat Your Vegetables Day (June 17), Butterfly Day (June 19), National Fried Okra Day (June 25) and The Great American Backyard Campout day (June 28). Oh, and let’s not forget June 15, which lends itself to another garden-related celebration opportunity—Dad—or Father’s Day, that is. Whether the dad in your life likes to garden or not, you can incorporate a little garden in your Father’s Day plans. Take him on a special outing, maybe even with lunch included, to a nearby public garden or park or on a shopping trip to a local home and garden center where he can choose his own gift, be it for the garden or for any other manly pursuit. If you have a garden-loving dad, give him a handsome watering can—or wheelbarrow if you want to make a big statement—filled with hand tools, gloves, a hat, seeds, plants, a bag or two of compost or potting soil and other items that can keep him safe and protected from the elements (sunscreen, poison ivy lotion
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
48 JUNE 2014
and insect repellent come to mind). Or go all out and buy him that giant composter, super-powered hedge trimmer, quirky garden sculpture, luxurious birdbath or other extravagance that he has been admiring from afar. If you’re short on funds, offer to do some yard work for him. Dads and granddads can also organize their own celebrations by making lasting memories: Take the children and grandchildren for a day in the woods or at a public garden with a picnic, or spend a day helping members of the family’s next generation plant a garden of their very own. By the way, don’t assume that plants and flowers are only for moms. Many men appreciate getting botanical gifts ranging from things they can plant in their yards and gardens to house plants to, yes, even cut flowers. Though white and red roses are considered the official flowers of Father’s Day (white roses are worn in honor of deceased fathers, red roses for living fathers), there are many other beautiful flowers that are still masculine enough for even the most stoic father figure. And they can also convey special meaning. For example, daffodils signify chivalry, gladioli symbolize preparedness, strength and stability and delphiniums represent boldness. Speaking of meaningful ways to bring gardening into celebrations, tap into those amazing summer blooms to decorate or adorn any June wedding event or for use in bridal bouquets and other floral adornments of the wedding party. Many summer-blooming flowers convey special meanings of their own: Daisies say “share your feelings;” gardenias stand for love, purity and joy; hydrangeas represent friendship, devotion and understanding; roses symbolize love, joy and beauty; and ivy represents wedded love, fidelity, friendship and affection. And don’t forget the garden as you buy gifts for the newlyweds. They may well need lots of gardening tools and equipment as they set up housekeeping together, plus plants as gifts symbolize the couple’s ever-growing love.
As you pick plants for any gift-giving event, though, take care to choose ones that are easy-care and that don’t convey any negative cultural meanings. A quick Internet search or trip to the library can help determine the best options and the various cultural meanings of each plant or flower, or ask your local florist or nursery operator for help. A
June Gardening Tips d Pinch back leggy annuals or tender perennials and deadhead flowers (gently pinch off spent flowers) to prolong blooming. d Check roses for signs of disease or insect damage and immediately treat any problems. d Trim back dried and dead foliage from spring flowering bulbs. Divide and thin daffodil bulbs. d Fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and other flowering shrubs as soon as they have finished blooming. d Thin the number of fruits on apple, pear, peach and other fruit trees. d Keep an eye out for weeds, insects and disease in all your garden areas and also on houseplants. d Make sure potted plants are kept sufficiently watered. They dry out more rapidly than in-ground plants. d Mow lawns weekly, or often enough so you don’t clip more than an inch off the height at each mowing. d Fertilize the lawn and treat for dandelions and other lawn weeds. d Plant seeds for beans, field peas, melons, pumpkins, squash and corn. Set out transplants of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. d Keep an eye out for insect and disease problems on all your plants—vegetables, flowers, shrubs and lawns. Treat outbreaks immediately before infestations or infections get out of control. d Water landscape, garden and lawn plants with long, less frequent soaking. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Come join us for our Annual Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, June 28th. Everyone is invited to attend.
Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. with entertainment to follow at the Knox Ryals Pavilion.
PARADE ENTRY FORM
Fill out and return to: BBA, P.O. Box 251, Brundidge, AL 36010 NAME __________________________________________________ ADDRESS ________________________________________________ PHONE __________________ Type of Unit ____________ Size _______ Deadline is June 24 - For more information call 334- 735-3400 Line-up will be at the Brundidge National Guard Armory
www.brundidgealabama.com 34 JUNE 2014
I LIKE TO TAKE IT EASY ON VACATION. SO DOES MY ENERGY BILL. And while my energy bill can’t go camping or fishing, there are some things I can do to lighten its load. Like adjusting my thermostat and turning off the water heater before I leave. I’m saving money even while I’m on vacation. What can you do? Find out how the little changes add up at TogetherWeSave.com.
TOGE THERWE SAV E .COM
Our Sources Say
Can’t leave it alone
riends advise me to just leave some things alone. I try, but I have difficulty when faced with spurious attacks on well-intentioned efforts. I have even more difficulty leaving it alone when attacks lack factual basis or promote a personal agenda. I had planned to write this month’s article on a different subject. But after reading an editorial by John Archibald on AL.com titled “A Real Fish Story,” I couldn’t leave it alone. Archibald is a regular contributor to AL.com. I disagree with him on many (if not most) of his subjects. I find his articles long on opinions and short on facts. He is often critical of industry and rarely expresses appreciation for the average Alabamian – usually implying we are ignorant or backwards. I generally don’t like people like Archibald, and I doubt if he would like me very much either. Archibald starts his article discussing the Alabama Department of Health’s recently released annual fish consumption advisory that provides recommended limits on fish consumption. He writes that fish from Choccolocco Creek in Talladega County should never be eaten because they contain mercury and will make you mad as a hatter. He notes the advisory lists 80 spots across Alabama where you have to worry about too much mercury in fish. He quotes Alabama Department of Health Toxicologist John Guarisco, “The highest number of mercury problems occurred in the southeast part of the state in the black water rivers, where naturally occurring mercury is abundant in decaying swamps.” He further quotes Guarisco, “Mercury occurs everywhere in nature, so we will always have a mercury problem.” Archibald then launches into an attack on Alabama politicians for being against EPA overreach and Alabama industry for attempting to turn “our own well-being into our enemy.” He criticizes “Big Mules” for “insistently backing politicians who ridicule pollution issues who vilify environmentalists as job killers.” He acknowledges that Alabama Power has done a lot to clean up the air in recent years and that Birmingham finally meets air quality standards. However, he states, “it (Alabama Power) was forced by a meddling federal government to clean it up, because the power company wasn’t eager to spend billions of dollars just
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
52 JUNE 2014
to make us breathe easier.” As usual, Archibald is short on facts. I can help him a little. Mercury is an element that is found naturally in the environment. As an element, mercury is neither created nor destroyed. It is found naturally in different forms and compounds in air, soil, rock, plants and water. Mercury is a neurotoxin, and dangers to its exposure have been known for many years. Methylmercury is a highly toxic organic form of mercury that collects in fish tissue and potentially makes eating fish dangerous. Coal-fired power plants emit mercury, although recent EPA regulations limit power plant mercury emissions to a few parts per billion (billion with a “B”). Willie Soon and Paul Driessen reported in a May 2011 Wall Street Journal article that U.S. coalfired power plants emitted around 45 tons of mercury in 2011, about 40 percent of annual anthropogenic U.S. mercury emissions. The article also states forest fires released about 44 tons, crematories released 26 tons, Chinese power plants 400 tons, and volcanoes, geysers and subsea vents release more than 9,000 tons of mercury. (The EPA statistics indicate the crematorium emissions quoted by Soon and Driessen are over-stated but the other numbers appear valid.) Mercury in the air disperses into the atmosphere and is moved globally by wind currents. Much of the mercury in the U.S. was emitted in China. Mercury is also deposited into water by naturally decaying vegetation. Maybe John Guarisco, the Department of Health toxicologist, knows what he is talking about and it is not all Alabama Power’s fault after all. Alabama Power is very capable of defending itself, but it rarely does so, leaving it vulnerable to attacks by Archibald and his type. But that doesn’t justify the attacks. Alabama Power provides electricity at very competitive costs and invests millions of dollars and a lot of effort to help attract jobs for Alabamians. Archibald apparently holds that effort and those jobs in contempt. While Alabama Power and other state industries invest money and work to build the state’s economy, Archibald and his friends write articles critical of anything anyone is trying to do in the state. He condemns industry’s efforts to hold costs down and couches efforts to create jobs as against our own interests. He can’t help but impugn the intelligence of the Alabama working class. He offers no help, no solutions -- just criticism and contempt. Negative and destructive people never have and never will build or produce anything. Alabama can use less pollution, but we can use a lot less negative and destructive opinions, too. I hope you have a good month. A
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Alabama Snapshots 2
Before After Family travels Submit Your Images! AUGUST THEME:
SUBMIT PHOTOS THROUGH OUR WEBSITE: alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ OR SEND COLOR PHOTOS WITH A LARGE SELFADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE TO:
Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL, 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR AUGUST: June 30
54 JUNE 2014
1. Holly and Robby Saint at Devil’s Bridge, Antigua SUBMITTED BY Holly Saint, Section 2. Rodriguez and Gonzalez family having fun on their trip to Legoland in Orlando, Fla. S U B M I T T E D BY Geraldine Rodríguez, Enterprise
3. Sarah Nail, Taylor DeSilvey, Susan Nial, Eric Nail, Kaye Nail, Erica Nail, Janet Kirkland, Ruth Raudabaugh pictured before and after canoeing 31 miles through the Okefenokee Swamp SUBMIT TED BY Taylor DeSilvey, Cullman 4. Chris, Melissa, Brandon and Elisabeth Coleman visiting the Great Wall in China SUBMITTED BY Melissa Coleman